Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recently Read

                                             Okay, read within the last few weeks :-)

Some childhood nostalgia! I loved Enid Blyton books as a child, and still do ...

12 books that changed the world was only mildly interesting, but I wouldn't go out and buy it. Mine came from a charity shop and will be donated back there in due course.... ditto The Pheasants' Revolt, which was okay if there was absolutely nothing else left in the house to read.

The best of the bunch, and an absolute delight, was A Wayne In A Manger by Gervase Phinn, who has written a series of successful books based on his experiences as a School Inspector in the UK.

Three more Faye Kellerman books from the Library. The Burnt House had the weakest plot. These books are excellent at relaying the tension between trying to maintain a Faith and living a religious life when being daily confronted by the blackest, darkest and vilest excesses of the human race.

Which led nicely to this one, which was very informative.

And to finish, my current "to read"  pile :-)

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More Jane Austen Goodness !

I was delighted to be alerted to the following blog, full of goodies for those of you who may be Jane Austen / Regency period fans ..... recent topics include breastfeeding and how would a house have been painted ?, as well as links to Austen-ish topics including books, films etc.

Enjoy !
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Friday, July 30, 2010

It Might Help If I Knew Who This Person Is.....

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Who do you write like ?
This is all Michelle's fault, by the way :-)
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Close by Y Ffynnon Fawr, I saw these two beauties and simply had to photograph them !
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Yet Another Secret Garden

Very close to Y Ffynnon Fawr is a magnificent Elizabethan Tudor mansion. 
My father went inside this house when its previous owner was alive, and he told me of seeing the magnificent mediaeval tapestries which had originally been "liberated" from Tewkesbury Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII of impious memory.

Pedestrian access to the house is theoretically via this wonderful gate, though most people seem to use the other access point in the village......hence the lush growth of ivy adorning the gate :-)

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

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Local Holy Well

Each time I walk to my mother's house, I pass this Holy Well.
Known in Welsh as "Y Ffynnon Fawr", it is believed to be dedicated to the Mother of God.
The existing stonework is Norman, but the village itself  was known to exist in Viking/Anglo-Saxon times, and the well may be of considerable antiquity. 
 It does have healing properties, but as you can see from the very sad final photograph, the well is padlocked shut as local people seem to think it appropriate to dump their rubbish in it, meaning that it is very unlikely that anyone would ever be allowed access to the waters inside due to Health & Safety issues......
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I was so desperately saddened to read of the tragic death of a young baby shortly after his baptism in an Orthodox church in Moldavia, eastern Europe.  Kyrie eleison.

Story and photos here.
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Mum managing to walk around the ward and is busy helping the dear elderly lady who is in the next bed to her. She has had five days of IV antibiotics and will be having five days more  before the situation is reviewed once more.  She seems very bright and cheerful.

On Monday, I had two sets of people brought round to view the house by the estate agent, both of whom  have sold their own properties. No news yet on whether either of them intends to make an offer. DH has seen a detached house which looks ideal for us, but we shall have to wait and see....... I cannot view the prospect of packing and moving house with any degree of equanimity, to be honest, after four house moves already in the last decade !
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy :-)

I am so happy that my DH and children have returned home safely, fit and well, having had a good holiday despite everything that has happened with Mum ! I must have hugged them all at least a hundred times, LOL

It is wonderful to have the house full of people and NOISE again, not to mention hearing the washing machine working hard in the background, of course   :-)
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Friday, July 23, 2010

News On Mum

Mum is  much better than she was on Wednesday night, thank God.

She has Hospital Acquired Pneumonia now in the deepest part of her left lung, and is being treated aggressively with  two lots of IV antibiotics and eight nebuliser treatments a day. She is now eating and drinking again, and has been managing to sit out in a chair by her bed for a few hours, though she still feels very poorly and will do so for the next few days. She was quite cheerful when I visited her last night, despite all she has been through.

Managing to stay out of hospital for only 25 hours before being readmitted must be some kind of record, I'm sure.....    !!!!

On a happier note, DH and my little ones return later today !
 God grant them a safe and easy journey home !
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The beach where I sometimes walk the Dog of Doom has been invaded by lots of dead jellyfish !

I don't think I will be walking Basil down there for a few days till they all go away;  jellyfish tentacles can still pack a nasty sting for several days after death.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Deja Vu

{Edited to correct spelling !}

Quite literally.

Mum was not well at lunchtime, and unable to take her medications. I called the GP, who came out immediately and diagnosed a rip-roaring chest infection and advised Mum to go back into hospital. Mum refused point blank but agreed to accept heavy duty oral antibiotics.

By 4.30pm I was increasingly anxious about her lethargy, hydration status and oxygenation, so I called the GP again and was told to call 999 (our version of 911) for the paramedics immediately. 

I had to "pull rank" on Mum and tell her bluntly that John (her dear friend and companion) and I were worried sick about her and we needed to know that she was safely in hospital having 24 hour nursing care with all the medications and oxygen she obviously needed to treat this infection properly. By this stage she was feeling so poorly she did reluctantly agree to go into hospital.

It was the same ambulance crew who took her in a month ago ! They could not believe the saga of what Mum had endured, and they transferred her into hopsital quickly and efficiently;  in the ambulance they took a set of observations and her O2 saturations were only 73 % as well as her having a very rapid heart and breathing rate.

I have just come back from the hospital now, where Mum has had numerous investigations including a chest X-Ray and most definitely has a nasty chest infection; they think it is most likely a recurrence of the MRSA which was not adequately eliminated by the IV antibiotics. She may be in for quite some time, possibly even another month............
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Mum Is Home !

{Edited to correct spelling!}

By dint of tears, tantrums, persistance, threats of signing herself out Against Medical Advice and sheer bloody-mindedness (as well as massively underplaying her symptoms and how unwell she was feeling yesterday) Mum has managed to finagle her way out of the hospital after 28 days as an in-patient.

I am glad that she is home, but a bit miffed that she has got out  before all the care plans and safety measures proposed by the medical staff have been put in place; these were all due to be set up the end of this week and beginning of next to make suure she has all the help she needs - and it is a lot of help needed....

Neighbours who were willing to help keep an eye on her when I can't be there, and willing to be listed on the Lifeline 's"emergency tree" of contacts are away this week . Sigh.

 She is still very far from well, and really should have stayed in for another few days so she could have become steadier when walking with her zimmer frame and more familiar with her medication; she is taking 28 tablets each morning.

I can't possibly imagine where I get my own stubborness and bloody-mindedness from, of course ;-)
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

May Be Offline

Just to let you know that I may be offline for a while; my wireless router box (which is only a few months old) appears to be on the spritz. It is acting very temperamentally, and although I can do all the basic stuff, it most likely will need the expertise of DH to work out exactly what is wrong and reconfigure the settings. And he won't be home till later on Friday.

It has not been right since the telephone company replaced all the wiring to the house last week, and this morning I have had to reset it no fewer than five times and it is only 10.43am as I write this.

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Books, Books, Glorious Books !

Pages of photos of  people's collections of books. Oodles of books. Acres of books.

This site made me laugh and laugh.

Caveat :  some pages contain strong language and concepts. Sorry.

Some of the pages are interactive, and you can "walk" around the libraries............
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Monday, July 19, 2010


I absolutely hate being in this house on my own, even with my lovely dog as company......

I always thought I was quite a solitary person, but I obviously am not ! This is proving to be an extremely enlightening learning curve, LOL.
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Home Alone

We were up at 4.45am, and the children were awake and bouncing about five minutes later :-)

They watched a little TV whilst DH and I got the car packed, and the dog sat on the sofa in total bewilderment, looking so sad................thinking, of course, that he was about to be shunted off to the boarding kennels !

