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Barbara Lowe's Life with Scleroderma

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Stumpy Fingers

Did I ever mention how illiterate I am with computers? It's a surprise to all I imagine, that so much of my time is spent at a Radio Station which actually runs with nothing but computers! I am there at my desk looking all clever and like know what I'm doing -- It's a ruse!


I have spent hours writing stuff, from reports to emails, only to press the wrong button and it all magically disappears - how frustrating. I haven't the will to sit down and begin again. My heart sinks.


My stumpy fingers, clumsy and unwilling to hit the right key, thank goodness for the "Backspace" button. How many times have I attempted to write a word that just keeps coming up with the wrong thing altogether, and that brings me to my phone Oh! the dreaded texting exercise. I have sent many a text that makes no sense what-so-ever.


"Hi Alan I gusse I wsont be in tofay, i hace too muvh to do"......Send!!!


........Ping! with a little mailbox sign


"What? :/"


I usually ring him instead it's easier. My texts have been known to crack a smile on the straightest face. I have sent messages that I couldn't possibly post on here for fear of deletion from the site. My daughter despairs. She got me one of those stylus things that you touch the letter with in the hope it solved my dyslexic messages so that people could understand without having to ring me back! It worked for a time but I lost it and now it's back to stumpy fingers and non decipherable messages


I mentioned it in clinic that I am likely to get myself into trouble with my fingers and my somewhat rude or dysfunctional messages - they think I am in the wrong place, "The psychiatric Dept is that way my dear!" And yes I am such a fool, I make fun of myself to make light of a situation, that's me all over.


I joke that my fingers are perfect for making pastry. In fact my pastry though I say it myself is by far my greatest achievement in the kitchen, although I am pretty good at baking!

I used to be top of the class at school, it was almost embarrassing watching my cakes rise like I was inflating them with a bicycle pump. My friends, it's fair to say hated me, my teacher loved me. I was the model student from which she would take the credit and I would stand with a will to die of embarrassment at the final result.


I took to cake decorating too. I went to college and I will always remember the Mothers Day Cake, beautifully decorated like a woven basket with flowers all made of sugar and the foolish trick of putting it on the roof of my car whilst I got in and then forgot about it.


It fell off in the middle of the road about half a mile from the college to rapturous laughter from passers by. My work ruined and a flattened cake to boot. One of my many thousand disasters!


My stumpy fingers ended my love of cake decorating. It does ruin most of my everyday chores in fact. I hate loose change, shoelaces, buttons, threading a needle-impossible! Opening jars, milk cartons, zips, clasps, packaging, and text messages to name but a few.


And there goes my phone - text message. Let's see who I can upset today. My life is never dull?



Woke up this morning - Ouch!! My back was staying put - I wanted to get up! Sciatica struck at 08.15 on Tuesday 29th January.


So my day begun like a Neanderthal, my knuckles almost dragging the floor. I needed to straighten up, least ways to make coffee which I desperately needed, my mouth like the inside of a Rabbit hutch.


Reaching for the jar of coffee with a little Argh! Just lifting the kettle for water did nothing to help my posture.


Cats gathered around my ankles assuming to be fed and I was having trouble making a drink never mind preparing breakfast for the felines.



With drink in hand and stacked up cushions on the sofa a sat in agony until my husband showed up in dressing gown and slippers; yes, it is his day off, of all days.


"Shall we go out today?" he said. Quite unaware that I was hunched and in pain.


"Can we just take it easy" I said "My Back's out"


"Oh Okay, I'll just have a coffee then" Looking at me to provide his cup.


I think at that point he realised that I wasn't moving so with an about turn he went off to make his own.


I am assuming it's Sciatica and not something I have pulled. My self diagnosis saves me a trip to my general practitioner and I'm afraid that's another story!


Momma Used To Say

My Momma used to say, "just wait until you're old"

When your back goes out more than you do and begin to feel the cold

Back then her words were unheeded I was young, why should I care?

I'm too far away from fifties, it was a lifetime till I was there.


I'd go outside in winter, build a snowman, cold hands would warm by the fire

With feet so cold inside my boots and skimpy outdoor attire

"You'll get chilblains" my mum used to cry, and then you'll get what for

But those words meant nothing as I ran out of the door


I'd walk around in Tee shirts when woollens I should have worn

"You'll get pneumonia one day" and then you will mourn

But life in the 80's was fun, why should I take her heed?

A Mum who told me what to do was something I didn't need.



So the years went by as they do and I got married did all that

But something wasn't right you know, I began to eat my hat

My fingers dead and painful, Pneumonia came and went

And off to see the specialist, I was duly sent

They said I had Scleroderma, surely it wasn't bad

I'd never even heard of it. something I never knew I had


My Mother's words rang through and through

And now I was feeling the cold too

Chilblains, illness, I had the lot

And other things that I've forgot


I guess my Mother was always right but I never saw this day

And now I wish she was here, she was right I would say



Snow they say!


Well it's certainly cold enough. The mere mention of the word and everyone buys bread- Why?


I'd wrestled with a wonky wheeled trolley all round the supermarket. I'd bumped. bruised, and bore the brunt of many a screwed up face and said "Sorry" more times than a child with a broken piece of China! I was worn out when I reached Checkout.


In front of me was a lady, you know the type. A busy little bee type who was keeping up with the cashier, throwing things into bags, but the mound of Bread? 10 loaves - I counted.

I looked at my measly shop with just a pack of fresh meat, a bag of peppers. cheese, tinned tomatoes,beans. Yeah! I'm making Chilli.


The lady announced with a rather worrying expression. "It's going to snow really bad, thought I'd better stock up"


I smiled and looked down into my trolley and said "It's terrible when you shop for a month isn't it?" Meaning the stuff I had was for a whole month.


Some people don't get humour.


"You don't eat much then do you?" She said


"I don't eat at all" I said!


She hurried off balancing loaves on top of the bags of shopping.


I said to the cashier. "A few more loaves and she could build an extension"


At least someone had a sense of humour - she laughed out loud.


She went on to tell me that they had been really busy since the weather men announced there would be snow. I had noticed some shelves were unusually bare and the fact I had the wonky wheeled trolley was because it was on it's own in the far corner of the car park, No one else wanted it!


"I hate the cold, do you?" She asked


I think she sort of guessed that due to the heavy layers of clothing I had on, boots, gloves, scarf the whole lot. I actually looked like I had robbed a snowman


On the way home it started and I was very glad to get indoors to my warm fire.

Looking in the fridge, I wondered if we would survive this snow-ma-geddon? If we get snowed in my family will starve. Huh! welcome to my world. They can share my Osmalite!


Cats Everywhere.

