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About this blog

Barbara Lowe's Life with Scleroderma

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CFMBabs

With head in hands -- How will I cope?

No cure to be found -- no hope

What will I become, the future is bleak

A word I'm not sure of, even to speak

 

It hit me so hard like a runaway truck

It looked like my life had run out of luck

I closed my ears not wanting to hear

Couldn't even shed a tear!

 

Would this thing be my demise

No information before my eyes

A condition so vague, misunderstood

And I'd just started motherhood

 

I went away with heavy heart

Not knowing where to start

What would happen - I shrug and sigh

And all the time I question -- Why?

 

I looked at my baby as she crawled on the floor

This life I'd created was beautiful and more

To her I was mum not some medical term

She needed a mother not one who's infirm

 

17 years gone like I'd flipped through the pages

Each chapter a joy, the years and ages

No time for myself it was all about her

My beautiful babe with long dark hair

 

Seventeen and just as sweet

The nicest kid you'd wish to meet

She's all mine and I'm so proud

I even tell her that out loud

 

This dark little place I go to think

How many years I've had in pink

Scleroderma lurks behind

I wish a cure they could find

 

My front is of humour how happy I look

But go back a few pages in my life's book

The wilderness years and, yes, I came through

And I can sit here and write this for you!

CFMBabs

Wilderness Years

Y'know, Serena --- The hardest thing coping with a chronic illness is admitting to yourself that you're no longer the person you once were and the uncertainty. The saddest thing is knowing that your family feel the same!

 

My daughter grew up knowing mum wasn't like other mums. I spent so much time in and out of hospital that in her primary school years she was almost part of a one parent family! For most of her young life she never understood the full impact of the disease and kind of accepted that mum wouldn't be able to go to certain places or do things other mums could do. I guess I was so wrapped up in myself and so alone in the early days, which I like to refer to as my wilderness years! that I had little time to worry about how my family were coping.

 

Our children are much more resilient than we give credit for and in some ways I feel that my daughter has matured into a warm caring person because of it, take the fact that she wants to become a nurse! I'm sure at times she must have hated the situation, as we all did. But she made the best of it and came through.

 

I think we have to stop blaming ourselves in the beginning. We have no choice when it comes to illness -- it's not made to order! It's how we deal with it that matters. My daughter is a typical teenager who does typical teenager things. We have our moments just like any other, mainly the slamming door type. Like you, I don't wallow in self sympathy and I try to carry on as normal. But it's always mum she runs to in a crisis, always mum to do her deeds and most importantly I'm here to do it!

 

Your boys have a very special mum because not only is she dealing with her own problems, she dealing with parenthood immaculately. Your boys will become loving and selfless young men and when that day arrives -- tell me I'm wrong if you dare!

 

Sometimes it's better not to know the truth and sometimes it's hard to take. One thing to take credit for in raising kids with morals and dignity when there is so much bad in the world from parents who care nothing about what their kids get up to on the streets.

 

Carry on regardless, my friend. This condition may be rare but so are we!

CFMBabs

The full impact of having a chronic illness and how it affects the family is never really discussed unless the need arises, or you find yourself in a situation where the conversation cannot be avoided.

 

My daughter attends college; her course work is Health and Social Care. She wants to be a nurse -- Why? I do not know. My father was a male nurse and although I have the utmost total respect for the profession, I still think it can be a thankless job these days! Never-the-less she has my support in whatever she decides and I have to give her great credit for wanting to help sick people.

 

It was a difficult question when asked how my illness affected the family? In my heart I know it must be difficult but I never had the courage to ask, and even if I had, would they have answered truthfully? I guess it's something you would never know unless you are given the opportunity to eavesdrop, or let your family loose with a personal account on paper (not intended to be read by me).

 

It was a half term holiday assignment that brought my illness to the fore. Her tutor had set an example for the students entitled; Impact That Changed Your Life -- Positive And Negative! Her chosen assignment had to be me!

 

She sat tapping on the keyboard, occasionally asking for help in spelling and time scales. It was a lengthy piece on which I was totally banned from any input other than a few questions. She closed the laptop whenever I entered the room and frowned each time I asked if I could read it! Funny thing being written about and not allowed to have any say, libel perhaps, but I kept her wishes as she printed off four whole pages, popped it in her bag and ended the matter right there.

 

First day back at college and I had the computer to myself for a change. I had a couple of things to do -- letters to write that sort of thing! I logged on and clicked a programme used solely for text such as spreadsheets, letters, graphs, Y'know the stuff! I scrolled down the documents and saw the assignment Steph had written about me just staring me in the face. Well you just would -- wouldn't you? I knew it was personal but I just had to read it. Call me awful but I'll take it on the chin. How else would I ever know what she really thinks about our family situation, and would it be so bad or something I didn't already know?

 

I opened the document it began: Mum. Mum was diagnosed with a condition known as Raynaud's in her late teens. Raynaud's is a condition that affects the fingers and toes causing a lack of blood flow and sometimes gangrene!

 

I read on with an element of awe. I was surprised by the amount of knowledge she had about my condition when she always seemed so disinterested! I could never remember discussing any part of a conversation which related to the subject in such detail -- I was amazed! Paragraph after paragraph of detailed text, much better than I could ever have done myself! and then came the reality check.

 

The impact upon family life beginning with the negatives. She described how when she was taking High school exams (GCSE's) she sat on the rear seat of the car racing towards Manchester to visit me in hospital with revision papers on her knee and writing coursework trying to keep the pen on the paper. She described all the sleepless nights she endured with worry, when she should have been worrying about her exams, she was worrying about me instead, and how she felt she could have done much better than the results she finally got!

 

She went on to say how my condition affected our social life as a family. How we used to go out for meals and with friends. How we eat differently now that I can no longer sit and eat a meal, and how I've changed from the cuddly Mum I used to be to a skinny shadow of my former self. She felt sorry for her Dad because she felt that he suffered too, not having the same social life and feeling guilty for drinking alcohol when I could not.

 

The positives came in the shape of still having me around even though I would never be the same, and she went in depth to describe the relief of having me home after long spells in hospital. I read with tears in my eyes. I guess the full impact on my family is something I never really thought about. Most importantly was the realisation that my condition affected my daughter in such a way that she felt she'd let herself down in relation to exam results, when in fact I was so proud of her achievements! I closed the document with a feeling of guilt. Had I been so selfish not realise how much this had affected my family? How could I ever make things better?

 

I'm glad that I read her assignment. It was a harsh truth and hard to swallow but at least I now know her true feelings. If she doesn't get "A" Star for it --- I'll be yanking the tutor out of her classroom by her bare neck. A beautifully written piece of work, and I just want to hug her!

CFMBabs

Tea Loaf!

