Those Weeds Fight Back . . . And How!

There was I – full of the joys of spring and, fuelled by my over enthusiasm, I declared to my newly formed gardening group, ‘I’m off to weed a border!’ No harm there. Nothing at all ominous about that. Just off to weed a border at the side of the path.

Two hours later and after tugging, pulling, swearing and sweating I stood up, stood back, and admired my work. Brilliant! Nothing short of brilliant. Gone was the awful couch grass invading from my neighbour’s garden and tangling itself around willow roots and under the path. Gone were the thick, stubbornly rooted spring-flowering creeper thingy’s. Just lovely rich soil smiled back at me. Happy with my work I toddled back into the house. This was Saturday.

At 3 a.m. Sunday I woke thinking someone had dropped a house brick on my head. The pain was excruciating – I kid you not – I couldn’t raise my head at all without searing pain. Pain so bad that all I could do was lie there – and as we all know pain in the early hours is always far worse.

By sliding my flattened hand under the side of my face and supporting my head I eventually managed to sit up and make it downstairs where I suffered a Weetabix followed by two paracetamol and an ice pack to my neck bones. This went down well in the freezing cold kitchen! By 5 a.m. I struggled back to bed.

Sunday had been prearranged. It was Richard’s birthday and I’d organised a family meal out. When he caught a glimpse of me, shuffling along, imitating the Hunch Back of Notre Dame, he said, ‘You need to go back to bed.’ Yeah. Cheers for that. Back to bed where he could ignore my pain until I died a slow and lingering death because he’d forgotten all about me!’ At this point I had to tell him I couldn’t go back to bed because being the lovely, wonderful person that I am I’d arranged a fricking surprise meal for him. This was met with scepticism, a narrowing of the eyes and a slight nod of the head. You see, he’s a simple soul, enjoying the simple pleasures in life and never really celebrates his birthday. Unfortunately, my mum died on his birthday, some eighteen years ago now and, originally, it did rather take the shine off the celebrations. The twelth of March became the day  mum died, not the day Richard was born. Nowadays, I put him first – after taking flowers to the church.

So, off we went. I looked like the walking dead. I felt worse. I sat at the end of the table so that I could, by staring straight ahead, see everyone without moving a muscle – literally.

Somehow I made it home alive. Richard had a lovely time – and he even liked my gift to him – a new Samsung tablet. However, when, later, he came up to bed he found me sobbing. Yeah, OK, so I’m a wimp. I couldn’t help it. The pain level that had, I suppose, been around eight had soared to ten. The slight window of least pain, if I held my head just right, had slammed shut. Everything hurt. At this point he said, ‘Right, we’re going to the hospital!’

Earlier I’d said, ‘I think I need to go to the hospital’.

My son had said, ‘They won’t do anything Mum.’

Richard had said, ‘Do you really want to sit in A and E for twelve hours?’

I knew they wouldn’t ‘do’ anything and no I did not want to ‘sit in A and E for twelve hours,’ but don’t they have things like heroin, morphine and stuff?

Anyway, I wouldn’t have been able to get my clothes back on so he held me till I stopped sobbing, rubbed my neck (it didn’t help but he was trying bless him) and then fetched me some yogurt and honey so that I could take some painkillers.See how I always try to eat something before taking painkillers? This way I figure I won’t be adding stomach ulcers to my fast-growing list of complaints?

Monday and Tuesday were spent in bed, unable to move. Wednesday and Thursday I got up in the morning and went back to bed in the afternoon. Friday I made it through most of the day and so on and so on. . .

It still isn’t right but I can now live with it without turning into a pathetic, sobbing female. That’s not me, you see.

I know how it happened. Having three degenerative neck discs, whose soft protective padding is fast disappearing, stretching over the borders and applying all that pressure on my discs just didn’t work. They couldn’t support the weight of my head.

But, positives from negatives – I read three novels (I’d hardly read anything at all till then) and I had some rest – although enforced – but rest all the same.

I’ve started pottering in the garden again. Managed to toddle round a couple of garden centres and purchase a few bits . . .  so there you go.

I have found that the hardest thing about growing older is accepting it. I expect my body to keep up with my mind. It can’t. I have things to do popping into it constantly. I remember my darling father, it his last years, getting very frustrated and angry with himself because, due to his ever-increasing health problems he felt useless. He couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that. I, of course, being the sensible and logical person that I am told him, ‘No, of course you can’t do those things. BUT instead of focusing what you can’t do focus on what you can do.’ At the time it made perfect sense to me – but that was before I was reaching the point of realising that I can’t do some of the things that I used to do.

No more throwing paving slabs around. No more climbing the apple tree to prune the odd branch. No more throwing bags of compost around. And . . . it appears, no more digging borders! I’m sorry, Daddy, I was an insensitive idiot.

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You’re My Precious -And My Favourite!

Are you like me? You have 12 kitchen knives and only ever use 2? You have 3 sets of crockery and only ever use 1? You have 15 pairs of trousers – albeit various types – leggings, jeans etc. and only ever wear 2 or 3? I have a drawer full of kitchen utensils and frankly I tend to use a grotty plastic fork, purchased from Ikea for 50p, a skewer and a pallet knife. These three items serve me well. The rest remain in the drawer, used on blue moons and days that don’t end in Y.

So, bearing this in mind, it will come as little surprise to hear that I have just the one favourite coat that I wear in the garden. This item was purchased 5 years ago from Next in their winter sale. Originally, some £65, but I think I paid £20. Obviously, the coat didn’t start out its little life as a gardening coat, for years it spent summer after summer, pride of place in the wardrobe, re-emerging every winter. It went to all the posh places – Morrison’s, Tesco, Lidl etc.  I must admit, that being padded, it was a tad warm on ice-free days. Anyway, moving on 5 years . . .

Favourite shiny-black padded coat started to look a little ‘tired.’ No longer able to cut the mustard in our supermarket dashes so I decided to put him out to grass – well, out to garden, actually.

For several years favourite shiny-black padded coat served me well, never minding the odd smearing of chicken poo, or being splashed with fence paint, in a rather attractive shade of green. Then, one day, disaster – a large hole was ripped in the pocket area when I didn’t quite navigate a sticking-out nail correctly. White stuffing hung from the gash, so I pushed in back in and tried to ignore it.

A week or so later, chicken wire took out the top of the arm.

Somehow it didn’t seem to matter. The coat was still functional, warm, familiar and very obviously a gardening coat, if anyone should see me in it.

Last week I looked at the poor thing. The pocket hung in tatters, no stuffing left. The arm was no better and horror upon horror, favourite shiny-black coat was rather pongy!

The time had come. The bin beckoned. I slipped him on and off . . . on and off. Perhaps I could wash him? Probably not because more stuffing would weep out and block-up the washing machine. But . . . this was my favourite coat. We had travelled miles together. An old friend. How do you bin an old friend? No, forget that . . . binning old friends is pretty easy. Then a light bulb moment . . .

I could repair him. I had the technology. Well, I had the sewing machine! Yes, that was the answer. I’d repair favourite shiny-black coat.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. I couldn’t find anything to match his shiny texture, let alone find anything black. Perhaps I’d have to let him go after all?

Another light bulb moment. He was, after all, only a gardening coat, it didn’t matter what I patched him with. I had something black, surely. Yes! I did!

I scurried upstairs, threw open the knickers drawer and grabbed a black pair.

Favourite shiny-black coat has been repaired! He now has black stretchy patches over his left pocket and on his right sleeve. Result.

Some people might wear their hearts on their sleeve – I wear my knickers.

Here’s to the next five years . . .

And, in conclusion . . . I’ve just started a new group – “The Friendly Gardeners Group.” I can’t promise to ever post a photo of favourite shiny-black coat (I don’t show my knickers to just anyone – not that you are just anyone) but I can promise a lot of chat (that will stay on the group – we are a ‘closed’ group) a fair bit of swapped information, banter and friendship so click on the link and come and join us?

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The Mating Ritual

It happens every year at this time. Bug-eyed little darlings hopping and waddling their fat shiny bodies towards the water and – sex. Lots of it. In human terms it would be called something rather naughty, in frog terms it is merely ‘the mating ritual.’

I like frogs – as long as they give me plenty of warning of their presence. If I’m plucking out the odd weed and they suddenly leap-up in front of me then that’s a whole new ball game. Then, I’m having a heart attack and backing off to a safe distance. But, I do like them. In fact, I’ve even written the script for a ‘froggy’ children’s book. Done nothing with it, obviously.

So, for the past week or so I have skirted the pond on my way to the greenhouse etc. with great stealth, hoping to catch the first arrivals unaware. They feel the vibration of approaching footsteps and, like Nemo’s Nautilus, dive . . . dive . . . dive. Yesterday I saw the first arrivals, already in a tower-block stance with the female somewhere in the heaving pile.

This year there is a slight problem.

The pond is now twenty-six years old and during this time our little fish shoal has diminished to just one remaining orf. He is the size of a small dolphin. He has never had a name – until now. He is Solo, for obvious reasons.

Solo is not going to last much longer. His once perfect carrot-shaped, bright orange form is bent this way and that and he spends much of his time flat-out at the top of the water, so much so that on two occasions, both when Richard had toddled off to see his mother, I texted him to say, ‘Come home in the light you need to bury the fish, he’s dead.’ Richard, obedient as ever, has arrived home in the light, sought the spade from the shed and grabbed the net. Moments later he has replaced the spade in the shed, returned the net, and informed me that, ‘Solo isn’t dead.’ If there’s a part going for a bent oaf in one of those costume dramas or similar perhaps we could send him to work because he’s a bloody good actor!

I should say that despite his ‘bent’ and ‘dead’ impressions he’s a happy-ish fish, sometimes taking to rather exhausting laps of the pond, and floating up to watch me rearranging the odd rock or two.

But, this is the problem. These sex-mad grab-anything-that-moves frogs are going to rape the poor lad. They have, in the past, grabbed onto the face of a fish and performed their sexual acts with the poor fish pinned down beneath their pulsing bodies. Solo will not live through this kind of behaviour. He’s a game old boy but this, I fear, is a little too much at his age?

A couple of months ago he also survived a near squashing.

My grandson, Jake, was bending over the pond, pointing at him, when his darling sister, Grace, came up behind him and with two hands slapped hard to Jake’s buttocks pushed him in.

Richard instantly grabbed Jake and hauled him out.

So much mud and debris had been stirred-up that we couldn’t tell if Solo had survived or not. Fortunately, he had.

Jake was a mess. Duck weed and other stuff (?) stuck to him and of course he was crying. I whisked him into the shower and made him stay there until his goose-flesh had disappeared and he was at last beginning to see the funny side of it – no mean feat I’ll tell you. Then, I dressed him in a pair of my leggings and a jumper. He soon recovered – such is life, and the remedial effects of chocolate is amazing.  Mind, it was kinda worrying because the leggings almost fit him. I mean, he’s ten. I can only hope that he is growing fast and that I am not shrinking fast?

And that is that. The frogs are returning in their droves and we must now be on ‘frog-on-the-face-of-Solo watch. Have you ever tried unhooking a frog off a fish’s face? No, I thought not.

Some people find it hard to believe that this is my life. Trust me – it is.

Between starting this post and finishing it I have popped up the garden to check on Solo. He is still ‘frog-free,’ but the first small heap of frog spawn has appeared. This might be the first year that most of the tadpoles/froglets survive. Solo is too old to bother eating the tadpoles and now that the chucks are no longer present the baby frogs will make it safely from the pond, across the lawn, and into the damp shrubbery – so, again – something positive comes from the negative!

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Take care x

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No News Is Good News . . .Isn’t It?

When I first started blogging, back in the dark ages, I seemed to have a lot to say and managed to say it on a pretty regular basis. This, does not appear to be the case these days, hence a spasmodic blogging pattern has formed – here one day, gone for a week – or more.

I think if this was a blog dealing with the subjects of writing, publishing, self-promotion etc. I’d be banging out my opinions 3 or 4 times a week – but it isn’t. Yes, I’m a writer. Yes, I’m a published author. And yes, I’ve done (or attempted to do) my own bit of self-publication. I say ‘attempted’ because I am utter crap at it. Some people could sell coal in a heat wave. Not me. I’m useless. So, this is not one of those blogs.

This blog is grounded on nothing more than life – and living it and, as we all know, there are going to be times when nothing exciting, humorous or interesting etc. happens. They’ll be times when life ticks over. Nothing good. Nothing bad. Nothing to interest anyone. And, to be honest, I’d rather bring something to raise spirits, rather than drop people into pits of misery. Don’t get me wrong I can do ‘misery’ and what’s more I’m extremely good at it. I could have you snivelling into your porridge in seconds. But that isn’t me, is it? Yes, I also ‘do’ digressing very well too . . . sorry.

So, because nothing much of interest has been happening I’ve been rather absent of late – absent as in ‘not here’ not as in absent-minded.

I’ve recently gone rather mad (I know you find this hard to believe) and started taking the house to pieces. Walls have been stripped. Paper replaced.Furniture moved up stairs – only to be moved back downstairs after I’ve slept on it. Not literally. Just lived with it overnight and decided it looked crap – more crap (crappier?) than it did when it was downstairs. New furniture has been purchased. Tables stained. Items in cupboards have been changed round – Richard can find nothing. It’s like a major O.C.D. spring clean.

The last thing on this particular agenda (they’ll be another shortly) was the tidying of the top drawer in the kitchen. This drawer has been tidied recently but I happened to notice that Richard had placed the Sellotape dispenser in the wrong place. Yes, I’m a freak – but you knew that.

So . . . with Richard skulking in the background I set about lifting out the drawer and manically tidying. When I came to refit the door, back on its runners, I found that I couldn’t close it. The drawer below is full of ‘packaging’ material, padded envelopes for Richard’s playing cards (his new little internet business) and all things paper. He watched me struggling to shut the drawer and this, along with the fact that there was an envelope rammed at the back, all screwed up, made me snatch it up, shake it at him and yell, ‘look, you’ve put too many bloody envelopes in here and now I can’t shut the drawer! Why do you have to put so many in here?’ He said nothing. Actually he did open his mouth but I think he thought objection was pointless. He knows when I’m ‘on one’ it’s usually best just to hang his head and accept defeat. I threw the creased envelope on the floor and rammed the drawer back in. It still wouldn’t close. I rammed it in again and it still wouldn’t close. ‘There must be more bloody envelopes down the back of it!’ I yelled, and pulled it half way back out. At this point a tabby front leg and hooking paw shot out from behind the back of the drawer.

My first reaction was . . . ‘what the f**k’ followed instantly by ‘what the f**k it’s Chea . . . I’ve squashed her.’ Naturally I yanked out the door and screamed, ‘you stupid cat how the hell did you get in there?’ I think when we are terrified we often over react by attacking? With my heart thudding I watched as she bellied out, shook herself and blinked.

From across the kitchen Richard stupidly said, ‘didn’t you know she was in there?’

‘Of course I did,’ I said, throwing up my arms, ‘I thought I’d just try to squash her for the fun of it!’ I was still in over reacting, attacking mode.

With Chea out of the drawer it slid back in like melting butter and after my heart had returned to normal, and Chea looked none the worse for her squashing, I had to apologise to Richard for saying that he had overloaded the envelope drawer.

Chea has turned into the nicest cat that anyone could wish for and, other than her ridiculous fascination, as a young cat, with climbing to the top of conifers and being too scared to come down, she doesn’t really do life-threatening stunts. I’d like to think that she has learnt a lesson but I fear not. This morning, as I rammed a few jigsaw puzzles and game boards into the pine chest in the bedroom, she was breaking her neck to push past my hand and slip into the chest for another adventure.

And this, my friends, is really all I have been up to just now . . .

Take care and watch out for pussies in your drawers!20170203_105745

 

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Keep Breathing. It’ll All Be Fine.

So, the Ho Ho Ho’s have subsided for another year. Food, that is hard to place into any worthwhile food group, has been noshed, digested, and forgotten about. The decorations have been banished to the attic (they don’t usually survive Boxing Day but this year I was ‘more in the spirit’ and they remained until New Year’s Eve). Christmas, and 2016, is now firmly behind me.

I’ve heard so many people say that 2016 was their worst year . . . ever and, yes, I also had a few downers.

Richard took redundancy this time last year and is still cluttering up my day and my life. I fear he will never go back to work. Though, to be honest, he is now running a little internet thingy selling playing cards and it is meeting with some small success. Then, I had those awful retinal migraines start-up this time last year. I won’t pretend that I’m not terrified that they will recur but, other than chopping off my head, I am at a loss of what to do to prevent it happening? I also lost the chucks. I have resisted having more. I would love to restock but I dare not. I miss them dreadfully. So, yes, shit happened but you know what, that’s life. Shit does happen. We just have to put it behind us and move on . . . and that’s what I’m doing/have done . . .

I’ve welcomed this year with open arms. It doesn’t have to be spectacular, or mind-blowing. I don’t have to find gold hidden beneath the compost heap, or sell a million books on Amazon – though, let’s be truthful here, a few would be nice.  All I truly ask is that this year is a little kind to me. If loved ones are kept safe. If I can go on appreciating the simple things in life (I don’t necessarily mean Richard). Then this coming year won’t disappoint and I dare not ask for more.

I will have my fists raised in times of anguish, times when life deals a nasty blow, and I will do my best to battle through. I might win the fight. I might not. But I will attempt to – always.

So, what have I done so far this year? Well, I’ve tidied and rearranged my kitchen cupboards. I have, with the help of my darlin’ grandson, Jake, moved and pulled out all the twiggy stuff from the two compost heaps. I have scattered compost on the newly sorted flower area. Now that the chucks are no more I have every scrap of garden back and can grow anything, anywhere. I have baked small cakes for the freezer and 3 large fruit cakes for . . . me.  I have accompanied Richard to buy a new chain saw, risky I know, all things considered but the old one expired and what is the use of a log burner without logs?

Frankly, I’m amazed that the old one (a cheap B and Q version) lasted as long as it did, almost ten years. It had been terribly abused. On one occasion Richard had a leaping up-and-down-in-the-air tantrum and threw the poor thing into the ground, still running. He’s not safe with anything mechanical.

This time I decided that it was time he bought something better – I worked on the principle that if it cost a small fortune he would respect it more. Of course, it would also do the job easier and better. So a new Stihl saw was purchased and Richard, being Richard, had to try it the second we got home.

We had an all-out screaming session because he didn’t have any protective clothing and wanted to do his usual thing and just ‘wing’ it. He isn’t allowed to use a chainsaw without me present. I mean, if the daft bugger chops off his leg how the hell am I going to get that into a freezer bag with ice cubes, and then get him, on one bleeding stump, and a leg in a bag, down the garden? So, I am ALWAYS present. I insist on it, even though I merely stand there until logs are cut and then load them into the barrow. On this, the first attempt with the super-duper saw he shouted, above the noise, ‘where are you?’

‘Here!’ I shouted back, standing up from tickling Chea.

‘Move to the left a bit,’ he shouted, ‘you need to shield the greenhouse from anything that might fly that way.’

See? This is why I’ve purposely run out of ice cubes and binned the large freezer bags.

He has now ordered the whole protective ensemble from eBay. The hat, face shield, pants with braces, gloves etc. They don’t come until Friday so the little wood-cutter is redundant till then. And that’s that – the start of my year.

So . . . having written the first blog of the year and added it to my list of ‘things accomplished’ I’m off to make the fire and eat half a fruit cake! The healthier eating has started but I figure fruit cake is OK. After all, fruit is good for you, right?

Happy New Year All.

It might not be perfect but keep breathing and we will all make it out the other side.

Take Care xximages

Quick . . . Get The Sink Plunger!

So, call me suspicious but when the normal pattern isn’t followed I DO become suspicious.

You see, the ‘normal’ morning pattern for me is to be toddling around the place when Richard comes down. Sometimes, I’m sitting at the kitchen table on the laptop. Sometimes I’m splashing water around in the sink, pretending to be washing stuff. Richard shuffles through the door and says, ‘hello, babe, you OK?’

How sweet, you might think, what a lovely bloke, until I tell you that he’s talking to Chea, the cat. Babe responds with a kitty trill and receives a tickle between the ears. (She’d also receive a kitty treat if I hadn’t banned him from giving her treats. She almost broke the scales at the vets when she had her booster last month). I, meanwhile, tap away on the laptop or continue splashing water.

Sometimes we grunt at each other. These days that passes for, ‘good morning light of my life, how are you on this fine morning?’

This morning the ‘normal’ pattern wasn’t followed, even Chea didn’t get her tickle between the ears. I was at the sink, actually washing his wine glass that he’d left from the night before.

He sidled up to me and said, ‘could you do me a favour?’

Now, this comment, linked to the fact that I never receive the first words out of his mouth of a  morning, coupled with the fact that he was still in his dressing gown, concerned me slightly.

‘Depends what it is,’ I said, looking him up and down.

‘Could you look in my ear and tell me if there’s anything in it? It’s full of wax.’

‘If it’s full of wax it’s full. If it’s full – by the very meaning of the word – you can’t have anything else in it.’ Cleaver hey?

‘You know what I mean,’ he said, tugging at his earlobe.

I took a glance at his ear. ‘I can’t see anything. Go and fetch a torch.’

With torch in hand I peered into a hairy orifice.

‘Well, what is it?’ he said.

I was seriously tempted to tell him that he had a bug in it and that it would work its way to his brain (hard journey) and that he would walk in circles for the rest of his life. (I’d  once seen this on a wildlife documentary when it had happened to a poor wildebeast) but I didn’t.

‘Wax, just wax, why do you let them get to this stage?’

‘What!’ he shouted. ‘I can’t hear you.’

Idiot.

I made him sit at the table, with his head tilted, and reached for the olive oil – I might add my super-duper extra, extra, extra virgin olive oil. I tipped some into a teaspoon and trickled it into his ear. Then I massaged it – quite hard – because it pleased me to do so.

‘There you go, we’ll put oil in every day till it softens and then we’ll take it from there.’ I reckon I can probably find some kind of suction device, a bit like a sink plunger, and have a go with that. That’ll soon get Mr Naughty Ear Wax out!  I tell you. My life rocks.

He stood up and walked away, with his little head still on the side, in the search for a bit of cotton wool to stop the oil leaking out. I put my precious olive oil back in the rack and then, realised, as my precious olive oil was already there, that I’d actually filled his ear with an extremely cheap cooking oil.

Never mind, as long as he doesn’t sit with that side of his head next to the wood burner tonight he’ll be OK. Wouldn’t want him to fry his brain . . . would I?

I’m now going to take this opportunity to wish all my readers/followers/friends/those who only read my blog posts because they think I am crazy/sick/mental blah, blah, blah,               A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS. I wish you peace, happiness and love, whether that comes from making new memories or reliving old ones. I’ll be having a quiet Christmas with Richard  – and Richard will be having an even quieter one – because he has wax in his ears and cannot hear!

Bless you all xxx

santa

Cracked It! No Glittered Pussy This Year

So, that’s it! The last craft fair is under my belt. The remaining items are sorted, boxed, and stored away until next year. Unfortunately, the ‘storage’ area is the bottom of one of my wardrobes. This means that anything over shirt length is creased and rammed towards the back of the wardrobe. No worries. I’m going to sort through everything again and fill some charity bags.

I tidied these wardrobes earlier in the year and still ended up with hangers full of crap. Too ‘small’ crap. Too ‘busy’ crap. Too ‘boring’ crap. Too ‘plain’ crap. Put simply – crap. So, I am going to be lethal.

Boots and shoes are not escaping the clear-out either. In fact, if anyone would like a free pair of short, brown boots (Clarks – 6) with a small heel, let me know. They have been on my feet once – for ten minutes. Plantar fasciitis now prevents me from wearing anything with a heel. I’m such a poor sod – falling apart at the seams really. These days I only look trendy when in the garden and wearing wellies.

Anyway, that’s that.

The last craft fair was at my local library. The staff were lovely and the event quite successful. In fact, I’m popping a couple of my books down there this morning. Yes, little ‘backwards at coming forwards’ me! I actually enquired if they took self-published books and the chief librarian was most accommodating so . . . I’m starting small and just letting them have ‘Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat’ (that actually isn’t self-published – but a minor detail) and ‘Witch Ever Way You Look At It.’ That should be sufficient to scare the natives into insanity and have them all diving into the depths of The National Forest for a bit of calming tree hugging.

With the left-over craft items stored away and the wardrobes thinned to baldness I shall be happy. These little things do make me happy. Tidiness. Knowing where everything is. I have even addressed the irritating problem of the glittery Christmas tree.

If you remember, I bought the beautiful, silver glittery tree a couple of years ago? The first year it had a major shed of glitter like some poor dog with a serious attack of mange. We wore glitter everywhere – very seasonal but mega embarrassing, especially when you got home and realised that you’d stood chatting to someone in Morrison’s check-out queue with silver glitter on your chin.

The second year it shed less, but even so poor Chea was ridiculed by the neighbourhood cats as she happily, and unknowingly, trotted down the garden path with sparkly ears and twinkly tail, where she’d rubbed beneath the tree.

This year I have sussed it and the bloody tree is outside, in the back porch thingy. It can be seen from inside the house BUT it doesn’t shed glitter everywhere. This year there will be no glitter on my pussy . . . bless her little heart.

So, off to do a tad more tidying, starting with Richard’s slippers. They have expanded like large boats on his feet and I can hear him coming from one end of the house to the other, shuffling along like Frankenstein’s monster. Yesterday he caught the side of the right slipper under the door and almost went arse over topknot. This is three days after missing the bottom two stairs and crumbling into the hall. I was drinking my tea in bed at the time and came very near to scalding myself when I burst into hysterics. What is it that is so hilarious about someone falling over? Anyway, he’s just buggered off to his mother’s now so the slippers will be in the bin when he returns. I call it an act of kindness?

Take care x

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Hardly Fairy Dust!

Again – I’m starting this with my too frequently used opener of . . . ‘Yes, it’s been awhile since the last blog post.’ Nothing new in that, hey? Except, there is something new in that – this – whatever.

Choose from the following which you think is responsible for my absence;

1  I won the lottery and took three weeks off to find a comfy country pad?

2  I finally pushed Richard to the end of his tether and he threw me out without my laptop and therefore any means of blogging?

3  I took a long cruise?

4  I almost killed myself with my lovely palm sander?

So, what do you think?

Obviously it’s the last one. I don’t do the lottery. Richard wouldn’t dare throw me out and cruising makes me seasick.

To start with I thought I was going down with a cold virus. This, in itself, is rare. I don’t really get colds. The simple fact that I don’t mix with many people might have something to do with this? Richard started coughing and spluttering around the place and I threw my normal fit and issued him with instructions. ‘Stay away from me. Use a tissue. Sleep in the other room.’ And whenever he made me a cup of tea etc. I bawled, ‘WASH YOUR HANDS!

Three weeks after his bug onset I felt a tickle in my throat whilst watching Emmerdale. ‘I’m getting a cold!’ I announced suddenly and woke the poor soul as he was about to doze off – he doesn’t watch the soaps, says he doesn’t like them, however, he’s always asking me what’s what. Weird that, but I digress . . .

Forty-eight hours later and I was barking like a dog. Then my nose started producing you know what. Buckets and bowls of it in lovely shades of cream and green – yes, I know, too much information. I very quickly fell under the spell of the ‘virus’ and was REALLY, REALLY, poorly, coughing until I was sick, and once I almost passed out because I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t taste a single thing for five days. I could have been eating curry or custard . . . no way of telling. My ears were blocked for five days and when the pain slicing through my head snuck down into my cheek, gums and teeth, I gave in and reluctantly took to my bed, after making Richard promise that he wouldn’t forget I was up there.

He forgot I was up there – even after promising to bring me a cup of tea and paracetamol at an agreed time. After the agreed time had come and gone I banged on the wall (always works) and five minutes later up he trotted saying that he’d set the alarm on his phone but it hadn’t gone off. See? This is why I try to address illness from downstairs and not take to my bed. Did he really need to set an alarm? Shouldn’t the fact that his beloved was up in the attic, dying, be sufficient for him to remember? Jeez, even Chea popped up now and again to see if I was well enough to get up to cook her a bit of buttery chicken.

After a fortnight with no improvement, and being pretty sure I needed antibiotics, I struggled to the doctor.

Needless to say I was just as ill as I’d imagined and came home with the appropriate antibiotics and a diagnosis of bronchitis.

It was at this point, or slightly earlier, that a ‘light bulb’ moment occurred and after thinking back I suddenly realised that this had started after using the lovely palm sander. Yes, I’d used a dust mask 70% of the time, but not ALL of the time. On bright, breezy days I’d winged it a bit, throwing caution to the wind and imagined I was side stepping the swirling wood-dust clouds.

It all made sense – even Richards so-called cold. He had produced neatly cut wood for me, length after length, and he hadn’t used a dust mask at all.

And the best of it is I really pushed myself to be fit enough to do a craft fair last Saturday. I didn’t honestly feel up to it but you all know me – an obstinate so and so. I insisted that Richard stay with me, just in case I had a coughing fit, couldn’t breathe and died in the middle of the display. He wasn’t impressed. I’ve told you before, he’ll take me, lug boxes, and fetch me back, but he won’t stay. Well, this time he had to . . . and guess what? For all my effort to survive bronchitis (brought on by my own stupidity) and to make it to the fair, it was utter crap. No one, including me, sold much at all and Richard parked the sodding car in the wrong car park and got a parking ticket! Bloody brilliant.

I have one fair left to do this year. I will review the situation in the New Year. Seems I can’t write books because of my retinal migraines and I can’t produce crafts because I poison and aggravate my lungs with wood dust?

What next I ask myself. So far I haven’t come up with an answer. But I will.

Take care . . . and if you are sanding wood WEAR A DUST MASK! 20161201_111135

First Loves Never Die (Oh Yes They Do!)

So, last Thursday evening I trotted off to attend a two hour Christmas craft fair. Richard kindly drove me there, in fact, Richard now drives me everywhere since the retinal migraine attacks that started this time last year. He says he’d rather do that than have me driving. I feel that this has little to do with the fact that he wants to keep me safe and sound and more to do with the fact that he doesn’t want me to smash-up the car.

I’m not an evening person so toddling off to haul boxes into a village community centre and then attempt to display far too many ‘items’ on a six-foot table was no picnic I can tell you. I’m usually up at four/five in the morning and therefore expire rapidly by early evening.

I have to admit to getting really stressed about it all. As I said, the table wouldn’t hold all my stuff and Richard, sensing my stress, became even more useless than usual.

As soon as the boxes were out of the car and he’d attached the back boards to the table I told him to go. He’s lovely actually. He loads up the car, drives me to these event’s, unloads the car and hangs around a bit until I tell him I can manage and then he vamooses – faster than poo off a shovel. He won’t hang around. He hates it. He says he puts people off. This might be true, who knows.

By the time I’d arranged the table – still with far too much stuff – I was expiring like a marathon runner and had a ‘beetroot’ coloured glow to my face.

People trickled in through the entrance and we were away.

I buggered around trying to find labels that had somehow disappeared and only succeeded in upending a large cardboard box of cellophane bags all over the floor. By the time I raised my head, a couple and a small child stood at the table. Now, you have to understand that, as I said at the start of this, I am not an evening person (Lord knows what I was doing there really) so, I find it hard holding a polite, animated conversation in the evenings but . . .

I grinned and said ‘hello.’

The woman/girl, whatever, was turning a large heart over in her hand (that’s a wooden heart by the way, not the pulsing, bloody kind) and looked lovingly at her partner/husband, probably seeking his approval to fork out the £2.50 for the darn thing. In a moment of utter braveness she grinned and said she would like it. Jolly good. I toddled round to the front of the table and took it from her, blabbering on about some rot. She seemed to appreciate the small talk and I even engaged with the small child AND gave him a free ‘Magic Santa Key.’ I tell you, I’m all heart.

It wasn’t until they walked away, and I’d safely squirreled away the £2.50, that I took another look at them. Or, more to the point, took another look at the partner/husband.

There was something about him? That auburn hair curling on his collar. I waited until he turned, at a stall two tables down, and then I saw his face. I recognised that nose. It was a tad bigger – but then, a nose I knew twenty odd years ago would be bigger now, wouldn’t it? And his eyes, smaller, more lidded . . .but twenty odd years would do that, wouldn’t it? He opened his mouth to speak to the child and suddenly I knew. Dear God, it was an old-lover-type-person of mine. I think I actually said ‘shit!’ out loud. Jeez, he’d changed a bit. I hardly recognised him. Well time hadn’t been kind to him, had it? I think I actually giggled at that point.

He’d rounded the end of the room now and was heading back down the other side.

At this point another customer caught my attention and I engaged in conversation regarding my embossed stag pictures. She said her mother LOVED stags. Said her mother had them all over the house . . . so she purchased . . . the Embossed Rabbit.

Now’t as queer as folk.

By now my ex-lover had ridden off into the sunset with my heart – the wooden one.

I rearranged my display still deep in amused thought. I couldn’t believe how much he’d changed and how I didn’t recognise him when he’d stood at the table with his family. And then, suddenly, it occurred to me . . . bummer! I don’t think he’d recognised me either! Evidently I wasn’t the angel-on-horseback that I’d been back then. The two of us jogging over fields, my horse gaily tossing its mane, me gaily tossing my brown locks. Time had been just as crap to me!

This taught me a valuable lesson. Two in fact. One, don’t do evening craft fairs. Two, don’t do them in an ex’s village.

By the time Richard came to pick me up I was shattered. He drove like Lewis Hamilton all the way home with me rabbiting on about whatever – not the ex-lover of course – I’ve always been discreet, sort off.

As soon as my feet touched home the oven went on and we pigged out on oven chips, spaghetti hoops and cheesy scrambled egg.

And this is probably why HE didn’t recognise little porky-pig ME.

Take care x88317966

A Bit Like Writing A Novel?

So, I’ve been warbling on and on about this chicken shed that is no longer a chicken shed but now a craft shed and a few readers have queried what I’m actually doing in there. Some of my antics I can speak of – some not.

I’m joking.

If you remember I started by making plaques and hearts? I still have these in my ‘portfolio’ but I’m pretty sure I won’t be making many more of these. They were a tad like a rough copy and as I progressed I edited them a few times, finally deciding that as a stand-alone item they are fine but a sequel will not follow.

I can totally relate this ‘craft’ thing to writing a novel . . . or at least to the way I write a novel. I start at the beginning with an idea and then see what happens. Usually, my characters write the novel for me and at times I have to rein them back with a firm hand. The same can be said of my ‘crafting.’ I start with an idea and see what happens. Quite often, like the novel, I end up with something that surprises even me – and not always in a good way.

I have days where everything I touch is utter crap and I  sit there staring at the debris, listening to Ken Bruce on the radio and watching Chea cleaning her bottom, stretched out across my work area. I don’t mind because frankly I’m not using it.

Then there are days when things go well and for a while I’m chuffed with what I’ve produced. Unfortunately, I have always been my own worst enemy and critic and usually, by the next day, I’m back to thinking it could be better.

I am fortunate that we have a log burner in the lounge. This is my plan B for the wooden failures. See, I am practical.

I’m liking the direction in which I appear to be going . . . large, chunky fairy houses and embossed pictures. It’s a bit like starting out writing romance and ending up in the horror genre. I like using rough wood, recycled and brought back to life. I love the way each piece is different and responds uniquely to sanding and painting etc.

Apologies, I’m wittering as usual. I only popped on here to post some pictures of what I’ve recently produced. The pics’ aren’t great but I think it gives the general impression. See, if I blame the images you’ll believe the items are better than they look. Sneaky, hey?

So, for Malla, Elaine, Evelyn etc. here you go . . .

items-craft-2items-craft