Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dismantling and prattle..............

Has anyone noticed that as soon as you open the "New Post" page, it automatically goes into drafts as an untitled post? Hmmm. I deleted loads of them this morning. Blank pages. What do I want blank pages for??? And why isn't spellcheck working when I click on it? I think Blogger is doing something odd behind the scenes.
A couple of things are have been buzzing around my head this morning, and right now I have forgotten all of them, but hopefully they will return as I prattle on here. I could hardly bring myself to watch the tennis last night - Roger came very close to heading home, and my heart cannot stand the stress. So instead, I got out the screwdriver and started removing screws from my built in desk in the study. The same desk my computer is standing on this minute as my fingers dance across the keyboard. (The word "dance" has stayed in my mind ever since the last post, you see.) 
The structure of the study minus all the books etc
Today is the day that the computer will be moved. Whether I will ever get it set up again is a moot point, because there are 2 towers, 2 keyboards, 2 mouses/mice, 1 printer, 1 camera, 1 screen and assorted dusty cables which seem to be connected to nothing, to move too. And the most important part, the electrical thingymewhatsit plugged into the power socket, which will send my modem signal through the wires to another room which does not have a phone point. See? Enough to give anyone the screaming jibjabs. Oh, and a fax machine - remember them? That has to find a home too. 
After I had taken down the bookcase on top of the cupboards. I made it so that each shelf slotted into the upright. Clever, hey?
When I built this study 12 years ago, it was after a great many attempts to find someone to come in and do the job. Do not ask me why I didn't head straight to Ikea. Oh, I remember now - the nearest one was MILES away back then. So, no-one would build it. I went to the local DIY store, after measuring everything a zillion times, and bought the wood for the support structure. And the screws. And the joint thingys. And believe me, there are at least 10,000 of them. And I built it. To withstand anything, including nuclear attack. And then I went back and asked for some MDF to be cut to size and the revolting little man said - why don't you send your husband to get it - he would know what to do. And I informed him that my husband was otherwise occupied and that I was building it myself. He rolled his eyes and snickered and nudged the man next to him and said something like " she thinks she can build a study".


I drew myself up to an impressive 7ft tall and informed him that I most certainly WAS going to build the study and if he didn't cut my MDF, I would be going elsewhere for it.

He cut it.

And 2 weeks later I took a photo in to show him my stupendous study, with the swooping curve in the MDF which I cut myself, and don't forget the rounded edges. He said nothing. I suggested that he keep his sarcastic words to himself in future.


Only, now I have to undo every one of those 10,000 screws - 4 in every corner brace and they are every 6 inches apart or so. I may have gone a little overboard with the safety of the structure. I even stood on it last night. And it didn't flinch.

How on earth did I go off on such a tangent?
Bookshelves gone, doors gone, and now the shelf is out as well. The entire top left on the structure is in one piece, so that is why the computer has to move now before I carry on wielding a screwdriver
What I really want to do is to open the box with the breakfast nook in it (in pieces) and assemble the bench I will not be using in the nook, because I want that to go outside so I can put some of my pots on it. They need room to cascade. Maybe I will forget the dismantling for today and just open the box. But then there is all the dismantled wood about and what if I lose bits...............

I need more coffee.

You see, unless I finish dismantling it, I can't get a friend to decorate this area and repair the walls and get it ready for the nook to be assembled and painted and in place. Do I paint it before assembling? It is raw pine and will have to be varnished or painted, but this corner will be dark, so maybe white paint is the way to go. I have cushions read for it.

When I said prattle, I clearly meant prattle, didn't I.
The roses are enormous!
I still can't remember what was on my mind when I started writing.
Freshly dug up potatoes for Glynis
 The photos of the garden were taken before the wild winds of the past few days which have blown it all over the place. I unscrambled a couple of pots this morning before giving up and letting the winds do their thing again. They will survive. They usually do. So plants are broken, but there are loads more to take their place.

I was just thinking, as I brought down some buckets of water for the water butt, that I lead a small beige life physically. Water, aqua (there seems to be a theme here) garden, crochet, home. My days are not wildly exciting. However, the kind of life I live inside my head is like a rainbow x 100. Colourful. Extreme. Bright. Adventurous. Busy. The key thing here is to take that rainbow and set it free. Whether in words or deeds.

But right now I need to go and get some fresh bread. I need lunch, seeing that I forgot breakfast and it is now 1.30pm. The tennis will be on too.

So I will hopefully return to announce that the computer is happily settled in its new home. If I don't, you may assume the worst. But I will be back. Sometime......

I hope.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I am joining up with Lisa-Jo and the 5 Minute Friday community for the first time today. The prompt is "DANCE".........


It has been a long time since I whirled around a dance-floor. A very long time. Did I ever float the way I do in my dreams? Probably not. And now there is little chance of whirling around any kind of dance floor. Those days are almost gone, but the dreams - they remain.

But I do dance.

I dance in the water. Zumba kind of dancing. Moving to music. And I CAN dance then, you see. The fact that my leg doesn't work ceases to matter in the water. I am just like everyone else.

But in those dreams..... I watch shows like Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC and I see the hands slip around the waist and my heart hurts a little. There were times once, when hands slipped around my waist too. I remember those times. Now?

Hah. I would possibly jump right out of my skin.

Eyes dance, don't they? Laughter makes them dance. I see the mischief in the dancing eyes of my little granddaughter and I grin. How can I not? And I dance wildly with her as I stand in one spot. She laughs at my moves, and I don't care who sees - she laughs, and I laugh too........

And I rock back and forth as I hear the music and I hum along as I cook my supper and the dancing, floating, whirling memories, they cascade like a waterfall......


Drips and tennis and hello, summer..........

Well, I hope someone else watched the tennis last night apart from me. I suspect most of Europe watched the football. I watched Wimbledon, and that Nadal/Rosol match?? Unbelievable. Stunning. Amazing.

