Friday, October 31, 2008

Sleepy here....

Well, I am taking the tablets - the ones I tried very hard to avoid having to take. And what happens? I am falling asleep. Everywhere. My eyes droop and I am off for a nap. Good grief. They had better be working. And I haven't got up to the full strength level yet. You start one a day then 2 a day then 3 a day and stay there.

Still very cold here, though if you manage to sit in the sun, it is a great deal warmer. But that puts you to sleep too. Maybe I should stop trying to may be futile.....

I am at the hitting the wall stage here at Rocking Chair Reflections - I sit and gaze at the screen and can't think of anything to talk about. Not a lot happening around here, people. So shall we go back to the questions? Is there anything you would like to ask me? Well, ask away. How many of you have started preparing for Christmas? I can't believe it is November tomorrow. The year has disappeared in a flash.

The nap wins. I am off to snooze in the sun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Treatment plans at last....

I saw a new consultant this morning, and this time, I had a friend with me, who had spent most of yesterday researching everything, and she had a list of all the questions. This doctor was good. Patient. Long-suffering. And he let us ask every question we had.

The result? Referral to a pain specialist, physio, a return appointment and an explanation of the arthroscopy and probable knee replacement in the future. The patella is history. Grade 4 bone damage. Wonderful. Yes, I will take the medication now that I know exactly what it is for.

So, finally it looks as though a treatment plan is almost sorted. 19 weeks after the injury. And just for good measure, it appears that I have CRPS. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Just what I needed. An optional extra. It will take some time to balance the exercise plan between lots of exercise and not too much. Sigh. I tend to want to overdo things. just a little. But the great news is that I have lost 6.5kgs! 14.3lbs. Woohoo! Long way to go before I reach sylph-like proportions, but I decided that any extra weight would adversely affect the knee, so it had to go. Middle-age does have some draw-backs, doesn't it - spreading rears are included in that.

Roll back the clock. Before I hit 50, I had rarely been to the doctor. Since???? Hahahahahahaha. I should have my own name-plate on a seat in the waiting room.

Switzerland - or the part where my sister lives, is blanketed in deep snow. It is still Arctic here. But things could definitely be worse. I have so much to be grateful for. Including my snuggly poncho. It works! I speak from the depths of turquoise fleece.

Right. I need to get about to visit all of you. I will be back later.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This is before any decoration. Which may or may not happen, depending on the mood, and the temperature today! I have to say it is really warm. Not sure I would venture out the front door in it though! Ikea to the rescue....once again!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Arctic weather......

It is FREEZING here. We have had snow. Sleet. Hail. Temps tonight will be 2C in this area, and tomorrow will be a high of 7C and a low of 3C. And it gets worse the next day. Being inventive, I hauled out a new fleece blanket I bought from Ikea ages ago for a couple of £s, and folded it in half, cut a half circle out and popped my head through the middle. I am now sitting here wearing a poncho. In pale turquoise. I am a sight to behold, believe me, but I am warm. I do believe I am setting a new fashion trend. It is called the eco-warmer. I may even sew some interesting bits on it tomorrow.

I got sick of wrapping myself in a blanket. My hands kept getting lost. This way I am snug as a bug. Hah! Strike one for the genius. And if it gets colder, I may cut a hole in another one and wear 2 at a time. See - it is always good to buy things like fleece blankets when they are really cheap!

Now where did I put that hotwater bottle Jean bought for me?

Alphabet Soup - the letter "G"

It is Tuesday again, and time for Morning Glory 's Alphabet Soup. Today is the letter G and we are listing the things which bring us joy starting with that letter. Here we go then....

  • Granny! In this family, Granny (soon to be Great-Granny) holds a very special place. we are so lucky that she is fit and well and full of beans. We all love you, Mum!

  • Grapes - juicy and sweet and lovely to eat, and grapejuice is a favourite drink too.

  • Glynis - my friend from way back. She is the one with the level head, and she is also a wonderful artist.

  • Ginny - Granny 2B2 - we are going to have such fun spoiling our

  • Granddaughter - who is due in Feb. What a joy!

  • Gardens - I love my garden - it is a lovely peaceful place to be

  • Games - we have always loved playing games in this family, though haven't much in recent years. We must get them out again.

  • Giggles - especially the uncontrolled giggling of the babes!

  • God - without whom I would be nothing.

Ginny and I will soon be Grannies, and Mum will be Great-Granny when our granddaughter is born, and we will watch her giggle one day as she plays games in the garden on the green grass and eats grapes, and we will thank God.

Monday, October 27, 2008

American food in the UK

I decided to try to find some American food things here in the UK this afternoon, and searched the internet. Just for your amusement, I have made a list of some of the stuff you have been writing about....check this out:

Yellow Cake mix - £3.25

Chocolate Chip cookie mix - £3.25

Cream cheese frosting - £3.00

Reeses Peanut Butter baking chips - £4.75

Graham Crackers- £4.79

Kraft Macaroni and cheese - £3.35

Velveeta shells - £3.99

Velveeta (16oz)- £5.85

Crisco - £4.40

Tin of pumpkin - £2.10

Tin creamed corn - £1.99

Tin Rotel tomato and chilli - £2.25

A1 steak sauce - £5.49

Candy Corn - £2.65

The £:$ rate is in your favour at the moment - it has been as much as 2:1 but is now about £1=$1.65.

Hmmmm. If I were an American and missing home, I would have a problem. This is unbelievably expensive! But then, we are a long way from America. I also discovered why we don't get Canola Oil here, by the way - it is apparently genetically modified. Monterey Jack Cheese can be substituted with block mozzarella or gouda.

I was actually looking for the equivalent of your biscuit cans. That is a problem. We can get croissants in a can in the refrigerated section of our supermarkets, but I have not seen any other kind. Maybe I will go and hunt.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thinking ahead....

It is a grey day today - cold and wet, and being here inside warm and cosy is the best place to be. I have been wandering the blog world today - meeting new people and discovering so many fascinating places. People are interesting, aren't they? All so unique.

