Tag Archives: wife

Raindrops Keep Falling

I was wakened around 5am by the sound of rain, at which point my bladder became rather more active than I was and forced me reluctantly from my bed. A little later, around 6am, I was roused by a small, sharp elbow and the question: “What time do you think it is?”

The answer did not seem to meet with her approval.

“There’s no need to use language like that. If I could see the clock I wouldn’t need to ask you.”

I really don’t think she needed to ask me anyway. That’s why I set the alarm on the phone. If it isn’t sounding, you don’t need to know.

At 6.45 it was much the same again, a huge sigh followed by: “I might as well get up now, I can’t get back to sleep because of the rain.”

I indicated that I too was suffering from a broken sleep, though I had no intention of showing myself to a grey, wet morning before the alarm went off.

By 7.45 we were in a queue on the ring road (there are always queues when it rains – I’ve never quite worked out why) , and shortly after 8.00 we were at the garden. Julia had not been able to clear up the glass on Thursday as the Scenes of Crime Officer had not finished until it was time for her to go to her evening shift at the Leisure Centre.

We hadn’t been able to get access on Friday before she had to go to the other site and she has been busy since then. Nobody, not even the Monday Group, who were there all day yesterday (as the name suggests), has bothered to offer a hand with the cleaning up.

While she went to find the caretaker for the keys (he has fitted a new set of door handles for her) I was sent to ASDA for cleaning equipment. They have a special offer on – dustpan, brush, squeegee, washing up brush, scrubbing brush and sponge for £4, compared to £3 just for the dustpan and brush. The fact that I feel the need to report this indicates that I am turning into my father, who often came back from shopping with a “bargain” whether he needed it or not.

I did a bit more shopping on the way round (there were some good offers on) and rolled up to the cash register to find that my debit card wouldn’t work. I only had £10 in my pocket so stuck to the cleaning equipment and stationery. (It worked fine when I used the ATM on leaving the shop, so despite the implications of the lady on the till, I did have enough funds to cover a £17 bill).

We had to break the remaining glass, which was more difficult than it sounds. Glass never breaks when you want it to. I gave it a sharp tap with the edge of a hand gardening fork, because I just wanted to break the remaining half pane in two. It was a good plan, but glass rarely cooperates. Instead,  it bounced the fork back at me, coming perilously close to hitting me in the face.

So I tried again. Harder. With predictably perilous results.

Obviously I’m not going to be bested by half a pane of glass, so I tried a trowel next.  A good hard tap from the trowel, which wasn’t as springy as the fork, produced a result. Well it did if you define result as “explosion of glass splinters”.

With hindsight I should have allowed for the extra rigidity and not hit it so hard. Or had Julia standing there with a bag to catch the bits. In my own defence I would point out that I had asked for tape to put on the glass to hold it together, like the blast tape on WW2 windows. Unfortunately we didn’t have any tape.

Anyway, all the broken glass is cleared and swept away. This is fortunate because it’s still raining and they will be wanting the container today.

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Acanthus, or Bear’s Breeches.  No, I don’t know why.

 

It’s still raining now.

However, as a Dyno-Rod van is working down the street I can confidently say that someone is having a worse day than me.

 

 

Feeling Better Already

The foot still hurts, but I’m feeling a lot more cheerful and I’m actually starting to think again, even though it’s only a couple of hours from my last post. Julia says I’m also looking pink again after several days of looking grey.

While I was in the surgery this afternoon, despite having a book in my pocket, I just didn’t have the energy to read it. This is much more of an indicator of my wellbeing than a temperature measurement, because, as we saw earlier, I didn’t actually notice I had a temperature.

I’ve been missing my photography recently so I’ve decided to post a few of my favourite photos.

The featured image is one of the mice off a wheatsheaf loaf. I always liked making them, both the loaves and the mice. It’s actually very simple, though I never did get the knack of drying them out properly, so they had a tendency to curl up and go mouldy.

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Little and Large!

I couldn’t do without a picture of the Odd Couple. I haven’t been able to visit for a few weeks now, but I’ll be going as soon as I can walk.

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Nuthatch at Rufford Abbey

I like Nuthatches, and we had a good day at Rufford on this particular day. In fact we’ve never had a better day photographing birds in the woods at Rufford. However, I live in hope.

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Julia at Clumber Park

There are other subjects for photography apart from birds, wives for instance. This is a particularly fine example, and I would probably have starved to death if she hadn’t been here to look after me over the last few weeks.

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I forget the name of this one, but it’s quite impressive.

I’m going to miss the garden this year, it was so easy to pop out when the sun shone. Our own garden needs a bit of work after being ignored for years.

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Right place, right time

I may have to enhance the rainbow, but it’s still a favourite shot of mine.

More photographs in a day or two.

 

Just Chilling Out

Julia is out tonight. It was something she organised a month ago and  I made her go even though she’s worried about leaving me alone.

Her worries are that I may fall over or starve to death. Starve? That set alarm bells ringing. How long is she planning on being away? Only for the evening, it seems. I can’t see that being a problem as I have enough stored fat to last a while. Look at the self-portrait if you don’t believe me. I have what estate agents refer to as an “extensive frontage”.

As for falling over, I have a mobility aid (or stick, as they used to be known) and enough padding not to damage too easily.

However, this isn’t to say that she has nothing to worry about. I may be safe, but it’s not the same as being sensible. Armed with several litres of what Bob Flowerdew calls personal liquid waste I have made a start on reclaiming the garden. We’ve been having trouble with dogs fouling a spot in the corner of the front garden and I’ve decided to fight back. We had an urban fox problem at one time, and did successfully move them on using urine (applied via watering can, in case you are wondering). Direct application isn’t really an option for a front garden in a suburban street.

I’m thinking of this as a kind way of moving them on. Stage 2, if this doesn’t work, is to use a solution of chillis. If I have to escalate to stage 3 I may have to abandon organic solutions and opt for Jeyes Fluid.

I will say no more, as I don’t want this to be used in evidence against me.

While she was out I went shopping for tea, which was Heinz Tomato Soup with a cheese and spiced shallot sandwich. It’s not the last word in healthy eating, but Heinz Tomato Soup is almost a medicine so I think I’m OK, particularly as I had an orange, a banana and a chocolate rabbit afterwards. The rabbit was half price – so it’s a vegetable and it’s a bargain.

 

 

Micawber and Me

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.” Wilkins Micawber (David Copperfield)

I suppose you can sum the philosophy up as “enough is enough”. The difference for Micawber is just a shilling. The difference for me is just a few plastic bags. Fifty bags are good, a hundred would be too many and I would start to worry about waste and storage. In general this seems to be the way. Research on lottery winners suggests that large amounts of money aren’t enough to make you happy as you adjust to having it.

That’s a great comfort to me for a number of reasons, including, I admit, envy. I can take a certain amount of pleasure from the idea that the rich aren’t happier than I am, and derive satisfaction from the knowledge that, no matter how much money I may have, this is as good as it gets (in other words, working harder would have made me richer but not happier).

Unfortunately, in my quest for knowledge, I looked up more links and found  this research . It seems that lottery winners can be happy, though this one doesn’t seem overly cheered by their million pound win. Some people are never satisfied.

A million pounds would come in handy, and I’m sure I could handle it. I certainly wouldn’t sue anyone for giving me a million. But in truth, I don’t need it, and I can do without it. This is all part of the thinking I’ve been doing whilst sitting round healing.

Obviously I’ve concluded that health is more important than money, and that Julia has a price far above rubies, as Proverbs tells us. Well, it does in the King James version, more modern versions say jewels or precious stones, which is not the same at all. Whoever used rubies (and it may well have been Shakespeare) knew how to select his words.

Whilst watching daytime TV I’ve also seen plenty of adverts for charities and learned to appreciate access to clean water, the NHS and a fridge full of food. Then there’s the electricity to run the fridge, the road to the shops and the roof over my head.

It’s amazing how much we have, what we take for granted.

To be fair, though it does provide the above lessons, I probably could give up daytime TV.

 

We may see the small Value God has for Riches, by the People he gives them to.” — Alexander Pope (1727)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia’s New Project

Julia’s first project of the year was to make me fitter and thinner. I’m going along with it because it’s easier than becoming industrious and efficient.Two months in and I seem to have lost half a stone without inconveniencing myself too much. I can also walk significantly further than I could at Christmas, and my joints are feeling better.

So far it’s down to eating better, rather than eating less. The next stage is to start reducing portion sizes too. You will have to imagine the expression on my face as I type that last bit.

Storm Doris is currently whistling round the house so I’m cutting back on the walking today. I’m in the middle of an Amber Weather Warning at the moment, with gusts of wind of up to 80 mph. That’s the magic of the information age. When I was a lad “windy” would have been the only word I needed. I was certainly never on first name terms with the weather.

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Squirrel stealing bird food

Anyway, now that exercise I am (slightly) smaller and fitter she is transferring her attention to a new project.

The Danes have hygge and the Norwegians have Friluftsliv . Even the Germans have Gemütlichkeit, and they aren’t a famously cheerful nation.

Julia’s new project is to discover a suitable English equivalent. We have mindfulness, though I’m not sure it’s quite the same. I incline to morosity myself, which is about as opposite to hygge as you can get. Yes, it is a word. More than that, it’s a word I’ve never used before.

Looks like we need a new word for English-style happiness. I favour something with a Scandinavian twist, because they seem to be the leaders in the field.

Julia favours something more domestic, something along the lines of “middle aged man snoring in front of the TV, which sounds more like the basis of a haiku to me.

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Can you see it now?

I have translated  “middle aged man snoring in front of the TV” and my favourite (“ducks and sunshine”) into various Scandinavian languages.

English: Middle aged man snoring in front of TV – ducks and sunshine

Danish: Den midaldrende mand snorken foran TV –  ænder og solskin

Norwegian: Middelaldrende mann snorking fra foran TV – ender og solskinn

Swedish: En medelålders man snarkningar framför TV – ankor och solsken

Is there anything there we can use, do you think?

Julia doesn’t seem impressed; she’s just wandered off muttering “idiot with a laptop” and I don’t think it’s a suggestion for translation…

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Julia hiding in shrubbery

Photographs have been selected to show examples of things that make me happy. I don’t have a picture of ice cream.

 

The Narrow Cells

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
         Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
         The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
Elegy in a Country Churchyard – Thomas Gray

I was at Crowland Abbey earlier last week (as you may have noticed) and took a few shots of gravestones with interesting names. We didn’t have a lot of time so I didn’t do a lot of searching, just took a few pictures of stones with names I thought I could look up in the census results.

The first one was a stone that was laid flat at the end of the south aisle (the one with no roof) to form a pavement. It seems a poor way to treat a memorial but I suppose if you believe that only the skull and thighbones are needed for resurrection the grave marker is irrelevant.

It looks like it’s the stone of Sarah, wife of William Hewson. William is listed in the 1861 Census for Crowland, a widowed 71 year old farmer and cattle dealer. If only the moss had grown more. Unfortunately I can’t narrow it down more than that, or find any mention of Sarah.

A few yards further on, just outside the walls, is a stone to  William Blood and his wife Mary Ann. William was a farmer, who ended up with 143 acres. and eventually left property valued at “under £100” in 1877. Mary went to live with her daughter and Robert, the eldest son, became a general dealer, married two women called Mary (one after the other) and died in 1914.

Conspiracy theorists might deplore the state collecting all this information, but it does make family history easier (unless people marry identically named wives).

A few yards away is a stone to Drusilla, wife of Augustus Blood, who died in 1876. She had a difficult, and short, life. In the 1841 census she is months old and the daughter of an Ironmonger but in 1851 she is living with her grandmother and mother (both widows). By 1861 she is living with an an aunt and uncle and listed as a dressmaker. Finally, in the 1871 census she has a daughter and is married to Augustus Blood, an unemployed butcher.

By 1881 Augustu was working as a butcher in Oundle, Northamptonshire. He had 4 daughters between the ages of 5 and 10 (no wonder poor Drusilla died young). His brother Henry was working with him (though he also has a housekeeper). In 1891 he is living in Whittlesey, Cambs, with a new wife Ann, and three young children between 4 and 8, all born in Oundle. Ann died in 1901 and left effects worth £42 8s 9d to Eleanor Frost, spinster.

By 1911 (the last census to be released) Augustus was living near  Salford, Lancashire and working as a Chapel Keeper. At the age of 68 he was living with his 44 year old wife (having remarried in 1904), two stepchildren and his brother Henry, who was a self-employed confectionary hawker. He died in 1915 and left £32  4s 9d.

 

It’s amazing what stories you can find in a churchyard.

Reasons to be cheerful

I’ve been working on my positivity, and I have many reasons to be cheerful. I have my health (well, most of it), I have my own gardening tools and I have plenty of room for books. I also have friends, a tolerant wife and a laptop.

What more could I want?

Well, I suppose the joints and bladder of youth would be handy, but I’d probably have to be ambitious and hard-working again, which isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Anyway, the joint aches started when I was still in my teens due to various accidents, so unless I’m prepared to set the clock back to 1968 and re-live the unpleasantness of my teens it’s not going to happen. In the absence of a time machine it’s not going to happen anyway, but you know what I mean.

That’s another thing to be cheerful about – I don’t have to go through all that teenage angst again.

Mainly, if I’m honest, I’m cheerful about having a digital camera. Compared the the old-fashioned film camera, which could hold thirty six exposures at a time, and where the film needed developing before you could see the results, the digital camera is cheap and efficient. I’m now able to take thirty six shots, instantly see the results and store hundreds of good shots on one small card. Due to the marvels of modern data storage I can also store thousands of poor shots – I really must learn to be more organised.

With a digital camera I can spend my time watchng birds, looking at old buildings and blogging. One day I will have to start earning a living again, but until that happens, I have plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

The pictures I’ve used here are just a selection of my favourites from the last few months.