Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Season's Greetings

Time to get the knitted Nativity set out.
The weather does not indicate that we're anywhere near Christmas though. It's wet and mild and not the least bit seasonal.
If I don't get to put a new post in before the holidays begin, then I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Pride Comes Before A Fall

Since I last posted and told everyone what wonderful weather we were having for the time of year, it has done nothing but rain. That is so typical, isn't it!

I had a sudden fit of Christmas inspiration the other day when Millie my youngest grandchild, came for tea. Between us we managed to decorate my little silver tree and the next day I put up some tinsel and other decorations. However, within the space of yet another day, I felt the whole thing was a load of old tat and felt like taking it all down.
This is how I am lately. One minute looking forward to things, the next not.

I have always gone out and about in the city by myself quite confidently. However, yesterday my good foot must have caught on a raised paving slab and I went flying down and I knew when it all seemed to be happening in slow motion, that I was going to fall down on concrete.
Fortunately, nothing was broken but my pride. I felt a fool and was very grateful for the concern of  some Bristol students who stopped to help me back on my feet. I had felt like a stranded whale while down on the pavement.
It was a relief that I was surrounded by kind people and that I wasn't mugged while in a vulnerable position.
It has knocked my confidence a bit and the worst part was coming home and not having anyone to tell or share with.
Never mind, today is another day. A fresh start with better things......

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Getting On With Things.....

I can't believe we're almost finished with November. Soon it will be advent and we'll be into Christmas.
We've had an incredible Autumn with sunshine on many of the days. Ok, so not warm enough to sit out in the sun with a cool drink and a pair of sunglasses! However, the sunshine does seem to lift the spirit somewhat. It's something to do with the way the light strikes the garden and makes everything look better, making me feel better. In fact I feel a lot better lately.
Occasionally, it's poured with rain and then I've been glad that I have the ability to amuse myself with books and jigsaws and needlework. Some times I've cleaned a corner of a room, cupboard or whatever needs doing. This gives me a tremendous sense of achievement.... clearing a clutter that has been there for ages  and shredding up those annoying papers that have been lurking in my folders and cluttering up my filing system for ever.

I expect people are wondering how I am. I think I'm managing a lot better than I thought I would. The time seems to be ticking away and I'm getting on with things.
People have been incredibly kind to me and I've managed to get out and about and meet up with friends fairly regularly.
In fact the most difficult thing I've had to do recently is to restring a rotary clothes line that snapped in many places due to old age. I expect it made a funny spectacle in the garden with me trying to battle with the new rope that tangled itself round everything...... my legs, the plants and itself. Has anyone ever tried it?
Eventually I got my towels pegged out securely and it looks as though everything is working OK but it wasn't a professional job by a long chalk (as we say in England).

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Healing Time......

For the past few weeks I've been yo-yoing between good news, bad news, good news bad news.....
Its been a gruelling process of uncertainty.
However, I can now say that the biopsy did prove that *it* wasn't cancer and that it is fibrous tissue and a haematoma. 
My fractured hip will heal and the haematoma might be reabsorbed into my body in time or it might have to be removed at a later date. I'm having another scan in three months to see if it is going down.
I can live with that and feel now is the time to make a Fresh Start and to get on with my life.
I just need space to recover from all the trauma and worry and allow the healing process to begin.
Thanks for all your support during these difficult times.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Life Can Be a Bummer

Today I had my biopsy under local anaesthetic using an ultra sound scan.... the type used for scanning babies but in this case...... no baby.
It will be next Weds 28th before I get the results.

I'm trying to be positive but at the moment things are not looking too promising. I'm now in a lot of discomfort bordering on pain and all my comments from the last post, so far seem to be from  people really relieved that it isn't the return of cancer. However, in truth, it seems that cancer return will be the most likely outcome and I didn't feel I could read another comment that said, "Thank Goodness it isn't cancer".
All I know is that it isn't now likely to be a haematoma.
I've said it before and I'll say it again...... life can be a bummer.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Second Chance?

I feel it's about time that I wrote a post. I've been apathetic enough since Harry died.
You might have read about the wonderful send off that Harry had at his funeral on my brother Eddie's blog. He described everything in such detail that I really don't need to add to it except to say that it was a very happy occasion when all the grandchildren contributed in some way or other by a reading or playing an instrument. Everyone wore colourful clothes and he had all his favourite hymns, readings etc. 
There was very much an atmosphere that he'd been set free and had moved on to something much better. That is what we all believe.

However, I had my own secret torment going on because a few weeks before Harry died, I was beginning to experience some worrying symptoms and had got in touch with the Oncologist that had seen me through such a lot of treatment before. They took it quite seriously and thought I might well be relapsing into an other episode of cancer. An urgent CT scan was arranged and two days before the funeral I had the scan and couldn't help but worry what it might reveal.
The following week I was phoned up whilst out walking and told that two things had shown up on the scan. One was a stress fractured pelvis that was put down to radiation damage from four years previously. The other was an unknown *thing* that showed up in my lower quarters.
I was gutted and disappointed that I hadn't even had a chance to do anything that I wanted to do after Harry had died and now it seemed I'd be facing chemo or some horrible treatment in order to get a bit longer life.

As everyone will realise, I'd given my very all to him for well over eighteen months and not been able to have many days off or felt that I could relax because of the unpredictability of his illness.
Anyway, when I got to Oncology this week, I was told that it was most likely to be a haematoma caused by bleeding from another smaller fracture. I'm now waiting for a biopsy to confirm this and to see what can be done about the haematoma.
I was reassured that there was no sign of cancer on the scan anywhere on my body.
Although I am in some measure of discomfort and I also have to be very careful not to do anything that could break my pelvis or hip, I really do feel that I'm so lucky to be given another chance of life.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Celebration of Harry's Life

In my last post, I knew that Harry was really ill and hadn't much longer to live. I posted it on the Friday and by the evening the GP had rung me to say that he probably wouldn't last the weekend. So I planned to spend all day if necessary, on Saturday and his twin was going too and also my brother, Eddy
However, Harry had other ideas and decided to go to be with the Lord during the early hours of Saturday morning, so nobody got to see him before he died. I was disappointed and angry at first but now feel very grateful to have been able to sit with him and smooth his hair for a long time on Friday afternoon. He wasn't conscious anyway.

Now I have to plan the funeral. It is a lonely and overwhelming thing to be doing.
He loved bright colours and we don't want folk mooching about in black on his funeral day.
The grandchildren he loved so much will read poems and scripture and play musical instruments. We will sing his favourite hymns and tell each other afterwards all the little things that made Harry who he was. He'd have loved that and I sometimes find myself wishing I could tell him things that we're planning to do for him.

Although I've not had Harry with me at home for 6 months now and I'm so well used to being on my own in the house and making decisions and things like that, I shall miss him so much and will now have a large chunk of my day to fill in as I won't be going to visit him any more.

Harry, we almost made 53 years of married life. 
Thank you for being my faithful companion all these years of ups and downs. I have some wonderful and sometimes funny memories that nobody can ever take away from me.
I will always love you and you'll be missed more than you could imagine.
I know you've moved on to a better life, free from pain. I expect I'll be with you before too long.

Lots of Love

Thank you everyone who wrote such lovely comments in my last post. I will get back to you before too long.......

Friday, 4 September 2015

Letting go.......

Schools went back this week and there is a distinct chilly feel to the mornings and the evenings are drawing in. I guess Autumn is on it's way and I only have very late summer flowers struggling to bloom in the garden now. It's not my most favourite of times.

Harry is still with us but is very much weaker. I go most days to the nursing home but yesterday I went to Weston Super Mare on the bus and spent three hours in the cool sunshine by the sea. I walked from one end of the promenade to the other (which involved several miles) and then I walked back again.
There is a Banksy display at one end of the promenade in a disused open air swimming baths. I would have had to queue for hours to get in to see the street art and all the controversial paraphernalia that people either love or hate.
I would have liked to see it if I'd have had more time and am thinking of making an effort to get a ticket before it finishes in a few weeks time.
Google him if you'd like to find out more, but I know most people in Britain know all about him and will have their own opinions as to whether they want to see the exhibition or wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

One of the positive things that has happened over the last few weeks is that I'm a Great Aunt for the second time running, as my niece gave birth to Rosa who looks so cute in the photos that I've seen. Those who follow my brother, Eddy Bluelights  blog will probably have seen the latest photos of her and brother Peter. 
They are at the beginning of their lives with the possibility of great things happening to them, while Harry is at the end of his...... but something keeps him strong enough to press on for more time.
I do hope that he is having positive things happening to him in his imagination. Occasionally he opens his eyes and says *Hello* with a smile and then falls back asleep again. He doesn't seem to remember much about who comes or goes. I very much miss the *old* Harry and often expect to see him with me when I wake from dozing in front of TV most evenings. I have a flash of disappointment when I see the empty chair.
Its not easy letting go.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Join the Shaun Trail

For the last month in Bristol, Aardman Animations have inspired the production of 70 Shaun The Sheep life sized models that have been beautifully decorated by different artists and they've been scattered all around the city and outskirts.
London had 50 of their own on display earlier this year.  They will all eventually be auctioned off individually for large sums of money that will be donated to the children's hospitals. 

People have come from other countries especially to join the *Shaun In The City* trail as well as  Bristol citizens and visitors from all over Britain. Many have even bought an application for their phones, which brings in more money for the charity.

Because of our depressing situation with Harry during the past few months, my daughter has been coming to see him far more frequently than normal and we've been very grateful for the Shaun Trail to take our minds off things. We've visited parts of Bristol that we didn't know and would probably never have got to know without the Shauns. Wherever we've been, we've had to wait our turn to view and photograph these models because of the scores of visitors that are doing the same thing. Some of them have asked us to take their photo with the Shaun. Adults as well as children of all ages have been following this trail and it's surprising how many conversations we've had when people see us with a map. "Oh, are you looking for the next Shaun? It's just round the corner." 
This kind of venture not only brings in money for expensive scanners that the hospitals will be able to buy, but it's good for tourism and brings people together as well as helping us to keep fit by walking the different trails. Some of them are easy but others more challenging.
At the end of the month, the Bristol and the London Shauns will be on display together in a large Bristol venue and I intend to visit them with a friend. 
So I for one, am very grateful for this distraction. However, now I've found all 70 Shauns what next?

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Yoyo-ing Effect

I feel quite ashamed that I haven't managed to write a new post telling you the latest news. The comments in the last post were so kind and I realise that everyone must be wondering what has happened and how we're getting on because over my years of blogging, I've made some good friends who care about us both and I also feel this connection with you all.

The truth is that we're in a very similar position to the last time I wrote. Harry must have been a very strong person because his body has been trying to move on to better things for well over a year now but something manages to pull him back just as we are all despairing and resigning ourselves to the inevitable.

So the only way I can describe my life really is that I'm yoyo-ing backwards and forwards from one extreme to the other and trying to live in the present and just get on with things.
As Harry's life becomes narrower and narrower, I wonder what pleasures he has left as he's totally bed bound, so cannot now see the beautiful garden with the squirrels and birds that he used to enjoy so much and can only eat pureed food spasmodically and has great difficulty communicating.
However, inside his head, he knows what's going on and can experience all the frustrations of his restricted world just the same as you or I could. He has TV which he sometimes enjoys but probably listens to when he can't find the strength to watch.
I go in to see him for a few hours everyday. Some days he can laugh and is interested in talking and listening but other times he doesn't really know I'm there. I never know what to expect when I go in. Each day is different. Harry doesn't stay on the the same level but swings from near unconsciousness to being alert and I do think of a yoyo because of the extreme of it all.

The local Hospice Specialist Care Nurse comes to see him/me weekly and they do support family as well as the patient.
Unfortunately it is Charity funded and only has 12 beds for the whole of our city and because of his unpredictability has no chance of getting in there. They do wonderful support behind the scenes and I do owe them for their considerable support over the last year or so.

So thats our life in a nutshell. Yes, a yoyo just about describes everything.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Slipping Away.....

Over the last week, Harry has been slipping away from me, sleeping more and more and not being able to communicate very well at all.
He drinks from a covered beaker and eats a mouthful of soft food most days.
I sit by his side and stroke his hair and talk to him while he is sleeping. Who knows if he can process what I say or not?
Occasionally he opens his eyes and stares into space, other times he smiles and says, Hello.
I am missing him. I miss the conversations we used to have. I long to tell him the little snippets of news that I know he'd be interested in.
I feel I have to visit each day and sit with him but we've had some really lovely sunny days and I feel the summer is slipping away too. 
Somehow I had never envisaged him declining like this at the height of the summer. It would seem more natural on a cold, bleak winter with bugs and flu and viruses to catch...... but not in such perfect conditions as we're having now. 
Am I being silly or not?

Thursday, 18 June 2015

What About Pushy People?

We're almost at the height of our summer now and it's lovely to sit in the shade of a tree out in the open spaces with a book. When I'm in my garden, I seem to always see something that needs attention, something to clip back, weeds invading the flowers, so I often dart about doing all these jobs rather than sitting with a book as planned. I'm not like that indoors though and read away for hours.

As it was a dry, mild day, yesterday, I decided to get a bus to Wells, Somerset, which is about an hours journey from here.
The city is very small and the streets narrow and I'm sure that if it didn't have a magnificent cathedral, then it would be classed as a town.
I knew it would be market day and there would be a lot of people about and I thought it'd be good to wander round and spend a couple of hours before returning home.

I'd not been on the bus very long when a young girl plonked herself down next to me and immediately started to be very gushy with, *How are you today? I like your top. etc.* At first I wondered if she was alright but realised she wasn't British so didn't think she knew we didn't like that kind of approach. Almost immediately after I acknowledged her with a casual remark...... she got out her pamphlets and started to try to get me interested in her religion. All I wanted really, was to sit quietly and look at the lovely countryside around me as it was my precious day off. However, I was jammed in by the window so couldn't escape and I didn't have the heart to dampen her enthusiasm, so I let her pray for Harry and took her pamphlets which I read but later disposed of.
I think as we get older, life is not so black and white as this girl was making out. The smile on her face seemed plastic and I wonder if she'd had to try to convert me for an assignment at the *chapel* she was going to en route. I was relieved when she got out of the bus a good deal earlier than I did.
I thought of all the people who would have been really uncomfortable with this girl's cheeky move. It seems a bit like the Charity muggers (that we call Chuggers* in England.) They jump out at you and say, *Hey.... how are you doing?* as though they are long lost friends and all they want is to get you to sign up with a Direct Debit for their charity. They then try to make you feel quite guilty if you say no. (A 92 year old woman from Bristol recently jumped over a high cliff to her death because she was overwhelmed by begging letters and she tried to give to everyone and got herself into a mess.)

When I arrived in Wells it was drizzling with rain the whole time I was there. It didn't stop me going  for a long walk and I met 2 lovely ladies who asked me if I'd like to go for a cuppa with them (they weren't selling anything, asking for charity or peddling a religion!) I met them in the bus queue in Bristol and talked while we waited for the bus.
Although I cut my visit short because of the rain, I found I had quite enjoyed the trip. The bus journey going home was without incident..... almost boring. The streets were dry in Bristol as it had been sunny all day. 
I had plenty to think about when I got home, recalling the unusual journey to Wells. 
What do others thing about fanatics and chuggers?

Friday, 5 June 2015

Alone But Not Lonely

It seems really strange not to have any artwork on this post but Blogger is not allowing me to put any pictures on here at all.
I've decided to go ahead with it anyway..........devoid of any visual aids.

My life seems a bit mundane right now but as Harry was going to have visitors on Thursday I decided to get on a bus and go to the lovely Roman city of Bath.
It's about one hours journey by bus.
It was a gloriously hot day and after browsing round shops and places of interest, I took out a sunhat and sat in a square surrounded by some beautiful buildings.
There's usually a busker in this square and by the time I sat down, it was the turn of a Spanish guitarist. I think buskers are allowed about half an hour each and they usually are of a very high standard.
I really enjoyed the music while I ate my sandwiches.
It wasn't long before a mother and with her newish baby asked if she could sit next to me and  almost immediately we struck up a conversation. She took what looked like an apron out of her bag and she fastened it around her neck and draped it over her baby and proceeded to feed him. We got onto all sorts of discussions, including the merits of breast feeding. (Strange subject for a woman of 73). Anyway, baby was fed and admired and the mother popped him back in his buggy and said she'd enjoyed our chat very much and off she went.
Almost immediately, an older lady asked if she could share my seat and we started to talk about other things...... the best places to visit by bus, where the nearest and best toilets could be found. and so on. After half an hour or so this lady said she'd enjoyed the conversation and she went on her way.
Both of these ladies, Bath residents, at different stages of their lives, one young and one not so young had crossed with mine somewhat fleetingly and left me with something to think about other than my situation with Harry in the home.
I got to realise that you can be alone but not necessarily be lonely and others can appreciate my company for a while even though I feel I have rather a boring life.
I think a day out definitely did me good.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Softer Side......

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Although early mornings and late evenings are chilly, we've had some lovely sunny days and my visits to see Harry in the nursing home have been really pleasant. In his room, there is a lovely glass door that opens out onto a grassy garden with bird feeders and tubs of plants. This garden is visited by grey squirrels and many species of birds. Harry can see all the wild life coming and going from his chair.
He was a builder for most of his life and obviously has a tough side to his personality.
However, recently, I've seen his softer side. He amazes me by saying repeatedly, "Look at the lovely way the sun shines on those leaves, isn't it beautiful?" Just look at those birds and the squirrels....... you couldn't have picked a better place for me...... it's all so lovely."
He almost makes me cry as these remarks are more the kind of things I would have said. At one time, if I'd have remarked about the beautiful way the light played on the blossom to him, then he's have probably said, "Oh yes"and got on with whatever he was doing.

Sometimes I take a packed lunch with me and eat it there, maybe in the garden or his room. There is a resident cat, probably left by an elderly who died there years ago, for the cat is very old. He seems to sense that I like him and he comes to be stroked or nursed by me. It's all on his terms though and when he's had enough, he jumps down. He does curl up in a chair in the room if the weather isn't as good and sometimes spends hours at the foot of the bed.
Its good to be able to stroke a cat and not have the responsibility of owning it. I do miss not having a pet but I won't be tempted again.

Whenever I go to see Harry, I never know what I will find. He's on a good run of stability at the moment but it could change so quickly and repeatedly it does. I'm learning to accept what comes and be grateful for it.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Tinged With Sadness...........

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

The past two weeks have been a time for adjusting to our new situations.
I started off by feeling rested with renewed energy after many months of little sleep because of  the constant demands of being a carer. Harry and I were both accepting of the fact that we now have to live apart as I cannot cope with him unable to walk or stand.
However, I'm now beginning to feel much more sad, as the unrealistic reality of the possibility of him ever coming home or recovering, is setting in.
At first, Harry seemed to be improving and I seriously questioned whether he really needed to be in the care home. It is now apparent, as his illness is taking more and more of him away from me, that he will not be able to manage anywhere else.
He is increasingly tired and wants to spend more and more time in bed sleeping.
I don't think he really needs anything more as the nurses and helpers are giving him excellent care, spoon feeding him when he's too tired to feed himself and keeping him clean etc.
I spend most of my days visiting him and if he wants to sleep then I quietly get on with my knitting or read my book.
Sometimes he doesn't remember anyone going and often misses visits completely, other times, he sits in his chair and talks or watches TV. He's never the same twice and seems to be predictably unpredictable. I think this is the hardest thing for me to cope with as I swing from renewed hope to despair and back in a constant circle.

Yesterday, my brother, Eddie  whose blog many of you follow, managed to drive over to see Harry, together with our cousin Rod. Harry and I were particularly pleased to see long lost cousin but also Eddie, who has been restricted from travelling because of his really horrible leg ulcer, that is now responding quite dramatically to the skill of the district nurses. After we'd seen Rod onto his train to the north west of England, Eddie ran me home and we bought a fish and chip supper and spent some time together before he headed back for home.

On the positive side, I do receive a lot of pleasure from my garden and the spring flowers that are now in full bloom. It is my favourite time of the month, but this year it's tinged with sadness.

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Saturday, 11 April 2015


It seems ages since I wrote a post but I've been a bit traumatised lately.

Harry got really sick a few weeks ago and I tried to manage him at home but when his legs packed up, I realised that there was no way I could do it. It took two people to get him onto his feet. Anyway, he had a severe infection and was sent to hospital so the situation was really taken out of my hands. For a few days we didn't think he was going to make it but antibiotics helped him to pull through. 
During this time, my brother, Eddiebluelights was in a ward a couple of floors below, with a swollen leg that had ulcerated. I was really worried when I saw the state of it but I was so pleased that I could see him every day. Eddie and Harry were both discharged from hospital on the same day.

I was told that I had absolutely no chance of looking after Harry at home any more as he was too much for me to cope with, so, with a heavy heart I had to find a nursing home for him.
I managed to find one fairly close to where I live and he has a lovely room looking out onto a lawn and he can see robins, blackbirds and squirrels playing out there. There is a black cat who also lives in the home and is free to wander in and out of all the rooms. Harry has a TV and a few personal pictures and things from home. Also, my daughter in law's mother is only two doors away. She had a stroke last summer and cannot look after herself. This makes visiting them both so much easier.
I've experienced many emotions over the last few weeks, which is why blogging has taken a back seat.
However, I'm now realising just how tired and irritable I was all the time I was struggling with Harry at home and now I feel rested and suddenly a weight has lifted from my shoulders. Today he had a whole stream of visitors. 
I won't forget Harry..... I go and see him most days and take him in little treats and tell him all the latest news.
All around me the lovely little flowers of the Forget-me-not are blooming and are scattered in little nooks and crannies of paving slabs and in gardens.
How could I ever forget Harry? We've been together for 53 years.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

From a Sunny Bench

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

One really sunny day, last week, I decided to walk through the local park and weave my way round all the paths, eventually sitting down on a handy bench in the sun. It was good to feel the warmth on my face and it wasn't long before I started to watch the people around me.
The park had been planted up with spring bulbs under the trees and it was good to see swathes of colours brightening up the rather muddy bits of the park. Later on, during the spring and summer, there are usually areas of wild flowers randomly sown, as well as more formal rose beds, that are now devoid of leaves because they've been heavily pruned.

There were a good few people walking their dogs and most of them were let off their leads for a good romp round. They obviously loved to scamper about and looked really exuberant, which was good to see. Most of the owners were extremely responsible and threw an object out onto more open grassy areas and it was interesting to watch the way these pets went about retrieving the balls or sticks and some times toys. Some dogs ran out into the far distance, picked up the ball and brought it back to the waiting owner. Obviously this was a wonderful way of exercising a dog without having to walk very far. Some animals picked up the ball and then dropped it again, turning round and going back to the owner without it. It was their way of saying, "I've found it, now go and pick it up for me again." The obedient owners did just that.
Some of the dogs while off the lead, did walk through the flowers but I noticed they were walking quite daintily through them causing the minimum of damage.
However, I was a bit gobsmacked by a few owners who let their dogs off the lead and threw a ball right through the flowers and rose beds letting their animal trample the plants down as they focused on the ball. One or two of these owners appeared not to even notice the flowers and threw the ball into them over and over again.
There were plenty of grassed over wide open places where they could have thrown a ball.

The more responsible owners could be seen carrying little bags of dog mess ready to dispose of in the bins provided.  However, some were so busy talking and had their backs to the dogs making it impossible to see whether they'd made a mess or not. Judging by the little droppings that have to be watched out for when walking on the grass, this is a regular occurrence. 
It is a great pity that a few have to spoil it for the rest of the responsible citizens who use the park. 
Maybe I should have taken my book and then I wouldn't have noticed any of it. 
I am an animal lover and think dogs should be allowed off their leads under supervision but I like to see flowers and well kept grass too. A compromise is called for as well as good sense, don't you think?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Maggie's Favourites

There's nothing like a good book to completely take you over for a while.
Since I've been sleeping on my own these last few months on account of Harry having to sleep in his bedsit downstairs, I've found one of the advantages of being by myself is that I can read for as long as I like and can switch the light off when I like. If I wake up and can't get back to sleep, I can put the light on again and read until I'm sleepy. No one will nag me about it and it's my own fault is I stay up too late and feel tired when I get up the next day.
I also read in the day time too, especially through the cowboy films that Harry has on TV during the afternoons.
During good weather, I take a book out with me to a park or open space and also to appointments.
I've recently enjoyed:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry :- Rachel Joyce
The Secret Keeper :- Kate Morton
A Street Cat Named Bob :- James Bowen
The Forgotten Garden:- Kate Morton
Little Mercies:- Heather Gudenkauf
Starting Now:- Debbie Macomber
The Weight of Silence:- Heather Gudenkauf
The Snow Child :- Eowyn Ivey
The Horse Whisperer :- Nicholas Evans
Just Take My heart :- Mary Higgins Clark
Sold :- Zana Muhsen
Cellar Girl :- Josephina Rivera
Stalked :- Kate Brennan
The Last Runaway :- Tracy Chevalier

I must admit that *enjoyed* sometimes meant that I couldn't put the book down rather than having received contentment from it. Some of the above books are true stories that may be gruesome in content at times but have been compelling to read and took a lot of courage to write. I admire anyone who can turn their life around from a bad situation and often use it for good.

Has  any one read anything from my list. What is your favourite book?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Bits and Pieces

Two more 1000 piece jigsaws have helped to keep me amused during winter weather. I usually have one on the go in the front lounge where I often hide away when Harry is watching football or films that I don't like in the back room, which now is his bedsit.
He is still waiting to hear from the hospital about his shunt. Nothing gets done very fast over here.

Very soon, I shall be busy making the garden tidy as the weather steadily improves. Already the days are lengthening and it is still light at five pm now, which is much better than it was around Christmas when it started to get dark at 3.30. 
My snowdrops did emerge a couple of weeks after I complained that they seemed to have disappeared.  Nature sees to it that they come up at the right time so I needn't have worried.
The jigsaws will most likely be stored away now that there will be so many other things to do. All the year through, I usually have a good book on the go and have got into the habit of reading in bed till I fall asleep. One of the advantages of being on my own. I can do what I like.

