Wednesday 29 September 2010

Prayers For A Brave Lady

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

I find after suffering from cancer and having chemotherapy, that I have much empathy towards other people who are going through the same thing.

One lady who I have *met* through blogging, is Lakeland Jo from Windermere in Cumbria. When she learnt that her cancer had returned and was not operable, she went to London and approached the Royal Marsden for a second opinion. That was a very long way to travel from the lake District. After yo-yoing between yes and no for a good while, the hospital finally agreed to a very risky and lengthy operation that has been going on for most of today (Wed).

Being a Christian, she believes in the power of prayer and I know that prayer helped me tremendously when I was first diagnosed with cancer, when I was in a devastated state and also while having chemo.

Jo's husband has posted an update here and she was still under anaesthetic when he wrote it and she had a long way to go. However Jo was doing very well and things looked positive.
I think that she will need a long recovery from such an operation and I would urge all the people who prayed or sent up positive vibes for me, to please do the same for Jo.

Maybe that is why we go through bad times, so that we can help others through their suffering too. Its the only way that I can make any sense out of it at all.
I know that you won't let me down and I can't tell you enough how I value all the friendships that I have through blogging.

I am pleased to say that Jo has pulled through the operation, here and the outlook seems to be pretty good. She will need our prayers as she recovers over the next few weeks.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Ballet, Knitting and Rabbits

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Although I had good news about my CT scan last week, I have also had an anxious time with my little rabbit, Ash.
I had decided he needed to be castrated as he was reaching his sexual maturity and letting me know it by mounting my arm when I went to stroke him and giving me little nips and trying to show me who was boss........ as well as spraying. No, I couldn't put up with any more of that.

His appointment had been made for last Thursday morning and after looking at him, the vet declared him healthy and old enough enough for the operation.
I knew he'd be traumatised by it but didn't realise just how much.
When I went to collect him that evening, he looked fairly alert, but subdued. Well he would, wouldn't he considering what I had arranged to have done to him?
I was told to get him eating again as fast as possible. Well, I tried all his usual favourites as well as his staple food. He wasn't having any of it.
I checked on line and realised that the slightest thing could get a rabbit to stop eating with disastrous consequences. They go anorexic if they are not happy and Ash was definitely sulking.
By 11pm that same night he had only eaten a piece of raffia from a toy and refused everything else.
The next day he had developed rabbit scours. Well I won't go into detail as to what that means, but it meant lots of cleaning up for me and I realised that it was a potentially serious thing in rabbits. Fortunately he was drinking lots of water and eating green stuff but nothing else.
I stayed up till very late that night comforting him and trying to coax him to eat hay. I also felt very guilty that I had caused all this suffering.

Next day it had been arranged to go to the vet for a check. However he was bright eyed and bushy tailed by then and had eaten a tiny amount of food before he left for the visit. I was hoping that he wouldn't be set back by further stress from this.

On examination, it was found that he'd bitten one of his two stitches out and was due to have the other one removed on Monday. He has now almost fully recovered and is eating well and throwing his toys about and taking an interest in things around him.
When he goes to the vet tomorrow, he will be having two inoculations as well and I'm hoping that he won't be set back again by this new experience.
I am considering getting him a little companion later on, but am giving the matter great thought. I certainly don't want to rush into anything I might regret as I believe it is not always easy to get rabbits to bond with each other. They can be quite violent little beasts at times.

I expect you will be wondering why I have photos of Millie on this post and none of Ash. Have I made a mistake, you might be asking?
Well no. I was going to show pictures of Millie knitting but felt I had to mention Ash's trauma.
Millie is not yet six and can knit a row unaided. She picked it up very fast, though her sister, threw hers down after twenty minutes of trying to learn.

Millie loves pink and is knitting a scarf.
I keep having to rescue the stitches when she looses them but I am really pleased with her progress.

She has also started a local ballet class and I thought her outfit is really cute.
The knitting was still on her mind even though it was almost time to set out for the class.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Changing Moods and Skies.

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Sometimes it is good to get away from everybody and go off somewhere on my own.
I haven't a lot of choice about where to go, but last week I hopped onto a bus (using my free pass), and took the hour long journey to my local sea side. It is the easiest place to get to by bus as they run frequently during the day time.
A visit there, always makes me feel better, somehow and is the place where I am able to recharge my batteries ready to face the world again.

