Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Forgive me Headmistress – it has been too long since I last blogged and joined in with class properly.

What can I say? I have popped in briefly and signed the register. Occasionally I have gone on class outings with the Welsh/Marches girls, but on the whole I have been absent. And to top it all, I’ve lost the wires that connect the camera to the computer. I say “I” but that is very tongue in cheek – it is not “I” but “he”…….. as well as his car keys, mobile phone, blah, blah……… So no pictures to put up to at least show some excuse for my absence as we now enter the tweaking and pruning section of finishing the extension.

To do list: New bedroom – finish painting 2 walls and paint skirtings/door frames and wax windows. Paint floor. Get curtains. Hang curtains. Move in.
Ensuite – last coat of paint on floor.
Office – paint everything and wax everything else. Hang blind.
New staircase – ditto.
Hall – hang pictures.
Downstairs loo – paint shoe pigeonholes and hang mirror/hat rack. Hang blind.
Utility room – Wax window and sand/reseal worktop and sink area. Paint inside cupboard doors (yes, I know you can’t see inside but I’ll know they need doing…) Get a blind. Hang it.
Porch – lay floor tiles.
Kitchen – paint shutters.
Garden – don’t go there!

Apart from that, we are so very nearly done. This last final push is the worse bit as we can now live happily in the house just as it is and this is dangerous. It would be too easy to stop and “have a rest” for a bit, but I know that the little niggly things would never get finished off (like inside those cupboards). So, Dad has been coming for the last couple of weeks and has been sanding rough bits, touching up the paintwork here and there, filling in little cracks and holes and generally pulling it all together and driving us along. Last week he painted our new stable door and it looks brill. At the weekend Mum came and moved all the left over pieces of Kingspan stored in the gazebo and put them behind the barn out of the way. Then we sat in it and had lunch in the garden, eyes firmly averted from the trenches half filled in and the skip that still sits outside the back door.

A sedge warbler is nesting low down in one of the garden borders. We had heard its glorious warbling and thought it was nesting down near our neighbour’s pond but, no, this daft but exquisite little bird decided to make its nest in full view of anyone walking past with a sharp eye. At first we thought it was a field mouse nest, as it was positioned tilted slightly forward. Then, when Mum went to look, the eggs had appeared and the female was agitatedly flitting from branch to branch of a nearby tree. We were terrified she’d abandon the nest but the change in the weather turned our attention to all things inside again until yesterday when Mum went to check and two little yellow edged beaks could be seen waiting for their next feed. Mum didn’t hang about but we are all hoping that there’s more than just two from the clutch of eggs we saw.
Whilst all this has been going on, I’ve been laid up with a bad foot, and feeling frustrated at my lack of mobility. It was coming on when I met up with Bodran, CCA, Elizabethm, Mountainear and SBS at The Dingle Nurseries near Welshpool. I was glad to pull onto the car park as my foot was throbbing and I managed to hobble around, buoyed along by excellent company, fantastic surroundings and glorious weather. I even succumbed to buying a few plants for my ravaged garden but not as many as CCA! I dreaded the drive home but eventually made it and hoped the anti-inflammatories would soon kick in.

Several weeks later and here I am, sat with my feet up and almost at the end of a course of combined antibiotics. The inflammation became my first ever ulcer on the ball of my foot (I get them regularly on my hands): I cried and railed against Scleroderma and I have never been so miserable. I would have sheepishly logged on for a Purple Hug request if my laptop hadn’t been packed away for the final bit of plastering as we had a new ceiling in the dining room. But no, I couldn’t even surf the net so sat and wailed in pain and frustration, surrounded by books I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to read, while Mum and Dad beavered away on the house and J was at work.

And then, on Saturday night, our beloved George finally succumbed to the lung cancer that’s ravaged his body since Christmas. He saw his 78th birthday the week before and then went to join his darling daughter, A, who left us last year with a brain tumour. George and Olive had managed a final visit to see us in April – they knew time was running out and George so desperately wanted to see the house. They have been second parents to J and he looks haggard with the grief of losing the man who played the role of father to him when his own could not. As for Olive, she is in a whirl as she has lost her husband and only child within a year.

We are all numb and I sit and gaze out of the window at the hive of activity as birds are feeding their young. My friend texts me pictures of her 3 month old daughter. The birds are singing as the cycle of life continues around us; my eyes fill up with tears of sadness for lost ones but then I manage a watery smile and give thanks for being a part of it all.

The pictures are of us with George during happier times - we miss him already.