Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gardens, plans and other sundry stuff......

I have had a few emails asking me if I am ok and saying that I have been very quiet recently. Well, I suppose that is true. I have been "doing" instead of observing. Stepping away from this screen for a little while, because it is too easy to spend most of my day here. We all know how simple it is to just sit.

Today has been slightly warmer than usual, so I have been in the garden cutting back things which I don't want to overpower the roses, and tidying up a little. My neighbours behind me (the tree felling ones) are going to get a JCB to dig up huge old roots of oaks, right on my boundary, and my old shed needs to be moved. So I looked at the rickety old thing and can go. They will burn it on their bonfire for me, so I won't have to do anything about removing it. Mind you, I do believe it will fall apart the moment anyone tries to shift it.

However, this brings up problem #1. It is full of old stuff Geoff used to use, so it needs sorting, and tools need sorting and boxes need tossing out too. So I have that delight ahead in the next few days. And then I looked at the real shed, and need tossing out too.

But this brings me to problem #2. It is absolutely full of old furniture and trunks, filing cabinets full of tools, an old freezer and heaven knows what kind of wildlife. You can tell how often I use the things in there can't you? I opened the door, and slammed it shut immediately. I think I need a bonfire of my own here too. There is an old round dining table in there. About 3inches thick solid pine. My sister suggested painting it with a protective outdoor paint and using it in the garden. You know, for the 4 days we actually get to sit in our gardens here. It will fall apart, but till then, I could use it. It is useless where it is at the moment.


This is mind-blowingly boring I realise, but I am trying to work up some excitement and enthusiasm for the "burn the sheds" idea. My daughter wants to know where the spiders will go. I have also noticed the wretched squirrels leaping over the sheds with gay abandon, and maybe if they are gone, the squirrels will go too, and refrain, as a result, from digging up and eating all my bulbs. I need a machine gun.

I digress. Squirrels do that to me. And mice. I haven't seen any of them but I will be up a tree if I do. But the squirrels may be up the tree..... Oh get a grip, woman.

I need to be able to cut back the huge holly tree which looms over the shed, and the neighbours have scaffolding and will do it for me, providing the shed is history. And, it has occurred to me that the shed is actually in the sunniest spot of the garden anyway and so it should be a sitting area, and not a shed area.

See? The enthusiasm is marginally higher already. If I were as fit and flexible as I used to be, I could do all this myself, but I do believe I am going to need some assistance. My garden could be transformed! I also could do with a small conservatory in the corner outside the french doors, because that is dead space and always ends up being the dumping spot. If I win the lotto. And after I redo the dire bathroom, put in a new boiler and radiators instead of the foul hot air thingy I have now, redo the stairs and carpet half the house.

Sigh. Spring must be approaching.

My car is back from the MOT and it did need a good few things doing to it, so my plans to get the potting soil and start some seeds have been postponed. Maybe next week. I have plans for raised veg beds here at home as well as at the allotment too. Hmmmm. All this planning and dreaming and imagining is totally exhausting. And my brown wheelie bin is full so I am going to go and finish reading my book for book club. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. If you haven't read it yet, put it on your list. It is stunning. I am loving it.

The Bump continues to flourish and has wonderful playtimes at 3am. Her uncle is visiting her this weekend, so it is lovely to think my 2 sons are there together. I am not. I am here. Sigh.

Right. I am off to relax before I need to think about supper.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Zonked Post.....

This is the now regular zonked Thursday post. I am alive, and about to go and have a nap. The good news is that I managed to get the key in the door this week, and that there were not 127 keys on the key ring. And the triple-headed people are now double-headed. I appear to be getting more accustomed to the anaesthetic thingamewhatsit in the IVG.

This is good because HEY!! GUESS WHAT!!!! The joyous news is that I get to keep on having these treatments once a week for the foreseeable future. Oh, beam me up, Scottie. You better get used to the Thursday Zonked Post. It will be a regular feature here at Rocking Chair Reflections. Feel free to join in.

I even took a video of the worm and tourniquet thingy, but you know what I did, idiot that I am??????? I turned the camera on its side. So the video can only be viewed while lying on the couch. Otherwise, one develops a nasty crick in the neck. However, I will make another attempt next week seeing that I am being blessed by further treatments. They had better work.

I am yawning my head off here. Hang on...let me get some black coffee. Ahhhhh. I love coffee. Yawn.

Now for some newsy bits:
  • (Yawn.) My daughter has booked her ticket! She will be home for about a month in May! She is spending 3 nights in San Francisco on the way here, and a few nights in Hong Kong on the way home to NZ. But she will be here soon!
  • Oldest son had no sleep last night. Hmmm. (Yawn.) I wonder why? They are doing so well as new parents, and absolutely adore their little girl. They are calm, unflustered, and have infinite patience. (Yawn.) I am really so thrilled to see how they are loving being parents.
  • Younger son is going to see them this weekend, and have his turn at baby cuddling. (Yawn.) Maybe Granny can get there too??
  • My house needs deep cleaning. (Yawn.) I looked at it when I got home and groaned. Barb??? Can I be next on your list??
  • In just 2 weeks on Sunday, I will be at Bath for the intensive treatment. Hallelujah!
  • My car is being MOT-ed (compulsory annual check to make sure everything is in excellent order) tomorrow. I really need it to pass with flying colours and not be expensive. (Yawn.) Can one pray for cars?? I do believe one can. (Yawn.)
  • I am really sorry (yawn) I have not been commenting much the past couple of weeks. I am here people, I really am, but I am either falling asleep or rocking babies, and one handed commenting is exhausting. (Yawn.)
  • The (yawn) end. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Granny's Girl....

Now, I ask you, is there any better way to spend the mornings???

Sigh. I am home, far away from the little mite. But tomorrow is Thursday and here we go with the horrible worm and tourniquet thingy again. It is going to work. That is what I keep telling myself. But cuddling my granddaughter is unbeatable, especially when she sleeps in my arms for hours.

Perfect. Just perfect......

Monday, February 23, 2009


No time to post anything. I am rocking a baby girl to sleep instead. Excellent therapy.

I will be back soon!