Heating on! Now where are my boots?


Those flakes were growing in size, Mmmm! it may be sticking. The cats certainly thought so. Note I say cats yes I now have a menagerie! One Meowing, one stretched in front of the fire and one sat on the work top -- Sat on the worktop? "Hey Geroff"




Beastly thing, I've just spent ages cleaning the worktops and trying to get rid of the smell of curry from last night. The containers are in the bin and I'm not going out - not yet to put them in the dustbin outside. I can't find me boots!


"Oy Get off me table"


I despair! The door is opened but the cats just look at me as if to say "Are you crazy - We ain't going out in that"


Sigh!! Clean the table again and then I see paw marks on my cooker "Oh No!" Clean the cooker.


The black cat rubs my leg and then around around my feet I cannot walk. I know what they want -- food!

20 tins of cat food later, half a leftover Chicken and the Turkey from the festivities, no wonder they think I'm a push over! I'm a vending machine for food - they Meeoww and I dispense. Better still let it snow and we can stay indoors all day.


It's getting so dark now - looks like thunder. I don't like thunder it scares me, ever since my grandma told me of ball lightning and how one chased her through the house. She even turned all the mirrors round. No wonder I have a phobia? I have visions of a ball of fire raging through the house but I can't turn our mirrors round unless I move the wall as well, like something out of Harry Potter.


CRACCK! Whoooo there it goes! I'll stand here away from the door. Hailstone, it's like the end of the world - I'm so dramatic aren't I? Another rumble - how many seconds are you meant to count to judge the distance of the storm? It looks really bad out there.


"Hey, get your head out of that bin!"


There's the back end of a cat with no visible head in the bin licking the curry containers..... I give up!


Meeow! I'm pulling its back end out of the bin and when finally out, it's tongue is swishing from side to side and sneezing. I reckon it's eaten the Vindaloo....... that'll serve you right!


I grab a tin of cat food from the shelf and I have a following.


"No Squabbling and no stealing from each other."


I can't get the stuff out of the tin and with the cat's head so large there's not enough bowl to put it in, so I scoop it out and it lands right between it's ears and what fun as the others fight to eat it off the cat's head.


Phew! I may get some peace now. The thunder has stopped, Cats fed and I'm having a coffee.



There's absolutely nothing remotely humorous about a Hospital or doctor's appointment. It's just something you get very used to and - yes we do need them. I've been to-ing and fro-ing for much of the 13 years since diagnosis. Monthly appointments and stabbed so frequently for blood that my body is a not a temple but a colander. I've driven home with arms aching and bruised and the last time I was there - electrocuted! Yes, I testify, I was actually shocked, not in a surprised sense but physically, and yes, I was shocked as well.


I'm an old sucker for clinical trials, I just can't say no. Part of me wishes I could! They see me coming. I'm convinced there is a huge arrow over my head as I sit blatantly reading some old discarded magazine about the next doors wife's husband's fetish for sniffing woman's shoes. I can feel the approach is directed at me and I try to bury my head deeper into the story but usually to no avail. That gentle tap on the shoulder and the clipboard under your nose and you are there! It's another Trial and here I go again - Yeah I'll do it! So you spend far more time that you ought to, filling in forms and agreeing to be poked, prodded, and scrutinised all in the name of science. Nothing new for me last time. I'd promised myself a fast appointment. Ask no questions, don't complain, nothing new, nothing changed, still the same - there you go, I'm outa here! But as usual I gave in to yet another Trial about body mass or something like that! See that's me all over, never really ask what I'm getting into.


I signed the sheets, agreed to spend half an hour in a room at the far end of the corridor - where nobody goes!I Had the grace of my appointment with the doctor first and then when she'd given me a dose of hypothermia and a severe Raynauds attack in a room you could refrigerate wet fish in, I reluctantly went for the usual blood tests. I watched in envy as people went in and out like a cuckoo on a chiming clock. You could tell the one's with Sclero, reinforcements were always called to the room, the expert Vein Hunters, surprising isn't it? Where do they come from, are they hiding?My turn next and as I nestle into the chair, so high my feet never touch the floor. I feel I am going to be ejected through the roof but that comes later. I always get the intolerant sort, the one who has had a bad day and everyone knows about it! My confidence and bravery are dumped on the floor at that point. "I haven't had much luck today, everyone is vein-less and I've run out of small needles." "WHAT! You have no small one's??" My toes curl as she rummages through the drawers of the trolley and out comes a needle so big if I had another I could knit a jumper!


The next bit is by far the most painful. The tourniquet. They wrap it so tight around your arm that the blood hits a dam. So with my arm about to drop off and a lovely shade of blue, she smacks my arm with a flick so hard her false nails almost fly off and in goes the needle. There is a "bwop, bwop" sound as she pulls hard back and forth to draw out the blood but the carriage shoots backwards with nothing but fresh air. "Elsie, I have another vein-less wonder" By this time I'm traumatised, in pain and gesturing that my arm is about to drop off through lack of circulation and excruciating pain from the band around my arm. In walks the chief blood sucker with a confident smile and at least a small needle."Have we tried your feet?" "Oh please, not the feet!" "Okay, we'll persevere with the arm then" After about 5 more insertions there is blood. It's dark, thick and unforgiving. It slowly gloops into the tube before finally giving up but they reckon they have enough."Phew, no really Phew!" My arm is aching and I feel abused and my reaction as I leave the room puts everyone in the waiting area on edge. I'm called to the room that nobody ever goes. Following on behind a 2nd year Medic with a clipboard and brand new stethoscope. I'm asked to lie on a couch crisply decorated with a new piece of paper roll and of course with shoes and trousers removed. She places electrodes on my feet and legs and warns me of a small charge."It really won't hurt, we are just measuring fat." The hum of the machine grows louder and louder until she pushes the button and Zap! I jump uncontrollably as the charge resonates through my body and my hair stands on end! "Oops perhaps a little too much that time!" she says "What do you mean that time - do you mean you are going to do it again?" "Yes but I'll do it right this time" I wondered frantically if doing it right meant total electrocution or just a little tingle but she threw the switch and nothing happened so she'd either blown the machine up or she'd done it correctly. I was extremely happy to learn she had indeed done it correctly."See you next time" Not jolly likely, I thought? So fully charged, bruised and aching minus two phials of my precious blood I leave the hospital thoroughly trialled and released on bail till next time! My life with Sclero is never dull!


Here Kitty!

I've never been the brightest button in the box, according to some. I was never top of the class in high school except one subject where I excelled my own expectations and probably that of the teacher too, Biology. Yes I could sex a Frog, knew the gestation period of a Newt and claimed top marks for drawing an Amoeba - it was rather good, I had all the shading in the right places.

