Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Salad Days

There is something about getting your lunch fresh from the garden that I just love. The freshness of the lettuce, the sweetness of the carrots and those peas. I have spoken many, many times about my love of peas, but these, just minutes old from the plant are wonderful.
I really, really hope that I'm able to get an allotment because I need more peas. I'm sure that I could exist on a diet of peas and lettuce.
With the odd block of chocolate, naturally. I only wish I could grow that myself too!

Monday, 29 June 2009


I joined Twitter. I hate being new at something.
I've realised this is a part of my character, I want to completely understand something, see how it works and investigate every part of it so that I know what I'm doing.
Those first moments though of having no clue what the hell I'm doing, I hate them. I get really frustrated by not knowing what the buttons do, or how to get to where I want to be.

Many moons ago, when I was practice manager of a dental surgery, we had a new computer system installed. I must have driven the guy half mad with my "how does that work?", "what does this do?", "how do I make it do this?", "where is the button for....?"
Anyway, the first day that we went active with the system we had one of the developers come to stay with us for the day to help with any issues we had.
Except he went home at lunch, he said there was no point in staying when I'd got it all sussed out.
I can't help it, I have to know how to do everything!
Well almost everything, I know I'll never be quite able to do any plastering.

I think everyone should be mentored on a new website, they should be shown around, just like the prefects at school should take care of the little new kids, you know when they show them where the classroom is and the toilet.
I mean, I can find my own toilet, thank goodness but still, I should like a little tour and have it all explained to me.
Oh, maybe I'll have to relent and read the instructions.
Or the FAQ.
I'm sure I'll be tweeting along with the rest of them before long...see, I've even got the lingo.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Baslow Edge - The Peak District

On Friday Rachael and I went for a wander in the Peak District, now it might look a little overcast, and it was a little windy, but my goodness it's beautiful:

It didn't take at all long to get there and it's remarkable how the scenery changes in such a relatively short distance. From the almost flat Lincolnshire, to the distinctive hills and valleys of The Peak District in just a couple of hours.
I loved these rocky outcrops, the way they appeared to have been positioned, whilst they leave me wondering just how long they've been there. Some have some wonderful shapes to them, as if they've been carved out by a human hand.
I have no idea why I didn't expect to see cows, but I didn't, and this one was interested in the scenery too. Or me.
Whilst this one was clearly disinterested in me. Harsh.
Now I know I'm only short, but those there boulders are bigger than I am, and that's the footpath that runs between them. It got pretty intimate between those rocks and I at times, let me tell you.
Then I found this:
I'm not at all sure what it is, we'd wondered about it being a plague stone but it seemed a long way from any developments. Or maybe that's the whole point.
I'd really like to know what it was for, and in fact what those carved letters represent. I find myself becoming more and more interested in the history of these things, in a way I never was before.

Now, this is Eagle Stone:
Apparently young gentlemen would have to climb it in order to show their fitness to marry. Rather them than me. It's hard to see the scale here, but I guess it's at least 6 or 7 times taller than I am. As we slowly made our way towards it, there was a man definitely attempting to climb it and he didn't appear to be doing very well, so I'm guessing he's going to remain unmarried for a while yet.

I'm such a genius. I was standing and staring at this carved stone sign trying to work out what on earth it said. I stood there uttering the words as they were carved:

Chesty? Arfield? Roadey? What the hell?
Oh no, wait.
Chesterfield Road.
Of course.
I won't embarrass myself by admitting how long it took me to get that.

They totally spelt field wrong though. That was what confused me. Ahem.

And then there were more cows. With big horns. Really big horns. With sharp points. However it would seem grass holds far more interest than ladies with rucksacks.

Although this might be how a cow looks disdainful. Got it down hasn't she?
I have a feeling that she might be smirking at my windswept appearance.
Anyway, our walk progressed, I moaned petulantly each time there was an uphill stretch. I like the flat, I'm not built to clamber over boulders. I'm just not, I know my limits!
That said, I will accept it's good to stretch myself, even if I do end up a little puce in the face. Or rather, glowing in a ladylike manner.
It was a really good walk, we went through the heather, then through the boulders, through woods (I'd like to thank the mosquitoes for all of their attention) and we made our way down gashes in the hillside.
At one point the instructions told us that the way would be clear but overgrown.
They weren't kidding.
The path in front of me became precarious and I felt obliged to photograph it.
Now, it doesn't look that bad, however, those dead leaves, they're like inches and inches deep. Your whole foot disappears, causing you to be a little wobbly.
I must have sensed something as I took this photo, as immediately after it was taken I attempted to descend, which I did, albeit faster than I'd intended and made a graceful landing into those ferns at the top of the photo.

I sat there for a second, one leg in front, one behind, totally (impressively) uninjured and started to giggle. The giggle became a full blown guffaw and I absolutely couldn't stand. I could barely breathe through the laughing. I had no idea where Rachael was as she'd descended before me and vanished from sight. Apparently she heard me go down, I probably swore (profanity is my friend), which was swiftly followed by my hysterical laughter, so she figured I was ok. She said afterwards that she could tell I was laughing so hard there was no way I'd be getting up.
I swear, I have not laughed that hard in a really, really long time.
There's something about those real belly laughs that are really good for your soul.
Even now, I'm having a wee giggle to myself.

We apparently were only walking for 6 miles, but I'll tell you it felt a lot, lot longer. With the heat and the climbing and clambering I was absolutely shattered. As we rounded the corner to the road that led back to the car park, I repeatedly called for Jeff in the hope she would become like Michael Knight's car KITT and come and fetch me, but alas no, she waited for me to emerge, somewhat ruffled and pink.

As we were almost at the car park I noticed something in the road.
"Look!" I said to Rachael, "someone ran over a snake! What are the odds of running over a snake? It's an adder too, they're not even that common! Did you see it? A snake, I mean I've only even seen an adder once or twice before, that's amazing."
At this point in my babble I remembered that Rachael has a snake phobia. I'm a good friend, me.

Finally Jeff's lovely turquoise features appeared on the horizon, I stumbled into the car park, flung open her doors and hugged her. Because the rear door slides, like a van, you can actually hug her when the front door is open too.
It was a good walk, but by crikey I was pleased to be done.

Michael Jackson

Song Of The Week LXIII - Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror:

I wonder how many blog posts are out there written about Michael Jackson and his sudden, unexpected death.

I heard the news and felt the shock. Sometimes you feel as though some people are going to live forever. The fact one day they will die is a concept you can't even begin to grapple with.
I watched the news, read the reports, saw the pictures but somehow you still expect that they'll turn round and tell you it's actually not real.

As a child I idolised Michael Jackson, I was a real fan. My best friend and I collected everything we could find about him, I had folder upon folder of newspaper & magazine clippings and dreamed that one day I'd see him perform live, that I'd get to be one of the girls that why always showed on TV in the throngs desperate to see him.
We went to see Moonwalker at the cinema so many times we got to know all the lines and sat in the back row singing along, being asked by the ushers how many times we'd seen it. I'm actually not sure of the number.

When the allegations hit, huge numbers of his fans stuck by him. I don't think those die hard fans ever believed he was capable of the terrible things he was accused of.
There was something about Michael, they called him Peter Pan, but to my mind he really had never grown up. He seemed barely to have progressed beyond adolescence in his mind.
Being in the spotlight for 45 years of your life has to take its toll.
Adults are a judgemental bunch and children so much less so. I really felt as though he chose to have a large part of his life around children for the freedom it gave him to be himself.
I remember an interview he did with Oprah, they had shots of a cinema he had built, which had hospital beds so that sick children could come, have fun and be cared for.
It never struck me as the behaviour of a man who would wish to cause children harm.
For those who chose to ignore his complete acquittal of the allegations made against him I feel a little pity, that they choose to believe the worst about people, I only hope that if they were ever placed in the same situation the world is kinder to them.
To loosely quote one of Michael's friends interviewed on the news; "I hope history will be kinder to Michael than contemporary media".

I remember, many years ago, when River Phoenix died I felt a profound sense of loss. I couldn't explain how I felt this grief for someone I didn't know. For someone who existed for me only on a screen or through the words in a magazine, but it was there and it was real.
I knew that I was not alone in that grief but it wasn't until I found a magazine article by someone explaining the reasons they felt a grief for this movie star that I really understood my own.
They ended the article by saying:
"We wondered how anyone could comprehend the grief we felt. How could they understand when he belonged to our generation. We understood because River spoke our language, voiced our worries and fears about our future. Only in the years to come will they realise how much he meant to us - a symbol of both our frustrations and hopes. Like his name suggested, he rose from the ashes of obscurity and flew in the face of public opinion with a poetic grace that matched the rhythm of the times."

Michael Jackson was a part of my childhood, my formative years, I practiced my terrible singing, I wanted to make a change, I wanted a pet chimp to be my best friend. I did feel almost as though I knew him, I felt his shyness and maybe I appreciated his eccentricity, knowing I carried my own with me.

I feel a deep sadness about his death. I feel for his family and his children who must now feel so bereft.
There's little to say that hasn't already been said, but what a real loss to the world of music too. He might not have released anything for a long time, but his catalogue stands up, as someone said, his World Record Album sales for Thriller will never be topped. So much is sold online now that that number of real world sales will just never be beaten.
That's one hell of a legacy.

I am to be found regularly joking about my age, about getting old, but then when someone just 16 years older than you are, dies, suddenly you appreciate how young you are. 50 is no age to die. I'm not sure what IS the right age, only that at 50 you expect to have decade upon decade left in front of you.

So, I join in with all those other grieving fans and people who felt like they knew him, who grew up with his music, those who
don't care a jot that you couldn't put him in the pigeonhole marked 'normal' and those that will miss the opportunity to know what he had left to show us.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


This is very much how my weekend went:It shot past in a tremendous blur, although it was a very enjoyable blur!
I headed to Leicester to go to the 5th Big Session festival and had a superb time.
Friday saw me picking up Gary, loading up the car with tents and bedding and heading off to find ourselves a camping spot.
We put up our respective tents - I'm still sporting my vintage tent. It's so noticeably different from everything else it stands out really clearly in the field. Which rather suits me down to the ground.
Friday evening brought me the Peatbog Faeries and the Levellers. It's almost perfect I swear, I got myself to the front and danced, danced and danced. Included in that dancing was a lot of jumping and bouncing. I just can't help myself. It's safe to say I was thoroughly exhausted!

When I woke up on Saturday I was aware of several things. Firstly it was my birthday, I'd made it to my 34th year. Secondly my left foot was distinctly sore, I had a suspicion I'd landed funnily during a session of jumping and the sore foot was proof positive. Not only that, I appeared to also have rather hurt my ribs somehow. I'm clearly not built for that much bouncing.
As I laid there, thinking about opening the cards I'd brought with me, just so there would be something to open on my birthday I heard singing begin outside.
"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you"
What the hell?
They were women's voices, they clearly weren't singing to me. I listened to multiple birthday greetings, finally rousing myself and exiting the tent. I queried who was celebrating and when she stepped forward, I told her it was my birthday too!
What are the odds that in that big field two birthday girls would camp literally next to each other?!

