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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


Open Book!

Posted by CFMBabs , 06 August 2008 · 794 views

My ambition to write a book may not be the best idea I've ever had. For one my spelling at times, is nothing short of atrocious! Not to mention punctuation! Even if I managed to compile a book, where do you begin?

I'm no JK Rowling and I don't have the likes of Harry Potter up my sleeve and anyhow, that's been done! I do have lot's of silly stories some I've shared with you and most are based upon true life, my life in fact! Of course there are things I could write that wouldn't be suitable for the forum and would be best written elsewhere. Not because it is rude or holds any amount of swearing, but more of a language divide.

I think my first attempt would be to write about the farm, growing up and all the situations I've found myself in. scleroderma apart, I think I've lived quite an extraordinary life! I see humour in amost everything and found myself in some weird situations over the years. My life may be less interesting now, mainly due to a chronic illness, but my memories keep my spirits high and at least I was privillaged enough to experience such a varied walk of life.

Good Idea or bad? Who knows! Keep watching this space!



Posted by CFMBabs , 02 August 2008 · 767 views

I remember the first time I set up an aquarium. I was very much a novice then and to be truthful I probably lost more fish than evaporation. I learned quite a lot in my time although I never told anyone that my hobby was keeping tropical fish -- that particular pastime was either "naff" or for the geeky members of the population.

It was only when a work friend came round that my secret was out and, boy! I took some ribbing over that. They thought I was lacking in either male company or was schizophrenic! I was neither of course, but I felt a proper twit! Nowadays it's generally accepted that women have hobbies too.

It gave me quite a buzz yesterday when I brought home my first stock of fish and placed then into my tank. My daughter wanted to name them all, but how you tell the difference is beyond me, they all look exactly the same! My hubby has taken an interest this time. He largely ignored the aquarium last time, in fact I think he hardly knew it was there! This time he seems more accepting and sat gazing into the tank last night asking questions about the hobby, which I gladly talked about -- now who's sounding like a geek?

Aside from the fish, the conversation has turned to a family dilemma! My August vacation to Greece is in severe jeopardy! A choice has developed. Australia or Greece? Australia to visit relatives in February -- Greece as part of our summer treat. Decisions, decisions! But I think one has been made. My daughter is 18 in Feb and a special treat would be a trip to Australia since we've never been much further than Greece with her. I'm worried about the length of the flight, 23 hours! I hate flying to begin with and in all honesty 4 hours is quite enough for me. How on earth I'd survive a whole day is anyone's guess!

Here with my thoughts and a bathtub awaiting, this decision needs more thought! Any ideas?


Fishy Tales!

Posted by CFMBabs , 31 July 2008 · 753 views

Okay! I may have lost the plot a little but, did I ever mention that I used to keep tropical fish? I say "used to" because my aquarium has been redundant for the last 5 years. My daughter will also correct me in saying that the aquarium atually belongs to her. In fact it was a present for my daughter some years ago when she fell in love with the little fishes dsplayed in a restaurant and never stopped talking about them. They made a lovely centre of attention everytime we had visitors, and the children who came to play with Steph usually sat quietly gazing into the aquarium -- it kept them occupied for hours.

I have to say that my decision to dig out the old tank and restock with fish, despite costing a fortune, has given me a sense of satisfaction! Of course I can't stock it with fish as yet, the water needs to clarify and clear of toxins first, but I reckon a couple more days will see me off to the aquatic centre with my purse in hand choosing my little aqua display.

My hubby seems a little surprised that I would have any interest in keeping fish again. I think he quite likes the idea actually as he's been unusually helpful, helping me to buy all the bits I need. I had everything once but the last 5 years have been one upheavel and my guess is that they'll all be in a little bag somewhere just waiting for us to find them. Anyway, my assumption is that it's probably better to buy new than trust the old stuff. Sure the aquarium is fine -- no leaks, just a little dirty, but a with just some hot water and a bit of elbow grease, it's back to normal.

