Thursday, 30 September 2010

How dare you laugh at my dog?

OK, we felt a little bit bad about it (not that much), but be honest, did you not laugh when you saw this picture?  This is what the nice-lady-vet did to Django to stop him licking his wounds; we laughed and pointed a lot and I don't think he's very impressed.

On the plus side, he is pleased to have his daddy home :-)


This afternoon we went to visit some of our friends up at the workshops where Mr H. used to have his upholstery business.  It is a rural set of some craft workshops such as an upholsterer, a metal sculptor, a picture framer and an antique restorer; but there are other random things in the mix such as a bakery, a gardener and a bloke who makes stainless steel fittings for yachts.  It has it's own community; and everybody knows what everybody else is doing....!    To the outsider it is an idyllic spot where people stand around in the yard chatting and joking, many of them have been there for a good few years. However, amongst all the casualness one forgets all the hard work that goes into their making a living, it's easy to forget the long hours Mr H. worked when he had his own business.  It is really nice that they always have time to have a break to catch up with a chat and a gossip though :-)

Tomorrow I have a day off (I officially don't have to look at my work e-mails!) and Mr H. and I were going to have a day out; unfortunately the forecast is awful so we'll have to go out with the rest of the world on Saturday. Ho hum.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Waffling Wednesday

Thank you Chibi Janine for the tip on ArtRage for digital art.. here is my very first (very quick!) attempt at producing something!   I e-mailed it to Mr H. last night; I hope he appreciates the 10 minutes I spent on it :-P  It would definitely be easier with an art tablet than a mouse...

I was just playing with the different effects (I LOVE the glitter!) - I think the description would be "Digital; Childlike" haha.

Tonight I am invited to dinner at my boss's house, which isn't as bad as it sounds ;-)  He and his wife and two teenage children live in a lovely cottage out on the Forest and are very chilled out. His wife is a Occupational Therapist for the NHS, and one of those people who is always smiling.   I always panic when I am going somewhere with teenage children who I don't know very well, because I think I'll have nothing to say; and I'm terrified of coming out with something crap like "How's school?"   ah well I'm sure it will be fine, and it will be nice to get out.

And tomorrow morning Mr H. is home!! (dances).  Hurrah hurrah.  He's staying with a friend in the Cotswolds tonight and has to be here by 10.30am for a meeting with a pensions adviser - yippee.  But then we have 4 whole days together :-)  There isn't too much on the to-do list, but cutting firewood is right up there; it's getting chilly around these parts....


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Shorts: Comforters

It's amazing how a cuddle and a distraction can dig you out of a grumpy hole...   I just spent a great hour and a half with Woody and Buzz Lightyear and the rest, cuddled up with Django (don't tell Daddy!) and have the smile back on my face :-)

Till tomorrow, folks!

How low is your immunity?

Ok, this is the sort of article which makes me steaming mad (and since I'm in that sort of mood today....):

Household BACTERIA paranoia

Seriously, I am NOT going to catch meningitis from my phone.   And as for the suggestion to wash my clothes in bleach....!?!     I don't even keep bleach in the house, never use it.

When will people learn that a reasonable amount of dirt builds up immunity?  all this constant cleaning and disinfecting is unhealthy.

I will continue to pick up the dropped knife from the floor, pick off the stray dog hairs and carry on eating. And I will be fine.

Take Two

I deleted my last post, because it was written in rant mode and I could feel that I might become argumentative and defensive... so it's gone.   I am in a lousy mood this afternoon but what is constructive about complaining about people complaining?  

Instead I will tell you about my two new deliveries from Amazon:

I got this because I suppose I ought to have it for my course (ie. everyone else is buying it). It is very thick and rather daunting, and I'm not sure how much I will actually use it since they explain everything in the course text. Still, it will look good on the bookshelf.

Much more promising, the two books recommended to me by JJ at The Disconnected Writer.   They are next on my list for bedtime reading once I have finished wading through Frankl's logotherapy!

Hmm, after all this what I really need is a walk around the garden and later on a good chick flick to watch... or maybe Toy Story ;-)  the first once since I've never seen any of them.

I hope you all have a happy day and I'm sorry for being grumpy!

Monday, 27 September 2010


My mind is blank.

A friend brought lasagne over for dinner. We resisted eating the Gu puddings in the fridge.

Now she has gone and I am left with no opinion, question or thought about anything whatsoever to write about.

Mr H. is home on Thursday morning for four whole days; this is definitely a very good thing.

I am having x-rays next Monday; this is also a very good thing.

Other than that, Django and I have just been lying listening to the radio and thinking about nothing.  Well he might have been thinking about pheasants, but he hasn't said.

Maybe I will wake up in the morning inspired or opinionated.  Is it nearly Thematic Photographic day again, Carmi?

Until then, here is a gratuitous photo of Marilyn.. she and I share a birthday, albeit 40 years apart.  I look at this and wonder why anyone would want to be skinny?  What do you think?

Because You're Worth It

Well last night I had a more thorough look at it, and given that it was now impossible to keep a dressing on it (because Vetrap tastes SO good!) I decided on the vet.   So I called this morning and got a 9.50am appointment and my friend from work was duly allowed out to give us a lift. 

While we were in the waiting room an acquaintance came in and we started chatting about her daughter who I know, and their dogs; and then she said "So what happened to you?".  I was just about to tell her about Django slashing his leg open on a bit of sharp tree when I realised she was talking about ME!   happily sitting there with my crutches.  It just goes to show how we get used to things; and at that moment all my thoughts were on my poor little puppy.

One of our favourite lady vets was on duty; she looked at the wound and said the problem is that it is this way up:

This is a black & white Pointer's front leg ;-)

and said something about the blood flowing from top to bottom which means it's not flowing into the torn edges of the 'flap'.  It would be much simpler if it had been this way up:

Had he had any breakfast?  Yes at 7am.  Ok well he'll just have a sedative rather than an anaesthetic then.  OK good (my head also thinking a sedative must be cheaper than a full on anaesthetic...). 

"Give us a call at about 1 o'clock to see how he is."  OK. 

Meanwhile Django was standing there wagging his tail asking for the dog treat he normally gets on a vet visit! 

It was about 2.45pm before he was ready and awake enough to be collected; the nurse who talked us through everything looked at me and said "Is that still from your car crash?"  - she must have been on duty when Django was brought in for his 3-day check over; and she remembered him from when he was a puppy, too!  All the staff in our vet practice are lovely.

Here is a picture of the two invalids; he has a lovely luminous yellow bandage:

Soooo, now he is home and sleeping; and can only have white fish/rice for tea (luckily I keep some in the freezer for emergencies) and only out in the garden on the lead, no exercise.   He is back for a post-op check up on Thursday afternoon, which is good because Mr H. will be home then so we can go together.

Oh and I'll be getting the insurance claim form out... £192!

But he's worth it.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


Something I've always disliked is having to rely on other people - yes, I'm a wee bit of a control freak, and as I've mentioned before, very independent.   Plus other people do have a tendency to let you down.  Getting one's leg broken and not being able to drive kind of scuppers the control freakishness since I am now at the  mercy of others to get anywhere; and even worse I have to be the passenger in the car, aagghh!

It reminds me how much we take for granted when we are able-bodied and independent.

When Mr H. was here it was no problem of course, but now I don't have that spontaneity; if I need to go anywhere then I have to find someone to drive me.  Thankfully, it's surprising how little I actually need to go out, or want to - I am becoming a bit of a recluse!  Huddled in my little house with my dog and computer and books - and PG Tips - there is little else I need.  But every now and then I do have needs (no, not that sort); for instance if I did decide to take Django to the vet.   It's only around the corner but it's far enough to be a bit of an issue to walk, especially with a dog that insists on walking in front because Pointers don't consider heelwork to be a necessity in life.

During the week most of my friends, totally inconsiderately I might add, go to work; and if they aren't working they are busy Having a Life.   I would ask my parents but they are away for a month (and yes, I know that before they went I was quite relieved at the prospect of a month's respite from Feeling Obliged). The friend who took him for the walk offered to give me a lift, as she is at home all day with a baby; but then called me to say her husband had just been taken to hospital after a rugby-playing accident, so of course now we are worrying more about him than some measly dog-leg cut.  

That got me thinking who I would ask in this theoretical situation? and I came to the conclusion that I'd have to ask my boss to let one of my colleagues out of the office for an hour.  But all in all, the hassle of it is just one more reason not to go.

I don't want to have to resort to asking Douglas to take me in his A35

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Nursing skills

Django went out for a walk today with his girlfriend Nuka and by all accounts they spent an hour or so bombing around in the woods. I wasn't totally surprised when he came home with a bit of a limp; Pointers are prone to straining their feet because of their arched toes and he is always doing it and bouncing back to normal the next day.  He took himself off to bed and I thought no more of it.

A couple of hours later when he came outside to sit in the sun with me I noticed he was licking his leg a lot, and his hair was pink instead of white, hmm.  On closer inspection it was bloody and he had a nasty cut in the top of his leg, quite deep and the first thing that sprang into my mind was "stitches".   This thought was quickly followed by "it's Saturday"... why do animals always injure themselves at a weekend, as soon as the emergency phone number for the vet kicks in? In fact it's a bonus that this time it's not a bank holiday weekend.

As it happens, I had been recommended and purchased some Vetrap to wrap round my crutch handles, so I washed the cut gently and dressed it with a 'cosmetic removal pad' (always handy) and bandaged it up.

So on Monday I will have to decide whether it is bad enough to need to go to the vet for stitches, or whether my motherly love and attention will aid it in healing itself.   Knowing that the vet = stitches, anti-biotics, dressing, an appointment for a checkup, more anti-biotics and dressing = emptying my bank account, I'm going to aim for the latter option first and see how it gets on.... besides I'd have to find someone to give me a lift to the vet's.

Of course my caring-mother-self will feel guilty for not rushing him off for immediate professional attention, but I think I can live with that.

Who, me? Silver Linings

Oh my goodness, I don’t know what to say... does this mean I Have Arrived!?  Me, Myself and I at Ramblings of an Emotional Idiot has been kind enough to give me a Blog Award!

Thank you so much, it’s my very first one ever; and I probably wouldn’t have got it and met some of you lovely people if I hadn’t had my leg broken (note the correct passive tense); so you see, Every Cloud and all that...

I am absolutely delighted to accept and so glad my scribblings aren’t wasted ;-)
To accept this fabulous award there are a few rules.

1. Give credit to the person who bestowed it and post the link to their blog.

2. Pass the award on to 10 new blogs you have discovered.

3. Contact the recipients and let them know.

4.Click on the picture above and save, show off where ever you want!

So, here are 10 blogs, some of which I have been reading a while and some I have very recently discovered, that I am enjoying reading and to whom I wish to award this One Lovely Blog:

Mels Dream
The Disconnected Writer
Notes from Inside my Head
A Year Down the Line
Earth to Anne a very new blogger that definitely has potential :-)
Giddy Fingers
Not Only in Thailand
Throw Grammar from the Train

A varied bunch, that’s the way I like ‘em – take a look for yourselves !

Friday, 24 September 2010

Thematic Photographic - Still Life

It wasn't hard to decide what to photograph for this week's Thematic Photographic.. "Still Life".

Most of these bears, dogs and the rabbit date back to my youth.  'Chocolate', the bear on the far left, memorably fell onto the railway track once when I was getting on a train; I was understandably traumatised until a friendly guard hooked him off the rails for me, phew!

Illustration Friday - Old-fashioned

The coffee grinder was always part of my childhood; it hung on the kitchen wall at my parent's house and it was my job to stand on the steps and grind the fresh coffee.   When they got a new kitchen after 45 years and the grinder was no longer wanted, I had to have it; just for the nostalgia as I don't drink coffee!

This is my very first (and rather shy) submission to Illustration Friday.  I am an un-confident and sporadic artist; and I veer from using lots of colour (acrylic) to not wanting to use any at all...  I also have trouble deciding what to draw or paint so I'm hoping that participating in Illustration Friday will give me the inspiration to pick up my sketching pencils once a week!

Dog clock

I don't have an alarm clock.  Every morning at 7am (or maybe 5 minutes either side) Django pads in from his bed in the kitchen to wake me up; it's like one of those 'sunrise' alarm clocks that is supposed to wake you up gently, except this is a rustle of bed, and dog claws on the kitchen floor, and then the sound of breathing in my room.   Sometimes I open my eyes and he is just sitting in the doorway looking at me; other times he comes right up to the bed.

Every morning I look at my watch to check that it really is time to wake up, and am impressed that yet again it is about 7am, regular as... well clockwork.

This morning I pretended to be asleep as he stood by my bed; and then I threw back the cover with a "BOO!!". Django jumped a mile and then turned into a wriggly, waggy I-love-you-mummy puppy :-)

What I can't work out is why it doesn't work in the afternoon?   Dog tea time used to be 6pm, but that was when he didn't get his breakfast until after a walk; so I have relented to 5pm.   And he starts asking for it at 4pm.... hmm I guess after a hard day's sleeping, a barefoot therapy stroll round the garden and a short walk if I've had an available friend that day, a dog needs his dinner!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

Receiving two letters in the post from Mr H.; one being the missing letter posted last Thursday.  Both long letters which made me both laugh and cry.

Receiving praise from my boss for a project I'm working on; even after 25 years it still feels good.

It's only 7 days until Mr H. is home for a long weekend :-)

The Bad

I wrote an e-mail to my new OU tutor at the weekend introducing myself and haven't had a response. Doesn't bode well, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt for now.

My 'no snacks' policy isn't going well.  A friend says that it's because I'm not drinking any alcohol to speak of, and my body is looking for sugar; she says she developed a sweet tooth after she stopped drinking.

The Ugly

The pain in my leg which seems to be impervious to codeine, paracetamol and ibuprofen at the moment; it moves around from knee to hip to thigh to all over.  I think it's telling me it needs more rest....

Picture for today is related to my header photo and was taken on the same occasion.
This is where I am spending today, in my head..

A letter

Click to enlarge...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Going backwards (in a good way)

Mr H. and I have a history of letter writing: when we first met we lived 100 miles apart - he in the Cotswolds and I here in the New Forest.   This was in 1986 so we had no mobile phones or e-mail, and phone calls had to be limited because of cost. We wrote to each other constantly, we would write a letter over two or three days, post it and immediately start the next one. My letters ended up being covered with pictures which I stuck on the envelope, it's a wonder the postman found the address!  Letter writing is the only real way to bare your soul in a way you can't on the phone or face to face; we told each other everything, and got to know each other better than most 20 year olds did.

Fast forward to 2008 and Mr H. moved to Scotland for a year to do his degree placement; there was no question that we would revert to letter-writing, and the same now there he is again. I wait for the postman to come so I can rush and see if there is a letter from him, and I have developed a dislike of Sundays and Bank Holidays!

This is my (Cath Kidston!) writing box which I carry around, containing paper & envelopes, favourite pens, stamps and address book.  There was never any suggestion that Mr H. and I would change to e-mailing now that we have the technology; there is no way that could compete for our literary affections.  I actively dislike writing chatty e-mails to people now; it is fine for business, or a two-liner message, or to send a photo or document to someone, but not as a replacement for a letter. And the same goes for texts.  

I have two e-mails in my inbox which require reply and I am putting off doing it; once it has started by e-mail it is hard to switch.  Also of these two one is in New Zealand and the other is away on a cruise - so not so easy as just popping a letter in the post with a UK stamp.

Over the last couple of months my mother-in-law and sister-in-law have started writing me amusing and entertaining cards and letters, which I love. I find it so exciting to receive something hand-written; last week I wrote individual letters to my sister and her 4 children, she said they were overjoyed to get something in the post.

Right, I must go as I have a letter to Mr H. to finish, so that my friend can post it for me this afternoon!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Travelling hopefully

My last blog post leads neatly on to one that I promised earlier, in response to the favourite question “When will you be better?”

“It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive” as someone once said.  I recently read a post by Max at It’s about the Journey and thought that the following quote from that post says it all, although in a different context:

“You see them everywhere you go, people in a hurry to get somewhere. Gotta get to work, gotta get to the store, gotta get a career, gotta get a family, gotta get that promotion, gotta get there now. Not that having goals isn’t a good idea, I’ve got goals for the next few years, I’ve got goals for retirement (#1 – pay off the house). Goals are good, but you see and hear people so obsessed with the goal that they’re missing the trip getting there.”

Friends, acquaintances and even some of my family occasionally talk as if my life isn’t worth living until I’m better. They look at me sorrowfully as if to say ‘you poor thing, how ARE you coping with this non-life you are forced to live’. Quite well, thank you!

The only way to approach my current predicament without going insane is to treat it as a journey of exploration; of discovering different feelings, inner strengths, priorities, pleasures such as sitting in the sun reading a book for 2 hours... Life hasn’t stopped for a few months: I’m working, I’m studying, I’m doing the aforementioned sitting in the sun; I’m seeing friends more and have forged a stronger connection with my family; I'm spending quality time with the dog. All good stuff.

So in response to that original question, I am tempted to say: "Why does it matter?"

I am travelling hopefully.

But I read it on the internet....

When I first got home from hospital, and I had no prognosis of how long anything was going to take, I did some Googling about broken femurs (yes, yes I know!). General consensus said 6 weeks non-weight bearing, it'll be healed in 3 months, although there was one woman who said her son had a break that still hadn't healed after 2 years; I chose to ignore that one.

Friends warned me "don't believe what you read on the internet!" but it's irresistible to look and it plants a seed of something in your mind. So when my consultant said "3 months non-weight bearing, and probably 8-9 months before it's fully healed" it came as a bit of surprise; although it didn't upset me because I was happy to do whatever was going to Fix It.

The reason it was 3 months can be seen in the x-rays (for those of you who didn't see them before); the only thing holding my leg at the correct length is the titanium nail.

Last night I had another Google because I wanted to see if anyone said anything about how general well-being is affected when your body is spending an awful lot of energy rebuilding bone, and nerves and blood cells, and whatever else it is having to do in there. I read stories like "I broke my femur in June and it took until August before I was able to try running." Oh, you poor dear!

I have had people asking me if it's all fixed and better now... to me it's 'er, no of course not' but I suppose they are basing it on 'my friend broke her wrist and it was fixed in 6 weeks'. Yeah, not quite the same thing.

So if you break a bone and someone tells you how long they think it will take to mend; don't believe them unless they are the surgeon/consultant with your x-rays in front of him.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Girlie? Me? Never....

I have never been a girlie girl.  As a child I hung out with my older brother and learned how to fire his air-gun and listened to his LPs, and my tomboy attitude has pretty much continued into my adulthood, with the exception of the shooting and I do have occasional lapses into a dress.

But I have just discovered Cath Kidston stationery, very girlie, very pretty.  It started with some notepaper (the downside being you only write on one side) and some stickers (who can resist that?).    Then my friend bought me a notebook... well I decided to use it for my study notes and the paper is so smooth, just the right thickness, my pen just flows across the page; and it's so pretty...  Yikes, I am a total convert to girlie-ness!! At least in the stationery department.

I need more of these, before they are discontinued: cue my best friend, for the best price on Cath Kidston notebooks; I will be on the doorstep tomorrow waiting for the postman. And while he's at it hopefully he will deliver the letter from Mr H. which was posted last Thursday and is evidently stuck in a sorting office somewhere, grrr.

Shorts: Identity change!

I have been having a think and decided to change my name from J.J.,  there is also now the confusion of JJ - we are following each others blogs and it can get confusing!

So I am reborn under the name JUNIPER.... stick with me ;-)

I'm 'on holiday'

Yesterday I decided to go on holiday from Facebook for a week, and maybe longer if I feel that way.   Amongst other reasons, I realised that I had got into a spiral of looking at it far too often when I should be doing something useful with my mind.

Yes it is a great place for keeping in touch with friends, especially those overseas; and my nieces who I do not see in the flesh often enough. But too many of my friends are through work, so it is all about boats; or its weddings (and WHY do I find myself looking at all the photos of people I don't know?) and soon it will be skiing season (yawn).

Posting a status becomes a challenge to either be hilariously funny or provoke comments (mind you, there are blogs like that too and I'll save that for another post!) rather than just Being Oneself.

Yesterday morning a friend posted something which irritated me, virtually accusing me of lying but she was just trying to be funny for her friends. I rose above the temptation to post a reply but it had me wound up for the entire morning until I thought "this is ridiculous, why am I letting it have this effect on me?", and at that point decided to go On Holiday.

Even after one day, I am feeling relaxed and somehow carefree!   This morning I have caught up with updated blogs - as I am in the UK, the ones the other side of the Pond get written while I'm sleeping - and found a couple of new ones through comment links. 

Blogs actually give me something to think about and stimulate my mind; so much better than "XXX is going to work, I HATE Mondays" blah blah...

So, my last word yesterday was "J.J. has gone away".    I wonder if they'll even miss me.

Where I am holidaying, in my mind.....

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Thematic Photographic - Letters & Numbers pt2

Two pictures from the home where Mr H. and I have lived for almost 20 years:

To me, this number represents safety, security, home, comfort, love, seclusion, freedom, constancy, history, tears and laughter...


This could possibly be the first day since June 27th that I have had nothing, absolutely NOTHING, in my diary.  And even if it isn't it feels like it!    No appointment, no work to do, no visitors....  a whole day of just me and Django chilling out, in our pyjamas if we so wish.

I thought this morning about those people who a century ago would have 'taken a cottage in the country' or gone off to some exotic island for a month to recuperate from something like this.  Unfortunately I already live in a cottage in the country (or near enough anyway), and a month in the tropics is not on the agenda; for one thing, I need to pay the mortgage!   So it's real life for me....

Instead I will relish days like this of peace and quiet; read my book, have my barefoot therapy if I feel like it, and generally do exactly as I please.

This is a not-at-all-relevant photo: Mr H. took it during a drive around his forest district in Ayrshire;  it is my current laptop wallpaper and makes me smile :-)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Forever together

Just over three years ago, Mr H. asked tentatively whether we could have new wedding rings.   When we got married in 1989, we didn't have a whole lot of money and our wedding rings were 'economical'; over the years they got scratched, bent, dented and because of a problem with his finger Mr H. couldn't get his off.  NOT that he wanted to take it off regularly, before you all go "a-HA!!!", but he was an upholsterer and on occasion it was inconvenient not being able to remove it.  

Anyway, after a few moments thought I said Yes, why not; they are symbols of our marriage, but when I thought about it, it didn't really matter to me if we wore those rings or any other ones, it was being together that mattered..  So, for our 18th anniversary we bought ourselves new, grown-up wedding rings. 

Mr H. had to have his old one cut off and we asked the jeweller to have the two rings soldered together so that they were forever linked; and thus they have remained, hanging on the dresser... except that right now I am wearing them:

A corollary to the story: a few weeks later I noticed that the soldering line on my new ring was visible so I took it back to the jewellers to get it fixed.  She was incredibly apologetic when she said it would take 2 weeks as they had to send it back to the person who had made it.  "Oh that's fine, don't worry" I said, casually; she looked a little shocked at my lax attitude and I realised that she thought we were newly-weds! I explained that we'd been married 18 years; I think she thought it rather odd...

Friday, 17 September 2010

Recurring dream

I have a bit of a recurring dream since the crash.  No it is nothing to do with the incident itself, not flashbacks of white trucks or anything like that. I dream about walking.

Specifically, I dream about accidentally walking without my crutches, and then panicking that I've done untold damage to the metalwork inside my leg, and the consultant is going to be furious with me and I'll have to have another operation. Last night's dream was the first time that I actually found myself limping down the pavement to walk to work; suddenly realised I'd forgotten my crutches and rushed back indoors for them!

