Monthly Archives: November 2006

Prayers appreciated

I seem to be on a collision course towards falling out with my sister.
It’s one of those nightmare situations – I have talked to my other sister openly about it and asked her to tell me honestly where I am at fault because I can’t think of it myself and I’d far sooner apologise and sort it if I’ve done something wrong. But no, it’s just one of those things.
But I can see my close relationship with my sister being irrevocably damaged and can’t do a blind thing about it.
Please pray that our friendship comes through this relatively unscathed, that I remain patient and adaptable and ready to accept censure where it is really due, and that whatever is weighing so heavily upon my sister as to make her irrational and argumentative can pass. We need each other rather a lot at the moment – this is the last thing we need.

Get this

We are entitled to some extra care for the next six weeks at least, so we have arranged for two care agencies to provide sitters at “tea-and-homework” time for the Smudgelets so I can be with them in our home instead of next door.

Wait for it…. the care agencies are not supposed to administer pain relief!!

Finally, after long negotiations, the one agency had agreed to administer the morphine that comes in dosed vials. All they do is take the top off and help him pour it in his mouth. They are not prepared to give him the morphine that comes in a bottle, even if I pour it out in advance in a lidded cup.

The other agency has also agreed. They will give it to him from a lidded cup which I have poured out in advance from the bottle. They are not prepared to give him morphine from the vials.

However – the good news is that they will do the ironing while they’re there. Not only Dad’s but the whole family’s!!!

In other good news, his brand new wheelchair has arrived. YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Shame the weather’s too bad for him to use it!

Comeback Kid

He’s sort of done it again. First dose of antibiotics and he starts feeling a lot more normal. Two days later and my death’s-door-daddy is sitting at the lounge table painting, singing, and making such terrible jokes that his life-expectancy was seriously reduced as I valiently resisted the temptation to strangle him!

His bad nightmares are, thank goodness, being reduced by an increase in sedative (and with the application of some lavender pillow spray which either calms him or possibly gasses him into a more restful sleep) … however this seems to be having an adverse reaction on his wakefulness during the day so I think some fiddling about with the timing and the dosage is still going to be necessary.

I am already making plans for his week in respite.,.. as long as I can bring myself to take him there. He is making it clear how he feels about the whole business and it feels a little like putting a puppy into kennels. My sister is arranging to be here and take him in with me. AAAAGGGGHHHHHH! But it’s a week we really need and I know he doesn’t dislike it there quite as much as he makes out – it’s the indignity of it he’s kicking up against.

I apologise for misleading you, by the way, me hearties. Grog is indeed otherwise known as ginger beer. It was RUM the Smudgelets had with their pemmican cakes.

God’s sense of humour

Yesterday the Smudgelets worked like Trojans (is that a somewhat racist statement in these PC times?) to clear the path between our house and their grandad’s from leaves. It was very leaf-covered when they began… and after a slight divertion during which I pointed out to each of them in turn that the path between our house and grandad’s does not include the patio in our garden which both of them meticulously worked on instead of the path initially!!! …. and it was remarkably clear when they finished. A good job done.


This morning Tiddles declared “I told you it would be far more sensible to leave it until the trees had completely finished dropping their leaves! I take it we’ll be on leaf clearing duty again tonight!”

Where are the squashed fly biscuits?

What a shame, I was sure I had some in the cupboard.
If it hadn’t been for that, we’d have managed a proper “Swallows and Amazons” tea.
Total experimentation – Pemmican Cakes.
One bowlful of mashed potatoes, mixed up with some squashed-up pemmican (known to the uninitiated as corned beef), rolled into little patties and fried in butter. Mmmmmmmmmm. These had the unoptional extra of a touch of swede mashed in as well, seeing as the mashed potato and swede was already made and needed using up. This was not, of course, the reason for the idea. Oh no. not at all. Heaven forbid.
Accompanied, of course, by grog. All good sailors drink grog with their pemmican cakes (known to the uninitiated as lemonade).
A taste of three foods in one – economical nutrition – in the form of chocolate with fruit and nuts… except that we didn’t have any of that (wonder why not… *innocent look*..) so the new cadbury mint cakes (“Made for sharing”… sacriledge!) had to do instead. And, because of the lack of squashed fly biscuits, toffypops to spoil the day.
Swallows and Amazons for ever.


I hope you appreciate the pain and suffering I am going to in order to post this blog. You do? Good, I should jolly well think so. It wouldn’t be so bad if I only typed with two fingers, but having mastered a sort of almost-touch-typish-kind-of-method I am suffering immensely. The middle finger and fourth fingers on my right hand are significantly impaired, firstly by excessive wielding of a sewing needle in the vicinity of some very tough materials, and secondly by a slight error of judgement in holding my hand over the spout of the kettle while pouring the boiling water into my cup. Yes, I know that was a rather foolish thing to do, but you might be polite and sympathetic enough not to mention it.

I’ve had a good day with Smudgelet today. Haven’t seen much of him, mind, and did have to threaten to amputate his tongue if he was so intolerably cheeky (shame it was such funny cheekiness that I was unable to maintain a straight face). But he held a chicken today. This was the good bit. Oh, and the other good bit was the arrival of my knightess in shining .. er.. blue fleece. Yes, with Dad AND my sister AND my bestest friend all ill and my other sister unable to come because of work, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the wonderful Melangell whose name cannot just by coincidence include the word “angel”. She arrived at lunchtime to share in the sitting either next door or with the Smudgelets.

Dad has been incredibly ill today – but it’s been yet another case of the Comeback Kid. This morning he was clearly entering into his last chest infection… to the extent that the professionals have today signed the paperwork for Continuing Care. (This means that he is deemed to be in the last eight weeks of life and thus all care expenses will be met by the state). He was virtually comatose, unable to respond to me or help in any way as I lifted or turned him, unable to focus and distinguish hallucination from reality. The carer and I bedbathed him between us and gave up on any hope of getting him dressed and off to day centre. He has slept virtually all day. But with two doses of antibiotic inside him, he seems more compos mentis and certainly able to bear his own weight, to digest some complan, and to talk to me about how he feels.

As for Tiddles – why, oh why, can’t he just say that he’s worried about his grandad? Why do we have to go through bad behaviour and violent tantrums just to get to the point where he breaks down and cries? I felt his determination to phone the police and accuse me of not allowing him to go out with his mates and insisting on him doing his homework was assured of having me prosecuted for child abuse….. It took only an hour of holding him for him to break down and talk to me. Thank you, Tiddles… that’s a few bruises for my collection. Worth it, though, kid, for the depth in which we were able to talk. How about next time we bypass the tantrum stage and go straight for the hug?

As for the gerbils. Honestly, you stupid creatures, can you not realise that if you DO nibble through the chain securing the ladder to the top of the cage, you will simply fall off? And can you not realise that if you DO totally destroy your drinking bottle, you will subsequently become very thirsty until I am able to purchase a replacement? And can you not understand that if I am lying on the sofa, wrapped in a duvet and with my head on the pillow, I have forgotten to put your cage in the hall because I’m too tired and would appreciate it if you stop partying quite so loudly!


If it wasn’t enough having my conscience nagging me, I’ve not got Duncan Goodhew on my case. 😉
Ho hum… see you when I get back from the pool.

(Incidentally, while I am sure the person in question does not read this blog, if it should so happen that they do, I would like to say a tremendous THANK YOU to the fantastic family who sent me, out of the blue, the most beautiful bunch of flowers – delivered by the sweetest delivery man ever – this morning and totally blew me out of the water, metaphorically speaking. Goodness knows what I’ve done to deserve such a wonderful gift, but I am so grateful and my day has suddenly become a million times brighter!)

Honestly I am

I am, I am getting ready to go swimming.
I’m busy assembling my swimming bag and champing at the bit to get to the pool on time.
Oh bother it, why does getting fit take so much energy? Why did I make a deal with my son that if he resists smoking, I’ll resist the temptation to miss swimming? Why does swimming have to involve a) going to the pool, b) getting undressed into a costume that makes me look like a beached whale, c) entering freezing cold water, d) getting dry and dressed again afterwards? I can do the middle bit, the actually swimming up and down for half an hour, and would even go so far as to say I really quite enjoy it (more than any other form of exercise, and that’s for certain!) but it’s surrounded by so much bleugh!

It’s been a sort of non-starter of a morning anyway. The Smudgelets “forgot” to do the dishwasher before they left for school, the carer’s alarm didn’t go off and so she arrived half an hour late, Dad was in a “switching off every time you walk away from him” state again (i.e. you hand him his glass of water and his tablets while you go to take the tray of dirty dishes next door to the dishwasher, and when you return they’re still there in his hand and he’s waiting to know what to do next!”), and my friend M who drags me off swimming is poorly and can’t go, so I have to rely on my own motivation.

On my what? What a stupid thing to say. On my own conscience would be more appropriate as that’s the only thing that’s going to get me to the point of ploughing (you can plough slowly, can’t you?) up and down the slow lane in a stately, if lugubrious, manner this morning.

Anyone for coffee?

Is this what you knead?

We used fast action dried yeast – just to cut out the fiddly bit of the process. The recipe we used made 12 good sized rolls.

750g strong bread flour (we used flour from Carisbrooke Mill :D)
2x 5ml spoons salt
25g white vegetable fat (or we used lard cos it was all we had!)
1 sachet fast action dried yeast
450 ml warm water
1 egg, lightly beaten
Angry teenager optional

1) Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Finely rub in the fat then add the yeast and stir thoroughly.
2) Make a well in the centre and add warm water. Mix with a knife then gather by hand and knead for about 10 minutes to a soft elastic dough either in the bowl or, more therapeutic, on a work surface. We push with the heel of our hands and then roll up again with our fingers.. … use of the imagination to replace the dough with the head of the person who’s driving you mad is optional.
3) Divide the dough either in two and place in greased 1lb loaf tins or else into 12 equal sized balls and place on a greased baking tray.
4) Leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size – approx 45-60 minutes.
4b) If using wholemeal flour rather than white, knead and prove again as before.
5) Preheat the oven to 230C, 450F, Gas Mark 8 and put shelf in the centre,
6) Brush the bread with beaten egg and back loaves for 30-40 minutes, rolls for approx 15 minutes, until golden on top and hollow sounding if you tap them underneath.
7) Eat and enjoy – we used real butter and bramble jam. MMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm !