Saturday, 14 November 2020

Fairy Lights


One and a half days off before 4 more nights
I bought  some battery run Christmas Lights from Lidl today and they cheerfully illuminate the hearth and art wall this evening
I don’t do Christmas decorations now , but some bulldog and scotch egg baubles ( a kind gift from Kim F) add to the”look”

Weaver has emailed and is safe and well and is writing her Christmas Cards
Happy days

Night Nurse Paralysis

There is a well known phenomenon amongst night nurses on long standing night duties and that is the odd sounding Night Nurse paralysis
It is rare, often clouded in secrecy and shame ( as many still think it’s a product of mental illness or a feeble mind) but it is an actual condition that affects many when they are properly sleep deprived and stressed
Dr Mathew Jones Chester described the paralysis thus

“A black shape gathers in the corner of the room, as if from nothing. I can see it, like a huge bat, massive and caped. It fills the room and comes closer and eventually it's around me, cloudy and dark. I feel its pressure and it's holding me and then, under its weight and power, I feel I'm sinking and being dragged down. 

'I fight to bring myself back round, but I can't - and this is the awful part - I can't because I'm totally paralysed. The best I can do is make a noise in my throat in the hope I'll bring myself round. It's horrible.”

I have never experienced it myself , though I have seen it’s effects just once when I worked at the West Cheshire Hospital back in the 1980s. I was sat opposite to a Dutch enrolled Nurse in an alcove next to a dormitory of who was described in those years as Psychogeriatric Patients 
The nurse was knitting, I was reading a book.
Suddenly I was aware that the nurse had stopped those well worn repetitive movements and I glanced over at her.
She was stiff in her chair 
Perfectly still. Her hands were in her lap and her eyes were wide open but unseeing.
Her head was shaking very very gently, as it would during a minor tremor 

To say that I was terrified was an understatement and I remember calling out the nurses’ name Fenna? which was totally ignored. 
I got up and flew down the ward, through a connecting corridor to an adjacent ward where I found another enrolled nurse emptying a bucket.
Breathlessly I told her that Fenna was unwell. The nurse was sanguine 
oh she goes like that on nights , talk to her quietly and she’ll come around in a few minutes. It happens all of the time”
And that’s exactly what I did.
I walked back to the alcove , put my hand on the nurses’ shoulder and I talked to her until, she blinked and shook her head like a patient coming out of an anaesthetic 
She looked frightened 
Then embarrassed
Then grateful to be back
Moments later she had returned to her knitting
And I had returned , with just one eye on my book

Friday, 13 November 2020

Until This Evening


Winnie eating breakfast  this morning

Night shifts effect everything and provides a backbone to a new and rather odd routine and mental state. I finish handover at work around 7.45 am and get home around 8.30. 
I never really remember the drive home
Which is worrying. 
I am greeted by all manner of faces and expressions.

Sleepy and hopeful from Winnie.
Anxious and grateful from Dorothy.
Smiling and waggy from Mary
Hungry and bad tempered from Albert.

Dorothy and Mary are placed in Bluebell, 
Winnie has a mammoth pee in the garden and Albert is fed

The accidents of the night are mopped up
And I take the girls for their walk before returning to feed them separately 
There are squabbles if they are not separated

I’m too tired for squabbles.
Today I’m wrote this at the kitchen table listening to novelist David Mitchell talking to Lauren Laverne
I’m about to put a baking potato in the slow cooker for my tea. 
I only drink water before bed.

I check the home answerphone messages as per normal
My phone has 5 what’s app messages, all unanswered as yet
A friend at work has given me some luxury pillows and I stuff them into clean crisp pillow cases whilst listening to Mitchell’s last choice of  Domenico Scarlatti’s sonata in F minor

It’s 9.53 am
Time for bed.
The girls are waiting for me to climb the stairs.
Winnie is already asleep in the kitchen reading chair and is snoring softly.
Albert is out watching rabbits

I lock the doors and shut out the real world

Until this evening

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Blog Friends The Weaver Of Grass

 Yesterday’s comments were much appreciated and timely and showed much good humour and bon viveur in blogland.
That’s how it should be. 
Not leaving snide comments on others’ blogs
It’s seldom you have to click on the “ load more” box to read them all and I’m grateful for such interest as I am for the score of emails , suggesting ideas and giving advice from people that know better.

My thoughts today are with The Weaver Of Grass who we have not heard from since she had a fall at home a broke her hip a while ago now. The jungle telegraph has worked its work and all we blogging friends know is that Pat was taken to hospital . 
The comment box has been disabled and many of us, who consider her as a dear friend of over a decade , are concerned, and are waiting to hear that she is ok.

That’s why blogging can be so sweet. 
Friendships are made despite the trolls and the unhinged 
And Pat is a dear dear friend to many of us

Let’s wish her well.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

A Book? Yeah Right ....!


Isn’t there a saying which goes something like 
If you want something doing, give your job to a busy man ( Woman)”?
I’m back at work today, which is timely, and last night, after nearly three weeks enforced isolation inactivity, I left choir halfway through our zoom meeting, ignored Bake Off ( which has become incredibly boring without the more interesting characters ) and in a surprisingly short four hour period organised and plotted out my book of Going Gently

Seeing the words written down, is an odd feeling.
Mainly because the sentence looks incredibly pompous 

The book won’t be any work of art. ( of course it bloody won’t) but it may be  a frothy, light and hopefully occasionally moving version of Going Gently’s better bits. 
Cherry Picking fifteen years in the life  of a middle aged Gay man, who left a status job in a much loved Northern City to play at the role of county gent, smallholder and smug Village Linda Snell won’t be easy, but after a bit of playing around, some unsurprising dramatic licence ( !) some judicial cutting and pasting, the Skeleton of a plan has been made. 

And all in four hours sat at the kitchen table...going through broad chapter titles and flicking through lists in filofax notebooks.
Now all I need is a title. 

Going Gently is already the title of a very mighty fine novel by David Nobbs and so I feels prudent not to reuse it even though that may well be the way forward .....has anyone any ideas ? 
Answers on a postcard please! 

I shall leave you with a brief video taken this morning. It shows Dorothy’s progress with Walking ALL ON HER OWN ...I found my voice towards the end of the film....

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

High Line

 Facebook has an irritating habit of reminding you of something you have experienced years ago
Today it poked me about a rather special walk I did in Manhattan three years ago to the day.

The High Line runs from the trendy meatpacking district around 14th St , through Chelsea to the West Side on 34th street. It runs for going on two miles and follows the elevated train track of The New York Central Railway. 
The elevated railway is planted out simply with low maintenance grasses and flowers and trees and has wonderful views of the Hudson River to the West ( when you are walking North) and the city scapes aka Rear Window to the East.
It was a warm November Sunday when I walked the High Line, with high blue skies and silvery deco skyscrapers bordering my view like a theatre set
Tourists ambled alongside New Yorkers in magical nodding good nature 
And I remember thinking as the sun reflected in silver fish ripples on the Hudson that life couldn’t be any better than this 

Remembering it ? .....emotional highs ......with a tiny bit of broken heart 

The Crown Returns


The new landlady of the village pub is in fact a former landlady called Ceri
The young woman with a young family who, with her husband Nathan has braved the covid economic decline is in my mind one of the real heroes of this dreadful year.
The Crown reopened last night.
It was a very different pub to what Affable Despot Jason and I remembered.
Table service only, on line booking , no standing at the bar
But every table , throughout the pub and restaurant  was filled by villagers happy to have the pub lit and warm and alive again.
Ian and Jo ( without their three legged whippet) Tim, Tim ( Nice and not dim) Trelawnyd Val, Village Leader Ian, 
It was nice to be there to support the opening night
Booking for tables can be done here on line via Facebook

I will leave you with this video which is doing the rounds
A former New York Ballerina, suffering from Alzheimers is played Swan Lake 
Enjoy x 

Monday, 9 November 2020



The Welsh lockdown is now over and Winnie had her follow appointment at the vets to go to. 
I had to lift  her into and out of Bluebell and the twelve year old vet had to help her up the one step into the surgery while I was instructed to wait outside.
My request for some general painkillers was granted but the vet was at a loss of what to do next.