Our lives seem to go round in a a circle of seasons just like the weather outside, though I doubt very much whether I will be shedding any clothes just yet as it is still a bit chilly. 
There is a saying in Britain, *Don't cast a clout till May is out.* Not sure if that means the month of May or when the first flower of the May bursts forth, which will happen a little bit earlier.
It's supposed to be unlucky to bring the May flower into the house, another of our sayings.
I wonder where these sayings came from and what they really meant.
Off to Google that now.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Winter Wonderland

Since I last posted, the weather has turned cold and much of Britain has had snow. Our city had a few half hearted flurries but the white stuff didn't *pitch*, as we say in our part of the world, and soon melted.
In our area this weekend, there is a celebration of Winter Wonderland, lighted windows. It is a trail of shop windows that will be brightly lit and beautifully decorated and many residential homes are also displaying such windows and people are encouraged to walk round the large area of this trail and see the lovely displays. Quite a good thing to do on a cold winters evening, wrap up warm and look at something lovely instead of watching the condensed horror of the world's latest goings on, on the TV News. As it's Saturday night, there is also fish and chips to collect from our local shop.
Does your area do anything special to lift the heart on a cold winter's evening?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Taking Things For Granted

Until now, we've had a very mild winter and we've watched the *standstill* on TV, that has happened in parts of the USA, hoping that we won't get the tail end of the snowy blizzard that appears to be sweeping across North West America. It seems quite scary.

I've looked in all the places in the garden where I used to have snow drops and cannot see any shooting up at all. Normally by now there would have been signs of them though its still quite early. The whole garden looks bare and it's hard to find anything of interest to take photos of. Maybe the whole place needs a makeover.

Speaking of makeovers, I had my hair cut really short today as it's easier to manage that way. I also had my thick, bushy eyebrows *threaded* and believe me, that can be a painful experience but they do look better. How it's done with just a thread in the hand, beats me.
Anyway, I'm now sorted out for a little while.

Harry is still waiting to hear from the hospital and in the meantime he is getting weaker. He gets very down hearted not being able to get out of the house at all....... well we both do, though I can go out for short spells. Makes me realise just how much we take for granted and until we lose something, such as the ability to walk and we just don't know how lucky we are beforehand.
I suppose that applies to everything in life, doesn't it?

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Saturday Nights

I can remember when Saturday nights were, if not exiting then really enjoyable when Harry and I used to go dancing, out for a long stroll, visiting friends or maybe entertaining them here or maybe going to the cinema.
Nowadays, things have really slowed down and our pleasures have narrowed drastically.
Saturday night is now fish and chip night! I traipse along, armed with my padded bag to keep things warm, to our local fish & chip bar, that has won prizes for their wonderful take away cuisine, coming within the top few of all the fish and chip bars in the whole of the South West of England. I'm not surprised by this as their fish and chips are really delicious and don't seem to be dripping in fat the way many other places seem to produce theirs. Harry always insists on having the slices of lemon that they provide and that really compliments a wonderful, tasty Saturday night treat!
How about you?

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Cabin Fever?

After a wet start this morning, it has turned sunny and I was really looking forward to going out as it is my afternoon off when Harry's helper comes to sit with him for a few hours.
However, he rang in sick today so I won't be going out for any length of time after all. This will be the third week of not having the helper, as Christmas Day and New Years Day both happened to be on a Thursday when he wasn't working.
When it's teaming with rain I don't seem to worry. It seems cosy in the house. I get on with my jigsaws, books and other hobbies. However, as soon as the sun starts to shine, I feel really pent up and wish I could get out, stretch my legs and feel the sun on my face.
Well why can't I do that anyway, you may ask?
The simple answer is that Harry has no sense of danger. He acts rather like a naughty child when I'm gone and puts himself in dangerous situations where he would need help to make himself safer. He begs and pleads and assures me that he won't do it again. However, he can't seem to learn by unwise consequences of his actions, so I guess it will always be like this. I can't trust him enough to leave him on his own for more than an hour and even then, he gets into some dangerous situations.

We'er still waiting for the hospital to get in touch with us about his forthcoming tests and possible operation for a shunt but it doesn't seem to be going to happen any time soon.
That's the way it is with our National Health over here. No good getting in a stew about it.
Trouble is, our body clocks are ticking by.......

In the meantime I must be content with my hobbies and try not to get irritable and impatient.