God Bless the NHS

    This day will never come again, hung over as it is with grey clouded, midge-filled sky in a garden full of bumble bees.  The Boxer is in bed. The effort of getting out of it valiant but futile.

    “Can’t I just be bedridden?”

    I point out that this is not an easy option and brings many disadvantages. “Besides, you’re not.” The ‘not quite’ is perhaps understood between us.

    Anyway. We decide on lunch in bed, why not? But in the making of it she has gone back to sleep and I haven’t the heart to wake her…not yet, soon.

    For five days I have been surrogate for my sister, now her prime carer (sole carer, to be more accurate.) Hard to be a fish out of your own water. All the times the positions were reversed and my sister moved in to my house in order to facilitate our holidays, I gave it the briefest of thought. 

    The district nurse called in ‘on the off chance.’ I should have solicited her help. Another pair of hands to effect the monumental effort of getting from the bed would have proved without doubt that a king’s fund bed would make life easier. Usually only for the bed-bound, I’m told. The buck is passed and she has recommended a visit from occupational therapy.

    God bless the NHS.

    California Dreamin’ or election blues


    Remember that lovely 1960’s song of longing to be in a better place? It came to mind when I was out for a walk today.  A few details awry from the Mamas and Papas’ original. It was a spring day, not a winter’s day. All the trees weren’t in fact brown, they were green. True, the sky was grey and, as it happened the fields were blue.  The beauty of the bluebells made the walk delightful. I was not exactly dreaming of California either.

    I’m already in California, the idyl the song  laments –  the sunshine/ beach/ laid back life.  It’s other poor saps who’re having a cold day somewhere else.

    Nothing happens unless you make it happen. Vote for change and make the world a fairer place.


    A Day Like Any Other

    imageAn autumnal chill this bank holiday Monday as we breakfast outdoors. Birds, the rush of the stream and a stream of traffic tune up like an orchestra.  Traditionally a day off, a bank holiday and lazing on the beach would be good. I have primed The Boxer.  She accepts with good and easy grace, as she accepts most things.  Old age becomes her philosophy.

    Labour in the garden, not of love but necessity, will be the order of the day, and probably, if the sun eventually shines, I will relent and The Boxer will have her due. The beach will be for another day.

    What the bees know

    A swarm of wild bees has taken up residence in the roof over our bedroom. They hum uncontrollably, their energy is frenetic. Nothing can be done, unless we want to kill them which we don’t and even if we did it might effect our own more sedate bees located at the bottom of the garden. Casting about for a reason why they’ve chosen our roof, apart from a gap in the tiles, I decide they are an omen. 

    Their arrival coincides with the Boxer’s bad day, the day she did not get up. ‘I’m not getting up,’ she was adamant when I offered to wash her hair. She slept. Every time I looked in she would open her eyes and we would chat a little, though I’m not sure she was awake even then. I did odd jobs, read the paper, ate ice cream from the freezer but still she slept, so eventually about nine in the evening I left her.

     Not so fortunate in the sleep department sadly, all night long I fretted. I wasn’t worried but I thought surely at 95, one day this will be it. If the Boxer just went to sleep and did not wake up, wouldn’t that be a blessing?   Anyone’s old age is not for the faint hearted. I made escape plans that danced so vibrantly under my sleepless lids with an enormouse sense of relief- to walk the Via Francigena to Rome (and back) to buy the camper van and use it, life was exciting.

    The Boxer is better. The grandiose dreams of freedom have faded like fairy gifts  – but not the guilt. 

    The bees will be with us a while yet, till they decide to go.   I think they could be guardians of my conscience.

    The Rake’s Progress



    I have downed tools; writing tools that is and no longer sit for hours with pencil and paper, or rattling the virtual keys of a laptop. Writing used to be a joy. Increasingly, over the last months and especially into the new year, joy has morphed to aversion; that exam feeling, impending doom, futility. Ugh.

    Now there is the rake. It’s probing fingers scrawping weeds, trails of ivy and fallen leaves to satisfying heaps hour after hour. The repetitive sound and action soothes as it productively, seductively whiles away time.

    I look now at denuded swathes of what was euphemistically called the wild garden and feel a deep calm. Why ever did we make paths here, lined with the granite stones that proliferate above and below the soil? Without the stones there is more unity, more peace. The garden plot sweeps majestically to its finale – the road and, with a squint, the sea.

    Barrow load after barrow load of stones large and small is tipped into the insatiable stream. Admittedly the stream is fuller and faster following recent rains, but even so it swallows these incomers as if it can never have enough. (Just as well, I have nowhere near finished.)

    Perhaps those rough hewn stones strewing the garden are metaphors for stumbling blocks, words, and life and the garden are simpler without them.



    Not a blog post to speak of

    As a list of chores I have done cleaning, cooking, gardening, and tending the Boxer.
    An impressive list.
    In reality, only the cleaning was impressive. All the rest was a swift and timed half hour or so of wilful neglect.
    The cooking merely reheating, the gardening an intense leaf sweep and dig of roots from a very overgrown patch. The sum of the short bursts of digging will I hope add up to a cleared patch large enough to do something with.
    As for tending to the Boxer, after a brief sit in our garden in her wheelchair having been lured with the offer of sunshine and our Sunday paper, when in fact the sun had already gone from the front – lately her only access to the garden unless we have it paved all round – to be abandoned while I did the cooking, gardening ( I had already done the cleaning)

    Returned to her own snug little home just in time for her carer to actually do the tending….so I could escape home and do the only thing I wanted to do, but had put off all day.
    That is to click my fingers over the key board.
    Not a blog post to speak of.

    Still a rhapsody


    The visitor plant is still a rhapsody and still jewel blue, just not aubrietia.  (I have seen it spelt three ways aubrieta, aubretia and aubrietia- take your pick.)

    Lobelia, I believe.

    There will be no carpeting and perhaps no return or survival after the winter unless the days continue sublime and mild.  It will be mourned when it goes with perhaps a plaque: in loving memory of my lobelia.