Aye Aye Me Hearties!

Hi All

I’ve finally found a reason (or excuse) to sit on my backside for more than 5 minutes at a time. It’s called – plantar fasciitis.

I suffered with the bloody thing a few years ago. It was slightly annoying, and mildly painful at times, but then it just went away. At the time I bought some of those expensive insoles to put in my shoes and it seemed to do the trick.

Last November, after a spell of ‘wellie-wearing,’ it came back. It has continued to improve, in the most negative way, from that point to this and now I can barely put my left heel to the floor without collapsing. Possibly a slight exaggeration but not by much.

The physio referred me to a podiatrist and off I limped. Obviously, Richard had to get out the old foot rasp thing and give my feet a good old filing down prior to the appointment. I have my pride – and it’s so much easier for him to do it – because I can lounge on the sofa while he sits happily grinding off dead skin – not speaking (always a bonus) – should he breathe in the dust.

First we have the usual rooting through drawers and cupboards to find new batteries, because he is of the opinion that my feet flatten a battery in 5 minutes. The actual truth is that he insists on buying a pack of twelve for 99p from the cheapo shop, even though I have informed him that he needs to buy the ones that the little rabbit advertises, because they are so powerful he could have my tootsies done in the blinking of an eye. But, no, he knows best.

Anyway …first appointment confirmed the diagnoses. Plantar wotsit. Cure? Stretch my calf muscles by standing on a step by the balls of my feet and letting my heels drop. Opinion? I would be much better by the next appointment.  I almost jogged back to the car (almost but not quite. Jogging is overrated) knowing that I could actually be bothered to do that exercise.

Three weeks on and all there was to show for my efforts was a bottom stair that was starting to look decidedly threadbare. The pain was getting worse – much worse.

I toggled off to Boots and bought an elasticated heel support. It made my foot balloon. I bought more expensive insoles. I bought two new pairs of the most unflattering shoes imaginable and embarked on a self-cure blitz.

A week later I wimped my way to the doctor, wearing the dreadful shoes and feeling like a pillock, and politely enquired if there was anything else that they could suggest. She informed me that I could have a cortisone injection into my heel. Really? Sod that. I’m no chicken – remember I had my inguinal hernia sorted under local anaesthetic and to the strains of the Mama Mia soundtrack playing in the background? So, no, I am not a chicken – but as I live and breathe – an injection into the hard skin of my heel? I said I’d give the shitty shoes, elasticated heel bandage, insoles, and the stair carpet a tad longer to have an effect, and let her know.

Last week I had the second podiatrist appointment. She beamed at me as I limped in and enquired, ‘How is it?’

I really didn’t want to rain on her parade but, you know me, Mrs Truthful. So I told her. ‘Bloody awful! I can barely put my foot to the floor.’

Long story short …she set about trimming some insoles and sticking sticky-back foam here and there and shoved it in my revolting shoe. At first try it felt easier. She seemed pleased and waited for me to beetle off. Now, correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t making one of my legs higher than the other going to make me walk like Long John Silver? I mean, I’m going to be higher on one side than on the other. She seemed to see the sense in this and set about ramming another insole in my opposite revolting shoe.

As she turned away and started tapping away on her computer I realised that was that. Over and out! Job done! I was told to go away and see how I get on and then she will authorise the making of a lovely insole, especially to my requirements – and in leather no less.

So …the insole is crap. My foot is crap. And it hurts like crap. So what can I say other than crap.

Even the chickens freak out when they see me approaching. Mummy doesn’t walk like that! Who is this freak? Is that a parrot on her shoulder? And …jeez …look at those shoes!

Chea, of course, thinks it’s a blast. She can pooh in the carrot seedlings and charge into the greenhouse ahead of me, jump up on the staging and knock over the cosmos pots before I can prevent it. I’m sure I can hear her humming, she’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes.

There is an old adage is the horsey world …no foot, no horse! I can relate to this 100%

The pain is now at its worst and I am on the verge of considering ‘the needle.’ I have to go for my B12 jab next week (stings like hell) so perhaps I should get the two pricks at the same time, if you know what I mean? I’m not talking about the doctors …obviously …but then again.

Take care me lovelies …oh arr …oh arr x

P.S I am so into this ‘pirate’ state that I’ve now watched ‘Black Sails’, seasons 1 and 2. Pretty crap to start with …but season 2 was better with a massive twist that I didn’t see coming.

