Monday, June 29, 2009
It is HOT people. HOT. And there is not the slightest hint of a breeze and humidity is high. Do not mention flies. They seem to be feeling the heat too, so have moved indoors.
And I have bookclub here tonight. I may suggest we all sit on the tiles on the kitchen floor. Or under the garden sprinkler.
I spent the morning taking Glynis to the hospital for a procedure - see - we take turns visiting hospitals with each other.
Now I am off to find something cold to drink. I will be back.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
So what was I saying then....
It is great, you know - you decide that you will need potatoes in a couple of days, so you stop watering one pot, and they are not all muddy when you upend it. Voila!
Friday, June 26, 2009
The sun shone.
The sun disappeared.
Gentle rain fell on the village.
The rain stopped.
The rain stopped.
And that was in the space of a couple of hours. I do believe the sun is due to shine again today. Sometime. This is the time I always wish I had some water-butts attached to my drain pipes to save water for the garden. Memo to self: Get water-butts asap.
The photos of the vast expanse of growing things yesterday were of the allotment, down at the bottom of the village. I think I have mentioned before that our gardens are very small, so some of us rent allotments to grow things. My garden is absolutely packed with things, and as I said, I will show you photos when all the buds open. I love it. The allotment is different. My friends use it because I simply cannot do it myself. Not now. We share the produce.
I have lost one of my favourite earrings. I lost it somewhere between the pool and home yesterday, and despite trips to try to find it, I can't. Sigh. What on earth is the use of one earring, I ask you??? I am sure most of us have plenty of single ones lying about. Useless.
More torrential rain.
Yes, I know, I should switch this off in thunderstorms, but I think it is a few miles away. At least I will not have to water the garden this evening! OOps. Maybe it is a little closer than I thought. I am off....
Thursday, June 25, 2009
But it is still The Allotment. My allotment. Geoff's Allotment. And my friends, Margaret and Derek, and John, have done most of the work. Geoff would have been thrilled at the way it looks now. On Saturday, it will be 3 years since he was admitted to the hospital with a heart which was falling apart. 10 days later, he died. It seems just like yesterday, you know.
Have a look at this hanging basket. It is not a stunning photo, but I wanted you to see the lettuce (ever-lasting lettuce - you keep picking the leaves you want for each meal, and it keeps growing) and there in the centre, is a small rosemary plant. Together with the flowers. I have about 7 lettuces in the hanging baskets and then more in pots. It is SO easy! Parsley also looks great in hanging baskets. I have gone for total colour this year, and when they are all in bloom, I will show you more photos.
The strawberries and cream are ready and waiting. Maybe tomorrow, I think. Meringues too. I went to aqua today and worked incredibly hard, so tomorrow will be a floppy day. I may even relax in my garden.....
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It took us just over 3 hours to get there, and then we found that instead of being a bit late for appointment #1, I was actually 3 hours early. They gave me the wrong time. I did actually wonder why it said 10pm. So we popped out for muffins and hot chocolate. Total sugar rush, but divine.
Anyway, I digress.
I saw the doctor in charge first. While she is delighted with my physical side - ie the exercise, aqua, walking etc etc, she is less than enchanted with my failure to pace myself, relax, rest, etc etc etc. LESS than delighted. Not surprised at all, though. I think she knows me quite well. She grinned when I confessed, and said she had a good idea what the physio and OT were going to say to me. So did I. I am apparently doing way too much. When she heard that I had intended to drive there myself, she flipped.
I had many questions. And she gave the answers. We are now at the stage where it is all about managing the CRPS. We are not talking about it disappearing. I am not quite ready for that yet. And there will be no more IVG (worm thingys) because "we are too far down the road for that now". Trying acupuncture is a good idea. I start in July. And I can try coming off the meds, which was my question, and see if I can tolerate the pain. So I will give it a go one of these days.
Then I went to the trial appointment - for research tests. I was a star. Then to the psychologist, who was less than thrilled altogether. Too much stress, too little rest, too much activity, too little asking for help, too much independence, too little pacing blah blah blah. And she said under no circumstances was I anywhere near being able to go back to work. And I need more appointments.
Then the physio and OT. Hahahahahaha. I am walking better, and am very good at desensitisation. But they won't give me any more physio stuff to do because I overdo it all and fail to monitor myself, pace, relax etc. Great to get the one part right, but now have to focus on the other. And they will all see me again in a few months, and I had better be good at pacing. I also forgot that they had told me I had to select one day a week and make it uniquely mine. Spoil myself, do what I want to do, focus on me etc. I forgot it was a whole day thing. Hmmm. I also raced into a shop before I saw them and bought a necklace and scarf for myself. So I had something to show them. They liked them, but saw straight through the fact that I had failed miserably on this front.
It sounds trivial in a way - taking time for myself. But they are aware of the momumental challenges I face, and they are also aware that I am a Type A personality, and that I bury myself in activity till I exhaust myself, so that I don't have the time or energy to think. I focus on this moment, not on tomorrow. Some may call it hiding or denial.
To have a good chance at healing, it has to be an end to the "boom or bust" way I am doing things. The single most important thing is pacing myself. So I need to examine all activities. For example, gardening. I have to time how long it takes for the pain to become dire. Then take that time and halve it. So the maximum time I will be able to garden will be that baseline. Half the time it takes to become excruciating. It makes sense. I will do it. And I have to do that with everything. Even sitting here at the computer. And then I have to sit with a friend and plan the week ahead, making sure that if I have something like aqua, I do not have anything energetic on the day before or after. That I plan in daily relaxation, with cds or things like that. Shut myself away and make it a part of my daily routine.
Anyway. I went, and it was good feedback which I needed to hear. My knuckles are rapped. Fair enough. Weird to be sitting there in front of 2 young women, my daughter's sort of age, being told off. But Glynis sat there and grinned and if I didn't confess enough, she volunteered details. Great friend!
We did have fun looking at some shops, and buying a few bits and pieces, and planning a return for a break there. It is such a beautiful city. And we got home, after one traffic jam, at 7pm. I was totally wiped out. Totally. It had been a long day. But I will be working on what I have been told to focus on.
And I now need a TomTom. My life is incomplete without one. I had such fun playing with Glynis's one in the car. It kept me occupied.
Now I am off to watch Wimbledon. There is no rain! Time to celebrate summer! I will be resting. See - I can do this. I will relax and watch tennis for the next 2 whole weeks. I may sip Pimms and eat some strawberries and cream while I do the resting bit too. It will be a struggle, but I will overcome......!
England in the summer.....
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The British Grand Prix is over, it is Father's Day, and the birds are chirping out side my door. Loudly. I can smell tomato on my hands from tying up the plants, and basil which I have growing next to my sink......the smells of summer. It is a year ago today that I heard that I was going to be a Granny too.
I spoke to my neighbour, and we have compromised. She was sorry re the garden, but loves the squirrels, so she has agreed to finish the pack of seeds she has now and then stop feeding till winter. I can live with that. She has had no trouble in her garden. Of course not. Those pesky rodents are not stupid, and wouldn't dream of digging up her place. Mine? Open season. But I have a clever defence front, people. I have empty plastic shopping bags tied all over the place billowing and rustling in the breeze. It looks totally stunning, but so far it seems to have worked. Maybe I should patent my invention - Squirrel Scarer.
Tomorrow I am off to Bath again for the day. Loads of back-to-back appointments to see how things are going. It will be a long and exhausting day, and I still ahve to compile my lists of questions, and also my 12 things I did to spoil myself. Hmmm. I had better get moving. Slowly. And Wimbeldon is starting tomorrow! What a delight.
Oh - I nearly forgot...... yesterday it was a year ago that I wrecked my knee. A year. I can't believe it is a whole year. 365 days. It has not been stellar. But hopefully this time next year, I will have a different story to tell!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
But that did not stop the village from turning out in force......
Friday, June 19, 2009
So mother helpfully suggested that I should replace all my aging electrical appliances while the recession is running, because they are really cheap at the moment. Hmmm. Good idea had I got unlimited funds. I did look at the dishwashers longingly, but hey, they are not essential, and my old one is still in place, albeit dead. There is no gap in the kitchen looking weird. I can get my hands wet a while longer.
And David dispatched the old one to the tip for me, so that is excellent. Sigh. I am happy. I am grinning. I have a washing machine.
The village festival is in full swing, and I hobbled round the labyrinth at the school this afternoon, and then wandered through the Art Exhibition. So much talent about.
And now if you will excuse me, I have to go and pat my new washing machine.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
So I stopped at a friend's house on the way back and had coffee to recover. And then I came home and a SQUIRREL HAD BEEN DIGGING UP MY CARROTS. And 4 other places. What gall. I was less than happy. I have now got netting staked out over all the vulnerable seedlings and the carrots are now in the fortress. And I will patrol all night.
The good news is that Jean called to tell me that one of the washing machines on my short-list is on sale, so I will be at the shop at dawn to acquire one. At the nice man shop too. Just pray they still have one in stock for me.
This week is our village festival, and there is loads on at the moment. Tomorrow I will go to the art exhibition in the Methodist hall, and then on Saturday it is the Village Carnival. There is also a Labyrinth at the school, which Glynis has been involved in setting up so I will explore that as well. And the weather is supposed to be reasonable. Hooray!
I will of course, have to get a babysitter for my garden to scare off the rodents and other unwanted visitors, like the cat which thought my lettuces would make a nice bed. Sigh. The trials one faces......
What I have not told you is that Geoff's inquest may have to be re-opened. New evidence. This requires mega upheaval, and things like fiets and permission from the attorney general. And it appears after a phone call I made this morning, that I apparently know more than even the Coroner's officer investigating the whole thing. Research. I am really good at that. So that is a little peek at what may well lie ahead for me. This time, though, I will have a lawyer do it. A step too far for me and a whole lot more complicated, not to mention that there are others involved and this will inevitably arouse considerable interest in the Pr*ess.
Over the past 3 years, and yes, it is nearly 3 years since he died, I have had to don a legal hat I never wanted to wear. And I swear I really regret not training as a barrister. It would have made a lot of things a lot simpler. But I didn't, and there is no use wailing, so I do the best I can. I want it to be over. Finished. It is way too long. And it has been a traumatic and devastating time for me and for my children. It is time. And I will do what I can to make that time come as soon as possible.
Then - finally - I can allow myself to actually start the grieving process which I have squashed away in a dark hole somewhere for so long. I know the answers now, I think. They do not make pretty reading. But I will have done everything and more he would have expected me to do.
So you see, the stress levels have been up there in the stratosphere, and blogging about every day stuff has been very difficult. How I long for the time when I do not have to edit every word I write, or thought I have. I heard about this, by the way, the same time that ridiculous doctor told me I had CRPS - or as he so succinctly put it - "something is wrong in your brain". Well, there is nothing wrong with my brain. But the combination of the 2 things together has been cataclysmic. I am just an ordinary woman. My limits of endurance have been very sorely tried indeed. One day soon, though, it will be over. I will not allow them to drag things out any more. The line has been crossed.
Don't you just love all the cliches?? I could come up with dozens.
I had no intention of writing all this today. I am off to aqua in a second, and I will hopefully return with some amusing prattle.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I did indeed go and look at household appliances today. In the rain. Looked being the operative word. But I did get new phones for the house - the landline variety, so I can tick one thing off the list which seems to grow by the day. The salesperson at one shop was delightful, knowledgeable and helpful, but his washing machines were pricey. The one at the other shop asked me to teach him about washing machines, and was less than stellar in all departments. So I left.
Sigh. If this rain continues I could just toss everything out into the garden and let nature take care of things, couldn't I....
Yes, my friends, we do have liquid detergent here, and washing in cold water is anathema to the British. As I have said before, I was doing that 20 years ago in SA, which was technologically very advanced in comparison. And I will be doing that here once I decide on the washing machine. Maybe in the next century or so.
And in case you think my life is totally boring (which it may well be), I have also taken Mum to the doctor today, then out to tea with friends, done the food shop, checked out w/ms, done a little garden pottering, cooked supper for 4, entertained 2 friends this evening, done exercises, and contemplated making a table cloth to match the bright and cheerful chair cushions. The material is now in a heap on the floor. AND I have deadheaded flowers, tidied up, sorted mail, answered phones, and a zillion other small things. See?? I paced myself.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Mind you, I seem to have a rogue cat who is taking up residence. This is not a disaster as the pigeons stay away, thank heavens, but today I found 2 dead birds (medium brown ones) in the drive. Not what I need to discover before I have had my first cup of coffee. And there is no-one but me to dispatch them either. Men do have their uses, you know. In times gone by I would just have called the man of the house. Sigh. Yuk.
You know how I talk about pacing a great deal??? My nemesis. Well, Glynis told me today that she had had a chat about me to her friend who works with people in a great deal of pain, and he says that the single most important thing to learn is pacing. You see, when I have a good day (-ish) I want to keep going and do loads. And then come the next day, I find I can't do a tenth. Like today. My word, I have been catatonic. Every part of me aches, and when I sit down and relax, it all hurts even more, so I keep moving, because it is easier, and what is the bet that tomorrow I will feel even worse. I need to get to grips with this pacing thing. It is a known fact, Glynis reports, that people who are used to taking control find it monumentally difficult to pace their lives. Yes. Well. That would be me. The idiot.
Tomorrow I am going in search of a washing machine. Enough is enough. I will find one I like. I am reasonable. All I want is one which:
- washes at very low temps, like cold,
- which has a good spin speed,
- and which has a quick and speedy wash.
There is an advert on TV for a washing powder which washes at 15 degrees C which is about tap water temp. This is eco friendly and so I started looking for machines which wash at temperatures lower than 30 for ordinary washes. They are few and far between. So I called the washing powder manufacturer and they are unable to tell me which machines they tested on the low temp. What??? Hello? I want to know what machine to buy? They can't tell me. So then I called all manufacturers, and whoever I get on the phone has no idea which ones wash on low temps. They are mainly men on the helplines. I do believe that none of them have ever used a washing machine. Ever. This has taken more hours than you would believe, all the looking and searching and calling, and in the meantime, my dear long-suffering friends happily let me use their machines when I am desperate for clean everything.
But I will not be defeated. Oh...the other pre-requisite is that it is a reasonable price, as in very cheap. I am so easy to please. Really I am.
And then I did mention that my Dyson expired in a ball of fire, didn't I? Well, I saw a cute little vacuum cleaner at Ikea, and then when I went to buy it yesterday, discovered that, with all David's things in the car, I would have had to strap either my son or my mother to the roof if I had wanted to actually get it into the car. This was not feasible as we were about to negotiate the M25 and the M1 in torrential rain. If you have never been to the UK, the M25 and the M1 are two of the busiest motorways in the world. Avoidance is a good option at all times. So I remain vacuum-less.
The same shops which sell washing machines also sell vacuum cleaners, so you never know, tomorrow may be the day I find something special. Good grief. Don't you just HATE spending money on things like this? Things we take for granted and expect to work? Now new carpets would be great. Or a wood-burning stove. Or a laptop. Or new bannisters. But a hoover and a washing machine? Give me strength.
And on that stellar note, I will depart for the Land of Nod. I have no intention of dreaming of domestic appliances either.
Monday, June 15, 2009
- Just been to collect my son from uni. He is home for the summer, and my house has shrunk.
- Had my oldest son, his wife and Missy here for the weekend which has meant many tours of the garden to look at flowers with a little girl. Many walks with this Granny pushing the pram, bbq, food, fun and loads more....
- And I let them use my room as there was more room for the pram and other baby paraphenalia, and slept in David's room, rolled over in the night and whacked my leg on the wall. Not clever. At all.
- So I have not had much sleep
- But I took loads more photos. This child must be the most photographed little girl in the universe.
- Been to aqua and loved it. We had a really good session on Thursday. I can still feel the pain.
- Been pottering in the garden, watching things grow.
- Tasted the first peas on the allotment straight from the pod. Sweet!
- Been to a fund-raiser tea party for a friend who is going on a Tearfund mission to Zambia.
- Helped the Garden Fairy cut out another quilt and made a mistake cutting it so....
- Assembled the quilt for her, square by square instead of her strip method as penance.
- Made bright cushions for my garden chairs.
- Cooked, watered, cleaned
- Had friends round for coffee
- Been out for a cream tea to celebrate my birthday
- Been to Costco
- And Ikea
- Taken Mum to the doctor for check ups. I cannot begin to describe what her face looked like after a few days. Well, I have photos, but am not about to post them. She would shoot me. She then got a diabolical cold, coupled with mega hay-fever, and she was a real mess. But happily, she is recovering well, and came on today's expedition. She is very touched by all the messages and concern. Thanks so much.
We have had rain and sun and more sun and more showers, and it has been humid, so the garden has just taken off in a big way. I love it. A friend asked me yesterday if I was doing the garden to prove that I was Mother Earth to my family. Seeing as just about everything else I have been used to doing well has disappeared from the horizon at the moment. I answered no. I have sown this garden from seed. For many reasons, but the most important ones are to see if I could grow things here at home in a small space. And to grow vegetables and fruit as a money saving venture. Seeds cost very little. I can eat my garden. Well, most of it. I have hanging baskets of tomatoes, and also of flowers. But in the flower ones, there are herbs like rosemary and also lettuces. I am inventive here.
And the garden is a "doing" thing. Not just a "thinking" thing. It doesn't matter if I move slowly. Things grow. Think of it as therapy! I am off to Bath to the hospital next Monday for a review of my progress, and I have appointments all day. I have loads of questions too. I have to have a list of things I have done which are solely for me - spoiling myself. And you know, the garden is right up there at the top. I just tend to do things to excess. Sigh. I really need to sort that one out. I have to have 12 things on the list minimum. Hmmm. Having my hair done could be one. Going to Switzerland. 2. Garden - 3. Hmmm. I have a week.
There are so many "fronts" open in my life at the moment. Some I can talk about and others I can't. Most of them are unbelievably challenging. I handed over one of the issues which arose to an expert, and he had that sorted in days. It was a salutory lesson in relinquishing control. I have a hard time not being the one in control.
So there you have it. A synopsis of the week.
Monday, June 08, 2009
My birthday feast at my brother-in-law's restaurant. Schnitzel. Totally delicious!
You have to look at that rabbit. This is the rabbit I brought back from Switzerland in my hand luggage. It is like a duvet, said my sister. Squash the air out and it will fit in. You had to see this to believe it. Diana took one look at my hand luggage which weighed very little but was rounded, and said "If you get stopped and that rabbit explodes out of the bag, I have never met you in my life". Fortunately the rabbit and I made it through with no complications. It was big enough to merit a seat of its own on the plane. And Missy loved it. She can snuggle up with it for years to come. And that is Mother - before the Unfortunate Incident With The Steps.
I have to tell you about today's disaster. Mother, out in the garden with me, tripped and fell up the steps. UP the steps. She now looks as though she has gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson, and I will be waking her every hour of the night to check she is alive and well. She broke her glasses, and bashed her head, and the glasses grazed her cheek, nose and lip, and not to mention the leg being scraped, or the giant egg on her grazed forehead....... Tomorrow she will be all the colours of the rainbow. Gee. I look after my 83 year old mother well. I took her to the doctor and they checked her out and I just have to watch her. She is now banned from the garden. Or the steps anyway. This house is a disaster zone. Sigh. So let's look at Swiss photos again........
Ok, so there you are. I will post more tomorrow. You know me. I have loads.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
- I have a cold.
- I feel like death.
- My daughter is in Hong Kong on her way back to NZ.
- I am exhausted.
- I am miserable.
- I have been to Switzerland.
- I finally got rid of Geoff's car
- And that precipitated a visit from the police at 4.30am while we were away because it was in an "incident". The neighbours were panic stricken.
- I am now viewed with suspicion by the rest of the neighbours after repeated visits from the police while we were away
- My leg is not behaving. This could be because I have done way too much.
- Pacing and I will never be partners
- My garden is growing
- There are loads of photos
- Missy is a star
- I want to be in Switzerland
- I had a lovely birthday - thanks for all the emails and messages. I was in Switzerland
- I had to say goodbye to Diana yesterday
- All my kids, and my Mum too were together on Thursday night
- I managed to walk miles in Switzerland. With poles
- It is freezing
- And I am in a mood
- And the building behind my house appears to be enormous. I think the floors of the garage and store room are level with the middle of my kitchen window. I am not impressed.
- But hey - I am back.
I will try to find the photos and post many. And I will also atempt to write now and then if there is anyone left out there waiting for the pealrs of wisdom to fall from my fingers. Did I mention that I seem to have a strange bone in my thumb which has appeared from nowhere? I also wish I could breathe. This is a major irritation. I hate colds.
I have had the most wonderful time with Diana. It is so rare that we get to be in the same place, and she has also managed to see the whole family, flop around at home in pjs, spend time in London with her old friends, and catch up with family friends. 3 of them have made special visits so they could see her, and she is totally bowled over by the love around here. And I have watched her, looked at her and tried to store up all the moments in my memory. And on film. I have not been near the computer for ages, and it will be strange getting back into the habit of posting. I have missed you all. Enormously. I don't know what is going on in your lives, and I will be doing the rounds to catch up in the next week. It is back to normal from Monday for me.
Provided I can breathe........