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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


2009 --- Urgh!

Posted by CFMBabs , 05 January 2009 · 814 views

So, into the new year! Hard to tell where it ended and where it began really, except for the midnight chime and a sky full of fireworks, you'd have hardly noticed the difference in our household. We stayed up -- for what? Twelve o'clock came and went and then shortly after we went to bed. I'd decided early on that I wasn't for partying neither at home or elsewhere, after all what's to celebrate? Another year of much the same or worse and although I sound like a messenger of doom, it's hard not to when the media tell us of impending gloom for 2009. This year will go down in history as the Credit Crunch era -- there's little hope out there.

We had our good times they tell us. Spend, spend, spend, easy credit, upward spiralling house prices -- cheap loans! Wait a minute, this is our fault because ....?
Just because the banks have been so greedy with our money -- we're at fault? Anyway so much for the world's financial problems -- what about us? Will they find a cure perhaps? Will they give us social security, help with heating costs, I think not! So is 2009 a year of hope as well as gloom, we'll see!

So January is under way and my daughter back at college. She got pretty much everything she asked for over the festive season and now she has her eyes glued upon February and on a dress hanging ceremoniously in one of the most expensive shops in rip off Britain! She'll be eighteen and I take a deep breath upon saying that. Has it really been eighteen years? No doubt my hubby's wallet will take a pounding over the next few weeks and grandad is already being buttered up with her soft pleading eyes as they wander over to the shop window and the pretty little number with her name pencilled on it.

I could have got a full wardrobe of clothes for the price she'll pay for one item. The need to wear something different each time she goes out is testament to her fashion conscience and appearance. The fact she'll be going out more often and legally into the club scene not only worries me but scares me stiff, remembering what I was like; now that's scary!

She'll get the dress no doubt. She already has a meal in the local Indian Restaurant booked for herself and 11 friends, we're footing the bill of course! So in credit crunch Britain we're probably propping up the economy for the early part of the year. I'm so glad I only have one child and although she's spoiled, she's not a brat or behaves like a spoiled screaming child; perhaps she doesn't have to, but she will accept that no means no, thankfully!

This morning the ground is as hard as concrete and the roads are simply treacherous. The bend on the hill directly outside my entrance is like a skating rink. I tried to climb the hill with my car this morning only to skid sideways, much to the amusement of an oncoming van whose driver did nothing but laugh as my wheels spun. I had the last laugh as he slid the rest of the way almost into the field. I've had much amusement from watching cars waltz down the hill and although I may sound sadistic, they ought to know better! This road is used as a rat run which probably takes a minute or so off their destination. The road is dangerous in normal conditions and when you get huge wagons taking a short cut, taking up the entire road width, it's an accident waiting to happen. If I didn't reside here I'd take the main route for fear of meeting one of these juggernaut lorries and since the road is never treated with salt, it's not worth the risk!

Well I've done some moaning in this blog and as I read through I paint a picture of an old misery gut which I like to think I'm not. Maybe I'm turning into one!

Hurry up 2009 and get over with but please be gentle!


New Year -- New Hope!

Posted by CFMBabs , 30 December 2008 · 844 views

Much has happened in the past week. Festivities, family gatherings, and yet so little to write about! It's all been the usual traditional event and quite honestly I'm glad it's all over because at least now we can move on and look forward to spring, although looking out of my window this morning it still looks like mid winter! The old shippon is white over and the yard is rock solid, I can even see the gander's breath each time he honks -- so I'm staying indoors today.

It will be the usual array of folk in town buying copious amounts of veg and bread from the market. New year is just a couple of days away. I can't understand the panic. The shops will close for one day only, and ask if I'm guilty of panic buying too and I will invariably say yes! There's something about a crowd of people round a stall that brings out the prehistoric fight for survival in me. Am I missing something perhaps? or is it greed, selfishness or curiosity? Well whatever it is I'm there, I feel I may be missing a bargain!

You have to be honest -- Have you never done it? I'm sure you're as guilty as me, Raynaud's or no Raynaud's I love a bargain. I'll buy almost anything with a degree of excitement. Then by the time I get home, I realise how stupid I've been and then go about hiding the thing from my hubby. I once had a mad spree on toilet rolls. We had so many of them in the cupboard that I couldn't get anything else in. They lasted almost a full year and the day we ran out ---- no one could believe it!

