The Art of Watching Nature…….Poem…

Just sitting and watching in silence

Patience is all that you need

To see nature appear

To appreciate what was a tiny seed

To hear the birds singing happily

To watch them fly around

Yet when they settle near by

Joy, simply abounds

You have to be still, you have to be quiet

And wait just patiently

And then the reward will appear

And be there in front quite graciously.

So patience is a virtue

Or so they say

But for nature it’s paramount

Blink and it will have gone away….

Chose this song, simply because I enjoyed singing it at school…….

My active day is reducing…….

My dear Aussie playmate, Kate Swaffer. Posted a link on Twitter last week. It immediately resonated with how I was feeling. The person who wrote the article, Christine Miserandino, has Lupus but, as Kate said, it is:

A great analogy of what it’s like living with Invisible Disabilities including dementia”

Indeed, it was how I’ve been feeling these last couple of weeks or so….The number of spoons I have at my disposal seems to be disminishing (you’ll have to read the wonderful article to see what I’m talking about) ….

The number of hours where my brain is capable of actively thinking, reducing……because the stimulation of the previous chaotic world is no longer with us, my brain doesn’t have that constant work out that it use to get. It’s becoming harder to think and do, to come up with ideas. My blog is the one thing that keeps me typing as typing these thoughts help me make sense of what’s happening. My trundles with my camera give me a focus for the day….but thinking, real constructive thinking is so hard at the mo…..

I was asked to think of 25 playmates the other day…I could think of a handful, no more, yet I know hundreds…..I was asked to put together a list of suggestions for a project, but it took me days instead of hours….my brain capable of a couple at a time and then I’d exhausted it…

I used to go on social media in the early evening, now my day stops about 5.30, I’m spent, nothing left, I just stare at the telly after tea …what will happen when I’m travelling home in the evening when travelling comes back again?

So the number of spoons at my disposal is reducing in number…lets hope the quantity increases when all this is over……now read this wonderful  article to find out what on earth I’m talking about, and thank you Kate for bringing it to my attention…

https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

 

I’ve found something I can finally ‘cook’ again…..

Well I use the word ‘cook’ very lightly….I’d almost given up totally the idea of cooking in a pan on the hob again. So many disasters and burnt pans, ruined food…..but then something caught my eye in the village. I pass it almost everyday on my trundle but have never stopped to investigate……

Abbie, who also owns the adorable sheep that a much photographed by me…and who gave me a bag of wool for my friend Philly….

……also has hens which I can hear clucking away…..the sign she’s put up tells their story and how much loved they now are

I put my money in the honesty box and trundled my way home happy with my purchase….

Thinking back to only 6 or 7 years ago, I was a very good cook, every meal from scratch, a fair baker of cakes and treats galore, but dementia took all those skills away from me…not being able to coordinate pans, ingredients, timings…..but I couldn’t resist trying a simple egg once more.

Now you might be thinking , what on earth is difficult about boiling an egg….? Well it’s the distraction that catches me out. On a showery day as today was, as soon as I see the sun, I venture outside….so I had to be prepared. Funnily enough I could only work out how to work one hob, not sure why, but the others didn’t make sense. Maybe I always used to use that one, who knows. I thought it might be easier if I boiled the kettle, that would be one less thing to get wrong and get distracted while waiting for the pan to boil….

I set 2 alarms for the time. I didn’t have a clue how long to cook it for, couldn’t go upstairs to look it up on my iPad as by the time I’d get there I would be doing something else. 8 minutes should be fine, I thought… So I took my camera in the sun room and sat with one alarm on my lap, snapping piccies of the garden visitors

Until the sudden noise on my lap brought me back to now….and then almost straight away the one in the kitchen sounded it’s large shrill which made me get up immediately as the noise pierces my ears…

I had to suddenly think, what to do next? I automatically filled the pan with cold water, thinking it would immediately cool the egg down, but then just started peeling the shell away, burning my fingers as I did..🙄…just couldn’t think how else to cool the egg inside….once deshelled, I cut it in half and knew that if I went away I’d forget it….so sliced it more and put it on the buttered slice of bread…the golden yolk so fresh, it looked a work of art. I was so pleased with myself.

I know it will go wrong at some point. I’ll forget it’s on, be distracted, go out into the garden but today I didn’t ….today my brain behaved…I’ll have to pick my moment next time, just as this moment was right…

Such a simple warm boiled egg sandwich ……and how delicious it tasted….well the sheer fact that I’d boiled the egg, made it an achievement and delight to eat….5 more eggs, 5 more egg sandwiches or maybe even an egg salad ……onward and upward……

 

 

My first venture out on the village bus for 3 months……..

I woke up last Friday and went, for what’s turned out to be, my early morning trundle to feed the ducks…I was wondering what to do with my day when suddenly an empty village bus passed me by, the driver waving a lonely looking wave……

It then occurred to me that if I’m going to take the plunge and go on the village bus, it would be best to do it while they were quiet. In a couple of weeks, as more places open, it might start to get busier and be more stressful. At least now, the driver would hopefully have patience to tell me what to do or what not to do….it might be less complicated.

So the feeding of the ducks over

…..and still a couple of hours before the next bus. I meandered up the church walk towards the village church. The Rev had stopped me on his bike the other day and told me how at 9am the sunlight shines through the East window and casts  lovely colourful rays on one of the walls. He was more than happy for me to take photos, not being a churchy person, but I do love beauty and our church is small and beautiful.

He was right.The door lay open and as soon as I walked inside it was immediately cool and silent…The sunlight was streaming in through the stained glass window and the rays of colour were falling on the opposite wall…..beautiful…the magic doesn’t really show up on the photo…

Pleased that I’d remembered the extra call after the ducks I made my way home for a cuppa and to prepare for my village bus trundle. I looked on the web site for the times. They apparently were exactly the same as before but I didn’t have a scooby do what time that was…I took a piccie of the timetable so I’d have it for coming back. I decided to take my camera as taking piccies would help calm me down if things got stressful…

Armed with my Facemask I went out 10 minutes early and waited alone at the bus stop….felt very strange as there used to be several of us, but not today, and for once I was quite thankful. I needed the bus driver to myself.

It turned up on time and as expected, I was alone….the driver had a Facemask on so neither of us could hear what the other said..but his eyes were smiling so I guess I was ok. The front seats were all taped off so I took the first window seat. I couldn’t see any other rules but then a small sign on the window caught my eye and I took a piccie to read later as it was too small to see from my seat…

The last stop out of the village arrived and surprisingly another regular was waiting to venture on. We knew one another but because of the distance between us and the face masks, we couldn’t hear one another so we sat in silence and trundled our way into town. It was a joy to see the Westwood again, still not being allowed to venture out of the village on foot means it’s out of my reach

And the town cows, obligingly stopped the traffic to cross the road

All was good. I got off a stop early knowing it would be quieter and saw images I’d not seen in a long time. The library, still closed, with pots of flowers delighting passers by…A single thrush looking for food in the daises

It wasn’t as bad as I thought..until I turned a corner and saw a busy packed high street, the market place full of cars…no one wearing a mask…

I had nearly 2 hours to wait for my bus back…and suddenly this didn’t seem like one of my best ideas..

Whichever way I looked there was either queues or simply crowds of people milling around. 2 metre distancing didn’t seem to exist and I felt like a freak in my mask. I suddenly started to question myself, whether I’d remembered the rules right, but if I didn’t keep it on I’d forget it when I needed it for the bus again….

I saw one of my favourite clothes shops close by was open, and because it was small, I could also see it was empty. I could escape into there while I had a think. I’m glad I did as someone met me at the door, explained the rules and smiled….I even bought 2 things, just to feel normal again…

Opposite was Marks and Spencer, they’d been good last time I went with Gemma, so I ventured round to their current entrance at the back but was greeted by a very long queue. But at least they were keeping to the rules, so I joined the queue thinking I’d be as safe there as anywhere…but still few people wearing masks…..

That experience was as pleasant as last time. All the staff smiley, only a few shoppers allowed in. So I managed to buy everything that wasn’t on my list 😂….hardly anyone wearing masks inside…😳

Coming out of there I still had an hour until my bus, but no other shops I trusted. My head was starting to bang with the shear concentration of trying to avoid others who were just going about life as though Covid had vanished….

Many shops still hadn’t opened, many ‘To let’ signs up where shope once were, a sad result of Covid. A huge closing down sign attracted my attention. It was ‘Laura Ashley’ home store…just one person was waiting outside, so I joined that queue, simply wanting to be away from the crowds. One woman joined after me and was giving the shop assistant a hard time for not letting more people in…why would you be like that?

After that I carried on walking and found an empty bench and just sat, sat watching the world continue as though the last 3 months had never existed. It made me think, was I wrong, had I remembered the rules wrong? As someone else tried to join me on the bench, I felt uncomfortably close to them so got up and made my way to the safety of our little bus station. I’d just arrive early and wait….

As I thought, it was nice and quiet with lots of empty benches. I sat on one by my stop and was soon joined by the fellow villager who’d also decided to arrive early. We lifted our masks and from separate benches we were finally able to speak to one another and hear the replies. Turns out she was as shocked as I was. It was also her first time on the village bus, just to try it and see what it was like.

We chatted happily for half an hour, about the last 3 months and how nice it was to finally choose our own shopping instead of relying on others but how lovely it would be to get back to the peace and safety of the village. We were joined by one other passenger, a young girl, who I vaguely recognised, but couldn’t see her properly behind her mask…

Further round the town, 2 other women got on. They had lots of shopping and were only going a couple of stops. They broke all the rules and me and my travel companions were very uncomfortable and thankful when they departed…

As the villager got off at her stop, I remembered the name of her house was Woodbine cottage, which always reminded me of my dad as he puffed on Woodbines for many a year…

The young girl got off at the same stop at me, immediately took off her mask, smiled and said, “it’s me Wendy’…..the young girl who delivers my meals from the pub on the odd occasion I have them 🤗…the mask covers so little yet hides so much..…

Grateful to get back home, sat writing this with my cuppa tea and all was right in the world again as once, a while later, more I set off for a trundle round my peaceful village…..

 

Yesterdays Lolly Quiz Answers …..

So here’s the answers to yesterdays quiz…..wonder how many you got right? Hopefully you beat my 1…🙄

Answers to Lolly Quiz…

1 – Twist ER …Twister

2 – Mag. numb…..Magnum

3 – Fruit Pass till……Fruit Pastille

4 – Cornetto (not sure how this one works!)

5 – Nobbly Bobbly

6 – Ice Pop

7 – Zoo m…..Zoom

8 – Sol…ER…OH……Solero

9 – Nine tea Nine…….Ninety Nine

Monday Mornings Ice Lolly Picture Quiz….

Ok, so today’s Monday fun is an Ice Lolly Quiz….Same as the other ones, put the pictures together to make an Ice Lolly…..I found this very hard and must confess, I got 1 😳😂….but then, I was never an ice lolly fan so some of the names were unknown to me but as I looked at the answers they are popular ones and I remember my daughters having most of them once I knew the answers 🙄….so here goes, 9 to get, answers in the morning…..

An Encounter at the Village Pond….Poem

I met an old man the other day

By the village pond

He was there feeding the ducks

With lots of quacking did they respond…..

 

He spoke of all the years

He’d stood there every day

He told me stories of old

As the ducks gathered round to play

 

He told me of his favourites

Of the swans he used to feed

Of the 20 year old duck with a plume

Which still gets special treats

 

They knew him so well

This daily visitor of theirs

Ate out of his hand

Without a care….

And when he left and bade farewell

I stayed a little while

And took piccies of the new arrivals

And my heart was filled with a smile

 

 

A Downside of Zoom…..

Zooms in the beginning were the life saver of this lockdown. A safe place to meet, to see my playmates on screen, to laugh and give each other virtual hugs…..but this last couple of weeks or so have been strange, to say the least, and Zooms have become a strange place to be. It’s become a lonely medium…the screen immediately blank and silent when the get together is over. No gentle dissolving of people, just a blank screen….and silence…

Then out on my trundle one day I realised it is the physical presence of people I miss. I usually see people out when trundling and we exchange smiles, exchange emotions, exchange chatter….then they go but they don’t suddenly vanish, there’s no blank screen, they fade into the distance gently, no sudden disconnection.

Zoom recently, began to make me feel sad when it was all over, especially the bigger zooms with playmates. I seem to be able to cope with one or two people, but the bigger ones are sadly making me sad…

The beginning has always been difficult, going from just me and silence to many people on the screen but I coped with that to start with and the ending wasn’t a problem. In the beginning, relief almost flooded me at the end, after all the noise, the silence once more a relief…but now the ending has taken a twist and fills me with sadness….One day, a Zoom with playmates finished. We’d laughed so much, but then, staring at an empty screen, I suddenly doubted myself….’Had that just happened’? It had been a strange discombobulated day anyway, but this just added to the confusion. This ‘virtual’ world that enters my room one minute,

and before I know it, everyone has vanished…a sudden flick of a switch and the room is empty once more…

It doesn’t happen with anything else, txts are sent in silence, email conversations, Twitter etc…..my silent worlds of conversation….

I was happy in the beginning with just one trundle a day…probably because they were long trundles…now I go out twice a day simply to exchange smiles, to see real people and hear chatter, hear the noise of village life.

I was out the other day, having my second walk and was stopped by several people for a chat, none of whom I knew, but they seemed to know me, calling me by my name. Their physical presence seeming real instead of virtual faces on virtual screens….

I’m sure it’s just another transition of this strange lockdown time..but at the moment I feel all zoomed out…Zoom is very unnatural. A virtual room to join at the click of a button…

When we met in person there was no suddden switch on, sudden switch off.  I know it’s only a substitute for our meeting in person, and it’s the only way at the mo…but it’s just not having a good after effect on me Right now…don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my playmates, sharing time together, sharing laughter, stories and tears,

…..but I don’t like seeing them suddenly vanish at the end….🤯

This lockdown is affecting us all differently and we have to just accept the blows when they come and deal with them…..so maybe I’ll just take a while to be Zoom free…..and after a break everything will be fine again…..

