Thursday, 28 August 2014

Finding my Independence.

I have been feeling rather like this old tree, long dead and decomposing, however my health is improving and I have rediscovered my need to be independent.  In the past I have jetted off to Canada, France, Portugal and America by myself, though have to confess to always having people to see when I got to those places.  However next week I am going off to Portugal by myself, to be by myself and I cannot wait!  There is a little part of me that goes eeeek what am I doing, however I am working very hard to box that feeling away, I do not want it to spoil the good stuff.

Today I decided to give myself a little practise of being independent.  For the last 12 months I have been doing a 210 mile round trip to see my niece in hospital every two weeks - that's at least 26 visits done and there are still plenty more to be done.  We took out National Trust membership a few months ago and this meant I could go and visit somewhere that I have passed the sign to on each of these visits.  That place was Stowe Landscape Gardens.  I had already had a good talk to myself about not trying to do too much, there was no reason to do this as I will be coming past this place many more times yet.  So I thought I would take a few pictures to show you my trip.

It started with a little buggy ride from the visitors entrance to the beginning of the gardens.  Here I discovered that they actually have some little golf buggies that you can book for a two hour slot to drive yourself around the gardens (I know what I shall be doing next visit!).  I asked for advice on how to spend my limited energy and everyone seemed to agree that a walk around one of both lakes was a good start.  Unfortunately I didn't take any photo's (not thinking about blogging) until rain stopped play.

My first picture was the old trunk at the top of this page (this is where my inspiration for a blog started....).  I then noticed this poor tree that had newly fallen and would in some years time go the same way as that trunk at the top.

I tried to pretend it wasn't starting to rain and in my summer short sleeve blouse and skirt I tried to continue.  However I didn't get very far, just around the corner I was forced to take shelter under one of natures umbrellas....

It wasn't too hard to stand and look at this view until the drizzle stopped.

The drizzle got lighter and so I continued until forced to take shelter under more trees right next to these beautiful hollyhocks

It was also this stop that confirmed to me that Autumn is definitely just around the corner.  You can see the leaves changing on this tree.

I should really have made my way back after the first lake, but being me, I ignored my head and my feet and let my heart take me around the next lake.  This view was drawing me in..

While walking towards this I glanced over to the hill on my right and saw this beautiful church..

As I approached this lovely ornate bridge, the rain started again....
So it was a good excuse to sit and ponder and admire and talk to some lovely folks with beautiful doggies!

And of course being a national trust place, there was the obligatory cream tea to be consumed when I got back to the visitor entrance!

So a couple of blissful hours doing something unusual all by myself, I am rather pleased with that, and of course as I got back to my car.........the sun came out!

Bye for now xxx

Friday, 15 August 2014

My healing place.

This year I have somehow managed to get into my garden again after many years of half baked attempts.  It all began because we had to have our fences replaced after they blew down in the Boxing Day storms last year.  I have spent so many hours just sitting and watching the birds, bees and butterflies over the last few months and thought I might share a little of it all with you.  If you would like to see what it was looking like back in May just after the fence was done you can see some pictures by clicking here
 I chose to fill my raised veg beds with very cheap and very cheerful geraniums this year to give them and me a rest!

This is the first year I have done pots for a long time, spurred on by having inherited many from my dear sister and mums gardens.

 Climbing Rose - High Hopes

 Shrub rose - Grace

 Shrub Rose - Valentine

 Shrub rose - Winchester Cathedral

 My lavender is so happy, it is sending out new flowers!

 That should keep the bees happy.

 This fuchsia is about 8 years old and has never looked better!

 I must pick some more rhubarb, I have already frozen several pounds.

I'm now starting to think about Autumn colour as it will be a total joy to keep some colour going.  Take care,  Jane x

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Spoon Theory and me.

I first got to hear about the spoon theory 5 years ago, in fact I did a little blog about it here.  The video shows a lady who suffers from Lupus (another autoimmune condition very similar to rheumatoid arthritis).  I do not suffer from the nausea and temperature problems that she discusses but do most of the other things.  If you have time to watch the video then it will really help put the following paragraphs into context.

After a recent very serious and prolonged flare up of my rheumatoid arthritis I have decided to see how many spoons I generally have on a 'normal' day, so here goes......
  1. Wake up in my own time, go to the loo, get dressed = 1 spoon
  2. Go down stairs = 1 spoon
  3. make breakfast and cup of tea = 1 spoon
  4. brush teeth and hair, wash face = 1 spoon
  5. catch up on paperwork/emails = 1 spoon
  6. make and eat lunch = 1 spoon
  7. go for a swim, shower and get dressed = 3 spoons
  8. make tea for the family = 2 spoons
  9. go upstairs and get into bed = 1 spoon 
So there you go my basic day also has about 12 spoons in it.  At the moment the only way I can do other activities is by swapping it with another, for example, when my husband is home, he will make my breakfast, lunch and often tea - that gives me a whole 4 spoons to use on other activities.  Here are some of the other things that I like to do:

  1. Drive to church, stay sitting in an upright chair and drive home= 3 spoons.
  2. Sit and crochet for a couple of hours (only possible when hands are not to sore) = 1 spoon.
  3. Water my garden = 1 spoon
  4. Walk my dog = 2 spoons
  5. drive to a friends for a coffee = 2 spoons
  6. go shopping for an hour = 3 spoons
  7. drive to the beach for a few hours with a sea swim = 4 spoons.
  8. have a friend round for coffee = 1 spoon
  9. do some sewing with my machine = 2 spoons
So to do any of these at the moment, I have to not do some of things in that first list of 9 activities.  And I'm afraid it doesn't end there, life is messy and so there are other things that come in and demand spoons from me........
  1. An unexpected emotional telephone conversation = 2 spoons.
  2. Tackling the ironing mountain = 3 spoons.
  3.  An extra car journey to take something to school for one of the children if they have forgotten something = 1 spoon.
  4. Parents evenings at school = 3 spoons.
  5. doctor/hospital appointments for me or the children = 2 spoons
  6. A trip to the shops for something for tea = 1 spoon
  7. Taking/ fetching the children from after school activities = 1 spoon for each journey.
  8. Bumping into a friend whist out and standing chatting for 10 minutes = 1 spoon.
  9. Getting petrol for the car = 1 spoon
Now the thing about that third list is that any of these always have to take priority over the second list, and problems really occur when I have got to do all the things in the first list and then some of things in the third list.  This will inevitably mean that I end up borrowing spoons from other days which means it is highly likely that I will end up extra fatigued, which makes me vulnerable to become ill or have another flare up.

On top of having to think about all these lists all the time, in order to be able to get done the things that need to get done in a day (and sometimes the things I WANT to do in a day), I also have to acknowledge that there is a spoon thief out there.  My thief comes in the guise of fatigue,illness and flare ups.  Like a thief, I never really know when they are going to strike.  Sometimes as I mentioned before I leave a window open by doing too much, which allows the thief easy access to my spoons.  So what do I do when the thief strikes?

If my husband is at work it means not doing some of the things in list one, so I might not get dressed or go downstairs, this is okay as long as one of my children is happy to bring me a cup of tea and maybe a bit of breakfast.  Phone calls and emails have to wait.  The children may have to make their own tea if dad is at work.  The one activity that I will try all out to do is my swimming as the benefit to my joints of moving them in water is proven to be positive.  However I have to be content not to even swim if I'm bad and just move in the water, have a quick shower and not dry my hair.

On the whole I seem to get through my days okay.  I am however human and I do sometimes feel sorry for myself.  This happened to me yesterday when I went to church and heard all about the holiday club that had been on for children - just 3 years ago this was part of my job.  Now even just getting to the service was an effort.  I know that I shouldn't look back and compare then to now, but sometimes you just can't help it, it just suddenly slaps you in the face.  I nearly didn't go to church because I knew it might make me sad, but then I feel bad and selfish for not supporting the great work that is going on.

In a world where everyone seems to be defined by who they are and what they do for a living it can be very difficult to continually have to make an excuse for not fitting into that definition.  Not that I think the definition is correct, but going against the grain is difficult at the best of times!!!

So there you go, you now know a little more about what goes on in my head.  It's a good job God blessed me with a reasonably organised nature otherwise I don't know how I would manage!

Take care for now,    Jane x.