Trying new recipes, I came across one on the net! ---- Irish Brack Tea Loaf! So with all good intent, I set myself up in the kitchen with the ingredients and a tingle of excitement. I love baking and I have the chance to show off my fayre this week as I've been asked to provide cakes for an upcoming charitable fund raiser. With scales at the ready, I began to weigh the flour, fruit and sugar.

 

My daughter sat in the front room occasionally screaming "What are you doing?" but I was engrossed in my work and feeling warm all over. I placed the mix in the tin, popped it in the oven and then pondered about what else I could make.

 

"What about dinner?" my daughter sarcastically remarked.

 

My hubby came home from work lifting his nose in the air "What are you making, it stinks" That's about the level of encouragement I get, so I just ignored his comment.

 

The loaf seemed to take forever -- far longer than the recipe had stated. I checked through in case I'd missed something but I'd done everything to the book. One and a half hours it said -- it was fast approaching two and still not done! It was beginning to burn around the edges - "This thing will take forever," I thought as two hungry mouths mocked my attempt.

I took the decision -- It's coming out no matter what! I placed it on the cooling rack --it was heavy, it steamed and looked very un-appetising.

 

"What's that?" my hubby remarked pointing his finger -- "It's rock hard", knocking it with his fist. "Tell you what-- make a couple of hundred of those and we can use them in the gable end!"

 

Cheeky monkey! I had a sunken heart. My hopes for a lovely tea loaf, a blackened brick. I don't know where it went wrong? I'd done everything right but obviously it wasn't.

 

The geese will get a feast today -- if they can chew it that is!

CFMBabs

Coal Supplies!

Okay time to stop feeling sorry for myself -- sympathy bottle all out of contents! not that I got any of course! I'm still barking like our Jack Russell Terrier and when I kick off, so does the dog, geese and goats. It's comical -- you should hear it!

 

I was having a mad session when the coal merchant came. He avoided me like I had a medieval plague and I can't say I blame him. I've never seen him tip bags of coal as fast and in a way I was quite thankful that he left so abruptly. I wasn't feeling so great as to enter conversation about the credit crunch, which in his assumption happened 10 years ago. I'm not saying he's a bore -- I just don't see the point of moaning all the time.

 

Well the geese kicked off in a frenzy the dog ran round in circles -- the goats joined in and we had a farm yard choir. He was off down the drive faster than Lewis Hamilton with the dog hot on his heels. I couldn't shout so I shut the door. The dog came back like a bulldog with shoulders bigger than the shoulder pads in Dynasty. The geese came back also with wings outstretched all hooting and honking in a flurry of white feathers. The dust had hardly settled and along came the goats, just being goats really, inquisitive!

 

I had a chicken on my window bottom trying to keep balance in the mayhem. How can anyone be ill here with any sense of peace and quiet? I smile to myself, at least it's not dull. I wonder if the coal merchant actually enjoys paying me a visit? I'm sure he'd rather we convert to gas! but then there would go my entertainment..

 

All in all, not feeling great but good enough to carry on as normal. Miserable day outside, damp, squib Saturday. My fire is roaring half way up the chimney. I can hear my chest wheeze and with hubby home from work the TV goes on for the soccer reports. My daughter said a fleeting goodbye as her boyfriend sneaked up the yard as far as the geese would allow, then took to his heels as the goats made an appearance.

 

Another cup of coffee is ordered and I just have time to finish this blog before the next wave of excitement begins, whatever that may be!

CFMBabs

The Dragon's Den

This could quite easily be the beginning of a child's fantasy story.

 

I sniffled and coughed into the dragons den

I didn't know whether to run or hide right then

To face your nemesis when you don't feel great

When you have to go before it's too late

 

My name was called and I walked to the door

Took a deep breath and awaited the roar

I walked into the room with little hope

Was met with a woman and stethoscope

 

Her face seemed so gentle, but was it a fable

As she spun on her chair and away from her table

She could see I was unarmed and not at my best

With nose and eyes streaming and a noisy old chest

 

I couldn't believe how pleasant she seemed

On every question her face beamed

She was genuinely glad that I'd gone today

Showed much concern as on the couch I lay

 

"You've lost loads of weight are you sure you're okay"

"Are they looking after you, she went on to say"

"You look so thin, I'm worried in fact"

"I think we may need to act"

 

I told her no problem I was otherwise fine

Just a rotten cough from that daughter of mine

And I thought it best for you to treat

Than having pneumonia to beat

 

We had a chat and I was amazed

A new leaf she had turned and I was not phased

I always dreaded the doctor's stare

Never wanted to go in there

 

I guess we all feel the very same

Having a disease is all in a game

Choosing the right doctor is no mean feat

Every day a challenge we have to meet

 

I feel like a warrior another battle won

This skin for armour sure ain't no fun

My sword is my humour, without which I'm lost

Another battle over without any cost

 

The dragon turned friendly, it wasn't so bad

The greatest battle I've not yet had!

CFMBabs

Stay At Home Mum

I've had such problems with my internet connection that I'm not sure whether this will get through or not. I honestly think that if I hired a carrier pigeon, learned Morse code or wrote a hand written letter and posted it in a remote place -- it would get there faster than I'm able to post. So much for modern technology, eh!

 

It's been driving me mad, and with a heavy cold to boot, I'm not a happy bunny! I'm sniffling, coughing and feeling generally sorry for myself with little sympathy actually. My daughter still needs her gruesome jelly dish for Brownies, it's their spooky night tonight! Her farewell words this morning were: "Mum, don't forget to make that jelly with disgusting gummy insects in, and Oh! are you picking me up from college --- good quarter to three then!"

 

My dad rang 14 times yesterday worrying about his own illness and casually mentioning mine! The house was in a tip and I couldn't move away from the fire. My daughter came home from a hard day at college and then lectured me on how to tidy round before lover boy boy arrives. You'd think he was judging the relationship on tidiness or has obsessive compulsive behaviour, Y'know the one where you need to do things over and over again. I mean, how many times do you need to vacuum a carpet in one day?

 

I admit that I'm not the tidiest of persons but so much is expected of me! I hate it when woman say,"Oohhh I'd love to be at home all day, my house would be spotless."

 

"Well, tickle my fancy, dear. Try doing it with a rucksack and a litre of liquid on your back, not to mention a couple of yards of tube, coupled with all the rest of ailments I have to carry --- then you can crow all you want -- I need help."

 

I honestly think I'd be better off at work, in some cushy little office. Of course that's never going to happen, there are simply no cushy jobs any more unless you are very fortunate. I think I still have much to give. I have a world of experience -- you don't exist for 48 years and learn nothing, although my daughter thinks otherwise -- you gotta love her!

 

I'm involved in radio and do all manner of things connected with fighting the establishment, you really wouldn't want to know about that! So all in all I'm pretty useful, never mind knowledgeable, and I wouldn't be able to do a full day's work anyhow -- I simply don't have the time! So my assumption is: I do enough work to keep busy. I'm not just a stay at home mum and considering all that I have to put up with, I think I'm pretty amazing! If I didn't say it, no one else would!