I was good at drawing too but I was ridiculed in Maths, numbers never added up for me. I never seemed to have enough fingers!


Thinking back and I am thinking back so many years ago, I have done better than most with very few qualifications. Anyway I digress.


I want to talk about our new arrival, a cat! Yes he arrived over the holidays, hungry, homeless and searching for pity; he came to the right place it would seem.

My house cat was none too impressed by the new cat in Da House so much so that we have a chorus of strange noises emulating from behind the sofa until there is a screech and one shoots at speed into the kitchen, usually my house cat Smudge! She's such a scaredy cat.


Anyhow this stranger needed a name but not before I searched the newspapers for Lost Pets and the local shops to see if anyone was missing him but to no avail so we named him Sammy after numerous attempts of Hugo, Dougie, Hector, and he was almost Fred. but Sammy it was.


That was 3 weeks ago now and he's still with us.


"Stop giving him too much food" my daughter said as she sat stroking him. He has the most gorgeous shiny coat and very affectionate too. Someone must be missing him I thought!


I wondered if he had been, well you know, Done! I reckoned if he had then he must belong to someone. I spent many a moment with a crick neck chasing him until finally announcing that his bits had been removed, much to the amazement and extreme dislike of the cat; well, it's not nice someone chasing you to get a view of your bits and bobs, is it?


He continued to put on weight and was looking more and more like a well cared for member of the family. He was answering to his name and showing affection towards us. Smudge however, was not impressed and the groaning continued.


"He looks like a Leopard" my husband announced! "How much food are you giving him?"


Fact is just the normal although he had gorged himself on left over turkey - he must have thought he was well in here if this is the quality of food.


I was making dinner for the family when Sammy came in purring and rubbing his head against my leg. He then flopped on the floor with such a bump due to his size that I turned around. It was then I realised. He had pairs of teats down each side of his large belly, Sammy was pregnant.


"Oh my, Oh My" I muttered, "He's a She!" How could I have been so silly to think he was a boy with no bits. Of course he didn't, well he wouldn't. So now it's Samantha not Sammy.


So now we are about to have Kittens much to the delight of my daughter who is already volunteering to be Midwife. My Husband is less impressed though at the thought of a houseful of cats and I can't imagine what Smudge will think. She was a solitary feline and now she was going to be an Aunt of sorts. I somehow think she won't be happy


I have no idea when the event will happen? We wait and hope that there are just a few.

We are fast becoming a Cat Sanctuary and a feline maternity unit. I have noticed another cat hanging around in a similar condition.


"It's not coming in" was the warning from my husband but my daughter has other ideas I'm sure. I caught her with a bowl of food trying to entice the cat closer to the house. I am feeding the entire population of my village here.


So it's official. I can sex a Frog and a Newt but not a Cat. Bottom of the class in Biology. I really am losing my touch!


Respite or Frostbite

It was meant to be a quiet day. I hadn't reckoned on my daughter having the day off from work and I found myself rolling out of bed to the sound of a 7am alarm and wondering why she was still in bed?"You don't listen Mum. I told you last night it's my day off. Now I'm never going to get back to sleep" Well, since I was already up, I might as well stay up and Steve was already heading for the bathroom, so the next question would be:"Make us a coffee" It wasn't long before Steph joined us enquiring where her coffee was too. I could tell she was about to ask what I had planned for the day by the way she waited for her Dad to leave the room. Guess what was coming next? "Can we go into Town later?" I found myself without hesitation saying yes and with that she went back upstairs with coffee in hand, no doubt counting her money.


I love my days off, in fact I only go to the radio station once a week now. I do miss the company and most of all the warmth, but I found doing more days was just wearing me out and in the end something had to give. I'd been involved with the radio station in the Holiday Celebrations in Town last year. Of all things I get myself into, and I do! I ended up dressed as an Elf; Yes an Elf in full regalia. I was a fat Elf no other way to explain it. The suit was rather big but a welcome size for me because it meant I could wear several layers underneath. Forget the pointy toes on the shoes I was given, it was fur lined boots all the way for me! I thought the effect was rather good until a child asked me if I was Robin Hood? - it somewhat blew me down. "No I'm an Elf" I was glad that we weren't involved this year. I almost got Frostbite in my fingers and toes and I claimed the heater that was backstage of all the fun, even the TV Celebrity from a well know Soap opera couldn't get near. Famous or not, I was there first and it was all mine. "Clear off" The whole event led up to a crescendo of explosive fireworks and the crowd "Oooed and Ahhh'd" By this time though I was aching so much and I looked about as green as the suit itself, not to mention fingers and toes that no longer belonged to me. No, as I reflect I'm so glad we weren't asked this year.


So with the holidays over and things just about getting back to normal I now have a trip into the next town to deliver and a Daughter yearning to spend some cash and spend she certainly did. A designer bag that looked like the sort you got as a kid and cost a whole month's wages and a silver safety chain for her bracelet. I marvel at the young and not a single regret of cost. My shopping list consisted of Cat food, and Milk and I splashed out on some Ham steak for Steve's evening dinner. A whole gallon of fuel for a trip that lasted a couple of hours. So respite for me this afternoon with Steph having gone out with Boyfriend. feet up and a warm computer on my lap. The day is grey but I'm quite content!


Just call Me Babs

Here's my first attempt at a blog for almost 3 years. I'm a bit rusty and corroded around the edges but none the less here goes!


I live on a farm of sorts. I have a house that is begging to be finished, a Husband with gout, a 22 year old Daughter with boyfriend in tow, one house cat, one visiting cat and one Goat. I have 3 walls, one conservatory with no doors and our 6th December Holiday under renovation but we are getting there.

I have Raynauds, Scleroderma, Cervical Spondylosis, Arthritis, Fybromyalgia and a broken nail. Besides that I'm fighting fit? I'm also known as Babs.


I was sat here in front of the TV when I decided to write this blog, watching in awe as a guy shovelled copious amounts of food into his mouth for entertainment thinking how much I would be choking if I swallowed a pea.

Mealtimes are a nightmare, My Daughter is Lactose intolerant, My Husband's Gout causes havoc with meal plans and I don't eat and there's this guy eating mounds for a TV programme and we're all feeling nauseous.

"Turn it off" I asked but the options were a film we have seen so many times that I know the script, a game show and I gave up flicking through the channels when a programme about nurses flashed across the screen. Not that I have anything against those Angels, I just don't want to watch!


