And Then I Broke My Own Heart.

Hi

It’s been a while – again. I honestly do not know where the time and days go to. This year has flown by on even faster wings.

I blame it, in part, to Richard still being here. Not, you understand, ‘still being here’ as in I haven’t murdered him yet but as in he still hasn’t joined the great British work force and therefore drifts around the place cluttering up my day. He tells me there is ‘nothing out there.’ This I know is a lie. I think I told you I saw an opening, albeit seasonal, for a Father Christmas at a local store. He has the portly build and the rustic beard, though, to be honest, I do openly admit that he’d be hard pressed uttering the words “Ho Ho Ho” every 5 seconds. “Ho Ho Ho” on a regular basis he is not!

Not to worry, I’m finding him lots of lovely little jobs around the house. The latest was to take up the stair carpet, repaint all the woodwork, and supervise a new carpet being laid. We had an argument, of course, as to whether or not the radiators needed painting. I said, ‘Don’t be an idiot of course they do!’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t think they do.’ Now riddle me this . . . who do you think won this argument?

He tells me that he likes being here with me all day – every day. And what’s more he says it with a straight face. Perhaps there’s an actor’s job going somewhere?

This period of absence has also been down to the fact that I’ve had some sad news and a hard decision to make.

Rita Raptor, the chuck, became poorly, showing symptoms that I’ve seen before in the chucks that I’ve lost. Some days she was up and some days she was down. Then the down days extended until, finally, there were no up days and she stopped eating, drooped her little wings and closed her tired eyes. I’ve been struggling with the health of my hens for the last few years and I have now come to the conclusion that they must be finding something out in the garden that doesn’t agree with them. I have no idea what it could be. It certainly isn’t the conditions in which they are living under. My chuck cage and outside run is cleaner than a hospital operating theatre!

I knew from past, sad experience, that Rita wasn’t going to pull through so we took her to the vet who confirmed my fears and she was put to sleep. Richard and I didn’t speak coming home in the car. It’s hard to trust your voice when you have an emotional lump wedged in your throat.

This left Mabel.

We had been in this situation three times now – left with just one chicken – and each time we had rushed to the farm and brought another chuck home as company to the remaining hen. I wasn’t going to do that this time. The time had come to end all of this. Whatever was killing my chucks could not kill another. Mabel was the sweetest, tamest, loveliest hen you could ever find. She followed me around the garden like a doe-eyed puppy, coming instantly when I called her, always on the lookout for a little treat. For the next week we only shut Mabel in her summer-house at night to roost. During the day she spent time down at the house, having a few treats and being allowed to scratch in the ‘forbidden’ part of the garden.

After a week I did something that broke my own heart. I took her to the local animal sanctuary, two miles from here. I couldn’t keep her on her own, I couldn’t risk getting another, and I couldn’t accept her going the same way as the others.

She didn’t utter a chirrup all the way there, just sat patiently in Chea’s cat basket watching the world go by the car window. When we got to the sanctuary the girl let her out of the basket and they gave her a quick health check. They remarked that she was in excellent condition and in return she clucked and blinked and then started to ‘talk’ to me – ‘chicken’ people will know exactly what I mean. I imagined the dear soul saying, ‘I’ve enjoyed my little trip out . . . can we go home now?’

They asked if we wanted to see where she was going . . . with three other chucks and a cockerel. We didn’t. I couldn’t. She would have to battle while she found her place within the pecking order and I would be tempted to scoop her up into my arms and bring her home and treat her with a bit of cooked pasta that I had in the fridge.And besides, they would witness two grown adults crying over a chicken.

We left her there, still ‘talking’ to me, and we walked away.

Richard dismantled the nest boxes, perches, dividing partition and stored away the feed and water containers. I won’t have any more chucks here.

The garden is like a tomb . . . as quiet as the grave. I miss them terribly. I stand and watch the sunlight spearing down through the shrubs into the undergrowth and I can see them. I am stupid. I know that. They were only chickens. Nothing THAT important. But I can’t convince myself of that . . . not yet . . . and knowing me, not ever. So, you see, I chose to break my own heart. Yep, stupid. Really stupid.

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Take care all x

Not dead . . . just taking time out

Hi

No, I’m not dead . . . just taking time out to smell the roses, consider this and that, and generally make up my mind on my next steps.

