Wednesday, 29 April 2009

goose girl

Last night I finished The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. Read it. Just read it. Just read it.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Portrait of a an orang-utan

Anyone can get a migraine. Only I get migraines like this. It grew all day on Sunday. Hopes of escaping it by running away for three days in Cardiff failed. A faint and nasty smell of chocolate at the service station was enough to tell me that the Meany-grain was with me. Nothing else puts me off the smell of chocolate like that.

Monday, I rallied enough to totter briefly round Cardiff Bay and fall back into bed again, sure that I'd be fine by Monday. At least husband was able to get out and take the camera for some long walks, and our daughter joined us as and when.

Tuesday I finished The Portait of a Lady. I admit, M'Lud, I am an ignoramity and I aint read no Henry James before so I thought it was time I did. Not sure that I'll read any more and definitely not with a buiding site in my head and the cement mixer in my stomach. Tomorrow, I thought, I will wake up without a headache.

Wednesday Woke up with a headache. Sat up and and saw trashed orang-utan in hotel room. Wish they wouldn't put the mirror opposite the bed. At this stage whatever was inside me (which can't have been much) decided to abandon ship. Further details spared. Husband loaded me into car for journey home.

Thursday Headache has applied for leave to remain indefinitely. Legs capable of carrying me to bathroom (as above) but not necessarily getting back. Doctor called in. Doctor impressed. Suspect he would like to frame this migraine and put it on his wall with the details of where and when he landed the beast. Husband takes prescription to pharmacy. Medication brings on drowsiness and funny dreams which are much nicer than reality and may inspire a book one day.

Friday - woke up without a headache! Not much use of arms and legs, but finally totter downstairs and whisper orders to husband, son, and the lassie, all of whom have been fantastic throughout. Try to play piano, but hands still shaking.
After eating nothing since Sunday lunchtime, suddenly starving and munch enough toast to feed an orphanage. (I lost six pounds in a week, but really wouldn't recommend it).

Saturday Have put myself up fo sale on e-bay as an online pharmacy. Still staggering a bit, but definitely better. Isn't health a great thing!

Can anyone out there out-migraine me?

Friday, 17 April 2009


Tonight I want to throw a bouquet to Margaret Haywood. She is the nurse who, on finding appalling levels of care and hygiene on a ward full of elderly patients, did all the right things, ie, spoke to the line manager. When this didn't do any good, she did secret filming for the BBC Panorma programme and blew the whistle on the whole wretched business.

She did all the correct things and got nowhere, so then she did the right thing. Sometimes you just have to shout, and she shouted. But caring for your patients so much that you are prepared to break rules and shout on their behalf is a serious offence and renders you unfit to be a nurse, because Margaret has been struck off. I wonder if I would have had the courage to do what she did?

Has anyone else been struck off? What happened to theose who were ultimately responsible for the state of those wards? Have more nurses, auxiliaries and cleaners been employed, and is there, for heaven's sake, a simple checklist of what needs doing and a system to make sure it does get done?

My uncle died in pain and distress because of a slovenly hospital. Margaret, I salute you. I wish you'd been there to shout.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

bright day

Church this morning was joyful, celebratory, fun, powerful. Lots of children, and all, enjoying it. In the last hymn (Thine be the Glory) we celebrated with party poppers, streamers, and bubbles (yes, I had asked the vicar first). Flowers everywhere. Big smiles.

Both my boys are home, and my husband is talking to daughter on the phone. We've been topping up the lassie with coffee and chocolate all day and watching her go hyper. Lots of music in this house today. And laughter. It's been a real spring day, so I've been finding things to do in the garden. I didn't know if the passion flower would survive the winter, but there are buds on it now. My friend Stephanie, who has been having a grim time with chemotherapy, is now feeling so much better.

I know it's not the same for everyone, and if you're having a rough time, my heart goed out to you. But here, it's been a bright day.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

One hour and thirty-five minutes

In one hour and thirty five minutes, the lassie can have chocolate and coffee again. We told her that Sundays in Lent don't count, and that when somebody gives you a lovely home-made chocolate biscuit cake you have to accept, so she hasn't been completely cold turkey, but she has been a deprived choco-babe since Ash Wednesday, more of a choco-waif, really.

But the main thing is, resurrection. If that doesn't mean Value Added Life, it ought to.

This week has been intense, bucketing between work, home, story-telling, church, and garden, which is also into resurrection and needs tlc. My wonderful daughter sent me a voucher for Mothering Sunday which has enabled me to buy some of my favourite things to go in the garden. Happily enough, one of my favourite flowers is a favourite funny word too, so hollyhocks to you. They're about resurrection, as well.

On Thursday night we had a bring and share meal, a Eucharist, and a foot washing. Fortunately we didn't have to be too solemn about the foot washing. I've got tickly feet and it's hard to focus on the symbolism when you can't stop laughing and you have to resist the reflex action that to kick out and sploosh the vicar.

But it's about resurrection.

Then I made the crown of thorns to place, with the nails, at the foot of the cross. I hate doing that. Good Friday is so hard. It was a relief to go in today, take that horrible cruel thing away, and put flowers round the cross ready for tomorrow, because IT'S ABOUT RESURRECTION. It's about evil not having the last word. It's about life, and life needs love. Value Added Love.

One hour and twenty minutes, sweetie.

What's it about?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


I've just been to see Millions - a film by Danny Boyle, based on the book by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Utterly, utterly recommend it. Must see. I will tell you no more about it than that.

A friend called today asking if I could lend her a mouse (for a display that she's doing). What size mouse? The dolls house mice, charming as they are, were too small, though my friend's daughter made friends with them at once. So I hunted through the Christmas cupboard for some knitted mice, which were just right.

So she wanted a mouse, and I was the first person she thought of. I really like that.

If anyone I work for is reading this, honestly, I haven't spent all day mouse-hunting and watching movies. Most of it has been typing. I got in at about quarter to ten and went on typing, and have just finished for the night. If I crack on tomorrow I can have a bit of time off to do Eastery things.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


My uncle once gave me a bagatuelle (or is it bagatelle?) game. I've called it pinball on the title because I'm not sure how to spell the other one and am in too much of a spin to look it up. You know how you pull a handle back and a little silver ball pings around the board? That's what I feel like this week. Lots of busy stuff with stories, correspondence, social things, church things. Thursday morning was toddler group, followed by theatre - yes, it was a contrast. The RSCs new production of The Tempest, full of African influence, dynamic, multi-layered, and with that style and something else that you expect from the RSC.

On Friday, a group of us went to the most amazing resource centre for people working with small children. Oh, it was wonderful. We were therE to buy equipment for toddlers and the after school group. We went from puppets and animal toys (aah!), to dressing up and role play, outdoor play, craft and messy stuff, to the wooden construction things and plain and simple wooden toys for story-telling aids (ooooh!) Not a battery in sight. Nothing more high tech than clockwork. AND THE CAFE! THE CAKE! We talked three times round the budget and came home with heaps of wonderful things for children to play with (skittles, wooden building things, and more) and story-telling stuff for the team to play with. We got back with a brief turn around time before after-school club, and enjoyed watching a small boy having the time of his life building towers.

Finally came the quiz in which my husband's team beat mine into the ground. What, may I ask, happened to chivalry?

And the other important thing this week - Shearer's coming home. SHEARO!