Tag Archives: Life

Who pulled the plug?

Well that is what it felt like. Invisible plugs in the soles of my feet were pulled and all my energy drained faster than a full bath scented with my favourite bath oils.

No need to worry it is just a blip… CFS/ME is something that has been part of my health package for about fourteen years. It happens suddenly. Unexpectedly. Elly is one of the few people that can read the signs. She has seen the colour drain from my face and my body suddenly droop to a wobbly jelly. This time she was nowhere near me and busy with work and her own life – that is as it should be – I gave her life and not a life sentence to be tied to my apron strings for life.

Over the years I learned to read the signs, slow down and rest.

This time I had other things on my mind and blamed the ‘tiredness’ on what I was trying to do, so kept going.

  • My friend recovering from a fractured hip, returned home on 10th February. She needed some help with shopping etc., and my daily visits did mean that I actually sat for at least an hour to chat.
  • I was expecting visitors (Post for another day.)
  • I cut my finger badly. It has healed well on the surface, but internally it will never be the same. So now I have two index fingers that refuse to work on a touch screen – First World Problems
  • Regular weekly appointments to attend.

This is NOT a ‘pity me’ post, it is an explanation for my absence from blogging. So no sympathy comments or I will unfriend and block you. SERIOUSLY!! I do not need sympathy, it is energy I need.

In these circumstances the longer I push against the grain… the harder the recovery time. It took me all my time to getup, wash, dress and make my meals. Thankfully my freezer was well stocked with home prepared meals allowing me to thaw, heat and eat them.

There were aches and pains in all my limbs and back. Even reading made my eyes heavy and concentration evaporated.

Thinking. Thinking of a few words to put on a page became impossible. I actually closed down the laptop and put it away. I almost returned to pre technology days with only the odd visit to Facebook so family would know I was alive.

That might explain my lack of posting in the last few months:-

  • January: 6 posts
  • February: 12 posts

Tuesdays are when I go to Parlour Yarns for my weekly injection of fun people happily knitting or crocheting, nattering & laughing. I normally come home full of ideas, stories, high energy and good spirits.

Two weeks ago I had to push myself to attend. During my morning I managed three rounds of a crochet granny square… it was all I could do. Before I came home, Jennifer our leader encouraged and gave me an idea. A simple idea. It was just what I needed to get back on track.

Once home, fed and rested, I gathered all the odd remnants of yarn, the half used balls and all the odds and sods lurking at the bottom of a large see through storage crate. They were every colour of the rainbow and more.

I began a corner to corner (C2C) crochet throw in random colours, a first for me. Each line was a different colour and the early rows used up the little scraps of colour. The different textures and colours worked well together.

C2C Shrug

C2C Shrug

It became like a drug. I sat in my corner at every opportunity… my plan was to work to fifty rows before beginning the decreasing, with a finishing border all round the edge to complete it.  It was so relaxing and distracted me from my aches and frustrations.

I have worked the fifty increase rows and now am ten rows down on the decreases with all this yarn still to play with:

Oddments of yarn

Oddments of yarn

I feel the energy slowly returning. No way am I ready to climb Cave hill, but by the time the rain stops and the throw is finished… I might be ready to take my camera for a dander.

Wee Wimmin’s Worries.

Over the past few days I was far too busy thinking and you know some thing…

I came up with answers to a few major Problems!

As we wee wimmin grow older mature like good wine, several things happen to us and we keep blaming ourselves when they are not really our fault!

We wake up each morning with our hair standing on end and a hole in the middle of it. This is due to the fact our brains have collected so much knowledge down the years that our heads grow heavier. when we lie down, the hair is flattened to spread like sun-rays on the pillow.

And another problem…

As we mature, we grow down a little. First gravity squeezes the bits between the bones of the spine making them shrink. 🙁

Add to that, if there is any space left, that we are carrying around an amazing amount of information:

  • To-do lists, ideas of how to get our husbands to think they ‘want’ to help us with the chores, the garden and the car!
  • Then there are all the wurds for scrabble that we learned in the bukes we read.
  • The gossipy news to share with our hubbies… and the information we need to remember NOT to tell them… like the new handbag, gloves, scarf that we snuck into the back of the wardrobe, never mind the new boots we have our eye on to buy next week! 😉

Let me explain…

When the bits between the bones shrink there is less vertical space for all the ‘soft’ bits to sit neatly in place. Then a heavy head acts like an elephant sitting on a jam do-nut…. the soft bits flatten and spread horizontally!

So there you have it.. we are not Fat at all.

We are informative and walking cuddly cushions!

I didn’t colour my face

Almost everyone on my Facebook contact list changed their avatar to a French flag over their faces. To me it was all a knee jerk reaction, done as easily as the rainbow avatars a few months ago for marriage equality or the Santa hats for the past few Christmas seasons. My feed yesterday was a constant stream of posts about the attacks in Paris.

I could not join in.

My head was in another place.

My Elly left home on Friday morning to fly to the Middle East. She has been flying since she was one year old, in fact we celebrated her first birthday in the Balearic Islands. Normally her flights through the air, are as matter a fact as jumping on a local bus.

On her Facebook page she announced she was about to board her first flight of the day, to Paris. Travelling on Friday 13th with her allocated seat in row 13. We all wished her a safe and comfortable journey. She would have a few hours lay over at CDG airport before her onward flight to Tel Aviv. Thankfully she was out of French airspace before the atrocities began and the borders closed.

I might sound selfish, but I am not. The world we live in, is now very unstable. What happened in Paris was not forgivable, but there were bombings and killings in other cities and countries where Real people live, that got barely a mention.

I have friends living in Paris and my heart goes out to them. I have a friend who was born in Lebanon and evacuated to Paris at an early age, much later she emigrated to Australia. She has family still living in both places as well as across the US.

Can you imagine for one moment how she is feeling? To her there will be no difference between bombings in Paris or Beirut. People, ordinary people were blown to bits or shot as they went about their daily lives!

On Friday I was numb. After thirty eight years living in Northern Ireland with bombings and killings a daily occurrence, I was not immune to these feelings. Years when I kissed my husband and daughter goodbye as they headed out to work and school, not knowing if I would see them at the end of the day. I could tell many stories of those days that would set your hair on end!

BBC has a whole year full of programmes with a WW1 theme. Royalty were paraded to memorial functions with chests so full of medals, a dozen rapid fire Kalashnikovs would not penetrate them.

We were told that all this was to honour the dead, the wounded and the work done by those back on the home front, working in the factories making armaments, working in the mines digging coal, and the land Girls digging, planting and growing food to keep the nation going. Every scrap of garden or free space was used for vegetables.

The aim was to remind us – who were not even a sparkle in our father’s eyes back then – that it was the war to end all wars and should never be allowed to happen again.

It didn’t work.

It never will.

Not while weapons and armaments are made and sold across the world. Surely the sellers are not expecting the buyers to put their purchases’ on the mantelpiece or in a glass case and throw sugar at them.

How can you sell arms and then stand up and complain about those who use them. Why does Pilate come to mind?

Now is time for reflection. The answer can’t be bombing people to smithereens, fighting fire with fire and making martyrs out of extremists. There are no easy answers, we need to learn how we co-exist on this planet of ours.

“I will not play tug o’ war. I’d rather play hug o’ war. Where everyone hugs instead of tugs, Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug, Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”
Shel Silverstein

The answer to all my dreams!

Yesterday, I got a text message.

Nothing new about that I hear you say. Well in this case it is rather special…

Great News, we have 3886.21 in your name for the accident you had, for us to put in your bank. Now just fill out http:// rapidclaim.services/?n=497367697. The text arrived at 4.46pm.

What will I do with it? I sat up thinking about it all night until it dawned on me:

  • Go on a holiday of a lifetime.
  • Have a wild party for all my friends.
  • Put a down payment on a nursing home.
  • Leave it to Elly for…. AFTERWARDS ❗

Oh wait now a minute… it is only 3886.21 and it does not say whether it was £££, $$$ or €€€.

I suppose I could phone the number it came from to check:

+44 7546 3908

I was having a glass of Bucks Fizz, as you do on such occasions and trying to calm the dancing butterflies, when my inner Mrs Sensible began to nag: “You were never really a dreamer, stop and think about  this for a moment. It might prove to be


stones or worse still…


Five Firsts

The idea comes from a post by Nick at nickhereandnow 

First day at school aged four. I remember standing on a chair as mammy dressed me and put a large bow in my hair. She was taking my older brother to school and decided to bring me with her and register me for the following year. The headmistress said she would take me that day, so I went to class and mammy went home alone.

My first boyfriend. He had a makeshift stage in the garage, the family had no car and we put on shows. My party piece was singing ‘How much is that doggy in the window’? We spent evenings collecting mushrooms and at the weekend he took me to the pictures/movies on the crossbar of his bike. He had a summer job in a grocery shop and bought me 4ozs of Kimberly biscuits every week when he was paid. I was all of SIX!

Meeting my sister for the first time. She was twenty days old, I had spent the summer in Sligo on the west coast of Ireland with an aunt and uncle. They brought me home in time for the new school term in September. I had not known the baby was expected (I later learned that like the rest of us, she arrived two months early!) and figured she belonged to one of the many visitors to our house that day. It was only when the last visitor was leaving without ‘his baby’ that I was told she was my sister and would be staying! I was Eight.

First time I was bridesmaid. It was February 1963 in Worcester, England and the worst winter in nearly 20 years. Low temperatures meant snow was thick and solid on the ground.  It was difficult to smile for photos in my long dress with teeth chattering. I was to become bridesmaid three times despite the old wives tale ‘Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride’. Thankfully they were warmer occasions with plenty of sunshine and I eventually met and married my true love, fourteen years later.

First weeks wages. I had to stand in line, sign a register and then I was paid in cash counted into my hand! A total of £6.14, as my mother said, it kept me in nylons for a week! It was the height of the Swinging Sixties; hems were shorter, music was louder and even back then I preferred to hear the words than the loud noise.


Since I have only reached the age of eighteen, I might well return to this topic with a few more ‘firsts’… there are bound to be a few more.

Silent solace

‘Silence difficult to create’ was a statement or question I came across a few months back, for the life of me I cannot remember where, but having lived totally alone for seventeen years with neither kith nor kin within 125 miles, I am an expert on silence:

Silence in joy and silence of sorrow
Silence to help through the cares of tomorrow.
Silence in pain and in frustration
Silence in coping with a new limitation.

Silence as I watch each new day dawn
Silence of long evenings when the blinds are drawn.
Silence when tucked up all cosy and warm
Silence before a violent winter storm.

Silence for when someone refuses to listen
Silence when engrossed in a project or mission.
Silence of persistence to learn something new
Silence when struggling with a rusty old screw.

Silence of a day when the phone has not rung
Silence of satisfaction when the beads are strung.
Silence returning home from a day of fun
Silence sipping coffee just made for one.

Silence of aging ears needing turned up sound
Silence when you find yourself lying on the ground.
Silence when the washer stops before the work is done.
Silence as you wait for workmen to come.

Silence of my world with a first fall of snow
Silence as I mix a new batch of dough.
Silence of expectation at each new destination
Silence watching a child in deep concentration.

Silence of special hugs when loved ones arrive,
hoping they don’t say “We are leaving by five”!
Silence, long silence when the foot-falls fade.
Silence of thanks for the love they conveyed.


A very short season, giving Cecilia a reason to share her wonderful philosophy on life, with a magical turn of phrase over at THEKITCHENSGARDEN!

Yesterday the air felt dense. Not hot and not cold, just full and thick. The clouds stayed low, heavy, old, bosomy. Like flat pillows. There was no wind and little sound…………

No matter how deep life throws her, she rises to the surface and swims above the storms on a cloud of positivity. Now, click on the link above, over you go and enjoy the experience!


The Gift of Today

Sixteen year old Stephen interviewed his terminally ill grandmother for a school project entitled “The Speed of Life.” About five minutes into the interview he began questioning her about her illness and her life situation.

“So what is it like to wake up every morning and know that you are dying?”

“Well,” she replied, “What is it like to wake up every morning and pretend that you are not?”

The Gift of Today

The Gift of Today

Oliver & Grace

We met at a barbecue, a short ten years ago. For a number of years our paths crossed on a regular basis, and I entertained them to dinner in my home on a number of occasions. Oliver & Grace* were about ten years my senior, and I was fascinated by the story of their journey to true love.

Growing up in the same area of a Belfast suburb, Oliver & Grace first met in their teens as members of the same youth organisations. They quickly became friends and were soon inseparable. Grace’s mother did not really like Oliver, not for any particular reason, she just felt he was not right for her daughter.

Grace’s family were moving away, at short notice, to the UK mainland. She was only informed the evening before departure – not an uncommon situation back then – children were often excluded from plans or arrangements. Grace was rather forlorn when she told Oliver her news, but promised to write as soon as they were settled into the new house.

Two days later, Grace kept her promise and wrote to Oliver urging him to write and tell her all the local news.

A week later, she wrote again, and the one after that, but no reply was forthcoming. Waiting a couple of weeks she tried again, but no joy, she still never heard from Oliver. Sadly, she decided, Oliver had forgotten all about her or was not very keen to keep in touch.

Grace, settled into the routine of her new life and Oliver drifted to the dark corners of her memory box. With time Grace trained to be a nurse and after several years opened her own nursing home. Her mother died suddenly and as an only child, the funeral arrangements and clearing out the family home were down to her.

While grace was clearing her mother’s desk, she found a folder containing a bundle of letters. At first she thought that they might have been from her father, and sent to her mother before his death many years earlier.

Turning the bundle over, Grace gasped. The letters were all addressed to her and not her mother. The handwriting was familiar and a tear escaped from the corner of her eye. Oliver had written. Not once but every week for several months, long after Grace had stopped and thought she was forgotten.

Why? Why? Why? Asked Grace. Her mother had never mentioned Oliver’s name since they left the shores of Ireland, yet she kept these letters. All unopened!

It took three full days for Grace to work up the courage to write to the only address she had for Oliver and she included her phone number along with the address. Two days later the phone rang as she was about to make dinner.

It was Oliver.

Food was forgotten. They talked for a couple of hours, catching up on all that had happened in the intervening years. They vowed never to lose contact again. A month later Oliver travelled over for a long weekend.
Within the year, Grace sold the Nursing Home to her deputy, then packed up her belonging and headed home to marry Oliver. They never looked back. They were a wonderful couple, meant to be together and brought joy to all around them.

In the latter part of last year Grace became unwell and suffered great pain, seeking the help from her local medical practice, painkillers were suggested and prescribed, with Grace being told it was muscular. Showing no sign of abating, the pain increased all the while and stronger painkillers were administered. Oliver worried, but Grace tried to reassure him.

One morning Grace looked grey and unable to sit up in bed. Oliver decided he had enough. He changed his plans for the day and went straight to the doctor’s surgery. He did not mince his words and told them that he was prepared to sit there all day until a doctor came home with him to see Grace.

A doctor did go with Oliver. On examining Grace, he had her admitted to hospital immediately. Tests and scans began. Two days later Grace was told she had cancer.

Oliver went to see the Consultant and discovered the pain was due to a large mass pressing on Grace’s spine. As that sank in, Oliver asked, like we all would “How many years would you say Grace has left?

Years? Said the Consultant. I am not talking years. At most two months… or one!

That night Oliver phoned their few close friends to break the news. Tom and Anne offered to collect him the next day and take him to the hospital.

Tom got no reply to the doorbell, which was unusual, Oliver was always ready on the doorstep when someone was coming to collect him. Eventually Oliver found someone with a key and they went in to find Oliver was lying on the kitchen floor the kettle on its side on the floor beside him. Oliver was cold.

A Doctor was called. It was the same Doctor who came to see Grace, he thought death had occurred eight to ten hours earlier.

Tom now had the task of informing Grace, who was now unable to move her limbs, of the death of her beloved Oliver. He also undertook to make the arrangements for the funeral.

The first of the two months have past, but it is a waiting game for Grace, with her condition worsening with the days.

I hope for her sake the end comes soon.

The lesson for all of us is to: LIVE NOW. Make the moment a worthwhile one!

* Names changed for obvious reasons.

UPDATE: Grace died on 25th January 2013. R I P