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

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


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.



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!

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!)

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

I'm drowning.

When I was small, probably about four, we went on holiday to Butlin's. One of the advantages of being on holiday there was all the facilities, fun fair, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, non-stop entertainment and if you had opted for it, meals cooked for you. These days holiday camps like Butlin's and its rival Pontin's are seen as a joke, you've only got to watch the old comedy "Hi-De-Hi!" to see how by 1980 people had fallen out of love with them. Looking back at the yearly holidays that my grandparents took us on my memories are all fond ones. Precious time that I got to spend my my granddad, who I loved more than anyone else in the world, who unfortunately left me alone when I was 12. All fond except one, the one when I was four. My mom had taken me and my one sister to the swimming pool. I don't have any memories of ever going swimming before that occasion, yet at the same time I remember thinking that I could walk out of the changing room and down the slope into the shallow water. So I got my costume on and before I could be stopped I ran out of the changing room straight into the pool. Mistake. I sank like a stone down to the bottom of the deep end. I recall lying on the bottom looking up. I wasn't scared, even though I was actually drowning. Obviously as I am siting here I was saved by the life guard. The experience of being drowned by life is nowhere near as pleasant. 

I know I said I wouldn't complain anymore, but you my blog buddies are the only people I can talk to. Yesterday we had a lovely trip in an ambulance to our local A&E as Mike couldn't breathe properly. The paramedic had checked him over and couldn't find the source of the problem so obviously they had to take him in. I stayed with him in the hospital for a while, but when they said he was going to be admitted, but he would have to wait in the corridor we decided between us that it was best I come home and get some sleep. Jut as well as they didn't find him a bed until 4:15 this morning. Mike is much better this morning. It turned out that he had fluid on his lungs, possibly as a result of the two units of blood he was given on Saturday. So Mike is fine. He might have to start watching what he eats and drinks to limit his daily fluid, but he is fine. Mike scares the hell out of everyone, but it turns out he is fine. 

Do you think he'll be able to empty the dishwasher now? What about doing some ironing? He has never cooked so that isn't going to start and I can't remember him doing the washing, the original excuse was he didn't want to be involved with my daughters' smalls. I change the bed while he is on dialysis, struggling alone with turning the mattress. I am drowning in the mundane tasks, the changes that I have to make to accommodate Mike's new dietary needs and the inevitable grief that is part and parcel of loving someone with not one, but two life limiting conditions. I'm drowning and there is no life guard.

Thursday, 7 May 2015


Or That Was The Week That Was.

I can hardly believe that a week has gone by already. The time seems to drag when I am waiting for Mike to get back from dialysis, only for it to pass far too quickly when we are together. There is also the fact that we lose three days a week as Mike is often fatigued by the dialysis and he still has a low hb. Still as Mike says, he is still upright.

It is election day today. It fills me with dread. I fear for what will happen if the media is right about the outcome. As a child I naively thought that the MP for the area you lived actually did what his constituency wanted. As Jasper Carrot jokingly said last night, that they actually asked people how they wanted them to vote on really important issues like Health, Education, Laws and Welfare.  Of course they never ask. They never listen to the man on the street. Even if you find a party whose policies you agree with, there is no guarantee they will get a seat, far too many "safe" seats in England's two party system. I despise politics, can you tell?

My granddaughter's present is still collecting dust, I have decided for now to say no more to my daughter, to watch and wait. So on Saturday I made cupcakes and used the pink glitter I had bought originally to put on the cake I was going to bake with my other daughter, the one who decided to do it by herself. Luckily Princess Charlotte was born on the day I baked them so we ate them in her honour. 

I think I am possibly getting a bit senile, I saw this in a shop locally and I just had to have it.


It cheers me up, whirling away in the garden like a rather dangerous circular saw. Hopefully the bloomin pigeons might fly too close and stop eating my veg!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Baby it's cold outside.

Just when we thought that Spring was going to be more like Summer the good old British weather decided otherwise. I'm not saying it is actually freezing, it is just a shock to have to wear a jumper again when only a couple of weeks ago I was in shorts! Some of the plants aren't too happy either, the strong winds have blown the peas over and the heavy rain has battered some of the younger seedlings.

Mike is struggling with his hb again, down to 96 from 106. It seems that the small dose of Aranesp they have finally started giving him isn't enough to keep his hb between the ideal 110-120. That 10 might not seem a lot, but it makes a real difference to Mike. The difference between being able to walk up and downstairs, or having to crawl / send me.

I am going to try and stop myself wallowing in self-pity. I'm not sure how well I will get on, you will all have to be patient with me. Life is tough at the moment on practically every front, and some of the problems are compounded by arguments about the problems lol. 

I always feel I need to put a photo, so today's random photo is:

An itinerary of events for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II from North York in CANADA. It was at the bottom of a box I bought from an auction a couple of years ago! 

The Township of North York is now just an area of Toronto, like many small towns and villages around Birmingham and other large cities, it has been swallowed up by urbanisation. Such a shame.

I think I'll do some baking to cheer myself up!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A Tenebrific event

I have found a new word to describe my sadness "tenebrific" it comes from the Latin and means producing darkness. My youngest daughter is the source. Last Tuesday was my granddaughter's first birthday. I sent a card, but kept her gift here. It is still here. 

On Saturday my other two daughters came round for a visit while Mike was having his dialysis. The eldest had made a special birthday cake and had travelled up to celebrate her niece's birthday. I talked to them about how sad D. is making me. How upset I am that I have only seen my granddaughter three times. How I had invited her round only for her to forget, promising she would give me another date that was good for her. That was a month ago. 

On Saturday afternoon after, the party at my ex-husband's second home here in Wolverhampton, my son and daughter-in-law came to visit. Whilst they were talking to me and Mike I saw my d-i-l sending photos of their niece from his phone to hers. They didn't offer to show them to me, I think they had been told not to. 

It was nice to see three of my five children, the youngest son is too far away to pop down for the afternoon. But the feeling of happiness that I should have felt was over shadowed by the tenebrific rejection of my attempts to make things better with my daughter. 

I keep being told that she will eventually soften or that my granddaughter will make her own mind up when she is old enough. I'm not sure my heart can wait. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

21st Century Garden April 2015

Yes it is the 21st again. I haven't blogged for over a week, there hasn't been much new to tell you all. Mike is settling into the early morning routine, it does seem to help not losing a whole day. It has meant I have had a lot of time pottering in the garden, although it doesn't seem to make things grow any quicker!

Nature will have her own way and despite an equal amount of love and attention the apple tree refuses to blossom, although it isn't due to appear yet, there is no sign that there is going to be any flowers yet again this year. The plum and pear are both resplendent, the pear especially so. 

The pear and plum.

Plum blossom

Pear blossom
 The apple isn't alone in being bare, the fig has yet to wake up properly from its winter slumber. 

Fig 2015
It was pruned back in January, but as you can see it is certainly much bigger than when we planted it back in 2011. 

Fig 2011
The vegetable patch now has some green, and not just weeds, but peas, onions, radishes and somewhere in the weeds carrots. They really are tricky things to spot until their feathery leaves are well established. 

Broccoli waiting to be pricked out.
In seed trays around the house and garden we have cauliflowers, aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes (zucchini), chillies, squash and capsicum peppers waiting for the warmer weather of May. 

Will a bit of luck, who am I kidding, with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, it is hopefully going to be a good year for produce. Next month I should have a lot more to show you. Hopefully fruit corner will look more impressive too!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

What about if we try this?

It is way too early on a Saturday to be blogging but Mike was up and out the house by seven as we managed to wangle a 7:15 AM appointment for his dialysis. It is a really big deal. When he has the noon slot getting onto the machine relies of whether one is free, whether the person before him took longer than the four hours (various things stop the machine and it has to be started up again by a member of staff), whether the machine has done its forty minute clean, whether it has warmed the fluid up after its clean, whether the air is all out. So sometimes it is two before he even gets a chair (there are chairs in the waiting room but they don't recline). Fingers crossed that when he got there this morning the machine was almost ready for him. The hope is that the dialysis won't tire Mike too much and that by lunchtime he will be done and able to spend the rest of the day getting on with life. 

After the week we have had with Mike's anaemia, hospital Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Tuesday was a fail remember so he had dialysis Wed. and Thurs.) yesterday was heaven. The weather was sunny and the garden a wonderfully warm (19 C / 66 F)  place to sit with our friends Mike and Jocelyn, drink tea and eat ginger nut biscuits (well Jocelyn ate most of them). 

 I can't wait to show you all how the garden is looking on the 21st.