PS Did I mention that I love being a Granny??????????

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lost days.....

Yesterday was a lost day. In fact this morning was also a lost morning. Yesterday I crawled out of bed at 12 noon, and this morning, I only woke at 10am. So you could say I have lost 1 and a half days. My leg still feels weird, but as I have no idea what it is supposed to feel like, I am assuming weird is normal. But the exhaustion.....that is another matter. That local anaesthetic knocked me for 6.

And after the high of the Bump's birth on Tuesday, the rest of the week has been decidedly foul. Can Grannies get post natal depression? I do believe I may have a bout going on here. Apparently the new parents are getting very little, if any, sleep. I am going to go and help out for a couple of nights soon, so they can rest. They wanted to do it all themselves, but realised after the first few hours, that that would be rather ridiculous. I remember the feeling well.

I read a few newish blogs (to me) yesterday, and was struck by something someone said - referring to blog traffic. She said she used to only get about 100 hits a day and few comments, and then things took off into the 1000s. Well, I am sitting here, and seeing my stats with a slightly amused eye - I get anything from 50 (when I write nothing at all) to about 290 odd people on this site a day. And I am absolutely fine with that. It is not a failure, you see, because I do not write for fame or recognition, or stats. However, I was a little galled to have 100 hits described as nothing. I also read during Blissdom 09, that anyone who had 100 followers on Twitter, and 100 hits a day on the blog, had a community. I loved that. This is my little community and I am part of yours. And to be quite honest, I do not give a monkeys what the stat counter says, which is why I have several unopened weekly emails with my traffic reports in my inbox. 100 hits a day is not NOTHING. It is just perfect. I am comfortable with that.

I think the slightly put out feeling I had is all part of that slump I was talking about. The rollercoaster thing. You know when you have days where everything people say seems barbed and everyone you love seems to be having a rough time, and you just want to crawl inside a hole and hide?? Yes. Well. I have been in that hole. And then add the discombobulation and the pain and stir well, and you have a very merry me. Not.

So today, I am slowly popping the head out of the hole and am looking around to see what arrows and stones are poised to come my way, and I may consider emerging soon. I remember coming home after the hospital and standing at my front door on Thursday looking at my bunch of keys, which had suddenly grown from 12 to 120 and trying to fit the right one in the door. It took me quite a while. And life feels like that at the moment. Too many keys and only one will fit in the door.

I do realise that this will make less than no sense to you lovely people. Put it down to "Linds is too weary to make sense".
  • The trees are now gone from my back border. They will plant new ones, but it is light and rather open at the moment.
  • And I found the instructions for my camera in English today and have printed off 52 pages to read. One day.
  • I have eaten 2 hotcross buns (remember, Jeana???)
  • and have found the papers to road tax my car.
  • I should be at a 70's party tonight, but my leg and I will stay home and bond instead and watch CSI.
  • The sun has been shining.
  • And that is all.
  • Normal Linds may be back tomorrow........

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The dip....

You know how I talk about life being a rollercoaster??? Tuesday and Wednesday were the peaks. Today was the trough.


The physiotherapist does not "get" CRPS. And to cut a long story short, she now says I can only go once every 2 weeks. I was distraught. I howled on the treadmill. Then I thought, ok, you are going to the pain specialist this afternoon. Tell him.

So I did. He is not impressed. I don't know what he can do, but I may be going to physio through the clinic now. We will see. They have many more treatments there I can do. And he reminded me of Bath, and that will be very intensive.

Anyway, the real trough was yet to come. Can I just say that I am seeing the world in slow motion right now. He put the canula in my foot and missed the vein, so the first injection of the drugs went into the foot, and I nearly leapt out of my skin. Pain. Unbelievable pain. So they let down the tourniquet thing and they started again. 2 worms. 2 tourniquets. Perfect. Apparently last week I only had a partial dose. Today I had the full one. You have no idea. NO idea.

And when they released the tourniquet, the wave of unbelievable heat rushed up my entire body. Wow. So I am totally and utterly spaced out. And I will be off to bed in a sec and I fully intend staying there for the next heaven knows how many hours. A long time. Seeing the world in slow motion and in triplicate is not great.

This woosy discombobulated womanis signing off for now.

PS. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments. And I am sorry I have not visited everyone yet. And about the name....that is up to the Bump's parents. She has a lovely name, but they may not want me to say what it is. We will see.

Bed. I need my bed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The little lady of the moment...

Introducing my little granddaughter. I have to tell you she is stunning. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Not that I am at all biased. Of course not. I am a Granny now, so I can say what I want to say.She is perfect.

And is starting to look around. This one and the first one were taken today, after her bath and just before I left to come home this afternoon. You have no idea how hard it was to leave. But I have that IVG thing again tomorrow to look forward to, and physio. Sigh. I needed to give her a long cuddle before I, very reluctantly, handed her back.

But here, my friends, is the moment I first got to hold her. She was yelling at the time. This is SO special. This is the moment Granny fell totally absolutely in love.

And here are the 3 grandparents just after she was born. Instant adoration. Isn't it amazing how one little bundle who weighs under 7lbs can command such love?
I got there half an hour after she was born, but before anyone was allowed in to see her and her very proud parents. Thank heavens for clear roads. My son got there for the last hour or so of labour, and Granny2B2 was there to support her daughter all the way through the labour. She was a star. And so was Ann. In fact, the only thing I can think of is the joy. The laughter, smiles and happiness.
And Isabelle you are the winner of the "Guess when" contest! You guessed the right day, and the closest time, 8.18pm, and the exact weight! So email me your address, and your mystery gift will be on its way!
You know, this has been such a mad, happy, totally out of the ordinary experience, my friends. I am loving every minute of it and can't wait to be back with them all. But I have some leg stuff to sort tomorrow. What a contrast. My mind is all over the place and I am struggling to think coherently. She is here.
And there is much rejoicing all over the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

She is here!!!!!!!

The sweetest little girl was born this evening at 7.06pm. She and her Mummy are well, and she weighed 6lbs 12 oz.

And this Granny has the biggest grin.

A letter to my Granddaughter....