You can tell that the sea and sky have moods just like we all do. This outing started off as a pleasant day. A typical, warm Autumnal day and the sea was in, which is quite unusual, as chances are that it could be miles out of view on any given visit. Unless you study the tide times, which I don't.
The new pier, which isn't yet open, looked good against a calm, lonely sea. Not many people were here at this time of the year, as schools are back and it was a weekday.

In the space of half and hour or so, the sky looked threatening and overcast.
A bit like my mood can turn sometimes.

I had a lot on my mind.
Waiting for my recent CT scan results. Knowing that as my hair re grows, so might my cancer be re growing too because I have been warned that at some point it will probably come back. It is a question of how long away in the future. No one can tell.
Every ache or pain that I have, might be something sinister. It is not an easy place to be. However I do realise that I am living on borrowed time and I am grateful to be alive now and to be given this second chance.
The illness that my husband has and the uncertainty of when he will be starting chemo is very much on my mind too. Then there are so many other things that I want to blog about but can't for obvious reasons.
So I do have real cause to be down some days and it wouldn't be human not to feel this way.

The situation with the darkening sky seemed to get worse and I moved for cover before the first droplets of rain came down. It didn't last long though and the sun came out again eventually, just as my mood changed too.
I ate an ice-cream, looked round the shops.
There is an immense sense of freedom as I do these things and choose where I will go and what I will do.
I always feel better after an outing on my own and my mood always lifts.
After all, everything is in the hands of God. I cannot do anything about these things, so it is silly to dwell on them.

I am pleased to say, that my CT scan showed no sign of disease, so that has made me really happy and I can forget about it for another three months at least.

Monday 20 September 2010

A Sad State Of Affairs

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

My friend, Squirrel is very worried about her sister right now.
She lives in USA and has been there a long time. Originally, she followed an American man that she'd met, who happened to be married, but split from his wife (or so she believed).
It is the usual story....... she became pregnant with his child and they set up home together
in the States and had a son, Zac, who is now school-aged.
I am not going to judge them, why should I? It happened and cannot be reversed.

After some time, things started to go wrong between the two of them and the man left Lynne and went back to his wife.
Being an American citizen, the boy's father had overall say in where Lynne's son went and the boy is not allowed out of the country and possibly out of the State they live in, though Lynne does have custody of him. This is making Lynne a virtual prisoner.

The father wants custody of Zac and his wife wants to adopt him.
It looks like they stand a good chance of this happening because Lynne has discovered that she has breast cancer and has no health insurance.
Zac, being an American citizen and a child, is fully insured, but Lynne simply couldn't afford to pay for her own health insurance.

As she is a British Citizen, Lynne could get free treatment for her cancer over here, but of course she cannot bring her son back and will not leave him. So now she would sooner die than lose her son, but by dying she will lose him anyway and I'm sure her son would rather have her alive.
This is a terrible state of affairs and what I want to know is..... all my American readers......., what do other people do over there, who find themselves in this situation? Surely it can't be that unusual? I really cannot get my head round it.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Ring Out Those Bells

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

I have posted about Morris Dancers before. That is because my son belongs to a Morris Dancing group and he often asks me to go with him on his various excursions. (Probably to babysit the girls or at least take them off his hands for a bit!)

I must say that I always manage to enjoy myself on these occasions and I find that Morris dancers are an extremely friendly bunch of people.

Some of these pictures were taken at the Sidmouth Festival while we were on holiday recently.
Others were taken when I went to various engagements with my son's group.

Some have outfits that make them stand out from the rest, following a definite colour. Others have rag outfits of many colours.
There is sometimes a horse or a clown type figure to bring a bit of humour into the dance.

Most groups have music of some sort to accompany the dancing.
Many carry sticks that are used in formation dancing.
But everyone have bells on their legs!

The tradition goes way back in time and each group seems to put a slightly different slant onto their dances and outfits.

If there are still any overseas readers who don't understand what Morris Dancing is about, they can go here.

Sometimes the sticks seem positively dangerous and it isn't that unusual to get a whack on the head from time to time.
But it seems to be a very good form of exercise.
Pity I'm a bit long in the tooth to take it up.

Monday 13 September 2010

The Honey Trap

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Not long ago I wrote about a place that seems to lure every little girl and possibly boy into a state of bliss.
Amber bought a bear with her savings, on an other occasion, with her mother which she saw made from scratch, to her own specifications.

About a month ago, I asked her to start to think about what she would like for her Birthday and she had no hesitation about asking for clothes for her rainbow bear.
As it was holiday time, I decided to take both the girls to this special place, which was in the middle of a large shopping mall.
I took them on the bus and as I was used to hopping on and off with my free bus pass, the price of the girls' return fare was a bit of a shock straight away.
However, we set off to have a fun day and that was what we intended to do.