I blessed the children and prayed for them to have a safe journey and a very happy holiday with DH, and saw them into the car, with a thousand kisses and hugs, and waved them off at 5.30am.

I am tearing up just writing this. The house is so very quiet; I am thankful to have my lovely Basil to keep me company. When I came back in the house, and said "Just me and you now, kiddo!", the dog looked at me in mazement, as if to say "But......but.....why are *you* still here then ?"

In order to distract both him and me, I took him for a nice long walk, and it was gorgeous ! We saw loads of birds, and only two cars on the road all the time we were out, and also one gentleman in the distance, out walking too. The birds sang, the sun was rising and it was so unbelievably quiet and peaceful....a blessing to experience. I may well walk the dog at the crack of dawn tomorrow too, LOL.

As soon as we came back, I lit the lampada and prayed for blessings on all my loved ones.

 DH will text me as soon as they arrive at Longleat, and I will phone them tonight after I have visited Mum in hospital. DoomHamster's interview is at 10am; God grant it goes well for her.....

Updated to add:

The travellers have arrived safely; DH rang to let me know that they were tucking into breakfast at the Big M near Longleat at 07.50am and they had had a good journey down :-)
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

DoomHamster's News

DoomHamster is looking to change jobs, as the company she is currently working for seems less than financially secure.

She has a job interview with an extremely good firm on Monday morning, so any spare prayers anyone could manage would be very much appreciated indeed !
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I have spent most of the day frantically washing and ironing, and 99% of the packing is done for DH and the girls trip to England tomorrow.
Just DD4's woolly jacket (in case it gets cold in the evenings) to finish drying, and we are DONE.

I feel really rather sad, as this will be the first time I have been apart form my little ones. As DH works away for at least half of every working week, I am used to being the only adult at home for half the week. To be bereft of DH and my little ones for  four nights is a very sobering prospect, even if it does mean I can have long bubble baths in peace with a good book, without interruptions :-)

I have a more than sneaking suspicion that the novelty of being able to do "whatever I want" will wear off very very quickly indeed...........
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Real "Secret Garden"

I had absolutely no idea that there really was a "Secret Garden" which inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett to write her famous book !

With the help of a robin, she found the garden and restored it, and wrote several books there too.

The house has now been turned into luxury apartments. Sigh.
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Good News

I am glad to be the bearer of good news at last - Mum has finally been cleared of the wretched MRSA infection which has kept her nursed in an isolation room for the last three and a half weeks, and is back on an ordinary ward :-)

She will enjoy the company of other ladies in the ward, as she was very lonely in isolation. And Mum loves to chat !

She seems very much brighter, though still very frail. Attempts continue to be made to successfully tweak her medication without causing problems, so she is very likely to be in hospital for at least another week, especially as the physiotherapy team now need to get her up and walking again, after last week's very poor health.

Definitely a step in the right direction...

Other news:

 1/ the holiday which DH booked for us to go on is due to start on Monday. Despite having Holiday/Travel insurance, if we cancel the holiday, we will lose several hundred pounds, so we have decided that DH will take the young ones away for the week and I will stay at home to be available to visit Mum each day, and in case of any problems. It will be the first time I have ever been away from the young ones, apart from the one night last year which I spent in hospital after having my gall-bladder removed.

2/  I was unsuccessful at interview for the job I recently sent in an  application; after the interview I was "de-briefed" by one of the senior management and told that I had interviewed extremely well but that the post had been given to someone who had been working voluntarily in the organisation and therefore had experience which I did not. So it is back to the drawing board on that one, though in a way I am relieved as the travel would have been a bit of a nightmare and very expensive.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Memory Eternal !

Today is the first anniversary of the falling asleep of my beloved Godmother, the Presbytera Celia.

Memory eternal...... I miss her so much.
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A Mixed Bag

....of news, that is.

Mum's initial progress has hit a few set-backs; the cardiologist has found she has a problem with her heart valves which is causing her to retain massive amounts of fluid, which in turn is pushing up her blood pressure. So, she has been started on diuretics. Problem is, when she last had diuretics, they gave her virtually non-stop bouts of gout. I have just been counting the days till it all flared up......

She has been on diuretics since Thursday, and by yesterday, she had developed acute gout and is in pain, though her blood pressure has gone down. The major problem is that she has become breathless and her oxygen saturations are way down. There is a high clinical suspicion that she has developed a pulmonary embolism despite being on Heparin to reduce the risk of blood clotting ever since she was admitted :-(
This is Not Good News and has the potential to be a very serious problem indeed.

She is quite bright in herself, and is having a pulmonary angiography scan this afternoon to determine if there is indeed a clot in the lungs, and her heparin dose has been doubled. She is receiving 8 L of oxygen per minute, and her sats are still around 82-84% .

So, we wait and see.
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I found myself in an interesting situation of apologising to my dog today :-)

My modest raspberry bushes had a rather good crop of ripening berries yesterday morning, and when I went to pick some, all the ripe ones had mysteriously vanished. Rather miffed, I accused the dog, who, quite naturally, looked at me somewhat bemused.

I was washing the dishes an hour ago, gazing out of the window, when I saw a movement in the bushes. Curious, I held my breath and watched enthralled as a female blackbird happily picked and devoured several berries before rational thought kicked in and I realised that if I wanted any raspberries today, I had better go and pick them immediately before the bird ate them all.........

 I now have a large handful of lovely berries for later, a dog to whom I humbly apologised for doubting his integrity, and a rather annoyed blackbird skulking in the garden !
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Update On Jobs & Stuff

Well, I have got an interview next Tuesday !

My knees are knocking already........... and getting there is going to be a challenge, what with the parlous state of public transport in our area.

If I can't get there for interview, I will not be able to get there for work, so it is better to find out now :-)  So it looks like tomorrow and Friday will be spent doing "dummy runs" on various routes., as well as preparing for possible interview questions......

Mum was not so well yesterday; feeling very sick. Her medication has been tweaked again, so I am hoping it is just that. Murmurs have been made of her being discharged this weekend, but I am not raising my hopes up just yet......
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Monday, July 05, 2010

Jobs And Stuff

On Friday, I submitted an application for a job in nearby Blogtown. It is a dream of a job, paying well, albeit working with an age range of children that is outside my immediate "comfort zone" .

I am now in the limbo period of waiting to hear if my application is good enough to get me called for the meantime, there at lots of end of term activities at DD4's school which I hope to help out with over the next ten days or so.

Two weeks today, God willing and Mum's health permitting, we should be on our way to a few days holiday in the countryside.

I am so ready for a short break; I am anxious, stressed and exhausted after the last few weeks of anxiety about Mum, uncertainty over DH's job (which is now secure till December of this year) and episodes of insomnia.
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Update On Mum

Mum was very bright when we visited her yesterday; she has had her second negative MRSA swab and a third has been taken for repeat testing.

She is still on O2 via nasal cannula and receiving IV antibiotics, and is currently waiting for a cardiac scan. She is likely to be in hospital all this week, as far as we can tell, and the hospital is making arrangements for Social Services to assess her house ASAP to provide suitable adaptations to enable her to continue living as independently as possible, according to her wishes. 

If they had done this two years ago, when she was last ill in hospital, she might have escaped admission this time. Rather like bolting the stable door long after the horse has bolted, it seems to me...........

But better late than never, I suppose !
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Laughing Out Loud

Click on the image to embiggen it :-)

FYI, the site has a disclaimer which states:

"Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."
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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day !

 Wishing all my American friends and family a very Happy 4th of July !

As always, we shall be watching our traditional movie "Independence Day" after we have been to visit Mum in hospital this afternoon........     :-)
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