Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Softer Side......

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Although early mornings and late evenings are chilly, we've had some lovely sunny days and my visits to see Harry in the nursing home have been really pleasant. In his room, there is a lovely glass door that opens out onto a grassy garden with bird feeders and tubs of plants. This garden is visited by grey squirrels and many species of birds. Harry can see all the wild life coming and going from his chair.
He was a builder for most of his life and obviously has a tough side to his personality.
However, recently, I've seen his softer side. He amazes me by saying repeatedly, "Look at the lovely way the sun shines on those leaves, isn't it beautiful?" Just look at those birds and the squirrels....... you couldn't have picked a better place for me...... it's all so lovely."
He almost makes me cry as these remarks are more the kind of things I would have said. At one time, if I'd have remarked about the beautiful way the light played on the blossom to him, then he's have probably said, "Oh yes"and got on with whatever he was doing.

Sometimes I take a packed lunch with me and eat it there, maybe in the garden or his room. There is a resident cat, probably left by an elderly who died there years ago, for the cat is very old. He seems to sense that I like him and he comes to be stroked or nursed by me. It's all on his terms though and when he's had enough, he jumps down. He does curl up in a chair in the room if the weather isn't as good and sometimes spends hours at the foot of the bed.
Its good to be able to stroke a cat and not have the responsibility of owning it. I do miss not having a pet but I won't be tempted again.

Whenever I go to see Harry, I never know what I will find. He's on a good run of stability at the moment but it could change so quickly and repeatedly it does. I'm learning to accept what comes and be grateful for it.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Tinged With Sadness...........

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

The past two weeks have been a time for adjusting to our new situations.
I started off by feeling rested with renewed energy after many months of little sleep because of  the constant demands of being a carer. Harry and I were both accepting of the fact that we now have to live apart as I cannot cope with him unable to walk or stand.
However, I'm now beginning to feel much more sad, as the unrealistic reality of the possibility of him ever coming home or recovering, is setting in.
At first, Harry seemed to be improving and I seriously questioned whether he really needed to be in the care home. It is now apparent, as his illness is taking more and more of him away from me, that he will not be able to manage anywhere else.
He is increasingly tired and wants to spend more and more time in bed sleeping.
I don't think he really needs anything more as the nurses and helpers are giving him excellent care, spoon feeding him when he's too tired to feed himself and keeping him clean etc.
I spend most of my days visiting him and if he wants to sleep then I quietly get on with my knitting or read my book.
Sometimes he doesn't remember anyone going and often misses visits completely, other times, he sits in his chair and talks or watches TV. He's never the same twice and seems to be predictably unpredictable. I think this is the hardest thing for me to cope with as I swing from renewed hope to despair and back in a constant circle.

Yesterday, my brother, Eddie  whose blog many of you follow, managed to drive over to see Harry, together with our cousin Rod. Harry and I were particularly pleased to see long lost cousin but also Eddie, who has been restricted from travelling because of his really horrible leg ulcer, that is now responding quite dramatically to the skill of the district nurses. After we'd seen Rod onto his train to the north west of England, Eddie ran me home and we bought a fish and chip supper and spent some time together before he headed back for home.

On the positive side, I do receive a lot of pleasure from my garden and the spring flowers that are now in full bloom. It is my favourite time of the month, but this year it's tinged with sadness.

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Saturday, 11 April 2015


It seems ages since I wrote a post but I've been a bit traumatised lately.

Harry got really sick a few weeks ago and I tried to manage him at home but when his legs packed up, I realised that there was no way I could do it. It took two people to get him onto his feet. Anyway, he had a severe infection and was sent to hospital so the situation was really taken out of my hands. For a few days we didn't think he was going to make it but antibiotics helped him to pull through. 
During this time, my brother, Eddiebluelights was in a ward a couple of floors below, with a swollen leg that had ulcerated. I was really worried when I saw the state of it but I was so pleased that I could see him every day. Eddie and Harry were both discharged from hospital on the same day.

I was told that I had absolutely no chance of looking after Harry at home any more as he was too much for me to cope with, so, with a heavy heart I had to find a nursing home for him.
I managed to find one fairly close to where I live and he has a lovely room looking out onto a lawn and he can see robins, blackbirds and squirrels playing out there. There is a black cat who also lives in the home and is free to wander in and out of all the rooms. Harry has a TV and a few personal pictures and things from home. Also, my daughter in law's mother is only two doors away. She had a stroke last summer and cannot look after herself. This makes visiting them both so much easier.
I've experienced many emotions over the last few weeks, which is why blogging has taken a back seat.
However, I'm now realising just how tired and irritable I was all the time I was struggling with Harry at home and now I feel rested and suddenly a weight has lifted from my shoulders. Today he had a whole stream of visitors. 
I won't forget Harry..... I go and see him most days and take him in little treats and tell him all the latest news.
All around me the lovely little flowers of the Forget-me-not are blooming and are scattered in little nooks and crannies of paving slabs and in gardens.
How could I ever forget Harry? We've been together for 53 years.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

From a Sunny Bench

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

One really sunny day, last week, I decided to walk through the local park and weave my way round all the paths, eventually sitting down on a handy bench in the sun. It was good to feel the warmth on my face and it wasn't long before I started to watch the people around me.
The park had been planted up with spring bulbs under the trees and it was good to see swathes of colours brightening up the rather muddy bits of the park. Later on, during the spring and summer, there are usually areas of wild flowers randomly sown, as well as more formal rose beds, that are now devoid of leaves because they've been heavily pruned.

