It is over a month since I last wrote a diary post. We haven’t done very much in that time but the days are getting longer and there are signs of spring in the garden and hedgerows.
The central elements on our old toaster had stopped working so we have bought ourselves a new toaster and this new one manages to toast both sides of a slice of bread at the same time! It has a ‘bagel button’ (though as I have never eaten a bagel I think I would prefer to call it a ‘teacake button’) which toasts one side and warms the other. We can now re-live the old toaster experience, except in reverse.
Snowdrops in bud
Another excitement has been the emptying and repair of the septic tank. Only those of you who do not have mains sewage can truly relate to this. The tank was well overdue for emptying and we knew it needed repairing a year ago but we have been let down by our usual contractor and have had to find someone new. The new contractor arrived and did what he had to do and was efficient and professional. An added bonus, as far as we were concerned, was the wind direction on the day.
Hazel catkins in the hedge
We have decided to have all our internal doors replaced and a carpenter has visited and priced up the job for us. He will be doing the work over three days next week. Richard will then have to spend quite a lot of time painting the doors, as well as all the skirting boards and the banisters. We hope to redecorate the hall, stairs and landing and get a new carpet some time in the next few months.
I’m not sure how many hazel nuts we will have on this tree this year. The female flowers have appeared before the male catkins have matured.
At the very end of January we had a morning prayer service at our church of St Michael and St Felix at Rumburgh. The day before the service Richard and I called in at the church to make sure everything was tidy and to set the heating to come on well before the service. It was a cold day but inside the church was even colder than out in the open!
I found the first rather bedraggled primroses of the year in a sheltered spot in the churchyard.
I also found my first snowdrops of the year
This gravestone has a skull engraved on it. Richard was asked to see if it was still in the graveyard recently as there had been a report that it might have gone missing.
The west door, which isn’t used anymore.
The west window
Work will start on March the 20th on the new tower screen in the church. We have been saving for years and years to get the work done and at last it is about to happen. Once the screen is in place the tower will be shut off from the body of the church and we hope it might be less draughty and warmer.
Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum) growing in the mortar on the wall of the church
Elinor has now left the City College but we hope this is only a temporary thing. As I mentioned in my last diary post she wants to enrol on a one year Art and Design course for older students and has therefore filled out the application form. We have been notified that the college has received the form and I hope we will hear that Elinor has an interview soon. At the interview she will be expected to hand in a review of an exhibition she has been to see recently and with that in mind, we went to the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich and viewed an exhibition of 20th century Japanese photography. Photography was not allowed in the exhibition hall but there is a large collection of world art on display in the main gallery, most of the exhibits donated by Lord and Lady Sainsbury.
Below are my favourites from the main gallery.
Edgar Degas – Little Dancer Aged Fourteen
Edgar Degas – Little Dancer Aged Fourteen
A beautiful Benin bronze – the Head of an Oba; early 16th century
Henry Moore – Mother and Child
Whistling bottles from Equador – one in the shape of an owl and the other is a bird sitting on eggs or pods. Both 1000 – 100 BC
Another couple of exhibits from Equador
Sketch for a Portrait of Lisa by Francis Bacon
Standing Jizo Bosatsu – Japan (1185-1333)
The top exhibit with the ram’s head is a backstrap from a sword or dagger hilt – India late 17th century The lower exhibit is an archer’s thumb-ring in the form of a bird – India 17th – 18th century
Left rear – Image of the Goddess Kaumari, India 17th century. Right rear – Shiva as Chandrashekharamurti, South India c. AD 1100. Front centre – Figure of Chamunda Devi, Nepal/Tibet 17th/18th century
Walking Hippopotamus – Egypt c. 1880 BC
The Sainsbury Centre. One of the first major buildings designed by Sir Norman Foster, it was completed in 1978.
It is a steel clad building with one face almost entirely glazed.
By the late 80’s the collection had grown so much that Foster was asked to design an extension. He decided to build underground and this is one of the entrances to it.
The new basement has a curved glass frontage that emerges from the slope underneath the original building overlooking the man-made lake. This new wing can only be seen from the lake but as it was very muddy there and beginning to go dark on a very gloomy day, I was unable to photograph it.
The University of East Anglia’s grounds looking towards the lake
Part of the university. There are many items of sculpture to be seen here.
Another Henry Moore sculpture
The University has an excellent creative writing department and many well known writers have studied here. Tracy Chevalier; Kazuo Ishiguro; Ian McEwan; Rose Tremain – to name but a few.
This year has been….unsatisfactory. Nothing terrible has happened. We are in fairly good health, we are comfortable and very fortunate. But….almost everything we have tried to do this year has not been straightforward. There have been delays, cancellations and anxieties. I think the last update I wrote on our affairs (this is after all a diary blog) – apart from our holidays, a couple of outings and a few posts of things I’ve seen – was in the spring. I seem to have had less time than ever before for getting things done.
We visited Lowestoft on Tuesday this week so that Elinor could attend a podiatry appointment. The weather was cloudy and damp but fairly warm for the time of year. This is Lowestoft South Beach
Richard’s first year of retirement was meant to be a year in which we improved our lot. Retirement after over 40 years of continuous employment was always going to be a bit of a challenge but he decided he was going to see how the first six months went before making any decisions about what he would do with his time. He has found that he doesn’t miss the work at all though he does miss the social aspect of going out to work. Living in the country, some miles from the nearest town means that we don’t see people very often and we have to work hard to get any kind of social life – or go without. He has come to no decision as to whether he takes up a hobby, does voluntary work or any other activity; he has been too busy with the house and driving Elinor about. He has been a church warden for many years and is a member of our church’s PCC (Parochial Church Council). He has recently joined our local Parish Council too so he has employment enough!
Gulls on the breakwater
His retirement began with the death and funeral of his mother, which was not a good start. He has missed her very much; her support of him, her good sense, her understanding. Our holiday in the Peak District this year was taken at the anniversary of her passing and those of you who have kindly followed this blog for over a year will remember that we heard of her death last year as we arrived in the Peaks all prepared to go and visit her.
Looking towards Lowestoft docks
Richard has enjoyed working in our large garden and making a few improvements to it and to our house. We started the year by getting all our windows and doors replaced. We have a new summerhouse and a new potting shed. Our next project was to gut the family bathroom upstairs and the downstairs shower room and get new suites for both rooms and then redecorate. We asked around for suitable plumbers and a couple were recommended. We selected one and he came to see us and plans were made. It was decided that we would also have a water-softener fitted which was done as soon as the downstairs shower room was finished. And this is where things really went wrong. We hadn’t been happy with the speed at which the work was done. Days went by when no-one turned up. There were delays and more delays. We said that the upstairs bathroom would have to wait until we returned from Germany as we didn’t want anything left half done while we were away. The plumber failed to return. He has made no contact with us and has not responded to any of our messages. We had already paid him, at his request, for the work done to the shower room and for the water softener (we ought to have smelt a rat here!) but there are still a few things that need to be finished off properly in the shower room, ‘snagging’ it is called, which now will never be done except by us, in our non-professional way. We have a garage full of bathroom fittings and tiles and also some of the plumber’s and his men’s tools and equipment which they haven’t collected. We must find ourselves another plumber but we cannot face the upheaval until some time in the new year. I hope the work is done at a time when it isn’t too cold!
Off-season seaside resorts are a little sad and quiet
We have just had our gas boiler replaced. We use propane gas as we aren’t on mains gas here in the country. It is very expensive but the alternatives, oil or electricity, are not ideal either, both being very expensive too and as we have a gas fire and a gas hob, a gas boiler is the best option for us. We found a gas fitter who was able to get the work done during the second half of October. It was to take three days. In the end it took quite a bit longer as inevitably, problems were found. The fitter wanted it all done by the end of October as he was going to Las Vegas to celebrate his son’s 21st birthday and he did manage to get his part of the work done by then. He arranged for an electrician to come and wire the boiler up but the electrician couldn’t come immediately and when he eventually came he had difficulty with the system. He got it done, so he thought, and we thanked him and sent him on his way but when the boiler switched on the water heated but the pump wouldn’t work. We called the electrician back and he tried again. It still didn’t work. We contacted the fitter when he returned from Las Vegas and he eventually got it going. It took two and a half weeks to fit the boiler and the weather had been quite chilly! Fortunately we have an electric immersion heater which meant we still had hot water, a gas fire in the living room and a portable gas fire which we put in the hall at the foot of the stairs. Elinor got the electric fan heater in her room and the fitter left us another electric fan heater in case of emergency. We wore lots of layers!
At the same time as the gas fitter started work Richard began experiencing severe pain in his leg and back. He saw the doctor who gave him lots of tablets and lots of advice. He was in agony but manfully struggled on until he found that his leg was becoming numb and it was unable to take any of his weight. He fell over a couple of times and hurt himself. We phoned 111 and the medics there passed Richard on to the out-of-hours doctor. I took Richard to Beccles hospital to see the doctor that evening. Richard has a partially slipped disc in his back and a trapped sciatic nerve – not full sciatica as he could still feel his foot! He has still managed to fall over a few times since then – falling down the stairs while I was out with my mother for the day; falling over in the garden while I was out again – but at last the feeling is beginning to return to his leg and the pain has subsided. The hope is he will gradually be able to do more things and the feeling will come back completely. He has been told it will take four to six weeks. At first, he could hardly walk even with a stick and was unable to drive at all. He can now drive very short distances but the damage is in the leg he uses for the clutch pedal and he doesn’t trust himself to be able to do an emergency stop, to drive in heavy traffic, to drive far. I am doing all the driving at present.
The sea front with Richard and his walking stick
Elinor’s college course since September this year only asks for her to be at college for two and a half days a week. Richard is at home most of the time now he is retired. I must admit I miss my alone time and my routines have had to be changed to accommodate these other domestic changes. One good thing is that Richard and I now (usually) share the duty of driving Elinor to college and I found a little more time to work in the garden this summer! I still visit my mother a lot and take her shopping and to her many hospital, doctor’s and optician’s appointments. She is gradually losing her sight and as each month passes I notice she has less energy and is less interested in doing things. I take her to church once a fortnight; the intervening week I go with Richard to our church. I miss going to church in my benefice every week; I miss the people, the churches, the services and the preaching. But, my mother needs me and I can’t let her down. I like my mother’s church and I am so pleased to be able to help her do what she needs and loves to do. There used to be members of her church who collected her and brought her home but not any more. The people who used to do it have either died or moved away and as her church is some miles from where she lives there is no-one now who could easily collect her.
The sandy beach
Elinor did really well at the end of the course she took last academic year. She re-took her GCSE Maths and managed to get a ‘C’ grade which is what she was hoping for. She never has to go to a Maths class ever again! She also got a distinction in her Art and Design course and everyone was very pleased with her. She applied for and got a place on the two year Graphic Art course she had wanted to go on the year before. Despite this achievement she is unhappy that yet again she is the oldest one on her course and cannot find anyone interested in being friends with her. She is lonely. She has been extremely anxious and has struggled to attend college during the past few weeks and has found that working at home has been difficult too. She is frightened of making mistakes and that her work might not be of high enough quality. So she prevaricates and then avoids doing anything and then panics when she realises she is behindhand. It is impossible to convince a chronically anxious person that their fears are unfounded so life at home has been distressing for us all. There is no escape from the constant pressure of it. It is our elephant in the room; except it isn’t an elephant as they are too nice. It is a troll, a gremlin, a monster, a sickness that is almost palpable and it is ever-present.
A Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) eating the tiny crabapples on our species crabapple tree. The Fieldfares have just arrived for the winter from where they spend the summer in Scandinavia
There is however, a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We have tried over the years, many different ways to deal with Elinor’s mental health issue. In our ignorance at first, we attempted the stern attitude. Well, that failed spectacularly. We then saw many different therapists who tried countless different methods of finding out why Elinor is as she is and then attempting to help her by getting her to talk about things, them talking to her about things, giving her Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and oh, all sorts of therapies. Last winter we even resorted to drugs at the insistence of her GP (family doctor). The side effects were awful and it took until the summer for her to stop getting flashbacks and nightmares.
The Fieldfare again. They are beautiful and fairly shy birds.
A couple of months ago my hairdresser told me that she was seeing an acupuncturist because of depression and anxiety. The affect on her health and happiness had been astounding and she was feeling better than she had for years. She had had regular appointments at first but at the time of talking to me about it she was only going back now and again for ‘top-ups’. This got me wondering if it would be something that Elinor could try. I carefully spoke to Elinor about it but she refused to contemplate the thought of someone sticking needles in her. I tried again two weeks ago when Elinor was tearful and desperate for some kind of relief. She said she might be willing to think about it. She thought, and ten days ago she thought we might do some research into it. She then agreed that it was something she would be willing to try… but those needles..! On Thursday last week while Elinor was in college for her half day I went to see my hairdresser to ask for the name of her acupuncturist. By a happy chance this lady was having her hair done at that moment and agreed to talk to me. I have made an appointment for Elinor to see her next week. We will see what happens.
A small Common toad (Bufo bufo) hitching a ride in the wheelbarrow
Alice, my elder daughter who lives in Sheffield, has directed her first play. It was a great success and Alice enjoyed the experience but found it exhausting. We thought she would need a rest from her drama group for a while but she tells us she ‘accidentally’ auditioned for their next play and got cast! Can anyone explain how one can accidentally audition for a play?
A Scabious flower from the garden photographed in October
She had become unhappy living in the house she shared with a few other young people – they were fine but the landlady was awful – so she gave a month’s notice and found another house with a room to let and moved in at the beginning of this month. She has bi-polar disorder and if she gets over-tired or anxious her health deteriorates. The play and then moving house caused her to be very tired and quite anxious so she did feel under-the-weather for a while. She applied for another six-month temporary job at a higher grade in the university library department where she works, got an interview last week and has been successful! She hopes to start the job at the beginning of next month. Yet again it is only a part-time job and is only for six months but the money is better than what she gets at present and one must never look a gift-horse in the mouth – as they say.
Dog-rose hips (Rosa canina)
There we are. A resumé of most of the events of the past year with many gripes and groans included. What I intend doing is to post a few photographic highlights of the past six months (yes, there were a few highlights!) during the next few weeks. I hope to intersperse these with some current affairs on the approach to Christmas. Whether I manage any of it, who can tell!
Hawthorn berries (Crataegus monogyna)
I leave you with my music selection which is the Four Sea Interludes from Britten’s opera ‘Peter Grimes’. Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft and lived for many years a few miles further south along the coast at Aldeburgh. I love the music from Peter Grimes and these interludes give a taster of the opera as a whole but without the singing! The four interludes are entitled ‘Dawn’, ‘Sunday Morning’, ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Storm’ and the playing time is about 17 minutes.
When we moved to Somerset for 18 months twelve years ago I was very homesick and I listened to this music a lot while we were there to remind me of the coast I love. Looking through the comments on the different recordings on Youtube I find I am not the only person to find this music, especially ‘Dawn’, so evocative of the Suffolk coast and the North Sea.
As the title of this post states, this is about nothing in particular. Since Christmas we, as a family, have been nowhere and have done nothing except the usual chores of housework and shopping and driving – and in Elinor’s case, going to college. Richard has just returned from three nights away in Manchester staying with his brother and enjoyed a visit to a mining museum and a trip to Bury Market and the East Lancashire Railway. Elinor and I stayed at home.
A Hellebore flower
We have found the changeable weather a little trying but fortunately for us we haven’t had to deal with flooding, just lots of deep puddles and mud, mud and yet more mud! My car was half brown and half blue and the mud had oozed into the car round the doors, so just before he went away Richard hosed it down for me and restored it to its original blue-all-over colour.
The next two weeks will be very busy as we are beginning on our house renovations. The new garage doors were fitted today and most of the windows and doors in the house will be replaced next week. I am not looking forward to the disruption at all but when it is done the house will be warmer and more secure.
Snowdrop flower. Please excuse the horrible red finger!
One of my aunts died last Sunday 24th January and I will be travelling to Kent with my brother tomorrow for her funeral. Richard will be staying at home and will be driving Elinor to and from college. It will be good to see my cousins again despite the sad occasion. My aunt was my late father’s older sister and she was the last of Dad’s siblings. I have six first cousins on Dad’s side of the family and I am hoping to see most of them tomorrow. Andrew (my brother) and I will be meeting up with Francesca (my sister) when we get to the church.
I am also going to visit Alice in Sheffield on the 12th of February and I will be watching her perform in another play, ‘And Then There Were None’ – an adaptation of the book by Agatha Christie.
Here is the trailer they have made for the play. I think you will be amused!
All my Christmas Cacti are re-flowering. Perhaps these are now Candlemas Cacti?
It is Candlemas today. We had a Eucharist service at Rumburgh on Sunday and celebrated the festival early. At Candlemas we remember three things; the presentation of the child Jesus, Jesus’ first entry into the temple and the Virgin Mary’s purification. Traditionally, candles are also blessed at Candlemas and Richard our priest gave us two new altar candles.
My choice of music today is Mozart’s Serenade for 13 Winds in B-flat major. My first introduction to this piece was when I was nearly 14 years of age and I was on a music course in the Austrian Tirol. I was lucky enough to be given the first (lead) clarinet part and I loved the whole experience – the great responsibility, the team-work, the music itself. I will never forget that feeling of euphoria as we played through the whole piece together! As soon as I hear the opening bars of music I am transported back in time to Austria, I am 13 years old and full of hope and excitement. This was my first ever trip abroad and I and a friend travelled there with our clarinet teacher and Kerry Camden the bassoonist who drove us from London all the way to the Tirol with a stop overnight in the Ardennes. I had a one-year passport and my parents had given me £15 spending money!
December was very busy with few opportunities for taking photographs and fewer for taking walks!
All the things we hoped to do before Christmas that I mentioned in my Advent post were done, with the exception of taking my mother Christmas shopping. She gave me a few shopping lists of things I could more easily get for her and we did a big shop for her at the supermarket on the day before Christmas Eve. She decided to give everyone some money for Christmas instead of buying gifts and we were all very content with that.
I did spend a lot of time shopping in December but mainly for food items and ingredients for Mum and me. Most of the presents were ordered on-line – this is the easiest option for us as we live some miles from the nearest shops.
I spent a whole morning away from home at the doctor’s surgery followed by an appointment with the optician. Elinor had a doctor’s appointment to discuss a couple of problems she has and then I went for my regular blood test. At the optician’s, Elinor was told that she needed yet more new glasses and we made an appointment to return the following week to collect the new prescription.
Elinor’s last couple of weeks at college went well. We attended the parent’s evening, viewed her work and listened to the wonderful things her tutors had to say about her. They predict very good marks for her at the end of the year. We went to see her artwork on display in a gallery in Norwich.
Elinor’s Red-Riding-Hood design in her ‘altered book’ is on the left on the shelf behind the chair.
The gas boiler was serviced and we discussed having a new boiler installed in the summer. A representative from the firm that will be replacing our garage doors visited us to talk about the work to be done and we were told the fitters will be installing the doors in a couple of weeks time. We had to have a water pipe moved to make way for the new garage doors.
The flush on our downstairs toilet kept going wrong and has now given up for good. The whole contents of the cistern will need replacing I think. We will have to call the plumber back yet again.
I got a puncture in one of my car tyres but fortunately it was repairable.
We attended the December Coffee Morning at the Rector’s house and also helped host two Carol Services at our church in Rumburgh.
I baked more than six dozen mince pies.
I wasn’t able to attend church on the 3rd Sunday in Advent as we were returning from our trip to Manchester that day. We had a lovely meal with members of Richard’s family in Manchester and exchanged presents with them. Our hotel was comfortable and for the first time ever on a Manchester visit, I managed to sleep well and for most of the night too!
We had a delicious lunch out with my brother Andrew and we exchanged Christmas presents with him as well. He was expecting both his children to stay with him for Christmas.
A photo I filched from Facebook. This is my brother Andrew and my niece, Natalie
He gave us his presents for my sister and her children as we were to visit her in Kent the following day. Our car was full of gifts on our 150 mile journey south to Francesca’s house and we brought a different lot home with us again that evening. Francesca made us very welcome on one of her very few days off work this Christmas. She had already worked 80 hours that week! Over-worked, under-paid and under-appreciated she spends her life as a paramedic practitioner saving the lives of others and looking after the welfare of her staff and colleagues. I am so proud of her.
Here she is (on the left) at work yesterday. I appropriated this photo from Facebook too.
We wrapped countless presents and sent off a number of parcels to people we couldn’t manage to visit. Many, many cards were written and posted or delivered by hand. A number of letters and e-mails were written to friends and relatives and some phone calls were made and received. I also managed to keep up with all the housework and the washing and ironing.
We attended the local theatre at The Cut to see Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas concert on the evening of the day we had lunch with my brother. We enjoyed the concert very much. Here is one of the pieces of music we listened to.
The house was decorated a couple of days before Christmas and Richard put some lights up outside the house.
Alice was coming home on Christmas Eve but as she was working that day her train wasn’t due in to Diss station until well after 9.00 pm. Unfortunately the train was delayed because of signalling faults before it got to Sheffield and was 45 minutes late. This meant that Alice was unable to catch her connections and there were worries that she might not be able to get home at all that night. Fortunately, the train she was on eventually arrived very late at Norwich so that is where Richard went to collect her. After I had given her a cup of tea and something to eat she had some present-wrapping to do and unpacking so she didn’t join us at Midnight Mass at St Margaret South Elmham church.
Mum joined us for Christmas lunch the following day and brought the Christmas Pudding with her. We went to her house on Boxing day for a buffet evening meal.
Richard and I went to church on Sunday morning at St Peter’s church and celebrated the Feast Day of St John.
The following day we were all going to go out for a walk together but I spent the day in bed with a migraine instead. Richard, Alice and Elinor went to Walberswick Woods.
Alice and Elinor in Walberswick Woods
On Wednesday, my mother had a 9.40 am appointment to attend at the Eye Clinic at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital so I picked her up at 8.15 am and drove to Norwich. The appointment went well and she only had to wait twenty minutes after her appointed time before being seen! We did some shopping for her on the way home and after taking her to her house and having some coffee I was back at home by 1.30 pm.
All too soon, it was New Year’s Eve and Alice had to take the train back to Sheffield.
Alice, Richard and Elinor on Diss station.
I managed to take a couple of photos of the flowerbeds at the station to take my mind off my sadness at saying goodbye to Alice.
My point-and-shoot camera stopped working and we didn’t think there was much point in taking it to be repaired. A replacement probably costs what the repair would have cost – if it could have been repaired – so we ordered a replacement which arrived yesterday. Richard kindly said I could borrow his small camera while we waited for the replacement, but I never used it. There haven’t been many opportunities for photography during the past week and the camera only took a couple of days to arrive.
Acer leaves at the beginning of November
After a chilly week or so in October, the weather this month has been fairly warm for the time of year. We have also had a fair amount of rain. I have managed to do a little garden-tidying, though as usual, not as much as I need to do or as I would have liked! There may be a few more days this year when I can finish off the work so I am not too worried. We had a couple of storms with high winds last week which ripped most of the leaves from the trees and Saturday was cold with wintry showers.
Mahonia this November
We had a gardener/landscaper and his assistant come to do a few jobs that Richard needed help with. Almost all our hedges have been cut and tidied by them and the front ditch has been strimmed. The hedges between us and our neighbours on either side of us have been left for now and will be done at a later date. Both of those hedges (like the front one) are on the far side of deep ditches which are fast filling with very cold water and are difficult to do.
Copper Beech at the beginning of November
Copper Beech in the sun in the middle of the month
Another job the gardener did was to dismantle our old summerhouse and extend the concrete pad on which it stood. When I say ‘dismantle’ I use the word quite loosely as all he did was lean on it and it fell down. With the winds that blew last week it probably would have fallen down without anyone’s help. Richard is still deciding which summerhouse to buy to replace the old one. We will be able to keep a few things in it that are needed for that end of the garden and Richard will be able to use it as a little home-from-home – a place to escape the hurly-burly of life in the house – a ‘shed’ with a view (of our big pond). I am sure a comfy chair and coffee-making apparatus will be making their way down the garden and the bell on the wall of the house will be put to good use when summoning him for meals!
Spindle berries beginning to split
We got a couple of quotes from local replacement-window firms and have made our choice. The work to replace almost all the windows in the house, both garage doors and the back door and window in the garage will be done in January. I just know the weather will be freezing cold when the work’s done and I will have a miserable time of it! However, it will be worth it in the end as the house will eventually be considerably warmer and our heating bills will be much reduced.
The path round our big pond earlier this month while we still had some leaves on the trees
A new reed that has appeared next to our large pond this year
Richard spent a couple of days staying with an old friend in Manchester a few weeks ago. His friend had to retire early through ill health (heart attack) but is much better now and is enjoying not going to work. Richard came home after a very pleasant break much happier about his own retirement.
Lots of little bracket fungi found on a dead branch
Richard and I went to the Rectory coffee morning at the beginning of the month and enjoyed seeing all our friends from church. We came home with cakes, pains aux raisins, marmalade and a book – no prizes in the raffle this time. This month we also went to the Remembrance Sunday service at St James’ church which was quite moving. Representatives from all the villages in the benefice read out the names of all the people who lost their lives in some of the wars we have taken part in – the two World Wars as well as the Korean and the Boer Wars. The American airmen who lost their lives during WW2 and who were stationed at Flixton airfield were also mentioned.
Crabapple ‘Evereste’ covered in fruit . This photo also shows part of the front hedge and ditch before we had them both trimmed and tidied.
Alice came home the Saturday before last and stayed until the following Tuesday. This was only the second time she has been able to visit this year but we hope to see her at Christmas as well which will be fun! Mum came to lunch that Sunday and she enjoyed chatting with Alice and catching up with her news.
The church of St Michael and All Angels
The sundial on St Michael’s wall
Some of the sheep in the field next to the church.
(The three photos above were all taken with my new camera. I think I will need to adjust the settings to get clearer pictures.)
Richard and I had been to the 9.30 Morning Prayer service at St Michael’s church the Sunday before last. Maurice, one of our Benefice Elders, took the service and spoke about St Edmund, Suffolk’s Patron Saint whose feast day is the 20th of November. I had been due to take Mum to her church that day but couldn’t because of lunch-cooking duties. Instead, I arranged to take Mum to church this Sunday just gone. It was very icy with snow still on the ground in the morning and we assumed that it would be as bad at Mum’s house and at Eye; Richard said he would drive us in his 4×4. Unfortunately for Richard, the further inland we got the less snow there was and he found that he needn’t have driven me and Mum after all! He had to sit through a High Church service at Eye church with bells, incense and a procession to boot, because he had been gallant. Richard doesn’t like High Church services – his Methodist upbringing revolts against them. I was brought up going to High Church services and I can worship anywhere really, but do prefer my own local church with my friends and Richard by my side. I think I’ll be left to drive Mum to church on my own as usual in future, whatever the weather!
These next photos were taken by Richard on his phone on Sunday morning.
View of the garden from the conservatory
The greenhouse seen from the conservatory
The garden on the south side of the house from the conservatory
I went out for the evening twice last week. On Tuesday evening I took Mum to a performance of the opera ‘Don Pasquale’ by Donizetti. It was performed by the Glyndebourne Touring Company at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. We loved it very much indeed. The singing, the costumes, the orchestra and the stage set were fabulous. A really enjoyable evening out only spoiled by a gale blowing and making driving and walking difficult – Mum was nearly blown over a couple of times and I had to hold onto her tightly. Clouds of leaves were swirling about in front of the car and bits of tree were falling onto the road all about us. As I drove along I was aware of loose branches swinging to and fro just above the car and hoped I could get out of the way before they fell. Fortunately I got my mother and myself safely to Norwich and then back home again.
Wild Rosehips in the hedge.
On Saturday night Richard and I went to see ‘Uncle Vanya’ by Chekhov performed by the Open Space Theatre Company at The Cut in Halesworth. We both enjoyed the play very much which was acted and directed well. On leaving the theatre we found it had started snowing and as Richard had left his hat in the car he got quite wet and cold on our brisk walk to the carpark. The snow was falling heavily as we left the town and Richard found it very difficult keeping to the road once we left the street-lights behind. Most of our lanes have deep ditches running along next to them and there is always the risk of driving into a ditch in the dark. We were glad to get home again and into the warm. The snow didn’t last long and by morning most of the roads and paths were mainly clear but icy.
All photos in this post were taken either in our house or in the garden except for the ones of St Michael’s church.
My musical choice is performed by Emeli Sandé and Jules Holland.
We have had some very cool nights already and lots of rain. Autumn has arrived! The nights are drawing in and when I get up just after six o’clock in the morning on Mondays and Fridays I have to wait for well over half an hour before the sun rises.
I have no news to give you about Alice – I haven’t spoken to her for about a fortnight so I assume she is busy and coping alright.
To our surprise, the day after I mentioned in this blog that it would take weeks for probate to be granted, it was granted! Richard has spent two days in Manchester with his brother sorting out all their mother’s finances. They also went to a place that Joyce was fond of and scattered her ashes. Richard was hoping to spend three days with Chris and wanted to travel up in his new car but unfortunately his windscreen was hit by a stone chipping last week which left a four inch crack and it needs replacing! The insurance company is sending someone to our house to carry out the replacement today (which is when Richard had hoped to return home). He came home yesterday instead (Thursday). He will have to go back to Manchester in a couple of weeks to finish going through all Joyce’s belongings and deciding what to do with them – a very difficult business.
Dog-rose-hips (Rosa canina)
Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus agg.)
Black Bryony (Tamus communis) growing through Cotoneaster horizontalis
Elinor has almost completed two weeks at college, is working hard and her tutors are very pleased with her. She is enjoying the course but finds the social side of college life very tricky. She is very insecure and worries all the time that she is saying or doing the wrong thing. She has also been badly affected by her grandmother’s death and funeral. She is afraid of going to sleep in case she doesn’t wake up again and she is frightened of being left alone both now and in the future.
Eating apples ‘Saturne’
Figs ‘Brown Turkey’
Crabapple ‘Harry Baker’
I have been busy in the house and with my mother; Richard has had a lot to do in the garden and has also been arranging our finances now that he has retired. We have had no time for a walk recently and in fact have done very few walks together during the whole year. We hope that in the next week or so things will have calmed down and we will be able to find time to go out together.
Chinese Lanterns (Physalis alkekengi)
Japanese Ornamental Cherry ‘Fragrant Cloud’
Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’
Spindle (Euonymous europaeus)
Hazel new catkins (Corylus avellana)
Elder (Sambucus nigra)
The photographs in this post were mainly done during one afternoon this week.
This is the entrance to one of the three wasp nests we have in our garden. They took over an old mouse or vole hole.
Crane fly (Tipula paludosa)
Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
I saw this plant just inside the stone wall that surrounds St Mary’s church in Bungay.
This plant is no relation to the Lesser Celandine we see in the springtime. It is a type of poppy, similar to the Yellow Horned-poppy I found on Dunwich beach a few weeks ago. Its orange-coloured sap has been used in Asia for burning away warts and corns since the beginning of Chinese civilisation. This caustic liquid was also used to remove soreness and cloudiness from the eyes! It uses an oil gland on its seeds to ensure they are taken a distance away. Ants feed on the oil and then carry the seed off.
Juvenile Common Lizard
For the second week running, I discovered something hiding under our wheelie-bin. Obviously, rubbish bins are the go-to shelter for small creatures.
Elinor and I admired these clouds as we neared home the other day.
I would like to say a big thank-you to all of you who responded so kindly to the news of my mother-in-law’s death. I was quite moved by all your comments and I have duly passed them on to Richard who also sends his thanks.
Chris and Richard cannot do anything now until probate is granted and that may not take place for some months as there is a queue. We will probably meet up with the family in Manchester as usual just before Christmas and have a meal together in memory of Joyce.
Cymbidium Orchid. I repotted this Cymbidium many years ago when it became terribly pot-bound and split it into about six new plants. I gave away two and kept four and this one plant has decided to flower again at last.
Cymbidium Orchid. The flowers are so exotic!
Richard is slowly getting used to being retired – a difficult thing to do after having worked continuously for many decades. He has taken possession of his new car, done a fair amount of work in the garden and he is taking turns with me driving Elinor to college.
Elinor is coming to the end of her first week back at college. She is finding it all quite challenging but so far has coped bravely with all the changes to her routine.
Elinor’s Art. When Elinor attended her enrollment day she was asked to produce a piece of art work that gave some idea of what she was like or what kind of things she liked. She loves fairy tales, myths and legends.
Elinor’s Art. The students were supposed to find an old book and use it in the project – either cutting it up or sticking things in it. Elinor couldn’t damage a book even an old already-damaged one, so she inserted her pop-up picture into a book of myths with paper-clips.
I am trying to get on with the back-log of household chores I should have been doing through the summer. I had had such plans, but somehow the time slipped away and I still have two freezers to defrost and lots of cupboards to sort out. Having two one-week holidays to prepare for and then get over is definitely more work than a two-week break!
Great Crested Newt? (Triturus cristatus)
When I moved my wheelie-bin full of rubbish from it’s spot near the house in order to take it to the end of the drive for emptying, I saw this creature had been hiding underneath. It obligingly waited while I ran into the house to collect my camera. Great Crested Newts are a protected species throughout Europe as they are becoming quite rare through loss of habitat. If this is a Great Crested ( or Great Northern or Warty) Newt, and I suspect that it is, we will have to be very careful how and when we do any pond maintenance.
Perennial Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
I have been seeing a lot of these big shaggy flowers as I drive about the countryside. The flowers are about 4 or 5 cms across and are such a bright cheerful yellow – not a common colour at this time of year. They are large plants and can grow to about 2 metres in height.
Common Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) with Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
This is a verge by the side of a fairly busy road on the way to Norwich. I saw a lot of these little yellow Toadflax last year but never managed to photograph them. I was determined to get a photograph of them this year and parked off the road and walked back to see this group, dodging fast-moving articulated lorries as I went.
I hope you agree with me that it was worth the trouble I took to get this photograph. I think these little flowers are really special. They are little yellow snapdragons and can grow to about 50 cms in height.
Before I finish I thought I’d let you know that I will be adding a little music now and then to my posts. It will be up to you if you choose to sample my choices; they will be quite varied and you may find something you like!
This is another diary post. Before I write anymore accounts of days out and holidays I really ought to tell you about a few things that have been happening lately.
The saddest event of all is that my mother-in-law died on Thursday 13th August. She had been in very poor health for some time and had had to move into a nursing home a few months ago. This made her unhappy but she knew that she was incapable of living on her own any more and was doing her best to come to terms with the changes this entailed. My brother-in-law had visited her during the afternoon of the day she died and hadn’t been home long when he got a call from the nursing home telling him she had collapsed and the ambulance had been called for. He telephoned us and said he had been told that there wasn’t much hope that she would survive and we were to prepare for the worst. He phoned us again a few minutes later to say she had died.
Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)
The strange thing was that we were only an hour or so away from Manchester (where my husband’s family live) when Chris phoned us. Thursday 13th August was the day we travelled to the Peak District with our caravan to spend a week there on holiday and with the hope of visiting Mum-in-law. We had set up the caravan where we usually stay in Leek, Staffordshire and put up the awning on the side of the van already. We had then driven to Sheffield (about an hour’s journey) to take Elinor to stay with Alice for the week. Alice had given us a cup of tea and we had left the girls there together and were driving back to Leek. We had almost got to Buxton when Chris’s call came through.
Alpine Allium with bees
We went to Manchester the next morning. The rain, which had started when we got to Sheffield the night before, was still coming down so the roads were very wet and some were flooded. We went to Chris’s house and spent some time talking to him and his partner Annie and then went out to have some lunch together in a pub. During the afternoon we went to Joyce’s (Mum-in-law’s) nursing home and sorted out all her belongings, taking some away with us but donating all of her clothes and a lot of her equipment and wheel-chair to the nursing home. They were pleased to accept all we could give them as there are many old people in homes who have no relations to get them clothes and other necessaries.
Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) on Water Mint flowers (Mentha aquatica)
The Coroner couldn’t establish a cause of death despite a post mortem and there have been a number of tests done and an inquest has been held. All extremely painful for my husband and his brother. Eventually the date for the funeral was set and it duly took place yesterday 2nd September. There was a large turn-out of family and friends and all went smoothly and we hope Joyce would have approved. Richard had the difficult task of writing the eulogy which he delivered with dignity. The wake was in the upper rooms of a nearby pub and that was a success too.
Female Gatekeeper butterfly (Pyronia tithonus) on Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Our holiday was a weird one to say the least! Richard’s 62nd birthday was on Sunday 16th August so we went to a church in Leek and said more prayers for Joyce and then went to a café for brunch. There wasn’t much else we could do. We met Alice and Elinor in Bakewell on Tuesday 18th August and told them the sad news.
This was one of Joyce’s favourite pieces of music.
A lot of our time has been spent (as usual) in keeping appointments with doctors, with physiotherapists and at hospital. Not a week goes by, it seems, without one or other of us having to go to see some specialist or another! Elinor went to her yearly appointment with the physiotherapist and was told she needed to do more calf-stretching exercises. I’m not sure that she has done anything about it yet! Richard went to the hospital for yet another MRI brain scan but won’t hear the results until he sees the specialist in a few weeks. He also went to the eye clinic and all seems okay. I took my Mum to her eye clinic again last week and she had to return there on Tuesday for another eye injection. I went to the Rheumatology clinic for a check-up and it seems I am in a medically-induced remission. My blood tests show excellent results and I have lost all the fluid on my finger joints. The nurse suggested I give up one of my drugs for a month to see if it made any difference to the problem I have in my throat. It hasn’t made any difference at all, so I’m back on the drug and my GP at my local surgery has asked the Ear, Nose and Throat clinic to give me an appointment so they can investigate further.
Swallows (Hirundo rustica) and House Martins (Delichon urbica) on electric power cable
Alice works part-time in the University library in Sheffield and some months ago went to a number of internal job interviews. She desperately needs a full-time job, preferably one in which she can use her librarianship skills instead of filling shelves and moving crates of books about as she is doing at the moment. She was disappointed to hear that though she had been offered a job one grade higher than the one she was doing, it was still a part-time job and as the hours were fewer she would be earning less money. After a lot of thought she decided to accept the job and after some discussion with her supervisor she has been given a few more hours and is earning slightly more money than in her last position. She moved house at the weekend and she is now sharing with a few other people (one of them a friend of hers) and will be paying less rent. This will be a Good Thing! She has finished the corrections and amendments to her PhD and has handed it back in to have it read through again. When that’s done she will have to get it printed – not just one copy but several – which will be yet another expense for her. We will then hear when she will receive her Doctorate which we all hope to attend if possible. She had her 30th birthday on the 24th July and her friends got together and arranged a Haunted Sheffield Tour for her to go on which she found great fun.
Southern Hawker dragonfly (Aeshna cyanea)
Southern Hawker dragonfly
Elinor wasn’t able to go into college to collect her GCSE results as we were still away in the Peak District so she got the results in the post. She didn’t do as well as she had hoped but she passed three out of the four exams she took. She got a D in Maths so she will have to re-take that exam next year. She got an A in Psychology but only Cs in English and Art. We are pleased that she managed to do as well as this because she missed two whole years of school and at one stage we didn’t think she’d ever be able to get any qualifications at all. The college have found that the grades the students got this year were generally much lower than expected. I don’t know if this is the fault of the college or if the marking was stricter than usual. She went into college last Wednesday for her enrolment and was disappointed to find she can’t take the Graphic Art course she wanted to do because of her failed Maths exam. She will do a years Art and Design course and re-take her Maths and then she will decide what she does next. The Graphic Design tutors say that they will assess her work after six weeks this term with a view to moving her onto the Graphic Design course if she is doing very well.
Young Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Richard has now retired. His final week at work was last week and he had a good send-off from his colleagues. He will be giving back his fleet car tomorrow and has ordered a new car of his own which will be delivered in just over a week’s time. He hasn’t had time to appreciate the fact of his retirement yet. He still has a number of things to sort out with his brother with regard to his mother. Once that has been done he will relax a little and then begin to feel retired.
I spent a lovely day in Norwich with my dear friend Wendy. We met at school 45 years ago! Her husband was working in this area for a few days so she joined him and took the opportunity to visit former neighbours of theirs and to see me. Fortunately the weather was fine and we were able to find somewhere to sit outside and have coffee and a long chat.
A photo of the Assembly Rooms where we sat outside and had coffee. This photo was taken last December – the garden was much brighter and greener when we were there a few weeks ago!
We then went to have a look at the Roman Catholic Cathedral which is an enormous building and has many fine features. I’ll probably make a post about it sometime soon. We walked from there to the Plantation Garden. We had a lovely lunch together and I then walked back with her to her hotel. In thinking about this special day I am amazed to realise that I cannot remember the last time I spent a day out with her or in fact with any friend. I very, very occasionally meet someone for coffee or lunch or I visit Wendy’s house in company with my family but a whole day away from home with a friend enjoying myself…. no, I can’t recall anything since I was in my early twenties!
Gipsywort (Lycopus europaeus)
I always look forward to having my piano tuned each year. Kimble Reynolds is a very skillful man who not only tunes pianos but can also build, restore and repair them. He has a piano gallery in Blundeston in Suffolk and has recently invented a way of teaching people how to read music which doesn’t entail having to learn the names of the notes. His invention is called Noterettes. He is a lovely man and I enjoy talking to him and we spend most of his visit laughing together.
Fly ( possibly Tachina fera) on Marjoram
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) with unknown bug
Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) with Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta) and another unknown insect
Common Ragwort with Hoverfly (Helophilus pendulus) also known as the Footballer Hoverfly because of the striped thorax which looks like a football jersey
I cannot identify this Hoverfly
With all the upheaval of Joyce’s death and Richard’s retirement, we haven’t had time for much gardening or walking locally. We managed to visit Dunwich beach for an hour on Saturday. We bought some chips from the fish and chip restaurant in the beach car-park and then walked on the beach. The weather was quite over-cast and there was a very strong wind blowing but it was good to be away from the house for a while.
Sea Kale leaf (Crambe maritima) with sheltering snails
Sea Kale with seed heads
Yellow Horned-poppy (Glaucium flavum)
Common Evening Primroses (Oenothera biennis) Introduced and naturalised, these plants like to live on waste ground on poor soil; they only open on dull days or in the evening. I see them on railway sidings quite often. These particular plants have spread along the base of the crumbling cliff.
Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) This plant was on the path from the car-park to the beach but at this time of year Mallows are seen everywhere in East Anglia. The round fruits that you can see just right of centre are called ‘cheeses’ and contain many nutlets.
Out of focus photograph of the sunset that evening during a rain shower.
Elinor had her eighteenth birthday on Wednesday. She celebrated by going to college, attending her Psychology class and then going into the city with her friends. They went to McDonald’s and had something to eat. Elinor would have preferred to have gone somewhere else as she doesn’t like McDonald’s’ food but her friends all do, so she went where they wished to go. She bought some fries and offered to get her friends’ food for them but they declined her offer and bought her an enormous badge with ’18’ on it and insisted that she wear it. They gave her their gifts and then they all went to their favourite bookshop and browsed. They also visited a department store and the boys found the toy department and fooled around with the toy swords and guns. I collected her from college at 2.00 pm and we went home. She opened her presents from us and had a few cards from relatives in the post. My mother had baked her a chocolate cake. My brother came to stay for the night as he had a meeting to go to in the area early next morning. We all ate cottage pie for our evening meal as it is Elinor’s favourite. She was so tired she fell asleep during the evening.
This may sound a rather tame way to celebrate an eighteenth birthday but for the past few years her birthday has been spent at home with just her parents and her sister for company. Until she started at college last September, she had had no contact with people of her own age for a long time because of her chronic anxiety. She was a very lonely and depressed young woman.
Her first term at college was a very difficult one; as you know if you have been reading this blog. However, by Christmas she had fought very hard to over-come her fears and had attended every day for six weeks and had caught up with most of her work. This term has been very successful so far. Apart from a couple of days absence because of a bad cold she has been into college every day and has started to attend her Maths classes again. She has taken a test in Psychology and got 85% and completed a paper in Maths and got 79%. Her English is good and continues to improve and she is working very hard at her Art. Her Art teacher is very impressed indeed and believes she has a good chance of doing very well in her exams. She hopes to go on to do a Graphic Art course at the college. She is beginning to get some self-confidence and is enjoying quite a lot of her college work. She likes the feeling she gets when she does well in class. She is also learning how to control her anxiety and is starting to ask for help at college when she feels anxious.
Richard and I are feeling more relaxed about her than we have in years.
It is hard for parents to realise that their own (probably selfish) hopes for their children may not be realistic hopes. We know that Elinor is very intelligent and capable and we dreamt of her taking many exams, doing well and going off to university like her sister, her cousins, her old school friends. If she hadn’t become so anxious she could have done these things. We have had to put up with comments from other parents who accuse us of spoiling our daughter – giving in to her and letting her stay at home. These other parents implied that had Elinor been theirs she wouldn’t have got away with it. She would have been forced to go to school. I have no idea whether their method would have worked. We did try at first to ‘make her’ go to school but when your child is so terrified she vomits at the thought of school, and panics and then starts to shut themselves away from all contact with others, it becomes impossible to continue. We have seen so many therapists and they have all said that the worst we could do is to try to force her to do anything. We were left feeling helpless, impotent and guilty. We were avoided by almost all the people we used to know through the school. We fought and fought to get her the best help and to find some way for her to continue with her education. Once she left school eighteen months ago everything became easier. Elinor started to relax for one thing and then she completed a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. A year ago we were contacted by the Education Department who asked if we would like some help. YES!
The key to being a happy parent is to rejoice in the wonder of being a parent. This child that you have created is a unique and wonderful creature, loved by God. It doesn’t matter whether they pass exams or not, are intelligent or not, are healthy or not – except you would rather they were healthy for their sakes. You love them. A parent has a duty to make sure that their child grows up knowing they are loved for who and what they are and not for what they can do. There are always opportunities these days to take exams, get qualifications, go to college at any time and at any age. We do not have to fit in with everyone else. Of course, a parent must teach their children the difference between right and wrong, respect for others and that life isn’t easy most of the time. But – the important thing is to help your child to grow and blossom and become the person they were intended to be and what they want to be. This isn’t spoiling them, this is the opposite of spoiling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the same field on the 15th October
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.
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.
Moments from a Norfolk Country Cottage. The furred & feathered & the worn and weathered. A Druid Herbalist with a Passion for Cats, Vintage, Dogs, Interiors, Nature, Hens, Organic Veggie Food, Plants & Trees & a Kinship with The Earth.