Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy New Year

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Forgive the quality of this photo. It was night time and I used a setting that I thought would come out well and only found out later that it wasn't very good and I only took this one.
A few days ago, we went for a walk around Clifton Suspension Bridge just as it was getting dark, for a little exercise.
I'd never crossed the bridge before when it was all lit up.

I've been extremely busy with my daughter and grandsons' visit.
I accompanied them to see the boys' other grandmother, who lives in Birmingham and also to Sidmouth to see the other grandfather. It was good to be able to go further afield as it is some time since I managed to get out that far. I really enjoyed the change of scenery.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, as we did. It went far too quickly and we ate too much, as usual. I will not make another New Years Resolution to lose weight, as I did last year, as I will probably not live up to it, just as I didn't last time.

Harry has not been at all well since his last chemo and has not picked up very well. He is suffering from anaemia and has oedema of the legs and tummy which the doctor is treating with different drugs. I hope he will respond to these.

I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Happy Christmas Everyone.

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Last year, Denise from Mrs Nesbitt's Space, sent me the pattern for this Nativity and because it was nearly Christmas when I received it, I only managed to finish Mary, Joseph and Jesus. I went on knitting the rest of the figures though and then just put all the pieces in a bag and forgot about them because Spring had sprung. As this Christmas approached, I decided to get out the pieces again and try to put them together. So here they are. I haven't quite finished the kings though. There always seems so many more important things to do. Maybe they will be finished in time for Epiphany in the New Year. Isn't that the time when the kings are noted for their arrival?

Although I will try and visit other people's blogs, I am going to be really busy with last minute Christmas rush and my daughter and grandsons' visit and babysitting the girls, so I might not get another post out before Christmas. So I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy and Blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Time to Celebrate

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

I can't believe that a whole week has passed since I last wrote a post. Whatever have I been doing?
Well.....I have been busy with Millie's party, which was a great success.
My friend, Audrey played a huge part in organising it and choosing many of the games.
One game that was a great success was turning a new terracotta plant pot up on end onto a large plate. Then the children take turns to pick up jelly beans or Smarties with a fork and try to get as many in through the small opening as possible while being timed by a timer. This was not an easy task but anything that did make it through the hole in the bottom of the pot could be eaten by the child whose go it was.
Another game was to try to cut a large bar of chocolate with a fork, while being timed and a die was also being rolled all the time by the person whose go it was next. This meant that not many children got to eat much chocolate because they had to move along, but this didn't seem to deter them trying.
They played *Pass the Parcel* and everyone got a prize, so nobody felt left out.

The children, who were mainly aged 7 yrs, did much organising themselves and the party seemed to go without too much effort from grownups and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
This was the first home party that my son had ever been able to have and he now feels he would definitely be able to cope with other ones. (With his team of helpers, of course).

This is also the time of school concerts and today I went to watch Millie in her school production of a musical that represented The Nativity but emphasised the different countries of the world who celebrate it. There were songs from other lands and the children were in different national outfits and there was also an emphasis on World Peace. I have been invited to see another class doing the same thing later today when I will be able to see Audrey's youngest child taking part. I thought Millie's production was magnificent and look forward to seeing the second one because I am sure the different children taking part in the next one will bring out quite different qualities and make it feel as though I am not watching a repeat.

As well as the school activities around Christmastime, I look forward to going to all the Church events. Carol singing and church choirs. However, our weather has taken a real turn for the worse and we are experiencing gales and cold, slashing rain so I think I shall have to miss Carols In The Park.
These are all things that make me feel like celebrating Christmas, so it is a great pity that the outdoor activities will be spoilt. Never mind, there are still plenty of indoor concerts to go to. What gets you in the mood for Christmas?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A Taste Of Summer

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Lets have a taste of summer, shall we?
I expect you will remember Clare Dunn did a painting of this summer photo of a corner of my garden some time ago and I promised that I would show a picture of it when it was framed.
I am very pleased with the result but have fiddled and fiddled to try to get a good photo of the picture in the frame and it looks more of a yellowy green in the photo than it does in reality. As I don't ever touch up photos, there is nothing that I can do about it....... except to say that I am very pleased with the result of the actual picture in the frame.
The light is shining in the wrong places, no matter what I try to do.
I am not a very good photographer, Clare.

