Sunday 29 May 2011

Is It Winter Again?

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

The Clematis is probably the predominant flowering plant in my garden right now. It is one of my favourite plants.
The weather is quite cold and wet at the moment and the Bank Holiday was spoilt because of it. However, I enjoyed the break as I had all my family around me for the weekend and Harry had perked up no end following his last trauma with chemo.
Towards the end of this week, Harry starts his second treatment. I really hope that he won't be as badly affected as last time. The doctor said that she would cut down the dosage slightly to see if that will help.

Dare I say that Blogger seems to have settled down?

Last week it was Rabbit Awareness Week. The purpose of that week was to try to get owners to be aware of a rabbits needs.
Apparently, many bunnies are still kept alone in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden with no one bothering with them and nothing to keep them mentally stimulated. They end up being practically forgotten about, especially in rainy weather. There are many neglected and unhappy rabbits that were bought for a child who got fed up with their new *toy* and moved on to something else.

Rabbits are intelligent animals and need the company of their own kind. It is best to have a neutered male and a spayed female who usually get on well together. They need to exercise in a large run as well as having access to lots of hay, some daily vegetables and fruit and a hand-full of rabbit pellets and they need a selection of toys to play with and a little place to hide when they feel threatened.
They are not really suitable animals for small children and according to the Rabbit Welfare Association, an increasing number of adults are enjoying them as pets.
They can be kept indoors and can be potty trained as rabbits are very clean animals.
They wash themselves more than a cat does.

Lily likes to drag her towel around and she sits on it to sleep. She loves to be cuddled and if she is in the right frame of mind, she sits for a long time on my lap. She likes to play ball and tear up cardboard or paper in her run.
Ash is still a bit skittish, being a Netherland Dwarf, but he does often stay on my lap for a cuddle but needs to be securely held. He loves being stroked but will nip my sleeve if he wants to get down. He likes to throw his plastic dish around his run and tear up paper and cardboard boxes.
When they are happy, they jump around and do a little hop, skip and jump, referred to as a binky. They can take off vertically like a helicopter. A contented bunny will throw itself on the ground as though dead and stretch its little legs out behind it and fall asleep...... knowing it is secure.
There is nothing better than seeing a bonded pair exchanging glances and snuggling up. They appear to be sharing a secret and wash each others noses and ears constantly.
They are fairly high maintenance pets but I love mine to bits.

Friday 27 May 2011

A Wasted Day

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Since I took the photo of the poppies in the picture below, which couldn't be more than two weeks ago, there has been quite a turn in the weather and we've had much cooler, windier days with intermittent rain.
The result of this has been even more poppy flowers opening.

Some strange things have been going on with Blogger recently. Though I'm not even sure if it is Bloggers fault.
You see today I tried to put my password into the account and it just kept repeating the request. *Put in Password*. After attempting it for a good while, and being told to do the same thing over and over again, I gave up and thought it was a Blogger fault.
After a whole day of not being able to comment or post, I was getting a bit fed up.
It occurred to my son that I should try my laptop and see if there was a similar problem there. I didn't have very high hopes of the laptop being any different but was really surprised that I was allowed to get to blog after putting in the password. No trouble at all.
My son understands quite a lot about computers but couldn't seem to understand what the problem could be. He tried using Firefox instead of Safari and found that the blog is fine using that. However the laptop is running on Safari and working fine.
As soon as we try to run the main computer on Safari, I cannot get the password to work.
Has anyone any idea what the problem could be?
We've already tried clearing the cache.
I am the kind of person that likes an answer to things....... even if I might not understand it. So thinking caps on please.

Monday 23 May 2011

My Herb Garden

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

As you all know, my garden is very small and I tend to cram in everything that I can, which gives it a cluttered look.
I have recently given up quite a chunk of patio in order to grow some herbs in pots.
It is good to add a few fresh herbs to a salad and I have several different varieties of parsley, coriander, sage, fennel, mint, rosemary and thyme.
Coriander is a lovely little herb that livens up a cheese sandwich. I'm sure it is meant to go into a curry though.
My rabbits love fennel and rosemary best.

What herbs are your favourites and what do you use them for?

Friday 20 May 2011

My Birthday

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Since my last post I have had a Birthday. I am now 69.
When I was ill last year, having chemo and being told there was no cure for my cancer, I wasn't sure whether I would make this Birthday or not. However, it was my ambition to make 70 because the Bible tells us that we can expect to live for three score years and ten..... which in todays language..... is seventy! So that is obviously God's plan to live at least that long. I would feel cheated not getting my full quota.
Well now it seems as though it might very well come to pass. It appears to be within the scope of reality. Another year.
I will have to extend my ambition and add more years to it. Dare I say 75!