I saw that same look in my daughter's eyes yesterday as she looked into the tanks at the aqua centre. A smile as she watched the little bright coloured fish dart across the tank. She called me over just to say Awww! and then Urgh! as she saw an ugly catfish.
"I don't want one of them! She said "And have you seen that eel over there? -- it's horrible." It was like turning the clock back 10 years to that day in the restaurant when she wouldn't sit down for her meal, gazing into a tank full of fish.

I think my decision is a good one! Anything has to be better than breakfast TV and they're so relaxing to watch. I'm basing the theme on a sunken city. It will remind me of Greece and Atlantis the fabled underwater city.

If you're wondering about my Raynauds, I had several attacks yesterday whilst setting up the aquarium, so it had better be worth all the pain!


Awful Day!

Posted by CFMBabs , 26 July 2008 · 780 views

There were plenty more places I'd rather have been yesterday. Instead I attended my Father-in-law's funeral. How can you put over in words, the minutes of the day! You can't for instance say it was a really good experience, in fact how do you describe a funeral. I found myself using the term 'dignified' as it seemed most appropriate. In fact the whole day could not have gone better. The weather behaved and gave us some warm sun. The floral tributes were breathtaking and it was good to meet up with relations who only ever become apparent when there is a family tragedy or an event to celebrate. It's true that I hardly know any of my husband's tribe and I found myself asking behind closed doors "Who's that?" The same went for the family and me, they didn't know who I was either which is a bit un-nerving given the fact that I married into the family 19 years ago!

To their credit I have to admit that I've changed beyond recognition since the last get together! For one I'm much slimmer and my hair is now short, straight and blonde as opposed to long, curly and dark. I'm sure they thought my hubby was having an affair! I guessed that they were too afraid to ask, so for a huge part of the day I was ignored and given some very strange looks! The air changed around me so much when one relative actually asked if I was Des's sister. At that point I didn't know whether to laugh or walk home! Des was my Father- in- law and the whole reason why we were standing in his home mourning his passing! Adding to the fact that he was 79, he must have had a very strange family with 31 years between us --- Yikes! is that all? I must look incredibly old. I expressed a sense of shock as I mumbled, "No I'm Steve's wife, Barbara."

The whole room seemed to fall silent and then the apologies began. "We didn't know you, you've changed so much." Yeah right! So much that I look like my Hubby's Dad's Sister!

The atmosphere became one of aplogetic gestures but it certainly cleared the air of suspicion. I actually got on quite well with the family after that -- talk about a fish out of water! And speaking of fish, we went on to the wake afterwards and an Aunt asked if I would go to the bar with her as she didn't drink alcohol very much. I asked for a Cola and she asked for a Vodka and caffiene based drink -- she actually drank like a fish! I was not going to be held responsible for her slurry speech, or the wonky walk afterwards so I avoided her like the plague after that!

The day ended with a downpour of rain -- couldn't resist making a show, even for one day! Still the funeral was over and poor Des was laid to rest. The hardest part was seeing my hubby upset and the sad memories of last year when my Mum died. Suddenly all those emotions flooded back and coupled with the fact that my daughter read out a self-composed piece, it became a little bit too much at one point. The feeling of sadness and then pride as she stood in front of all those people and read a tribute to her Grandad without even a break in her voice was amazing.

Today, has been quite sedate in relation. We feel like we don't know what to do next. Hubby is asleep on the couch, the TV is is switched on but I don't know what's playing. The sun is shining and I don't know whether to go out or stay in. A wasted day so far as building work goes. Perfect day for chilling out, awful day to get through!


Rubbing two sticks together

Posted by CFMBabs , 19 July 2008 · 807 views

This month I'm in a situation, right where I don't want to be! It's my birthday on tuesday and over the last two years it's been common for me to receive both a birthday card and sympathy card in the same envelope! It's a scary fact of life and one I have to face.

My Father-in-law's funeral will be held on Friday. My own Father, screaming for attention, is moving home in the same week and apart from being superwoman -- Oh sorry, did I forget to mention that? I'm in the thick of it.

My hubby blames me for a failed firelighting attempt. No matter how many firelighters I put on it, it just fizzled out and smouldered. He was explaining the very technique of starting a fire when I stopped and reminded him that we've been making fires since we were cavemen and rubbed two sticks together, I didn't need old grumpy to tell me how to do it! Finally we had fire in the grate and, yes I reminded him that I was great and blamed it on the lack of wind outside.

I can't be too harsh on him. He doesn't fare well with grief. I've never seen him cry but I think he's wandered off into the fields a couple of times to hide. I'll give him space if he doesn't feel he can confide his grief in me, that's fine!

Today I'm in a pull your self together frame of mind. Some one has to take hold of the situation. My suitcases are still full of clothes, the remnants of the holiday in Crete. It seems so long ago now and the situation which followed wasn't the best homecoming. I reckon we'll need another trip away after all this but it's rather worrying that each time we go away something always happens.

There's no end to the dreadful weather either which means no building work, so I'm stuck with the great hole in my gable and getting quite concerned. How can you build a wall in a monsoon. I'm dreading the prospect of facing winter without a wall, it doesn't bare thinking about so for the moment I won't!

What can I do today apart from do the washing? Any suggestions gratefully appreciated!


Blame it on the weatherman

Posted by CFMBabs , 18 July 2008 · 729 views

This is ridiculous, rain like it was the remnants of a monsoon. I can barely hear myself think such is the force of the storm against the window. You could hardly credit it! Take down my gable end in summer and all it does is permenently throw it down!

Ironic though it may seem, who would believe that we could have yet another summer like the last. We really thought that this year would be different and our home would be completed after almost five years of renovation. If luck played a part, and I'm not superstitous, I reckon we've broken several mirrors, stood on hundreds of frogs, run over more than one black cat and walked under every ladder ever erected, such is the amount of misfortune we've gained over the last half decade.

To have scleroderma is enough bad luck for anyone but to succumb to a two year hospital stay, live in a tin can, sadly lose close members of the family and to live on a building site equivelent to a war zone we read about in the history books, is quite enough for any normal person, never mind one who's mere exsistance relies upon a tube attached to a feeding pump which resembles an astronaut's backpack without the silver suit.

Oh I hate to moan by the way but -- p l e a s e give me a break! Summer has become the rainy season as far as I can see. They tell us it's global warming but I think it missed us. Sure the ice caps are melting, they keep telling us that also, and although it's quite worrying and a very serious subject when we mention polar bears and the natural habitat of butterflies, I can't help but wonder if it's my fault for not recycling plastic bottles or building the home fire each morning for 12 months of the year.

The way my luck is going, I'll be personally responsible for climate change and the fall of the Roman empire!

My mind wanders off on a tangent again -- it's the rain and I blame it on the weatherman!


Sense of dread!

Posted by CFMBabs , 15 July 2008 · 773 views

To wake up to a power failure is one thing, but to awake to the realisation that you have a bereavement in the family is quite another, especially when it's a new day and the outlook looks pretty much the same as you left it.

The situation remained the same as yesterday when we recieved the dreadful news of my father-in law's sudden passing, a very solemn subject for which I apologise for in advance.

The first thing I reached for this morning was the electric kettle -- I badly needed a drink to help me face a very difficult day. With coffee in cup I waited for the boil but after a short while I realised that something was either wrong electrically or my kettle had also joined the departed list. It wasn't long before I realised that the light in the fridge was off and so was the cooker, lights and the water heater, which only get's turned off when there is either a power cut or my hubby's rant on the electric meter whizzing round whilst he watches the pound notes fly away!

Today of all days we were without power, which kind of sums up the last 24 hours. My father-in-law passed away after a very short stay in hospital -- pneumonia and heart failure. It was totally unexpected and very sad. I can hardly believe it myself especialy when I lost my mum at the same time last year. I never thought that 12 months later we'd be going through the whole thing again, although this time it's my husband's side of the family.

