Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WordPress Wednesday

There’s a blogging meme I often see on other blogs called Wordless Wednesday. Knowing me as you all do, you’ll easily guess that wordy Perpetua doesn’t do wordless very well. However, I can’t resist borrowing and twisting the title to express my utter frustration at trying to comment on the WordPress blogs I follow. For the last two days it's been a case of sometimes I can, but mostly I can’t, and it’s been driving me up the wall.

A quick ferret around in the depths of the WordPress help forums has cast some light on the subject. Apparently one or more of the servers which carry communication between users with certain UK internet service providers and WordPress have been falling down on the job, resulting in much gnashing of teeth around these islands. Normal service appears to have been resumed, but I won’t hold my breath just yet. I’m glad it isn’t only Blogger that has off days.

When life is stressful, there’s one sure-fire way to relax and here it is…..

Image via Google

Monday, November 18, 2013

A week of little things

After the stress and busyness of DH’s illness and my cataract surgery, I seem to have fallen into a state of almost suspended animation since my last post. Not being allowed to drive means that I’m reliant on DH to take me out and about, and with the exception of my visit to the hospital for a check-up last Wednesday, he seems very reluctant to do so.

His excuse is that he wants to keep me away from potential colds and flu, sneezing being not a good idea at the moment. I think the real reason is that he’s falling into hibernate (or should that be hermit?) mode and doesn’t enjoy venturing out in the cold, grey weather which has been the norm recently. Whatever the reason, this has been a very quiet week, with our only visitor the postman.

So it’s been a week of little things - small happenings that would go almost unnoticed if life were busier. Things like a welcome, steady drop in DH’s resting blood pressure, disturbed only by a few unexplained spikes. These have probably been happening for months if not years, but ignorance being bliss, we didn’t know to worry about them. As long as the trend continues to be downward, he’ll go on taking the tablets and speak to the GP at his next appointment.

For me the little things include the bracing daily experience of unpeeling the micropore tape which holds my eye shield in place overnight. On the basis of the last ten days or so, I should patent it as a new depilatory! Or there’s the growing realisation that despite some creaks my knees do still work, and that instead of the long-preferred, but now forbidden, bending at the waist to pick things up, I’m again capable of squatting down to do so and getting up again unaided. Who needs gym membership?

Apart from that my days have been a quiet round of pottering – some gentle housework, increasing amounts of reading and some fairly mindless TV watching, while clearing part of my long-neglected pile of clothes mending. It feels so good to be able to thread a needle again without squinting!

Our one sortie into the outside world proved to be more exciting than expected. Ten miles into the nearly forty-mile journey to the hospital we were appalled to discover a “road closed” notice. Several miles further on, a lorry had overturned on the winding road across the hills, which had to be closed to allow the lorry to be recovered.  A swift phone call to the eye clinic told them we would be late and DH took the short cut across the single-track mountain road to the coastal road which is the only other way to get to Aberystwyth. Amazingly we were only 20 minutes late and, less surprisingly, found we weren't the only patients to have been inconvenienced.

Fortunately Wednesday was the one bright and sunny morning of the week, so my only regret was that of course I didn’t have my camera with me on the spectacular mountain road past the remote and long-disused lead mines of Dylife. Google as usual has come to my rescue, so I’ll leave you with a tantalising glimpse of what must be one of the most stunning panoramic views to be found anywhere, and go back to doing not very much at all.

Images via Google

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The world through new eyes

This morning we woke up to the most beautiful weather, clear, sunny and crisp – so crisp indeed that we may well have had our first touch of frost this autumn. However it wasn't until after lunch that I was able to force  persuade DH to come out with me for a walk round the fields.

It wasn’t a long walk, as everywhere is very soggy after so much rain, but I wasn’t in a hurry. There was just so much to see and marvel at, in fresh and startling detail. The sight in my right eye isn’t perfect yet, but it’s so much better than it has been for years that I can again use it to look through the viewfinder of my camera. A little thing perhaps, but it has brought me so much pleasure and satisfaction. I even think the photos are clearer too. J

The old homestead

Sorry to disturb you, ladies
Living fretwork

Mid-Wales valleys and hills

Shapes and textures

Proud against the sky

Beauty in small things too 

Autumn colour at last

Nature's subtlety

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

So far, so good

This is just a quick post to thank you all so much for your good wishes and prayers and to tell you that the operation seems to have gone very well. I couldn't post yesterday as my eye was so thoroughly shielded and strapped up that I couldn't get my glasses on at all, so had to spend the rest of the day resting very quietly and listening to the radio. I saw the consultant first thing this morning and he took off the shield, inspected his handiwork and pronounced himself satisfied so far, so I can now view the world through my glasses again and can even see to use the computer. 

