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Should Have Known Better!

Posted by CFMBabs , 17 January 2008 · 615 views

I did a very silly thing today. I swore at myself for being so stupid and I punished myself with pain so great that it was almost unbearable -- what am I talking about?

Raynaud's!

I dared to venture outdoors without gloves or proper footwear. I fed the chickens, brought in fuel for the fire and then sat with my hands sandwiched between my knees to ease the pain. They were so painful, like the pain I remember from my childhood after playing in the snow for too long. I shivered like a leaf and stomped my feet. Why did I do this to myself? I should have known better!

The fire was slow to burst into life and the room was cold and uninviting. Outside it was raining and cold. I had all of my lights on throughout the house -- it was 9am.
I mumbled to myself -- stupid! I gave the chickens food in a rainstorm and picked fuel with my bare hands -- Stupid! There I was paying the price for something I ought to have known better about.

I hate winter, I really do! No one really knows how much I hate the cold except me. Some people say "I'm really painfully cold" But they're not, not really. To be painfully cold you need Raynaud's, now that's what I call cold. Does anyone really understand? My philosophy is not unless you have it yourself! My family doesn't understand or perhaps they do but don't realise how much it hurts to reach inside a freezer, walk down a supermarket Isle full of cold meat, or to have the heater full blast in the car when they complain of being too hot and me rubbing my fingers and holding them in front of the vents.

I enter a world of my own, unable to focus, make sensible conversation or rational decisions -- my fingers and toes hurt and that is that! I'm in a state of suspended animation -- frozen.

Having Raynaud's is brilliant -- don't you think?


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Time Flies

Posted by CFMBabs , 16 January 2008 · 627 views

My daughter is 17 in two weeks time. I'm not about to go on about how time flies, we all know about that, it's a fact of life that growing older happens to us all. Next year will be our 20th wedding anniversary, Steve's 50th birthday, my daughters 18th and both our fathers 80th birthdays -- what a year! And in the midst of all of that, hopefully it will be our housewarming as well. There is much to celebrate, so why am I feeling so reluctant to even discuss the event at any length? Well for one it will be more than hard work. My daughter talks endlessly about a huge marquee -- well we have the space. She talks about hiring caterers, a band and goodness knows how many guests. All well and good if all was hunky dory but we have a house which is half finished, a yard which at the moment looks like the bottom of a polluted pond on account of the geese, and no proper access to the house, unless you are an experienced orienteer. Yes! We have much to do.

I need to get a job to keep my sanity. To face the day with such optimism is becoming quite boring when nothing changes. We promoted the ladder into proper stairs, without spindles, and apart from a bathroom, two bedrooms, a kitchen and front living room everything is and stays as was!

The house was originally built in the 1600s and if they'd progressed at the same speed as us, I reckon they'd have only just finished it. How on earth did they lift those huge beams and stone flags onto the roof? It took a lifting frame and a few strong guys with modern tools just to move one beam downstairs. I found a musket ball in the plaster, perhaps it was meant for the slacker, a guy who worked too slowly, either way it looked as though he missed, or perhaps it was just boredom -- who knows?

They must have smoked heavily too. I found at least 20 -25 clay pipes around the place all bearing initials. One actually had a date 1704. Perhaps 200 years from now someone will find my computer and wonder what the **** I was doing writing such junk, with a bit of luck, the house might be finished by then!


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New Year Resolution

Posted by CFMBabs , 15 January 2008 · 599 views

Holidays over with for another year and I suppose the next best thing to look forward to is spring. I sure hope the weather improves this year. Last year was a total washout with many places flooded, including my unfinished extension to the cottage, which if it stays like that for much longer I'll be stocking it with fish!

This whole house renovation is the bane of my life and has been for almost five years. I need nothing short of a miracle to happen to complete this never ending dust site. It's a depressing thought that we rely so heavily on the weather and quite a worrying one when you live on an island known for it's inclement weather conditions. Last summer was non-existant, just an extension of winter and really not much warmer either -- so much for my Raynaud's condition which enjoyed full colour throughout 2007.

I never made a New Year resolution this year, perhaps if I had it would have been to finish this old house but I know that promises are there to be broken so if it does happen it will definitely be an unexpected bonus. I'm not going to lose weight, stop smoking, give up booze, get fit or anything because I did all of that long ago. I stopped smoking when I was 20 and although I didn't know it then, it was the single most important and sensible thing I ever did. As for the weight loss, well that was sort of unexpected and brought on by a series of events. The booze went at the same time too and the fitness thing -- forget it!

