Gratitude for the little things.

Gratitude for the little things.

I’ve been trying to look for the small things that make my day good and celebrate them. Like getting up and dressed. Don’t take it for granted as for some of us with a chronic illness on some days it just isn’t possible. It helps the day improve. We have to begin somewhere and since trying to treat the Lyme Disease which seems to have taken me over and whatever else might be going on. I might have to grab at straws from time to time.
Yesterday I had an appointment on “Fantasy Island” as our friend refers to it.
I have been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks and was trying to rest the day before so that it would not be ruined by my illness, so many things have to be rebooked or cancelled at short notice but I was determined I was going.

Things to be grateful for:

I had slept really well and got ready in plenty of time. Although I was a little nervous of the day and my stomach was letting me know it wasn’t happy. IBS always kicks in when I’m anxious or excited.

I go ready to go though and bizarrely what made me truly grateful is that I was able to put my usual moisturiser on for the first time in a fortnight without it feeling as though I had put acid on my face. I had a reaction to the medication which made me not just sensitive to sun but also normal daylight and I got caught in the sun 2 weeks ago. The result was burned face neck hands and feet which are still red and sore and peeled. I have had to coat myself in Aloe Vera several times per day use aqueous cream and using water on the skin has been very painful and makes it flare up. Bathing has been a joy (not) and my partner has been washing up since.
Most of the burned skin has now started to renew with all the help I’ve been giving it and I was just so grateful that it didn’t hurt when I got ready to go out yesterday.

I was well enough to drive myself and this was huge for me. Yay! Hope was ready and waiting and I haven’t been able to drive myself anywhere for almost three weeks I had missed my independence and it was a joy to get back out there and behind the wheel.

The sun was shining, it always makes things better. Despite the fact that I had the roof up was covered up and wearing factor 50 sunscreen.

I saw nice people both for a meeting and also afterwards when I met our friend with a coffee and cake.

It was another chance to view the wonderful scenery and wildlife in a beautiful location and I should never miss that.

My brain allowed me to function quite well. I was able to ask questions I wanted to know without rambling so the brain fog was not immediately apparent and I remembered the replies.

My heroes welcome from the dog because he’d missed me. I haven’t been out without him in almost a fortnight.

Although I came back exhausted I felt like I had achieved something for the first time in a while.
It’s the little things you know… they mean so much.

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Fantasy Island, The Tour.

Yesterday I had my tour around fantasy island as our friend refers to it.It is tongue in cheek, but also I think a place where many crave to live. They are drawn to this place of beauty, surrounded by nature, where flora and fauna abound. A sanctuary in the south. It is private gated and restricted access so I felt privileged to get a guided tour from one of the Islanders.

I have only visited once before. Last time I came away my imagination fired up and I decided that it would be the most wonderful place to be able to live. Idyllic and the new life I crave for us would fit in there beautifully. 

His home with its interesting garden making use of things he has found, recycled items all around utilised within his space and others for projects yet to be undertaken. I found it so inspiring there I designed furniture following my last visit it reminded me of some of my as yet unfulfilled ambitions which I would like to work towards once my health improves.

Arriving there again I am filled with peace, my heart was racing as I arrive anticipation growing for what I might see whilst there. 

We drive, or rather he does so that I may be able to enjoy the view. I am in a semi altered state. Lightheaded or as though I am in shock. It could be the antibiotics or the painkillers. Or it could be just what I see there. I look at the houses as we pass and the fields and hedgerows as we drive slowly by, observing the lowered speed limit. It is a nature foragers dream, the hedgerows brimming with wild fruit, plums, elderberries. Blackberries, sloes. He stops to pluck one from the hedge for me to try. They would make Lovely jam I said, he agreed that they do. Enveloped by countryside with no one around hares running up ahead of us along the road and birds walking across the roads in front of us. We stopped at the cockle beach where apparently you can fish for Bass. I love sea bass. There was none but the birds. Around the island three rivers meet. Further round where it meets another river, there is a slightly more recognisable seascape. I may have seen near there before but not from this side. There were some wonderful rocks in beautiful colours piled high as though dropped there by giants. I intended to take photos on this tour but my eyes are taking it all in instead. The camera on my phone does not take one shot for the duration. Which as I write this I am regretting somewhat. It is unusual for me. 

Some of the grand houses, the homes with character and the cottages tucked away are empty. My imagination kicking in again as I wonder what I could do with one of them as a space of my own.The two pubs have long closed down as has the church. No longer required here lack of use forced their closure. There is one shop and there are farms in the village, it is a sleepy place. I wonder how and when it comes alive or if it is always like this. The workers have left for the day, a mass exodus off as I was arriving. Much of it looks deserted.

Our friend shows me his sculpture garden. Have you seen it before he said? No I replied. It used to be his allotment but he changed it. He built this to enjoy. In a non public place it is a community garden. He has had parties there and there is a summer kitchen with a pizza oven he has made. A pergola which has grape vines growing up it they have grapes this year apparently for the first time. There are plinths of marble and stone around and many of them hold small statues. They are not your average garden statue. Many are of the muscular male form draped around females. Holding, cherishing. I could have stayed there for a while. It was a place I could happily sit, embrace the moment and meditate. A calm place.

In the centre of the garden there is a huge stone column, about ten feet high and as yet I carved. He told me that it would become a dancing couple. I did not know when he took me there what I would find, the significance only dawning on me now in the early hours as I write this.
I was struck by the beauty of the stone. I asked who made them, he replied “some old bloke from over the road, he likes carving stone” I admired them blown away by what I saw, as he explained he told me about some them. He started the garden when his wife was gone I did not ask if it was in tribute to her. But it is clear that this man loves female company and why shouldn’t he for he is witty and charming, flirtatious and engaging and can cook. He also has several female friends who gather at his house for a meal on a regular basis.

There are signs carved in slate and sandstone sculpture along with white almost alabaster, possibly marble. They are beautiful and written with his sense of humour. The sculptures were something else and just the sort I like and appreciate. I wanted to touch them, feeling drawn to them and photograph them but it felt strange to ask. I have not known him very long and I did not want to push my luck.

He said that the locals are not interested in the garden, I asked why not it’s a beautiful place. They should use it if it’s for them too. 

He said that some of the other visitors to the island had seen it. I loved it.

Upon waking in the early hours it occurred to me, I may be way off the mark here but I get the very strong feeling that the “old guy over the road” was at that moment standing by my side proudly showing me his own statues. That he not only created the garden, but the sculptures within it. That the dancing couple would be formed one day by his own hands.

Only time will tell. There are clues, he is creative and has a good eye. His mother is an artist. He is useful with his hands, builds things in wood and has a beautiful garden. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit today, I don’t know if I bored him to tears with the subject matter. I talk more when I am nervous and I am not used to having the floor. When my partner and I are out together the conversation is more evenly spaced. It can’t have been all bad. I was invited to go and visit again whenever I liked. 

I might just have to go and ask him about his garden.

When Loved Ones Revisit. 

I don’t know if you believe that loved ones who have moved on to another life visit you to remind you from time to time. I am a firm believer in this. The Robin who appears every day singing its little heart out on the hill whenever we are there. Who first appeared when we scattered some of Kato’s ashes in his favourite spot. It always comes to see us in front of the house, singing loudly to announce its arrival. This year it showed us its new baby, just as we did. We showed it ours and it returned daily whilst we were there. 
Yesterday was the year anniversary of my last accident. When a wonderful surgeon spent three hours stitching my face back together after going off duty. For which I will be eternally grateful. She did a wonderful job. Quite often you can barely make out the scars, the skin has healed very well. I am still working on the emotional ones. It takes time.

Then one year ago today we lost our beloved Kato. It broke our hearts a day we will never forget when we had to say Goodbye. We have been grieving for a year. Yesterday we were talking about him. We often do because we talk about most things and it helps us both. 

As we spoke of him suddenly we were joined in the garden by the most enormous and beautiful dragonfly we have ever seen it was four inches long and just as wide, you couldn’t miss it as it flew over us.

Now dragonflies are known as reminders of loved ones who have passed away.

The dragonfly swooped around in front of us both and swirled around our heads. Roki stood up and barked, which is unusual for him and went over to where it stopped to take a look. It landed on the honeysuckle right where Kato saved the baby bird by letting me know it had fallen from its nest and was trapped in the branches and made sure that I rescued it and set it free.

The dragonfly sat there for about five minutes. It was larger than life and close up it looked black and white with silvery wings. Of course it was. It embodied everything that Kato was in that sentence.

It made me quite emotional to see it. Touched by this thing of beauty. I went inside to get my phone to see if I could get a photo of it, it took a while to see it sitting there camouflaged in the bush but look closely on the middle of the bush as I did to get this photo and you will see it. After I spoke to it, it flew skywards. I prayed that it would have a safe journey and return to me. 

I am sharing with you again today my poem Butterflies and Dragonflies written last year, a short while after he passed away.

https://indiablue.co.uk/2016/09/03/butterflies-dragonflies/

The Moonlit Mosey

DSC_0094Off for a moonlit mosey,
Not really sure quite where.
But we have left the cosy,
Corner and my chair,
The light it shines so brightly,
It beckons us along.
As we tiptoe lightly,
And gently hum our song.
Tread softly as we go,
Don’t wake the sleeping hare.
Or others that we know,
Are gently snoozing there.
Some cross our path to see us,
On this lovely moonlit night.
Or wander past us in the brush,
To keep them out of sight.
Some pass us by so blatantly,
They’re showing us no fear.
For this is natures’ safe place
And all are welcomed here.

A burst of creativity 

25/6/17 After a week of feeling exhausted with high levels of pain and very little sleep I was met with an inspired moment. So this weekend’s sudden burst of creativity has come about by this….

A small pot of local flowers from my garden which either looked pretty or smelled nice. I thought I might be able to make some pot pourri to send to my friend in Australia as part of her birthday gift and to remind her of home. I miss her even more since she emigrated. Yes I have lots of wild flowers which have grown in the wrong place (otherwise known as weeds) but they are blooming and some of them smell rather lovely too so I’m not afraid to include them.

Unfortunately I then looked it up and found out that you cannot send plant matter to Australia since they have strict laws. So I thought about making her a wildflower bouquet mixed up with the ones from my garden and photographing it for her. Perhaps I would make it onto a notebook so she can write a journal, or get it printed for her and put in a frame. Who knows but on our evening walk we collected more and since it was a rainstorm by the time we arrived home I had to store them in the fridge overnight and so this was made today. 


It adorned my dining table for the day as I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it next. Send it with blessings to the wind, or make the pot pourri out of it, it does smell rather nice. In the end I have opted for both. 

I was inspired by an artist named Day Schildkret who on his walks collects things and makes beautiful sculptural earth alters from his foraged finds which he photographs. Known as Impermanent Earth Art You can see his work at http://www.morningalters.com I love his work and am perfectly happy when doing my own foraging for beautiful things.

But it somehow set the ball rolling. Last night I wrote up my poems to the pc from the notebooks of my last trip it boosted my morale again finding out that I have almost reached my quota for my second book selection (a further 100 poems) and it seemed to trigger the writing again, suddenly whizzing around my head. This morning I wrote a poem about my friend who has invited me to her wedding next week. I plan to give it to her for a gift and thought that I need to do something else for them too. I am all for a bit of upcycled giftware and have made her a recycled roof slate chalkboard with the wedding couples initials in a logo and the date of their union. The slates were reclaimed from Scotland. I have a few of them I intended to make up for some friends and family or perhaps sell at a later date.


I hope that they like it. 

I also made one for our home which is personal to us. This has become our catchphrase of late since wherever we are as long as we are together it’s home.

It seems that I have been able to write more poetry this week. Not all of it suited to a book, or here but had to be written nevertheless.

Enthusiastic Woodsmanship, Or when enthusiasm outweighs experience…

(written the other week) A few hours ago my partner went out in the truck to get it looked at. It struggled to start. Conked out again and then he tumbled off down the hill in it. I thought that whilst he was out to keep my mind occupied I would do something useful.I put away slot of things and did the daily chores. Tidied up and put things away again. Everything gets dusty in this house, the slightest movement brings down dust and debris so it is an ongoing mission to keep things clean.
After the chores I got the chainsaw out since we always need wood and we had carried a lot of it down to where we cut it up. So I thought that I would make a dent in the pile. 

I have been cutting for an hour and a half. It’s a small chainsaw so is limited as to its use, however I can manage it. I cut and cut, the dog safely indoors out of the way.

I hauled the branches and logs from behind the shed doors where we had been storing them out of the rain. After an hour or so, I thought I’ll just do a little bit more. 

The pile I had cut growing rapidly. I hauled a branch out which was bring stubborn as I am and did the first somersault that I can ever remember. Straight over my log pile, I rolled on a few of them on the way down and winded myself, laughing at the silliness of it. I must have looked ridiculous. After thinking that was lucky that I didn’t hit my head. I’m sure the hard hat that I was wearing was a good idea.

