Wednesday, June 30, 2010

End of June already.....

Half of the year is GONE. Hard to believe, isn't it? And in 3 weeks my daughter will be flying back to NZ, via Vancouver for a few days. But there is still 3 weeks of her visit to enjoy, and she is off to see her friends dotted around the land next week. I think. Or is the week after? Hmmm. The memory is not operating at full speed at the moment, it is clear to see.

This has been a looooong week. Monday brought a school related letter which nearly gave me a heart attack, then, after tracking down a truly amazingly professional person on the other end of the line, provided many answers to mysteries re tax audits. You do not want to know. Their mistake. Simple answers, which, bless the woman, she is sorting with the Tax Man for me. Finally. I can't tell you thankful I am. The brain was totally fried, but hopefully it is on the way to being sorted. Little things like the minus sign. It was changed into a plus sign by mistake. BIG problem.

But that has been rumbling on for the past year in the background. There have been many sleepless nights.

You know, remember when I started that job and I said that I just knew at the interview that it was the wrong place for me? Well, if I think back over the past 2 years, there is absolutely NO doubt it was the wrong place. It has been the source of a massive amount of stress for one reason or another, even overlooking the fact that I actually injured myself doing my job in the first place.

But that is ancient history and hopefully soon all of it will be just that - history. I can't wait.

So the sun continues to shine round here, and the garden continues to grow. I am trying to spend as much time out there as I can - the lilies and roses will soon be in bloom too, judging from the buds everywhere. My roses are great, because they all bloom at different times, so there is always colour and magical scent in the air.

Lettuce, potatoes, courgettes, spinach, french beans and yellow beans..... all ready to eat and delicious too. Peas finally growing in pots in the greenhouse away from random wildlife. The first tomatoes on the vines...... I love summer and seeing seeds grow into huge plants. And fresh herbs in the salads picked just before they are eaten. Sigh. Wonderful.

I must take some photos.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The loss of innocence.....

Well, I can't tell you how many posts I have written this past weekend. Whether they will ever see the light of day remains to be seen. I don't tend to write things for later publication - it is all spur of the moment stuff. And often I go back and read the drafts and wonder what on earth I was thinking at the time. Hmmm.


Something I read this morning triggered a line of thought and consigned another half written post to the drafts folder. It was over at A Widow's Voice and the line was something about grieving for lost innocence.

The words "lost innocence" at first seem rather ludicrous when applied to someone my age, don't they. They conjure up visions of little children dancing through daisies, although I know that is an outrageously simplistic thing to say. But you know what I mean.

Losing innocence also sets you apart. You are different. The cliched words which tripped off your tongue so easily before, now have meanings way too deep and dark for innocents to understand. Innocents of any age. Innocents being people who have never walked in your shoes through your particular minefield.

Once upon a time - well, 4 years ago really, I didn't realise just how innocent I was. And here is an example - I had been with my Dad when he died. But being with your Dad when he dies is NOTHING like being with the man you were married to when HE died. The father of your children. In my innocence, I thought I was prepared for anything. Right. I was an idiot.

Innocence and the losing of it is not to be confused with naivete. Naivete is not knowing or considering the possibility of something and innocence is knowing and considering but not understanding the depth or complexity. (I just made that up. It fits with what I am trying to say. So please don't go quoting Linds to experts.)

The loss of innocence comes when, as a Mum, and being the healer of the world with kisses, you realise that "You will be just fine" is not happening. "It will be ok" is not happening. "It will be better in the morning" is not happening.

Mums make things better. Fix things. And in the life before the loss of innocence, I truly believed I could make things better, fix things and that I was a 21st C version of superwoman. Problems quailed before me. And in my innocence, I believed that if I made enough waves, fought hard enough, I would win.

I lost.

Goodbye innocence.

