Sunday, 27 January 2013


Identical twins are aware of each other even before they are born. Their arms and legs touch constantly and they are from the same egg that has split in half, sharing the same placenta, so its not surprising that they are usually close to each other once they are born.

Harry and Larry were no exception, shared the same classes at school, wore identical clothes, knew the same friends and chose the same sort of occupation and interests.
Eventually, though, they each grew up with different close friends and worked on different building sites, chose different types of partners marrying within three months of each other. They have always remained very close. They tended to look less alike as they matured, except for mannerisms and speech. They love to argue with each other and things can get quite heated as each one tries to out do and out voice the other. I am assured that it is only friendly debating.
They have always phoned at least twice a day, even three or four times and see each other several times a week.
It always amazes me what they find to talk about.

They both share the same kind of cancer, though Harry's is much more advanced.
Last week we had a scare. Larry collapsed during the early hours of the night and was rushed to hospital. He is still there and it seems that he has a narrowed artery that will probably need major surgery for a repair to his heart. He is still undergoing lots of tests and is all wired up so cannot get out of bed except to use the toilet when he has to unplug himself from the monitor and take the wiring with him.

Harry is quite upset by this separation as he doesn't feel well enough to visit the hospital because he is undergoing chemotherapy. In fact, it might not be all that wise for him to go into a hospital with a compromised immune system in case he picks up a virus that could cause him grief.
They are phoning each other up regularly and Rhoda, my sister in law and I are in close contact with each other concerning everyones' health and well being. Rhoda is having a very difficult time right now and hasn't been coping too well but I'm sure once she settles from the shock of finding him  unconscious on the bathroom floor, that she'll become more used to things and will cope well. It is amazing how you are given the strength that you need to overcome a difficult situation...... strength that you didn't think you had.

As they are both so close, I can't help wondering if Harry will get the same problem with his heart? They are genetically very similar but obviously must have different fingerprints etc. One of them is a bit smaller than the other and Harry is the oldest by half an hour.
One day, one of them will have to face life alone when the other one dies. I'm sure that will be terrible for whoever it is, but common sense tells me that it would be a very rare thing for them to depart together at the same time. It must be a heartbreaking inevitability that twins will face trauma of this kind at some point.
I'm hoping that both will survive a long time yet, but one has to wonder....... 
At least I do.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Shut In By Ice

Photocopyright: Maggie May

We live in a road that lies between two side roads leading into our busy High Street. It is less than five minutes to the High Street, where all the shops are but I might as well have been trapped on the moon these past few days.
The trouble is that the side roads and pavements are never cleared of snow, making it impossible to get to the shops. There is a slight incline making matters worse. 
Harry is well into his second chemo and as he has a problem with his balance anyway, I have dissuaded him from going anywhere where there are icy conditions. I have a problem with painful bones and I don't want to risk breaking any of them on the ice because then we would be in an even worse position if I was out of action completely.

My son, Sam, kindly took me to a major supermarket the other day and that enabled me to buy masses of supplies, so that I don't really need to go out at all now for days. However, I have been suffering from locked in cabin fever. I just like to get out and stretch my legs and haven't been able to do a reasonable walk for what seems to be a long time.
Today, though, there was a bit of a thaw so I did venture out for a breath of fresh air. Harry also had a little walk to the end of the street as far as the place where all the ice starts to be really slippery.

When I was young, everyone would pitch in with their shovels and salt, clearing the pavements in next to no time. There wouldn't be a problem for older folk to get their shopping in and to stretch their legs.
Everyone would pull together as a community. Today, I think people are scared of clearing their paths in case they are sued if anyone slipped and got hurt. I guess this is a myth because the Council have openly said that this doesn't happen and that people should clear their pavements. Of course many people feel that we pay Council Tax and think they should clear it but in reality the Council only clears the major roads and high streets leaving all pavements and side streets unprotected and everyone has to manage as best we can.
In England, everything seems to come to a halt when it snows causing schools to shut, buses to be cancelled and all activities to cease. Eventually things get reorganised and get back to normal but the people in the iced up side roads seem to be the last to be able to do anything. It all takes time to thaw.
Yes, snow does look beautiful when it first falls and it is magical for children, racing about on toboggans and building snowmen but the problem starts for most people when it frosts over and theres just a sludgy, icy, slippery mess.
Well maybe thats the end of it for now. I know I sound like a Scrooge but enough is enough. Am I the only one who feels like this? Forgive me if I am.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Little Rethinking

Photo copyright: Maggie May

I didn't make a definite New Years Resolution except to go on with my daily diary/journal writing and to make an effort not to let a week pass by without adding a new post to my blog. Well those things weren't much of a challenge to me as I knew I would probably fulfil these expectations so it was all a bit half hearted really. 
Before Christmas I was invited by our doctors practice to go for a medical to see how healthy I was. I nearly didn't go because I felt I'd been through a lot and didn't know whether I wanted to know if anything else was wrong with me. However, when the New Year had settled and I felt that I had more time, I made the appointment for one. I knew that I was overweight but not grossly so and although I have my limitations these days when it comes to exercise, I do go out walking for at least half an hour each day and I do eat my 5 fruits and vegetables daily so didn't really expect anything too bad. When I actually saw the result on paper....... BMI halfway between overweight and obese, cholesterol levels up a notch, blood pressure marginal....... made me feel I'm not so healthy after all.
"It can all be controlled by diet," the Practice nurse said. "You don't need medication."
I decided to try and eat even more healthily and the following weekend I bought a Crock-pot. Although I am practically a vegetarian, I envisaged making the most marvellous lentil and vegetable stew adding pulses for extra nutrition and fibre. Slow cooking has produced very tasty and appetising meals so far and I am very pleased with the results. Harry also says that it is all delicious fare. So my belated New Years Resolution is to cut down on hidden fats and to try to eat more healthily. 
How are you all getting on with your New Years Resolution? That is, if you made any.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Unforgivable Wastefulness

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Our news media is reporting that nearly half of all food in the world is wasted due to sell by dates that are not realistic and to supermarkets selling *two for the price of one*, tempting us to buy more than we can eat.
When I was young, before the days of Health and Safety, hardly anything was wasted as there wasn't really that much food to go round. An egg that had been on the shelf for a long time would be put into a bowl of water and if it floated it was obviously bad. If it sunk then it was good enough to eat. We put any scraps and vegetable peelings into *piggy bins* that were collected weekly by the Council to feed the city pigs or we composted vegetable waste in the garden or allotment. How many people died of food poisoning I really don't know. I can't remember knowing anyone who did know anyone who died of it.

There generally isn't that much waste in our household and I wrap up veggie peelings and put into the Council recycle bin now that personal garden composting is a bit too heavy for me to deal with. 
I was appalled by how much extra waste there was over Christmas when my grandsons were staying with me. This was mostly due to picky eating by the boys and over shopping by grown ups and finding the sell by date was long gone on food that we thought we would be needing over the holiday period but didn't.

If the statement is true about half of all food being wasted, then that is unforgivable. It would feed all the hungry in the world. What the remedy is, I really don't know, except for us all to be a bit more careful about how much we buy. However, that would only be a drop in the ocean, wouldn't it? I think the problem starts with food being thrown away long before it gets to the shops. Maybe by the farmers who have to comply with producing perfect shapes and sizes of crops before anyone would buy and throwing away perfectly good food that can't be sold.

 How much food do you throw away? Do you stick to the sell by dates or do you gamble by eating it a few days later?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Off (with) My Trolley

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Since retiring, Harry has always done the main shopping. He usually walks a mile and a half to the main supermarket and back. There are smaller ones nearer to where we live, in fact, we'er not more than five minutes away from the nearest shop. However, Harry likes his favourite supermarket and collects points, special coupon offers and things like that.
Now that he's started chemo, he hasn't the strength to do it, so I have been really struggling with shopping at the same place and found that the trolley I had been pulling behind me was seriously aggravating my back pain. 
I tried a back pack but that was only any good for very lightweight things, so the tins and cartons that I needed caused aggravation too.

I had seen little old ladies pushing trollies with four wheels, in front of them and I thought that I wouldn't need one until I was a lot older. In fact, I can remember when I was disposing of my mother's belongings after she died, that she had one of those contraptions in her garage, but twelve years ago, I felt I was far too young to accept such a thing, so it ended in a Charity shop along with a whole pile of other aids that I wish I'd kept. Some how or other I always feel much younger than others might feel I am. Its only when I see myself in a mirror or shop window when I realise that I am a little old lady and that comes as quite a shock.

Whilst my daughter was staying with me over Christmas, she signed me up for Home Deliveries from the said supermarket and showed me how to place an order. After she left, I wasn't confident to do this on my own for the first time, so I postponed the idea until I could get some one to help me and realised that it might be a long time before that happened. So I thought that I'd buy one of those four wheeled trolleys that can be pushed, like my mother had had.
I set off on the bus into town and went to a shop where you order from a catalogue, pay and then wait your turn to collect.
I was dismayed to see that the trolley was sealed into a flat pack and I had to beg the man who gave it to me to assemble it as there was no way I could carry it to the bus and was wondering how I would even manage it fully assembled on a bus.
The man had to go and get help. It caused a bit of chaos spending so much time with my order, but eventually the job was done and the assistant seemed genuinely pleased by my gratefulness.
It was fairly easy to get it on and off the bus as I used the space reserved for pushchairs and wheelchairs, getting on and off a high kerb designed for the purpose of wheeling on and off. Not that I intended to use it on buses ever again, mind you. 

I feel as though I have had a new lease of life because pushing the trolley to the supermarket and trundling it back home is so easy. It is kinder to my back. If I was stuck at home waiting for a Home Delivery, then I wouldn't get the exercise or meet people and this is important. Most people smile and say,"Good Morning." Sometimes I meet someone I know and end up having a chat and I am getting fresh air and some sunshine no matter how weak it is at present. I pass an assortment of gardens and one or two have branches of rosemary sticking through a fence so I pick a small amount as a treat for my rabbits.
I will leave the Home Delivery until such a time as the weather is abominable or my health is not as good and take my new found toy out for little trips to the shops. It seems to help me to balance too.
I believe my readers from USA call these contraptions Shopping Carts and only use the word, *trolley* when talking about madness!
Well maybe I am mad to prefer to be independent.