DUCKS AND GEESE AND LONG-LEGGED BEASTS!

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Summer is well and truly here in England. The temperature got up to 28 degrees in the shade today (probably hotter in other areas), and it’s set to be even warmer over the next week or two. I’ve never liked being out in the hot sun in the past, but, for some reason, I’m enjoying it this year. I’m not out in it for too long unless I’ve covered myself with factor 50 suncream though.

This afternoon, I walked back home from my church through the park and along the river. I just took in all the beauty of our nature, the bright blue sky with hardly a cloud in it; the green leaves on the trees there and the vast assortment of plants and beautiful flowers growing everywhere. As I walked across the park, I spotted a small group of geese (I think the term is a gaggle of geese). I snapped a photo even though they were a bit distant (below). You can see how dry the grass is – it’s almost yellow – we need a good downpour (preferably when everyone is in bed).

my geese in the park Central Park summer

I watched the water splashing down the weir and flowing into the river, and the ducks bobbing up and down searching for food. Nearby, there were a couple of robins and collared doves pecking for insects in the ground for their lunch.

male & female ducks in water Bing image

It wasn’t so long ago, I spotted a male and female swan with their cygnets (below). There were eight of them and recently, I saw them in the distance with seven babies. It was lovely to know that so many had survived as, being so little, they get attacked easily by bigger creatures.

Swans and cignets (cropped photo) close up

As you know, I don’t usually share photos, but I thought I’d make an exception as I’m enjoying the summer so much this year. Nature is quite stunning, and I’m really struck by its beauty. However, when I got home, I went into the kitchen, and there sitting in the corner of the room, underneath the worktop was the most enormous spider! I’m not a fan! We eyed each other up – he was all hair and long black legs – ugh. [So, what happened to the beauty of nature, I ask?]. It’s not that I hate them; I’d just rather them not be inside my house. As there was no-one there to safely dispatch it to the garden and I couldn’t reach him, I tried staring him out – he won! And I ran (well, wheeled) into the living room. When I went back out later, he’d gone. Where!? I’m worried now … will I have a long-legged ‘friend’ accompanying me to bed tonight?

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Night-night, Harry! Sweet dreams.

 

FRAGMENTS OF ME

antique-cupboard-for-blog-1

I will show you

fragments of me

myself

us,

hesitantly

if you are kind

and have patience

to listen

and trust

~~~

I will open cupboard doors

that have been closed

for many years

and bring out

pieces of me

people

and truths

hidden

over my lifetime

~~~

Clumps

have been grabbed,

thrown

to the ground

but I gathered them up

and tucked them away

in my mind

in my heart,

carefully hidden

~~~

These pieces are me.

If you see them

as superfluous,

say they are unimportant,

are of no value

and without meaning

I will gradually

silently

hide them

once more

~~~

I will fold them

securely

in tissue paper

as if they were jewels

and place them

back into the cupboard

never to be seen again,

lost

and gone

forever.

 

BOSOM PALS AND ACQUAINTANCES

girl alone black and white

Suddenly, the stark realisation that I don’t have a best friend in the world hit me like a bolt of lightning from the sky. Not only do I not have a best friend but sadder still, I don’t think I have truly ever had a real, best buddy.

I have many social relationships and acquaintances – college friends, church friends, Facebook friends, blogging friends, neighbours, work colleagues, family members, and no doubt many people who I have not mentioned here, but none of these would I class as my bosom pal.

This realisation hits hard as I can’t help but wonder why this is. Is there something about me that no-one is telling me? Perhaps, I do have green ears and a purple tail (as one of my blogs was entitled a couple of years ago). Is there is something about me that I can’t see but others can?

As far as I know, I am a nice person (whatever ‘nice’ is). I don’t deliberately lie, nor cheat or steal. I am trustworthy. I like to go out of my way to be kind to people and to try not to hurt anyone purposely – not simply because it’s the right thing to do (in my eyes), but because that is how I genuinely feel. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, I always say. I’m also a great believer in ‘Praise where praise is due’and ‘Kindness costs nothing’.

I was the same at both primary and grammar school. I never had friends, even then. I used to spend break-times sitting on a wall, wistfully watching while the other children playing, or when I was a bit older, I’d stand like a wallflower on the perimeter of the playground, too shy to go up to anyone in the vain hope that someone might spot me and even consider me as a friend. Maybe, it was because I was very small (and quiet) for my age so I got bullied quite a lot. I just didn’t to seem to gel with my peers.