 

Now I'm going to hit the "Post" button -- here goes fingers crossed ------- I guess it made it or else you wouldn't be reading this. Success!

CFMBabs

Beam me up Scotty!

Just reading Barefut's blog kind of makes me feel lucky that my journey did not involve practically swimming there, or trying to get through a concrete jungle like Tarzan's bit of fluff -- Jane! (not that I'm suggesting you live in a concrete jungle, or are anyone's bit of fluff) But you kind of know what I mean -- you need an endurance medal dear!

 

May I ask what Luke Skywalker's relevance was? I mean we have cardboard cut outs at the reception desk but they happen to be real! Actually now you mention it, they do bear resemblance to Artoo - Deetoo or C3PO---- "Name -- Address ---GP! -- uh!" I think they are programmed to be non - comprendo! And then out comes the file! It takes both hands to drag it out of the drawer and with veins protruding from her neck, she slams it on the counter.

 

I can almost mind read "Ugh, she must be a serial complainer, this is the size of the Domesday Book." Large it may be but that's testament to how many things are wrong with me or how many times I go. Let's face it, who wants the life and times of a hypochondriac female messing up the drawer?

 

Of course that's how I feel at times. I suppose little things like the common cold are so insignificant these days, but when it gets to the point of complaining about something -- you'd better make sure it's big because nothing comes close to having scleroderma in some respects.

 

I guess it doesn't matter where you happen to be in the world, if you have a chronic condition, you simply have to travel to receive treatment, unless you are very fortunate and live near a specialist centre! I wonder if they really understand how frustrating it can be to recall patients for menial tests that take a couple of minutes when they know how far they have to travel?

 

The lengthy wait in a stuffy room full of unfortunate people, who all stare at each other wondering what's wrong with them is enough to put anyone off! I tend to look around for someone worse off than myself and I'm usually not disappointed. There are magazines strewn around the place on all manner of subjects. One I chose was about skydiving -- What? Another was about skiing holidays--- Was someone having a laugh? Then there are the posters which display wonderfully graphic pictures of a full blown Raynaud's attack. I nearly had one by simply looking at it!

 

Screaming kids, frustrated patients who'd been there since they opened the desk and still unseen by the doctor, nurses dashing to and fro -- I nearly had a hyperactive episode just watching the performance of some individuals. And the groan as you get called in ahead of someone who swears they were there much longer then you -- I can't cope!

 

I sigh relief to be back on the road home with new appointment in hand and a huge smile on my face. I look so happy that I could be forgiven for having just been given the all clear, which both you and I know is a bit hopeful! Soon I'd be home with not much to report, so much so that my hubby never bothers to ask any more, unless I'm strapped up with something! And then it's the accepted norm, instead of asking what it's for, it's what does it do? That's his enquiring engineer's head, not his sympathetic concerned selfless being.

 

Ask me about appointments and I will cringe at the thought. My feelings are mutual it seems. Never mind Star Wars -- Beam me up, Scotty -----Star (hospital) Trek!

CFMBabs

Frustrating Day!

Ahhh! Five thirty in the afternoon -- I'm all alone. It feels strange to be sat in total silence and solitude for once. The only audible sound is the clock ticking on the wall and the odd crackle from the fire. It's usually around this time of day that the family come home and the house is filled with the sound of my daughter hollering downstairs, "Muuumm! -- where's my slippers -- what's for dinner?"

 

My hubby requests a cup of tea, switches on the TV and then stretches out on the couch to watch the news. The music goes on in Steph's room, the cat meows in the kitchen, geese knock on the door and I stand in the middle of pandemonium after my uneventful day at home.

 

Today, I travelled to Manchester, a journey I hate to make; it's such a drag! When I get there it's parking that becomes a problem -- I'm talking about hospital parking! My hospital has become huge over the past few years but they seem to have forgotten about extra parking spaces and built more buildings on the car parks - Doh! What a stupid planning error that is. Now you have to walk a million miles to get where you want to go (Okay a million is an over-exaggeration) They sensibly put the Rheumatology Dept. right over the other side and up one level -- great for those with walking difficulties. If you can make it to clinic, you probably don't need to go in the first place!

 

"Ah you made it, arthritis all better now is it? -- Catch your breath dear, at least you ain't puffing and blowing as hard as last time -- won't need to do a PFT! And you seem to be quite warm -- Raynaud's much better is it?"

 

"Arghhh! Just spent half an hour trying to park -- 20 minutes trying to find you, 45 minutes in the waiting area -- 15 minutes in a room with a bed and 5 minutes with you! Not to mention over an hour and a half travelling here through bumper to bumper traffic -- Yes! I'm quite warm, in fact I'm sweating dear -- Raynaud's no!, knackered, frustrated and disappointed -- yes!"

 

"Come back in 3 months for a review"

 

Well I may as well not go home and reside by the road or in the department seeing as my journey was a total waste of time, fuel, aggravation and a perfectly good wasted Raynaud's attack that went away before I got inside the room! "Well my finger's were in spasm," I pleaded!

 

So I'm none the wiser. I must be okay, not dead or about to die. Not needed for any tests, experiments or prodding. No different, no worse, no better, in fact pointless going in the first place. They could have rang me on the phone or asked me on the net, that's about the level of interest shown! I could have sent a carrier pigeon with my questions on a postage stamp because I no longer know what to ask or say -- what can you say! "Have you got a cure yet?" That would be good; I've never asked that one!

 

Where's the family you might ask? Hubby at work -- daughter with her boyfriend -- such peace!

 

So here I am reflecting on a day that never amounted to much, watching my fish swim around the tank, which actually is more interesting than the rubbish on TV!

 

Clock ticking -- better put some more fuel on the fire before dark!

CFMBabs

Crunch!

I'm fed up of hearing about the world's economy! Every time you switch on the TV, open a newspaper, listen to the radio or even eve's drop on a conversation at the local supermarket -- it's on everyone's lips, Recession! Doom and gloom it seems and a direct result of people's greed and needs to be better than the next man. It simply had to happen -- a timebomb waiting to explode -- the bubble burst and now we all have to pay for it!

 

I'm so glad that I retired from the rat race 5 years ago and sometimes I'm glad that I'm not able to work anymore. Sure I get terribly bored at home and I sometimes feel useless but I have much to be grateful for and in my little world it's enough.

 

It's a damp Saturday with not much going on except for the sound of Whiirrr, Bang, Crash! That's my hubby doing work on the house! I keep well away so I don't get roped into holding a beam above my head until every last drop of blood drains into my arm pits. I provide the odd cup of tea and swiftly disappear into the front room before he remembers he has a wife and "Bingo" a helping hand! Don't get me wrong I'd love to help and I do. It's just today seems so cold, I could not feel any worse and I certainly don't feel up to weightlifting. Poor man forgets sometimes that I do have a 12 inch tube in my stomach, no muscles and Hey! Scleroderma for goodness sake. Now this is the point where you all say Awww! but don't because sympathy is not what I'm about.

 

I may eventually get my dream instead of having to wait for my hubby to get the inspiration, or the weather to behave. Surely someone spending a whole week instead of a few hours each day will complete a wall, a roof and perhaps the yard? Many hands make light work and my hubby can take a well earned rest.

 

Arrgh! The football is on TV. England play Kazakhstan. I hear my hubby down tools as the national anthem is played. Everything stops for soccer! Even housebuilding. "Oh no" I moan -- how long is it before the World Cup Finals? My house may be finished by then?

CFMBabs

Oh! Barefut you are too kind

You leave my poetry well behind

I guess we have the very same wit

We both can write our little bit

 

I'm glad it's more then pain we share

Sisters in arms with much to bear

What have we got if not in text

What little ache will we have next

 

Life is like a box of chocs

I heard that somewhere on the box

I confess I know all your woe

And wish for us both, it would go

 

My neck is hard to move and twist

Won't swivvel like in the Excorcist!

My rheumatologist thinks it moves just fine

It's Just a bit of wear over time

 

I'm 40 something and knackered too

My knees feel like they're stuck with glue

My back won't bend when I want it to

And if I have a cold it's more like flu

 

If I have a cough it's a hospital bed

And that is something that I dread

Strapped to a machine to keep me fed

How does one keep their head!

 

Oh listen to me -- how I complain

I'm off on a tangent again

When other folk they are much worse

And suffer greatly from this curse

 

At least I can say I only have CREST

And only 4 I have confessed

R for Raynauds that makes me numb

E for esophageal that effects my tum

S for sclero that makes me sick

And T for those spots that come so quick

 

So Barefut, thank you for the quote

To know my problems are not remote

To know a friend is always there

And we have so much that we can share!

CFMBabs

No Time

My dietician called with concern

Was very surprised indeed to learn

I've been a very naughty girl

And it turned her head in a whirl

 

Her neat little plan - her regimen

Was first on my back then off again

You see it's not very easy carrying on my back

A black and unsightly feeding rucksack

 

You need the calories, and vitamins too

(And all she said I already knew!)

To miss your feeds in such a way

To go without almost every day

Is almost a timebomb waiting to blow

I hung my head and cried -- I know!

 

You see I have an hectic life

A mother, a daughter and a wife

My dad needs attention as much as myself

Funny as they get old he thinks of himself

And yes I know this selfish way

Doesn't help me through the day

 

My daughter can't drive and I take her to class

She's a really good kid, my little lass

So I don't have the time of day

To go on my feeds in this way

 

No sooner I get the rucksack on

Some things happen, opportunity gone

I can't sit down and take a break

Or find any time that I can take

I'm always doing something -- can't slow down

I could hear her sighing and imagine her frown

 

I wish I was a bit more wise

But I'm not gonna tell no lies

I don't have time to ingest

Or take a well earned longed for rest!

CFMBabs

Pain

Ouch! I grab my shoulder again

I rub away a little pain

What may be agony to other guys

Is just a nuisance, not my demise

 

You see I suffer many aches

A catalogue it surely makes

Whilst one bit aches beyond compare

My other pains are just not there!

 

My neck is stiff and hard to turn

A better stance I'll have to learn

Just for today I'll need to rest

Just while I'm not feeling my best

 

I hate this condition, don't want it no more

Even my knees are feeling sore

I'll get out my thermals and woolly socks

My feet feel like two icy blocks

 

Oh! look at my fingers all bent and white

They certainly aren't feeling right

A freak of nature, someone to snub

I'll give them a gentle rub

 

No sympathy I ask, for I'm quite used

My confidence needs no boost

Just another drawn out day

Nothing special about today

 

Don't feel sorry coz I can cope

I'll get through this day I hope

I know I'm not finished yet

I have a good few years I bet

 

If I can get out of bed come dawn

Stretch my arms and give a yawn

I know I'm living and care for nothin

And I'm not yet in my grand oak coffin!

CFMBabs

True Love Not In Text!

They say that the course of true love never runs smooth, well, after 19 years of marriage and almost 25 years of being together, I think I'm pretty much experienced in that game. And like it or not, it is a game and that's what I tried to tell my daughter who sat uncontrollably sobbing about the guy who texted her at 2am to say it was over!

 

What does a mother do when she sees the one thing she loves most of all in her life, upset, distraught and crying. I cradled my girl with tears in my eyes trying to wipe away those that ran down her face. Every sob was a short sentence, I kept saying over and over again "Shhhh, I know love," and I do know because what girl hasn't cried for a boy or her first teenage love? "He's a coward, a cad, a low down dirty dog" I cried "Who texts in the early hours and does a thing like that -- he's a stupid senseless boy"

 

My hubby stood helpless in her bedroom. Guys aren't very good with affairs of the heart, I could imagine him reaching for the shotgun -- if we had one! "I'll have him," he snarled.

Of course none of this was helping and the crying got worse, even the little cuddly toy Mutt, who has been her bed companion since a tot, looked sad and wet with tears. I cuddled her in my arms for over an hour until the coldness got to me and I had to retire. She was calm but still mighty upset when I left the room, but she promised to go back to sleep.

 

I could hear the sobbing from my room and was faced with a dilemma -- do I go back in or let her cry it through but all of a sudden there was silence, so I stayed awake for a while until I must have dropped off.

 

I was up quite early considering the events of the early hours. I'd made coffee and was about to wander into the front room when I heard her footsteps on the stairs. She entered the kitchen, eyes swollen and white faced. She flung her arms around me and it was round two. What a situation we had. This boy had caused such devastation with just one text message and I didn't know what to do? I knew she liked the guy, I guess I underestimated just how much! He said he loved her and that he always wanted to be with her -- why did he end it so abruptly? It was only as we sat in the front room that any of it made sense.

 

They'd been to an 18th birthday party, but he'd decided to leave early with his friends leaving my daughter on her own. He'd gone into town - got drunk, kissed a girl and then his friends all vowed to tell Steph. In a silly drunken moment, he'd panicked and told her first thinking she would drop him like a stone. He got it in first! My daughter was asleep when the sound of a text message woke her up. What followed was disbelief, no explanation and grief.

 

Without going any further, I have to say that things are back to normal when the wrath of the entire entourage of friends and relatives got involved and the lad came crawling back with hearts and flowers.

 

The world looks a brighter place somehow but if he ever hurts her again, well, lets just say, that mobile phone might end up somewhere rather indescribable and not suitable for text!

