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Barbara Lowe's Life with Scleroderma

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Pity Party!

Up at 05.30 in the morning to the sound of the cockeral's crow, aching leg; no, killing leg and a shoulder that refuses to move. It's going to be one of those day's!

Wiping the sleep from my eyes is a joke, I never got any. I heard the clock strike every hour and I tossed and turned like I was on a spit. I hate middle age and I hate scleroderma!


My mum used to complain about aches and pains, indeed I remember thinking "I hope I don't end up like that!? Guess what? I have! I've become my mum and whilst that's not altogether a bad thing, I have an auto immune disease as well. Do you think I'm on a pity search this morning -- you betcha! I won't get any pity from my lot, not even a reference of sympathy, more a grunt of aknowledgement, "Now, where's my cup of tea" They ask. Yes I'm searching for at least some degree of "Aww" but I won't get it!


I could go off on a tangent and list all my aiments but it depresses me so I'll carry on being the soldier that I am. I sound so self pitiful but it's my blog and I'll put it in writing rather than spill the beans to some uninterested bored soul who's mind would wander elsewhere rather than listen. Even my doctor writes with head down and in a couldn't care less attitude, not that I've seen her for a while, I simply refuse to be dismissed as a hopeless case.


At least the day is bright and that's something to be cheerful about. At least the building work is taking shape, albeit slow and I have a training day at the radio station to take my mind off my aches.

My friend left me to bake a wedding cake, I say left because although it's her contribution to a family wedding -- I'm left with the making. I love the way in which she volunteered to do the cake, then asked for my help before jetting off to Cyprus. "We really need to do this cake, I'm very worried about it!" Then boarded a plane and took off! Charming! So now I'm doing it for her.


"We'll have to get the icing when I come back -- will you ice it for me -- Oh and will you take me to the shop to buy it?"


Blimey! I may as well just do it because I think I'll end up with the whole job with no credit! Why do I always end up doing things that someone else voluteers to do? Maybe I'm a soft touch or maybe I'm just stupid, who knows but a pity party won't have many guests at this rate so I won't be sending out the invites!


My second cup of coffee does the trick. I'm wide awake now hyped up on caffeine and dosed up on a second chocolate biscuit. That's my limit for today -- they're already stuck and I'll spend the rest of the day trying to swallow them. The radio station thinks I'm on a diet and then I get a well meaning lecture on how I'm slender enough without counting calories. The training day is usually an excuse to bring out biscuits and copious amounts of beverages. The one thing I'd hate to do is show off my projectile vomit skills, and if that sounds "Yuck" I can assure you it is!


"Do you never eat?" One of the presenters asked at the last training schedule. Never so near the truth anyone could be, but I smiled and made my usual excuses and apart from the questions I get about my permanently frozen hands, I get away with being "Babs the presenter" not "Mrs sick-a-lot"


You can join my pity party at the rear of my house right beside the gaping hole. You can freeze along with me, we can exchange gloves and I promise plenty of hot drinks. If you want liquid nutrition -- I have that too and a spare machine, so you see I'm well organised!


Best policy is a cyber pity party I think. That way we can all join in!


Piggy Sniffles!

I wrote this rhyme for jaxs and you

Here's hoping I don't come down with flu

I hope no offence at the following line

For the flu I don't want happens to be swine


There's so much about it, It's everywhere

In the papers huh! like they care

It's all bout statistics and I hope I'm not one

I think I'll stay in till the virus has gone

A dose of the plague I'll do without please

Ill be off to the doctor's if I as much as sneeze


Talk about stories and this one is big

Catching epidemics from a pig?

And then last year, flu from a bird

All these diseases I've never heard

We'll be worried about insects -- do they get sick?

We'll be catching pneumonia from a tick

And if my cat sneezes, she'll have to go

I'm not having cat flu as well you know!


It's all rather worrying and I shouldn't make light

If you have scleroderma it would be more than a fight

But what can you do except hope for the best

Stay indoors in your snug little nest

And if I contract the dreaded flu

I hope I won't oink like little pigs do!


Never Too Late!

All is not lost!...... What am I talking about? This blog will sound like an advertisement for get up and go and I can assure you it's not!


I can't believe how much my life has changed in the last 10 years and none more so than in the last few weeks. There I was sat at home trying to twiddle my thumbs. I was thinking my working life was over and perhaps I had nothing more to give. I have an autoimmune disease and fast aproaching 50, what had I got to look forward to -- let's be honest?


I've got myself involved in local radio, sure it was a stint not worthy of blowing one's trumpet too loud but when asked to become more involved, the temptation was too much and me and my big mouth ended up behind the microphone more often than fresh air. Before I knew it I was presenting shows completely on my own doing what I know best --- blagging and wittering on about nothing worth mentioning but talking about it all the same"


I've just finished a training meeting where I've been accepted as one of the team; the team being a showbiz set of actors, DJ's and people with far more experience behind radio stations than I had years in me. Suddenly I feel needed, valuable, a member of society and most importantly I have my life back!


You see it's never too late to make an entrance and even if you feel you have nothing more to give, you could be so wrong?


Can't Sleep!

Can hardly focus, my eyes are sore

Another night, can't stand no more

I've got pain in my shoulder and in my tum

No sleep last night I simply had none

My hubby snored on every breath

And out of the covers, I'd catch my death

My pillows fluffed high I was almost upright

But it became clear I wasn't going to sleep tonight.