I won't be shopping for bargains today, as I said before I'm not going out. The New year will come and go and I'm hoping that 2009 will at least see the completion of my home but I've said that before so watch this space as they say!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, or as wonderful as can be, 2009. Lets face it, it couldn't get much worse -- could it?


The World Will Have To Wait!

Posted by CFMBabs , 21 December 2008 · 737 views

I was lying in bed with what seemed like a million thoughts and feeling terrible with acid reflux. The clock downstairs chimed one, two and then three and at that point I got up rather quickly as the nauseous feeling got too much for me to bear. I was lovely and warm and going into a cold bathroom at three in the morning, my thoughts were: "Better get this over quickly.''

I hate this feeling when you feel all alone, like no one cares. I was ill without a stir and although I was trying to heave quietly, I thought my coughing deserved a little sympathy if not concern, but the family slept on. I crept back into the bedroom and slipped between the sheets. Hubby snored obliviously. I raised my pillows and lay listening to a distant owl and the occasional honk from the geese. My mind went into overdrive!

"Must clear out the fridge later and some of my cupboards too. Need lots of seasonal shopping, oh! and not to forget two more presents and aluminium foil." I was thinking about all the things I still needed to do and trying to remember all the things I was sure I'd forgotten. Silly things really that didn't matter! Anything to take my mind off the feeling scleroderma brings.

Thinking back to my rheumatology appointment I can't help wondering it was a huge waste of time and quite ignorant. I was made to wait three hours until there was no one left with the occasional promise -- "Not long now!" I couldn't see the problem; there was only me in the waiting area and no one appeared to be in consultation. I'd had a list in my head as long as my arm but with one eye on the clock, it was getting close to rush hour traffic and at this time of year it would be doubly worse. I had a dilemma -- do I complain about everything and then condemn myself to a range of tests that I'm sure the staff wouldn't want to do in any case so close to home time.

The man in the blood room, put on his jacket and began to close the door. He turned with disappointment to see me still sitting there unseen! He must have realised at that point that if I was still in clinic -- he couldn't go either! I'm sure he let out a sigh as he removed his jacket and went back in without a word.

I read every magazine of summer editions, read horoscopes that never meant or amounted to anything and not remotely true! I even read leaflets on other conditions, such was my boredom. Finally, although I think they realised that they'd forgotten about me, the nurse called my name. By then I couldn't have cared less, I just wanted to go home.

I was sat in a room with a couch and gown and the usual procedure. The room was warm but sitting half naked in a gown that had no fastenings I was becoming more disillusioned by the minute. I could hear laughing and medical staff making plans of merriment outside the door but still I waited!

My feet were turning black and I began to shiver. My fingers had gone into spasm -- classic symptoms to present before the doctor! If I ever saw her that was? My fingers could have dropped off with frostbite before she finally entered the room haemorrhaging apologies! The usual examination followed with the same questions but I was reluctant to be civil and answered each question with a single yes or no! I was unusually quiet and I think she sensed that I was far from impressed!

She mentioned having infusions and a five day stint in hospital, well that's just what I wanted to hear so I abruptly said no! The usual blood work followed but I was sent in with a note saying that if it couldn't be got first time, leave it! Ugh! I'd waited eight months for 10 minutes and half a day wasting my time. I'm sure they were having a party or something because before I'd got dressed the lights were off and the place deserted -- I felt like an afterthought!

I began the long journey home, through pouring rain and tailbacks of traffic. My frustration was bursting to get out but I was driving so my concentration was very much on the road. By the time I'd got home I'd lost the urgency to report my consultation to my hubby who was warming his feet by the fire. My daughter was in her bedroom slapping on make up ready for her night out and I just felt so insignificant!

I'm up and around on a damp Sunday morning. The animals are hungry and geese peck the door waiting for the morning feast. The goats are bleating and I'm still in pyjamas. I guess the world will have to wait for me this morning.


The Appointment!

Posted by CFMBabs , 18 December 2008 · 874 views

It's true to say that I hate hospital appointments! The long drive to Manchester and at this particular time of year is bound to be fraught with seasonal shoppers and crazy office party folk. I know I'm beginning to sound an awful lot like Scrooge and believe me I'm far from that Dickensian character, but I sometimes know where he was coming from.

All ready. I've made the fire, fed the goats and done the washing and it's only 7.30 in the morning! I never got as far as the gable when Max the billy goat, clapped eyes on the bucket. He was straight over, up on hind legs and in before I could move any further. I let the bucket go for fear of yet another bruise which would have looked grand upon my impending inspection later this morning -- how I'm going to explain the others is beyond me. How can I tell my doctor that the goats did it?