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Memories, Testicles …And Fat Thighs.

Hi All

I’ve slipped back into pure nostalgia today.

My brother visited last week and asked if I had any pictures of dad – he passed away in 2007, dad, not my brother, obviously. I scurried around a bit in the drawer under the bed, fighting cobwebs, as you do, and found an old tin that I’d brought away from the family home, when dad passed away, with a very random selection of old prints. No one has pictures printed any more, do they? Don’t we keep everything on hard drives, pen drives and such like? Anyway …

We sorted through them, ahhing, whooing and remembering the people and places that we, at the time, simply took for granted. They would always be there, wouldn’t they? These people. These places? A fault of the young, I fear, thinking that things will continue.

My brother started to laugh. ‘God, I remember this foal …it was a killer!’

I took the photograph from him and my eyes fell on a very different period of my life. The time when I was married to my vet, and the time shortly thereafter – when I wasn’t married to my vet!

At the time my son was eighteen months old and I decided it would be nice to buy him a pony. Long story short, I found this little two-year old filly at a horse auction and had to buy her. She was a skinny little thing, only held together by skin to be honest but that wasn’t a problem, I had the technology to ‘get her right.’ She needed me and what could be better than her going to a loving home with a qualified riding instructress (me) and a vet (he)? Perfect. And by the time she had filled out, and grown, my son would be old enough to ride her – albeit on the lead-rein.kiki

Four weeks after her arrival and with her still looking like she was wearing a coat that was six sizes too big, unannounced and unexpected, she raised her tail and dropped a foal. – The ‘killer’ that my brother mentioned. How in God’s name had she managed to keep that a secret from me and from ‘a vet?’

The foal was alive but hopelessly weak. For twenty-four hours we struggled to get it on its feet. If it had been born on the moors it would have died. It took three days before it could stand and suckle, without help, but after that point it bloomed – and so did the filly, so much so that she was unrecognisable as the poor bag-of-bones that I’d brought home. The colt went from strength to strength growing in stature and self-importance. It would run at me, for fun, and bite me in the chest. It needed gelding but it only had one testicle descended and so the ‘op’ was put on hold. Eventually the offended testicle dropped and we castrated him with slight smiles and great relief.

He was still a stroppy little bugger and no son of mine was going anywhere near a creature like that, so a home (knowledgeable) was found for him and off he trotted, snapping and snarling. I think my son, although very small, was no idiot and preferred the ‘A Team’ figures to a real live pony and so the mare went to a loving new home too.

After the divorce I toddled off and bought and sold horses for a time. My brother had another little snigger and shoved several pictures of me astride a couple of the equine beasties.

As I say – we never realise at the time that these are the days of our lives and looking back now they were – days of my life – days that have led me here …and now.

I can’t ride these critters any more, too many disc-aches, all down to wear and tear, no doubt, but I still have the memories.

To be honest I’m not a great got-to-have-lots-of-photos-and-memorabilia, type of person, to remember things. I keep my memories in my heart. They are safe there. No one can destroy them and I’ll never lose them…

Also, I don’t have to physically see my thighs in an old photo, slim-ish and toned, squeezed into jodhpurs and realise that I’d need a sodding shoehorn and the wind in the right direction to get them on now!FotorCreated

Yep, some memories are best kept in the mind or in a tin under the bed.

Take care my lovelies x

Perhaps A Little Less Sugar?

Hi All

I’ve been in the garden this morning doing my ‘standing and staring’ bit. There’s nothing different about me going into the garden at the crack of dawn, I do that every day, to tend the chucks. To make sure they have made it through the night and to give them fresh water (with the life-saving apple cider vinegar and garlic) and to have my fingers attacked in their manic eagerness to find treats, so, as I say, nothing different regarding the time of day, but I don’t usually do the standing and staring bit quite so early because Chea is always at my heels, waiting for her breakfast.

I have a system; Chucks, fish, open the greenhouse, Chea, and finally, me …a cup of tea. The standing and staring bit comes later, usually.

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It has to be my favourite blossom …apple?

Somehow I couldn’t resist the ‘greenness’ of it all …and the apple blossom that is bursting, pink and perfect. I love apple blossom – fragile, almost transparent with the sun behind it. And the greenery, never as green as in May. Vibrant. The green of all greens.