I’m pretty sure that the ‘writing’ has reached an end. This is not down to my lack of interest in it or to the lack of ideas whizzing around in my head but more to the fact that my health issues won’t allow it. Any amount of excessive scrolling – as in editing etc – totally upsets my head and vision. This, to my detriment, I have learnt. Also, the medication that I’m taking in an attempt to keep these debilitating retinal migraines away leaves me brain-dead and I can sit for minutes . . . and minutes . . .  trying to figure out how to spell a certain word. Usually something massively complicated like, ‘more’ or ‘need.’

I have long learnt that you can’t fight the inevitable and that often that ‘inevitable’ is steering you away into other directions. So, I will never say never, but for now, and for the foreseeable future, the writer in me has retired.

Having said this I do have other ‘irons in the fire.’

We are now looking at moving to Lincolnshire. This is a very new W.I.P and may or may not happen, so for now I’ll shut up about it, other than to say if anyone has a lovely little detached property in south Lincs, stuck in the middle of a field, please let me know. It has to be detached because as I said to Richard the other day ‘I’m sick of yelling at you and the neighbours hearing every word.’ My quest in life is to berate him in private.

Also, after my toe~dipping~into~the~water episodes with the craft fairs, I’ve decided to do more. Not with the books but with ‘pretty’ little bits and bobs – painted hearts and plaques etc. It occupies my mind, keeps me off Richard’s case, and fills that creativity spot in my being that not writing leaves void. I have seven fairs booked so far. It may all end in tears and an attic full of crap but hey-ho there you go.

Dear Richard is going for a job interview tomorrow!!!! I should at this point begin my own Mexican wave or high-five Chea, but frankly I’ll miss him when he is back in the workplace. I can’t remember what it’s like to plug-in the vac and the lack of washing up liquid on my hands has left them as smooth as silk –  well, OK, maybe not as smooth as silk because I’m always scratching around in the garden.

So, directions change. Things move on. This is me now. Tomorrow I could be something else. But as I said to Richard, ‘I think we still have one or two adventures left in us.’

The moving thing is massively emotional. My garden is perfect (don’t mean to sound big-headed) and we have twenty-five years of little passed-on souls buried out there. The house is as we want it and we have a bit of money in the bank. We are comfortable. But, like the writer I am (was) I imagine other scenarios. And besides, ‘comfortable’ is overrated if you ask me?

We will see. I tend to trust in the heavens.

For now I’ll paint my little hearts and do-dahs and drop into crafty mode. Tomorrow, as I say, could be a whole new ball game.

Sending lots of love to you all.

x20160718_130505

 

Something I Haven’t Mentioned Until Now. . .

Someone asked me the other day how Little and Flight (the chucks) were doing? I grimaced a bit and then had to admit that they weren’t doing very well at all – in fact, they both died in March.

I haven’t told you this until now, mainly because it was very upsetting.

Flight became intermittently poorly – one day OK and the next day not so OK – Yes, I do know that is the meaning of intermittent! She would be as bright as a button for a day or two, eating every bug in sight and destroying the garden, and then take herself off into the shrubbery and sit hunched and sick-looking.

There was little point in taking her to the vet, this I have learnt with previous chucks. The treatment is either antibiotics, that never work, or missing that stage altogether and going straight in for the kill.

One Sunday morning she didn’t want to come out of her bed and from under the heat lamp, and during the morning she slipped into a coma. Around four in the afternoon she drifted peacefully away.

She was a lovely chuck, not as tame and forthcoming as Flight but beautiful. I never grew tired of watching her scratching around on the lawn with the sun on her feathers. She shone blue in the sunshine.

We then had the awful problem of being left with one chuck. Everyone will tell you one chicken is a no-no and it’s true. They, like many other creatures are flock/herd animals and they need the companionship of others.

We decided, in our infinite wisdom, to pop to the farm down the road and pick up a friend for her. Little was a kind soul, originally being hen-pecked and at the bottom of the pecking order, a bit of a runt really so we had little worry about her accepting a new friend.

There wasn’t a great deal of choice, but we weren’t looking for something to ring whistles and bells just a dear companion for Little, someone to help her over her grief of losing her best friend. We chose a Red Island Red cross Light Sussex and hurried home.

We placed the newbie in the chuck house, partitioned off from each other, but still able to see one another. After several hours, and everything going swimmingly, we decided to carefully introduce them to each other.

The newbie approached Little looking really jolly and happy. Little, dear, sweet, Little, raised her head as tall as a giraffe, leapt into the air and attacked the newbie. For seconds we stood in shocked silence as Little dealt blow after blow on the newbie, until finally the newbie struck back, catching Little on her comb and drawing blood. By this time we were moving and I grabbed Little.

After this the newbie was named Rita Raptor.

Over a period of a few days they had short sessions of ‘almost’ contact with each other, with me standing between them like an on-guard sentry. It was around Rita Raptors fifth day that we noticed Little not being quite right. It was at this point that I realised I had made a grave mistake in thinking that Flight had died from something peculiar to herself. Obviously they both had it. She deteriorated overnight and I wasn’t prepared to watch her die slowly so we took her to the vet, and she put her to sleep.

I was bitterly upset. Yes, I know. She was just a chicken. But my chucks are not just chucks and Little was a sweet girl.

So, we now had the same problem . . . one chuck on its own. Fortunately the chucks’ cage is a summer house, divided down the centre, so Little and Rita had, in fact, been kept separate. We crossed everything that we had and prayed that the Raptor hadn’t picked up the disease.

We scrubbed everything in sight – ten times – even though the chuck house is cleaner than some hospitals – and then, after a week, fetched another chuck for Rita. This was Mabel.

Mabel dealt Rita Raptor a swift peck to the head and that was that. Rita accepted instant defeat and all was well.

They are like my permanent shadows. Originally they were both quite timid with me, but I have a trick . . . it’s called ‘corn in the pocket.’ Once Rita knew there was a supply of corn in my pocket – and if she came to me she would get some – we were away. Now I can’t appear without them tearing down the garden and wrapping themselves around my feet. I’m always tripping over them or standing on their toes. They don’t seem to mind.

I still miss Flight and Little.

So, now you know. My girls have gone. I sometimes imagine I see them, a quick flash of blue in the undergrowth, where the sun slants through – and who knows, perhaps I do. I like to think so. Rita and Mabel are sweet and friendly and funny but time hasn’t dulled the memories of Little and Flight just yet and so, for now, Rita and Mabel will have to remain towards the bottom of my pecking order.

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Take care x

Sane Dogs And Mad Englishmen

So . . . we were driving back from somewhere the other day and there, as we navigated a bend on a country road, coming towards us on the opposite side was . . . another one!

Immediately, the non-canine person might be forgiven for thinking, ‘Oh, how cute. Look at the sweet little doggie running along at the side of its owner. The doggie is almost going as fast as the mobility scooter.’

Yep, that’s it. A rare, hot, sunny day in good old Leicestershire and Mr Idiot is letting his dog gallop along on the verge at the side of his mobility scooter. Mr Idiot is loving the boiling hot midday sun because Mr Idiot is wearing shorts and a sleeveless vest and the speed at which he is going is wafting a lovely warm breeze across his face.

Now let’s pan to Mr Idiot’s dog.

Buster isn’t doing quite as well. Not enjoying it quite as much. Why? Because the fricking dog is wearing a fur coat! With tongue lolling, almost to the point of tripping him up, Buster is doing his best to keep up. Truth be known the poor dog probably thinks he’s enjoying it.

This, frankly, sends me into orbit.

Why do people do it?

DON’T.

It’s cruel.

Have they ever seen a dog die of heat stroke and/or exhaustion? I have and it isn’t pretty – or necessary.

If it’s too hot for YOU to gallop along a grass verge, or a pavement in the midday sun wearing a fur coat, then it’s too hot for the DOG. Duh!

And I won’t even start on dogs left in cars.

Well, actually, I might. Not exactly on dogs left in cars, because everyone should be aware of that major shitty act, but on dogs carried in hatchbacks – you know – the space behind the backseat. It seems safe enough – but trust me, it isn’t.

We were on our way to the coast once and we passed an elderly couple, pulled over into the layby, struggling to get their collapsed chocolate Labrador out of the back space in the car. The dog’s head lolled as they lifted it. These people had probably, in all innocence, travelled with their beloved pet safe in the ample luggage space, and even had the car windows slightly open, but the hot sun through the back window had taken its toll. It would have been like sitting in a greenhouse.

I have to admit to feeling a tad sorry for them because it could well have been an innocent mistake. It ruined my holiday and the memory and vision of that dog, head hanging, unconscious or dead, haunts me to this day. I like to think that it was merely unconscious, that they got it to a vet in time, and that all was well, but I might be viewing the episode through rose-tinted glasses. Being an ex veterinary surgeon’s wife I tend to recognise death when I see it.

So that’s my moan. My rant. My pet peeve . . . literally.

I apologise if this offends anyone but, sorry, you will have to remain offended. This matters. Our pets deserve not to suffer at the hands of ignorance. There is no reason why dogs can’t be walked in the cool of the early morning or evening. They don’t need to be galloped at midday.

I have already seen three posts on Facebook this month where dead dogs have been taken from cars, and today a post where a woman was dragging her dead dog through the streets of London. I don’t know the details of that one so I will say no more . . .

This year I shall keep the R.S.P.C.A on speed dial . . . though, they might not be all they are cracked-up to be at times?

Take care xx

P.S. I do NOT have a problem with people who rely on mobility scooters to get around – at least, not genuine cases. In fact, a very nice man drives past my house now and then with his Yorkshire terrier – IN THE BASKET. 071

Opps! I did it again!

So . . . this is what I did . . .

I’d decided, in my infinite wisdom, to take my wares to the wider public. This took the form of yours truly booking a country fair and a village craft fair to sell my children’s books.

I made up a few packs with other crafted bits and bobs, namely, colouring sheets and crayons, colouring shapes and crayons and swing labels – all characters from the Bucket Head the Scarecrow book. Richard also kindly made me some fridge magnets based on the same characters.

Armed with all of the above we set off.

First impressions of the country fair set-up were encouraging. A lovely green field situated at the side of a country church, the one, by the way, where generations of my family are buried, including the ashes of my parents. This was strangely comforting, like I was amongst family. I guess I was, even if they were all dust. I digress . . .

Richard help me set up – he never stays. He hates the things, saying that he thinks he puts people off. This may be true. There are times when I think he puts people off – especially me. He toddled off to the car with a few cakes and a Land Rover magazine and settled in for the duration. He had his phone handy so that he could pop back if I rang to say that I needed the loo, but as it happened I didn’t need to disturb him because the lady next to me looked after the stall for me when I took a trudge to the toilet cubicle.

After about an hour, and just before the fair opened, a migraine kicked in – and the wind started rattling the tent flaps and a few stall holders had to run after their produce that was fast racing towards the head stones. I anchored down Bucket Head, took two paracetamol with caffeine, and waited for the promised thousands.

They did, in fact, arrive, BUT 50% of the promised thousands only came for the dog show and another 30% only came for the kiddie rides, which left, by my reckoning, 20% of visitors who trickled round the craft tent.

No worries. The caffeine had kicked in a bit (I don’t drink coffee and so the slightest sniff of caffeine bucks me up no end) so I crept out from behind the stall and attempted to be nice. This I find extremely difficult. I’m a practising recluse in real life and so ‘talking-up’ my books doesn’t come easy and consequently my expression looks more like a grimace than a smile. After a while the pinned-on smile actually hurts my face and I’m a hair’s breadth from giving it a hard slap to make it work properly. I think this may put off one or two people – especially the protective mother brigade. Talking of which . . .

This lovely couple approached and she picked up the Bucket Head book. I applied the smile and dived in. I mean, how hard could it be? Other people can hold nonsensical conversations and thereby secure sales. I could see that she was heavily pregnant and she wore that ‘today’ style of a short top ending at the top of her bump. Her husband smiled lovingly at her as she flipped through the book and I blurted, ‘Oh, yes! You are definitely going to be needing that book – I can see that.’ I nodded and grinned at baby bump.

She didn’t raise her eyes from the book and calmly said, ‘No, I’m starting a teacher training course next month. No babies for me for a few years.’

She closed the book, replaced it, smiled, and walked away.

How the hell was I to know that she was just overweight? You can’t win them all, and anyway, she shouldn’t walk around with her rotund belly exposed. I’m not a bloody mind reader . . . and frankly I’m an even worse seller-of-books. Also, I have to admit to my faux pas not being rarities. I’ve made some blinders in my time. Far too embarrassing to mention here.

The other stall holders were very disappointed with their takings for the day, well, all except the man in the corner selling 3D notebooks and cards because I bought loads for Jake and Grace! Richard appeared at packing up time and we cleared off home with me promising, in my own mind, that I would NEVER . . . EVER do another stupid fair.

Last Saturday I went to another.

It was already booked – as I mentioned at the start. This time I produced my ‘secret    weapon,’ in the form of Jake, my grandson.

I’m pretty sure that people don’t like the look of me. I think I look unapproachable. Jake, on the other hand, does not look unapproachable. He looks adorable. His little face beamed through the display and there was no choice but to speak to him and then off he went . . .’I’ve read both of my grandma’s books. I like Bucket Head the best. It’s really good – and she did all the illustrations herself.’

In fact, although this fair still hasn’t made me a ‘famous author’ it did provide me with some sales, a lovely, permanent memory of Jake’s total enthusiasm and support and . . . it was only three hours in duration. . .  AND there were no half-naked, fat bellied woman . . . so, win win, hey?

I may wait until a bit nearer to Christmas before I ‘do’ another. It’ll take that long for my face to stop aching but I WILL BE BACK, and hopefully I’ll be back with my little secret weapon.

Take care x20160530_100154

 

Look Through Any Window?

So, this is how it went . . .

Me. “Richard, could you look at this booking form that I’ve downloaded because to me it doesn’t make any kind of sense.”

Richard. “Where is it?”

I stayed calm.

“Here, on my laptop.”

“OK.’

Me. “All you have to do is scroll down – once.”

Him. “Do you mean scroll up?”

Me. “No . . . I mean scroll down.”

“Well, can you pass the laptop along the table?”

I slid said laptop along the table and watched as he peered at the screen . . . and peered at the screen. I propped my head up by the palm of my hand, elbow resting on the table and gave him time to evaluate. You see, to be perfectly honest, while Richard falls down in many areas, where ‘forms’ are concerned he is quite good. This is because I read the first line, fill it in and then halfway down realise I’ve done it wrong. HE reads the whole thing three times, digests it, and THEN fills it in. So I waited . . .

Eventually I glanced over. The screen had a weird navy blue box across it and Richard squeaked, “I can’t get rid of this.”

Me. “What is it? All you had to do was scroll down. What have you touched?”

Him. “Nothing.”

I swung the laptop my way and there is was . . . bloody Windows 10 downloading!

‘What the *uc* have you touched? (yes, I used the F word) you only had to scroll down?”

I grabbed the laptop and banged and crashed every button in sight, trying to stop it, whilst screaming (yes, screaming) “It’s asked me a million times to upgrade to this shit and I DON’T WANT IT!”

You see, I’ve seen and heard so many bad things about Windows 10 that I just didn’t want the hassle. I was happy with Windows 8 and even THAT had taken a bit of getting used to.

I couldn’t stop it. It was a runaway train crashing down the track. So I waited . . . for what seemed like a day but was, in fact, probably 45 minutes, for the frigging thing to download. I then proceeded, huffing and puffing and cussing and swearing, to follow the on-screen instructions to set the bloody thing up. Yes, I know that you can uninstall these things but I also understand that it is more often than not that ‘bits’ get left behind. I’m sure there’s a technical term for it but bits will have to do.

At this point Richard wasn’t speaking, in fact, the poor sod was hardly daring to breathe. I’m such a tyrant – obviously. But tell me . . . what idiot scrolls down (or up) and download’s a whole new system?

However – I have to admit to you, and not to Richard, obviously, that I’ve continued using the laptop (with Windows 10) and the bits that I’ve used are not much different so . . . I’ll keep it.

I think it’s a bit like stepping outside of your  ‘what’s familiar zone?’ I’ve done this recently in another area too. I’ve never been drawn to watching ‘blood and guts’ stuff, especially the kind where it is done for effect and has a crap storyline but I can now admit to having stepped away from the normal and having watched Breaking Bad, Dexter, and we are just coming to the end of the sixth Walking Dead season – and I loved them all. Not my genre? Not my thing? In fact they are, so I will adopt the same attitude and give Windows 10 a whack.  Probably literally? But we will see.MB900440679

Take care x

Not So Much A Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch!

As many of you know, I am a creature of simple pleasures. My days, other than those of late (which sadly have been filled with semi blindness and constant migraines) are filled with poo-picking chickens, chatting to myself in the garden and writing – albeit, most days, mainly nonsense.

These simple things please, entertain, and basically keep me happy and grounded. However, I do have to admit that I have recently found these pleasures challenging. All of them . . .

Chea has decided to use the onion bed (beautifully raked and as fine as sand) for a giant litter tray. This doesn’t worry me too much as I don’t really eat onions. I grow them for Richard.

The first morning after planting I wandered out to find two onions dug up, four little saucer-shaped indents and a heap of soil. At least she had the good grace to cover it up. The second morning I wandered out to find three onions dug up, five little saucer-shaped indents and two heaps of soil. On both occasions I swore, threatened to send her back to the RSPCA and re planted the onions.

I took great delight in finding a lovely variety of runner bean in the week. I rushed them home and planted them up into larger pots immediately. Two nights later a frost settled over the garden, crept into the greenhouse and killed them stone dead. It also took out the tomato plants. I was not happy and even breathed warm breath on their little shrivelled leaves in the hope that I could resurrect them. No good. I think they are goners.

Aww!
Aww!
Again - aww!
Again – Aww!

And re the writing? Well, I haven’t done any. I’ve been waiting for the Bucket Head paperback to show up. There was a technical hitch –  and you all know how I am with technology, let alone hitches. It’s available in my shop.  http://readaloudstorybooks.com/books/ I mentioned last time that I was going to tell you how Bucket Head came about.

One Saturday, when the grandchildren were here we decided to make a scarecrow. It all went swimmingly well until we came to his head. We turned the potting shed upside down but we couldn’t find anything suitable . . .and then we found a bucket. So we used that. And Bucket Head the scarecrow was born.

The real Bucket Head
The real Bucket Head

He still stands in the garden now. He’s a tough little guy. The frost didn’t upset him one little bit. I DO mean Bucket Head still stands in the garden now and not my super-duper grandson Jake – just how cruel do you think I am?

Take care x

Happy To Announce . . .

Well, it’s taken a little while to get to this stage (announcing the new book) because basically I messed-up the ordering of the proof and was waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting for something that didn’t arrive and was never going to. Initially I blamed it on Easter – you know – being held up for the holidays.

I won’t bore you with the details but if you know me, and many of you do now, you will know that messing-up an order is pretty normal for me. And why shouldn’t it be I cry in my own defence. A few years ago I was a total ‘newbie’ cautiously dipping my big toe in waters new. I’d just about worked my way around Word and how to ‘double space’ and ‘find and replace’ and then I had to apply myself to ‘uploads’ and ‘downloads’ and Twitter and Facebook and losing whole posts and blogs into the ether. The road has been long and the journey fraught but . . . I am still here, on the other side. Admittedly it has driven me to sitting in a darkened room, counting flies and/or taking long walks out into the garden to ‘calm down’ before I threw the laptop and anything else within reach through the window but hey-ho that’s internet/self-publishing life!

I now have a lovely lady in my life – Gaile Griffin Peers. Gaile is a publisher and many other things. Our journey has, at times, been fraught, mainly because I’m an ‘if it can’t be done yesterday, today will have to do’ kinda gal and Gaile has a publishing business to run and cannot always do everything yesterday. When I say I have a lovely lady in my life I mean that Gaile helps me with all things formatting (obviously I can’t do that crap) and spends hours forwarding helpful links and answering my endless questions on chat. I have not replaced Richard – though the thought does sometimes sneak across my mind. Yesterday I shouted him, ‘Richard! Can you turn the vacuum off?’ No answer. ‘Richard! Can you turn the vacuum off?’ No answer. ‘RICHARD!’

‘What?’ he shouted back.

‘Did you hear me,’ I also shouted back.

‘No, not until the third time.’

‘So how did you know I’d shouted you three times if you didn’t hear me?’

This is what I have to put up with.

Anyway I have digressed massively. What I meant to say is . . . my new children’s book, “Bucket Head,” is now trickling into outlets everywhere. It isn’t on Amazon yet because I also messed that up, but it will be shortly.

It’s here at   http://readaloudstorybooks.com/books/

I’d love for you to take a quick look.  I’m a tad nervous about this one because it’s the first time I’ve attempted my own illustrations. It was something that I enjoyed immensely, which surprised me somewhat, and if my retinal migraine allows it I’d like to ‘do’ a second Bucket Head book, but as I said before, baby steps and all things in moderation, which, frankly, means that I should bugger off now and stop peering at this screen . . . so I will, and next time I’ll tell you how Bucket Head came to be.

Take care x

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Hopefully I’m Back?

Well, it’s been a while. In fact, a long, long while.

I haven’t blogged/posted/or pretty much anything else since middle January.

For those of you who read this blog, or vaguely keep up with my antics, you will know that back in January I was over taken, or taken over, by serious sessions of vision loss and migraines. These resulted in medication and arguments with the entire medical profession, which, in turn, resulted with me being whisked into A and E, where we spent 13 hours one Saturday morning in February.

Richard was his usual helpful self. After being instructed to call an ambulance immediately after I almost nosed-dived onto the kitchen floor, he said, ‘Do you really want an ambulance pulling up at the front of the house?’

I couldn’t follow his reasoning, but then what’s new. Not being able to stand, or see clearly, I didn’t argue against this comment. See? That’s how ill I was! ‘I’d much rather take you in the car,’ he said. So he did.

I had bloods taken – normal. I had a brain scan – normal. I know, bloody amazing hey? We left around 11.00 pm that night. They gave me a choice of staying in overnight or coming back the following day to see a neurologist. I went home.

Mustering up a fair degree of excitement we toddled back to A and E the following morning to see the neurologist. Great. Now something would be done. Wrong.

I was grilled by a first year doctor. She then scuttled off to report back to the registrar. He then scuttled off to report back to the neurologist. God was not prepared to speak face to face to a mere mortal. Probably scared to leave his throne?

Well, my dears, I might have been half-blind, with a pain to my eye socket like someone had plunged a knife into it, but I wasn’t having that. If I could turn up so could he. Without the likes of me he wouldn’t even have a job!

I’ll cut to the chase. He DID turn up (with a hugely grumpy expression on his face, clutching his stethoscope like a comfort blanket) and said something along the lines of, ‘I’m sure you have migraine, I don’t need to examine you, but I will.’

I said something along the lines of, ‘Well don’t bother then!’

He said, ‘I have to now that I’m here.’

Perish the thought that he should earn his keep. Perhaps I’m being hard but bear in mind I was very ill and we had spent almost 20 hours in A and E over the two days. Where, by the way, it transpired that we both picked up a dreadful virus that flattened us both for a fortnight!

Grumpy’s decision? Migraine. Normal migraine and retinal migraine. Lucky me –  two for the price of one. It’s the retinal migraine that causes me to lose my vision in my right eye up to four times a day – 5 days out of 7.

This continued (for 10 weeks) until recently. I have JUST managed 21 days without visual disturbance. I know it hasn’t miraculously gone away and I am sure it will return, but 21 days is terrific . . . truly.

I couldn’t look at the PC or the TV. Or go from one room into the other where light patterns changed. I still can’t cope with the sun without shades, or drive the car, or watch too much TV, or scroll on the PC. My eyes can’t keep up with the movement.

So, I’m being good, reminding myself constantly that small measures and short moments doing these things that I love will have to do – for now. I’m still half brain-dead from the medication but this is one of the crosses that I have to bear.

I’m going to end now because, believe it or not, I shy away from  posts/blogs etc. where they bleat on about pain in the big toe and boils on the bum but I merely wanted to put in an appearance and let you know that, hopefully, I’m back.

I do have a couple of things to tell you next time but for now it’s enough . . . for both of us!

Take care xMP900446574

OK, So I Was A Tad Rude . . .Whatever!

Hi

Yesterday I sank to an all-time low – even for me. I’d like to state my case here and have you all say that my actions were well justified but I doubt that you will.

I have been suffering from migraine and visual disturbances since last Friday. Migraine is nothing new to me – I have suffered with it for a large part of my life, but the pattern with this latest attack was different. It hung on . . .  and hung on, one hour lessening . . . the next returning. Intermittently my right eye lost clarity, with flashing silver and black triangles, dancing like manic witches, on the periphery. This has happened 7 times, the seventh time being yesterday morning when I attempted to go to Morrison’s to buy cat food for Chea. Between the ‘chicken with gravy’ and the ‘chicken with jelly,’ my right eye vision started its familiar flashing.

