Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What a saw and some loppers can do to a garden

I am halfway through hacking back the garden. My mother valiantly stood all morning and chopped up the branches into little pieces to fit more into the recycling bin, while I attacked the trees and creepers, ivy and other random things growing where I most certainly did not plant them. I had to get out the saw after a while to get rid of the branches.
You can see the bald tree behind the storage shed. It was a pyrocantha (??) type of thingy with every leaf a thorn. It also happens to be in my neighbour's garden. Well, the tree trunk is in their garden, but the tree is in mine, and was hanging over the entire patio and irritating me intensely. I like going barefoot, and with those leaves, it is impossible. So it is history. And before you ask....yes, I CAN cut down anything on my side of the boundary!

Then I spent a couple of hours sitting on that kitchen chair (which I used to climb onto the roof of the shed thingy..... thank heavens my mother does not think of taking photos) chopping up the thorny branches. Please note the branches obscuring the patio. It was a big tree.

Did I mention branches? Lots of them. With thorns.

In addition to the full recycling bin (we have a special one for garden stuff) I filled these huge bags too.

And this is what I have left in the beds I did yesterday. I am in the process of emptying every pot and replanting stuff, and then I will put down that cloth to stop weeds. When I go and buy it. I used a mini hoe to chop up the roots of the ivy, which is everywhere. Don't worry, by next summer, it will be an overflowing English garden again.
And this was the village church this morning early in the gentle sunlight. It all looked golden and rather beautiful, when I went to get Mum's paper.

Now I am off to continue with the massacre of the garden. The nails are history and my gloves appear to have holes the size of craters. But I will conquer the weeds. (I will take a photo of the loppers, Barb. I have no idea what you call them. They are great!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bloggy housekeeping

Well, that was fun. I can tell you all that I am really looking forward to meeting Morning Glory next year when she and her husband arrive in the UK for their tour, and holiday!

I need to do some blogging housekeeping. I have been given a few lovely awards over the past few weeks, and because of computer issues, I sort of forgot to mention them or to pass them on. I do know that Barbara gave me this lovely award.....

And I also received this great award from Angela......

Thank you so much, ladies...... I am honoured and so happy to have you both as my blogging friends. I will think a little about who to pass them on to. So many. Every one of my friends makes me smile. And every one is a sweet treat to read. Sigh. Decisions. I hate making good decisions. Difficult ones are easier to cope with!

The sun is shining and there is a chill in the air, and today I am going to go out and hack back the jungle in my garden to try to rediscover the actual position of the beds. I have been meaning to do an autumn "big dig" for years, and have managed to skip it each year, but now we have reached the point where it has to be done. I need to empty every pot and move things and ...... oh well... you will see the bald garden later. I wonder where I put my loppers? I love loppers. Hmmmm. I have just remembered that my sons used them to chop up a metal arch. There is the slightest chance that they will not work. I might have to improvise.

Right. I am going to get up from this all too comfortable seat here in front of the computer and move, or the day will pass by and I will have accomplished nothing constructive. Be impressed. And I would appreciate a few prayers re the job hunt, if you don't mind. I need to work.

I will be back.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I met Barbara!

Now that she is home and has posted about our meeting, I can divulge all and tell you that last Tuesday, I met a blogging friend for the first time! Barbara, from Ramblings from an English Garden suggested that we meet at Ashridge Estate, as she was looking after her daughter's home and pets near by. I live quite a way north of Ashridge,
but here in England, nothing is too far away really, so off I poddled down the motorway to find the meeting place at the visitor's centre. (I love driving, and after spending most of my life in SA, distance is never a problem!) I too had to deal with detours for roadworks which is the bane of any British motorist's life at the moment, but find it I did, and I knew her immediately. We waved at each other, and I do believe the conversation started within seconds. We didn't stop.
Barbara and Alan in front of the monument. I am not sure what the monument is for. I was too busy talking. Oops.

We talked about anything and everything, and it was great to compare stories about life at sea with her husband, Alan too. We all love walking, and after a couple of cups of coffee and some lunch to fortify us, we set off on a walk down the ridge to a nearby village. Thank heavens Barbara has done her post because so help me, I had forgotten the name of the place. Too busy talking, you see. And taking photos. Aldbury. That was the place. I just double checked. We were both armed with our cameras, and took masses of photographs. Barbara has some super ones up on her blog, so make sure you go and see.

This is a photo of the stocks from ancient times. You know... where they put people who had misbehaved.

The scenery was beautiful, and the company was great, and Barbara is a total delight. Alan is as well. I cannot think of a nicer way to meet someone in real life for the first time. I have spoken to Barb and Morning Glory before, and I already knew how simple it is too have a conversation with my blogging friends. We have all shared so much, and do have a unique perspective of each others' lives, and meeting in real life is just the same. We already know each other. Just the voices are new. It is good. It is fun. And it is an added dimension to this new and exciting world we have discovered.

So there you have it.


And loved every minute of it. So what are we off to explore next time, Barbara??????

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy son

He is holding those boxes with one finger. I am saying nothing. If he had dropped them, you would have heard me in the USA.

But.... LOOK!!!!!! It is on (well, it was actually shutting down to restart at the time) and it works and here I am! Windows Vista is taking some getting used to, especially the photo downloading stuff, but I am getting there. The only reason I am on the computer at all is because my son is out babysitting tonight. I have not transferred all my stuff yet, and my oldest son has just told me to install Office etc now. But I want to play. So I will. I am the mother here.

I have the side bar showing my photos which is lovely, and the world times up and news box too. And the icons are nice and large so I can actually see stuff.

Wondeful! I am having fun!!


We are waiting for the delivery of the computer. Patiently, of course. Patience is a very strong quality of mine. One I am proud of. Hahahahahahahahaha. But mine is saintly in comparison to my son's. IT IS NOT HERE YET. And it is 11am. The fact that they said between 8am and 1pm is beside the point. He is pacing. Thudding up and down.

11.05 not here yet.

I will be sorry to hand this little laptop back to my friend, though. Wonderful friend. Kind. Thoughtful. One who is quite clear that I would have been climbing the walls without it, and would not have been a joy to know at all. I like laptops. All I actually need the computer to do is get emails and send them, and access the internet to, you know, blog. And to fiddle with photos. My needs are simple.

I am not part fo the iPod generation and even though my mobile phone is all singing and all dancing and can do things like play music, and access the internet and is a radio, for heaven's sake...... I just need it to send texts and make the odd call. It is a PHONE and should stay just that.

11.10 not here.

As you can see, I am very techno whatever. I switch something on and it must go. It must not tell me what to do or randomly decide to issue warnings. Like cars. They must also go when I ask them to go. Without whimpering. Or coughing or spluttering.

I have just been thinking what my father and grandparents would have made of the computer age. My Mum is quite happy emailing and searching ancestry files now and then. And she loves spider solitaire, but I think my father would have had a ball researching any- and everything. My Gran would have been trawling through the stocks and share prices and playing bridge, I can imagine. And as a business man, my Grandfather would have been in his element. My other gran, Moregranny, would have been looking up knitting patterns and sharing recipes, and gardening tips. I think she might have had a blog. Yes. I am sure she would have.

11.20am. Still not here.

11.22am IT IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am off to watch son unpack the box. And take photos. The blog, you know. I need to share things.......

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Random bits and pieces

Today was puttering along just swimmingly, thank you, until the postman arrived while I was out, and shoved so many things in the letterbox (all gunk) that I actually ripped it off the wall trying to get the gunk out. One's mood is not greatly enhanced by flying through the door, flinging the bags on the floor and snarling "where is my screwdriver" before one has even had a chance to rush to the bathroom. As one does when one comes in the door now that one is not 22 any more.

Not a single interesting item in the post either. I should have painted an arrow to the recycling bin on it. And then I had to try and hammer the rawlplugs back into the wall inside the letterbox. Snarl. This is not physically possible.


Now that is off my chest, I can resume normal adult style behaviour. Calm, dignified and serene.

Hello all.

I have just had a LOVELY couple of hours browsing round the craft shops with my friend Jean, helping her to spend her money. I love doing that. My sister had already found all the bargains to be had in town, so I just pointed Jean in the right direction. I am helpful like that. What was that? Did I buy anything? Um. Yes. A couple of really good 50% off things like machine embroidery thread. And paper. And soft touch scissors for arthritic hands. Like mine. Spring-loaded. I am sure Barb or someone mentioned them before. They are my new best friend. And the arthritic hands are a result of all that hand quilting, and being double jointed.

I am making something special for each of my children for Christmas, but won't be able to show you till after the holiday, as it will spoil the surprise, but I am really pleased with what I am doing.

And the news of the day is that the new computer is arriving tomorrow. My son has a grin on his face which would light up the world. And I can't wait to be able to download my photos and get my files and folders back in place. We may have to battle for control though. He will be hard to dislodge. And he is much bigger than me. The fact that we will now be eating beans for the rest of the year is beside the point. I am creative.

Half term holidays are nearly over now, and the job search has become more pressing. If I can't find anything permanent, I will be signing up with an educational agency and will do supply teaching or cover work. Anything, really. I needed the time to do the inquest, but now I really do need to work. And I really enjoyed what I was doing. It is good to meet new people too.

I am off to continue the creative bit. And to make coffee...... of course.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Woman to Woman

Today, it is Woman to Woman again, courtesy of Morning Glory and Lei, and I can't put up the banner thingy because I am borrowing a laptop and have not got my files and whatevers here. I will do that later. You will be relieved to know that I have ordered a new computer. Eureka. I certainly am relieved. Happy. Ecstatic.

Today's topic is:

Dealing With Grief

"Grief is a difficult process and almost everyone has experienced it in some form, be it losing a spouse, a parent, a relative, a pet, a child or through miscarriage. Please share with our readers what you have found to be effective in helping you come to terms with the death of a loved one. How has it changed your life? How have you been able to move forward?"
Hmmm. I have rather more experience at this than I would wish for. Or do I?
Those of you who know me, know that Geoff died 15 months ago suddenly. Well, after 2 weeks of sudden illness. And my Dad died in 2000, nearly 3 years after being diagnosed with Diffuse Lewey body disease. (A very rapid form of Alzheimers). I had a miscarriage after my daughter was born as well.
18 months after being diagnosed, I remember the day that Dad moved to a new nursing home. I was talking to the sister in charge, and we talked about death and dying, and I remember saying that we had done our grieving, because the man we knew disappeared a long time ago. She smiled and said... you have not even begun. She was right.
Nothing prepares you for this. Nothing. Oh, I thought I was prepared. I was stupid. Every time you lose someone you love, or who is very important in your life, it is different. Losing a father is one thing. Losing a husband is totally different. Losing the father of your children is different in addition.
I cope with any trauma by detaching and gaining as much knowledge as possible. Responsibilities weigh very heavily and in a way, I think I have used them to focus on and avoid dealing with the grieving bit. This may well still come back to haunt me. When Dad died, I had things to sort for his estate and mum to care for, and funerals to arrange, and children and ..... you get the picture.
When Geoff died, even more traumatic. I didn't have the faintest idea what I was supposed to do, and no-one I knew had lost a husband, and so they didn't know either. I bumbled my way through all the practicalities, and distraught children, getting my daughter home from the other side of the world, trying to get my 17 year old to be 17 and not 40+ , the funeral and the very real nightmare of suddenly having to find a way to support my son and myself financially. And for the last 15 months, I have had to focus on that and his inquest a couple of weeks ago, and hospital complaints about his care, or rather the lack of care. Grieving? I have not had time. Or rather, I have not let myself grieve. Or I may be too scared to.
When he died, I wrote a list of things I need to remember when someone dies. What not to say. What to do. How to support and how to help. What I had learnt from experience. Maybe one day I will post my list. It may help you to know how best to help when you are in a position to help when it happens to someone you know. I know what worked for me, and I know what didn't. And even though I too have lost pets and been deeply saddened by that, can I please say at this point, that telling a woman who has just lost her husband that you understand what she is going through because you lost your pet dog 2 years ago, DOES.NOT.COMPARE.
So, even though I have a great deal of experience of losing people, I am the last person on earth to offer advice. I can tell you what to do to help someone. But not how to cope with grief. I don't know how. Not yet. All I know is one hour at a time. One day at a time. One phone call at a time. One challenge at a time. One mountain at a time.
He seems to have been gone a long time. And this is the great problem that people who have lost a partner face. In the immediate aftermath of death, there are a great many people around, to do the little things, but a month or 2 down the line, they have moved on, and through no fault of their own, and totally subconsciously, they expect you to have done the same. It doesn't happen that way. And if they actually sit down and think about that they realise that. But other people have their own lives to lead. It is just that months later, you need more help than ever before. A year or 2 later, the same applies. When you have lost someone, you will know what I mean.
They say there are stages of grief. I have read them. I don't necessarily think that everyone goes through all of them, and in some cases, where like in mine, there are still no answers about why or how, it can take so much longer.
I am not given to weeping and wailing and gnashing my teeth and the whole woe is me thing. It might have been easier if I had been. People have come to expect me to be strong, and because I am a mother, and I have 3 children I love more than anything else on earth, and their security is important to me, I remain strong. I really would love to be weak and feeble now and then, might I add. It would be a novel experience.
And then, of course, there is the biggest part of dealing with grief, or loss, and that is the extent of your faith. I have had to learn that I am not in control of my life, and that is a terrifying thought at first. I lived with the delusion that I was in control, even though I had a great deal of faith before Geoff died. The single greatest lesson that I have had to learn is that I am not. Not even vaguely. And I have learnt to trust. And that pride is a stupid thing. And how to simply say thank you. And that maybe the lessons I have learnt have had to be harder, because I didn't trust enough before. I don't really know. All I know is that today, right now, my faith is immeasurably greater and stronger, and that I am absolutely convinced that God has great plans for me.
So this is a long and wordy way to get to the simple truth. I don't know. Dealing with grief is intensely personal. It claws at your soul. How do you get rid of the headaches? How do you learn to sleep through the night? How do you temper your dreams? I don't know. I really just don't know.
(And for some reason blogger won't recognise the spaces between paragraphs. Sorry about that.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

The computer is deader than dead

Just popping in to say that the computer is no more. It expired when I switched it on on Saturday night, with one of those wonderful blue screens and information referring to "hardware failure" and "fatal error" amongst all the other nasty white words. And then it breathed its last and shut down with a rather final click. In fact, it has been dismembered by son and is now adorning every work surface of my kitchen. I see this as a learning experience for him. He will now be able to fix all future computers.

I am arranging a creative way to get back on line as we all know that life without a computer is inconceivable. Totally. Utterly.

I will be back. Soon, I hope.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Home again

The autumn display as you come in to my house. Courtesy of my sister!

This computer is showing alarming signs of an imminent demise. David spent last night backing up all the files and saving stuff, and if it dies, I may be absent for a while. Life without a computer.... it does not bear thinking about.

I am home, as you can see, and the lovely weather has followed me back. Today is the Rugby World Cup Final between ENGLAND and South Africa. Yes, you read that right. ENGLAND somehow managed to scramble into the final. No-one is quite sure how that happened, but they actually could win this. The nation is beside itself with excitement. SA is much the better team, and the clear favourite, but England......... I would not be surprised. Anyway, I personally can't lose now can I?

Our trip back was uneventful, and we have spent the past 2 days getting back to normal. David was a star, and the house was spotless and apart from being hit on the head by a bus shelter perspex panel when 4 lorries flew past him as he was waiting for the bus, he was fine. I spent a happy hour or so on the phone to various council departments complaining about concussed son, and asking for all remaining panels to be checked asap. It makes my hair stand on end to think he could have been knocked out if he was not 6ft 4in and built like a linebacker. If it has been a little old lady, it could have been a disaster. I was also very glad that I had insisted that all my family put the ICE (in case of emergency) numbers on their mobile phones. At least I would have been contacted in an emergency. Anyway, it is being taken seriously and they have removed other panels and will be upgrading the shelters.

Me in the garden in Switzerland. Look at that mountain behind me!
Marge in her garden.

So here I am. Back home. The heating is on as it is about 1 degree C. These 2 photos were taken in my sister's garden just before I left. Her cosmos are stunning!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Last day.........

I am packed. Well, I would not ususally be packing until half an hour before we go, but Mum needs things organised. To me it just means bringing the departure closer. I can do without that.

You guessed it.... another beautiful day again. How incredibly blessed I have been with these perfect days. And I will be off on another last walk in a while. I have all these photos, but they are not the real thing. And reality awaits. I am not too keen on the reality thing. I am in ostrich mode. Bury your head in the sand and pretend there is nothing to see. Until tomorrow anyway.

But I will be back home with my son, who I think has had good time with no nagging Mum about. I sent him a text on Monday to see if he was up and on the way to school and he replied saying that I did not appear to have any faith in him. Hmmm. I have refrained from mothering long distance ever since. He is after all 18, and perfectly capable!!

I have stopped the world and leapt off for these few precious days, and I cannot explain just how important it has been to me, although I do believe you can understand a little from the photos. It is a reminder that life goes at a different pace here, and that my real world is sometimes not quite as balanced as I need it to be. Switzerland, while being one of the most highly developed first world countries in the world, manages to have the most content and happy citizens according to international data. They seem to get things right. Balance. We all need balance.

We need to celebrate today. To appreciate the beauty all around us, wherever we are. To feed our souls. We can't live in either the past or the future. It is all here in this one perfect moment. Everything that matters most. Look around. Laugh a little louder. Smile a little more broadly. Open your eyes a little wider in wonder and most important of all, love with all your heart. Don't worry about the possibility of being hurt. Just do it.

Ignore the "what ifs" and "buts" and ignore the mess and dust. Let the little things go. Live with everything in you right now. Now is all we have. We have no idea how many tomorrows there will be. What does it matter if we make fools of ourselves at times? Laughing at myself is a great benefit of advancing years! (I seem to get a lot of practice at this, might I add.)

I have no idea where the philosophical bent came from. It just did. Must be something in the air. But I mean every word I just said. We all know people who worry about stuff. About being good enough, appearances, risking their hearts, saying the right thing. People who hold something back for fear of losing "it". People like us. There is no faith without risk. And wonderful things can happen if you dare to take some risks. If you dare to have faith. Everytime you reach out and touch someone, you take a risk. Just imagine a world where everyone stays in safe mode and erects walls around themselves and stays in little individual sanitised worlds. No place to grow. No place to become the person you were meant to be.

My mind is off an a wild ride of its own I see. My fingers are doing what it tells them to do and I seem to be watching it all happen. I look out of the window here and I can see the sun beaming down on that beautiful mountain. There is snow on some of the high peaks, and it is sparkling in the sunlight, and the air is getting chillier. Life goes on, and the cycle of nature cannot be stopped, no matter what earth shattering events happen in our lives. Birth, death, renewal. There is a reason and there most certainly is a season. Like forest fires...... so much destruction when they happen, but so much rebirth, growth and beauty from the ashes. And it is those ashes that feed the beauty. Whatever has happened in our life..... has a direct bearing on what happens next. I can use it for rebirth and growth, renewal and beauty.

If I have faith today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Home tomorrow.....

We go home tomorrow. I have no idea why I thought 5 days would be enough. This morning, yet another unbelievably beautiful day, I walked up the valley, along the river banks, through another forest and back. More photos. More time to sit and watch nature at its most beautiful, and more time to let my thoughts wander too.

One of the nicest things about being here, is that everyone smiles and greets you as you walk about. People seem happy. I can certainly see why, living here.

Now doesn't this remind you of the Sound of Music??? Climb every mountain?

When I was going through the photos after my walk, I came across this one. It amazed me. I was sitting on the river bank at the time, just watching the water flowing by, and could not see what I was taking in the sunlight, but I wanted to capture what was in front of me. And this is it. All I can say is that it was perfectly peaceful. I was up last night, wrestling with demons in my head, and I knew I had to get out and walk first thing. Maybe this is why.

The sun drifted behind the mountain here, and it was so beautiful.
That forest on the left is the one I walked through on Sunday morning.

There is something about mountains. I know some people feel hemmed in by them, but me?? Oh no. They seem to make my spirit soar. I love the sea. But if I had to choose....... the mountains win every time. Where I live, we have neither, and that is a great pity.

If you ever come to Switzerland, make sure you allow for time to walk and soak up all the beauty. You can do a whistlestop tour, of course, but oh, how much you will miss. I ache at the thought of leaving this place.

But maybe the real reason I love being here so much is because for very brief moments in my time, I am with my sister, and can relax and know that I am not the only one facing my future. I know that she is always there, with encouragement and belief in me. And here, for a little while, I can put aside everything and just be me.

It is a good place to be.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another lovely day in the alps.....

It is another lovely day, and I have just added more photos of places around here for you to see.

We were up very early to go down to Luzern to the shops, as it is a free day for my sister. Everyone decorates their homes for "Herbst" - autumn - and there are great things in the shops. I don't think I mentioned that my sister decorated my home before she left. I now have a collection of scarecrows and wrapped up twigs with pumpkin things on them, and birds, and it looks lovely. I will take photos when I am home. I have also bought some bits like raffia in different colours, because we discovered that you can only get natural raffia in the UK. Well, where I live, anyway. One cannot be without raffia. Or so my sister says.

Autumn is beautiful. And the chalets on the hillside look as though Heidi might pop out at any moment.
The greens and blues here have such depth. And they really are that colour too. I also managed to buy some new trousers. And a top. Or 2. And a bag. I love clothes shopping here. In fact, most of the clothes I wear come from here, and are so much more reasonable than in the UK. Switzerland is cheap for some things!!!!!! Might I add at this point that I do not frequent expensive places.
The white house is where Marge and Peter once lived. I remember when those chalets on the hill were built.
And this is a part of the play park. On the left, you can see one of the rafts, which kids (or adults) can take out to the islands in the lake. They use a pole to move. Mine all loved coming here, and we have all had many hours of fun. This was all destroyed in the horrendous floods a couple of years ago. But it has been rebuilt with donations from the public and businesses.

Right. I have just managed to arrange their delivery of oil on the phone. In German. Be impressed! Now I need some coffee. And then I will decide where I am walking today. Or I may just decide to sit in the sun and read for a while. I will be back. Did I mention that I love this place??

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The most beautiful of days...

I woke this morning to the most beautiful of days, and so I decided to go for a walk to the grotto, through my most favourite of forests on the other side of the valley. It is quite a climb up from the village, and when I started walking along the path through the forest, it was all in shade. The sun had not worked its way around the mountain yet.

And then I turned a corner on the path, and it looked as though the forest was on fire..... the golden glow of the sun through the trees was amazing....

The path was covered in places by fallen leaves, and once again, the sound of cowbells in the distance, and the trickling stream were the only sounds I could hear. Apart from my ever so slight gasping for breath. And thudding heart beat. The altitude, you know. Nothing to do with my fitness level of course.

I walked along to my bench and I sat there and just drank in the sights and sounds, and then I walked on to the grotto, to light a candle for Geoff, and for Dad. So quiet. I sat in the sun at the grotto, and let my thoughts drift.
This was the scene behind my back. Up the valley.

And when I was ready, I walked on, out of the forest back towards the village.... See why I love walking here???

I know this is similar to the photo just above, but it has some differences. I loved the sun rays, and you can see more of the valley.

And as I got near to the Klostermatt, I saw so many paragliders floating in the sky. People were walking, cycling, children running about, just a beautiful scene to watch. Paragliding is on my list of things to do, by the way. One day. Jumping off an Alp seems appropriate. Maybe when I have lost a few pounds or 20. I have visions of dropping like a stone.

And so I came back down to the village. There is the great Benedictine monastery which was the start of the village so many years ago. It is also a private school.

I love my camera. I will be out walking again later. So much to soak up and try to capture for times when I need reminding how much beauty there is in this world.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Inquests and walks in the forest....

Right. Let me tell you what happened at the inquest. Briefly.

The Coroner delivered an open verdict, which essentially means that we know nothing. The inquest process is an inquisitorial one, and does not apportion blame. It is to find out how and why Geoff died. And we have a surgeon who is convinced it is one thing, a pathologist who says another, and the post mortem still another. All are hypotheses. And the verdict has to be based on provable evidence. And add to that, an outside pathologist, asked to review the documentary evidence, says he has no idea what it could have been. All are agreed, that for a very ordinary quiet man, he died an extra-ordinary death, in that it has flummoxed the medical fraternity.

Paraphrasing the Coroner, .....either they are too stupid to find out what the infection was, or it never existed. But then that does not explain the huge abscess cavities around his aortic valve, so could it have been mechanical? Well, where do those cavities come from? Rejection? But these valves are not rejected. So could it be a first? Was there anything wrong with the valve? But then why would it take so long to fail? The surgeon said he had never seen such a sick heart. How did it happen in 2 weeks? Whatever the infection was, if it was there, it is unknown to the pathologists. And if it was there and then disappeared, how did that happen?


Why did he die? I have no idea. Neither do they. It is a mystery.

I half expected an open verdict, I have to say, but it still leaves so many questions. The Coroner apologised to me for the verdict, saying he knew how important answers were to the family, but in the absence of provable evidence, he had no option. I understand that.

So here I am in the Alps, and it is the best place to be. I went up the first part of the mountain in the gondolas this morning and walked down through the forest, and the peace and quiet was balm for the soul. All I could hear was the sound of leaves rustling as they fell to the ground and distant cowbells, and as the fog of the early morning lifted, I was surrounded by "my" mountains, and I felt as though there was a lesson there in all that beauty. Life is for living. I need to focus on the future.

This is the time to charge the batteries. Mine were running on empty, I have to say. Trying to slow down a mind which has been going at breakneck speed 24hrs a day is somewhat of a challenge, but I live in hope. I am looking out at the garden and I can see Mum raking the leaves, and Marge is mowing the lawn. I think I need to go and help.

So here are a few photos for you to see.
It gets cold at night, so we lit the fire last night.....
And here I am huddled under the leopardskin (fleece, I hasten to add) blanket on a couch....
And this is what the sky looked like this morning.....

Walking to the gondola station, look at the fog, and how the mountain soars out of it......

I sat here for a while and just listened to the silence. And the cowbells came closer.......

Hello there......

I love the forest. I love the trees. I love the light through the trees.

And I love this view of the valley as I came out of the forest. I never get tired of it. I keep taking photos... but this was today.