CFMBabs

Sticky Mess

Making treacle toffee is not for me I guess

I always end up with an awful sticky mess

No matter how I make it - it's never a success

I have to say I'm beaten, can't make it I confess

 

My grandma had the knack, that I did not inherit

Never got the recipe so never gained the merit

It was always very edible, better than my mum's

Didn't need a trolley jack to prise apart your gums

 

My last attempt was fabled and went straight in the bin

Couldn't get it out the pan or even out the tin

It stuck like glue to everything, sticking to my cloth

And when the dog found it, up the field she was off

 

The entourage was following and every animal we own

Was taking little pieces and wandering off alone

The geese's beaks were soldered, the goats had some too

No matter how they tried they couldn't help but chew

 

I've never witnessed such a scene, the animals were queuing

Instead of grazing on the grass they were simply chewing

The geese were full of treacle, the cat had it on its fur

The dog was running in circles, the goats had it in their hair

 

By george those goats were quiet, geese were silent too

The dog had given up trying to chew the toffee through

There was treacle in the garden and even in the trough

They'd all had a bath to try and get it off

 

I'm not making toffee, my family cry hooray!

I can't afford the vet bills that I would have to pay

I can't afford the dentist, so I guess I'll just give in

And buy the toffee from the shop to save all the din.

CFMBabs

Toffee!

The clock strikes 11. So far today I've manged to make gooey treacle toffee, Y'know the failed attempt that never sets, create a mound of washing up and leave work surfaces strewn in a sticky mess.

 

I don't know why I did it. You see I have this stupid desire to make perfect treacle toffee. I've made all manner of concoctions in my time, adding an array of ingredients each time different to the last but I never seem to get the mix right! My gran used to make the most perfect toffee, every time a success. My attempt usually ends up in the bin or a chewing contest between my hubby and daughter which then usually ends in a dentist appointment and new fillings.

 

The dog was quiet for hours when it once sneakily took a particularly chewy one from the bin. It couldn't bark, snarl or get rid of the goo as it scraped its mouth in the grass. By all accounts it was probably one of the funniest things I've ever witnessed, almost cartoon motion in fact. It taught her a lesson though -- never to root in bins!

 

As my latest attempt is scraped into the bin, I've decided never to make treacle toffee again. I'll stick to cakes; at least they seem to go down much better!

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Wet More Than Once

I wish I could be one of those persons who profess to enjoy rain pattering down and running in blobs down the window. I wish I could share the same energy when Gene Kelley danced so irritatingly perfect in Singing In The Rain! Since I can do neither, I may as well admit that I hate it with a vengeance and I wish it would stop!

 

I'm uncomfortably damp all over, getting a soaking each time I stick my head out of the door. I have to go out for fuel for the fire but the rain keeps me a prisoner in my own home. I've tried juggling an umbrella, a shovel and a bucket of coal, only to be drenched when I couldn't hold the brolly upright over my head, multi-tasking you see! And I thought only men couldn't do that?

 

The wind is howling. It's a nasty day, not even fit to turn the dog out -- now that's a saying! I've had three bath times, one in the bath and two fully clothed in town. Will it ever stop? We had one week of glorious Autumn sunshine and so far that's been our lot. I doubt if we'll be lucky enough to have a repeat of this very rare occasion where you can actually go outdoors and gaze at a blue sky without the need for precaution. It doesn't help the circulation and I have more cause than most to complain -- I think.

 

Time for winter clothes. The summer ones will have to wait until next year when the only place they'll be suitable will be on some far off island, namely Crete.

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Fame At Last!

Fame at last! Well actually just a little bit. As you may already know, I work voluntarily for our local radio station, promoting cooking at home. The station contacted me and asked for some help in organising a fundraiser in which they want me to make some cakes promoting the station.

 

As the result of me saying yes, I have my name almost in lights. It's all too much to take since I've also given an interview for Science Magazine as well and one of my silly poems will also be featured in the ISN Newsletter! I'll be on David Letterman Show next! (Please don't put my name forward.)

 

It seems I can't keep my huge mouth shut! I should be taking it easy, plodding along with my condition instead of making a nuisance of myself when the opportunities arrive. My hubby thinks I've blown em! Gone round the bend, got a screw loose! Fact is he doesn't really know me at all. He thinks I'm writing to pen pals when I'm on ISN and never questions my constant tapping on the computer, or why the washing up hasn't been done! One day it will hit him in the face like a great big plank of wood that I'm becoming more of an household name than he thinks.

 

Is it that I'm just a bored housewife, at home all day with no sense of purpose any more? I do feel slightly in harmony with Cinderella, or is it one of the ugly step-sisters, yeah probably! My life sometimes feels like a pantomime!

 

"Oh no it doesn't!" I hear you cry.

 

"Oh Yes it does!" I reply.

 

I don't really want to be famous. No one in our family has ever been in the limelight, in fact it's considered very forward of me to put myself in the frame for anything. My Grandma would shudder at the thought! She was very un-nerved when I auditioned as a tree in the school play. I didn't get it! -- How sad is that! She would be so critical, I'm sure, but perhaps a little bit proud -- who knows?

 

Got to dash -- interview with the press -- (just joking)!

CFMBabs

Letting Go

It's very rare that I write blogs on Saturday but fact is, I just haven't had time. Not that I have too much going on, gone are the days of running around like a headless chicken; whatever that means? But overall the last two days have been a bit hectic.

 

My daughter went hyper when her boyfriend, a cute little guy, decided to come round to see her. The shame she feels about this farm, I share in sympathetic agreement. It's not exactly the kind of place you would want to bring your flame to, I reluctantly invite guests myself. In fact I hate the dietitian paying a visit, always apologising for the geese, dog, chickens, goats -- wall.

 

"Did you say you have no wall?" she asked.

 

Well, that's what I said and then she goes on wondering how I cope and turns into a pity party which is the last thing I want.

 

So back to the lovesick young gentleman who wants to play Romeo without the serenade -- least I hope so, we have enough serenading going on with the geese outside.

 

"He's coming at six o' clock," she said in a fluster. "Can we at least improve on something?"

 

Well unless my hubby could build a full gable end, plaster a whole room, lay a new yard, round up the flock, plant roses and paint the entire house, then the answer was No!

 

"I hate this place. Why can't we have a normal house in a normal place, in fact why can't we be normal and be normal?" And with that disappeared upstairs with heavy feet and scrunched up face.

 

I found myself vacuuming, polishing and cleaning the kitchen until the whole house stunk of bleach. The cat got screamed at for walking into the kitchen and flew out the door without her paws even touching the stone flags. Spring cleaning in autumn and for what? This guy was only coming to see her, not my half finished abode and if he didn't like it -- tough!

 

My daughter met him at the top of the hill. Hubby had cross words with me for letting her go on her own, but what can you do when she doesn't want you to chaperone her. I did moan at her a bit but you have to let go at some stage. She did walk across the field and she was in view -- I watched from the upstairs window, and what was that I said about letting go? I saw her rush to the gate as a car pulled into the lay-by. My eyes aren't that good but I could see it was a green car and I was satisfied.

 

They arrived shortly after as I rushed downstairs without her knowing I'd been watching. The geese kicked off in a frenzy. Chickens appeared from everywhere thinking food was on hand and the goats upon hearing the mayhem, raced into the yard for a nosey. The poor lad froze as my daughter took his arm and dragged him into the house.

 

"It's okay love" I said with a welcoming smile "They won't touch you"

 

He smiled and sat down. "I thought I'd had it when they all came at me," he said.

 

I reassured him although I think he felt safer indoors when my daughter asked if he wanted to go for a walk. He quipped back with an instant, "No!" So my daughter said, "Put the kettle on mum"

 

Sensing that they wanted to be alone, I wandered into the kitchen and then over to my hubby who was working on the wall.

 

"Where are they -- what are they doing?" he grilled.

 

"They're okay, stop worrying -- what's the matter with you?" I offered him a drink but I could see he'd begun to put his things away. "Are you all finished," I asked knowing full well that he was packing up because his little girl was alone with a boy in our front room. Before he rushed in like a jealous bodyguard, I called Steph for a moment. "Take this money and go out," I said quietly. "Take him to the little pub in the next village -- you can have fizzy drinks."

 

Steve came into the room covered head to foot in dust. "Awreet" he said in a deep Lancashire accent. I glared at Steph and under my breath I whispered "Go." Steve went upstairs to change and by the time he had finished, they'd gone! It was a close shave. What is it with dads and girls?

 

My week has been full of memories of how my parents used to react when I brought a boy home. It's true that as we grow older we become our parents, even though you vowed never to be like them. Maybe it's a fact of life -- who knows?

CFMBabs

An Answer For Serena!

I think Serena (Barefut) is pointing the finger at me -- yes! I know who you are referring to when you mention chickens! And I applaud the fact that you've brought up public conveniences in your blog too. They happen to be my pet hate also, especially where the toilet rolls are concerned. They can never be too low off the ground for me, I am somewhat vertically challenged in that department. Which brings me to a rather amusing story and which may go some way to explain why toilet rolls are placed so low.

 

My hubby was needing the bathroom quite badly when on a night out with some friends. At this point I want to make myself clear when I say it's not always the women who go to the restrooms in pairs! Anyway, several of the party decided to go during an interval session with an awful singer who'd have been better off sticking his head down the loo -- he couldn't have sounded any worse!

 

The women all went to the room and one by one, came out, put on the lippy and preened themselves in the mirror. By this time you couldn't breathe, there was so much perfume in the air, you know the script!

 

When we returned to our seats, the men were all laughing so much that tears were streaming down their faces. Trying to get them fess up took the rest of the interval by which time the singer had returned and was murdering another ballad! Our constant nagging for the truth earned our table a disgruntled Shhhhh! from someone who was either deaf or related to the strangled cat on stage. We duly calmed ourselves with the occassional titter from the menfolk. We could hardly wait for the guy to finish and hoped dearly that he wouldn't be asked back for an encore. If I'd have had rotten tomatoes, well! I may have thrown them but this is not the dark ages, in fact if it had've been he might have been shot with an arrow or something!

 

The singer left the stage to thunderous applause, not for the glee of enjoyment but for the relief he'd finished.The room calmed and all eyes were on our partners "C'mon then -- share!"

 

They all began at once "Well there was a queue for the urinals" one said!

 

"We'd just managed to do 'you know what' and were zipping up when there was a little tug on mine and his pants," said another

 

"Yeah! and when we looked down there was this little guy all of 2ft tall wanting to pee and couldn't reach," said my hubby "We picked him up so he could, well, y'know?"

 

Small things amuse small minds. So maybe that's why paper rolls are so low!

CFMBabs

Crunch -- What Crunch?

Fire leaping up the chimney, two layers of clothing and a gloomy picture outside. So good to be home -- not!

 

Where has this year gone? I was looking forward to spring and then summer; I'm still waiting! The summer never materialised nor with it my dreams of a completed house, roses round the door, etc!

 

Yes! It's been an eventful year, though I don't know where much of it went. We had sadness by the bucketful, joy in small doses and complete stalemate where hopes for a normal family home turned into yet another year of disappointment.

 

So here comes autumn! I walked around the fields sodden with water. The trees are looking rather sad and the air is damp and cold. The geese followed closely behind and behind them came the chickens; I was not alone. I picked up small logs for the fire and smiled to myself at the enterage over my shoulder.

 

I turned on the TV as I slumped into my chair beside the fire and the news depressed me further: credit crunch, rising costs, fuel, global warming -- is there no good news? I sometimes wonder if we get too much information, probably because news reporting has less restrictions these days, or could it be the increase in foreign travel, who knows? It's times like these that make me feel lucky; at least I have my land to wander, and by the time I've tread over 4 fields I've forgotten how bad the world really is!

 

Yesterday, I was challenged by a goat. He went up on hind legs for a head butting contest that I wasn't about to enter. "He's playing with you," my hubby said. Play or not, I wasn't game. That's my last visit to the pen -- all I need right now is a whopping bruise or worse.

 

I've been far too accident prone lately, falling into a blackberry bush wasn't pretty though absolutely hilarious according to my daughter. I don't fancy attending the casualty department having been attacked by a goat or goose for that matter! I'm sure one of them has it in for me.

 

I even have a problem with the chickens at the moment. As soon as my door opens -- whoosh they flap in like the opening day of the January sales: it's feathers, poo and mayhem. That's because my daft hubby left a bucket of corn in the utility room, problem is they alerted the geese as well so whilst I'm shoo-ing the chickens the geese creep in behind, and believe me they take no prisoners when corn is on hand. I have what amounts to chicken shed frenzy and the aftermath of a pillow fight.

 

My life is never boring as such but I sometimes wish for a quiet life, to get on with just being me instead of Old McDonald's floozie.

CFMBabs

Home with Raynaud's!

The pool area was very quiet the morning after the Greek Evening, for reasons you can probably guess? There was much wine being drunk and a few very worse for wear individuals by the end of the evening -- fortunately I was not one of them.

 

Yannis was leaning on the bar waiting for customers. He turned on the music as I chose my sun lounger. My hubby and daughter followed on but it was like we had the whole place to ourselves -- it was 9.30am. The sun was beating down, just one more day and we'd be home -- oohh! what a thought.

 

I had my usual strawberry milkshake and my hubby had a breakfast, "Where does he put all this food?" I wondered. My daughter drank fresh orange and moaned about going home. The mood was rather solemn knowing that this was the last full day -- holiday over!

 

The pool area began to fill up with people, and we decided to go into town for some some last minute gifts. I always bring olive oil home with me and also some georgeous Greek honey. Steph had decided to buy her friends at college a purse each, so off we went on our little shopping trip. We stopped by a taverna which had swinging hammock style chairs, I loved this place most of all and never wanted to move. I watched the sea crash in against the rocks, I could have stayed there forever!

 

We wandered back to the apartment, bags in hand, and I'd already begun to pack our things away. I was determined that we wouldn't be on the last minute and we'd enjoy the last night, so I placed all the clothes we needed on the beds. The bus was to pick us up at 11.30 in the morning. The flight home was 3.15 in the afternoon. I checked the tickets to confirm.

 

We wandered over to our Greek friends whom we've known for 5 years. Their welcoming hugs always makes me sad to leave and Stella always makes a little buffet of cakes, fruit and Raki out on the patio. She'd made little olive oil biscuits, and we play a game guessing the ingredients. Her English isn't good but improving each year. Manolis on the other hand, speaks excellent English and translates most of the conversation.

 

"I am diabet," she said. I knew what she meant as she refrained from eating any of the sweet things.

 

"I cannot eat," I said and her face turned to sorrow as I revealed my peg tube. I'd never told them about my problem but I felt now was the right time. I'd always made excuses in the past and I was sure she thought that I didn't like her food. She uttered something to Manolis and although my Greek is not good, I understood what she said.

 

"Pos-ton-lanie?" -- meaning what is the name! She was quite taken aback when I replied, "E-sa scleroderma Stella!" -- I have scleroderma. I knew sclero was a Greek word meaning hard skin so she would understand.

 

"Your Greek is much better" Manolis said "You understood what Stella said and she understands you!"

 

My daughter moaned, "Here we go all Geek again."

 

The air was becoming quite sad. I didn't want sympathy, just an excuse for not eating Stella's biscuits without causing offence.

 

"Ima Poly kala," I said (Very good)

 

Her face lit up and I received an even tighter hug. Phew! Situation relaxed as my hubby popped grapes in his mouth one after the other. Manolis poured another Raki

 

"You go home tomorrow?" He asked "When you come back?"

 

I told him that we'd be back next year with more people than ever before. I explained our plans to hold Steph's 18th birthday celebrations in Crete along with her friends and ours. They seemed quite excited about that and made us promise to pre-warn them of our arrival.

 

I was so sad to leave Manolis and Stella. They waved till we were out of sight and with a huge lump in my throat, the reality of home was ever nearing. Saying farewell is incredibly hard when you love the people you have met over the years. Manolis and Stella hold a special place in my heart, such kind and gentle folk a world away from old England and the rat race of home.

 

The night was long as we stayed up later, cramming everything in. Going to bed now would mean that morning would soon come -- and it did!

 

The bus came on time. Our farewells and promises we left down a dirt track towards the coach. Glum faces each and everyone as we walked down the isle and we took our seats. I looked out of the window as the bus pulled away and the rep informed us of the procedures at the airport. We'd been so many times before that we already knew what to do, but listened all the same.

 

My hubby fussed as usual about the passports and tickets, if he asked me once more if I had them I'd scream. We arrived at the airport -- chaotic as usual! Everyone jostling for position, scraping legs with cases, children crying, people moaning -- I hate departures! We checked in eventually. My passport was scrutinised. "Oh yes." I'd forgotten about the dreaded passport photo. He looked me up and down and then glanced at the photo again. My heart missed a beat. One final look and he handed me the passport back -- Phew!

 

We went up the stairs to the duty free shop. Steph bought after shave for her boyfriend and I bought a bar of chocolate for the plane. Soon the announcement came for our flight -- this is it! We were taken by buses across the airport hardstanding to the plane. Its engines ticked over and the warm breeze blew around us as we boarded. My boarding pass showed the number of our seats. I sat by the window. Steve messed around with a bag trying to shove it in the overhead locker. Steph fiddled with the seatbelt. I held my cardigan in my hand, checked my handbag for socks. The plane began to taxi. I stared out of the window. I could see the mountains and the blue sea and all the little houses by the airport. The trees swayed gently in the warm breeze. My last look from the ground.

The engines became louder and then we sped down the runway: Bump ---bump -----bump -bump-bump, the sound of the wheels on the concrete, then nothing as we rose into the air. The houses became small, the plane turned and I could see the little boats on the sea. I gazed at the isle as it's shores grew distant. Soon we were over the sea and high in the sky -- Bye-bye, Crete!

 

I gazed occasionally out of the window over the Austrian Alps and the coastline of Italy. The white clouds began to thicken and soon you could see nothing at all. It was almost 2.5 hours into the flight and the clouds began to turn grey. The air in the cabin turned cooler, I put on my socks. A shiver came over me, so I put my cardigan on. I cupped my hands around a disgusting coffee, my middle finger was numb, not even home yet and I'd had my first Raynaud's attack.

 

We landed on time at Manchester. The skies were gloomy but at least not raining. We collected our luggage, through passport control and then out of the airport. My fingers were dead by this time. Full blown Raynaud's, my toes as well. Welcome to the UK! a huge sign said. Mmmmm!

 

We arrived home just after 8 in the evening. First job was to light a fire. Everywhere felt damp, cold and although we were exhausted, we couldn't rest.

 

"Let's go out," my hubby said. So we did!

 

Raynaud's was home with a vengeance!

CFMBabs

What to wear for the Greek Evening was probably the hardest decision I'd had to make all week. Do I wear a dress, nice shorts, or pants? A dress would look more formal and since Greek Evenings had a tendancy to get rather frivolous, I decided to go with 3/4 length shorts.

 

I had no intention of dancing the Zorba or throwing myself into a belly dance (that would have been interesting). My participation would be merely as a spectator but somehow I always get dragged in and that usually causes a problem! It's a problem too when the food is placed in front of you -- how do you explain that you can't eat?

 

My Greek does not stretch to the ins and outs of my medical condition, so I graciously accept the food, pretend to eat it and my hubby eats it for me. Steve needs to dance the Zorba afterwards to get rid of all the souvlaki, gyros and salad he consumed, not to mention wine!

 

The sun went down against a backdrop of a wondefull lilac and pink sky. I could smell the food cooking downstairs and a single Balalaika strumming out tunes. There was movement all around the complex as chairs and tables scraped the marble floors. The pool was empty of people but sparkled against the sunset. I was ready first. I didn't need much make up since my face had turned a healthy colour instead of the pale palour I'm used to. I wore a strappy top and felt warm all over.

 

We left the apartment and wandered downstairs. It was almost dark but we walked into the area which was lit with candles. Everyone was at the bar and wandering around. We were shown to our table by George and one by one everyone sat down. I sat facing an Irish couple who had never been to Greece before and looked a little nervous especially when the music began and two Cretan dancers skipped into the the marbled area.

 

"Do they expect us to do that?" They asked.

 

"No, just kick your legs a bit and you'll be fine," I replied as they clapped their hands in time with everyone else.

 

The food arrived, Steve ate mine and some of Steph's as well -- she was full! The dancers began to wander around choosing people to dance with. I went conveniently to the toilet at that point and when I returned there were lots of people dancing and tripping over each other's feet.

 

I thought hubby was having some kind of fit until I realised he was trying to dance. His belly bounced up and down as he kicked his legs in the air, it looked so funny that my stomach ached with laughter. It wasn't funny though when one of the dancers took my arm. I tried my best to be polite and make fun of myself not being able to jump around until finally I said a resounding No!

 

I hate to dissappoint the Greeks but I simply can't jump around. George understood because he'd seen my peg tube when I was round the pool. He never enquired what it was for, but he came to my rescue and explained to the dancer that I should be excluded from taking part. He sat down with me afterwards and I explained why I had the tube. He looked sad and very concerned but I was upbeat. I lifted my arms in the air and said "Hey, no worries -- I'm okay!"

 

With that he smiled and brought me a fizzy drink "On me" He said!

 

The karaoke began with several tipsy people killing a song. As the night went on it went louder and louder and everyone thought they could belt out a tune. If any talent scouts had been there they'd have stuck their heads in the pool -- if another Elvis got up, I was going back to the room. We had Tom Jones on our table -- It's not unusual! he sang, well from where I was sitting it was exactly that, it was a very unusual Tom Jones. -- Brits abroad, you can't beat em!

 

George came in, "Shhhh everyone, the hotel next door is complaining about the noise"

 

That was like waving a red flag to a bull and everyone joined in louder than before. It was 11.30 and certainly not that late in the evening when you're on holiday. The Greeks found it highly amusing that we all sang "We'll Meet Again" and then all the old wartime tunes. No tact have the Brits, but they were all laughing and I have to admit it was rather humourous, especially when the Greeks joined in too!

 

The night ended with just a few people sat around the bar. I'd stayed till the end. We chatted for a while until I began to yawn and my daughter was slowly closing her eyes. Time for bed.

 

No show for Raynauds!

CFMBabs

I was turning a decisive colour by day three. I had strap marks where my bikini had been. It's not the ideal way of looking your best, I know it can be dangerous but as long as it's done with care and only a couple of times a year, I guess wrong or right, I take the chance. I had a high factor lotion but to be honest I just enjoyed the warmth more than having a tan!

 

It was the day that we were invited to join in the fun on a planned Greek dancing evening which was to be held at the complex on Sunday -- it was Thursday already! George produced a list from behind the bar and with big brown eyes and a pleading smile, we duly added our names. "Can you sing?" He asked and then explained that there was also a Karaoke afterwards. My answer was a resounding No! Did he want a wall full of of stray cat's joining in the chorus I wonder? My singing voice has much to be desired and definitely not to be aired in public!

 

We were able to stay outdoors later as the week went on, 'climatising' my hubby called it, and indeed we were adapting to the shock of high temperatures with each hour that passed. Even the evenings became longer and I was becoming quite used to going to bed in the early hours. As each night came to a close, it was a day nearer to going home and with that thought in mind, I was already planning our next trip. Next year is my daughter's 18th birthday and what better way to spend such an occasion than under a clear blue sky and big yellow sun; my mind was working overtime!

 

The weekend came all too soon and tomorrow was the Greek Evening. By this time we'd got to know most of the residents and the talk was mainly about what was going to happen. Most first time Greek holiday makers knew nothing about the culture and the dances. We've been visiting Greece for over 23 years and I even know a line or two of the language, not to mention I'm able to read it. So I guess we were rather all too familiar with what goes on in that respect but to reveal the events in advance would have been unfair.

 

The weather reports from home were pretty bleak which rather made us quite glad we were there and not back in Blighty, though we did concern ourselves a little about the animals and the state of the renovation work upon leaving. The mere mention of gale force winds made a shiver travel down my spine and think about the gaping hole in my gable. Still, what could we do two thousand miles away except wonder. I put it to the back of my mind for a couple of hours and then lay awake with worry for most of the night. It's amazing what can happen in the space of eight hours because when I rang my dad the following morning, the worst scenario had never materialised and the goats on his arrival were happily munching in the field pen, the geese quietly in a group on the lawn and the chickens just doing what chickens do. The dog was its usual excitable self and the cat was unconcerned as it lay on top of our little car in the drive. "All's well," he said, "even the house." and my niggling problem went away.

 

I tried my pidgin Greek on the poor unsuspecting locals. I was saying the right phrase but with a strong Lancashire accent it came out a bit like I was intoxicated. I was abruptly but sympathetically corrected with my pronunciation amidst a huge moan from my daughter who thinks I'm round the bend and exclaimed "She's gone geek again" instead of Greek!

 

My "To logharismo parakalo" (The bill please) ended my attempt in the taverna and Steph couldn't leave fast enough. Ah well!

 

Dancing shoes at the ready -- still Raynaud's free!

CFMBabs

Second day began much as the day ended previously. I was on my lounger before the rest of the complex got up. Already the temperature was in the high 80's, today was definately going to be a scorcher.

 

A single bead of sweat ran down my cheek, but it was a satisfying feeling after the only moisture to run down my face was the pouring rain of home and no way was I moving out of the sun -- I'd frazzle first! Thank goodness the sun agrees with me and I'm not unfortunate enough to have a reaction towards it.

 

My daughter was up and down, first soaking up the rays and then with a little moan, jumping into the pool with a tiny scream, it was freezing! I'd overheard many of the guests complaining about the pool's temperature so I was well and truly forewarned not to take a dip myself. Of course by the end of the day I did attempt a toe dip and well, let's just say that it was enough.

 

The evening began in the bar. I sat on a high stool, quite how I managed to get my leg up so high was a feat in itself. I clung onto the bar and just about managed to put my feet without dangling, on the little ledge around the seat. My next trick was to decide what to drink. I can't drink alcohol, what a dissappointment when there was so much to choose from. In the end I settled for a strawberry milkshake with a little umbrella and a multitude of toys placed in it. It tasted so good, I didn't want it to end.

 

We were joined by others who had arrived just as we did the previous day. It's always a joy to meet other people from different walks of life and sometimes it's a game we play -- guessing where they are from or what line of work they do. We very often get it wrong but I'm sure most people play this game too. We thought that the four ladies who were with their mum, were hairdressers or something. They always seemed to be out on the balcony with all manner of hair products and a chair with one of them in it having her hair straightened. We were surprised to learn that they all worked in a care home, but they earned the nickname Hairdressers for the rest of the week.

 

Another couple from Manchester had us in fits of laughter with their antics, especially when Patsy fell off her seat after a few shots of Raki (Local fire water) I wonder what the Greeks make of us then? The night ended on the second day with a yawning teenager, hubby much the worse for drink, and me ready for my bed around 12.30. By all accounts I'd done well. I'd survived a full day in the sun, a walk into town and a night at the bar. I earned my worth and most of all I felt normal! Still no sign of Raynauds!

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