Monthly Archives: May 2006


Tomorrow we are off on an adventure.
Tiddles is at camp, my brother-in-law is here to help my sister look after Dad, so Smudgelet and I are off on an adventure. It’s a surprise one – he doesn’t know about it yet… partly for the fun of keeping it as a surprise but mostly so he’s not disappointed if anything happens to stop it going ahead.

What could happen?
Well, Tiddles could have a problem which prevents him going back to camp. He is only stopping for the final night because of his sleep problem, the rest of the time he has just been doing days and coming home, smelling of smoke, for the nighttime.
Dad could suffer a relapse. He’s had his first good night’s sleep and good day in ages. He has been for a couple of walks round the garden, eaten well and stayed awake much of the day, 🙂 but sadly this has made him quite depressed as he has been bored rigid and not interested in anything and realising how little life has left to offer him 🙁 On the plus side, it gave my sister opportunity to talk with him about his care and reassure him that we would help out. On the minus side, she is hoping not to come back this week and I have five days single handed to look forward to :S
My sister could be taken ill. She has a funny tummy today, though I think it’s nerves as much as anything.
Smudgelet could not survive until tomorrow.. he is really pushing his luck today. There’s a part of me that does not particularly want an adventure with him!

But all these things permitting, tomorrow we are going by boat and train in the direction of….. drum roll, please…… London. It’s his “coming of age” treat before he moves from primary school to middle and has been long awaited. Apologies to those who offered us accommodation while in the big city or anyone who might have liked to meet up but somehow I need a break with nobody else around and it’s only overnight. But if anyone spots a harrassed but excited old woman with an exceedingly excited and non-stop-chattering nine-year-old boy doing the sights, the British Museum and the London Eye then give me a wave – or better still, buy me a coffee 😀 We have a cheap and cheerful hotel booked, tickets for the London Eye reserved, a second mortgage taken out for spending money, and the determination to make the very most of our 24 hour escape to the mainland.

Watch out for your postcards (not that we’re sending any, but watch out for them anyway 😉 )

Well, that’s a surprise and even nicer!

A pentecost parcel from a kind friend I’ve never met. So many kind people – so much support.
A box full of surprises to interest and aid and comfort… especially special being the hot-cross-bun chocolate which came in a moment of dire need!
Thank you, gentle stranger. My day has just improved one hundredfold. 😀

May you live in interesting times

I think that’s how the old Chinese curse goes, or something like it.
All I can say is that in a previous life I must have seriously upset a malicious Chinese person somehow!!!

I had my mother-son talk with Tiddles. We have established a few groundrules.. and also established a password on his part of my computer which, surprise surprise, he is not going to be told. Still, I suppose it was educational! He’s done again the homework that he’d spent those three hours on and, amazingly, it is far better than it was 😉

Smudgelet is now very nine. It’s amazing how he’s had yet another growth spurt. He even did something spontaneously kind the other day, which is quite worrying. He has done the most amazing drawing of the QE2 which I shall somehow have to scan and put online so that you can marvel appropriately at it.

Dad, meanwhile, is the source of much sad amusement and much anxiety at present. He’s certainly going downhill fast, although the Macmillan nurse feels that a bit of it may be reversable as he believes he’s having a toxic reaction to a new drug. He’s weak, hallucinating badly, and has become quite paranoid. The hallucinations are fun, the paranoia far from fun. The night before last, unable to leave him, I slept on the floor in the hallway outside his room. I say slept, I dozed lightly (though quite calmly and restfully, and I am convinced this is the strength that comes from all the people praying for me), interspersed with forays to round up the wild stallions that had somehow got into his room, to stick the unstuck, to stop that stupid woman playing her tambourine, and to shovel up all the sand and gravel from the hall. It was all rather surreal but nice to be able to reassure him and see him settle back to sleep… even if his snoring was rather loud! 😀

Not so pleasant last night or today, when he has become convinced that I no longer love him and am conspiring with my siblings, me as ringleader, to poison him. He cannot stand me near him, will hardly speak to me, shrugged me off when I touch him. He feels the same about my sister and the only one he trusts at all is my brother. He can’t wait for my brother to arrive from Scotland – the brother who was sitting with him drinking whisky last night after his long journey here! I feel a real traitor as we have had to ask the doctor for some sedation, both to calm Dad’s anxiety which is clearly visible – he is very very agitated – and to ensure a calmer night for us so that we have the strength and energy to cope well tomorrow. I am not looking forward to my brother going home on Friday.

Meanwhile my neighbour has died. He was a lovely man and leaves a widow who is one of the most grandmotherly ladies I know. The boys adore her. Well, to be honest, so do I. So another funeral to attend. 🙁

Goodness, sounds all misery and not much hope, doesn’t it? As a family the boys and I are focussing on next year’s summer holiday. The longed for trip to France. Oh, and my brother is doing sterling work on my central heating 😀

Happy birthday Smudgelet

Nathan and Grandad

Grandad is home at last. We are readjusting to a routine of care which has greatly increased since his stay in the hospice… he’s a very poorly man. But the good news was, he was home for Smudgelet’s birthday, much to the latter’s delight, and was even able to join in the celebrations .. just catching a nap every time Smudgelet’s back was turned and being grateful that we stayed only half an hour and sent over his birthday tea in a food parcel!

Smudgelet beamed all day. I can’t believe he’s nine already. Where have the years gone? We dealt with a bit of bullying at school and hopefully he’s learned a few lessons about not letting the bullies have their own way. It’s a crazy world where children make each other’s lives miserable just because they don’t run with the herd. Smudgelet likes playing football but really isn’t interested in all the peripheral football fan stuff and just doesn’t wear the right gear. Should that really make him fair game for the bullies? He’s also had a counselling session with someone from the hospice which he really enjoyed. A strange ninth birthday, all told.

Meanwhile I am running through in my mind all the scenarios for discussing with Tiddles the choice of websites he’s been making on my computer recently. Suffice to say that my plan to install the internet in his room has been put indefinitely on hold. Boys will be boys and I was expecting to find magazines hidden under the bed in a year or two’s time, but the internet holds some pretty ghastly stuff which I’d rather he didn’t go a-seeking right now…. my thirteen year old with the emotional development of a three year old! Heaven help us when his good looks start impressing the girls (sufficiently for them to overlook what a twithead he is!!!)

My six weird things will be coming soon, by the way. I haven’t forgotten. Watch this space!

Snot fair at all

Dith, you’ve failed.
I feel poorly and miserable.
Worst of all, it looks doubtful that I should attempt the Walk the Wight tomorrow.
I am downright disappointed. I really shouldn’t even go and visit Dad instead. In fact, he seems healthier than me today!
My sister has offered to do part of the walk for me and to keep Tiddles company if I still feel the same tomorrow so you won’t get out of parting with your hard-earned cash.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, things are a bit tough as I’ve upset my other sister inadvertantly. I need to phone her to make amends but feel so grotty that I am finding it hard to think of what to say. It’s one of those awful situations where we both think we’re in the right and, although I know precisely where I am at fault, I can’t think how I could have done it any differently and really didn’t expect her to take it the way she did, so it’s hard to get the wording quite right even when my brain’s in full gear.
Dad looks to be coming home on Tuesday. He is far better than we expected him to be at the moment and today is back to his ebullient “I will be fine without any extra support cos I’m going to get better again” mood. Hmmm… wonderful to see but harder to cope with in many ways, especially when I’ve just given up my job! 😉
Now, where’s the Lemsip?


halleluja, Dith’s banning of the snot demons seems to be working. She’s a woman to be wary of, that Dith. Scares me, anyway 😉 After a night of sniffling and snuffling and filling a large paper bin with … well, I’ll leave that bit to your imaginations (or, for those of you who are fellow sufferers, just look in your own waste paper bin) … I woke this morning feeling slightly more human and have improved as the day has progressed. I am now only fractionally snotty and headachy, the throat is far happier and I can mainly breath. Thanks be to God. I will be able to visit Dad tomorrow.

Good news – I have marked (illicitly, as they were supposed to be handed in straight away without me looking at them) the SATs papers for all my groups bar the Year Sixes, and those of you who know anything about teaching will know how absolutely over the moon I am to discover that three of my year fives got level three, three of my year sevens got level four, all but two of my year eights got level four or above with… wait for it, wait for it…. two getting level five! It’s unheard of!!! Goodness, I’m good, you know! 😉 Actually it’s all credit to the kids who rose to the occasion, pulled out all the stops and worked incredibly hard to achieve it. Wonder how Tiddles did! I don’t care for the league tables, but I care about the tremendous boost this will give my kids and, for the year eights, the foundation it will give them to survive in the big wide world (and high school) with numeracy.

Difficult news – we’re making plans, and it’s incredibly hard. Dad will probably come home from the hospice next week. They can give us no guidance as to how long he has or what quality of life lies ahead, but when we said we were absolutely reluctant to consider a nursing home, they suggested we give him a good summer and then, if necessary, face the prospect of a nursing home come September. He’s very frail and is sleeping a lot and knows he’s now in the next stage. They have the dilemma – to keep him lucid and enjoying life mentally means to leave him in pain, to increase the pain killers will send him into that morphine-induced muddle which scares him too. We have the dilemma of how best to cater for his needs, for our needs and for the children’s needs. First step, I take six weeks without pay for the last half term up to the holidays. We all know that I cannot do it alone, though, so we are discussing and debating how best to ensure that the burden is not too great and is shared out amongst us and deciding what help to call in. There aren’t enough hours in the day to think about it all.

In other news, tonight my little Smudgelet is away in a manger. He should be (though he probably isn’t, yet) all curled up and fast asleep in the wooden bunk beds in the converted animal sheds where his class are staying for two nights’ residential trip. Woohooo… my baby’s growing up! It’s strange in the bungalow without him. I could say I miss him, but actually it’s rather nice 😉

Wiblog entry for 05/05/2006





Totally amazing. It is so reminiscent of the soldiers in Alice in Wonderland painting the white roses red. Overnight the forest has changed colour. The white and pink wood anemones, primroses and celendines are beginning to fade and in there place has appeared a riot of bluebells, a carpet stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s been a while since it has looked quite so impressive, so something about this year’s weather must be just right for the bluebells – they’re impressive around my garden pew too now.

I took these photos to take in and show to Dad. He is definitely not leaving the hospice before next Wednesday, and possibly not even then as they are keen to get his pain under better control as well as giving us chance to get some support in place. He is able to go out in his wheelchair, but is uncomfortable sitting for long and has lost so much weight that he gets cold very quickly. I think a few cheery woodland pictures might sit well in his room. There again, I think it is this one that will be the most welcome: