Saturday, June 04, 2011

Summer lovin'

I must admit to not being a big fan of heat but long days of blue skies and sunshine, drying washing on the line and having the windows open all day and all night kind of make up for it.

It's a month since John had stroke number 4 - the hospital have sort have decided that he may have a problem in the vessels in his brain - no shit sherlock. We have made some major lifestyle changes and we are both (apparently) looking if not feeling better for it.

Twenty five years ago on Monday, I joined the Wrens. I was so excited I could have popped. I met some amazing girls, who have, I have recently rediscovered, turned into clever, funny women.

Things are changing once more. Arty daughter is returning to being arty in September, surrealo son is loved up and organising things for people who like yellow, and the two year old genius is now eight. "The artist" is not arting at the moment but concentrating on not having any more brain storms and I am helping him get there. His beautiful pictures like the one above are featuring here. Expectations are being managed; the living is, as the song says, easy.

We are on the move again. The estate is being demolished and hopefully we will get a lovely new house out of it. You have to take, I have learnt, comfort where you can. You have to ac-sen-choo-ate the positive, for life and the way we live it is a fragile, transient thing.

I'm about ready to put my brain back into gear. I thought a spot of light reading might be in order, so if you don't spot me wasting countles hours clogging your feed with my latest achievement in some distraction that purports to be a game, you'll know where I am.
This afternoon we are intending to have a barbecue on our new oildrum barbecue, that's if the weather holds. The rain will come again but for now I'll just make hay.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Windmills of your mind

Another funny couple of weeks.

John had another stroke but things are finally looking a bit more settled in terms of health related benefits. I apparently have no more battles awaiting me for which I am grateful

On the housing front, we came home from holiday to find the paperwork we had been waiting for all winter had arrived and although it meant yet another form to fill in (one that I have already done as well) the news looks quite good and according to the woman I spoke to on Wednesday, one of the new houses on the first phase isn't out of the question and if we are able to get one we may even be able to choose our own kitchen and other fittings - how fab.

The important issue is that these houses can be adapted - there is already the reinforcement in place to fit a lift, or a stair-lift and the tracking for hoists have been designed in. So hopefully even if another stroke happens we wouldn't have to move again. We really would like now to put down some roots.

Lachlan and I have just walked back from Homebase at Beacon Park and taken a twirl around the sad houses, empty and boarded up, on Woodhey Road. The demolition has barely started but in a year it could be our new home - wherever we are, we'll be together.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I have just been asked by the plumber carrying out our gas safety check what I make of all this Royal Wedding lark. He wasn't mightily impressed. Those of you who know me know that I hold no favour for the Royal Family, but it does seem like a happy occasion and any happy occasion seems worth celebrating at the moment.

I would also like Lachlan not to see the cynical side of life at the moment; I remember with fondness enjoying royal weddings and the jubilee even though my dad was a republican. Lachlan can make his own mind up about things like this when he is older.

It's a shame I can't invite you all - I haven't heard of any street parties, so we are having our own family do tomorrow afternoon. I have spent the morning doing what I love most: occasion cookery. I started making mayonnaise from the Elizabeth David "Summer Cooking" recipe book and made a quick pavlova - it's the Kenwood all in one recipe: 4 egg whites to 9oz icing sugar. The pavlova is out and cooling and I'm poaching the chicken for the coronation chicken: the curry sauce with homemade mayonnaise is now chilling in the fridge and tastes yummy.

On the side in the kitchen is a simnel type cake in preparation - it will form a marchpane centrepiece. The fruit is just absorbing some tea and getting plumped up while I'm waiting for the Dove's farm gluten free plain flour to arrive.

Then I'll knock up some bread rolls and chocolate brownies although these won't be gluten free, and perhaps a qick rice salad.

Whatever you are doing tomorrow enjoy your day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We received some limited information, over the holidays, about the next steps in the neighbourhood regeneration programme.

They are inviting us to apply to the local housing register, which I did back in December just to find out how the new system was working, so at least I have reduced the forms left to fill in in my life by one.

We are finally getting out into the garden which we have ignored for the last two years due to weather, ill health and the crushing sense of defeat brought about by the fact that we are going to loose our home.

We should be grateful for our social housing, and we are, very, and it is not the loss of the the house that is the issue but the loss of our home and the disruption that this will inevitably mean.

The plans for the new estate, which can be found here, look lovely; I'm not hoodwinked into believing that this is not a land grab, however the houses all have dining kitchens - something we don't have at present, which will mean a lot to us. They are also future proofed with level thresholds, gardens, planning for adaptations etc; having three strokes now under our belts this seems like a necessity, a point I will be stressing in our face to face interviews.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kind hearts and coronets

It was strange to see the one person who can reduce me to tears with a single phrase on Saturday in the car park of Sainsbury's (Helston). It could have been any day and I would still have thought of the phrase but the fact that it was 23 April, St George's Day, Shakespeare's birthday, would-have-been-dad's-sixty-ninth-birthday struck me as whimsical and portentous.

I completed my shopping not able to get that phrase out of my head; not amusing when you are struggling to find the frozen food section for a last night of the holioday and no money left, don't tell Jamie kind of dinner. She just kept popping into my head toting a Benjamin Bunny Tam O'Shanter and a fitted white day dress and running in the smoke and the steam of the 9.15 to London and now Bernard Cribbins was trying to muscle in on the act too.

It's all very distracting when you can't keep actresses of a certain age and fictional station masters out of a small shopping trip.

By the time I left I had been convinced to buy a lottery ticket which I just never do, using a load of numbers which may once have been the numbers could possibly but perhaps not.

Thank-you, I think, Ms Agutter for the disturbed shopping and thoughts of my dad.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A foggy, foggy day

No, not in London town, but most certainly in Plymouth.

We are off to our camp in the country tomorrow for two weeks of Lizard loveliness, courtesy of Kate and Phil at Franchis (pictured left).

A year has made a big change. John and I are slowly coming to terms and learning to cope with his health problems and the help we have had from the NHS has been superb. We are trying to work out ways that we can work together from home in the future so that we don't have to be relieant on out of work benefits. John cannot go out to work -well not without a supremely understanding employer and a number of adaptations and very close supervision - however we could, for the moment, work together from home. There has been no real clarification on the fact that John's condition is, I believe, progressive - however, there is at least some sort of record of his ability now and that will be able to be measured in the future. There is also a recognition that his own intellect and articulacy has masked the cognitive impacts of his strokes.

Being at home together is providing a kinder, less stressed environment and we are moving together to make things better because we love each other.

My two older children continue to defy the paucity of expectation that many of the professional held for them in their early life. Thanks Sister Dympna for your lack of aspiration for and complete misjudgement of my children - you have spurred them on to achieve at all costs. I take that back. Apparently, I am the inspiration.

I take this opportunity to wish all my friends a very happy Easter, whether or not you believe. This is the time for new beginnings and hope.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good day

Today I did something amazing. I did something, for me, so mind-blowing I can't quite take it in.
This just the smallest step but this evening I genuinely feel as though by the end of this year (perhaps sooner) I will be a driver. I can hardly believe I drove. I started the engine. I moved off from the kerb, waited for an oncoming bus and then pulled around the parked car and drove down the road. Okay, the lovely Rhona was telling me exactly what to do at every tiny stage of the way and my legs didn't really know what they were doing but I didn't panic, I didn't cry, I stayed calm and even (sshh) enjoyed it, something I could not have anticipated, even this morning.
I am still picturing myself making the car go in broadly the right direction with something of a sense of glee. Apparently this has made me very smiley today. This, as you all know, happens very rarely. Today, therefore, is a good day.