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CFM Babs from Chorley FM


Green Fingers

Posted by CFMBabs , 23 March 2009 · 886 views

My greenhouse is filling up with all manner of plants. I spend quite a lot of time in there with the excuse of warmth; in fact it's lovely to just potter around in a Raynaud's free environment for a couple of hours. My cucumbers are just peeping through but my tomato seeds are still sleeping -- I'd just love to dig one up and see if they've begun to split but that's my impatient side of nature and not my green-fingered one!

It's very blustery today and it rained earlier. The day looks more promising with blue skies over the horizon. The old saying "March, In like a lion out like a lamb!" I hope it's true? Fact is you can never tell these days if spring or even summer has begun because all the seasons are the same except winter is much colder! I can hardly remember when we had a really good summer, it must have been when we first began rebuilding the house and if it was then, that's 5 years ago!

I'm well underway with my usual day. Backwards and forwards, to my Dad's and to the college for my daughter. It's parents' evening tonight so I may just have enough time to sit down and relax once inside the college. Her report was outstanding -- see how I boast about that one! I can't ask any more of her. She's doing really well and I'm quite looking forward to the tutors' comments.

Ahhh! the sun. At this point I'm sat in the chair next to the window with the warmth beating through. I'm like a basking lizard -- recharging my batteries; in fact there was a documentary on TV last night about the hottest place on earth in Ethiopia. My daughter commented that it still wouldn't be hot enough for me -- I'd still need my jumper. She's probably right, I'm sure I'm the only person in Crete on the hottest day sat with my towel around me not daring to go into the pool and refusing cold drinks.

You'd think that by now I'd be as hard as nails and not feel the cold. I've had plenty of practice when you consider that my home is half finished and I still have a great hole in my wall. I'd defy anyone with or without Raynaud's to put up with my situation!

Well, in 10 minutes time I'm off on my travels. I've put my heavy boots on since I'm highly likely to get blown away in these gusts. I've begun putting on the layers; honestly people think I've put weight on when in fact I've lost a few more pounds recently. They reserve judgement now until I've stripped off my outer layers. I'd be a great participant for a slimming campaign, from hefty to zilch in minutes!

Okay, enough is enough, jumpers on, boots, scarf, jacket, gloves and a reluctant heart to go outdoors. Roll on summer -- I've said that before somewhere.


Mum's Day!

Posted by CFMBabs , 22 March 2009 · 801 views

"Lazy Sunday Afternoon!" except it's morning. Today is special, it's Mothers day in the UK! Of course it's not quite the same now that Steph has grown up -- I miss the morning awakening; her excitedly jumping on my bed with a huge box of choccies or a bunch of flowers. Nowadays it's more "Here, Mum" and a card with a smile. If I'm lucky, I'll receive a box of chocolates or a CD of an artist both my hubby and Steph like, ever heard of N Dubz? -- no, me neither, but I know who they are now and guess whose room they're in in a CD rack? I drew a line under that one when I learned my hubby and Steph liked a particular group this year who drive me mad each time they appear on TV, aggravated Rap I call it, in your face and can't tell a word they say!

This year is different because she's got me a massage treatment at the local beauty parlour. I reckoned that would be the cheapest for her as a make over would cost the earth. They'd need a construction company in to sort my face out! So sometime this week I'm off for a massage. I can't say I'm looking forward to it although the prospect sounds like the best thing for me at the moment. I saw one of the technicians leaving the shop as we passed by. I'm sure she's a female WF wrestler or into Sumo or something. If she's the masseuse, she'll no doubt put me in hospital by the end of the day--- Just my luck!

The day is looking quite nice. Perhaps a BBQ later "Barbeque?" I hear you say -- "In March?" Well why not? this could be as good as it gets this year if I compare with the previous. I can't see us sat out, more drawing straws who runs out to flip the burgers. It could be quite fun! I'll keep quiet and maybe I'll get away with being an onlooker.

The geese are in a funny mood this morning. I've seen feathers flying past the window -- there's trouble in camp! The dog's keeping well away and I don't blame her. I guess this Spring thing is having an effect on all the animals. We awoke yesterday to a very strange noise in the loft only to find a pigeon was looking for somewhere to nest. "Hoppit, matey." I thought, the last thing I wanted in my loft was a family of cooing pigeons! to add to honking geese and bleating goats.

My bath water is running. Steph is with the Brownies this morning as we, parents that is, receive presents from our little darlings. 10.30 am we assemble, so best clothes on and an early start -- well at least it isn't raining!


