The Arrival of Spring

In the short time I have been away winter has begun to recede and make way for spring. Walking Westie Boy the past couple of days my heart has lifted to see the snowdrops and crocuses in gardens and by the roadside, fat lambs in the fields and yellow gorse in the lanes. The days are noticeably longer, dwindling to soft greys and blues as the sun streaks the clouds with pink.

 

While I looked, Westie Boy sniffed. He may have missed the rabbit that hopped ahead of us, but his nose twitched at burrows, his head disappeared down the entrances to larger animals' abodes, and we had a difference of opinion about the wisdom of rolling in cow dung and fox poo.

 

Ewes lifted their faces as we passed, keeping a watchful eye. Their lambs, less wary, bounced about them, or nuzzled at their bellies. Farmers were making the most of the extra daylight, working in the fields. Once the elderly golden retriever at the bottom of the hill rushed out barking, but when we passed on later walks, he slept on on the porch step.

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Aunt

Aunt is definitely thinner. When I hugged her, I could feel every knob of her spine and her ribs were clear under my hands. Her lovely cleaner Linda, now an honourary member of the family, was there when I arrived. Linda is a huge fan of Uncle Bill. I keep reminding her he is spoken for. Linda is the person who allows Aunt to continue to live independently. She is more carer than cleaner these days. And throughout her years of working for Aunt has become a trusted companion, a confidante, a surrogate daughter. They love each other with an uncomplicated trust and respect. They are good to and for each other. Their relationship is good to see.

In the spring, when I spoke to the Specialist Nurse, I tried to find out how long Aunt might survive her cancer. The nurse, who is lovely, but worked off her feet, told me my aunt could well die of old age before the cancer tightened its grip. However, by the end of the conversation I knew it would be unlikely Aunt would see the end of the summer.

Yet today we were talking about winter, and where we can go when the weather turns cold. As we had both wanted to enjoy Linda's company, it was quite late before we set off for an outing. Our destination was a local hotel where I had been told we could enjoy tea in the garden.

The drive took about five minutes. Maybe less. Aunt usually feels the cold, so I was surprised when she said she'd like to sit in the garden, and laid her fleece across her knees. We were the only ones outside until we saw a tabby cat emerge from a flower bed. We sat and talked, and I asked her about how it felt to know that this might be her last summer. She was philosophical. At 92, death could come any day, cancer or no. Seeing the flowers, the colours, the cat. These were the things that counted. A teapot which poured well, and a more than generous jug of milk, sunshine on the plants and the peace of the garden, moments to be stored up and enjoyed over the next weeks.

Earlier I had found her mother's signature on the. Ulster Covenant. It's available on the PRONI site. Aunt was just four when her mother died. Her memories are scant. She was moved by the sight of the signature. I should see about taking a screen shot and storing it with her photographs on the tablet.

My little Olympus with its wifi wizardry is a hit when I visit Aunt. She selects the photos she wants and I load them onto her tablet. She has a lot of MasterB. When we go out, I take more pictures so she has a record of where we have been and what we have seen. Continue reading

Some Pictures From the East

Naturally while I was East I had my camera. In fact I had both cameras. I was hopeful that the Crested Grebes would have again built their nest on the port side of das Boot so I wanted my long lens.

They hadn’t.

However, a moorhen and her chicks moved about the reeds and betwenn the boats close by. For such shy birds, they are very vocal.

Moorhen and chicks

Moorhen and chicks

The fields were full of poppies.

Poppies

Poppies

The bees were busy.

Busy bees

Busy bees

The clover was beautiful.

Beautiful clover

Beautiful clover


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Let’s Hear It For The Bees

A change from pictures of MasterB in undignified poses tonight. These flowers and budding cherries are all in our garden and I took the photographs yesterday while hoping my boy would climb the tree.

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I love this time of year.

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I read the other day that the NFU has reapplied for a licence to use an insecticide that kills bees in the UK.

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That just doesn’t add up to me. Kill bees, you kill plants, you kill us.

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Why would anyone knowingly spray plants with poisons that will kill such a key creature in our survival?

