Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Snow Days

 We had a sprinkle of snow yesterday and thanks to below freezing temperatures it lingered until late morning today.

"Snow is falling all around us children playing, having fun". That ear worm of a Christmas tune has been buzzing in my head, yep even the garden centre was playing Christmas music in its outside area!

Drippity, drop this morning but golly it was very cold!

Yesterday's rose with a sprinkling of snow dust.

We had our last trip to Wigan this week to collect Dave's repaired Luggie and I quickly popped in to Bents craft zone for some much needed yarn for Pip's pom pom garland.  I do believe that using the camera and catching some outside time even in the freezing cold will help my mental well being for sure.  Pip is struggling with some pretty awful PoTs/EDS symptoms at the moment, I don't think a day goes by where she is not in pain and as a parent it is quite distressing to see.  She is so good about doing all the right things: taking medication, eating a particular diet, drinking loads, exercising on the recumbent bike and trying to get out for a daily walk and still things go wrong.  It really makes me feel quite sad but she is so good about her difficulties and usually says, 'At least I'm not like some poor kid really ill with cancer.'  This evening I read her a story from her childhood entitled, 'Beware the Bears' followed by our beginning of Advent must have, 'Merry Christmas Strega Nona.'  We also prayed the third decade of the Joyful Mysteried, The Birth of Jesus and thanked Him for coming into this world as our Saviour and Friend - He above all knows what it is like to suffer and grieve.  Sometimes it is just a case of asking Him to help us bear the load of our own cross and to remind ourselves that this too shall pass.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Saturday Snippets

 Still having fun with the camera and learning lots of new cool things such as bracketing, which is essentially where you take three images and the camera will do one real time, one slightly over exposed and one slightly under exposed.  I could have done with using the bracketing when i took the shot of Poppy - I was outside and she was inside.  I managed to avoid glare from the glass but her image is on the darker side than I would have liked, still she does have a rather regal look about her 😻

One lone rose that survived the battering of storm Arwen.

A rather sombre looking Dave but he was talking me through bracketing and this was definitely the best shot.

Pip had the chance to visit her friend Jamie this afternoon, it was most definitely a last minute arrangement and did require me driving 35 minutes to get her there but it was worth it.  Whilst Pip hung out with her friend, Dave and I had a coffee at Beetham Garden centre and I stepped out of my comfort zone and used the camera to take these shots.  I've become fairly familiar in shooting in manual mode which means I have to set the aperture, shutter speed and ISO accordingly.  It's quite satisfying to come up with a half decent image 😊

Friday, 26 November 2021

Knitting ::Nattering :: Photography

 Serendipity played a part this week and it all began with a quick instagram text chat with my friend Jacqui that then led to a planned WA video chat on Wednesday afternoon. 

 Jacqui lives in the Outer Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis (many moons ago Sara spent a week with Jacqui and her family)  and we sat in our respective homes with our knitting and coffee and had a lovely time sharing family news and attempting to put the world to rights!  Interestingly enough we had also both planned to make a Mediterranean lamb dish for tea.  Jacqui was working on a shawl for a friend and since I have finished my 'Travelling Woman' shawl I spent the afternoon finishing Sara's belated birthday present 😊

Some snippets from Sara's epic journey in March 2012 - a train to Inverness, a bus to Ullapool and then the ferry to Stornaway followed by a drive to Lewis:

Travelling Woman Shawl

I made this using one of my yarn purchases from this year's Yarndale festival:

The first shot is a truer version of the actual colour which was affectionately named 'soot on Santa's nose' Christmas colour-way 😊. We also enjoyed the yummy Mediterranean lamb tea complete with minimal carb and yeast free flat breads:

This morning I finally finished Sara's birthday present (9th November) - the Estelle cardigan by Melissa LaBarre, even the colour of her cardigan is the same as the design on the front cover of the pattern:

Not only did it fit beautifully Sara declared it was just her style and loved it; needless to say I was very happy πŸ˜ƒ 

Close up of the Feather and Fan border design.

For lunch we had delicious burgers courtesy of Tom and a mixed salad:

Thanks to a lovely chronic illness community over on Instagram, I've decided to take part in the 30 days of morning light challenge.  The benefits of natural day light are well documented - improved mental well being, helping boost the immune system and help regulate the circadian rhythm. 

