Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Family Catch-Up

Mum is not very well at all; she has had a chest infection and although she has had  extremely strong oral antibiotics for seven days, it does not appear to have resolved significantly . She is adamant she does not want to go into hospital for IV antibiotics. She isn't drinking much fluid, though she is eating a reasonable amount considering she is almost completely immobile and bedbound. Since having the infection, she has been very much more "with it", although she continues to sleep a great deal even in the daytime.

The Young Ones are determined to make the most of their last week of school holidays, and we will be going to the Library today to exchange books. The weather forecast alleged we would be having a nice few days, and I was hoping to take them  to the beach today, is looking very grey and overcast at the moment, and cool enough that I am happily snuggled up in my fleecy dressing-gown whilst I type this over breakfast.  School uniform and supplies have all been bought, but I need to wash DD4's rucksack......... writes quick memo to self :-)

Mr DoomHamster has had to go back to the USA {he flew back early Monday morning} to deal with some family business and to do the groundwork for DoomHamster's visa application so that she can join him over there at some hopefully not too distant point in the future...... she does not want to stay in her flat in the Big City on her own over the next few months, so has moved back in with us for the time being as a cost-saving exercise so she can save money. It will mean a lengthy commute to work each day, but will save her oodles of money.
On the weekend, we were thrilled to have Mr & Mrs DoomHamster and DD2 and RobRob over on Saturday, for a farewell get together before Mr DH left. It was lovely to have everyone under one roof!

I've been having a clear-out, and have taken no fewer than 12 bags of clothing to be recycled/reused for charity. We have thrown out several garbage sacks of rubbish and have piles of stuff to go to the charity shop, including 83 books which have been culled from my shelves. All I need to to do now is persuade DH that we really do not need all the redundant electrical items he is saving in the garage "just in case" he needs spare parts ....... we have several televisions (which do work, I must be fair, but are not needed), digital TV boxes, a spare but very elderly computer, and old vacuum cleaner.  At some point, all that will need to be tackled as we have a delivery of winter firewood scheduled for Oct, and that will take up an enormous amount of space in the garage.......

NaNoWriMo is creeping up again, and I am starting to ponder some plot ideas. Whether I will actually have time to do it this year, I have no idea, but I would really love to manage to complete it three years running :-)
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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Coolest Dog In Town !

The Dog of Doom, ready for a walk to the beach today :-)
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Recently Read

This was a fascinating look at Cyprus, shortly before the annexation of the North.

Sea Room is a book which I took months to read. Not because it was boring ; very far from it, but it was densely crammed with information that it took ages to process it enough to do it justice. The author owns a small group of Scottish islands, and has published this book as a geographical, sociological, historical memoir of the islands, their inhabitants and the flora and fauna. A wonderful book indeed.

Sorry about the photo; once they appear on the Blogger upload page, I can't rotate them ! Perfume from Provence is one of my all-time favourites; it details the real life adventures of Sir John and Lady Fortescue when they relocated to Provence after WW1. It is a loving, delightful and gentle book, whose only sad part is the death of her beloved husband, known to all as  "Monsieur" , at the end of the book...

An interesting look at the education system in the UK,  and the effect it has on staff and pupils alike. I wouldn't bother buying it new....

The Know-It-All was a re-read, telling the story of one man's epic read of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I enjoyed it, apart from AJ's habit of using "Christ" as a blasphemous expletive, which is rather peculiar considering he is Jewish.....

Snow Blind was unputdownable. Gripping, horrifying and so well-written.... beware, domestic/spousal abuse in graphic detail, but germane to the plotline.

Hands Up annoyed me intensely.  That's all I am prepared to say in public.

Road To The Dales is WONDERFUL ! I loved every single page. Anyone who has ever enjoyed Miss read's delightful expositions of country life will undoubtedly enjoy this real-life autobiography of Gervase Phinn, who has written so many witty books about his life as a Schools Inspector in Yorkshire...

Six Wives has also taken me several months to read, as it is a mammoth tome. What I found particularly interesting was just how much of a pivotal role Ann Boleyn played in engineering the religious Reformation in England, which is underplayed in every other book I have read on the subject....

Out of the Woods was a very nice book, but is more of a compliation rather than all-new material.

Thirteen Days To Midnight was a teenage fiction book DD3 borrowed from the Library, and enjoyed it so much she gave it to me to read. I also really enjoyed it, but the end was mega-creepy. I would not let this go in the hands of an under-13 year old.......what would you do if you had the power to stop people from dying ? How to choose who will live and who will die?

Alexandria is another wonderful Roman mystery novel starring Falco and his wife, the inimitable Helena Justina :-)

Call The Ambulance was a heart-rending and hysterical insight into the life of an ambulance man who has had  a very long career in the service and seen the very best and worst of situations in which people can be precipitated..
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Family News

Mum's central heating has been updated and a new boiler fitted this week, and on Thursday I had a phone call to say the hospital bed (requested many weeks ago by the District Nurses) would be delivered on Friday.

As you can imagine, with every upstairs room, the hall, landing and stairs all having had furniture removed, carpets and floorboards lifted etc, the house was in total pandemonium to start off with, and then the living room had to be cleared enough to get a full size hospital bed in situ......

I managed it, and by lunchtime yesterday, after a great deal of disruption, Mum was safely ensconced in her whizzy electric bed, watching her big TV. At least now she is comfortable, in the midst of things and the carers can get on with their work in safety, with minimal distress or disturbance to Mum.  She seems pleased to be in the living room, but I have seen a big deterioration in her this week. She has been frequently saying "I want to go home", seemingly oblivious to the fact that she is in the house where she has lived for 43 years.

DH suggested that perhaps she is talking about wanting to go back to her childhood home, and I think he may be right.

Kyrie eleison.
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1927 Footage of Epiphany Water Blessing

British Pathe newsreels have now been digitised and previews are freely available from their site

I was thrilled to find this 1927 footage of Blessing of the waters at Bucharest :-)



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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Asking For Prayers

- for the close relative of an old friend of mine, and for his family.

Simon Richardson, an accomplished Paralympic cyclist, was seriously injured on a cycling training run by a hit and run driver. He is critically injured, and we are all so worried about him, and distressed for his family..........

Full details here
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

St Wandregesilius

It is with the greatest delight and joy that I have permission to post a link to the Life of the 7th century French Saint, St Wandregesilius, who is especially venerated at the Joy of All Who Sorrow Parish at Mettingham, Suffolk.

The  link to the PDF file is here:-

The new Icon of the Saint can be seen here

and details of the parish are here

When I have formal permission to do so, I would love to add the Canon to the Saint......

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Family News

DD3 thoroughly enjoyed her week at Scout Camp, returning exhausted but exhilerated on Friday afternoon, with a prodigious quantity of dirty and mostly soaking wet laundry, due to a combination of inclement weather, going to the beach, long hikes and a day spent kayaking down part of the River Teifi :-)

She seems to have grown-up so much over the week she was away, and gained in confidence - I am so glad we were able to afford  for her to go, as by next summer, she will have moved to the Young Explorers troupe, and this was her only chance to go summer camping with her Scout troupe.

DD4 missed her terribly, as did we all, and the house was so quiet without her constant chatter! It is wonderful to have her safely home, and almost as wonderful that I have now completed all her laundry :-)

On Saturday, we were blessed to have Mr & Mrs DoomHamster (DD1 and dear Son-in-Law) spend the afternoon with us, and we had so much fun. The house rung with laughter.........

On a more serious note, Mum's health continues to be very poor, and last week, her Social Worker and the Care Manager came to the house to assess her. After lengthy discussions, we have collectively agreed on a new care plan that both takes into account Mum's current physical and mental needs and the resources available.

Lifting and moving equipment has been ordered and delivered, to make things easier for the carers, and we are waiting for a hospital-type bed to become available too, though this is proving problematic to arrange.. It is remarkable that despite all this new equipment being provided by the NHS for Mum, it is still only a fraction of the cost that keeping her in hospital for a single night would cost the NHS.  Simple economics would dictate that keeping those infirm elderly folk - who desperately want to stay in their own homes and die peacefully in their homes, surrounded by family and friends rather than in a hospital -  is a much cheaper option, despite the initial cost outlay. So why do some bodies and agencies put so many obstacles in the way of achieving this ?

 I feel as if I have been trying to co-ordinate a three -ring circus for the last few weeks, battling ferociously to get Mum the things she needs to keep her at home where she wants to be.......  I am so, so exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. Mercifully, the two ladies I mentioned earlier have been truly wonderful, and have willingly put their considerable energies and influence into the fight to get things for Mum.

Without them, I would have been sunk.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Meeting People

Yesterday, I took DD4 to town . We had a few things to buy, some errands to run and we were planning on having lunch at Subway as a special treat. We checked the bus timetables online, and made our way to the bus stop, where there was a lovely older lady already waiting. She asked what time the bus was due, and we began to talk. I am so glad that the bus was running late, because this lady was an absolute treasure, and we simply loved talking to her !

She didn't look it, but she was an active, spry and very alert 89, and was telling us about what a culture shock she had when her family moved here from London, during the early part of the war, to this small and very quiet town. She had been a teenager, and had really missed all the London dance halls, and was appalled that no-one here had even heard of the jitterbug dance, let alone knew how to dance it ! I have a sneaking suspicion that this feisty lady very soon taught people all the latest London dances :-)

It was such fun talking to her, and even more fun when it transpired that she is the mother of an acquaintance of mine :-)

The bus was jampacked full and we had to stand on the journey, which was a bit of a pain as the bus was rocking and rolling  like a thing possessed, and I was mortified when I accidentally trod on one poor lady's toes. And of course, she was wearing sandals, so it would have really hurt.... I did apologise profusely, but she was not very happy, as was to be expected.

