Butterflies and other things

My mind has been in a fog since leaving hospital and possibly even before my hospital stay to a certain extent.

Everyday life I can cope with but anything requiring concentration or exercising my brain has become beyond me. Simple technology that I have done many times before has become overwhelming. I’m not enjoying this phase in my life. I hope it doesn’t last too much longer.

One thing I am enjoying is watching the wildlife from our window. Yesterday early evening we had a visit from a very large hedgehog. He came and had a long drink from the dogs bowl before wandering off again.

This morning, I am enjoying watching the red admiral butterflies feeding on the buddleia flowers. Basking in the sunshine after all the recent rain. I did a Google search to confirm what I thought I knew. Butterflies flap their wings whilst stationary to keep their muscles warm. I noticed one of the suggested search questions was to my surprise. (I would never thought to ask this).

Do butterflies fart?

Apparently yes they do. All creatures fart. That’s reassuring to know. Maybe I don’t need to feel embarrassed when it happens to me. It also says that Monarch butterflies are the kings of farting.

We have been trying to find a new gardener to replace my friend’s husband who has been working on mum’s garden for a number of years. He has had to stop for a number of reasons. Not least that he has moved to another part of the country.

With all the rain and sun we have had in recent weeks the garden has gone beserk. Mum did find a gardener. He came one Saturday morning for a few hours. He made a plan for what would need doing the next time. It has now been 5 or 6 weeks since he was here. The garden is growing at a far faster rate than most years. After an initial email apologising for not turning up (we don’t have a phone number). He hasn’t responded to any further messages.

Last week I was given a recommendation by a friend. I contacted the new possible gardener who said he could come on Sunday to have a look. Sunday Evening he apologised for not arriving but would come on Monday after 5pm.

By 6.30 still no sign so I contacted him. He again apologised. He could come today. I have rescheduled him for Friday as today and tomorrow our road is supposed to be closed for resurfacing work. Guess what the resurfacing isn’t happening. It might be tomorrow though!

I will believe it when I see it.

Surprise

When I went to bed last night I had no idea.

This morning we had visitors. My eldest brought his little girl to visit. He had been planning to visit in the next week or two but because I have to isolate next week prior to my hospital treatment, decided to come today.

It was a shame it was just the two of them. Mummy had to work. Our little lady is almost 20 months. She chatters non stop, not that we know what she’s saying most of the time. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any words yet. She most certainly does and can be very clear when she wants to be.

There is a large framed picture on the wall showing a group of ducks. She was very certain that they are ducks (my grandson thinks they are geese). Ducks say quack she tells us. Drawing was the main activity of the visit. Both with my coloured pencils and the crayons that daddy brought with them.

Before they left (before the rain) we had a spell in the garden. Looking at the plants and the ceramic duck. We found a ball that belongs to the dog that visits. So we had “kick” the ball which also involved throwing it “goal kick”.

I was a bit surprised when she took my hand and started running down the garden, with daddy saying” not too fast Granny can’t run”. He is sort of right but I could keep up with her thank you very much.

It was so lovely to see them both. I think my highlight was when she kept coming to stand next to me and resting her head against me.

When it was time for them to go she clearly said “stay”. I’m happy that she enjoyed her visit as much as we did.

Oh and I got a big hug from my son. I am so glad that we are allowed now. (He did get a test before he came, which I thought was very good of him.)

That’s how you say cheese

Fractured not broken

The other night and it was at night I wrote a post about waiting. I wrote it because I had been reading Abbie Greaves book The end of the Earth. It had taken me back to when I was a young adult. I couldn’t sleep because of the thoughts going round and round in my head. Once I had written it and I apologise I didn’t read it through so there are bound to be errors.

One of my new blogging friends Bitchy after 60 commented that with everything I have been through it would have broken most people.

That post only scratched the surface of what my life has been like in the last 50+ years. I’m not broken yet. I have many emotional fractures and my body is falling apart but nothing has broken me yet.

Last night mother asked if I had experienced depression or anxiety in the last year. The question was in relation to the covid-19 pandemic. The answer is no. I am lucky to have technology that has allowed me to keep in contact with family and friends. I could also order whatever I needed online. I also have plenty to keep me occupied. My garden, reading, knitting etc.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced anxiety or feeling in low spirits. I have but more in respect of my health than the pandemic.

Waiting

Last week I wrote about Abbie Greaves book The Silent Treatment and I was looking forward to reading her second book The Ends of The Earth. I finished reading it a couple of days ago. I would recommend it however it is a heart felt tale of love and pain.

Reading this book was bitter sweet for me. I enjoy Abbie’s writing but some of the characters took me back to my past. I’m not saying that these characters in anyway resemble me or my past. There are aspects of this sad tale which remind me of one of the bad times in my life.

Some people in my real life know bits of my story but I guess my mother is the only one who knows most of it and even so I didn’t divulge some of my truth until many years later.

When i was 20 I had been engaged for 2 years to M. After a falling out with his mother I was treated more like his mistress/dirty secret than his fiancé. Eventually I had had enough and broke it off. Some months later I began seeing A. He was an older man but we got on really well and he treated me so much better. He was serving in the army but we spent as much time as we could together. We had mutual friend that he stayed with at weekends.

At the time I had joined the Territorial Army in my spare time. I remember once being embarrassed when A had dropped me off for my weekly training. Someone commented about my dad dropping me off. Anyway it was t few days after my 21st birthday that I had been away on a weekend training exercise on Salisbury Plain. When I got back on Sunday night A met me at the barracks to take me home. He took me to our friend’s flat.

He wanted sex. I was tired, battered and bruised. I wanted nothing more than to sleep. He forced himself on me. I made it clear I wasn’t in the right frame of mind or body for sex. That didn’t stop him. I don’t remember how I got home, I guess A drove me. The following Saturday he came to see me. I told him we were finished. He was not happy. He raped me in my parents living room. I never saw him again for which I was glad. I never told anyone what had happened.

At that time police were not sympathetic and I knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, after all he was my boyfriend and this was years before domestic rape was recognised. Later I. The year I got back together with M. It didn’t work out, I had changed. Not only that but I found being alone with him difficult. I couldn’t cope with intimacy, I would always see the face of A looming over me. After several months I broke off my relationship again.

I found an ad in the local paper for a week in Austria traveling by coach. By this time I was 22 and in need of a break. I was travelling alone. Being one of the last passengers to catch the coach I had a seat behind the driver. During the long drive I got chatting to both drivers. Once in Austria we were split up around the village. If memory serves me right there were three of us staying in the house where I was staying.

Through out our stay there were events and trips each day. Most of the group were couples or groups. I was just me and often found myself with the drivers and our tour rep. Looking back I know that was a mistake. I was beginning to feel an attachment to the taller of the drivers C. We were spending more and more of our spare time together. Until I ended up spending the night with him. C was an older man (apparently I prefer older men), but younger than A. Amazingly when I was with C I didn’t see A’s face.

By the time I returned home we had swapped phone numbers. He had my home number and my work number. Whenever he was between trips I would catch a train to London where we would stay in cheap hotels. He told me he wouldn’t marry me but he wanted us to live together. I spent a few days with him staying with a friend of his. I applied for a job at his local airport.

Then the unthinkable happened. I hit a call from an older woman claiming to be his wife. S was 14 years older than him and he was 14 years older than me. I guess I will never know the real truth. C told me that he had married S to help her and her two daughters (my age). Every time he tried to leave her she cut her wrists or some other cry for attention.

For months I had to have my calls screened both at home and at work. S or her daughter would call me saying nasty things. I stopped seeing C. Then one night he arrived at my home saying he had left her. He couldn’t take it anymore. The next day we found a bedsit near to my work. That first week it was great coming back every evening to my meal cooked for me. The two of us together making plans. It wasn’t so great for C, he wasn’t used to being in a strange town alone all day with no work. It was his off season.

He told me that he had a friend in Norfolk who could give him work as a taxi driver Monday to Friday. He would be back at the weekends. He never came back. I refused to get upset. I couldn’t phone him, we didn’t have mobile phones in those days. After a few weeks I had a phone call from the Samaritans supposedly searching for C on S’s behalf.

I stayed at the bedsit until the end of our 3 month contract then moved back to my parents. While I was at the bedsit I didn’t see anyone outside of work and a few visits to my parents in the next town. I couldn’t give up on C, I couldn’t forget about him and move on. I needed to know where he was and what had happened. I kept my grief tucked inside me. I never cried, my health began to suffer.

I remember one day phoning my mother at work in a panic. I felt as though my life had collapsed, I didn’t know how I would get through the next minute let alone the next hour. I don’t remember what happened next but I got through the day. My work was suffering, eventually I handed in my notice. I knew I couldn’t carry on with my job in the state I was in.

I managed to persuade my Dr that I needed help but I didn’t want pills. He arranged for a councillor to visit me at home. Unfortunately he was about to change jobs so I only saw him the once. He told me that I was clinically depressed. We went through everything in my life that was making me feel so bad. That helped, just breaking it all down into different problems.

About a month later I got a job working in a bar then a job as an hotel receptionist. One afternoon on my way home I stopped at our local supermarket. On the way out I saw a face I never expected to see again. It was C. He waited for me to walk me home. As soon as I was home I ran to the bathroom to be sick.

It was 11 months since he had left me. He thought he could pick up where he left me. He explained that he had gone to Norfolk as planned but he had phoned home to check how S was. She was in hospital after another suicide attempt. So he went back to look after her. Now she was well and he was able to leave. I saw him a few times over the next couple of months.

I became pregnant, he said he was decorating the flat for S then we would be together. I lost the baby. Suddenly he was unavailable again. He did arrange to see me over the August bank holiday. Bizarrely I stayed with his younger step daughter and partner. We had become friends over the phone. She didn’t agree with how her mother and sister had been towards me. Anyway when I was supposed to see C it was S who turned up. I was suddenly very ill in the bathroom. Later we spoke and found that neither if us were the bitch we had thought.

Over the years I have wondered what happened to C and S. I moved on with my life. I met the man who gave me my four sons.

Abbie’s book was nothing like my story but it did get me thinking about it. I just remembered that one of my colleagues way back then once said to me. ” Your live life might not be happy but it’s interesting” . Thinking back on that comment I don’t know why she thought it was interesting.

Disrespected

I have just been reading about a cleaner who retired from her job after 35 years. Her latest boss had been cruel and disrespectful. However the cleaner showed that she was the better person when she left. The note she left behind reminded the staff that they should always be kind and not think themselves better than anyone even the cleaner.

Back in the late 1990s I had gone back to work part time after having my children. I had a part time temporary job for 4 months. I took the summer off to look after my children in the school holidays. When the children went back to school I took another part time job until Christmas. It was in the accounts department of a local distribution company. I had always liked working in accounts. It is possible that I could have enjoyed working there but I didn’t. I dreaded every day and couldn’t wait to get out of there on my last day.

It wasn’t the work, it was the staff. All young women and one man all working full time and had been there for quite a while. I was the part time assistant. I was treated as though I was stupid and didn’t know anything. Nobody spoke to me. Unless it was a condescending comment.

Just because I was a mother working part time they thought I wasn’t worth as much as them. None of them had yet started a family. I hope that after they had a family they might have remembered what it’s like to be a working mother and maybe try to be kinder.

After the Christmas holidays I was able to go back to the first job. This time I was there for 8 years. Working with much nicer people. I wasn’t the only part time worker and everyone was treated equally. I only left there when I was on sick leave whilst going through my nasty divorce. The Company was in the midst of a restructuring. The part time temporary staff were the first to go.

I’m not in love

Isn’t it strange the way our thoughts can move from one thing to the next until we can’t remember how we came to the topic we get to. Last Saturday I came home from my errands my mother was watching Prince Philip’s funeral. She informed me that she had found some people from our distant past on facebook. I would say that I was asked but it was more like a command to make contact with either the father, son or daughter of this family.

I spent sometime looking for these three individuals. Bearing in mind that it has been about 40 years since I saw any of them. After some time to contemplate who I would contact and what to say. I decided to contact the son. Starting my message with “You won’t remember me but our families were friends when we were in our teens.”

It wasn’t long before I received a reply saying that he did remember me/us. Sadly his mother has passed away as has my father.

I won’t go into details of our brief communication. I did however ponder why it was that we had been talking about this other family from our past in the first place, then I remembered. A week or so ago mother was reading a book which mentioned the place of work during our time of acquaintance of the father. So now I know why she was thinking about these people.

That night I found myself trying to remember what I knew about them. We all belonged to a sports club. The sister was younger than me but we were part of a relay team at one point. The brother was a year or maybe two years older than me. I can’t remember what he looked like other that I have an impression of dark hair and height. Mind you even as an adult I have never been tall so most people are tall to me. I think we were friends.

During the time that I knew this family I was a fan of the group 10cc. One of the songs that has been with me throughout my life has been “I’m not in love”. So why then is it that over the years whenever I hear this song it makes me think of the son. Was I in love with him? No. Did we ever have a relationship? No.