Shaking myself off, I cut the last few branches. 

I have now hauled them into the woodshed and stacked them neatly in a new pile. We work our way through each one but these may take a little while to air.

Well. At least I have a different reason for the painkillers tonight. Somehow it feels as though I have earned them instead of taking them for annoying pain which doesn’t go away instead.

It may not look much to those of you who are used to this kind of work on a regular basis. But at least I have made some preparations and in time with more hours spent doing the same (without the tumble) it will mean that he doesn’t have to. I will sleep well tonight knowing that I have not sat on my backside wondering what to do next. 

I feel a small accomplishment of my own today. 

And I know that the muscles ached the next day. Craving a bath when there was not one available. 

Slowing the Pace 

DSC_009411/5/17

In the past week or so I have been thinking a lot. I’m told that my brain is fluffy since we arrived. I do feel a bit more fluffy since I have arrived, less stressed about most things and I have caught up on my sleep at last. It is good for the soul being here. I am probably letting things wash over me where previously I might have worried about them. I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing I have only been worried about him. Lately he has been doing the worrying about everything else which is really bad for him. He is getting about 4 hours sleep a night and his health and brain is suffering doing himself physical damage because he is run down. But he is like a man possessed trying to get things done, as though his time is running out. I hope it is not.

We do not have an endless time here and will have to go back South for many reasons but he does not have to do it all now. There is time and there is no schedule up here. The summer is coming, we will make preparations for our next visit before we leave.

I have been in a fuzz on the full blood pressure tablets lately but really struggled with breathlessness when I have cut back to half, despite becoming fitter due to the hill walking. So although there has been less of the usual stress clearly my body is still letting me know it still needs that different pace and medication is slowing it for me.

I am two cups of coffee into the day before I can function but am sleeping so much. Knowing that Endometriosis can wipe out your energy reserves at the drop of a hat. I am still in pain but trying to work through it on most days, not overdoing anything just trying to do something constructive each day. It doesn’t help that our time clocks are way out of sync. We are getting to bed as it gets light whilst he drops off to sleep on the chair after dinner. I have trouble waking him up to get him to bed and by the time we get there we are hearing the dawn chorus. So half the day is gone by the time I rise. He leaves me to sleep and then resents the time it takes for me to get off the ground.

We are trying to raise funds here by selling off some of our excess items but there are not that many up here since the break in and the hardships that followed. We will do the best that we can in order to stay here as long as possible. We do not wish to return to our lives down South at the moment, they have caused so much misery and heartache in the past 12 months that I would rather have hunger and a very basic life here feeling safe and healthier than I have been in months.

I was walking the dog at 3am this morning. It was a beautiful full moon last night and the Farm track was lit up, bathed in its light with twinkling lights along the coast. It was almost silent, but for the small animals in the hedgerows.  During that short walk, everything seemed totally right with the world. I felt true happiness in an instant. I could have happily walked across the hills for miles. No one around, alone with the dog and my thoughts. Silent from argument and cross words caused by pain and stress, the worries washed away in the moonlight. I loved the outlines of the tress around in the woods that surround us here. The bull in the field that we visit every day, slightly surprised to see us and snoring gently by his barn.

We were totally at peace there in the moment. Whilst I walked along hoping and praying for a small miracle to enable us to stay here and calm our souls some more. It struck me that here in the darkness, I felt totally safe as though it was the most normal thing in the world to wander the hills in the dark at that hour. It was truly invigorating. I noticed that for the first time in months, I do not feel depressed. For someone who has battled with this depression for a few years now, it seems as though being up here has lifted a huge weight from my mind for as long as I am here.  It makes me wonder if a more permanent move would be better for us all instead of the back and forth.

When the weather is warm and we have just enough to get by, then we are extremely happy up here. A little left over would be a godsend. I worry about lack of contingency funds. Since the truck has played both of us up in the past week and we are several miles from shops for supplies.

As he heads off out today, the truck has struggled again to start. There is muck in the fuel lines we think from when it ran out of fuel and it is causing us real problems. The tank is full and there is fuel cleaner in there but it is still threatening to conk out at any moment which is an extra concern we really don’t need. A return from the mechanic and it seems that it might be something more an auto electrical problem, here’s hoping they can get it fixed.