Now, I have my own theory on the cause of all these migraines but no bugger will take me seriously. I truly believe that they are triggered by my 3 degenerative neck discs that have very little of that ‘spongy’ bit separating them now and are aggravating this condition.

So, I decided to call in at the doctors on my way home – that is if I could find my way home with only perfect vision in one eye – and explain this to the doctor and ask to be referred for another neck scan etc. I mean, less face it, no better time than when I’m in the throes of pain and semi blindness, hey?

The receptionist announced that there were no more appointments for that day and if I wanted to see my doctor of choice (brilliant, caring, and wonderful all round, by the way) I could come back next year. Yes, that is a slight exaggeration, but only slight. Had I been able to see the stupid woman I might have been tempted to stick her Biro up her prominent snout, but I was feeling less than confrontational, all things considered.

I felt my way home having settled for a phone call from the doctor – basically to see if I was worthy of being squeezed into his precious day.

After tending the chucks and cleaning the loo, with my mobile strapped to my person so that I didn’t miss the call, I waited . . . and waited.

Eventually the call arrived. It was a nurse. Now, I have nothing against nurses, not at all but . . .

She questioned me, listened, tapped away on the PC (I could hear it distinctly and it hurt my head) and then said, ‘Can you come down now?’

Well, yeah. I could have ‘come down’ two hours ago . . . in fact wasn’t I already there two hours ago, or had I imagined it?

Long story short now. Saw the doctor I had sworn I would never see (by choice) ever again and he insisted it was migraine – nothing to do with my neck – didn’t matter that the ‘pattern’ was totally different – no he couldn’t ‘do’ a referral, not unless ‘he’ thought there was a problem with my neck – no my neck would not cause this.

He struggled to realise that I’ve tried every medication on this planet over the years and nothing works. Medication makes me worse. I’m sensitive. Side affects almost kill me. However, he decided in his infinite wisdom that I should try a different ‘variation’ of a drug previously taken and printed off a prescription. He said, ‘Take one of these – see if they work.’

‘And if they don’t?’ I said.

‘Come back because it isn’t migraine.’

WTF!

For the first time in my life I was rude, snatching up the damn thing and stropping off to the door.

‘Well, bye then,’ he said.

I didn’t answer.

As you can see this is very unlike me. Usually I’m charming, cheerful and hugely polite. I blame it on my brain. But there was more to come.

I walked into the pharmacy next door and the lovely assistant, who always seems to remember my name, said, ‘Hello, are you alright?’

She really should not have asked.

‘NO!’ I said, snatching her pen and filling in my name on the back of the prescription. ‘That lot are useless.’ I nodded in the direction of the surgery, next door. And then I said it . . . ‘Fucking useless!’

She didn’t look too distressed . . . or surprised and said, ‘Yes, we do hear that from time to time.’

‘Bastard!’ I said. ‘Useless bastards.’

We chatted for a bit and then I released her and took a seat . . . for 20 seconds. The other assistant called my name and I navigated my way to the counter. She fluttered the prescription in her hand and said, ‘Sorry, we don’t have these. We can get them for tomorrow?’

My first assistant screeched, ‘Oh, God, no, don’t tell her that!’

I simply held up my palms to the heavens and said calmly and with a bit of a snort, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll just drop down dead and save everyone any further trouble.’ I can do drama when required.

She looked worried . . . but then I laughed – well, snorted really. My vision had returned, some of my good humour – though I did hurl out mumbled curses into the ether as I walked back to the car, determined to fondle my voodoo doll on my return and twist a leg or two. Maybe even bang its head against the wall?  My imagination had no limit.

Someone once asked me if ‘they’ were in my novel. I replied, ‘Why would you be? I only write about interesting characters.’ In fact, I have never fashioned a fictional character on a real character but this may change.

I may include this ‘doctor’ in my next novel. He will be the character that dies a slow and painful death after having his ‘bits’ stung by a thousand bees. There will be a life-saving prescription on hand but, sadly, the pharmacy will have to order it in. Alas too late to save him. Oh, and perhaps a slight sting to his right eye?

Hell hath no fury like a migraine victim scorned . . . trust me on this one.

I’m off. Shouldn’t be looking at this bright screen!

And besides, I have to pick up the prescription that I won’t be taking.

Take care my lovelies x

PS A huge welcome to new blog followers! Thank you x

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