Friday, 11 November 2011

Urgh! Life is too short to fart around.

I’m just getting over a bout of what was, apparently, vertigo. Most unpleasant. The most frightening thing was the feeling of vulnerability and isolation and the knowledge that I was alone with three little critters depending on me for their basic needs (ie, food). I have to say that I felt better for two valued friends who I was able to call on. Liz, for your reassuring nursing voice telling me what the likely cause was (you were right) and the knowledge that you were there ready to get help if it were needed. And Dave for coming straight down despite our break-up and his own difficulties. I am humbly grateful. So although I was still feeling ghastly, I then didn’t feel so alone.

Being forced to take time off work and being relatively unable to rush around like normal, getting Stuff done, has given me time to take stock. Being so ill so unexpectedly has come as a wake-up call too. Vertigo can be, I find after a quick Google search, brought on by stress and depression. Of course I have no way of knowing what the cause was, so I'm not automatically stating stress as a cause. Just a possibility.

I have undoubtedly felt a return of the depression over the past weeks, unsurprisingly. I have felt powerless in the face of opposition, whether from Dave himself or his wife I have no way of knowing, but I have felt invalidated, a nuisance, unwanted, no longer needed. I realise that some of my own actions have had a large part to play here, they were the result of pain and hurt and frustration, which isn’t to excuse them. But it wasn’t all my doing. My own instinct for justice kicks in very easily and I will not be misrepresented, I have to have the chance to put the record straight, as I see it. I have allowed myself to be misused and have allowed others to do so. That was my failing.

I have gone into work every day holding my own personal grief to myself, because I have too much pride and misplaced self-respect to burden myself onto my work colleagues. Facing each day has been an effort; in fact, I haven’t wanted to face the day because I have not wanted to face the reality of where I am. I have questions with no answers. Questions that go round and round because they have no place to be shelved. I have been blessed with two angels who have listened without criticism, or interference, or unwanted advice. They have just listened, understood, and loved unconditionally.

Another ending which I didn’t want to have to face, but I have done. I have played too passive a role in my own life over the years...I have allowed others to make my decisions for me, to shape my life for me and to give impulse to my actions. Now it is down to me to take control over the rest of my life and to steer its course in the direction I want it to go in.

Something that I think holds many of us back is fear. In my case the fear has been that of losing....losing Kent, losing Dave, losing control. Being alone. I have lived in fear of ending up alone...but guess what? I DO live alone! How ridiculous is that? I waste countless hours worrying about what might happen, when the reality is that each day comes and goes with its own particular issues, and I am still ok. So what is there to fear, really? I am already facing that fear, without even realising it.

My biggest fault has been that of concentrating too much on the wrong areas. Spending hours worrying about what another person is or isn’t doing. Worrying about what is going on behind my back. Worrying about whether or not I am being lied to. Where someone else spends the night. What he thinks of other people...and so on, and so on, and so on. How does any of this worry benefit me? Worrying about things I cannot change. Instead of thinking about things I can influence, that I can do, that are within my grasp. Missing out on opportunities because I have been too preoccupied with stuff that really, doesn’t matter. I have so much, and yet I long for what I cannot have.

Time to stop worrying, to leave the past behind, and to really start living. Because with every day that passes, there is one day less to be lived.


Thursday, 3 November 2011

New comforts!

My cup runneth over....not only do I have a new floor in the living room, [polishes nails against jumper in nonchalant manner], I also have a settee and chair, care of two lovely people I met via Dave (ok, his mum and dad). Hoping they'll come down and have a look - their furniture does look great in here and I am really grateful to them for their kindness and generosity.

I am lucky. And blessed.


1st November

(Posting this after the event - my laptop has been in for repair until I thankfully had it back earlier this afternoon)

All Saints Day. Here I am at 9am, enjoying a leisurely breakfast, having sliced a load of cheap oranges which are now drying slowly in the oven, for Yule wreaths and decorations. The sun is now shining, there are still roses blooming outside, and thanks to John yesterday I now have a nice patch of bare, dug and raked soil. The cats and dog are happy, their world is good as far as I can tell; I am feeling good for having an early start to the day, and Radio 3 played Bach's violin concerto in A just for me (well, it seemed that way); the sofa and chair are being delivered on feels like things are coming together.

Learned this morning of another person who has lost a loved one...a reminder if it were needed, that it's important to cherish each day, to make the most of every moment. I admit I'm the world's worst at this, with my tendency to sink into melancholy and demotivation, but I sometimes remind myself that each day really is a gift.

Hugs and comfort to everyone grieving today....we don't forget our loved ones, they live on in our hearts and our memories.



Postscript: today my boss told us about her friend's daughter, who has died suddenly aged just 17, five months pregnant....then later on In Tune, pianist Marcelo Bratke described his successful eye operation at the age of 44; previous to that, he only had 7% vision in his good eye. He described the wonder of something so mundane as a plastic cup of water. Both these things reminded me of being grateful for the good things in life, however small.

Great friendships are somewhat larger!!! - love and thanks to Liz and Lizzie. You know what for.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

New life!

Sunday morning and I am sitting down for a moment to update my blog, while watching a pile of stuff smouldering away in the garden. It's an autumnal morning, not particularly cold, grey sky with blue bits peeping through. Pip the dog is on the bed, as always, the cats are outside investigating.

This past week has seen my gorgeous new floor being laid in the living room I’ve also had new skirting boards and architrave, stained to match, and the door has been rehung so it fits better. I’ve lived with old damaged and filthy floor boards for over a year now, so to finally get to this stage feels really good. I love it. The floor was fitted by the lovely man who did the kitchen, windows and French doors, and again he’s done a lovely job. Anyone in the Potteries area could do worse than contact Mick Barr, Joiner – thoroughly recommended. Being able to trust someone with your house keys and just letting them get on with it means a great deal.

Yesterday Dave and I replaced the furniture which we had giggled over removing the weekend previously. Dave insisted on getting the dusters and gunky furniture polish and giving everything a damn good cleaning (which it badly needed). I did the table, so I wasn’t entirely idle....

Although we put most things back in their original places, we moved some things, left one item out (it’s now in my bedroom), and the whole room looks so much better. I’m just waiting for my sofa and chair now, but have a sunlounger for the time being. It just feels so much more like the home I wanted, and not just a random collection of Old Charm items bought mainly off eBay. The table has now gravitated to the back end of the room, in front of the French doors, and I think that’s where it will stay, because the view over the garden will eventually be rather splendid....House Beautiful, eat yer heart out.

