Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot

from The Ship of Death
5

Build then the ship of death, for you must take
the longest journey, to oblivion.

And die the death, the long and painful death
that lies between the old self and the new.

Already our bodies are fallen, bruised, badly bruised,
already our souls are oozing through the exit
of the cruel bruise.

Already the dark endless ocean of the end
is washing in through the breeches of our wounds,
already the flood is upon us.

O build your ship of death, your little ark
and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
for the dark flight down oblivion.

D.H. Lawrence
(11th September 1885 - 2nd March 1930)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Nikki



If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this — the last battle — can't be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close — we two — these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.



A friend sent me the above poem today ~ and today, we received Nikki's ashes back from the pet crematorium.  Her little wooden box will sit in my wardrobe, alongside the one containing Amber's ashes.  Although I know that letting Nikki go was the only thing we could have done, I have felt very unsettled since she passed away.   Now that she is back with the people who loved her the most in the whole world, I am at last feeling at peace. 


Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared 
half to death

Sunday, 26 July 2015

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
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot

Time is...

I fear time's tumbril hurrying us
- bare wee foetuses
hardly rubbed with God's pleasure -
to the place of execution.
"Stay!" My beloved, Giacometti above,
Renoir below,
spirit shining, horse to horse,
leaps in the way.
An angel rapes a neuron in her brain:
"Celebrate! Our rescue remedy is
the timeless now -
her handmaids
commitment, compassion and conspiracy,
the breathing together of love.
Life is delightful
from womb bliss to birth bliss,
from home bliss to death bliss
and beyond
our lives ripple through eternity.
Enjoy!"

Alan Beam
(29th February 1948 - )

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1



Better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Gone....


Just to let you know that we were with Nikki this afternoon whilst she was put to sleep....

Monday, 20 July 2015

Further "Nikki" news


Nikki has had a comfortable weekend, is stable and was moved out of the ICU at Davies on Saturday.  We were told that they don't usually phone with an update on Sundays unless there is a problem, so as you can imagine we were very thankful to get to the end of yesterday with no call from them.

Early this afternoon I spoke with Antonia, one of the cardiology team.  She told me that the fluid accumulation in Nikki's abdomen and around her heart was no longer apparent but that it was returning to her chest.  Despite the ultrasound scans and X-rays not showing tumours, and cancer cells not being detected in the fluid samples, they are still no closer to knowing what is causing the problem.  Antonia said that she is reluctant to sound too optimistic regarding the tumour situation, as there is still a chance that there are some present.

So tomorrow Nikki is having to be sedated in order to have a CT scan, in the hope that it will give a clearer picture of what is going on.  If that is still unsuccessful, then the next step would be to take a biopsy of her pericardium.

I hope that the CT scan will finally show us what is going on with my poor little girlie as I really don't want her to have to have yet more surgery so soon after her leg operation.  I'll let you know what the results are tomorrow...

Sunday, 19 July 2015

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
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Nikki.....




...is back at Davies, in the ICU :'-(

She had been doing really well after her recent leg operation and was getting back to her normal silly self, rolling on her back and waving her legs at us!  Then earlier this week we noticed that she was breathing really heavily, from her abdomen rather than her chest.  On Thursday she wouldn't eat anything at all and had diarrhoea.  She was still not right yesterday, so my friend took Nikki and I to our vet.  Rory at Berry House was obviously concerned as he couldn't hear what was going on in her chest properly, so she stayed in for x-rays.  Rory phoned me after lunch to say that her chest and abdomen were filled with fluid, the dreaded word "tumours" was mentioned, and he felt that the best thing was to send her straight over to Davies as they had the equipment to see exactly what was going on.

So, after a fraught half hour or so trying to find someone who would be able to drive us over to Higham Gobion, I eventually contacted a lovely chap called Gary from Pet Pals in Shillington who was able to come and pick us up and take us to Davies.  

By the time we got there, poor Nikki's breathing was even worse, she was hot and her gums were really pale.  She was taken straight to the ICU and I then spent an extremely fraught afternoon worrying and waiting to see what was wrong ~ and having a quiet little sob in the corner of the waiting area.

The upshot of all this is that Nikki has been bleeding into her pericardium.  A cardiologist drained the fluid from her chest and abdomen, and from around her heart.  She had to have an anaesthetic in order for her to be completely still whilst having an ECG, so I had to leave her at Davies for the weekend at least :-(  

Patricia (who has been looking after Nikki at Davies) phoned early yesterday evening to let me know that the ultrasound scan was done but that tumours were not immediately apparent.  However, there is still some residual fluid around the heart, so Nikki will be looked at again on Monday to check whether or not there is a tumour in her heart.

It all seems so unfair!  My poor baby has been through so much and still life throws yet more awful stuff her way ~ but despite everything, Nikki is such a happy, loving dog.  I will update you again when I have more news, but in the meantime your prayers would be very much appreciated.....  

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


For K.R. on Her Sixtieth Birthday

Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark,
Who round with grace this dusky arc
Of the grand tour which souls must take.

