Check out my Finished Items on the second page

Monday, September 26, 2016

Upholstery Course

As i enter my third week of my course - i realise that if I don't blog my progress now it's going to take too long to catch up!  This is as much for my own memory - i feel that 10 weeks is going to come and go so quickly and i wonder if at the end of it i will have any memory of what I did along the way.


I have an armchair, a very comfortable armchair. But, I bought it second hand and i think the previous owner had a cat that also thought the armchair was comfortable. It badly needed re-upholstering.

Other pets have apparently liked the chair too (M&D's dog Bonnie in 2013)

So in searching for a local upholsterer, i found Sarah, who offers a 10 week course whereby you take any piece of furniture you choose and she teaches you to upholster it. Score!

So in our first week we are encouraged to take photos of the Before item:

During my first week I had to make her nude!  I've never seen so many staples and my hands hurt for two days after. I decided to take her home for homework as I didn't finish in the class and didn't want to spend another week doing it when I could be learning the next stage. So........ at the beginning of week 2 she looked like this:

She is quite a modern piece really and quite possible every part of her had been upholstered separately and then bolted together as a finished item. Consequently getting in to some of the nooks and crannies was not easy. But scissors, staple and tack removers and a strong set of carpenters pliers meant that i didn't do too bad a job in the end.

So, in the second week I padded the back foam with a little extra poly-wadding and attached my first piece of furnishing fabric (I was very excited because everyone else in the class has much older and more traditionally upholstered pieces, so they are all busy with hessian,  coconut and cotton wadding, and calico. - I could re-use my old foam in place of the older methods of cushioning  and immediately attach my fabric.  So a quick measure of the back - then a longer measure as i realised I had it wrong *rolls eyes at self*, cut a rectangle and poke it through the bottom and over the top and through the sides. Sarah made it sound so easy - oh no it wasn't.  The middle of the rectangle had been notched so we didn't end up on the squiff, but even so it was tricky to get it straight, and the previous method of manufacture meant that there are big gaps where it's a bit of a surprise, and no gap where one would be useful.  Still, in the end I got there and the back is temporary tacked in to place:

This week- week 3. I will be wadding out the wings and hopefully upholstering them too.

T'il soon ❤️

Monday, August 22, 2016

Garden's looking up ;)

A fortnight ago, on a bright Sunday morning, we went to Columbia Road Flower Market.

I have been many times with Mum and Dad..... in what feels like a previous life now if I'm honest. But my garden was shell-shocked from 3 years of non-attendance, and it needed a good injection of fast colour to spur me on to take it under control.
Now, call me old fashioned..... or don't..... but I love nothing more than a good London Market, with shouting and banter and crowds.

And to go on a Sunday, makes me feel... well cheerful! :D
Many people were taking photos of the stalls, an abundance of colour and a riot of scent. But that seemed a little rude to me.
So instead, i bought what I liked and felt that i would enjoy at home.
Now this last photo has a story to it:
This is an Inca Lily or Astromeria.  During the time when Mum was in hospital in Chichester... I had a birthday (given that she was there six months i guess it was a 50/50 chance )  My Grandma (mum's mum) bought me for my birthday 2 tubs of astromeria, a pink and a dark pink/almost red.  She gave them to my uncle who didn't get them to me very quickly (not his fault at all) and then mum came home, and I neglected them.  It was the last gift she ever bought and it broke my heart when i realised that they were in a bad way...... I have a few plants that Mama bought me over the years, she knew i loved my garden, but this was the last one, and I knew she had worked hard to find them for me, having decided this was what she wanted to get. I managed to salvage the paler pink ones, and although they are not healthy i have coaxed them in to a little flowering and hopefully with some love and tender they will continue to improve. But i lost the darker one and was pretty devastated.  At Columbia Road, the first time I have ever seen them since, there was a stall full of them, all colours and only £5 a tub.  So I think someone was smiling on me and maybe letting me know that it was ok to have been too busy looking after Mum.........
It's a thing I've had to learn about that time...... that it's ok that I didn't manage All.The.Things! Still learning, still forgiving myself.......... and grateful for fate or karma or whatever, to help get the message through!

T'il Soon ❤️

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hi Honey, I'm home!