Maybe someone can interpret this for me ;-)

Later edit...  while indulging in a hot shower and contemplating the fact that I suddenly can't cope with all the things I 'have' to fit into my days at the moment, it became perfectly clear to me...   I'm not ready for life in general without crutches yet; in other words periods of rest, friends to help with everyday stuff, and friends to take me out of my head when I need it.    For a naturally independent person and hard worker, this is hard to do.

Last night I was feeling very stressed and depressed, but couldn't answer the question "what's the matter?".  Just talking about and working all this out has made me feel a whole lot better about things.

Thematic Photographic - Letters & Numbers

Carmi's latest thematic-photographic theme is letters and numbers, and my submission is one that shows some that are going to dominate my life somewhat over the next 9 months...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Next Step

Today the course books for my 2nd year of Open University arrived in a large, heavy, daunting looking box. 

Opening it didn't make me feel any better...

but then I realised these are the books for the entire year (last year they sent it in two batches).

Five thick books, two thinner ones; five audio CDs, various videos, statistics software; history of psychology downloads, assignment details, examination advice... it's all a bit overwhelming.

Having decided that "if Mr H can do a degree....",  I am studying towards (probably) a Psychology degree though in the back of my mind I still might veer off on the Criminology route, though that's unlikely as I don't think I could keep up interest through the criminal justice system module.

Last year I studied Social Sciences which is an introductory course to many degrees, and covers subjects diverse as "psychology, social policy, criminology, geography, environment, politics, international studies, economics and sociology".  An interesting year although some bits were like struggling through thick mud (not mentioning any names: economics).

My 2nd year is Exploring Psychology so now we start getting down to the nitty gritty, and though somewhat concerned at how my already struggling brain will cope with more workload, I know that I Can Do It.

And true to form, because the course doesn't start until October 2nd, I will be starting this weekend!

Good friends

My friend from work Skype'd me today to say my OU stuff had arrived and she'd drop it in after work;  good timing as I needed cheering up and she is just the person for that.

Well she arrived just after 5 o/c bearing a heavy cardboard box (a different story), then proceeded to make us both a cup of tea, do my washing up, hoover the hall and the sitting room, put the bin bags out, and take Django for a walk in the park....  but in a lovely friend way, not an "I'm taking control of you" way. 

Not only that but she provides very good Cheer Up Hugs.

I felt humbled.

Shorts 2: GBT Therapy

This morning is showing the promise of a perfect GBT Therapy day...  Grass Between the Toes.

I mentioned in a previous post how this was one of my new favourite pleasures: walking barefoot around the garden feeling the grass on the soles of my feet and between my toes.   I discovered when I did it yesterday that it is not nearly as pleasurable on dry grass; today there is a heavy dew and I know the grass will still be damp this afternoon, which is when I prefer to do my GBT Therapy.. I'm looking forward to it already!

Shorts 1: Earthworms

While rubbing Bio-oil onto one of my scars this morning, it struck me that it looked comically like a Common Earthworm.

In fact it feels like one too.. or at least how I imagine one would feel if you stroked a Common Earthworm (I'm not in the habit...).

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Down time

I am feeling a little blue tonight, and I have no doubt that I will be told that it's because I'm overdoing it... how much physical and mental energy goes into mending a badly broken bone?   it doesn't seem logical that it should affect my brain but it does.

The rest of this post as originally written sounded downright miserable and that's not how I want to sound. 

I shall write more when I'm feeling more energetic....!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The problem with HAY

Twice in the last few days I have seen someone I know in the local supermarket, and hidden from them.   

One of them is an old school friend, who Mr H and I briefly renewed acquaintance with 4 or 5 years ago but it has since lapsed again; she was shopping with her young son and I instructed my best friend, who was wheeling me round the aisles, to try and avoid bumping into her.

The second was a man I knew from the sailing club but who I hadn't seen for at least 3 years; he was in front of us at the checkout so I kept my head down under peak of my cap and hoped that he didn't see/recognise me. I was with Mr H at the time but didn't mention it because I thought he might do one of those stage whispers "Which man? Oh, THAT one" and stare straight at him.

One of the sometimes advantageous characteristics of a wheelchair is that it renders the person in it temporarily invisible.

Even had I not been unexpectedly in a wheelchair I probably would not have made the effort to talk to either of them, since I have nothing in common with either; I would have exchanged pleasantries and feigned being in a hurry (though tricky when you're behind them in a queue, admittedly).  These are the people who fall neither into the Friend group or the Complete Stranger group; they are acquaintances who know you to say hello but that's about it because neither of you have any interest in the other.   I will call them the HAY group which stands for "How are you?" because that is the limit of conversation.

In my current situation, if at all possible I try to avoid catching the eye of people in my HAY group because I know that I will have to face the "Oh-my-god-what-happened-to-you?!?!" question.  I don't get the OMGWHTY question with my proper friends, because they know the story; and I don't get it with complete strangers who only need 5 simple words if they ask anything at all: broken leg; car crash; June.   

But the HAY group want to know everything - when, where, oh-my-god, how, why, how did it feel, oh-my-god, how are you now, and the favourite question : "HOW LONG BEFORE YOU'RE BETTER?"... I just don't want to go through it all.

And that last, favourite question will undoubtedly be the subject of another blog entry coming to your screens soon.. and no, it won't answer the question!


Carmi Levy, over on Written Inc. blog, runs a Thematic Photograph 'audience participation' thing and this week's is 'Reflection'.

Here is my offering, which those of you who read my blog regularly will know has a story behind it :

This is me.... the crutches are because I had my femur broken in a car crash while we were driving our VW Transporter at the end of June.  I am reflected in the side of our replacement Transporter, which from the outside looks virtually identical to the first one, the first time I saw it; so while I was inspecting it I was no doubt reflecting on the events that had led me to that point....

Saturday, 11 September 2010

What's a debacle?

Earlier today, Mr H. and I had occasion to exclaim "What a debacle!!"

What a great word it was, we agreed; I said it must stem from the french, obviously.  Now we always use it in the sense of 'what a shambles / palaver', or that type of thing; but now I've looked it up it means nothing of the sort....

It actually means:

1 (a)  an utter defeat or failure,
(b) a sudder collapse or downfall

2 a confused rush or rout; a stampede

3 (a) a break up of ice in a river, with resultant flooding,
(b) a sudden rush of water carrying along blocks of stone and other debris

It does indeed stem from the french d├ębacler - to unbar.

Now I would hazard a guess that if you used the word 'debacle' as any of those meanings, you would get a strange look; maybe one day I shall have occasion to talk about a defeat, stampede or river in spate in which case I will feel very superior!

Friday, 10 September 2010

The Complete Maus

It started with this status by a teacher friend on Facebook:  "Have I lent someone my copy of Maus? (comic strip book about the holocaust...) Can't find it in the book case."

Well, I thought, that sounds interesting - you don't often see 'comic' and 'holocaust' in the same sentence.  As is my wont, I had to investigate so off I went to my best friend Amazon to check it out.

It is what it said on the packet, a comic strip layout true story about the author's Jewish father's life from the mid-1930s through the war, including being sent to Auschwitz.  The story is being told to Art Spiegelman, the author, and includes the dialogue between father and son as he tells him the story. The Jews are portrayed as mice, the non-Jewish Poles as pigs and the Germans as cats; showing them as animals rather than humans really adds to the effect of the book.

I'm only half way through it, but for anyone who likes a fascinating read in a pictorial layout, I'd definitely recommend it.

MAUS on Amazon UK

Thursday, 9 September 2010

It's the little things

This week I have discovered two small pleasures.  Well, when I say 'discovered' I don't mean I've never done it before, obviously; it's just that it never seemed as pleasurable as it does at the moment:

Walking barefoot on the lawn, feeling the cool grass between my toes; and standing in the garden feeling the breeze on my face.  

It makes me smile.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

No time like the present

I want to quote from an e-mail that I just had from.... well, someone who I met who I feel might become a friend.  

"Great to hear you are getting about even if on the hop, March is a little way off but maybe it was just time for you to sit and look at the world for a while so embrace it. I'm sure something magical will come from life being lived in a new way for a while... Sometimes we need to look at the apparently awful sideways to realise everything is tainted by the way we look at it."

I almost feel that I have already wasted much of the last two months on looking ahead to when this will all be over, whereas I should be making the most of the present.  I should be using this opportunity to see things differently; expand my mind; consider what is important in life; take the time to think, while I do not have to be rushing from home to office to shops and back again.  

But often it is so much easier to say than do. Yet another day slips by with too much time spent on the computer....!  or flitting between working and doing things around the house.

Slowing down  and considering is a skill to be learned, I think; most of us aren't very good at it.

Be Careful

I first quote from a fellow blogger 829 South Drive, from a post which I read, commented on, and decided I wanted to share the sentiment here:

"There's a blogger out there that not too long ago voiced his dislike of being told to "be careful" before going somewhere or doing something.

"Is there ever a time when a thoughtful farewell of "be careful" actually resulted in that person who received that farewell having taken actions that he or should would not have normally taken?, ie, the "be careful" comment having helped? And even if a major fluke of an accident did take place -- like a car accident or slipping in the shower and breaking your skull -- could the most careful person have avoided it with even the most obsessive precautions taken? Answer: no.

We live in a pretty safe world. The odds are in your favor to do whatever you want in over 190 countries and not come away harmed. "Be careful". What a shallow thing to say, based in fear."

Our sailor had a different take on it. In his view, "be careful" meant "I care for you and I want you back alive and in health."

This latter view is absolutely how I see it as well.

After the car crash, whenever Mr H. leaves to drive to Scotland, or to a friend in the Cotswolds, or to Pontypridd to see a van, I hesitate over what to say: "Drive carefully"? I know that he will.  "Drive safely"? which actually means 'arrive safely'.

Perhaps all I need to say is "I love you, do your best to avoid idiots on the road".

Monday, 6 September 2010

A short tour of the garden

I finished work at 3pm today, there comes a point where I just run out of steam.  As an antidote to sitting in the house since 9am, Django and I went and did a few laps of the garden, enjoying the warm breeze before the rain starts.

There are a few things in the garden at the moment that make me smile...

I bought a buffalo tomato plant, put it in a pot at which point it decided to feign dying.   Instead of throwing it out, I decided to bung it in the border to see what happened, and it liked it!  Although it wasn't a good choice of spot because it probably doesn't get enough sun.  Still I was pleased to see that one of the tomatoes is going red, hurrah!  Mind you, we have pretty much decided that we are going to use the green tomatoes for our quince chutney...

Mr H.s mum gave us a quince tree many years ago, which we planted at the site of the plum tree which we cut down (the only one who ever ate them was Revel, Django's father).  The quince tree is now a great producer, first we made jam but I am now converted to making chutney.  Don't even suggest quince jelly: anything that involves an upside down chair and a piece of muslin is definitely off my list.  With the rain over the last couple of weeks this year's fruit has suddenly grown. It will need picking soon, which means that either Mr H. or I, or both of us, will soon have blisters on our fingers from cutting up the rock-hard fruit.

This spring we cut down the huge chilean potato plant (more like tree) which was covering the gazebo and looked lovely, but decided to die on us.  I replaced it with a blue bell early flowering clematis on one side, a pink jasmine on the other.  They suffered somewhat in the dry weather (and we forgot to water them) but since they've had some rain they are shooting up again.  Hopefully next spring we'll be able to enjoy them in their youthful glory.

Meanwhile on the pergola the wisteria is spreading nicely; now we just need to persuade the new growth to cling on to the frame - every time there is a reasonable breeze the young shoots let go and just fly around in the wind!

In the bottom left corner of the above picture you can just see some cyclamen. I love cyclamen, their delicate tenderness which somehow manages to survive all kinds of unintentional abuse.  All the examples in our garden have either been on the site since before we got here, or have been dug up accidentally somewhere in the garden and been chucked into their current position. They just shake themselves off and surprise us later with their pretty pink flowers where I'm not expecting them.


OK, this one didn't make me smile, but I'm not that bothered either. About a month ago Mr H. told me that the mistletoe on our little apple tree at the bottom of the garden seemed to be dying, and it was shedding onto the ground.  The only reason we haven't cut down the apple tree, is the mistletoe; at least that is my reason.  Every year it has a huge mass of it, bunches of which get distributed to friends in the office at Christmas and hung in the hall at home for unsuspecting visitors. The apples have always been small and we have never eaten them.  Now the mistletoe is definitely dead or dying, and so is the apple tree by the look of its leaves.  So now we have no reason whatsoever to keep it, something to put on the Christmas holiday joblist for Mr H. 

I hope you have enjoyed the short tour!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Broken femur essentials!

I thought I'd show you the things that I have gathered over the last couple of months which make my life easier, recommended for anyone with a broken leg!

A footstool, acquired by Mr H. from one of his upholstery friends.  Cost £0.

Bubba Keg insulated mug, makes it easy to transport your drink (because of the lid), and it is still hot when you get there!  And it's cool shocking pink. Cost £8.

An everyday shoulder bag for transporting books, phones, writing paper and pen, camera etc.  This one came from my aunt. Cost £0.

'Bucket' bag for transporting my Bubba Keg mug and biscuits, and other things that don't fit well in the shoulder bag.  A present from a friend a few years ago. Cost £0.

An office space with a suitable chair, so there is a specific space to keep the work laptop and other stuff.  The chair was being thrown out by our office. Cost £0.

A showering stool, essential for those of us without a bath!  My parents had this one hanging around in the loft, so cost to me £0, but they are quite expensive to buy.  Non slip shower mat £12.95.

Bathroom stool to collapse gratefully onto once I have negotiated getting out of the shower without slipping.  Also good for sitting to wash or scrub all that dry skin off my legs.  Had it years, cost £0.

The best thing of all, my trolley!  Mr H. found this in a junk shop in Lymington and with a tray on top (model's own) it is used for transferring meals from worktop to table; without the tray it is used for transferring clothes to and from the washing machine. Cost £14.

Long handled dustpan and brush. I have found I have to sit down to use it safely but it does mean I can reach a long way!  It means I can keep the level of dog hair in the kitchen down to acceptable levels.  Cost £20.

Folding stool for cooking and washing up. It is officially an Ironing Stool haha! not much of that goes on around here.  Much cheaper and more convenient than mobility 'perching stools'.  Cost £18.99

Last but not least, lightweight, half-cuff folding crutches.  SO much more comfortable than the standard NHS issue, and can be folded away under your chair when you're out, so people don't trip over them.  They come in 16 different colours too!  Pricey but worth it.  Cost £82.50 inc postage from Chic Aid Crutches