The blackcurrant bushes are laden with baby blackcurrants. I have no idea what to do with them this year. Last year I made jam – and we still have some left. Two years ago we made wine – and there is none left. Nothing to do with me, obviously, but Richard enjoys the fruits of my labour …

He, Richard, has become quite a little home-made wine enthusiast and makes the stuff on a regular basis. He has become quite good at it …that is to say quite good! For some strange reason, known only to him and the gods, he decided to make a spicy Cabernet Sauvignon last November and produced many bottles of the stuff. Last week, Wednesday, as he toddled off back to work after his 4 month recuperation break, I came down to a cork, abandoned on the kitchen floor. Then I noticed a red streak across the tiles.  First, I smiled and thought, how sweet, he’s thrown that cork on the floor for Chea to play with. Then, I thought, idiot, Chea has no interest at all in playing with corks, she only likes her smelly piece of felt that once resembled a bird. Then, I thought, he’s spilt wine on the floor and attempted to disguise it by scuffing his socked foot across it. THEN I saw a scuffed red trail leading all the way to the fridge. That confirmed it. He had obviously been pissed, spilt half of it on the floor and been too gaga to bother cleaning it up. I left it.

When he came home he instantly noticed it.

‘What’s that?’ he said.

‘It’s where you, pissed and stupid, spilt wine and scuffed it along the tiles with your sock.’

He frowned and had the audacity to throw me a look that suggested I was the idiot.

In true Poirot fashion he followed the smear back to the wine rack and with an over exaggerated flourish snatched up a bottle from the rack and held it before me. ‘Look, look,’ he said, wiggling it and sloshing the remaining wine around the bottle. ‘It’s obviously popped its cork overnight.’

Popped its cork overnight? Popped its cork overnight?

On closer examination we tracked down wine splashes and stains …on the skirting, on the cupboard doors, on the radiator …

The proof was there. It had popped its cork overnight. Richard was right. BUT he had also, quite obviously, put too much sugar in the wine or bottled it when it was still working. I had little choice but to bend my knee, bow to his great powers of deduction, and clean it up. I didn’t have to clean it up but he wouldn’t have done it properly so…

As I mentioned last time, or the time before, hard for me to stay focused sometimes, I couldn’t wait for Richard to go back to work and to get back to my routine, so, yesterday, having popped to Tesco to have tea with a friend, come back and had the chucks out, thrown a wash load into the tumbler, I sat down to watch the latest Vikings episode. Chea decided to grace me with her presence and settled on my knee.

This was bliss. A fire crackling away. Chea, content and purring (not out terrorising birds) and an episode of Vikings.

Ten minutes in and there was an almighty bang …and I mean an almighty bang, followed by the harsh sound of running water. Chea leapt for her life, scrabbling through my leggings, leaving nail marks in my flesh and pinprick holes in said leggings. My instant reaction was …SHIT the kitchen tap has burst at the pipe (it’s been dripping for some time) and I don’t know where the stopcock is. With Chea plastered against the wall, tail like a Christmas tree, and eyes as wide as saucers, I had to leave Ragnar Lothbrok storming the English and rush into the kitchen.

A sea of red greeted me …spicy Cabernet Sauvignon red to be precise. A cork floated in the crimson stream like a little boat. I followed the stream back to the source and there, in the wine rack, a bottle pulsed-out its contents.

Chea appeared behind me, still in Christmas-tree-tail-mode. As I looked down at her she looked up at me. Her expression clearly said, ‘what the *uc*!’

‘Yes, Chea,’ I said, watching the wine running down the bin, the radiator, the cupboards, under the fridge, soaking a sack of potatoes, ‘what the *uc*?’

After my heart had returned to near normal I threw a tea towel over the main pool and decided to go back to Ragnar, leader of the marauding Vikings. It wasn’t my wine. It wasn’t my responsibility. I was bloody annoyed, not just because I’d received the fright of my life but if Chea had happened to be sauntering past the wine rack when the bottle exploded it would have taken off her pretty little head.

I stood and watched the wine soaking into the tea towel and realised, what if the others explode? They needed moving to outside. But, what if they exploded when I touched them? They could wait. No, they couldn’t. Chea’s life was at risk.

Fortunately, only 3 bottles of that type remained so, gingerly, VERY gingerly, like I was diffusing a bomb, with corks facing forwards, and Chea safe on high ground (the kitchen table) I carried them out into the garden. Then I cleaned up the entire mess. Well, I am OCD, aren’t I? Couldn’t possibly rest knowing that my kitchen resembled the Red Sea.

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Baby blackcurrants already!

I won’t bore you with the aftermath, other than to say that Richard has decided he needs to quickly drink the remaining 3 bottles …for Chea’s sake at least.

Take care my lovelies x

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The Water..

Hi All

You know that line from Jaws …just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water… yes? Well, like the good people of ‘wherever-it-was,’ I too thought that I had conquered every known wee beastie that creeps, flies or crawls in my garden. I thought it was pretty safe to go back into the water…or, in my case, back into the garden, and that once there the ‘aliens’ would be well under control. Wrong.

As I stood admiring my broad beans, with the pride and love that only a mother would know, I did a double take. Their lovely, beautifully rounded leaves weren’t lovely and/or beautifully rounded any more. ‘What the frig!’ I muttered – loudly. Yes, OK, I know I shouldn’t talk to them but you have your little idiosyncrasies and I’ll have mine. ’What the frig?’ – again. Louder.

On closer examination I noticed that the leaves had been munched in a very strange fashion. This was not the work of slugs or snails. No, this was the work of something nasty and most unkind and instantly …or even sooner …its slaughter took over my every rational thought.

After thrashing my way through containers of slug pellets, sachets of cool glass, boxes of Epsom salts, bone meal, all-round jolly-good-for-everything-feed I came across the ‘killer spray.’ And yes, it did take some finding because, as I have stated many times, I don’t kill anything unless it really pees me off. Slugs and snails really pee me off – sorry, they have to go …but I will wing them into the neighbour’s garden, alive and whole, if I can.) I digress …

The killer-spray bottle info was extremely helpful and I instantly identified the culprit …The Bean and Pea Weevil! A bloody evil weevil. I read the info again. Yes. That was it. Notched leaves. I definitely had notched leaves.

I sprayed.

I must add that I searched high and low for one offending weevil and not as much as a hairy leg was found. Little shits. They obviously came under the cover of darkness. Little fly by nights? No, that’s something totally different, isn’t it?

Pea and bean weevil? Never heard of such a thing but, for now, my shark has been held at bay and another garden pest conquered. However, I fear that although this battle has been won, the war will go on. Soon the black fly, greenfly and every coloured fly under the rainbow will move in and the battle will commence.

Flight (poorly, on the-verge-of-death chuck) has shaken her tail feathers and made a full recovery (crossing fingers) and has charged back into her old ways, attacking with a rapier-like beak anything that slightly resembles food. She will happily leap the leap of a gazelle on stilts and rid me of anything that I happen to walk up the garden munching. Two days ago I carried a piece of leftover cake up the garden, wrapped in cling film, to give to them after I’d pooh-picked. Flight spotted the cake with one upturned eye, flew up my body, snatched the whole thing out of my hand and took off. The cake, unnoticed by the beast, fell out of the cling film and Little snaffled the lot. Flight bolted across the lawn and up the garden.

This was not good. I’d dragged the stupid creature back from the grim reaper and here she was, legging-it, with a sheet of cling film flapping over her face and beak. She vacated the lawn and ran into the shrubbery (fancy word meaning a few odd bushes) with me fast on her heels. This went on for a minute or two, looking like something out of an old Benny Hill sketch …Flight, followed by me, cussing …followed by Little, hoping that there might still be a few crumbs left in the cling film. This whole thing was watched through slit eyes and a furrowed brow by Chea, whom, at the time, was trying to fish-out a beached tadpole from the pond.

Fortunately, or not, blinded and probably half suffocated, Flight ran into a lavender bush and stopped. I caught her and, still cussing, snatched the cling film from her beak. She shook a bit and ran off, chasing Little, who had the misfortune to still have a bit of cake hanging visibly from her beak.

See, a lavender plant ruined as well.

As I write I look into the garden and I can see the trees and shrubs swaying. A windy day. I suppose this means that I had better move my butt and go and tie-up the broad beans before the poor things succumb and end up on the ground?

Sometimes, I think …wouldn’t it be easier to visit Iceland (the shop …not the place) and buy all this veg frozen, grown, picked and ready to tip into a saucepan?

Sometimes I think this…but then, I often think many silly things.

Gone to find the string…and let out the chucks.

Take care my lovelies x

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