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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


The Beat Goes On!

Posted by CFMBabs , 23 April 2008 · 737 views

We had a lovely day out yesterday. It was lovely because after the rain the sun shone and I picked my aunt up from her residential home, collected my dad from his and off we went for a drive in the countryside. I'd been cleaning bricks earlier until enough was enough and since I'd got my car back from the garage and the day was good, it was just too much of a temptation.

Up we went into the Pennine hills, called at a quaint little pub and had lunch at 2pm. My aunt had lemonade, I had coffee and my dad half a pint of lager beer. We sat outside in the sun on a little bench with a small table just watching the world go by! The birds were singing, the trees had burst into life with blossom and greenery and the whole world looked fresh. The grass was dark green and the sky so blue you just wanted to soar. Days like this make you realise that life goes on no matter what and it's there for everyone to enjoy!

Back home the daunting task struck me as I entered through the door. No it wasn't some horrible nightmare, my wall was still down, my house unfinished and the pile of bricks I'd left before were still in an untidy pile full of mortar. Ah well! There goes reality.

Today would you believe, it's raining -- oh yes! But the birds are singing, the cockerels are crowing at each other, I wish they'd put a sock in it! 6.30am they started and then the geese joined in. Lucky hubby was up for work, if the alarm had not gone off it wouldn't have mattered anyway!

I've nothing planned for today except -- you've guessed it, bricks and rubble and high expectations. I won't need much persuasion to go out and with my daughter not at college today who knows? I can't see her helping me clean bricks or move any rubble, more like the TV music channels on full blast in the front room -- what kind of music is that any way? Bump, Bump, Bump! No melody and words which I can't understand. Am I getting old? What happened to tunes you could sing along to, that made you happy, made you want to get up and dance! Rap! they call it. I know now how my music must have sounded to my parents when they cringed and shuddered as I played my old vinyl 45s. I'm turning into my parents. Oh no!

Music to work to -- I think not. I'd be chiseling one hundred miles an hour to the beat of my daughter's preferred music. Give me Shalamar, the sound of new romantics, The 80s, David Bowie, and my daughter looks up and says--"Who? Oh Bingy Bongy stuff."

My music is turned low and being drowned by hi fidelity and heavy bass, Shalamar's Night To Remember sounding like a timid oversight and Spandau Ballet some old time sing along! The floors are vibrating. If I put the bricks close to the TV, the mortar will drop off by itself, and that's a good idea by all accounts.

Yes! I'm getting old and--- the beat goes on!


Dust, Rain and Greece!

Posted by CFMBabs , 22 April 2008 · 750 views

7.30 am--rain stops play! The events over the last couple of days have seen us tear down a wall and clean over 1000 bricks. My job today was to clear the remaining rubble all set for weekend when we'll lay the foundations prior to rebuild. A very disappointing start to the day nevertheless!

I've just finished a telephone conversation with a lady who appeared to sympathise with my situation, as they all do! Then went on to tell me that she's been through the mill recently with a new kitchen, which had to be fitted, tiled and painted. The upheavel that caused was far and above the trauma that I've had during our renovation, which I have to add was a full house! My goodness if all we had to do was a kitchen I'd be mighty pleased, but then everyone has their own level of what they call inconvenience, mine must be far greater than that!

As far a I see it, the greatest acheivement of my life is not building a house, although it has to be up there in its own right, but getting over a serious bout of illness has to be the greatest acheivement so far. The very fact that I'm able to help again no matter how small the contributuon, is a bonus and a feat worth commenting on. Given the fact that it's 4 years since I held a small trowel or shown any interest, I think it's high time to get going again and have the capabilty to do it!

I bought myself a new suitcase yesterday -- no, I'm not leaving home -- we're off to Greece in July! It's a sort of treat for me and my daughter who have endured one long winter of misery on account of renovation. I think we deseve a little luxury and I will certainly enjoy the warmth. Our old suitcase is huge, more like a trunk, and poor old hubby nearly did himself an injury last year -- trust me to book us in to an hotel with 42 steps and no lift! It was like climbing up and down Everest each time we went out or came home. I never noticed veins in my hubby's neck before but they sure did stand out after he dragged our case up to the room. I'm sure he complained on every step. "I only have 5 pairs of shorts and a couple of shirts" he said "What have you got in here?"

Truth is, he had 10 pairs of shorts 20 shirts, swim shorts, pants, and a couple of pairs of shoes. It was only a week for goodness sake! I had 12 bikinis, 4 dresses, lost count on shorts, shirts, shoes and hairdryers, beach towels, wraps, make up, well a girl has to have the essentials, and antipersperant -- you have to maintain sweetness. Did I mention skirts, tops, pants, knickers, socks. trainers? MMmm, perhaps I did over compensate. Anyway we all have our own cases this year and hubby will be spared the Mexican donkey thing.