Winnie is gently fading like a dry brown rose in a vase.

The vet lowered his voice, and looked uncomfortable. He was about to bring up the subject of euthanasia 
Winnie let out a large fart and looked bored
He brought up the subject as I suspected

I put my hand up. 
“The time isn’t quite right” I told him “ I’ll know when it is” 
The old girl was watching me carefully, with a sort of look that she understood the subject of the conversation and she very slowly walked back to Bluebell with a snort and a limp

We stopped at McDonalds on the way home.
I had a coffee, a flat white.
She had a double cheeseburger without the pickle

Sunday, 8 November 2020

I’m a celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

 Is set is wales this year  , just a few miles West of Trelawnyd 

I pass the castle every day on my way to work x 

Rewrite The Stars

A lovely piece of cinema 


Saturday, 7 November 2020

Second In Command


Kamala, how wonderful !
A woman second in command of the most powerful Country on Earth
Sense will prevail 

Pub, Ribbons, and A lovely Welsh Walk


The Village Pub finally opens post lockdown.under new management on Monday. The affable despot Jason and I will be going at 7pm for a symbolic and supportive pint together  ....we will be hopefully two of many from the village
Use it or lose it !!!  that’s what we say !

Our affable vicar David Lewis is been around too, hanging red ribbons on the Church yard Yews. It’s Remembrance Sunday soon and in Lieu of poppies are Lewis the vicar has encouraged people to tie a ribbon in support. Today I tied mine.....

I’ve. also met my bubble friend Ruth at her Promenade home in Llanfairfechan  and we had a glorious walk along the beach and through the nature reserve towards Abergwyngeryn  
It made my month , glorious and profound 

This photograph is a beautiful depiction of our walk , it was quite, quite delightful

I am feeling more whole
I am feeling more balanced
It’s been a hard few weeks so I am glad I’ve touched some base
Hey  ho xx

Friday, 6 November 2020


 No internet still today, but I don’t care
The sun is out and for the first time in 14 days the cottage has burst back into colour
I will leave with you with a few photographs of home transformed by light,
An easy post with not much prose.

I will leave you this beautiful piece of art
Man Putting On A Shirt By John Koch

Thursday, 5 November 2020

I’ve had a bath and everything

 My internet never really made it back so the quiz is off, for now....
I’ve had a bath and everything! 
I see the Christmas tv adverts have started most of them on a “ let’s soldier on “ theme


Internet provider still down from yesterday
Will reschedule quiz xx
Apologies x

Wednesday, 4 November 2020


 Someone in the village has been letting fireworks off tonight.
I found Dorothy with her head pushed next to the Thermal store tank in the airing cupboard shaking uncontrollably.
Strangely Albert was sat with her in a brief and unexpected moment of solidarity 
I managed to extricate her and hid her behind me in my arm chair until she stopped shaking Violently 
She is now lying between my feet
Alert and wide eyed but calmer

Ponies’ Noses


Mrs Trellis’ bobble hat Seems to be a fashion icon

My last day of isolation and I’ve no internet! 
I’m typing this on my phone with fat fingers
It’s still raining and
I’m stood under the Churchyard Elm which offers a little production.
I am refreshingly wet.

I’ve just visited the ponies in the field and stood for an age breathing in their breath and letting them do the same.
There is something magical in this sort of connection. 
Something peaceful.

I came out to check if my field hedges have been cut and shaped and indeed they have been. This time of year, tractors pulling great arms of cutters fill the lanes and roads and overgrown hawthorn hedges Suddenly become neat, and square and impressive.

The countryside remains a dirty, muddy brown green and
I haven’t seen anyone human today
With the only exception of Mrs Trellis’ bobble hat which bounced past the field borders up the lane at a jaunty angle.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

“ For the days that drag our souls into dreary circles “


Wales, like Seattle, is well known for its somewhat wet climate.
It has rained heavily every day here for the past ten days or so, and everything is muddy and wet and slimy. My friend’s ponies have been brought down from their treacherously wet and steep field on the Gop to graze on my field in the safety of flat ground.
It’s nice to see them feeding, the steam rising off their bodies in the wet
This muggy feeling in itself is exhausting and I find myself longing for a dry garden path and some weak sun on my face. 
A gift of a book showing a collection of Andrew Wyeth paintings lifted the gloom nicely today 
I lit the fire too, just after breakfast
Old Welsh Cottages get cold quickly if left unchecked.
I FaceTimed my friend Ruth who sent me some scotch eggs then spoke to a lady called Lydia from the office of National Statistics Wales who interviewed me about how I felt about Covid 
One of the questions was about eating enough which was sobering 
She told me that I get a ten pound voucher for helping out, it’s sad that everyone needs to be paid for helping out 
My personal lockdown finishes on Thursday. 
So it was lovely of my niece in law and great niece to FaceTime me this afternoon with a magic show 
Thank god for FaceTime 

I will leave you with a bit of Ella and the sublime My Funny Valentine 


Monday, 2 November 2020

Nice Day


It’s been a nicer day today.
I Cleared the old knitting bag in the living room and found lots of old wool and knitting needles needing a new home, so I passed them onto Karen at the still house near the village pond who is big in the village WI  . We had a lovely chat , distanced by 20 yards .
Mary rubbed herself into a muddy puddle as we caught up 
This afternoon , I read lots of old journals written in the 1990s ....Tons of things I didn’t remember 
I’ve planned a silly zoom quiz on a Thursday 
Anyone else that wants to join in just let me know your emails 
It’s been fun to organise 
I was supposed to work today so the dog walker came, but not the usual sexy bearded one  we are all used to  . The young girl  that stood in couldn’t cope with Dorothy and brought her back within 5 minutes 
Dorothy lay flat chested on the floor when they returned grinning hopefully
Bless her.
Hey ho

Sheffield Central Library 1992


When I lived in Sheffield, in those early days, when I was single.
I would sometimes find myself with nothing to do on a day off from work.
My favourite place to go was to the Art Deco grandeur of the Central Library, where I would select a few reference books and sit at one of the square and worn desks to read and to watch people.
I was once asked out on a date by a student in a scruffy green jumper there
He left a note with his telephone number on a slip of paper on my desk as he walked by.
I rang the number 
He was cute.

I was reminded today of the library, and the desks and of a young woman crying over her studies. 
Even though she had her back to me, I could tell that she was crying. The hunch of her back, the frantic search for a tissue in her satchel. The sudden flop of her head to one side to rest on her palm.
I watched her for a while .
Four desks back and a little to her right.

I wasn’t the only person to notice
To my left another young woman was watching and we briefly glanced at each other, an audience of two to someone else’s misery.
The second woman, I presumed was Muslim as she wore a hijab.
In between glances of our books, we kept an eye on the crying woman and it was only a few moments later when a third person, a youngish man with a pencil behind his ear noticed the distressed woman and from his desk a couple in front of her, he turned and asked her if she was alright. 
The Muslim woman and I couldn’t hear what was said so I wasn’t really surprised when she got up and walked up to the girl and knelt down beside her and three strangers carried on a conversation, I could only guess about.
The Muslim woman put her hand supportively into the curve of the woman’s back and there was much nodding with the man in front smiling gently . his head turned.
Eventually the crying woman stood up with a tissue to her face and with the Muslim woman’s hand still around her they walked up the aisle passed me.
Can you watch my things?  “ the Muslim woman said to me as they passed “ We are going for a coffee
I nodded and said “Sure” 
And I did. 
I never got to know what the problem was and why the girl was so distressed.
The muslin woman eventually returned and when I asked if everything was alright, diplomatically said
she’s ok now” 
I didnt ask anything else but did say “ You were very kind” to which the Muslim woman said something thing like” noom” 

And I felt I had just been part of something so small but something potentially rather special.