My computer is needing a babysitter at the moment. It is supposed to be doing a full system scan, but every time I walk away to do something - like ironing (I love Egyptian cotton sheets - but OH the ironing.... I hate ironing) it stops, goes into a funk and says it can't do any more. I am sick to death of the big warning sign saying "you need to do a scan now", so here I am. I will keep writing until all 4,947,675,355,438,389,939 trillion files are scanned. We will see who wins this one. This may be a looooooooooong post.

11% done...

I started to talk a bit about the state of the economy and then deleted that. Not in a general sense, but in the more personal sense of how it is affecting people we know. People are really battling out there. And it seems awfully close to home. Whether you are an employer or an employee, things are really tough right now.

Here in the UK, a really mega shopping centre opened near here, right in the middle of the economic meltdown, and yesterday, a report on tv mentioned that over 2 million people had been through the doors. Then the reporter said - "but see if you can spot something unusual" and the cameras panned around the centre. Lots of people. But no-one was carrying any shopping bags. They were all there to look, but not to buy. This Christmas shopping season is going to be very different to those of recent years.

25% done....

Anyway - Christmas shopping. This year is going to be the year of imagination. I usually give quite a few gifts, and I will this year too. But they will be home-made. Just like they used to be years ago. Home-made biscuits (cookies), marinades, jams etc. Things I can make out of stuff I have in my sewing/craft room. Gift tokens for my time - like babysitting, soups, garden watering, seedlings. Things from my home to their home.

Once upon a time, long long ago, in a far and distant land........I made my favourite biscuits, packaged them in Christmassy cellophane bags with ribbons, and attached the ornament of the year which I had made - once it was little hearts, filled with pot pourri - and that was what I gave my friends. Perfect. I have no idea why that changed. It is about the thought, not the money, after all. Back to basics I go this year, and I am delighted to be doing that.

Our church is implementing another excellent idea. We have been asked to add a small gift voucher to our shopping lists, and through November, we will hand them to the vicar. He is going to give them to the people who are really struggling so that they can buy some extras for Christmas. What a pleasure.

It has crashed again...starting over....

Even better - get the kids making presents too. When mine were little we started on the home-made gift idea. I never wanted them to go out and spend money on presents for the adults in their lives or their siblings. They made their presents. I think my mother still has every single thing she received with delight. Calendars, necklaces, paintings, the lot. I have vivid memories of wearing enormous brooches made from Fimo, and macaroni necklaces, painted in primary colours, to church on Christmas day. And the beaming smiles of the little ones as they saw me wear their gifts. Come to think of it, they are still somewhere in a box....

I have given up on the scan. It crashed again. Tough. I am now going to make yet more coffee and go and read my book on the couch. And guess what? The sun is starting to shine!

Have a great Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time moves back....

Summer is really over now. Clocks go back in the middle of the night - winter is coming. I wish they didn't move back from summer time. I have no problem with dark mornings, but I really don't like dark at 3.30pm. And the days will get shorter and shorter now until Christmas time.

I think clocks changing was one of the weirdest things I had to get used to when we moved back to the UK. In South Africa, the clocks stay the same all year round, even though the country must cross a time zone or 2. And the other strange thing was having day light at 9pm in summer! My kids found going to sleep when the sun was shining really odd. Tomorrow, though, I will have an extra hour in bed, and that is always good.


Autumn and Winter have their own charms. This morning, my friends called to collect me unexpectedly, and we went to the local garden centre for coffee. The Christmas stuff is all out, and they have a wonderful display of different things. They are always unique there. I was playing with a slinky dressed as Rudolph. I felt my life was incomplete without one, but I resisted the temptation. It boings up and down on an elastic string. I need one!

It is half-term holiday time here in England this coming week, so all the children are about, and teachers are having a well-earned rest. My daughter-in-law says she is going to go and look at baby things soon..... believe me, I am way ahead of her! So is Granny 2B2. And Margaret, aka the Garden Fairy, is going to be a Granny for the first time too a couple of weeks after me, so she is starting to make plans as well. Such an exciting time!

My daughter has now been living in NZ for 3 years. Where has the time gone? Sometimes it seems like forever, and other times, just yesterday. She is having a third birthday party tomorrow with all her friends, which will be wonderful. The virtual me, wants to be there too.

And on a completley random note - proving that I still have a sense of humour here, I popped in to the library to re-activate my very dormant card. And the librarian said - "Excuse me for asking, but are you over 60? " Dear heaven. Things must be worse than I thought. I, being kind, said "Unfortunately not. Just think - wouldn't it be nice to have a bus pass and be collecting my pension?"

I need to work on the image thing, people. This could be an emergency.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Approaching explosion point......

This will be brief. I am not in a great mood. The whole leg is infected. The past 12 days have meant doctors and hospitals and inept 12 year olds who have barely started shaving yet who seem to think they have all the answers, yet know nothing at all, and I have tried to forget the lot of them. I just want to go to my family in Switzerland and forget this ever happened. Today? .... Antibiotics. Rest. Back again if no improvement or gets worse.

Knee measures 55cms. Check that out.

Red+swollen+shiny=not good. Ask any mother. If they had listened to me 12 days ago.......

I am ready to scream.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A walking contradiction.....

There is a great deal going on in my mind - well, there always is, if I am truthful. What you see on the surface doesn't always reflect what is happening inside. How true that is of almost everyone, though, to one degree or another.

My mind is a heaving mass of contradictions. I dream of adventures, and I dream of being home. I dream of distant places, and I dream of remodelling my bathroom. I think of becoming a nomad, and I consider how much I want to spend my time watching my granddaughter grow up. I need to be near my family, but they are all over the world. I dream of fireplaces, and the gardens I will plant, and I think of the mountain paths I want to wander. I decide I don't want any more stuff, and my Amazon wish list is now in double digit pages. I start a diet, and I start baking.

See? Contradictions. I am a contradiction. I am at war with myself at times. I think of lawyers, and I decide to walk away. I dream of walking away and I think of lawyers. I want to be able to go back to work. But I don't want to be working. I want to run, but I am afraid of damaging myself even more. I love my friends, but my friends are the safe option. I want to meet new people, but then I love my security. Peacemaker/warrior. Friends/strangers.

In essence, I want to live. Really live. Not just the exist part. Just live each day to the full. Wherever that may be. Because there is just me, I am the one who has to make things happen. So I need to step out of the comfort zone and try something new. Or decide that here is good and get used to the idea of staying put. Happily. Familiar/new.

