Monday, 29 June 2015

July Jog

Over the last fifty-two years the nearest I have come to sporting prowess is walking to school. As a child I spent more time reading a book than running around. My youngest sister could run faster than me almost as soon as she could walk, I remember her chasing me with a carving knife around the flat we lived in after I had done something to upset her. I can't remember what it was I did, but I do remember it was me who got smacked and locked in the wooden larder that stood in the hallway. 

At school I was the kid who was picked last for the team games, netball, hockey, rounders (a bit like baseball for anyone outside the UK) and whilst I was happy to sit and make daisy chains during the summer rounders matches, standing around in my games kit during the winter was no fun. At primary school sports days were kept short by selecting the best children for each type of race, more daisy chain making for me, my youngest sister provided the proud mother moments in our family. 

The one thing I have always done though is walk. Between the ages of  seven and eleven I walked half a mile to school, a lot more than many kids today. During the summer at secondary school I would walk the two and a half miles to school, spend the hour and a half lunch break walking round and round the buildings and fields and then walk the two and a half miles home. I might not be built for speed, but I did have endurance. Endurance wasn't something that my school valued though when it came to sport. In fact I'm not entirely sure how I was viewed by my peers or teachers. Possibly the fact I came from a deprived area lead them to believe I was something I wasn't. It took me a few years to realise, but when we were doing a biology survey of the environmental effects of pollution on lichen I actually heard two teachers discussing which areas were to be covered "we'll have to send Lorna to Horseley Fields, no other parent will allow their daughter to go there." So I was sent, alone, with just my clipboard and paper.  I later learnt that Horseley Fields was part of the red light district. 

I remember after the first London Marathon in 1981 I told a friend that I fancied running the following year, they laughed at me. I never considered running again. 

I have continued to walk. I walked while pregnant, I walked with prams, pushchairs and baby carriers with children on my back. I walked them to school and then walked to do my shopping.  I love walking, sometimes I think I could be the Forest Gump of walking. 

So after a life-time of life only running for a bus I have decided I need to stretch my wings and try a bit of running. The NHS reckon I can get from Couch to 5K in just nine weeks. Maybe it will take me a bit longer, but my aim is to be running 5K around the park by the time the Wolverhampton Marathon takes place on Sunday 6th September. I might not be entered for this year, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be up to a half marathon by next year. 


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

21st Century Garden June 2015

I'm a couple of days late, it isn't always easy to get onto the computer, life and Mike get in the way.

The 'P' garden is doing well.

Pears

Peas

More peas

Potatoes
We have a possible "funny vegetable" entry.

Weird courgette.
The onions and carrots are looking promising, although who knows what is actually going on below the surface. For all we know, the carrots are presently being munched by carrot fly or slugs.



The tomatoes are starting to flower, possibly a bit late, but without a greenhouse, I think there is very little more we can do.


The dwarf french beans and runner beans have made an appearance.

Dwarf

Runner

The new raspberry bush has got its first fruit, much earlier than the old one which we practically destroyed trying to move it from spot to spot (Mike's idea!). It has started to recover now, but we thought it was dead and bought a replacement.

Raspberries

Blackcurrants


Strawberries
Quince
The Japanese quince is looking good, hopefully it will hold on to the fruits and I will be able to make quince jelly again.

The garden is maturing beautifully. Who remembers this wooden arch from 2011?


I was going to put a photo up in July, but it looked so beautiful this morning I decided to show you all a month early, I might just repeat myself next month. The photo is obviously from the opposite side as we put a shed up on the concrete pad.


The borders are full of flowers that the bees love. 

Foxglove, with bee runway.

Love-in-a-mist / Persian Jewel / Nigella Damascena


The bee hotel now has eleven little bees waiting for next spring to arrive, with adults still making their homes in it.  

I love my garden, I just hope I can hang on to it. 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

I'm late.

After my last post Mike has picked up no end, we aren't out of the woods yet, but we are getting there. That is my reason for not blogging yesterday, we were off doing "normal" things, hence I wasn't around to remind the world that we are all still thinking of Paula. I may not have blogged on the day but I did make my way to the blood donor centre in Birmingham and give a unit in her honour, not that I'm her type! 

I know many of the people who read the blog have a good reason that they can't, but can I encourage those of you who can to give, even if it is only every six months or make it yearly to celebrate the life of someone you love. My biggest disappointment is that I'm not able to give platelets, I rather enjoyed sharing the experience of going on to a machine like the one Mike was on to collect his stem cells. It isn't identical obviously, but similar enough for me to feel smug. Turns out I have too many antibodies from having the kids. (Insert sad face,)

So lecture over. 

So Paula, we still talk about you all the time, you are a benchmark for all things crafty. Most of the time we are saying "Paula would never settle for that!" but we do try our best. We have been following the buddy pattern to the letter, but no matter what size of needles I use, they still come out much smaller than yours ever did. Is it one of your practical jokes? 

Toni's toy bag is still bursting with all the gifts you sent her. She hasn't managed to destroy any of them yet. The dinosaur is in bits, but that is how you made her. 

I wish we had kept in touch with Bernard, but we didn't know how else to react when Bernard in his grief said to Mike that it wasn't fair, that Mike should be gone not you. We know what he meant, we still understand how he felt, there are a lot of bad people out there who could have taken your place. Mike felt that it was best not to be a constant reminder of the unfairness of life so we stopped getting in contact. I'm not sure we did the right thing. 

Never forgotten Sweet P. 




Thursday, 4 June 2015

A love letter straight from the heart.

My dearest darling, what is a love letter? 

I believe it is an outpouring of what is felt deep inside, what you feel in your heart. The doctors will tell you there is no emotion in the heart and yet the world over it is deep in our chests that we feel real joy and real heartache. We have had our share of both. 

They joy of simply being together, watching the swifts until late into the evening until they were replaced by bats. The joy of listening as our football team escaped relegation, sharing tears of joy. The joy we felt on our wedding day nearly four years ago. I only have to look at the photos and I can feel the happiness. So many moments of pure joy. 

The love I feel is so strong that the pain of watching you having to suffer is tearing me apart. Over the last five years we have had some very troubling times, the "dex" days and the weeks you spent ill in hospital, but we have managed to get through them all, this latest struggle though seems to be harder than any before. I can feel in my heart how unhappy you are and that hurts me almost as much as the thought of losing you completely, all I have ever wanted is for you to be happy. When you aren't I blame myself even though I know the reasons are not in my control. 

If you would let me I'd give you a kidney, I've already given you my heart. I have told you things I have never told another soul and will never tell another. We are each a missing piece from the other's jigsaw puzzle of life, without you I am incomplete. 

We cannot let it tear us apart, who else will put up with you or put up with me? So please, can we try and find some joy, I want to grow old with you.

Lorna. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The blind leading the blind.

Mike is now mostly vertical. The bug has left him with the residual tiredness typical of viruses. It also seems to have left him with depression. He is refusing to eat or drink properly for fear they will try and take off the weight in water. He is simply sitting in the chair and dozing. Everything I say is turned into a negative and the whole world is against him. 

I am definitely not able to help him, I am stuck with my own fears and anxiety, I don't know what we are going to do now.


Monday, 1 June 2015

June already!

Goodness gracious me, it is June already. I know it's a cliche, but I really don't know where the last five months have gone, oh hang on I know where the last two have gone, the dialysis unit. When your time is spent wishing away the five hours until Mike is home, three days a week, the remaining time, some of which is spent sleeping, some of which is spent by Mike recovering, there isn't enough quality time left it seems. 

The last week has been even worse. Mike picked up some bug or other at the hospital last Saturday, feeling like he had a cold the first few days. By Tuesday afternoon he was really feeling ill and by Wednesday so bad he couldn't even get out of the chair without help. Along with the fever, sore throat and cough it certainly looks like 'flu. He managed to crawl to dialysis Thursday and Saturday, but the rest of the time he has mostly been horizontal. He is currently horizontal. 

Now this is where things get tricky. My natural mothering instinct, one I adopted with my own children, is to offer food and drink on a frequent basis. The kids would usually install themselves on the sofa with a blanket and watch T.V., Mike is doing his hedgehog act as mentioned here and here. Not being able to anything at all to help is even more frustrating now we are alone in the house. Nearly a week of talking to myself is driving me to drink, literally it seems. In the cold light of day I know I shouldn't drown my sorrows, but try telling me that at seven in the evening. 

It all feels so unfair. The dialysis is going well, they started to use the fistula on Saturday, the first step to learning how to do it at home. But just when things are improving on the one hand something always comes along to spoil it. I just want Mike back, even if it is only four days a week. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

21st Century Garden May 2015

The past few days have been so wet here that I feared I might not be able to post photos of my garden, but I awoke at 6 a.m. to beautiful sunshine. By half past seven I had put the bedding in the wash and taken my photos, 

I never know which photo to put first or even if I should have an order, so we'll stick to pot luck.


Capsicum pepper and aubergines

Broccoli
The peppers are now in individual pots. The only surviving broccoli is currently in a pot / trough too, the plants transplanted to the vegetable patch have been eaten along with the cauliflower. 


Vegetable patch

Potatoes

Ripe radishes
The vegetable patch is looking amazingly green despite the losses. The potatoes are sprouting and will soon need to be banked up with more soil. It is the first time I have grown radishes and I am amazed by how quickly they become usable, we have already used them for radish slaw, potato and radish soup eaten some in a salad and even given some away. 


Beans, French and Runner

Just waiting in the house we have beans growing. I don't want to put them out until they are a tiny bit more established and are able to withstand our changeable weather and munching wildlife.


Pears

Plums

Strawberries
Blackcurrants
The fruit trees and the strawberry are showing signs that they will be providing food too. Of course that is only possible with the help of hard working bees. It was with the solitary bees in mind that we purchased a small insect hotel last year. As directed we placed it on a wall that was warmed by the early morning sun. 
Insect hotel
 Imagine my surprise when I looked this morning and saw:


Bee resident
What do you mean you can't see it!


Morning!
We have a lodger!

Changing the subject, well I can't really call Mike a lodger (although.......), Mike is much better than he was. The dialysis doesn't seem to be knocking him back as much as it used to. Fingers crossed it stays that way. (I've probably jinxed myself now!)