Thursday, July 31, 2008

Forgettable days

We will forget about yesterday.

First the dishwasher rolled over and expired. I did mention that every appliance I own is aged and living on borrowed time. They heard me, and the dishwasher decided its time was up. Not good. Especially when it was full of dirty dishes.

Then I got a parking penalty notice for a car park I have never been to in my life, have no intention of ever visiting, in a city miles from here on a day when I was working all day and out at book club in the evening. Never mind that I have no idea where the ****** car park is in the first place. The blog is a wonderful thing. I can check these things. Just in case I have lost my mind. This apparent infringement was in April.

So I tried to call the people who sent the evil notice to ask for their photographic proof which they tell me they have. There is no phone number. I have to write a letter. Which has to reach them within 3 days of the date on the letter. Which was sent 5 days ago and posted by 2nd class post.

I was less than thrilled.

Oh - they have a letter on the way, an email and a discussion about their inaccessibility to the public as well. If that does not work, I will see them in court. I am not paying £80 for something I have not done. I can prove where I was. So there.

You can see how stunning the day was. And how I loved spending an inordinate amount of time chasing windmills. What else..... Margaret took me to town to get a couple of things, which I could not find..... but I did spot a printer for David for uni at £29.99, so came home with that instead. Then I sat on the couch and started making a mental list (because the paper was in the study and it was too far to walk) of all the things we need to get for uni in a month or so and started hyperventilating, so I had a snooze instead.

A forgettable day, all in all. And gas went up 35% and electricity 9% yesterday. That is the gas we use for heating, hot water and cooking. Living, in other words. This is no joke. It will be too expensive to live soon. We are told to accept the reality of high energy costs and get used to it. Easy to say when you are a "fat cat" on an excessive salary. Not so easy when you are me. Snarl.

Anyway - Margaret and her husband are off on a Canadian holiday the week after next, and now that I come to think of it, I have friends going to South Africa later in the year, friends going to America, and friends going to Australia. As I speak, I know people in Aus, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Bulgaria, and Germany on holiday right now. But I also have friends right here, and that is good.

I would, however, rather be in Switzerland right now, as I should be.

You may call me a ray of sunshine today.

I will count my blessings later, after I have had a good old sulk.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Granny 2B2

When I was reading my comments yesterday, I came across one from "Anonymous" and I rolled on the floor laughing. Let me introduce you to Ginny - otherwise known as Granny 2B2. Ann's mother.

"You thought I wasn't excited, well I am like a volcano that has erupted. Shame the knitting needles aren't attached to the national grid as we would all have free electricity. I am excited +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ but anxious for my little girl. I'm brimming with love for baby, A & A. Granny 2b 2"

I called her as I was choking with laughter and told her she needs to start a blog. Right now. And she told me how she has now got a permanent attachment to her body. The knitting bag. She is knitting up a storm for this grandbaby of ours and it is entirely possible that by February, he or she will have a wardrobe large enough to mean A and A will have to extend their house.

Ginny is the sweetest, funniest lady around. She has a heart of gold and arms which extend to gather everyone close. Andrew really lucked out in the in-law department, and our whole family is blessed to have Granny 2B2 and Grandpa 2B in it. We are already planning what we will do when we look after the babe and send A and A off for a weekend break! I, of course, will go down, and the 2 of us will elbow each other out of the way as we rush to cuddle and rock our grandchild. And clean and mop up and pace, no doubt. We have been there and done that with our own children, and lived to tell the tale. However, not with a grandchild. Not yet.

Ann is really so fortunate that her parents live close by and will be there to help. I know how much my Mum helped when I had my children. Grannies are great. And we are going to be great Grannies. And Ginny has a spare room. I may move in.
Now all we need to work out is how to hook her up to the National Grid and we will be sorted.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Magical moments in the garden...

Yesterday morning was bright and beautiful. I think it must have rained, or maybe it was the dew but the flowers glistened and sparkled in the sun, and I had to take some photos. Try to capture the moment. Then I got a little sidetracked by the call from my son after the scan, and then I had to speak to my daughter-in-law, and that was the day gone, because I was a little busy being the bush telegraph!

Sigh. It is so great. And thank you all for your comments and for celebrating with us!

Back to my garden....

I thought that the dew looked like diamonds on the leaf.....

This beautiful rosebud - just look at the perfection -and the dew on the roses below.... they look as though they sparkle with magic dust!

And the cosmos is flowering all over the place. Lovely.

Yesterday, friends popped in and out during the day, and last night, I went out for a glass of wine and nibbles with more friends. It was so lovely to sit in the garden as the air cooled a little and catch up with them. I never did have time to eat my supper last night - people kept waltzing in, and I removed my plate from the oven at 11pm and stuck it in the fridge. It will do for supper today! I would rather have people waltzing in any day. Who cares about things like food. Mind you, I did nibble quite a bit while I was out. I do not want to think about all that cheesy goodness and dips and crisps and berries and cream. Not to mention the wonderful sparkling wine too. There are a lot of sparkles in this post today, it seems.

Yesterday was one of those special days.

Anyway, I may have been a little energetic. Maybe a little too energetic, because I am feeling the consequences today. The couch and I will be bonding again. My friend, Margaret, popped in this morning to say she is coming to work in my garden later - she is my gardening fairy, and she brought me the loveliest bunch of sweet peas from her garden. They are next to my couch and they smell of heaven.

So I am off to relax, dream, and rest a little. I need to get my stregth back for February. Did I happen to mention that I am going to be a Granny?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Are you listening?????

I have something to say........

Something IMPORTANT to say......

Something VERY IMPORTANT to say.........

I have been waiting for ages to say it......

Jumping up and down.....


BOING!!!!!....... (metaphorically speaking, of course - remember that knee)

Are you all listening????????????

Where was I......

What I wanted to tell you was how this little boy ......

Grew up seemingly over night......

And married this lovely girl in a fairy tale wedding in Switzerland........

And they settled down in their home, travelled the world and then.......

On Father's Day this year.....

I had a call from my daughter-in-law.....

To tell me.......

That in early February next year.....

I AM GOING TO BE A GRANNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sigh. How wonderful is that! Yes, I know a lot of you are grannies already, but, like Pea and Lori, this is my FIRST grandchild, and I am beyond excited. I promised not to tell anyone until they told me I could, and now that Ann has had her 12 week scan, and all is well, my lips are unzipped and I am telling the world. You have NO idea how hard it was to stay silent!

She emailed me the ultrasound photos of the little one this morning, and it is just the most magical thing on earth. The email came with the note "Hello.....Love Baby". Hello indeed, little one.

So here I am, grinning from ear to ear. Me. A Granny. I cannot wait!

Just thought that maybe I should tell you all........

Barb? BARB??? We need to talk!

Visions after sleepless nights..

Just to tell you that the humidity was so dire last night that no-one has slept a wink. I hobbled past the mirror in the middle on the night, glanced at my reflection, and thought I had been abducted by aliens and deposited back on earth through some sort of cosmic whirlwind or other. I nearly passed out from the shock.

For one nanno-second I thought of taking a photo, but decided I had lost my mind. I am not exaggerating when I say that my hair was sticking out in 90 degree angles in every direction. As though it was gelled in place. The sight has probably knocked 10 years off my life.

I am still recovering. I may need therapy.

Oh, and the temps will be over 30 today and the humidity will be worse than yesterday. Remind me of this when I moan about the lack of sun and warmth. Bring back the rain...............

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gardens and lavender thingys....

The garden is growing, and so are the weeds. But it looks pretty, so here are some photos...

Please note my beans growing up the climbing rose trellis! The roses don't seem to mind at all and are blooming among the leaves.

Yesterday, inspired by Britt-Arnhild I made some of these lavender "bottles". Well, lavender thingys. My whole house now smells of lavender, and it was something I could do while reclining on the couch and I had great fun. Jackie and Louise popped in during my creative surge, and they left with one each after sticking around to see if I could actually make them! I was a little distracted and in the middle of attempting one with fatter flowers at the time. They are more complicated, because it all goes wonky when you get past the fattest part. My command of the English language is stunning.

Basically, you gather lavender from your garden (which I could not do because it was hacked back to the point where it expired- I need to plant more) or get your friends to bring you bunches of lavender. Then you fold down the flower part and weave the ribbon through the stems until all the flowers are hidden. Voila.

Actually, it is a little more complicated than that, and it took 3 or 4 attempts with much muttering and lavender pieces flying all over the room before I found a way to do them relatively simply! I ended up tying them with ribbon just under the flowers, leaving a shorter length of ribbon dangling through the flowers, and then upended it, and folded down the stems one at a time as I started weaving with the loooooong end of ribbon. Remember to use an odd number of stems. 11 is a good place to start. And at the end, wind the ribbon around the stems a few times to bind them together, and tie a knot with the other shorter dangly bit. Then you are done. This is a highly technical and accurate method, as you can see. And TOTALLY made up. But it is what produced the ones in the photo so it worked!

I am quite sure there is a proper way to do them, but in the absence of a step by step tutorial, winging it was my only option! I think my friends stuck around for the amusement factor more than anything else. I am happy with the ones I have made so far and they can be popped into drawers to scent things. They keep the moths away too, I gather.

So I had a creative afternoon. And was up at 4 something this morning again. My body clock has gone beserk.

I need a nap.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Early one summer morning.....

I woke this morning, heard the birds, saw the sun and got dressed, came downstairs and discovered it was 4.52am. I had left my reading glasses downstairs, so I was completely incapable of reading the time on my phone.

So there is nothing like being ready to start the day and discovering that the rest of the world is somewhat drowsy. Except my daughter, of course, so we had a lovely messenger chat for an hour before she started cooking her supper, as I was contemplating breakfast. I am still contemplating breakfast. Decisions decisions.

I also spent a few or 20 minutes, watching the livecam link from Switzerland and saw my sister going to work. You can tell I really do need to get a life.

I put the Youtube thingy on down there under this post, because I was having a senior moment, and could not for the life of me remember the name of the song. I needed to find out the title, so I googled the only part of the chorus I could remember and hey presto, the magic worked and up came several links, and then I found this one. Given that my love of mountains is undisputed, it seemed to be the perfect clip to put on the blog. I just love it.

According to the weather man, we are going to have a hot day today and hotter tomorrow. It will also be humid. The doors and windows are all wide open and it is peaceful and still out there. Except for those pesky birds who feel the need to communicate their joy with the wider world. If you open your windows, wherever you are, I swear you will hear them too. The ones in my garden. They have inbuilt loudspeakers. That reverberate around the globe.

What was that? The scan? Hmmm. The scanner was broken. But they assure me that I am low risk. So one lot say keep moving and the other say lie still. I think I will do a bit of both as I am clearly a medical expert and am taking the middle path here. And this time next week, I will be on my way to see the consultant.

For the past 2 years, I have been saying that once David leaves school and goes to uni, I can contemplate the many options available for me and what I want to do for the rest of my life. Time flies. And here we are. The nest will be empty and Mama bird may decide to fly too. Time to contemplate all. Nothing is impossible. Everything is an option. So I need to take that list of dreams and the list of reality and try to meld them into one. Having the time to sit and contemplate it all is probably a real bonus. Instead of saying "I wish", I can say "why not?" and see if things can work. It is an exciting prospect. Scary, but exciting. I need a healthy dose of courage and daring, and then get the leg fixed so I can take a running leap off the next cliff.

I may yet turn up on your doorsteps, people.

You have been warned......

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Very boring post....

No-one on earth will be happier than me/I/me when I cease and desist from posting about medical matters. They are boring me to death, so I can only imagine what they are doing to the rest of you. But hey, I don't actually have anything else to talk about right now! Unless I start being observational/philosophical/random. Maybe later.

The doctor's surgery and I are becoming well acquainted. I do believe I may be less than amused if I arrive and find someone sitting in "MY" chair next time. The medical staff may be sick of me though. Come on then, hopalong, he says as he ushers me down the corridor. The doctor, that is.

Yesterday's little venture was to check out the fact that my thigh is now starting to swell. And as I have medical friends, one of them suggested that I start measuring it and if it gets bigger, have it checked out because we do not want to have a venous thrombosis, do we. I, of course, googled venous thrombosis, and moved on the DVTs and decided I did not want to wake up dead. And so we went to visit my chair again. Today I will go to the hospital for a scan to check. The doctor does not think I have anything to worry about, but, probably because I was a wreck when I hobbled in the door, he is going to make sure.

I can live with that. Living is something I plan to keep doing.

Just so I can bug my son. He has just finished cleaning the gutters outside, made me coffee, and has watered my garden. And now he has the dishwasher to empty. He is muttering, but I like sons who mutter. They make me grin. He is a star really.

You know, what is driving me crackers about this leg is that none of this swelling or complicated bit would have happened if I had seen a specialist straight away and been treated. It is 5 weeks since I wrecked my knee. The longer I have waited, the more damage has been done. Change in diagnosis, conflicting treatment, increasing pain, different doctors....... the NHS is not having one of its finer moments. In my opinion. The scary thing is that we are well within what is regarded as acceptable time frames by that NHS. And we have yet to see how long I will have to actually wait for treatment. I am not optimisitc here at all. And yes, I could have gone privately and been seen sooner, but the absence of significant zeros in my bank account precludes that alternative.

For those of you who don't know how the NHS works - we have free medical treatment for all in the UK. GPs, Consultants, operations. The lot. You just have to take your place in the queue. Of course, it is not really free, because our tax and national insurance pays for it, but still, everyone has access. And in an emergency, everything is quick. So I have plenty to be thankful for. Just frustration at the delays tends to hide the blessing of free care. I know, I know. I am grateful really. Really. I am.

I had to remove the gold bangles and rings for the scan. You have no idea. I thought my hand was going to need reconstruction. There is a reason they have not been off for over 20 years. Airport security officers and I know each other well. They don't come off. Well. They have now. It was not a pretty sight, and I used oodles of soap, and there was much muttering and moaning. They will stay off now until I am sure I am fixed. It feels strange, though. I am used to them. They are part of me.

On a completely unrelated note, I have had some lovely comments from people who are new to this little corner. However, when I click on their name to go and visit them, blogger comes up with no link to a blog. So if you are someone who has posted a comment and I have not been round, please leave your link in the comments for me! And thanks, Karen, for doing so yesterday. It was the reminder I needed to mention this here.

And now I have to hobble off to make myself look respectable.....

In which we discuss the consequences of zero exercise....

The sun is shining, and my slaves are out in the big wide world doing my shopping for me. Ahhh there are some perks to this lounge-on-the-couch business. And my son is making me coffee. This is a cunning plan to deflect him from pacing behind me, breathing heavily in an effort to dislodge me from the computer.

I am the Mum. I am in control. Hahahahahaha.

So the summer holidays start here. Not that it has made much difference to me. All those plans for the summer are out of the window, and I should have known better than to make them in the first place. But just think - if this had happened last year, I would not have been able to go and see Diana in NZ. So life could be a lot worse indeed. My holiday pics for this year will include the changing scenery from the couch. You will be stunned and awed by the variety. And I will live vicariously through all of you out there. So make sure you post many many photos, with details.

This enforced inactivity is not being a blessing to my hips. I am used to walking miles every day at school, and now I swear, I am expanding at an alarming rate as I recline on the couch. My muscles are turning to flubber. Blubber. Highly unattractive excess baggage. I tried to do some exercises yesterday while reclining with my knee above heart level as instructed. You try. Go on. Ridiculous.

The clothes still fit. They are just fitting a little more closely. Groan. So I am refusing to wear anything with elastic waistbands right now, in an effort to remind me that some things should not expand any further. You will be the first to know when I order a kaftan on line. Good grief - I just said kaftan. Who remembers them from the 70s?

Right. I am tired of the pacing behind me. I will hobble off to the couch and languish and try some heavy duty sighing myself to induce guilt. I am a stellar mother, you will note. A little guilt never hurt anyone.

Shuffle thud shuffle thud shuffle thud.........

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A home for headless chickens....

Oh my word.

I have been reading some of the blogs recommended after Blogher in San Francisco. All these amazing people. Megastars. With goals and focus and themes. And talent. And YOUTH. Energy. I am feeling like a headless chicken, running round in circles in my little corner here. Drifting. Aimless.

Yes. Well.

Enough of that. I have been thinking about focus. I have decided that it is vastly over-rated. I like random and, in fact, I am rather partial to my role as a headless chicken. That way I can be surprising. Now and then. Astonishing even. Hah!

I was reading about people who are adventuring through life with great daring - breaking out of the molds and doing exciting things. I could do that. Wouldn't it be fun to take off on an adventure and then surprise everyone by posting from random places? I could do that. (Note to self - buy lotto ticket.) (Note to people-who-work-in-the-aeroplane-industry-who-can-supply-free-tickets-for-my-nomadic-travels: I can pack and be ready very quickly.) People could hazard guesses about where I would turn up next.......

I was born under the star sign of Gemini. Now, I don't go for astrological stuff, but the traits of a Gemini are undeniably familiar. What is that old saying .....jack of all trades and master of none. Yes. Mercurial. Being the opposite sides of anything. Both confident yet shy. Adventurous yet cautious. Creative yet academic. Never boring.

Complicated, is more like it.

Full of life. Full of dreams. But very hard to pin a label to, in the end. This is where the headless chicken bit comes in. Random. Now we just need the gumption to get up and make the dreams reality. I do not want to regret time wasted. I want to cross more things off the list. Maybe I should actually look at the list a little more often!

I was trying to explain how the blogging world actually works yesterday, to friends who have no concept of the larger links out there. How all of a sudden, the Mommy Bloggers have been recognised as a powerful force. How women are selling things to women. The business world is sitting up and taking note. All it needs is a post about appalling service from one company, and corporate damage occurs. How you can ask a question and have answers from all over the world almost instantly. How this community looks after each other.

It was like talking Swahili in a London boardroom. Mention things like feeds and stats,html, hyper-links and IP trackers etc and the eyes glaze over. Mind you, so do mine, I confess. Some people dabble a little by reading one or 2 blogs, but are too wary to venture into the links there for them to try.

Of course, most are not in the slightest bit interested, and that is just fine. I, on the other hand, am very interested. I have learned so much over the past few years and have tried so many new techy things. And I am still a baby when it comes to techy things, but I do try now and then! And at least I know where to go for help.

The hardest thing for a new blogger, or reader, is actually making their very first comment. I remember feeling as though I may be intruding, initially, and almost cautiously needing permission to comment. That is most definitely in the past. I think it lasted all of 2 nanno-seconds. Nothing blew up when I poked the "post comment" button. The sirens did not go off indicating an intruder present. And it was FUN! People talked back. They still do.

So you see, you do not have to be a mega star to blog. Random does just fine. Headless chickens are welcome, and at least my grandchildren will be able to have a giggle one day about their Granny's antics.

I am off to revise that list.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Looking for the good....

I have not been around to visit today - I have this slight problem with a) a knee which is seriously driving me crazy and b) work stuff I have had to take care of. The good news is that my appointment with the consultant has been moved forward a week. This is excellent. The fact that it is over a month since I did the (initial) damage is another story. Do not ask what further damage I may have done. Lalalalalalala..... I do not want to know.

Yesterday, my friend Julia arranged for me to go and have highlights and a hair cut for free!!! So that was a real treat and the grey is banished for a few months at least. She gets free hair treatments for her family as part of her work, and as she has no family nearby, she asked if she could bring a friend, and they said of course. So that was me. Now we just need the rest of me made-over and fixed up and we will be ready to run. Well, metaphorically speaking.

I went back to the doctor today because the knee is worse and very shaky. So now we have a prescription for anti-inflammatories as well as the pain killers. And he said no exercise and rest on the couch again. This is after the physio said exercise. All advice is contradictory and it is doing my head in, people. He also said absolutely NO to flying anywhere. So I have been in a funk on the couch. I wanted to go and sit in my sister's garden and rest. And he said no. I tend to lose my sense of humour when people say no to me.

But Katherine popped in with Morgan, the flying dog, to visit, followed by Margaret bearing new lettuce plants for my garden, so life is good as well as mediocre. We will attempt to focus on the good parts. I said attempt. Miracles are not abundant round here.

So I won't mention that the book I ordered from Amazon a month ago is still lolling about in some American warehouse somewhere and will not be here till the end of August, they inform me. Nor will we mention that I have run out of potatoes. We will instead tell you that my favourite rose of all time is in bloom - Alpine Sunset. It smells like heaven. And there are more buds too! I have a photo but it is on the camera and the camera is in the lounge and I am not.

What else good can I relate......

The babes excelled at sports day yesterday. Bekah won 2 races, Mims won one and Chris came 3rd in one. A triumph!
Simon's leg is slowly healing in hospital.
Summer holidays start tomorrow.
It is not raining.
I am surrounded by people who love me and care about me.

See - life is good. So why didn't I plant potatoes at home too????

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday and the sun is shining...

The sun didn't co-operate for very long yesterday, so it was just as well I as out there early! Those of you who may have been watching the golf will have an idea of what the weather has been like around the UK in recent days. Somewhat challenging if you happen to be a golfer. Never mind anyone actually wanting to enjoy summer. However, it looks as though we are seeing sun for the next week or so, and we are ready! School holidays start on Wednesday.

One of my friends has had to fly to France to be with her mother who has been admitted to hospital, another is in hospital with a raging infection in his leg, another is leaving for Australia to be with her brother who is in the final stages of cancer - it seems that everyone knows of someone who is battling health issues at the moment. And it is definitely true that at the start of the school holidays, all teachers seem to get sick!

Yesterday, I made dropped scones (or pancakes, or flapjacks, depending where you come from) for my son. I was appalled when he announced that he cannot remember ever having had them before. Then I started thinking about how many times I have made these in the past, and it seems that I stopped before he was born. I am a bad mother. I remember my older 2 lining up at the stove for hot ones off the griddle. I must go in phases I think. I make things for years and then stop.

The recipe I used was my grandmother's one, and it just reads "5 tablepsoons" etc, so I dutifully measured out the flour using a measuring spoon. Bad move. Once I had it all mixed together, it looked very wrong, so I threw in as much flour as I thought necessary, tossed in a little more sugar, and it worked. I must remember NOT to measure things! She just used an ordinary heaped tablespoon, and things like "a small cup of milk" mean "just find a PROPER tea cup and use that". I love the randomness of it all. Moregranny used to have a clean teatowel ready for her dropped scones, and would place them on it and fold it over to cover them as they came off the griddle. I had the tea towel out yesterday, but they got eaten rather rapidly. Isn't it wonderful how we remember associations when we make old family recipes??

And my son LOVED the dropped scones. He will be taking the recipe off to uni with him, because he doesn't need any fancy equipment to make them.

Do you mix up your memories too? I remember so much about my children's childhood, but I get the children mixed up. I remember that we had chicken pox. But who actually had it? Who walked when? Which one of them did what and when? I know SOMEONE did it! Like those dropped scones.... sigh. I think I should get out the recipe book and start from the beginning again.

One of the things I would love to do is to put all the family and collected recipes from friends into a Blurb type book, and have copies made for the children. I think it would be wonderful fun to make. Take all my favourite recipes and organise them. Rocking Chair Recipes. That sounds good. Like an old lady sitting next to the aga handwriting recipes in a beautiful book. Long skirt, apron and grey hair in a bun with pins. Cat on the braided rug on the floor. Hmmm. Not quite what I had in mind. Maybe not. I want to be the Mum in jeans. Young. Energetic. Maybe I will have a photo of me with a laptop and the rocking chair. That sounds more like it. I just need to get the laptop of course.

I am blethering here.

I am off to plot my recipe book. In my head. The son has risen from the pit and is about to evict me from the computer. See why I need a laptop???? There is just so much heavy sighing one can tolerate.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A simple day....

As I look through the windows to my garden, I can see soft sunshine, my roses swaying gently in the breeze and even a butterfly fluttering about. The skies are blue with wisps of white clouds slowly drifting past, and the day promises to be warmer than it has been in recent days.

Rewind to yesterday and howling gales, rain pouring from ominously angry grey clouds, toppled over tomato plants, roses stripped bare and you will see why this morning gives ample reason to smile in comparison! The fleeting sunshine of the early morning did not last long.

According to my mother, Britain is suffering from summertime blues, and the recommendation is to make sure you go outdoors, even in the rain, to absorb some natural light. She, and the paper she reads, may well have a point. So I have every intention of doing just that today. Sitting outside in my garden, ignoring the weeds and just enjoying the simple moment.

Simplicity. I think this is the answer to so many of the trials of today. Simplicity. Stripping away all the unnecessary aspects of life and focussing on the simplest, most important parts. It is not wrong to just sit and be. To enjoy the moment. To look at our children and each other and simply accept the moment as the blessing it is. We live in a time where the days never seem to have enough hours - and I am the first to say I fall into this category too - I am a charter member of the "multiply time" concept. We were not designed to function at 100 miles an hour every waking moment.

Take today for instance. I could go out in the garden and work on the weeds, deadheading, cutting back, hauling the garden bin through the house and out again, sweeping and washing the patio. All necessary and good things in and of themselves. Or, I could go out and sit there, and drink in the sights and sounds and scents, and relax and enjoy it as it is. In this moment. In the soft sun.

Sometimes we need to sit and just be.

Today I am not saying "more", or "better" or "tidier", or "cleaner", or "bigger", or "want".

I am saying "thank you". "Enough". "I am blessed".

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Brightening my day...

My children surprised me yesterday, by ordering me these lovely flowers to brighten my day. What a lovely gift! I was so thrilled to receive them, and they most definitely did brighten my day. Thanks, A, A, D and D!!! Your Mum is smiling.

And thank you, all of you, for your lovely comments. You are a special band of friends. My attitude is back to normal, I think.

I asked a friend to take me to the school I work at yesterday, so that I could sort out things re sick leave/holidays, see my line manager etc etc, and also so that I could say goodbye to all the friends I have there who are leaving. It was somewhat of an ordeal physically, even though I had a key to the lift, and did not have to walk miles. And after an hour or so, my leg started going into a spasm and so I tottered back to the car while Julia collected forms etc. The absolute best was hobbling into the staffroom, and hearing my friends cheer. They were so happy to see me, and it was a real boost to the somewhat sagging spirits.

The good thing is that I am fine (for now) re pay, and that was what I was hyperventilating about. Also, they got to see just how incapacitated I actually am at the moment. The other thing was that I had not filled out an accident form yet re the fact that I was injured at work, and that had to be done. Technically, I am not sick. Injured is more accurate. And I think that goes into different categories.

So that was a good thing to have sorted. Then I came home, and fell asleep on the couch for the entire afternoon. And the rain kept falling.

For good measure, my combination convection/microwave oven rolled over and died last night. Well, actually, it went bang. Loudly. And now it seems to have a nasty gremlin installed. As in - if you open the door, it swings into action, rotating merrily. Even though it is OFF. And if you shut the door it stops. And, joy of joys, it is built in. So the plug is behind it. Which means that the fridge/freezer will have to be moved to try to access the plug. No... I will not be attempting to move the full f/f. I promise.

Perfect. I looked around the kitchen and thought...hmmm.... every appliance I own, except for the fridge/freezer, is over 10 years old. This. is. not. good. Well, of course it is good that they have all lasted so long. What is not good is that they are starting to expire. And, so help me, they will all go together. En masse. I have experienced this before. About 10 years ago, actually. But I can always go and cook over the bbq in the garden if all else fails. And wash stuff in a bath. Or take things down to the river and beat them with stones........

Anyway. The sun is actually shining as I speak. Never mind that it poured with rain just half an hour ago. I see bits of blue sky, and I need to hobble out and see what has happened to my garden. Now. This may be summer, and I do not want to miss it!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nothing to say today....

It is wet and grey and bleak. And so is my mood. Life looks so much more ominous when you are so tired and things ache and the sun does not shine at all. So I won't bore anyone to death with a morbid and depressing post today. Life is not peachy. Hello world, my name is Linds, and I am not invincible after all.

Oh, and there has just been an energy chief on the news saying that gas prices will be rising 70%. I thought that would brighten your day, if you happen to live in the UK.

Hopefully I will have had an attitude adjustment by tomorrow.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

20 years ago.......

The world at 4am and I are becoming well acquainted. Oh, yes, I did go to bed and fall asleep at 10pm last night. However, I happened to move, so I woke up rapidly. At midnight. And that was that. Groan. I no longer have a problem with time zones. I am awake through the lot of them.
And the weather has not improved since 4am either. It is still grey and wet and distinctly revolting. I opened the windows wide, as it is supposed to be summer after all, and nearly froze to death. I need a wood burning stove, and, so help me, if I actually had one, I would have lit it at 4am. You may just have realised that I was up and dressed at 4am. I am subtle like that.

Back to musings....

20 years ago, I was visiting friends here in England. I was 34 years old. We were planning an imminent move to the UK and were going to go around the world on the way here. And almost 20 years ago to the day, I fell pregnant with my youngest child, who is now 6ft 5" and anything but the tiny thing he was when he was born. But 20 years ago, I didn't know he was going to be in the picture at all. My children were growing - 11 and 7, and I was dreaming of a life in a new country with my family. Those plans had to go on hold for 2 more years, and life changed quite dramatically. We were back to nappies and pushchairs and keeping up with toddlers all over again! He has been a total blessing to us all, and I am so glad he arrived, albeit unexpectedly. I could never have imagined having another son 20 years ago, so yes, my life is very different to the one I envisaged back then. We became a family of 5.

I can honestly say that throughout my life, I have never had 10 year plans, or such like. Dreams, yes, but the plans were short-term. 20 years ago, I was lucky enough to be a stay at home Mum, and I loved every moment of it.

10 years ago, I was dreaming of the times when my children would finish school, go to good universities and take their places in the adult world. 2 of them have done that, and the 3rd is now on his way too. 10 years ago, my parents had come for a visit, and my Dad got very ill, and they had to stay here in England with us. 10 years ago, life altered dramatically, and we had to add on to our house, I was flying back and forth to SA and I learned that making plans was not a great idea. That was when the I started focussing on every day as it came. I couldn't envisage what life would be like today.

Life is nothing like I imagined it would be. It is different. But different is not always bad or wrong. Do I mourn unrealised plans? Not really. I have regrets, of course. I am human. Decisions I might have made differently with that "all knowing" hindsight, of course! Life today would have been a lot easier if I had always been a career woman. But I had no desire to be a career woman. And note that the question was about unrealised plans, not dreams. I have unrealised dreams, of course. Many of them. But the nature of dreams is that they are never unrealised. They are just pending. They are not time specific. They can still happen.

And I am happy. I have so much to be happy about. Life is exciting - well, when one is not bound to the couch, of course - and I have absolutely NO idea what is going to happen next. I have always lived with a sense of anticipation, of the next adventure around the corner, and it is just as well I am not a frightened rabbit. Who knows what the next 10 or 20 years will bring? I am absolutely NOT going to waste time worrying about them.

20 years ago, I could not have imagined the son I now have or the wonderful adults my children all are. Or that I would have a daughter-in-law. Or that my sister would meet a wonderful man and end up marrying him and living in such a spectacular place. Or that I would love it so much. Or that my Mum would be here. Or that I would be doing what I am doing. Or that I would have been to NZ. Or that I would have so many great friends I had never met back then. Or that I would love this village I live in, which I didn't know back then. Or that I would have so much to be thankful for. Or that I could grow things. Or that .........

I couldn't have imagined what was in store for me. It is, for all the minor irritations and frustrations, a wonderful life, you know. Full. But always with room for more adventures. And just think, 20 years ago, we had no idea at all how wonderful technology would be, and how it would link all our lives like a big spider's web, all over the world. What will we be doing in 20 years time? How can anyone not be excited at the thought????

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sleepless in Middle England....

Without sleep, I am not a ray of sunshine. I have not slept, so draw your own conclusions re the mood this morning. I have been sitting here since dark o' clock reading, and wriggling about trying to get comfortable. Why, you may ask??? That man is a SADIST. The physio man. We need to strengthen the rest of your leg, he says. Oh joy. So he sticks his thumb into the base of my ligament which is either fully or partially ruptured, and I mention that it hurts a bit. I am the mistress of understatement. Don't worry, he says, increasing the pressure, it will go numb soon. He neglected to tell me that when the numbness wears off it will feel like the hounds of hell are gnawing on said knee. All night. This morning. And probably for eternity at this rate.

I said I was not a ray of sunshine.

I told him that my blood is confused. I have ice packs on the knee which the blood passes through, and then it gets to my foot, and it has a heat pack on, so it warms up, and then zooms up to the knee again, and freezes. It is a wonder I have not had a blood induced heart attack. I told him my foot is way colder than the other one. Hmmm, he says. I can feel it. The circulation is restricted by the swelling in the knee. Hello? Circulation? It should circulate. The blood. MY blood. Freely. I do not need my foot to drop off.

No sleep, remember.

Anyway, I have more hot coffee and some toast. Maybe I will feel a little more human and pleasant in a sec.

My favourite place.
On the surface, this is an easy one to answer. The little village in the Alps in Switzerland. It is a combination though, of the place, the scenery, and the fact that my sister lives there. Not to mention that I fell in love with Switzerland when I was 12 and that has never changed.

I love the mountains. But I also love the sea. I love walking in the forests on the mountains in Switzerland. I love the feeling of safety I have there. The beauty is self-evident, and the peace and silence is food for my soul. I love being there. I love walking with my son. I love walking alone. (Walking. Groan. That won't happen with this *^*&%^%$! knee this year.) I just love being there.

But maybe I love it in a special way now, because my family is there. Because I have been so many times to stay with my sister that I know it so well. But because she told me what to look for and where to go. And then I discovered the rest for myself. It is a place I always long to return to. My favourite place on earth.

Or is it?
I love New Zealand too. It is an amazingly beautiful place and I have just scratched the surface of it really. There is so much more to see. And so much sea to sit and watch too. One of my best things. But the most important thing is that it is where my daughter lives. My ONLY daughter. So does the fact that it is home to someone special in my family colour my view of it? Probably. It is more special because when I go there, I am spending time with someone I love. And being so happy to arrive somewhere because you are spending time with people you love makes the actual place very special too, by association.

This village has been home to me and my family for 18 years now. This week, in fact. I think. Diana??? You are the one who remembers these things! Is it special in and of itself? Maybe not. There are no mountains. And we could not live further from the sea if we tried. It is an ordinary English village. But the fact that it is home makes it special. Not for the place, but for the people associated with it. My family. My friends. And while my home is here, it is a favourite place too. But if I were to move my home, then that would change.

I have been to many places. I have seen many things. I love Scotland. I love Cornwall. I love France. I love Cape Town. I loved Austria when I was a child. There are many more places I would love to visit too. One day.

I like to think, though, that wherever I make my home, it will be my family's favourite place. It is the people who matter. Maybe, without my family in Switzerland, and the love and warmth I always find there, it would just be another place I love, and not my favourite place. Ditto for New Zealand.

Wherever they are, my sons and daughter, sister and mother - those are my favourite places on earth. The eyes can absorb the beauty of so many stunning places, but only the heart can absorb the love, and that, to me, is what makes my favourite places so special.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Awards and all the rest.....

If you have not discovered Vee at A Haven for Vee yet, you are missing something great. She kept a HUGE secret from us all, and then just happened to poddle off and get married! Wonderful news!

And then, because she is sweet, she passed on an award to some random people, including me. Here it is. I am the world's worst acknowledger and passer-onner (and I have just invented those words, which I do believe you should all use immediately and frequently, of course) of awards. I get these amazing awards, and then I a) forget to acknowledge them, and b) forget to pass them on. I am unworthy. Grovel. And I hereby apologise to all and sundry who were gracious enough to think of me. I am reformed. I think. I hope. I will do better.

So I am passing this on immediately to 3 of the many people who make me smile, or laugh out loud, and who are, by definition, Just Plain Fun to Read.

  1. Crystal at Be the change you want to see
  2. Chris at His Unfinished Work
  3. Jo at Moodscape

Here you go ladies! You are all a delight. (And so are all the rest of you too, people.)

There is a great deal to think about out there in the blogging world right now. Are we heading into a Depression? Recession-proofing. Simplifying. De-cluttering. Taking our writing to a new level. Retirement. Moves. Precarious work situations. Illness. Soaring fuel costs. Greener options. Self-sufficiency. Concerns.


Babies are being born, children are heading to college. Gardens are blooming. Young ones, and the not so young any more too, are getting married. Adventures are being planned and shared. Fascinating questions are being asked for us to ponder too. More about those later.

It is all about balance in a way. The hard part is striving to arrive at a reasonable balance. Good/bad. Pessimistic/optimisitc. Practical/impractical. All we can do is try to make the choices which can make a positive difference to our own lives, homes, and communities.

Here in the UK, we may be a little further down the road than those of you who live in the States with regard to going "green" and trying to conserve resources. Never mind actually affording power or fuel in the first place. Our energy costs have been stratospheric in comparison for years, so the era of big cars never really arrived here. Smaller houses, a relatively extensive public transport system and incentives for insulating homes have all helped to make us aware of other options. The global warming issue has been real and pressing and part of our government policy for years. Now, we have no choice other than to use those alternative options, and be thankful they are there in the first place. Our local supermarket has now instituted a pay for bags policy, and it didn't take long for us to remember to take cloth bags when we go shopping. Every small thing makes us more aware. In Switzerland, they have had this for years.

Recent government meetings with the energy chiefs have made it clear that our gas and electricity costs, which have already gone up around 40% in the past year, are about to rise at least another 40% in the next couple of months, which will mean something like 16 million households being plunged into fuel poverty. That is the statistic of people who are paying out more than 10% of their income on fuel. Crazy stuff. Bring in Granny, who is crochetting blankets like crazy. She is going to be much in demand come winter time. (Memo to self: ask Mum to teach me how to crochet too).

One of the great discoveries I have made locally, is our Freecycle website. Just google Freecycle, and the odds are there is one near you too. It is a wonderful way to find the things you need, and to get rid of those you don't need too.

I rather suspect that, over the next few months, we will all be posting about ways to save or cut out things. Cut down costs, live simpler lives. Thank God for the Internet, and the opportunity to share ideas. We will all be learning from each other, and that is going to strengthen this community and in turn, help the real communities we live in.

And about those questions ......

Britt-Arnhild asked us what or where our favourite places were. This is something I need to think about. Fascinating question, and sifting through possible answers is great.

And Ree asked how different our lives were to the way we imagined them 10 or 20 years ago. Are we where we imagined we would be? Do we mourn unrealised plans? Are we happy, no matter what the circumstances? And she had 1526 responses. I got up to a couple of hundred while reading the comments. Absolutely fascinating. I need to think about this too, and perhaps do a post on it. Maybe you would like to look back and ask yourselves the same questions as well.

Anyway. That is me for now. I have loads of ideas today. But now I am off to physio.

I will be back.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fashion observations from the rocking chair.....

The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Anyone would think it is summer! I fully intend doing absolutely nothing but resting all day, whether it is outside in the garden, or on the couch. Normal life (as it is at the moment) will resume tomorrow, but today is my day of rest.

The one thing I noticed at the wedding, was the height of the heels. Now I am not known for my fashion commentaries, but I noticed the shoes. One particular pair of shocking pink ones with 4 inch heels was hard to miss. Or forget. Anyway. The shoes. They were HIGH. Very high. And as I sat there with the older-ladies-who-were-not-up-to-gyrating-all-over-the-dance-floor, we discussed those shoes. As one does when one is clearly in the older generation.

Most of the girls ended up being a good deal taller than their partners, and they didn't seem to mind at all. How interesting this is. There is a new sort of confidence in the young girls, which was never around when I was a young thing. It is great. It did make for some interesting viewing when they attempted to twirl under the arms and spin around. And we pontificated about their ability to twirl and spin in those shoes without having an ambulance standing by to transport them to the A&E. We see beyond the romance of the moment when we are in the older generation, it seems. Good grief..... I have turned into my grandmother......

Based on my extensive observations of footwear for weddings, I can positively announce that flat shoes are OUT. Heels that could be used as deadly weapons are IN. The higher the better. Bright is in. Dull is out. I am quite sure I have some high shoes buried in that cupboard upstairs. I wonder if they make training wheels for shoes. I could start a new trend. The other wise pontification I can offer is that legs do indeed look much better in heels than in flat shoes. It has taken 54 years for me to be convinced of this fact. See? It pays to sit at a table and observe life. You get pearls of wisdom.

And fashion...... well, bear in mind that I am not Melanie here. There was a real mix on show. The most stunning of dresses was a simple cream dress with sparkly stuff all over it, just below knee length, strapless with a slightly swirly skirt. Black and white was in too. With belts. Belts on impossibly small waists. Groan. Strapless was definitely a winner too. Though I did see many hoiking up their tops after enthusiastic gyrating. I did hold my breath once or twice too, I will admit. The younger set wore dresses. Some very short, and most just above or below the knee. Bright colours too, and lots of patterns. Happy clothes.

The "more mature" ladies wore dresses with jackets, or bolero thingys, suits in soft fabrics, or longer dresses. You know, it just occurs to me that I am a textile artist cum teacher, and here I am rabbitting on about thingies and whatsits and I should know instantly what the fabric is. Hmmmm.

However, I am also happy to announce that I will NOT be donning strapless anythings, nor will I be wearing shocking pink. And belts are not a part of my immediate future either. Or anything which remotely accentuates the area where one's waist used to be. But oh, I wish I had had that cream sparkly dress with the shimmery stuff on it when I was young........

Anyway, so ends my fashion review. I will just add that men always look wonderful in suits. Dress suits are even better. In my not so humble opinion. I remember when we used to have to dress in evening dress to go to the ballet or an opera......... oh bring back the good old days.....(!!!!)
Dressing up has something magical about it. Special. Sigh.

Oh well. That jumble of clothes I whizzed through before the wedding? It is in a heap on the floor. I tossed it aside and tumbled in to bed to sleep when I got home. That can also wait for tomorrow.

I am off to dream of times when I have dressed up for special events....... and cream strapless sparkly dresses with swirly skirts...... and high heels.......

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It worked.....

So the day arrived, and it all worked beautifully. The heavens opened at 2pm and it poured, but by 2.30, the rain had stopped and the sun started appearing, and the bride looked absolutely beautiful, and a lovely, happy wedding took place in our village at 3pm. She was the first of our friends' children to have a village wedding so far. The other weddings have been in places away from home.

Everything went smoothly. To avoid everyone having to drive to the reception, a coach had been arranged, and I dashed over to the hall to make sure it was ready after the wedding, and had just enough time to light all the candles before the guests poured in the doors. A little earlier than anticipated, but it was fine.

And most important of all, the bride and groom had a wonderful day to remember, and we were all a part of a very special, happy celebration of their marriage.
What did I wear? Well, at 2pm, my bedroom resembled a jumble sale. I think every possible thing I could have worn was in a heap on the bed. Then I unearthed a 3 piece trouser suit thingy in olive green from the bowels of the cupboard. Silky stuff. I am very accurate and technical here, as you can see. I found a silk scarf in various shades of green, and swished that around the neck, slapped on some makeup, sorted the hair, and was out of here. I did actually stop some random strangers going into a shop to ask if the scarf was a fashion disaster or not. They assured me it was perfect, so I hobbled off to the church. In my old, battered flat black shoes, because fashion items on the feet would have been a little stupid. And anyway, no-one was going to notice.
And I can report that carrying a bag, using a crutch and trying to take photos at the same time is an unfortunate combination. My normally excellent co-ordination went for a loop. The wildly swinging crutch was a minor irritation to those close by. But we all survived.
And a wonderful time was had by all. I left as the band struck up and headed home for bed. I need to work on the staying power.

Friday, July 11, 2008

All ready.....

The hall is decorated.
I will take more photos tomorrow.
It looks beautiful.
I am comatose.
The bride is delighted.
It is still pouring with rain.


Worst of all.....


I neglected to give a moment's thought to what I will actually be wearing to this wedding. I may be going in jeans.

What one does in the early hours ........

One of the features of Vista which I really like, is the right sidebar. I have the weather in Wellington up (so I can see if Diana is hot, cold or wet), the news headlines from around the world, and also ,the best, a small window which flicks through all the photos on my computer.

Every 5 seconds or so, it changes randomly, and so many photos have popped up which catch my eye, and I can click on them to enlarge them. Photos I had forgotten. Of the babes when they were born, or small. Of scenes I love from places I have visited, of family, of my ancestors, of my garden, and they become a little spur to jog that ailing memory. (Everyone had aluminium pots when I was growing up, Judith!) Triggering memories of distant times. They also serve to remind me how swiftly time is passing by too. July??? It is already July??? 2008????

The 4 photos above are of:
  1. My grandmother.

  2. My mother (her daughter)

  3. Me (her granddaughter)

  4. My grandmother.

What do you think? The similarities are unbelievable. Well, to me they are. I tried messing about with them at 4 in the morning (as one does) and made them all black and white, but then I forgot to save them. Sigh. Did I mention I was up and dressed at 3.12am?

At 5am, I had my third cup of coffee.

At 6am, I had my fourth. And bid farewell, as a consequence, to the last vestiges of sleep. Now , it is 8am and I have my 5th next to me. I am wired enough to tackle a hike up a large Alp. This is not helpful when one is required to stay off one's feet for protracted lengths of time. Like months.

Maybe I will go and play with photos again. I need a laptop. Sitting at the desk for hours is not good. Mutter mutter. I am not a ray of sunshine when sleep eludes me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wedding central - the flowers for the tables...

Ah well.... the flowers are half done. For those of you who missed this, I am doing the decorations for my friend's daughter's wedding reception on Saturday. Yesterday, I showed you the kitchen with 20 pots of real live ivy scattered around. This is the same idea I used for Andrew's wedding, and it worked so well, it has been used again and again. Weddings do not have to cost the earth.

I had the 20 tin bucket thingies (from Ikea), and I put a piece of wet oasis for fresh flowers in the base of each, and then around the ivy to wedge it in. The ivy is untangled, so it winds its way across the round tables. Then I add some artificial silk flowers to each pot. Lilies, sweetpeas and carnations. They are very life-like and look so real that people sniff them to see if they have a scent! They will all be kept and used again and again. The lilies have been used about 5 times already.
I have looped ribbon and wired it too, so that went in next. A couple for each pot. I also wired a single large crystal bead, and wound the wire round a pen so it makes a spiral, and each pot has about 2-3 of these in too.
These are some of the long wired strings of beads which will be wound around and through the ivy when we get to the hall. If I do it now, it all gets caught together when we transport them there. The candles on the tables pick up the crystal beads and they sparkle in the dark and look wonderful. The light catching them is beautiful. Each pot will have about 3 strings of beads in the ivy. The actual pot will also have beads wound around it when they are on the table.

This is getting to the point where I can't do anything more until Friday when the fresh gypsophila arrives. Every pot will have sprigs of fresh flowers in as well.

That plastic bag in the front of so many of the photos is full of individually wrapped strings of wired beads. They have to be kept separate or they all get hopelessly tangled. These are the ones with thinner wire, so they are more flexible. I have no idea why I did not move it to take the photos.

So this is what my kitchen looks like as I write. No. There is nowhere to eat on the table at the moment. But it is just for a few more days, and then they will be gone. They look lovely. Well, everyone who has seen them says they do, and I am happy with them so far. It is amazing what the addition of gypsophila does to the arrangements. As they are now, they look fine. I hope the bride is happy.

And after the wedding, we will strip down all the arrangements, wrap the wired beads again, pack the flowers , buckets and ribbons into boxes to go into the loft, use the ivy in the gardens, dry the gypsophila, and throw away nothing. And each arrangement cost under £5 to make. See? It can be done. I will post photos of the hall after the wedding.

So it is all quiet and peaceful around here. It should be. It is 3 something am. Do not ask. I have been to bed and now I am up again. I may sleep better on the couch. This is not quite what I anticipated for the summer of 2008.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The memory eater is alive and well....

You know, not 10 seconds ago, I had 3 great ideas for posts. They are gone. The moment I hit the "new post" button, my brain takes that as a message to "delete all contents". Immediately. I do not lie. I was even going to write all 3 and line them up ready to post in the days to come. Maybe I should write about diminishing memory capacity here instead.

Are you like me? I read wonderful posts, with quotes littered all over the place, and I think, oh yes, I remember that one.... and I really do, but until I read it today, it is lost in the backwaters of my mind. I read it, savour it once again, and 5 minutes later?? Vanished. Bible verses are exactly the same. I can manage the first verse of Genesis and Psalm 23. There was a time once, when I could even identify the author of a well know quote. When I used to know poems by heart. Great hunks of Shakespeare. Useful stuff. Now I keep my mouth shut.

It is not as though my mind is idle. It whizzes all over the place, wrestles with its own demons, dances through memories, solves complex calculations, creates beautiful pictures, whirls through dreams, absorbs millions of written words. It thinks. It works. It does all that. But how much more has it forgotten?? It functions in every way it has to function, and as a mother, it is required to function in 29,502,387,537,363 ways at the same time at warp speed. It can do that. And I made up that number. You know what I mean. But can I remember the names of my friends' children? Hahahaha. I now call everyone "sweetie". It works for me. And I don't appear totally brain dead.

Quotes are in the same category as names. Shopping lists are there too. Important dates as well. Appointments. Thank heavens for a phone which beeps to remind me of these things. And my mother - see below. Music is another thing. I used to recognise classical music - and modern for that matter - instantly. Now I can say if I remember the song, but the person singing or the composer? Pah. Gone. The words? Unless I am singing loudly, they are also things fading away into the mists of time. Does this matter? Probably not, I agree. But it is so frustrating to admit that my memory is filing so much stuff in the "irrelevant" file. I want to decide what is relevant. That would be everything, of course.

Ironically, my memories of my childhhood and youth, or the years from about 3-25 are crystal clear. After that, it sems to all get jumbled up. I have even been known to call my own children "Andrew, Diana, David - whoever you are.....". Please tell me I am not the only one. Heaven help me if had had more children. Maybe glasses would have helped.

And the most frustrating thing of all is that my 82 year old mother has a memory as clear as daylight and as sharp as a razor. She remembers EVERYTHING. Genes are not all they are cracked up to be. Or it could be all the crossword puzzles she whizzes through. Do not ever offer to play scrabble with her either.

Maybe I should occupy all the time I seem to have by reading a thesaurus. And if anyone knows how to get rid of the memory eater, please feel free to let me know.

Mind you - I am a star when it comes to nursery rhymes. I can remember them all. I am a genius after all. It is the small things which count, people........

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Creating from the couch.....

My kitchen is starting to resemble wedding central here. I am going to SIT at the table and do 18-20 centre-pieces for the tables from tomorrow. The beading is done. Jean and I did quite a bit on Sunday afternoon, while I lay on the couch, and Margaret brought me all the ones they made for her daughter's wedding too. I can't tell you what a difference it makes to work beads into flower arrangements!

Like at my son's wedding, I am using silver pots (well, tin, really) and pots of trailing ivy in each, and then flowers in amongst the ivy. I will post photos during the making of them later this week. I wire beads, spaced randomly apart, and then wind them around the trailing ivy so when the tealight candles are lit, they sparkle. I may be winding some around the pots too. Then there is the ribbon to sort. Because I can't drive at the moment, I issue orders and the stuff arrives! It is great fun.

In the corner of my lounge, I have bunches of twigs which have been wired with little lights and when you plug them in, they make beautiful features out of corners, and Nicky has managed to find some to use for the wedding too. So on Friday, I will take up position at the place where the reception is being held, and will supervise the decoration. No. I will NOT be climbing all over the place. I promise.

However, because I am a control freak, I will need policing. My friends think this is hilarious. They will be there to stop me. It is just that I have the picture of what it can look like in my head. Now I have to be able to tell other people what to do to make it happen.

To make the hall look beautiful, we are also gathering potplants from all our friends' homes too. Different heights and sizes, to bank the entrance ways and the corners of the stage. It is going to look stunning. There will be photos. Many, I suspect.

There is no need to spend thousands, you know. Especially when it becomes a community event with everyone helping, just like it was for my son's wedding. And just about all the stuff I am using will be re-usable for the next event, or for our homes or gardens. Margaret's daughter, who teaches art, wound about 20 strings of wired beads around a vase in the entrance to her home, and together they look like a very classy huge bracelet. Fun, beautiful and very cheap!

The knee update is that I spoke to my doctor again, and she is trying to book an emergency appointment with the consultant. I should know in a day or so when that is likely to be. That is when I will start looking seriously at other options, if I have to. I cannot wait till November to get this sorted.

As the swelling subsides a little, I have to say that it is getting more uncomfortable. And I am aware, and so is the doctor, at last, that my unusually high pain threshhold is actually very dangerous. Most people would be in great pain. I am uncomfortable, so medical professionals tend to underestimate the extent of the damage, and also, I tend to inflict further damage because it doesn't hurt as much as it would a normal person. Sigh. I am abnormal. I can walk. I should NOT be walking without the crutch. Most people would not be walking at all. And the reson I am so tired is that my body is trying to heal things I cannot feel. Weird? I know.

Anyway. I have creations to create. The rain has stopped for the moment. My son will go and get the milk I need for my coffee. When he rises from the pit, that is. There is stuff to do.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

If you are over 50, watch your legs!

I called a friend of mine in Scotland today. Just to catch up. From the couch. And after telling her about the knee woes and the fact that the waiting list appears to be 18 weeks long for treament - that means November - she said "we should live closer" or words to that effect.

Why? Well, she raced out into the garden 2 weeks ago, as her dog was upending all her plants, slipped, met a tree, and broke her ankle. I tell you, South African women are tough. She dragged herself inside, and then drove to fetch her son with a broken ankle. So, after a few new casts on her leg over the past 2 weeks and a complete set of crutches, there she is, left leg, like me, elevated. On her couch. I should clearly be in Scotland on the other couch.

That makes Judith, Susie, me, Mary, and Cheryl. The count is rising. It is an epidemic.


If you are over 50, walk carefully. Do not chase dogs. Do not turn. Do not bowl cricket balls to children, or any other balls, for that matter. Do not wear slippers. Do not dance in your kitchen. Do not climb over rocks. Do not run on the beach. Do not spin round to try to catch naughty children in class. Do nothing at speed.

In fact, just get a blanket and go and lie on your couch. I will let you know when it is safe to move again.

PS: Is anyone else watching the Wimbledon final???? I am going grey, and my blood pressure must be stratospheric. I keep rushing in and out like a lunatic because I can't bear to watch and I also can't bear not to. I feel an email coming on to Mr Federer.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Some American on the phone...

I have a really lovely friend, Chris at His Unfinished work, you know. Well, I sincerely hope you DO know her. And if you don't, now would be a great time to pop over to visit her and get to know her.

She is funny, strong, open, and just a delight. And she is coping with the aftermath and rehabilitation her mother is going through as a consequence of a stroke. She has started another blog too, Post stroke to diarise her journey as she and her sister help her Mum through rehab. Not easy. Not easy in any sense of the world. Especially as Chris also has her own family and her work not to mention all the other parts of her life which all need her as well. The link is in her sidebar.

So where was I??? Oh yes. There I was reclining on the couch with icepack in place, and a heated wheat bag on the toes - don't ask - entertaining my friend's husband who had brought all the beads I am stringing for their daughter's wedding next Saturday....I don't think I mentioned that I am doing the decor?? From the couch?? For a wedding of 150 people? In a large hall? Which needs lots of decoration???? I may even string fairy lights around the crutch.

I digress.

There I was, watching the tennis and chatting to Bob, making arrangements for him to climb round my attic as I clearly cannot, and all the things for the wedding are up there, and David walks in with the phone. Hey, Mum, it is some American on the phone for you. Hello I said? And there she was. Chris. She called ME!! I can't tell you what a wonderful surprise it was, and how much I loved the fact that we could chat so easily, as though we had known each other for years. We laughed, and talked about so many things, which only old friends could do. We knew so much about each other. No explanantions were needed.

So for 15 minutes, we chatted and laughed and had the best time. And there was Bob, looking rather bemused - I totally ignored him, because, you know, SOME AMERICAN was on the phone. My priorities were very straight. Clear. And at the end of the conversation, he was magnanimous about being ignored, and asked if I had been talking to an old friend. Oh yes, I said. Well - I have never actually MET her. He has never heard of blogs, my friends. He has no idea what he is missing. I think he thinks I am slightly odd. Weird.

But we all know I am not. The blessings I have received from blogging are wonderful. I wouldn't change it for the world. I love what I do here, and I love all the wonderful friends I have made. Today was good. Great. I spoke to a virtual friend in real life.

So go on over and say hi, people, and I know you will add her family to your prayer lists too. I am heading back to the couch. Still grinning.

The perfect distraction!

My best friend, who has been so much a part of my life forever, it seems, came to visit yesterday. Not unusual?? Well, she and her family live in Auckland, New Zealand. They are on holiday. So they came to see me! I can't tell you how wonderful it was. And always is. It is nearly a year since I saw her in New Zealand, and got to discover the world she lives in for myself. Instead of imagining it all.

This is the other Linds I have talked about many times before - the friend I made in the first year at uni in res back in the dark ages. The friend who married and had her family at the same time I did, and who I can call any time of the night or day. Even if she lives on the other side of the world. Near my daughter, which is wonderful, because there is a "mum" I trust implicitly close by!

We share so much history. So we sat on the couches, looked at photos, laughed, drank tea and coffee, watched the tennis, and it was a lovely time. Nothing changes, except for the lines and creaks of our not-18-year-old-any-more bodies! I wish you could have seen her face as I hobbled with the crutch through the restaurant last night. She looked at me with a grin and didn't have to say a word. I said something along the lines of "say it and you are SO dead..." and she laughed. The next time we go to a restaurant, I will be wearing high heels and doing pirouettes. (Which could well have me back in the same knee postion again I suspect.)

Perfect distraction. Wonderful time. I love my special friends!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Medical matters matter.....

The medical fraternity and I have long since had "issues" and you will know this if you have been here a while. Remember when I arrived at A and E the Saturday before last?? Torn lateral collateral ligament??? Yes. That one. Hmmmm. I have applied icepacks to the outside of my knee ever since. Rested and done what I was told to do. I follow instructions well. (Hahahaha - I can hear you, Diana!) I try.

Today, I went to the physiotherapist. My doctor, who I think is wonderful, sent me. She said they are experts in knee injuries. They are. They fix international athletes all the time there. I hobbled up a flight of stairs to the consulting room, and after taking my history and all the rest, he performed a battery of tests which left me gasping and wincing.

And guess what????

I have not torn my lateral collateral thingy. No. I have ruptured the medial collateral ligament on the OTHER side of the knee. And I have completely ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament inside my knee. The *****y thing is unstable. And now I have one of THESE things to contend with.

I have spent the past 2 weeks ice packing the WRONG side of my knee. Move over, Tiger Woods.... you have company.

So I asked what happened next. I need an MRI scan. But first I need an appointment with an orthopaedic consultant who will order the MRI. Sounds simple. I am considering emigration as I speak. I believe there is a waiting list for the Orthopod. Then there will be another waiting list for the MRI. And then..................... there will be another waiting list for the procedure where they insert a camera into my knee and do something. Fix something. Tiger Woods does not have waiting lists. I may be 110 by the time it is all done. I need my knee to work.

And in the meantime, it is back to the couch. And icepacks. I have exercises to do to keep the muscle in my thigh in shape - what shape?????- and to strengthen the leg. I am to get strapping for the knee.

So there you have it. I am going back to the doctor tomorrow, as work is not an option given the crutch, the possible kneebrace and the need to keep off my feet. My knee is unstable and could give way any time. Gee. Thanks. Not to mention what the little darlings would be tempted to do with the crutch. I am also going to tell her to try all consultants in a 100 mile radius. I may even be tempted to call the hospital I went to yesterday and ask for a fast track to their MRI scanner. They may agree, seeing that I was grace personified at our meeting.

I am absolutely dazzled by the medical expertise I encountered at A and E. They didn't even X-ray it. The physio rolled his eyes when I said no, they didn't. It will not surprise you that this is the hospital I am in the midst of wrangling with over Geoff's treatment. Now I have even more to complain about. Not yesterday's hospital. That one is sorted and fine. The other one????? Not by a long way.

So I am a little irritable. Here is what calms me down.......

Have you ever seen such an unusual fuschia?? It is huge and beautiful..............

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Comatose, that's what I am

Today, I went to Oxford - no I didn't drive - I was driven, and didn't walk much either! I could get used to this being driven bit. Very relaxing.

Anyway, I went to Oxford to finally have that illusive meeting with the surgeon who operated on Geoff. He is a super man, and spent an hour talking to me. The rest of their posse sat and listened to our conversation. I don't think they understood much of it. We ironed out some things related to the Inquest, and established some common interest in discovering whether the infection I think G had was actually the one which escaped detection.

We also talked about the other hospital, and what could have happened, what should have happened, what did happen and what should happen now.

All in all, I am happy with the time I spent talking to him, and the course our conversation took. I feel as though some good things have happened as a consequence. They have also made changes in the way the families of people in the CCCU (Cardiac Critical Care Unit) are treated, and that can only be good. It is great to have made a difference. Or been part of the process.


Here I am back on the couch. Half asleep. Comatose. I can't believe how tired I get venturing off the couch. Wimbledon obliged by having rain while I was out, and the tennis is back on as I speak. I may still be on this couch in the morning.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

And the sun shone....

Well. Today is going to be hot. It is expected to reach 28 degrees, which is lovely. The sun is shining, the doors are open and the birds are tweeting outside. The roses are huge and beautiful, and as you open my front door, the scent of the massed petunias is gorgeous.

More Wimbledon later today, and after last night's epic fight back by Andy Murray, the nation is euphoric. The fact that he meets Raphael Nadal tomorrow is beside the point. I do love watching tennis. Even if I do have a tendency to fall asleep during crucial sets. It's that sofa, you know. Nothing to do with the quality of tennis at all.

I am off to see the doctor in a short while to see what is happening with the knee. I have been wearing jeans most of the week. This is so that I do not obsess about the state of it. I can't see it, therefore all is well. I am very good at being an ostrich. However, I did look closely at it last night. Not good. I think it could be more swollen than last week. And after a week of lying on the couch 90% of the time with icepacks and pillows, I am not impressed.

I keep thinking of the things I love to do, like walking in the mountains, and so I have concentrated on trying to let it heal. I need to walk in the mountains this summer. The thought of going to Switzerland and having to sit and look at the mountains is not great. I want to be up there in the forests.

David has been a star. He is watering my garden for me too, and so it is not expiring. He went off to his Leaver's Ball last Friday and had a wonderful time. I looked at him in his new suit and thought, what has happened to that tiny 6lb baby who was born 19 years ago? When did he grow up?

So, after seeing what the doctor has to say, I will be returning to the couch. I am still waiting for the Amazon parcel to be delivered. It has been dispatched. I just have this sneaking suspicion that it might be coming via Outer Mongolia. Sigh.

I will be back with an update.


I am back from the doctor. More of the same. As in couch and icepack. Physio starting on Thursday. No way I will be back at work yet, given the state of the knee. Appointment with orthopaedic consultant when available. Heaven knows when. The physio means going privately, as the waiting list for the NHS one is over 4 months! But we have a great physio, who is a sports specialist therefore knees are familiar territory. Even though I am , by no stretch of the imagination, a notable sports person. He will fix me.