One minute, I am talking about going to see the Aurora Borealis, and then next, I am deciding what to plant on the allotment next year. Part of me wants to go out and buy a VW campervan and paint daisies on the sides, and take to the roads like a gypsy of the 21C. The other wants to build my log cabin with triple glazing, a sleeping platform, huge great room with wood burning stove, sewing space and enormous couches. Piles of books. Quilts. And stay there forever. And have friends to stay. Gypsy/ homebody. Explorer/nester. Log cabin/camper van.

I want to quad bike with Crystal, walk round the lakes with Morning Glory, explore the beauties of Fall with Vee, sit on the beach with Susie, watch the children play with Sandra, discover the fjiords with Britt-Arnhild. I want to explore South Island with my daughter, and I want my sons to feel they can come home any time. Global trot/homefires. Dreams/reality.

I am in a unique position among the people I know. All I have to lose is the security. And who am I to place my idea of security in a pile of bricks and mortar? I certainly don't want to spend the rest of my life trying to keep the wretched bricks and mortar together, at the expense of my dreams.

When I finally end up in a rocking chair in the old age home, I absolutely want to be the one with the stories to tell of what I did, where I went, who I met, what I saw, what I found, how I laughed, what I learnt and how I lived. I do NOT want to have done nothing worthy of remembering with a grin. Nor do I want to have sacrificed my idea of life for society's norms.

I want to laugh. To love. To live.

There is a little part of me which longs to be outrageous. Maybe I should let it out to play.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Power matters.....

I am waiting for the electricity man to arrive. It appears that my meter has been stuck in the "let's fund Hawaiian holidays for the Electricity Company Bosses" mode for ages. As in years. It is stuck in the highest tariff thingy and the timer has not moved for ages, which is why my electricity bill looks like the national debt in comparison to people who have houses twice the size and bills half mine. Groan. I need a refund. They will be here this morning. It is 11.34 as I speak.

It was driving me crackers. I use the energy saving bulbs in the lights we switch on. I switch off everything at the plug. I rarely use a tumble dryer, and we all know the dishwasher is dead. The washing machine is on 3 times every 2 weeks. I switch off the oven at the wall, and nothing is on standby. Hot water is on one and a half hours a day. I had reached the stage where I was considering candles and the bbq. So hopefully the bills will plummet.

Margaret, the garden fairy, has been here this morning, tidying up my front flowerbeds. She makes me smile - there is no stopping her. She brought more beans from the allotment too.

Jean and I went to Lidl yesterday, and I emerged with 4 carrier bags, £24 later, and masses of stuff. It is really cheap. Lidl and Aldi here are having a boom time, as shoppers are switching from the huge chains like Tesco, Sainsburys and Morrisons. Anything to save a little money where we can.

I must use up my apples....... I think I will go and make a couple more cakes. Not to eat, Theresa - to freeze!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Alphabet Soup - the Letter "F"

Tuesday has come round quickly this week so it is Alphabet Soup Day again, and today is the letter F. Morning Glory is our hostess, as always, so if you join in, pop on over to her place and leave a note to say so, and we can all come and visit!

Alphabet Soup gives us a chance to think of the things which bring us joy and happiness, starting with a letter in the alphabet. See? Easy. So give it a go!

(I usually start with great gusto and fade out on number 4 and then have been known to wander through the house waiting for the light to go on in the brain - or the dictionary. I confess. I have resorted to that on occasion for inspiration. Not this time, though.)

  1. Family - without a doubt the single greatest bringer of joy and smiles and happiness and laughter in my life.
  2. Friends - they add a different and wonderful dimension to all our lives. Mine are amazing. I am very very blessed.
  3. Fun - I love having fun - trying new things and seeing new places. David and I walk in the mountains, and we usually end up in hysterics because it always turns into an adventure.
  4. Fresh Fruit - wonderful. Especially when you grow it yourself! I have suddenly had a mental picture of fresh cling peaches from Cape Town. We don't get them here. I want one. Now would be good.
  5. Fresh air - fresh anything really. Air is wonderful especially when walking through forests. On Alps. (I see a theme emerging here)
  6. Food - my brother-in-law happens to be a master chef. His food is out of this world. He lives in the Alps. That is where his food is.
  7. Figs - we used to have a tree in Cape Town when I was growing up. Peeling and eating fresh figs - delicious!
  8. Flying - I love the excitement of taking off into the air and going somewhere new - and far away from home. Like the Alps. Learning how to fly a helicopter is on my list of things to do. Have I ever been in one? No. Hmmm. There may be a flaw in that plan.
  9. The Future - it makes me smile - lots of adventures, and experiences to anticipate - so much to look forward to.
  10. And I want to be fit.
  11. Fires - I absolutely love real fires. Sitting in the glow of the flames, dreaming and relaxing - warm and cosy. Perfect.

See? I said it was easy. So I want to be fit to fly to see my family, with my friends, in foreign parts, and eat the food, and have fun and walk in the mountains breathing in the fresh air eating fresh fruit and then I want to relax in front of a fire. Soon. Very soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

One of our friends could do with some support right now...

Ok, here is a request.

My friend, Chris, from His Unfinished Work is in need of some support, people. She and her sister and their families have spent the best part of this year watching her Mum battle with the complications of a stroke, a failing body and add to that, dementia brought on by the stroke, and she has been recording their struggles and challenges at Post-Stroke. Go there and just read a few of the recent posts, and you will see how hard it has been, and continues to be.

As someone who had to watch her father die from a very rapid form of dementia, I know what she is going through, and it is a living nightmare, to have to sit and watch and feel so totally helpless. Her Mum has to go back to hospital for one last transfusion tomorrow, and then she is going to be taken back to her home, for as long as it takes. Oh, and Chris's beloved aunt died a week ago as well.

Chris has been immensely strong, and is bobbing up and down as best she can while the tidal waves are crashing over her head right now. I live half a world away and so help me, would be on a plane to help if I could. All I can do is support her in words and prayers. And you can help here too. Let's show her how we can stand in that gap for her.


