Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter on my bum in the rhubarb bed

The sun smiles, the dry sky like a wall smeared with Dulux testers, offers shades of white, blue and grey, a couple of hours at the allotment is our plan. I pile on a camisole, two T shirts, a fleece, finally a coat as outer protection.

I dip my toe outside the back door, the cold bites my nose, hat and gloves follow. Flutters of excitement tickle my insides. Today the final bed will be made and we will lay the green carpet. 

Owen arrives to steer the project, Mr H has planned the makeover, I am the tea lady and conductor. Sawing and drilling drowns out birds singing when like magic, the boys turn wood into the ninth bed. I wave my stick at the dips in the ground as they rake the paths.

People passing smile and call out: 

we like the work the supervisor is doing... are you selling deck chairs...

I insist the boys take a photo of me at each milestone, I  take photos of the boys on tea breaks; in between photo shoots I rest my bum on my green sunny deckchair. I am allocated the best standing still job, shovelling fresh horse manure from a barrow into the compost bin... peg on my nose.

I try my chance at spreading fish blood and bone between the beds, the powder settles on my boots and trousers, the pungent odour makes my workers cough. I trundle from bed to bed, wobble, grab at thin air, shout I'm going...bum on the rhubarb... I call for rescue...  

The carpet is ready to be laid, I stand from my chair. Owen drops the first roll onto the ground. Like a member of the Royal Family planting a tree I roll it out in a straight line smiling at the camera Mr H holds.

Grinning; Take more photos...

The carpet transforms the site from bare, muddy floorboards to a room at the Ritz. I hope I bounce when I fall.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Epilepsy - Waves Through My Head

I woke with a start. My legs and arms shaking. Cramp! I shouted at Mr H.   I was in the clutches of a wild tiger.  My brain hit the sides of my skull. A black cloud descended. I sank into it... Silence.

Mr H saved he says.. a matter of debate! My first Grand Mal Seizure (now called Tonic Clonic), did not count as epilepsy. One off seizures happen for all sorts of reasons. A Brain Tumour for me...

Then...Summer 2009 I lay in bed as the sun peeped under the curtains. My arm shot out twenty times to stop non existent traffic... Epilepsy. Another uninvited visitor. A complication of my brain abscess. Drugs were tweaked... a second added to the pill pot.

Driving still out of reach due to brain surgery.... now a longer distance to travel...another least.

As a nurse, a knowledge of  epilepsy was assumed. Grand Mals (generalised Tonic Clonic seizures) and Petit Mals (absences) were the extent of my understanding.  I hit Google hard and discovered they are the tip of the iceberg. A myriad of symptoms dangled from websites. Epilepsy Action and Epilepsy Society helped me link the jigsaw pieces: 

  • All epileptic seizures start in the brain
  • During a seizure the electrical signals in the brain (signals passed between nerve cells)  are disrupted or too  many are sent at once.
  • Seizures are different for each person.
  • The type of seizure depends on what happens to the person. 
  • Not all seizures involve convulsions (shaking and jerking).
  • Seizures can be focal (partial), affecting one part of the brain or generalised, affecting both sides of the brain
  • Each persons seizures tend to follow the same pattern but they may have more than one type.
  • My arm stopping the traffic was a focal seizure from the motor strip of my brain...the area where my tumour had originated.
Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs) stop or reduce seizures. In simple terms they reduce the excessive electrical activity... slow down the brain. Side effects vary. My experience is of low energy levels but as my body adapts this reduces. It is hard to unpick how much of my fatigue is due to the tumour and surgery or the medication.The AEDs affect my memory...I muddle birds kittens, floors tables, shoes sprouts....

Unanswered questions flooded my brain. Epilepsy Nurse discovered, appointment made, interrogation pursued, the epilepsy puzzle began to take shape. I have epilepsy, I am an epileptic, I have epilepsy..saying it out loud helped me believe...

I was awarded my seizure free year in 2011, a drivers pass to freedom was my trophy. A year of trips to the sea my reward.

But a year later a sudden wave of panic fluttered across my heart. Cotton wool fireworks showered my brain and I burst into tears with nothing to cry head seizures had started. My driving stopped. My seizure diary was scattered with a jump in my arm a seizure...  my hand jumping across the lap top key board? ... a wave going through my head? 

More tablet changes...I drag myself out of bed after 12 hours sleep... the towel is hard to lift....

Spring  sprung... more energy...seizures less frequent... not stalled. Taxi is here, I meet my Epilepsy Consultant today....We will scrutinise my diary and see where we go from here...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eating Breakfast - Small Things Matter

The small breakfast bowl I use has green edges, when it hides I search for it, I dismiss the the other twenty bowls. This bowl has grapes and lemons on the bottom and once belonged to my little Nan, now it is mine. Each morning I smile as I pour my bran flakes into it. The chips on the edges are part of its history, I fear it's demise. 

In hospital the nurses encouraged me to use a china mug bought for me by a friend. It was a garden of flowers with a pale blue rim, my favourite colour. My lips curled up at the corners as my mug trundled towards me on the tea trolley, sipping my drink and dunking my biscuits felt like I was having tea at the Ritz. 

Before BT I took so much for granted: 
Carrying a full mug of coffee,without a stain on the carpet
Each foot leaving the ground and moving forward without a thought. 
Hovering on one leg as I pulled trousers on,
Twisting around in one move,
Standing and chatting
Eating without taking notice of the pattern on the plate....

Now I write nestled in my little Nans' rocking chair, an ergonomic disaster, but the love embroidered into the upholstery inspires me. I gaze out at the golden bamboo in the garden, the wind rustling the leaves, the Buddha waves at me as I look for the panda. 

The richness of small things in life....

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Don't Forget To Dance

Show music teases my feet at the Hammer out.patient-and-family-weekend Julie and I look longingly at the carpet dance floor behind us.....

Dance is my reflex to music.  Each morning with a smile and roll of his eyes Mr H twirled me around our kitchen dance floor.

Ballet and tap were first… ballet school briefly considered... but boys and shopping led me off track.

Fascination with ballroom came next, a few lessons in our village dance hall...basics mastered, Mom would whisk me around in a waltz or quick step. She never complained when like a dummy, I spent most of my time on her toes.

The 1980s brought discos and I did my time ...rowing...on my bum:
Say oops up side your head say Oops upside your head, now I want all you gappers and finger snappers, you toe tappers and you love rappers….say oops upside your head

Mr H and I danced whenever we could…on the mat in the kitchen…every disco around…our home made rock and roll left us giddy... we danced until hands were on hips…bent over panting... 

Strictly Come Dancing took us to a new level. Saturday evenings after the show I insisted a lift was tried…! a passing neighbour would see me being spun around, feet just off the floor …laughing so much I nearly….too much information

As Different Dawn, I adapt dance routines. Arms around me like a seat belt, Mr H knows I only do a one way shuffle. My ‘no feet’ dancing has caught on …frantic arm moves and gyrating one notices my feet are still…

...The music lifts us off our feet...Julie and I hit the carpet holding hands......singing like popstars 
You can dance,
You can jive,
Having the time of your life,
See that girl
Watch that scene
Diggin’ the dancing queen!!

Finally I leave you today with a poem...

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like its heaven on earth.
(and speak from the heart to be heard)"
William W. Purkey

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dealing With Change - Support and Counselling

I sit in a comfortable chair and wait my turn, it is story time but the tales are personal, everyone listens; nods give silent encouragement. 

Hello my name is Dawn, I had surgery for a meningioma in 2008.... 

Telling my story helps lift the burden, others in the room have malignant tumours, our journeys are different but experiences are shared. 

I heard about these 'Hammer Out' Support Group Meetings in 2009 over a year into my journey.  I wish I had known earlier. 

Returning to work a year after surgery I expected the old Dawn to reappear. But I couldn't carry a drink and meeting doors for myself with sticks and equipment... concentrate as long as I used to. The four hour journey on public transport left my battery in negative equity. Behind closed doors the hidden tears flowed.

My world had shattered into tiny pieces.

Support wears many cloaks, it had flowed at home but the miracle glue was missing.  The Hammer Our Support Group offered some of the ingredients...a sling...which helps me carry the weight of coping as we share the 'Know How' part of our journeys:

        I have a sleep in the the day before and day after a shopping trip...have
      had rails fitted in the shower...use a bath seat...have applied for a grant to fit a wet 
      room...found an insurance company who provides cover for people with our  
      condition...found a lovely hotel with facilities for the disabled...

The counsellors working with Hammer Out provide more ingredients as they help me to develop skills to reshuffle the fragments of my life...until I feel whole again. I now accept that there is more to life than work...that asking for help and support is a strength...I should set smaller goals and enjoy the journey...accept failure, learn from it and move on.

On my 40th birthday the best gift was choosing to climb Cadyr Idris in Wales, wind in my hair, freedom dancing in my heart.


I aimed to climb a mountain on my 50th birthday  .... but low fuel levels and wobbly legs persuade me otherwise. My snail pace and shorter walks reward me with undiscovered alley ways and the chance to see spring flowers burst free of the soil.

Life can either be accepted or changed, if it is not accepted it must be changed, if it cannot be changed then it must be accepted 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Driving Miss Dorothy

My last car Wilma was grey, she took me from A to B without a hitch.  I loved 5th Gear...she flew; a tank full of petrol and the world was at my feet.

After the seizure jump started my BT journey, a letter from the DVLA invited me to separate from my beloved driving licence. I took a photograph of my pass to freedom but quivering lips and shaking hands stopped me responding; my sister slid it into the envelope and took it away. 

Wilma sat on the drive for almost a year until someone murdered Mr Hs' car, then with smiling headlights she hit the road.  

I counted the months until my first year was up and my pass to freedom returned;  but in bed one morning as the sun peeped under the curtains my arm shot out twenty times trying to stop non existent traffic. I was six months into my year. GP and Epilepsy Consultant seen, tablets changed and the drive clock starting ticking again. Another eighteen months passed...

...the brown envelope hit my mat on July 13th. Mr H at work, I ran across the road frantically waving the envelope at my neighbours. D Day had arrived.

Lazy left leg meant driving Wilma was impossible, no more sliding her into 5th gear! Visits to the Mini dealers had been frequent, my first in a wheelchair. I wanted a smiley car; a car bought with my heart not my head. 

A second hand, red automatic mini with racing stripes came Dorothy!  Home again behind the wheel.. like I had never been away.

I cruised along in 'Dorothy' as light streamed through her panoramic sun roof, a grin split my face; freedom again. Delightful trips to the sea and Bath with my friend Jon followed. Dorothy was Our Girl!

But my head mis-behaved... a visit to my GP with heavy heart the following year on July 13th....the funny turns and twitches were seizures...stop driving immediately she said. I slunk home head hanging low. 

I brushed dust off my bus pass, found bus timetables in the back of drawers...put taxi numbers back in my mobile (the wind up one!) and mapped out my compact world....for now...

Dorothy sits on the drive, she smiles at me as I pass; waiting for the day when I will slide in behind the steering wheel and take her back to the sea....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day Out With My Special Girl

A day out is due....  Lois my niece is the chauffeur. 

Dawdling a thing of the past...a list of shops is hatched...four at tops...the shortest route mapped out.

Parked up, coffee and lunch stokes our engine before we cross the start line. 

I drool over Radley hand bags... Lois magnetically drawn to the latest fashions; cropped tops, skinny jeans and skin-tight dresses.

Seat radar on full alert the shoe department beckons. I perch my bum. Lois my personal shopper, dangles potential purchases in search of my and brown handbag gets a shake of the head, blue and pink T shirts are a done deal...she costs me a fortune!

I pick carefully...retail therapy research has taught me that one try on session drains my tank. Nausea stops me spending.. another coffee stop required.

We recall my first outing after the surgery. Safely secured in my Nan's wheelchair, pushed along by my sister and Lois.  My head snaps from side to side... a dizzy whirl of colour and styles fly by. 

Stop if you see anything you like Mandy says...

I like..... whoosh.....grab... the display comes too...slower please

Sitting and pushed, I shop till I drop. Back at the car my assistants collapse into their seats.

Today I am thankful that I can shop on foot ...tired after our four stop shopping trip.

Back home. ...snuggled up with a dose of Willy Wonka....chocolate anyone?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dip in the Baby Pool

Cold water…my leg shoots out like a rod of iron. 

In Caribbean Calypso – The Kindness of Strangers... I learnt an important lesson...

...Warm water…I close my eyes… sunshine filtered by plastic units. No squealing children we are alone, the empty hour, our little secret. The lifeguard gazes down from his high chair...looks away when I catch him watching.

I roll over like a listing ship when I first try to float on my back. More rudder work and I stay stable. Once afloat my lazy leg refuses to anchor. Full steam ahead in the arm engine room and I am upright. 

I  touch the floor with ease, grinning I complete my first one legged five metre width. I award myself a bronze medal. 10 widths without stopping will be Gold.

Without Sues arm the treacherous trek from changing room to pool would be like a walk on ice. I wear latex crampons. I am verruca free. 

Regular visits amidst curious looks…occasionally joined by a mother and baby. Other adults wander over to discover the delight of our Caribbean sea. Chattering divides our swims.

Buoyancy makes leg exercises easier, next visit I will cycle to my Mom's house and back! 

Equal races are staged between Sue and I. 

Breast stroke…one leg furiously flapping. I win. 
No legs just arms. I win. 
One leg competes against two. We draw. 
My strong upper body aids my one legged challenges.  
Two legged crawl against one legged breast stroke. I loose. Sue claps as we giggle. 

More curious stares from the life guard....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Disability - He's Not My Type

Disability arrives uninvited. I recoil from his ugly face.  I try to get rid of him…loose him at the gym…. walking in the village…. drown him in the sea… talk him to death in counselling…

He is tenacious. He ties a weight to my leg… … and my head. Trips me up and makes me fall. Laughs in my face when my seizures restart…

He is nasty…secures iron ball and chain to my leg when I stand. Only when reignited, do nerve cells let me heave it from the ground. High heeled shoes are history…running in the past….

He is clever. He waited a while before he bit with his sharpest teeth. I look well and if seated no one would guess. But fatigue is his hidden weapon. He uses it at will… surprise is his strength. He sends nausea and dizziness as its companion. I snap without thought…with a sly smile he offers the sofa...not where I want to be…

He was a temporary lodger, now he has squatters’ rights.  Disability did not arrive with a user manual. But …

He can't hide survival tools... bus pass…blue badge… new handbags…disabled rail card...cheaper travel…nice clothes...a lovely French walking stick bought in Nice… assistance when travelling...benches to sit on…help from family and friends…giggles and laughter...

Disability chose me…but he is not my type... 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Caribbean Calypso - The Kindness of Strangers

A steel calypso band plays hark the herald angels sing as we disembark the ship…. A banner shouts its welcome to the Caribbean island of St Maarten.

As the sun sinks its teeth into skin we head for the golden sands. Shaded eyes watch curiously as I wobble my way to the waters edge.  I will only paddle I tell Mr H.

The sea has another plan. The waters edge approaches. Unable to step back quickly the waves claim my feet. As the tide heads backwards I grab at fresh air. My stick sinks into wet sand. In slow motion I join the sea.

The warm salty water teases, the strong current plays as it washes me forwards… shuffle backwards… wash me forwards… shuffle backwards…. A fellow traveller offers a hand and encourages me in.

I don’t know if I can swim now.

I'm a strong swimmer, you'll be safe; my wife has a bad leg too.

I edge my bum to the ledge in the sea and drop over. My lips tremble; my new friends frown, then their faces light up; happy tears; I am in the sea! Four years ago I was in a bed only able to move my left arm.  I float on my back, my legs equal and light.

The kind man sets me a challenge

I think you could swim

I lift my legs and as my arms propel me forward my right leg flaps, like a water skier I pull the left leg along.

I wave frantically at Mr H, I am swimming!

Paralympics here I come… 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Committed to Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is the centre of my universe. Like birthday cake it was an occasional treat but now…

It moved into the village last year, we were never officially introduced but it dominates my thoughts.

Its arrival coincided with an incident; for a second time the DVLA stole my driving licence and it took the theft to discover that the cake had arrived.  It lives by the chemist, I saw it on a pill trek and it was love at first bite.

I avoid it when I walk to the hairdressers and grocers but the detour to the chemist, post office and paper shop is so short it is rude not to make it.

It has become part of the village community; people flock to see it dressed in its snow capped beauty. If I could drive we would never have met, neither would I chat to wonderful villagers who like me seem drawn to its splendour. The exercise required to reach its home, the DaisyChain Deli, explains away the calories it leaves on my hips. This obsession is similar to my Dexamethasone days and like the Avocado is better than hospital food.

On a plate I contemplate the square, gently sliced, I share the walnut pieces equally. I bite slowly  into the moist cake, the sweet and savoury mixture explodes on my tongue. 

When I drove and worked I left the village before my day and universe began; now the village is part of my universe and I am proud of where I am.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Coping With Depression

I searched for the old Dawn day and night. I looked under cushions and tables, under the duvet, in unused handbags and drawers, by the side of my chair but someone else sat in her seat.

Days filled with darkness. One small question how are you would ruin my day. My sense of humour and fun lay dormant. Giggles like bells, fell silent. Now a hermit, I refused party invites. I dreamt Dawn escaped to a cottage by the sea.

Notebook scribbles told my story. Lazy left leg. Epilepsy. Abrupt termination of my career. Utter exhaustion. They were a small price to pay for life. My selfish suffering shocked me. My tumour only low grade. All part of survivors’ guilt; the silent devastation of a benign tumour.

I set a deadline for finding Dawn and hatched a plan if I couldn't. Escape my only solution. My GP suggested antidepressants but I would sort this out on my own, I was not weak.

Physical support at home to get me back on my feet was in abundance but patients with non malignant tumours fall into a psychological black hole, funding insufficient to meet their needs.

Counselling and support provided through the charity ‘Hammer Out’ started my rescue. Seen by my neurosurgeon a referral to the neuro-psychiatrist followed. The label severe clinical depression was stamped on my forehead and tablets prescribed.

The pills gradually dried the floods and the sunshine peeked from behind the dark clouds. My sparkle reignited.

With the help of my niece, we captured my journey in photographs; by seeing  the changes the process of acceptance began.

Now I advocate antidepressants and counselling as a sign of strength. Acknowledging I have an illness called Depression took courage.  Talking about it took more, but once the floodgates opened I was astounded by how many others have been hiding their story.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Bad Days Gate Crash Parties

I woke to nausea, a bad day has gate crashed the party. A shower flattens my recharged battery. No power left to dry my hair. The nausea could be one of my seizure auras or Blogging overload.  

Like a petulant child my weighty head screams at me to lie flat. The sofa beckons. The bed never hangs onto me, that would mean I am sick.

Mr H will frown when he finds out I have still written my Blog. But distraction occasionally works. As I type my right hand does an involuntary dance all over the keyboard, I am trying to type using my novice touch typing skills; o’s become i’s, e’s are r’s; my aim is for a Mary Poppins level, practically perfect; but for now the spell checker rescues me.

Out of the corner of my eye  I spy birds in the back garden wrestling mid air for the feeders, this is a first but I couldn't care less.

Experience has taught me not to go to war with these days. If I do the grey cloud gets darker and rain falls down my face. My counsellor has taught me to be good to me; watch my favourite DVD, read a good book and rest like my body is telling me. Brain Fatigue has taken control.

Like a sun lounger on a bright hot day the sofa draws me in; once the grocery delivery has arrived I will succumb. My dear friend Sue is visiting later; I will let her prepare lunch….

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blogs and Books on My Brain

I am a social media laggard, own a wind up mobile phone, have only just bought a kindle and prefer a conversation to an email. So starting a Blog is like pulling the duvet off on a cold winter morning, it has tugged me out of my comfort zone!

If all else fails read the user manual has always been my philosophy. A Blog I have been following +shamozal (4 kids, 20 suitcases & a beagle) posted a picture of The Rough Guide to Blogging. I have yet to read the copy I have bought…

I am bubbling about Blogging, I text daily updates of my page view rate to Mr H.  I hope to go Viral…there is something bizarre about that as my nursing career focused on preventing infections.

I started writing in a note book after discharge from hospital; much of it was illegible as the anger, frustration and sadness hit the pages like hail stones, ripping holes with their force.

As Forrest Gump took to running, I littered note book after note book with words. Note book and pen are my companions, they come with me wherever I go; like reading glasses when I left 40 years behind, I have three on the go at a time.

A picture of a changing life emerges; gradually the light begins to shine through the lines.

I frown with concentration to make my notes legible so self taught touch typing provides another grey matter challenge.

Like a rainbow slowly showing itself, the contents of a book begin to take shape. Welcomed into the arms of +Kate Dunns’ inspiring group, writing becomes my new career… 

In the words of Robert Bresson:

Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

BT Blog Buddies

I'm a BT Blog Buddy - visit to find out more 

BT Blog Buddies site details current Blogs written by people affected by a Brain Tumour

Bandanas For Brain Tumours 2015

Today is Bandanas for Brain Tumours Awareness Day

As I wait for the results of my 6th annual brain scan to check all is well, I reflect on how a brain tumour changed my world. 

In 2008 the shock diagnosis of a brain tumour catapulted me into emotional shut down.  When I asked the Neurosurgery registrar to give me the hard facts he looked me in the eye and said if the tumour is malignant you will have about 18 months to live; if it is benign you will live but it will be a different life.

My overriding thoughts were; benign that’s good isn't it?

Get in there, get it out and I will get on with my life!

The words you will live a different life were but a background murmur.

I had no idea what a meningioma was.
I learnt that it was a tumour growing in the meninges; the layers protecting the brain and spinal cord.  Meningiomas usually grow inwards putting pressure on the brain. The majority of Meningiomas are low grade (benign).