Think of one man, #100 in the world, never played at Wimbledon before, therefore never walked on to Centre Court, only won a few matches in his pro playing career, and his opponent is Nadal - #2 in the world and a blisteringly good tennis player. Cue the sympathy, people.


Nadal didn't have an off day. He is always fabulous to watch. Add Rosol, and no-one has ever heard of him, by the way, a total lack of fear and a serve which left the eyes popping, and what do you get? High drama. Rosol had a spectacularly good "on" day.

At 2 sets all, they stopped for the roof to close, and everyone thought Nadal would nail the 5th set. Hah.Wrong again. The pretender just kept hammering down serves and returns, and finally, on his first match point, he won. Nadal out. In the second round. Unthinkable. Rosol has only played three 5 set matches in his life. He has won all 3.

I was totally exhausted after that.

Watching is hard work, you know. The heart rate soars and plummets. It is like a full cardio workout, I am quite sure. I had already been up at dawn for aquazumba, and then I spent my afternoon contemplating shelves. Well, to be truthful, I took them down. 2 shelves. 12 screws. By the time the shelves with brackets still attached were on the floor, I had fogged up glasses, sweat dripping off the end of my nose, and I had exerted zero energy, because they were dead easy to remove. 5 minutes of effortless work. The sweat was a by-product of the humidity.

Oh the humidity.

The kind where roses bloom from bud to full blown beauty at 9am and you are cutting off the dead heads at 5pm. That kind. The dripping kind. Wilting kind. Today it is was cold hot and windy, but that is enough of this crazy weather, apart from the bit where I tell you that yesterday, parts of the country had hailstones the size of golf balls, parts had monsoon like rain, there were floods in other parts, and this is June. We had the wilty humid bit, for which in retrospect I am thankful.

I am strangely lethargic today. I do not do lethargic. Probably because I have not got the gene which allows you to sit and contemplate your navel, which does not bode well for the meditation type of stuff I am supposed to be doing, does it now. Hmmm.

Oooooh! I know what I can do while doing nothing - my friend Vee emailed me to say that she had been playing, and she is the one responsible for the new header up there at the top. See? So maybe I can go and play with some photos and see what I can do myself now. You know how I hate playing with templates and the like. {{Shudder}}. But who knows - I may be inspired too. Thanks, Vee - maybe this will kick start me into life for a while instead of wanting to go and nap all the time. I will watch the tennis in a while. There may be more excitement afoot - who knows....................

If I can stand all the excitement!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bath again.............

The trouble with high humidity is that you can leave the gym with beautifully smooth and silky hair, and after an hour in the garden, you look as if you have been savaged by some alien curling tongs. Well, your hair does, I mean. Ugh. That would be me as I speak. Corkscrew curls at right angles to the head. Not a pretty sight. The garden likes the humidity, though. Not so much the rain, but the warm air, absolutely. 

Jean and I had good intentions this morning. We intended to distribute the shredded paper over the compost heap at the allotment, and then turn it so it has a chance to rot down. That was before I decided that I was way too tired to get up dirty my hands before going to gym. So we didn't. Instead, I went along to collect her for aqua a little early, so we wandered round her garden and surveyed things for a while. 
Aqua was such fun, although hard work. I couldn't find my gym card anywhere when we got there, even after upending my gym bag and discovering the last 3 bathing costumes I had discarded in the bottom, but the nice receptionist knows me so let me in anyway. And I found it in my anorak pocket when I got home. It rained last Thursday. That is a relief. It is found. 
Home to sit under the apple tree with coffee and then it started raining misty rain. Where did that come from? I swear the weather report excluded the chance of rain. A rare event, but, as it turns out, they were wrong. Again. So I pottered off to check on Glynis and give her the bath bomb I bought her at Lush in Bath, and to Relate All from the trip down there yesterday. 
Bath is so beautiful. 
We arrived at 11ish after leaving just after 8 and that was not bad. It usually takes 3 to 3 and a half hours to get there, but then that is because I need to stop and walk about. Not that I do the driving at the moment. So I had an hour to show the kind friend who offered to ferry me there and back around, and  point out places I thought may appeal. And time to do a little shopping too, and wander around the crowded streets alleyways.  So many unique little places. The chain stores seem far away. The sun shone. So many people. It is the start of the high tourist season, and, with the Olympics starting in 31 days, according to the website, the country will have a great many visitors. 
So I went to my appointments, and left the hospital 2 and a half hours later, needing a nap, with a long list of stuff to do. De-sensitising exercises x 3 to be repeated 4-6 times a day. Breathing exercises. Instructions to keep on with the aquarobics and aquazumba, up the core exercises and to practice meditation and mindfulness. Right. I will be becoming a hermit, emerging only for the gym visits at this rate. However, if they work......... 
I go back next month for more training. Just for the day. Just as well I like Bath. And the people trying to help. 
 Such a pretty place. No - beautiful. A beautiful place. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chaos around here............

Does anyone know whose idea it was to move my house around????They need to be shot. I do not like chaos and chaos is what I have.  I started out by measuring repeatedly, and then shifting things about and rolling up rugs, cleaning the empty places, and getting the pathway clear to the middle of the kitchen. 
That white thing is the toybox

 piano in the middle of the kitchen. Not quite what I had in mind. Anyway, I positioned small rugs near the tiles, so the wheels of the piano could be on them and not on my floor, and then sort of got the piano to this place below.........
 And at that point, I realised that all the maths and all the wishful thinking would not get it any further. It took hours to get it that far. And also, if I pushed it any further, I would be trapped in the new study, and that would not have been good. I cannot tell you how heavy it is. It had an iron inside, I think. So I called for help, and one of my friends, Bob, came to get it into the kitchen. I had the angles and the heights and all the rest sorted, so it just had to get there, and get there it did, with the aid of the rugs.
 My tree had to move to the small table opposite the piano, next to my rocker. And after Bob left, I sat on the floor and scrubbed the scratches it left, even with the rugs, off, all the way to the door to the lounge. In fact, I was totally shattered, but could not stop. So I got the new study organised as much as I could, and on Saturday, I eased my aching bones down the stairs at 9 just before Jean arrived with scones to help me assemble the Ikea expedit shelf thingy which is now at the door of the study.
 It is the white thing at the bottom of the photo above, and I need some baskets for it. but it works. See? The new study is 99% done. All it needs is my computer. I took one look at the wires, cables, funny plug thingys and the 2 towers, 2 keyboards, camera ,2 mouses (mice?) and had a panic attack. So I stopped at that point and backed up this computer. Just In Case, because it hates being switched off. And to get it to its new home, it will have to be switched off, won't it. Joy of joys.
 I love it. Jean and I got the dangly pots on the wall in place, and I will put up a small shelf or 2 when I have the towers in place in the corner. There is a lower table there for them and the printer, so I do not have to have them on top or under the desks, and I can sit in that chair, and swivel round from desk to desk and round to the bookcases without getting up. Perfect. I have to say it works amazingly well. Or it would do if this computer could be magically transported to its new home. Like now.

And after an epic tidying,/shifting/cleaning morning, I went to a friend's 50th birthday tea. Insteasd of a party, Lesley had a tea party over a couple of days, in aid of the MacMillan Haematology Unit at our local hospital. No personal gifts, just a donation to the unit. And TEA was served.
 A REAL ENGLISH TEA!!!!! This was our table. A real proper tea with scones, and jam and cream and little cakes and sandwiches. And all the rest. This table had a great deal of gluten free food for 2 of my friends. I tasted some of it and it was delicious, I have to say. In fact we all tasted everything. Twice. Or maybe 3 times. Divine.
 There were 34 people there - all sitting at tables throughout the house and into the garden. If the weather had been better, everyone would have been outside with sunshades. But this is England, and I am still in winter garb.
And yes, I drank tea. I was at a tea party, after all.  Black tea. 3 cups of it. I had to take this photo to record the day I drank tea, because as a rule I never do. Maybe I could drink black tea more often. I will see.

And then I walked waddled home to shred more paper. I did not need any supper. At all.

And I have been shredding paper most of today. Under my desk was a mountain of papers waiting to be shredded, but I have been reluctant to shred them - I was worried that I may need something for lawyers etc, so I just let it mount up. But yesterday, I thought, for heaven's sake, in this day and age, anything they may need they can get because it is all computerised. So I shredded nearly 7 years of papers. Well, maybe 5 years. I appear to have the same mountain in my files, and that will all have to go too. The shredded paper goes into my compost, and it is brilliant.

The white toybox in the top photo has now been dragged to the sewing room, and it is sitting there in the bay window. Chaos reigns supreme in there, but that is not next in line. Yet. I have to get the computers moved. Then the old study will be dismantled, and the walls repaired and painted, hopefully by another friend who did the new study last year. (I do like all these retired people who like having jobs to do!!!)  Then we (I will rope in more friends at this point) will assemble the breakfast nook, buy a big mirror to reflect the light, hang a picture or 20 and get a rug for the floor. I think. And only THEN will we move on to the sewing room. Probably around September at this rate. 2020.

I am off to Bath to see the consultants tomorrow. They will not be deeply thrilled with the ridiculous state I now find myself in. Exhausted. But happy.An idiot. With a new study.

I would be happier if the computer was moved already, of course.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What to do next.............

No sun today, and I have been contemplating which cupboard/room I should start to clear and get sorted. The greyness outside and distinct dampness means that I should do something indoors. Hmmm. If you could just see what has to be sorted. By just showing you photos of the lounge and the kitchen, I am giving you an impression of order which is seriously, SERIOUSLY misleading.

If I start on, say the fabric cupboard, I will have to move half the sewing room piles to get to it, and then bring the fabric into the lounge and then I hyperventilate because I really try to keep the lounge presentable. The fabric sorting would mean total chaos. For days. Weeks. The up side would be that I would actually know what I had in there, and I want to group all the colours together. In fact, I want some of the fabric on the shelves, and that means clearing the shelves. Oh, give me strength. A nightmare.

Or should I get the study (new) sorted? Organised? That would mean moving the piano. Hmmm.

Or should I take the old study apart? That would mean piles of papers and nowhere to put the computer until the new study is done. Not to mention the fact that the new corner unit/breakfast area table and benches have been in a box in my kitchen for 2 years now, awaiting removal of said old study, built with my fair hands years ago.

AND the garden shed would need to be emptied, so I can get to the very bottom of it and gather up the extra tiles I would need to do the floor under the study cupboards. There were mice in there. The shed. I don't do mice. And it is wet.

Or should I empty the deck? Heaven knows what treasures I would find. Like pale blue cushions. And where do I put everything once it is sorted? Back we go to the chaos in the lounge. But if I have chaos, I will HAVE to sort it, won't I? Here is a question for the grandmothers out there. Please tell me where and how you store the toys you have for your grandchildren?? I need a playroom. At the very least. They are awkward shapes and sizes and I have no idea where to keep them. Ideas, please? (Remember, I do not have a basement or a garage. Sigh )

Or I can make more coffee......


You see, I have 3 enormous bags under the desk here, full of papers to be shredded, only I am so wary about shredding them in case I need any for the lawyers etc etc. So they stay under this desk and irritate me. I want to shred them and use the scraps for the compost heap here and at the allotment. It works brilliantly.

I want to do something.

I have been getting daily calls from people about free insulation for the loft. I know I can have it done, but the question arises then - what do I do with all the boxes in the loft?? The boxes are my insulation right now. It works just fine for me. I don't even want to consider what emptying the loft would mean to the state of chaos around here.

Clearly, I need to get organised, get rid of, give away, sell, simplify this place. However, it takes all my energy to just write the list. I am exhausted reading it. I may need a nap.

Maybe I will get my tape measure and go and measure some things.......

As you can see, I have nothing intelligent to say right now. It is patently obvious that I am procrastinating. I know this.

I may be back later. Carry on.

Hours later......

The piano is on the move. As I speak it is blocking the way to the bathroom which is not convenient. But help will be arriving in an hour. Can I just say that it has taken all morning to move it 12 inches. With frequent rests. And meticulous planning and placements of mats. Just so you don't think I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs, of course.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So we are nautical or patriotic instead of seaside......

Yesterday was the longest day. I remembered that today. And let me tell you, it is grey, wet and humid today and nothing in anyway resembling summer. Sigh. Oh well. The garden is growing at pace today. I swear the plants are inches taller than last night. I opened the door this afternoon, and the wave of humid air hit me, and I thought, yes, the plants will like this. Even if they are bent double by the weight of the raindrops. 

After an energetic aquazumba session at dawn, Jean and I whizzed off to coffee at Podington. The great garden centre place. I wanted some more of those tomato stands, and Jean was also interested in them. So coffee was the first thing on the list. I carried the tray to our armchairs, and spilled a little of my coffee, so I went back for more serviettes to mop up the mess, and voila, I sent Jean's cup flying all over the place. The mess........ Somehow it managed to miss most of Jean. Her shoes were another story. A stunning start to the day. The staff were delightful, cleaned up the mess - do you know how far coffee can spread????  Anyway, they brought a fresh cup of coffee, and ushered us to a clean set of armchairs, and I refused to touch anything on the grounds that I would cause more chaos. 

But the fruit scones were delicious. I had to eat mine before I reached very carefully for the coffee. Jean was watching. 

And on to the shops. And the pottering about. Dodging the rain. Town centres around here are so depressing at the moment. Shops closed, windows boarded up, and a plethora of charity shops. One or 2 chain stores and it is all SO depressing. I have said it before - the people look beaten. You know? Mind you, there were very few about today. People, that is. I was searching for a little red plastic chair and a table(plastic to match) for Missy - I had found the yellow, green and blue chairs a while back, but the red one was missing. Eureka! Today we spotted one, and a yellow table, and Jean, the star, carried them back to the car so I could potter on. They weigh nothing, but are just awkward to carry when one has a stick to contend with as well. The chairs stack, and they can be used outside and the rain won't damage them. And this being England, that is always a prerequisite. Actually, when I was down with A and A, we searched everywhere for little plastic chairs and tables, which were available everywhere last year, but strangely absent this year. Nothing. So when I got home, I was on a mission. 

Mission accomplished. 

While I was looking after the dogs for Glynis and Peter, I "liberated" some of their pebbles. I did confess, by the way. I had seen an idea on Pinterest I think, or somewhere on the Internet, and I wanted to make it. So I washed and dried the pebbles............
and then I sat down and wrote the names of people who matter to me on each pebble and put them in the bowl.
 And the idea is that you pick up a pebble in the morning randomly, and then keep it in your pocket all day and think about or pray for that person. The next day, you choose another one. Great idea, isn't it? And so simple. I have friends with pebble driveways. I am quite sure they won't mind me liberating more pebbles as the days go by. :-)

I like it. Pebbles/stones have a wonderfully warm feeling to them when they are kept in a pocket all day. They take on the body heat and it makes the whole thing even better. And Sharpies work perfectly on stone.

Let me know if you make your own bowl - and how you find it - I would love to hear.

Moving on then....................

My lounge.

I was aiming for the seaside look, which I still want to try, but because I couldn't find the pale blue cushions or the cream ones, I went with what was around. So I made the patterned covers, and the navy ones with the appliqued bits on them, and a couple of cream ones. After all the patriotic bunting efforts, the blue fabric just happened to be on the top of one of the piles. There are many piles. I found some of the red Christmas things, and a few bowls and flowers............
 That lighthouse is great, isn't it!
 And we now have a nautical/patriotic theme for this summer. Apt, because of the Olympics. Of course I planned it that way. Of course. In the future, I will group all the cushions in one place, so they don't go awol again, and maybe by next summer, the lounge will be painted white and the seaside look can reign supreme. I have seashells. Lots of them. And a bucket. I even have the white paint and a paintpod. Hint, hint, hint, to the painters around these parts. I am giving up on the waiting forever to get the whole house fixed before I paint. At least I have paint, and it is white. And therefore I can do it. I think it was last painted about 8 years ago. I know. Dire.
Wimbledon starts next week. You will be thrilled to know that it is supposed to rain. The whole week. 

I popped in to visit Glynis today, and she is loving being at home again. We are so happy to have her back too. She tires easily, and is very thin. I was going to say wrinkly, which is what I said to her, amid laughter and the mention of ET, but then....... She is so tiny, so any weight loss is immediately evident. I do not have this problem. Nor would I want to go through her experience either. We love her, and she is home. So it is all good. I will make it a mission to help her to regain her weight. That I am quite sure I can do. In fact, I am quite certain I am a leading expert in the putting on weight field. The delights of being me. 

Right. Time for coffee. And I do believe there is sign of sun..........................

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Every day holds magic in it.

That thought just shot into my mind a minute ago, and I knew I had to write it down. Remember the magic. The indrawn breath when I notice a new flower blooming. The way nothing in nature ever clashes. Amazing. The little things. The scent of fresh coffee. The way the sun casts golden rays across my kitchen. I did say sun. It is shining as I speak and I gather the next 4 days will be revolting, but even then, there will be magic.

It is all in the way I am looking at my life right now. My sister has had a series of trials all coming at the same time, and we talked about what was likely, what was not, when to think about panic and when to ignore, and how to see the joy. The magic. The things which make you catch your breath.

Hmmm. Maybe I didn't talk enough about that to her. I must.

I know it will rain tomorrow, so I cut some roses and they are in a vase on my table now. I look at them and grin. I know they last longer out on the bush, but the rain will make them bend and wither, so I can rather see them here inside for a few days.
Glynis is on her way home at last - another wonderful thought. Her sister graduated cum laude today in Cape Town - another reason to celebrate and smile. I popped down to the allotment this morning, because some children from the local junior school were visiting on their eco day. There was weeding to be done (by me) and the planting of some carrots too. And even though I was dripping yet again and had to use the shirt to mop the brow - I never learn, do I - it was wonderful to see the plants growing, and my new water catching pipes working too, for when the rain comes. A total joy not to have to hike down the path to reach the tap.
 And there is magic in the simple too. My latest marine ripple is almost finished and the lounge will be done. It is looking good now that I have tweeked a few of the bits in it. I like it now. Tomorrow. You can see it tomorrow. It makes me smile. See? A simple thing.
 I have a vast selection of flowers gathered over the years, and, to match the rainbow kitchen. I stuffed a multi-coloured bunch of them in a vase on the windowsill. They make me smile too.
 Ah, the magic. It is in the way I choose to see things. You see, some may be daunted by the mountains I am climbing each day, and I could well have been too. But I choose to see the challenges as a game. And I like winning when I play games. It is fun.

I love looking for bargains.Don't we all?? Looking for simple things which are either free or very nearly free. I love taking random bits and putting them together and making something original. I was just making a list for my shopping expedition with Jean tomorrow after aquazumba - she has been teaching all week and can't wait to go and play. I had 2 blue flowers on the list. Nothing special. Then I though, hang on, maybe a swirl or 2 of blue ribbon would work instead of spending money on flowers. A free solution. A game. One I delight in.

I love wandering through the charity shops and looking for particular items. Sometimes I find them. Often I don't. But it is fun. I love having an Amazon gift voucher waiting for me to press the "buy now" button. I wait. I always wait. Any gift card. I love just knowing I could do or buy something if I wanted to. I make myself wait. It is all a part of the game. And it makes me smile.

Being 58 is interesting. Hilarious at times. I have decided to view the ageing process with humour. The alternative is too depressing for words. So humour it is. You know, I have tended in recent years, toward buying boring neutral kinds of clothes. Things which mix and match and go with everything. The same kind of things. But this morning, I put on a bright tshirt and could not believe the difference. I looked 10 years younger. Maybe there is something in that "when I grow old I will wear purple" thing after all. Purple actually looks good. Neutrals drain the colour and life out of me. And I am not ready to have the life drained out of me yet. {{Shudder}}

There are still adventures to be had.

And magic to be found.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A simple day.................

2 of the 14 hanging baskets. They are starting to fill out now. I love the golden late evening light! 
I started a new aqua class this morning, and it seems to have turned my legs into dead weights. It was good though. I am off to Bath next Monday and I suddenly remembered the instructions suggestions they gave me -"the aquarobics class is good, Linds, but don't forget to do other kinds of exercise too." Oops. Well, I started off with the pilates, and then that took a hike when the flare-up happened. I have yet to attempt it again.  Ah well. Things have changed. And in time I will get back to it. Maybe I will do a gym session before Monday. We will see. Actually, now I come to think about it, one of the Bath consultants reads this, I think,  so I will have been rumbled.

It turned into a beautiful day today. After the aquarobics this morning, I went out to lunch with Peter, Glynis's husband, at Podington, a favourite garden centre. A serious garden centre. If you want answers to gardening questions, they are brilliant. I needed some tomato stands and the assistant was great - I now have 6, but could do with 6 more. I foresee a huge tomato glut this year. Again. We have been buried under tomatoes before. I love how the garden centre advisors there are all older gentlemen who have a lifetime of gardening knowledge to share. They have seen it all before!
The new tomato stands, which grip the pots and allow the cane to stand straight and keep it in place. Brilliant. 
Glynis is making progress, but it has been slow. Hopefully she will be home by the end of the week. I can't wait to see her again. I speak to her most days, and Peter keeps me updated with the in between bits. We still have her 60th birthday to celebrate. They are family - I have known them forever. And I love their boys - Humph and Dougal, the dogs. I have been with them most days. They are confused because their mum is not around. I did manage to offload some more tomato plants on Peter. That was after he also followed my example and bought some stands! Glynis is vegetarian and loves salads, so they could do with more than the 4 plants I had already given them.

Sigh. I do love growing things. My uncle and my paternal grandmother would be so proud. They were the gardening experts in the family. As I have said before, it is one way I can give back, whether in produce or plants, to my friends. And soon the first of the potatoes will be ready to dig up. I planted them in March, so the 90 days should be up soon. Mind you, a few weeks of sun would help and I do believe the sun will shine on and off this week. The highest temp in the next 5 days is 20C, but 20C seems tropical top me. I want to ditch the sweaters and fleeces and don the summer garb again. 

Mind you, the first thing I need to do tomorrow is the washing. I really want it to dry outside and not in my kitchen for a change. And it is sort of piling up as I wait for the illusive sunshine. And then there is the aquazumba class, of course. 

A simple day. Pottering in the garden, exercising, chatting to friends and sitting under the apple tree. And the doors to the garden are still open at 9pm. A miracle!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Starting to change to summer......

While the world is pondering the Greek elections, contagion, the possible demise of the euro, the EU and a Lehman style global meltdown, I think being an ostrich, switching off the news and forgetting the word "contagion" and the fact that the UK economic masters are preparing for the Worst Case Scenario, and eating chocolate while one sings loudly, is in order. That is a ridiculously long sentence. I may need to do some editing. Essentially, what I said is that eating chocolate is in order. The rest is only going to depress you so forget it and reach for the chocolate. You may not be able to afford it tomorrow.

And since when have countries (nouns) become adjectives? The GREEK elections. Not the Greece elections.

I am in the process of changing the house to summer. Yes, I know I declare summer on 1 June, but it is lost. Summer. So I waited. And this morning, I thought that maybe if I make my house summery, then it will show up. One lives in hope.

So, instead of mountaineering over the deck and trying to unearth last summer's decorations, cushion covers etc, I thought we would go red white and blue, seeing that we are patriotic and all that, and Wimbledon is not far off and the football is on as I speak. So I bought a meter of fabric, and today, I zapped up 3 cushion covers. Then I mislaid all the cream ones somewhere ( read on the deck) so I found some cream fabric and made another one. Then I was still short of matching covers, so I found some navy fabric - oh, the stash is coming into its own right now - so we now have 3 more made. I have still got to finish the ripple, but that is nearly done. The room, however, looks dead. It needs something. I know that somewhere in this house, there are little lighthouses and seagulls but can I find them? No.

So maybe it will all change to something else tomorrow.

The kitchen-family room is bright rainbow colours. That is fine and I love the way it looks. The brighter the better.

Hang on, I am going to investigate Mother's cupboard. There may be a bird up there. I am back. Nothing. Hmmm. I will have to think about this. And see what it looks like in the light of day.

So the Greeks have opted to stay in the Euro zone. I suspect that this is just the beginning. Now where did I hide that chocolate............

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Some thoughts......

The storm seems to have missed us here - there has been some rain and a lot of wind, but nothing spectacular so far. I have moved all the pots with small delicate things to the sheltered side of the garden in an effort to minimise any damage, and now I keep forgetting they are there and nearly trip over them as I prowl the perimeter. The wind is wild right now.

However, you may breathe a sigh of relief because I am not going to chat about my garden (today). No. We are going to talk about technology. It is now 19 days since I last had a working phone and I am a basket case. I say that objectively. I was on my way to aqua a couple of days ago alone, and half way there I nearly had a panic attack when I realised I had no way of communicating with anyone on me. Jean was at work, Glynis in hospital and me on the dual carriageway. How times have changed,.

Putting aside the fact that I need it with me for safety reasons, especially after cartwheeling out of my front door a while back, I seem to have become way way too dependent on technology. Phones. Computers. Other gizmos. I also realised that without my phone, I have no alarm clock in the house. How ridiculous is that. Phone numbers? On the phone. I toss out the Yellow Pages the day it arrives because I can get much more up to date information on line. Birthdays? On the phone. Appointments? On the phone. Photos? On the phone. Or the computer. Or the external hard drive - another techy thing.

Books? On a Kindle. Maps? On an iPad or phone. I do not possess an iPad or a Kindle (yet) (dreams are good) . Notes? On a phone or iPad. Maps? On a satnav. Tickets? On your phone or laptop or iPad.

And so it goes.

So 19 days without my phone have been uncomfortable ones. I have recently come across some very thought provoking articles on the web re technology. One a few weeks ago highlighted the fact that older Mums have a distinct advantage over younger ones in general (not specifically) because there were no techno gadgets around to distract one back in the dark ages. I am in no way saying that the old times are better, because they were different times. But here is just one thing which struck me. When I fed my babies, I interacted with them all the time. Maybe there was some music in the background, or, by the time the 2nd and 3rd were around, more probably the din children create, aka WW3. They were, however, live bubbling, noisy human beings. I didn't have the distractions of the iPhone, the iPad, the laptop back then.

Good grief, when my oldest son was born, video players had not been invented.

So the temptation to use feeding time as a way to catch up with the world out there did not exist. Just as well, because I am quite sure I would have been hooked up/on line/ typing away. Instead of playing with my baby's feet, and whispering stories and words to him/her. Making constant eye contact. Loving. Stroking, marvelling at the softness of the skin. Focus centred on the little one. Interacting.

And then I read an article and watched a video yesterday of a talk by a psychologist about what has happened to our boys. Especially the boys. How the computer, the games, the playing on line has taken the place of learning to socialise slowly in real life - how relationships are so lopsided because the Internet offers instant gratification. Success. And how this has interrupted the learning and social skills of  whole generations of men/boys, who are at a loss when it comes to dealing with real live girls/women and a real live world, where things take time and where life and relationships take hard work and develop slowly.  Everything you do in a game is within your control. Even time. Real life is not like that. Most certainly not. There is huge international concern about the boys to men development change at the moment.

The good and the bad. There are always opposite sides to a coin, aren't there?

But for every day you are entranced by a small screen with a touch pad or mouse or tracker pad attached, remember that these are days/hours/moments you will never get back again. Don't waste them in a virtual world. Take a step back into  the real world.

The Internet can stop you from becoming content in your own skin, you see. You can re-invent yourself as many times as you like. You can forget the irritations of life. You can step into a virtual world. Be invincible.

But a virtual world will not give you hugs or catch you when you fall. Nor will it be the bride or groom standing next to you. The virtual me doesn't feel or weep real tears. The real me does.

From the dawn of the blogging age - and I was here back then - we kept our real selves separate from our on line selves. Often blogging under different names. Never saying where we lived. Hiding photos of ourselves. And slowly that has changed for a great many of us over the years. The advent of Facebook combined with the blogging world and all of a sudden All Was Revealed. Now we all know who we are. Almost all. And so re-inventing one's self is now a great deal more complicated.

By the way, I am in no way saying that the Internet is bad. Far from it. I need it as much as the next person. Maybe more at times. Children need it - a superb learning tool. But using it wisely is the key.


If the WWW is keeping anyone from interacting (with FULL attention) with their loved ones, their friends, their pets, or their neighbours, maybe it is time to re-evaluate and step away. Switch off. Unplug. Totally focussing our attention on the people in our lives and not on that little screen. These 24 hours which make up today will be gone before we know it, and they will never be back again. Precious moments.

So. My phone came back.

I have spent the last 7 hours setting it all back up again. Downloading apps and signing in, out, up the creek and round the bend with everything. My eyes can't focus any more, and no, I did not back it all up on the Cloud because I didn't think I would drop it on its head, did I.


I have done it all manually. 7 whole hours of my life. For what? For knowing I can call someone if I fall over? For being able to be in touch with the world 24 hours a day? To be able to check Facebook and comments here in bed before I go to sleep? More emails?

