Thursday 31 August 2023

Once upon a time, I had words

THANKYOU for all your kind comments.  I will try and reply personally in the morning.  Meanwhile - Sarah - you're on.  I will try and jot some more words on paper and would love to write to you.  Lizzy D (and anyone who wants to copy this poem) feel free.  I am humbled you should want to do so.

As an alternative to this morning's doom and gloom, I found two poems I had completely forgotten about, whilst tidying up a bookcase and hoiking out old books to go to the Fair.  I also found a pile of Manx family history notes, so will look at those next week.

I've just taken out the boxes of stock which were in the cupboard under the stairs and they are ready to go into the car now.  TBH, I may gird my loins and load the bigger ones tonight, along with the tables and two folding chairs.  Then it won't be worrying me overnight.  Of course, Lulu managed to get out of where I had her shut away and shot into the cupboard under the stairs, where she promptly hid amongst the cobwebs and mouldy spiders under the bottom shelf, where no-one could reach her.  I have done a head count since, and they're all out here and no-one shut in!


Pine boughs dangle limply like scarf-ends

Across the muddied verge, where 

Bundles of twigs from hedging lie like a bristling eyebrow

Beside the dark maw of the winter ditch.

A narrow carpet-runner of weary green races beside the car,

Punctuated by forgotten cords of logs, shaggy with moss and lichen.

A blade of sunshine highlights dead bracken and

A swaying of bramble boughs dance against   

A mausoleum of holly, black as a pirate's beard.

On the hillslope, a thicket of ill-planted ash and birch saplings

Jostle for company amongst a carpet of rotting leaves,  

Moss-mounds velvet smooth at their feet.

On the bare hill-top, stooped as a crabbit old man,

Stands a wind-blasted tree, leaning away from the winds.

The sun hangs low and brassy in the fading sky,

As shadows lengthen across the bleached grasses of damp hill pasture,

A densely-hedge lane gouges and field,

And dangles the hillside like a funeral ribbon.   

I used to ask Keith to jot things down on the newspaper as I drove along, and had a sudden flash of inspiration.  Then I would write these into my Commonplace book when we got home, and sometimes they were made into blank verse. I shall never be able to do that again.   Trish thought that poetry had to be de-dem, de-dum de-dum and rhyming.  I can remember her handing me back a poem I'd showed her, without a comment.  That still hurts.  She hadn't done poetry since school and never did any work on technically breaking down or understanding poetry.  I did some on my access course, and at the time was really torn between doing Eng. Lit. and Archaeology, but was advised by the English lecturer to do Archaeology as there was SO much reading involved with Eng. Lit, and I had young children. (She had 4 but they were all at Cathedral school and boarding.)

    I have pondered about putting this poem on as it looks like currying favour.  If you don't like it, just say.  It pleases me anyway.

Struggling - NOT a good day here. Plus Malvern pictures - warning clown heads at the end.

A faux Zebra - plastic?  Bet that went home with them!

I am tired and struggling to cope with this downturn in Keith's mobility as it doesn't look like improving.  It's 3 weeks until we see the Parkinson's Nurse next.  I hope we can struggle on until then.  Whilst we have not, in writing, had a clear diagnosis of MSA (Multiple Systems Atrophy) it would appear that is what he has - the Consultant said it was certainly not straight Parkinsons, but Parkinsonism. Keith has all the symptoms of MSA and this disease doesn't respond to the Parkinsons' drugs, or only marginally.  It is a very rare disease.  To have it in combination with the underactive Thyroid is even rarer.  Poor Keith - every night this week I have worried whether or not I will be able to get him up to bed. I have found (only this morning) that there is a special MSA site, and this has been very helpful. However, the "need to drink at least 2 litres of water a day" is not going to impress Keith.  I am struggling to get 2 pints down him these days!

Part if a stall which had some nice things, but they'd have done better displaying it on tables and stands . . .

There are other BIG family worries too, and those are hanging over us like a Sword of Damocles until they are resolved.  The timing couldn't have been worse and it may have huge repercussions.  I have no-one I can share these problems with either which is probably the worst thing of all.  If my best friend Trish had still been alive, I could have poured my heart out to her, but she died a few years ago now.  

Having ONLY one sort of thing always strikes me as a bad career move. OK, lots of people like Beswick figures, but not necessarily to buy all day long.  I guess it works for them, but I like diversity and the Unusual.

As I prepare for the Fair, I am seriously thinking this may be the last one.  I can manage a one-day Fair, but 2 1/2 full on days, where you have to be there at a specific time and aren't allowed to leave until a specific time are not really doable now.  I have Tam and Jon to help this weekend, but the writing is on the wall.  I started the day exhausted last year - how will I cope with getting Keith up to and into bed - this took nearly an hour last night.  Ah well, I will just have to cope and at least I can sit down during the day at the Fair.

I can only hope that the day improves - I've just burnt my toast and the thick cut back bacon I bought is inedible and so I will have to put it in soup or something. 