Well in reality, we are far from summer and I am suddenly realising how near Christmas is and how little I have done about it. So now I am furiously trying to catch up and get things organised before my daughter and grandsons arrive the week before the holiday begins.

I went shopping in town today and probably, because of the bad state of finance in the whole of Europe, including England, there were not as many crowds about as usual, so I was finished in good time. I think one more trip to town should just about do it.
Anyway, although it is a bit chilly, the sun is bravely trying to shine through, which is really weird for December.

I have been busy helping my son with his house, sometimes just house sitting while he goes out because of an expected delivery. There is also a party to help with this week as youngest granddaughter is having a 7th Birthday. This is the first time they've been able to have a party at home, so there is a lot of planning and organising to do. Our friend, Audrey is helping and has come up with some really good ideas.
I have had a poorly rabbit to contend with and every morning, I have to trick Lily into thinking she is coming out for a cuddle and having to surreptitiously pop a syringe of antibiotic into her mouth. No easy task as she knows what I am going to do.
I am trying to finish the little Nativity figures that I started knitting last year, so one way or another, blogging has taken a back seat.

Harry has finished chemo 10 and took a long time to get over it compared to all the others. I think he had reached his endurance limit. However, he is now getting stronger. I am also a bit more energetic than I was, so lets hope we all stay well till the New Year at least and well beyond would be good.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Locked In A Shed

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

No two days seem the same, weather wise.
I spent some time in Sam's garden, discussing the plans he was making to revamp it. Naturally, Rome wasn't built in a day and there are many things that he might choose to do first.
While we were talking, the sky really blackened and threatened us with a storm. However, there was a gusty wind blowing north and the storm clouds were carried away almost as fast as they had appeared.

Last week, I spent a morning at Sam's house in lovely sunshine and we were able to sit out on garden chairs while we sipped tea and planned what we'd do to make the garden more presentable.
After relaxing this way for a while, I remarked that between the two of us, we might be able to put up the second hand garden shed that he'd recently had delivered in a flat pack state.
It looked a fair sized shed when we'd first seen it, so it would be heavy and Sam knew that I couldn't do any lifting.
I said that I thought I could hold the sides while Sam screwed the panels together. So we got out of the chairs and I was given an end piece to hold so that Sam could screw this onto the longer side piece. The minute that we started to do this fairly simple task, the sun went in as gusts of wind blew quite strongly and in sudden bursts.
This was totally unexpected, but being the stubborn people that we are, I stood my ground hanging onto two panels while Sam quickly used his power drill to join them together. All the time the end piece kept slipping off the base which made things difficult and slowed us down while it was put back into position.
Once the second side piece had been secured, then it was much easier and it stayed in place but the wind was blowing the sides out of shape at this stage. The second end piece was screwed onto the ends of the side pieces and that stood really rigid.
We went to open the door but found we were locked inside the shell of the shed. It was too high for either of us to leap over the side, so the end piece with the door had to be unscrewed and taken off to let me out before being reassembled from the inside. I had the key!

There was no way that either of us could lift the heavy roof in place and that had to wait until strong friends could help.
That very afternoon two friends did arrive to help with it and the shed now stands lost and not looking quite so big in the vast garden, but it is quite roomy inside.

Now look at the garden that has been neglected for years. We really need a goat or two to clear the course grass and weeds.
I wish I was twenty years younger so that I could help with the digging.
We think that the garden would look good if it was made into *little compartments* to break up the monotony of the length, with trellis and little archways.
It would look good with some grass and some vegetable and flower beds with windy paths.
Any ideas, anyone?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Barn in my House?

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

My lucky little rabbits have just received an early Christmas present.
It was a friend who first put the idea into my head. She told me I was making things hard for myself transferring Ash and Lily from hutch to run each morning and evening and having to clean out two lots of accommodation. She suggested a Bunny Barn and told me to look on the web site for a bargain.
Well, I soon found one and within three days of ordering, the flat pack was delivered.
My son, Sam, being a carpenter by trade, soon had the barn standing in one piece. In fact it took him less than 15 mins from start to finish.
As the bunnies were quite used to their old way of life and knowing that rabbits like routine, I wondered what they'd think of their new abode.

After the shock of finding themselves in a completely different environment, they gingerly sniffed their way around their new habitat but avoided the steep ramp to their sleeping quarters for a long time. I knew Ash, the black rabbit would soon get over his reservations because Netherland Dwarf rabbits are quite agile jumpers. However, Lily is a little more sturdy and chunky and her legs are much shorter. I wondered if she'd ever get the hang of going up to the top level. It wasn't until the next day that she tentatively started to mount the ramp but when she got to the top, she couldn't quite grasp how to get off the ramp and onto the landing so she let herself slide all the way down again and chickened out. She didn't attempt it again for a long time. Ash, on the other hand was by then, racing up and down the ramp as though he'd always been doing it. He practically leaps off the top of the landing in what looks like a suicide jump.
A day later, Lily finally plucked up the courage to go and inspect the upstairs living quarters but then she decided she couldn't get back down.
I can remember having to show my late cats how to use a cat flap and I had to do the same with Lily and the ramp.
Anybody coming into my house would have seen me lying on the floor with my head inside the run, coaxing the bunny up and down the ramp with dried apple treats.
The effort definitely paid off and everyone seems satisfied with this new abode. It certainly looks better than the run, is easier to clean and the rabbits still use their tray as a toilet and they have so much space to exercise in and I seem to have more time as I'm not transferring the bunnies to another place twice a day.
They come out regularly for cuddles though.
So thank you, dear friend, for putting me on the right track. sometimes other people can see things more clearly.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Winters Strange Beginnings

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

This winter has started off extraordinarily mild and it seems so strange to have fuchsias, honeysuckle and roses still in full bloom.
Today it is warmer here than in Florence, Italy.
It is very unusual to find these plants in flower in the winter time in our part of the country.

My garden is a bit of a mess as neither Harry nor I can do very much work out there at the moment. It seems to really aggravate my back and hip. However, I do what I can when I can.

If you notice the last photo, you will see that I had a tub planted up with tulip bulbs. I am fed up with the way that foxes seem to be digging everything up. You can see that they have started to dig down into the earth to see if the bulbs are worth eating. In my front garden they have dug out the primula plants that I carefully put into a pot to brighten the winter days. They also scattered earth right over the path and they often leave their mess for me to clean up too.
Just as well my bunnies are tucked up in the house otherwise they would be really scared of these night time predators and might end up as an easy dinner.
They are city foxes and probably come from nearby allotments. When I first saw them, I was quite surprised as they are quite tame and one once tried to come into my house.
They are an extreme nuisance and I don't encourage them at all, though I know that some people do put food out for them.

Harry is just about to start his tenth session of chemotherapy and should be feeling better by Christmas. I think my daughter and grandsons are coming over for Christmas so that will be something good to look forward to.
I have a scan some time in January and will get the results the following month. I'm not looking forward to that at all.
I do have a chance that everything will be well though and these chances make a difference to my outlook.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Move on a Special Date

Photo copyright: Maggie May

I've been really busy over the last few days because of my son's recent house move.
The move happened on the 11th day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of the 21st century. (Armistice Day). It will be impossible to forget that date.

It seemed to run smoothly and although it was exhausting for all the friends who lifted things into and out of the hire van, and then into the *new* house, it seemed to go well.
It is amazing how friends rally round in times of need and Sam is very lucky to have such a good bunch of friends. I don't know what he would have done without all the help. One friend even hired a small van and all of them made several trips from the old home to the new in their cars as well as the van. All of these friends worked really hard and it couldn't have been easy.
These friends' kindness and hard work will not be forgotten by any of us.