Things have really changed in the household over the last few years, in fact the only thing that's the same is the hole in my wall although it's slightly smaller of late on account of a glass building intended for Summer evenings being constructed and for a brief time had doors, so I guess we didn't have a hole then.We have a hole now because my husband took them off again and never got round to putting them back! It's only draughty when the wind blows so then we just turn the heating up!

There was a time when it was normal to meet a Goose on the bottom step of the staircase but they have now long gone on account of the complaints received by dog walkers. It was fun!


I had Chickens also. Those went too when I was tired of answering the door to strangers who didn't understand the term "Free Range" I once called them to the yard when an guy started having a go at me on a really bad day and told them off for going on the road. I couldn't quite understand his anger, I did ask the Chickens to comply and they did understand - I think? Anyhow he just thought I had lost my marbles.


My dietician stayed away as long as she could and couldn't help showing her relief when I informed her that the Geese had gone. She's been back and forth more frequently since.

My husband dreams of more Goats, a Ferret and a new set of Chickens. I say nothing and hope it's a passing whim and nothing more. He hasn't mentioned it for a while.


My voluntary job keeps me sane, warm and occupied. I've had days, you know the one's. The one's that anchor you to the bed and no amount of attempts to get up. I have sicky days and achey days and days where I don't quite know where it hurts most only that it does.

"Don't touch me, don't ask me to do anything, it's an off day"


My Daughter bids me Goodnight and I'm contemplating the same. The bed is beckoning me and I have an overwhelming urge to climb into it.


I reckon it's sanctuary!


You can tell it's March -- Things flying about the yard, yep! there goes a Chicken, not entirely the direction it was heading but when the wind took hold it ended up right in the middle of the field. Today has got to be compared to a mild hurricane. It almost blew me over and the gust took me up the yard the fastest I'd gone for years!


I was glad to be home and watch stuff through the window. Stuff like twigs, chickens, an old plastic bag and the old gander trying to stand proud and looking like a fool next to the nest where his missus is sitting on a nest being battered by a force 10. Raynauds in full bloom I see, time for a hot drink!


Wondering what to make the tribe for dinner? We had pancakes yesterday, an age old tradition. It was like a scene from "Oliver", both my hubby and daughter standing by he stove waiting for the next cake. Trouble is, I'd no sooner flipped the last pancake when the next plate was shoved under my nose to fill. Production line or fast food take away comes to mind.


Also it's official my hubby has gout! No more beer or foods which aggravate the condition. I could hardly tolerate the sulk last night. No Beans, Brocolli, Cauliflower, Lentils, nothing that's bad for you, and he sulks! I could understand if it was chocolate. No it's the beer bit that's got him sulking. He's not a heavy drinker, far from that in fact! But he likes a tipple when we go out, now he'll get to sample my life without alcohol. I would love to be able to hand the car keys to him in an inebriated condition but that ain't ever going to happen!


I went to the hairdressers last week. My hair was everywhere but in place. It had grown so much since December. I decided in order to keep the style longer I'd have a good old crop. I was taken back though when in the mirror I saw my ears being revealed for the first time in years. I asked the stylist a question which made her walk away laughing and in need of a steady hand.


"Wow, look at the size of my ears -- Is it true they grow much bigger as you get older --- they're not ears they're flaps"


I finally left with my huge ears and that pretty much dominated the rest of the day. It was certainly the topic of conversation in our home for the rest of the evening until my hubby came in with a wooly bob hat. "Here wear that then!" My daughter thought it was hilarious and before you get to wonder if I've actually worn it, well, I haven't and I'm not going to!


I've got used to my ears now and perhaps they are in proportion after all. I've lost so much weight in recent years that my head has probably shrunk. Well you can't have everything can you?


Taste Of Spring

Today is what I call one of the first days of Spring! Glorious sunshine from a big round thing that is quite a stranger to these lands of late. It was a pleasure to come home and enjoy a degree of warmth on my starved skin.


I pulled up to the gate to a welcome party of feathered friends who crowed,squalked and flapped at my arrival and then out of nowhere the Gander came charging down the drive with neck outstretched and hissing! I was just about to kick out my leg when a guy stopped me to ask if there were any goose eggs for sale?

"Ask him?" I said "if you can get near the nest, I'll give them to you!" No surprise then when he declined, mounted his cycle and went merrily on his way.


I'd been out of the house since eight thirty ths morning, doing my little show on the radio. I'd had my flll of Lady Ga Ga, Tinie Tempah, and Dizzy Rascal -- if yo don't know the artists, join the club, neither did I until 12 months ago. My era has to be the eighties and I like to sneak one or two of them in here and there to the disapproving glare of the boss.


I recall and cringe at one incident not long ago when a drink of extremely fizzy soda produced an extraordinary loud belch on air in the middle of a sentence -- I've never quite got over that and never has it been forgotten! It's had more plays than the Beatles -- now there's something that we might all agree was music, or perhaps not if you are under 50?


Three things you must not keep repeating on radio -- Yeah! Okay! and Mmmmm! I'm guilty of all 3 and more besides. It's a far cry from the world of hospitals where all you get to say is "What, Why, and When?"


We have to keep the TV on in the studio - "Why?" I hear you ask? In case the queen dies of course! I remember asking that question myself when the boss came in and scorned me for not switching it on --"The queen might die?" he said and I replied "What! just because I haven't put the TV on?" It's true that we'd probably be the last to know and at the risk of playing something unsuitable, we have to keep up with the news! I could hardly play out "killer Queen, by Queen could I if the unthinkable happened! So much protocol and things you would never give a second thought about!


Back to reality and the nesting geese, ever hungry chickens and the great hole in the wall! I'm so used to that now, it's like having a live mural on the wall, it seems such a shame to brick it up now!


So a taste of Spring -- thank goodness. I hope winter has finally left the shores?


Filling In The Gaps

I'd completely forgotten what it was like to have a whole week away from work -- well if you can call it that! Since taking a voluntary role at the Radio station my life has gone from four walls, well three actually. Did I mention we never did complete the gable end and we still have panoramic views from my stairway? Yes it's true that we survived two of the worst winter's on British record with a hole as big as a tunnel entrance, facing North too I might add! The geese walk in and out, so do the chickens and until recently the goats loved to make an appearance too.


My hubby has gout and my daughter is 20 years of age. We have a cat, 17 geese 12 chickens and just 2 goats. There were originally 5 but one was stolen and 2 unfortunately died of old age. My poor hubby then had the unfortunate job of disposing of the bodies and I drew the line at putting them in the trash can! It's amazing but when one of the geese died, he stuffed it in the bin with legs straight up lifting the lid. I was horrified when the Refuse Wagon came and refused to take it because it wasn't in the recycling bin -- How on earth do you recycle a goose?


