Friday, October 29, 2010


It’s been a funny week. Lots to be thankful for – MTL’s wound healed, a harmless mole removed, back together again in our bedroom and the patient eating and sleeping well. And yet I feel flat and devoid of inspiration.

I’m reminded of History when we were taught that revolutions never happen when things are at their worst – but when they start to improve. Don’t worry – I’m not about to revolt although I do feel angry that those of our grandchildren who go to University will leave with enormous debts. Our children didn’t and the men responsible for the present situation didn’t. What a mess! It’s a bit late in the day to get uptight about politics so I’ll pipe down.

Some of you may remember when an old friend – aged 90 came to coffee and when we asked her if she regretted anything said she wished she had slept with more men. Recently she moved to a care home and one of the girls visited and found her happily settled and playing scrabble with a new man friend. She passed away last week and I’m so glad she was enjoying the last few months. Rest in peace dear C.

We are still waiting to hear when the chemotherapy will start so I should snap out of this lethargy and do something positive . Any ideas?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I must have looked silly when I used to sing this as a little girl and now when it's relevant I can no longer sing. Still love it tho'.
It was written in 1934 - music Sigmund Romberg lyrics Oscar Hammerstein. I listened to Gracie Fields, Nelson Eddy, Linda Ronstedt and Nat King Cole - then chose this one.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Autumn on Exmoor

The heather and gorse are over for this year and there is a carpet of russet colured furze

Little pools for the wild ponies.

The deep combes so typical of Exmoor. The dark rise in the distance ,which sometimes looks navy blue is the highest point - Dunkery Beacon. I have my back to the sea and Wales. Nothing personal:)
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Autumn on Exmoor contd

I thought we were going to the Crown at Exford but MTL wanted to go further to the Royal Oak at Withypool

Here we found the road closed so we had to find a narrow lane taking us down to the village. We decided not to use it on the way back as there were few passing places.

At the other end of the bar is a roaring fire. It's very much a huntin' shootin' fishin' Inn. Conversation overheard: a regular who wanted to find a replacemant for his dog: 'I saw this woman and she had a perfect labrador - heas, shoulders, legs - perfect. I asked her what she used it for.
'Just breeding.' The speaker indicated his excitement and the woman said ' Breeding for guide dogs.'
The man said' I had to stop myself from saying "What a waste!"'
Waiting for our lunch I said 'Pity about the plastic flowers.' but they were real - delivered that morning. I prefer my roses a litttle blowsier. Is that daft?

After lunch we got lost and had to beat a retreat back up the narrow lane. It was great to be out and about once more.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

A man named Kim.

Today October 25th is his birthday and I'm joining with Debra and friends to wish him a Global Happy Birthday. If you don't know him read his blog - it's all there - how he overcomes trials and tribulations with the help of a loving extended family and courage. He is old enough to be my youngest son but I often regard him as a wise father. He is a gifted photographer and writer and manages all this despite a debilitating illness. And he's not just a figment of my cyber imagination. I met him last year - see below.


Kim and Rogan in Minehead April 2009

Third blog meet

First it was Granny P and her ‘Beloved’ a couple of years ago, then last summer Zinnia and Shayne – both rewarding and pleasant experiences, so three and half years on I should have felt quite blasĂ© about another meeting, especially as I had come to know my cyber friend as a kind, gentle man -.but I’m always nervous about meeting someone for the first time.

Then there was the fact that they were making a long detour on a difficult journey from South Devon to Chesterfield, on a Bank Holiday, on our country roads with holiday traffic, parking problems and the high street given over to the Friday Continental Market, plus the relentless rain. But each phone call was calm and reassuring and by the final one when they were safely in the zone, the rain had stopped and I was minutes away. I relaxed and found myself smiling at the two figures outside Mr Micawber’s, the cafĂ©/restaurant where we were to have coffee.
Micawber’s had been recommended by the girls but they warned it gets very busy and sometimes difficult to get a table. We climbed the stairs and there was an empty table for four. All potential problems disappeared.

Kim looks younger in the flesh and Rogan – his son - is a nice looking boy with a smart spiky hair cut. We talked and drank and ate and talked and laughed, and you know that when elevenses merge into lunch you’re having a good time. Considering the magnificent cakes Rogan makes he was very kind about Micawber’s but that’s the sort of young man he is. Many of you know Kim already and I don’t need to tell you what a generous spirited person he is. To my surprise I found myself unloading a couple of personal demons on him and was touched by his understanding and wisdom.

By the time we walked to the car park I’ll swear the sun had come out. We took photos and I admired Kim’s camera which he won with the beautiful photo on his blog, a couple of posts ago. When they had left I found myself wandering round Minehead in a state of euphoria and MTL mentioned that he thought I would have been back earlier. So did I. By now they are safely back with Meg and Maggie and I’m so grateful that they took the time and trouble to stop by.

All bloggers mentioned are on my side-bar, and well worth a visit.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wild Life
The French red legged partridge must have told her friends. There were two of these on the arbour but by the time I got the camera one had flown.

MTL ws intigued by this white dog we saw on Exmoor. He was lovely and hugging him was like hugging a tame polar bear with cashmere fur. Incredible. He is a Siberian Husky. I wish I'd asked his name .
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This is for Charlie

If link doesn't work click on side bar Charlie

Wednesday Warblings

We both liked the chemo doctor; he even joined us in a giggle when he said:

‘Afterwards see the Sister – she’s on the way out.’

He confirmed that the cancer had been surgically removed, that it hadn’t spread but that some of the surrounding lymph glands had been affected. I gathered that without further treatment there could be a possibility of a recurrence. There are no guarantees. He asked if we minded him speaking frankly and of course we didn’t.

The chemo will last for six months – two weeks treatment, one week off. It will consist of injections and tablets – carefully monitored to see how the patient is reacting. Some people, he said, sailed through it but in some people it causes a great weariness and various reactions. I asked what one could do to make it easier re diet etc and he said the usual healthy European diet was best and exercise and that the nurses would give me more information.

The great news is he can have it done at home- which is such a blessing. So we are presently enjoying his improvement in general health and appetite – he even had a beer last night. And making the most of the lull before we hear from the nurses.

Sometimes I think I’m married to a paragon. The nurses often said what a gentleman he was and yesterday the hygienist spent half the session eulogising him. Makes you wonder what they have to deal with as a rule. Sadly she is leaving which was a shock. There was a quick hug and a quick mop round my specs before paying the receptionist.

Coming back up the lane I was overtaken by a police car cruising slowly towards our house. Round the corner I saw it entering the drive of next door. I knew they were on holiday so went through the garage, out of the back porch and climbed the steps through the wooded bit. When I reached the hedge – completely invisible I called out,

‘Hello. Can I help you?’

They asked if they could come round and talk to me. I acquiesced and eventually we met up outside the kitchen window. It seems they had a call from some woman who was worried she hadn’t been able to get in touch with the lady of the house. The night before I had had a regular call from my opposite neighbour checking we were OK and he happened to say next door were returning today from a few weeks holiday. I told the police this but they wanted to know where they had gone and did they have family so I pointed them in my vis a vis’s direction for more info. All no doubt will be revealed.

Lovely sunny day today and no appointments. Oh good the hedge cutters have arrived. I was beginning to think they had forgotten. We shall see the church once more.

PS Interestingly the physician said he didn't believe in cocooning the patient during treatment, that any infection usually came from the patient themselves.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Final Bouquet

From the garden that is. Red and yellow fragrant roses, bright pink sedum , good old Michaelmas daisies and the new dahlias. I've decided I am not going to dig up the dahlias for winter, as it is the house is full of indoor chrysanthemums. I think they are meant to be in a green house but they have to make do with the sun room. They are growing apace and I remember being captivated by their photos. It'll be great if they actually come to fruition. I'm going to mulch the dahlias. I think that means covering then with all the ferny, woody detritus from our woodland bit.

Today we go to Taunton to meet the chemo doctor. That should be interesting. I see he's done a long cycle ride for charity so he sounds a good egg. I'm keeping an ear - over Radio 2 - for a bang on the window. Our new chiming door bell has given up the ghost so I have had to put a note on the door asking them to bang on a window. Very embarrassing. Even more embarassing our new freeser delivered on Friday wouldn't fit adjacent to the existing freezer. For a nano second I nearly lost it but one of the men suggested we put then alongside each other. That worked but the plug wouldn't reach and when I saw the mad tangle of wires in the shed I gave up and they are meant to come this morning to fix an extension , or what ever it needs.

It's all these stupid little things that go wrong that are the last straw. Otherwise things are going well and it's heartening to see the patient tucking in to the goodies he has always enjoyed. If I can just get him to stop crossing hie legs!

Wouldn't you know? Just had a phone call bringing our appoinment an hour earlier. Better get cracking.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Fat Bird on the Lawn

I heard that. We birds fluff our feathers when it's cold. Don't you know anything?

Bet you wish you could do this when it's parky.

See how svelte I am when I want to be?

Did I just see you throw some sunflower seeds? Hang on - I'm coming.
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Fat Bird contd

I'm ready for my close up Mr de Mille. Please note the divine aqua feathers and hot orange accessories.

These sunflower seeds are very moreish. 'Scuse my rear.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Room with a View

Meanwhile back at the Lodge a gentleman was occupying the room I had previously so I was given a larger one (at the same price) complete with four poster that even the Princess of pea fame would have found comfortable. Bags of space and a choice of bedside lighting
- vital for a late night read.

Facing the garden and the sun the room was bathed in light.

A moment's aberration - I don't usually put bags on the bed.

I liked the art deco bathroom - similar to the one I planned when we had two sculleries made into one room - a battle I haven't yet won. However I have just had an ailing freezer collected giving me time to clean the area before its replacement is installed. This freezer was poorly some time back and I got as far as putting it outside to be collected when he who must be obeyed decided it was working - by whicn time I had a new one. Then we became accustomed to two freezers so a replacement will arrrive shortly. You win some you lose some:)
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Room with a view 2

The back terrace from the bedroom

Part of the garden

Distance hills from the bathroom. I forgot to ask the name. MTL thinks the Blackdown Hills.
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Home Again

There was the usual last minute dither – will he go home today or tomorrow – with me wondering if I should – if I could - book another night at the Lodge. In the end after phoning the hospital at 9.30 am I was told I could collect him at 11.30am and my brilliant landlady was able to phone a gentleman who was eager for my room.

In the end it was 1pm before they finally allowed us to leave but then everybody was happy and we had a safe journey home. I was thankful that I had managed the driving, parking and manoeuvring without mishap. On the way home MTL said

‘You’ve got your confidence back – driving.’

Actually I’m still a mess inside but a strange sort of inner rage carries me through. Weird!

I had planned to fill the operation time by taking a bus to Taunton for some retail therapy but the staff all seemed to be saying how much less of an op this was compared to the previous one so I thought I’d better stay put. Just as well because, although the nurse said,

‘Don’t worry if he’s back later than you expect,’ at 10.30 the stomach churning started until he was wheeled in soon after 11am.

Back home how great to get rid of the medical paraphernalia we no longer need. All seems to be working as it should and we just have to persevere with building up his appetite once more. Reminds me of when the boys used to be difficult with certain foods. I haven’t yet told MTL:

‘Cowboys love baked beans,’ but it could slip out at any time.

We have two visits to the surgery tomorrow; one in the morning to take blood and one in the afternoon to change the dressing. Sadly they couldn’t merge them apparently. I’m very impressed with the neat little wound. I’m not quite sure what speedos are but he could wear then with impunity.

Have I told you lately? We are both so very grateful.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Once more unto the Breach Dear Friends…

I’m running out of time and I haven’t packed yet. Up at 4.30 am tomorrow to get to the hospital in good time so this post will be the last till we return – hopefully before Monday. We are in good spirits and happy to get the next part over with.

The patient has his hair cut yesterday and met me in the Co-op. He told me we could draw money out from the Co-op – save a trip to the bank and keep dry when it was raining. Having just learned how to use the machines I was happy to show off my competence. I quite enjoy getting the messages and pressing the buttons. When it asked for a card I waved one at the patient.

‘Shall I use this one?’

‘Yes,’ he said.

I went through all the motions and was miffed when it said it didn’t recognise the card. I mean after all it was a Co-op card.

The penny dropped and I said,

‘It wants your debit card.’

‘You’ve got my debit card.’

‘No I haven’t – I’ve got my debit card – you’ve got your debit card.’

By this time a queue had gathered so we sidled away until it had cleared. We did it in the end. I think there is something about illness that makes you do daft things. We are not usually such silly old fools

To add to my magic cushion of good thoughts, wishes, prayers and white light I received today from the Angry Parsnip(a misnomer if ever there was one) a beautiful charm from the Koshikiiwa Shrine in Japan where she has been visiting Mia – her baby granddaughter. It is for women in beautiful shades of purple, lime green and gold and is for general well being and its going with me.

Thank you to all of you and look forward to seeing you all next week.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Postman always rings twice.

Bong…Bong…BOINGGGG… our new cathedral chimes are still a surprise. The Heavens had opened and I noted MTL had placed the odd bucket in the garage as I went to answer the door. A pox on flat roofs.

A ruddy faced, grey haired man in shirt sleeves, shorts and an official looking bright yellow tabard stood there – fairly sodden. Our postman – but he had already delivered.

‘I’m worried about Mr D. Yesterdays post and milk are still there and he always says if he’s going to be away,’ he told me.

Mr D is a friend and I knew he had a holiday round about now but am a little out of touch with recent events. I said I would try phoning him and also our neighbours. The postman thought they were away. I remembered Mr D was friendly with a family lower down the hill but couldn’t remember their surname.

I did some phoning – leaving messages and the door bell chimed again and again it was the postman – for the third time, and completely unfazed by the deluge. Happily he told me the family down the hill knew where Mr D was as their sons – railway enthusiasts like Mr D were on a train journey , the train had broken down and they would all be home that evening. Great relief all round and kudos to our Postie. I’ll forgive him his blaring radio as he zooms round in his little red van.

For the first time in weeks we have a free day and consequently were both fast asleep when the phone rang at 8.30am. I didn’t get there in time but there was a message from Mr D thanking us and reassuring all was well.

Good news - MTL took a message from the Lodge that my bed is safe for next Wednesday – now the day of the operation. We had a pre – admission visit yesterday and one of our favourite nurses said how well he was doing, that lack of appetite was the norm after that particular op and his weight was within the healthy area. Happily he is eating more and gaining strength.

By Friday afternoon the promised phone call from the District Nurse re the ‘flu injection still hadn’t happened, so at risk of being thought a pain I rang the surgery yet again. The trouble is it is always a different person and it’s not easy to ascertain if they have taken on board relevant detail and God forbid that I should speak directly to the District Nurse. Firmness prevailed and within half an hour one of our own nurses came and did the deed. She said as his carer it was important that I should have one also and eventually I made a date to go the surgery on Monday. She apologised that she hadn’t thought to bring two.

They have had problems as the firm who supplied the vaccine had sent 100 instead of 600 for the patients booked in for next week so 600 letters had to be sent out. They won’t be using that firm in future.

I have been looking into Carer’s Allowance and at first glance it appears that the patient has to have Disability status. Although the patient can only walk a little way at a time nothing has been done about this and I’m not holding my breath.

Lovely day today. Have a happy week end.