With the loss of innocence, and the discovery that seriously bad things do happen to us, your perspective changes. Everything now has a risk assessment coupled to it in your mind. Because the unthinkable does happen, and you found that out. Trying to barricade yourself into a fortress to protect yourself or your family is futile. It can also become an obsession. I was completely swamped by the thought that I was the only parent my children had left. And that I needed to be careful. I needed to "take precautions" to make sure I didn't do anything to leave my kids orphans. (And yes, that matters even if they are all grown up.) This can last for a long time before reason prevails and you dare to hope or dream again. Or simply to live.

With the loss of innocence comes a measure of resignation, and this is also not entirely helpful. Why keep trying? Why bother? Is it all pointless?

Ah well. Many times, over the past 4 years, I have said that I am way older and wiser. That wisdom is born of the loss of innocence, and the knowledge (now) that the world does indeed keep turning, and life does indeed march on. No matter how awful things have been.

You, however, are forever changed. You - well, I - look at life through old eyes. Eyes which have survived. I smile at the image of Missy dancing through daisies in my mind, and I CAN smile at the thought - but I treasure the memory of the time when I too danced through the daisies of life, without a care or sorrow in the world.

Back then, before I lost my innocence.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The colours of summer........

in my garden

Why we/I write........

Every now and then there is a post you read which absolutely resonates inside your heart and head, and this guest post by Dianne Nelson at Ali Edwards is one of them. Yes, yes, and yes again.

Hop on over and read it now - go on........ I will wait........

(The dulcet tones of a pneumatic drill are wrecking the peace of my Saturday morning, by the way. The people 2 doors down are having their driveway redone, and it is going to take weeks, judging by the lack of progress even with the drill hammering away as I speak.)

I write because I can't NOT write. It is a compulsion.

I write because the words are fighting to get out of my head, tumbling over one another in the process. It take time to sort them into some semblance of order, let me tell you. I write on squared paper (I LOVE European notebooks - they all write on little squares. Divine.) and I write on the back of till receipts. Anywhere. I write when I go walking - doodling away as I take frequent rests. The people I worked with used to laugh when they read my lesson reports - they were totally different to anything they had seen before. It doesn't matter what it is - I love words, and I love to write.

That, I suppose, is the answer to why I am here. Why I feel at home here in my small corner of the world wide web. The words. Oh my, are there many words.

Writing conjures up images in my mind, and I hope in the minds of those who read what I write. Recording events and memories of distant times, painting pictures for my children, for my family and friends, and for me. Living with a Dad who had a really rapid form of Alzheimers, and with my own experience of focus and memory damaged by the CRPS, writing down things will mean that one day, the parts of my memory which will have vanished into the ether will have some prompts. I hope. Maybe I will remember more as I read of my past when I grow old and feeble. Who knows - but it is worth a shot.

And if nothing else, I will have preserved those stories for my children and grandchildren and generations to come.

Last night, there was something on tv about children born during the war. It may have been football related. But they mentioned playing on bomb sites. And there were the little children, wearing the old grey serge type of uniforms, with peaked caps, and skinny knees, and so help me, one of them could have been Geoff. He was born during the war, in a city which was a major target for the bombers, and he told me of how he used to play on bombsites, and how he and his friends made toys out of the bits of metal and wood they found digging around. I don't want to think about what the metal was a part of either. Heaven knows that could never happen now with all our Health and Safety regulations in place. Back then, however, if you survived a direct hit, you were doing very well indeed.

And I wished I had asked him more about his childhood. Mind you, with the WWW here, I could go back through the annals of his school's history and put together some bits and pieces, I am sure. Another thing for the "to do some day" list.

While watching, I turned to Diana and said - " That was just like your Dad's childhood, you know". Somehow, it makes it more real.

I need to write it down.

I need to preserve it. I need to record it. It is not random - it is my history. Diana's history. Missy's history. Andrew and David's history.

There is no such thing as a boring life, is there. All the choices, decisions, repercussions, trivial or hugely important - they are all part of a unique story. Each is different. The same events seen through the eyes of 2 people, have totally different significance.

I think back to a simple picnic in Constantia forest when Andrew and Diana were small. If they remember it at all, Andrew will focus on balancing on a log over a stream, while Diana will remember fairies living in the base of a tree. I will remember that Geoff was home for the day, and how we laughed as we watched the children play in the water. See - we all see things from different perspectives, don't we. So all I can do is record what I remember. I wish there had been an internet, digital whatsits and blogs back then, but alas, that was in the days of snail mail, pencil and paper and 35mm cameras.

Scrapbooking works in the same way. It does not have to be perfect. The words are the important part. I am creative, and I love messing about with pages. I have a gratitude journal too, which is a wonderful book of memories to keep. I try a daybook now and then, but somehow, it keeps disappearing under piles. There are many piles in this house.

But while I have this place, I have no excuse. The words spill out, like a torrent at times, and will keep doing so. For a long while, I hope.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Amazing tennis.....

I don't know if you follow tennis, or are watching Wimbledon at all, but there is an epic match going on. As I am writing, I am watching, and right now it is 63-63 in the final set. Every record in the book has been broken. The previous longest match in tennis history was way shorter than this final set, can you believe. And the number of aces? New records. I suspect that the rules will change after this. It will never happen again. But what incredible athletes these tennis players are. Their staying power, and strength is totally unbelievable.


Diana is flicking back and forth on the tv watching NZ play in the World Cup too, and I think is speaking to her friends back home at the same time on her laptop.

And the Queen is at Wimbledon for the first time in 33 years. She probably doesn't like tennis much, or I am sure she would have been back before now. But there is great excitement. I believe that Serena Williams practiced her curtsey for 48 hours. And she managed very well, as did just about everyone.

So, the sun continues to shine, and this - the sun, roses, strawberries, tennis....... THIS is what people think of when they visualise England in the summer. If we can just keep it going for a little longer than the 2 weeks of Wimbeldon, that would be wonderful.


I dug up some more potatoes this morning. For dinner. I have planted Charlotte potatoes in pots for 2 years now. The ideal way to grow potatoes. Just stop watering the pot for a day or 2 to dry out the soil and then upend it, and sort out the potatoes, and toss the leaves etc in the bin, and the soil in the composter, and there you have it. No sticking forks into potatoes. Or worms. They are delicious.


I also picked my first beans of the season today. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to pop into the garden and gather food for the meal, and be eating it within minutes. I seem to have the world's largest supply of lettuce too. I rather over did the planting of seeds, but we are munching our way through it. The only trouble is that it keeps growing.


And the wool I ordered after reading about it at Attic 24 arrived this morning, and it was SO exciting to see all the bright colours. I have no idea what I will make but it will be A Project. When I gather the brain cells and think about it. But for now, I can stroke it and grin, can't I.

I should be adding photos. I should actually TAKE some photos. But I am here and the camera is somewhere else. Can't think where, and it is too much effort. Later.


It keeps going on...............

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Four years........

Four years ago today, Geoff walked into the house and told me that the heart specialist at the local hospital (where he had been referred for after care following his heart op in Oxford a couple of months earlier) had told him that his heart was leaking. But not to worry - he would see him in 6 months time for a check up.

Two weeks later he was dead.

Four years ago tomorrow, he was brought home from work, unable to breathe.

Four years ago on Saturday, he went into hospital in a dreadful state.

Four years......

You will have noticed that the words "four", "years" and "ago" are featuring quite heavily in today's post.

Four years ago, I had this blog, but very few people outside my family knew about it or read it. And four years ago, I was very hesitant about what to write here too. Things change. I have changed. Life has changed and then changed. Again and again and again. And it keeps changing.

I was out in my garden this morning, and I looked at the roses all either in bloom or about to bloom, and it always reminds me, ironically, of the 2 funeral teas we have had here. For Dad and for Geoff. And on both occasions, the garden has been spectacular - as though it wanted to make me smile. The scents and colours were stunning both times, and here we are, getting close to that time, and the same is happening. Dad's funeral and Geoff's, although 6 years apart, were within a day or 2 of each other in mid July.

It would be lovely to just be able to remember the man and the multitude of memories amassed over so many years and not the circumstances of his death, you know. Until the legal case is over though, that is simply not possible for me. Heaven knows I wish it could be.

Four years ago, I had no idea what was ahead of me.

Four years ago, I had no idea what I would have to do, or rather, attempt to do.

Four years ago, it never occurred to me for one micro-second that he could die.

I was so much younger then, four years ago.

I was also fitter, thinner, sprightlier and had far less grey hair. Sigh.

Now? Hmmm. Wiser, battle-hardened, less naive, and ever so slightly dented. And so much older. Older than the hills at times.

The momentum, however, is inexorable. It keeps you moving forward. Very slowly at times, but forward, nonetheless. In a sense, it is like being on a roller coaster in that there is no reverse gear. Once it starts moving, hey, you keep going one way only..... forwards. Like it or not. The earth turns. Night follows day. The clock ticks on.

So, for four years, there have been children to raise and love. Family. Friends. Work. Learning. Challenges. Triumphs. Disasters. Gardens to plant. Mountains to visit. Words to write. Pain. Fear. Laughter. Tears. And do not talk to me re the paperwork. For all the above. Trees worth of paper. A forest.

And life has kept moving forwards. I wake up and it is another day on the calendar. Different. New.

Right now, I am still dragging that accumulated mega bundle of knowledge of hearts and hospitals and lawyers around with me. And it is heavy and I hate it. I want it to be over. Four years is a very long time. I want to be dreaming of four years from now instead. You know?

In time.

I know.

Four years ago, the sun was shining too. Funny how you remember insignificant details. The World Cup was on then as well. Geoff loved football, and arranged his leave to cover all the England matches. Four years ago, however, he was so ill that he didn't even want the tv on at his hospital bed. Unthinkable.

So I listen to the roars from the tv in the lounge right now. England is playing a vital match they have to win to stay in the competition. The country is at a standstill this afternoon.

And I think how Geoff would have been sitting there in the lounge, so involved and cheering England on.

Four years. It seems like a lifetime sometimes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A beautiful day......

The sun is shining, and it feels as if summer has really arrived. Today. Diana bought strawberries (with Wimbeldon on, it is almost law that you need strawberries and cream!) and the doors and windows are wide open. I love it. Just great.

Mum wanted to go to Waitrose early this morning, so we poddled off there, and then I went to watch the twins at their sports day, and managed to get there in time to see one come third in a race and one win by a country mile in the next. Perfect. There are photos for their Mum and Dad to see - they were both at work so someone needed to take photos and cheer, of course. That would be me. But the sun - the kids were all sitting in the shade, but the parents had the blazing heat to contend with, which was not ideal. I felt like having a nap after 15 minutes.

Diana is off having her eyes tested, and choosing new glasses. Mum is resting and David, who was out at dawn for a walk/run, is prostrate on his bed with his computer at hand. Situation normal around here.

I have nothing exciting to report. These sort of days are wonderful. Life just "is". It is on days like this that I tend to wonder why life seems so fraught with tensions and hurry. Sure, I know there is stuff like work to be done. However, when life slows down a little - enough for us to really enjoy the moments, just like I am right this minute, it is a reminder of what is more important. And I think moments of contentment are right up there near the top of my list.

In 30 minutes, the axe will fall when the interim budget is announced. We have had enough warning that it is going to be monstrous. And will hurt everyone. Even though the irresponsible bankers caused the problem, every man woman and child in the country is having to pay the price to fix things.

So these special moments......... I am going to go and sit in my garden and enjoy them for now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The weekend........

I simply cannot bring myself to watch the tennis. Roger is not having a good day, and it is day one of Wimbeldon. Groan. The sun is, however, actually shining!

The weekend zapped by rapidly. The carnival was much like any other year, and I managed a circuit round the Rec before investing in a box of beautiful cup cakes, saying hello to Glynis and Sue who were manning the labyrinth, and then I came home, leaving my daughter and her old school friend to re-live days of their youth. I do remember purple outfits when they dressed up as roller waitresses (aged 10) and took part in the procession, clutching trays of drinks (Jelly set in plastic glasses). You had to be there. I wonder where those photos are........ It was COLD on the Rec. And I needed to come home and get warm.

On Saturday night, we all went to Glynis and Peter's place for a BBQ. Well, Peter did the bbq-ing, while we sat inside in the conservatory where it was more tropical than arctic. That was a lovely evening. Lots of laughter with the girls around.

And yesterday was Missy's christening, so we set off for London at 8.30. The wind as we walked from Andrew and Ann's home to the church was really icy, so that precluded plans to sit in the garden for lunch.

The service was lovely, and Missy took to being up in front, centre stage, like an old pro. She managed a little dance before her Mum picked her up to hand to the minister, who managed the fastest christening on record. The actual name and "baptise you in the name" etc part. Missy took one look at him, and screeched and wriggled, and generally was not going to co-operate, so he sped through that part at the speed of light and handed her back in relief. The congregation howled with laughter. Then came the part where a senior member of the congregation introduced her to the people in church. Cue more bellows and wriggles. He sprinted up and down that aisle in an Olympian fashion, and then handed her back to her mother. They all know her well at church, and she is a real favourite there, with her (usually) sunny grin.

Home for a wonderful lunch. Ann's Mum, Ginny ( who used to be known here as Granny2B2 - now she can be Granny2!) had prepared a feast fit for royalty. I have never seen so much food. Absolutely wonderful. And the pudding (dessert) display was unbelievable. It was a triumph and will go down in the annals of family history as a real feast. We all made a valiant effort to put a dent in it. The hips will pay the price for months, of course. After a shy start, Missy warmed up and was running round with her pushchair and bear, entertaining us all.

She is so loved, and is one very lucky little girl. I loved seeing her with her whole family - especially her Granny and Granddad who absolutely adore her. She had a wonderful time when she discovered her Auntie's iPod touch and realised she could make the photos move. The look on her face was priceless. Talk about excitement! Diana is also one of her godmothers. really special.

Home again, and time to water the garden and flop. After a long day. There has not been much time for flopping in recent weeks. Maybe I should pencil that in to the plans for the day/week. And loads and loads of photos. I had to email mine straight to Marge in Switzerland so she could share in the day too. I wish she could have been here too.

Right. I need to see how Roger is doing. (NOT GOOD)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday morning.....

Right. Well, this morning, I looked out of the window from my bed, and the sky was blue and the sun was shining. So I got up, got dressed and came downstairs to see my garden. I put on a t-shirt because, hello, the sun was shining then and it looked like summer.


I went out, the sun vanished and I shivered in the icy wind. I lasted 4 hours in that t-shirt, refusing to believe it woudol stay cold, and am now decked out for mid winter. If snow falls, I am ready. I am unamused. The garden is so wet. I should have planted pond plants.

And now the sun is out again. I also know that the moment I stick my nose out of the door, the sun will disappear, of course. And there is an impressive record of rain for the carnival procession. Never mind, the bright umbrellas always make the Rec (recreation ground in the centre of the village) look cheerful. And on the positive side, I will not be watering the garden, so that saves the water bill from hitting the ceiling. And things are still growing. And the mouse does not like the rain.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Road trip.......

Morning all.

We hit the road last week. And again yesterday, and now we are home. I can't begin to calculate how many miles or kilometres we have covered, but it was lots. And yes, going out to the car to check would be the way to do it, but my legs are finished with walking for now. Lots. I am very thankful indeed that my daughter loves driving. It is a long way.

The weather has been beyond revolting. It has been like living in the middle of a cloud, but that didn't completely ruin things. There were the special people there, of course, and the weather ceases to matter then. Where? The mountains, of course. Time with Marge, and time in the garden in the cloud. The cloud means misty rain so the hair is a disaster. It rose by the day until it stuck out in all directions. But it is just as well that we know the place well, because a visitor might be forgiven for assuming there were NO mountains at all. You couldn't see them until the last night at 10pm.