First of all, and most important, please can you pray for Chris - for peace, strength and courage to sustain her, and her family. For her Mum.

And second, please pop over to Post Stroke, and leave her a message.

Thank you all .........

Home again....

I am home. The washing is on and life reverts to normal again. I had such a lovely time with the kids, and slept like a log, which is a miracle. And I also have a few photos, but as they are from my phone, they are not great. But, they are better than nothing, so that is good.

This is from the village square with the falling leaves. The colours were so much more beautiful than the photo suggests but you can use your imagination!

Here is the student himself - he is happy and smiling, he is confident and has friends, and he seems to be enjoying his course. You can't ask for more than that!

My two sons and daughter-in-law walking along the beach front at Tankerton. The sun popped in and out, but the wind was cold. David never feels the cold. He is just like his grandfather in that way.
This is a pebble beach - I love looking for heart shaped pebbles, but not this time. I sat and watched like the old granny I am soon to be. Sigh. I feel as though I have leapfrogged from "get on the beach and have fun" to "sit on the bench and watch the world go by" too soon. Way too soon.

And now we come to our friend Vee - she wrote something on Saturday I think re the fact that I called her on the phone. What she left out was the REASON I called, although calling to have a chat was a delight in itself, let me hasten to add!

A while back, I was muttering in a post that my feet were cold, and that David had taken all the socks in this house with him when he went to university. Well, they were his, I suppose, so he had every right to do that! I just tend to borrow his things. Like socks. Anyway, Vee sent me an email the next day to say that she had ordered me some socks from LL Bean, and that they were winging their way here as she spoke. Now, people, is that not the sweetest thing????? I was so touched! And on Thursday, they arrived! Look! Warm socks which are MINE! (The phone has no flash, so excuse the quality here.) They are warm and thick and my toes are in paradise.

So of course, once I had her address, I could look up her phone number, and of course I was going to call her to chat and to thank her. Of course. So I did. We had a delightful chat, and I could assure her that my toes were no longer in any danger of dropping off. And now I have her phone number, I will be calling again to chat. Sending me the socks was the sweetest thing, Vee, and I grin every time I look at them. You are such a delight. Thanks again!

Warm feet. Never under-estimate the delights of warm feet.

On Sunday, we made another trip to Costco to get something my son needed, and I managed a couple of different aisles - there is still lots to discover. My brain was working over time multiplying, dividing etc as I worked out best savings on things. And I was the last of the big time spenders. I bought a tub of chocolate chips for baking. Belgian chocolate. I had such fun looking at the toddler things - they had some Carters baby things - I had quite a bit of American stuff for my babies, and remember the label. The toys! Wow! The christmas things! Lots of exclamation marks!

And that is enough excitement for now. I will be back.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Down south...

I am down south as I speak - at Andrew and Ann's. I arrived yesterday, via Ikea - well, of course we had to stop there and check out the new things and the Christmas stuff is in already! I had a bit of a wait for them to get home from work, so spent a while sitting on the wall of the garden, watching a teenager practice wheelies on his bike, and chatting on the phone. 2 and a half hours, to be exact. But I survived. And it was lovely to get inside and flop on the soft chair and drink some hot coffee and catch up. They had no idea I was waiting, by the way, and were both at work!

Today we went to Costco. What an education. I can't believe how cheap some of the food is - I ran out of steam half way round the place. I have now got my own card, so I will be investigating further. Soon. Then on to the retail park nearby, and I had slowed down to a crawl by then.

After dropping the stuff at home, we headed off to Canterbury and David, and it was so lovely to see him again. There seemed to be a lot of parents about today. We had lunch in one of the restaurants, and then decided to go to the beach, so headed to the coast nearby. The sun came out sporadically, and Andrew tried skimming pebbles - it was a pebble beach, and we all had a great time walking along the seafront. Slowly. Very slowly, in my case.

By the time we got back up the embankment, I was ready for a long nap. However, we took David back to uni, getting lost a good few times on the way, to the accompaniment of much mirth in the car. He is happy, and settled and seems so grown up and confident. He is in the right place.


Here we are back at A and A's home, and I am going to make more coffee and collapse on the sofa and do nothing. I have had a wonderful time with my boys and daughter-in-law today. I am, however, feeling very old and creaky. I will add photos later.

Have a great weekend!

PS: Sorry about all the typos. I posted without reading what I had written. I am also finding the combination of a day away from the computer and someone else's keyboard more than a little weird. Not to mention that the tiredness? It is just about finishing me off. I will attempt to do better next time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Repairs and visits...

Well, I didn't get around to posting anything at all yesterday, did I....... I actually drove to the next town, which is 2 miles away. You may cheer at this point. I also managed to walk around Tesco. With a trolley. And bought my son some jeans. And then I drove to the DIY store, to ask about my loo seat which had lasted all of 3 months and then severed all connections with the actual bowl, which is a trifle inconvenient, as one battles not to slide onto the floor at strategic moments. They told me they would exchange it. So I drove home. See???? I live an exciting life.

So, I unscrewed the old seat, washed it thoroughly, and at that point, Jean arrived and said - let's go to Tesco!!! So I, of course, said yes! Let's go! I can push the trolley! And oh, can we go to the DIY store too please?

Anyway, I had a lovely time, pushing the trolley. And collecting the new seat. As I said - I have been cooped up here too long. Never mind that I had, by then, walked the equivalent of a million miles in comparison to normal days, and the leg was letting me know. Very clearly.

The loo seat took on added importance, you see, because today, I had a visit from the school powers-that-be, and human resources people, to assess my state of health/when I go back to work/what is happening etc etc etc. I did not think that sliding off the loo would make a wonderfully good impression.

They came, and it went well, I think, after I showed them the knee in all its glory as they sat down on the couch. It may well have put them off their coffee, which Jean sorted. She was here as my friend, and just happens to be a teacher and an ex-head teacher. So that was good. But that is one hurdle over with at least.

And the loo seat behaved.

But now I am a wreck - totally wiped out. I am spending the weekend with my son and his wife - my friend happens to be going down that way for the weekend, so will drop me there on her way and collect me on her way back, and I will get to see David too. So I can take him all the stuff he left behind. It all works out perfectly.

Maybe I had better go and hunt for the things he wants....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alphabet Soup.... the letter E

Today is Tuesday, and that means it is time for Alphabet Soup over at Morning Glory once more. Today is Letter "E" and we are to list all the things starting with that letter which bring us joy, and make us smile. If you would like to join in, hop on over to MG and leave a comment so we can all come and see what you have thought of!

  1. The Eagles - when I hear their music, I am immediately transported back to my student days! Long long ago. But we won't go into that now.

  2. Elton John. Ditto. And he has also written some of the most memorable music in recent years - think the Lion King!

  3. Eggs. Particularly the Easter variety - made of chocolate. However, I love scrambled eggs too. And egg mayonnaise sandwiches.

  4. Enid Blyton - oh, the memories of all those wonderful books I read as a child! I still have quite a few. St Claire's, Malory towers, the Faraway Tree, Noddy, the Famous Five, the Secret Seven......
  5. Education - I am so thankful I had a wonderful education, and that my children have had or are having that too.

  6. Emeralds. I love the colour and also the jewel, because most of them are flawed, not perfect.

  7. Elephants - huge and lumbering, and so protective of their young.

  8. Easy things. Easy patterns. Easy reading. Easy chairs.

  9. Eider down. The stuff my quilt is made of. Soft, featherlight, and so warm.

I thought the E would be hard, until I started writing things down. And as usual, I am sure I have left out many more I could have listed! Things to eat, energy, elastic, elections, electricity, and all the etc etc etc......s

Monday, October 13, 2008

People .....

Today has been a whirlwind of people through the door. I had no plans, and then people happened. Friends arriving to visit, or for advice, or for moral support. And then I would sit down to write, and in someone would come. I am delighted they do come. And that they feel they can just arrive. It has taken a long time to educate my friends in the "dropping in" ways I grew up with! (And do not even think of correcting the grammar - I am aware of what I wrote, but am too tired to rephrase anything!) Friends in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. The last one just left. Sigh. It has been good fun.

It is now after 11pm, and as I fell asleep on the couch last night (again) and woke after 2am, I have every intention of going to bed very soon. I keep saying people matter. I mean that. Today my friends barrelled in the door. I love that. So - a good day. A busy day. My kind of day. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Night all.......

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday snippets...

The sun is shining - that lovely late afternoon golden kind of sun, and the light is streaming through the skylights in the kitchen. It is wonderful. Golden, not bright ,white light. I have had a visit from the babes, who arrived bearing German cinnamon biscuits. I am doomed. Apple cake, chocolate cake, cinnamon biscuits........ I think I am having lettuce for supper.

Remember when I mentioned payrolls and the possible lack of credit lines to fund them? Guess what was on the news here this morning? It appears that some venerable institutions here, including county and district councils, for heaven's sake, saw fit to invest their millions in Iceland. Why they have millions to invest is another question I will certainly be wanting an explanation for if they attempt to raise council tax here, but that is another story. Anyway, they may not be able to meet their payrolls in 8 days time. Oops. The government will, of course, extend them new credit lines but if one suddenly is not paid, it stands to reason that maybe one is not insured through work either. As I said then, this affects everyone, safe jobs or not.

The allotment is still spewing out veg, and I have a huge bag of potatoes, beetroot, beans and courgettes to sort. The beans have gone beserk all of a sudden. And I still have half a bucket of apples to do something with, but I have run out of freezer space. I am really thankful for all the food though. Fresh and homegrown. And free!

I hope you are all having a great relaxing Sunday...... the new working week with all its inevitable challenges will be here soon enough.

To all my Canadian friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Windfall cake and independence....

The sun is shining, and I decided to try driving again, and went to the neighbouring town, which is 2 miles away. Early. I walked to the bank, walked back to the car, drove home, and I am ready for a nap. But I am happy to say that I did indeed "control the car". It hurts to drive, but if I am supposed to get used to this, then I have to start, don't I.

Oh the freedom! Just getting myself from A to B is something I will not be taking for granted anytime soon, I can assure you.

The Windfall Cake Recipe:

250g (8oz) self raising flour (or ordinary flour with 1 teasp baking powder)
pinch of salt (salt)

Put in large bowl.


175g (6oz) margarine (I think you get margarine - or use butter)

Cut into flour mix till like breadcrumbs. (use fingers or fancy pasty blender thingy)


100g (4oz) Sultanas (golden raisins or any raisins come to that)
100g (4oz) Castor Sugar ( ordinary would do - castor is just more refined than ordinary!)
350g (12oz) peeled, cored and diced apples (weigh them once done, not before!)

Mix together


2 eggs (are eggs the world over)

Mix with spoon. Do not beat.

Dredge with castor sugar.

Bake at 180degrees C (350F) for about 50 mins in deep 8" round tin.

It is totally wonderful. And it freezes well too, not that you will have a chance to freeze it. I would add a photo, only it is history. Sigh. I still have apples. There may be more baking ahead.


I have added the imperial measurements and the translation, as requested! I am grinning here, because I am usually the one needing translation when I see all the great recipes on line!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday is nearly over...

Today was a different day. My friend Jean and I went to a nearby town to an appointment, and then out to coffee at a place I hadn't been for over 4 years, and it was somewhere she had never visited before. So that was good. Change is good. We had a great time looking at upmarket shop windows! And getting out of this house was wonderful.

I cannot begin to describe how tired I get after a short walk, or how uncomfortable I am either. This is not pain in the head. It is very definitely in the leg. And there are moments when I hobble and gasp out loud. This is real.

Anyway. Once I was home, I flopped, and then Judy, who runs our housegroup with her husband, called round with flowers and a cake and card from the housegroup friends, and stayed to chat. That was a lovely surprise. More calls from friends, and I made the apple cake, and here I am.

I saw the GP yesterday, and she was wonderful. She didn't rush me, and we talked for a long time. She also recognised that the hospital thing is all mixed up with Geoff too - I am not going into that now, though, and that the strain on me is immense. So she is making some calls for me. I came home, and fell asleep on the couch and woke at 1am. It was a tough day.

But here I am, apple cake at the ready. Coffee too. Today was good. And I cannot begin to tell you what a relief it was to plonk the leg under the water in the bath for the first time in 2 weeks. I am easily pleased!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I hate hospitals.

I went to the hospital this morning to have the dressings reduced. And I was first. Instead of the nurse in the treatment room I was supposed to see, I was ushered into a cubicle and I saw the Consultant. This is what lodging a complaint with the hospital does.

And you know what he spent 20 minutes telling me? That the arthritis in my knee was wear and tear. That it had nothing to do with the injury. That even though parts of my knee had no evidence of arthritis at all, the damage to my kneecap was extensive. He said that no, I would not be able to walk up and down mountains without pain., That no, I would not be able to crawl round the floor with my grandchildren. That no, they would not be doing anything about the knee, but that I may have some pain syndrome thingy and so would be managing the pain with hefty painkillers. Pain syndrome thing? I think not. I am not imagining anything.

I hate taking medicine. I avoid it as much as possible. He hardly mentioned the medial ligament and the damage to it. He did mention that they had braced the knee for that. I pointed out that that was 7 weeks after the injury. He mentioned something re physio may help something, but no plan. He said come back in 3 weeks to see what is happening with the pain.

He said arthritis was wear and tear. I had done my homework. I said there was also post traumatic arthritis, which happened after an injury. He dismissed that. You can't get such extensive damage so quickly, he says. Hmmmm. I rather think it may be possible if you have no treatment for the injury when it happens. My GP says I have never had any arthritis problems in my knees. I came home, burst into tears had a total meltdown for a while, and called to make an appointment with her this afternoon. I will ask her to arrange for a second opinion.

I have been signed off work for another three weeks. I am thinking I will send in a letter of resignation with the sick note. I am also thinking that I have had enough. Enough of all of it. I just want to go. To be somewhere else. Not here. I am so tired of fighting battles. He says drive if I can control the car. I will go and try in a bit.

So there you have it. Diabolical. How do I keep it from getting worse? I have no idea. The sun may be shining, but I am not happy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Appletiser and other bits......

Elgin, one of the areas near Cape Town is famous for apples. And even more famous for something called Appletiser and if you have never tasted this drink, you have one amazing treat in store. It is 100% pure, natural, no preservatives and no additives. It is also the best sparkling applejuice on the planet. Non-alcoholic too. It also comes in grape and pear.

I mentioned this in a comment yesterday, when Sandra asked how we dealt with childhood ailments. In South Africa, we always gave children (and adults!) Appletiser to sip and Marie biscuits to nibble, and I have been so lucky to find them here in the UK too. Sandra said she missed Appletiser, (she also grew up in SA) and so I started googling and it is there! In the States! It is sold mainly through health food outlets, I think, but there is a complete list of places to find it on the link above. It has been available in Europe and Autralasia for a good few years.

And no, I am not being paid a penny to tell you to go and try it. Appletiser does not know I exist, and we all know I am not in the States either. However, it is so good, and I know many of you prefer 100% natural goodness, so I thought I would give you the info. Let me know if you try it! (And yes, Mr Appletiser man, I would LOVE a free case delivered to my door, thankyouverymuch! You're welcome.)

While I am talking about apples, a friend of mine has a wonderful recipe for windfall cake - made with chunks of apples and sultanas. It freezes beautifully too. I will post the recipe later.

Moving on.....

I am sitting here waiting for the gasman to come back with the "thing" he needs to fix the heating. Typically, the sun is shining today, and it is marginally warmer than it has been.

The sun did not, however, shine on the British Banking System yesterday. It nearly tottered off the edge of a cliff. The government stepped in overnight to save it, and only the markets will decide if they have done enough. I said the world was in a mess. I was right. The financial world as we knew it is gone.

Thankfully, they appear to be putting measures in place to prevent banking bosses from awarding themselves those unbelievable monopoly money numbers in bonus payments. For doing such a stellar job. I really do believe the $300+million the Lehman boss paid himself should be appropriated and put back into the public purse. Seeing the public now own a good part of the banks. That would be you and me. Tax payers. Sigh.

It is now later - as in 4.30pm, and the gas man has indeed been. I have heating! And the sun is shining. He was hilarious, and kept me laughing the whole time he was here. He also serviced the boiler and while he did mention that the boiler is old and very much past its prime, he does think it will survive the winter. Hallelujah! Something works! I can think about options next year. Gooooooood boiler. I am proud of you.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Alphabet Soup - the letter "D"...

Today is Tuesday, and that means Alphabet Soup, so why not join in, and list some of the "D" things which bring joy and pleasure to your life?? If you join the fun, please pop over to Morning Glory and let her know you have posted!

So today we look at the letter D...
  • Daughters, of course...specifically mine. Diana is a very special young woman, and she is a joy and a delight. And a long way away too. But I could not want for a more wonderful daughter. I love you loads, my girl.

  • And I also have a very special son called David. My baby. Well, maybe not the baby so much any more - off at uni and having a great time. He has been a real blessing to this family, and I have loved having him home with me, but I am also so happy that he is loving the next phase of his life too. I love you loads too, my boy.

  • And then there is my daughter-in-law as well. What a wonderful addition she is to our family, and she brings her lovely family with her, to our delight. I love you loads too, sweetie - and that husband of yours, but he is not a "d".

  • Dance - I love dancing around my kitchen, although this is somewhat of a trial at the moment. I love watching Strictly Come Dancing, and I love all dance, come to that - ballet, modern, party. I love it.

  • Dreams - I have many. They keep hope alive.

  • Diaries - places to write what is in your heart. Diaries which need to be incinerated one day!

  • Dogs - they have been around most of my adult life but at the moment, I don't have one. Maybe one day. They are such faithful companions. I loved walking with my border collie over the fields at dawn. Even if she did round up all the sheep in a helpful manner now and then. And move them 3 fields away.

  • Daisies - simple sweet happy looking flowers.
  • Dishwashers. Especially now, as mine is not working. It would bring great joy to my day if I could stack it and switch it on!

  • Droewors. You would have to be South African to understand this one! A rare but super treat.

The gasman has just been and I need some "bits" for my boiler. He, or another gasman, will be here tomorrow morning. At least he didn't say doom or destruction. I live in hope.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Heating issues.....

