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020Fero cactus (640x427)

Our ‘Fish-hook’ Fero cactus developed flower buds for the first time ever. It was so late in the season that the flowers never opened but we were pleased nevertheless.

I thought I would tell you a little of what has been going on with us.

001Smoothie and soup maker (640x480)

This smoothie and soup maker is a new acquisition of my husband’s. He has been enjoying experimenting with different ingredients and then sampling the results.

My husband has an appointment with his specialist next Friday when we hope he will find out a little more about his condition.  (He has a tumour on his pituitary gland which is probably benign).

‘The pituitary gland is a small ductless gland at the base of the brain which secretes hormones essential for growth and other bodily functions.’  The Concise Oxford Dictionary

He had a blood test yesterday in preparation for this appointment.  My sister (who knows about these things as she works in the medical profession) tells us that to remove the tumour the surgeon will go up R’s nose as the gland is just behind where the eyebrows meet.  It is often done during day surgery with no need to stay in hospital.

005Pyracantha at side of house (640x480)

I haven’t had much time for gardening lately but this pyracantha at the side of the house had grown so much since its last trim in May that I had to find the time to deal with it.

010Pyracantha (640x427)

This is the result of two days of work with loppers and a step-ladder. I will have to get rid of the honeysuckle growing through the right-hand plant as it is pulling the whole thing away from the wall and I am frightened that high winds or heavy snow will cause the plant to lean too far forward and break.

Alice is still applying for jobs but with no luck so far.  She has a part-time job at the university library filling shelves which doesn’t give her very much money and she is finding it very boring.  She thinks she will finish writing her PhD in a couple of weeks time which will be wonderful as she has been at it for nearly four years.  She may be able to spend more time looking for work when she doesn’t have to write so much.  The drama group she belongs to has just performed ‘Antigone’ by Sophocles and Alice was in charge of the curtains and also performed other stage managerial duties.  I didn’t go to see the play as I have too many calls on my time at home at the present.  The next play is an adaptation of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen and Alice has been cast as Emma.  I would love to be able to go to see her in that but it may not be possible.

001Sugar beet (640x480)

Most of the sugar beet has been harvested from the fields near us. This is very early in the season as usually, it is done during the wet and cold of late autumn and early winter and the lanes are then a sea of mud. So far we have had a fairly clean harvest.

My younger daughter E, has had a hard time adapting to college life.  The first few weeks went very well but she suddenly had a return of her anxiety which really shocked her as she thought that she was in control of it.  She has missed quite a few classes in all of the subjects she is taking as the panic attacks affected everything she did.  There were days when she thought that she would be able to get into college and we would drive there only to find she was unable to get out of the car.  The anxiety paralyses her and she cannot think logically.  We would drive away and try again later.  Some days we would make the journey three times.  However, the staff at the college have been absolutely marvellous and have gone out of their way to help and encourage her.  Last week was half-term and she was able to do a little catch-up work but spent most of the time feeling very depressed and frightened.  This week however, she has suddenly found her feet again and has been in every day and is doing very well.  We are praying, keeping our fingers crossed and touching wood.  We have spoken to our GP who has enabled E and me to attend a four session course which will be every Monday evening for the next month on Stress Management which may give us a few helpful tips and stratagems.  The course covers all sorts of stress, anxiety and depression so there will be some parts that will be of only partial relevance to E’s situation.  However, with all the financial cuts to mental health we are lucky to get this help so we will take advantage of it.  I am not sure when we will be able to cook and eat our evening meal as the course is between 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm and it will take about three-quarters of an hour to get there and the same to get home again.  When R is at home he says that he will be able to help out.

001Spraying (640x427)

This pre-germination spray of the field behind our house was performed on 4th October

My mother recovered slowly from her stomach upset and is now back to normal.  I took her to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on Tuesday for her regular eye check-up and she is fine and doesn’t need another injection yet.

002Spraying (640x427)

You can see the horrible-looking green spray which smells very nasty

My mother-in-law collapsed about six weeks ago and lay on her bedroom floor for some time before she was discovered.  She has a panic alarm which she wears around her neck but for some reason she didn’t press it.  For some time she has had great difficulty in walking but after a rather strenuous visit to the hospital that day she found she couldn’t stand at all and fell down.  She was taken to hospital the following day and it was discovered she had also had a mild heart attack.  She is still in hospital as more and more problems with her health have been discovered.  My husband has visited Manchester a couple of times for a few days to see her and help my brother-in-law out.  It may be that R’s Mum won’t be able to go back home.  She is still in the critical ward in the hospital until her health can be stabilised.  She will then go into respite care for a month and will be assessed to see whether she could cope in her home or not.  If she does go home she will have to have much more help than she had before.  If it is found that she isn’t able to go home she will have to go into a nursing home and her house will have to be sold to pay for that.  This is a very worrying time for R and his brother.  Mum-in-law has her 89th birthday on Sunday.

006Germinated crop (640x427)

This is the same field on the 15th October

005Germinated crop (640x427)

The crop germinated quite quickly because of the warm and damp weather we had

At the same time as my poor mother-in-law was first in hospital my brother found that his 33-year marriage was at an end.  He is absolutely shocked and very unhappy that all the effort he put into caring for his wife and their two children (who are now grown up) and making a nice home was all to no avail.  His wife no longer wishes to be married to him as she has found someone else.  They are now having to sell their house and everything they have has to be split between them – pensions, cars, furniture – everything.  It is all proving to be too much for my brother to cope with.  He has been to stay with me a couple of times so that he can see our mother and have a little comfort too.  I have spoken to him tonight and he tells me that he has been signed off work for two weeks with depression and has been given anti-depressants by his doctor.  He is looking for another job away from where he lives where he may be able to get a cheaper house or flat to live in.  Both my sister and I have been through a divorce because our husbands no longer wanted to be with us so we know what he is going through.  I am now happily married but my sister has not been able to find anyone else.

020Pheasants on field (640x427)

This is the field on the 31st October with a few pheasants.

So you see, life has not been a bed of roses for us for a while now.  We hope that nothing else happens to add to our load of worries.