 In addition to sitting outside with my breakfast and coffee, I've also set myself an additional challenge and that is to use my proper camera - you know the one Dave bought for me for my 50th birthday which I hardly use!!  Not only do I get to try different settings, I also have peace and quiet as the family leave me alone, too cold for them!  It's a really lovely way to start my day - coffee, nature and chatting to God.  It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings as it's currently blowing a hoolie out there πŸ˜‚

First frost on the strawberries.

Blue skies looking to the left.

Lovely raindrops.

My favourite mug - I do love puffins ❤️

Menacing skies to the right.

There was however an object lesson in the two scenic images - I thought about the times in my life when I have focused on the difficulties and even allowed the darkness to hold sway.  In those moments I forget about the bits of blue sky that can even be found amongst the brokenness.  I kid you not, the dark sky lifted gradually and before long that same image was infused with the brightest blue, studded with the cutest, fluffiest clouds!  

"When the storm seems to overpower you, hold tight, for it is only passing."

Hiral Nagda


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

A Light In The Darkness

 In between bouts of sickness and health issues we have managed to attend church.  Unfortunately our local church in the village isn't a place where we feel safe as they have opened up all the pews and the church is often full to capacity.  As a result we felt led to attend elsewhere and are attending a church just under twenty minutes down the road.  Not only do they leave some benches fenced off they also leave the back doors open which then leads into a sizeable narthex.  As we were leaving on Sunday evening I looked up and saw this image of Jesus at the entrance:

The image below was snapped as I left a friend's house yesterday tea time.  I didn't have my camera with me but the phone made a pretty good attempt to capture the glory in the sky.

Both images have me thinking about Advent and how God's Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.  This was also confirmed in a chat I had with Sr Emma earlier in the day -  it was her confirmation saint's feast day, St Cecilia, patroness of music.  Emma also shared with me her thoughts about Advent and the need for the light of Christ in the world.  She has written a song for advent based on that precept and whilst in the chapel The Lord gave her the music 😊. Bernadette Farrell also wrote a beautiful piece entitled 'Christ Be Our Light.'

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Back At Bents :: Pom Pom Garland Making

 We actually managed to make it to Wigan despite my having another 4am migraine.  This time I was on the ball and drank loads, had something to eat and took anti inflammatories to keep it in check, it worked and although we set off an hour later than planned we did make the journey.  Once we'd dropped Dave's Luggie at the mobility place and borrowed a courtesy one from them we travelled the familiar short journey to Bents Garden and Home Emporium.  The place was very busy and the only disabled parking was in front of the pet cafe, naturally Pip was in her element, she oohed and ahed at all the dogs and enjoyed looking at all the Christmas pet jumpers!  Our first stop was the craft place where I purchased a pom pom maker set and four balls of Christmassy coloured yarn - the aim is to make a woolly garland for either the tree or to string in between the lounge and dining area.

It was nearing lunch time by this point so we stopped at one of the pop up food vans and bought a yummy curry complete with mini poppadoms and onion bhajis, it wasn't cheap but it was far safer to eat outside than queue for an hour for a seat in one of the two restaurants indoors.  Having been recently we had no desire to battle the crowds so on the off chance rang the repair shop to see what progress if any had been made on the scooter.  The upshot is the battery is kaput and they are still trying to work out what is wrong with the control panel, so we trundled back home with the Luggie on loan and will return in a few days.

Using the art filter on my camera, yes I actually picked up the real deal for a change!

My end of the day rag bag crumpled self πŸ˜‚

Pip with Poppy just before bed and  over an hour later she is dealing with considerable discomfort when trying to take a deep breath in :-(. Oh the joys (not) of a way too bendy body.  Don't ask me how she's done it but I think she's pulled a muscle, so it's wheat bags, paracetamol and The Sooty Show on youtube to allow things to settle down.  There's me thinking I could have an early night, it's just like the good old days with Ben πŸ˜‚

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Not What I Had In Mind

 In amongst Pip being ill and Ben following suit Dave was also diagnosed with suspected shingles!  It started with a red mark on the left side of his forehead, which turned into a raised bump and then a line of distinctive blisters by the Wednesday.  I took one look at him and thought I'm sure that's shingles, so one telephone call later and submission of several photos Acyclovir was prescribed.  Thankfully it was caught early with no nerve pain, fever or general sickness.

