I’d Decided To Jump Off A Cliff! …

Hi All

It has been so long since I wrote a post (last Tuesday) that I have almost forgotten how – or indeed, why. During this time I have been dipping in and out of Facebook and picking up on others posts and reading some very sensible and serious offerings which again lead me to question the content of these posts. The content can only be described as ‘my ramblings,’ – nothing of importance or value really. Let’s face it, what can be that interesting about a cat, three chickens and a lovable but irritating bloke?

If I’m being honest – and I always try to be – I think the question of my health hanging over me hasn’t helped. I’ve been tootling along for the past three weeks, ever since having a brain scan, and pretending I wasn’t worried or in the slightest bit concerned. I think I was lying to myself. And I think this underlying worry, coupled with the side effects of taking  migraine relief drugs, has had its effect on my enthusiasm for most things. I do know that I haven’t really been myself.

I am usually a ‘let’s get to it,’ type of person and to lose my essence confuses and depresses me. BUT I am hoping that the light I now see is the light at the end of the tunnel…

On Tuesday I trotted along for my first Physiotherapy appointment on my fusing neck joints. In my head – the recently scanned one – it was going to be a total waste of time with some random physiotherapist printing off a sheet of exercises for me to embark on and that would be that. I wouldn’t do them because they hurt and they are a waste of time. As I sat waiting a guy appeared in a white coat. In the past I have had fragile little souls ticking my muscles and to no effect but this guy was different. Jamaican, as tall as a house and with hands the size of palm leaves. I figured that if he ever laid a hand on me it was certainly going to hit the spot. He was charming and lovely and spent a while on my history, then he asked if he could treat me. Yes, indeedy, he could. This is the point at which I should scream out something that I believe in totally …BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

The thumb in the neck was child’s play. No worries. Then he asked me to adopt a face down position. I obliged. He said, ‘it might be a bit sore’. I said, ‘bring it on.’ No gain without pain!

This mountain of a man with palm-leaf-size hands pressed so hard on my back that I couldn’t inhale or exhale. I just held my breath as he attempted to push me through the couch. It hurt. Really hurt. When he finally released me, and I sat up, I said, with hair everywhere and looking like I’d been dragged through the proverbial hedge, ‘If you had applied any more pressure I would have died!’ He laughed and said, ‘oh no, don’t do that’  Nice man. Obviously concerned about me already and we’d only just met. Then he added, ‘too much paperwork!’

He sent me home with a sheet of printed-out exercises! But, I’m doing them and they are helping. Miracle of miracles. This intrusive manipulation brought on a migraine within hours and I now have to seriously consider than my neck joints are a factor of this condition.MB900286650

I was told by my doctor, who said she would chase up the scan results, that I should phone the surgery on Wednesday. I left it until Friday. At this point I was still OK and I would be OK until I rang. Ignorance is bliss. On Friday morning I rang. Usually the receptionists will give out results but this time she hummed and arhhed and said she would get the doctor to ring me. Brilliant. Obviously there was something on the scan.

I spent the rest of the day worrying and coming to the following decisions in the following order – If the results were positive I’d drive to a very tall cliff and jump off. No. If the results were positive I would simply drop the ‘tough guy’ routine and go to pieces. No. If the results were positive I’d deal with it. A bit of time spent resting in hospital having my head opened up wouldn’t be that bad. I could deal with that. So, when, at 2.30, my mobile rang I picked it up immediately. The doctor said, ‘hello, you wanted the results of your scan? They are normal.’

‘Are you sure?’ I said, only your receptionist seemed very unsure,’

‘Scans are not as simply to read as blood test results,’ she said. ‘The terminology is far more complicated. But you are fine.’

‘Really?’ I said, ‘no little borderline or grey areas waiting to erupt?’

‘No little grey areas,’ she said, laughing. ‘In fact it’s as normal as normal can be.’

‘Are you sure it’s my scan?’ I said.

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘It’s your scan. And it’s normal.’

So, I’ve been beaten to a pulp by a very large Jamaican gentleman, suffered a migraine, been zonked out by beta blockers, been informed that I do have a brain and that it’s OK (at the moment) and questioned the value of crap content on this blog.

If I make it through the day I’ll try to be back tomorrow.

Joking apart, thank you for sticking with me through this ‘awkward’  few weeks. I know I’ve been boring and low-key and threatening to send Chea back to the RSPCA but I’ll try harder, I promise.

Take care my lovelies x (and I really do mean that)

How Do I Love Thee …Let Me Count The Ways.

Hi All

It’s been a few days since I posted because, as I explained in an earlier post, real life has recently kicked in. Richard’s mum, Betty, has been in hospital up to last night, when, she was taken in the early hours of the evening to a care home for a fortnight. It was hoped that she would go straight home from hospital but she has had sessions of being slightly bonkers and imagining the nurses are conspiring to kill her and that they hate her. None of this is true. Well, she may not be their favourite patient after being accused of contemplative murder but …

It is always the hardest decision in the world to put a parent in a home – even temporarily. The intention is that Betty will rally round now that she is out of the hospital environment and be able to go home after the fortnight and cope – with carers and family popping in. This is the plan. But it is a very loose plan and subject to change at any given moment.

My next update will astound you. Take a breath. Here goes … I hate Chea. There! I’ve said it. Hate. Hate. And then more hate. She is a miserable little shit. And here is the reason …

Two days ago she waltzed home with TWO baby birds in her jaws. TWO!! They were baby robins. One was dead and one was alive. Richard was here, thank the Lord, because the whole thing upsets me beyond words. He placed them in a bucket and disappeared up the garden with them to dispatch the semi alive one. When he came back I went ballistic, stropping and yelling and demanding that Chea was taken back to the RSPCA (again!) the following morning. You see, I know she emptied the robin’s nest, in the neighbour’s garden, of the first clutch of babies. She brought two back and left a dead one inches from its nest and now she had had two of the second clutch.

Richard rarely puts his foot down. No point. But he said, categorically (no pun intended) that Chea was going nowhere. She’s a cat and that is what cats do. I had another rant, which, frankly, usually wears him down and he gives in, sees my point of view and succumbs. This time he was having none of it and attempted to cut me off at the pass by saying, ‘All cats do it. What about Rory -‘ (named changed to avoid his owners suing me for defamation of character) ‘- what about when Jane (name changed …blah …blah …) called me round the other night to catch a bird in her kitchen that Rory had half mutilated?’

‘What?’ I said, head jolting up. ‘You didn’t tell me that.’

And then Richard made the ultimate mistake. The biggest, unguarded faux pas. He said, ‘I don’t tell you everything.’

Doesn’t tell me everything? Doesn’t tell me EVERYTHING?

‘Oh really?’ I said, in my best Miss Marple voice, ‘and just what else don’t you tell me, hey, HEY?’

He shifted uneasily. Guiltily uneasily in my eyes.

‘Oh don’t be stupid,’ he said. ‘You know what I mean.’

‘Do I? Do I?’

This went on for a bit, pit patting the ball of silliness between one and the other until I concluded by saying, ‘I don’t care what Rory does. Or the neighbour. Or you for that matter. If you want to attempt devious, attempt devious, but frankly I don’t care. THAT murdering cat is still going!’

‘No she isn’t,’ he said.

‘Then YOU had better feed her and clean out her tray and do everything because to me…she is dead!’

‘Don’t be so dramatic,’ he said.

I have to end the dialogue here because it went on for a good bit longer and for all of that time, Chea sat on the kitchen table, like a spectator at Wimbledon, watching us attempting to serve killer aces at each other. Bloody cat.

I still hadn’t forgiven her and then…then …THEN … yesterday I was laying down the law about something and Richard shot past me faster than pooh off a shovel and dashed outside. Chea, who had been kept in after the robin raid and had been out for an hour, had come back with what I assumed to be the last of the babies. Richard held up a hand and shouted (yes shouted) ‘don’t come near. Stay back. Don’t look!’ I just sank to my knees on the sofa and cried.

Five minutes later Richard came in and announced that the bird was alive and unharmed and what should he do with it. I despair. I really do.

We decided to try to raise it. We didn’t know for sure where it had come from and it looked too tiny to be out of the nest – and I’d raised house martins before so it wasn’t like I couldn’t do it. Richard hared off to fetch some meal worms and I cracked open an egg.

When he returned I equipped him with egg, tweezers and instructions to chop up a meal worm. I couldn’t watch that bit. I did watch Richard attempt to feed the bird. Useless. So, I took over. The first thing that surprised me was just how lively and flighty baby robin was. He wasn’t at all interested in food and never likely to be, in my opinion, so we regrouped and decided that the baby’s best chance was to go back into the neighbour’s garden and shout for its mum. So that’s what we did. That’s what Richard did.

He’s a love really. He does all the grim stuff. I shout at him and accuse him of lots of silly things but, to use a cliché, at the end of the day he’s a little rock. Well, a big rock really and with his mum going mad, on the hour every hour, he needs my support just now.

