Sunday, 30 March 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Mother and  Child (detail from The Three Ages of Woman) c 1905
by Gustav Klimt




Wishing my Mum, my mother-in-law and all you other Mums a very happy Mother's Day ~ hoping you all have a lovely day! 


The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Friday, 28 March 2014

The sad bear...


Once upon a time there was a sweet little teddy bear.  He was given to the Boy when he was a baby, and teddy lived with all the Boy's other soft toys in his messy little bedroom.  

The Boy did play with teddy but no more than any of his other soft toys ~ in other words, this teddy wasn't the Boy's favourite, can't-live-without softie, which is what all teddies hope to become when they go to live with their particular boy or girl.  Still, teddy was played with often enough to wear out the pads on his paws ~ so the Boy's Nanny very kindly knitted him some super-duper new ones, and sewed them in place.  Teddy thought he looked very smart with his new knitted pads but still the Boy didn't choose him as his most favourite softie.

The Boy grew older and eventually almost all the softies were relegated to the loft in a big black plastic sack ~ including poor teddy.  They all lived up in the dark, too-cold-in-winter/too-hot-in-summer loft for many years until one day the Boy's parents decided the time had come to have a jolly good clear-out.  Lots of things were discovered up in that loft, some of which the Boy's parents had even forgotten they had put up there!  

Gradually the bags and boxes in the loft were opened and the contents examined.  A few things were kept and put back, but everything else was taken to the local charity shop or put out on the drive with a big sign beside them saying "FREE!  Please help yourself!" ~ it really is quite amazing just how much stuff will be taken away if it has a sign saying "free" ;-)

The time eventually came for the big black plastic sack to be opened up and examined.  The Boy had a quick look through all his childhood soft toys and decided that he really didn't need them now that he was a young man.  So the Boy's Mum sorted through the softies; some went to the charity shop and some went out on the drive.  She came across the poor sad teddy and saw that he still had a sticky patch on his lovely yellow fur from way back when the Boy was, well, a little boy.  Hmm, thought Mum, that looks like poor teddy had some juice spilled on him.  And then Mum remembered that teddy had been given to the Boy by her aunt and uncle, and had been made by her cousin ~ and the Boy's Nanny had knitted new pads for teddy's paws.

Mum decided that with such a family history the sad teddy couldn't possibly be sent away.  So into the washing machine went teddy to make him lovely and clean again, then he did some sunbathing on the clothesline to dry off.  Mum did feel a teensy wee bit guilty about pegging teddy on the line by his ears but he didn't complain ~ after all, he had just been through a wash cycle in the big metal drum!  

After teddy had been spruced up, Mum wondered what she should do with him.  First-things-first, she decided, teddy needs a name as he had never had one when he belonged to the Boy.  Mum thought about it for a moment, looking carefully at teddy, and the name Archie just popped into her head.  So teddy now had a name for the first time in about 23 years ~ he was so happy, even though he still wasn't anyone's special, favourite bear.  Mum explained to Archie that even though she had grown very fond of him indeed, she still had her own teddies from when she was a baby ~ and so it really wouldn't be fair to have a favourite teddy.
       

So now Archie lives in the bedroom which belongs to the Boy's parents, and spends his days relaxing on their bed.  He has two new friends, Arthur and Fred, who were Mum's teddies when she was a baby over 50 years ago!  They are very kind to Archie and he now feels very special and loved :-)

Feel-good Friday


Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


Accidents of Birth

Spared by a car- or airplane-crash or
cured of malignancy, people look
around with new eyes at a newly
praiseworthy world, blinking eyes like these.

For I've been brought back again from the
fine silt, the mud where our atoms lie
down for long naps.  And I've also been
pardoned miraculously for years
by the lava of chance which runs down
the world's gullies, silting us back.
Here I am, brought back, set up, not yet
happened away.

But it's not this random
life only, throwing its sensual
astonishments upside down on
the bloody membranes behind my eyeballs,
not just me being here again, old
needer, looking for someone to need,
but you, up from the clay yourself,
as luck would have it, and inching
over the same little segment of earth-
ball, in the same little eon, to
meet in a room, alive in our skins,
and the whole galaxy gaping there
and the centuries whining like gnats-
you, to teach me to see it, to see
it with you, and to offer somebody
uncomprehending, impudent thanks.