I'm back in Guildford. Mum and Dad are settled (somewhat) in a residential home. Their house has finally been sold, and I have moved back to my house.  It's not very nice most of the time if I'm honest. It's noisy and dusty and hot and noisy and busy and did I mention Noisy?  But we have been busy trying to get it to be a home again and not just a collection of somewhat derelict bricks!  I wanted to tell you all the things that we have done, but there's too much and we've done it all a bit quick really!

The first room was the lounge- i needed a haven that was finished. It really only needed a good scrub and a new carpet, so as you can see lady Spot is already installed!

We had gutted the bathroom when my tenants moved out (word from the wise - don't rent to male students!  - bless them, they weren't bad or anything but I guess the generation down doesn't think about things like wiping down taps after a shower, or opening a window to let the steam out (mould everywhere!).  So since moving back a new suite has been installed (a bad buy on my part as it seems it's really a bit big for the room, but it's in and it's fine), and we have protected the wall with bathroom cladding instead of tiles. The room will be finished by the carpet fitter soon, with a vinyl floor.

The kitchen has never been anything much in my home. Don't get me wrong, i've loved it. But it was always a totally free standing affair with a dresser and a range oven and a butchers block and it suited my lackadaisical style. But since moving back i have wanted something maybe more grown up (! first time for everything) and certainly with more storage space as I brought a fair amount of pots and pans from Mum's kitchen (well why wouldn't you she had excellent and expensive taste!) So I got a second hand kitchen on eBay and it's been "Krypton Factor'd" together to fit the best way, and it's looking awesome. Not finished yet, as we need to put a little electrickery around for appliances and gadgetry. And the worktop will be finished off with a splash back. There'll be more photos when it's finished. (there was also a purchase of an impulsive orange fridge)
Of course we bought fire with us (you didn't think we would leave it behind did you?_)

and consequently all patios and the conservatory were pressure washed to within an inch of their lives (and in the case of a few bricks - beyond their lives!)  

 Roses the shed has been given a new roof:

And finally (for this post - there's loads more going on in the house!), the hen house was renovated with every colour of paint from the shed (geez I have kept some stuff! - luckily i suppose!)  I refrained from buying orange just for the heck of it though!

And these little ladies (and one other) arrived on Friday.  Not laying yet but they have added to help start making it feel home again.

T'il Soon ❤️

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


I wanted to show you Tabitha.  She is my 48th birthday present from MrNoo and very lovely she is too.
She is an Ashford Traveller, and I already love her quite a lot!

She is double treadle which has improved my spinning longevity, and has a built in lazy kate. So far I have turned half of this:


My first ever Navajo plied yarn.  I am thinking it will become fingerless mitts..... when i've done the second half :D

T'il soon ♥︎

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Have Fire, Will eat (and eat and eat and eat!)

Oh it's been a while again hasn't it?  If I'm honest I'm struggling to find things to write about that aren't about care homes, hospital stays, trying to sell houses and the general fedupness that is sometimes life.

So, when I found that a course on Deer butchery for his nibs for Christmas, was preceded by a course on Cooking with fire (which very much sounded like something I would like), I decided, as all good women do, that his Christmas present should include me (:D) and be a weekend away for both of us to return to the things we love doing together and just for 48 hours (if we were lucky) forget about everything else.

Turned out that it worked really rather well.

We travelled half way up to Yorkshire on Thursday afternoon and stayed overnight in a travelodge and ate KFC at a service station (totally yucky! but a little fun!)  On Friday we drove past our final destination and spent the afternoon in Whitby and then the early evening in Scarborough, driving back across the North Yorks moors later in the evening to find our accommodation for the weekend in a wonderful little village only about 15 minutes from the courses over the weekend.  We had a lovely evening meal and settled in early for the night as the travelling and the sea air had worked it's sleepy magic on us (OK the guinness and wine helped a little :D)

The next morning the irony of being totally grateful for smartphones whilst driving towards a course to teach us how to be more "back to nature" wasn't lost on me, when I found I had lost (in the space of 20 minutes!) the course paperwork which had the directions on it.  Luckily I still had the email on my phone!