After a long week of illness Pip felt well enough to attend the 808 music session at Heron Corn Mill.  Whilst she was hanging out with friends Dave and I had lunch at Beetham Garden Centre.  Dave's Luggie is once again out of action so it was a wheelchair job whilst out and about and the steep incline to the loos at Heron Corn Mill was no fun- especially as it was slippy.  I hung on to Dave and he hung on to the bannister and we inched our way down, needless to say getting back up was just as difficult!

Cheese and Bacon Baked Spuds with assorted salad.

Dave's face healing nicely.

Entrance to the mill.

The awful incline! I'd estimated 30ΒΊ, Dave 25ΒΊ and it was in fact 18ΒΊ but regardless it was jolly hard, firstly in preventing him from careering off into a ditch at the bottom and secondly having enough oomph to climb back up to the top!  I hurt more than usual come Monday morning :-)

We are off to Wigan once again in the morning to have the Luggie looked at once again and this time hopefully fixed.  We should have travelled yesterday but a humdinger of a migraine scuppered that idea, such is life.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Tales From The Infirmary

 Well I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later and that one or two of us would succumb to a virus :-(  Thankfully it is not Covid as both Pip and I did lateral flow tests and they were negative.  Pip has been hardest hit and sadly that is because she struggles to wear a mask- every time she has tried wearing one since the PoTS kicked off she has keeled over.  I think we'll look in to either getting her a face shield or one of the well reputed Cambridge masks.

  Last week for various reasons we needed to be out and about and I reckon she picked up the germs at some point during that time with either the lift in M&S or a rest room being a hot bed for a virus.  In addition to her having a greater viral overload she seems to be experiencing a PoTS crash with worsened heart rate, nausea, dizziness and feeling faint.  I'm very grateful that we have an emergency supply of cyclizine which is an anti nausea and dizziness medication and a quick chat with our on call GP and a dose was finally administered at 3:30pm.  Two hours later she was able to finish her electrolyte drink and eat half a crumpet.  She's been asleep since 6pm, which is much needed as she barely slept a wink last night due to sore throat and congestion.  I think we are however slowly turning a corner and Poppy is an excellent head nurse, keeping her watchful eye on the proceedings :-)

All smiles yesterday before the congestion and PoTS symptoms reared their head.

The camp bed fits quite nicely under the window in the dining room, I slept here and Pip slept …


Definitely not camera ready this morning!  This was before the dizziness and nausea really kicked in.  As I write (10:00pm) Pip is currently eating a toasted crumpet and drinking tea so that four hour nap has done her good. Goodness knows what time we will finally retire for the night though!! 

Despite the sickness over the weekend, we did manage to have some fun moments last week:

On Saturday our dear friends from our time in Crewe (1988-1992) came to visit. The last time we met was two years ago, little did the world know what was just around the corner.

On Wednesday we made a visit to our local large retail outlet as I was quite literally desperate for winter clothing, good old M&S did not disappoint, phew!  Afterwards we took Pip out for lunch at Nandos followed by an afternoon coffee treat in the M&S cafe, whereby Dave was treated to the first sale of the season of Christmas Cake Coffee :-)

Christmas Cake Coffee.

Thursday required a trip to Wigan which is an hour's drive away in order for Dave's Luggie to be serviced.  The last time we were here was, yep just before the pandemic so I hadn't even had chance to use their loyalty card and as a result one of the drinks was free!  

Pip's free Mocha :-)

We had lunch outside next to one of the chalet style serving booths and we enjoyed our lunch of sautΓ©ed potatoes, bacon bits and cheese sauce.

Dave kept disappearing and it was only once we were home I realised he was taking various Christmas themed shots to add to the family Christmas calendar.  Gone are the days where we could get the kids to do cute, funny poses though, ah well!

I'm trying to keep up with everyone's posts now that I've almost finished my second round of Doula training.  I'm part of the Lancaster/Morecambe Doula hub which is brill as it's an area I'm very familiar with but also I'll be working with my Red Tent Doula colleague and friend, Jo.

Hope life is treating you kindly xx