Friday, September 27, 2013

Mellow fruitfulness

It’s a good thing colour can’t leach through the keyboard onto the blog or this post would be written in purple. I've just come in from blackberrying, and even after a good scrub with the nailbrush my fingers are still juice-stained. It’s not that we  need any more jam, as we have more than enough of my summer production to last us through the winter and beyond. It’s more a case of not being able to turn my back on nature’s bounty and this year she has been inordinately generous.

As I stretched across the bramble bushes, always straining for that even more luscious cluster just out of reach (there’s a life metaphor in there somewhere….) I couldn’t remember ever having seen such profusion before. Every small shoot was weighed down by glistening berries, all ripe at the same time, thanks to this year’s late harvest, and seemingly longing to drop into my bowl almost before my fingers touched them.

O for a macro lens and a steady hand!

Please note the spider making a bid for freedom

Of course I browsed as I picked, with my purple lips matching my fingers by the time I brought my laden bowl into the kitchen. The berries are so ripe that they won’t keep, so I shall stew them gently with some of the apples from our French orchard, as a treat for DH who adores blackberry and apple. If I’m lucky there will still be plenty to be gathered over the weekend, but they are a fleeting pleasure and it won’t be long before the bushes are bare and their unmistakable rich and almost earthy flavour will just be a satisfying memory until next autumn.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Late night extra

In a nutshell DH is home and is already in bed and asleep. His blood pressure is still too high, but low enough for him to be discharged and monitored at home. My dear brother-in-law kindly drove me to the hospital to collect him late this afternoon. I’m very happy and very tired and about to go to bed myself, but I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank-you to you all for your kindness, support and friendship. Life will be a bit different for DH and me in future, but we’ll deal with it – together, thank God.

Image via Google

Monday, September 23, 2013

Last-minute change of plans

Bear with me while I explain. This morning DH told me he had an appointment at 11 to see the doctor (he contacted the surgery by fax yesterday and they rang first thing this morning) because he's suddenly lost co-ordination in his left hand. He's a self-taught, but very fast and accurate typist and a couple of days ago he found himself constantly making errors with his left hand.

He came back from his appointment before 12 to say that he is being referred urgently to hospital for a CT scan after a suspected TIA. His blood pressure is high, he isn't supposed to drive and he's sitting downstairs having had a quick lunch, watching TV and waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

We've already faxed the hospital to cancel my operation tomorrow, as there's no way I can even get there, let alone be expected to be very careful and not drive afterwards. The doctor said that the best-case scenario for today is that he will be allowed home tonight, but I've packed a bag just in case and everything will now be up in the air until we know much better what the situation is.

Nevertheless I’m immensely grateful for all your good wishes and will put them away carefully until they are needed.

Bedtime update: DH is now safely in hospital. where he is being well cared-for and I am so grateful for all your kindness and concern.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Brain on strike!

It’s Saturday morning, inspiration is totally lacking and I’m up to my elbows stocking the freezer with soups and stews, cooking not being one of DH’s many talents. So I’m turning to probably my favourite blogging standby, the wonderful Simon’s Cat. Enjoy…..

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ten, nine, eight…

The countdown to my cataract operation has begun and I will confess to feeling rather a lot of butterflies in my mid-regions at the prospect. Having been arranged three months ahead, the provisional date of September 17th was always subject to change and when the confirmation letter arrived last Wednesday this proved to be the case.

My op is now scheduled for the 24th and I have to be at the Day Surgery Unit, 37 miles away along the winding trunk road across the Cambrian Mountains, by 8am. Heaven only knows what time we shall have to get up to be there and parked by that time, but as I’m unlikely to sleep well that night the early start probably won’t be a problem.

I’m already finding it hard to concentrate, as I've always hated the thought of any kind of procedure on my eyes, and I’m keeping myself very busy with blogs and books and knitting and TV (our winter treat) and any other displacement activity I can think of, gardening being at present on hold because of the weather. I’m sure that with hindsight all this anxiety, and yes, fear, will prove to have been unnecessary, but knowing myself to be at higher than usual risk of complications means that my rational mind is losing out to basic emotions. Collywobbles rule OK!

Now to make some supper and settle down to a nice long evening of TV, the highlight being Simon Schama’s fascinating series The Story of the Jews.

Roll on the 25th….

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

God bless the Celtic fringe

As you know, I don’t usually do rapid news flash posts, but I've just had news which has made this woman priest very happy indeed.  The Governing Body of the Church in Wales this afternoon voted overwhelmingly in favour of the ordination of women bishops. It was the amended Bill which was passed, with no constitutional changes now planned, but a code of practice for those who will find it hard to accept this development.

Wales now joins Scotland and Ireland in having opened the way for women bishops, though none have yet been elected. But one day it will happen (hopefully in my lifetime) and I’m so glad that the possibility is now there in the Church I love
and have served for many years.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Taming the jungle

I’d better make it plain from the start that this won’t be a post full of beautiful garden photos. The main reason for this is that we don’t have a beautiful garden in Wales. In fact after two months away during the best summer for garden growth the UK has seen for years, we barely have a recognisable garden at all and certainly not one I want to take my camera out into.

Oh, the shrubs and plants are still where we left them in June, but the former have mushroomed so alarmingly, and the latter been so overshadowed by what must surely be mutant weeds, that DH and I feel like a geriatric Tarzan and Jane as we struggle to bring some order back into our surroundings. As for the Wild Wood, it has grown so tangled we’re considering renaming it the Wild Jungle and only venturing in there roped together.

Luckily the weather continues to be fine, if much colder today, but my back is starting to creak and I keep taking breaks to catch up with my backlog of blog reading. Meanwhile DH is doing urgent research into the purchase of a seriously powerful brush and grass cutter before the barn across the yard disappears from sight completely. The task of taming the wilderness has taken on a tinge of desperation, since my cataract operation is now only a fortnight away and gardening is on the list of forbidden activities in the immediate post-op period.

Still, the vigorous bending and stretching I’m doing will help to counteract the effects of a summer of French cheese and wine and I’ve just put in a list of book requests on the library website to while away the autumn evenings as the days draw in. It’s good to be to home in Wales for a while. Now where’s that sock I’m knitting for DD?

Image via Google