RIP Mum (by Jackie)

Wednesday, 1 July, 2009

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For those of you who are regular visitors to this site, I thought it only fitting that I submit a final post so you know why there will be no more.  Sadly, mum passed away on 10 June 2009 following a twenty month battle with bowel cancer which eventually led to secondary cancers in her liver, lungs and bones.  She put up a good fight, having two sessions of chemotherapy and one of radiotherapy, trusting in the doctors to do what was best for her, but in the end the cancer won.

She died in St Margaret’s Hospice following a two-week stay where their treatment of her was truly exceptional.  They treated her with humour, respect and dignity and made her final days as comfortable as possible.  Seeing a loved one wither is never easy, but the support from the staff was excellent.  Her funeral was held last Friday at Taunton Crematorium, conducted by an understanding and eloquent Humanist Funeral Celebrant, and attended by approximately ninety of her family and friends.  It was a celebration of her life rather than a mourning at her passing, but was still difficult for all of us, as death often is.  Her ashes were placed with those of her parents this afternoon.

She enjoyed writing her blog until last November when her illness was such that she lost interest in things she’d enjoyed all her life.  I see from the blog stats that the site is still being visited and rather than leave you wondering where the author disappeared to, I’d finish it up.  As a regular internet user myself the task of closing accounts where possible has passed to me along with mum’s book of passwords, so please accept my appreciation of your visits on mum’s and all the family’s behalf.

Live well.

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Christmas Day is on Christmas Day after all!

Monday, 24 November, 2008

Where has this week gone?  I can’t believe that my last blog was eight days ago.

My week started last Sunday when Alex phoned me in the morning to invite us for lunch for Jackie’s birthday.  I had told Jackie we’d be there sometime in the afternoon so I asked Alex what her mum would say.  “Steph and I are doing the lunch, so I’m doing the inviting”.  She also invited Terri and Steve so it was nice for the whole family to be together.  The girls made a lovely roast lunch for eight. 

On Monday morning the Oncology Centre rang me from Bristol with an appointment for Wednesday – such short notice so not too much time to think about what was going to happen. 

I have opted to accept Red Cross transport for Wednesday and 4 December for what they called “Pre-planning”.  The car arrived to pick me up spot on time.  Another lady was going for her last session – her appointment was just half-an-hour before mine.  The driver took us towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge and even stopped long enough for me to take a photo looking down into the gorge. 

Bristol

Don’t go anywhere without your camera – you never know what you’ll see.  The beautiful autumn colours were another incentive to take a couple of photos through the car window when we were stopped in the traffic. 

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Bristol

My appointment time was 2.30 and at 2.25 I walked out the door all finished.  The CT scan was a little more uncomfortable than the previous ones as I had to lie on my tummy.  My bottom was used as a drawing board and I even had a real tattoo at the base of my spine!!  When she said that I thought she really meant with a marker pen but no, it’s the real thing. I can now say I’m a trendy grandma, despite the fact that it’s only the size of a small freckle.  I have to have two more at my next appointment, so maybe I’ll ask if they’ll do flowers or butterflies! 

As I have opted to stay in Bristol from Monday to Friday each week for five weeks, and as we were out earlier than expected, the driver said we could go to the flat and she would introduce me to Sue, the lady in charge, who showed me around.  At least now I can visualise where I’m staying.

Plan A was for us all to go to Jackie and Gordon’s for Christmas Day but when they knew my treatment would take it over Christmas, Plan B came into effect – postpone Christmas Day until Saturday.  At the Centre I was given a list of times for all my appointments and I now know that Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day I won’t be having treatment.  So Christmas Day is on Christmas Day after all!

No better, no worse!

Saturday, 15 November, 2008

Today was the day for my scan results.  Luckily nothing has got any worse and there was no sign of the tumour on my liver, which showed up almost a year ago.  This means that I now have to have radiotherapy as this can be concentrated on the problem tumour.  The only downside of this is that I will be 30 miles away from my family on Christmas Day.  Apparently the treatment lasts approximately ten minutes each day so hopefully, being in Bristol, I will be able to go to the shops, at least for the first week or so.  Probably be too tired after that to go far, so will have to sort out some wool and a pattern to keep me occupied when I’m not sleeping.

We stopped at Monkton Elms Garden Centre (this is getting to be a habit) for lunch on the way home but as it was after two o’clock the only thing available in what they called the roast section, was fish, but only if you had it with roast potatoes, carrots, beans and gravy.  We opted for the salads which were delicious.

It would seem that this bit of topiary is tended to on a very regular basis, as it never gets all those straggly bits of hedging sticking out at all angles.

Monkton Elms Garden Centre

Monkton Elms Garden Centre

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More old cards

Friday, 7 November, 2008

Jackie and Terri came just after 5pm to see the Bridgwater Annual Guy Fawkes Carnival.  The roads into the town are closed around 5.30 and it’s a sort of tradition over the years for them all to descend here – but numbers have dwindled.  Gordon and Steve are not particularly interested, Alexandra is away at Cheltenham University and Stephanie prefers to go into Burnham Carnival on Monday with Ben and their friends. 

The procession starts at 7pm but as we are so near to town David, Jackie and Terri didn’t leave until about 7.45.  I didn’t feel up to standing in the cold for two and a half hours! 

* * * * * *

card08eThese are a couple more old cards, the first being very basic – I wonder if they had glitter/glue sticks way back in the 1930s.

Loving greetings now are spoken

And this card my wish shall bear

Be thy peace and joy unbroken

Be thy future blest and fair

LOVING GREETINGS

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To My Dear One

So glad will be your Birthday, dear,

If my hopes for you come true;

All cherished joys will linger near

To make life sweet for you:

So happy will be your future, dear,

All rarest gifts and pleasures new,

Increasing with each coming year

When my wish for you comes true

Hot off the press!

Thursday, 6 November, 2008

Went up into the bedroom to watch the fireworks but either the trees haven’t shed as many leaves this year, or the organised display didn’t have such high in the sky ones.  So I did walk along the road to watch a few, and it was cold so chickened out and came home. 

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Fireworks or not?

Thursday, 6 November, 2008

It’s another cold night and I’m sat here on the computer wondering whether to brave the cold and walk 100 yards up the road to watch the town’s fireworks across two fields.  Maybe I’ll just go up into the bedroom as last year and watch above the trees.  That’s all well and good but there are long gaps then as we can’t see the smaller ones almost at ground level.

Roughly our field of vision from our bedroom

Roughly our field of vision from our bedroom

Nothing new

Monday, 3 November, 2008

CT scan today at 11.45. The first Monday in the month is normally a get-together lunch for a few of us who worked together and I arranged to change our usual venue as I didn’t think I’d be able to get back to town in time. They were obviously on the ball at the hospital as I was back in the car park at 12.10. Three of us met up in the restaurant at Monkton Elms Garden Centre just before 1, but the fourth didn’t arrive until almost 2 o’clock. She’d spent the last hour waiting at the Merry Monk! At least it was in the same village.

* * * * * * * * * *

I found these cards in amongst some old photographs – just goes to show that hand-crafted cards are definitely not something new. The first card was from my mother to my father, the second from my father to my mother, both sent in 1937, two years before they were married.

The words inside are:-

It is not easy to find words to say

All the good things I wish you today:

If but a few may only come true,

Life will be brimful of pleasures for you;

Luck will be with you and good fortune’s smile,

Bring to you everything really worth while.

The words inside are:-

Happiness for you today,

Joy-filled hours unending,

Fairest flowers attend your way,

Sweet contentment sending;

Please accept my wish sincere,

For today and through the year.

Brass monkeys

Sunday, 2 November, 2008

We missed our Saturday visit to the market yesterday, so on the off-chance we went this morning, primarily for some meat.  We weren’t even sure the butcher would be there but if we didn’t go we wouldn’t know.  How is it that you can sit at home and the phone sits silently on the table, but within minutes of going out, the mobile is ringing and a voice is asking “Where are you?”.  Terri and Steve apparently were in their car outside our house.  I told them to go in and put the kettle on as we wouldn’t be gone long, but they decided they’d meet us at the market. 

The butcher was there, not the same one as on Saturdays, but at least we could stock up on meat.  When we arrived he had passed out a crate full of pork pies with a comment “Help yourselves”.  Sprat to catch a mackerel no doubt but we took one each, half expecting them to be over their sell-by date, but they weren’t.  The meat we bought and the price we paid worked out at 69p per head so that’s a big improvement on the supermarkets. 

I don’t know what has happened to the weather though – it’s more like a very cold January day, and a very cold wind.  Let’s hope our “David” is weather-proof as we were told or he may be in a bit of trouble! It’s enough to freeze ……..

Trick or Treat-ers were conspicuous by their absence this year.  Maybe that had something to do with the weather too.  We now have a bag of chocolate bars to eat – but they are only mini-bars!

Hailstones are no joke!

Wednesday, 29 October, 2008

Nothing much happened today except an annual expensive car service.  We had an MOT just last week with a satisfactory result but were told that one of the tyres was fairly near the limit and we’d have to replace it within a couple of months.  Today’s service told us that the self same tyre was below the legal limit.  Mmmm.  More expense. 

Yesterday I met up with Jackie and a friend and her daughter for lunch.  I usually leave home far too early then have to sit and wait for the others, so today I decided not to do that as it was too cold to wait around.  That was a mistake because just as I was about to leave – I was between the front door and the car – the heavens opened and I was showered with hailstones.  That slowed me right down as for a couple of miles the wipers weren’t clearing them away quickly enough.  Nearing the Admiral’s Table I drove around the bend and it was like driving into another time zone – the hail had stopped and the sun was shining.  Jackie, arriving from the opposite direction, thought we were joking when we told her.

Cakes and more cakes

Monday, 27 October, 2008

Yesterday evening I made up a cake mixture with the intention of dividing it in two – one half with dried fruit and the other half with apple to be made into small cakes.  I haven’t made any small cakes for ages and somewhere over time my little cake cases had disappeared.  I gave up looking and instead made two dried fruit cakes. 

This morning while putting away my cake tins, out fell the elusive cases which had hidden themselves inside another tin.  The apples which we had been given wouldn’t last much longer so this afternoon I had no choice (hmmm) but to make up another mixture.  I had enough apple left over to freeze in small pots, ready for apple sauce the next time we had pork. 

A friend visited this morning bringing with her her daughter and nine-year old grandson who live about 70 miles away.  What a lovely surprise that was.  This afternoon Terri and Steve arrived just as I had taken the cakes out of the oven and true to form Steve was the first to spot them cooling off.