I couldn't do as much physically as I wanted to do mentally. One of the tricks that old age plays on one is that somehow or other, the mind doesn't age as fast as the body does. I can be sitting in a chair, rearranging things and moving things, in my head, but when I come to actually try to put these things into practice, then my body often cannot cope with the exertion and lets me down.
I work for ten minutes and rest for twenty. It is a very sad state of affairs.

If I thought all the boxes were going to be moved from my house as soon as the move occurred, then I was very wrong. Sam's house, although bigger than the last one, has boxes and things stacked in every room. So it will be weeks before he takes the ones from here.

The house will need to be redecorated throughout (eventually) and at some point a garage needs to be built. However, the house was the important part and all the rest can happen slowly. The children will be nearer their school, Sam will be nearer to friends and to us and the neighbourhood seems very friendly.

I would like to thank all the friends who helped with the real hard work, two men and two women.... I think you all know who you are, and I know several of you read this blog.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Keep On Practising

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Last time I wrote a post, I was furiously trying to de-clutter (and I still am) but with my son's imminent move now only days away, there is more and more of his stuff coming into my house. I see boxes being smuggled into the loft and I groan.
"Its only the size of a shoebox, Mum", He says. Who is he trying to kid? I see the huge size of them out of the corner of my eye.
Yesterday, he called round with a very heavy coffee table, that has now been dumped into my lounge.
Today, while I was out shopping he called round with a piano/organ already coupled to the mains and being played.
"You can have it for the week," He announced.

I used to have a miniature piano when I first moved into this house but when my children left home, I decided I wanted more space and sold it. The thing I really regret is letting all my music go too. I think it would be worth a lot of money now as much of it was passed down to me by my parents. It would have been classed as vintage.
So there I was, with a small piano/organ and no music.
Not that I can really play. I learnt for a year or two when I was a child but never took any grades.
However, when I was a teenager I could sight read a piece of music and bash out a tune....... slowly...... and painfully.

I went round some charity shops today and asked if any of them had any piano music and one had. They were charging quite a lot though, because, as the saleslady had said, the music is very old. Nothing like rubbing my nose in it.
The pieces I bought were very hard but I hope to practise and improve a bit. My son said that I can go to his house to practise during the day, especially if he is out. It will only be a short walk away.

I am also going out walking more and sometimes the only time I can spare is just around dusk. It is good to watch the changing skies while I do this.
Yes, I think I am getting stronger.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Reclaiming My House

Photo copyright: Maggie May

I'd been looking forward to seeing my daughter and grandsons and when they arrived last weekend, I was dismayed that I found myself fighting off some kind of virus that caused painful glands in the neck and aching limbs and snuffles.
When I was working in the school until quite recently, I had built up a resistance to most things and was rarely ill with anything that was going round.

I think seeing me like that worried Deb a lot. Anyway, by Sunday afternoon, I started to feel better and we went out for a walk together. Then she had to leave.
I found myself crying after they'd all gone. I haven't done that for a long time.

However, I woke up feeling heaps better the next day and started to do quite a bit of tidying up.
Unused to this sudden surge of energy, I decided to do as much as possible. I collected all the old videos together that the children used to love but have now grown out of.
I filled up a small trolley and off I set to our local High Street where there are about a dozen Charity shops.
It soon became apparent that I couldn't leave the videos in the first few shops that I tried and they all told me the same story. There was no call for them and they recommended that I throw them all on the Council tip.
I went home with my load of unacceptable donations and decided that I would try ringing the largest local charity shop that was the furthest distance from me. This proved quite fruitful as they told me to come with them straight away.
Off I set with my trolley full of unwanted Walt Disney films. It did make me feel a little twinge of nostalgia when I thought of all the times my grandsons had been glued to the screen watching these films and later my granddaughters who did the same.

When I returned home with my lighter trolley I was surprised how the Spring Cleaning mode carried on and I spent the whole day tidying up.

Now what has caused this, do you think?
Well Sam has been given a date to move into his house (God forbid that anything should go wrong at this late stage.)
When they came as a family straight from Japan to live with me for almost a year, my house was completely taken over. They brought mess with them and it gradually spread over every available surface. When they moved to a different location, the children still went to the local school so came round every school morning and quite often the evening too. Quite regularly they spent the night here, so their muddles just stayed and were needed here, I was told.
I couldn't keep up with all the mounds of papers and toys and clothes lying everywhere. It seemed too much.
Amber was just five and Millie not yet three when they first came, so during those four years there was a lot of junk of theirs lying around. Why did they have at least six coats and dozens of shoes each? Not to mention scarves and hats and gloves that filled several bags. I could have started my own charity shop.
Now I am hoping to clear it up. The muddles can go to their own house and I am claiming my house back. So I have an incentive to press on with it.
All we need now is the final document to be signed and we await with bated breath......

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Mood Lift

Photo Copyright Maggie May

I expect you will all be pleased to hear that my mood has lifted! Thank God for that, you might be mumbling.
The reason why? Well yesterday I went to Oncology for my review concerning the fact it had been a month since my last radiation treatment.
I was given a thorough overhaul and was able to tell the consultant (who had arranged the radiation in the first place) that I was aching and not feeling as well as I should be.
He told me that it will be two more months before he would even consider me anything like normal and he said I was being really hard on myself. He felt I was doing fine. I will be having a scan in the New Year.
The consultant told me he would not have put me through so radical a treatment unless I had a very good chance of being free of the problem for a good while.
So I have to believe that.
I felt like hugging him and came out skipping. I am off all pain relief now and am thinking of getting twin beds so that I can get a decent nights sleep with out getting clumped in the back by a restless husband.
Harry starts chemo 9 tomorrow and his consultant is also very happy with him. Looks like we might both feel well for Christmas and fingers crossed...... it seems that my son's house move is on the cards soon.

In one of my posts I wrote that I was reading The Clan of The Cave Bears and that it would do for my winter reading. There are six books in the series. On the whole most people who commented on my post, enjoyed at least the first few books. Some said that they stopped reading them because there was explicit sex in the content and human sacrifice. Well, there is explecit sex content but only in the way that people living then might have experienced it. That was only part of the story and not meant to be pornographic in anyway. Far from it. So far I haven't come across human sacrifice though a bear did get killed in this way. I don't enjoy reading about animals getting killed but this story is meant to have happened 35,000 years before the present civilisation and I think considering, the people are depicted as very civilised and could teach us a thing or two.
I like the storyline and that is why I'm reading the series.
Anyway, I was extremely pleased that my blogging pal, Jinksy, sent me the Mammoth Hunters straight away and is parceling the rest up to be posted soon. So my winter reading is well catered for. Thank you Jinksy.
Thank you Guineapig mum for your kind offer to send the books, but I didn't have your email address and your blog was closed and unavailable.

My daughter is coming for a few days with my grandsons, so I am going to be busy enjoying their company this weekend.
Thank you so much to every one who has written kind things and helped me to feel cared for. You never cease to amaze me the way you are all so lovely and allow me to rant or get depressed, without either avoiding my blog or telling me to snap out of it.
That is true friend ship ....... in the bloggiest kind of way.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Much Ado About Nothing?

In my last post, I was in a state about the water running down the wall and causing damp to get under the wallpaper in the bathroom, causing mould to grow through the paper and the beginnings of the same in the room beneath.
We couldn't get hold of a plumber who was known to us (unless we took pot luck by getting some one in from The Yellow Pages.) This is always a risky thing to do.
We realised that there must be a problem with the ballcocks in the two tanks connected to the central heating in our roof space, causing the overflow to be in use. The problem was..... where was the outside overflow and why wasn't the water running clear of the wall? On closer examination, it appeared that the overflow had been cut off by the men who had put new facial board on the back of the house when they decorated it over ten years ago. This meant that the water came out from beneath the facial board and tricked down the wall unnoticed until it started to seep through the wall. Obviously there hadn't been a problem with the overflow until recently and that is why it wasn't discovered before.

My son, Sam, went up to the roof space and looked into the tanks and was able to see the need for two new ballcocks and they were easily replaced. Trouble was now, there was a slight leak on the outside of the tank for some reason, that would in time come through the ceiling in the bathroom. So now we had to put a container under the drip and we worked out that this would need emptying twice a day because it took quite a while to fill the container.

In the meantime, my son managed to get a plumber friend to come and see the problem. He called round today and he was very efficient and knew what to do immediately and for a very reasonable price.
The trouble with the facial board can be dealt with maybe in the warmer weather as it will not cause any more problems for a long time.
If I still could get in touch with the men who chopped the pipe off because it would be easier to fit the facial board, then I would. However, after ten years I feel that they are long gone from our lives.

This week has been very up and down for me. The weather went very cold just at the time that the wet was coming into the house and my pain was playing me up and I felt depressed. It is now a month since the last radiation treatment and I have been very disheartened not to be feeling better than I am. I was told the pain would peak after a couple of weeks and then start to diminish. This didn't seem to be happening to me. On top of that I have heard of the death of two other cancer suffers within the last week or so whom I was relating to and thinking that they were a good example of delaying this awful disease with courage....... and now they are gone.
Will I be the next? It is only natural to wonder. Harry, who also has late stage cancer, just says *What will be will be* but I cannot sit back and think like that and am kicking up a fuss. Anything to delay it for a while yet. I have to get to seventy at least but realise that I haven't got a God given right to do so. However, I will give it my best shot.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Dripping Destruction

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Over the last few weeks we have experienced many different kinds of weather. We started off with a heat wave and we've had rain, followed by sunshine and then really cold weather, followed by sunshine again and now it seems to have settled into rain and much colder weather.

Wet weather is the last thing I need at the moment because we have a problem with water running down the back of our house and as it is an old stone wall that has no cavity, the damp is coming through the wall and has already ruined the bathroom and is now creeping downstairs.
Naturally we realised that something was wrong and our son, Sam brought a ladder round and cleaned out the gutter above the problem area. He felt that was the answer, but instead of drying out, the wet is continuing to seep through to the inside wall and I think it is something more serious. There is no sign of an overflow pipe oozing water. I wonder where it can be coming from?
Harry has to keep well away from anything dirty that could be harbouring bacteria... because of his lowered resistance caused by chemo therapy and it seems beyond me to be able to do very much myself. Besides, he hasn't the energy or stamina to deal with this anymore than I have.
I keep asking myself, why we didn't move into somewhere smaller and newer when we were in a stronger position a good few years ago. What has kept us in this big house when we are no longer in a position to look after it and do the necessary repairs?
Seems we get over one problem only to be confronted by something else.
I have tried calling plumbers that are known to us, so far with no success.

Isn't it annoying that this is the type of thing that can really wear you to the ground? It seems all we need after having to go through painful, lengthy treatments and life threatening illnesses to be outwitted by water.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Song and Dance?

No, not dance. I'm not quite up to dancing. However, today I decided to give my singing group a try and a friend, who also wanted to go back to it, went with me. It was good to get back to it but we are right behind, having missed a whole term, so we have to learn eight songs that we didn't know. We didn't realise that we'd chosen the last day of term to go back. So we were given a CD to learn over the holidays in order to catch up. So that worked out very well.

The book in the picture above, was given to me to read from an old boxful of things to be thrown away. At first, I thought it was a children's book but although the cover looks a bit that way, it is for adults judging by what I have read so far.
Actually, it is a set of two books and there are another two similar ones to carry on the story, making that six books altogether. I don't normally go in for long sagas but this first book that I am nowhere near a quarter of the way through, has captured my mind and I can see that this will be my winter reading matter. I will have to get the other books too.
Has anyone else read them and if so did you like them?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Finishing Touches

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

I copied this idea from another blogger. Although I had made crochet blankets before, I liked the way mrsrunofthemillsblogspot another Maggie, used different sizes of squares in her pattern. I also liked the scalloped edge and was not sure about how to achieve this. My crochet skills are very basic.
It took me from May to the present time to use all the wool from my wool bag and to have pieced together a large shape for a blanket. The other Maggie told me through a comment how to make a scolloped edge and she gave me very easy to follow instructions.
I am very pleased with the finished result.
Sometimes I didn't feel like doing any work on it at all and had regular breaks from it while I read a book or did some other activity. However, it gradually started to take shape and as it grew, I became more enthused with finishing it.

I have heard that we are in for a very hard winter so I shall, no doubt, be very glad to have the blanket to cuddle into during an evenings session watching TV.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

What Can People Say?

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

As the week is passing by, I am reducing my pain relief considerably, and apart from my usual arthritic pain, I am enjoying the freedom from that dreadful bone pain I had prior to the radiation treatments.
Pain is the very opposite of all that is good in life.
It has the power to impair a brain's functioning. It drains your energy. It takes over your mind, your body, your thinking, your creativity.
Like the pains of childbirth, when it has stopped, the severity of it disappears somewhere into the unconscious mind and a little door is shut on it. It isn't until there is a repeat experience of it that you remember how awful it is again.

At present, I am just having to wait and see what happens next and try enjoy each day as it comes.
This doesn't come easily to me.... the born worrier.
Will IT come back?

However, each day is a gift of extra life...... a bonus.
All that I know is ..... that I feel things more intensely. My family and friends mean more to me than before. The sky, the garden flowers and colours all seem more intense than they did before. My freedom seems more important too and I am making plans to go to the singing group again and take trips to the sea.
Everything that isn't life threatening seems to be quite unimportant to me. I used to worry about the most ridiculous things. I wasted so much time doing this.

People, on the whole, seem to be friendly and supportive towards me. However, there are still some who feel terribly awkward when they spot me and would rather run into a shop than to have to say anything.
I feel it is better to risk not saying the right thing than to run away. I don't think there is a right or a wrong thing to say anyway. Just be yourself.

I don't think people find it easy to meet up with anyone who is having a close brush with death. I think its not in our culture. "If I don't have to talk about this, I don't have to face up to the problem of cancer."
They feel threatened when they get close to someone with persistent cancer. It makes them feel under threat too. "If this can happen to her, then it could happen to me. I'd rather not think about it right now."
It is a big problem. One only has to spend a short time in Oncology to realise just how common the problem is.
I hope by talking about it that I will help others to drop their barriers a bit, though much of the time I want to be treated as normal. I am Maggie, the same person as I have always been ..... I experience the same things as you and face the same fears as you.
I just happen to be battling cancer.
I don't always want to talk about it but sometimes I do because my whole life is so tied up with how it affects me and how it makes me feel.

One day it will get me but not yet. I have so many things I want to see.
I want to see my granddaughters at least get settled into Secondary school. I want to share in the joys of their new house. I want to be able to do things with them again.
Amber, my eldest granddaughter, on hearing that I had finished my treatment, said to me, "Oh good now you can start doing things with me again."
She knows that I have cancer and she also knows I've had a problem with a sore bottom. Goodness only knows what she has said at school. (Don't forget that I used to work there.)
Some people see me standing in the playground and look the other way. Some of them are work mates or parents I knew very well. They are not all like that though, by any means.
I often just open my arms and say, "Yes, I'm still here." That seems to break the ice and put others at their ease.
One person who I thought I knew extremely well said to me. How can you just keep acting normal when this is happening to you?"
Well my answer really is, "What else can I do? Do I just lie down and wait to die? It might take a long time and it would be a bit of a waste of time, don't you think?"

I am learning to laugh at this because it is a terrible problem and one that any body might have to face sooner or later.
So how about seeking out someone you know who might be battling cancer or any other disease (that people find difficult) that takes you out of your comfort zone?
You might make a difference in that person's life. More than you think.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Webs In My Face

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

I have now finished my radiation treatment and I am enjoying my first day of freedom from not having to go every day to Oncology.
I've been warned that I might not feel well for up to a month. I must just do what I feel I can but take it easy.
That sounds good to me.
There is sunshine and warmth and a pretty garden to sit in and many books to read.
If only there weren't so many spiders about.
They are everywhere right now and whatever I try to do outside, I seem to brush my face against a web.
Isn't that the most awful experience? Maybe you like that feeling?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Impressive Or What!

At an open night at the girls' school, Sam and I took advantage of seeing their work.
Amber the oldest granddaughter, showed us a lovely description she had on the wall about her self. We were quite impressed except when we came to the sentence that said, There are two things I don't like. One is my sister and the other is olives.
I spent a good while telling her how mean that sounded and also did she just think of her sister as she would a vegetable. I suppose at least she put her sister before the olive.

Millie, my youngest granddaughter, said to me, "One of the boys in our class did a very loud, long fart when we had to be quiet."
Thinking of what kind of reaction that would have caused in my rather stern schooling, I asked what happened next.
The teacher just remarked,"That was very impressive, Tommy"
I loved that answer. We would have had a very stern dressing down about manners, when I was young. Things are so much better today.

We are all trying so hard not to be too excited about a house that my son and granddaughters have put in an offer for. It is very close to where I live and someone has put in an offer for Sam's house, which is just out of Bristol and it is such a bother to get the children to school and see all their friends, not forgetting visiting Granddad and me. The deal is all in the hands of the Estate Agents and Solicitors now and is subject to contract.
With a bit of luck, they will have moved in by December. Fingers crossed it will all work out. Otherwise there will be some very disappointed people about.

I am nearing the end of my radiation treatment now and am in pain at the moment with lesions and burns. I know they will go in a few weeks, but at the moment I am moaning like Hell.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Saturday Dilemma

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

First of all I would like to apologise to those people who couldn't leave a comment on my last post because of a Blogger glitch. I only knew about it because they asked my brother to pass on a message about their difficulty.
I hope Blogger is working again now.

You might be wondering about the little owl photo on this post.
It was brought round by my friend and neighbour this afternoon.
At first I thought that it was a little bag or purse with a key ring on it. However, when I opened it up there was a strong nylon bag inside. That is ideal for unexpected shopping journeys. You know how easy it is to pop in for a small item and then go on to buy six. Then you notice you haven't sufficient room in your bag.
I am always doing that. Now I can clip this little owl onto my bag and never have to come home with a plastic bag again.
So I am well pleased. I do seem to have some lovely friends, don't I?

I hear some funny things while waiting in the hospital for my treatment to start.
Today I found myself sitting in a corridor with another lady while they prepared the two rooms for our radiotherapy.
The lady started telling me she'd just started having the treatment after a long session of chemo. I remarked that she was extremely lucky to have kept her hair.
She replied that it was a wig.
I was truly amazed because I can usually tell when some one is wearing a wig and this one even seemed to be mottled with grey. Very natural looking.
Anyway, she went on to inform me that while she had been having chemotherapy, another lady had asked her if it was her own hair or a wig and when she answered that it was a wig, the older lady asked if she could borrow it for the weekend while she went to a wedding because it looked so natural.
What a cheek. It would be as bad as someone asking to borrow a set of teeth or a false limb. Just a bit too personal.
We both had a chuckle about that.

It was my oldest granddaughter's 9th Birthday this week. I can hardly believe that she only came to this country five years ago after living in Japan from birth. She has done extremely well with all her English subjects.
However, she is feeling a bit sorry for herself at the moment as she is being taken by her mother to another city every Saturday to a Japanese school for the whole day.
It is the only way that both children can even attempt to keep up with their appropriate school year with reading and writing in Japanese.

The positive thing will be that both children will be fluent in both languages when they become adults and most likely will end up with good jobs because of this.
The downside is that they are doing a six day school week when everyone else is only doing five and they will miss parties with their friends and outings with their dad.

I can remember when I was only twelve and my teeth were overcrowded and my dentist wanted to make more room for them by extracting four good teeth. My mother left me with the choice and I obviously chose not to have the surgery.
I later told my mother that I wished she had made me have it done as my teeth grew crooked.
This seems to be a similar case with the girls and their Saturday school.
They might be glad of the extra tuition on a Saturday if they end up with good jobs as bilingual English/Japanese speakers.
What do others think about this?
Is it good or bad to cram children's schooling with an extra day?