Dear little Bump....

As I am writing these words, you are starting on your journey out of the safe cocoon inside your Mummy towards the big wide world. Mind you, your little world will, at first, be a small circle of arms who are longing to hold you tight, and you will be safe, sweetheart, and very, very loved. The big world will come later. Much later.

This is the tough part right now, and soon, very soon, your Mummy and Daddy will be holding you close, and falling instantly in love with the little girl who will make their lives complete. They have loved you since you were first created. You are their precious daughter.

I don't know your name yet, or who you will look like, or if you will have red or blonde hair. I don't know if you are going to climb trees, or play with dolls, or if you are going to sing or dance. Not yet. But you already fill a little place in my heart made especially for you, labelled "Bump" for now. And that place will grow, as you do, and as this Granny watches over you. And it doesn't matter who you look like, or what colour your hair is, you know. It won't matter if you like heavy metal or classical music. You were made specifically for this family, and you will be perfect for us, no matter what.

You are a little girl who is infinitely blessed, infinitely loved and infinitely cherished. You have Grannies, a Grandpa, Great-Granny and Great-Uncles and Great-Aunts. You have Uncles and an Auntie. You also have so many other wonderful people who can't wait to welcome you, cuddle you, and love you. Cyber aunties too. Your arrival will be celebrated around the world, little one, can you believe that?

The words will race around cyber-space, "She is here!" And so many hearts will rejoice, and prayers of thanks will be offered, to the God who made you and then gave you to this little family. Wow! A global celebration for one little girl!

You also have a Grandpa and a Great-Grandpa, who are in Heaven right now, who may well already know you, and who would have so loved to be here to share your life too. So much love, little Bump. So much love. This family is ready for celebrations and joy. And your Granny has piles of books ready to read to you, and ideas for things we can do and games we can play together one day. Dreams of who you are and who you will be. Waiting.

Granny is not very good at waiting, you know. I want so much to see you, and to be there to see the joy on your Mummy and Daddy's faces too. Your Daddy was a little boy just the other day, and now he is a big strong man, who will always watch over you. Maybe a little too much! But he will always protect you, and keep you safe, because you will be the light of his life. He is ready.

You have no idea yet, just how much you are loved, little one. But soon....soon now, you will know.

Your Granny is waiting.

She loves you already.

Monday, February 16, 2009


I am still home. That means no Bump yet. The car is ready, and so am I. Sigh. Please come soon, little one.

I am a little restless at the moment, and can't settle down with anything. I get distracted, and pace. I can't read, or sew for long. I have cuttlebugged a great many things. I watched the trees out the window. The ones being chopped down. I looked at the walls and decided that they all need painting, but then I sat down again. Tried reading, and then did some exercises. Then paced a little, made coffee, and started to plan my new bathroom. In my dreams. Then looked at the walls and decided the painting needed to move, but sat down again. Started listing which veg to start from seed when, and then made a couple of phone calls.

You get the picture?

Yes. So obviously I have achieved a great deal today. A GREAT DEAL.

Oh I washed my hair. And dried it. And straightened it. Go, me. Hmph.

And then I crossed off all the names from the list for Monday. The "guess when" list.

Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another quiet Sunday...

It is Sunday afternoon. No Bump yet. I think she is waiting for the weather to warm up a little. So am I. The Vindaloo curry didn't work. I have suggested cleaning the windows. Or a bumpy car journey. She is also trying the raspberry tea thing. I jump and my heart rate goes off the charts every time the phone rings. It would be true to say that I do need to do a little work on the patience thing.

I had a very lazy morning, I confess. That new feather and down mattress topper is responsible. It is a miracle I ever rose and got dressed at all, and that only happened because my neighbours started the chain saw going again at an unearthly hour. The trees at the back of my house, which provided a great screen and a lot of privacy, are all coming down. The houses behind mine (and half our road) have enormous gardens, and the owners are now building smaller homes at the bottom of their gardens, so the tall trees are going. They have to plant others as a screen, as part of the planning permission, but I am not sorry to see the leylandii going. I am also enjoying more light in the kitchen/family room too.

However, the sight of humans from my window is a little unusual. I may need to tidy up a bit around here. I have never needed blinds or curtains in this room before now. Hmmm. It just looks very strange at the moment.

Moving on.

Yesterday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn to go to a Women's breakfast at the church in the village. There must have been about 30 of us, and the speaker was a Parish Nurse. Very interesting. This village would benefit enormously from a Parish Nurse. The breakfast was divine too, and the tables were very pretty, with flowers, bowls of fruit, chocolate hearts and croissants, bacon rolls and most NB, loads of fresh coffee. I am not human until the first coffee of the day is in the system.

So that was a great start to the day. Jean came round to do some Cuttlebugging because she is down in Kent now looking after her Mum who is 90 and about to come out of hospital, so needed some projects to keep her amused. Jean, not her Mum.

And apart from the fact that I fell asleep in front of the TV at 8.15 and woke at midnight, having missed all my favourite programmes, I have nothing much to talk about today. Valentine's Day is never much fun if you are alone, so I am eternally grateful it is not a big deal here. And now I could do with some hot coffee, but I am snug under a blanket and have a recession heater on my lap and if I get up I will be cold. Choices, choices.

Because I missed church this morning, I am listening to the livestream from Oakhills Church in San Antonio. So excuse me.... I have some concentrating to do.

I will be back. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Guess when....

Ok, people, my granddaughter is LATE. But then, she is a female, and as my Dad used to say, women are usually late.

So, to relieve the boredom, let's guess when she will arrive, and how much she will weigh. Be specific with your times, because if the Bump has not arrived by Wed, she will be induced at 6pm. So she should be here by Thursday at the latest. I wonder if she will have red hair??????

And the one who is closest will win a mystery prize!! A mystery, because I have yet to think of what it will be, but you may rest assured, it will be good.

So go on then, GUESS!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Medical stuff...

No news re the Bump. Sigh. She is taking her time. I am not good at waiting. Not good at all.

I think I lost my mind yesterday. For some bizarre reason, I decided that yesterday was a good day to wash the lounge curtains. And no, there was no bright sun or breeze to dry them in at all. I soaked them, then washed them, then ironed them wet to get the creases out and then discovered that they were still too wet to hang up last night, so I went to bed at 9.30 instead of sitting in the lounge with no curtains.

See. I live an exciting life. Tonight they are up in place. Damp. But up.

And today.... it has been a long day.

I went to physio this morning, and I can tell you that missing one and a half sessions is not good. I noticed the drop in ability immediately. Did I mention that I had to stop the last session when I nearly passed out? That was not good. I am fine, but now I need to catch up. Not for the next 24 hours though.

WARNING: This post speaks of blood, but there was never actually any visible blood, so skip the rest if you are queasy at the thought!

My friends Jackie and Jean and I went off to the hospital this afternoon for my visit to the pain clinic. I thought he was going to just check the meds. Hmmm. Right he said...I am doing the IVG (Intravenous Guanethidine regional block) this afternoon. Huh?? He actually had spoken about this last time, but I must have missed the fact that he was going to do it today. That mind, the lost one, remember.... Anyway, he gave us another copy of the leaflet telling me about it all, and then inserted a canula into my foot. I nearly drew blood. My nails almost went through my hands. I don't talk about the leg much any more, but just know that it hurts. All the time. Even with the meds. And the nurse had her hands tight round my calf. Just perfect.

So then, the best nurse in the universe popped in and told me what happened next. Basically, they strapped this tourniquet, with automatic pump to my thigh. You have no idea how many straps that thing had. They measured my blood pressure, so they could adjust the pump accordingly, and then they pushed the worm up and round my leg, which forced all the blood in the leg up above the tourniquet. Then they inflated the tourniquet and whipped the worm off. Bingo. A bloodless leg. We were inordinately fascinated by it. She called a junior nurse to view my bloodless leg too. I was an exhibit. Good thing my friends and I were just as fascinated at the time.

The worm, by the way is a sort of rubber tube with water or air inside it, and they force it over the toes and 2 of them force it up the leg, and it is so tight, it pushes the blood out of the leg. I told her to practice an evil cackle, because I am SO going to video that next week. (Yes, I have to have this done next week and the one after too.)

Anyway, where was I.....right. The bloodless leg. They then inject a local anaesthetic and the guanethidine into the leg and it circulates through the empty veins and into the tissue for 20 mins. And your leg looks dead. She told us that this is what a dead leg looks like. I needed to know what my leg would look like when it is dead. Purple/blue/bright red. Stunning. I took pictures, but you do not want to see them.

And we sat there drinking tea/coffee and eating biscuits, and watching the leg change colour. It was spectacular. Believe me, I needed the distraction. The tourniquet was unbelivably painful. My friends made me laugh, though, and I do believe we may have been a little rowdy. But it worked. I was distracted. Then the buzzer goes off, and I had to lie down as she deflated the tourniquet. You are supposed to have appalling pins and needles, but I felt nothing, and then the leg, all of a sudden looked normal again. This treatment is supposed to temporarily interrupt the sympathetic nerve supply to the leg. I suppose it is supposed to try to stop it and then jump start it so it may work properly.

Well, if it works, I can cope with anything. Even 2 more of these in the next 2 weeks. They strapped the ankle for support so I could walk properly and off we went. And into yet another blizzard.

So here I am at home, very weak and very tired, which is expected, and I can't do anything or drive for the next 24 hours.

And it is my daughter's birthday tomorrow. Only tomorrow is already here for her, and she is starting her birthday. I spoke to her this evening, and she is fine and happy. I cannot believe that she is 28 already. Well, she will be tomorrow. Today. It is confusing. She was born on Friday 13th, and so it is an incredibly happy and joyful day for us, and this year, her birthday falls on Friday too. Maybe the Bump will come on her Auntie's birthday??? Who knows. And that brings me neatly round in a circle, to where I started.

The end.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crystal's questions.....

I am totally mortified. I have always remembered that I never did get round to answering all the questions I asked for months ago.

Read that again.


It was in OCTOBER. Oh grovel. I just checked.

Crystal, I am SO sorry! October....sigh. I don't know where the time has gone......

Anyway, here we go with her questions. And Crystal, I don't mind if you want to interview me after you have done the one I sent you, and I promise I will answer immediately this time! This is a LONG post. I won't be offended if you skip through it!

I loved when you showed parts of your village - could we see and hear more please?

I live in a village in the centre of the UK, in a county which is mostly overlooked. Northamptonshire. This village has a population of over 6000 people, and it has everything you could wish for when bringing up a family. In South Africa, I lived in Cape Town, a huge sprawling very beautiful city, with mountains and seas, and beaches and everything. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And this has spoiled me for other cities. I think Wellington is up there as a possible, and Luzern is too, but even then I would prefer living in a village with a city nearby.

Here, the village centre is where everything happens. We all live surrounding the very old part, where the Square is dominated by the church on the hill, with its tower which is well over a thousand years old. Just think of that. Over 1000 years old. You can try to imagine what life was like back then. Some parts of the village are very old, and there are preservation orders on areas of it. And the outlying areas are newer. Where I live. This village used to be in the heart of the shoe making industry, and once upon a time, there were about 6 shoe factories here, and most of the village was built for the people working in those factories. Only one sort of remains now, although I don't actually know if they still manufacture here or in the Far East. Sad.

We have 4 churches, a butcher, a supermarket a chemist (which sells just about anything on earth) estate agents, museum, hairdressers, costume hire store, florist, post office, electrical store, beauty salon, take-away and chips, chinese, indian. Patchwork shop, photographers, small supermarket, funeral parlour, 2 doctors' surgeries, a dentist, optician, wonderful coffee shop, and a home and garden shop. And that is just the centre. There is also an industrial area, and little shops all over the place. You have to hunt for them!

Then there is the library and a primary school too. Infant and Primary Schools. Children go to school when they are 4 here. There are playgroups, a nursery, Mum's and tots groups, and endless societies, and things like cubs, and brownies, and crusaders, and sports clubs and badminton, and photography classes. Historical societies. Don't forget 2 allotment areas. There are tennis courts, and bowling greens, and the music society I belong to, where we raise choirs of 60+ and our own orchestra. There are weekly meals for the older people, and we have our own village magazine, which is on-line too, and sends out emails when there is a prioblem, like the snow, with offers fo help and reminders to check on neighbours. That sort of thing.