What the heck am I doing????

The past 19 days, I have had to call people and actually speak to them in person. And this has led to some really interesting and fun conversations. I have called in to see people instead of just texting a message. A novelty. It has been incredibly inconvenient at times, and it takes far more time, but good grief, there have been moments when I have been out and when no-one on earth could have got in touch with me.

The sky, I am happy to report, did not fall in.

(Forget what I said about not chatting about my garden at the beginning. I changed my mind.)

Do you remember back when Facebook was still in its infancy, you could plant a garden. A virtual garden. People gave you plants they bought with coins amassed. A simple garden. I had fun playing that back then. However, I have far more fun, and far more trials and tribulations too, planting my real garden. It takes time, though. I loose patience now and then. I worry about the weather. But would I swap it for a virtual garden of perfection? Absolutely not. That play garden didn't have lily beetle, potato rust, worms, slugs, snails and a host of other things which ate your plants. Nor did it have blackspot and broken branches. It didn't make me wail. It didn't make me mad. It didn't bring such joy at so much beauty that you could cry. My hands are a gardener's hands. My nails are history. I loathe squirrels.

In that perfect garden, I would never have found a rogue courgette plant growing by mistake in a bed of delicate little daisies. Nor would I have found a butternut squash plant in a wall trough of beautiful flowers. (I told you I have clearly lost my mind on occasion while potting up things.)

There is beauty in imperfection.

The jury is still out on the courgette, though. I think its days are numbered.

And I have been chatting far too long. I need to go and walk in the wind outside and see what damage has been done to my garden. The real one. I do believe the words ran away with me today.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Colour at last.............

 The sun has decided to shine ( albeit sporadically) today and my garden has finally woken up. It is such a delight to wander outside and see the little flowers starting to bloom all over the place. Colour at last! I am trying to restrain myself right now - I hate gaps, and , with a full-ish greenhouse, I could plug them, but I know the little plants will spread out and more than fill the gaps, but....... Sigh. That is just how I am. I want overflowing abundance in my garden. You know how seed packets say "plant 50cm apart". Hah. I always ignore that. So I have planters \t my door with 20 french beans vying for space, and they always do wonderfully well. I think plants are sociable. They don't like being alone.
 On a totally different subject, between writing the last bit and now, I have had yet another scam call from someone - always an Indian man - telling me that he is calling from Microsoft and warning me that there is something horribly wrong with my computer. The first call I had a few weeks ago, I called my son on my mobile during the scam call and he told me to put the phone down immediately. His neighbour had been a victim of the scam. And I have heard of more and more people falling for it.

Anyway, I told the man I knew it was a scam and put the phone down, then called Microsoft. As it happens, in India. But at least I know it was Microsoft. The lady I spoke to said it was a definite scam and she took all details and told me that Microsoft will NEVER call anyone direct. Also, she gave me the details of a website here in the UK Action Fraud and asked me to call and report it. So I did. The really helpful man said that this is a very busy and well  known scam and took all the details to add it to the police computer. The scammers apparently target areas, so local people, be aware, and please warn your neighbours and friends. Just tell the "man from Microsoft" that you are aware of the scam and put the phone down. There is nothing wrong with your computer.


I get SO MAD when I hear of scams and of people losing their money. Bigger screech.
 After a rocky few days, Glynis seems to be making progress at last. She actually called me yesterday, which was a sign of a significant improvement. She is still in hospital and I am off to play with her dogs in a sec. It will be so good when she finally comes home. We all miss her. The aqua ladies too.
Speaking of aqua, Jean and I went along to the ordinary aquarobics class yesterday taken by the new teacher. Well. It was beyond dire, and we didn't know what we were doing. Absolutely awful and the music was appalling. I will give next Wednesday another try and may well switch to another day and another teacher. Our lovely teacher still takes the aquazumba classes, thank heavens. But the Wednesday one......hmmmm. Maybe she is just finding her feet. We will see.

I am quite sure I was going to write something edifying today. However, my brain has been scrambled by the fury, so it is probably best to report back in later when I have done a lap or 2 of the garden. I hope your Thursday is a happy one!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lists to think about........

Yes. Rain. Wetness. But, Hallelujah, no wind today.
 For Christmas a couple of years ago, I gave Glynis a One Line a Day Diary. She is so like me in that she wants to record her life in one crafty way or another - and I thought she would love it. She did/does. So, because I was not going to spend the money and because I wanted to do this too, this year I bought a notebook and started listing the days and making space for the years. Half way though the year, and I am doing fine. However, keeping one's daily entry to one line is slightly difficult. Impossible.

I was discussing the woefully wet and windblown (love the alliteration!) state of my garden with a friend over the weekend, and decided to go back here and see what last year and the year before and the year before that looked like, and 2 days later, after many happy hours reading about my life in past years, and remembering all the bits I didn't put into the blog, the light bulb started flashing in my brain. 

I don't need a One Line a Day Diary. I already have something approximating that right here. Admittedly, it is not every day of every year, but it is close enough. And I already have over 6 years recorded here, with some photos too. 

Do you ever think about that? Yes, of course, I evolved into a recorder of days/dreams/life/memories over time. At the start, it was just a way to stay in touch. Now, however, it is so much more, and when the muse takes a hike, and I cannot for the life of me think of what to write, I will remember the One Line a Day idea. I will carry on doing the notebook, though, because maybe that will act as a prompt when I can't think of what to talk about. And I like the notebook. AND it is lighter than a laptop, and carrying a laptop about the countryside is not for the weak and feeble. Not that I am in any way weak and feeble, of course, and I am trundling off at yet another tangent right now, but you know what I mean. That is why an iPad has such appeal at this precise moment. Another tangent. 

But the notebook will slip into my bag, and it will do fine. 

The weekend seems to have flown by so fast - there was a little sun, and a Saturday of no rain, so I spent most of it in and out of the garden taking out the dead and cutting back the broken after our Traidcraft Coffee morning. The wind did the most damage by blowing the young plants about and then creating holes in the soil around the roots and allowing them to be exposed to the less than tropical temps, I think. Anyway, the garden bin is filling up. There were many sighs of resignation, but my garden will keep growing I hope, and the gaps will be filled. 

Yesterday, Jean and I were on coffee duty, so we hauled our numerous bags and carriers of cakes and goodies (mainly Jean's efforts) to church and afterwards, I went to her home for lunch and my first glimpse of her Nepalese photos. I want to see every single one. We are almost halfway through now and it looks absolutely stunning. Everest? Breathtaking. 

Last night, I went to have supper with Peter, because he was following a recipe for cannelloni for the first time, and he did a wonderful job. It was delicious. I suspect there will be more recipe following in the days to come, and Glynis would have been totally impressed. She is slowly coming on. One step forward and 2 back at times, but we all remember the last time or 2 and this is the pattern of healing from a stomach op. In a way it is a pity she is down in London, because I can't pop in and see her, but in another, she gets very tired, so just having her family around her is all she can cope with at the moment. We all just want her to be healed and home and happy and healthy. Good grief. The alliteration bug is on a roll today. 

The rain is falling, but there is no wind. The foul weather is set to stay for the rest of June apparently, but I try to ignore that little bit of information and rely on the state of the sky when I get up each day. Today it is wet. Very wet. 

My friend, Crystal, is doing a "Lists of 2012" thing once a week on her blog. Lists can be so fascinating, and they show so much of who we are. I am not doing it, quite obviously, here at RCR, but I am doing it in another notebook. I love notebooks. The physical writing down of stuff is a real delight at times. Otherwise we will lose the use of the fingers and our handwriting skills will start to resemble those of a toddler. Hmmm. I could go off on another tangent here too. 

So just think of some of these prompts - 
  • Favourite things to do when I am alone 
  • Least favourite smells 
  • Courses I'd like to take 
  • Things to do when it is raining outside 
  • 10 children's books I love 
  • Things I miss 
  • Places I have lived 
  • and on and on. 
In fact, each prompt could be the title of a really interesting post. I love lists. I make them all the time, and am well known for leaving the shopping list at home when I go shopping. So, when I was wandering about the halls of Amazon browsing, one cold, wet and windy night, I found a section of Listography journals, and ordered one, based on the reviews. It is designed for the young, I admit, but I can work around that. 

Lists include:
  • The most memorable friends
  • Fun things you have done in your town
  • The ways you have changed since your teens
  • Your past jobs
  • Most embarrassing moments
  • Favourite songs
  • Live bands you have seen (I thought that was for the young until I started remembering. I saw the Seekers when I was very young, and Francoise Hardy - does anyone remember them???) 
Again, things to make you think, record, and then perhaps to write about. I think lists are fun. Have any of you ever bought a book of lists, or considered starting one? Apart from Crystal, of course!

Ah well, enough of the chattering. I have some trousers to shorten for a friend's grandmother. And another crochet project to work on, and Glynis's dogs to look after and coffee to make and......

Friday, June 08, 2012

This is like November.............

One of my roses. I cut all those in flower and brought them inside. Just as well.
Oh, my poor, poor garden. We have appalling winds and more rain and I tried to save things this morning, but had to admit defeat. Branches of the roses snapped, young plants torn off at the roots, flowers blown away. Everything has been hammered by the winds, and it will have to just be what it is.

So dispiriting.

The bunting along the house was tossed into the gutter, and it got caught under the clips and was soaking wet and filthy. Fortunately, a friend popped in and climbed up and got it down for me, and I have washed it and it is now dripping onto my kitchen floor from the airer. And I just can't bring myself to see what else is wrecked, because the winds are due to get stronger tonight. The next 5 days do not look good at all.

I popped into town with Jean to get some slug bait this morning. We also managed to visit the new M&S Simply Food shop, which is always good, and checked out the price of decking at the DIY store too. I want to build raised beds for the allotment next year. I need 18 planks of decking to have 3 raised beds. It will have to wait. The plan is to drill the holes and get everything ready to put together down there in the autumn, and fill the bottoms with my compost for the winter, and loads of shredded paper and grass cuttings. But the planks are on offer right now. Hmmm.

Anyway. Where was I.......

At Andrew and Ann's home, I needed something to do with my hands in the evenings, so on my exciting bus adventure, I popped into John Lewis and bought a ball of wool. I already had a crochet hook with me. Of course. I am prepared. I had seen a summer wreath at Attic 24, and decided to do one while I was there. One ball of stripey wool.
So I crocheted away, and in an evening, I had a longish piece. Ann and I went to Hobbycraft, and I found a cheap polystyrene ring, and had to yank out about 10 rows to make it fit snugly.
The stripey wool worked well, given that I was not going to go and buy 12 balls of different colours.
Then I unravelled the rest of the wool and cut and joined separate colours and made some flowers and leaves, and..............
pinned them in place.

There you are. Not quite in Lucy's category, but it looks great and I am pleased with it. I have been in a bright flowery mode for a while now - before I left for the southern excursion, I had been making dozens of flowers and hanging them on my tree. See????

With bright little buttons in the centres. They look super and they go with my rainbow bunting. That is up for summer indoors now. I haven't changed the rest of the house yet, just the kitchen/family room. I lose the will to live when I think of the piles of stuff I need to sort on the deck before I find the summer colours, so maybe I will do a different thing this year. Watch this space.
Glynis is making steady progress - she was out of bed for a while today, and I spoke to her this morning too. She sounded a little woozy, but it was good to hear her voice. I have been looking after their dogs and waiting for their tiler today. And trying to avoid watching Roger lose in Paris. Sigh. And the phone has been ringing and it is my brother-in-law's birthday today.

I am off to have a nap on the couch. I will be back tomorrow......