Things That Go Croak In The Night.

Hi All

I can’t pretend that the last 8 days have been a blast. They have produced nothing but migraine headaches, and they have kindly brought with them all the horrible additional symptoms of migraine. Nausea, dizzy spells, light sensitivity, brain of mush, etc. Mr Migraine is NOT a lonesome traveller. Each time I have approached the computer my vision has changed and the typical ‘migraine aura’ has had me shutting everything down. I feel that I am risking it, even now.

When I could stand it no longer, and when I had wound myself up to tantrum proportions, I went back to the doctor.  She was less than impressed when I confessed to having already started cutting down on the tablets pre prescribed. She found it hard to see my logic. I didn’t. What’s the point in taking a high dosage of something (she said it wasn’t) if the drug changes you into the undead, and you still get migraines breaking through? She even showed me the paperwork from the God-like consultant I saw way back, and there it was in black and white – his recommendation that they should keep upping the dosage until it reached enough to floor an elephant. Bloody idiot! I told the doctor that the consultant had been an obnoxious moron and that it was pretty apparent at the time that he was trying to kill me. After this she kinda took me seriously.

A long story short, we (?) decided that I should come off the existing drug and start a new one. I, start it tonight, so if I appear to have left the planet you will know that I am prostrate somewhere, attempting to rise to the challenge of a new drug. If there is such a thing as reincarnation I am coming back next time as someone who is insensitive to everything.

I have done very little during this time. I’ve managed to sort out the chucks each day and organise the garden, with shades rammed against my eyeballs, and a filthy sun hat, that I found on the floor of the shed, flattening my unwashed hair. The garden is coming to life beautifully (shame about yours truly!) and even with all these horrible symptoms I can only stand and stare.

There’s not much going on in the ‘greening up’ department, but the ‘boys’ are back. The boys being the plague of frogs that make their way back to their birthplace, each year. The water literally bubbles with activity and it is impossible to count their numbers, but if you sneak up on them, and they don’t hear you coming, there are little heads sticking out of the water, all around the pond. Obviously the boys are all pigging-backing the females as the breeding fenzy is played out. And they show no remorse if there aren’t enough females to go round, they just pile on top of each other, and perform a leaning tower of frogs. I fear that the females will never survive but they always appear to, and what’s more I think they like it?

I fear the story with the tadpoles isn’t as successful, as the 3 remaining pond fish, now at least thirty-years old, and the size of small dolphins, take a lot of the spawn and growing taddies. And every year, as soon as the spawn is laid, we seem to get a hard frost and the spawn exposed above the water suffers.

To say that the frogs are manic, and only have one thing on their minds, is an understatement. They will grab anything that moves and I noticed that the old goldfish was struggling, near the top-third of the water, which wasn’t right. The fish don’t come that near to the top of the water at this time of year, so I grabbed a net and called for Richard (3 times….and even that hurt my sore head) and when he appeared I cradled the fish in the net, so that it couldn’t dive, and Richard removed a rather disappointed frog from the goldfish’s face.

Sleeping hasn’t been a blast either. The foxes are mating in the back field and their screeches and screams fill the late nights and the early mornings. And then the dog, a few doors down, that apparently lives outside, starts barking and doesn’t have a turn-off switch. I was a hairs breadth from hanging out of the bedroom window and screaming, ‘Shut the eff up!’ but I figured it would hurt too much. And then the owl starts hoot-hooting…and then the wood pigeons, nesting in the conifer outside the bedroom window, start hoo-hoo-hoo-hooing…and accompanying all of this, from dusk to dawn, is the sound of croaking frogs. Lovely!

For those of you who are following the ‘broad bean count’…and I know you are out there, don’t deny it, the score is even better now because I’ve bought some more. So… Chea 2. Slugs 1 and Gail 17! Ha!

I’m going now before I push my luck.  And if the new medication doesn’t kill me …I’ll be back. 

Take care my lovelies xHPIM3187


It Hasn’t Started Well!

Hi All

Well, that was a pleasant enough weekend, and what’s more the sun actually appeared and encouraged 10 baby spinach seedlings to leave the dark compost and head for the light. First thing Saturday morning, 5 little green shoots had ventured forth, and then, by midday, 5 more. And now I know you are frowning, shaking your head and thinking, ‘What kind of idiot counts seedlings twice a day?’ Simple answer…I do. And why not? Everyone likes to see the positive results of their efforts, don’t they?

Unfortunately I can’t report a similar success with the baby broad bean plants. I told you in the last post that I’d planted them and that within seconds Chea had smashed two into the ground, well, another poor plant was taken overnight by some renegade slug. It chomped through the stem and the plant was left, legless and cut off in its prime. Current score; Chea 2, slug 1, Gail 7. I fear that I will have to fight to the death for the remaining 7!

Chea has also decided that the season is changing and has started to shed her thick winter coat. Normally, Richard, being an asthmatic, can more or less cope with her hair, if it remains on her body, but after rolling around on the floor with her on Saturday evening, playing (?) Sunday morning found him with blood-shot eyes and the right eye appeared to have a hammock slung beneath it. I caught him examining the swelling in the mirror and then later bathing it with a piece of soggy kitchen towel. This had a dire effect and the hammock grew alarmingly. He then stood in front of the mirror, staring at himself through one eye, and exclaimed, ‘This isn’t getting any better.’

I continued painting chocolate into an Easter egg mould – my latest waste of time and effort!

‘Did you hear me? This isn’t getting any better.’

‘And why would it?’ I said. ‘You’ve just used paper kitchen towel to clean your eye! What do they make paper from?’

‘Trees,’ he said.

‘So, why would you wipe your eye with wood?’

He looked at me (through the one good eye) and I couldn’t stand it any longer so I yelled, ‘Make me a cup of tea (I’ve never been known not to take advantage of a situation!) and then put the teabag in some boiled water! And then bathe your eye with it!’

‘What do I use to bathe it with?’ he said.

‘Well, not wood! Go and fetch some cotton wool.’

He toddled off, after listening to further instructions…up stairs…cupboard in the airing cupboard…top drawer…don’t bring the whole roll…

He then stood in front of the mirror, letting the cold tea drip onto the floor.

‘Get in the lounge and lie on the sofa,’ I yelled, following him and slopping the tea-soak cotton wool in his eye socket before going back to the kitchen and continuing with my Easter egg trial. Unfortunately I forgot all about him, (I’ve spent years turning that little trick into an art form) and it wasn’t until 30 minutes later, when his little voice piped up, ‘Can I get up now?’ that I realised he was still lying on the sofa with his face tea-stained and looking exactly the same.

Somehow he managed to struggle through the day. He’s gone to work now. We passed briefly at 6.00 am, as he was picking up the bike keys and I was struggling down the stairs with a wash load, a mug, a glass, and the printer. I have no idea how his eye is, I couldn’t actually see anything either – over the washing, the mug, the glass, and the printer…

The day hasn’t started well. I’ve spent 30 minutes trying to connect my iPod to the external speaker via Bluetooth…impossible, it won’t connect! I’ve attempted to remove the Easter eggs from their moulds…impossible, they all broke. I’ve tried to print-off a form…impossible, it won’t print. And the internet connection is dipping and diving!

I fear that this week is going to be a continuation of last week, where almost everything that could annoy, did annoy. I’ve given myself a headache already. So…I’m off to make some porridge, a mug of tea, and to source the paracetamol.

Today's Blog
Today’s Blog

Take care my lovelies x



Bittersweet March

Hi All

A couple of posts ago, I told you that I’ve been spending time in the garden each day, and that it is now ready for spring. Everything that has been ‘rooted’ over winter has now found a place somewhere and it’s all systems go. There is only one little, annoying fly in the ointment…Chea.

Two days ago, I decided that the weather, mild-ish and non-torrential, was suitable for planting out the broad beans, so, with beans and trowel in hand, I began. I’d made absolutely sure that Chea was off somewhere, having one of her totally captivating feline adventures, and off I went. Before I’d planted the second plant she arrived, trilling and grinning, expectant of the fun we were about to have!

I managed to keep her out of the planting holes, and avoided chopping off her paws, by rolling stones into the bushes. She mindlessly chased them and remained out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, as I planted the last bean, I took my eye off the ball and Chea galloped up and jumped on the string, marking out the straight row, and crushed two plants. They had only been in for five seconds.

Her next trick was to dig a hole, the size of a small bucket, right next to the new gooseberry bush, and then squat and pooh in it. This little visual treat lasted longer than her normal performance, as she appeared to struggle a bit. I’m now thinking that the super-expensive new Fisherman’s Delight might be a tad binding?

March is a strange month for me. Bittersweet really. It is the month in which my father had his birthday, and the month in which my father died. It is also the month in which Richard has his birthday and the month in which my mother died. Mum actually died on the same date as Richard’s birthday – 12th.

Mum died in 1999 and for many years her death overshadowed Richard’s birth. There was the obvious sadness and loss, but there was also the guilt that I felt regarding celebrating Richard’s birthday on the day that mum died. It sort of felt very disrespectful. However, I believe that all things run their course and a couple of years ago I decided that it was time for Richard to take priority on that day. That isn’t to say that mum’s passing is ever forgotten. Every year, on 12th March, I take flowers to the churchyard, but now I ‘sort out’ mum in the morning and then the rest of the day belongs to Richard. Not that it matters much to Richard. He is very laid back about his birthday.

Mum’s flowers almost last until I once again visit the church, on 21st March, on what would have been dad’s birthday. I usually take mum daffodils. Strangely, she didn’t like them in the house but she liked to see them outdoors, and frankly, her wish is still my command. Dad liked carnations. I refuse to take carnations. Can’t stand them. I don’t know why. He usually gets daffodils as well. I can imagine mum and dad standing on some grassy mound, looking down, and dad saying, ‘Look! Look, Joyce. She’s brought me daffodils again! She knows carnations last longer.’ And mum would laugh and say, ‘She took no notice when you were alive, she’ll take none now.’ And then dad would also laugh, and he’d have that familiar twinkle in his eye…because he loved me.

I miss them like I would miss breathing.

Whoops…don’t know how I went from Chea, constipated in a gooseberry bush, to mum and dad standing in paradise discussing flowers and my contrary ways? But I guess some things don’t require an autopsy? Maybe that’s the wrong word to use there? Whatever.

Off to do something. Haven’t decided what yet, so I can’t really tell you…HPIM3166

Take care my lovelies x

A Blancmange No More…

Hi All

Today I thought I’d give a quick update on Chea. Blancmange Chea can now squeeze through a much narrower gap. Three weeks on a diet and she has started to develop her waist-line. She still has her little furry fat-sack but it’s empty. No storage of fat for when times get tough and the supermarket runs out of Gourmet. Oh, by the way, she now likes the new Gourmet, the one that costs 86p for a tiny, round metal dish.

I don’t know if she was feeling a bit peckish the other day because Richard said he spied her on the garage roof. We call it a garage but it isn’t, because you can’t get a car down the side of the house. It’s Richard’s dumping ground for all things manly and secretive…or so he thinks! Apparently, Chea was stalking a wood-pigeon. It was unaware of her presence until she was about a metre away and then it saw her. Instead of having a heart attack, it raised its head and started walking towards her. Chea held her ground for a minute before deciding that Mr Wood Pigeon was maybe a tad too big and powerful to take on, and she turned tail and ran.

I am dreading the arrival of the nesting season. DREADING it with a vengeance. Last year Chea took great delight in raiding a robin’s nest and trotting home with three chicks, one a day, for three days. I was horrified. HORRIFIED. The poor things were too young to survive and there was no way of knowing where they had come from, and so they died. I hated her so much for doing it. I even told Richard that he could take her back to the RSPCA. Richard would have rather stuck pins in his eyes (or mine) than to do that, and told me so. It took me a long time to accept that little episode and I fear that she may attempt the same thing this year. In her defence, and I hate to say it, because I believe that once you put a thought ‘out there’ it becomes a reality (unless it’s the thought of winning the lottery), to date Chea has never brought anything else back. She did once find a shrew but I don’t think its demise had anything to do with her. My CSI intuition told me that Mr Shrew had been dead a good few hours.

Chea’s latest trick is to pooh in the fine soil of the greenhouse border. She’s watched me liberally manuring the garden, and I think, in her little mind, she considers this helpful? I have two choices…remove said pooh, or reconsider the siting of the tomatoes this year. I am leaning towards the latter.

To be honest, spending time in the garden with Chea is one of my greatest and yet simplest pleasures. She’s funny. She makes me laugh. I don’t think it’s possible to remain angry, pent-up, up-tight, miserable, or furious at Richard for eating the last of the Victoria sandwich etc, when I am in the garden? I may be a simple soul who finds pleasure in the simple things but it seems to work for me. Give me a bit of cat-pooh to remove from the greenhouse border and I’m away with the fairies.

So! Off to whack in a few broad bean plants. I haven’t seen Chea for the last thirty minutes so if I’m quick, and I’m lucky, I will escape her attempts at helping.

Take care my lovelies xHPIM2817