Friday, 25 July 2014

Glorious Purple

Photo copyright: Maggie May

We've been experiencing the hottest summer for years. It is really lovely to be able to dry all the washing so quickly and always be warm. Only occasionally has the atmosphere been oppressive with storms or the nights too hot to sleep. 
Everything in the garden has done really well this year including this clematis. I wish I knew it's name. There are hundreds of different varieties so will probably never be able to identify it.
Maybe some one else might know?

Photo copyright Maggie May

Friday, 18 July 2014

Wheelchair Madness

I've been looking after Harry for the last 6 weeks or so and before that was visiting him daily in hospital for nearly a month.
After he came home, I thought we'd got into a fairly good routine which started early in the morning and finished with me rolling into bed by 10.30 which by my usual standards seems very early.
However, I've been very tired and seem very ready for sleep by then.

Everything was ticking along in a fairly smooth way until I borrowed a wheelchair.
As Harry was getting fed up with being trapped indoors, I thought it would be good for him to be able to go to church again or even go for short walks.
Trouble is, Bristol is very hilly and there is no area that doesn't face a moderate to steep hill to get to it.

I thought I'd sussed out a really level way to get Harry to Church, but hadn't realised just how wheelchair unfriendly the local area is. We can see the church practically from our house and it would normally take less than five minutes to cross the busy road and walk up the flight of steps into the sanctuary. The wheelchair access is round the back and the roads to get there are rather rough.

There are sometimes cars who park half way onto the pavement right next to a lamp post. I'm sure the owners have no idea that they've left no space for a wheelchair to get through and I'm not strong enough to face the drop of the kerb to the road let alone get him back up again onto the pavement. Where some of the pavements have a lovely surface of tarmac, which is excellent for wheelchair users, everything is ruined by a private lane that crosses the pavement leaving very uneven slabs that are really jarring for the carer to push across and the wheelchair user is very shaken up. Not good for bad backs.

The local hairdresser that Harry has always used has a raised metal bar going across the bottom of the door that is also up a giant step.

Needless to say, my sciatica has come back with a vengeance and now I can hardly walk without excruciating pain let alone push Harry anywhere.

I'm ashamed to say that I've never really given wheelchair users much thought in the past. It is only when seeing it from another angle by necessity, that I've realised just how difficult things can be.
Maybe everyone should have to go around in a wheelchair for a month to make them wheelchair aware. This could be part of a youngsters education.
In the mean time I must just plod on and get on with life best I can.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Thistles versus Gravel

I expect you remember me telling about the waist high thistles in a neighbours enclosed garden and the beautiful Painted Lady butterflies that emerged from them a few weeks ago.

This morning I felt the whole house vibrating and went to investigate outside. We don't get earthquakes of significant magnitude to cause that kind of experience over here, so I was a bit mystified.
My *neighbour with the thistles* was having the workmen in and everything was being raised to the ground, dug up and the earth hammered flat and covered with a membrane. This was later covered over with a thick layer of shingle.
The whole garden is now gravel.
This is what happens when someone absolutely hates gardening.

I'm glad the butterflies had a chance to hatch out before this happened, though I guess there'll be none next year.
One good thing to come out of it is that the yellow thistle flowers didn't have time to develop into seed. Last year I had quite a job to pull out the baby thistles that sprung up all over my garden.

However, I guess the cats will now come over to use my garden for their toilet needs as unless they enjoy digging about in gravel mine might be more appealing. Come to think of it, they may look on the gravel as a giant cat tray. Eek!