I am not quite sure if my memory is right but I am convinced that for some reason that escapes me. He had a passport photo of me. For anyone who doesn’t know this song, the lyrics tell of someone having a photo of someone they are not in love with but they can’t give it back because it hides a stain on the wall.

I have loved this song since my early teens. It is one of those songs that give me goose bumps when I hear it. My love of the song has nothing to do with this guy but it does always make me think of him.

Do you have any songs that you associate with someone or something that has nothing to do with the song.

Happy Easter

It’s Easter Sunday. There is a small amount of chocolate in the house. Mother got me a pouch of maltesers and I got her a chocolate rabbit.

This morning I had a video call with my grandson who actually managed to talk to me. Usually I talk to his daddy whilst he plays with his toys or watches his cartoons. Hopefully if nothing changes we should get a chance to see them in person next week. I have his birthday present here ready to be wrapped. He will be three in a few weeks time.

I also tried to video call my granddaughter. Hopefully later I shall get through. I think her daddy must have been driving when I was calling. I have seen a photo of her and her cousin at the beach with their parents.

I have done more gardening. Planting seeds in pots. They are the sun at the moment in the hope of giving them some warmth. I shall bring them inside later as temperatures are due to plummet.

Yesterday I went to the car sales where my potential new car is. Due to covid restrictions I wasn’t able to examine it but I could look through the windows. We have arranged to talk to the sales man on Wednesday to go ahead with the deal.

Today I am grateful

I feel as though I have been moaning about my lot in life quite a lot lately. So I have decided to think about the things I am grateful for.

  1. My family
  2. I will soon be able to spend time with my family again.
  3. Sunshine
  4. Having a garden
  5. The ability to bring life into our garden
  6. The wildlife that I get to see from my armchair
  7. Living near to various beaches
  8. Avon – my sanity
  9. Knitting
  10. Reading
  11. Technology – video calls
  12. Technology – research and talk to others with my health issues
  13. A roof over my head
  14. Enough food to eat (even with an unconventional diet).
  15. Being single
  16. Friends
  17. Independence
  18. Sense of humour
  19. Love of colour
  20. BEING ALIVE

It didn’t take long

I was only out for an hour. When I got home mother told me there had been naughtiness afoot. Firstly one the squirrels has been digging in the pots with my seedlings in.

Secondly mother herself has done something naughty.

For the last couple of months on and off I have been looking for a new car. This morning I found one that I think will be suitable for our needs. Although it will mostly just be me in the car I need something that I can easily get a wheelchair in. Plus the passenger seat can’t be too low or too high for mother to get in.

She has arranged for me to go and have a look at it. Apparently the salesman can’t come out to show it to me and I can only look at the outside of it.

If I decide that I do want it the paperwork will be emailed over to us. This car could very well be my birthday present.

I’ll let you know more when or if I do decide it’s the one.

Crisis averted

I was in the dinning room when I heard the phone go. I couldn’t hear who it was but my mother was having trouble understanding exactly what she was being told to do. She started up her laptop. I could hear her saying that she hadn’t bought an iphone. She would have been going to bed at that time last night. No nobody has access to her laptop and she shuts it down every time.

I very quickly became suspicious. It was difficult to know exactly what was going on as I could only hear her side of the conversation. She wasn’t giving any personal information otherwise I would have stopped the call immediately. My mother was following instructions to search for this, download that etc I told her I thought this was a scam. It just didn’t sound right to me. When I found her on a screen to give remote access my head was screaming its a scam! She wouldn’t listen. Waving me away or telling me to shut up! Then she was on her Amazon account changing her password. Luckily she was having trouble getting the password right. By this time I was shaking I was so angry, with them for doing this and with her for not accepting what was happening.

She had to take a break to go to the bathroom. I took the opportunity to pick up her phone and ask this man who he is. To be fair the way he talked he did sound plausible but I still knew that if this was genuine it would be handled differently. On her return mum agreed to end the call. I contacted Amazon to check that this is not the way they would deal with this situation. It was confirmed that this was indeed a scam.

Mum is now annoyed with herself for being taken in. She is a retired solicitor and prides herself in being careful. She wonders how other people get taken in by these scams. Now she is among those that got taken in. I am so glad I was here to prevent this becoming a crisis. She has since checked her Amazon account and her bank account. All is as it should be. However she is now having trouble changing her amazon password. We will get there. I dread to think of the consequences if I hadn’t managed to stop her from being taken for a complete ride.

Amazon have sent me an email detailing what they do and don’t do and how to report scams.