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Friday 31 July 2015

A tale of terror

It was a dark night in late July.  The woman had had a heavy day and she was sound asleep in the quiet bedroom.  Her breathing was slow and regular as she slept away the cares of the day.

She moved gently in her sleep, putting an arm into a more comfortable position and giving a gentle sigh.  But with that sixth sense which doesn't leave us even when we sleep, she knew something was wrong.  Reluctantly she opened her eyes but willed sleep to come back.

No, something was definitely wrong.  She listened to the sounds of the night but there was just the gentle pattering of the rain audible through the open window.  Nothing to worry about there and no other sounds came to her ears.  But no matter how she tried to ignore the feeling she knew something was wrong.  Unenthusiastically she stretched out an arm and pressed the switch on the bedside light.  Nothing happened.  There was no ignoring it now.

She clambered out of bed and pulling her dressing gown around her she went to investigate.  Happily she discovered that it was just the trip switch so she pressed that and all seemed to be well.  She decided to sit in the arm chair again for a few minutes before going back to bed.

Four minutes later the trip went again.  She went around the house pulling out plugs and then she pressed the trip switch again and settled again in the chair.

Two minutes later the same thing happened.  She went around the house and pulled out most of the remaining plugs and again she settled down in the chair.  Scarcely had she sat down when the trip went again.  She wondered whether to leave it until the morning but the freezer was nearly full of delicious food.  Could it be the freezer which was at fault?  She decided to go around the house again and pull out the less accessible plugs before she resorted to pulling out the freezer plug.  There was one plug behind the desk and it would be very hard to get to it but it had to be done.

As she went into the study she happened to glance out of the window.  There was something white on the path.  It was an extension cable which had been left plugged in and was exposed to the pouring rain.

Which is why the woman was out in the garden in her nightie and dressing gown clutching a walking stick in one hand and a torch in the other at two in the morning removing the soaked extension cable and uttering some very rude words.

And it is also why Jack had a deep deficit of Brownie points.

Triple hook chicken served with freshly harvested garden vegetables

July slides into August

What a lovely month I’ve had!  It was much too hot for me at the beginning of the month and although it’s been unseasonably cool for most of the month, I’m happier when I’m cooler.

It’s been a month of visiting old friends.  This has been joyful but a little sad as one had had a small stroke and one has a provisional diagnosis of dementia.  I’ve decided that I shall have to visit those two more often.  I have been a carer myself and I know that visitors become rarer when one has a progressive disease and the world closes in a bit but carers need time out.  Also the more visits are made – even ten minute jobbies - the more there is to talk about with subsequent visitors.

Not all visits have been to the sick and lame.  I’ve managed to go out for lunch to treat various people who have shown me extraordinary kindness.  I need the kindness and understanding of others and am determined that I will not take it for granted so it was good to treat two of the churchwardens who make life easier for me on Sundays.  And I’m glad to report that both of those meals out were notable as much for the laughter as the food!  Thank you, ladies.

My garden is just coming into its finest month. I think I must have the latest sweet peas in the world as I haven’t picked any yet for the
simple reason that there haven’t been any to pick.  However, I’ve been enjoying the carrots, strawberries and potatoes and there should be French beans in the next few days.  Yum.

I’ve managed to get a little more decluttering done, but not a lot!  However, the sewing has been advanced quite a bit.

And August looks great.  The weather is forecast to improve in these parts so I shall be able to get out there and enjoy that garden.  Jack is coming today and he knows his Brownie point account is currently in need of a boost.  Watch this space for why that is and what he does today!

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Sshhh! I'm using an unmentionable word

Blogland has some wonderful little places to be found in quiet moments and I’ve found a new one (for me).  It’s a Santa Sack Swap.  Actually I found it some time ago but it’s taken me a while to stick my head above the parapet.  I’ve now joined in and I’m all excited!  

I’m committed to making a Santa Sack of six home-made gifts to swap with a blogger whom I’ve never had contact with before.  I’ve been reading her blog and maybe she is reading this too.

So I’ve got to get stuck into Christmas sewing and I’ve got to get stuck in soon if I am to get not only my six item swap made but also the other presents I have planned.  Obviously I am not going to put the items for my swap on here until after the swap takes place but I will share my other Christmas projects.  So if the thought of Christmas in July, August or September makes you feel ill, I suggest you stay away from here on Wednesdays from now on!

But I’m hoping that last sentence hasn’t chased everyone away because I need you to encourage me each Wednesday as I try to make this the first year I have ever been organised at Christmas.  

Saturday 25 July 2015

A bit of creativity.

Yesterday was a brilliant day.

Yesterday was crafting day at Mandy's.  I made four cards but I've given away one already.  Sorry!

Thursday 23 July 2015

Update on my last post

.  My smile is now a beam!


My sister and two of my cousins died from ovarian cancers which indicated that there might be a problem.  I was therefore tested and found to have the faulty BRCA 2 gene, and it was calculated that I had an eighty per cent chance of The Big C in the form of either ovarian cancer or breast cancer.

As soon as I had the genetic results I had an oophrectomy (removal of the ovaries) but it was less easy to make a decision about my breasts so although I was in full panic mode I delayed for about eighteen months.  I had the full support of the consultant who saw me several times in that period, each time examining me and offering enhanced screening or lifelong tamoxifen as alternatives to surgery.

However, an eighty per cent risk felt like, "Would you prefer your mastectomy with or without chemotherapy?" and eventually I decided to go ahead.  I had a so-called "Goldilocks mastectomy" removing not too much, not too little but just right.  This meant that I had reconstruction using the remaining tissue and I need neither implants nor an external prosthesis.  

Today I am going for my annual check, a procedure I am not looking forward to as mammograms are now even more uncomfortable than before.  (Oh yes, ladies, it is possible for them to get worse!)  I am pretty confident that I shall come out with a smile on my face.

But before I go to the hospital I shall be meeting up with a cousin who is expecting to start chemotherapy today for a (non BRCA2 linked) cancer.  

And I am so grateful to the wonderful women who run the Race for Life.  If you are one of them, thank you.  Through you many of my fears have been put behind me.

Thank you.

Note for non UK readers.  Race for life is a national funding campaign for cancer research.  Sponsored 5k runs are held all over the country and are mostly run by women wearing pink.

Monday 20 July 2015

Public spirited people

Today is much brighter than the weather forecast led me to believe it would be so I went up into Caistor to fetch a newspaper.  And as always that little outing brought me joy.

Roses and sunflowers in July
This fence could be really boring for passers-by but someone has planted roses and sunflowers and placed a bench for everyone to enjoy.

The litter bins have bright red geraniums close by so even the rubbish receptacles look good.

By the doctors' surgery

Post Office
Going to the doctor's doesn't seem too bad when there's a tiny wildflower meadow on the way.

The Post Office is a positive pleasure to visit.

Town centre car park
Behind the loos!
And visitors can park their cars in a well-cared for car park.

Even the public loos have a wonderful rose behind them.

.What is truly impressive is that much of the beautifying of our little town is done by public spirited volunteers

Sunday 19 July 2015

Eat your heart out, Rivulet!

Over the past few weeks I have been enjoying The Adventure Of The Carrots over at Rivulet's blog, $12 a day  (you'll need to look back over several posts).  She's been having a wonderful time growing carrots with her young son.  Together they have prepared the soil, sown the seed, watered and watched the growth and a couple of weeks ago they had their first carrots to the great joy of both mother and son.  

Rivulet has then been creative with the produce, making carrot and banana muffins, carrot chips, and carrot top pesto and that doesn't even begin to consider the vegetables that went down the hatch just as they were.  And frankly I have been jealous.

But not any more!  Today I have had my first carrots of the year from my garden.  On the left of the picture you can see Paris Market and on the right Nantes.  Paris Market has definitely been the more successful so far and I think I may try for a second crop.  Nantes is supposed to be a long straight carrot and mine  have chosen to do their own thing.  But no worries, these are just the first few and doubtless they will taste delicious with the lamb chop I may dig out of the freezer for tomorrow.

There's one thing I really envy Rivulet for though - a child to share the pleasure with.  What a privilege to hand on the love of growing  food to the next generation!

Saturday 18 July 2015

Lavender's blue

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green.
When I am King, dilly dilly, you shall be Queen.
I love to dance, dilly dilly, I love to sing.
When I am Queen, dilly, dilly, you'll be my King.

That's one of the songs of my childhood although it's actually a seventeenth century song and even I'm not that old!

Lavender and the shadow of me!
And maybe it's one of the reasons I love lavender.  Soon after I moved into this house I saw an advert for some free lavender plugs (but with a hefty P&P charge) and I sent for some.  They seemed to take for ever to get going but this year they are perfect.  There are several varieties but don't ask me which!  I planted them in my front garden so everyone going past can enjoy them and even more important the bees and butterflies can enjoy them and I can see them from where I sit watching the world go by.
Simple beauty

Today I collected a small bunch for the house.  They are destined for my bedside as lavender is supposed to aid sleep.

I hope you enjoy my lavender too.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Sewing and swinging

Some time ago I dug out this lovely piece of fabric from my stash and I wrote about it here.  Some of it became Easter cards but there was still a lot left.

I decided to make a cushion cover.
I stitched it by hand so it won't bear close scrutiny.  Maybe I could have taken more care with placing the flowers.  But I' pleased with it.  It looks inviting on my garden swing - so inviting in fact that I plan on getting out there to do some more sewing.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

Well, it's easy for me!  Not so much for Jack who came yesterday  and worked very hard which means my living is extra easy and extra wonderful today.

The first thing he wanted to know was whether he had received any comments in response to his post.  A huge thank you to all who responded .  I printed it all out as he has a dossier of bits from my blog.  He doesn't "do" computers himself but maybe if I can get him interested in blogging . .    

Anyway, as ever he has worked his magic in the garden and here are just a few photos.

As you can see the garden is flourishing but as yet I have very little harvest but yesterday was the first boiling of my own new potatoes.

They were of course served to Jack as part of my new exclusive menu - hookburger with new potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes.  Delicious

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Thank you

Thank you for all your very kind comments following my fright on Saturday.  I was out and about again today and I retraced my Saturday route.  Everything was fine and just after I had got past the spot where the problem occurred I saw a friend and was able to talk it through a bit with her so I have chased the demon away.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Bless you, Princess

Yesterday I was frightened.  I was out on my trundle truck when three young men began shouting at me.  Actually I think it was an excess of beer which was shouting at me but whatever it was, I was frightened.

The shouting was of the “Give us a lift” variety (with a few personal remarks) which I am quite used to (without the personal remarks) and it is usually friendly but this time it felt threatening.  I had no choice but to go very close to them on the pavement (you can’t just cross the street on a TT!) so I just smiled and went past.

Just over a year ago I was coming back from London on a train and I had treated myself to a seat in the first class quiet coach.    There was a hiatus and a group of about a dozen young men came into the carriage, being ushered through by railway staff.  The lads were all determined to travel first class on standard class tickets and the staff were determined that wasn’t going to happen.  The ringleader was wearing a magnificent jester’s hat and suddenly he saw little old me, wearing my dog collar and sitting very quietly hoping they would just go past.  He went very quiet and the rest of the group realised he had seen something and they too started to stare at me.  Suddenly the leader laid his hand on my shoulder and said, “Aw, bless you Princess!” and off they trotted down the carriage like a flock of well-behaved lambs.  I sat and giggled for the rest of my journey.

Most people treat me with courtesy and consideration and in truth yesterday was the first time in five years of using my TT that I have really felt frightened.  Don’t worry, I’m OK and shall be out and about trundling again very soon.

Saturday 4 July 2015

Tickle the earth with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest

There was a little rain last night  - not very much but things are back to bearable now. 

 However, unless I want to get into disgrace Big Time with Jack I shall still have to water the garden.
6th June
4th July

 Last month the vegetable bed looked like this but now it looks like this. 

Imagination was needed when looking at the flowers

I don't think watering looks too difficult now I have seen these photographs together1

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Innit 'ot!

My mother would be ashamed at my unladylike language but this 'ere lady is no longer merely glowing, she's in a sweating puddle!

Years ago I did VSO in Nigeria and don't remember being this uncomfortable.  And no, it wasn't dry fresh heat.  South Eastern Nigeria is hot and humid.

What was different was the lifestyle.  People got up early and did what had to be done then during the afternoon they took a siesta to be ready for another burst of activity in the evening.  Houses were designed to keep the occupants cool with blinds and shutters.  Trees were planted to provide shade.

Or maybe it was just that I was younger and better able to cope.