On the way home, we collected David from uni too, and then we all stopped at Andrew's home to return his tomtom. (I need one. Delightful little thing, but unfortunately refused to believe we were in Dover and not in France last night, and wanted us to catch a ferry. We switched it off and did it the old fashioned way.) So we got home around 11pm, and all crashed into bed. The house is full again, and it is great. Mum is relaxing with her puzzle books, David and Diana are relaxing with their laptops, and I have been inspecting the garden. That is relaxing for me, anyway. It has grown so much in a week, it is unbelievable.

Missy is being christened on Sunday, so we will all be there to celebrate. I sense a really excellent photo opportunity, with my family in one place for a brief moment. Except for Marge and Peter, and I wish they could have been here too. Sigh.

Tomorrow is the village carnival - yes, the year has gone by rapidly, and here we are again. I am so sorry I missed the"Big Sing" last night - 500 people and our music society and band singing show tunes. Apparently there was dancing in the aisles and everyone had an amazing time. We were zapping through peages in France in a car which was packed to the roof. I can't work out HOW we managed to get David and all his gear in as well. It must have been a miracle. But we did.

Right. I am back. I need to go into the garden again. I will be back later. I may even find some photos on the camera.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tossing out things......

There is something immensely satisfying about loading a car to the roof with things for the charity shop, isn't there. Jean and I squeezed ourselves into her car this morning, after filling every available inch of it with things no longer needed or wanted, and off we trundled to Emmaus, a local charity place. They also happen to have a restaurant as well, which is always good.

Diana has been having a clear out here of stuff from years ago, so that all went, and I am culling my book collection radically. Please tell me why I still have all the books I used when I was at university decades ago? Many decades. I can guarantee I am not going to be reading them again any time soon for light entertainment.

Seeing spaces on the shelves is great. So many more to go too. And as it has been raining all day, it is the perfect thing to be doing. I also shifted things from a to b, and generally did far too much today. It was also a "return to friends" day - all the things I had piled up to drop at friends. Things like the mini trampoline my friend lent me when I needed to do a series of exercises. And a little more space was the result. Space is good.

So I am feeling virtuous. Creaky but good. A soak in a hot bath is in my future to ease the creaking, I feel. Why do we have so much stuff??? Are your homes the same?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hearing, reading, seeing or doing.....

There was a great deal to think about in the talk at church yesterday. Interesting stuff. Apparently we remember, on average, 10% of what we hear, 30% of what we read, and 80% of what we see/do. Teachers will recognise this - you tell a class what to do, show them how to do it, and then they get to do it for themselves and that is when they actually learn the most.

The danger comes when you try and squash the child into a rigid mold, and only allow the parameters you set (in stone) and don't allow them to think laterally and adapt and expand their understanding. So if you ask for a story of one page, and the child develops a story line and keeps going for more than one page, that can be seen as failure to follow instructions, rather than a perhaps signs of a budding talent.

And that is where studying something like Design at school falls down. There is no place for marketing in schools. As in teaching the concepts of marketing to children. They are children, for Heaven's sake. Once upon a time, part of your education included learning practical skills up to a basic level. You would learn to do basic cooking, sewing, woodwork, etc. Now there is no place to learn HOW to actually do any of this. From the age of 11, you start with the concept of a design brief, market research, costing, advertising, manufacturing processes and packaging, health and safety, and marketing. Well, that is a broad outline. I know. I had to teach it. To kids who had no idea how to actually make things at all. And the making was what they wanted desperately to learn. So I ended up with dozens of kids spending their lunch time in my classroom, learning how to make things, and having the time of their lives. That was where the joy came from. My joy.

They will forget the marketing nonsense, you know. They probably forgot it as soon as they left the room. However, in 30 years time, as they sew something, create something, fix something, they will remember where and how they learned it.And can I just say that I had as many boys in to make things, as I did girls. There is a hunger in kids to create.

The DOING is what is important.

To go back to the marketing thingy above - we are creating a nation here who will never know how to make things. The manufacturing industry in the UK is virtually extinct. The concept is based on the idea that the future of the UK's manufactuing lies only in the concept, and then it will be emailed to somewhere like the Far East or Eastern Europe for people to take the design ideas and make them real and tangible.

Apart from being a very dangerous premise, as we lose the ability to be self-sufficient, it ignores the latent talents of generations of the citizens of the country. Where, then, will their creative talents be used? How will they be used? Where is the nurturing of those talents? Are we all so obsessed with costing and time-management that we are ignoring a whole sector of the population? A whole part of each of us?

Not all of us are designed to be the trail blazers of this world. No society has a monopoly on ideas. An even spread of talent creates balance and a feeling of self worth, which is essential for quality of life. Not everyone needs or wants to be chained to a computer and bar charts for the rest of their lives. Not every one is academically gifted. We need to provide areas in education which allow each child to feel that they are good at something. And for a great many, the practical is where they could have had a chance to shine.


I could ramble on for ages. I may yet add more posts on the subject. It is so huge, and so important, and it is something we all need to seriously think about.

Education is now tied up with levels of achievement. A 5 year old is supposed to know what level they have reached, what their target is, and so it goes through the school. Reports can never be negative. Only positive comments are allowed, and grades can never go down. Only up. Even if the child never did the work at all. And no matter how well a child does, your comment has to include a way to improve. For a bright hard-working child, it must be totally soul destroying. You have never done enough. There is no place to just say - "Well done, you are a star!" Imagine that on a report, with a proviso - "however, in order to improve your ( already perfect) grade, you need to......". I would lose the will to live.

So, back to the beginning.... I remember 10% roughly of what I heard yesterday. I read some of the notes I made, and remember 30% roughly of that. Part of that 30% triggered the comparison to teaching, and set off a train of thought, and I have written about those thoughts here. That is the doing bit.

What do they say? Life is a verb.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Beauty on a Sunday......

I love flowers.

I love roses.

And I especially love this one below. It is called Alpine Sunset, and has the most beautiful scent as well as the most beautiful colours.

The warmth of the past few days has meant that the roses are suddenly starting to bloom. And sitting out in the garden, smelling their scent is one of my most favourite things to do. I love my garden.

I can see, and I am thankful.

I can smell, and I am thankful.

I can hear the birds singing, and I am so thankful.

I can taste the fresh vegetables I gather from the garden, and I am so thankful.

And I have the words to say to you - I am so thankful.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Life in a village gets quite exciting.....

Where was I ----- cremated food and beeping. Right.

So................ after I had cleaned the bbq, and was about to come and watch the sporadically appearing picture on the tv (the silver birch over the road blocks the satellite) I decided to do a last patrol of the garden. And I cornered a mouse. A little one. Well, let me tell you, I was barefoot, and there was no way that thing was going to race over my toes, so I slapped a flower pot down at the speed of light. I didn't think I would catch it, but hallelujah, I did. I CAUGHT A MOUSE.

I looked at the pot and it had holes in the bottom (now the top) and I know mice get through impossibly small holes. So I covered it with another pot. And then put a heavy bottle of tomato food on top of that. And came inside at speed and locked the door. And there it will stay, because I am not moving that pot till I know it is sprouting wings somewhere in rodent heaven.

I woke up really early this morning, which is just as well, because at 6.55am all the power went off, and all the house alarms started screeching. The poor man over the road eventually ripped the wires out of his alarm because nothing would stop the noise. And I sympathised, especially after my beeping of yesterday. No power meant no coffee, and so I joined what appeared to be a procession of cars from our area to Tesco at 7.30am, just so I could have some coffee.

Back to the mouse. I came back home, and ventured out into the garden to check that the pots were still in place (they are) and found another mouse floating in a bucket of water. My neighbour has started calling me the terminator. That makes 6 of the little pests dispatched so far.

However, the mouse in the water can stay there until an unsuspecting friend pops in to visit, who I will beg/bribe/plead with to remove it/them. I am on a roll, people.

And it is another glorious day today, people are smiling, and the garden is growing.