Life is pretty much the same as except I'm a bit of a local celeb. My voice on the radio every weekday morning and now Marketing Director. I don't know quite how I got there but I did and that is that!


I still suffer badly with Raynaud's and haven't ate a proper meal in 7 years. The odd piece of chocolate, perhaps a solitary biscuit and that's me sorted for a whole day. Still it has it's rewards. I've never had such trendy clothes, it's like being the younger sister who receives hand-me-downs from big sis! Although in this instance it's my daughter who goes through fashion faster than corn through the goose!


I turned 50 in July, a milestone for most -- an absolute miracle for me! There were times when I thought I'd never see another birthday let alone reach 50! and now it seems like I'm talking about another person, was I really that ill? Certainly no one knew the extent of my demise from a well rounded individual to an almost anorexic wreck who couldn't swallow a grain of rice....


Can I just say at this point "Thank goodness I still have my own teeth!"


I guess I've brought you up to date with circumstance but not up to speed with my very full and eventful life -- it will take some time to go through it and if you bear with me I'll try and write as often as I can to bring you somewhere up to date.


Since I last wrote - computers have moved on so much. Smaller keys and stumpy awkward fingers don't match. I may have the odd missing word and I apologise in advance but just fill in the gaps won't you ...


Six Jobs!

Another day at the Radio Station, my these weeks are flying by! It was kind of a hard day today since I got up too quickly this morning, treading on the cat downstairs, then stubbing my toe on the table leg. My hubby was dishing out daily instructions but to be honest it went in one ear and out the next!

My daughter emerged from the dark room where no one ever goes, looking somewhat similar to how I felt and the first word from her lips was "Mum can you make me a drink?" The second sentence went something like this "Can you pick me up tonight?"


I pulled on my Chorley FM T Shirt just as hubby sped off to work but by this time I was feeling nauseous which is an irritating side affect of jumping out of bed with all systems 'Go'


My second job of Wife, Mother and Head Cook and Bottle Washer was the personal chauffeur service for my daughter -- and I make that 6 jobs in total. She did begin to take driving lessons but decided she didn't like it, or more to the truth it was cheaper by far to ask Mum and Dad to provide a suitable mode of transport.


Finally sitting in the presenter's chair at 9am, I quickly looked through the log and first song on the list was "Get me Outa Here" I felt more like playing a relaxing mellow tune to ease me into the day but it played and I scribbled requests from listeners on my little note pad. Red light on and away I went, can't remember my first words this morning - it's a bit of a blur.


I watched the hours fly by until it was time for me to sign off. I headed home to find my hubby eating french fries on the lawn wrapped in newspaper, and trying to hide them from the chickens, which were all gathered hoping for at least one chip!


"Good Day??" He asked


"Naahh!" I replied. "felt a bit rough around the edges today."


"Oh very good" He said not really listening. I was so glad to be home. I just needed 5 minutes to myself to recuperate. Life can be a bit hectic sometimes? Just call me Six Jobs!


Seems so strange finally being here and able to type into the forum. I've been a stranger in these parts for far too long and I've dearly missed having a moan or a titter to those who share a common bond, although Scleroderma has become somewhat of a stranger to me these past months and I guess that's something to be glad about.

I no longer have the time to think about what the future holds. My day at the radio station is full of current news and interesting folk passing through. Sound checks, music logs and mixing are a huge part of my life at the moment and pressing 50 years of age next month! Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?


My morning coffee interview which I conduct always at 11 has made me realise that there are other people out there with huge problems. Being part of a Community Station I brush with charitable organisations and wonderfully brave individuals who all come into the studio and have a chat about their life with me. You sometimes forget that other people suffer too and my own illness is really quite trivial compared to the poor person sat in front of me!


The music plays and I relax into my big presenter chair. "It's really hot in here Babs" Say's the following presenter! "How can you sit there in a jumper without breaking sweat"

It's true that whilst I'm just alright, other's are wilting and opening windows for air which I instantly close just as soon as they leave.

My winter of discontent was held in that very room. I've never been so comfortably warm, yet feeling so mixed up. My Father had just passed away and I had to speak into a microphone like I'd won the lottery, nothing felt the same I was feeling alone and so lost in fact it seemed like nothing mattered anymore -- was I doing this job for myself or trying to impress. My own health faltered a little. I'd suddenly lost interest in being ill and with it several missed appointments at the hospital, always with an excuse and not having the will to look after myself.


The long hard winter of 2009 further depressed me but I kept plodding on and arriving at the radio station every day. Slowly I began to dig myself out of a rut and after a little dusting down my spirit returned, only much stronger than before and I rose up above all the blackness that seemed to surround me after Dad's funeral. Suddenly I had a family again, my life had also turned around -- hello to the world!


Radio Star, TV Star it all makes sense now, my destiny was probably just waiting round the corner and when I turned it, it hit me full throttle!

Glad to be back, twice the woman I was but only half the size.




In The Wilderness

Not sure if this will appear on the blog site but here goes!..... My absence, although caused by personal issues, was not entirely due to my lack of availability, oh no! my ISP saw to that. I've been blocked out since October last year. So here is my rather long and tedious blog that you've probably all been waiting for?


I'll begin with today, Mother's Day in the UK. I was up and fully dressed by 7am. My hubby was off to work and my car was blocking his in the yard. I'd bought daffodils more than 10 of them, a rare flower it seems after the long hard winter of 2009. A visit to the church yard was on the cards this morning.


Quiet cold yet peaceful places are the grounds around our little church. I noticed Snowdrops, Crocus all growing in a sea of colour and birds singing in the trees, although still bare and eerie! The old church clock chimed on the half hour as I walked the stoney path choking back the tears with each step. I wasn't just visiting my Mum but my Dad as well! My dad passed away in November and although I'm brave on the outside, I'm very much falling apart within.


I'd been very close to my Dad. I'm an only child and in his twilight years we'd grown especially close. I moaned sometimes at his constant demands for attention -- my life was so busy with the radio station that sometimes it's true that I thought he was being unfair. His illness was much worse than my own, leastways that's how it seemed and towards the end I have to admit that my patience was wearing thin.


I'm wrecked with guilt now. I should never have got so angry with him and all the times I made excuses not to see him on some day's, I wish I could have those back! All the telephone calls he made throughout the day drove me to the edge of despair one call after another. I wish the phone would ring once more time with his voice -- oh to hear him speak to me again!


So with the flowers held in hand I walked up to the grave with a lump in my throat so big I thought I would choke. "Hi Mum, Hi Dad" I crouched by the graveside trying to utter words but nothing came out. My tears dripped onto the soil and I just blurted out "I love you both"

I spent a few moments just thinking about the times we had together as I placed each flower in the pot. I began to whisper, "Everyone's okay Dad -- Steph's away for the weekend and she finally got rid of that boy" That's another story!


"I'm growing tomatoes again, in the greenhouse and look at my fingers Dad!" Every digit was frozen and dead. I could almost hear him saying "Get home love."


I cried all the way home, just when I think I'm doing well -- I'm really not! Life goes on I know. I'll hit the age of 50 this year, so why am I so cut up about losing my parents. I guess you are always the child until they leave this earth and then suddenly you are the parents.


This has been such a terrible piece of writing and for that I apologize! Give me time and my old silly self will come back to the forum. I guess right now is not the right time!


Thank you for reading!


Much love to all


:emoticons-yes: I'm writing this little rhyme

To see if I get in this time

It's been some while since I was here

So before I start I'll pour a beer!


Bet you thought I'd been real sick

And No! I haven't turned alcoholic

Just my twisted humour I really do not drink

But getting onto the forums has really made me think!


I've had a few problems and "Boy" I've been so busy

It's really no wonder I haven't turned to the fizzy

Doing stuff for the radio and busy being in demand

I've never had the time to spare nothing ever planned


So this is my little test to see if I get through

Perhaps I need a medium, I don't know what else to do?


Just Stuff!

I've been so busy with this'n'that, I've hardly had the time to sit down and relax. The radio work is exhausting but great fun and I'm finding myself getting more heavily involved than I'd set out to do. I was made Marketing and Production Director because of my previous business experience and although my services are voluntary, I'm thoroughly worn out!


I've interviewed famous and not so famous people over the past few months, the most interesting people are usually the ones who are not famous I have to add! It's a world far from hospital waiting rooms, in fact no one knows about my condition except the directors and that was for insurance purposes. I'm treated as an individual and not the poor woman who has an incurable disease.


I went to the hospital last week for my annual check up. I may as well have spent the time doing something else because despite the usual palavar, they didn't manage to take blood, didn't manage a cortisone injection and didn't manage to fix my stiff neck which was stiffer on account of sitting in the most uncomfortable chair they could find. I waited patiently for over an hour, shifting my legs numerous times to allow people passage to the desk where they complained of numb bottoms and lengthy waits. A typical hospital waiting room and I decided there and then it wasn't where I wanted to be.


My long list of ailments suffered being struck off by each passing minute. I pondered my best scenario. "Should I tell her about the pain in my leg - or would that add more time to the appointment?" I settled upon not telling her about my sickness which is something I'm quite used to and have learned to live with. My best assumption was to go with the things that irritate me more and my leg happened to be one of them!


Not much to write about when my turn came along. You of all people know what comes next, so if I say the usual 'stuff' you'll know what I mean ;) I hate the undressing bit. My fingers decided to go into spasm and I found myself mumbling under my breath, "behave." They don't have to perform like I'm having a disability test -- she already knows what they're like. So I fumbled with the strings on the gown finally giving up as she walked into the room.


After the examination, I was handed my usual request for tests sheets -- the dreaded blood test was the sum of all fears. It's not that I'm squeamish, after all I've had more needles than hot dinners, and you wouldn't mind if all that prodding and poking, stabbing and delving got a drop of blood, the fact is they got just enough to give a gnat a transfusion and even that would have left him anaemic. So without enough blood to do any kind of test, I was sent home with the request sheets in hand for another go at my local hospital.


I enjoyed the rest of the day though. Hubby was off work and we had a nice afternoon together just taking it all in. We called at the butchers on the way home and bought a freezer full of stuff and then treated ourselves to a nice trip to the seaside for a good shiver by the front.


I'm sorry if my update isn't really interesting but that's just about where I'm at right now -- nothing to report, just stuff!


Medical Miracle

Brrrr! I'm so cold. No matter how much clothing I pile on it makes little difference! I feel about as bare as the trees at the moment and yes, they are dropping leaves at the rate of knots making my drive extremely slippery. My fire won't go and I'm fast losing patience with the thing. I piled on loads of wood and even a firelighter to boot but it flickers with a solitary flame and enough smoke to send signals.


My yearly appointment is one to look forward to tomorrow -- not! An early morning dash through city traffic is enough to put you off before even getting there. I have much to tell my doctor but since I don't want to go in the first place I'm pondering -- "tell her - tell her not"! I want to go in and out, I'm dreading the whole episode to be honest. I say so little these days that I think she thinks I'm cured. If I say I'm tired of complaining does that identify with any of you? I simply hate my condition so much that the "S" word is almost a swear word. I try and behave pre "S" until there's enough reminders that I'm paying no attention to it!


My family pretend there's nothing the matter with me or am I missing the point? Do they actually care? Is it my fault I wonder, giving out the wrong signals. No wonder my doctor thinks I'm cured! According to her if you're breathing, walking, talking and can stand on one leg without falling over -- you're okay for at least another year and if you can stand straight up from a sitting position -- you're a miracle of modern science. She'll be more interested in my choice of footwear than my aching limbs.


She'll ask if I've been exercising, swimming, doing my best to keep healthy. If I could do all that what do I need to see her for? The very fact that I can't do it is the whole reason I'm there. I can't swim because of my tube and the risk of infection and who needs exercise when it's so painful to do it!


My next blog will be a report of my exciting day at the hospital. No doubt status quo will be on the cards!


Me Time!

How do you define a hectic week -- taking the kids to school, hospital appointments, job commitments and family duties. Just stop and think for a while -- What about me?

I'm burned out, no energy and feel like I've been hit by a 37 bus full of passengers and in the midst of it all I can't remember my hospital appointment date which I'm sure I've missed, my hair salon appointment or where I'm supposed to be with who, where and when. If ever there was a case for short term Alzheimer's, I'd probably fit the criteria.


I found myself uncontrollably saying the yes word all to often this week and the biggest yes of all to something I don't think I am ready for as yet. Woman's Institute -- ring any bells? Isn't that for the over 50's? I'm fast approaching that golden number but my head is stuck at 21, am I ready for jam making, nude calendars and raspberry buns?


Anyhow I stupidly said I'd join, then regretted it all day, not because I think it's old and fuddy duddy -- nope! I just didn't have the time. From a stay at home frump with nothing to do, I'm now a radio presenter, board member and social services campaigner. Where would I find time to be a fully fledged WI member.


I've been battling a cold which didn't get the better of me. I didn't have time to dwell on the fact that my nose was so blocked I sounded like Daffy Duck on helium. It really was noticeable during an interview with a lady from the Digital TV Switch-over Service who came into the studio earlier in the week.


"So what wub the switch-over bean for us thed" I asked with tissue firmly gripped in hand. I saw her chair move further away from the mic. I don't blame her really, all this talk of pig flu I wonder if she thought I was full of it? It's only when I listened back to the recording that I realised how stupid I sounded so I instantly popped in a menthol drop which burned my gullet like mad but at least I could breathe.


Altogether a bad week. I need a rest. Where is all this me time?



Something's going on here of which there is no cure

I'm wandering in blog land, don't belong here I'm sure

I really feel umwanted, the gremlins locked me out

And even with a little push my presence was not about

I tried in vain but to no avail

My fingers turned a whiter pale

I tapped and screamed but the site wasn't playin

"Don't recognise you!" I think it was sayin

So I sat and sulked beyond despair

Thinking, I would never get there


My fingers numb and patience thin

I was never going to get back in

And even though I tried my best

And it put my temper to the test

I carried on until I'd done

But the silly old computer won

And I went to bed without a blog

But Shelley didn't sleep like a log

She tossed and turned coz I was missin

The cookies crumbled,started fizzin

The micro chips all hot and burned

And Shelley still tossed and turned

I'll get her in I won't be beat

She suddenly jumped to her feet

I'll change her name make her new

She didn't know what else to do?


She tweeked a few knobs and pressed on the keys

The last resort, she was on her knees

Hey presto! the wall came down to ground

And guess what? you'll see me around

And here's my blog although in rhyme

You might say "well it's about time"

I may be late for my appointment here

But the route I took wasn't so clear

I think I might need a cyber Sat Nav

What a useful tool for me to have

So until they invent such a device

Internet explorer will do very nice!


Well the day started with me arriving at the station right in the middle of an interview with the Mayor. I was set upon by burly bouncers and ushered outside until the co-ordinator realised that I was a presenter and not some stray fortune seeker. Cameras everywhere, cables, lights and people talking in corridors. I recognised a TV presenter, much smaller than I imagined and very stern, not at all like the face I knew from the box! There were lots of fingers on lips, "Sshhh!" and whispering. I was propped up against the wall when they called me for a photo-shoot. I declined because most of the presenters were young and the inclusion of my face would have turned the picture into a portrait of The Von Trapp family!


My co-presenter arrived, bemused by all the commotion. "Have you been on camera yet?" he asked.


"I don't think we'll be asked actually, I think they've almost finished." I wasn't too disheartened to be honest because it was almost time to do our show and I'd suddenly gone chicken. Sitting in front of a microphone is one thing, having a camera shoved in your face is quite another.


We went into the studio leaving the pandemonium to continue outside. The mic lit up, red light on and we were on air. I heard the production room door swing open and a bit of a kerfuffle ensued behind the closed studio door. We ended our little piece of introductions, the light went off and the door swung open. In popped a camera man and a sound recordist.


"Sorry guys, do you mind if we film you?"


Roy, my co-presenter, well his face lit up. "Yeah come in--what do you want us to do?"


I froze. A little voice in my head said "No." I nervously smiled as they stood in the corner.


"Just act normal, just do your usual stuff and don't mind the camera, we'll be as non-invasive as possible," The camera man said.


We signed a piece of paper to say it was okay to be filmed. The next thing I heard was "Ready." The studio On Air! light came on and we began our little radio chat trying to be as natural as possible. I could see out of the corner of my eye the little green light on top of the camera unit. I just carried on and I was remarkably quite calm. They were indeed very quiet and by the time I'd finished, I'd hardly realised they were there!


They stayed for a while filming equipment and the odd reference to us to point a finger or move a button. The whole day was very fractious with dignitaries wandering around. The Mayor came in with all her chains, the MP and local newspaper. I nervously asked the Mayor to give us a song which the MP found very amusing, so I then asked him to do the same.


"My dear, I can stand up in Parliament and give all I've got, but sing... I think I'd get politics done away with!" he joked.


Soon it was all over with and all that was left scattered around the building were half eaten and curled up sandwiches, half drunk glasses of wine and bubbly and a sudden sense of calm. Roy picked through the sandwiches offering me one!


"Oh sorry! -- you don't, do you!" Eat was what he meant! to which I replied, "It's okay I'll give it a miss!"


Day over! My burst of stardom was no more than a few minutes. At least I can say I did it!


Living A Lie!

There's a definite nip in the air! I went outdoors this morning just to let my hubby out of the drive, my car was parked behind his, and I could see my breath. The car was damp and cold and, yes, my Raynaud's was in full bloom. The end of summer is here. "Huh! what summer?" I hear some of you scream, well you'd be right of course! We've had little or no summer at all, perhaps one or two days that actually felt like it should and my, how the weeds grew!


My skimpy tops stayed in the drawer and instead of folding away my jumpers, well they've been in use all season, I think my summer wear can be filed away under holiday clothing and 2010 Greece! The radio studio is nice and warm, for me that is. They marvel at my endurance with windows closed and air conditioning off. I present my show in jumper and trousers, whilst others wilt and sweat. I'm in Utopia for a few hours.


No one realises even myself sometimes, how much of an impact a chronic disease can have upon a person. I've altered my style of living -- you have to. I accept, but hate it all the same, that I'm not like other people. I never used to be like this, I was normal once. I'd love to rush around, grabbing lunch and wear nice clothes instead of my trademark jeans and heavy top. I'm sure they think I'm secretly turning into a man or something.


Good job no one can see through my smile. I'm a brilliant actress. I often think an Oscar would be on the cards for my performance on daily living. "Excuse me whilst I just go to the bathroom." A quick blast from the hand dryer prevents a multitude of awkward questions. "What's that! Oh, are they sore?"


I decline any activity that involves enjoyment. I could have joined the bowling team but a busy schedule prevented me from accepting the invite -- Not! I could have gone on a team building weekend which involved an assault course. Can you imagine me doing that? Not likely is the answer. My excuse was spared by the fact I was on holiday -- phew!


I'm living a lie, there's no doubt about that! How long can I keep it up, no one knows. Can I cope with a deluge of sympathy or a scornful look of disappointment?


I hate myself sometimes but I'm loving the life I've created.


Another Fun Day

Trying to write this is nothing short of impossible. The kitten loves the keys and he's walking all over the keyboard. I got up early because he was making the most awful wining sound, only to be greeted with a huge "meeeoww" as I walked into the room. My daughter had thrown him out of her room in the early hours, a playful kitten at 3 am and a grumpy teenager is not a good mix. He's adorable such a character and you can't help but like him but the attention he requires is nothing short of devotion. He has the loudest "purr" I've ever heard and my other cat who lives outdoors, isn't impressed with him at all. She wandered indoors for her food and was met with a ball of purring fluff. She arched her back high, hissed, spat and the claws came out ready for pouncing. I grabbed him quickly and ushered him into the front room but I think she was out for a fight because then we had a cat's choir on either side of the door.