I haven’t made it up with Chea, I can’t, not yet. Yes, yes, yes,yes, I know, she’s a cat. I know that’s what cats do. I know. It just breaks my tender heart that she does it. And the really sad thing is …she often doesn’t kill these birds. She holds them gently and brings them home and lays them at the door. The trouble is they are nestlings and we stand no chance of putting them back and they are all too young to survive. Baby robin was older. If his mum found him he may have made it? If not? I can’t think about it …

I pray for the autumn now. The leaves will be off the trees and the garden won’t be such a jungle. The birds will see Chea coming. That’s if Richard stays strong and refuses to take her back to the RSPCA. Because I shall still be hating her tomorrow and the next day and the next, won’t I?

Probably not.


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Take care my lovelies x



The Fear Of Coleslaw Sandwiches …

Hi All

Yesterday we had the grandchildren, Jake 6, Grace 2, for the day. We had a super-duper-trooper day planned. Miles and miles of free-ranging for them at the National Trust venue of Calke Abbey, a picnic on the grass and a sugar-rush chocolate slice in the restaurant afterwards.

This all went pear-shaped when the heavens opened and we entered the Trust’s mile long drive through sheets of grey, slanting rain. Not to be daunted by a little summer rain we continued. By the time we had parked, Grace had dozed off and gone to La La Land and Jake was ravenously hungry, so the three of us had our picnic in the car and Grace missed it.

We waited for the rain to stop or for it to at least slow to an irritating drizzle but no, it continued to bucket down. Grandad Richard said he knew another place where we could go so, with Grace still sleeping, off we went, singing songs that Jake had learnt at school and playing ‘guess the animal’ game – a game that only Jake knew the rules to and therefore won every time. The highlight of this part of the journey was driving through the puddles that were fast forming in every slight dip in the road. Jake roared enthusiastically as wave after wave of water engulfed the car, whilst Richard mumbled and grumbled about the wet getting into the engine. Grace slept on.

Eventually we arrived at a reservoir? Very child friendly! But Richard is pretty new to this game of child entertainment and so, I consider, can be forgiven. By this time Grace was back with us and had devoured her cheese sandwiches just before we pulled up. We all piled out with Richard ramming wellies on  little feet and grumbling as pain ran up his calcified shoulder when lifting the buggy from the boot. Grandma Gail, was of course unsuitably shod, as usual, in flip-flops and a thin shirt. I’m amazed that the British weather always comes as a surprise to me and that I’m always unsuitably dressed for it? Weird that.

We splashed on through puddles with Grace loving the ducks, swans and family of coots. Jake kept the widest of births, because he finds most feathered and furred creatures worrying but found great joy in trying to push the buggy into the reservoir. We also discovered another pet hate of his – coleslaw sandwiches! We didn’t know of his replusion to this particular delicacy until part way through our in-car picnic, when he started to retch as I unwrapped my little sandwich. When questioned why he didn’t like coleslaw he went bright red, retched with hand to mouth, whilst shaking his head and we changed the subject pronto.

They then had a game of who could get the wettest and dirtiest by splashing in the muddiest puddles and who could be the first to give Grandma Gail a heart attack by slipping off the low wall into the reservoir.

We made it back to the car, shattered, wet, hot and dying of thirst – us – not them! Grace and Jake were still working off their chocolate-log rolls!

On the way home Jake asked, ‘Grandma, when we get home can we make cakes?’

‘Er …yes,’ Grandma said, secretly wondering if she was going to see the end of this day alive – or sane.

Make cakes, Lord, that was the last thing on my mind. But I find it extremely hard to say no to Jake. He has more life and spirit than anyone or anything that I have ever known and I would hate for him to lose that by having his ideas and suggestions squashed. I believe that children should be encouraged to suggest things and think for themselves.

‘And can you put that strawberry frosting on the top?’ Richard piped up, yawning and bleary-eyed.

Poor Richard. I agreed to do just that because I really do think the guy was running on empty and was in need of a massive sugar rush.

We made cakes (36 of them) but someone’s little fingers turned down the heat in the oven for the last 12 and they didn’t work out quite so well. Slightly pancaky – but edible.

When we dropped the kiddies off, my son, Matt, enquired,’what are you two doing when you get home?’

Without missing a beat Richard said, ‘putting the house back together and cleaning the bloody strawberry frosting off the windows. And then, if I’m still standing, I’ll try to get the felt pen off the bathroom sink.’

Matt grinned. Well he would, wouldn’t he? Because I think it’s always amusing and kind of reassuring when someone else sees what you have to go through every day? I think the experience may have sent Richard slightly deaf though because as Matt loaded up the hooligans into his car he grinned and said jokingly (I think?), ‘OK, thanks a  lot. Same time, same place next week?’

Richard obviously couldn’t hear him because he didn’t answer!261



Take care my lovelies x