Tuesday 29 November 2011

Locked In A Shed

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

No two days seem the same, weather wise.
I spent some time in Sam's garden, discussing the plans he was making to revamp it. Naturally, Rome wasn't built in a day and there are many things that he might choose to do first.
While we were talking, the sky really blackened and threatened us with a storm. However, there was a gusty wind blowing north and the storm clouds were carried away almost as fast as they had appeared.

Last week, I spent a morning at Sam's house in lovely sunshine and we were able to sit out on garden chairs while we sipped tea and planned what we'd do to make the garden more presentable.
After relaxing this way for a while, I remarked that between the two of us, we might be able to put up the second hand garden shed that he'd recently had delivered in a flat pack state.
It looked a fair sized shed when we'd first seen it, so it would be heavy and Sam knew that I couldn't do any lifting.
I said that I thought I could hold the sides while Sam screwed the panels together. So we got out of the chairs and I was given an end piece to hold so that Sam could screw this onto the longer side piece. The minute that we started to do this fairly simple task, the sun went in as gusts of wind blew quite strongly and in sudden bursts.
This was totally unexpected, but being the stubborn people that we are, I stood my ground hanging onto two panels while Sam quickly used his power drill to join them together. All the time the end piece kept slipping off the base which made things difficult and slowed us down while it was put back into position.
Once the second side piece had been secured, then it was much easier and it stayed in place but the wind was blowing the sides out of shape at this stage. The second end piece was screwed onto the ends of the side pieces and that stood really rigid.
We went to open the door but found we were locked inside the shell of the shed. It was too high for either of us to leap over the side, so the end piece with the door had to be unscrewed and taken off to let me out before being reassembled from the inside. I had the key!

There was no way that either of us could lift the heavy roof in place and that had to wait until strong friends could help.
That very afternoon two friends did arrive to help with it and the shed now stands lost and not looking quite so big in the vast garden, but it is quite roomy inside.

Now look at the garden that has been neglected for years. We really need a goat or two to clear the course grass and weeds.
I wish I was twenty years younger so that I could help with the digging.
We think that the garden would look good if it was made into *little compartments* to break up the monotony of the length, with trellis and little archways.
It would look good with some grass and some vegetable and flower beds with windy paths.
Any ideas, anyone?

Wednesday 23 November 2011

A Barn in my House?

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

My lucky little rabbits have just received an early Christmas present.
It was a friend who first put the idea into my head. She told me I was making things hard for myself transferring Ash and Lily from hutch to run each morning and evening and having to clean out two lots of accommodation. She suggested a Bunny Barn and told me to look on the web site for a bargain.
Well, I soon found one and within three days of ordering, the flat pack was delivered.
My son, Sam, being a carpenter by trade, soon had the barn standing in one piece. In fact it took him less than 15 mins from start to finish.
As the bunnies were quite used to their old way of life and knowing that rabbits like routine, I wondered what they'd think of their new abode.

After the shock of finding themselves in a completely different environment, they gingerly sniffed their way around their new habitat but avoided the steep ramp to their sleeping quarters for a long time. I knew Ash, the black rabbit would soon get over his reservations because Netherland Dwarf rabbits are quite agile jumpers. However, Lily is a little more sturdy and chunky and her legs are much shorter. I wondered if she'd ever get the hang of going up to the top level. It wasn't until the next day that she tentatively started to mount the ramp but when she got to the top, she couldn't quite grasp how to get off the ramp and onto the landing so she let herself slide all the way down again and chickened out. She didn't attempt it again for a long time. Ash, on the other hand was by then, racing up and down the ramp as though he'd always been doing it. He practically leaps off the top of the landing in what looks like a suicide jump.
A day later, Lily finally plucked up the courage to go and inspect the upstairs living quarters but then she decided she couldn't get back down.
I can remember having to show my late cats how to use a cat flap and I had to do the same with Lily and the ramp.
Anybody coming into my house would have seen me lying on the floor with my head inside the run, coaxing the bunny up and down the ramp with dried apple treats.
The effort definitely paid off and everyone seems satisfied with this new abode. It certainly looks better than the run, is easier to clean and the rabbits still use their tray as a toilet and they have so much space to exercise in and I seem to have more time as I'm not transferring the bunnies to another place twice a day.
They come out regularly for cuddles though.
So thank you, dear friend, for putting me on the right track. sometimes other people can see things more clearly.

Friday 18 November 2011

Winters Strange Beginnings

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

This winter has started off extraordinarily mild and it seems so strange to have fuchsias, honeysuckle and roses still in full bloom.
Today it is warmer here than in Florence, Italy.
It is very unusual to find these plants in flower in the winter time in our part of the country.

My garden is a bit of a mess as neither Harry nor I can do very much work out there at the moment. It seems to really aggravate my back and hip. However, I do what I can when I can.

If you notice the last photo, you will see that I had a tub planted up with tulip bulbs. I am fed up with the way that foxes seem to be digging everything up. You can see that they have started to dig down into the earth to see if the bulbs are worth eating. In my front garden they have dug out the primula plants that I carefully put into a pot to brighten the winter days. They also scattered earth right over the path and they often leave their mess for me to clean up too.
Just as well my bunnies are tucked up in the house otherwise they would be really scared of these night time predators and might end up as an easy dinner.
They are city foxes and probably come from nearby allotments. When I first saw them, I was quite surprised as they are quite tame and one once tried to come into my house.
They are an extreme nuisance and I don't encourage them at all, though I know that some people do put food out for them.

Harry is just about to start his tenth session of chemotherapy and should be feeling better by Christmas. I think my daughter and grandsons are coming over for Christmas so that will be something good to look forward to.
I have a scan some time in January and will get the results the following month. I'm not looking forward to that at all.
I do have a chance that everything will be well though and these chances make a difference to my outlook.

Saturday 12 November 2011

The Move on a Special Date

Photo copyright: Maggie May

I've been really busy over the last few days because of my son's recent house move.
The move happened on the 11th day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year of the 21st century. (Armistice Day). It will be impossible to forget that date.

It seemed to run smoothly and although it was exhausting for all the friends who lifted things into and out of the hire van, and then into the *new* house, it seemed to go well.
It is amazing how friends rally round in times of need and Sam is very lucky to have such a good bunch of friends. I don't know what he would have done without all the help. One friend even hired a small van and all of them made several trips from the old home to the new in their cars as well as the van. All of these friends worked really hard and it couldn't have been easy.
These friends' kindness and hard work will not be forgotten by any of us.

I couldn't do as much physically as I wanted to do mentally. One of the tricks that old age plays on one is that somehow or other, the mind doesn't age as fast as the body does. I can be sitting in a chair, rearranging things and moving things, in my head, but when I come to actually try to put these things into practice, then my body often cannot cope with the exertion and lets me down.
I work for ten minutes and rest for twenty. It is a very sad state of affairs.

If I thought all the boxes were going to be moved from my house as soon as the move occurred, then I was very wrong. Sam's house, although bigger than the last one, has boxes and things stacked in every room. So it will be weeks before he takes the ones from here.

The house will need to be redecorated throughout (eventually) and at some point a garage needs to be built. However, the house was the important part and all the rest can happen slowly. The children will be nearer their school, Sam will be nearer to friends and to us and the neighbourhood seems very friendly.

I would like to thank all the friends who helped with the real hard work, two men and two women.... I think you all know who you are, and I know several of you read this blog.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Keep On Practising

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Last time I wrote a post, I was furiously trying to de-clutter (and I still am) but with my son's imminent move now only days away, there is more and more of his stuff coming into my house. I see boxes being smuggled into the loft and I groan.
"Its only the size of a shoebox, Mum", He says. Who is he trying to kid? I see the huge size of them out of the corner of my eye.
Yesterday, he called round with a very heavy coffee table, that has now been dumped into my lounge.
Today, while I was out shopping he called round with a piano/organ already coupled to the mains and being played.
"You can have it for the week," He announced.

I used to have a miniature piano when I first moved into this house but when my children left home, I decided I wanted more space and sold it. The thing I really regret is letting all my music go too. I think it would be worth a lot of money now as much of it was passed down to me by my parents. It would have been classed as vintage.
So there I was, with a small piano/organ and no music.
Not that I can really play. I learnt for a year or two when I was a child but never took any grades.
However, when I was a teenager I could sight read a piece of music and bash out a tune....... slowly...... and painfully.

I went round some charity shops today and asked if any of them had any piano music and one had. They were charging quite a lot though, because, as the saleslady had said, the music is very old. Nothing like rubbing my nose in it.
The pieces I bought were very hard but I hope to practise and improve a bit. My son said that I can go to his house to practise during the day, especially if he is out. It will only be a short walk away.

I am also going out walking more and sometimes the only time I can spare is just around dusk. It is good to watch the changing skies while I do this.
Yes, I think I am getting stronger.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Reclaiming My House

Photo copyright: Maggie May

I'd been looking forward to seeing my daughter and grandsons and when they arrived last weekend, I was dismayed that I found myself fighting off some kind of virus that caused painful glands in the neck and aching limbs and snuffles.
When I was working in the school until quite recently, I had built up a resistance to most things and was rarely ill with anything that was going round.

I think seeing me like that worried Deb a lot. Anyway, by Sunday afternoon, I started to feel better and we went out for a walk together. Then she had to leave.
I found myself crying after they'd all gone. I haven't done that for a long time.

However, I woke up feeling heaps better the next day and started to do quite a bit of tidying up.
Unused to this sudden surge of energy, I decided to do as much as possible. I collected all the old videos together that the children used to love but have now grown out of.
I filled up a small trolley and off I set to our local High Street where there are about a dozen Charity shops.
It soon became apparent that I couldn't leave the videos in the first few shops that I tried and they all told me the same story. There was no call for them and they recommended that I throw them all on the Council tip.
I went home with my load of unacceptable donations and decided that I would try ringing the largest local charity shop that was the furthest distance from me. This proved quite fruitful as they told me to come with them straight away.
Off I set with my trolley full of unwanted Walt Disney films. It did make me feel a little twinge of nostalgia when I thought of all the times my grandsons had been glued to the screen watching these films and later my granddaughters who did the same.

When I returned home with my lighter trolley I was surprised how the Spring Cleaning mode carried on and I spent the whole day tidying up.

Now what has caused this, do you think?
Well Sam has been given a date to move into his house (God forbid that anything should go wrong at this late stage.)
When they came as a family straight from Japan to live with me for almost a year, my house was completely taken over. They brought mess with them and it gradually spread over every available surface. When they moved to a different location, the children still went to the local school so came round every school morning and quite often the evening too. Quite regularly they spent the night here, so their muddles just stayed and were needed here, I was told.
I couldn't keep up with all the mounds of papers and toys and clothes lying everywhere. It seemed too much.
Amber was just five and Millie not yet three when they first came, so during those four years there was a lot of junk of theirs lying around. Why did they have at least six coats and dozens of shoes each? Not to mention scarves and hats and gloves that filled several bags. I could have started my own charity shop.
Now I am hoping to clear it up. The muddles can go to their own house and I am claiming my house back. So I have an incentive to press on with it.
All we need now is the final document to be signed and we await with bated breath......