Gary and I ended up spending most of the day in the Big Top, there's something strange about laying on a blanket where it feels clowns and acrobats should surely be dashing about. We listened to the bands that played without really moving to go the main stage until later in the day, but when we did I was suddenly taken by what I could hear. I felt myself being drawn to the stage and cursing myself for not having been there earlier. On stage were Baskery and I can't even begin to explain how good they were, I went to the CD tent to get their album almost immediately, I just had to have it, but they didn't have any! I was going to have to wait till I got home to hear more!
I'd intended to go back to the Big Top and dance in the ceilidh but the foot injury was clearly going to prevent any leaping about in a crazy fashion, much to Gary's obvious relief.
I ended up seeing Eliza Carthy for the third time in a couple of months and started to feel not unlike a stalker.
And as for the two women who talked for the entire set oh you're going on The List. I see a maiming in your future.
Gary was excited to see Billy Bragg who was next on stage, I made a swift exit and headed over to see Edward II where I danced most sedately, predominantly on one foot. These guys are doing a 12 month reunion, 10 years on from when they originally split. I am consoling myself that come hell or high water I am going to go and see them in November and dance properly! (That's like a maniac!)

Oysterband were closing the festival on Sunday and I was so excited about getting to see them again, I just always enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being in a crowd that has a deep love for the band on stage.
But before that Gary and I settled ourselves back into the Big Top as the sun was making infrequent appearances sadly.
I was most impressed with Fatima Spar & The Freedom Fries - definitely worth seeking out, I'll probably pick myself up an album at some point. They weren't at all like I was expecting and I do so love being surprised.
Gary had opted to stay and watch Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Seeds when I headed off to see Oysterband.
I was restrained and stood at the front but off to the side so I wouldn't be tempted to start leaping around!
The very last song they performed as an encore was done without microphones, and as such was very quiet, John Jones sang the first verse and without prompting, the audience all quietly joined in when it came to the chorus. There's something about that which I love, the knowledge of the songs, I feel like part of a shoal of fish, all moving without any apparent trigger to tell us what to do. I don't mind being a sheep in times like that, it's like a community for that song.
It's like knowing how a song goes and knowing that although there's a slow start, soon the fast part will come and as that first beat hits, the crowd raises as one into a big jump. I can't explain how exhilarating it is for me.
Without music I think I'd lose a part of myself.

I've written previously about the fact I'm not excited about Cambridge this year, but the Big Session has fully left me in the mood for it, I'm looking forward to seeing some new bands now.

When I got home and had to cut off my wristband, I felt a moment of loss, it's over for another year and the anticipation of what will come next year begins.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


I was out in the garden the other day when I heard the unmistakable sound of Mifford's collar. I glanced around, she was nowhere to be seen. I heard her again but she just wasn't there. I called her name but nothing and I eventually decided she must be the other side of the fence, until I spotted a pair of eyes in the undergrowth:
She's so cute I want to snuggle up with her all day.

I made her a cushion, she loves her cushion, she likes to lay, hold and cuddle her cushion. Sometimes she holds it between her paws and puts her head upon it and drifts off to sleep. It's quite possibly the cutest thing in the world
However, see the pic below:
See how she holds on to that pillow? See that licking of her paw. This is mime.
The licking says, if you try to take this pillow from me, I will take pleasure in licking your blood from my paws. Don't make me prove it to you.
God damn I love her.


I was in the kitchen washing up when I suddenly heard something play on the TV that I recognised, I literally ran through to the lounge and immediately began singing along with this:

This apparently was first shown in 1989, I clearly remember having the words to this written on the back of my Maths book. Ah, I was 14 years old, my friends and I could sing along. I still remember all the words to it, in fact without it being on I could probably do it all the way through.
How it's still cool I'll never know.

It's been re-released on I guess, it's 20th anniversary. However, interestingly, I didn't hear what it was changed to, but the part about appetite has been altered and also they've taken out the word 'smart' and replaced it with 'good'.
I wonder who decided that was better for us to hear?

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Following a couple of emails this morning I decided I had to come and share these brief tales.

Back in the days when MacGyver was on TV, I was a huge fan. I loved him, I wanted to be him. He was just so clever and could rescue you from any situation with just a Biro and some ingenuity.
So, I watched religiously, hoping this talent would rub off on me.
In one episode he sits at a bar, eating olives and declaring his love for them.
This was it! I had to have olives! If MacGyver liked them, then I surely would.
I went out to a restaurant with my family, there was a salad bar, it had olives.
This was my moment, I loaded up my plate with the black and the green.
My Mum issued words of caution "Don't get too many, you might not like them."
Ha! I thought, don't be ridiculous, if MacGyver likes them then I shall too.

I ate one. Just one. Then wondered what the hell I was supposed to do with the pile that still littered my plate. They were nasty damn it.

I have to say I have since acquired the taste for olives, but even today I couldn't manage the quantity I'd piled my plate with that day.

Within the email from my friend, Paul, he told of a dodgy knee resulting from trampoline misadventures.
I was reminded of those delightful P.E. lessons at school. I'm sure they were designed to fill your life with shame.
Today kids we'll hold hands with the opposite sex and learn how to barn dance.
Teachers can be cruel.
On this particular day, the activity was trampolining. There was a single trampoline and all the kids stood around whilst one of our number jumped and flopped about on the trampoline. It was clearly humiliating.
I am a short and stumpy creature, I always have been and it's likely I always will be. My desire to jump about on the trampoline was infinitesimal. I mean it could have been fun if you weren't being observed by 30 pairs of eyes. There was some quick thinking to be done.
My name was called, I was encouraged to get on the trampoline.
I refused.
I was told I must get on the trampoline.
I refused.
My eyes filled with tears.
Between small sobs I told my teacher of the day my family went to a local kids play area which had a trampoline. I told her how excited I'd been to jump and bounce around. Then I explained how I'd lost my balance, how my leg had slipped between the springs on one edge and how I'd been so scared and bruised. I told her how now I was left with a real fear of trampolines.
She comforted me, of course I was not going to need to get on, she called the next name as I quietly wept a little more.

Afterwards my friends said they had no idea that had happened.
Um, that would be because it never did.
I think it was the tears that sold it.
What's funny is, I really hated drama in school. Acting just wasn't for me... or perhaps I missed my vocation.
I think I may have just booked my seat in a hot and fiery place.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Song Of The Week LXII

Last Friday I went off to a festival, just for the day, at Southwell.
As there was a ceilidh on as well it seemed like a good chance to have a good dance and to see some new music.

I was really surprised to see that both of the stages had rows of chairs set up in front of them. I have never seen a festival with seating like that and it made me feel a little disappointed. What about dancing? What about lounging around? I'm not good at being stuck into conforming little rows.
Anyway, Rachael and I sat and watched a few acts, keeping our fingers crossed that the weather would hold.
As we watched one guitarist the lady behind us started commenting to her husband;
"I didn't think much of that first one" she said "it was just a bit of strumming!"
I should point out here that the guy was playing a wonderful bit of slide guitar and that Rachael had leant over to me at the end and said how much she'd liked it. He played beautifully and it showed how ignorant she was to assume it was 'just a bit of strumming'.
I willed her to be quiet.
For his second number he sang a song and for his third it was another instrumental piece on an acoustic guitar.
Again she piped up "I just don't understand it, is this a tune with a beginning, a middle and an end? Or does he just go on playing until he gets bored?"
I don't remember her husband replying, I'm only hoping that he was rolling his eyes and resisting the strong urge to slap him.
It would seem it is only music in her mind if there are words.
Poor old Beethoven. If only he'd known I'm sure he'd have mustered up a lyric or two.
Eventually she decided to leave and try the other stage. I did not shrilly scream Good Riddance as she exited, but trust me that took willpower.

The second stage at Southwell had been given a, somewhat uneven, wooden floor. I'd slipped on it twice and was becoming a little worried about the idea of dancing a ceilidh on it later on!

By now the rain had come in, Rachael and I decided that a pizza was the way forward and queued for a lovely wild mushroom affair which we then huddled under cover to eat before heading for more music.

Finally ceilidh time rolled around and this is where the song of the week comes in.

Steamchicken - Boston Tea Party:

Rachael and I danced this one. Well not this exact one as shown in the video, but this dance.
To be fair, in the video it doesn't look too chaotic, but imagine the hall filled with twice or thrice the number of people. Oh I can't tell you how I love to dance in a ceilidh, it's just guaranteed to make you laugh. If you ever get the chance, go on, go for it!

All I'll say is if they say the next dance is going to involve the move called 'the basket' sit that one out. Someone will always get hurt!!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Bad Hare Day

On Wednesday I headed over to my barn, as I went to open the huge sliding door, I squealed and jumped back as I noticed a bloody great hare had died and was leaning up against the barn door.
As I started to move the door I realised the eyes of the dead hare were staring up at me and tried desperately to ignore them.

When I returned to the barn on Thursday I hoped desperately that something would have carried off the dead hare during the night. But no, there it lay, eyes still staring up at me.
I just cannot bear dead animals, I start to get cold sweats and feel nausea.

It didn't help that the movement of the door made the hare wobble about.
As I went to leave the barn I decided to look in the opposite direction and just slam the door as hard as possible, ignoring wobbling dead hare.
I grabbed the handle and pulled hard to slam the door.
The door ground to a sudden halt as it was half shut at the same time as a loud snapping noise rang out.
I told myself not to look, but glanced down anyway.
The legs of the dead hare had jammed the door and snapped. Now the hell what was I supposed to do?
Obviously I rang Harriet, did the well renowned dance of the grossed out girl and squealed a bit.
Whilst Harriet was on the phone for moral support, I slowly dragged the door shut and with it the body of the hare.
I can't even begin to tell you how this makes me shudder. It's just nasty, nasty I tell you!

When I got home, I spoke to my neighbour and pleaded for help.
He came back with me and moved Mr Hare to a much better resting place.

I expressed surprise that he was able to move it so easily and I wished I hadn't when he said "it was actually pretty stuck in there". Eugh.

Why is it that I feel like the only person that ever got a hare stuck in their door?
Which sounds like a euphemism.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


It's been a while, things have been rather chaotic with my Dad so I just don't seem to have had the energy to get online and write.
Dad lives alone and the only family here is my good self as his sister lives down in London, a few hours drive.
It got to the point when Dad was feeling terrible every single day, ringing me in a state of panic because he was absolutely terrified he was having another heart attack. At this point, I had to try and figure out - over the phone - if he was indeed having a heart attack and needed an ambulance or if that he just needed to calm down and stay home.

He'd ring me several times, every day, with chest pains. The absolute terror that you feel that you might be giving the wrong advice is something I can't even describe. It's life and death, but on one hand I know he desperately doesn't want to go back to hospital, but on the other hand knowing that he needs some help.
What the hell do you do?
In the space of around 10 days, Dad ended up being admitted to hospital four times.
The first three times he was sent home within a couple of days, but this last time they seem to have started some real investigation and he remains in hospital, having been there nearly a week now.
Honestly, I'm pleased, it keeps him calmer, he knows if he gets pain there is someone there, on hand to help him immediately.
The stress of those daily life or death calls has lifted.
I still have to find the time to get to the hospital to visit him and make sure he's got everything he needs, but that's so much easier than worrying about him being at home alone.
He said last week that he is petrified he will die alone in that flat.
I can't even imagine how that must be. Especially when you accompany that fear with daily severe chest pains, each time wondering what it means.

Over the weekend and beginning of last week I'd run flat, all of my personal little batteries were seemingly beyond repair and I was exhausted. That kind of tired when you start to cry over everything.
You've run out of washing up liquid. Tears.
You've just got out of the shower and realised your towel is in the bedroom. Tears.
The website you need to access won't work. Tears.
The bank balance isn't as much in the black as you'd like it to be. Tears.
You don't have any chocolate in the house. Tears.

My friend Harriet got married last Saturday and I was in charge of music. I'd made the CD, she and I had played it to make sure it was exactly right.
We all arrived at the castle where she was to be married, I was pointed in the direction of the sound system. After a bit of faffing around it was established that the machine did not like my home-made CD. I was about ready to degenerate into hysteria. Minutes later we decided that we'd change the CD into one of the other slots and see how that worked. Hurray, it started to play, except there was no sound and no visible volume control.

At this point, my mobile, which was on silent started buzzing atop the sound system. I looked, it was my Dad's sister, Rosemary. I checked the message, advising me Dad had been rushed into hospital. My head started to expand, I swear it, I just can't deal with that many thoughts.
Must fix music.
Must watch wedding.
Must ring hospital.
Must get to hospital.
Etc, etc, etc.

I finally got the music started, the wedding got underway, it was beautiful and it went off without any further hitches. I must ask permission to post a photo!
So, we all headed out, to meet up for a picnic at a huge reservoir nearby. All our cars were scattered around the small town and I was dropped off at mine, to head off to the picnic site on my own.
I rang the hospital first and was told in no uncertain terms by the nurse that answered that she was unable to answer a single question about my Dad's health as it was against policy, even if I was family. Christ, I just want to know if he's bloody dead or alive. At this point she deigned to say he'd seemed ok when she'd chatted to him before, but if I wanted to know more I'd have to go in. Bitch.

I then realise I have no memory of where the picnic is being held and how to get there. I drive around, getting gradually more lost and started to do that self-pitying weeping, desperately not wanting to interrupt the picnic with a phone call to admit I'm an idiot and am completely lost.
Harriet then rings to see if I'm ok and where am I. I confess to being lost, obtain better directions and make my way to where they're all parked. I sit in the car and cry. I can't even say why, because I feel foolish for being lost, because I'm so completely stressed about my Dad's health, because I don't want to cry on Harriet's day.
Bless her heart, Harriet comes over and tells me to go home, having spotted me and knowing I wouldn't want to join the picnic alone. This is why I love her.
I decline and stay, hoping no one will notice how terribly late I am, at which point her son Finlay turns to me and says "Stephanie, where WERE you?!" I think they noticed!

Post-picnic I make my way to the hospital, I find out how Dad is doing, make sure he's as settled and finally head home for the night.
As I drive up the hill towards home a squirrel sits by the roadside, he looks both ways and darts into the road, I've slowed and he sprints across in front of me with plenty of room, but runs straight into the oncoming car on the other side of the road. His little body is thrown into the air and I see him hit the ground with a thud.

It about broke my heart, I cried all the way home and I don't think I stopped for several days.

So, Dad still sits in the hospital, they're still not able to give a proper diagnosis as to what the pains are. The best they have been able to come up with is that he's becoming older, at 70 he has to expect he will have aches and pains and will have to live with them. Doesn't seem right or fair somehow, that they can't manage it better than that.

I think one of the hardest things is being so completely alone in it. As there's just me, no other family around to talk about it to, none of my friends have parents that are either of a similar age or alone and of that age. It's hard to appreciate how exhausting it is to be so very responsible for a parents wellbeing and solely responsible. I didn't expect it.
My heart goes out to everyone else in similar situations, it's a big old job.
But, with all that said, I'd rather Dad rang me every day and told me everything he's worried about than sit and be afraid on his own. That's much, much worse.

I'm also incredibly grateful to a couple of my friends who text or call me frequently to ask how I am and to ask after my Dad. I guess it's the circle, I'm there for Dad and my friends are there for me, knowing I'm there for them too.

I've had Mum staying too for a week so she's been cracking the whip and keeping me super busy, which is a pretty good thing. Stops you talking to yourself so much for sure!