William Meredith
(9th January 1919 - 30th May 2007)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


All excellence involves discipline and
tenacity of purpose

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Friday, 21 March 2014

Update on Nikki


Well, it feels like it's taken forever but Nikki's leg finally seems to be healing nicely.  I took her back to the vet on Wednesday, when she had the sutures removed.  He was still a little concerned about the swelling around the joint, so she came home with another snazzy bandage on!  

I took Nikki back again this morning and the vet was very pleased with her progress.  She told me that she couldn't feel anymore granulated tissue and the weeping has also stopped, thank goodness.  Nikki was able to come home with no bandage this time, although I have had to slip a sock over her foot as she keeps licking at the joint and I'm concerned that she may make it sore again.

It is obvious that Nikki feels, at the very least, discomfort in her back left leg (she was shot, which broke the hock, and did not receive any treatment) so the vet and I have decided to keep her on Rimadyl tablets long-term.  This is an anti-inflammatory drug and she certainly seems brighter, and has a better appetite, when she is taking it.  The vet thinks the increase in appetite is probably because she is in less pain, and therefore is able to exercise more comfortably ~ which leads to a better appetite :-)

I came home with three month's supply this morning and Nikki will need check-ups every six months.  I'm hoping that there will be no more visits to the vet now until the autumn when the dogs are due for their booster vaccinations!  


Naturally I couldn't take Nikki out and leave Matty home, so he came along for the walk as well ;-)  I took these photos on Wednesday ~ they were both pooped after the excitement of the morning and had to have a little snooze LOL

Feel-good Friday


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Diary of a Dieter Week 10


start weight: 22st 13lbs (321 pounds)
current weight: 22st 3lbs (313 pounds)
total loss to date: 10lbs


Really pleased with this week's result ~ another two pounds lost :-)  I would be happy to carry on like this, losing a couple of pounds each week.  If I managed to do that, in one year it would add up to 104 pounds!!  

Amanda, our group consultant, was telling us that one of her consultant friends has just received her 10.5 stone weightloss award ~ that's 147 pounds!  It's really encouraging to know that other folk have been able to lose such vast amounts of excess weight, and makes me feel that I too can achieve the same :-)

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


Lullaby

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's sensual ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, nor a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of sweetness show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

W.H. Auden
(21st February 1907 - 29th September 1973)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Garden/52 Projects



I had such a busy weekend in the back garden, although looking out there one wouldn't really think I'd done much at all!  However, my aching arms, shoulders and legs quite loudly declare otherwise LOL

The reason why my poor muscles are complaining so much is because I did a lot of staining.  I tackled the end wall of the garden shed to start with, giving it a second coat of Cuprinol Garden Shades in Barleywood.  The wood didn't slurp up the stain quite so dramatically as the first coat did last weekend!  I haven't quite finished fiddling around with the wall yet but hopefully will have photos to share next week.

The shed always used to just get a fresh coat of creosote (which of course can't be bought now) but a few years back I decided to give it some colour.  It's a big shed, very close to the house, and just can't be made to blend into the background ~ so I thought why not just make it look pretty instead :-)  Blue is my most favourite colour which is why I chose it for the shed.  I still have the other three walls to tackle but there is a lot of rearranging to do in the garden first before I can even get to them!

I also stained two large pieces of trellis and four lengths of timber battens to hold it away from the shed somewhat (should make it easier to tie-in the climbing plants in due course).  I thought the diamond design would make a nice change from the usual squares but boy oh boy did it take some time to stain!  I still have the front of each piece to stain but hopefully that won't take too long now that I've done the bulk of the fiddly bits.  The battens and trellis are now up on the shed wall, ready for me to finish the staining.


I was pleased to finally get the new fence panels finished, too.  I had got a couple of them stained last year in this lovely deep brown shade (Country Oak, Cuprinol) so only had the remaining two to do, but it still takes some time.  We had concrete posts and gravel-boards put in when the panels were replaced and I have to say that they did rather stick out against the dark wood.  So, I wielded the paint brush and gave them a coat of stain too LOL  I didn't go all the way down the gravel-boards as the soil level with eventually cover the unstained part.  I think that they look like wood now :-)  


I thought I would show you the pretty "thank you" flowers my lovely neighbour brought round on Friday.  They were all in bud when Caroline gave them to me but now they are opening out and just look so pretty.  I love fresh flowers!

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


Any kid will run any errand for you,
if you ask at bedtime!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Garden Project


Our front garden is part of The Garden Project too, as you will see if you take a look at my list of 52 Projects!  Thankfully it's nowhere near such a huge task as the back garden, more a case of simply tidying/prettying (not sure if that is actually a word but I'm sure you know what I mean!) things up.

It's not easy to take half-decent photos of the garden as it is pretty shady but hopefully you will get an idea of what it's like out there.


The garden is mostly hard-standing which makes it easier to look after.  On the other hand, though, that expanse of paving does tend to look a tad dull and barren.  I'm really glad that we kept a border although on reflection I wish we had had it made just a little wider.  Still, it is what it is so I will just have to make the best of things.  

All the shrubs in the border were dug out of the garden before we had the paviors laid.  They were put in large tubs and stayed that way for quite a long time.  I was surprised that they all survived to be honest!  They settled back into the border beautifully and are thriving.  I want to have some groundcover-type plants at the base of the shrubs, hence the bare stems lower down ~ plus it does make life easier when it comes to weeding the border.

There is a large group of michaelmas daisies (I think that's what they are, anyway!) next to the butterfly bush, which will need to be dug out this year and divided.  I may not put any back in this border but they will definitely be found a home in the back garden.  I also need to decide on how high I want the shrubs to be.  They were a fair bit taller than they are now but I'm thinking that I may cut them down a little more.   


And this is the other side of the garden.  Adrian made the bin-store and it tidies things up considerably.  When he made it, we only had two bins.  Now we also have an additional third one, the smaller purple bin, which is for non-recyclable items.  

The brown bin is for garden and kitchen waste; I expect it will be getting pretty full over the coming months!  The grey bin is for cardboard, plastic, glass, cans, etc.  This bin is the one which really does get full over the two weeks between collections.  Still, I'm pleased that the purple bin doesn't usually get more than about 1/4 or 1/3 full :-)  

The crates are for newspapers, junk mail, etc, and we usually only have to make use of the blue one.  When the council changed the collection system we could have given them the black crate back, but it does come in handy from time-to-time if we have too much for the grey bin (usually because we've had things delivered in cardboard boxes) or an excess of paper for some reason.

So now you have seen the "before" photos of both the front and back gardens.  Hopefully 2014 will see vast improvements to both!  

Monday, 17 March 2014

Diary of a Dieter Week 9



start weight: 22st 13lbs (321 pounds)
current weight: 22st 5lbs (313 pounds)
total loss to date: 8lbs

Yes, I know that I've jumped to week 9!  It's not a mistake, simply that I didn't go to group on week 8 as I wasn't feeling well.

I was pleased to have lost another two pounds when I got weighed last week ~ and I got my seven pounds weightloss award :-)  Admittedly the pounds are coming off very slowly but at least I am losing weight.  Truth be told, I'm not really following the plan as closely as I ought to ~ she says, blushing!  I know that I need to get myself into gear and really get stuck into it.  After all, I'm going to be following this plan for an awfully long time and the sooner I get to grips with it properly, the easier I will find things.  Plus I rather think I may well find that I lose more weight if I actually do things correctly.....

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


Sonnet 115

All we were going strong last night this time,
the mots were flying & the frozen daiquiris
were downing, supine on the floor lay Lise
listening to Schubert grievous & sublime,
my head was frantic with a following rime:
it was a good evening, an evening to please,
I kissed her in the kitchen-ecstasies-
among so much good we tamped down the crime.

The weather's changing.  This morning was cold,
as I made for the grove, without expectation,
some hundred Sonnets in my pockets, old,
to read her if she came.  Presently the sun
yellowed the pines & my lady came not
in blue jeans & a sweater.  I sat down & wrote.

John Berryman
(25th October 1914 - 7th January 1972)


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


Doubt whom you will, but never yourself

Monday, 10 March 2014

Poor little Nikki...



...has gone to the vet's this morning for an operation on her front right leg :-(  It has always been a little puffy around the wrist (?) joint and we have been told that it is probably because of damage done before she was rescued, when she was so badly treated.  It has never appeared to be painful, though, and she has always walked normally on it. 

However, last November it became much more swollen and started to weep.  She was put on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories as it was thought that she had got an infection in it somehow.  And since then, it has never really cleared up properly.  In fact, at one stage it got really bad; her whole foot swelled up and an old scar she already had split open.  Our vet took some swabs a couple of months ago but it all came back as sterile.  Since then, it did appear to be clearing up but on Friday evening we noticed that once again the joint and her foot was swelling up.  I took her to the vet on Saturday and it was decided that it was time to actually open up the area and see if there was anything in there that was causing the problems.  Rory (our lovely vet) said that there could well be necrotic tissue leftover from whatever had occurred originally, which would need to be cleared out.

Just as worrying is that Nikki has lost about 2kg over the past couple of months or so, which for a dog who is already very slender is a lot of weight to lose.  She has been eating normally as well, so I am very concerned about what has caused the weightloss.  So she will also be having blood tests done today to see if anything shows up to explain it.

I'll let you know how things go in due course...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


from Twelfth Night
Sweet-and-Twenty

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear! your true love's coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.
What is love?  'tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet-and-twenty!
Youth's stuff will not endure.

William Shakespeare
(23rd April 1564 - 23rd April 1616) 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


Happiness makes up in height for what it
lacks in length

Monday, 3 March 2014

Thank goodness that's done with.....

Dentist Examing Female Patient in Chair of Dental Office
H. Armstrong Roberts

.....well, for another six months at least!  

I went to have my crown fitted today, which was fine in itself; it's the injections that leave me bruised and sore.  My left cheek actually feels swollen!  Hopefully it should all be back to normal again in a couple of days or so.  Mr F also gave my teeth a scale and polish, which in some ways is almost as bad as the invasive treatment.  My teeth are pretty sensitive and the ice-cold water which is sprayed over them during the scaling really makes me wince.  Still, touch wood, no more treatments for the next few months :-)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Garden Project



I rather think this topic will ~ as they say ~ run and run!  Adrian and I have restarted tackling the eyesore that is our back garden and it is going to be quite an epic task methinks, despite the garden being so small.  Yesterday was dry and quite sunny so we spent a good part of the day outside.  Mind you, we were both absolutely pooped by the time we came in ~ and didn't really seem to have much to show for all our efforts!

The photo above is a view from the house; like I say, the garden really isn't very big at all.


This photo shows almost the whole width of the garden.


Looking across from the other side.


The raised bed used to have a pond in it.  When the last of the fish died we made it into a garden bed.  It's terribly overgrown now and I intend to make changes!


This view (above) is really shameful!  Still, at least the fence is nice and new ~ just needs to have the other two panels stained ;-)  With the garden being so small, it gets quite difficult to actually make changes because we seem to be constantly having to move things from one area to another.  But it's the only way we are going to be able to get the work done, so I guess we'll just have to grit our teeth and get on with it LOL


Looking down towards the gate.  You may be able to make out that the garden is an odd shape.  It's almost a triangle and tapers away to nothing.  Hopefully this year we will be able to have the fence panels replaced in this area and have it paved over properly.  Then we can get a new garden shed and locate the log-stores in better positions.


This is where Abigail and Babs had their house.  Adrian and I finished taking down the old chicken run and moved them over to where it used to be.  Next weekend I will get Adrian to help me move the log-store (you can just see it, top left) onto these slabs then I can get the new border marked out along the fence and have a good sort out of all the junk that's built up here.


The girls had a good rummage around in the garden whilst we were moving their house into its new position ~ it's a lot heavier than it looks!  I know it doesn't look elegant but it is a temporary location so we didn't bother doing anything fancy.  They went back inside quite happily but seemed very puzzled when they were looking out into the garden LOL


And to finish off this "post of shame" I thought I would try to redeem myself somewhat by sharing this photo of my lovely little prostrate rosemary.  It's been in flower all winter and really seems to like living in the corner of this wooden planter.  Hopefully it won't be too long before the rest of the garden is looking happier :-)

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou