The sun comes out and it reminds me of where I ought to be! My mind starts thinking about Crete and little butterflies begin fluttering around. I'm tempted to press the button marked "Book" as I browse the tour company website, only the thought of things more urgent forbid me to go ahead and do it!
It's like I have a naughty gremlin sat on my shoulder "Go on -- do it, press the button, give Raynaud's a rest" whilst on the other shoulder my conscience says "Don't you dare." I'm tempted and my fingers anxiously hover over the keys, but my conscience gets the better of me and the laptop is switched off out of sight.
My stint on the radio calmed my ambitions a little this morning. I arrived at the station a little early sporting new headphones which I purchased myself. The regular DJ was off sick so a new one stood in her place. He wasn't exactly new, I know him which made the broadcast much easier. I was asked to learn the board, which roughly means they want me to do an entire show on my own! I don't know if I'm ready for that yet, it all seems rather complicated to me.
I stood with blank expression as he pointed to every little switch and every song on the play list. It became a complete blur at times and in the back of my mind I was thinking -- "This is too much for me to take in." I'm not exactly computer literate so to ask me to perform such tasks is like learning to read and write all over again. I'll give it a go -- They don't know what they've let themselves in for, do they?
I have a million things to do today and I realise I haven't fulfilled any of them as yet! I need to go to the bank, pick my daughter up, see my Aunt, visit my Dad and go shopping. It's 1.30pm and not a pot washed as they say! My goats are chewing in the field and the geese give an occasional honk! The dog is elsewhere but quiet for a change. I suppose this is the part where I make the decision to go out, or perhaps not! Either way I ain't getting anything done and that will never do.
Decision made! I'm off out before I book a holiday to Crete -- Oooh! the temptation is killing me!
Just when you thought it safe to announce Spring, Winter returns with snow and ice! The geese are quite confused. Strange sight looking at a nesting goose when all you can see is an orange beak against a snowy background.
My Raynaud's is just loving it. If there were Oscars for the greatest appearances then mine would be awarded for the most prestigious I'm sure? I can't actually remember a day gone by without at least one attack, with the exception of my longed for vacations in Crete which feel ever more inviting as the days of winter drag on. I'm so cold that even if I perched directly over the fire I'd still be shivering!
It's totally not safe to put away my thermal vests yet. I seem to shiver whenever I think about it! There's no doubt that this last winter has been the longest and harshest of all for years. I honestly think it began last June -- question is, When will springtime begin?
All the signs are there. The little buds on the hedgerow, geese laying, grass growing and birds singing sweetly, not to mention the days are getting longer. It was quite light at 6am this morning. I couldn't help notice the white cast on the roof of my car and with one toe out of bed I realised that there had been quite a severe frost overnight.
I thought we'd done with scraping ice off the windscreen. I thought that driving my daughter to college with heater on full blast and sensible driving speeds were a thing of the past for this year. I also wondered why most cars travelling in the opposite direction were full of snow. All became apparent as I listened to the local radio station announce that there was heavy snow falling in the next town. I could see the sky was full and I was heading into it! Thankfully I never hit the snow, it was moving much faster than I was, but I was relieved nevertheless to get home and mighty glad that I didn't get caught up in a snowstorm.
It's times like this that I really miss not being able to eat a hot meal. Hot drinks just don't hit the spot when you feel cold through to the bone. Overall I don't think I've done too badly having escaped the winter flu virus and all manner of ailments that seem to keep circulating the area. It's amazing really since I'm prone to collecting every nasty bug that's ever been known, not to have been laid up once. I'm not complaining, I'm actually boasting that I came through unscathed!
Log fire cracking and spitting and my face all red down one side. I'm bracing myself for another trip outdoors -- my daughter's college. Shame to leave such a good fire but when needs must....
I had a few hobbies when I was young, photography being one of them. You'd never guess that I used to take photographs for numerous projects including a magazine article on the Beatles of all people! Living fairly close to Liverpool, some 23 miles away, I was asked by an American friend to take shots of the new Beatle City Exhibition. I shot the whole thing in black and white and the result was amazing.
I shot weddings too, mostly for friends, in fact, that's how I kind of got into cake decorating, then flower arranging. I was almost a one man show wedding planner, or woman I should say! As the years went on, I got married, had a child and then the rest is history as they say! My cameras lay idle at the back of the cupboard and then progressed to a cardboard box, finally the shed! Since then it's been birthday pictures, holiday snaps, and an handbag item for my daughter whenever she goes out in the evening. A small compact digital camera we bought a few years ago, not worth much just handy to keep as a little memory box is the only thing we use it for these days.
My case for a new camera was highlighted when all the snapshots of my daughter's recent 18th birthday all came out blurred and not very good. In my day it would be called "Camera Shake" and indeed that's what it is. The camera has an anti shake device built in but it seems like it's stopped working, hence the out of focus portraits!
I toddled off down to the market and called into our local camera shop, armed only with the limited knowledge I have of pixels, megabytes and digital terminology. Still, better I go than hubby because he doesn't understand cameras at all. I was faced with literally hundreds of cameras in every colour, size and price. I stood quite gormless with my finger touching my lip studying the different makes and accessories.
"Can I help you madam?" This man appeared from nowhere and gave me quite a flinching shock.
"I'm looking for a new camera, one which will do all the things we want it to." There that should be enough information I thought!
"Well!" said the man. "How many pixels, what features do you want, how much do you want to pay -- what exactly do you want it for?"
Yikes! I never thought there was that much to it. Gone have the days when you went into a camera shop, chose the body and then the lens to suit the occasion. Here I'm being offered all singing and dancing!
"Err! holidays, snapshots, well Y'know that sort of thing!"
"Ah, so it's for family shots and travelling!" Well that's what I said wasn't it?
He reached for a little black camera with "Special Offer" written underneath. He placed it on the counter and told me to photograph him.
"Look at the back of the camera not through the window!" he said as I picked it up. What did he take me for, I'm not that ancient. I'm surprised that he didn't ask where my black sheet and tripod was and if I needed a light to ignite my flash.
I smiled and raised my arms to take the picture. I framed his face but couldn't resist the temptation since he obviously thought I was a stupid woman, to cut the top of his head off! I handed it back and he pressed a button to retrieve the photo.
"Oh!, not quite in the middle but never mind, you understand how it works"
I giggled to myself before he replaced it on the shelf. I quite liked the feel of the camera and I admit it was good quality. The price was a little high, just slightly more than I was willing to pay but I said I would think about it and left the shop.
I went to the cheese stall next -- how fitting, "Say cheese!" I bought a huge slab of Lancashire cheese, my family's favourite! The cheese stall holder knows me quite well and asked if I'd been up to any mischief lately?
"Who me? --- No! good girl am I, now wrap me up that cheese."
Back home to a roaring fire, cup of coffee and just enough time to write this before picking my daughter up from college. Typical Tuesday!
What do you do when some well meaning soul knocks on your door returning your pooch with a sweet shampooed smell. To say I was a bit confused was no exaggeration! Our daft dog that runs amock chasing geese, the postman and just about anything that moves, was treated to a salon style makeover by a passer by who saw her asleep under a tree in the field.
The morning had started unusually quiet. The goats were standing without noise in their pen. The geese were on their nests and we presumed that the dog was asleep in the barn, well where else would she be? It was around 2pm, I know that because I was about to go out, when a guy turned up in a big white van.
"Have you lost a dog?" He asked My mind was pretty blank. We hadn't actually lost our dog, because we didn't know she was missing.
"What kind of dog?" I asked with the most stupid of questions. "We have a small Jack Russell Terrier."
The man smiled and nodded."What colour is it may I ask?"
"Well it's brown and white and answers to Lucy," I said even more bewildered.
"Is this yours?" as he produced my dog from the van.
By then I was extremely confused. She was gleamingly clean like she'd had a lick of paint, but was none the less happy to see me. I can honestly say that no one has ever taken one of my animals home, fed and bathed it before! I cheekily offered him my goats as well. I should have offered him my cat too and asked him to come back next week when Lucy will have rolled around in the goose poo a few times and swum in the pond more than once.
What else could I do but thank him?. What does one do in a situation like this? Lucy came indoors parading around in her new shiny coat -- no doubt she'd go and jump straight into the little stream as soon as she was let free. My husband joked, "Are you sure it's our dog?"
This morning she was up and around the yard barking at the other animals and chasing my car down the drive. I think the postman would have been eternally grateful to the guy who dognapped our pooch, if he hadn't brought it back at all. Fact is she's a farm dog, won't stay indoors and certainly won't be pampered. Stranger still is that my goats have behaved themselves, even though they find the electric fence no challenge at all!
"Watch this" said the farmer who put the fence up. "They'll not stray now" First through the fence was Apple followed by Lilac, Max, Bertha, and Paddy! -- "Oh!" he said "Perhaps not!"
My daughter was bitten by the gander. My car has been damaged, I do not know how. My dad is in hospital and I cannot control my bowels -- is it any wonder? An eventful weekend don't you think?
I'm not the prettiest sight in the mornings. To say I resemble a 1970's Punk Rocker is no exaggeration -- hair stuck up in an electrifying pose, I could have easily spent the night with the goats and their electrically charged fence that now surrounds them -- he, he! can't help but laugh!
It was so funny when Apple, the smallest goat, touched her inquisitive mouth on the wire -- Zap! She jumped up in the air and ran off holding her mouth like she had an extremely bitter taste. The dog had a few shocks as well but being rather daft, it just kept going back for more!
The day looks like it's going to be a good one. With goats secured it means I can go out -- Yeah! but I'll have to sort my hair out first! My neck feels a little easier, my shoulder is now just a slight ache, that long soak in the bath tub did wonders. I was up bright and early, making a fire and making sure the family were up and about by 7am. My hubby fed the goats which saved me the job whilst my daughter scurried around in her room wondering what to wear. With a wardrobe and floor full of clothes how it can be a decision is anyone's guess. I have two sets of clothes. Jeans and jumper and jeans and jumper! One of each!
She goes to college like it's a fashion parade, and whilst I don't blame her for wanting to look smart, I do think that she overdoes it a bit -- you can now see why she doesn't do Wellington boots! Farm life for her is the worst possible scenario; hates the animal sounds in the morning, the dirt and the whole idea of outdoor life -- typical teen I'd say -- and partly our fault because she was brought up living in the Town where a walk to the shops meant you didn't need a car and the local school was within walking distance of our home. Her friends all lived in the same street and her bedroom was just how she liked it! Here she has to rely on me to drive her wherever she needs to go. Her friends are now far away and her current status is bedroom with huge hole opposite.
Of course things would be different if the farm was in good order. You can see the final outcome being one of grandeur. 22 acres of rolling countryside, a sweeping drive and a 5 bedroom house which is not overlooked by anyone else. This summer will hopefully fulfil the dream. There are numerous projects on order by tradesman. The drive being one and landscaping another. One of the jobs is being done today and that's ranch style fencing all round the perimeter. My Gran would have said, "You'll be swanking about after it's all done," meaning I'll be showing off, actually!
And I will be showing off, boasting, whatever you may call it. I've waited long and hard for this moment and when I mean hard I mean it! I've waited long enough, too, so if I do happen to boast -- cut me some cloth, wud ya!
Got a list as long as my arm. I'm sat here looking at it. All the things I couldn't get done because of my condition, and goats as well, desperately need attention today. I actually feel much better except for a nagging headache. First job is the washing and I wonder if you think how hard could that be with a washing machine? Well let me tell you, with a neck that won't swivel and a shoulder that won't move, it's nigh on impossible to load the washer.
Sat here long enough, time for action!
My life has changed so much y'know -- illness being one
So many years have passed, so many friends have gone
You think you have a special friend and to find that is no more
Like she invited you in for coffee then shows you out the door
Can't say I blame them anyhow, who wants a boring mate
Whose only friends are goats and geese contemplating fate
So now I'm here on my lonesome, not even a girlie chat
Even the postman shuns me and I don't blame him for that
There's been so many ups and downs, more downs to be exact
And I carry on as normal with my nothing's the matter act
You look so well they always say but is it compliment or quip?
I smile and say thank you whilst biting my bottom lip
I do the most outrageous things like trying to prove a point
Then spend the rest of tomorrow rubbing every joint
And I get so tired of told-you-so it's really getting thin
Just like my tired body that I hardly now fit in
It's fair to say I was rounded, I don't mind if you called me fat
For at least those days were healthy and you cannot deny me that!
A shadow of my former self that's how I am today
If I don't rest a little while I just might waste away
I can fit in most designer wear now isn't that a joy?
The figure I always wanted came too late for me to enjoy
So I'm going through life as a statistic with numbers oh so rare
I feel like one in a million, please don't mock me or stare
I may be a bit dilapidated, an old crock and not at all funny
But I'm not done with you yet -- I'd give you a run for your money!
Don't write me off, don't think I'm through
I still have loads of things to do
And whilst I run on liquid feed
You'd best watch out world, take heed
That little tornado up the street?
Me and my rucksack, you just might meet!
Time to put the box marked "Proud" under the bed and do what's right! Last night I laid my case for a contractor to come and fix my fences. It's gone way beyond a money thing and way beyond having enough time to do the job. This job became urgent yesterday and I simply refused to play games of catch-me-if-you-can! with my goats for a second day. My hubby and I had words. I never moan about my illness, maybe I should but it's times like this that make my hubby realise that if I'm complaining about my condition, then perhaps something should be done. I could hardly move my neck last night. I was nauseous and very craggy. My case was very strong and I think he got the message loud and clear!
Earlier in the day I'd contacted several companies regarding fencing. In the end it was down to a local guy who actually came out straight away and gave us a price. After some deliberation and much persuasion from yours truly, my hubby picked up the phone and relented. I'm more than pleased to say he's coming on Wednesday to fence the entire area we marked out.
Today, although damp, is looking much brighter. It's fair to say that the goats have, so far, decided to behave themselves. I'm licking my wounds and just when I thought it was safe to relax, a huge truck pulled up at my gate. sounding its horn and setting off the peaceful tranquillity of resting goats, nesting geese and one stupid dog. A man stood with a file waving like he was drowning at sea and shouting "HORSES!"
"Oh No!" How much more could a woman take, but wait a minute -- we don't have horses! This one wasn't my problem until he said that they were racing towards my field and the police had secured them up at the top, in my top field, so now it was my problem!
A huge sigh and with hands in air -- I give up! Not only had I been chasing my escapees all day yesterday, I was about to start chasing someone else's. Am I an unpaid gamekeeper or something? Hey! Do they realise that my condition does not allow Olympic style jogging or sheepdog trialling! I'd barely finished my enteral feed when I'm off like a turbocharged engine, either that or this is pretty good stuff! I never ran like this off the other nutritional feed -- perhaps my dietitian has prescribed zoom juice. Whatever it is, I'm like a highly charged whippet!
It took some explaining the fact that I do not own any horses. The policeman, who looked a bit like Ricky Gervais, wittily quipped, "Well you do now!"
Very funny, but somehow I do not think he realised the sort of day I had yesterday -- I felt like knocking his hat off!
I snapped back with "If you could catch criminals as fast we'd all live in a safer place!"
I do not think he appreciated my humour but the way I felt I couldn't have cared less. A run in with the law would just about top the week off, but pardon me it's only Tuesday! What else lies in store for me I wonder?
The phone rang just as I was shoving one of the goats' heads back outside trapping its horns in the door! "Blaaaaghh! --Neeeegggh! was the noise. It happened to be my legal eagle enquiring about my health. She was laughing out loud listening to the mayhem and even remarked upon how funny the situation sounded down the phone. All that coupled with the constant honking of a solitary goose, sounded like I was in the middle of an animal sanctuary!
"The government want some sick and disabled people to go back in to work," I commented. "I can't wait for them to come knocking!" to which she roared with laughter!
"You're a tonic!" she said
"I'm chronic, more like!" was my reply
Situation under control and peace returns to the country. The horses are back with their rightful owners. The police have gone back to the layby to eat their sandwiches -- see I do take notice! The goats are under the tree -- hopefully! The dog has worn its bark out, and the geese sit serenely on their nests.
Give me strength.
The Great Escape! How much can one person take when all the animals decide to break out and make a run for it?
This morning I knew I was in for a day of trouble! The goats had been mischievous in the early hours, locking horns, banging heads, that sort of thing. I could hear them from my bedroom, upsetting the geese at 4am and waking me from an already interrupted night of sleep due to an aching neck and stiff shoulder.
It was no surprise to me when we got up and they weren't there. I shouted, walked the fields and even drove the car around the roadside but they where nowhere in sight. The geese were quiet for a change but ate the food intended for the goats --- not a good thing since the goats are extremely hungry animals and half a trough won't do! I came back indoors to make a well earned drink, then a voice shouted in the yard.
"Have you lost some goats?" An oldish guy, out of puff and with reddened face stood with hands on hips and barely able to speak. The embarrassment flushed over my body like a wave.
"Where are they?" I asked, barely daring to enquire!
"They were in my garden, eating all my plants -- are they yours?"
Well who else would have lost their goats at the same time but us. I Thanked him and apologised for any damage they may have caused but now I was stuck in a quandary. They may have returned but goats have an uncanny memory for new growth and will stop at nothing to munch upon it. I knew from that moment on how the rest of my day would go.
Sure enough, I've been down the road so many times this morning, sick of people shouting "GOATS" at the gate and 5 little naughty critters running around. With hubby at work and a broken pen -- what am I to do? I can't go to the bathroom, even though I'm constipated, well is it any wonder? I can't spend any time in the kitchen, I have one eye on the front window and the other on the keypad trying to write this, they move so fast!
It was an overall bad idea to get goats in the first place. I understand the reasons, and there were many, to keep the overgrowth of weeds down. They sure have taken care of that, and the apple trees, fruit bushes, and my conifers. But I'm not bothered about that, it saves my energy from having to mow all the areas they've devoured.
What I can't cope with is the constant watchful eye they need in order to keep them where they live, which these days is half of Lancashire.
All is quiet at the moment. I fed them a huge amount of food in a last ditch attempt to fill them up and keep away from that poor man's garden. I bet he had prize daffodils -- he seemed the type! and I have visions of a devastated flower bed with my goats stood in the middle of it!
My twisted fingers flicked the yellow pages for a fencing contractor. Nothing we ever put up was ever going to keep them in. I've watched tirelessly as hubby braved the elements trying to fix broken fences. He'd hardly finished the last post when Max, the male goat, leapt over it like a gazelle, rendering the whole job useless, and my hubby dropping a huge lump hammer on his toe in rage!
So much time has been wasted in doing the impossible. My hubby is not superman, although I rather wish he was. Not only has the house been neglected but the entire boundary fences too. The terrible weather has taken its toll over the past couple of years and some heavy maintenance is way overdue. I don't expect my hubby to go to work, tend the farm, build the house, mend the fences and care for goats, geese or whatever else turns up on my farm, all I ask is that when the need arises I'm able to call someone to do it, which unfortunately is against the rule book according to hubby! This morning however, I'm taking matters into my own hands -- superwoman I am not!
All this activity is well and good if you're a fit as a fiddle. I'm actually knackered beyond repair. My neck is hurting so bad that I'm walking around like a robot. The biggest problem for me is looking left, so much for driving, I'll be going round in circles all day! My shoulder feels as if it needs a good squirt of oil -- I need a good squirt of oil never mind! So much for my feeding pack. I hardly have the time to sit and tend my needs for fear of on the run goats. I can't stand another person telling me that my animals are on safari or another car sounding it's horn at the gate.
I'm out of goat food. They've eaten so much it's a wonder they can walk. I praise my geese for being so good and the dog for keeping patience with the numerous head butts its received this morning. I'm all out of energy. It's barely afternoon. My 339th blog is one of utter desperation and I ache from top to bottom -- literally!
They're off again -- time for my sprint down the road.
Watching one of my geese nestle down in the corner of the yard, birds singing for all their worth. I'm beginning to think that spring may be lurking in the shadows waiting to make an entrance some time soon. That brings me a certain sense of relief. The winter has been extremely long, cold and unforgiving and my Raynaud's needs some respite. The coldness extended throughout the whole of last year. The building work stopped and everything looked bleak. No chance of moving on, stuck in hum drum as they say!
Finally, the day's are becoming longer and 5pm is no longer pitch black. The sun is much higher in the sky and when it does spread its rays, you can feel the warming glow. This morning is particulary spring-- like! Birds twittering and the sky looks a shade of blue. The buds on the trees are appearing and in some areas they've already bursted giving off a green haze. With all this activity, my goats are jumping around like lambs in the field and are becoming less reliant on food from us.
It's joyful to walk outdoors and smell the air. It's funny how the air changes from a damp squib to dry sweetness, a miracle of nature! I think you can probaby tell that spring happens to be my favourite time of year. I always feel like I'm looking ahead -- perhaps to a warm summer? -- instead of feeling like I'm grounded in a hole in the depth of winter. Everything bursts into life and I have the good fortune of being surrounded by nature at its very best. Soon the blossom will appear, the best feel good factor of all.
So the goose scratches around burying the egg she's just laid -- Mmmm pancakes for tea! Nothing tastes nicer than a new laid egg and goose eggs make the most wonderful custards, pancakes and omelettes. There will be more to follow and those ones I'll leave for hatching purposes. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a mother and her goslings parading the yard. They really have the Awww! factor.
I feel like I'm touching spring with my fingertips. Goodbye winter -- Good riddance too!
If I have to be honest with myself (and I usually am) I have to accept that I was never going to be anything but myself, no airs or graces, just me!
It's true that I was a dweeb at school in the 70's. All the other girls talked boyfriends, clothes and records -- remember them? I once said that on air during one of my radio spots "And the next record is....."The presenter screamed "WHAT?" remarking that it was a tune not a record and boy did I feel old.
Anyway I'm digressing but the point I'm making is I never talked about boyfriends because I simply didn't have one and as for clothes, well my idea of clothing was rubber boots, pants and jumper. High heels, farm yards and muck don't mix -- see living on a farm isn't all collecting eggs in a basket and watching lambs skip around in the field, "Hunky dory" as they say
I hate having my photograph taken. I have mental picture of myself totally unrecognisable from the ones on paper and film. My goodness, we don't have photographs either any more. My entire life is on a computer with a life size pixel of me at the touch of a button. Our holiday snaps on virtual albums, never to be printed off but looked at whenever the need arises. So much technology -- and I'm still a dweeb!
It's all made me think. I was contacted via the internet by a friend I once knew at school. We've been writing to each other ever since. Fact is we had little contact at school, I knew her, she knew me and that's about as far as it went. When she contacted me if felt strange, it was strange because all she ever knew about me was the short time we had in high school and if that's all she remembers of me then it was pretty glum picture indeed. I was so quiet, hardly ever there (Maybe sclero played it's part there too) and I was so unfashionable, the one whose friends hung around in a little group, a drop out gang as such and never talked about discos or wedge heels! So when she contacted me it was hard to make an impression that I'd changed or was someone other than the person I was.
It was only when I began writing that I realised how much I had changed. It's not right to assume that something had woke me up, but the fact is I just grew up! I claimed my place in society, became like all the rest and joined the rat race. She was more than surprised to learn about all the things I'd done with my life since leaving school. I never thought my life was so interesting but compared to others I have to say it was never dull. I felt a sense of satisfaction that she was impressed by my achievements but of course I never mentioned the darker side of my life. Why would I want to spoil my moment of glory?
I've waited more than 30 years to become part of the BCR gang (Boyfriends, clothes and records) Of course boyfriends are out of the question, clothes are okay if they fit, records have become tunes on the radio and my daughter's palm held Hi Fi. I guess I'm in the OFG (Over forties gang)! I still have most of my teeth (not all!), I dye my hair, keep it trimmed, have still got a figure as such -- no bust! Not many wrinkles, courtesy of sclero! and I can still keep up with the music even if it's not on vinyl. I give out a huge YES! and I punch the air -- why? because my friend wears sensible clothes now and speaks to me on the same level and I feel like a member of the same school yard group that called me a dweeb!
This old trout has become hip in her old age. It's taken quite a long time but revenge is sweet!
What do you do when your clothes don't fit
Too baggy, too big, need taking in a bit
I can't find any pants to adhere to my figure
Not much difference from when I was bigger
For then my excuse for a perfect fit
Was a size more comfy and an extra bit
Now I'm left with the smallest rail
With clothes marked petite on sale
And there begins my shopping mission
Something less daring to fit my condition.
You see I wasn't always a size so thin
And clothes I couldn't always get in
People walk by me so what about that!
Friends I once knew when I was fat
And though they say that I'm a new me
Behind the mask is what they don't see
I didn't lose weight for vanity or stealth
I had no choice wih my failing health
So now I'm so thin it's really a bore
When all the nice clohes don't fit anymore
Too skimpy, too short, it don't cover my back
That dress is so large it would look like a sack
Those trousers are massive I'd look like a clown
I'd need huge braces so they wouldn't fall down
A shadow of my former self, I guess I always wanted to be
A little more accepting in today's society
But it ain't no fun being skinny, I'm sure everyone knows
That shopping isn't funny when you can't find the right clothes!'
There are times of the day that I just have to sit down. The term "cat on hot bricks" reverberates in my head because that's what my gran always said!
"You're like a cat on hot bricks dear -- sit down!"
Fact is, I find sitting quietly a major problem. When I do sit down I write a blog and even then I'm up and down like a Yo-Yo.
The mornings pass so quickly, mainly due to the fact I'm out and about on my travels, firstly to college, my dad's place and then possibly the corn mill for goat feed, like this morning although my mission was not only for goat feed but to look on the notice board for ferrets! My hubby has been banging on about the millions of reasons why we need them -- I'm not convinced by any of them. Don't ferrets smell? Are they the same thing as a polecat? Whatever group they belong to I can see myself screaming, "Get off!" when the little darling sinks its teeth into my finger. Just one more animal to add to the dangerous farm animal list.
I've just got over the shock of goats and geese, they all attack in one way or another. If you don't get challenged by Max the inquisitive with his party trick of walking on two legs, then it's the gander whose neck stretches out to nip you slapping his stupid big feet in the mud, and oh yes! The mud is a challenge too!
Far away from the world of mud and poo, there's a little world of quaintness, one which I hope to live to see! That statement may sound a bit dramatic but the way we're going I'll probably be on my last legs before completion.
The farm yard needs urgent attention. If I skid half way across it once more I'll be an expert on the ice. So with my constant nagging, sometimes it does work! We set off to view some rather grand gates, y'know the ones that resemble Her Majesty's at Buckingham! I was in awe with the selection of designs and of course in true womanly fashion -- I chose the biggest, most ornate and dare I say most expensive pair on display. Making enquiries inside the most interesting showroom I've ever been in, I Oooo'd and Arghed! at all the little trinkets.
It's the first time I've ever been to an ironmongery factory. It was packed to the rafters with beautiful iron spiral staircases and little buckets, door furniture, in fact you name it, they had it! Whilst Steve gave measurements, I wandered around marvelling at all the things that would look ever so nice in my home. By this time, I had several items in my hand when Steve called me over.
"Oh no,I was warned about this," he said. "I was told not to bring the wife by the friend that told me about the place. It will cost you a fortune -- and look!"
The woman laughed as I appeared with a coal bucket, fire irons, and a huge grin, much to my hubby's horror.
"What do you want on your gates?" she asked.
"What can I have?"
"You can have anything, even the name of your farm."
"What about Zoo or Menagerie?" I said rather sarcastically.
My hubby butted in, "We'll have no name, just roses and flowers"
So that was it, roses and flowers. 12ft high 22ft span, beat that your Royal Highness, I thought!
So with the gates sorted our next plan is the yard. Maybe the gable will get some attention too but every job we need doing needs doing now! Sometimes I think I'll never see it all completed. Oh, well, I'm kind of used to living in a half-completed house, slippery courtyard among my mad menagerie.
Roll on summer!
Y'know, I empathise with Barefut's blog on Time. How right is she? You could be my shrink any day! "Time don't give me time," is actually the words of a song back in the 80's from a guy who's fallen slightly from grace in his latter years.
The Greeks have the best philosophy of time I know -- there's always tomorrow! And whilst we constantly need to know what time it is throughout the day, it suddenly occurs to me that time actually rules your life.
The Greeks have little concept of time actually. They eat when they feel hungry, shut up shop at mid day because the sun governs their working hours not the clock. They eat late at night in a huge family group. If you order a meal, don't expect one course straight after the other. They graze on food, unlike us who spoon in every mouthful like it's the last meal you'll ever eat -- Ooops! I forgot that that actually happened to me on the flight home from Greece. An unrelishing flight meal of plastic sausage, rubber egg, mushy beans and something that was meant to be bacon all served in a tin tray with plastic knife and fork. You'd have thought that the last meal you ever ate would have to be memorable, well it was in more ways than one!
Looking at the time ticking on the wall and listening to the chime, one, two, three! My daughter will be home shortly after completing her 4th driving lesson. The less said about this subject the better! I've never felt so inadequate sitting in a situation where your flesh and blood takes the wheel, drives to a roundabout and stops, refusing to go around it. Even worse when she began to cry. No amount of coaxing would encourage her to move but we took solace in the fact she was displaying L plates on the vehicle in case the traffic jam behind thought we were having a picnic.
I hope the instructor has more luck this afternoon. Speaking of time, I wonder how long it's taken to get her through town. Mmmmm, time will tell!
Well with the Dietician's visit over with, I can relax a little in the confidence of knowing that she wasn't too scornful but quite concerned none-the-less! It seems my problem is quite common in people with enteral feeding. In her assumption I'm still quite a young person who should still have an active part in society -- you can probably see why I like her so much! She fully understands my duty as a Wife, Mother and Daughter's role in the family network and that my backpack gets in the way of a mercifully normal life. Not that my life is normal! I have sclero to cope with and the torture of not eating a meal in the way normal folk would expect.
My problem lies during the day. This is the time when, let's face it, you need to be up and about doing what you have to do. I can't do anything with the heavy backpack strapped to my aching back and the tube is so long that I could easily get it caught and believe me that's painful. I can't count the number of times I've jumped out of the car with the tube wrapped around the gear knob. It's like being on a piece of elastic, catapulting me backwards and falling back into my seat. It's not nice either when shopping. It hangs beneath my coat and provides much whispering at the checkout!
A simple visit to the market or chasing my goats up the road, which whacks me out actually, is a major task and whilst I appear normal, folk wonder why I'm so reluctant to pick up our little Jack Russell Terrier which runs rings around their feet as I battle to hear what they're saying --- yes, it's sheer pandemonium!
The answer to all my woes lies with overnight feeding. In true vampire fashion it would be so fitting for me to undertake. Unfortunately, the last time I did that, I ended up bent double in excruciating pain and needing the toilet rather rapidly. It wasn't a great situation at 3am in the morning and I was still at it at 7. With my plight on the table, my dietician thought that the problem lay with the gloopyness of the liquid -- too thick due to the high calorific value.
She's suggested a lighter liquid. I joked "Fat Free" to which she laughed and told me "Not exactly." This formula would only give me 1 calorie per 1ml of feed and I can't calculate it into fl oz because we've gone metric -- gone bonkers I'd say! My current feed provides 1.5 calories per 1ml. I'm not splitting hairs but surely any calorie is better than none at all and she agreed!
So maybe this is the answer -- who knows? I'll give it a try before I disappear down a grid or a crack in the road. Great to see her again and Phew! she wasn't too harsh.
The phone rang this morning and a familiar cheery voice greeted me. "Hi Barbara ---It's George." George is a girl in case you wondered. Short for Georgina and short for trouble! She's my dietician. Her visit is perhaps long overdue, mainly due to my disappearing tricks and the fact that she's been on maternity leave for the last 12 months.
I'm not going to say anything bad about George because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here writing blogs today. I owe her a great debt. She was the only person who ever did anything to help me when I was so ill a few years ago. The medical profession had deserted me in some ways -- done all they could in their opinion! I was in agony and it was all put down to surgery pain.
You know your own body but no matter how much I disagreed with them they continued to stress that I was making a mountain out of a mole hill! It wasn't like that at all and when George visited me and saw how much pain I was in -- she contacted the hospital, my consultant and arranged for me to see him without appointment. It was no surprise to me and none for George when I collapsed at home with pancreatitis. So long ago now but she's the only person I have faith in. She knows me only too well and I'm laying odds that I'll be in trouble today when she comes.
It's true that I'm my own worst enemy. I don't exactly help mysef very much. I skip my enteral feeding far too much and try to survive on a biscuit or piece of chocolate. I risk choking, losing weight and of course my health and what for? The chance to be normal for a change. To behave like there's nothing wrong is very difficult when you have a backpack and tube. The weight can also be a problem and it's a nuisance when I drive or go out in general.
I've lost weight since her last visit so I guess a ticking off is on the cards. I know she will understand but I also know that she has my best interest at heart so all things considered I deserve a good old kick in the backside.
She will have to get past my goats and geese first, not forgetting the dog who hates everyone and everything.
I shall have to hook up to my feed before she arrives just to show willing, but she's no fool and I won't try to pull the wool over her eyes.
Home truths are about to be revealed!
If there was ever a snowman wishing and hoping to be built, his chance would come today. Several inches of snow fell overnight and I awoke to a winter wonderland. Pretty though it may seem, it's an accident waiting to happen. I cannot believe some folk! It would perhaps add a couple of minutes to their journey to take the long way around. Why do they take the chance of ending up in my wall or on the garden, field or ditch? It's senseless!
Thank goodness for my hubby's new truck. It was worth every penny he paid for it this morning. My car just loves to skate and is quite hopeless in winter conditions. My hubby slipped his truck into 4x4 mode and shot up the hill like he'd been fired from a cannon. All well and good since it's my daughter's 18th birthday today and the need to see her friends at college was absolutely the only reason she was up and about at 5.30 this morning. Ironic that her 18th should be marked with the same weather conditions as the day she was born and I recall a frantic dash to the hospital in the snow. It's kind of history repeating itself. We had an old clapped out car prior to her birth and the most sensible thing we ever did was to buy a brand new vehicle the day before she was born. Of course we didn't know that she would make an appearance the following day, she wasn't due for another week, so perhaps it was fate.
The sun appears over the hill, against quite an eerie backdrop of grey heavy clouds and ghostly trees covered with a clothing of snow. My front window an image of winter with snow falling and in my rear window a vision of spring. My fire is leaping up the chimney and I look like I'm about to attempt the ski slopes with my layers of clothing and heavy boots. My day will be spent in one room only, the others are so uninviting. I'm restricting my need for coffee and delaying my trip to the bathroom for that's a climb up Everest itself. I'm sure the goats spent the night in my unfinished dining room, the cat certainly spent the entire evening in the bathroom. Living so close to nature is not my idea of home comfort but it's all I have at the moment. I know I say this again and again but we need to finish the house this year without exception. Having a hole the size of the Arc de Triomphe in my gable isn't good, although we've had plenty reasons not to finish, and good ones at that! This year will hold no bounds, no excuses, no matter what happens, completion is on the agenda.
My fire dies down, my time on this blog will have to end. My inevitable Raynaud's attack will happen as I pick up the logs to place on the fire, so whilst my fingers are not in use I may as well make a hot drink and suffer the consequences!
Carefully walking back to my house -- note I said carefully because the whole yard is a slippery mess! I had a sense of pure enragement aimed at the little dog who trotted alongside, head in air and looking oh so pleased with itself. It's becoming an embarrassment and at the same time a nuisance beyond description.
My daughter waited for her driving instructor to arrive. The dog followed us to the gate and began barking almost immediately -- yap, yap,yap! all the time. You couldn't hear yourself think and no amount of "stay, shush, SHUT UP!" would calm the flea ridden thing to silence.
The instructor arrived, the dog barked even louder and then began to run around his car playing catch - me - if - you - can! Yap, Yap! By this time there was a line of traffic stopped in the commotion and a very bewildered instructor wondering whether or not to move off or stay put until I managed to grab the little mite. Of course I never attempted to catch it, the last time I did that I nearly put myself back in hospital with a ravished percutaneous tube that the dog latched onto with its paw. The instructor moved off carefully, the dog ran in circles, first round the front and then round the back. He sped up the hill with the dog chasing the wheels and now cars were stopped in both directions.
It trotted back down the hill right in the middle of the road. I screamed "Get in here!" so many times that I lost my voice. Such trauma because of a little Jack Russell Terrier. I needed a swift cup of tea for shock once indoors and the geese kicked off because they missed out. My daughter will come home with such shame and repeat her hatred of all things farm. If it's not the goats creating havoc it's the other lot.
Peaceful countryside it is not!
I opened my mailbox and what did I see
A face I once knew - a friend of the family
It's been so long since we last met
Had such great times you never forget
Had such fun and our kids have grown
My how those years have simply flown
We travelled for miles each weekend free
Loaded cars with kids, daft were we
Pulling a trailer behind in which to live
Not a care in the world we would give
Come hail or shine on a muddy site
With boots and raincoats through rain we'd fight
Many nights beside the fire
Planning our trips before we'd tire
And the very next day we'd up sticks and go
Ending up where we didn't know
With screaming kids and toilet trips
And filling their faces with fish and chips
The wine flowed free as the sun went down
Happy laughter in your dressing gown
And poor old Kate with her stuffy ways
Fell in the mud, in a tipsy haze
And the school teacher waits as the kids returned
With stories of weekends and what they had learned
For many had never seen the open sea
Or been on safari, sat outdoors with tea
We'd been up mountains and boats, on a train
And been round the hillside again and again
I'm meeting my friend this week you see
I can't wait to see her or her to see me
Can't wait to hug those children, teenagers now, oh my!
What memories linger and days you can't buy
I feel so excited and yet so full of regret
It's taken so long to have finally met.
10 years older --- Oh I'd rather forget!
My little stint on the radio waves has gained enough publicity for me to be recognised as a local celeb----- Me!--- a celeb, I ask you? It's a bit un-nerving being identified in a shop as "The dish of the week." I therefore wonder if they feel disappointed in my appearance being that all they know me by is voice alone!
It's not my intention to have attention, if you know what I mean, and now they're talking about me being poached by a larger commercial station. They, of course being the ones in the know, already know that my little slot is rather unique and although not intended I've made a good little spot for myself.
They know nothing about the fact that I can't eat a morsel of anything I make. Ironic don't you think? But my love of cooking has never grown out of me so to speak and if I can spill the family's secret recipes for the good of promoting home cooking then so be it! So many people don't know how to create a simple dish and strange though it may seem, many don't want to know either.
My own daughter has no interest in culinary arts. She'll lick her lips with the very thought of dinner, yet has no idea how it ended up on the table. I've tried to teach her but something goes on in her head and the domestic cell switches off. It saddens me when she asks how to make a poached egg and it's all the more worrying when you know she means it!
So much fast food and probably too much choice is to blame. The humble fish and chip take away which was more of a treat than a family meal, has become a statistic in the fast food chain. My gran would buy a portion of fish and chips on a Saturday evening only if we were hungry after the main meal which was very rare in fact. She'd be so proud of my accolade and I owe her a great debt because although she will never know it, she taught me all I know and the importance of sitting down around the table to a home cooked dinner and all the trimmings.
My family take it for granted that a hot meal will be waiting for them when they come home. Okay, they moan sometimes when it's not exactly what they fancy, but it gets eaten anyway.
My daughter came home from college with a tale that made me think. She told me that her friends challenged her about her diet when she declined to eat chocolate or sweets before lunch. Have we really lost the plot? "No wonder you're thin," they said and I said, "Well it's no wonder they are overweight then." It wasn't meant to be sarcastic, just realistic and so typical of the youth of today.
Well with Brownie points stamped on my rather smug face and the realisation that someone asking for my autograph is so bewildering that I'd better sign off and practise my signature.
Woke up this morning to a blanket of snow -- a gentle reminder that winter is still with us! Huge flakes fell yesterday but melted as they hit the ground. January can be a hard month and I have a daft goose nesting on the wall. Still, pancakes on the menu or custard tarts are looking ever likely!
The goats stood in a group with sad expression. It was almost like they blaming me for the snow. I mumbled "What can I do about it?" before I went indoors to a nice warm fire made in the early hours.
The house is cold and somewhat uninviting. Of course I can't help but mention my lack of a gable end, lets not forget that! The stairs run adjacent and open to the elements. No wonder I cross my legs till bursting before I dare take a trip to the bathroom. Can you imagine the problems of taking a bath? I've got undressed so quickly on many occasions, that I've climbed in the tub with my knickers and socks still on. It's sanctuary to slip down in the water but grief getting out!
My hopes lie with a decent summer or at least a dry one. I can't remember one day without rain last year and when it did stop, my hubby was at work and unable to fix my gable -- that rhymes! If there was ever a rhyme to write about this one -- no wall at all, it's a pain in the rain, my sanity I fear if it happens this year! Yeah! I know babbling on as usual!
My hubby bought a new truck -- yes, new truck! It arrives on friday. We traded old jalopy in for a new sleek model in black. It's not as big as the other but at least I will be able to drive it and it's a four wheel drive which means I'll make it up the hill when icy and hubby can take it over the fields. My daughter was dismayed to find it only has 2 seats but showed little interest in the other one, in fact her words were "I wouldn't be seen dead in that." The horror of collecting her from college in a scrap truck, was too much for her to bear. We never did, pick her up that is, Lady Steph always comes home in style!
Car insurance companies have had a ball with us this week. Have they no scruples at all? -- Have you ever tried to insure a young inexperienced driver, and a truck at the same time? The quote came back more expensive than the car is worth! To say she may be a liability is an understatement of the year! I'm sure Rolls Royce would be cheaper. No wonder they are queuing up for your business!
At least the sky is blue. It's market day in town but I'm giving it a miss -- too cold for me. I'm making Chicken Broth with barley and dumplings. I can almost hear the groan when my daughter comes home. "Gruel again" Sounds like Oliver! but she won't be asking for more I shouldn't think!
I truly believe that my life is an open book. Every day a page to be written. I can't imagine anyone's life to be dull or boring, yet people ask if I get bored or lonely living on a farm with just geese, goats and chickens to keep me company when my family are out about their business I'd say keep me on my toes actually because every day they keep me active with one thing or another. If it's not the local do-gooder or some frustrated motorist telling me that the goats have wandered by the wayside, it's an hardened rambler who dares not tread my land for fear of a butt or two or a nip from my vicious gander who just loves to splat his stupid feet in the mud hot on the heels of some fleeing and usually frightened person.
It all adds up to brighten the day somehow. I'm sure we're the talk of the village and so what? I'm a country girl born and bred and I know the way things are and how they should be, it's not all jodphurs, wellies, wax jackets and Land Rovers you know!