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An Outing to Gardeners’ Question Time in the Sunshine

The route to our destination divided into parts. First I walked the couple of hundred yards down the road to Celia’s flat. I met her husband Charlie at the gate, off to watch some cricket. I’d already paused to photograph lilies and a poppy, and then found the garden at the flats a sea of white marguerites. Still in their pots, they are apparently destined for a promotion one of Celia and Charlie’s neighbours is involved with.

We set off on foot, seeing a couple of neighbours going about their Sundays. A pause at the local garden farm while Celia used the loo, and I left some flyers.

The farm has fabulous wisteria.

We wanted to get to the venue early as Celia had two spare tickets, and we also wanted to eat locally. we had loads of time, so we dropped by the local city farm.

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May Flowers

Time to forget about politics tonight and think about something more uplifting: flowers and blossoms.

The blossoms pass so quickly. Cherries are already forming on the tree that was a froth of white only a month ago. The blossom petals were shaken by the winds, carpeting the grass like confetti.

The grass, lazy and dormant in the winter sprang to life, revealing itself as a country meadow of buttercups and daisies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Of Spring Days, Happy Cats, and Supper in the Garden

Supper tonight at Octavia’s and some very bad pictures of the Grey Ninja who swarmed up her catwalk, slid behind the frothy blossom of next door’s tree and disappeared to her own private hunting grounds. She did make a sudden and rather speedy return, and when we stood up we saw a grey tabby following her. He changed his mind about coming closer in the face of our stares. As I said to the Grey Ninja, next time he asks you ‘you and whose army?‘ you can remind him of tonight.

Bad Photo of Grey Ninja and Pink Blossom

Bad Photo of Grey Ninja and Pink Blossom

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Of Spring Days, Aunt, Mortality, Flowers and Rhubarb

I wanted to upload a little video of MasterB to YouTube, but i-Movie and YouTube aren’t talking, so after a lot of time and effort resulting in total failure, I have given up.

I could feel quite cast down, but the weather is too nice for that. It is so very definitely spring. Yesterday I was on the river and there was even the promise of summer in the air. I was on one of the City Cruise boats and had the lower, inside deck almost to my self. I did go aloft for a moment or two. It was packed.

Shard and Thames

Shard and Thames

Aunt turned 92 today. I am going to spend a few days with her later in the week. This is likely to be her last birthday. She has decided against having a stent put in, so as her oesophagus narrows she will be unable to swallow. We have been in a flurry, making sure the specaist nurse knows of her decision and that the palliative care nurse are aware and ready to spring into action when she needs them so that she doesn’t get whisked away to hospital. Continue reading

These Things Shall Pass: Weekly Photo Challenge and Other Stuff

I have finally finished my notes for a job I am doing on Tuesday.

Tomorrow, I shall reread them, try to turn them into a coherent narrative. Think of me. It needs to be done, but I can feel avoidance coming on which will only mean a late late night on Monday.

But I may also manage to nip round to the allotments where they are planning a clearing up day. Not that I have an allotment, but I am guilty by association. Octavia is coming to supper. So I need to do something about the less than pritine kitchen and other surfaces, and the muddle of papers that litter every corner of the sitting room. As I typed that I thought I should ask Celia and Charlie if they are about too.

Are you reading this Celia? The menu is lentils and coriander with brown rice. Wine will be drunk. Currently I don’t have a pudding, but it’s possible a cake may be baked. Apple, most likely.

Our own garden is beautiful. In spring the world fills with colour. Stunning, wonderful, transient colour.

I walked away from my work, went out into yesterday’s sunshine and took these:

Blue Hyacinth

Blue Hyacinth

Celandines and Tulips celandines and Tulips[/caption]

Glorious Red

Glorious Red

Overblown Red Tulip

Overblown Red Tulip

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New Beginnings

So I have my glass of wine; a lit candle stands in the window; MasterB who was curled up beside me has gone outside.

If Freddy hadn’t died, I shouldn’t have MasterB. A death marks not just an end, but a new beginning.

I have long called MasterB Cat’s Legacy. Before Freddy adopted me I was A Dog Person; I had no intention and no desire to have a cat.

Fourteen years after having my life turned upside down by a determined feline, the idea of living sans cat was just unthinkable.

So as well as remembering the Gorgeous Boy today, I am giving thanks for MasterB; a new life, a new relationship with my perfect companion cat; loved, cherished, as dear to me as Freddy.

And it’s spring. How could anyone fail to be glad? Continue reading