Thursday 31 May 2012

A Problem with Sunlight?

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

This is the time of year when my Campanulas are in full bloom, cascading down the wall between our garden and the one next door.
When I first put in two tiny cuttings years and years ago, I was told that they wouldn't stand a chance of surviving that dry wall and now look at them. They have merged in as one and have spread between paving slabs and invaded borders and I have to pull them up when they get too prolific. However, because they are so lovely and bloom for a long time, I do let most of them alone.

Although today is cooler and I detected a drizzly feel earlier on when I went to the bin, we have had a couple of weeks of very hot weather and it has given me a new lease of life in the garden and cleaning up in the home, especially sorting out muddles. There doesn't really seem to be much to show for it, but I have cleaned out hidden rubbish and pulled out heavier furniture to the best of my ability.
I have taken armfuls of unwanted items to the Charity shops.
My paper shredder is nearly worn out from dealing with documents that  are well out of date.
I have a long way to go, so I hope that this mood will stay.

One thing that seems to have happened to me as I've got older, is that I seem to have developed a bad reaction to sunlight. I come out in an itchy red rash on my arms lower legs and neck. I have to keep well covered. Whether it is the result of chemo or some of the drugs that I have had to take, I do not know. 
It seems ironical that I spend most of the winter months longing for the sun and then find that I can't sit out in it.
Does anyone else have a problem with sunlight?

Saturday 26 May 2012

Visiting Arnos Vale Cemetery

This photo belongs to Arnos Vale Heritage Trust

Not long ago, I started helping out at our local Brownie Group because my youngest granddaughter, Millie, had finished Rainbows and was a bit nervous of joining the Brownie group because she said that all the girls were much bigger than her and that made her uneasy.
I had been thinking of doing a bit of voluntary work because, now that I'm feeling better, I miss the work that I did at the school and wanted to have a bit more contact with children and their mums. I still know quite a few people from the local school and they recognise me from when I worked there.
Anyway, Millie seems to have settled into Brownies a bit better now, so I think I'll stay on for a bit as a helper because I know that Brown Owl doesn't always have enough people to help.

So why am I writing about the Arnos Vale Cemetery?
This Friday, we were booked to go with the Brownie pack on a wild life excursion. In the past, Arnos Vale became very run down and was closed to the public for years and it became a natural wild life sanctuary.
If you want to read more about this then you can look up the link.
I am only really writing about the outing.

I was surprised that the very day we were due to visit, my granddaughter had been sent home from school with a high temperature and as I was committed to go on the trip to help manage the numbers, I went without Millie.
There were volunteer guides that took us all for walks round the huge cemetery and explained about all the local flora and fauna and the children helped to place traps on animal runs. The traps were not to catch the animals but would help to identify their footprints as they ran over special carbon paper to get the bait. They were being enticed into the traps by hotdog sausages for the hedgehogs and cakes for the mice and voles.
The other animals that were definitely about, were foxes and badgers.
Inside the area was a kind of forest and the birds were all singing loudly and it was hard to imagine that we were right in the heart of our city.
The cemetery was very old and some of the Victorian monuments were extremely showy, tall and interesting. Nature had taken its course, and many of these ancient sculptures and showy grave stones were only held together by thick ivy, so for safety's sake, we all had to stay on the designated paths.

I felt healthily tired by the end of the evening and slept very well that night. 
However, I really did enjoy the trip and found it very informative. It is a place that I would never have thought of going by my self. So I'm very pleased that I decided to help out the Brownies.

Monday 21 May 2012

My 70th Birthday

Photos copyright: Maggie May

My 70th Birthday has come and gone.
I don't usually make a song and dance about my birthdays, especially when starting a new decade. I would normally say nothing and just get on with things, hoping that no one would notice how old I was getting. 
However, this is a special Birthday because two and a half years ago when I was first diagnosed with secondary cancer, my prospects of reaching 70 were not very good and I didn't think that I would be having any *do* at all, though it was a definite goal to do just that.

We celebrated by going for a meal in a restaurant and I invited all the family as a kind of thanks giving.
We all had a lovely time, though those of us with hearing problems did find the background noise made it difficult to converse.
However, I think a good time was had by all and the eight children who attended were all very well behaved and seemed to enjoy themselves.
I have never had so many cards in all my life and this thrilled me to bits.
My cake was made by a family friend and I think it was a great success and I was so pleased with it. It tasted delicious too.

So what will my next goal be?
I think that I would like to go for another two and a half years and then I could get to my 5 year survival status, which according to statistics is not very likely.
Yes, I will press on with that and to Hell with statistics.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

The Merry Month Of May

Photos copyright: Maggie May

There is a saying in England...... "Don't cast a clout till May is out." I used to think that it meant, do not take off any winter clothing until the end of May has passed. However, I now think the saying meant till the May blossom is in sight and that is definitely out now in the hedgerows and gardens. 
Not that I have the slightest intention of stripping off my winter clothing just yet because it is still very cold for the time of the year.
May blossom is very lovely to look at but does not last long if it is picked and put into water, so it is better left on the shrubs.
Out of all the months, I have always loved May the best. Maybe because my Birthday is in May or maybe because it is well and truly Spring and all the blossoms are out and it heralds the beginning of summer. Anyway, I do love May. I only wish the weather would start to act normally again.

I did a rather stupid thing a couple of days ago when I was visiting my son's house. I forgot that there was a step going down to his kitchen and as I was looking at his latest alteration and was not looking at the floor at all, my brain thought that I was on level ground.
I went crashing to the ground like a fool and my ankle turned in on itself and the outside of it hit the peddle on his bin.
The result is not pretty to look at and I have a very swollen foot and the bruises are well and truly coming out now.
I had to miss singing practice one night as I couldn't walk the distance. I've been sitting with my foot elevated and put on ice packs.
There is an improvement today though and I could walk without a stick.

Harry went to see the consultant about his hydrocephalus on his brain and we were hoping for an answer to his problem. After lots of tests and examinations, he said he really didn't know what was causing it or if anything could be done. So we were sent home and told he might get an appointment for a Lumbar Puncture and in the meantime it was just a question of wait and see.
Not a very satisfactory outcome, really.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Knitted Graffiti

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Whilst helping my son to walk the dogs round one of the local parks last week, we stumbled on this tree that was covered in colourful knitting.
 It is otherwise known as Knitted Graffiti.
Some people spend a lot of time and effort making this type of covering for trees, lamp posts and anything else that looks as though it would be easy to dress.
I can't say that I'm an ardent fan but neither am I against this kind of art work. Bristol is well known for it's street art but so far this is the first graffiti clad tree that I have spotted.

I expect it would have to be done under the cover of darkness, don't you think?
I will be interested to know how long it will be before the Council cut it down. (The knitting not the tree.)

Does anyone like knitted graffiti or is it a waste of wool?

In the mean time, I am rather hoping that it will be left alone.

It would take a lot of wool to cover this large, gnarled tree, wouldn't it?

Friday 4 May 2012

Three Months

Photo copy: Maggie May

The weather continues to pour with rain and the air feels cold and everything is dank and depressing outside and yet, the Government still says we are in a drought. Some areas but not ours, are undergoing a hosepipe ban.
As the rain has been steadily coming down for practically all of April, continuing into May, I find this hard to believe and it is a great pity that the rain cannot be saved and that it just drains into the sea. Many areas are now under flood alert.
Still the ducks are happy.

I walked up the hill to the hospital for my three monthly check up this week wondering what they would say. However, I suddenly realised that I felt better than I had for a long time, so was fairly optimistic.
After examining all the likely places for lumps, I was given the all clear for another three months.
That really does give me a boost.
I have been assured they would fit me in quickly to see a consultant and give me a scan if I had any symptoms, so that is good to know.
Harry has an appointment to see a neurologist next week, so lets hope that he gets good news too. In the mean time, his new cancer drug is making him feel much better.

So things are looking up..... if only this wretched weather would change.....