Well. the world is definitely clearer and brighter with my right eye now, though a bit blurry to begin with. I'd forgotten what proper blue and white look like! The operation went well once it happened (2 specialist opthalmic scrub nurses had phoned in sick that morning and they had to wait a couple of hours for another to be available) though it was as tricky as my wonderful consultant had expected and took almost twice as long as a normal cataract operation.

I now have to wait for my poor brain to learn to merge the spanking new colours in my right eye with the yellowy-brownish tinge in my left which has the very beginnings of a cataract too. Given the difficulty with this one, he doesn't want to have to do the other until it's really necessary. Once everything has settled down and healed I'll be able to get the new glasses I now need – and deserve. J


Image via Google

Friday, November 01, 2013

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November...

I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot...
Between fifty and sixty years ago, when I was a child growing up in a small Lancashire village, November 5th, more commonly known in Britain as Bonfire or Guy Fawkes Night was probably the most important date in the calendar after Christmas, Easter and birthdays. From early October the local village shops would display fireworks for sale and as the month drew on, we would start to hear the occasional ‘banger’ being set off early by local boys.

Towards the end of the month, our parents would give my sisters and me ten shillings between us (50 pence now, but worth a great deal more back then) to buy our annual selection of fireworks before the shops ran out of our favourites. Oh, the agony of selection – almost as bad as that of choosing our Saturday sweets!  Catherine wheels, Roman candles, rockets, fountains,  and of course the essential handheld sparklers, even the names transport me straight back to childhood and the growing excitement as Bonfire Night came closer.

But there was much more to Bonfire Night than fireworks. Above all there was the bonfire to be built, in a grassy hollow on the hillside above our mother’s laboriously terraced garden. One October Saturday our father would take us down to the local woods, where we would collect fallen branches and tie them in bundles to be dragged home up the steep field above the woods. Later he helped us to build the bonfire, making sure it would burn well and not collapse too soon, and adding to it any odds and ends of burnable material which had been accumulating in the coal cellar for months.

Then there was the guy to be made, a task which was ours alone. An old shirt or jumper or jacket of our father’s or grandfather’s, together with a pair of ancient trousers or overalls and some holey socks would be stuffed with hay, straw or newspaper until we had an approximation of a human figure, with a bag for a head, and, if we were lucky, an old cap or hat on top.

We were never allowed to go out begging for ‘Pennies for the guy’ as more fortunate schoolmates sometimes did. Instead our guy stayed safe and dry indoors until the time came for him to be fixed firmly on top of the bonfire. In the meantime our mother would be busy too, making hard, dark and beautifully brittle treacle toffee to be sucked as we watched the bonfire burn and the fireworks go off.

Finally the day itself would dawn, with fervent prayers from even the most sceptical child that the weather would stay dry and not be too windy. No weekend communal bonfires and firework displays back then. November 5th was Bonfire Night and only the most appalling of weather would change that.

Our small family bonfire was always lit early in the evening, straight after high tea, and we would gather round it with the neighbouring children and watch our father set off the fireworks one by one, while we traced fiery patterns in the night air with our sparklers and ruined our teeth with treacle toffee. When we were older we would sometimes put potatoes in the embers and leave them to bake while we were busy elsewhere.

For our small family bonfire wasn't the only one we attended each November 5th. Our farmer neighbours had an old, open-fronted quarry on their land and in it their large extended family would build the biggest bonfire I have ever seen. Once our small bonfire was reduced to glowing embers we children would all decamp to the quarry for a spectacular blaze. Adventurous youngsters would scale the lower reaches of the quarry sides to set off fireworks from vantage points above the enormous bonfire, while the rest of us toasted ourselves and watched the excitement.

Eventually even this fire would die down, which was the signal for everyone to head back to the farmhouse kitchen for meat and potato pie cooked in enormous enamel bowls and shared with the multitude. Finally we would walk down the short lane from the farm to our cottage and fall into bed, exhausted, replete and happy, to dream of flames and fireworks and fun.

This November 5th I shall be otherwise occupied, but on the drive to and from the hospital, I shall while away the miles with Bonfire Night reminiscences and maybe even a piece or two of treacle toffee.

Images via Google