Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I went to see the specialist about the veins on my legs. She ultra sound scanned them and there is nothing sinister going on. She said that we could give electrolysis a go but as some of them are very old (nearly 40 years) it might not work. A session is not too expensive and would be once a month during the winter months. If it looks as if it is not working we would stop. I don’t have to do anything until October so we’ll see what the finances are like then.

She's nothing like the doctor of the same name on TV so Rob won't be coming with me...

"Last night I had the strangest dream..."

A couple of nights ago I dreamt that I was in a clearing in a woods sat at a table with some other people. In front of me I had the narrative to a play I was in. I knew that the lines I had to read were in the form of a poem. I couldn’t learn them because I didn’t understand the words. The rest of the cast were cross with me because they could see that I intended to have my script in front of me when I was sat on the stage.

The reason why I had this dream was all thanks to the computer. The clearing in the woods was on one of the postcards I’d been preparing during the day. Then, when I was having a stroll around my blog friends I came across a word I’d never seen before and had to look it up. Next, I popped via the comments to a new blog where I learnt that the lady who used to organise the poetry&words tent at the Glastonbury festival had died. Strange the things that stay in your head.

When I woke up I remembered a play I was in in my early teens; I was the narrator in The Pied Piper of Hamlin by Robert Browning (I didn’t remember it was by him!), I tested myself and I remembered the first verse. This took me on in my thoughts to a Canadian film, *The Sweet Hereafter, with Sir Ian Holm about a school bus which crashes and kills most of the children in the village. The poem runs through the film (The survivor used to baby-sit and read the poem to her young charges.). Sir Ian Holm is the insurance investigator who is sent to decide whether the survivors should be awarded any money. He is also trying desperately to reconnect with his daughter, who is a drug addict, at the same time. It’s a very sad but beautiful film. I remember the lady who drove the school bus saying that when she picked up the children for school every morning she felt like she was picking berries and putting them into her basket. If you haven’t seen it I recommend it.

*Adapted from the novel by Russell Banks

Friday, June 20, 2008

I wonder...

How long will you spend on this?


Don’t ask where the in-between bit went.

I slept very badly last night and this morning had a slightly upset tummy. Yes, it’s Olivier’s exam day today. Taking an exam not having read two of the set books must be a recipe for disaster. This afternoon is biology. I made sure he had two pencils and a rubber (eraser) in his bag, he’s bound to have to draw something.

Dom phoned, she retook her driving test on Tuesday (our 23rd wedding anniversary) and has passed. Well done Dom!

I watched Love Story yesterday evening. Rob was working late and Olivier was out. It was lovely to see it again – ‘sigh’.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I went off to the clinic this afternoon for a mammogram. The bus stops right outside these days and I got off with a lot of little old ladies clutching their past results. Perhaps I look like an old lady now too. Everything is normal, so that’s another set of results under the belt.

As the clinic for veins is on the same ‘campus’ I went and made my appointment there too. I must say that everyone is very polite, cheerful and helpful there. My appointment is for next Monday.

When I got home Olivier had made a pot of coffee and it was delicious. I didn’t know he knew how to make it. He’d been revising for his French Bac exam. The first work he’s done all year, the exam is on Friday. He left the house clutching his science revision book. Perhaps he’s got a new girlfriend he’s trying to impress?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's day

It’s not an easy day for me today as it’s the anniversary of my dad dying seven years ago. Sometimes I think that I miss him more and more as the time goes on. He would have loved my postcards. Whenever I find a viaduct, bridge, train, engine, plane or anything mechanical I think to myself ‘Dad would have liked that one’.

I had a lesson later the same day and it was easier to continue than try to phone all of the parents and explain. We were making ‘Father’s Day Cards’. Fortunately my class was well occupied colouring and carefully copying out the English text I’d written on the board to notice that I was quieter than usual. The worst part of the day was sitting through the school musical which Dom was in. Final rehearsals meant that she didn’t come home beforehand. Then when we got back to the car afterwards we had to tell her.

The last time I saw him I kissed him goodbye and told him to take care of mum.

Today is not only a difficult day for all of us who no longer have dads with us. It’s also a miserable day for the dads who for lots of complicated reasons can’t be with their children. So I’ll say have a Happy Father’s Day to the dads without children from the children without dads.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The continuing fridge saga

Last summer I was on the verge of buying a new fridge when the computer blew up. Because of this Rob bought a laptop as a back up. No fridge

As the bars have all fallen off the door, bottles, cartons etc. are balanced inside. A week or so back a carton of raisin juice spilt so I ranted and raved a bit and got as far as choosing a new fridge. Rob than had a puncture in the tyre of his bike; this is expensive to replace as it’s a special tyre that doesn’t have punctures (!). He rides his bike to work everyday in all weathers so his bike is a priority. No fridge.

Last week a bowl of cold rice fell onto my foot as I was getting the milk out. ( Have you ever had a slipper full of cold rice?) . This evening it was salad dressing all over my toes. At the moment I’m visualising myself a new fridge, one I don’t have to defrost.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gone and never called me Mother...

I was alarmed this morning as there was no activity in the nest. They can’t have learnt to fly without my noticing? After a little research I discovered that birds of this type (known as chats in English) remove their chicks from the nest before they learn to fly. They hide them in the undergrowth. Two reasons: The chicks are getting bigger and there is no room in the nest. As the chicks grow they become more interesting to predators. My babies are out there hidden away in the garden. With any luck the parents will be back to nest in the same spot next year.

At lunch time I turned the radio on as ‘World on the Move’, a program about migration, was finishing, they happened to mention that they have a nest with a webcam in it! The quality isn't very good at the moment.

I was saving this poem for when they flew the nest, but as they’ve gone I’ll post it now:


Come to the edge.
We might fall.

Come to the edge.
It's too high!

And they came
and he pushed

and they flew ...

(Not sure who wrote it really and sometimes the words aren't quite the same)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

My babies

Our babies are growing fast. The parents don’t come back to feed them so quickly now. I managed to count 4 this morning when they all reached up to be fed. I was told to mind my own business as usual. I also saw the cock and hen together, she’s quite a bit lighter in colour than he is. A fly landed near to the nest and the chicks turned to watch it straight away. They didn’t make an effort to catch it though

Rob managed to get a few pictures though the window when it was ajar. He was scolded for being nosy when the parents came back and caught us in the act.

Messy, aren't they?

I'm 'Normal'...

Friday evening was the time of my appointment with the Doctor. He told me that my results were excellent and that I could be considered as normal! Meaning that I’m controlling my diabetes very well without treatment. We talked about my eyebrows dropping out, tiredness and not losing any weight, so he’s put my thyroid hormones up a little and assured me that my eyebrows will come back. Then he took my blood pressure and listened to my heart. Pulse is nice and steady and my blood pressure is slightly down which is good, perhaps if it’s the same next time I’ll ask him about stopping the beta blockers.

Then came the really nice bit; I was wearing my favourite linen trousers they are flared and loose so they rode up a bit and he noticed the thread veins on my ankles and calves. I’ve had these since I was 14 and they got worse after the children. I showed him the worst veins and so I’m going off to see specialist, I might be able to have electrolysis and it might be paid for by the social security. Even if I can’t afford to have anything done I will be pleased to see a specialist. My mum has the same problems so they are hereditary. We both walk a lot.

I had a little chuckle to myself because since the children were small there has been a French series on TV called ‘Under the Sun’. I still watch occasionally for old times sake. Rob’s favourite character is a lady Doctor Olivier, she works at the Atlantic clinic. I will be going to see a lady Doctor Olivier at the Atlantic clinic. I think Rob would like to come too.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Life is becoming extremely difficult on my porch. I have no business there whatsoever. A couple of times the nightingales and I have come pretty close to each other and I can assure you, you would not like the tutting and tail flashing that follows every meeting. Late yesterday afternoon I managed to watch a feeding session; I can see three heads and beaks now. They are growing very quickly. I was discovered and scolded. They now tut if they think I might be near the curtain. I leave them alone of course, I’d hate them to abandon the nest because of me. I only go onto the porch when opening the shutters and very quickly put the washing out the other end to their nest. I can understand that tempers must be a little short, they seem to be coming back to the nest with food every couple of minutes all day long. I watched one of them in the road in front of the house pecking at the grit, they really are busy every second of the day . Free as a bird ? – The golden chains of freedom more like.

I often think of Karma as a negative idea. All of those nasty people who will get their nastiness back later is a satisfying thought sometimes. Karma can be a lovely thing too:

Yesterday evening we were coming home from our evening walk along by the marsh and two swans were swimming right next to the road with 6 7 or 8 signets/chicks/nicks. We couldn’t agree on the number because they were pretty active, in and out of the reeds and behind the trees which are in the water at the moment. We stayed and admired the family for a good 10 minutes. I don’t know why anyone should call a signet an ugly duckling, these were lovely and fluffy and various shades of grey. I told the swans how beautiful their babies were and thanked them for letting us admire them for so long. That was my reward, I think, for all of my ‘troubles’ with the nightingales.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I can't work out how to do it so you'll have to make do with a link and go fom there.

Back in October 1973 I stayed up late to watch 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'on TV. That particular night a group called Greenslade was on. The next day I was on holiday from work so I went into town and bought the album. I still have it today even though I can't play it. Like Peter, I've just discovered Youtube as a way of listening to music and watching performances. I was really pleased to find Chalkhill by Greenslade. Joie de vivre is how I'd describe this one. It takes me back to happy times.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Life on the outside

Me: I really pity the poor girl that ends up marrying you!

Olivier: I’m really kind and considerate in real life.

Time for a walk

As it was Rob’s day off yesterday we managed to get out for a few walks. We always come home on the road which runs along the side of the marsh. In recent years there have been marsh cattle and horses during the summer months, but not this year. They’ve let the marsh stay flooded and all sorts of new birds have made their nests. A week or so ago I saw a crane seeing off a magpie! I love the cranes, they get upset very easily and circle round with their long pink legs trailing behind them making a lot of noise, quite comical. The frogs have been very noisy, there must be thousands of them out there every evening calling to each other.

There is one bird which seems to have disappeared though. The road was used as a diversion earlier in the year because of road works, so some of the drivers raced round to make up for the two minutes they lost not going in a straight line. I saw at least two squashed moorhens which I think must have been the moorhen population. The moorhens were very good at dashing across the road like headless chickens (sorry, but it’s the only way I can think of to describe them). They used to be so proud of their chicks in past years.

We passed some scientists with binoculars , they were observing the birds and making notes. It was nice to see that they were enjoying the wildlife as much as we do

Last summer the farmer planted linseed. This year the wheat fields are lined by red poppies and blue linseed flowers. It really is a lovely site.

Still very few butterflies.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Blood sweat and pee

This morning was the morning I’d put by for my blood tests. I also had to provide 24 hours of pee; 3.5 litres, which is quite heavy to carry around in a bag, you know. As usual, after bood tests, Rob treated me to breakfast on the port. Since smoking has been banned in public spaces it’s very difficult to sit outside a cafĂ© on a warm day without being kippered by all of the smokers. We sat inside.

I’m looking forward to seeing the results. If you read my post about eyebrows you’ll see that someone talked about thyroid problems in the comments. I have been very tired lately, but the worst part is feeling that life is one long set of chores stretching out before me. I had this feeling for a few years before I was diagnosed so I’m hoping to get that sorted.

Olivier and Dom tell me that the non-smoking rule emptied the night clubs at first. Not because people weren’t allowed to smoke. Apparently cigarette smoke does a lot towards masking the smell of sweaty bodies. The last I heard night clubs were going to introduce artificial cigarette smoke so solve the problem.

Feeding time

Our little family is growing. I managed to watch feeding time through the window yesterday and the parents perch above the nest now. I managed to count three little beaks raised upwards for food. This morning Rob, the fresh air fanatic, is at home so the (French) windows are ajar. We are both quietly working and can tell when a parent comes back to the nest. There is a little chorus of cheeping ‘Me! Me! Me!’ or should that be ‘Moi! Moi! moi!’