I suppose all there is left to promise myself is a desire to keep well and probably take two or three vacations to Greece. If that's all I achieve this year then it won't be all bad will it?

I forgot to mention. Happy new Year


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Help Me. Computer Blues!

Posted by CFMBabs , 12 January 2008 · 628 views

I don't mean to go on about technology and me but it's quite simple that the two definitely don't mix. I'm fast approaching a half century and I've witnessed many changes in recent years. I'm still coming to terms with scleroderma, decimalisation, metric conversion and puberty! No surprise then, I'm quite useless with a computer.

Yes! it was a near catastrophe when my old system gave up the ghost. I'd suspected the worst for a while and short of taking a hammer to the CPU I gave up trying to recover files. It was taking forever to log on, I could quite happily go and make tea and perhaps bake bread before I heard the welcome to the net announcement.

Enough was enough and finally I went on a quest to find the perfect replacement. Why is it the young man in the shop automatically assumes I'm computer literate. Megabytes and Gigs mean nothing to me! And when he began to explain the complexity of adding programmes and my daughter's new MP3 player I just smiled and kept my rather large mouth shut. So with a new laptop tucked under my arm I began an unexpected journey setting up my new system.

The old way was simple -- insert disc, load the programme and "Ping" I was on line. To my horror It said, "No." My system was a new window version and my old disk was out of date by about 6 years.

"Arrggh" more frustration as I found myself on the phone to my ISP. Now if I knew what I was talking about to begin with the whole conversation would have been straight forward but, hey! this is me you're dealing with not Stephen Hawkings!
In the end I understood they would send me a new updated version of the installation disk which I recieved 2 days later.

Disk inserted and so far so good, then it asked for a password -- err what! They'd sent me the disk but no password. Sure I had my own password but that wasn't what they were asking for. I rang them, again this time was to be the most frustrating phone call I've ever made.

I'm not good at following computer instructions -- Shelley will testify to that when we first set up the blog site, I believe she's still recieving treatment and pills for that encounter. It's not easy either when the person you are talking to speaks broken English. I was on the phone for over an hour and to make things worse, I couldn't find all the keys on my keyboard that they kept asking for on account of my inexperience with a new machine. I must have sounded like a real nerd as they kept asking me to find the key that said delete or the little red box with a cross in it at the top of the page. In the end, the conversation became so heated that the supervisor took over and from then on in I think he was on the whiskey.

The ISP folks went home early that day but they got me online in the end. I think they will use that call as a training excercise on how not to handle a computer illiterate freak like me. If you had to have a licence to use one of these things I'd be banned for life!

Good to be back!


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Guess Who's Back

Posted by CFMBabs , 11 January 2008 · 639 views

This is a somewhat or a short message and not a blog at all. It would be more appropriate for me to post this on the messageboard but I'm doing this for a purpose.

My computer finally died just before the holidays and with it all my files and information. I'd promised myself a laptop for quite some while so I could sit beside the open fire and tap away to my heart's content. Of course being the holiday season, money was needed elsewhere, I.e. my daughter's expensive present and a list much longer than last year on account of having 10 people round for dinner.
The January sales became too much of a temptation and I duly purchased my machine on monday.

My how things have changed since I bought my last computer. Windows Vista and wireless modems, routers and new versions of just about everything. I thought connecting back up to the internet would be a doddle but as usual my thoughts were wrong.

Three days later and I'm finally on line. My internet provider is popping pills for a nervous disposition after I telephoned them so many times they were on speed dial -- can't wait to recieve the phone bill!

So I'm back at last and I'm getting used to the luxury of sitting in my comfy chair happily doing my tapping on a keyboard.

I have to ask --- did you miss me at all? Mmm, Thought not!

Guesss who's back!


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Awards Evening

Posted by CFMBabs , 26 November 2007 · 629 views

Friday was the first anniversary of our local radio station of which I am a part.
It was therefore only right to arrange a birthday bash which was held at the sporting club. I was very nervous -- I've only ever spoke over the airwaves but never actually met any of the listeners. The anticipation was one of reluctance and we decided to sit in the darkest corner of the room which actually was the best place of all since the radiator was banging off the wall. I sat with my back pressed up to it and I was in a very comfortable position -- thank goodness for radiators! The night rolled on and eventually it came to the part I had dreaded since my arrival -- the awards! All the presenters were due to recieve one and of course that included me.

I've never been the type of person to take centre stage and the prospect of doing so was making my comfortable position at the side of the radiator very uncomfortable indeed. They read through the list, introducing each person to the public with rapturous applause. Then my name was read! Oh my goodness! I rose from my chair with head down and nervously climbed upon the stage. The lights were blinding and I couldn't see the audience which was rather a relief. I was handed a certificate, not sure what it said but I accepted it and almost scuttered from the stage. On returning to my seat, my daughter grabbed the certificate and read it out:

For all your hard work and dedication to the station

I thought it was very nice and it now proudly stands on the dresser. I've never won a certificate since primary school and I must say the feeling was still as good.
I wonder if I was all the listeners thought I would be. We all have mental picture of how we think someone looks when all we have is a voice or words to go by.
I wonder if I was a disappointment? Perhaps they expected the likes of Nigella Lawson who by all accounts is a wonderful cook and a very beautiful woman. I can cook but the beautiful bit -- well! I wonder if they thought I was okay? I suppose I'll never know, but vanity has never been my strongest point so why should I worry now?

A good night was had by all. Most were merry, excluding me as I don't drink alcohol. My hubby had quite enough for both of us and how he rose for work the next day is beyond me! It beats chasing chickens though and although one has returned, the others are far away I should imagine.

My life is not so dull after all. Sometimes I do too much! Getting involved with the local community it seems, is all I'm good for these days. I'm not fit enough to earn money anymore and I'm only good enough to do things for free. My grandad always said, "Anyone can work for nowt." And he was right!

Back to the station on Thursday -- perhaps all the gossip of Friday will all be revealed!




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Homing Chicken. All The Fun Of The Farm

Posted by CFMBabs , 22 November 2007 · 639 views

Homing chickens! I never knew they exsisted but here I am with proof that they do! We lost our chickens over the weekend to a mass breakout and the chase that followed was one of "Benny Hill" proportions. I went one way, hubby the other and the chickens evaded us both. Putting the situtation down to life's experience, and boy do we have lots of those moments, we came to the conclusion that the critters had eloped and gone to live on pastures new. Gone were the expectatons of new laid eggs and the empty egg cup lay proof to that!

All we were left with for our efforts was a flock of smelly, dirty geese and an equally smelly dog. Our exploits to re-stock the farm after years of neglect have all but fallen through and I hate to converse with my hubby over the prospect of goats. Yep, They've been part of our plans for many a year but after chasing chickens all weekend, I don't fancy pursuing a goat, though it may be the other way around judging by my past experience in goat keeping. I've had a very sore bottom on account of Mr Nasty Nose -- that was my pet name for the angriest, ill tempered Billy I have ever encountered. Hated me, my family, the postman, er, he gets another mention, poor guy! And hated life itself in the end -- ran into a tree at speed and found it did not move. I stood there witnessing its demise and although I was quite upset at the time, I can honestly say that since then I've never had a liking for that particular animal.

We've had some laughs and some near misses, catastrophes and hairy moments. I think perhaps this goes with living on a farm and half the stuff you wouldn't believe. I came home from work many years ago to the sound of someone in the field calling my name. It was a distress call of some proportion and my heart raced as I searched the undergrowth. Finally I came across a sight I hoped I would never witness -- a bull tossing my uncle around like a rag doll. How would I deter the Bull without it going straight for me? I bolted over the fence ---wouldn't you? And made for home to ring the ambulance. Did you really think I would grab a cape as in Spain and fight the beast? With the ambulance on its way, I returned to the scene and mercifully and thankfully the Bull had gone. My uncle was lying on the floor complaining and moaning about his leg. I could see right away that his wrist was broken, and the smell!!! It had tossed him through the dung and he was simply covered. I could hear the ambulance arrive and soon I was joined by two nervous looking medics at the scene. My uncle was still complaining about his leg, so they took special care with him. Finally removed from danger, he was in the ambulance. "My leg, Oh, my leg," he said.

"Don't worry pal, soon have you right," said the medic as they placed him on a stretcher.

"My Leg!" he screamed. The medic began to tear his pants to examine the area but found nothing sinister except a few white spots.

