Sunday, 31 March 2019

Keep Driving Womenfolk!!!

Hello All
Here I am again. Away even longer this time, but have had quite a few plates in the air again.
In February David went for a small routine op as a day case patient. His recovery from this procedure wasn't straight  forward and he finally came home a fortnight later.! After six days at home he was very unwell again so in he went again to the Royal Derby and has just come home after a three week stay this time. So he has been in hospital for five weeks out of the last six!
Thank goodness that my job as a field Social Worker required many hours of driving each day, often up and down the country assessing appropriate residential placements. While I never came to enjoy driving I was a competent  enough driver
I have been driving backward  and forwards to the Royal  Derby plus carrying out all the other tasks that must be done by car e.g fodder rooms, vet visits, chemists, shopping and so on   I can't imagine how difficult this would be without being a driver. 
 Several of my female friends no longer drive, the major  reason seems to be that they find  the roads so busy and dangerous and also that  they are losing their confidence as divers.
I could easily have given up driving years ago as I have never enjoyed driving and my husband is an awful passenger.
 "Gears!", 
"You're coming up to some lights" or
"the cars in front are stopping". he shouts.
"Thank goodness you are with me, I wouldn't have seen that " I retort, or more usually,
"No shit Sherlock!"
Bad passengers, especially spouses, can make you question your driving ability, especially as, without exception amongst my contemporaries, men are considered the better driver in a couple.
It is easy to slip into being driven around by this paragon of good driving and to drive less and less until eventually you lose all confidence in your ability to drive at all or manage the appalling traffic on our roads. Don't do it womenfolk...Keep Driving !!!

Anybody who gardens or is a small holder knows that  this is a busy time of year so I have been attempting to get things started. We made the decision not to have poddy lambs this year, which was a good decision under the circumstances.

The vegetable gardens are just about ready for  planting but one of the chickens (called Mushroom)  keeps getting into the veggie plots from the paddock - just how much free range does this hen need?! Until I find out how she is getting  in I cant plant anything. Today I went around the fencing and filled in the tiniest holes. If I don't find her scratching up my newly dug beds tomorrow I can start planting . Hurrah!
The family have been round today and have weeded, cultivated, stacked firewood and moved heavy stuff around. They have put us back on track for the late spring jobs. Brilliant ! Love 'em !!

I went to Sainsburys yesterday and it was like walking into a funeral parlour...bloody Mother's Day again!! How I dislike this mawkish, commercially driven "event"
                                                                                                                                                                     Have you noticed how wonderful the stone fruit blossom is this year ?

Just read this post through and it seems somewhat disjointed, however I am determined to publish it tonight so here goes!
Love Gillx
                                                                                     


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Joseph Wright and Leonardo da Vinci

Hi There!
A few weeks ago my grandson and I determined to visit Derby Museum and Art gallery. We haven't been for years and while he loves the mummies, fossils etc I wanted to see the restaged Joseph Wright exhibition. In  case you didn't know (and why should you?) Joseph Wright of Derby was born in Derby (no *** Sherlock!) and we Derbians are extremely proud of this.. While he painted many portraits of local dignitaries he is especially famous for his painting of various forms of light. Do look him up folks. Anyway, with just a week to go before J starts a new job that will mean he will have less time to indulge his frail elderly grandmother,(recognise me folks?) this week was our last chance to visit the metropolis. We then hear the fabulous news that a large collection of Leonardo da Vinci drawings from the Royal Collection are being divided up and lent to museums around the country for all to see and Derby was a chosen one, starting last weekend and running until May. How excited was I !? Apparently the number of visitors has been so high that they are having to give people times tickets to view. Derby Museum and Art gallery has free admission, which is commendable. I invested £5 in the donations box, worth considerably more I think. While waiting for our "slot " in the da Vinci exhibition, we had plenty of time to look at all the exhibits and collections.
The icing on the cake came as we left. There was a wall of random types and styles of drawings on a wall and one drawing caught my eye. "That really resonates with me J" I said "who is the artist? ". It was a drawing by Ronald Pope a local sculptor who taught me wood sculpture when I was at Art college in the early sixties! I was SO pleased to have seen this and be taken back to those days. I was able to tell J. that the relief carving in the kitchen and the sculpture in my bedroom were both done under Ron's tutelage. Incidentally, I bought some old wood carving chisels at a car boot sale last year , intending to attack some lovely chunks of wood in our woodpile! maybe this is a sign that I should do just that.
While I'm om the subject of painting, did anyone see the programme by Anthony Gormley about cave painting?. While it was really interesting and beautifully presented I thought that I had seen many of the examples of cave art over the years. However, I have never seen any Australian early art. When he lay on his back in a cave and we saw that fabulous drawing of a kangaroo my breath was taken away. It was the BEST line drawing of a kangaroo I have ever seen   - from any era.
So, I reckon you must be "Arted-Out" by now, but I've got it off my chest and will now get some ice and settle down for the evening with David and a serious scotch.
love Gillx
                                                                                                   

Thursday, 31 January 2019

A Happy New Year to you All.
I do hope it will be peaceful and productive.

So David is still home and getting better all the time. I am sure hospital was making him worse!!
There he is at the far end of the table on Christmas day (large white napkin!) Just 16 this year for lunch and a few more in the evening

It was his 74th Birthday last week. A day we never thought he would see towards the end of last year, but he goes from strength to strength so  On On ....

Starting to clear the gardens for the start of the season. I have neglected them somewhat but I am sure that I will catch up. Early tomatoes and main crop onion seed to go in propagators next week. We still have some veggies in the garden. Russian, Curly and black kale, Savoy cabbage and brussels. There are still apples, potatoes and onions and dried beans in store and lots of stuff in the freezer. So we won't starve, tho' we would get a little bored if we couldn't get to the shops!
I spent very little time on the bees last year, taking no honey off them and not really keeping an eye on them . I often hear people saying that they don't want bees for honey and just want them around, not "interfering " with them just letting them be(!) It actually doesn't work that way. Bees need attention and careful handling when necessary. They are subject to diseases and pests just like any other living creature and "letting them be" can amount to neglect. That said that is more or less what I did last year. Last time the temperature rose into double figures the bees came out for a cleansing flight and I noticed that two showed no movement at all, so it looks like we have lost at least two to the winter. As soon as the weather warms up I will have a peek and I have promised them all that I will look after them better this year! Obviously we have no honey for sale, which has been a blow as the honey sales help us with the winter food for the chickens and we have let down people who rely on us for honey for medical reasons.. I have bees wax saved up from previous years and have been making bee wax wraps in my efforts to be plastic free. These have worked surprisingly well, so I will make more for myself and then some for presents.
 No snow here at the mo tho' it is VERY cold and foggy.

 Our youngest daughter is now working in Jersey so we have her old dog all the time now. he is 16 years old next month, a rescue dog who cannot be left alone as he becomes anxious and literally eats his legs!
He has arthritis in his feet, is virtually deaf and has cataracts in both eyes. This is not an attractive picture I am painting but he really is a lovely, kind, affectionate boy.
It was very cold and foggy this morning and I was worried about him when I took him for his constitutional around the paddock so....

Doggy Fashion God eh?!
All for now, I am looking forward to this year and have lots of plans and things I want to do. Nothing bucket list type you understand. I have no desire to swim with dolphins (poor things - who asked them?!)  or go to Disneyland (ugh!) but will be working through my fabric stash, making more time to socialise with friends instead of working all the time and decorating some of the tatty rooms for starters.
Enough for now.
 Now I am back on track I shall start to read the blogs I follow.
Thank you all for your best wishes for David.
Gillx

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Home for Christmas

Hurrah!
David has escaped from hospital tonight. We don't know how long he will be home but we are happy that he will sit in his usual place at the table on Christmas day.
I wish you, all my bloggy friends, a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year and thank you for sticking with me despite my infrequent post and for your good wishes for David.
Gillx

Friday, 14 December 2018

Further update (moan)

Hello dear bloggy friends
I seem to do little but quick catch ups with you at present.
I really am spending my time toing and froing from the Royal Derby with David. He was in hospital last time I wrote, came out a few days later only to be blue-lighted back in the following week with a pretty dramatic bleed, in for 10 days home for 6 and then last sunday I found him lying on the ground on his way to the outside loo (goodness knows how long he had been there, I had been blithely mucking out hens and picking spinach) So another 999 call and now he looks to be in some time as they believe he has endocarditis. The poor bloke is pretty fed up with himself. The girls and I are trying to ensure that he doesn't just have to listen to just .us and have set up a sort of rota that our friends and relatives can put themselves in a slot to visit him, to ring the changes. He is to have some procedure around his heart next wednesday, when they will know if he is responding to the antibiotics that he is being fed IV.  From this he will know if he can come home for Christmas day with the family and if he is hospital for 6 weeks or allowed home with district nurse support.
I have been doing other things honest! But Christmas is coming together pretty slowly. My Christmas cards haven't  been written (only just bought!) so I guess I have missed the overseas ones!. I have made a note of all the interesting things I HAVE been doing in a draft post and will regale you with them at a later date.
Now that I am at my computer I will finish the Civic Society's Winter newsletter as it has to be printed and posted by Monday
So again in haste. Thank you for bearing with me
Love
Gillx

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Hello

Hello All
Just a few words to say that I am still here but not too active blogwise.
Thank you for the comments on my last post. Sorry I have not replied...remiss of me I know
Spending much of my time toing and froing with David to the Royal Derby as they struggle to raise his hb and decrease the odema while managing his heart failure. He has had many procedures, tests consultancies, transfusions, drugs, minor ops etc. He is in hospital again at the mo. Thank goodness for the dear old NHS.Without it our house would be remortgaged by now!!!
Still pounds and pounds of tomatoes to pick and process (in November for goodness sake! ) and many buckets of apples on the trees still to be picked (should finish the apple picking next week)
Just finished several Civic Society exhibitions and functions with just our Remebrance Evening to go next week and I can concentrate on the sewing pile.
All for now
Sorry this is such a poor post
Gillx
Our new cat Baloo has been busy this week.... three mice, two moles and a weasle!!

Friday, 21 September 2018

Beans and David's health (not connected!)


Hello All
Pretty busy here at the moment. It is that time of year and it seems to be going on longer this year with still much to harvest and process from the garden. Each year I try to grow different varieties  along with my old favourites. This year I grew four types of french bean.  Tendergreen, which is a bush variety, Blue Lake a climber which I have grown for at least ten years, Cobra a climber and Yard Long just for laughs! I have also grown my usual Borlotti which can be used as a french bean if you don't let it grow as a dried speckled bean for winter.
I took these pics a few weeks ago when they were at their best.
Here is Cobra which has been fantastic, a very heavy cropper with lovely long straight beans

This is Tendergreen, which even with some support has fallen about all over the place, not at all like Castandel which I grew last year and will return to.
Here is Borlotti at its green bean stage, maturing very late this year and for some reason making an awful lot of leaf.
And for your amusement Yard Long
For some reason I don't have a pic of the Blue Lake which has not done too well this year.
I will definitely grow Cobra again and have already saved some seed.
The Leon Millet grapes have done exceptionally well, here is one of the many branches. They are now picked, some have gone into wine, some for juice and the rest are in the freezer.

The peaches actually ripened and I am SO pleased with them. The flavour was exceptional, much better than those I have bought from the shop. There were forty in all, here are what was left after we made ourselves ill eating them! The pears are the first I have harvested here , so all good there too. The mushrooms are the only two that we found in the paddock this year... Oh well you can't win them all!
Just a heads-up on why I am even tardier with my postings. David is having to go to The Royal Derby everyday (inc weekends) to have intravenous diuretic to try to remove the fluid that he is retaining that not only gathers in his legs but around his vital organs including his heart. As he is in heart failure the fluid is putting an extra strain on him. Unfortunately his kidneys are also impaired and as the diuretic puts a strain on his kidneys they are having a bit of a juggling match.. The heart and renal Consultants will be meeting in the car park with stethoscopes at dawn soon !!! David's heart was damaged by radio therapy that he received some years ago when he had a 5 year fisticuffs with Hodgkins ( put simply, cancer of the lymphatic system) He had a new valve fitted nearly ten years ago, but his heart function has gradually declined. As his blood pressure is being kept VERY low the hospital does not want him to drive home after treatment so I have been driving him there, dropping him off and collecting him two to three hours later. During this time he is only allowed 1500mls of fluid a day. He is HATING this as he loves his tea and a couple of nights a week he joins friends for  real ale! When home I have been holding the fort and looking after the shared lives guys, while processing the food mountain. If the traffic is light (fat chance on the A38!) it takes me 20 mins each way. I am told this could go on 7 days a week for several weeks yet!
I am looking forward to to tomorrow. When we get back from the hospital YD and EGD and I are going to a newly opened store in Chapel Street Belper called Sue's Sustainables. She will be selling dry goods that you take your own containers for and lots of plastic free stuff.
In the Evening we are going to a 60th birthday party. They are serious Rock and Rollers and I am attempting to finish a full skirted frock. If I can get to the shops to buy the zip this afternoon I might just get it done.
Sorry about any typos and if this is disjointed as I don't have time to edit , but wanted to keep in touch.
Gillx