We arrived on site for the course start at 9:30 to be greeted at the gate, led down a little path and immediately made a cup of tea and whilst drinking it, a shoulder of lamb was rolled and we were shown how to put it on a spit and what kind of fire that would need - I was going to enjoy this!

There were 8 of us on the course. It was drizzling rain and already the thought of lighting fires - whilst appealing in that they would keep us warm, was worrying in that everything was wet!  Not a problem (so we were told!) And indeed Chris proved with only his second strike that if the rules were followed a fire can easily be lit in the rain. - Could we do it?  Turned out we could!

All that fire making had taken us rather miraculously to elevenses, so a skillet was laid on the fire and drop scones with some elderberries frozen from last autumn, were made with another cuppa....... No photos of that particular interval - they were made and gone too quickly :D

I think after this was when we wrapped some red onions in clay (naturally occurring in the soil up there - I'd have to buy, as I don't think our sandy stuff would have quite the desired effect!!)  They were then put in the fire under the spit

We were then taken a little further into the wood to learn about cooking in a pit - and that fire was got ready as it would be used later to cook an afternoon snack (you can see why I liked this course can't you?)

Then it was time to finish preparing lunch - the lamb was still on the spit doing it's thing, the onions underneath it. To go with it we were to have flat breads, smoked halloumi, feta cheese wrapped in wild garlic leaves, and baba ganoush.  All of them cooked on the open fires we had made around the place.  Me and himself were in charge of the "cheese course!"  The halloumi first was hot smoked over oak chips:
and then I wrapped cubes of feta in 2 wild garlic leaves each turned 90 deg to each other, which were secured with a couple of beautifully hand made skewer ends (well ok, MrNoo was let loose with a knife and a couple of twigs - but he did a lovely job!) which were then fried in a skillet over the fire for a few minutes, turning now and again.  (Could also have been done on a toasting fork, but possibly not for 10 people in good time!)  You can also see the aubergines in the bottom of the fire there ready for the baba ganoush.  Meanwhile someone else was making the flatbreads, which sadly I didn't see any of because i was too much enjoying what I was doing, and also another pair were making fruit soda bread which was put on the fire after we had finished which we later had for tea.

All done, lunch looked a little like this:
Hot Smoked Halloumi

Shoulder of Lamb
Clockwise from Top: Onions still in clay jackets, Flatbreads, feta wrapped in wild garlic leaves (skewered by MrNoo's handiwork!) and natural yoghurt which we didn't cook!

Clockwise:Baba Ganoush, a little of the bare roasted onion, lamb, halloumi

Now unfortunately what didn't follow this was a short after lunch nap, oh no, we had to go back and tend to our pit and put the fish and tomatoes in, and also learn how to light a fire if we couldn't find all the bits that we'd learnt about before........ so we made feather sticks. And again lit fires and had a giggle.  It had stopped raining so for the most part the lighting of the fires was a little easier, and certainly more fun without being dripped on at the same time.

All the while a marvellous kitchen fairy had been tending to the soda bread in the dutch oven, and when we had all mastered the knife art of creating feather sticks and striking fire steels we were presented with afternoon tea:

Trout and beefsteak tomatoes cooked in a pit
Fruit soda bread from the dutch oven: Served with butter!!

The course was such a great day, I can't recommend it highly enough.  It was informal enough to be fun and so that we (well certainly I) didn't feel awkward asking questions, and yet structured enough that by the end of the day we had covered a remarkable amount of information. (I think I only realised that after the event!) And somewhat miraculously - I can still remember at least some of it. We learnt a little about using knives on wood (for the purpose of fire lighting!), Cooking, choosing wood, different ways of using fire and how to get the darn thing started in the first place (pretty important).  A full and rewarding day!  The food was amazing, the location was beautiful (even in the rain) and the company was exceptional :D

After we left the woodland we walked up the side of the White Horse just up the road (didn't realise at the bottom how many steps it would be to the top - one of those moments where you wished you'd done the joined up thinking!) But it was totally worth it. The view is incredible and armed with our binoculars we spotted a peregrine which we managed to watch for several minutes.  The circular walk was a mile and a half, and despite it having been a bit of an outdoorsy day we both enjoyed it.  Then - because obviously we hadn't crammed quite enough into the day, we went back to Whitby and walked around the town..... when i suddenly got quite a thing for wanting pizza (Which luckily we found in a gorgeous proper italian restaurant)......... I'm totally blaming looking at this all day:
Handmade pizza oven  - another course for another weekend??

I will review the deer course another day - I think this post is long enough already ?

T'il soon ♥︎

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Life is made of memories (in memory of Russell Bennett, and Margaret Lowman)

A year ago tomorrow, we sent my dear old Grandmother (Mama as named by me!) on her next journey to whatever afterlife, or not, there may be.  It seemed appropriate that it happened on Bonfire/fireworks night. Always one for mischief she had often told me and my sister (and I expect my cousins too) that thunder and lightning were just parties happening in heaven for new angels, and when it was her turn we would hear a piano playing as well!  As it turned out that wasn't the case (still can't understand why not!) but our journey home after her funeral was punctuated with fireworks, bangs, claps, and pretty bright lights.  Not a bad send off and I think she would have appreciated that fate dictated that we will always remember her on fireworks night.

During this week my sister has somehow ended up making our family "loop de loop" (a leftover soup from a lamb roast) and I have felt compelled to make toad in the hole, complete with well mixed up yorkshire batter.  Why? well, I am sure for both of us it was subconscious, and at 4 years apart our memories of our grandmother are "the same but different".  I was always (but ALWAYS!) given the job of mixing the batter for puddings whenever we were at Mama's for a Sunday or Christmas dinner. - Possibly just as a way of keeping the oldest grandchild occupied, because apparently it had to be whisked with a fork ........ for hours....... (or so it seemed!). My sister's memory is of Monday mornings when, in the school holidays, we would often go to Mama's for a few hours instead of being in Mum's shop. And if Mama had a lamb roast leftover then she would be chopping, mincing, grating for the soup. So we make these dinners now, with love for our current families and with intense and wonderful memories of our past families.

I am grateful, honoured and blessed that i had a vivacious and strong grandmother in my life for 46 years. Even in the last few years, as her health deteriorated.... you wouldn't argue against her! I cannot begin to recount all the memories, of course, but they are plentiful and wonderful and there is barely a thing that happens in a day that doesn't remind me of something she taught us, or said to us, or did with us.

Last week, I went to the funeral of a far younger friend. As one post has put it "A jazz legend in his own lifetime"  Russell Bennet (Russ) was only 43 and died as a result of a brain haemorrhage. We travelled to Bude for a funeral service last Friday, and there was a smaller family service on Saturday (Hallowe'en!!!!) .  I stood in the pub after listening to his friends play wonderful music, and we laughed and danced, and sang together..... and as i pushed through the crowds to the ladies, or the bar, all i could hear was "I remember when....." "Were you there when......" "Do you remember that joke he told"

And here are where these two stories join.

I've known the Bennett brothers for 15 odd years. We have been to festivals, and gigs, just because these boys would be there.  In those 15 years, we have taken Mama to a few of the festivals, and like the rest of us, though at the sprightly age of 85, she stayed up til sunrise at the jam sessions, she clapped and smiled and sang to the music.  I watched my parents dance, and we all sang and cried and laughed at many many many of their songs.  We sat on the steps of the Glenburn hotel on the Island of Bute, when there were no seats left, we stood at bars, we danced in the tiniest corners of rooms because sometimes you just can't help but jiggle.  We camped with them at Dove Holes and watched them for all the past years, as they have grown, at the Preston Cross.

And the very best memory of all....... on 5th January 2014, a year and a fortnight after Mum had her brain haemorrhage, Mum, dad and I went to the Preston Cross and Mum and Dad danced - quietly and carefully in the corner of the room. And that is a sight I will never forget in all my life, and it was given to me by this band.

I will never forget that Russ is pretty much the only person I know who could make MrNoo belly laugh....... the stories, the mischievous acts, the "joie de vivre".  That Russ would run across a room (or a campsite) with his arms outstretched, that he never forgot our names, (although had significant difficulty in remembering where I lived - phoning me once to see if I was "popping down" to a gig in Great Yarmouth ..... I live in Surrey!!), that almost everything was "Splendid" and that when he sang he had no idea of his own ability or presence.  That he did an uncanny impression of a pigeon carrying home his fish and chips, or that he told the same jokes time after time and they were still funny.