I watched the day break and heard the bird call

I hadn't slept a wink at all

And hubby snored on as he tossed and turned

Whilst the fire in my stomach constantly burned

The sun rose above the hillside, I closed my eyes

I'd seen enough of the morning skies

But no matter how much I tried to sleep

I couldn't resist another peep


It was 5am and up was the sun

Another day had just begun

Soon the alarm would sound on the tock

But I was way ahead of the clock

"What's the matter my hubby said?"

As he snuggled down deep in bed

Then before my reply he continued to snore

I really couldn't stand no more!


Bleary eyed I write this blog

My night of woe I had to log

I need to put my brain in gear

My day will have to start right here

Going on holiday won't be much fun

If I don't get the cases done

So many things I need to pack

At this rate we'll be coming back!


No sleep, no good, as I end this rhyme

Can't wait for my bed this night time.


Computer Blues!

Wires everywhere, sticking plugs in and out of sockets, sore fingers from tapping the keyboard, inserting disks that no longer work -- yes! I've had computer trouble. My computer died last week right when you least expect it and right when you really didn't need the expense!


We're off to Crete on Tuesday and if that isn't expensive enough, a new computer has added to a huge amount of spending to our budget this summer. It's a tool that we've become reliant upon. I never thought I'd ever say that because technology and me are simply not at one. My little voluntary stint on the radio demands knowledge of computers and thankfully due to my constant use, I find using the studio system less daunting.


My daughter is the main user; you know what teenagers are like. A full week without her electronic friends has had her moping around the house in a strop of the highest calibre and me standing in the middle of the room with a spaghetti knot of wires trying to connect to the internet. Somehow, although I don't know how, it's my fault.


So began a full week of trudging through the technical departments and computer stores looking for a replacement. My hubby studies everything before buying an item and doesn't believe in going head first into an emergency purchase. It infuriates me when at he point of sale he suddenly changes his mind and we leave the shop. So many models could have been ours last week but I have to say the one we finally got is brilliant albeit so technical that I'm back to the drawing board.


We've gone wireless as well so now I never see my daughter at all. She sneaks off to her room and then goes out in a whim. I can hear her tapping gently away from behind a closed bedroom door. It's her privacy and I respect that but the moan I get when I want to use it is like I'm taking sweets from a 3 year old! Even now as I write she's glaring at me willing me to hurry up but I shall not be pushed.


My hubby never uses computers and when he does he usually confuses the whole programme. I can't remember how many times the ISP said "Goodbye" the last time he used the internet.


Better go, things to do!


Just one more week to go until we board the plane for Crete! This will be our second trip this summer and I'm already planning our third. I guess I'm obsessed with the Greek isles but in reality I'm looking for respite. I feel much better in the sun and it's wonderful to be pain free even if it's only for one week!


I do it every time. "I won't take too many clothes" The truth is I always bring back a suitcase full of unworn items proving my husband was right once again! The sight of a small slight figured woman dragging a trunk across the check in with everything but the kitchen sink is a scene my family have become accustomed to.


"Goodness woman, we're only going away for a week"


I truly believe that my hubby is scared of of facing more than 7 days away -- imagine the amount of stuff I'd be shoving into the car. I'd be unrecognisable behind a mountain of luggage, a Mexican Donkey comes to mind!


I in turn, don't think I could face more than a week either since my hubby conducts the check in and departure in military fashion, almost like we're about to fly the space shuttle.


"Passports, three of -- check!"

"Tickets, three of -- check!"

"Insurance -- check!"

"Money, cheques, cash, euros, little bag of change for the plane -- check!"


We arrive at the check in desk -- me out of puff and hubby with his passport wallet which contains travel documents and the whole of our life! The passports are handed over with precision and handed back so he can replace them in their allotted pockets. He gathers the family, checks the hand bags for items which are not allowed before we go through customs. I have to admit it's a sense of amusement and great satisfaction when he bleeps, as he often does, going through the security checks. My daughter and I turn and face in the opposite direction with a degree of glee written all over our face and a very ridiculed look on my hubby's.


Finally in the departure lounge a huge sigh of relief once the baggage is safely out of our possession. Hubby struts around like a cockerel with wallet underarm and newspaper in hand. We sit contemplating which magazines we should buy for the journey and debating a trip to the tax free shop for yet another bottle of perfume.


Once on the plane I can relax because hubby normally drifts off to sleep before take off. The occasional snore is all we hear from him until we touch down in Crete and the whole thing begins again!


This time will be different since there are 10 of us in the party -- will he organise them too? Watch this space!



'Oh My Goodness' My first solo radio show, completely unscheduled -- the DJ broke down on the motorway and I was already there! It's true that I'd been training so I wasn't too overwhelmed by it all but none-the -less I was still nervous. The radio news came in and then I had to speak; my first words uttered from my lips and so began 3 hours of music and chat, totally unrehearsed and straight off the top of my head!


I had been sitting in co-presenting for about 1 month. I was no stranger to the microphone. The desk was a bit daunting at first but I soon got the hang of the playlist and then I was dragging tunes into the main index. My knowledge of the 80's music scene paid off because I played a couple of tunes from way back and the phone never stopped ringing. I was completely astounded by the response and really proud of myself by the end of the day!


The station manager called me to say that I'd done a magnificent job under the circumstances -- I didn't know how to take that because did it mean it was good, but....


Anyhow my first real day as a presenter went well and I'm looking forward to doing it on a regular basis. I'm known as Babs!


On the airwaves at last and not a single pot washed!



Monday morning, so begins another week--- Let me see? Ah yes! Sore leg, hip and aching joints. I had to comprehend getting out of the bed this morning, firstly shuffling to the edge and then ... wait for it! One leg out and another still to go. I finally straightened up to every bone creaking like an old ship lost at sea.


I'm 49 in exactly one month's time. I feel 79. I have to accept that I can't rush around as I once did. Age related or not, I'm just not capable. My head tells me I'm 18 my body reminds me that I'm not!


I still have my holiday to look forward to and that thought will keep me going for the rest of the week, the promise of a pain free week in the sun, Raynaud's free and able to appear normal for a short while.


I have a busy week in store. My car goes to the garage tomorrow, then I have an appointment with some official about my dad. I'll be racing to the radio station afterwards so Tuesday is looking rather full. Thursday, I have an hair salon appointment. My hair needs attention; oh yes I could quite easily scare crows with my present style. Then it's off to the dentist and probably my purse will be much lighter by the end of the day! The evening will cost even more. My daughter won an award at college and whilst I'm very proud of her acheivememts, I can't help thinking that Thursday will make a great hole in our bank balance!


Friday is looking okay so far and by then I'll be grateful for the rest. I'm sure there's something I can't remember at the moment, hence the diary, another sign of getting old. If it's not in my diary you can bet on me forgetting to do it, go there, or keep it! My mind is so full, I'm out of memory! I need a card or something with another few gigabytes.

Wouldn't it be good if I could delete some of the rubbish I don't use anymore? I'm sure it's clogging my mind. I could make room for more useful stuff or at least remember basic things!


Birthdays don't stick in my brain these days and I'm almost paranoid about missing my relation's or friend's big days. I try and write them all down but usually lose the paper I wrote them on. I even lost a diary once and found it some years later. I was appalled when I read how many birthdays had passed by and I'd forgotten.


I guess it's all part of getting old. At this rate I'll be out of memory before 60. By the way, "Who are you?"


That rumbling ache gripes down below

A gentle reminder that I must soon go

So off to the bathroom I trot again

Trying to relieve myself of pain


It ain't no fun trying in vain

This awful gripe is driving me insane

Straining and pushing for all you're worth

My, It's almost like giving birth!

It really isn't funny although some would smile

When you haven't been to the toilet for a while


You don't need an audience, in fact that's what I got

Some awful cold liquid up there was shot

The nurse sat and told me to wait for a min

I was blue in the face trying to hold it all in

"It will make things easy don't worry" she said

I sucked in my cheeks and my face turned red

There was silence all round in my humble abode

Whilst I felt like I was about to explode


With pain almost unbearable I was off like a shot

I almost didn't make it up to the top

I raced for the toilet and sat with a shout

This unbearable mess was coming out

With a sigh of relief, in fact it was more

I slowly walked in through the living room door

The nurse and my family all looked with despair

Did you eventually manage to go up there?


The look of delight for all to see

Told everyone it had worked for me

All that straining was all in the past

For I had found success at last.


Well, it didn't take long to see the return of blue fingers and aching limbs. I'm certain that my fingers sensed I was close to home 37 thousand feet above Sardinia. Out came my socks and cardigan whilst others on the flight sat with shining tans and strappy tee shirts! I sat for a while shivering before succumbing to the cold and placing my second layer over the top.


The flight attendant noticed my quick change and commented --- "Too much sun eh!"


"Not enough" I retorted


I was not looking forward to disembarking in England, especially as the pilot gave out weather updates throughout the flight. A very disappointing 66 degrees was on the cards and waiting for me to step off the plane and into the biggest refrigerator in the world.


I'd been basking in 88 - 97 degrees every day since leaving the shores of Blighty, although to be fair it was very warm here before we left. My daughter was very craggy as we landed in Crete to find heavy cloud cover but amazingly hot. My reassurances paid off the following day when we awoke to find wall to wall sunshine and temperatures way up the scale.


The pool glistened against a backdrop of mountains and palm trees. A slight warm breeze whirled around and the sound of crickets was music to my ears. I lay down on a sun lounger close to the edge of the pool and with a cold drink in hand -- yes! I was in paradise. The sun warmed my skin, not a sign of Raynaud's and the only time I moved was when someone jumped into the pool and even then it was only one eye.


The evenings were sublime. The smell of food, the amazing sunsets and a million stars shone over the sea. The tavernas strummed out bouzouki music and the whole place was alive with golden faces of every nationality strolling arm in arm down the rocky roads which lined the sea front.


With tired eyes all round we wandered back to the hotel. I'd tried a little Greek food, just enough to taste without hurting. A last drink before bed time sat on a high stool at the bar overlooking the pool rounded the day off in great style.


Back home sat by the fire reminiscing. Holidays don't last forever but memories last a lifetime and whenever I feel down I just think about those days by the pool and the knowledge that it's only 4 hours away and I'd soon be returning!


Bunged Up!

Well, it's been such a hectic month -- where do I begin? Firstly I've been to Crete on a somewhat whirlwind trip, totally unprepared but extremely the right thing to have done in my present set of circumstances. My father's demands became far too much for me to cope with and I was literally running two families, running around like a headless chicken.


My weight plummeted and I was beginning to look rather skeletal. My clothes were hanging off my hips and half of the clothes in my suitcase no longer fitted as I rummaged through last year's perfect shorts and flimsy tops. A mad shopping spree was not on my packed agenda but I found myself tirelessly trudging the shops for a smaller size.


Finally on holiday in Crete, I settled down on a lounger in the warm sun. The sun felt so good on my aching limbs and I could feel my fingertips and toes just as they should be. I slapped on the sun lotion in copious amounts and turned a nice golden colour.


Three days into the holiday I hit my usual problem -- constipation! It's one of those issues best left to personal experience and certainly not the topic of conversation over an Ouzo or evening meal. Like it or not it's a real thorn in my side and it's difficult to think about anything else but relief in the bathroom and the total dread of the toilet that beckoned me every time I felt a griping pain which in the end produced nothing but a whole lot of pushing and shoving, rather like labour and giving birth, for what in the end amounted to haemorrhoids and the fear of sitting down on anything other than a lavatory seat!


I endured 4 more days of mental and physical torture and I never thought I'd be glad to get home to do my business in the privacy of my own home. By this time I was feeling quite ill and I reluctantly paid a visit to my general practitioner who took me quite seriously for once and actually had some sympathy for my embarrassing position. What followed was a home visit by the local district nurse and the very undignified enema which she inserted and then decided to wait until I went and was happy for her to leave. Truth is I'd have been happy if she'd fired it from a gun in the next village, it's bad enough not being able to go never mind having an audience. I thought the whole family were about to give a round of applause and me a medal as I came downstairs in agony to report success, relief all round I suppose!


I needed Greece -- fact is I needed grease, too. as a lubricant. My sitting position is slightly to one side and I'm using cream to lessen the pain. One thing I must say is, never chop chilli peppers without washing your hands 40 times before applying cream to tender parts -- my screams could be heard across the pond, but hey, what a rude awakening. There should be a health warning on the tube. I did wash my hands, honestly. but obviously not as thoroughly as I'd thought. More agony inflicted on my poor rear. How much more pain can I take. Still, I have a sun tan.


My closing remark is about the entire mosquito population of Crete who gave me 10.001 bites and took a shine to my blood, whom I must congratulate on being the only blood sucking critter to ever get my blood without any problem. My only hope is that they are now flying around with Raynaud's in their wings and having a taste of scleroderma. Serves them right!



Ha,ha, ha, hee, hee, hee.

The sound of laughter directed at me

In a daft hat and sensible shoes

And my fingertips have got the blues

Yes, I was nineteen a tender age

And had just begun to earn a wage


Look at that, what could it be?

I didn't understand then, you see

It seemed the perfect party trick

Didn't know it would make me sick

First it was one, then two and three

First on one hand, what was happening to me?

Then it was both, something not right

So I went to the doctor that very night


Don't worry, my dear, coz I've seen loads

Woman of your age, you've got Raynaud's

It's really nothing of great concern

Go away, there's nothing to learn

You won't die and you're not the first

So please don't worry or fear the worst


So home I went without a care

This loss of touch I'll grin and bear

It only happens when I'm cold

So down the river I was sold

How ignorance can be so cruel

A clever doctor sure ain't no fool

If he says don't worry it's okay

Then why not go on my merry way


The years went by and how I regret

Not questioning things I'd rather forget

If only I'd known what lay ahead

I'd have never listened to what he said

For Raynaud's wasn't no party piece

In fact the problem would never cease


Thirty years went quickly by

In my forties now am I

Can't eat, have a limp, in fact I'm a mess

Not the woman I'd hoped to be, I guess

Now I'll be lucky to get through the day

Without any pain along the way

This Raynaud's thing is not much fun

In a country that barely sees the sun!



With all this talk of swine flu and other threatening diseases, is it any wonder why people are hypochondriacs?

We've all heard of man flu, bird flu, swine flu, whatever next I wonder? It makes you want to stay indoors and avoid contact with anyone.


I sat uninvitingly close, next to a lady in the hospital waiting room, her nose red from blowing her hooter into a pocket full of tissues which were full of holes. An occasional smile my way from her white complexion said it all really: I ought to be in bed.


Yep, I agreed quietly. Instead of spreading her germs. I could hardly wait for my name to be called and I fixed my eyes upon the door to the consulting room, hoping and almost willing it to open and for me to be the next person in. Or indeed the lady, either scenario would do before I caught the plague and my stay at the hospital more permanent.


The relief on my face as the nurse called me in. I felt an uncontrollable urge to stick my head under the hand wash dispenser and have a bath in it. I felt unclean, that lady should have had more sense or at least a bell! I'd held my breath in spurts for almost 20 minutes, every time she sneezed or blew into the rags. I stopped breathing for fear of inhaling her germs. I was so glad to be sat in a little room away from the virus monster.


My doctor walked in the room followed by another doctor and another and began unfolding my life story with a huge paper file to boot. It's the thickest file of all and one to be ashamed of. All that paperwork about me and I'm sitting there being discussed as a condition not a patient. Finally they got round to saying hello and the usual stuff, Y' know! -- How have you been etc., etc.? I'd rehearsed my script beforehand but forgot the entire content so, Okay! was my answer.


"How on earth am I okay?" said a little voice in the back of my mind. I have a 12 inch tube embedded in my stomach, have scleroderma, haemorrhoids, hot flashes and Raynaud's, and a dodgy hip ... and I'm OK?

How can that be when I have so much to offer in medical terms yet so little to complain about in respect of others. That kind of sums up the whole picture. If I look back I've earned the right to use the word, Okay! because compared to how I once was -- I am!


The consultation ended and as the doctor left the room he turned and "Atchoooo!" My goodness he's at it as well. I'm in a germ infested pit full of sickly folk, even the doctors have succumbed to the dreaded lurgie!


I'm outa 'ere!


Yawn! Here goes another week. My daughter will shout from the top of the stairs "Mum have you made my sandwiches?"


Hubby will scurry around for his car keys and then ask me for his clean uniform. The TV is on for no other reason than the morning news, which does not concern me. It plays to itself in the corner. The day looks fine, I'm in my pyjamas, but wait -- not for long, I'm off to the hospital for an appointment with my GI man.


I hate the long drive through endless road works and then there's the parking! Oh it's a nightmare. I'll be with the doctor for 5 minutes, even though it's taken more than an hour to get there and then I have to get home and repeat the journey.


I don't know what I expect from the consultation. What more can this man do? Nothing has changed and I don't suppose he's found a cure since my last visit so what's the point of going then?


My first Raynaud's attack happened at 7.10am when I delved into the fridge for butter. My daughter's ham sandwich comes with a cost. I place the ham on the bread like it's burning my fingers, but in truth it's so cold that I drop it with an "Ouch!" It's 7.30am and my fingers are in spasm. Still the sandwiches are done and now it's me time!


What shall I wear? The day looks fine, dare I venture outdoors without a jacket? Should I wear a vest? Perhaps not, the doctor already thinks I'm weird (my assumption not his) it's half the consultation gone just peeling off the layers; in fact these days he merely enquires about my health rather than having a prod. I think he's given up or he's just too over familiar with my abdomen.


So here goes a not so typical Monday! This is one day I'm wishing to be over!


Gift Of The Gab

What a week! I'm quite pleased with myself and with good reason to be so. I've done the first week of training at the radio station so forgive me if I sound a tad boastful. I was extremely nervous when faced with an open microphone and the whole world hanging on my every word. Sorry to sound so dramatic, there may have only been several listeners but to me it was preaching to the masses!


I stumbled a little at first, my nerves got the better of me. It took a further few minutes to calm down but when I did I was my normal chatter box self and I don't think the station manager could shut me up. Any fear of drying up was diminished as I plodded on talking about everything and nothing. The time flew by and before I could play another tune, it was time for my farewells. I have to say I really enjoyed it and I'm still buzzing. My hubby is sick of hearing about how I did "this 'n' that!" but like it or not he's having it just the same.


My daughter thinks it's pretty cool to have a DJ mum, better still I'm on the radio -- how many parents can boast about being a small time celeb, especially as I've never done anything like it before.


I'm kind of winding down over a coffee, looking forward to next week -- I'm bursting with gossip!



Wiping the sleep from my bleary eyes, today is Thursday and my very first day of radio training! I've just got up, looked in the mirror and, Yikes! My hair has taken on a new style. I look petrified, oh no, not today of all days!

Not that anyone will see me, that's the beauty of radio but for my own vanity something must be done! You see we went out last night with Steph and her new boyfriend. There was I trying to make an impression, hubby was already making one and Steph sat nervously as she hoped for Dad's approval!


I like the boy very much, a bit shy, very courteous, what more can be said? But she's Daddy's little girl and the poor lad was under scrutiny. After two pints of beer, my hubby rocked and couldn't have cared less, by the time the third went down, they were best pals!


"Do you like geese?" My hubby asked.


"Don't mind them actually" he said.


"Good then you can feed 'em tomorrow -- and the goats"


I interrupted with that tone only a woman can do when keeping her man under control "Steve, behave."


The night went pretty well in fact. He's the new addition to our ever growing party of friends going to Crete in summer. I never mentioned before but it's my daughter's 18th birthday present -- a whole week in Crete! It's cost a fortune but we reckoned it would work out cheaper than hiring a venue. So there's 10 on the list and I'm quite looking forward to spending time with a party of people. The young ones have never been to Greece, one of them has never been further than the local seaside, so it's a whole new experience for him. They're good kids though, in case you wondered.


When she asked to make the list, she invited more mature people than mates. The parents of her best friend who we have known for years, and my best friend also. She was quite content with just a small party of best friends and ones she could trust.


I really must do something with my hair...


Up In The Hair!

Pondering a visit to our local Tuesday market, then deciding not to go -- it's one of those kind of days. I was at the hairdressing salon earlier to get my untidy locks trimmed and into shape. I commented that even when wet after the initial cut, it would do, never mind the drying bit! Anyhow I'd paid for a cut and blow dry so whether I wanted it or not I was having it!


"Your hubby might treat you this evening," she said (she being the hairdresser).


I smiled and left the salon. Why do people assume that if you have a new hairstyle, your hubby will suddenly take interest and take you out! It's not that it's such a dramatic change, not like a face lift or breast augmentation. In fact if I had any of those, he wouldn't notice except for the breast bit and then it would only be because there'd be less room in bed! If I ran through the house naked he wouldn't even pass comment, not that I'm ever likely to do that with the risk posed by hypothermia and a severe Raynaud's attack.


I came home smelling of conditioner and hair glue. My hair looks great for now and worthy of a night out on the town, not for pottering around in Wellington Boots and body warmer. Still I look better when I deal with the general public instead of resembling a cave woman. Did I mention the general public at large? Oh, I have plenty dealings with them of late on account of performing goats. Last week they got under the fence, this week they're getting over it! And then there's the entourage of geese and goslings and a mass break out is underway!


It was the talk of the hairdressers in fact. I was introduced to a group of people who I've never met before as the goat woman of the bottoms. I thought they were all about to stand and applaud so much was the interest! One lady with a head full of curlers spun round on her chair to ask of their names and another remarked upon how fast they run. Yes! I agree on that one! Now they can jump as high as the fence -- goat Olympics are going on in the bottoms, they said! It was all too much in the end and I was glad to get out, blow dried or not!


My daughter rang from college to say she'd be finishing early. My dad rang to ask if I was going to see him today. My hubby comes home for lunch, and now you know why I'm not going to the market. I'm so confused, I'm here and there and with a new hairstyle to boot! Radio training on Thursday and with that I realise that my headphones will ruin my style -- It will flatten! Still, I can always wear a hat.


Farm Life And Coffee!

Today looks pretty grim. The pitter patter of rain woke me from my sleep in the early hours and since we haven't seen much of the wet stuff this spring, I suppose it's welcome for some farmers. The only problem is when it starts, it doesn't know when to stop! For the time being my potatoes will appreciate some untreated wetness as will my peas and beetroot no doubt.


Hubby has dreamt up another hobby-- Bee keeping! And I've been on the net looking for hives and equipment, something tells me that I'll end up tending to them; I can see myself in a suit with a smoking can--not! It has long amazed me how bee keepers gather the honey from the hive without the bees swarming, hence the smoking can!

It's all rather interesting but it's just another addition to our land that will harm you if you get too close. I have enough trouble with the geese and goats chasing me without a swarm of bees.


My training on the radio continues on Thursday. My hubby thinks it's easy to sit and blag for two hours and the music just plays by itself -- yeah! When you are faced with a desk full of buttons to push, four computer screens and a phone that never stops ringing and trying to talk about rubbish at the same time, sure it's easy, but then women can multitask, can't we? I suppose if blagging was an art, I'd be the master. Most of the time I utter pure rubbish but then isn't that what radio is all about?


Miserable wet Monday. My usual trip to the college with my silent daughter. It's like interrogation: "What did you get up to this weekend then?"




"Did you go out or stay in at your friends?"


"Went out"


"Where did you go?"


"Nowhere much"


"Did you have a good time?"


"It was okay"


Arghhh, I give up! I hate to be nosey but I'm interested. When my daughter isn't home I worry and I like to know where she is and with whom. I think it's only natural but my daughter thinks I'm interfering with her life. I know she's eighteen and quite capable of looking after herself, all the same I still worry for her. It's a big bad world out there, I only hope she knows that.


Well she got out of the car, moaned at the rain and dashed inside the college closing the car door on my goodbyes. I guess she's grown up but do you ever get the feeling of being used?


I got home around nine, still raining! All was quiet and I contemplated making coffee. The cat rubbed herself against my leg -- well at least the cat needed me! Then I sat wondering if I should light the fire? I realise my life is much different to the one I had before illness struck. I never saw myself as a stay at home wife, far from it! My life was hectic and I was my own boss. The stress was overpowering at times and that's what gave me the buzz! Now all I have to talk about is college runs, farm life and coffee.


Still, the holidays are ever nearing and it's something for me to look forward to. Just get me in that sun and away from dampness and honking geese. Get me away from a building site and daily runs in my car. With all that to look forward to I'll sink down in my sofa with the coffee I promised myself half an hour ago!


My thanks are to Penny for the time she has spent

For every last word, I knew what she meant

Hospital food leaves a lot to be desired

If I had my way the chef would be fired

For I've spent some time in a bed on a ward

And mealtimes came round at times it was hard

I can no longer eat and although it's a shame

I had a lucky escape all the same


You don't have to eat this muck one said

As she pushed it away from her bed

I thought I was hungry but boy when it came

I think it was some animal they shot when lame

It resembled some dish I threw in the bin

And if I had one here this would go in


The smell wafted ominously down the hall

It stunk like something I'd never smelled at all

Wasn't vegetable or mineral in fact is was rank

And all the day after the smell still stank

Like over cooked cabbage and burned greasy fat

Who in their right minds would want to eat that?

We're in hospital for treatment or because we're not well

If we were alright before, we'd be ill with the smell


So I know what you mean, fellow blogger, my friend

I've seen patient's faces as the meal back they send

And all they can muster is a blob of ice cream

Instead of a meal, "Oh no!" they scream

For the ice cream had melted and gone all funny

No need for a spoon for it was so runny

So I guess it don't matter which hospital you go

Take your own lunch, it's safer you know!


The goats are chewing happily in the field. The geese in similar mood are preening themselves in the yard and the cat rubs herself against the kitchen table with a loud purr. All seems sublimely peaceful in the country until the situation changes with a scream from upstairs.


"Muuumm! There's a bird in my bedroom come and get it out!"


This little frightened bird clung to the curtain rail not knowing what to do as I entered the room. It had flown in through an open window and it succeeded in doing something that I find almost impossible so early in the morning -- getting a teenager out of bed without excuse.


I decided to open the bedroom door wide and usher the little thing towards it in the hope it would fly towards the great hole in the wall. Of course by then, the cat had become involved and was smacking her lips in anticipation of a tasty snack courtesy of a stray flappy thing that had ventured into her pad. Her eyes were like saucers, tail flipping side to side and intent upon having breakfast on the stairway.


Finally, after much shooing and arm waving, the little bird found its way outside and the cat sloped away in disappointment. My daughter returned to her room but not back to bed and I didn't hear the last of it until well after lunch.


Hubby was in the yard moving stuff about and not really making any progress in the building saga. Typical Saturday morning. The family all home - no work, no college. What were we doing up and about at 8.30 am? You'd expect a bit of a lie in at least.


Radio Ga Ga!

Ahh! the end of the week and my one and only purpose of getting myself ready to go out and into town is the fact that it's the day I present my little slot on the radio. Things are about to change with the little slot becoming an extended show and me, yes me, a presenting DJ-ess.


Today I sat with my most favourite presenter at the station. He's my favourite because he makes me laugh and makes me go all unnecessarily unprofessional as he pulls faces as I try to describe my Dish Of The Week. Today was no exception and I found myself giggling live on air as I did something with a vegetable that he found highly amusing. I do not need to paint the picture, I think you can visualise the innuendo? To make matters worse, a guest sat doubled up with laughter and then mayhem ensued. Well, the switchboard lit up and the station manager burst in dragging his finger across his throat without actually saying "Cut!"but we knew what he meant simply by his actions. If I was under any disillusions of becoming the third female presenter, my time was about to be cut short before I'd even played my first jingle.


My headphones cradled around my neck as I walked into his office trying to keep a straight face. It's difficult to remember what you've said since you've already said it! I was hoping it was nothing too insulting or offensive and my head was full of "I really wish I hadn't taken this recipe in today -- the cucumber was a bad idea." I tapped on the door and a voice shouted "Yeah!" which in radio terms means "come in!" The station manager swivelled in his leather look chair chewing the end off a pencil. I cleared my throat and began to apologise although I wasn't sure what for.


"Don't apologise, it wasn't your fault. Fact is it was quite funny and actually you handled it really well. I need to ask you what days you're available?


Phew! I was off the hook and not about to be shown the door in disgrace. We worked out a schedule, my training and co-presenting would be carried out over the space of a week and when I feel more confident and ready to host the show when the reins will be handed over.


I got home just in time to apprehend one of the goats who had found a new pastime -- the limbo under the fence game! We've just paid a fortune to keep them in and the little critters have worked out how to escape without jumping the fence. Apple was the culprit and was enjoying dandelions whilst the road was stopped with a line of traffic and well meaning busy body motorists telling me that I had a goat on the wayside. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to shove its head under the bottom plank followed by its rear end! It was pretty pointless in the end because once she'd tasted the lovely yellow flowers, there was no stopping her. I endured the next few hours on goat watch smiling and waving at passing motorists.


Worse was to come as the geese spotted me from the yard and decided to come down and keep me company so now I was stuck between herding the geese back and shepherding a determined goat. Of course the goose brought the goslings to see me as well so the Awww factor was very much reverberating through the traffic. I really should charge for the entertainment because I'm sure that car went by twice?


Hubby came home to my nagging and I sent him down to the fence where it was quite obvious how she'd managed to get out at will. The hammer and nails went from the shed along with several lengths of wood, well at least I'll sleep better tonight!


My exciting day at the station and my news of becoming a DJ took a back seat and I didn't bother mentioning it until later in the evening, by then it wasn't exciting at all. I watered my plants and tended the weeds. I smiled at the cucumber plants and said under my breath, "You caused me some problems today!"


Everything's coming up roses -- well peas, potatoes and carrots, that is. I've achieved a successful veg patch without the pitfalls of a novice. Why, I was even called an expert by a passing friend who called in to say hello! She went away with a box full of the fruits of my labour, tomatoes, cucumbers and some little chilli plants from my greenhouse. She was amazed by my achievement, none more than myself because all I've ever managed to grow in the past is cress.


"What's your secret?" she asked, hoping I had an exclusive method.


"Too much time and a dose of boredom," I said!


"You know. you could sell your plants, make a business out of it," was her reply


Fact is, I've thought about that very thing myself. I've enjoyed pottering around the greenhouse. A huge plus has to be the warmth and it's not that we don't have the space. I even discussed it with my hubby who nodded his head and then asked what was for dinner, much to his interest in the matter. My daughter groaned thinking that she would be involved somewhere along the line.


"I'm not selling plants to strangers," she said. "No way!"


"You know it could pay for our annual holiday in Crete without you having to save for it!" I said with a persuasive tone


"I'll do it!" was the response, "When do we start?"


Ah, Crete! Not long now before we set off on our annual mission to the islands. This year though I'm more hopeful that the house will be finished and we won't be sacrificing the hole in the wall for a hole in the pocket trip this year.

It's been home to the sparrows, geese and even goats during winter. Didn't they used to live like that in medieval times? Well it happens to be my dining room or at least it will be. It's all cleared and ready to go and I must be the most patient woman in the entire universe. For every job that ever got finished, we never got anywhere near that hole. The weather played it's part entirely, from the day we took it down it never stopped raining and when it did, my hubby wasn't home (Work). Now I'm determined, come hail or shine, to get the wall put back and have a home without a patio indoors.


So everything is about to come up roses but roses round the door is still a way off!


Things were so different when I used to be fat

Oh, by the way I didn't mind being called that!

All the jolly woman don't have issues with their weight

That explains a lot then, now I'm a sickly size eight


Once my rounded figure was one for those to mock

Could never find an outfit or a suitable frock

I always felt discomfort in jeans that were to tight

And had to battle each morning, the zip was a fight

Lay on top of the bed in an uncompromising position

Daren't breathe out for fear of an exploding disposition


Still, I was happy in my own little way

And didn't worry about what people say

Calories were for dieters for me they posed no worry

I'd still shovel in an ice cream, a biscuit and a curry!

Though nights were never peaceful that burning I would hate

Just waiting for the lump to simply regurgitate


I can't be more disgusting well you know me for sure

This old model that I traded in for something a little newer

Now with my jeans I wear a belt, and clothes were made to fit

I don't have to be careful of popping out when I sit

Those muffin top love handles that used to overflow

Have gone along with my bosom, it didn't take long to go

My hubby jokes about them says he's seen bigger on a gnat

They were much larger when I was happy and fat

Now they look like two tablets on a flat piece of board

I'd have them enlarged you know if I could afford!


My cheekbones have become more prominent hollow and thin

Like I'm permanently sucking a lemon, and trying to keep it in

As shadow of my former self and I did it without a plan

If I could market this weight loss I'd put it in a can

But I wouldn't wish scleroderma on any woman or man


Well, my hubby hit five-0 over the weekend and I couldn't help but tease him a little. A gentle reminder told him that I was still in my forties, albeit just 18 months behind him! Of course he stood some very snide remarks from his friends who labelled him as officially an "Owd Chap". Fifty is surely a milestone and one you never think will happen to you.


Well, he was given quite a few bottles of whiskey and he sat for most of the weekend with a cross eyed look and permanent grin on his face. Far from drowning his sorrows, I think he actually found a plausible excuse to have a good tipple. Not so good when he fell outside the door banging his head on some bricks though and I ended up with frozen fingers holding a bag of ice cubes on his brow to take down a rather huge lump. As a sufferer of gout and sporting a limp, he now had a bruised head and darkening eye. It was a bit shameful because it looked as though I'd given him a hiding or he'd gone the whole hog with Mike Tyson. So much for a joyous fiftieth event!


The weather is so good that I'm saying it quietly. Dare I mention the "S" word, Sun? Dare I even mention that I have a tan on account of being outdoors in the fresh air doing my gardening bit? Well there you are I just mentioned it! April in England has never been known to feel like summer. With temperatures in the high 16 -18's( 62 - 66 F) it was almost 40 in my greenhouse and that's a whopping 104 degrees! No one told me that you could get sunburn in a greenhouse, so it was quite a surprise to have strap marks and a big red face when I looked in the mirror. My hubby burned his head, now he looks like a matchstick. With the evenings still chilly, it's weird sitting by the fire with a tan and rubbing aftersun on my hubby's bonce.


The house is looking much better though. Finally I can report movement on the hole in the wall saga. The whole area has been cleared ready for building and hopefully, weather permitting, we'll make a start this weekend.


Back on track as they say! Please, Mr Weatherman, will you be kind this year?


Slim But Not Shady!

If I have to blow my nose one more time.... The dreaded cold is back! I'm tired of sniffling and wiping my conk until it's red and sore, lovely subject by the way! My daughter even gave me a pack of her tissues which are mentholated -- imagine carrying those around with you all day? Everyone close by was breathing pure fresh air on account of my sneezing episode which brought out at least 4 handkerchiefs in one go!


Serious issue now: I've lost more weight -- a full 7 pounds. That may not sound very drastic but for me it means trouble with the dietician who just about tolerates my antics with a light-hearted warning. The threat of hospitalisation makes me hit the fridge for chocolate and milk and then I half choke just trying to shovel it all in. I then have to walk round with my head tilted backwards and hold my breath. It's a technique I've mastered for holding the food in -- and here I go again -- can I not be more disgustingly open?


Okay, so I have my problems. Another happens to be my bra -- oh yes, I still wear one, although I can't remember what for. I now wear a padded effort on account of only having two little excuses for a bust. My latest sexy pink one wasn't so sexy when I accidentally walked into someone in front and it made a ding on my left bosom. It was pointed out to me by my very observant daughter who immediately escorted me to the bathroom to push it back into shape.


On a plus side, I don't have to hold back in the clothing department. Usually the very small sizes are the ones left on the shelf and mostly on the sale rail which means I only take half the time to choose an outfit and I don't have to make excuses about the sizes being wrong which was always the case many years ago. I've been slim for almost 5 years now, but the holidays are fast approaching and I may just need a size smaller!


So I weighed myself this morning, not something I usually do! I felt thin if you know what I mean? My hips felt like I was stroking a starving cow and my shoulder blades look a bit like the shoulder pads on Dallas! (Remember that series?) I feel very slender and it's confirmed when I put on my jeans. I'm constantly pulling them up and they never used to be like that. Even my collarbone is beginning to look more like an Egyptian necklace! I may mock my figure but it's certainly no laughing matter to me.


Feet up, coffee in hand. I watch my mother goose, yes she is finally parading the goslings, 5 of them! A smile stretches across my face, you can't help but smile at the sight of 10 little orange legs topped with explosions of yellow fluff and cute little orange beaks -- five miniature Big Birds -- well at least she's happy. I'm just glad they're out at last, at least now we'll have the yard back instead of being hissed at every time we walk towards the gate.


Isn't nature wonderful?