Fairy Story!

Posted by CFMBabs , 19 March 2009 · 872 views

"It's freezing mum!" My daughter walked into the room with a yawn and still in pyjamas. She shivered, rubbed her eyes and asked what we'd be doing today. There was only one thing on her mind and that was shopping. True there was a frost early dawn. My hubby moaned as he got out of bed, in fact he's moaned all week -- he has gout! I feel sorry for him as he limps around with a toe which is inflamed and swollen; it does look very sore!

He won't tolerate pity, won't ask for help and will not go to the doctor, so what can you do to help him? I read somewhere that cranberry and pomegranate juice is good for gout; also blueberries. I made a trip to the local supermarket and bought those items in the hope that they might work. He's spent the entire night on the toilet and the result is a total bowel clean out and an even painful toe with the amount of to and froing he did -- so much for my natural remedy then!

I'm not saying he's soft, in fact quite the opposite, but he does moan a lot more than I would I'm sure. I've never had gout but I feel like I have, wincing every time he does and Arghh - ing! each time he screams. It's like a comic book. Me with my infected tube site, him with a sore toe and Steph has a cold! The whole family is "Unclean" -- put an X on the door!

My daughter reminds me that the fire has not yet been made. My life mirrors that of Cinderella, but I'm not saying that the rest of the family are the ugly sisters. The only difference between me and Cinders is that the shoe never fitted and my Prince never came to whisk me away -- what a thought! So for now it's back to the fire grate. Thankfully, I don't have to rub two sticks together but the rest is hard enough anyway.

So before we freeze to death, my quest this morning is wood for the fire. Happy Days!


Speaking To Strangers

Posted by CFMBabs , 18 March 2009 · 857 views

"Are those big white ducks yours?" asked a lady this morning as I posted a letter at the local post office.

"No, I don't have ducks," I answered.

"Yes you do, you live in the bottoms don't you -- have goats as well."

"Erm, yes I do live in the bottoms but those ducks you're on about are geese!"

"Thought so -- Are you rebuilding that place?"

I was in a hurry to get Steph to college, the last thing I needed was to prove justification to a complete stranger but of course not being the type to seem standoffish, I told her that we were trying to bring the place back to its former glory. I didn't feel too good either. A visit to my doctor yesterday evening proved that I had an infection around my PEG site and he gave me antibiotics. My sole ambition was to get to college and home as quickly as possible but somehow geese always get in the way!

I cut the conversation short as I hurried back to the car. My daughter asked who I was talking to and when I said that I didn't know, she scorned me with a reminder from her childhood about not speaking to strangers -- funny how kids bring back those little flippant warnings.

It's a grey day, far removed from the blue skies of yesterday. I went outdoors without a jacket and then realised I shouldn't have. I spent the whole journey to college with the heater on full. There's an old saying. "Ne'er cast a clout till May is out." I was victim to that this morning.

I had a strange number -- missed call -- on my mobile when I got home. I'm tempted to call it back but what I didn't need was a Double Glazing salesmen or the news that I'd won an exotic holiday to somewhere I never wanted to go. I reckon if it was urgent they'd call me back!

My fire is looking a bit pathetic and not giving out much heat! I didn't think we'd need the fire as much since the weather was as warm a Crete yesterday and the day before -- imagine that! As warm as Crete. I bet it won't be in a couple of months though. I'm hoping that we actually get a summer this year in more ways than one. I don't think I could stand another year like the last one and I'm beginning to sound so negative! I must look forward and be positive for a change. This house will be finished, my drive will look a million dollars, I will have huge gates, and more importantly no hole in my wall!

I've just planted my peas and sown my tomatoes, next I'll sow the carrots. I'm waiting for my greenhouse to be finished, guess it will be weekend before I can play with my new toy. There's something satisfying about growing your own veg although patience is needed especially when you can't remember what you put in and where! It's always a surprise in the end, thinking that those beans are actually peas and the cauliflower is really a cabbage. I know what an experienced gardener, or indeed anyone with a bit of the old grey matter would say, "Label the plants in rows." Well it's pretty obvious really but I must admit I like the suspense.

I've sown 100 tomato plants "What are we going to do with all those?" said hubby "We can only fit 6 plants in the greenhouse."

I hadn't really thought about that but I remarked "We'll have to get another greenhouse then," to which hubby huffed, shook his head and went outdoors. Must have been something I said. I don't exactly have green fingers -- blue ones to be exact and since my fingers are so cumbersome and not a bit dexterous any more, it will be one **** of a job trying to single them all out when they come through. Goodness knows how I'll be able to pick the seedlings up and place them in another pot -- 6 plants is probably all I will get out of 100 in any case.

Time is getting on and I've got loads to do today. Better go and feed the ducks -- er, sorry, geese!


Can't Believe It!

Posted by CFMBabs , 17 March 2009 · 937 views

One of my pet hates is surely a trip the the bank! I can't stand being told where to put my money -- our money I should say! How is it that when you have a deposit over a certain amount, you suddenly need a financial advisor? The very fact you have an amount to invest, surely proves that you don't need someone to tell you how to do it! So when I went to the bank this morning, the last thing I wanted to do was wait in a small room until someone I didn't really want to have a conversation with burst in with an armful of paper under one arm and a laptop in the other! "Sorry," he said as he fumbled and juggled.

He sat down opposite and assumed that my cheque was going to be handed to him with a handshake. I held my handbag tightly, squeezing it every time he mentioned a long term investment. Fact is I just wanted to put it in our account to pay for all the building work planned for summer!

Why is it that I have a story to tell whenever I hit town? How can a situation like this give me anything to write about? Well as I sat facing this man, listening to his advice, he suddenly heaved and vomited in front of me! I was in a state of shock, not half as much as he obviously was and what do you do in a situation like this?

I felt so sorry for him as he sat with a red face and making apologies. Did I have that much of an impact on him that he was sick? or was it that I decided to stick it in a normal account, least ways I felt very guilty and wanted to hand him the cheque to make him feel better.

I left the bank after this sickly man decided to call it a day. I'm sure he couldn't have cared if I'd took the money out in cash and spent it on a once in a lifetime holiday or given it to the local cats' home! Anyhow I did neither, I just stuck it in our account and left!

I went to the market after that. I saw a little stall which sold garden equipment and on it was a spade and a fork which was very reasonably priced. Since hubby had broken the spade and bent the fork, I reckon we needed new ones, so I bought them. Fortunately it was only a short walk to my car and I giggled to myself when a man with a sense of humour shouted "Hi, Ho!" as I passed by.

I was quite happy to get home. I was missing a lovely day! My daffodils are out so it's officially Spring, but I can't get that man at the bank out of my head. I thought that I was the only one who could vomit in public, I'm quite relieved to know that this could actually be normal! Poor man, poor bank, poor me now I'm financially a bit lighter!


The Garden

Posted by CFMBabs , 16 March 2009 · 922 views

Sunday Morning, perfect day for doing whatever you wish and might I add it's the perfect weather to do it also! Spring has certainly hit town this morning and I feel light as a feather -- who said that? Ah yes, Mr Scrooge! Well I share that feeling with him. Blue sky, sun shining, birds singing, are you getting the picture? I've been waiting for the daffodils to burst open, to me that's the first sign of Spring. It makes me want to get out there, roam the fields like in the Sound of Music, only I won't be singing, I'll spare nature that and leave it to the birds!

I have so many things in my head. I'm late putting my seeds in, tomatoes being one of them! There's nothing tastes nicer than a freshly plucked home grown tomato and it immediately takes me back to my childhood. Of course these days it's just the aroma when you touch the plant that sets my heart racing.
My granddad used to grow greenhouses full of tomatoes and cucumber! I have to admit that cucumber was never my favourite! I used to sit in the warmth whilst granddad picked all the little red tomatoes. Fact is I probably ate more than he had collected -- they tasted so good.

They don't taste the same these days. My granddad used proper manure not the sort out of a plastic bucket. He put chicken in the greenhouse in winter to scratch the ground and fertilise it and then in February he took wheelbarrow loads of dung and spread it all over the ground. Phoarh! it stunk so much.
Nevertheless come summer we had so many plants with this fantastic tomato smell filling the air. People came from miles around -- you have never tasted better believe me!

His greenhouses were Victorian, half brick and half glass. He had pipes all around which ran from a coal fired heater. He grew a grape vine and all manner of exotic plants. Whilst most kids in the 60's didn't know what a melon or a capsicum was, I'd had them and knew what they were all about. He grew most things veg. Carrots, potatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, onions, raddish, lettuce, peas -- oh peas! I'd sit in the garden popping pods of peas like eating sweets, they were so sweet.

Kids today can sit at their computers and we can say we never had anything like that when we were kids! We weren't so fortunate to have all this technology. But I think life was much better then and memories are much nicer when you remember the old folk and how life really was. I think we were the lucky ones!


Back In The Days!

Posted by CFMBabs , 16 March 2009 · 816 views

Sitting here reminiscing makes me feel quite ancient actually! My daughter was asking me about my grandparents for a project at college. Suddenly all those lovely memories came flooding back and I remember asking my mum exactly the same question when I was young. My grandmother on my mother's side came from Ireland, my grandfather from a place near Liverpool -- they met at the docks. My grandmother was on her way back to Ireland -- funny, I can't remember her having an Irish accent. She was a tiny framed woman with a huge smile whilst my grandfather was tall and very imposing.

He was a farmer and had a small holding quite close to where we now live. He kept pigs, grew stuff and had hundreds of chickens. He bought this place in 1919 after he left the army as a cook in the 1st World War. In fact that was when he met my grandma, on the docks coming home from France. My grandma hated farm life. There was no electricity or proper sanitation here in those days and when the animals went to slaughter, she cried for weeks.

I remember as a child, visiting my grandparents. The smell of burning wood, new mown hay and manure still sticks in my mind. My granddad used to take me in his greenhouses. They were warm and full of greenery. And when the cows came down for their feed I was off like a shot. Those big thunderous animals with tails swishing and slimy noses, headed straight for the farmyard whilst I was somewhere up field. I remember being chased by a cockerel and then falling in a patch of stinging nettles wearing hot pants and a strappy T Shirt. Well it was the 60's!

My grandparents on my fathe'rs side, lived in a Lancashire Mill town. My grandmother's mother originally from Durham and granddad's parents -- somewhere in Scotland/ I could never remember him having a Scottish accent either! They were both born in the town where they spent their entire lives. My great grandma was head cook in a large house -- in service as it was called. My great granddad was a manual worker in a rubber production factory. My gran was a large lady, white hair, red face and lovely smile. My granddad was small, thin, black hair, quite Italian looking and walked with a stick -- no he wasn't Charlie Chaplin, but I could see the resemblance! Both were retired!

My grandparents looked after me during the week when my parents worked long hours in the cotton mills. I went to school from their little terraced house in the centre of town. There were rows of shops across the street and you hardly ever saw a car. My grandma cooked real dinners, made bread and cakes and the smell was just awesome. I remember a coal store in the middle of the house -- coal hole they called it. The coal man used to deliver each week. He used to scare me with his blackened face with only the whites of his eyes visible. If I was naughty my gran used to say, "If you don't behave --- the coal man will come and get you!" I was absolutely terrified but it worked and I was as good as gold.

I had the most wonderful childhood! Never short of anything. Okay there wasn't much in those days, but I reckon we did just fine. The farm stands in a sad state. One day I hope it will return to its former glory. It's a long time coming but we'll get there eventually -- Fingers crossed!


Window On The World

Posted by CFMBabs , 15 March 2009 · 931 views

Must get a wall for that hole! The whole situation has gone way beyond a joke. It's mid March and I'm still waiting. This never ending house renovation is finally telling on my nerves. An adventure it is not, a pain in the backside is surely is! If I hear one more goose honk at he bottom of my stairs -- I'll shoot the thing! Being close to nature is one thing -- nature being close to us is quite another.

I have little birds fluttering around like I'm living in some kind of aviary. They build their nests in the rafters and then poo all over the place. There is an old saying "Muck for luck!" Believe me it's not true because if it was I'd have won the lottery several times by now! The March winds are playing havoc with the building. The blast of air you get in a morning almost knocks you off your feet. It's a wonder how we've survived one of the toughest winters for years virtually unscathed. I said to myself last week, "If you want it doing love -- do it yourself!" or words to that effect! I feel like filling the cement mixer and grabbing the trowel!

We've simply outgrown the two rooms in which to live. The kitchen and living room are the only rooms of normality. The kitchen by far is the best; the front room is okay if you don't look up -- the ceiling is unfinished. We have no central heating system and my hubby has burned a forest this winter on the log burner that continuously belches smoke from the chimney. I'd throttle anyone who scorned me about the environment -- one of my pet hates at the moment!

Supermarkets are guilty of trying to make me feel guilty! They package everything in plastic and then lecture me at the checkout if I don't use my own bag and choose one of theirs. It infuriates me and almost earned me a round of applause one day when I arrived at the checkout, was about to pay for my items, and the checkout girl asked if I needed bags? Well I couldn't put the stuff in my pockets could I? I answered "Yes" and she began a rehearsed script about how they were going to phase out plastic carrier bags and make us use our own, environment friendly she said!. At that point she tried to sell me a biodegradable bag in favour of the supermarkets own free ones! I shook my head and said "When supermarkets stop packaging everything in plastic, I'll buy an earth friendly bag"

There was nodding all round and I thought that other customers were about to cheer. She rummaged under the counter and produced the carrier bags without another word. So me and this environmental issue stuff don't get along. Sure, I worry about the planet, but it's someone higher up also needs to get their act together, not just me. I could argue my case for and against all day. I reckon I do my bit in my own way!

The wind is howling this morning and I have a lovely colour in each finger -- Blue happens to be my favourite! I'm contemplating making the fire and looking at the pile of logs by the fireside. My carbon footprint must be huge, but when needs must, I have to keep warm. With a great hole in my wall --- do you blame me?


Raynaud's Limericks

Posted by CFMBabs , 13 March 2009 · 884 views

I'm turning into quite a fidget
Trying to get blood to my digit
My finger's gone white
My hand looks a sight
I think I might need a widget

My toes are feeling quite numb
I can't even feel my thumb
I moan quite a lot
They're the only ones I've got
No wonder I'm looking so glum

I look so silly in clothes
All you can see is my nose
With one woollen hat
What do you think about that?
And thick socks to warm up my toes

At night I sit by the fire
The flames jump higher and higher
No one can get near
When I'm sitting here
Won't move until I perspire. (Which is never.)

My skin is constantly blue
What would anyone do
People don't understand
That my fingers on hand
Are the same as my toes in my shoe

I really am quite rare
They tell me that I share
A strange little name
And you have the same
And I don't think it's fair

They call it scleroderma -- what?
A name that is easily forgot
They told me a lot
Just what I had got
But I couldn't remember it not

And I have Raynuad's as well
I guess you could probably tell
I have no circulation
Go white on occasion
If anyone's buying -- I'll sell!

I guess the gist of the matter
Is to remain as mad as an hatter
For humour gets me through
What else can I do
I have nothing else left to flatter!


Friday The 13th

Posted by CFMBabs , 13 March 2009 · 849 views

Several cups of coffee later, seems to be doing the trick! I feel almost human, perhaps a little hyper but I've made it through the first half of the day with limited energy and blank expression. I never made it to the radio station, I had other pressing business to attend to. With panic over and a minor problem sorted I can now sit down and reflect upon the day.

It never occurred to me that it is in fact Friday 13th! Perhaps this may have something to do with my inability to run my life to schedule today. I feel pretty bad that I let the radio station down but I just didn't have the time in the end and family comes a firm first! My daughter commanded the early part of the day -- on placement at a nearby retirement home! My Aunt needed my help at the bank, not easy when she can't sign her name or speak properly on account of a stroke she suffered 10 years ago. It's pretty hard for me to remember her actual year of birth and because she no longer has any viable ID, I knew the whole situation would be quite difficult.

I didn't feel my absolute best -- I think you have to look businesslike whenever you want something from the bank. Tracing an old account was going to be difficult even if she had ID but having none at all except one sheet of paper with her name and address upon it and only limited speech was going to be nigh on impossible in my book. Well, we sat in the little office waiting to see someone. The script was going through my mind -- how was I going to explain this one? She has a small pension, doesn't know where it's going, we think here! Doesn't know how much is in the account, it hasn't been used for over 10 years and we had no idea of account numbers. I'd have said right then that locating the account was going to be a foregone conclusion!

In walked a young lady no older than my daughter and I began to explain. I could tell by the look on her face that we were going nowhere fast so I decided right there and then that I wasn't going anywhere until we had her money and her account details. Perseverance wasn't going to be my best attribute today and I think she sensed that because she gathered all the information and wandered off for what seemed like ages, returning with several sheets of paper and a sly smile. I was amazed to learn that I'd achieved the impossible. My knowledge of her past life matched everything they held on her.

My Aunt left the bank with a huge lopsided smile and was so overjoyed that the twinkle she once had in her eye returned. My good deed for today was achieved from an impossible situation and almost a dream. I've woken up since then in the satisfaction that at least one member of my family is happy on Friday the 13th!

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