Saturday, 18 January 2020

Home Improvements...

I'm having a really hard time "owning" my house. So many things are where they are because that's where they've been.  The plate cupboard had all sorts of not-much-used things at the front, and all the little plates at the back. I use little plates a lot. Hmmm. And why did we have three graters? Probably because we were not good at throwing the damned things out when a new one arrived..

The big teapot made me awfully sad.  In the last few weeks of John's life I made pot after pot after pot of tea, then watched him leave the cup till cold, then reject the cold tea. At which point I would make another pot.

I make a pot, drink one cup, throw 5 away...
Or use a teabag. I detest teabags
So, a Home Improvement

Little pot, new tray. It makes a cup-and-a-half and I can take the whole lot where I am going to work

And' almost but not quite Spring. On the dining table, it will be sooner than outside
Another Home Improvement

The last is not photogenic, but it is making me feel lighter. Endless paper burned - I do not see why I should keep house electricity bills from 2009...

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Long Day...

Ending in Sewing!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Unravelling Gently...

It's the small things that upset me.  I found the last birthday card he sent me. It says "Happy Birthday, and thanks for being here"

I cannot imagine where else I might have been.

And I'm slowly unravelling the Mess and sorting the Stuff, and putting it all in different rooms, so that the possibilities of carrying on are made real. 

This was the big bedroom - it's all painted (although I'm finding the colour a bit stark, but there's nothing much on the walls yet.) The big alcove on the left above has  now lost the plan chest (in the bedroom) and I have put up racking for big shelves for my fabric boxes, shelves will be cut tomorrow, but I bought the wrong spurs so it may be a few days before it's all done. I'm pleased with myself for doing it efficiently and with accuracy, but also sad that the usual one-drills-and-one-holds-the-hoover thing wasn't possible.. I suspect there will be a lot of those in my life from now on.

I had already built a big table - probably the most useful thing and the one I miss most from the workshop -  I don't think I want to live without one of these, and the height is kind on  my back

Occupied within seconds by my constant companion...

And now utterly full of Stuff, awaiting sorting..

More pictures tomorrow, as I have the sewing machine, the big rug, and the ironing table all in place - and I hope to resolve the rest in the next few days..

Blessings to all, Happy Winter-Festival-Of-Choice, and a Hopeful and Prosperous New Year..

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

I had...

...a real bang-on-the-ear moment yesterday. I was walking up from Tesco’s into Beccles centre, suddenly was hit by the realisation that I was no longer permanently anxious...

I think this has been my permanent state for most of the last 5 years, possibly longer, and must have been because of John being so ill and fragile.. The last year has been particularly bad, as he lost his hearing and much of the use of his hands after the chemo and radiotherapy... 

I wonder if we will look back in the future and wonder why so many people were poisoned so badly in the attempt to rebalance a disordered system, as cancer is a disorder of the growth of cells, not so much a disease as a broken mechanism..

Anyway, I have been thinking about a new Word for 2020, and have decided on Renaissance (thanks Derek, for the suggestion). Yes, hard to spell, well, work on it, sweetie. It sums up my wishes so well. I want to remake, renew, revitalise, and review everything I do, in a constructive and upward-spiralling manner, and to re-examine my work with the parts of my life that have disappeared somewhat. I have been mourning my lovely man since May, and I think I'm almost done. He would not have wanted me to cry and mope, and I will not. I need to re-find my qigong, my bicycle, and my health and strength.

I do get upset, sometimes people are too nice, (that's pretty hard to take)  - today we had a lovely Christmas meeting of the Teapot Quilters - I founded this group and have passed it on this year to HB, and she's doing a great job. We moved it to the cafe at The Raveningham Centre, and it has expanded and renewed itself really well, with a core of good-hearted people and a few nice newcomers. The food (a pick-up lunch) was fantastic. I made a big bread-and-butter pudding from John's leftover bread in the freezer (I'm not much inclined to bread these days, too many carbs) with apples and sultanas and not-much-sugar, and it was delicious...

And sometimes so self-seeking
At the very end of the day the unpleasant man from the next-door business came in and picked a fight with me. I told him to F off, and he snidely said "I was very fond of John" - well, not enough to ask after him when he wasn't apparent for 8 weeks, or to say sorry that he was gone, or any of those things, just a nasty sulky little chucklefuck of the worst self-interested kind.. And this upset me in a way that is unacceptable and a waste of my energy, and I'm going to tell him that John thought he was a nasty little waste-of-space and a ruinous mistreater-of-tools (a cardinal sin in John's eyes).. I'm going to wait until lots of people are listening, though... Revenge, dish cold, etc..

Anyway, now I have to shower, move yet more stuff around upstairs fairly quietly (my neighbour goes to bed early) and sit in front of the fire with a mindless programme or two and a cup of tea.  

And some dark chocolate, I think

And then sleep in our big bed one more time, before I make a little one for myself...

Sunday, 15 December 2019


For 2020 will be Renaissance. More about that later
Green room is painted, counter built, awaiting more shelves then I can move lots of stuff upstairs..

I think it may well be mine now. Next, a small bed in the small room and a big workroom.. More shifting!

And the cat is definitely broken. Here she sits, awaiting a flush

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

What I have Learned...

...from nursing a terminally ill man for two months, and mostly doing all the looking after one for 6 months..

It's bloody hard work. And relentless. After a while you long to run away and not have to prepare meals which don't get eaten; prepare and provide drugs; change beds and clothes. Washing, washing-up, more washing, more sheets and towels and  t-shirts and pyjamas...

And you don't go, because that is unfair on your Lovely Man, who is almost always unfailingly polite and grateful and kind, even when you don't get things right or assume stuff or make mistakes. Or inedible dinners.

Eventually you need more help, and it's a good idea to ask sooner rather than too late, because then the pain in your back goes a little and you stop panicking that this sad soggy lovely man might fall over, or off the bed, and you may be helpless  to get him up again.  The invasion of the house is hard, too. We never spent much time entertaining visitors, and in the last 8 weeks we have had hundreds of different feet on our doorstep, nurses, doctors, delivery-people, palliative care, and all and all.  The cat is disturbed, and plays up.

And equipment! Dammit, all this stuff is functional but it's also astoundingly ugly. White-coated metal tubes everywhere. Yes, the electric bed is wonderful, but oh! I shall be so glad to see it go. I have no words for shower-seats that were not attached to the wall, toilet-lift frames that pinch, and grab bars in the wrong place. No, I will be suitably grateful, but I will also be very glad to have my dining-room back.

You spend far too much time waiting in the chemist's for "lost" prescriptions; cooking food which gets thrown away, and sitting quietly in a dim room while your Lovely Man sleeps, in case he wakes and needs you for something. You get up three times in the night in case he needs something. You empty his catheter bag and his stoma bags and you clean and replace these, and wash him, and comb his hair.. And you don't wash his hair often enough, as it's so hard to arrange. And, as you know he likes clean hair, this makes you feel inadequate. And you are so tired all the time.

And you feel bad if you go to sit by the fire when he cannot, to watch TV when he cannot, and go outside when he cannot.
This has been the most gloriously beautiful Autumn and I cannot speak of it, because it's unfair..

And then, he is gone, the sun comes up and the birds sing, and the relief is so enormous, that you want to sing and shout, but that would be wrong?

Monday, 2 December 2019

My Lovely Man...

Died today at 3pm.

Between one breath and the next-which-didn't-come, and peacefully by my side. I will miss him so much, and yet I cannot be sorry that his suffering is over. I will always remember him as the kind, peaceable, eminently skilled, beautiful soul that he was, and will be in all of our minds who knew him.

Our last day out together was to North Norfolk, for a splendid cafe lunch at Walcott, and a visit to the lovely gardens at East Ruston Old Vicarage, which he had never seen before. I'm so glad we had that splendid day in the sun. You will note that, he disliked being photographed, I didn't often get a front-facing picture

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Turn, turn, turn

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die.

I'm sitting here in a dim dining room, with the lights turned low and my lovely man fading away in his gentlemanly fashion. He has stopped eating and pretty much stopped drinking, and is slowly dissolving from this life into the next. I will miss him so much, but I also want to carry on, to make a good thing of the next times, because that would please him. I showed him my plans for the house, and he was pleased.

We have had such a lot of time together; almost half my life,  but it will never have been enough.

And I am so glad that we are here, in the quiet together, not in some bleeping, noisy, interfering, brightly-lit, stupid hospital ward, with bustle and ignorance and "visiting times"...

I don't think I have ever done anything as hard as this, or in some ways as easy, because it is needed...

The work is endless, but the parts of it are easy enough, and I don't begrudge a moment. He did so many things for me, endlessly patient with my flights-of-fancy, making things, making time, making me happy.. I hope I did the same for him..

A time to laugh, a time to weep..

I really don't want to cry, but it's hard..

A time to build up, a time to break down

And I went over to the workshop for a cup of tea and a tiny break. Dill and Jo have taken over the front section of the place as a shop - to be called The Yard at Raveningham, and they have taken on  my garden, and walled, and painted, and made all fresh ad smart. And this is how it looks today, almost ready for a Grand Opening on Thursday evening, with the Christmas Shopping Thing

It's not mine any more. Yippee!

I took the photos to show John, but he's too far away..

Bless us both, and pray if you do that, good thoughts if not

Friday, 15 November 2019

Reasons to be Cheerful, I Think

Leaves are lovely. The colours lift my heart

I don't think I bear to be miserable for much longer, and it's not fair on my Lovely Man, who is so diminished, to take away a smiling face. Even if he is always asleep, he deserves better...

And there are always things to amuse me. In the rain, 1/2 hour to do everything, and after an argument with Boots, who don't order stuff in on time or at all, and seem not to give a monkeys... This nice thing in a gutter...

Roadkill - Sand Bag. Just love the textures in this photo

And my only bit of sewing this week - I had to make blocks for Siblings Together, string-pieced on A4 paper, not my idea of nice, too big. So, I made this one, total of A4 in 7 parts. Much more amusing...

Tuesday, 12 November 2019