Time lost for making special memories……

I’ve been best friends with Sylvia for what seems a lifetime, but it is in fact 2 decades….25 years or so of friendship where we’ve shared every life event possible. All the three big ones, divorce, death, moving house and so many more besides. We’ve always been there for one another, a listening ear, a simple hug and sharing many, many happy moments too……including shared holidays to Keswick which we both love, me probably more as the Alps have overtaken on the scale of delights in her life…..

I did ask Sylvia before I wrote this if was was ok to mention her situation and she agreed otherwise I obviously wouldn’t. It came from an email exchange we had where she said the lock down had frustrated her plans of making memories …

It was Sylvia who convinced the manager at the Physio department to give me my first job in the NHS. Me, then a single parent, taking on 5 cleaning jobs to make ends meet. But she saw the potential, she saw the need for me to work and sensed I wouldn’t let them down, and that’s where our friendship started…..

But now, 25 years later we find ourselves with very different lives than we ever imagined. All the plans we made for the future dashed beyond belief. Mine, of course is dementia, and Sylvia now has incurable cancer and this Covid time has robbed us both of something of which the length is unknown….Time….time to make special memories.

We’re both strong resilient women. Always there to bolster one another up when down. But this lockdown has stopped us doing what we do best…making the most of the time we have while we still can…

For Sylvia many plans were made, had so many plans for the last few months. But everything, like everything else, is on hold. Waiting, simply waiting. Will I be capable and able to follow my plans when all this is over, whenever that might be – my tandem paraglide over Keswick may not be possible until next year? Will I be capable? Will Sylvia be strong enough when lockdown is over? If we’ve both anything to do with it, our characters will take us through, we say to ourselves, “we will have more adventures, make more memories” but it’s such a sad thought…conditions we have no control over…and some days it’s just harder to accept than others…

I’ve heard so many people say, “well we’ll have to do it next year instead”….but what about if next year is an unknown time? Never before has Time been denied us in this way. For many people with incurable conditions this lockdown has taken away precious Time..

We’ve always been there for one another and still are but at the moment, we can’t offer that physical presence that we’ve always provided each other when the stakes are down and I’d so love to simply be there…

It’s not sympathy we’re looking for, neither of us are like that, just understanding, thoughtfulness. …I’d gladly give Sylvia my Time…Living in the moment is becoming harder as, easier some days than others, couch is life..but how many people are in the same position with memories on hold and Time an unknown quantity ?…

 

 

A Misty walk on a misty morning…..

I wrote this last Wednesday having just arrived back from an early morning walk, using the pictures to walk me through once more….

Strange dreams had filled my sleep wake sleep wake night featuring people from the past, the sea and many tables cluttered with rubbish…..I’d woken discombobulated and wondered what I should do, or rather, what was I suppose to do. I lay there in the dark, the light of the morning peeping through the curtains. It wasn’t really early, the light telling me the time. I tapped my watch and it told me it was gone 8am, much later than my normal get up time.

I got up, walked into the back of the house and looked out of the window. A lovely mist was hiding my normal view. I love misty mornings. Had my shower, got dressed, only this time I didn’t follow my routine…I did put the kettle on but then put my coat on, got my camera and unlocked the door…..it felt wrong going out of the door, but also strangely right…

Don’t remember ever going out without a cuppa tea first, but this morning something drew me to an early morning trundle.

I turned right out of my house and up the road the short distance towards the field of cows. Only today it was covered in mist, the cows just visible in the distance. I stood against the gate in the silence, just watching when suddenly…..the white owl flew out in front of me across the field, it’s wings stretched out in flight…

My breathe was taken away as I watched its elegant silent flight into the trees nearby. Mesmerised by it’s sheer beauty and slowness of flight. I was waiting patiently for it’s reappearance when a villager with her dog, came along asking if I was going through the gate. I told her of my sighting and we both stood there smiling, in awe of this beautiful creature and exchanged tales of it’s sighting.  It became clear that we weren’t going to have a repeat performance so we chatted for a while before she left through the gate and disappeared into the mist and I just stood there a moment longer just hoping it might change it’s mind, but not today….

I Turned and made my way along the Manor House walls, the sheep veiled in the mist

Along the road before turning left and up to the back of the village. The air was so silent, so still. Standing under the trees, it was as though it was raining as droplets of water fell gently, the only sound breaking the silence

Early morning dog walkers more in evidence now, always cheery and smiley, saying hello. One dog refusing to go further before I’d caught them up and given him a cuddle…..The sheep in the back field more visible, being closer, looking round to see the passers by

Through the church yard, back down the lane and within an hour I was back home. I’m sure I’ve never left the house without a cuppa tea before, but maybe this morning something inside me knew the white owl was there waiting for me….and as I sat typing this, having my first cuppa tea, I felt relaxed and happy, having had the perfect little trundle….