I have decided I am going to quit work at the end of the school year, which is in July. I did intend to work till I was 70 and then retire. I was one of the women who could have retired at 60. (It is not possible to do that now.) Therefore, I have worked nine years more than I needed to. I have been happy doing this and the money (although not a lot) was very useful.
I want to do other things now. Maybe join a painting class and/or creative writing.

On my Birthday, I got up early-ish, gave Harry breakfast in bed and took him up the pills he needs to counteract the side effects of his chemo.
I got Amber and Millie something to eat and did their hair. I fed the rabbits and changed them from sleeping quarters to their indoor play pen after giving them fairly long cuddles. It was then that I opened presents and cards. The girls seemed anxious that I opened the one that Sam had given me, first. It was really small in a tiny box. It turned out to be an iPod shuffle.
I knew it was something precious but wasn't sure what I had to do with it until Sam charged it up and told me he could download music on it for me to listen to whenever and wherever I wanted to.
Wow, that will come in handy for my choir practice pieces and I can now go around the house and garden while learning my parts.
My daughter sent me money for more fish foot massage. I am really looking forward to more of this.
I was pleased that Harry had felt up to going out to buy me a card from a nearby shop and had slipped in some money for me to get something. I will have a little think about what to buy.
I also received a variety of lovely cards.

I got myself something to eat and was still in my pyjamas when my friend, Audrey arrived. Never mind. We know each other well enough not to be embarrassed.
She was pleased to see that Harry had perked up no end and he is now able to walk about the house without too much fear of passing out. He has some really bad pain in both feet, though. It is amazing what chemo throws at you. Sometimes really strange symptoms.
Still, this first treatment will be a pattern for the next session. I am writing down all his symptoms, when they occur, in a little book for him to compare one months treatment with the next. This is what I did last year. It proved to be very useful.

Later on in the day, I went to my choir practice. I walked all the way which took about 30 minutes. I really love singing in this choir and am getting to know the other people and the songs better now.
I can lose myself and let go all my worries for two hours.
I walked back in twenty minutes as it is all down hill coming back.
By the time I returned, Sam had put my practice choir pieces for altos on my iPod and now I can go anywhere and do boring jobs while learning my part. Wow. That is good.

My daughter is coming over with Rick and Dean for the weekend. There are definitely happy times mixed in with the sad and I do count my blessings, which are many.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Sticking It Out

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Looking through my window, I noticed the poppies had opened. Yesterday they were in tight bud.
It is amazing what can happen in just one day even though the weather is not very warm or bright.

Harry is not taking to chemo very well, though he started off fine. He has already passed out on me twice today. Fortunately, my son was here at the time because I cannot lift him. He is too heavy and I suffer from disc problems.
Though I can get him into recovery position.

It isn't easy for me to watch him struggle with symptoms as I know what it is like. However, I do know that he should feel a bit better in a few days.
Some people sail through chemo....... but others struggle with it.
No one knows until it happens to them.
its a question of sticking it out and waiting for the bad things to pass.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Friday 13th

Photo Copyright:Maggie May

First of all, I want to apologise to anyone who commented on my last post. I know I had at least sixteen comments that have now disappeared. Obviously, I cannot reply to you now, as I don't know who you were because I couldn't get into the blog to read them.
Blogger certainly had a major blip on Friday the thirteenth!
Just as well I am not the least superstitious.

However, it was not a good day for us as, apart from Blogger chewing up my latest post and preventing me from commenting on other people's posts, Harry started his first chemo session on that day and has obviously got to go through quite a lot of discomfort that is part and parcel of chemo therapy.
So far, he is doing well.

My brother, Eddie Bluelights from Clouds and Silvery Linings, wanted me to apologise that he hasn't got in touch with anyone because his phone line and broadband has been playing up. It will be a week before he gets fixed up with a new system. He also says he will be getting back to his Sunday Roast as soon as he can.

Looking forward to uneventful blogging days in the future though eventful blogging days are probably more fun.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

The May Garden

Photos copyright: Maggie May

When I introduced this Campanula from a tiny cutting that I placed into my stone dividing wall, many years ago, I can remember my father saying that I was mad because it would never take. I had taken the cutting from his garden and I don't think he ever lived long enough to see the result. It spread widely all around the patio and it does look striking at this time of the year.

White Aquilegia is another flower that spreads but I do like it.

This Foxglove sprang up unexpectedly as Foxgloves tend to do.

The Poppies are in bud and the Allium are pretty. Strange to think they are related to the onion family. Chives have pretty pink flowers too. I have a pot on my patio.

This is my favourite corner for sitting and watching the garden.
My birdbath developed a crack in it due to the frost last winter, so I have had to put a small container into it..... until I can think of some way of mending the hole (or buy a new bird bath.)

I love the colour of my Clematis.

This is the view from the window..... near to my favourite chair in the house.
Outside, there is a tub containing water Iris that has done very well.

Saturday 7 May 2011

After A Rainy Start....

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

The day started off by pouring with rain. Why hadn't the Morris Dancers taken advantage of the hot sunny days when May began? We were having a drought and the weather was exceptionally hot then.
However, this was the day that was advertised to walk from the centre of Bristol to a Common several miles away.

Bristol is one of the few cities out of the whole of England that celebrates the beginning of the summer by parading the streets and dancing at regular intervals on the first Saturday following May Day.
This is called Jack of the Green. It is a tradition that goes back for years.

They are a group of people who dress in rag jackets and dance and play all sorts of instruments, dabbing a green blob on people's faces as they walk by.
This is usually received in good humour and everyone gets wished a Happy Summer because that is what the celebration is about.
They dance at regular intervals as well as popping into several pubs on their journey.

I made four of the rag jackets in the group, some of them while I was feeling quite poorly because of chemo.
Amber and Millie, my granddaughters managed to walk the full journey on this occasion. The wet weather hadn't lasted long and the sun came out and Granddad and I managed to meet up with the crowd when they had travelled three quarters of the way.
I walked with them to the Common and watched as the *Jack* pictured in the first photo and explained more fully in the link, was smashed up and killed.
I go because I enjoy it and for me there isn't any belief system involved. It is purely a tradition and I am pleased to be in Bristol and be able to walk some of the way with my granddaughters.

I came home quite tired after spending the afternoon with a really friendly and kind bunch of people and was pleased that the weather stayed dry for most part of the day.

Friday 6 May 2011

Where Were The Voters?

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

I am by no means a politician, but I was brought up to always vote. So today I am taking the bull by the horns with a rant.

My parents told me about the way that suffragettes had died or been imprisoned so that I could have my vote. This left an impression on my mind and I have always voted when the opportunity arose.

There are countries today who do not have the privilege of voting and whose people would give anything to be able to do so.
We take for granted our right to vote and I wonder if it was taken away from us, whether there would be indignation, an uprising ....or wouldn't anybody notice?

Why were there no other voters in the building when I popped into my local voting station at 9 am? The time when many mothers would have dropped off their children and had an opportunity to call into the local polling station?
Why, when I travelled by bus later on in the day, passing several polling stations on my journey, didn't I see any people going in or coming out?

Why do we have this total apathy when it comes to local government voting?
People grumble all the time when they don't like what the City Council does or doesn't do.
Surely they realise that this is the chance to do something that could change things?

We didn't have a local government vote this time but there was the chance to vote about whether we wanted the AV or not and I would have thought that this would have provoked some strong feeling one way or another.
Seems like I was mistaken. Not many seem to care or understand it.
Complete apathy.

Today, I was listening to my local radio programme where listeners were invited to ring in and say whether they had voted or not and give their reasons why they had or hadn't.
It seemed to be the older generation who phoned to say they had voted. Younger people said that they had been too busy, couldn't see the point, that all politicians were the same no matter who you voted for, or that they didn't understand it.

So there we are...... lets hope that when the non voters don't like something that is going on in local government, that they will not grumble when they haven't even taken the trouble to vote.
Should voting be made compulsory like the census?

What do others think?

Sunday 1 May 2011

Fish And Steam

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

You may be able to make out what the first photo is about but if you have no idea, then I will explain.
I saw an advertisement for foot massage and thought that it was a novel idea. You see there were no people involved....... only fish.
I suppose you might be revolted at the thought of dozens of small fish sucking the dry skin off your feet.
However, I found it an amazing experience and for 15 minutes I sat with my feet on a grid in a tank of water up to the ankles and from the moment that I put my feet into the tank, a shoal of small hungry Garra Rufa latched on to both my feet and started to suck. They moved all over the feet and the soles and heels and uppers.
It felt like thousands of bubbles bursting about all over my feet.
I found it very soothing.
My granddaughters sat and watched while I was being devoured, keeping their own feet well hidden behind socks and shoes but they did seem very intrigued to watch me go through what was to them, torture.
I was really enjoying the sensation but my 15 minutes soon came to an end but I was really amazed at how soft my feet had become. They felt very tingly for ages afterwards.
I would love to do it again and fully intend to.

Because the girls had waited so patiently while my feet were being cleaned up, I asked them if they'd like to go on a steam train that runs along part of the waterfront in our city.
This suggestion went down very well so we meandered along looking at other things as we walked to the platform.

Once aboard, we travelled along the waterfront for a while and then branched off and went down another track through the backs of some familiar buildings, along the Avon and the whole journey lasted about twenty minutes there and back.
I think that it was a lovely trip, though we smelt a bit smokey by the time we'd finished.

Anyone remember Rosie and Jim? We didn't expect to see them looking through a barge window.

My feet felt wonderfully invigorated right through the afternoon. In fact, I felt generally more sprightly!
Has anyone else had a fishy foot massage?