It was a relief to get off the bus and onto terra firma , and we headed up to Subway to have our lunch. The last time I was there, it was filled with loud and foul-outheed youngsters, who made being in the same room as them a misery, so we were a bit on edge, but we needn't have been. As we were there by about 11.45am, there were only one or two families and some sweet, chatty teenage girls there. We had a lovely, leisurely lunch then headed off to buy some lacy net fingerless coloured gloves for my Mum, as she is very conscious of the perpetual and unsightly marks on her hands as the result of the medications she takes. We bought some lovely kingfisher blue ones, to match some of her clothes, and a pair of sensible black ones, before we went to the charity shops and found some little treasures, which will be blogged soon :-)

A trip to the Library for DD4 to sign up for the summer reading scheme and then to buy a few things from the supermarket, and we were on our way back to the bus stop. We met a dear friend of my brother's, whom my mother calls her "second son", and were able to tell him of the most recent developments in Mum's health. He will visit her very soon, bless him. We also met a work colleague of my mother's, so we had a brief chat with her to give her the latest news, before finally staggering onto the bus. - this time, we mercifully found  a seat!

The rest of the day was peaceful, but with the evening came growing anxiety about the wellbeing of friends and loved ones in areas of the country which are being badly affected by the current civil unrest. I was up till very late indeed,  waiting for confirmation that dear friends were safe and well, and I slept only fitfully, troubled by unnerving dreams. It was a relief to get up this morning and check the news.

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Family News

Mum's health continues to deteriorate, and she is now totally bedbound, with two carers visiting together to nurse her, three times a day. On Saturday, she was very sleepy indeed, finding any movement  - or even speech - to be an effort. Her appetite remains pretty good, but she is still a little weaker and thinner every day. I am with her as much as I can be, and even just making sure she has all her tablets and inhalers at the appropriate times is almost a full-time task, let alone doing the copious amounts of laundry each day.

DD3 is off with her Scout troupe to Summer Camp in West Wales today. Needless to say, it is raining here....hopefully the weather will be a bit brighter for them when they have to pitch their tents this afternoon ! DD4 is down in the dumps and will miss her big sister terribly, so I am thinking of things we can do together to keep her occupied and happy as well as having to be with me "on-call" with my Mum.......
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Recently Read

Only a quick update, due to a poorly computer.......

False Colours, by the inimitable Georgette Heyer, is a wonderful comfort read when I feel down. With its delightful characters, intricate plot and satisfying resolution, it always works wonders when I am feeling jaded. The vision of poor Sir Bonamy Ripple, struggling to come to terms with the knowledge that he is shortly to become married to the woman he thought was safely unattainable, always makes me giggle!

The Colossus of Rhodes is a juvenile fiction book by the classicist Caroline Lawrence, and a thumping good read set in the early Christian period.

People Who Say Goodbye was such a poignant, well-written and in places, an incredibly humorous book. If you get chance to read it, do so. It's definitely in my "keeper" pile.

This book of two Sherlock Holmes stories by David Davies was most enjoyable. My favourite was the first, dealing with the Giant Rat of Sumatra, to which Conan Doyle alludes in one of the original SH stories. Both were enjoyable reads, however. Even better was finding this brand new and unread for 20p in the charity shop :-)

The Freedom Writers Diary was fascinating. An idealistic teacher of teenagers gets them involved in examining racism and discrimination in a variety of forms, and their interactions with people involved in this wide-ranging and complex field, and how this subsequently affected the youngsters involved, was very moving.

Victorian Pharmacy is a wonderful "living history" book of the eponymous TV series, which is being repeated in the UK at the moment. I missed the series first time round, and am recording it this time ! How anyone survived the horrors of Victorian medicine, with its dependency on arsenic, mercury and opiates in virtually everything is truly remarkable....... there are many non-toxic recipes for the curious reader to experiment with at home, for toiletries, cough syrup and the like.

Meg, you inspired me to look for a copy of - and read-  Winter in Thrush Green , and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. I  haven't yet read every book, but  I am trying hard :-)

Twelve Babies On a Bike is the diary of a student midwife in 1956, and the families she met. Funny, sad and sobering in places, anyone who is interested in midwifery would enjoy this volume.
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Tuesday, August 02, 2011


On a whim, I decided to go right back to the archives of this blog, and read the first few years worth of posts. I started blogging mid-August in 2004, so the blog is very nearly seven years old. 

Some of the posts, especially of the trials and tribulations of life with children under five made me smile, others brought me close to tears. I read of good news and bad, difficult times and fun times,  but always with the sense of God's blessing and purpose for our lives, even if we couldn't always see it or make sense of it at the time.

I have so very much to be thankful about, and it is very beneficial to take stock of one's life every once in a while........
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Walsingham Akathist Added !

The "other blog" has been updated, in honour of the Dormition Fast :-)

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