"Can't see anything, pal," he said except a few white lumps/

"I know that, said my uncle -- I've been stung with nettles!" The fact he'd got a broken wrist and a few fractured ribs bothered him not, it was the nettle stings that upset him the most.

Back to the chickens. One lonesome wanderer has returned. It looked at me as if to say, "Well, are you going to chase me or what?" My answer to that was, "My game was up on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday -- homing chicken you might be -- Sally Gunnell I am not!"


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Diary For The Owl's Mum

Posted by CFMBabs , 21 November 2007 · 632 views

I never kept a diary until recently. My memory has always been good: names faces, telephone numbers, you name it! It seems though, that scleroderma has taken my ability to remember appointments they just go through my head like a sieve.

My 4th attempt at keeping an appointment with physio happened yesterday. The poor girl rang me almost every week to ask where I was and my answer was always with an apology. Making it there virtually on time and finding a precious parking space, with the disability issue being raised once again! I walked into the the room with rapturous applause -- in my head of course! I was faced by a very relieved looking physio who set about opening my file right at the point of no return.

I sat gingerly upon a seat made for primary school kids and stared at a huge rubber ball wedged firmly under a table. There were a lot of "Mmmm's and Err's" Finally she turned and began. "Bad back, poor mobility and muscle wastage," she said, but besides that I was okay!

"We need to work those muscles she said" Little did she know that an hour previous to my appointment I'd been chasing a chicken all over the field in my muddy boots, any faster and I could have gained qualification for the olympics. I never caught it but the excercise was far more intense than sitting upon a ball which followed. "You really need to excercise more." Her warning as I struggled to keep my balance. (Actually I was quite stiff from my earlier exploits). "Your leg muscles are wasting away."

I sat back in the chair and discussed a work out plan -- me needing a work out? I think not. Did she realise how much I work out during the day? I must sit for half an hour between doing housework, picking my dad up from home, taking Steph to college and doing what I like best, preparing evening meal -- not! As well as running about like an headless chicken all day, I have a weekly show on the radio to prepare and thinking about this seriously, I probably do more excercise in one day than the physio does in a whole week!

I have other issues that take my time at the moment, one which I will write about when it's all over. So all in all I'm a pretty busy woman and, yes -- I do now need a diary.

My task today is making things for Brownies, a programme of the Girl Guides. I'm now the mother of a Barn Owl and if you're confused by this, so am I. My daughter is a young leader in the movement if you can call it that. She's was on pack holiday last weekend and gained her status during her time at camp. There are several "Owls" or leaders and by all accounts Steph is at the bottom of the tree about to work her way up! No wonder I'm the mother then, I must say in the light of things that I'm now officially a proper twit! Or is it twoo!


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What A Weekend!

Posted by CFMBabs , 20 November 2007 · 584 views

Weekend no longer has the excitement of the end of the working week for me. I no longer work so each day is pretty much the same in fact. The only difference is that I have the whole family home with me throughout the day and each weekend is rather like the last.

Living on a farm is idyllic but also has its drawbacks, like not having close neighbours. With my family's attitudes, not having neighbours is definitely a plus. This weekend was entertaining to say the least!

We lost our chickens last year to the fox, all 50 of em! We vowed that if we kept them again, they'd be housed properly, not free range but kept in a pen. My hubby had spotted a sign nearby advertising some chickens, and we'd been talking about replacing them all summer. My hubby bought 6 hens and 2 cockerels, and they arrived on Saturday morning. My hubby had made a huge pen spanning the entire length of the garden. I commented that the wire fence looked a bit inadequate, but what do I know? The chickens were roosting in the shed when he drove in the last post. Looking very pleased with himself he dragged me outside to wonder at his work. He's used to keeping criminals in, woking at the prison, but could he keep the chickens in? -- that was the question!

My daughter became involved rather glumly as teenagers do. Why is it they frown upon us as children? Maybe we behave that way, but life would'nt be fun if we ever became dull and boring, and I intend to be flippant until my last breath -- and why not?