There were a good few people walking their dogs and most of them were let off their leads for a good romp round. They obviously loved to scamper about and looked really exuberant, which was good to see. Most of the owners were extremely responsible and threw an object out onto more open grassy areas and it was interesting to watch the way these pets went about retrieving the balls or sticks and some times toys. Some dogs ran out into the far distance, picked up the ball and brought it back to the waiting owner. Obviously this was a wonderful way of exercising a dog without having to walk very far. Some animals picked up the ball and then dropped it again, turning round and going back to the owner without it. It was their way of saying, "I've found it, now go and pick it up for me again." The obedient owners did just that.
Some of the dogs while off the lead, did walk through the flowers but I noticed they were walking quite daintily through them causing the minimum of damage.
However, I was a bit gobsmacked by a few owners who let their dogs off the lead and threw a ball right through the flowers and rose beds letting their animal trample the plants down as they focused on the ball. One or two of these owners appeared not to even notice the flowers and threw the ball into them over and over again.
There were plenty of grassed over wide open places where they could have thrown a ball.

The more responsible owners could be seen carrying little bags of dog mess ready to dispose of in the bins provided.  However, some were so busy talking and had their backs to the dogs making it impossible to see whether they'd made a mess or not. Judging by the little droppings that have to be watched out for when walking on the grass, this is a regular occurrence. 
It is a great pity that a few have to spoil it for the rest of the responsible citizens who use the park. 
Maybe I should have taken my book and then I wouldn't have noticed any of it. 
I am an animal lover and think dogs should be allowed off their leads under supervision but I like to see flowers and well kept grass too. A compromise is called for as well as good sense, don't you think?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Maggie's Favourites

There's nothing like a good book to completely take you over for a while.
Since I've been sleeping on my own these last few months on account of Harry having to sleep in his bedsit downstairs, I've found one of the advantages of being by myself is that I can read for as long as I like and can switch the light off when I like. If I wake up and can't get back to sleep, I can put the light on again and read until I'm sleepy. No one will nag me about it and it's my own fault is I stay up too late and feel tired when I get up the next day.
I also read in the day time too, especially through the cowboy films that Harry has on TV during the afternoons.
During good weather, I take a book out with me to a park or open space and also to appointments.
I've recently enjoyed:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry :- Rachel Joyce
The Secret Keeper :- Kate Morton
A Street Cat Named Bob :- James Bowen
The Forgotten Garden:- Kate Morton
Little Mercies:- Heather Gudenkauf
Starting Now:- Debbie Macomber
The Weight of Silence:- Heather Gudenkauf
The Snow Child :- Eowyn Ivey
The Horse Whisperer :- Nicholas Evans
Just Take My heart :- Mary Higgins Clark
Sold :- Zana Muhsen
Cellar Girl :- Josephina Rivera
Stalked :- Kate Brennan
The Last Runaway :- Tracy Chevalier

I must admit that *enjoyed* sometimes meant that I couldn't put the book down rather than having received contentment from it. Some of the above books are true stories that may be gruesome in content at times but have been compelling to read and took a lot of courage to write. I admire anyone who can turn their life around from a bad situation and often use it for good.

Has  any one read anything from my list. What is your favourite book?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Bits and Pieces

Two more 1000 piece jigsaws have helped to keep me amused during winter weather. I usually have one on the go in the front lounge where I often hide away when Harry is watching football or films that I don't like in the back room, which now is his bedsit.
He is still waiting to hear from the hospital about his shunt. Nothing gets done very fast over here.

Very soon, I shall be busy making the garden tidy as the weather steadily improves. Already the days are lengthening and it is still light at five pm now, which is much better than it was around Christmas when it started to get dark at 3.30. 
My snowdrops did emerge a couple of weeks after I complained that they seemed to have disappeared.  Nature sees to it that they come up at the right time so I needn't have worried.
The jigsaws will most likely be stored away now that there will be so many other things to do. All the year through, I usually have a good book on the go and have got into the habit of reading in bed till I fall asleep. One of the advantages of being on my own. I can do what I like.

Our lives seem to go round in a a circle of seasons just like the weather outside, though I doubt very much whether I will be shedding any clothes just yet as it is still a bit chilly. 
There is a saying in Britain, *Don't cast a clout till May is out.* Not sure if that means the month of May or when the first flower of the May bursts forth, which will happen a little bit earlier.
It's supposed to be unlucky to bring the May flower into the house, another of our sayings.
I wonder where these sayings came from and what they really meant.
Off to Google that now.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Winter Wonderland

Since I last posted, the weather has turned cold and much of Britain has had snow. Our city had a few half hearted flurries but the white stuff didn't *pitch*, as we say in our part of the world, and soon melted.
In our area this weekend, there is a celebration of Winter Wonderland, lighted windows. It is a trail of shop windows that will be brightly lit and beautifully decorated and many residential homes are also displaying such windows and people are encouraged to walk round the large area of this trail and see the lovely displays. Quite a good thing to do on a cold winters evening, wrap up warm and look at something lovely instead of watching the condensed horror of the world's latest goings on, on the TV News. As it's Saturday night, there is also fish and chips to collect from our local shop.
Does your area do anything special to lift the heart on a cold winter's evening?