We're not a particularly close family. I've never met most of my hubby's clan, as a matter of fact neither has he! Going through a little red book of names which all sounded so unfamilliar, we rang people to break the bad news, it was all so surreal. So much to do when no one really wanted to do it. Nothing prepares you for a sudden death in the family, it's almost the proverbial bad dream scenario, one where you think you will wake up all of a sudden and everything's fine!

Today we've passed like ships in the night. My own father jostling for attention -- I went my way and Steve went his. The whole family is in disarray, knowing what to do next but not really having the will to move forward. Planning a funeral when we should be planning evening dinner and having been refreshed from a seemingly well earned rest in Crete, we're now so in the clouds with so much legal and nitty gritty stuff, not to mention the sense of dread a funeral brings that I just want to turn the clock back, rewind and start again with a little bit of notice!

As for family we are left with all the loose ends to tie at this end, whilst the others count their inheritance before the grieving begins! It's Pandora's box and I hope he's left the lot to the dogs home. It sure would cause some problems but the last laugh would be on him.

On my own with a sense of sorrow for my father-in-law and much sympathy for my hubby who's doing the same as I did last year, so speaking from experience I know the task is sickening. Horrible subject I know but it's part of life and let's face it no matter who, or what you are! it's something we'll all experience at some time in our life.

So much for a week in Crete then!


I Want To Go Back!

Posted by CFMBabs , 12 July 2008 · 770 views

With a deepening sense of reluctance, I write this blog from my living room with a log fire roaring and winter like conditions raging outdoors. Yes, I'm back home in Blighty far from the warm sun of Crete and the respite of constant raynaud's attacks.

Oh, we all long for a relaxing vacation and that's understandable but for me it's sanctuary. To be free from pain and feel the freedom of loose clothing, to walk without two blocks of ice, and to stay up late without having to pile on the layers, is my idea of paradise.

I look back on the photographs, remembering exactly the moment it was took and wishing I was back there right in that very spot, turn back the clock! My brown tinted fingers are now white tipped like a half smoked cigar with a long tip of ash, and as I write, the weatherman predicts more rain to come as he delivers his forecast on TV, with a cheery end as he concludes with a warmer outlook -- perhaps 70 degrees, Wow!

I can, however, share my holiday experiences with you. Memories they may be but oh what a time we had! We went Greek dancing in the mountains overlooking a beautiful bay of crystal clear water. I danced the Zorba without the aid of alcohol, and let down my very short hair for all to see, much to the embarassment of my disgruntled daughter who eventually got into the swing and danced the night away with a very lovely Greek man in traditional costume. I was elated to see her high on a table in the middle of the dance floor, belly dancing and loving every minute. I have the video evidence to prove it and it will be a very interesting piece of footage to play at her 18th birthday party -- she'll kill me!

We hit the water park in simillar fashion. Me in a doughnut, whizzing around the park at breakneck speed. Such a far cry from several years ago when my rather large backside got stuck in the middle and took a great amount of effort to remove. This time I fit snuggly in the middle and was rather athletic in the art of jumping in and out of the ring in no time at all, the only problem was the red hot tiles between the rides -- I loved it! It was like walking on red hot coals and my feet felt like I'd had the most wonderful pedicure, in fact I felt totally refreshed and dare I say normal?

The evenings were long and just idyllic! We walked as the sun went down into the sea with the most incredible sunset. The smell of herbs and the sound of the balalaika strumming from every taverna filled my ears and I tingled with excitement. I tried my very pidgin Greek to communicate and show off my knowledge. I realised very quickly that 12 weeks of phrase book lessons were simply not enough to get by and I ridiculed myself on a number of occasions on asking for the bill or greeting one very lovely Greek man with something unpronounceable in any language, but the intent was there and very much appreciated by the Greeks who love you to attempt their language no matter how much you flunk!

This is what holidays are made of. I want to go back, in fact I want to go back right now! Back home and back to reality. A multitude of messages on my answerphone, a pile of bills behind the door and my sister-in-law from Australia. Worst of all there is bad news, my father in hospital and father-in-law seriously ill. Doom and gloom was waiting for us. So much for the happy balance -- am I always to be so unlucky?