As I grew up and when my children were little in Nursery or the early years of school, I plucked up the courage to exchange a few words to a few of the mums also waiting outside to pick their children up. However, I think I was thought of as a bit of a leper once my ex-husband left, leaving me with the children who were still young then. It just wasn’t the done thing back in the 80’s (showing my age!). I think I was, at that time, the only single-parent family in the whole of the Infants.

When my children were at secondary school, I had to work my socks off, caring and cleaning for elderly people – anything to make ends meet. Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed the company of older people and I did like my work. Some of the clients I’d go to would let me bring the children during the holidays. Tom and Clare treated it like an outing as we’d go armed with colouring books, jigsaws and Snap or Ludo which they all enjoyed playing together and which, invariably, my clients would let the children win.

So, I think with me, and ‘friends’ or even acquaintances, it’s a case of you win some you lose some and even the ‘some’ are often like ships that pass in the night. But, am I lonely? No, actually, I’m not. I like my independence (all be it that I need Carers twice a day) and I do generally enjoy my own company and having time to read, study and write etc. I get to choose what I want to eat and what I don’t want, I get to decide whether to watch TV or listen to music. The majority of the time I get to choose when to venture into town or further afield with George (my wheelchair) and best of all, I get to hog the duvet without any arguments 🙂

 

 

 

 

I, BEING CRABBED

Having a duvet day 1

(photograph courtesy of Bridget Jones)

Today, I decided that I would have a ‘duvet day.’

I just did not want to face the big, wide world

Nor have it gazing and glaring down at me

I stayed in my pyjamas and remained stoically in bed

~~~

Sometimes I just can’t face the mundane tasks of living

Like getting dressed and hobbling down the stairs

Only to find a heap of bills, statements and more

Shoved through my letterbox when my desire is to hide

~~~

There’s a sink full of yesterday’s washing-up

Which I glance furtively at and then decide to ignore

There’s always tomorrow, after all, I ponder

My tomorrow usually starts around 2 am*

~~~

I, being the night owl that I am, then stare

At the traffic jam of tasks calling out to be done

Then find myself full of beans and raring to go

I am a strange and solitary creature of the night

~~~

I wipe over the kitchen surfaces with an antibacterial cloth

Scrubbing at bacteria that aren’t even there

But it says there are in the adverts, and I, being gullible

Am guided and persuaded to follow the herd

~~~

I, the fool, fill the supermarket’s tills with profit

Getting a buzz out of parting with money I don’t possess

When I’m overdrawn at the bank, and credit cards

Are heavy under the weight of the money owing

~~~

Which I, unable to make a payment, incur a charge

And subsequently I am crabbed and grouchy

I, wishing I were a millionaire and would purchase

This and that, and attempt to save the world

~~~

And then I wake in the morning and have breakfast with ‘Jeremy Kyle.’

And I yawn, and I then, crawl back under the duvet

And I, tired from my owl-like frantic activity of the night

Shut my eyes, somewhat ignorantly turning a deaf ear to the news

~~~

But overall, despite dealing with the skeletons in my closet

I am content with my muddled lot, somewhat surprisingly

And I do appreciate those who make my merry-go-round

Of a life worth living and I love them with all my heart.

* Not entirely true – I write as if I were able to choose my waking and sleeping hours (minus carers – who I am very grateful for, of course).

HAPPY DAYS

seaside beach

Today was such a contrast to the days of the last two weeks … and thank goodness for that! I thought it was going to be a Tuesday just like any other Tuesday, but this week, my friend, Harri (short for Harriet), and I decided to take off to the beach or as us, British say, ‘the seaside.’ The weather was glorious and a perfect day for a drive down to the coast. We set off first thing in the morning and arrived at our destination by lunchtime.

As is the tradition amongst my family and friends, the first one to spot the water in the distance, declares excitedly, “I can see the s-e-a; I can see the s-e-a.” On this occasion, it happened to be me, and I was thrilled, you could easily have taken me for a five-year-old child!

We parked along the front, which isn’t easy during the school summer holidays but I am at an advantage in that I hold a Disabled Parking Badge. This enables Harri to get my manual wheelchair out of the boot of the car, and then me from the car into the chair which is an art in itself.

We’re not able to go down to the actual sand with my wheelchair as it clogs up the motor, so we decided to go to our favourite cafe which is positioned directly above the water when the tide is almost in. Surprisingly at that time of day, it wasn’t too crowded. So, we sat by the glass windows which were open with a warm breeze drifting in.

We ordered a coffee each, alongside scrambled eggs on delicious, doorstep toast finished off with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. We watched a group of very absorbed photographers snapping away at a tall, slim and young male model walking along water’s edge, nonchalantly tossing pebbles into the waves.

A little more time went by and we decided to have another coffee and a small piece of cake each. I had a homemade Bakewell tart and Harri had a chocolate brownie. Delicious! We sat and chatted about this and that and life in general and at times got engrossed deeply in some quite fascinating and absorbing conversation.

Eventually, after we had almost talked ourselves out, we thought about leaving, but then at the last minute, decided it was getting late, and somehow we were peckish again (must have been the sea air). We then finished our feast off by sharing a bucket of freshly-cooked fries which were very enjoyable (and when I say bucket, I don’t mean as in the size of a child’s bucket and spade, but one of about six or seven centimetres high.)

Finally, just to finish off a lovely day, we walked along the front, which was breezy but pleasantly warm, to a small, summer hut which sold seaside rock and  cinnamon doughnuts (which we couldn’t possibly indulge in after the treats we’d had at the cafe.) However, just to remember our very much enjoyed, carefree day, we splashed out on a typical, British seaside children’s windmill each; Harri bought a classic stick of rock for her friend’s son, and I invested in summer straw hat. It had a somewhat squashed but nevertheless, beautiful peach coloured flower on the brim.

Happy days!  🙂

DOWN BY THE RIVERBANK

swan with cygnets

I often go for a stroll (or wheel, in my case) along by the river that, if you follow it far enough, will bring you out to Tescos and the High Street. I love that walk. I get to see the wild rabbits and often the baby ones, the grey squirrels (we have lost nearly all of the red squirrels in my neck of the woods), the wild birds like the collared dove, the common thrush and even occasionally a blue-tit or rarer still, a wren.

The riverbank itself is somewhat inaccessible due to the thick growth of nettles, some of which can give you a nasty sting if they happen to brush against your skin. Nearer the water are the tall reeds where, if we are lucky, we may see a graceful white swan patiently sitting on her clutch of eggs with her mate nearby, protecting their brood. Soon, the cygnets will hatch out and then we can see the whole swan family, mum first being followed by all the babies and the dad bringing up the rear and making sure that none of his precious family are lost. They are beautiful to watch.

I especially enjoy that walk, early on a Sunday when I’m on my way to church as there are fewer people and more wildlife – not that I am adverse to human beings, on the whole, that is apart from the ones who cause harm or damage to others, but that’s another story completely.

I often pass the dog-walkers with their pets running around on the grass amongst the old trees that are also there by the river. They’re nearly always kind  (that is both the owners and their dogs). I smile and say good morning as I pass or often stop for a quick chat and to pat the dogs on the back who often seem quite intrigued that I have wheels to sniff at as opposed to legs.

There are a few cyclists that go by, most of whom these days, wear safety helmets, thank goodness (a much more attractive look, I think, than squashed brains on the road!). They tend to whizz past as they’re usually on their way to somewhere in a hurry.

Then, there are the occasional joggers, out for their early morning run, kitted out in their vests, shorts and the most amazing, bright and luminous trainers. I wish they’d been around when I was running – I think they’re great and brighten up the town, no end.

It seems that joggers and cyclists can co-exist quite happily that time in the morning as they are less likely to collide with each other, although both being in their own little worlds. I have nothing against joggers at all expect that they rarely say hello or good morning due to the headphones stuck in their ears which often makes them oblivious of my friendly greetings or much else, come to that.

Lastly, there a just a few people on their way to their churches and more commonly, individuals making their way down to the town to reach the shops before the crowds venture down and to be first at the market to catch a bargain or two. However, Tesco doesn’t open until 11 am on a Sunday so if they’ve gone to buy the Sunday joint or the vegetables to go with it, they’ll be out of luck that early!

 

 

 

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