He's certainly a handful. We've had cats for a great many years, mostly farm cats that come and go. He's just a baby and quite huge with it. He's only 16 weeks old and he's already bigger than my other cat. I know that Persians are quite big by nature but I think he's going to be extra large.


The building work is coming on, albeit slowly. The weather hasn't been great and only slightly better than last year! However the weather forecast is good for the next few days so I'm hoping for at least a wall! I'm at the radio station today, doing what I know best -- talking! Next week will be a huge challenge because I'm on TV as well, and if I seem so matter of fact, well I am since I've got so used to the idea.


Lots to do today and not able to achieve much. Do you ever feel like that? I'll be chasing my tail all day, mostly for other people not myself .... and the hospital have cancelled my rheumatology appointment again! I'm now well overdue my 6 monthly check up and problems are mounting on my list. I have a very painful leg that I can't quite pinpoint -- it hurts all over, especially in bed or if I sleep on my side.


With my friend on the phone -- I need to go


TV Star!

I can't help but be a wee bit excited. It's been a funny old week! We got a kitten straight from boot camp, believe me he's small but a huge handful! Then, I've had the most amazing news, --- I'm about to be on TV, yes me! The BBC are coming to the radio station and filming a documentary about our station -- we are rather good you see!


The station runs purely on volunteers and over the past 12 months we've grown in popularity, not only locally but world wide. I now have my own show on Saturday mornings, plus I co-present with another DJ. The film crew will be there right in the middle of our show -- I must get my hair done?

It's all happening at once and I'm loving the challenge. It's only 2-3 hours each day I go in, but it gives me a sense of purpose. I feel completely whacked when I get home but talking is my best point and what do you do on the radio...?

I have my little T Shirt with the logo and my own set of headphones. I have my nickname, jingle and my own little group of followers.


I'm so thrilled about this and it just goes to show that a chronic illness doesn't always mean that you no longer have a place in society. The presenters don't even know about my illness but unfortunately I had to write my condition down when I was given a voluntary contract. The station manager was quite taken back when he read my statement and said that he never realised that I had anything wrong with me. I was a bit scared at that point thinking it would make a difference but it hasn't and because the contract is confidential, as far as I know there's just the manager who knows!

So what! is my motto. Does scleroderma affect my personality? Do I no longer have an interest in what goes on? My answer is a resounding no! I may be different and I may not open windows in the studio for obvious reasons, I like it hot! and I may not join in with tea and biscuits or the occasional sandwich, but I'm the same person with a few minor adjustments.


I'll probably hide in a cupboard when the film crew arrive! I may have mid levels of confidence but to go on TV may prove to be a little beyond my level. I won't have much choice if I'm on air. I can't run off in the middle of talk time. I need some encouragement I think? This is so exciting yet, nerve wrecking as well.


Don't I get myself into some things?


Kitty Cat

Funny, how an eighteen year old can flicker her eyelids and cuddle in such a disearning way as to sweigh my hubby into submission and me fighting her corner in a way I haven't done since she was a nipper. Her constant plea to own a kitten, fell upon deaf ears on almost a weekly basis and I don't know why but he relented almost out of the blue?


Before long we were travelling high into the Pennine region way above Pendle Hill on a rainy, misty Wednesday evening in search of a Persian Cat Breeder. After squabbling about directions -- I'm the worlds worst orienteerer, we ended up practically on a hill slope with an un-nerving feeling of insecurity. We were met at the top of a very long driveway with a smiling lady with two cats under each arm - no doubt we were at the right place then!


She invited us in and immediately my daughter was in awe at the fluffballs that ran around her feet.


"Mum, look at that one, it's gorgeous -- can I have it?"


The lady picked the kitten up -- "Oh he's trouble, full of beans and such a character"


"I want it! she said, taking hold.


We stayed for a while and then realising we had quite a trek home, said our goodbyes with kitten in carrier and daughter gleeming in tow.

The ride home was nightmare-ish! The kitten wined, scratched and growled in the back and my daughter tried in vain to calm him down but his cries got louder the further we went. I was beginning to realise that this was a bad idea but I had no idea how bad it was to become.


We arrived home well after 11pm. I was tired and I just needed my bed. My daughter opened the carrier door and "Whoosh" he was off! He ran round like a little tornado. My cloth was off the table in the first instance and before I could grab him, he was on top of the dresser. In a flash he was under the TV and then he tried to run up the chimney only my daughter grabbed his tail and we caught him before he swept it for us. The lovely cream coloured kitten was now a dusty black and not at all the same kitten we'd picked up an hour or so ago! The lady had spent hours bathing, grooming and making every one of her kittens look like little darlings. It's true that our kitten was the most handsome one in all the litter and his fur so fluffy and soft, he really had the aww factor! Now he looked like an old well used lavatory brush.


"We'll sort him out tomorrow" I said with a yawn "Give him his basket and some toys, he'll be fine"


I didn't know what we'd be waking up to -- would I have any furniture left or would he have found a means of escape and took off? but I popped my head around the door to see a little mucky kitten curled up in a ball. "Aww" he looked so cute but when he saw me, he was off! My daughter pushed past me in the doorway, grabbed him and began talking to him like he was a baby. I don't think anyone had told him that he only had 4 legs instead of eight because he found climbing the wall no challenge at all. We had to prise him off the upright beam! This cat was crossed with a monkey and a spider I'm sure!


Bathtime was an experience I shant be repeating on my own. He looked like a drowned rat as he slipped from the towel and ran straight downstairs. "What on earth have you done to him" asked hubby, as he ran straight over the top of the couch. I suppose blow drying was out of the question!


"He's wet through --he needs rubbing down or something" exclaimed my hubby who'd just had a shower when he shook himself as he darted past.


My daughter came home to a bedraggled cat and promptly grabbed the brush which turned into a pantomime. My table cloth came off again so did several ornaments from my dresser. He was clinging onto the curtain almost touching the pole and my daughter was trying to coax him down with a piece of string. He looked nothing like a Persian cat, more like a ferret or a sewer rat. He was pedigree through and through. Both parents were champions and their parents before them. Blue blood ran through his veins and a hint of madness I think!


This is the 4th day of keeping. He's calmed down a bit and he's beginning to want a little love. He sat with me today, purring gently, then had a little mad half hour which I ignored. We've adopted a tyrant but how can I not love him? He's so cute and he's part of our family now.


Why are all my animals the same? Mad, extrovert and out to give us a hard time! Perhaps it's us?