Sunday, 21 September 2008


Did I tell you I'm a bookworm? I have been from a small child. I rarely read anything intellectual, unless it's the newspaper. I always nod off though, reading newspapers, so I more often get my news off TV or radio.

My favourite reads are always who-dun-its! Before we came to live in this tiny house I had hundreds of books of one sort or another but I had to give most of them away; except the cookery books, and there I had to draw the line! I wish now that I had tried harder to find space to keep them all. There was everything Agatha Christie ever wrote, all of Thomas Hardy and Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Whimsey series, many by Ngaio Marsh, Ruth Rendell, PD James.

There were others too, not connected with crime (you're breathing a sigh of relief, I can hear you!). I had all the James Herriot Vet books, 'Bless me Father books (remember that series on TV?). All of them were paperbacks but I loved each one and they all went to our local Hospice shop. Just today I was talking on the phone with a friend who was telling me that another friend of hers had just bought all of Agatha Christie's work - in paperback - FROM THE HOSPICE SHOP!!!!!!! Grrr.

I have been reading a lot of Patricia Cornwell's books this past year. I love her Kay Scarpetta character. Although each book is a story in its own right, there is a theme running through them all of her main characters' lives. If you don't read them in the order they are published - and I didn't to start with - you start to wonder how and why a regular character is as he is. So you have plenty to think about: Scarpetta, her family, her colleagues, her job (she's a forensic pathologist),the plot. I would rate her as one of the best writers around. If you like that kind of thing.

Strangely, in spite of the TV costume dramas that abound at present, I have never in my life read a Jane Austen novel. Maybe that 'in spite of'' ought to be 'because of'': it's just that I generally do not like these TV adaptations. They get in the way of my imagination. So-and-so doesn't look how I thought and, while I wouldn't presume to foist my imaginings on the rest of the nation, they do take precedence in my head. One day I may wish to read Austen and I don't want her descriptions sullied by the art of the screenplay writer. OK?

What I'm reading at the moment though is Ruth Rendell's latest Inspector Wexford mystery, "Not in the Flesh". Wexford really is the architypal bumbling plod! He's lovely! Whoever cast that role to George Baker got it exactly right. I wouldn't like him to be after me, much too clever. Sometimes Ruth Rendell's books take a while to get down to business and there bloodthirsty me will be, wondering when it's all going to kick off. Not with this one though. Straight in there! Great bedtime reading.

I expect I shall give it away so if anyone wants it please let me know. I can post it to you.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

...and cabbages and kings

First of all may I say thanks most heartily to Grammy Staffy for the award. I will wear it with pride just as soon as I figure out how to display it! It's terribly embarrassing having to admit I'm so thick but Marie at Oak Cottage has sent me a few pointers which I shall try out as soon as I get caught up.

Julie in Australia asked me if I could show some photos of the sugar flowers that I make. I would have emailed her some but I don't know her email address so the rest of you will have to suffer them too. This one is some yellow and red roses with lily of the valley, which I made for no purpose other than showing off (!). These two cream roses are not actually made from edible sugarpaste but from a very lightweight and virtually indestructible paste called Arista Soft. They were buttonholes for my niece's wedding. In the vase are some I made from 'proper' flower paste. You wouldn't know the difference to look at them but you can throw the buttonholes across the room and they won't break. Those in the vase are very very fragile. I made her wedding cake too but I can't seem to make a picture of that appear. Mum was 80 in February this year and this was her cake. Silly me, I never thought to make a spray of flowers to decorate the knife too.

Here's a 60th birthday cake.........

...........and a close-up of the flowers

Last year's Christmas Cake. As you may have guessed by now I like the cakes themselves to be quite plain so that the florals speak for themselves without having to shout!!

.......and finally! Here's one that Keith decorated on Easter Sunday before I got up. Bless him!

I'll leave it at that for now and HOPE to get back soon.

with love,

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A Pants Morning

Today has not started well! Keith is on the early shift at work so about 6.30 (yes, I know) I got up and did the usual and got dressed. "Right," I thought, "The working day starts here, let's have some laundry sorted out for the wash." So, working from my wheelchair, and with the help of my trusty grabby stick, I started to make a pile in my lap of mucky washing. I felt something brush my ankle but thought it was my skirt,

WRONG!!! First mistake.

It was something falling off the pile, had I but looked. I didnt. I started to turn my chair around with me in it and with one hand because the other was hugging the pile of laundry, but it - - -wouldn't (puff, pant)- - - go (huff huff). I threw the laundry on the bed and looked down. Silly me, I thought, I'm running over something, so I wheeled backwards,

WRONG!!! Second Mistake.

Whatever it was just wrapped itself even tighter around my front wheel. A few choice words may have fallen from my lips. I didn't remember seeing a boa constrictor in the bedroom. In vain I tried to unravel it but the thing was tightly wrapped around that wheel and I was going nowhere. And where was the walking frame? In the hall. The only thing to do was make for that and so, using the bed and the wardrobe doors for support, I waddled out of the bedroom, got the frame and waddled on into the kitchen. Good job this is a small house!

What now? This nonsense has taken about an hour but the carer isn't due for 2 hours more and I need rescuing! The bedroom looked like a major war zone, with the bed all upside-down and a pile of mucky washing chucked on it.

The dog wanted to go out as well so I opened the back door for her. It was pouring rain, which made me remember I wanted the loo too so I sat on the stool again quick!

Now, I do truly believe that God made me the kind of person that doesn't give up easily. I also believe that He endowed me with common sense enough to know when I'm beat! I daren't try to walk further with the frame in case I couldn't get back so I just had to sit on the perching stool and watch tv (awww) and wait to be rescued.

Weeks later (well, a good couple of hours anyway) the cavalry arrived and killed the boa constrictor with her scissors. What was it? Well, the clue is in the title to this entry!
P A N T S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Care givers

I can't believe it's so long since I posted anything! I haven't had a relapse or anything but I never know where the time goes to.

I think I mentioned before that as a result of my injury a care worker comes in each day. This is free for 6 weeks and the idea is that you decide at the outset where you would like to be in 6 weeks' time (not Barbados) and they help you try and achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. They will do as much or as little as you want them to do. You also get visits from Occupational Therapists (OT's) and Physiotherapists, from district nurses if you need such as blood tests or other nursing care, social workers in case there is any other help needed. It's wonderful, specially when I think what a fight we had to get care for my dad, a stroke victim, and that was only 5 years or so back. How things have changed.

This morning, chatting to Jean - today's lady - I got a little insight into some of the things they do. They are not trained nurses or social workers, though they do have training in many fields where nurses don't. As Jean said, they become involved with people from all walks of life, different nationalities, different religions, different cultures, different health conditions. There are deaf people, blind people, old people, those who can't walk, lonely people. All sorts of people and the Jeans of this world have to have an understanding of all their situations. Some carers know British Sign Language, some can speak other languages, there are men and women, some are young, others not so young.

They all have training in some of the situations their clients find themselves in. Jean asked me if I had ever had to be lifted from one place to another in a hoist.

"It's terrifying," she said, "There are lots of different types of hoist and we carers all have to experience what it's like to need one. Up there being hoisted is not a 'normal' sort of feeling. Imagine if you're blind or, worse still, deaf/blind. We have to learn to communicate to those people what is happening."

She told me "We have to experience being blindfold and making a cup of tea and sandwich without pouring boiling water on yourself. We are taught what it's like to be wheelchair bound and have to manage in a kitchen where the counters are too high; what it's like to be ignored in conversation as though your brain must have packed up along with your legs or your voice or your eyes, whatever. Basically, we are taught the meaning of human dignity in all its guises."

Wow! And I thought they were just ladies who come to help you get a wash or go to the loo!! I don't know exactly how much they earn but I do know it's not much and, to all those people I so often hear complaining about their local authority care services, I would say : You try it. They wouldn't last 5 minutes!
For my care ladies!

One or two little advances for me this week. I can walk a little bit using a frame. Not enough to be completely mobile round the house but - hey - I couldn't do it last week! I have at long last managed to get into the shower. Having a wash is grand but a shower is Something Else. All that lovely hot water running on your achey bits. I can't get in there alone but with Keith's help and a little ingenuity I can. Last weekend I achieved 2 feats of culinary genius! I made a steak and mushroom pie for Sunday lunch and a plain old Victoria sponge. Not much, you might think, but a triumph as far as I'm concerned! Who knows what I may achieve next week that I can't do this week?