My hubby believes that he only takes a scant amount of clothing on holiday, in reality he has far more than he realises. He actually boasts that he needs very little, yet it's like a catwalk every night! Should I wear this or this?" he asks. I remember when he had no choice. A young lad who went on holiday with 2 pairs of shorts, 2 tops and a pair of shoes. His fashion sense was nil, clothingwise he had none, and I spent the whole of the vacation purchasing clothes and washing for him. He was 24 and completely clueless! A gentle reminder now and then does wonders!

It's stopped raining, Yippee! Out come my scruffy clothes and back to the job in hand. Dreams of Greece will spur me on. Excuse me whilst I slip into my glamourous dust suit -- hammer in hand. Job's a good un!


Building The Dream

Posted by CFMBabs , 21 April 2008 · 772 views

After much deliberation as we met round the table
The decision was made to take down the gable

The house had stood since old Cromwell was a lad
And not a lick of paint since then it had, had!
The walls were crumbling becoming a ruin
And our friends said -"Do you know what you're doin?"

We took a hammer, a chisel and brute force
We took each brick down course by course
We cleaned off the mortar and chewed on the dust
But the work was essential an absolute must

I have this huge hole overlooking the farm
And hubby assured we'd come to no harm
But seeing the world from my bedroom door
A wide open space just across the floor
Was a little bit daunting to say the very least
And it wouldn't get better till building had ceased

Springtime upon us we needed some luck
Forgot that the famer needed to spread his muck
Ten tons of manure and a hole in my wall
Didn't smell pretty I can tell you, at all

My daughter was spraying all manner of scent
but no matter how much -- the smell never went
I'm going out this weekend and I will be smelling
A teenage daughter, everyone will be telling
Why can't we be normal and have a proper abode
I could tell from her tone she was in sarcastic mode

I go out on a Saturday with muck on my shoe
I can't wear trendy gear or buy anything new
Even my clothes smell of chickens and goat
And I have goose droppings on my brand new coat
Now I have brick dust all over my bed
I'm leaving home she said!

Here I am in my dusty attire
The situation's competely dire
Cleaning bricks so we can build
A great big hole needs to be filled

Look on the bright side, soon everything done
But I can't say that it's ever been fun
Living in a caravan and then half a house
Nothing would live here not even a mouse
Frozen solid in the winter flooded in the fall
It's been no holiday for us at all
Five long years and still not complete
And still this new house we've yet to meet

No time for illness, no time to shirk
I still have to do so much work
If my fingers hold out I may finish the task
I have no one to help me, for I won't ask
I'm very determined and I won't stop
Till this house is finished right to the top
I'm building the dream, though that's not fair
A more apt description's been the worst nightmare!


Builder and Blogger

Posted by CFMBabs , 20 April 2008 · 755 views

Sat staring through the huge hole in my wall, rather like a viewing platform on the world! It wouldn't be so bad, although how can you say that without sounding like I actually enjoy having a huge hole in my house? But the truth is, it wouldn't be so bad if the farmer who tends our fields hadn't decided to scatter 10 tons of muck about the place on a week when an easterly wind blows right in the direction of my home.

My hubby get's blamed for most of the awful smells around the home -- this week he is excused for once and I have to say nothing is worse than my husband's, let's say wind, in a loose term! Even the smell of rotting manure is sweet in comparison. Before I get too in depth, I'll leave this part of the blog right there!

So, hole in wall with not much progress it seems. The whole process is rather slow. like the rest of the house renovation. You can't rush these things, they take time and effort and also a great deal of patience for which I have none. I used to have oodles of patience but somehow over the past 5 years it has diminished into very little. maybe it's because I don't have all the time in the world anymore. And by that I don't mean I'm about to pop off into the next world, but time passes so quickly. The last time I truly looked at a calendar was in February -- where did March go?

Time has accelerated at breakneck speed since hitting my 40's. It never went that quickly in my teens or 20's. Sometimes I hoped that it would, especially when I was working. The days then were long and Friday seemed like eons away. Weekends were a thing of excitement and then around came Monday again and another long week followed until the whole process began again. Now I feel my week is one long day and the months fly by without stopping.

Here we are in spring, and I'm just coming to terms with longer days. More light in the evenings means more work on the house -- hopefully. It's still an enormous task to undertake and I get a sense of dismay when I begin to put the whole thing in perspective. There's still so much to do in terms of a finished project. The house is priority for obvious reasons but the whole place needs a complete makeover as well. The yard needs resurfacing and several outbuildings need rebuilding just to bring it back to its former granduer. There are fences in need of repair and gardens to revamp, hedgerows and a car parking area that's not going to be full of goose, chicken and goat poo. My car is like the inside of a cesspit most times and my shoes are always full of the stuff. I make my apologies wherever I go, taking off my shoes before entering any of my friends' homes, I don't want to bring my farm with me!

Back to reality and the huge hole is beckoning. On with my dusty clothes and another day picking through rubble. I've just 4 more courses to go before I hit the stone and that's just too heavy for me to deal with -- that's a job for superman! Household chores will have to wait. Wife and mum I may be but builder and blogger comes first today. The family will have to wait!


Blog Happy And Demolition

Posted by CFMBabs , 20 April 2008 · 729 views

I have a huge lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as I write this blog. It's not for me, or anything which relates to my condition, family or situation. I feel kind of guilty writing this blog after the very kind words Barefut wrote in her last blog entry.

Yes, you are right! The blogs look cute and very touching --- a very fine tribute to each other, so before we skip off into the sunset hand in hand, I'd just like to say a personal thank you before I get on with business as usual!

The whole week as been one of dust, bricks and more dust, bricks, dust, bricks -- you get the picture? I'm chewing the stuff literally but it's all for the cause of renovation -- final phase! I have a huge panoramic hole in my wall. The fields look lovely and ever so near. The birds sing louder and there's one **** of a draught blowing through my house. Before I begin to sound completely mad, please bear in mind that it's a necessary task in order to finish this house which has taken all of 5 years to complete.

Every brick is removed and cleaned. To attack the wall with a huge hammer would have been quite insane. These bricks are 400 years old and with every brick I clean, I feel a piece of history in my hand. Sure they're not perfect, bits of straw and an odd stone pebble hold the brick together. Some unfortunately will crumble as you scrape off all the old lime mortar and cannot be re-used. Still others are as good as the day they were made with the odd animal paw print or a workman's finger mark -- long gone are they!

Such craftsmen they must have been. The power tools of today could not contend with such pure workmanship. The wall is owed a sense of respect. It has stood since 1660 and only dampness has forced us to take it down. Three days have passed and it's only half way down, such is the care we are taking. I have 4 huge piles of bricks all sorted into categories. The very good ones, the nearly good ones, the indifferent ones (Twisted and mis-shaped) and the halves. I have a special pile too of paw printed and finger marked ones, which we'll put indoors as a feature at some later point.

The weather forecast is good for next week -- maybe we'll be able to lay foundations. The wall stands on blocks of stone at the moment and it will be no mean feat removing them from the ground. This has been the problem! Solid walls of brick with no cavity or damp course. The bricks are old and porous and water had penetrated the walls. We'll use damp proofing and form a cavity. The foundations will be deep and filled with stone chippings, mesh and concrete. A membrane will then be laid and special water resistant bricks will form the base at ground level.

Another layer of damp course will then be laid over the 3rd course of brick and then we'll build up from that!

I'm looking forward to moving into the other side of the house, having more rooms and space. Roll on summer when it will be all complete. Champagne on ice? Watch this space!


Ode To Barefut

Posted by CFMBabs , 17 April 2008 · 754 views

Thank you to Barefut for the cutest little rhyme
I thought I'd reply to you whilst I had a little time
You really are remarkable, you make my day complete
And doing all the things you do is certainly no mean feat

You run a home and family a great mum to your boys
I bet you roll around the floor, and play with all their toys
It's not just me that appears unique, but you my friend are too!
We may be a small minority but we always get through

You seem to be the greatest mum, by far you are a treat
Maybe one day in the future in person we will meet
We'll have a good old chin wag and exchange a smile or two
We'll spend the day just cruising, with lot's of things to do

It's a pity we live so far apart and our only contact is text
Because I feel I already know you, better than the next
I love to read your writing though not always a happy end
But it's a pleasure just to know you and consider you a friend
If ever there was a cure my dear, I'd send it in a bow
You deserve to own it and that I'd like you to know!

My life is very happy, some say that I am mad
But life's not like that always and some days can be bad
For living on a farm is like writing an open book
You never know the next chapter, but I'd like to have a look
It's not as idyllic as the picture that I paint
A little stone farmhouse in an area so quaint

I'm really not that special, if you look around and see
That within yourself you'll find a much greater being than me
For I am nothing but normal no exception to the rule
A average type of woman and a silly old fool
I share my love of writing along with you my dear
The two little bloggers who write on this board here

I guess the reason of this rhyme is to thank you once again
You took away my sadness and eased all my pain
You gave me so much gratitude and so much confidence
That I tapped on my computer, came down from that old fence
May you always be loving and fill your home with laughter
I'm right there with you honey, here and ever after!



Posted by CFMBabs , 16 April 2008 · 745 views

Looking out of my window as I very often do
Looking round the farmyard to see if anything new
When walking by a little hen and I gasped at what I saw
Five little fluffy chicks all following their maw
Where have you been hiding, we knew we were minus one
But now we had quite a few more as her back they climbed on

I felt a certain sense of pride as they walked around the yard
It was like a perfect photo on a springtime greetings card
Fluffy, small and yellow it really made you awww!
I'm really quite thrilled with that little scene I saw
And I've other birds sitting namely mother goose
I wonder when her goslings will be out on the loose

Such a silly fool I am, you see, I'm excited about the birds
My daughter thinks I'm crazy that I can't put it into words
To me nature is wonderful and worth all respect
It does the greatest miracles and things you don't expect
If little chicks can come out of eggs, without the help of man
Then eventually they'll cure sclero I'm pretty sure they can
Coz nature has a cure somewhere whatever it may be
I hope I'll get to see it and one day it will cure me.

Nothing is impossible and I guess I'm trying to say
That somewhere in the future will be that glorious day.


Self Worth!

Posted by CFMBabs , 14 April 2008 · 746 views

I'm full of dust! I look like an accident in a flour factory. I'm stiff just about all over -- but at least I'm warm. I'm red hot, hotter than I've been all year. This demolition work sure is good for the circulation.

I've been bolstering down walls with my little chisel. I took out one brick, my hubby took down a full wall. Still my contribution however small will all help in the great scheme of things.

The final phase of our renovation is taking place. It's been a humungous task, much bigger than we ever anticipated. It's taken almost 5 years, but it's been done with care and respect for the old building. They sure coud build in the 1600's: that mortar is still as good as the day it was used, the bricks, a beautiful orange colour and handmade, the oak beams, expertly carved to fit, and the weight -- oh, my, what a weight!

It will all be worth it in the end, and that's a phrase I'm quite used to hearing! I sure hope so. I'm aching from all the work I've done today. I've never made any contribution since Aug 2004 and I can be that specific because that's when I first went into hospital. I was never able to help in any way after that, so I guess it's testament to how far I've come since then.

I get an inner sense of worth just being able to lend a hand. I did so much of the renovation to begin with that it would be a shame not to have a hand in the final phase. It's a matter of pride and achievement on my part because hardly anyone belives that I actually did the brickwork on the outside of the house -- I did! And I won't pretend that it was easy -- it wasn't.

I'm being beckoned for a nice soak in the bathtub. No candles or bubbles, just lovely warm water and a woman full of satisfaction for a change!


Ashamed Of What I've Become

Posted by CFMBabs , 11 April 2008 · 803 views

Dismal Saturday morning! The sky is grey, it's raining. I'm here on my own. Husband at work, daughter on a sleepover and just the animals to keep me company. The chickens became agitated an hour ago wanting to come out of their shed but it was raining so hard that neither myself nor the chickens would have ventured any further than the step.

The house felt cold. We'd let the fire go out overnight, so I planned my attack on the day by first lighting the fire with new logs and coal from the bucket. My next task was to put on the washing!
"How's my fire doing -- Mmmm slow but it's getting there." Fingers numb, no chance of starting my external feeding pump yet, best plan is to warm up and then attack the day!

A well deserved cup of coffee was my next plan! I know, I know, coffee isn't good for you! But if we all avoided things which were considered bad for us, we'd never do anything, and what can be worse than not being able to eat. My personal motto is, if it goes down drink it, if it stays down eat it, if it's bad for you then what more damage can it do when no more is to be done! Stupid motto I know but it's true you go with whatever suits and let's be honest I don't have much choice!

I'm often asked the same question -- "Does it bother you that you can't eat" Well! What kind of question is that? Of course it bothers me. It's not like giving up chocolate, or a new diet. It's a way of life, and that's why I don't talk about it much because it's the one thing that makes me different from everyone else! My answer is always no! And then I sound like a martyr -- "You poor brave thing" is usually the reply. P l e a s e!---- Don't give me sympathy because now I feel like I'm really ill.

It happened yesterday at the supermarket. I was walking in awe down an isle full of things I cannot afford when my attention was turned to a woman that I hadn't seen for quite some years. I waved manicly then walked at speed towards her. The look on her face was one of take flight and run, because she obviously didn't recognise me. Too late to pull out or she might think I was her worst nightmare come true.

"It's me, It's me" I shouted, and although she was smiling, she didn't have a clue who I was. I could have been the Tesco Frozen Food Phantom for all she knew and she looked scared to death as I approached.

"It's me -- Barbara. Don't you know me now?" Her face changed from bemusement to one of shock.
I was, let's say, in a past life, a well rounded jolly lady -- now I'm a twiglet bordering on a skeletal framed cartoon character, much older looking and feeling the effects of a chronic disease that shows when I walk!

Her hand went over her mouth. "My goodness I didn't recognise you - you, you look er-- great!"

That was probably her attempt of a compliment without saying how she really felt, but I'm used to that now. "How are you, I heard that you'd been ill" She uttered without wanting the full script.

I'm a master of white lies and how not to bore people with compaints of afflictions, especially when it's myself I'm talking about. "I'm fine really -- how are you?" I'm an expert at turning the whole thing round.

We chatted for a while and then she came straight out with it. "You're a lot thinner now aren't you. I heard that you can't eat so good"

Oh no, time to make an exit. "Yeah! But it's under control" Control? what am I saying. I'm painting a picture of anorexia. I can't eat and it's not something I chose not to do!

"It's not a problem for me because they sorted me out, is what I meant to say!"

"Oh so you're okay now -- you can eat?"

Oh no, I was digging myself deeper into a hole. "Yeah something like that."

I'm sorry -- I'd love to talk to you all day," she said as she fumbled with her shopping list.

"Me too -- we'll have to catch up some other time!" I said my farewell with my heart pounding to get away.

I concluded later that I'm ashamed of my illness. I am it's true! I'm ashamed to tell my friend past and present how I really feel. I have this protective forcefield wrapped around me. I'm unbreakable, un-emotional and afraid to speak the truth for fear of rejection.

Maybe my take on life is not that good after all. I'm false, fake, call it what you will, but I certainly wouldn't call it brave!

My outgoing nature reduced to a quivering wreck. Maybe I should go and stick my head in the sand like an ostrich, but that would be defeatism wouldn't it?



Posted by CFMBabs , 11 April 2008 · 760 views

Ever had one of those nights? I think last night was pretty close to being just that, no matter how I tried, I could not get to sleep! I tossed and turned, my neck hurt as usual and I arranged my pillows so many times that I ended up with 5 on my side of the bed -- hubby lay flat out and when that happens I may as well forget falling into slumber. He snores so loudly that my daughter shouts from the other room. So in between the snorts I turned over and tried to clear my mind.

The birds began to sing and I looked at the clock to see that it was just after 3am. It was still dark outside I hadn't slept a wink since climbing into my bed at 10.30 and now I was becoming more agitated with my hubby's snoring that I began to dig him when the level of his breathing stepped up to feeding time at the pig pen! Of course he was none the wiser and denied waking the entire household namely me and also the geese who were nestling under the bedroom window.

Dawn broke and the alarm went off, I must have been dozing at that point because I jumped to the sound of screeching bells -- 6am! I prodded Steve and with a stern shout I told him to get up. He snoozed for about half an hour before I finally succeeded in shifting him out of bed. The space he left was warm and I was cuddling down into the sheets when I heard him shout upstairs to move my car. "Oh no," I uttered, realising that my car was behind his and blocking the exit. I slowly drew back the duvet and rather bog-eyed I tried to put my slippers on, firstly they were on the wrong feet and then I dragged my feet into them standing on the backs.

The trail down stairs was more like sleepwalking as I grabbed my car keys. Without putting on a coat, I ventured outdoors. It was cold and damp. I sighed and opened the car door, adjusted the seat and drove backwards out of the yard. My hubby followed suit and then disappeared up the hill as I drove up the drive, thinking about one thing -- bed!

I don't know what happened from the car to the house but, I had an overwhelming urge to drink coffee. My whole body hurt, every bone cracked and creaked. I looked like I'd been out on the town all night -- wish I had! With cup of coffee in hand, on went the TV and a few logs on the fire. I sat back in my chair and slowly woke up to full speed. I was to be at the radio station at 11 and dared not go back to bed for fear of sleeping in, so I sat there until my daughter came downstairs at 9. Half term holidays for her and another cup of coffee was requested.

Next week is a turning point -- why? Well we've decided to carry on building the last part of the house. The old wall will come down and new one put back. Hubby is on holiday from work so we have a whole week in which to do it. We're hoping for no rain or wind because either one will ruin our plans.

I give out a huge yawn. I'm on air in 10 minutes -- pizza for todays dish of the week! I wonder if I can get through without a stutter or a hitch. Up all night, I don't think so!

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