The moment we entered this *plastic* place I noticed it was like a snare for small children. I was immediately pounced on by a young girl shop assistant who was hoping for a large sale.
"Just looking'" I said.
I really hate to have an over anxious assistant hot on my tail.

I must admit that I would have given my eye teeth as a child, to be let loose in this shop because there were rows and rows of outfits of every description for these bears.
Although as a child, I wasn't poor by local standards, there was nothing like this and the war years had certainly limited any chances of luxuries like these and finances wouldn't run to it even if they were available. So I was thinking of how deprived I had been as a child and wondering if children really appreciated all the choice and luxurious toys they have today. Somehow I really doubt it.

Amber had no problem at all, choosing what she wanted. I had told her the amount that I was willing to pay and we worked out the cost as we went along through the rows and rows of clothes that stretched from floor to ceiling and filled the whole shop.

"Is it your Birthday?" asked the persistent shop girl.
When she was told there was a month to go, the assistant beckoned to her colleague and they both sang Happy Birthday with plastic smiles and theatrical gestures.
The minute the song was over the smiles switched off and away they went to find some other candidate to pounce on.

To dress a bear well, there would be a need for party dresses (or smart suits for a boy bear) casual skirts, tops and dresses, for the girl bears, never ending choices of footwear and even roller skates, for both. Nightwear and dressing gowns and sleeping bags, carrying slings, not to mention hats and scarves and football outfits were all on offer. There were toys for the bears to play with. I have never seen anything like it.

The little heap we came away with didn't seem to be much to look at but it was agreed that they would be put away for the month until Amber's proper Birthday and she readily agreed with that. I was secretly hoping that she wouldn't grow out of the bear phase till after her Birthday at least, because this is what seems to happen..... children get fed up with something very quickly and new things take their place.

However it didn't stop there..... Millie the youngest, was goggle eyed as she saw all the delights of this shop. She had mentally noted the colour of the bear she was going to have made and which outfits and accessories she was going to get the bear when her Birthday arrived later on in the year.

As we left the shop, there were other little children entering this Aladdin's Cave and like wasps around a honey trap, they got sucked in. Their poor parents didn't stand a chance.
The assistants sprang into action and so the cycle went on........

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Grove Park

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Often when Harry and I have travelled to Weston Super Mare on the bus, we have walked to Grove Park.
We always enjoy the floral displays that are kept in really beautiful condition and there is also a lovely lily pond and plenty of benches to sit and relax on in the sun.

Some times we go to Jill Dando's Memorial Gardens that I have already posted about before. Here. The garden was incorporated into one side of the park and we watched it being created on TV by BBCs *Ground Force*.
It is a tranquil place to go and sit and to remember the lovely TV presenter who was gunned down on her own doorstep some years ago.

We first noticed something beneath this tree by the path, when we first started visiting the park. Sometimes there are flowers under it.

There is a memorial under the tree dedicated to Nick Dutton, a young man who obviously died there, though we have never been able to find out how or why. It is rather sad and we often wonder if he came to a violent end in the park under that same tree. He is obviously somebody's son and my heart goes out to his relatives.

On the last occasion that we visited, a band was playing in a corner of the park and we stopped to listen for a while. It was *Life boat* weekend and there was quite a lot going on for the benefit of this wonderful charity that saves so many lives around these treacherous coasts in the Bristol Channel.

Every time we visit, there are always some new things to see as well as the old and the familiar.
Hope you enjoyed the feel of Grove Park on this occasion, as we walked through it together.

Friday 3 September 2010

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

While on our recent holiday in Devon/Dorset, we came across some unusual displays of props amongst the plants.
This was the town of Seaton. In fact it is the main roundabout in Seaton and they have used old bicycles to decorate this flower bed. I found it quite fascinating and strangely effective.

This is the main high street in the town of Beer. There are little streams that run on either side of the road and these little planters straggle the streams like tiny bridges. This is just one of many and I think they are rather pretty.

This cartful of flowers was noticed when passing a private garden and I couldn't resist a quick snap. I bet I'm not the only one who took a picture.

These jungle animals were cleverly made of flowers and were in a small public garden, I think it was in Seaton.

Don't you think these two colours go well? Hot and cool.

This fish and the iguana below, were hanging out in a Sidmouth public garden.
They are part of my favourite holiday photos that I wanted to share.
Hope you enjoyed them.