Oh, and to make matters better I can't even go for a good walk to shake off the blues as it's p'ing down with rain!  Right, at least I can do some sewing -I'm folding over the end on the blanket I bought, as both ends had lost much/all of the blanket stitching.  I'd blanket stitch them afresh but of course, I have lost the card with JUST the right cream wool to edge them . . .  Sorry to moan.  Off to Llandod for wool methinks . . .

I will be too busy/exhausted to post over the weekend, so don't worry if all goes quiet on here.


Tuesday 29 August 2023

What came home with me


This little Art Deco jug just spoke to me, so I am hoping it will do to someone else at the weekend too.

And isn't this a cheerful blue?  Nice and clean inside too.  

Probably DERW wool Welsh blanket.  Nice cheerful colours.

This is magic - look at the pattern of wear where this had been handled and handled down the years.  Not quite sure if it's a chocolate mould, but from the detail inside, it probably is.

Fortnum and Mason Honey Pot.  Probably a 70s rerun of the earlier Crown Devon pattern as this has F&M PLC on it.

Pussy cat doorstop.

Piggywigs doorstop.

I also got a high chair for a teddy.

Today's souffle-ish Quiche Lorraine.  Gosh, it had risen when it came out of the oven.  (You stiff whip the whites then combine with the cheese and egg mixture.

Tam's here now, so we are going into town to chase up the other half of one of Keith's prescriptions.

Monday 28 August 2023

Beyond exhausted

 I woke at 1 a.m. for a call of nature.  I was still awake an hour later when I was aware of Keith heading to the bathroom.  I couldn't relax until I knew he was safely back in bed again.  Of course, I was on edge all night then and turned my alarm off before it even jangled at 4.30 a.m.  I drove carefully to Malvern and arrived early to join the queue.

I have always had a soft spot for gorgeous copper jelly moulds like these.  I think I may even have a couple of "lesser" ones in stock still, from pre-Covid days.  I looked at a collection on one stall and the chap immediately said he wouldn't split them, and he wanted £250 the lot . . .  NOT the way to sell them.  On another stall I asked the price of two slipware bowls.  Once again, I had to buy the whole lot (10 or so pieces) for £150, he wouldn't split.  I would put money on it that both lots went back in the car at the end of the day.

One more photo for tonight - what pretty pieces these are.  Clarice Cliff before she went all Bizarre!

    Anyway, it will be an early night for both of us tonight.  Keith got up too early (for him) and how I drove home is beyond me, having just had 3 hours' sleep last night.  Automatic pilot must have kicked in.  

    I was frugal today and bought small bits and bobs at the cheap end of the market.  I did get a gorgeous - Georgian I think - metal mould.  The outside is so worn from constant use and the inside pattern is SO crisp and delightful.  My star buy was a set of Swedish painted hames which just seemed to jump into my hands!!  I shall enjoy those for a while I think . . .

    I will finally get around to replying to comments tomorrow (have guests in the afternoon so need to bake) and Tam is arriving too.  Meanwhile - Sarah, your comments always cheer me up.  Please give my love to Dartmoor, especially round Postbridge.  We used to wild camp up on the Dart before it was ever called wild camping!  Go to the Powdermills Pottery if you can, run by Joss.  We've had a couple of pieces from there, by Carole Glover.

Right, sit down for an hour an then a VERY early night.

Sunday 27 August 2023

Papering over the cracks . . .

 THIS . . .

. . . was in my bath towel a couple of days ago.  However, I was not aware of this fact and gave myself a brisk rub down with said towel/spider combo before it - and a separated left leg - fell into the bath.  Reader, I was brave - I did not scream (externally that is - internally I was!) I left it there in the hope it would decide to die.  Unfortunately for the spider, it was still very much about when I came to bed and the thought of it possibly taking up home in my bed (I've been checking for any other interlopers every night since) caused me to relocate it permanently. . .  Well, it must be Autumn if the big b*ggars are coming indoors is all I can say.  It really freaked me out.  I can cope with the smaller ones but when they come bigger than the bottom of my drinking glass, they can clear off.

Meanwhile the kittens keep me entertained.  Lulu has discovered the overlap design on my duvet cover and thinks it's great fun to crawl inside, and then you have to "pounce" on her - you have to make it the right end though, or else you'll meet with her claws!

I'm still feeling very low and worried over the lack of progress with Keith.  That said, he is now walking round with his stick/furniture rather than the walker.  I suppose that is progress, and after needing to sit at the bit of kitchen table opposite the bottom of the staircase - thus cutting out the extra steps to the end of the table where he has always sat, he has gone back to the end of the table as of last night.  He still SITS all day long though and I am worried that his knee tendons will start shortening and making his balance even worse.  The neck problem from low blood pressure doesn't go away, and stops him walking far.  The less he walks, his blood pressure stays low, and so do dopamine levels which would be raised by movement.  His speech has gotten really bad too - everything comes out in a garbled rush when he is tired.  So you can see why I am in a bad place in my head.

    It worries me to leave him (as he WON'T wear his Careline pendant and I am going to phone them to cancel the contract.  Pointless paying for something which isn't being used.)

    Tomorrow I have the Bank Holiday Malvern Fair.  I am getting up/leaving extra early as they don't make you all queue until 7.30 a.m. now, so I am hoping to get in extra early and get away earlier to so I can be back for Keith.  I really don't like to leave him for long now.  I have a very busy week ahead, with visitors, taking Pam to Brecon to pick up her courtesy car, taking my car in for a repair, and preparing for the Builth Fair next weekend.  Tam will be here from Tuesday though, which is a positive.

    Enjoy the other half of the Bank Holiday Weekend folks.

Friday 25 August 2023

Eglwys Dewi Sant - or for English Speakers, St David's Church, Llandewi Brefi

 It's a fortnight now since my friend Gay and I visited this beautiful church. The key (to the side door) was held by the very helpful lady in the little corner shop on the opposite corner, and of course we bought drinks and choccy bars from her too, as a thank you.

I'm sorry I can't give you the history which will make this beautiful church come alive.  HERE is the best I can do.

The Dallus Dumenus stone.

The Cenlisinus Stone.

Guess who missed the Idnerth Stone!!  LINK is to a picture of all three stones.  Surprisingly, even COFLEIN doesn't have a photo specifically of it.

Sorry, I cut the end off but you get the gist.

I think this was a piscina from late Medieval times.

I am still "out of words" but feeling slightly less depressed today.  This post has been like drawing blood from a stone, and I have done it very poorly, but may come back and add some info later.

Keith, touch wood, marginally improved again today.  The under-medication with the Thyroxine has NOT helped him one iota. 

Off to get some pre-Bank Holiday Weekend shopping.  Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Panic stricken when Lulu goes missing


Butter wouldn't melt would it?  This was madam this morning, happy to be an Indoor Kitten and Play with her Sister.  I was in a bit of a state - stress was rearing its ugly head and my BP was a damn sight higher than it is meant to be.  I spent the morning doing the jobs which had to be done (including stripping and making Keith's bed - with a little help from the kittens of course!

This could be her giving me a kitten V-sign!

As you can see, they were being Very Helpful and having a real battle.

It had been going on through several bed-making stages . . .

    Anyway, I took myself off for a couple of hours, to have a good brisk walk (on the flat) beside the reservoir in the Elan Valley, then went back to the car and got my box and went blackberrying.  Just enough to stew up with apples this week and probably make Chocolate Blackberry Brownies too. I still have some in the freezer from last year, which will make jam now.

    When I got back, I let the kittens out - they had been in snoozing whilst I was out.  I was busy peeling potatoes, sorting out the evening meal etc, and then realized I hadn't seen Lulu for well over an hour - though Pippi was about. I called and rattled tins and a box with some cat biscuits in.  Everyone came running - but not Lulu. She never goes far - rarely out of sight even. I then spent half an hour in a blind panic, searching in the grounds of the big house (twice), the lane down past us to the farm, the house (every nook and cranny, getting more and more worried every minute.  Finally, having decided I would never see her again because a fox had got her or she had gone down a rabbit hole and couldn't turn round, I came back in the house and there was Lulu - who promptly had a poo in the litter box, blue eyes almost crossed with concentration.  She looked up at me sweetly - did you miss me?

    Now Pippi is out in the long grass somewhere or in the Rhododendron thicket, where I cannot ever find them if they disappear along their little cat trail.  She does come back though.  If Lulu hadn't been back when I went to bed, the front door would have had to have been left open as she hasn't discovered how to use the cat flap yet and when I tried showing her she panicked!  Mind you, I wouldn't have gotten a wink of sleep anyway . . .

    Keith has making very slow improvements.  He is now walking round with his stick - and when he gets tired, his walking frame on the other side of him.  That is MUCH better than having to use the wheelchair.  I am praying that the higher dose of Thyroxine may just be starting to make a slight difference. His blood pressure is still very low though, despite medication to raise it.

UPDATE:  I spoke too soon. Keith went up for a shower, but when I went to check on him, he could barely stand upright.  He wanted his BP taken whilst still standing - it was 81/61 with a pulse of 69.  Hopelessly low. We managed to get him to bed and he had a snack type tea (not the lamb leg steaks I had put in the slow cooker all afternoon).  Let's hope he's better tomorrow . . .

 A final photo of the miscreant . . .  Better not take my blood pressure for a while . . .

Monday 21 August 2023

Round Crickhowell

 I had a message from Dan last night, could I pick him and Emma up from the Green Man Festival please, as their lift had fallen through.  No problems, though I am tired now from all the driving.  A few photos around Crickhowell.  Too tired for many words, sorry . . .

A lot of work went into the Green Man and the yarnbombing of the postbox for the Duck Race.

The floral displays in the town are something else.  Aren't these spectacular?

You get the idea.  

I need to do some hanging baskets like these here next year.

Off to bed now.  Utterly exhausted.  I've just had to stop Pippi trying to kill a bat (managed to get it picked up in a hanky and out of the window) and then she decided she would climb up the white kitchen dresser and managed to break a glass jar with fairy lights in into a hundred pieces . . .