Monthly Archives: May 2006

Small heroes 2

A lovely if somewhat surreal afternoon this afternoon resulted in me too being a small hero, if not a real man.

It all began when we were at the hospice. Dad really wasn’t too good and really needed to be left to sleep, especially as a friend from church was visiting today, so my sister and I decided to go out for tea. Unable to decide where to go, we drove sort of randomly across the Island in the general direction of Freshwater where I wanted to take her to Afton Orchards, a lovely place for a walk in the sun. Except, the sun decided to go in and it began to look decidedly like rain.

I was not particularly planning my route, but found myself uncertain of whether to turn left or go straight on at an unfamiliar crossroads. This happens only rarely on the Island, as you can imagine, but it never worries me as you can be fairly certain that eventually you’ll find yourself somewhere you recognise. I explained this to my sister, as we drove along a beautiful but unfamiliar narrow road, twisting back and forth between the fields and seeming to avoid any connection with civilisation. But I was right, eventually we found ourselves somewhere we recognised…. it was the same crossroads where I’d decided to go straight on and had approached it again from the road to the left!!! Most surreal. We drove along the road we’d originally come from and actually found ourselves heading in the direction we wanted!

Thence to Isle of Wight Pearl, as the orchard’s tearooms were outside and it didn’t seem too ideal a day for working on one’s suntan. This again was surreal. They seem to be redecorating, but it appears that it is the usual staff that are doing it. One of the immaculately dressed saleswomen behind one of the jewellery counter was wielding a tiny paint roller and painting the low ceiling above her as she waited for a customer. Meanwhile in the cafe they were taking down the network of tiny lights which were covering the ceiling above our heads. As we sat eating our cakes and drinking our coffee, we were aware of this net dropping lower and lower and actually surrounding us where we sat in the far corner of the cafe. Then suddenly the chap doing the work, clearly from his outfit one of the chefs, touched a wire he shouldn’t have touched and there was a sudden temporary power cut!

Realising it was time to go and meet the boys from school, we went out to the car park. I became aware of a red car pulling out of one of the car parking bays and moving forward in our general direction. I don’t know what made me look in the driver’s seat… but I suddenly realised there was nobody there! The driver had obviously parked his Skoda without putting the handbrake on and the considerable slope of the carpark had eventually become too much of a temptation for the car to bear. It was starting to gain a bit of momentum and heading towards a very large brick wall. Flight or fight? Flight or fight? I resisted the impulse to run like…. **** … and sprang into action. With my sister’s help, and a frantic shout to a passerby to come and assist us, we managed to lean against the bonnet and bring the car to a reluctant stop. We held it while the owner was located in the shop and brought out to apply the handbrake and release us from our herculean task.

And what thanks did I get? A pearl necklace? No, the discovery that I had held the bonnet of the car in the exact place where a very large and incontinent seagull had done its business.

Everyone said it was a sign of good luck!

Honestly, I have been having some really weird dreams lately…… but this was for real!

Small admission

Someone asked about the view from my garden pew (which is now, incidentally, even more surrounded by bluebells). I have to admit first of all that you can’t yet sit in the pew as it has a rather worrying tendency to tip you over backwards into the thorny hedge……. and seeing as I took that photograph from my kitchen window, the view from the pew is actually of the back of the house and the rubbish bin.

Bother. Somewhat spoils the romantic effect, don’t you think? But a woman can dream.

Bother the lack of editing

I hadn’t quite finished that post. Humph.

I have to say that my eldest boy, my Tiddles, was indeed a hero and was indeed my “real man” as, armed with an inside-out carrier bag, and without even donning his slippers and pyjama jacket, he dealt with the remnants of Charlie’s massacre with only the slightest expression of revulsion.

Small heroes 1

I couldn’t help but laugh this morning when eldest son emerged from his bedroom wearing just his pyjama trousers and thumping his chest like a big silverback gorilla.

“I am a man,” he declared in his he-man voice. “Today I am a man. I slept with no pyjama top. I am a real man.”

Making himself as tall and broad-shouldered as he could muster, he went on… “I am a real man. I laugh at danger. Ha ha, danger, I say. I am a man.”

“Oh good,” I reply, impressed. “I was just thinking I could do with a real man about the place. Charlie’s brought us the intestines of three massive nestlings and a tiny mouse. We women are too squeamish to clean it up, it’s a job for a real man!”

“ooooh, I’m not such a real man as that,” he hurriedly replied, making himself as puny as he could be and his voice disappearing into his shoulders… and making a very hasty retreat into his bedroom while declaring “I am a real man, I will take on all comers… except mice.” At this point it would be lovely but rather cruel to post a picture as one of my boys is big and solidly built and the other has a skinny little bod which belies the quantity of food he can consume or the amount of exercise he gets. Guess which one is which! 😉

Anything make you think I have a new digital camera?

And too much time on my hands?

I just couldn’t resist sharing this with you, my little woodland corner.
Sadly it doesn’t include the old oak tree just out of shot, but I am proud to declare that this year we have blackthorn blossom, primroses, celandines, bluebells, harebells, daisies, white campion…. and I am valiently resisting the temptation to filch some wood anemones from the forest!
… oh, and dandelions!

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Sense of humour.. or no sense at all

I must remember that some people don’t have the same rather odd sense of humour as I.
In particular, I must remember that the counsellor at the hospice, lovely though she is, does not share the same black humour. Must remember not to comment to her in future that it was downright typical of my dad to start his miracle recovery the minute I’d finished phoning round to warn people of how seriously ill he was.

I was just about to make an “adoption” joke which, to many, would probably have sounded rather off.. to whit, that it is sometimes quite reassuring to remind myself that my children and I don’t share a gene pool. We had been experiencing a rather unpleasant whiff emanating from our veranda just recently and I was sure it was either a decaying rat or something else equally unsalubrious. The presence of rather a large number of rather large flies added to this impression, so I challenged the Smudgelets to local the source of the aroma.

Eventually Tiddles triumphantly declared he’d done it. His job is to put out the rubbish bags on a Friday and one bag had been somewhat overlooked, had tipped a smaller carrier bag full of unpleasantnesses out onto the floor and this latter bag had disappeared into the clutter that seems to be a permanent fixture in this, our only real storage space. It had clearly been there some time. I decided not to remonstrate at the fact it was there, but to congratulate my hero son for having located it.

However, the smell persisted. I came to the conclusion that there must still be something unpleasant harboured in the depths of our veranda so I decided to investigate for myself today, four days later. It took some searching but eventually I tracked it down. It was the very same bag of now even less pleasant unpleasantnesses…. he’d put it straight back where he’d found it!

Wiblog entry for 02/05/2006

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The intrepid explorers

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The even more intrepid auntie

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What makes you think mum’s going to regret this?

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Now isn’t that lovely?

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We had forgotten about a measuring stick to check the depth of the water, so we counted how many paces it took for the water to run into his wellies. We’re real rough scientists, we are.

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We’d never been in this part of the creek before

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Has the water eroded the wall? Is one of our favourite pubs going to be washed away?

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Up the Creek without ……

Yesterday afternoon was divine. Yet again we were doing Tiddles’ homework, this time setting out on a family walk to see how far towards the source of the creek we could go. The boys donned wellies and waterproof trousers and were given permission to engage in some thoroughly hands-on learning….. right up to their armpits! They were not impressed that they weren’t allowed to get in the car to come home until they’d stripped right down to their underpants, though!!!

Most interesting discovery was how amazingly far the tidal effect is evident in the creek. We came to the point where two tributaries joined to form the brook leading to the creek and I was trying to get Tiddles to realise what was happening as he kept saying the river was splitting into two rather than that two small rivers were joining into one. Using my “patient teacher” voice, I suggested he look at the way the current was flowing. Hmmm… only one problem… it was quite definitely flowing THE WRONG WAY!

Moving on

It was odd tonight. I spotted, in the pocket of my dressing gown, the keyring which holds the key to Dad’s back door – the one I use first thing in the morning when I go to wake him and then last thing at night when I’ve tucked him into bed. I saw it the other day too, when I was pottering around at 6am wondering how I usually fill the time in the morning before school and felt suddenly tearful at the thought that I probably would not have to be up so early in future. Tonight the same lump in the throat, this time because I think I am going to be needing it more.

Dad’s doing remarkably well. Remarkably well. I can’t see him staying in much beyond the weekend, to be honest. Trouble is, he’s still one stage weaker than he was and, more to the point, his mind is not reliable and so we don’t feel that he really should be left alone in the bungalow. There is to be a family support meeting at the hospice this week to see how they can help us manage Dad’s illness at home during the next stage.

It was lovely just to sit with him for an hour or so this afternoon and have him more lucid. We chatted as I showed him some photographs, but the best moment,…. and the hardest… was when he went sleepy and I mentioned I felt tired too after my day at work. He lifted his arm and, just as I used to, I snuck in underneath and rested my head on his chest as he put his arm round me. We stayed like that for ages, a gentle father-daughter embrace (though with me frantically fighting the tears, of course) and rested together, only occasionally interspersing it with a quiet exchange like when his tummy rumbled.

They’ve taken the syringe driver out. We were rather amused as he’s having word-finding difficulties and we were quite concerned for a moment when he said “I’ve lost my spirit guide”. Of course, he was thinking of spirit level.. which still wasn’t quite the right word but you can see the resemblance.