Friday 29 June 2012

The adventure begins

Well, that’s it – he’s on his way to Heathrow to catch his plane to Addis Ababa before boarding the next plane to Kilamanjaro.  They don’t warn you about this at ante natal classes when you think that the worst worry you will have is chicken pox or potty training.  They don’t mention - ‘hey, in 22 years he’ll be travelling on his own – thousands of miles away with all his possessions packed up in a back pack.’

jon 4 Maybe it’s a good thing that they don’t.  Then you can concentrate on the little things that seem big at the time and you can encourage them to be independent and to think for themselves.  Nurture an interest for the wider world, to further their interests and encourage them to see as much of that wide world as possible and experience as many new things as they can.  Then when they sit at the dinner table and say they have signed up for a volunteer programme in Tanzania and they will be off helping in a Lutheran Primary School in Arusha for over a month, you won’t choke on your roast beef and try to think of a dozen reasons why they shouldn’t go.  Eleven of which start with the words, ‘I don’t want you to go’.  But he’s so excited – and it WILL be an amazing experience; a life changing opportunity.  He will meet so many different kinds of people and cultures and deep down inside, I know that it will really help with the dissertation he has to do for his Masters Degree in African Politics.  But it didn’t make it any easier to give that final hug at the door.

So, to take my mind of things, I have started to work on my Scavenger Hunt  Album.

albumalbum cover  

It took me so long to get it this far, it does not bode well for an early finish!  I’m thinking I will add extra rectangular pages in amongst the acrylic sheets with pockets and tags but it will be a work in progress I think with many changes along the way!

So it is Storytelling Sunday again this weekend, do you have your story ready yet? 

Thursday 28 June 2012

On your marks, get set, go ...

OK, time to divert away from all these hospital/illness posts.  Time to turn the creative part of my brain back on.  Time to start thinking about the Scavenger Hunt over at Rinda's blog.  This was such good fun last year and I was so pleased to see that she has organised it again. 
When I saw number 7 'Person playing a musical instrument' I knew I had to get a picture of my son and his guitar before he leaves for Tanzania tomorrow.  Yes, tomorrow.  How did that sneak up on us so quickly?  It's a gloriously sunny day here today and he was wandering around the garden strumming his guitar - a perfect photo opportunity.

7 Person playing Whilst sitting in the lounge watching Wimbledon on the TV I noticed that the sun was making a really pretty pattern with shadows from the patio table and chairs.  Hang on a minute … shadows?  I’m sure I saw a category called A Shadow.  Sure enough, here’s number 11

11 shadow
I think that today has been a bit of a turning point here, I’m actually getting bored from sitting around doing nothing.  Up until now, I’ve been so worried about moving that I’ve been happy to just sit and heal.  One thing I have noticed from looking out my bedroom window more than I would normally do is this little fellow

P1030606I am reliably informed he is a goldfinch, and just look at how pretty his feathers are.  Such colours and patterns.  I did notice he had a lady friend round earlier this morning so maybe there is a nest somewhere close.

I’m trying to guess which will be the category that I have problems with this year on the Scavenger Hunt.  Last year the unicycle beat me; I’m hoping that this year I will make it to all 21.  Are you joining in too?  A friend popped round with a get well present of an acrylic mini book for me.  Just in case I was getting bored, you know.  So I’m just thinking, won’t that make a fab mini book to put my scavenger pictures in?  And there was me wondering what I was going to do tomorrow.  Clear that dining room table husband, the craft supplies are coming back!

Sunday 24 June 2012

It's good to be back

Well, I know I've been in this situation once this week and I hope that I can stay here a little longer this time.  I was discharged this morning and it was so good to walk through the front door. 
I must be honest and say that I feel really apprehensive still that it could happen again at any time as they haven't really said why it happened or do any further treatment, just advice on what to do if it does suddenly start up again.  It really was the most scary thing.
I've missed out on so much while I've been lazing around doing nothing, you girls have been busy being creative all week and providing all goes well and I manage to stay home I shall have a great time checking all your blogs.  I did the odd one or two via my phone in hospital but you can't see things properly on a little screen so my plan for tomorrow is a lot of laptop browsing!  Fingers crossed that my nose co-operates.
Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts, messages and gifts, they mean so much and brought a smile to my face when I was feeling very down.   I can't really put into words how much I appreciated it all. 
Seems my plan to do 365+1 photos has been thwarted, but I am sure Suzie will understand if this week's ones are taken a little later than they should be.  Now, where did I leave that penguin? ...

Thursday 21 June 2012

Back and forth

Well, I did get to go home on Tuesday and was straight back to hospital on Wednesday. I'm going to be in here for at least another 2-3 days which is very annoying!
When you are leading a busy life, the idea of doing nothing for a few days sounds very appealing but trust me, the novelty soon wears off.
Thank you for all your kind comments and good wishes!

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Hospital day 2

Well I'm still here! Fingers crossed they can do the cauterising this afternoon and I can go home later. Signed off work for a further 5 days with instructions to rest and take it easy. I think I can do that!
Hopefully I'll soon have a better view than this

Monday 18 June 2012

Unexpected hospital stays

Well, here I am blogging from my hospital bed! Argh!!! Things just keep going wrong.
I had a horrendous nose bleed last night and our local A&E could not stop it so I am now residing at another hospital about 45 mins from home. I am in a ward where I am the youngest by 20 years or more and the time is dragging. Wish I'd brought penguin for some light relief!
Tomorrow I see the consultant to have the packing removed and hopefully they can cauterise. The family have just been to visit and now I feel quite down that they've gone home and I'm still here. Every time the nurses approach me with the blood pressure machine I get a panic on and my readings are pretty high, suspect I may be visiting my GP re that once I am home.
Meanwhile, I'm planning an escape route!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Guest post

Hello everyone, my name is Coco (aka Coco the Wonderdog) and I have been invited to write a guest post today.  I've been staying with my nanny for the last couple of weeks and I've noticed that she spends time looking through blogs in the evening but doesn't write much on her own.  So let me tell you a little about life in Deb's World.  
It's quite a nice place to live, although there are times when the people take my place on the sofa in the evenings.  I have found that it is quite easy to nudge my way up onto their laps by balancing on top of their newspaper or laptop and they soon see the error of their ways.  
The food here isn't bad.  Actually, I have noticed a bit of an increase in treats because my mum isn't always here to ask if it's ok and if I tip my head to one side, raise my eyebrows and look adorable, they find it hard to say no.  
The only thing I don't like here is when they go out and leave me during the day.  I know they are gone for days at a time, but they pretend it's only a couple of hours.  It's hard work being here alone, no one else to share the responsibility of protecting the house and seeing off unwanted cats, birds and postmen.  And I'm not sure, but I think that the penguin who lives upstairs has been sneaking down and sitting in my bed!  I asked ducky and he said that he was only in there once and just for a moment for his photo to be taken but I've got my eye on him from now on.  I think he's jealous because I've been sitting on nanny's lap in the evenings and he hasn't.  I don't think he's forgiven me for that little game we had when I was a tiny pup and we played at 'Coco chewing a penguin'.
I have been busy in the garden while I've been here.  In my photo you can see me helping to collect sticks.  I am in charge of watering the lawn first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and generally checking on the condition of the flower beds.  I tiptoe very carefully in there but am often dragged out by my collar as apparently once your paw squashes a pretty flower, the pretty flower doesn't always bounce back.  How was I supposed to know?  They maintain they have been calling me out for a while but we all know that dogs' hearing is at a different pitch to humans and I really don't hear them.  Apparently this is also known as 'selective hearing' and 'being naughty' as I don't have any problem with hearing the words 'tea time' or 'walkies'. 
Ah, walkies.  I love walkies round here, there's a big park just round the corner where I meet a lot of new friends.  I did look at the dog-gym equipment they have over there but it looked a bit like hard work and I soon lost interest.  There's also a lake and I do enjoying chasing the ducks back in the water.  If I wasn't on my lead, I'd quite like to have a go at seeing what it's like in the water.  It looks a lot more fun than the bath.  Once the ducks are in there, they taunt me with their quacking which sounds a bit like 'nah, nah, nah nah nah, you can't get us in here'.  
Talking of water, another of my jobs is to supervise showertimes.  In nanny's house there are two rooms with showers in and one of them has a door with glass panels in it and the shower is in a glass cubicle.  I like to wait outside and peer in through the door.  Apparently it's a bit 'weird' taking a shower with a dog watching your every move.  There is also a room with a bath in it.  I went in there once as mum and nanny made it sound exciting.  'Come on Coco, let's give you a bath!' they said in the same kind of voice that they use for 'Would you like a gravy bone Coco?' and I got confused.  Let me tell you that baths are very different to being given a gravy bone.  Gravy bones are crunchy and tasty, baths are wet and soapy and messy and are followed by being chased around a room by two women with towels and then being shut in a room while one of them dries you with a noisy hot thing called a 'fur-dryer'.  This is the price I pay for having lots of fluffy white fur and a mum who trained as a hairdresser.
My Uncle Jon lives here as well although he is not such a soft touch with the cutey-pie puppy dog eyes routine.  However, when I play at wrestling Big Ted with him, it's great fun and he loves it when it makes me bark because I don't bark much but save my barking for very special occasions.  He's going on a big holiday soon to a place called Africa.  I don't think it's the kind of place a dog can go as it would involve going back to the vets for lots of injections and tablets and the last time I was there was after the infamous  'eating a bunch of mum's earrings' fiasco, they made me very sick.  And they didn't even find the earrings, I think they may have come out in some other way {ahem}...
Thank you for reading my post, I'll try and cheer nanny up so she gets back to doing one herself again very soon.

Saturday 16 June 2012

More ups and downs than a rollercoaster

I'd like to say that life was on a more even keel this week but it wouldn't be true.   Things go from good to bad in the blink of an eye but something that has brought a smile to my face is some happy mail that arrived on my doorstep.

Big thanks to Deb, Ruth and Jackie who knew the way to bring back my smile.  Such kind ladies.  I was so grateful to your kind thoughts and good wishes. 
So, Week 24 - what did I find to photograph there?
Neglected - Seems like the door of the garden shed could do with a little attention ...
Aged - A double whammy here, when did my hands start to show signs of age?  That one sneaked up on me.  The true subject here is my wedding ring.  When we bought it, the jeweller told us that the engraving on it would stay sharp for at least 25 years.  It's been on my finger for almost 31 years now and still aging well.  (Unlike the skin on my hands!)
Antique - can anyone tell me what this is?  It's been in a box of things that we found when clearing out my parents' house and no one seems to know what it is!  It has the words Mister Schutz around the hat band and if you press on the hat, the tongue flips up.  The reverse of it is identical except for having no tongue; when the tongue moves at the front, a small sheet of metal slices down.  It's very old and I would love to know what it is!  Part of me thinks it may be an old cigar cutter or something like that, but it's too small.  Probably less than 2" high and the circular hole is too narrow for a cigar.  Mysterious.
Earthtones - Have you ever noticed that the colours of multi-grain Cheerios are earth tones?
Face - Yes the puppy is still here, and her little face as she jumped up to greet me when I came home from work was perfect for this prompt.
Same but different - I misread this one at first and took a photo of my iphone against my old childhood phone.  Then I read the prompt again and saw that there will be a sequence of pictures with a small toy in various positions around the house.  Penguin was there in the blink of an eye
Same but different 2 - Penguin took advantage of Coco being out on a walk to sneak in her bed with the rest of her toys.  He soon got out again when he heard the front door opening, he still has nightmares about being inside her jaws when she was still a tiny puppy!

Monday 11 June 2012

What a week.

I really don't think that the photos in this week's collage of 365+1 photos show anything about what my week has been like.  Firstly though the good news, an update on my great-nephew - he is home from hospital and just going back for antibiotics as a day patient for another few days.  It will be another 3 or 4 days before the definitive results from the lumbar punch are back but it would seem that it was possibly a virus that led to a form of meningitis.  Such grateful thanks go out to the wonderful staff at our local hospital who took it so seriously, so quickly.  We are quick to criticise our NHS when things go wrong but on this occasion they deserve nothing but the fullest praise.
I have come home from work today to find that my son and his girlfriend have taken over my kitchen to cook an anniversary meal.  4 years together today.   So I have retreated with the dog to the study to do my collage for the last week.  Jennifer over at Jennifer's Jumbles has posted a tutorial on photo editing with Picmonkey and I love trying something new so have used that for this week's collage.
As the Year 10 kids at school would say 'It's well easy to use' and I may be using this instead of Picasa for a while to decide which I prefer.
Frayed - well my nerves were certainly frayed this week but it's easier to photograph a pair of my daughter's cut off jean shorts
Sparkle - when I was 50, my friend gave me this pretty photo album with a bit of glitz on the cover.  I filled it with photos from the trip to Paris that my husband arranged that year as a birthday surprise.
Vintage - a bottle of whisky that we were given for our 30th anniversary
Colourful - I love this red panettone tin that I use for storage in my kitchen
Roadside - a particularly stressful day and I almost forgot to take a picture, so this is the roadside in the dark!
Gate - little Coco has dragged me through this gate on many an occasion this week - she soon learnt her new route for afternoon walkies in our local park
Reaching up - as you can see, Coco is well rehearsed in making herself as tall as possible as soon as someone mentions the word dinner.

Good things that happened today

  • I woke up to an email to tell me I had won money on the lottery.  Only the minimal winnings of £10 but it's so nice to have something good happen
  • J & S are celebrating their 4th anniversary together, having survived 3 years apart while he was at Sheffield university and she was at Manchester, they still seem so happy together.  
  • Baby Jacob continues to improve
  • One of my daughter's friends won tickets to see Usher in concert tonight and has asked her if she wants to go with her.  She has such good friends and they are really rallying round her
  • I only work half day on a Monday

Friday 8 June 2012

With grateful thanks

I know it is normal for a PS to come at the end of a section but I wrote the following post yesterday and since then I have to say that things have gone from 'not so good' to 'awful'.  So these first few lines may seem disjointed to the rest.  I had originally said that there were no health issues involved in my reasons for struggling at the moment, but last night I learnt that something else has happened just to top this awful week off.  My niece's 3 month old son is in hospital with suspected meningitis.  That word will send chills through any mum's spine and I know that you will understand the worry we have at the moment as we pray that this little man has started treatment in good time and that he will recover from whatever infection his little body is fighting.  Onto the original post:

Why is it that when you are feeling down and someone takes the time to send you a thoughtful message of support, it makes you cry a little more?  It seems that the nicer people are, the more you cry; why does kindness work in that way?  I wish I knew.  But all I can say is that I have been so touched - really, really, touched - by the comments and emails I have received since my last post.
I can't really expand on what the issue is at home as it is not my story to tell, but my belief that everything in life happens for a reason is being tested at this moment in time. Life is sometimes unfair and bad things happen to people who don't deserve it.  I have to cling to the hope that we will all come out of this a little stronger.
I'm pleased that I am sticking with my  365+1 project as it gives me a reason for typing up a post and sharing the lighter part of my days at the moment.
Unfinished - How did that last inch of beer not get drunk?
Tools - PDA, mobile phone and laptop.  The tools my husband needs for the work he does now
Messy - why does my son find it impossible to lift the lid on the washing basket and put his dirty clothes in it rather than leaving them on the floor beside it?  This often results in a 'stand off' where I wait for the pile to grow and then pick it all up and put it on the floor of his bedroom.  This then results in him waiting for me to empty the basket before he fills it back up again in one fell swoop.  Ah, the joys of having boys.
Groceries - a quick trip to Sainsburys
Bargain - Chicken fillet in breadcrumb - 2 packs for £5!
Isolated - 'Come back into the kitchen Coco, so we can lock up and go out'.  'If I sit here on my own and look cute, they'll never be able to resist staying at home with me'.
In the distance - view of the church in the village where I grew up

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Retreating into my shell

I thought I would just write a quick blog post to explain that you may not see me here as often for a little while.  There is a lot going on in Deb's World and I'm just not able to be light hearted or creative at the moment so please excuse me.  I don't wish to cause any concern by those comments, they sound a bit dramatic and I can assure you that it's not about health issues or anything like that.  It's just that I have a lot on my plate at the moment and blogging is going to have to take a back seat.  
But don't you think that the rest of you can get away with becoming lazy in my absence, I will be checking up on you all, even if I don't get round to leaving comments as often as normal!  In fact, I think that you should all make even more of an effort to make up for me not being here.  I'll still be doing my 365+1 photos so will try to at least make one post a week with those on it just to prove I'm still here!
Hopefully, normal service will soon be resumed.  

Sunday 3 June 2012

Storytelling Sunday - Kicking up my heels

My little god-d,aughter was two in May and I asked my niece what I might be able to buy her for her present.  'Dressing Up shoes' she suggested without hestitation.  Little Sophie has reached the 'tottering around in Mummy's high heels' stage.  I found these Disney shoes in their own little carry case and they've been a great hit!

They gave me the inspiration for the story I will be telling this month.  About how my love for wearing my mum's shoes not only almost caused a fire and but also made my mum swear that she would never return to the island of Guernsey. 
We had gone to Guernsey as our first foray overseas, a long sea journey where my mum first discovered that she suffered from sea-sickness.  So Guernsey didn't get off to the best of starts.  We were staying in a bed and breakfast boarding house and were given a 2nd floor room.  Every evening after mum and dad had got me and my sister ready to go out for our evening meal, mum would get herself washed and dressed and while I was waiting I would parade around in her high heels.  Turns out, the floorboards weren't soundproofed and the people below us complained about the noise I would be making every evening.  This was the final nail in Guernsey's  coffin.  Mum said she would never return to a place where the people were so intolerant to little children.  And she never did.
But the shoe incident which got me into a great deal of trouble and nearly caused a fire happened much closer to home, actually it happened in our home to be accurate.  Mum had got fed up with me ruining her shoes as my dancing had become more boisterous and she thought I could either end up with a broken ankle or break one of the heels.  So dancing in stilettos was banned.  And we all know what happens when you tell a mischievous child not to do something don't we?  That's all they want to do.  So when mum got a new pair of shoes that were shiny and pretty and lovely,  I couldn't resist.  She went upstairs for something and I quietly took the box into the dining room and shut the door.  Removed the shoes from where they were nestling in their tissue paper and slipped them onto my feet.  Give or take about 6 shoe sizes, they fitted perfectly.  I tottered around, turning this way and that.  In my imagination, I was a contestant in Miss World.  I had my national costume on and I was ready to strut my stuff on the catwalk and do an amazing twirl in front of my imaginary audience.  The thing with brand new shoes is that the soles are very shiny.  Shiny and slippery.  I did my twirl, I lost my balance, my leg went up in the air and one of my mum's newest shoes, that she had not yet worn herself, flew off my foot - and into the flames of the fire.  I naturally burst into tears, screamed out loud - mum rushed into the room and was horrified to see me with one of her shoes on my left foot and even more horrified to see the other one melting nicely in the fire.  I was in big trouble.  More trouble than Guernsey had ever been in.  And I don't remember ever wearing my mum's shoes ever again.

Saturday 2 June 2012

A weekend of being very British

In case anyone out there has been living in a cave for the last six months, I ought to mention that it is the UK's Jubilee weekend/Bank Holiday.  Celebrating 60 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.  The whole country is awash with bunting and street parties and nostalgia.  Apparently.  You wouldn't know it from where we live!   The shops are awash with items covered in the Union Jack but from the quantity of things still unsold, I suspect that many will be seen in this year’s end of summer sale.   I don't know anyone who is hosting a street party and none of the houses in my street have any evidence of red, white and blue.  Although I did go through the town that I used to live this morning and they seem to be more in the swing of it. 

One thing I will be celebrating this weekend is … Sian’s Storytelling Sunday!  I don’t even have a British story to tell for that, although my tale this month does involve a trip overseas and an imaginary Miss World catastrophe.