My attempts to get warm are not going well. I have just killed a hotwater bottle - Mum's actually. Oops. The wretched thing leaked. All over my couch. Snarl. It is now in the bin, and the cloud is wet. And then I overcooked the wheatbag in the microwave, so the whole house now smells like burnt popcorn. Evil.

Maybe that mountain is in the Arctic. Or Antarctic.

I am going to bed.

Images on mountains....

Does this sound weird? I have this image in my mind, which will not go away, of me, standing on the top of a mountain, with my arms spread wide. I can see me from behind only. Reaching out? Embracing the world? I wake with the image and it flashes through my mind at different times of the day, and no, absolutely not, I am not going to burst into "The hills are alive" and go gambolling off through the meadows. I have not been watching old movies. I don't even know if there are meadows up there on the mountain I keep seeing. Or where it is.

I just see me up there. Now if I could just have the large flashing arrow pointing to the neon instruction board, that would help.

I spent some time today pondering this image. And I was trying to rationalise it, by saying - yes, we all know how much I love mountains, specifically the Alps, and walking on them. Preferably down them. In forests. Maybe this is why I have the image which doesn't go away. I want to be there. Now would be good. Maybe? Wishful thinking?

And then I thought of how I am multi-faceted, like all of us. I also love going to the beach before dawn, and sitting on a rock, or the sands, watching the first rays of the sun rise over the water. I love the silence of the mountains, or the faint sound of leaves rustling in the forests I walk through, but I also love the sounds of the waves breaking on the shore, the sounds of the seagulls overhead. Mountains, sea, silence, noise.

I love the changing light, the casting out of shadows. I love the movement of the clouds against a bright blue sky. I love watching birds I cannot identify soaring high above me.

But why am I standing there with outstretched arms on that mountain? And why doesn't the image go away? Or change?

I have said this before - I have a feeling that I have been planted here on my backside, which is considerable right now, until I "get" what I am supposed to be doing next. I have a suspicion that I am missing all the signs. Or refusing to recognise them. I knew the day I went for the interview at the school ages ago, that it was wrong, and because "I knew better", of course, I took the job. I should have trusted more. So I had to be stopped in my tracks. The first attempt didn't work, when I ripped my chest muscles. So we now have a more defined stop. As in I cannot walk.

And now I have this image. Is there anyone out there with any ideas? Because it is not going away.......

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Recapping the knee(cap) - hahahahaha!

I was reading through the comments on yesterday's post, and one of them made me pause and just realise how ridiculous this knee thing is. The comment said something about not being able to find out what had happened to the knee in the posts she had read.


Those of you who are regular readers will understand WHY the knee thing is so ridiculous. 15 weeks and 2 days ago, I turned swiftly, while teaching my class at school and my feet stayed in one place and the body did not. So the knee paid the price.

And today I know just about as much as I did then. I have STILL not had the consultant sit down and tell me exactly what is wrong with it, or what the treatment plan is. Hospitals, doctors, physio, Consultant (once), MRI, registrars, arthroscopy....... and no-one has told me anything. I looked at my hospital notes, and it says something about Grade ii, iii, and iv damage to the bones. Medial ligament scarring. The back of the patella is too damaged for a tubigrip bandage. I have no idea whether I should be exercising or not. No idea if I am damaging it more or not.

So on Thursday, which will be 16 weeks after the damage was done, I go back to the clinic to have the dressing reduced. Apparently, I can ask the nurse questions then. However, as I pointed out to the person on the phone, the nurse will NOT HAVE BEEN AT THE OP and so will not know what happened. True, she said. And I will see the Consultant 4 weeks later. That would be 20 weeks after I damaged the knee, and still no treatment plan, or diagnosis that I know of.

If you read through this, you will just see how ludicrous the whole thing is. I can hardly walk at the moment, and have been stuck in the house since 20 June. I can't drive. Cancelled holiday plans, have to depend on my wonderful friends to take me everywhere. I have to bath with my knee dangling over the edge - you have NO idea......And my GP (doctor) is absolutely certain that all damage to the knee has happened as a result of the injury or subsequently. There was nothing wrong with it before. She says it is possible that when I did the damage, the patella was displaced, and it may have gone back not quite in the right place, which could have done all the damage to the bones.

And yet I still know nothing.

Before you start thinking I am in a spiral, my friends, I am not. It just brought home how ludicrous it all was, when I read that very innocent question re what I had done to my knee. In fact, the whole thing is so ridiculous, that you have to laugh. So that is it in a nutshell. "The Knee Story". Maybe I should be asking you all to guess a date when this will be over. There will be prizes. I am magnanimous - up to 2010 seems reasonable to me.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A chilly Saturday ....

Last night, I left the house. You may fan yourself at this point to recover from the shock, people. I actually went out for dinner! And it was great. My friend, Glynis and I decided to ignore the main courses at the restaurant, and opt for a starter and a dessert. Her husband and son did not ignore the main course. Or the dessert. Oh wow. It was an inspired choice, and I had a baked camembert with slices of apple and celery and bread to dip into it, with an onion relish. Heaven. Followed by a chocolate tart with ice cream. Ditto. Bliss.

As you can see it was a low calorie, diet friendly meal. Slimming. I will refrain from mentioning the garlic pizza bread and continental meat grazing platter which we all shared, because we did just that - we shared it, so it doesn't count. Does it?

Sigh. I had forgotten what the outside world looks like. It certainly tasted spectacular! And the company was great too.

And so a cold, windy autumn weekend is here. It is grey out there, and I do believe I may soon cave in and switch on the heating. Maybe. Or I may just go and crawl under the blanket called the cloud, because it is so soft and warm, and stay there.

One hour later....... GROAN...............I surrendered and switched on the heating. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. It functions not. So I have called the gas company and as a priority, they can come out on Tuesday morning. So that rather takes away the choice of whether or not to switch it on. I am now praying that the boiler is not dead forever. Nice boiler. Pat pat. You are my friend. Pat pat. Goooooood boiler......

I am off to the cloud. I have hot coffee. I will not let any icicles grow from the end of my nose.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Thank you...

I need to tell you all how much the blogging world I am a part of has helped to keep me sane over the past 15 weeks. I also need to thank each and everyone of you - whether you blog, or just read, whether you comment or just visit - for doing so. I see how many of you visit each day - I know where most of you come from and I have had miserable spirits lifted so many times just to know that someone out there is reading what I say, and hearing me waffle on.

You make me smile - you make me laugh out loud here, and you also channel my thoughts away from "me", and the 4 walls around me. You help to shift my focus, and remember that it is deeply dangerous to become obsessed with one's self, and forget all the millions of things I have to be thankful for. And there are millions.

I have been thinking about just what I would have done without this blog in recent days/weeks/months. I may well have been in a padded cell by now. But, even though I have been stuck here, I have been transported all over the world into your lives, and my mental world has expanded as far as my fingers will take it. All I have to do, is click the mouse and I enter yet another world. So very many out there. There is no reason to bemoan the fact that I don't have any books to read when I have a world at my fingertips. Millions of worlds. Of words.

I can enter springtime in the southern hemisphere, or autumn up here in the north. If I want to go to Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria or Switzerland, I can. I can go anywhere I like. If I want to see some new ideas for sewing or crafts or quilting - hah! All I have to do is press enter. If I want to go and wander round a ranch - hey I can do that too! Climb a mountain? Yes. Easy.

I can plan new baking days from the biggest variety of step by step recipes imaginable. I can learn new scrapbooking techniques. I can be challenged mentally or I can read the best humour around - and it is all real. Because real people write the words. People I can get to know simply by reading more of the words they write.

Blogging is a wonderful thing.

The fact that it is global is what makes it so special. I have many wonderful friends in real life, and like all of us, they have lives to lead, and their time is precious. But here on the computer, what could be long empty hours are instead filled by people in other time zones, waking up as I am going to bed. So there is always someone posting new things, and I never feel alone.

I am sitting here wondering why our parents and grandparents don't do this more. I know of so many older people who get very lonely, and this could be a way for them to communicate, and share their life stories and make new friends. Something positive to fill their days, which could be very empty.

It is one thing to get our parents to write their memories down for us, but how much more wonderful it would be for them to write and have people comment as they do just that. There is such joy in knowing that someone finds what we have to say interesting - though heaven knows you will have been challenged on the interesting part here in recent times! There is only so much interest one can generate within the same 4 walls. And delving into my mind is not always suitable for this family friendly site. I am not always a ray of sunshine. Sigh.

I have mentioned before, that history is a subject which is being ejected from our school curriculum here. And I have just had a friend pop round, who took a drama group of young people to see a play last night. The opening scene of the play had an old newsreel playing on a giant screen, and a young soldier ran across the field and was blown apart by gunfire. The audience, 90% youngsters, roared with laughter. Leaving the older people staring around at each other, absolutely aghast. Those kids had no idea at all. They have been totally de-sensitised by computer games, and to them, it was funny. They had just actually watched footage of a war time soldier die, and they were amused.

So I have been thinking about how we need our older generation to tell the story the way it actually was. Thoughts, fears, pain, sorrows, joys and all. Someone has to keep the history of our world alive. Or soon it will be gone - relegated to the dusty old tomes in long forgotten basements around the globe. If schools today are focussing on IT and consigning the history of our nations to the scrapheap, let's use IT to remember instead.

How about suggesting to the older people you know that they tell their stories? That they start blogs of their own? What do you think? Mum??? Are you listening? You can be the charter member of the "Let us Remember" club! I feel the need to invade old people's homes and make suggestions.


I just wanted to say a huge "thank you". I have not always been fine and dandy. Or pleasant to be around. And you have been wonderful friends. Perceptive and wise. I hope you will continue to brighten my life the way you do.

You are stars!

PS: If you want to laugh, go to youtube, and put in Chonda Pierce. Her menopause parking and the honeymoon clips are beyond hysterical, and if you want to cry, watch Hold on Tighter.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Note to self -- Cook Something.......

Hello, all. I realised at 11pm last night that I had actually forgotten to cook anything for supper, or to indeed eat anything either. I do believe I am losing the plot here. The absence of the son lurking in the background asking when supper will be ready has completely discombobulated me.

So I have written myself a reminder to cook. I am bright. I have a kitchen full of apples, beetroot, courgettes and beans at the moment, and no inclination to deal with them right now. Tomorrow, maybe.

News from the couch is a little sparse today. It has rained. The sun has shone. It has rained some more. I have had a couple of visitors. And that has been it. Excitement is sadly lacking and I have run out of things to read. I may have to learn how to work the DVD player tonight.

And that ends this blindingly stellar post.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October already......

I can't find any socks. Sigh. My feet are freezing, and my son has INCONSIDERATELY taken all his socks to uni with him. Hmph. I need a plan. I have plenty of scarves. Maybe I can wind them around my feet. Walking may not be easy though and heaven knows it is not easy to start with. I will never take walking for granted again, people. Never.

Cold. It is going to drop to about 5 degrees tonight and so help me, does not feel much more than that now. We have had hail today and for one moment, I thought it was snow. It would not have surprised me. At all.

Margaret, the gardening fairy, arrived early this morning and has tackled my garden. She is a whirling dervish, and she has created order from the chaos, and only stopped when she ran out of bin space. I hobbled outside at speed when I saw her balanced precariously at the top of my ladder trying to bring down the last of my apples. I held the ladder. I am heroic.

It is so frustrating having to watch, and not do it myself. She is a teacher, so she was quite at home telling me to get inside and sit down now and then. And then Jean arrived, and we all had coffee and chatted, and the morning flew by. It was lovely to have visitors. Margaret was really pleased to have Jean here as it kept me indoors. And out of her way. Friends are great, and I am so fortunate to have them around. Margaret is doing the garden simply because she want to do it. So sweet.

Back to socks...A few years ago, my friend in Cape Town sent me some amazing socks - I can't remember what they were made of but they were the warmest most inelegant things on earth. 100% something natural, but I have no idea what. I loved them. I have hidden them somewhere so safe that I can't find them. Hang on..... maybe they are in a box......................I am back. No. Sob. The feet are now wrapped in a blanket. I am so up on fashion here. The blanket is red. Therefore it looks warm. And I am rabbitting on here about absolutely nothing.

I need coffee.