She opened the door and out shot the cockerel. Off he went, almost too quick to touch the ground. There were feathers and straw everywhere as one by one they zoomed across the lawn. I've seen some chickens in my time, and I've seen chickens run, but I've never seen racing chickens -- my goodness they could run!
It took no time at all for them to reach the perimeter and almost as fast as they ran, they shot through the fence and off up the field before we could even move -- we haven't seen then since. Those were the shortest residents ever to live on our farm. My gormless hubby took down the fence and I couldn't help but mention that if he was in charge of security at his jail, it's a wonder we don't have a mass break out.

That was one episode of the weekend. The next was different but just as daft.
We received a note on Friday night just as we settled in front of the fire. It read:
We are filming a battle scene in the bottom field down the lane. There will be some explosions of mild nature, cannon fire and some script noise. Please keep your animals indoors. How apt was that!

Sure enough around 8.30 am we heard the first explosion and someone shouting. The dog began barking and before we could quieten her, she was off down the field as well. Lucy, our dog, lives outdoors. Hates the postman, visitors, fireworks, noises and geese and now to add to the list -- actors. We followed her just as she was hanging on to the guy's leg and words which definitely were not in the script rang from his mouth. We apologised, grabbed the dog and took her indoors. We thought that was that until there was a bang at the door.

"Have you finished stoking your fire?" a lady with an armfull of paper pleaded.
"The smoke from your chimney is choking the actor and we can't film the scenes!"
My hubby was getting just a little annoyed, called them "luvvies", uttered something indiscreet and closed the door. The geese began to honk and noticing the lady had a pile of something in her arms, food was all they thought, set off after her down the drive. Saturday was a most unusual day!

Eloping chickens, gunfight at the OK Corral. What a weekend -- thank goodness it's Monday!


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Things That Make You Go Arghhhh!

Posted by CFMBabs , 14 November 2007 · 640 views

There are many things in life that make you go, "Arghhhhh," even, "Ooooh." Those days are few, but when they come they simply bowl you over. Not surprising then, I've had my fair share of those days and if anyone is being truly honest, so will they!

Parking spaces! I see you cringe. I'm the proud but reluctant owner of a disability badge; wherever I go, it goes along with me too. Funny how the one day you forget to take it, is the day you needed it the most. We have two vehicles, mine and my hubby's. My car looks like a skip -- hubby's is like a mobile tool van. My car is like a skip because no one but me will clean it or tidy it. I began an experiment. How long would it take for my daughter or hubby to offer their services and clean my car? The answer, surprisingly is, never! I hate to take it to the car wash; the last time was a disaster and has created a car wash phobia with me.

It was a day like no other. The sun was shining and a good day to clean my car. I took it to the local supermarket which has an automated car wash. I thought this would be the greatest thing I ever did and I thought it up with my own brain -- let the machine do the work, I'll sit there and not get wet or cold -- brilliant! The fluffy rollers began to spin and water squirted from every angle. Suds and steam and crunch -- Crunch!!! "What was that?" A long piece of metal flew over the car and landed in front of the car wash. "Oh, no -- the thing's taking my car apart -- help!" I shouted, but no one could hear. Bang! went the next roller and brush! It hit my windscreen. My wiper blade clung on for dear life. The car rocked from side to side and then blasted with more water. I couldn't get out and I couldn't move the car. I was trapped. The roller retreated, the water stopped the machine came to a halt. Shaking like a leaf I turned on the ignition, could hardly drive but put it into gear and shot out. I drove it to a safe area where I could check the damage. My aerial had been ripped off and my wiper blade was hanging by a thread -- I complained.

The guy at the petrol station listened with a grim face as I told him of the horror,
but he told me it was at my own risk to use the car wash -- What? My own risk? How did he work that one out? My wiper was ruined, my aerial ripped from its mount and I was traumatised and it was, "My fault?" I spat back.

"Pretty much" he said. "Your aerial must have been loose as were your windscreen wipers," he said dismissively.

"They weren't loose when I set out or went in the wash, and now I'm going home with a clean car minus a few bits," I fumed.

"Fill out this accident form," he said and then began to serve another customer.

I left the station more than upset and with intention of taking things further but time was against me. Daughter to collect from school, shopping to be kept frozen, what else could I do but go home?

My bright idea turned out to be the most stupid thing I'd done for a long time and now I have a phobia. I can't use a hand held pressure washer because my fingers freeze, so my car will stay dirty. It's one of those things that make me say, "Arghhh!" "Ooooh!" will be when it gets done! But so far I haven't had chance to say it!

Next blog -- The Disability Badge Parking Nightmare






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