You who have sounded William Blake,
And the still pool, to Plato's mark,
Blow out the candles of your cake.
They will not leave you in the dark.

Yet for your friends' benighted sake,
Detain your upward-flying spark;
Get us that wish, though like the lark
You whet your wings till dawn shall break:
Blow out the candles of your cake.

Richard Wilbur
(1st March 1921 - )

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1



The hardest arithmetic to master is that 
which enables us to count our blessings

Monday, 13 July 2015

Catching up...

Two Women Sitting on Chair, Chatting and Gossiping
By: H. Armstrong Roberts

What a grey, wet day it is here today!  Still, at least it isn't as warm as it has been, which is something to be thankful for as I don't function at all well in hot, humid weather.  I've really been suffering with hayfever this year too, much worse than in recent years, which doesn't help either.  I keep hoping that I'm going to "grow out" of it but as I've now reached the grand old age of 54, it doesn't seem as if that's going to happen anytime soon!  So I'm afraid that humid nights + hot flushes + hayfever = a distinct lack of sleep and a rather grumpy me *sigh*

In other, more cheerful news, Nikki had her stitches removed last week at Berry House (our own vets).  Whilst the wound has healed very nicely, Nikki is prone to licking it still so she is continuing to sport one of my socks.  The sock is so big around her skinny little leg, though, that even though I tape it with micropore tape it still falls down.  I've ordered a couple of pairs of little girl's knee-length socks in the hope that they will fit more snugly!

I was lucky enough to be one of the first 15 to respond to a Facebook post for a new Thomas Cleaning franchise which has recently opened locally, which meant that I won two hours free cleaning.  I was really pleased as I never usually win anything!  Mandy (the cleaning lady) came round last Wednesday and concentrated on the living room.  When I tell you that it took the poor woman virtually the whole two hours to give the room a thorough clean, you will understand just how badly I have let the house go :-(  Still, it was lovely to have the room cleaned and I will now be able to keep on top of it.

As Mandy was cleaning my ornaments, I got her to put them into a big cardboard box for me as I am going to go through everything and decide just what I really want to keep and what can be let go.  I seem to have "outgrown" some of my knick-knacks, simply keeping them because they were there.  Adrian moved a display shelf to the other side of the living room for me yesterday, and also put up a pretty shabby chic-style metal three-tiered wall basket that I have had for some time, so I now have somewhere nice to display the things I decide to keep.  When I've finished I will take some photos to show you ~ but you will have to excuse the fact that the whole house really does need to be redecorated!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

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
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England.  There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of Englands, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blessed by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke
(3rd August 1887 - 23rd April 1915)

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory

Sunday, 5 July 2015

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
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Meet the soon-to-be shop owners of Angel House Galleria....


You have already seen the photo above in a previous post about the Galleria, but I thought I'd show it again just as a little reminder of the layout of the building.


James and Maretta moved to Groatie Bay from the mainland when they were first married.  They spent their honeymoon on the island and just fell in love with the place, the people and the way of life.  I'm sure you can appreciate what a huge undertaking it is for Peediekins to move from one place to another ~ no wonder then that so many choose to stay in the same town or village their whole lives!

James and Maretta have spent some time travelling around the world ~ they are really very adventurous for Peedikins!  When they realised that they both wanted to start a family, they decided it was the right time to marry and settle down.  They had both worked in the food industry before moving to Groatie Bay and were able to get a transfer to the local supermarket in the town.  When the idea for the Galleria came about, they saw that there was a good opportunity to start up a delicatessen to sell all those little "luxuries" that the local supermarket doesn't cater for.  Now that Catriona and Andrew are both at school, Maretta will be able to bring Elspeth to the shop for a few hours each week to help James.


Broden and Nessa have lived in Groatie Bay all their lives, and are childhood sweethearts.  The opening of the Galleria, and the Groatie Bay Arts & Crafts Guild offering the job as Manager to Broden, has been a godsend to the Quinns.  

Despite gaining extremely good exam results, Broden decided to leave school at 16 and immediately started working for his uncle on his farm.  He was very happy there and learned lots of skills, both practical and business-related.  Unfortunately, shortly after Nessa became pregnant with Isla, Broden was badly hurt in a nasty accident with a fork-lift truck.  For a while it was touch-and-go as to whether he would be able to walk again but thankfully, following a couple of major operations and after a lot of intensive physiotherapy, he is now out of  a wheelchair and walking albeit with the support of a walking stick.

The Groatie Bay Arts & Crafts Guild members decided that it would be much more beneficial for all of them if their work could be on display in a prominent place in the town.  The items the Guild members produce will be available for purchase from the new shop.  There will be lots of information for customers on the work of the members of the Guild as well as other events going on in the town.

Since Nessa is herself a member of the Guild (she knits and crochets beautiful blankets using locally-sourced yarns), I am sure that she and Isla will often be found in the shop keeping Broden company.  