In my opinion the words benign and brain tumour are not comfortable bed partners. Benign is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: 1.gentle, mild, kindly 2.fortunate, salutary. 3. (of the climate, soil) mild, favourable. 4. In medical terms not malignant.

Other than not malignant; I would never associate these definitions with ‘brain tumour’. In the brain tumour world, the term low grade and benign are used interchangeably; low grade seems more apt. Brain tumours are Graded between 1 and 4 depending on the degree of malignancy/speed of growth. Mine was Grade 1.

Any growth inside the closed skull can cause damage as the tumour grows. In the case of slow growing meningiomas, the brain accommodates gradual growth like a bulb expanding in soil and the tumours can become quite large before obvious symptoms arise. 

My parasagittal tumour (arising across the middle - between the two hemispheres of the brain) had spread like icing across my head before it caused problems.

Brain Tumour Research is chronically underfunded in the UK, receiving less than 2% of all cancer research funding. Yet research is vital to improve the treatments and diagnosis for the thousands of people diagnosed with a brain tumour each year, ultimately saving lives and improving quality of life.

Three important Charities which fill some of the gaps in Research, information and ongoing psychological support for patients and carers are 

The Brain Tumour Charity

Brain Tumour Support

If you fancy doing a spot of fund raising I make a plea for these organisations.

March is Brain Tumour Month and Wearing a Bandana for Brain Tumours will give fund-raising a head start. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bird-watching With Benefits

Red and gold flickers in a tree mesmerised me; Goldfinches flew away with my heart, I wonder how I missed these natural miracles. Grandad Fred’s passion for birds passed in the Genes. 

Binoculars swinging around my neck, treks and holidays were all about birds. Red kites soared on my travels through Wales; the Isle of Mull did not disappoint when sea eagles displayed, bee eaters in Portugal led to squeals of delight, amazed gapes when Toucans flew over in Argentina.

Now like a bird I adapt to change.

My love affair with Minsmere in Suffolk was rekindled when we made our first post BT journey in 2009. A scooter loaned from the reserve replaced my legs; reservations about riding were soon put aside. Anxious not to run over toes I started on snail mode but quickly progressed to Hare. Flying along I chased birds, basking in the bright sunshine leaving Mr H trailing behind.

At home a slideshow of birds constantly runs; one feeder located at the front is watched in a horizontal position from the settee.  This year the cast has increased, twelve goldfinches, take breakfast, lunch and dinner, intermittently accompanied by blue tits, great tits, robins, and to my utter delight black caps. Black birds watch over the scene pecking from the ground.  Pigeons are allowed a look before I shoo them away.

The second feeder at the back was not so popular with my birdy friends… until this spring.  As writing becomes my new career, mornings find me nestled in my Nan’s blue rocking chair typing. The birds follow. As I type the black caps fly in, they hesitate on the perch before taking a mid morning snack.

Joined by a great tit they flutter away.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Balls Make Me Cry

Today as I sat on a bright orange ball my lips quivered and my gaze fell to the floor. My Pilates teacher stooped to clasp my arm, a frown of concern flickering across her face.

Dawn the last thing I wanted to do was make you cry

Sitting on the exercise ball pressed the play button on a tucked away film. The pause button now disabled, the clip plays on: 

Daily exercises are being performed with the community physiotherapist during a home visit. The scene is in early 2009 set by the side of my relocated bed in the downstairs back room.  The large exercise ball is in focus but no games are being played. 

Try lifting your arms up above your head The physiotherapy aid suggests

Game for anything I give it a go but like a Weeble my body tips to the left... in slow motion  I pass the point of no return and begin to slide off the jelly my leg muscles refuse to support me and I roll onto the floor. The piano breaks my fall. I lie gazing up at the dust which has collected underneath.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Allotment - well worth the wait

We peer over the dry stone wall and catch a glimpse of 80 square metres of mud. A welcome gift after a six year wait.

Burrows around the edge have filled with rusty puddles, a sad peach tree clings onto life, its last weary leaves refusing to drop. Treading the plot is like walking on sticky waves

First sighting November 2012
As my lazy left foot digs itself into the mud I perform backward flips and my bum hits the ground. I am tattooed with bruises.

Digging is all about balance; my two spade technique is launched. One spade dug into the ground on my left provides the rail for a white knuckled grip as I shift my weight onto my left leg, with spilt second timing my right foot hits the the second spade, if it sinks all is well, if not......