Friday, June 04, 2010


Life is NEVER quiet around here. Just after I posted the last thingy, the annoying beep-beep-beep which had been going on for ages nearly drove me crackers. I had been hearing it for hours, and just could not work out what it was or where it was coming from. I walked all over the house trying to find out what it was and nothing. Nothing. So my neighbour and I discussed the beeping which we could both hear in the garden over the fence. I tell you, I thought I would go crazy.


I walked up stairs and there it was, beeping away - the carbon monoxide detector alarm. Now I don't know if you have one, but I do. Alarms make noises when something is wrong. And it was beeping. So I opened the flap and it said it would be a continuous screech if there was carbon monoxide in the air, but if it beeped every minute, and believe me, it was doing just that, I should call a number printed straight away.

So I did.

They were closed for the weekend from 3.40pm. WHAT????

So my neighbour-over-the-fence and I discussed the options, and I called the gas board, who asked me if I had a headache. No, I said - apart from the one being induced by the incessant beeping. Have I got a tickle in my throat? Huh???????? No. Ok, he said, there is no carbon monoxide in the house. HOW WOULD HE KNOW???????????? But he said he would put me through to the emergency helpline. The SAME one which is closed for the weekend.


I switched off the boiler. Opened all windows and I am fine. Unless the cold snap returns and I need heating. And I considered burying the beeping alarm, but in the end, I smashed the back and took out the batteries. The beeping ceased.

Meanwhile, I was cooking chinese style pork ribs on the bbq. They were cremated. Black. But I sawed through the black - this was the first bbq of the season after all, and I was going to eat something. The miniscule bits that were edible were delicious. And the lettuce was picked fresh from the garden.

I never did get to sit out there and relax with the book though.

Not the chirpiest of posts......

I am still here, even though the words have sort of dried up for now. Could be the fact that we actually have sun! Warmth! Heat! Cloudless skies! (For now, anyway...) This could have contributed to the verbal drought of course.

That and the fact that I want to be in the garden, if only to patrol the perimeter and try ingenious tricks to catch the rodents. The ones who are devouring everything I plant. I cannot tell you how disheartening it is to see the big healthy plants one day and 2 inch stumps the next, and yes, it is the sudden and totally unwelcome tribe of fieldmice doing the damage. I know this, because they march right in before my eyes, and seem to think they own the place. Stepping daintily over the poison, and crawling under or over the traps. Intelligent rodents, and there IS NO PLACE IN MY GARDEN FOR THEM. Brains or no brains.

Perhaps if I were not wrestling with demons in the head at the same time, I may have retained a few vestiges of humour. However, I am beyond being amused. It makes me unreasonably sad, which is ridiculous in a sense. I know this. But still.....

I am having a "crawl inside the head and look about" phase. Unintentional. It just happens now and then, and it is absolutely exhausting. There is a jungle in there, believe me. I have been asking myself mega questions, and I don't know the answers to things like.... where do you want to be now, in a year, in 5 years; what do you want to be doing; how are you going to do it; what is your dream; how can you realise it; what if.......

You get the picture.

We are all so far apart - my children, my granddaughter, my sister, my closest family. That changes so much.

And the whole combination of knee, pain, hospitals, not being able to read or focus, lawyers, worry, school, frustration, form filling, waiting, waiting, thingy which rumbles on at the pace of the snail is draining me of energy. I just want it over. In 4 weeks time, it will be 4 years since Geoff died. In 2 weeks time it will be 2 years since I wrecked my knee. I am not one to dwell on painful anniversaries. I just don't see the point. But I just can't believe it is still dragging on after so long. I want to be free of it. Free.

Ah well.

We all have difficult times.

And it could be a great deal worse.

Diana is off visiting friends for a few days and I am so glad the weather has improved for her adventures. It is not quite the same when the heavens are dripping wet stuff and the wind is howling, now is it.

And me..... well, I am going to light the BBQ this evening for the first time, and cook something outside. There has to be something in the freezer. And I will sit in my garden (and tell myself that gardening is a joy no matter where you do it, so I can leave this one) with my book and a glass of something cold. And listen to the birds.

And watch out for that mouse.