Effemy is also a local Groatie Bay girl and is an old school friend of both Broden and Nessa.  She and Nessa both had Saturday/holiday jobs at the Groatie Bay Garden Centre whilst they were at school, and Effemy especially enjoyed working with the flowering plants.  When she left school at 18, she decided to train as a florist.  Effemy also loves everything French ~ her maternal Grandmother is French ~ so she decided to do her training in Paris, living with her Grand-mere whilst she did so, and was lucky enough to find work in a rather lovely florist shop in the city.

Much as she loves Paris, her Grand-mere and the beautiful shop she worked in, Effemy was very homesick for Groatie Bay and her family and friends there.  When Nessa wrote to tell her about the plans for the Galleria, she immediately contacted the Town Council to see if there would be an opportunity for her to have one of the shop spaces.  She was so thrilled to find that her application was successful and is looking forward to taking the next step in her floristry career with a shop of her own.  


Tabitha has lived in Groatie Bay for 12 years, having moved from the mainland to look after her great aunt, who was seriously ill.  Tabitha hadn't been particularly close to her aunt but she was her only surviving relative, and she didn't want the old lady to spend her last few years in an elderly persons home.  As it turned out, the two of them got on very well and found that they had a surprising number of interests in common.  They were both a little sad that they had not got to know each other better earlier but they made the most of the time the aunt had left.  With Tabitha's loving care, her aunt's remaining years were happy despite her illness; she eventually passed away peacefully three years after Tabitha came to live with her.  Tabitha made some very dear and close friends in those three years, and when her aunt passed away and bequeathed her little house and its contents to her, she decided to stay in Groatie Bay as it now felt very much like "home".

She has worked as a carer in Hackland House Residential Home for a number of years, and although she loves working there, she would really like to be self-employed.  Since one of the interests Tabitha and her aunt shared was a love of antiques and vintage/vintage style pretty things, she decided to apply to the Town Council for a shop space in the Galleria selling such items.



Rhona and Annys are mother and daughter.  Whilst Annys was born and brought up in Groatie Bay, Rhona moved there from another small town on the island when she married her husband, Ewan.

Rhona loves to cook (and in particular is well known for her delicious baking) and before Annys came along, she was the assistant chef in the Groatie Bay Hotel.  She has always wanted to have a little tea room and when the Galleria idea came up, Ewan and Annys both encouraged her to apply to the Town Council.  Annys is about to start a college catering course and is eager to work alongside her mother in the tea room when she has completed it.  In the meantime she will work there on Saturdays and during the holidays, so Rhona will be advertising for a waitress to cover the hours Annys will be at college.

So there it is, a little potted history of all the folk who will be, in due course, fulfilling their dreams of having a business of their own in the Galleria.  Hopefully it won't be too long before I have more news and photos to share :-)

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Another Nikki update...



Dad and I took Nikki back to see Alan at Davies yesterday ~ as you can see, she has now had her big blue bandage and padding removed :-)  He was pleased with her progress so far but as she won't leave the leg alone, she now has to sport a very fetching stripey sock!  It's one of my socks, actually, so although the length is ideal, keeping the flipping thing in place is proving a tad difficult ~ hence the micropore tape at the top.  Oh well, I suppose all the getting up and down to pull it back up again is good for me.....

Alan was glad to see that Nikki is putting some weight on the leg, albeit very gingerly ~ it's only a week since she had the surgery, after all.  She is still finding it pretty exhausting just getting out into the garden and back to go to the toilet.  I have to help her down the steps using a folded towel as a sling.  I'm glad to say that her appetite has improved considerably :-)

She is booked in at Berry House (our usual vet) to have all the stitches removed next week, so hopefully that will make her feel less "itchy".  I expect she will still have to wear a sock though, which is better than "the cone of shame" LOL  By the way, the piece of fabric under her head is actually a tea towel wrapped around an ice pack ~ I have to "ice" the joint three or four times a day for 15 minutes or so.  I left her a tad longer on this occasion and she had already moved when I came into the dining room.  She looked so comfy with her head and neck on the nice cool tea towel that I just left it there LOL  It' been incredibly hot here the last couple of days, so I guess she was glad of the chance to cool down!

The Thursday Poem

Potted Flowers with Books IVEric Barjot


The Lesson

'Your father's gone,' my bald headmaster said.
His shiny dome and brown tobacco jar
Splintered at once in tears.  It wasn't grief.
I cried for knowledge which was bitterer
Than any grief.  For there and then I knew
That grief has uses - that a father dead
Could bind the bully's fist a week or two;
And then I cried for shame, then for relief.

I was a month past ten when I learnt this:
I still remember how the noise was stilled
In school-assembly when my grief came in.
Some goldfish in a bowl quietly sculled
Around their shining prison on its shelf.
They were indifferent.  All the other eyes
Were turned towards me.  Somewhere in myself
Pride, like a goldfish, flashed a sudden fin.

Edward Lucie-Smith
(27th February 1933 - )

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

How to keep pets cool......













Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1




Kindness consists of loving people 
more than they perhaps deserve