Monday, 26 June 2017

Change of plans

I still feel low and sad about my friend and today I have had a phone call from the hospital. My operation has been put back a week because my surgeon's mother is ill.
We had the hotel booked and the dog into kennels but we've been able to change them both.
I have been finding it exhausting in this heat. But I did sleep last night so did a bit to help DH plant the rest of the plants this afternoon.. We are forecast rain tomorrow and it looks like we're all in for some rain in the next few days too. 
Post op.I have been told I won't be able to lift up my arm,  I can't do it now,  although I have a try now and then and can nearly use a twizzle brush with my right arm to style my hair, but I have to dip my head right down and I jam the hairdryer in an open drawer.

The kennels were fine about changing the dates. I think we're her best customers as she doesn't have a lot of dogs there. Last time there were only 2 big dogs and 4 medium ones and that was with Nell. In Billericay there were at least 20+ dogs. 
Nell is safe there and although she goes in reluctantly,  it's what we always decided that we'd use kennels when necessary.
I do struggle on with my arm, the one good thing is the skin on it is lovely and soft as it is always in a sling, so doesn't get sun on it.  People ask how I can manage, but I say I have a duff arm and so  I just have to get on with it the best I can. I do think it is better these last couple of months I can do stuff now I couldn't before and I don't wear my sling in bed anymore, but I can't go without it during the day my arm aches too much. And I still worry I'll fall so use my third leg (walking stick) and it gives me confidence.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

So Sad

I have been without my laptop for four days, seemed much longer, but Friday I got it back repaired and whizzing along!!

There were 70+ mails but after the second mail, I didn't read any more.  It was a sad mail from my friend's daughter.. Iris and I had lots of holidays together, she had a major stroke 3 years ago and although she had partially recovered, she was never 100%.
She was taken ill 3 weeks ago and died on Tuesday.  I feel so sad about her. I wrote letters, emails and sent her cards over these last few years, but her daughter said they weren't quite sure she understood what they read to her and after that first stroke she couldn't speak.  I thought that was the worst thing, that it had affected her brain. She was such fun and slim and very attractive.

There were lots of times I nearly said to DH let's visit her but I never did.. so a lesson to learn for me is, when you feel you should do something.. just get on and do it. Before that first stroke we talked a lot on the phone.
I needed to phone another friend, because all three of us had holidays together and long weekends, we visited each other through the year. I cried on the phone with her.

The last holiday, Iris had phoned me to ask me to book a holiday for us and off we went to Portugal, and I can hear her saying in her northern accent, 'Aren't you going to wash that  before you eat it!' Because I had bought a peach off a roadside stall and was about to eat it there and then!

I feel so sad about the fact I've only just found out. She was such a lovely person. I prayed for her every day. Just simple prayers, that she'd have a good day, that her carer was gentle with her or that she felt happy.
No more pain or frustrations for her now, but a great big hole for her family and me.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

What happened to me..

Welcome to three new followers, Judy, Julie and Susan and to Jan who left a comment but doesn't seem to have a blog..

Today is father's day here in UK. Yes I had a father obviously (LOL) but I didn't really know him till I was in my teens. After my mother died  in 1945, he remarried and I was adopted by my grandparents. My name wasn't to be changed so a new surname was added to my birth name, this was a request of my mother.
All was fine until my grandfather died when I was 6. I suppose a lot of how my grandmother behaved was because of lack of money, but I was often the brunt of her violent temper. While my grandfather was alive he often stood between me and Mam. He called me 'cariad' welsh for darling. I missed him more than anyone could have guessed.

If people ask me about my childhood, I say it was pretty miserable, except for my one aunty, my mother's sister who also lived with us. She treated me as a daughter and if I have anyone to thank, it is her for my start in life.  She paid for my piano lessons and when I didn't make the grade to go to a Grammar school, she got in touch with my father and between them, they paid for me to go to St Clare's High School for girls, a convent. I wasn't RC but you didn't have to be and being there was the best years of my teenage life. Although most of those years I wore second hand uniform, and do you know what, I didn't even notice!

We had never heard of the convent, but one day at the beginning of the summer holidays, my aunty came cycling home from work in the middle of the day. 'Put on your Sunday dress and clean socks,' she said, wheeling my bike to me.. and off we peddled. It was about 2 miles to get there and we had to be there by 2:00pm.
Her friend had been in the shop to tell her that the convent was opening their doors to non-Catholics, you just had to past a test. To say I was surprised when the door opened to reveal a woman dressed in a nun's habit is an understatement, I was just a bit afraid. 'Do your best,' said my aunty,  'and cycle home when you're done.'

I sat in a room with four other girls; there was a straight arithmetic paper, then a writing paper. A lot like the 11 plus paper I had just failed!! But at the end, we were allowed outside in the garden for 10 minutes, then the nun in charge gave us each a sealed letter and were told we could go. The other girls went out to their parents, all waiting in cars!! This was 1952, the only people I knew who had cars were Drs! I got my bike and peddled home.

But I got in, I passed the test, probably by the skin of my teeth, but it opened doors for me that I would never have dreamt of.. I wonder where Peta, Christine, Penny, and Louise are today, they were the other girls taking the same test that day. We stayed friends all through my stay in that school and in 1954, my aunt paid for me to be a weekly boarder. It was wonderful, so different to my miserable home life. I loved every minute and at the end of it I had 10 'O' levels, called the School Certificate in those days. I grew to love that first nun I met, Sister Mary Bernadine, as though she was my mother. Nothing she asked me to do was too much trouble; I cried buckets when I left, but did go back to see her when I  finished my nursing training. She commented on how well I looked and grown up, well I was 21.. 'not at all like the wee scrap she first met,' she said.

The school was bought by a consortium 12 years ago and 2 years ago it closed. I was very sad to read that.
But before it closed a few years back, when in my home town, DH and I went to see it. We walked up the drive, right up to the large country house that was the main school, no one stopped us to enquire what we were doing. It was very changed. Then we walked to the large house that was part of the boarding school and I peered into a ground floor room that I shared with Terri, Mair, Michelle and Anne. How small it looked but it was often filled with screams and laughter, we had such fun. Sometimes I went to sleep chanting my French verbs with them, or reciting a Keat's poem. Such happy, happy days. I will always be grateful to that Aunty for paying for me and for the love I received in that school.

(Signing off today with my birth name)

Christine Harris

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

US !!

Here we are standing by our rose covered front door.. the scent is delicious, but it will all have to be cut back, so we can get in.... The dropped petals drift into the house when we open the door!


Friday, 9 June 2017

Will we ever get it straight, 125 ft long????

  This is our new garden; the grass hadn't been cut for the last 6 months, but the whole garden hadn't been tended for 2 years!! It is very over grown.. this is the view from the middle of the garden up to the house. The old shed has to go but not for the moment, it is all too much to do right away

 The other views are of the bottom of the garden.
There some very pretty areas, that make me think of the Secret Garden. And beautiful large trees, a Magnolia, a Judas tree, and Laburnum, a beautiful variegated leaf maple, and others, plus a large selection of shrubs.

A beautiful wisteria, but it is right at the bottom of the garden

But these large conifers had to go, they didn't just shade our own garden but our neighbours as well.

After the trees were cut down, it looked horribly bare, but we have bought 5 shrubs, and 4 new trees, a amelanchier, a Victoria plum, a crab apple, a smoke tree and we had brought our peach tree with us, so we have 5, all planted and they will be my next pics.
 The tree surgeons cut up the trunks, which my DS has collected for his log burning fire. One of my neighbours asked wouldn't we want it for a log burner, but I said.. no way, I like my heating controlled with a flick of a switch!!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

My duff arm news.

I have been to see the orthopaedic surgeon, Ms Higgs,  in London today and have agreed to have an operation.. she said it will be a big one, but I have been like this for 2 years and 6 weeks now and I want my life back. So I had part pre-op tests there and then, my BP was 125/59.. couldn't be better! Answered lots of questions and swabbed for MRSA and now I will be contacted by some one to answer other questions and the op. probably will be in about 2 months time.. so  that will give me time to organise things here. And to lose some more weight, between leaving Essex and arriving here I managed to put on weight, DH lost!!
She did say my CT scan technicians thought there was some healing of my fracture, but she wasn't sure herself, but I did say to her that I am able to do more with my arm these days, but it does still hurt. Did I say I can clean my teeth with my right hand now? Anyway I know it's not going to be easy and painful, but neither is living with my arm! On the train journey, I read a big chunk of my book.. Rosie Thomas, ' Daughter of the House' I am really enjoying it.
On the train from Ipswich to Saxmundham, it was crowded, one man had bags on the seat next to him, so I politely asked him, had he paid for two seats??? He begrudgingly put them on the rack. Dh had to stand part of the way till people got out two stops before us.

We took Nell to the kennels first thing and will pick her up tomorrow morning.  We know she'll be ok and safe, just hope she feels ok in herself and we hope she knows we'll be back for her!! It was new kennels for her, and very basic,  but it was clean and the other dogs there looked ok.
Suffolk prices are very different, we used to pay £18.50 a day in Essex, here its £8.00!! We are still finding things out here about the towns and villages and we are for ever getting lost down endless lanes but enjoying it.
With this operation on the cards it has given us a push to get on and get things done, so we have kitchen fitters booked, so we can have a new kitchen. This was the one we left!

 I still have my dresser, just needs a rub down and polished!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Is this your life?

  It's definitely mine! 

“Life is amazing.
And then it's awful.
 And then it's amazing again.
And in between the amazing and awful it's ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That's just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.
And it's breathtakingly beautiful.”
L.R. Knost