I have a list as long as my arm which doesn't include my hurdling over fences, grappling with runaway goats. I'm going to be sat spilling the beans on my condition, all the time thinking it's my own fault that my Raynaud's has got so bad and my arthritis is playing up, not to mention the weight loss? I don't think farmyard Olympics has helped my condition and I'm not about to mention my antics.

As the dawn breaks, I'm contemplating my journey and the day ahead! What shall I wear for instance? A jumper which is too tight round the arms will simply not do since the appointment will require blood work and I don't fancy sitting there half naked just for a blood test which will take about 4 hours to get in any case. I simply refuse to take my rucksack with me although she will ask why I'm not using my feeding tube. It's just too much baggage when driving and another thing to worry about all day and yes, it will be all day!

So I must be on my merry way! I still have much to do -- so little time! Oh how I hate hospital appointments!


Chasing Goats

Posted by CFMBabs , 16 December 2008 · 822 views

I cannot run, it's hard to walk but yet the need is must
Chasing goats all over the place you couldn't see em' for dust
They ate the pen and all the fence and off they went together
Despite my frugal attempts my efforts failed to tether

They ran up the road like they were in a race
Determination upon their face
They'd seen some ivy at the top of the hill
So they chewed on it and had their fill

Many folk came to my aid
Most of em' were quite afraid
A herd of goats with horns to match
They were drawing straws which one to catch
Max is the leader and sometimes brash
He butts his head with a crash
I have to run with my keys
Before he gets me on the knees

I'm feeling tired and it's no wonder
Every fence they got under
So now I'm going off to bed
I think they consider themselves fed


Putting On The Layers

Posted by CFMBabs , 14 December 2008 · 776 views

If there was ever a painted winter scene -- I'm looking at it through my window right now! Lovely as it looks, it's an absolute no,no and one only to be admired through glass and in front of a roaring fire!

I flatly refused to take my daughter to college this morning as there was simply no need, in view of my hubby having the day off. I stayed in bed, nice and warm, listening to my hubby scrape the ice off the car -- what a thought! My hands almost went into spasm just thinking about it. I guess winter is well and truly here!

First job upon rising, was to light the fire of course! So I dressed quickly, dashed downstairs passed the open gable, Brrrr! and into the front room. The fire was partially lit from last night so it took no time to get going again. I'm sitting here like a present in a pass-the -parcel game, layers of clothes that restrict my movement but keep me as warm as toast.

I smile to myself each time I meet someone who I haven't seen for a while. "My, you've put on weight since I last saw you-- are you feeling better?" they ask!

The truth of the matter is that I haven't put on an ounce, just layers but I just smile and tell then that perhaps I have! I'm contemplating going in the kitchen -- no mean feat I can tell you. Without the heating on it's like an igloo, well it is the room next to the open plan wall. I swear that the cups are so cold that you always get a lukewarm coffee and I have been warming the cups in the oven before now, much to the amazement of my hubby who thought I'd finally gone round the bend -- cooking the cups! Of course when I explained he understood but I think he has doubts about me none the less!

Fingers going numb, time for a warm drink before going out later, gift shopping!
Fire looks okay, feels okay too. Even extra layers today!


Sclero Cure?

Posted by CFMBabs , 12 December 2008 · 813 views

Don't you just hate the word scleroderma. You'd think that over time it would become less troublesome or by now we would have a cure! Reading Barefut's recent blog and some of the posts on the forum makes me realise how this disease affects us personally, whether we are a carer, loved one or sufferer.

In my personal condition, I think I don't do too badly -- I could be much worse! I actually said that last week to a doctor, the one who was stabbing my arm for veins. He agreed but then said, "Well, it still isn't fair." By that he meant, no matter how you are affected scleroderma isn't fair!

I suppose I could be well and moan about a cold and in that perspective, sclero isn't fair, but when I look at other people with terminal diseases such as cancer, I count myself lucky in the grand scheme of things! I suppose it has a lot to do with a positive attitude, supportive family and good medical care. It can get rough when any one of those lets you down and goodness knows I've been there too!

20 years ago it was a misdiagnosed, uncommon illness which hung on doctors lips. Now there is much more awareness of the condition -- I've noticed that when in hospital. No longer is it greeted with "What?" but "How long and how does it affect you?" I guess it's taught at medical school and thank goodness the nurses know about it too.

To find a cure we must create awareness and understanding. Never be afraid to raise your head and spread the word. Text is a beautiful thing but word of mouth is much better.

Together we'll find a cure!



Posted by CFMBabs , 11 December 2008 · 853 views

I'm sick of queues -- The bank, shops, and car parks! Has no one got anything better to do than stand around or panic buy. I found myself trudging the market for jerusalem artichokes, finally finding them tucked away in an unlikely last resort high street shop. No doubt there will be a national shortage of carrots, brussel sprouts and gravy browning by next week and every frozen turkey replaced with empty spaces all because some folk think that if they can't get a fresh one, an old tough frozen bird will do.

Last year I was frantically trying to find cornflour for a sweet sauce only to get home washed out, with tired aching feet and a sunken heart. Then, would you believe, I had two packets of the stuff at the back of the cupboard! This morning was particularly frustrating because I'd got up extra early to catch the bargains, only to be taken short on the way to town. I diverted my vehicle in what became an emergency and raced for home. My stomach churned, and then I was off again! By the time I'd got to town -- no parking spaces, urghh! and a spotty faced gentleman took the only one left -- he snuck past me and stole it from under my eyes. The word gentleman did not come to mind!

I drove around for a while all the time I was foolishly thinking all the bargains would have gone by now! So what does that make me -- as bad as all the rest I'd say! All I wanted was something for my friend who has everything, my daughter who has nothing (in her assumption) and my hubby who insists he doesn't want anything every year and who is first downstairs on the 25th shaking all the presents and searching through the gift tags. He mumbles "Mmmm socks, pyjamas, slippers!" Why do I bother to wrap them?

I'll get the usual cookery book by yet another celebrity chef, all very acceptable since I enjoy cooking but rather insulting that I can't eat! I may get chocolate Brazil nuts, great sucking all the chocolate off and no, my hubby does not eat the nut as my friend once suggested!

Nowhere near finished my shopping and I have to say that I'm so unprepared this year.



Posted by CFMBabs , 08 December 2008 · 801 views

Sorting out the attic was no easy job to do
Things we never knew we had, things old and new
The festive decorations in boxes full of dust
And even poor old reindeer, it's horns were full of rust

The house was looking boring as all the others shone
If we didn't get a move on the season will have gone
And though the lights were working, they were in a tangled mess
You'd need a degree in science or physics to straighten out no less!

My silly hairbrained hubby decided today to put them up
So with ladder under his armpit he dropped hammer on his foot
The lights were wrapped round his torso, like a fairy frock
I hope the electric's off coz he'd sure be in for a shock

He clung on to the gutters and placed each little light
"These should be a picture when I turn them on tonight"
His acheivement and satisfaction was written on his face
"They should be able to see these from somewhere out in space"

So now I have a light show, a grotto inside and all
My house like a wonderland but still no bloomin wall!
We could put a bit of tinsel around that great big hole
Perhaps a tree and presents and reindeer and a foal

We could have a festive gala a cabaret, a show
You can see our house for miles, through the gable end Y'Know!
Still, the geese will have a party, the chickens and goats too
Festive fun for everyone though they won't have a clue!

The indoor lights weren't working, we went through every light
Took them out and blew them and screwed them back up tight
They were lay across the living room you couldn't see the floor
But none of them did their bit so we'll have to buy some more

I do not know the difference between LED or not
And I couldn't remember the colour-- I simply forgot
Was I to get twinkly ones or ones that looked like snow
One's that did a million things that send you to and fro

Ones that flash like beacons and all at once go mad
They were the craziest display that we ever had
In fact the cat went silly as it watched from the floor
She was quite excited, till she could stand no more
She leapt to try and catch one but it got away
Kept her quite busy for the rest of the day

So off I went this afternoon to purchase some new lights
I'm really quite mesmerised by all the twinkly sights
I stood with finger on bottom lip wondering which to pick
I watched them go in and out and began to feel quite sick
It was all becoming silly and I had to choose a set
It was almost time for dinner and I hadn't been home yet!

Finally I saw them decision made they're mine
180 LED lights I think they will be fine
My hubby will be busy, as tonight we will switch on
A festive end to this year and one I'm glad has gone!


Childhood Memories

Posted by CFMBabs , 03 December 2008 · 776 views

Although winter holds a sense of dread for me, I can't help reminiscing of a time when the first snow was greeted with a degree of excitement -- I'm talking childhood and pre scleroderma!

My gran used to build the fire high and there was always a pot of something warm in the kitchen. I can see it now, clothes airing by the fire and the lovely warmth they provided as you slipped them on. The bread would be rising at the front of the fire too and the smell was, well just wow! I smile to myself thinking back to those years when I was cared for and had no responsibilities, except for a Guinea pig and a cat. I merrily skipped off to school with a friend and if there was snow on the ground we slid and threw snowballs along the way.

The school smelled of old wood and polished floors, but the warmth hit you as you walked through the doors. The old headmaster stood beyond and greeted each pupil one by one, slapping the occasional child across the ear for an untidy uniform, over zealous behaviour or a tie knotted loosely. The doors closed and if you weren't in school by then, there'd be someone to pay!

There was fidgeting as the snow fell, each child eagerly waiting for the mid morning bell. The boys whispered making plans and the girls moaned fearing their fate. Of course the teacher knew this and delivered a stark warning to all before leaving class -- "No snowballing."

The bell rang and chairs scraped across the floor. Everyone pushed and shoved through the door and coats and hats were whipped off the cloakroom hangers so fast that they only managed one arm whilst the other dragged the floor. "Splat!" The first snowball came and hit the wall. Everyone ran for cover and quickly gathered up handfuls of snow -- soon it was all out playground war.

I can see their faces even now--- bright red with runny noses, and little Gerald was purple. His glasses crooked, hair wet through and looking a proper mess by the time we went back in. The teacher stood, chalk in hand scowling at everyone.

"I hope you can all write now and if you're cold then it's your own fault."

The end of the day as the lights went on at 2pm. Soon we'd be on our way home and when the bell rang we left school like ants leaving the nest.

I knew when I arrived home that there would be a warm fire. I passed many houses along the way with smoking chimney pots. The smoke rose straight into the sky you could almost climb it and everyone young and old spoke to you along the way. I walked through the door and was greeted with hugs, it mattered that you'd come home and you were sat in front of the fire with a warm mug of cocoa or malted milk. My gloves steamed and my fingers tingled. My gran would disappear into the kitchen and come out with a piece of warm home made bread drenched in butter, and that to me is just what life is all about!

I used to kneel on the couch looking out of the window. My gran lived in town. Many people walked by her house on their way to and from work in the cotton mill. Some used to knock on the window as they passed by and some used to pull funny faces at me and they made me laugh. The butcher across the road used to beckon me to pick up an order which was waiting for my gran. You could cross the main road in no time at all because in those days cars were a luxury and you didn't see very many. I'd get a sweet from the butcher and his favourite phrase was.

"Get that inside you -- what sticks to your fingers, sticks to your ribs"

The old ones had a phrase for almost everything. My grandad used to say "If you go into town on New Year's Eve you'll see a man with as many noses as days left in't year."

It took me a while to work it out and I always looked out for this man with hundreds of noses. How silly was I?

When the festive season came round there was so much joy in the household. Everyone was welcome no matter who you were. The table was packed full of food and my grandad used to hurry home with little tangerines and chestnuts from the market. You never saw these at any other time of year so they were special. He'd sit there plucking a turkey or goose which he'd carried, almost dragged home and it was huge. My gran always said "How am I going to get that in the oven" But she always did!

The festivities lasted a whole week and by the end of it you were sick of turkey, chocolate and loose bowels from eating too many tangerines. The TV was black and white and the radio was still favourite in my gran's houshold! I played with my toys, my gran knitted wooly jumpers and grandad went to the pub.

Back to the reality of today. Those houses where my gran and grandad lived all of their life is now a car park. The shops although still standing are nothing more than charity shops -- no butcher. The road is busy with a constant flow of traffic and people pass by without a stare or greeting. Gone have the coal fires, the school and the old mill where all the people worked. Gone too have the values of the old ones and the foundation of a loving family who had nothing but gave all they had none-the-less.
Tangerines, you can have all year round. Frozen turkeys or ready dressed fresh ones. No one bakes bread any more. Children don't play outside -- computers instead! Teachers are shown no respect and toys are nothing if they don't involve sitting down or being competitive.

We had nothing, but y'know we had everything we needed. Ask me if children are better off these days and I will say no! because my childhood was special in lots of ways and they don't make them any more!

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