I’m spending today putting my books and CD’s in place and cleaning stuff up as I go. But first, a badly-needed cup of tea – it’s nearly ten o’clock and I haven’t had my first yet!!!

I dunno.....somehow, it doesn’t just feel like a new floor, it feels like the beginning of a new life. Burning the rubbish just now, even though it was only cardboard packing and other bits and pieces, felt symbolic. Out with the old, and in with the new.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Monday, 17 October 2011

This weekend (just gone)

The weekend flew by - today is my Mum's birthday, so on Saturday we ventured to the Smoke on the train, to see the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy. I can totally recommend this - even as a non-lover of Impressionist painters, I was well impressed. Even familiar paintings over-used on greetings cards and other various kinds of twee ephemera, looked fresh and new in the flesh. Or the oils and pastels and gouache, to be pedantic.

I have often wondered what the Victorian ballet was like....and I realised on Saturday that it was as athletic as today. The dancers weren't as lithe and skeletal as they tend to be now, but they were still slim and muscular and well-trained, with the same aim for perfect turn-out and accurate positioning of the body.

There were also plenty of Degas' photographs, one in particular which I found absolutely stunning, and which we went back to have another look at.

If you have the chance to go, do so. It's a treat.

The rest of the day was great; meal then train home later in the day. I was so tired I saw to the furry team and then collapsed in bed.

(no change there then)

Sunday saw Dave and I lugging heavy furniture into the hall (and elsewhere) in readiness for the new floor which is now being laid in the living room. Having engineered wood flooring (like laminate but the top layer is real wood). So far it looks great and I'm really pleased. We had a lovely day yesterday too; went for some nosh later in the day (much needed) and then a nosey round Brereton and Kidsgrove.

Want to say a huge Thank You to Dave who, true to form and despite our own personal difficulties, went the extra mile to help me because he knew I needed it. I am grateful.
I am blessed. I have some truly great friends. And life's good!

The week continues......

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Misty Mountain Curry

You can, actually, make this with any veg you have to hand, but as I had picked up a reduced-price green spiky cauliflower from Morrisons the other day, (hence the name) and had some spuds in the cupboard threatening to sprout, I used those.

Fry an onion in oil (or butter...) and then add some garlic, and a decent dollop of your favourite Patak’s* paste. I used a scoop of brinjal pickle, a teaspoon of tikka paste, and a lump of Rogan Josh paste (simply because they were the only ones in the fridge). If you want to extend the Ring aspect of this dish, add chilli to taste....mmm, explosive! Add water to the mix, along with the cauliflower and potatoes, which should be cut into uniformly sized pieces so they cook through in about the same time.

Pour this little lot into a round based balti dish, so that you have the potatoes and the base of the spiky cauliflower pieces sitting in the curry sauce, but also leaving the spikes above the surface (as these will take a lot less cooking). Now do you see the mountainous quality?

Cover the dish – if using foil, make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with the food, as curry and foil do not, I have found, make the best of companions. Bung it in the oven and wait until it’s done. Having first made sure that the oven is on.

I’ll be serving mine with my rather fabulous pillau rice, which I have to say I’m rather proud of.

I haven’t bothered to clean the frying pan as there is only a curryish residue in it. Add oil, then fry another onion and some garlic, then add turmeric (I like a lot of this for colouring), cumin to taste, ginger if you’ve got any, paprika ditto, a bit of salt (about the only time I ever use salt in cooking), and black pepper. And any other spices you might like to use.

Then stir in cashews and basmati rice.

I will also be frying leeks with my onion because I’ve got one that needs using. This is also good made with fried up mushrooms, but I forgot to buy them when out shopping. Never mind.

Once the rice is in, add water to only just cover the rice and then – tada!! – the essential ingredient, a good scattering of fenugreek leaves. I like to add loads but be warned, it IS very strongly flavoured.

Bring it quickly to the boil then put the lid on the pan and turn the heat right down. And LEAVE IT ALONE. It won’t stick, and if it does look like it needs a bit of water, you can always add some more. Hot out of the kettle is better to keep the temperature up. Doesn’t take long, about ten minutes, but if you don’t need it right at this minute you can either leave it in the pan, or decant it into an oven proof dish, cover and keep warm in the oven.

I can quite honestly say this is yum, but then I do like a good curry. Sorry there aren’t any weights and measures – I don’t bother with any of that nonsense, just pile in and get on with it.
*Other curry pastes are of course available, but I think Patak's are about the best. Avoid Sharwood's like the plague....unless you know different....

Last summer day?

Yes, I know, it's October today, but already it's warm, there's a clear blue sky and birdsong outside my living room (one of the fabulous things about French doors!)

Today is forecast as being the hottest in this mini-heatwave. Something to be enjoyed!
Have a good day, all, whatever your weather is like.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Autumn Leaves

I've loved Nat King Cole's style of singing since I was little, and heard Lazy Crazy Hazy Days on the radio, and one of his much-loved songs came to mind the other day as I swept up the windfall pears in the drive;

I've often thought that the falling leaves are like the tears of the tree, as it fades into its bare winter aspect; the job of fertility has been achieved for this year, the fruits gathered (or, as in my case, allowed to plummet!)....the tree has had a brief time of stardom while everyone admires its crop, but once harvested, it is yet again ignored...

Until the spring, when it will sprout forth new leaf buds; one of the first heralds of the new season. The pear tree at the back of my house was planted here by the previous owners, some time before I was born, so it has to be well over fifty years old. It was part of a garden orchard; nearly all of the other trees have gone, but we felt that the pear tree, hugely overgrown as it was, deserved to stay. The birds like it; squirrels use it as a handy escape route; my two cats enjoy flying up its huge trunk; my previous neighbour brewed the most potent pear wine from its fruit, and this year one of my workmates made chutney with the pears.

I'm glad it's still here.

Sunday, 25 September 2011


There seems to be a lot of stuff around at the mo in respect of “cosmic ordering”....the way I understand this is, we visualise what we want in our lives, and lo and behold, it will manifest itself. Of course, I could have got this concept completely wrong; maybe someone will come along to put me right. [hey, should I visualise that happening?]

The implication seems to be that we get what we ask for....we get what we deserve, in a way. I don’t think I agree with this. I’ve had two major relationships in my life with, ultimately, unavailable men. The first became unavailable in the latter years of our marriage because he was pissed, for increasingly longer amounts of time. Until he became terminally unavailable.

The second was unavailable due to stuff in his life that he didn’t want to lose. I feel that a heap of bricks and mortar and belongings are more important to him than I am. Which is fair enough...we all make our own choices in life, and I wasn’t his. But, did I ask to be second fiddle to a house, and a bottle? Did I deserve what I got? Maybe....and maybe not. I have my faults (yes, really!); I was by no means the perfect wife – but, did I really ask the Universe for all of this? Is the Universe slightly hard of hearing? Or does it employ the same warehouse staff as Next Directory? “Oh, sorry – you asked for an hygienic single man with own hair and teeth.....I do apologise, we’ll arrange a collection and re-delivery first thing tomorrow”.

That’s the other thing I find rather odd...the amount of magazine articles and internet sites assuring you that you can easily Find Love – Find The Man Of Your Dreams. As if finding said man was like shopping – you pop down to the supermarket and they’re lined up on the shelves, row after row of identikit men all the same. On the shelf below you might find the Morrison’s Value range in yellow wrapping, less than a quarter of the price, but still all the same fundamentally. Has anyone ever pointed out to the writers of said articles that no, it doesn’t work like that? That the Man Of Your Dreams is going to be the one who’s unavailable, and none of the others will do? Or even come close? “Yes, I know, it walks and talks just like all the others – but it’s not HIM!” Incredibly shallow. The heart wants what the heart wants, and it won’t be fobbed off by just another pair of trousers. No - it really doesn’t work like that.

There are Growing Up points in our of mine was when I realised that no, I wasn’t going to get the outcome I had hoped for. That yes, you’re on your own and you’re going to stay that way. That the man I truly love isn’t going to be mine. That life is really quite shit at times. I know that ranting is futile, but I can’t help feeling angry. Cheated. What happened to True Love that Lasts Forever? Yes – it lasts all right, but what use is it when the person you love is no longer around, and never likely to be? Where’s your bloody Cosmic Ordering then? Yeah – down the plughole, along with everything else.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

You never know......

Friday, 26 August 2011


Blimey, it’s a long time since I’ve been in here! Last posted on 8th’s now 26th August and life has gone on in the meantime.

Work is going well – it’s the holidays at the moment, but when I go back I should get a new contract for my new hours (longer). I enjoy my job without having that horribly committed which I mean, that when I no longer enjoy it, I will look around for something else. But, so far, so good.

Progress on Merry Towers has moved on since my last posting. My garden now has the grass path established, the arches at either end are in place, and the sides with trellising are nearly done. I’ve also got a price for replacing the fence, which will tidy the soil border up considerably, and will look a hell of a lot better than at present. Oh, and I’ve got someone coming to pave around the pond area later in the year. That will tidy up another vile looking’ll look good when it’s done.

There are also quite a few roses in now, some more due in November, all in all plenty of work there to keep me occupied.

Loads has happened on the house itself. I’ve cleared and decorated my storage area under the stairs (I called it the Glory Hole until someone kindly pointed out the meaning of those two words!), fitted two bookcases, and now my stuff is better organised and I know where everything is. I keep my garden tools and various bits of DIY things in there, but eventually when I get a secure shed outside, the tools can go in there and I can keep my mop, brushes and bucket under the stairs.

The door now closes properly thanks to Dave who shaved a bit off the bottom.

I’ve refurbished an old plain pine cupboard which encloses the consumer unit and electricity meter. For such a utilitarian object, it looks good....stained a dark oak colour, with antique looking cast iron hinges and handles. Dave helped fit it. I’m pleased to bits with it especially after living with it as it was long? Fifteen years?

The room between the hall and kitchen now looks so much better due to new architrave and tiding up the last bit next to the tumble dryer. Thanks again due to Dave who finished the architrave off, painted it and also painted the cupboard round the central heating boiler. I am now left with a bit more painting and timping, removing the last bit of clutter, then it’s done.

Sadly, Dave has decided that his priorities and commitments lie elsewhere.

I suppose that this means I am single....of course, I always was, but then.....I wasn’t, really.

His help and support have been wonderful and it is hard to look ahead without having him in my life.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Human Behaviour

Why do I always do this?

Put the immersion heater on to heat the water for a bath....leave it until it reaches scalding point.....then decide instead to have a shower?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter xxxx

A strange feeling I had this morning when I woke (although maybe not all that strange....) - I felt a strong sense of freedom.

I am free.

Free to make my own decisions in life; free to bear my own burdens; free to live the way I choose. No rules, no taboos, certainly no arguments about what I choose to do. Of course, the downside of this is that I don't have a committed partner to share life with, and that is sad, but neither do I have the petty restrictions that can be part of married life. Being single has its advantages.

Last night I started reading one of the forums on Truth About, bearing in mind that the people posting on that forum obviously had marital problems to begin with (they were discussing the signs of infidelity), they were a fairly unhappy bunch. Page after page of the minutiae of their lives....was she doing this? Had he done that? I failed to get to the last page and was left with an overwhelming sense of Thank Goodness I Don't Have All That.

Apologies if this sounds smug and self-satisfied. Of course my life is far from perfect. And my freedom came at a heavy price....I don't forget that. But - having achieved that freedom - I thank God for it, and I do not take it for granted.

Jesus said, "I have come that you shall have life, and life in all its fullness".
Alleluia - and, again, Happy Easter.


Friday, 22 April 2011


I've had a great week. A good balance of days out and time at home with my animals, the weather has been fantastic. Monday the gardener came and took the "lawn" up, so I now have a large expanse of bare dusty soil, and a good idea of how it's going to look when done.

The AD's are having a beneficial effect and I feel much calmer these days, much less anxious, more at peace. Had a great day out yesterday chatting with friends and then off for a nice meal at the Fleece with Dave.

Life is not perfect - but I have good friends - one in particular has proved to be a truly great friend, she keeps me sane (you know who you are!) and I have a man who really loves me with all his heart and soul, despite all the difficulties.

Life is good. I count my blessings.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Thoughts on music and endings

Listening to the radio this morning while mopping the floor, I heard this aria from the Magic Flute:

Ah, I feel it, it has disappeared
Forever gone, love's  happiness!
Nevermore will come the hour of bliss
Back to my heart!
See, Tamino, these tears,
Flowing, beloved, for you alone!
If you don't feel the longing of love
Then there will be peace in death!

Of course in the end, Pamina gets her man and it’s three cheers all round. That’s opera for you. Real life isn’t like that, but it struck me while listening to the sadness of the music that this theme is as old as the hills.....”it’s over, he doesn’t love me any more....” Mozart must have known something of it to have written such a sad series of notes. Or maybe he was just a musical genius...and if someone had given Pamina a well-timed pep talk along the lines of, “Men are like buses, there’ll be another one along in a minute” the Magic Flute could have had a very different ending.
The fact is, hearts do mend; some of them remarkably quickly...for the rest of us, that healing will come in its own good time. And we will come out on the other side stronger, wiser people. At least, that’s the plan.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Phew........Friday, at last.

Well, of course, I made it to Friday. This has been such a strange week; I originally expected to be on holiday and then, almost at the last minute, I found myself working full time for a week in a completely different environment.
The first day was tiring; the second day I felt almost sick with exhaustion. But on Wednesday I was beginning to get back into the swing of full time hours, and also felt more settled in the new, strange environment. I am not all that used to young children...and yet, the experience I have had of being with 4-year-olds once a week in the Reception class has paid off. Of course, in school it’s different. There is discipline; children have to comply and behave, and they cannot generally run around like lunatics. But in the nursery there is also discipline; there is the routine of the day including meal times and play, there are standards of behaviour to be kept, or reprimands when those standards are not maintained.
I would hesitate to say this to most people but, having two cats and a dog isn’t really all that dissimilar. We have routines (set meal times and play times) and we have a form of discipline. I would argue that the animals are a lot easier to manage but then, compared with a nursery ratio of 8 children to 1 adult, they would be....I am used to talking to my animals in a certain way and I have found myself talking to the children in a worryingly similar manner. Of course, I haven’t said to any of the children, “Are you having a dumpy-wumpy in the tray?” but you take my point....
It is good to be at the end of the week and to know that my time is now mine, and to be shared with my cats and dog. I think they have missed me, but they have been so good; Pip has held her bladder all day, no mean feat for an old dog; the cats have hated being shut in all day but have been very patient. I have let them sleep on the bed for the past two nights in a vain attempt to make amends. I suspect this probably alleviates my own guilt more than anything else.
One thing that has given me some hope is the rapid ability I have discovered, in remembering the childrens’ names. I have memory problems which I put down to having taken Seroxat in my past. It dealt with the depression but left me with great swathes of lost memories...I did think that the memories themselves were lost, but I have come to realise that I still have them; what I lack is the ability to trigger them. Once I have that trigger, the memories return.
By Wednesday, I had been in two different nursery rooms with over 40 children altogether, and I could name nearly all of them. And the others I could have a good guess at.
It’s been a good week. I have discovered things about people as well as myself. I have got to know an awful lot of new people, with all their different personalities. To find a little trusting hand grabbing hold of yours is a truly special thing – something precious that must not be abused. Jesus once said that our faith should be like that of a little child...not childISH, but childLIKE....I have seen that childlike thing at close hand now and it is wonderful. In one short week I have come to find a genuine affection for them – and, surprisingly, not always the most obvious children. I have watched them at play, interacting with one another, and wondered what sort of people they will grow into, and I hope to see some of them join the school – it will be interesting to see how they get on.
I have another reason to be grateful for my week’s employment. I have come home in the evening so tired I have had time for nothing other than see to my animals, throw some quick meal down my throat, chat to friends and then collapse into bed. Too tired to think. Too tired to mourn. Almost too tired to wonder what my soul mate is doing.....of course, as someone close to me knows, I have been thinking, and wondering. I have mourned. I still mourn. This week I have seen how a child reacts to pain; it usually slumps into a barrage of wails, in a crescendo correlating to the amount of pain received.
I was too tired tonight to consider the amount of pain; I just put my head on my arms, and wept. 

Triumphing over adversity?

I noticed the other day that my pear tree, which has some rot and has been severely pruned back, has burst into bloom:

It's good to see that the old tree (it's over 50 years old) is still flowering, and will maybe produce a few pears later on. My cats are watching the birds fly in and out of it, from the safety of the kitchen (safety for the birds, of course), the garden is full of things going on.

These things usually bring me a feeling of joy....but somehow I feel oddly detached from it all.
Life isn't the same without that special, much-loved person to share it with.

Monday, 4 April 2011


I've just completed my first day of full-time work since my husband passed away in 2007....I work in a school kitchen for two hours a day, doing the washing up (and I enjoy it, I love my job). I have been asked to go on the holiday cover supply rota in the school nursery, so today was my first day as a rookie.

23 3-year-olds in varying states of exuberance, naughtiness, non-compliance, grumpiness,'s an experience! And they want me back for the rest of the week....will I ever see Friday....?

But I get paid. And that's great. The thing I feel worst about is that my animals are left to fend for themselves all day (they are in the house, not left to roam) - they don't seem too bothered, quite honestly, but I feel bad about leaving them for so long.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Madonna - You'll See

An old favourite. The lyrics are particularly meaningful, to me.

Sunday at the Phil

Went to a very enjoyable concert at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. Called in at the Philharmonic pub for half of Coach House’ Gunpowder mild first – very nice, plenty of taste and body despite being only 3.8%.
The concert began with Vaughan-Williams’ Wasps overture, very brightly played and well-paced, a nice opener to the programme. I could see a mental picture of a sunny summer garden with lush planting, colourful flowers, and (unfortunately) the aforementioned wasps swarming.

The middle item was Helene Grimaud playing Mozart’s 23rd piano concerto. Lovely playing, and a lovely bright sound again from both the soloist and orchestra, but she took the words “slow movement” rather too literally. The second movement is marked Adagio (and in some later editions revised to Andante) but unfortunately she played so slowly that the momentum of the music was lost (well, at least on me). It must also have made hard work for the woodwind section who are given broad sweeping phrases in response to the piano part. The two outer movements went at a bright bubbling pace which sounded just right.

Ms Grimaud treated us to an encore, a very romantic arrangement of Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spigots.

The last piece was Tchaikovsky’s Manfred symphony. A large piece scored for a large orchestra including organ, a tubular bell, five horns, large brass section, two harps and a gong that could have called the deaf in for dinner from half a mile away. The piece started with a stormy first movement, spirited second movement, lushly romantic third and a fourth which includes the death of said Manfred.

While I listened, I could hear elements to be found in the music of Stravinsky and Rachmaninov...especially the woodwind (and bassoon) in Stravinsky’s earthy pieces, and the strange chordal use of horns and strings in Rachmaninov. There were characteristic Tchaikovsky touches throughout, for instance the use of Russian folk dance rhythms, his lush horn sound and sweeping melodic phrases over a rhythmic throbbing bass line. Plenty of use of tymps and strong brass as well as the aforementioned gong.

The whole piece ended quietly in a triumphant B major, presumably to signify Manfred’s ascent into, erm, wherever.

The audience erupted into applause maybe a little too quickly.... Mr Petrenko looked a little stern and then shrugged his shoulders at the orchestra before turning round (or he may have just been a bit stiff in the shoulder area?). He came back on after a few calls, and got the orchestra to play an encore, the Trepak from the Nutcracker, played at a cracking pace. This was greeted by a loud Waaaaay! from the audience.

A fabulous event all round, worth making the effort. In true cheesy style, on the way there (and back) I listened to a couple of Beatle’s CDs which somehow seemed to sum up the drive into Liverpool, with its derelict areas reduced to rubble (sob, sniff, they knocked down some gorgeous if old houses) and the city centre which was just as busy on a Sunday afternoon as any other time in the week. I think I kind of recognised where the Fab Four may have been influenced...or maybe that’s just my imagination (running away with me).

Interested to read this review of the concert just now:

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Visitor At Merry Towers

Milou invited a guest to breakfast this morning.

Well, when I say "invited"....maybe the invitation was a little forceful, in the light of modern manners and etiquette...
For the first time my two cats met their match in the bird world. Even the normally feisty Kate quailed under his beady gaze and raucous squawk. Milou had caught him and brought him in, but then lacked the courage to finish him off (thankfully).

He escaped through the kitchen window. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

My Birthday Weekend

I've just had the most wonderful birthday. On Saturday I went to a pub meet with a random group of people from a message board I occasionally post on; we met up at The Beacon in Sedgley, my favourite Real Pub.

A great time and a lot of laughter was had, shamefully we were still there way after chucking-out time, at which point some of us started out for home, leaving the others to go to another pub...I called at a chain pub with Dave for some nosh, then we went home. While we were at the meet he gave me his birthday present - a lovely green skirt. I now have Two Green Skirts (one for best).

The next day, Dave took me to Matlock Bath for a quiet day together...we walked along the Lovers Walk, nipped into Holy Trinity church to nosey around after the service, went into the Victorian Baths which have long since lost their splendour but gained a bizarre array of large (and small) fish, then up to the Rising Sun for grub. Stroll around Cromford afterwards and then home via the Stables at Monsal Head where we had a pint of stout.

So - thank you to all for your birthday wishes, and thank you Dave for making my weekend even better than I had anticipated.
Keep the faith.....Love under will.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Love - the beginning

Back in April 2007, I answered a phone call that lead to my life being changed for ever....the repercussions of that are still being felt, even now.
In 1981 I was in my late teens, and starting a new job at a local well-known factory. I was your typical office worker; not particularly well-off, doing my best to dress in a conventionally suitable office manner...heels, pencil skirts, that sort of thing. I met up with a young man who attracted me straight away – he had long hair. And I mean LONG. Mine was coiffured into a neat bob....we looked like polar opposites. We became great friends, we had a similar daft sense of humour, and when I left the factory some years later, we stayed in contact. Eventually we drifted apart, my working life took me out of the area, we had less time to meet up, our lives went in separate directions. I never forgot him, though.
Fast forward to April 2007. I was still reeling from the shock of my husband’s sudden death, I was at home (by this time I wasn’t working), and wondering what to do next. When I answered the phone, a familiar voice said hello, and asked if I remembered who he was. I replied that I knew the voice but couldn’t place a name.
It was Dylan, my friend from so many years ago. A mutual friend had told him my sad news the day after it happened, and he wanted to know how I was now the funeral was over, and everyone had presumably gone back to their own lives. I can’t remember much about that conversation now, other than I was in my usual fairly upbeat mood, and sounding quite positive. We exchanged email addresses and over the next few weeks we started a very occasional correspondence. I have to admit I wasn’t the best of correspondents; quite often I didn’t have much to say, and by the summer of 2007 I was beginning to struggle with the realisation that widowhood doesn’t suddenly come to an end, it goes on and the absent partner actually doesn’t come back.
One sunny afternoon I was sitting outside with next door’s cat, a beer and a King Edward, and thought I should mail Dylan; I had had a mail from him some time ago and hadn’t replied. I went to fetch my laptop, switched it on....and there it was, a mail from him. How spooky! I mailed him back and wrote: “Just had a wee thoughtette – what about meeting up for a pint and a chat?” I just thought it would be nice to talk face to face, instead of by mail (which I was still struggling with).
So, eventually, on 16th August 2007, I took my knitting machine to Nantwich for a service and repair, then drove over to a pub near Dylan’s place of work. I was late, but thankfully he was still there, waiting for me on the car park. The long hair was gone; cropped all over; (in fact, it was me who had the long locks by this time)... he looked sadder and much less ebullient than he used to do, but he had a huge grin on his face when he saw me.
We collided with each other in a huge hug; then went inside for a drink and a chat. It was great to see him! We talked and talked, like the intervening years hadn’t been all that long really...I remember him telling me about his friend who has a shop selling ethnic stuff coming back from Thailand or somewhere with a three foot long, things hadn’t changed all that much, had they...but something was changing for me...I sat talking to him and looking at his forearms and felt some long-buried emotions coming slowly to the surface; I fancied him.  Certainly never expected to feel like that again.
We went back to our cars, having made him late back at work; he took a couple of photos of us with his camera on a self timer; we had a last hug, then left. I remember driving home feeling lighter and happier than I had in a long time.
I switched on my email when I got in, and there it was, from Dylan, just a short mail:
“You are bloody gorgeous”.
into the bewildering storm of grief
True love walked in, and held me safe
Then blew my world apart with undreamed of delights
A true meeting of minds, bodies, hearts.
Home at last, held fast in arms of love.
Face to face, and soul to soul
love saw boundaries and soared over them
Unconfined, free, it found strange wings and flew
Not thinking, or caring, where it would land.
my love took me wandering
over rocky crags, where I saw God;
through leafy green lanes
down into mossy green dales
In cathedrals made by man
In loftier ones, formed by the Creator.
but love proved weak, did not keep faith
Fear drove it back to a place of safety
a place that was not there
A place where love was not to be found
Only a leaning dependence, an unwillingness to let go.
Love finally left me here alone
With bitter memories of betrayal and pain
With loving memories of a meeting of hearts.
Past griefs healed over; by new griefs, replaced
Tearing open a heart that only wanted to love
And be loved, in return.
Now my love is scattered on the breeze that blows
over the crags, and onwards to the moors
No trace left of him that felt those strong impulses
No trace of his physicality
All that remains is love itself, pure and true.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Your average suburban garden doesn't always offer a thrilling range of wildlife, but if you (and your neighbours) have a pond, you're guaranteed a good frog population (one year we had a newt too). I find these little critters fascinating and can sit like a true saddo, watching them.

They are in the throes of spawning always amuses me to see them thrashing around in the most unseemly couplings, like the worst excesses of a Roman orgy....threesomes seem to be a favourite, the air punctuated by the contented grunts of the bull frogs. It's the poor old female I feel sorry for, squeezed in the middle of what looks like an unwanted embrace, with a forbearing expression; "I wish they'd go away and leave me to my knitting...."

This morning I've pruned my best roses, some of them fought back, but they now look neatly groomed and waiting to bloom later in the year. I love roses, and can't wait to get the garden done this year as it will be turned into the rose garden I always wanted.

I love this time of year. New life, new beginnings.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Spring's nearly here!

The goldfinches are back!

Well, one of explain, I can't say I ever noticed these colourful little birds before, but just after Kent died I noticed a pair of goldfinches on the bird feeder just outside the kitchen window. They returned every year about the same time, apart from last year when I don't remember seeing them. Well, I've seen one twice now, so I popped out to buy a new niger seed feeder (and seed).

Having a pair of expert killers living here does have an effect on the bird population...they stay away when the cats are out, but when their ladyships come back in, the birds quickly reappear.

Hmmm......need to get out in the garden. Certainly plenty to do out there.

Lenten abstinence

No, there isn't a hidden glass of wine just out of shot.....

Now, that's more like it.

Just to rub salt in, two ladies settled themselves down opposite me with a bottle of wine and two glasses. They poured it out and discussed the taste....I could have wept....

Still - when I do get my glass of wine, it's going to taste soooooooooo good!

Friday, 11 March 2011


Last night I heard Brahms' Requiem performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and choir. The first, short part of the programme were some Schubert and Brahms songs sung pleasantly enough by a Danish soprano with piano accompanist (interesting to watch his technique), and the Requiem was the main course. Rather than use the standard Catholic liturgy, Brahms instead chose passages from the Bible, mainly the Psalms and other consoling verses to bring peace to the bereaved, rather than battering them over the head with visions of hell and damnation.

Indeed, the piece begins with the words Blessed are they that mourn, and ends with Blessed are the dead. It was taken at a good pace, and was well performed by everyone. If I had a criticism it was that at a couple of points the sopranos seemed a little insecure of pitch, and the trumpet/trombone section a little cracked-sounding as they had been the last time I heard them at the Philharmonic Hall; but these are small carps and didn't detract from the enjoyment of the piece.

As an accompaniment to this Lent's meditations, it was excellent. The final passage was indeed extremely moving and I will admit to shedding a few quiet tears as I left the hall. When I walked outside into the dark night, I looked across to see the spiked crown-like top of the Metropolitan Cathedral, with its stained glass partly lit up; it seemed to speak to me of comfort.

The morning meditations are proving successful; today I was up early and had got quite a lot done by 7.30am. So far, so good.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Lent Meditation

Even a quick few minutes has beneficial effects. This morning's calming concentration on tranquility helped to transform a major crisis into a task of manageable proportions - something I was helpless about yesterday was easily done within an hour. I also learned that when there isn't anyone around to help, I actually CAN achieve things on my own.

All positive stuff!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


The start of Lent, traditionally a time of reflection and abstinence. This year I have been lucky enough to join forces with two friends on a programme of daily meditations (and bible study for me). It will be interesting to see how this works out. We have already agreed on the things we are giving up, and I've found a slight technical hitch with mine already!

I also have another, enforced, abstinence; the loss of someone in my life who I cherished. A hard lesson, and one I would not have chosen.

My hopes for this time of Lent are that I will find a refreshed spirituality, and the chance to put the grief and pain of the past few years behind me.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Life's An Elevator... goes up and down.

It certainly did yesterday, met up with two people, one meeting went really well, the other one ended fairly disastrously. It is too easy to focus on the negatives at times, rather than remember all the positives; and when we do major on the negative aspects of life we allow the downs to overwhelm us.

Today there is a beautiful sunny morning, which helps focus the mind on those positive things; a new day, new growth on the trees and bushes outside, the cats' eagerness to stay outside for longer every day; a renewal of life.

With every ending, there is also a new beginning.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The banana conundrum

Went outside this morning to find a dead banana on my drive.
It wasn't there last night. It is not one of my bananas.
So - how did it get there? Did it use its last dying gasps to crawl there and finally expire?
Will we ever know?
Life is full of such mysteries.


Something I love to do (don't always have time, admittedly) in the morning, once the hungry horde has been fed, is to light several sticks of incense and then go round the house, putting them in their incense boxes, seeing curls of perfumed smoke circling upwards. A small thing, but special somehow. To me it's like giving a blessing to the home and offering the day up to the Deity of Choice.

Today is a significant day for a Special Person, so today's blessing is for him.
Happy Birthday, Dylan.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

St David's Day

Four years ago today my life changed completely. I can say without doubt that it was the worst day of my life.

I woke up as normal to go to work, let the dog out as usual, and went to check on my husband who had gone to sleep on the settee - a sleep from which he would not wake up.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Cats - amazing creatures

Until I had two myself, I never realised what incredible creatures cats can be. As demonstrated yesterday by my own Katie kitten (aged 3).

Bearing in mind that she leaped from a narrow shelf-like surface on the landing, about three feet high, up onto the top of the door. Not only that but she explored the picture rail with a view to attempting to walk along it.

Lara Croft, move over. You're well outclassed.

Monday, 14 February 2011

My weekend

The weekend was great....after a somewhat unpromising start, it suddenly took off and was a lovely, enjoyable time. Dylan came down on Saturday and we made the new gates (fitted on Friday) dog-proof; we then ended up at the Beacon, Sedgley for a pint, came back and went for a curry. Sunday was our pre-arranged day at the PreRaphs in Birmingham. The exhibition was excellent; well laid out, well arranged, enough information on each section; two hours went extremely quickly.

We then headed further south to the Fleece Inn at Bretforton for a late afternoon meal....absolutely yum. Called at the White Lion (Barthomley) before coming home.

The weekend has been an unexpected delight. I was sad to part company with Dylan...he has made his choices in life; and those choices do not include me. I am sad about this, but I have to accept it.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Love, and The PreRaphaelites

Today I woke up eager to get on with the day, and filled with happiness. I am spending the day with the man I love most, the man I love with all my heart and soul. We are going to an art exhibition in Birmingham, “The Poetry of Drawing”, a collection of Pre-Raphaelite drawings and watercolours.
I love the work of the PreRaphaelites, with its deep symbolism, crowded detail and glorious colouring; wonderful stuff. I remember very early on when the the man I love (I’ll call him Dylan) came to visit me and he told me about his friend who had a picture on her wall of a woman in a boat (she wanted to be that woman, I think)....I nipped upstairs, took one of mine off the wall, and showed it to him saying, “Was this it?”
He said that picture has followed him around. Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott has long been a favourite of mine too, not least because it’s based on Tennyson’s poem which I also love (not much of a poetry person really). I was lucky enough to see the Waterhouse exhibition a couple of years ago at the Royal Academy, and got to see the Lady in the flesh....ok, in the oils...I was moved to tears to see her at last. I can confirm that she’s even more beautiful than a printed reproduction can show; every strand of hair lovingly painted in. It was fantastic seeing Waterhouse’s masterpieces gathered together; absolutely brilliant. Wonderful.
I’ve been to quite a few galleries and exhibitions over the past few years and want to see as many of the PreRaphaelite paintings as I can.
I said I’m not much of a poetry person, but there are times when it comes in this poem of William Blake, which just about sums up days like today:
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity's sunrise.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Achievements and Yoga

Today’s achievements: I sorted my art and needlework books into one of my bookcases – so now they have their own dedicated shelf – and put my yarn stash on a shelf below, so I can see what I have to work with. Another bit of organisation done.
I’ve also ordered coal, and booked the piano tuner. Two more items ticked off the list....all right, only two, but at least I’ve done them! The gardener is coming this week to fit the gates half way up the garden, so that’ll be something else to make life easier. The old chickenwire wood-framed barrier my H made many years ago has all but given up the ghost.
I was surprised, and somewhat touched, to see that a solar powered light my H put up in the garden, was glowing earlier. Maybe he is looking out for me? It was nice to see anyway.
Today’s yoga session was about trust. Mainly trust in ourselves....the premise being that if we can find that inner trust and self-confidence, we can more easily trust those around us.
An interesting concept. It has taken me a long time to build up my own trust in myself; to know when my gut instinct is right, rather than irrational thinking. So the yoga session was helpful in that. I don’t know about the wider picture....I tend to think that the only behaviours and ideas that we can change are our own; the actions of others are beyond our control, and more importantly, beyond our responsibility; we can of course learn to trust others, if they prove themselves to be worthy of that trust.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Quarry Bank Mill

Today I went to Quarry Bank Mill at Styal. Can well recommend it, although for non NT members it’s not the cheapest of days out; anyway, driving along the A34 I thought about driving, briefly; I used to work in the Cheshire countryside and part of my working day was the drive to and from work. Only 13 miles, but through beautiful countryside. There are several routes and I explored them all. Towards the end of my H’s life it lifted my spirits to see the scenery around me. In the weeks after his passing I would take his car and drive. Anywhere. Just point in a direction and go, listening to all kinds of music. It helped, not just to be out of the house, but to be out, alone, driving.
I have since discovered the joys of walking but the two are quite similar, to a way, the drive to a destination seems more significant than the arrival itself; walking and driving along a route seem to sum up our journey through life. I do my best thinking while walking...and yes, when driving; in the days when I did such things, I wrote my sermons and intercessions in my head while walking. The steady tramp, tramp, tramp of walking lends itself to logical thought. I will often take a circular route of some length, and by the conclusion I will have also reached a conclusion to my thinking.
I love the countryside; I love this country, full stop; and I hate seeing swathes of green areas dug up and replanted with horrible matchbox houses and new tarmac roads....and yet, I also enjoy driving along a decent stretch of road. I discovered the new Alderley Edge bypass; it badly needed one but all the same, it’s sad to see the area lost to it. That said, the embankments on either side have been planted with fine grass which is already well established. Not a haven for wildlife, but at least it’s green. There is some significance to me, of roads, that stems back to my childhood, although I have no idea why. I do remember poring over maps and imagining the reality of the areas on them. As an adult I learned to read them properly and now I get a great deal of pleasure just reading Ordnance Survey walking 1:25000 maps and being able to visualise the lie of the land. Sad, but each to his own.
Quarry Bank itself was fascinating; the machinery is still working and still produces cloth; the factory is still partly fuelled by an enormous iron water wheel which is enclosed within the building – something that was new to me; previously I’ve seen waterwheels on the outside with a mill race, but this one is at the base with water from the Bollin River running through it. Damp must have been a problem. Hearing loss must also have been a problem. Children from 9 years of age worked long hours in an appallingly noisy and dusty environment, six long days a week. Sundays they were expected to walk to church and back. It was regarded as a clean, and presumably, desirable, place to this 21st century woman it was just a depressing thought. No real prospects, meagre earnings, a life shortened by hard labour; hmmmm.....we have it so easy now.
These people were part of the basis for our modern capitalist society. I am glad that we have a record of their way of living, so that we don’t forget them, and that we realise how bloody lucky we are to be born now, rather than then.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Photos of my garden, 5th February 2011


Poor roses, choked with weeds...

Looks better, doesn't it!

Next task - don wellies, and pile in....

A new gardening year.

Today I decided against a visit to a National Trust place, and instead tackled something nearer to home.
My garden.
We bought this place in 1986, complete with overgrown weed infested orchard. Most of the trees were way past their best and I now have three left (one is dead now); H and I spent ages getting the weeds up, then we had someone come in to rotovate and lay turf. It looked good for a long time but has been neglected over the past fifteen years, so last year I bit the bullet and found a really good and reasonable gardener. This chap has been worth his weight in gold....he’s transformed the front garden from a weedy eyesore into a neat area with bark chippings and two large planting boxes, which I have filled with Lady of Shalott roses (it’s quite Pre-Raphaelite here, you know!)
My H once made a barrier to fence off the top area of the garden – the fencing isn’t secure and our dog escaped a few times. This barrier is now falling to pieces – it’s been there for quite a while – and Mark the gardener has made a proper pair of gates which he’s going to fit.
Yet something else to make life easier....I will just be able to open a gate to get to the garage and top of the garden, instead of mauling a wood-and-chicken-wire construction around.
Mark’s plan for this year is to returf the garden and put in two wide, curving beds which I will plant with roses, and maybe some interplanted lilies. It will look fabulous. The garden naturally divides into two areas; the area behind the house which is a rectangular, rather messy thing, in progress; and the top end where the garages and dog run are – totally overgrown and currently used as a dumping ground for garden waste. Eventually my plan is for this area to become a veg garden in raised beds, and my greenhouse should be relocated there too, if it survives dismantling...
I was trying earlier to remember when we did this....some years ago H and I put a small pond in, next to the greenhouse at the top of the formal garden area. It started out as a stepped rectangle lined with butyl, and it was nice for a while, but for one of my birthdays (can’t remember which one) H bought me a preformed pond liner.
We then proceeded to have WW3 while digging it in. If you’re thinking of doing a pond, trust me....butyl is by far easier. And if it does leak, you can easily drain the pond and just reline it with more butyl. However, after much sweat and toil and bad language we got it level, filled with water, and in time, we bought goldfish and shubunkins. A passing heron made off with some of them, and the rest sadly died of tadpole attack (yes, really) some years back. It was horrible...the tadpoles latched on to the fish and gradually nibbled away at their scales. I have never seen anything like it but googled the net and found that this can happen, especially when there is insufficient weed cover for the fish.
Quite possibly it might have been a good idea to fish out and relocate the frogspawn; the pond was probably over populated with frogs.
Since then, the pond has been neglected along with everything else, and up until half an hour ago, it was full of stagnant water and coated with duckweed. One of the cats (Katie) fell in it when she was a curious little kitten. It’s now empty, the duckweed is lining the sides, and there is a nice layer of sludge at the bottom. It will be easy enough to clean it out. A job for another day.
I’ll wait and see how the garden develops before restocking the pond; firstly I want to see if there will be a place to hide the filter box, and secondly I need to rig up another cable to the power source (in the garage).
While the pond was emptying I weeded around my remaining roses, and weeded the boxes in the front garden. Didn’t take long and well worth the effort....not least because it helped my headache subside, and I feel better for having got outside and achieved something.
There are a few rugosa alba roses left in the border (Mark ripped the majority of it out last autumn) and I notice they have new leaf buds on them.
A sign of spring.
I used to get such pleasure from gardening.....and this year, I hope to regain some of that joy.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The elusive secret of happiness?

Well.....this week seems to have been a turning point.
I’ve tackled my sleep routine – for a long time now I’ve gone to bed later and later, and as a result have been getting up later too. Not only that, but I’ve spent the morning sitting around in my husband’s dressing gown surfing the internet, and having breakfast at around 11am.....
My normal pattern is to get up about 8.30 and let the dog and cats out, while putting their food out.
I’ve changed this slightly. I wake up at 7 with the alarm, and get up shortly after; less than ten minutes to shower, brush my teeth and get dressed ready for work, I then see to the dog and cats. They don’t seem to mind the wait.
Trivial as this might sound, it’s made all the difference to my day. I now actually feel like doing things. Small things, I mean; cleaning, preparing tea (as in, my main meal of the day; round here it’s breakfast dinner and tea); getting laundry done dried AND put away...I’ve also improved my going to bed routine, and get a tray ready during the morning with tea bags, cup and soya milk ready for my last cuppa of the night (could have one in the morning, really....) I have a kettle in the’s little things like this that just make life that tiny bit easier, somehow....
The past couple of years have been all about making life easier. When I think back to how life was, it seems that we (that is, husband and I) did everything in the most labour-intensive way....we had a home filled with clutter and no storage space. We kept the coal in a coal-hole at the top of the garden, with a rough floor and a low wall three courses high at the front of it; not the easiest place to shovel coal out of. And not the most pleasant experience in winter. Yet this was how it was (we also fetched the coal ourselves in a trailer.....)
I now have a coal bunker outside the kitchen, and the coal man delivers too. It just makes life that bit easier.
Yes, ok, I probably get through a lot more coal, but what the hell.
That’s just one example.
The other is the kitchen. It was the thing that H and I were planning just before he died; we bought a sink and drainer in B&Q’s sale and were going to rip the old one out and put new cupboards in.
I’ve spent the past twenty odd years cooking in a hovel with damp mouldy wallpaper, two base cupboards, a dust-attractant plate rack, and a very large single glazed window.....finally, last October, I had a very nice man come and fit more cupboards than I will ever fill. Some are still empty. I now have a place for everything, I have surfaces I can easily keep clean, and just over two years ago I had the window replaced with a lovely double glazed one. And a new back door that really does keep draughts out. just makes life a hell of a lot easier.
And today, I realised....even though I haven’t got everything I want in life – mainly the man I love – I am happy.
Maybe I’m finding the secret of contentment.
Maybe that secret is in being on top of chores; not feeling bogged down...and as a lovely lady pointed out to me about half an hour ago, finally being in control of my own situation.
I think she’s right.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


My family has always had dogs; since I was a small child I can't remember a time without a dog around. Always poodles. Later on my folks had a Cairn and so started my love of Cairns....great little critters. Some years ago my H and I had a cairn - our second - and she is both my pal and my link to him - he named her Pippin.

After he died I wondered whether to get another dog...I thought it would be good for her to have company other than neighbours' cat had a litter and I took on two of them, sisters, both fabulous cats. Cats were new and strange to me....I was unsure about how they would settle in; how to care for them; what they would be like;

but with the help of a very dear friend (more of him later) I quickly got the hang of it.

Introducing the dog was nerve-wracking...she was boisterous, curious, and possibly jealous of the two little hamster-like creatures invading her house; I kept her on a leash every time they came out of their basket until my neighbour said, "Just let her go, you're doing more harm than good with this."

so....I did.....fearing the worst....

and it was fine!
The three of them are great mates now. One cat and the dog are usually great pals, whereas the other cat has a more standoffish relationship with her. This dynamic changes from time to time, and the cats know who's in charge. The dog is never quite convinced it's them.

My husband had a cat as his childhood pal and he would have loved these two, I'm sure.