So, Russ, and the rest of the band gave my family some of the most precious gifts we can ever have. Memories.  And now my parents are both in a care home, and to be honest, their mobility suggests that we may not be going to many more jazz afternoons and it is unlikely they will be dancing in public again, but by the grace of whichever force of nature you care to believe in, we do still have all our memories.  We can talk about holidays, festivals, and songs. We can sing and remember where we heard something played. We can laugh at jokes that we heard so many times we know them word perfectly. And, in the safe confines of a care home lounge, we can stand together and hold hands and dance/sway to the CD's we have collected and each of us will be in a different place in our heads, but all of us will be together.

Thank you Russ, for mending our hearts, for giving us laughter, music& dance,  and our dear, beautiful man....... for the memories.

Margaret Lowman 1920-2014

Russell Bennett 1972-2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The bits we don't share - Parkinson's awareness week 20-26 April 2015

I just found this post that i had drafted in April 2015 for Parkinson's awareness week. I have no idea why I didn't publish it. Maybe I decided it was too personal? But in reading it again i have thought i would. It's about awareness, about my little journey with my daddy. And about an illness from a relative's perspective and that's what awareness weeks are about. It's not all an easy read. But it's true and from my heart.  Love you daddy xxx

It's been so long since I posted here - too much to catch up on really, but this week is Parkinson's awareness week so i wanted to share a little of our lives.

Most of you who read this follow me on twitter or on Facebook, or know me through forums or ravelry or some such. You generally all know that life changed for us as a family in December 2012 when Mum had a brain haemorrhage, and generally you know that my Dad has Parkinson's. This post is hoping to be an insight into a relative's perspective.

Dad was diagnosed in 2002. He was 60 years old. It was the year my baby sister got married, the year  we went to Mauritius as a large family for a holiday. The year my Mum and Dad retired. We said at the time "It could be worse" "It's not terminal" etc, etc.... Tried - and mostly succeeded to put a positive spin on it (it must be said in varying degrees - as a family we deal with things differently - from head in the sand, to unrealistic optimism, to realism..... generally we don't do a lot of pessimism, but we all took it a little differently) We all went off to our own corners of the internet to research what we could, and came back with our own interpretations of what might happen. At least I think that's what we did - because I realise now that we didn't talk about it all that much. Dad was lucky, he was pretty healthy, quite physically fit in every other way. And to begin with really it just affected his gait slightly, and little things like I remember noticing how he struggled to get money out of his pocket in shops, But generally he was quite well for quite a long time.

Mum and Dad bought their dream home - an acre of garden and a beautiful 4 bedroom home. They knew it would be unlikely that they would live there forever...... it would become unmanageable. But they wanted to enjoy what they could. And I admire them for that - and in hindsight, I'm eternally happy that they did!

Years went by, Dad got a little worse year on year - but not hugely.... and again we didn't much discuss Parkinson's. His meds were altered a little here and a little there to give him the best balance they could - a balance between being able to move freely, and not displaying too overbearing an amount of dyskinesia.

Dyskinesia - that's something they don't tell you a lot about.  Remember the video ad by Michael J Fox, the actor who has Parkinson's disease, in support of Democrat Claire McCaskell and stem cell research, which was also seen online, and caused controversy when talk-show host Rush Limbaugh said Mr Fox had exaggerated his symptoms to get more sympathy?  Well I can't definitively say he didn't exaggerate, but i can say with no doubt or uncertainty whatsoever that he and many Parkinson's sufferers have symptoms that bad on many many days. - And it's the drugs that cause them. I think Mr Fox commented later that he was probably over medicated. But often that's choice you have to make to get through a day - over medicate and look like you have ants in your pants or don't and run the possibility that you will freeze or tremor so violently you will fall over or spill food and drink? Either way you look like a looney to the outside world. - What a choice? Dad spends most days with that level of dyskinesia now. It's the safer alternative for him, because he falls much more if he is freezing. When freezing his feet refuse to move, but the tops of his legs, almost do - and his torso does! Before long he has literally gone head over heels. And as he gets older that's not something we want to be happening too often, the dyskinesia is the better option.

So, (I digressed didn't i?!) As time went on, dad regulated his meds mostly based on what he wanted to achieve in a day, maybe under-doing them if he wanted to sit in a chair or work at a computer, and upping them if he needed to be outside or was socialising. He had a suggested amount and he played about to live the best life he could - and by and large I think he succeeded.

In the summer of 2012 Mum told me and my sis that they had put the house on the market, that it had become just a tiny bit unmanageable for them both, and Dad was struggling to keep up the maintenance. Given the size of the garden and house, and the fact that they had no help I'm surprised that they managed as long as they did, but stubbornness and a desire to succeed will take you a long way in this life. But they had clearly reached a point - 10 years after diagnosis, when Dad was beginning to realise that he couldn't manage everything, and was struggling round this large garden.

of course at the end of 2012 Mum herself became so very ill, and my sister and i became part of the story of our parents' lives in much more of a way than we could ever have expected. I moved in to Mum and Dad's house to take Dad to visit every day. It became clear immediately, that the trauma and shock of what had happened had taken a massive toll on dad, and it has continued to do so. When Mum came home, I took care of them both.

The things they tell you about Parkinson's are that the sufferer may have tremors or freezing, may shuffle and walk with a slow gait, may struggle with buttons and zips and tight clothing, may become quiet in voice and articulate less clearly, may not show expression on their face so may be easy to mis-read their emotion or feeling, may struggle with delicate tasks as their dexterity declines and they may develop addictive personality traits.

What they don't tell you is that Parkinson's and the meds that treat it cause severe confusion and lack of focus and concentration. I can have a conversation with Dad and when he replies it is clear he has only taken in a tiny part of what I have said (and it's usually not the relevant part!). He gets confused using tech that he has used for years - even using a tv remote is now beyond him on some days.

They have little understanding of time passing so something you said 3 weeks ago may take precedence over the thing you said yesterday. 

They have little or no insight, either into their own situation or other's. So they may endanger themselves more than you would expect because they don't understand their own limitations or see the bigger picture around the safety of a particular situation. Or they may endanger others because of the inability to appraise the entire situation. For many many months Dad thought it would be ok to take Mum on holiday. (it never would have been - but it was so hard to keep saying it)

They often suffer from double vision due to muscle rigidity, and their eyes not focussing at the same speed.  Reading/signing papers/watching tv can all be affected. 

They suffer from depression and social exclusion. As Dad's speech has become quiet I have realised he doesn't bother trying to be heard very often, so he can retreat into his own little world. 

Nobody tells you that you will have to be rudely blunt and at times downright cruel to make them understand how dangerous or daft something is. Nobody tells you that you should sort a power of attorney out as soon as they are diagnosed, because at some point they will be too confused to run their household, and you might not have seen it coming until it's too late. Nobody tells you that you will be so very very frustrated at the total inability to see that walking down the middle of a country lane with a walker and a bad case of dyskinesia is dangerous - in so.many.ways! Nobody tells you that you will have to remind your father to talk to you and not to his feet, and how very very much that hurts. Nobody tells you that when you go out and people stare, how badly you will want to stand up and tell them "Our excuse is Parkinson's, what's yours?"

But what I can tell you, is that despite these little inconveniences, our daddy is still such a gentleman. That he still loves our Mum with every fibre of his being, and he shows it day after day. That although this illness is a nasty beast, we still have him with us and that is something to be truly grateful for. That he managed to fight it so very very well for the first 10 years, and they did indeed live in their dream home and milk every last bit out of it. I can tell you that you should talk about Parkinson's with all your family for now and for the future. I can tell you that no one person should take sole responsibility for care - even with a new diagnosis, because it's hard and it could destroy you and leave that person alone. That plans should be made and thoughts discussed..... in the hope and maybe belief that they will never be needed, but they should be talked about. That worst case and best case plans are in place.

And most of all, that no 2 cases of this illness will run the same course. So take the book of your life and treat every page as a new adventure, some will be crappy adventures and some will be good ones..... but live every page

Too long

It's been too long since I wrote here. And truth be told it's not good for me not to write (so it turns out).  I stopped writing because life got personal and I couldn't see past that. But then, life is personal isn't it? And of course you don't all have to read about it if you don't want..... but maybe i do need to write sometimes.