I am probably telling you way more than you need to know. We have a village carnival each summer up on the Rec, after we have had a parade through the village. Once the children finish at the primary school they are bussed to nearby towns for secondary school. It would be so great if we could have our own school here though. Did I mention the Drama group? They perform throughout the year and there is a similar group for teens too. Ballet lessons. Marshal arts. Football. Cricket.

Anyway. It is a lovely place to live, and people are very friendly, and you should see everyone gather to toboggan, or on Christmas Eve in the Square to sing carols. Sigh. It is good.

Tell us more about South Africa and Switzerland and other places that you love.

I love Cape Town, where I was born (more than half a century ago!). You just have to look at the photos of it on the Internet and you would see why. I will try to scan in some photos one day. It is absolutely beautiful. I went to University there, on the slopes of Devil's Peak. The university must also be one of the most beautiful in the world, set above the city, near Rhodes Memorial. I always knew where I was there, because the mountain was towering over us as a point of reference. Here I am totally bamboozled by direction. I need a mountain at my back! Surrounded by 2 oceans and mile upon mile of glorious beaches. Well, we never did go to the beach all that often. It was just always there. So was the mountain and I was 21 when I first went up it.

I loved going up the Garden Route....up the east coast of the country. We used to go to Plett for holidays with friends. Plettenberg Bay. Knysna, Oudtshoorn, the Wilderness. Beautiful places. Again, I need to scan in photos of those times one day. When I was a student, we used to go crayfishing up the west coast, at a place called Donkergat (dark hole), and we would then cook the crayfish in seawater on the beach and eat it. Divine. SA crayfish are lobster anywhere else, by the way. There is a place called Darling, where the wild flowers come after the first rains, and the entire land is covered with zillions of flowers. It is something people come from all over the world to see. I will talk more about South Africa soon.

When I was 11, my parents us to Europe for a Grand Tour. We went EVERYWHERE and saw EVERYTHING. Including every cathedral in the UK, but we will skip over that and the mutiny that ensued. We were here for months. And in the process, we went to Switzerland, and I fell totally and absolutely in love with the place. I turned 12 in Zermatt. That love has never died. Just grown. And, as you know, I brought my own family to Europe in 1986 on holiday and we met up with my sister who was on her global trot at the time, and went back to Switzerland. The love I had as a child just got bigger. Then, excuse me, that sister of mine, 3 years later, fell in love with someone who lived in Switzerland and has been there ever since. Younger sisters can be a pain sometimes!

I jest really. She is an amazing sister and she has the most beautiful home in Engelberg, and if I could move there tomorrow I would. I love the mountains, and everything else about it. So much beauty takes your breath away. Luzern is a beautiful old city..... and you can see the history all around you. It, because Switzerland is a neutral country, has never been bombed, or destroyed by war. What a blessing that has been. The lake is beautiful. It really does look just like the chocolate boxes. Believe me. I know. You need to go and see for yourselves.

What would be your dream vacation?

So many places I want to see. I am not the type of person who would go to the Costa Brava and lie on a beach. I want to go and explore the rest of New Zealand with my daughter. I want to revisit Vienna, go to Prague, explore the Nordic countries. See Alaska.

But right now, having assumed I will go to NZ anyway and that Europe is close, my dream holiday would be to arrive in North America, and then travel all over the place to visit all my dear friends, and see for myself where they live and join in all the fun. Throw in a Chonda Pierce performance, a LPM convention, and a Blogging Conference along the way and I would be totally and utterly happy. And forget the bit beneath where I say I am not into acquisition. Lead me to an American or Canadian craft or fabric store, and all bets are off. I may need to be restrained. Or baby shop. Toy shop.....
Yes. My Grand Tour of Blogs. Then I could write a book about it.

If money were no object, what would you do for yourself , your family and charities?

Well, this is not likely to happen, as my continual failure to win lotto is a bit of a stumbling block here. If money were no object, I would like to see my family safe and settled in homes of their own, and without the worry of redundancy. I would love to know that their education and that of their children one day was taken care of as well. Then there is my sister and mother, and friends...... they would all share in any great fortune in one way or another. Of course.

And I would definitely share any good fortune with the charities I support, without a doubt. Compassion, Children in Need, Air Ambulance, RNLI, Alzheimer's Society. My mother always had a dream of donating a life boat, and with Geoff's history at sea, that would be very apt.

And if I were disposing of mega millions, it is the disposing of it that would give me the greatest pleasure. Making a difference where possible. For me, the freedom to travel and have adventures would be wonderful. Remember my Grand Blogging Tour!

There are very few things I would buy, apart from a laptop and a sewing machine which does quilting (because my hands will soon not be able to hand quilt). I would see that my home was in order, and then set about reducing the size of my "to do before I die" list. My version of the Bucket List. Anyone reading here for a while will know that the things are not important to me, so I am not into acquisition here. Maybe build that log cabin? Who knows. I want to meet people, see all of you in real life. The list is long. And I should have added at the beginning, pay anything I owe first and foremost. And get a wood burning stove..... see you have started something here.....

If you went back to school / retrained, what career would you chose?

Now? Hmmm. I am not sure. I wish I had gone back when I was in my 20s and studied medicine as I had always planned to do. It never occurred to me to do that at the time. I would love to go back to uni now, simply to learn new things. Stretch that mind of mine. I am not sure, though re the exam bit. I could do without that! I have done a great deal of learning over the years myself. I am the type of person who faces any problem head on, having done the research and learning. I am so interested in so many things. Economics, politics, psychology, law, society, climate change, architecture, education.... the list is long. There is very little which does not fascinate me. I am a dreamer, you see. I know that. It has a lot of drawbacks. My mind flits a lot from place to place.

I suppose that, if I were to choose something today, it would be something which combines all my life experience and knowledge. Maybe in a counselling forum of some sorts. Perhaps. I don't know. I just love it when my mind slips into overdrive, and whizzes all over the place, and you have to think fast and .......sigh. But then there is the fact that I love being arty and crafty. Making things from textiles and wood. Maybe as a carpenter. Yes. I think I would love to learn all the secrets of proper carpentry. Then I could build that log cabin one day. Ok. I have it.


What's your favourite school memory?

This one is easy. In Matric, the final year of school, I wrote a dance drama of the Crucifixion for our Scripture Union to perform, and it was magical. The crazy thing is that I was actually on crutches after a leg op at the time, and had to direct from a chair. But it worked unbelievably well. I chose all the beautiful music from my parents' collection of classical ballet music, and other bits, and my mother sewed huge grey curtains as a backdrop. The entire story was told in dance, and acting, and only one word was said, and that was "Mary" when Jesus rose from the tomb. I remember the performance so clearly, and when it ended, the packed hall just sat there in silence. It was so Holy it was tangible. Then they applauded for simply ages. We were asked to go to several churches to perform it, and I think we just did one other performance. I also remember the headmistress in assembly the day after the performance. She sat there and said something along the lines of...... "if you were there last night, you will be aware of how special and beautiful it was. It is hard to describe." She was right. It was very special.

And that does it. I have finished my October Questions. I am quick, aren't I??

As a PS, we had a blizzard last night. And at 3am had masses of snow, but by dawn most had gone because we then had rain. Still a lot of snow on the ground, but the sun is now shining, and it will go soon. No Bump news either.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

My interview.....

A little while ago, my blogging friend Isabelle "interviewed" me. This is how it works.....if you would like me to interview you, leave me a comment saying you would like to take part, and I will email you 5 specific questions for you to answer. This is a great way to get to know people, and I am all about getting to know you all better.
So here are her questions for me:

1. What are you most looking forward to about being a granny?

Well.... where do I start? Being a Granny, I am told, is a magical thing. Knowing that your child is the parent of this little scrap, is, in a sense, the passing of the baton. The man who was my baby son, is now welcoming the role of Daddy. Just as I am delighted to be a Granny. The dynamics will probably change, but I am ready for that. I am looking forward to cradling the little one in my arms, just watching her, and possibly taking the time I never had with my own babies to really appreciate each little moment. Each stage she goes through. Each step she takes as she grows up.

Grannies know how quickly time passes, and they know that each moment is precious. I want to soak up every moment, crawl on the floor, and play with her. My camera and I will try to capture the moments too. I am looking forward to discovering the joys of this new label. Granny. It sounds perfect to me. And when she is old enough, I will have plenty of stories to tell her! I can't wait for her to arrive!

2. Your children bear a strong resemblance to you and to each other. Are the four of you alike in personality too?

They do indeed. They are undoubtedly my children and are clearly brothers and sister. Personality wise, no. They are all distinctly individual, but there are bits of me in all of them. They do all have the potentially fiery tempers, like their mother, but flare ups are rare! Andrew and I are by nature most similar, and so we clashed more as he was growing up. Diana is very like me in many ways. She is an extrovert, and the one who is the most relaxed with people, I think. David is the most placid of the 3, most like his Dad in temperament, and possibly the deepest thinker. All 4 of us are intelligent, articulate, very competetive......... that is a nice way of saying we talk a lot, think fast and this makes playing games somewhat rowdy around here. We all have the same sense of humour too, and I have to say that Andrew, Diana and I all like being in charge. David steps back and lets us fight it out! Nature or nurture? Both, I think!

3. Did your late husband Geoff have little sayings that you all remember fondly?

Geoff was away more than he was home, but when he was home, he was home 24 hours a day as the children were growing up. He came from Devon, and had a Devonshire accent, which, I think is something we all miss hearing. He was the steady quiet one. I was mercurial. And talkative. Little sayings........ Hmmmm. Not that I can think of at the moment. I will have to ask the kids.

4. Describe something you have displayed in your house that holds memories for you.

My home is full of things which have memories for me. I think that is what makes it a "home". One particular thing....... I could look at the children's artwork framed in my kitchen, the chess table I gave Geoff for his 40th birthday, my mother's portrait, so many things.

But I am choosing this photo which stands on my display cabinet, and has done so since we arrived here in England nearly 19 years ago. To all of you looking at it, it is a simple family photo. To us, it is a miracle. As a whole family, we have seldom been together. If Marge and Peter were visiting SA, Geoff was away. If he was home, Mum and Dad were travelling, or Marge and Peter were in Switzerland.

So let me tell you about this photo. It was taken at 7.30am in the lounge of my parents' home the morning that Peter flew back home to Switzerland in July 1990. He and Marge had come out for a holiday to celebrate their marriage in Switzerland in February. Geoff's ship happened to be in Cape Town for one night. We were all there in the same place, and a dear friend came round at the crack of dawn to take photos of us all. Together. We were only together once more, you know. That was one Christmas in Switzerland years ago. But we didn't think to take any family photos then.

Geoff left that morning, and Peter left that night. A few days later, Marge left, and a week later, the children and I left. How my parents managed to smile, I do not know. Their entire family left in the space of a few weeks. For ever. Their hearts must have been breaking. Dad was well. We were all well. And now Dad is gone. He died in 2000. And Geoff is gone. He died in 2006. Memories.......

5. Describe yourself as a car, a food and a flower, and explain your choices.
A car: Well, I would like to think of myself as a Jaguar, actually. I was born to be a Jag. Sigh. However, I am no longer sleek. Classy? Yes. Of course. But sleek, no. Oh no. So I think I am more like the Renault Scenic which I drive. It suits me. It is foreign. It has many hidden places to store things. It is adaptable and it is tough. It is also large. I too am foreign, have many hidden compartments, am adaptable, tough and larger than I should be. A perfect fit. It is also getting older, just like me.
A food: Butternut soup. Warm, comforting, foreign. Like me. It is also orange, and my hair once became orange after an unfortunate incident with henna. We will not speak of that. And i have introduced masses to butternut soup. So it is me.
A flower: Hmmm. I would love to say a rose. I love roses, and they are soft, beautifully scented and have many layers - hidden layers, which open slowly as they grow. They come in so many delightful colours too. They also have thorns. I am quite like that. They also keep growing, no matter what the weather does and they bloom then die and then they bloom again. They never give up. In the toughest of times, the green shoots appear. Yes. I think I can be a rose. Don't forget the thorns though. I have thorns too. Roses are not perfect. They are beautiful though. And sweetly scented. Hmmm. I may not be beautiful, but I do love wearing wonderful perfume!
So there you go. My interview. Don't forget to say you want to be interviewed too in the comments!

Friday, February 06, 2009

And we have yet more snow.....

I woke up to yet another blizzard, people. The snow did not stop falling till after lunch and believe me, there was a lot of snow out there. Apparently there was a great deal of fun to be had in the village centre as cars tried to get up the hills, and people had to help push cars out of the middle of the road.

I sent photos to my sister, and when I spoke to her this morning, she said...but the roads haven't been plowed. Hahahahahahahahahhaahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Have a look at the road in the picture above. It is that white thing.

We have no snow plows. (Plough? Ploughs? The dictionary says ploughs is British?? Whatever. It means the same.) They appear to be kept only for motorways. So the snow falls on untreated roads, and stays there. Once it has been driven on, it turns to ice, and then more snow falls on that and ditto. Result? Ice. No winter tyres, and no chains. That means you go nowhere. Maybe I should get a snow plow. Or snow mobile. And to make matters worse, the county is running out of salt and grit so even the major roads will be a disaster if they can't find more.

I have great friends. I had a good number of calls this morning asking if I had everything I needed, and offers to do any shopping. Then Louise barrelled through the door after an abortive attempt to go to the station. She abandoned her car on the main road after needing assistance twice when she got stuck on the treacherous roads. So I gave her the poncho blanket and a recession heater, and made hot coffee. Then Julia arrived too, so she got a blanket and recession heater, and coffee, and this is turning into the most boring post in the history of blogging. Tough.

We had a great time warming up and chatting, and then I walked with Julia to her home, and on to have coffee with friends. I needed to get out and move about. Everyone you meet suddenly has time to strike up a conversation. There don't seem to be any strangers any more. People greet each other and smile. It makes such a difference now that we have all had to slow down. I wish it could stay this way.

I have to say that the thing which I noticed so starkly this morning was the silence. I opened the front door, and there was just silence. No sound of traffic and engines. Just silence, as the snow swirled about.

And that was my day. I have been interviewed by Isabelle and will answer her questions tomorrow. There are also other things I want to do posts on, and Crystal, I have not forgotten that I still have your questions to answer too! My brain has just been befuddled by all the snow for the past few days. You may not wish to know that there is apparently more on the way.

Normal service will resume tomorrow. Maybe.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The village was cut off......

Now, in the greater scheme of things, this will not appear as a huge amount of snow to some of you, but in OUR scheme of things it was huge! The village, I gather from the local news, was cut off this morning. Nothing could get in and nothing could get out. So I went for a walk while the snow was crisp and not trampled on, because it is easier to walk on crunchy snow.

No, I did not build this snowman, but it was huge and had a lovely grin. The sad thing is that some teens came by shortly after Jean took this photo and smashed it down. I was not thrilled.

There is a field on the outskirts of the village where everyone goes to toboggan when it snows, and there were loads of people there today.

The village centre is in a dip. All roads out of the centre are up hill, so early on, none of the cars could get traction up the hills.

The great thing about today was that everyone was out walking, heading for the field to toboggan. Snowball fights all over the place, old and young and everyone chatting and best of all, everyone SMILING! Lots of laughter echoing around. I knocked on the doors of a couple of elderly neighbours to check if they needed anything from the shops, and everyone was looking out for everyone else. This is the best thing about living in a village like this.

Pretty, isn't it?

So there you are. We have snow. There may be more, but it has been a lovely day for everyone, I think. I bumped in to Jean as I hobbled slowly past her road, and went in to her house to have some soup and toast. Perfect. Then I set off home. And all my neighbours were outside, and it is great. But i do believe I am seizing up. The walk took the place of physio, and I think I have had an equivalent work out!
Now I am heading for the coffee......

This is my England....

No school. No physio. Roads closed. Abandoned cars. No work. No grit on roads. More to come. I am going for a walk with my camera and the Leki poles.
Back soon.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My recession heaters...

I like making presents for Christmas. Well, apart from the cost factor, I think giving a gift which has taken time to make is really nice. I know I love getting handmade gifts too.

Given the fact that energy costs have sky-rocketted, I decided to make bags filled with rice to heat in the microwave, so my friends could keep warm without turning the central heating up high. And in a moment of genius (hahahahah!) I called them Recession Heaters. I enclosed instructions for use, which include the fact that you heat them in the microwave for 1.5-2.5 mins, and if the recession bites too deep and all else fails, slit open and cook the rice.

They have an inner bag of rice, so the outer one (flannel or fleece) can be washed. I used the embroidery machine to add the writing.....
I think I made about 25 in all, and I use 3 all the time. I have 2 in bed with me, and the great thing is that they do not get cold, even when they lose their heat. They take on the body heat temp, so are always warm during the night.

And I have one downstairs. I am sitting here in the cold part of the house, with one on my lap, covered by a blanket, and I am as warm as toast. I also take it to the couch and curl up with it there. They are wonderful for aches and pains too.
So there you are. My Recession Heaters. I am saving money by keeping the heating low, but staying warm! And they are dead easy to make. You can make small ones and use them in your pockets to keep your hands warm. And you can use wheat, or split peas, or rice.... just for heaven's sake do not use corn!
Let me know if you need a tutorial!

Sitting in the sun...

Guess what?? We are expecting more heavy snow tonight and tomorrow. And the last lot is still there in the garden as I look out the window. And as it melts, it is, of course, freezing, which means ice. I have physio at the crack of dawn too, so I hope I can get there.

I have been sitting in the sun in the lounge, reading a book on the Coromandel in New Zealand, and remembering the wonderful time I had there with my friend Linds when we were there. It is a stunningly beautiful and unspoilt place. Linds is there at their home on the peninsula at the moment, so I can imagine her visiting the places with now familiar names to me. They are having a beautiful, hot summer, and as I sit here with my poncho on and recession heater on my lap, I can be transported to a world far away. A warm world. Books can do that. Transport you.

Books are such a necessity to me. I cannot imagine not having them around. (And yes, Mum, I know all about double negatives!) I know you can buy e-books. Books to read with strange sounding devices. Audio books. And each have their merits, of course. But picking up and opening a book, smelling the newness of the pages, touching the paper, seeing the words, imagining the setting and then entering a new world and being caught up in the story....the real thing is so much more my style.

Do you ever sit and trawl through Amazon, looking at the books and finding ones you have heard about from friends, or read about in reviews in the papers? Do you toss them all in your wish-list like I do?? I have such fun now and then when I have the time. Every month or so, I go through the pages on the wish-list and delete lots, and re-think some, but it is a real comfort to me to know I have lists of books I still want to read. One day. It makes me smile when I click on the wish-list page and it says there are say, 4 pages to look at. Books which have captured my imagination for a while.

Wish-lists, at places like Amazon, are really dream lists. I am listing my dreams. Not dreams as in "last night I dreamt", but as in "I have a dream to be able"... like seeing the aurora borealis, visiting the Nordic countries, paragliding off a mountain, speaking fluent German, going on my grand blog tour, writing a book, visiting Prague for the music festivals...... you know what I mean. My Amazon list is like that. For future reference. Dreams.

Anyway, enough of dreams for today. My friend Jackie has just brought 3 books from bookclub for me to read, and one is the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which I have been wanting to read. I can't think of anything better to do on a snowy day than to curl up with a new book.

I haven't been commenting very much recently - I am sorry about that, but I have been reading and will try to do better! The computer is in a very cold part of my home, and I need to be in the sun when it is out. And that brings us neatly round in a circle to the start of this post.

Have a lovely Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Today has been a really slow day. Deliberately. I have been resting and that has involved many naps back on that couch. Firstly, I think I have perhaps been a trifle too enthusiastic re the exercising. And secondly, because when you pour coffee into your precious craft basket, what do you do? You :
  1. Up-end the basket asap to get everything out
  2. Drop to your knees and try to initiate the rescue
  3. Remember that dropping to your knees is NOT A GOOD IDEA
  4. Get up somehow, and fetch roll of paper towels to commence mop up
  5. Get back on the floor and stay there for next hour trying to wipe things
  6. Prop them all over house to dry
  7. Fill rubbish bin with stuff past help
  8. Head for bed

And the next morning, find that you are creaking rather more than usual, so stay in bed a lot longer, soak in bath a lot longer, and drift back and forth from the couch to the kitchen for meds all day. I love my blanket and pillow and recession heater. And my book, but more about that another time.


Hopefully by the morning, I will have regained a little energy and enthusiasm. The snow is going but we are due loads more on Thursday I hear. No news yet re the Bump.

I will be back tomorrow.

Monday, February 02, 2009


I did not go to bookclub. Roads too dire.

I came in, and made a cup of coffee.

A large cup.

And then I tripped.

Where did the full coffee cup go???????????????????

Straight into my craft basket.

The place I keep all my special papers and stickers and toppers, and creations.




Into my shoes to.

Anyway, my sister has just been on the phone to comiserate and she reminded me that I keep saying that the beauty of life is in the ups and downs, and that I have simply had the whole lot in one day. Right. Do not believe a thing I say in future. There is NO BEAUTY in my messed up craft bag, and there is VERY LITTLE beauty in the state of my house right now with bits and pieces of paper everywhere trying to dry out.

I do believe I will go to bed right now.


The snow started last night and has fallen all day. The heaviest snowfall since 1991, and so, predictably, the country has ground to a halt. Trains, planes and automobiles, as they say. The problem in the UK is that we do not have enough snow to warrant good preparation. You know, things like snow tires, chains, gritters, things like snow ploughs.....

So this morning, I rather hesitantly, went to physio. The roads were not too bad, but by the time I got home, they were dreadful. Jean and Margaret came round for lunch and a crafting day. We had a wonderful time playing and sitting chatting, fighting over the paper cutter and playing with MY NEW BIRTHDAY PRESENT!!!

You may be a little confused here, because my birthday is at the end of MAY, but my friends, Peter and Glynis came to tea yesterday, and said they had an early birthday present for me. Huh?? I reminded them of the date, and they said yes yes, they knew that, but they wanted me to have an early present. They gave me a CUTTLEBUG!!!! My own cuttlebug! For those who are not familiar with this wonderful machine, it is a die cutter and embosser, and such a huge amount of fun! I am so lucky!

My contribution to the conversation from then on was in the OOOOOH, and WOW and NOOOOO category. I could not believe my eyes.

And so we played today. It was good, and the snow fell and we had lunch and all was good. Until I opened the post and saw my gas bill (for heating) and nearly had a heart attack. Anyway, after a couple of calls to the Gas supplier, and my son and my friends, to see what they were paying, I finally got a man who sounds intelligent, and we are doing a daily check of the meter for a week.

I have been incredibly frugal this winter, and rarely have the heating above the "on high enough to stop the pipes freezing" range, and I use the recession heater, extra clothes and the blanket to stay warm, so the bill looks ludicrous. Especially as apparently, my consumption of gas is up 63% from last year when I had a full house and it was on high all day. It makes no sense at all. Hmmm. We will see what transpires. But it did rather spoil the day. Bring on the day when I get my woodburning stove. I hate being held hostage to the utility companies. I want to be able to heat my home myself.

This has been in my plans for years, and hopefully one day soon I can get it installed. Like before next winter. Tomorrow would be even better.

So, now I am off to bookclub. In the snow. I am being collected, so am not going to drive myself. I am, however, very tired, so I hope we get home relatively early. I did start to watch the Super Bowl last night but after 10 mins of trying to understand what was going on, I gave up and fell asleep reading the book instead. And then woke at 4.30am. No wonder I am a little weary!

Photos of snow will be up once I have charged the battery of the camera.