Back with my memories

Posted by CFMBabs , 10 July 2008 · 873 views

Stepping off the last step of the plane
Back in old England, I moan once again!
The skies were full of rain and grey
Why did we have to come home today?

I left a country so full of sun
And was back home before it had begun
The week flew by without a pause
And ended like a mandatory clause
Behind, I left a beautiful place
That put a glow upon my face
No raynaud's attacks for seven whole days
I did so many things, I was completely amazed.

I walked so much and even swam
A proper little adventurer I am
To **** with my tube, I wore skimpy gear
Folk looked and stared but came not near
If you can have a belly bar and wear it just for fashion
Then I can have a feeding tube to take in my daily ration
I reckon my needs entitle its worth
And I gladly wear it round my girth

Down the slide at breakneck speed
At the water park I took the lead
In huge doughnut contraption I sat in the ring
And zoomed down the slope like a silly thing
My daughter in awe as I yelled with delight
And I hit the water and nearly took flight

I danced the Zorba as my family looked on
I think my mum has finally gone!
My daughter was shy to admit it was me
And when I sat down, red faced was she
Everyone was looking she whispered with caution
So I got up again and did the locomotion

I give a wry smile as I download the pics
I certainly got down to some high kicks
And now I'm back here and down to earth
They're just memories for all they're worth
I think of returning there sometime soon
Now thay my raynaud's is in full bloom.



Posted by CFMBabs , 24 June 2008 · 764 views

So little time -- so much to do! You'd think we were emigrating rather than going away for a week! I haven't stopped washing, ironing and packing since last week and the most annoying thing has to be when they unpack something to wear just because it happens to be a favourite item of clothing.

I'll be so relieved when we finally get there. Meanwhile, it's all the other bits that concern me! The weeds have grown madly on account of all the wet then sunny weather. My hubby dare not touch any of them for fear of repeating last year's mayhem which insued after being screatched by a blackberry bush.

I have the most hectic of days ahead. My dad is in hospital again with his COPD, my niece came over from Australia on Tuesday, and I have all this work! I look at my rather long list of chores which hangs on my wall in the kitchen, a constant reminder that I shouldn't be sat here writing this; it reads:

Mow the lawns
Weed the yard
Move the chicken pen
Move the chickens
Re-house the goats
Purchase hay for goats
Sort the freezer
Sort the fridge
Make hair appointment
Collect Aunt Mary from home
Make reservation for birthday meal -- Sophie from Aus
Plant flowers at the gate?
Visit dad every day 2.30 -- 3.30
Clean his flat
Collect his mail

The list is endless and growing by the day. The petrol mower broke down, in fact it was ceased up from last year! My weeding gloves have holes and I have so little time to carry out the most minor chores, not to mention that I have a chronic illness to boot, oh no! that never comes into it. The fact that I manage anything at all goes unnoticed. If I don't do something it becomes an issue, when I do it's blatantly ignored, so I make a point of doing it with some style.

I had my hair dyed blonde and now I look like Annie Lennox, my hubby thinks I suit my colour personality wise -- dizzy blonde! I thought that if blondes have more fun -- why not go the whole hog, so I did and there you are!

"It will go green in the sun" My hubby said!

"Yours will go bright red" I said, on account of him having very little on top.

"Why don't you weed the yard tomorrow, no one will do it?" he said.

"I have a hole in my glove and very little time," I said!

With that he left the room and my daughter went, "Ooohhh -- handbags."

If that was meant to be an argument, it never materialised and I didn't push it. He fell asleep on the couch and I just watched TV whilst my daughter used the laptop for most of the evening.

This morning, I have expectations of myself. I will weed the yard if only round the gate with my gloves with the hole. I may even plant some little flowers. The chicken house will have to wait, there is no way I'm lifting a hut! Same goes with the goats.

I'll sort the fridge, throw away anything that won't be eaten before tuesday. Make myself a coffee and then attack the day. Anyone ever feel like a ragdoll?

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