Anyway there is no point going over the last year as there is way too much to talk about.  Mum and Dad are now in a wonderful little residential care home in Guildford. And slowly... very, very slowly, i am beginning to get some form of a hold on our new lives.  Such a massive and sudden illness has had such an effect on us all and it takes a long while (and a bit of counselling, apparently!) to come to terms with the changes and implications for all of us.  Learning to support each other in different ways to anything that has gone before. Learning to deal with disability and the complications that throws up (people's ideas of having disabled access vary wildly!) Changes in relationships. Changes in our own needs, which, certainly for me, have surprised me.  I thought i was coping, but I wasn't. I was just treading water whilst i needed to. And as soon as I no longer needed to, i began to drown.

That's all behind me now. I am stronger (on some days) and more aware of the days i'm not.  Sometimes it is still too much and it hurts so bad. Not just because Mum got ill - that happens to millions (maybe billions?) of families every day. But it hurts because I wanted to look after them, and couldn't. It's taken me a long time to accept that it's ok that I couldn't. And maybe that's where writing what actually happened day on day might have helped. To have read back and realised what i was trying to achieve might have made it easier to accept that it would have been pretty impossible for any one person. But I didn't write - on some days I probably barely spoke!

So, anyway. Here i am! Mum and Dad have been in their new forever home for a year and a fortnight! and it feels like it's time for me to get back to doing those things that make me feel normal. (whatever normal is! LOL)

Miss Spot is still with me - although older and slower and with many old lady lumps and bumps. But can still hear her dinner biscuits being poured at a 20 yd radius!  We don't walk as much as we used to, so we've both got a bit old and fat! But now the temperature is easing off a bit, walking for an old lady is a more acceptable past time.

I'm still knitting and crocheting (no shock there really) and occasionally sewing too.

So, let's see what happens. I hope i will write here often again. It feels like a strange and hard thing to do at the moment. But writing is quite cathartic, and it's good to document the good things i get up to, so the crap doesn't overwhelm. It's very easy to slip on to self pity, and from there - certainly for me, it's hard to get back up off the floor again.

T'il soon 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Well earned break (if I do say so myself)

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but like everything in my life it has gotten sidetracked.  That's kind of why i needed the holiday in the first place. I needed time for me!
It was a late booking and I went to trip advisor to get some ideas.  I had a checklist!  I wanted a sea view, and a bathtub! Possibly an odd combination, but after a year and half of living at Mum n Dad's with only showers, I wanted to wallow in hot water for as long as I chose. And as for the sea view, well I find it calming and grounding. Looking out to sea is something I often yearn for in times of stress (and yes to be fair I was stressed)
It didn't really matter where in the UK, although at then end of the week we were going to the Dove Holes Jazz festival so the far north of Scotland would have been sightly inconvenient but other than that I had no agenda.  

Eventually after a bit of searching and comparing and fussing around I found this property:Parth-y-Gwyddwch, and it ticked all my boxes.  Secluded, a sea view and a bath!!! The cottage is beautiful.  We were met at the gatepost by a buzzard, who continued to entertain us all week. And there was a red kite now and again too.  We travelled to Barmouth, Tywyn and Aberdovey in the days to have lunch (boy did we eat some amazing lunches) and settled back in our cottage in the late afternoon armed with our binoculars to watch the evening wildlife.  We tried out our new Cobb oven one night and made a good effort of roast chicken, veg and potatoes.  And ate more ice cream in a week than we normally would in a year.  We walked, talked, stayed quiet. Sat on beaches, sat in woods, sat by rivers. Met sheep! MrNoo went fishing once or twice in the evening, and left me to the peace and quiet of the cottage, and I knitted and breathed and didn't have anyone calling my name. The week was everything I needed it to be. 

Full of good food, peace and no demands. I would go back in a heartbeat.

So here, in no particular order is a brief photographical synopsis of our week.
Our home for a week.


Another perfect sunset

A little stroll

8am view. Fantastic

Roast dinner on the patio?

Early evening view from the cottage


Barmouth view from the welsh coastal path

Took a photo to identify this little one, beautiful song. 

Best kind of neighbour