Take yesterday when the neighbour of some 3 fields away shouted over my gate for a chat. She's old stock and by that I mean -- farmer of some experience and birth. Her two large Great Danes as tall as herself peering over my gate with a certain interest in my goats who were peering back with just as much curiosity. Cruffs champions those dogs but I can't get Scooby Doo out of my head! We chewed the fat and agreed that all is not well in the country especially when the idiot in the red sports car screached around the bend turning the conversation from the weather to shaking fists, frightening the dogs and scattering the goats. I couldn't count on both hands the amount of interest shown by passing motorists in two huge dogs standing at my gate. At one point I thought we were going to witness a pile up.
We both remembered back to a time when there was perhaps only one vehicle passing throughout the whole day and they'd even stop for a chat because you could bet your life you knew them. Nowadays people need to get from A to Z and they don't care how they do it! Even the old ramblers stopped for a while with much respect for the countryside. If you asked for them to keep their dog on a lead because the animals may get scared if they run around, it wasn't problem and actually I can never remember asking because they had the sense to realise that their animal was not the only critter on the field. Cows, goats, sheep or any other farm animal are not domesticated. Try asking the same today and you're met with a torrent of abuse and dog owners that encourage their animal to chase anything that moves.
Putting the world to right was topic of conversation over the gate. So few of us left and so little of unspoiled countryside. Land is precious and they don't make any more of it. I can see residential estates on the horizon, swallowing up farm land for riches. I'm beginning to sound like my gran but boy! was she right. I can predict my land will become residential in the next few years and what will I do then---- Should I tell you? Come close I'll whisper (Crete) Sssssh! Yep, We'll be off and won't come back. A little villa or a huge villa perhaps. I can picture myself living off milk shakes and Tsatziki!
Pipe dreams maybe but what else would you do? I can't see myself hanging around with a million eyes peering at me over the lawn. We have enough trouble from the odd walker never mind a whole estate.
All we can do is hope that we're left alone even if our values are not quite the same
Waving with a huge lump in my throat as I watched my daughter disappear up the hill on her first driving lesson. I remembered with a sly smile, my first lesson oh so many years ago! I shared her nervousness as we stood anxiously waiting for the instructor to arrive. Her documents in hand and pacing up and down like it was her driving test never mind first lesson!
Finally, he arrived in a blaze of colour. The car plastered with "L"s with the name of the school painted down one side.
"Oh mum -- he's here!"
"Go on -- get in, you'll be fine"
A huge man opened the door with an equally huge smile. "Hello love, my you're a little one, we'll need a cushion," he joked!
My daughter wasn't impressed by his observation I could tell as she leered at me before climbing into the passenger seat. A few moments later they climbed the hill and were out of sight. I returned to my home, fighting off goats who'd all arrived to see the action, and then I sat wondering and hoping she'd enjoy the experience and not come home with a frustrated face or a degree of disappointment. I watched the clock -- two hours would go quickly I thought but as I write it may as well be an eternity.
She will become 18 in two week's time. A milestone reached and a new era about to begin. This could be the start of her independence as she goes out into the world a woman and not my little girl. It's difficult to let go, to realise that she no longer needs my approval or guidence, hoping she'll have enough sense to face a tough world out there. The jigsaw almost finished and the final piece about to fit.
Twenty minutes to go and I wait with optimism. Will she love the driving experience or will she hate it? All will be revealed when the clock strikes 3.
Huge sigh!---- This life can be the pits and there's me thinking that humour cures all. I guess I'm disillusioned with the world and the first week of the new year promises little hope of a bumper bright 12 months -- Why do I hate January?
It always seems that January has it in for me. Anything bad that ever happened to me has always been in the first month of the year! Pneumonia, gastric problems and pneumonia again, all happened at the beginning of the year! Deja - vu you could say because today I'm losing my wisdom tooth. Oh not to decay or anything as simple or as understandable as that, but due to my age according to my dentist! --- I'd hate to be his wife -- and if it were that simple then I'd take it lying down so to speak.
I have a fracture -- really! So when was I ever qualified to tell a dentist what was wrong with my tooth? He flatly refused to X-ray or suggest anything wrong with my tooth. I'm wearing the stupid thing so I should know! Finally he succumbed to my firm stance and found that it was fractured and infected just as I'd described. To make the pain worse, he's going to charge me for the diagnosis!
My daughter wants to go shopping seeing as we're in town. Can you imagine how I'll look? Mouth full of blood, frozen and probably in shock? I should think the shop assistants will think I've been dug up or I'm on the wrong side of October and due to enter a fancy dress!
With the prospect of the day looming, I'm about to jump in the bathtub. Hopefully my cares will soak away and there's always rubber ducky to confide in!
Yikes! Seventh of January already and not a pot washed, as my gran would say! The week's been pretty bad weather wise and I had a very sulky teenager at home yesterday on account of being ice bound and confined to barracks. For most of the day she sat at the computer scanning the chat service for friends online. Of course most of them were at college except for her and the number of text messages she received was mind numbing.
Her mobile vibrated like a demented bee in a tin can. It drove me to the point of despair at one point, followed by "Why do we have to live here?" She was referring to our situation and the fact that we were probably the only family in the entire world to be ice bound. "I'll never catch up with my assignments" she moaned!
I had to remind her that it was only one day and if she resented staying home with mum so much then perhaps it was time to become independent, to which she retorted with a chorus of, "I love you, but..........!" Thankfully the rain came, and I can never remember being glad to see the old wet stuff fall, but it cleared the ice and she made it to college today -- hurrah!
My home is like a junk shop with decorations heaped in a bundle on the chair and on the floor. The boxes are way up in the attic, so before I can pack them away they need to come down. I hate this part of the festive season. Everyone joins in the trimmings but are reluctant to put them away. I guess the tree will have lost all of its needles before it gets chucked out and I'll be sweeping them up until July.
Back to the dentist this morning. My tooth is nowhere near right and hasn't been since I last went when he told me nothing was wrong with it. He doesn't fill me with confidence at all but I'm not leaving until he takes a good look. I'm a walking paracetamol bottle and I'm not putting up with it any longer.
Better get along. My fire won't get going no matter how much wood I put on it. It's freezing in here and I'll be glad to get in my car with the heater on.
At least it's raining!