Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A pocketful of sand

Collected the children; son, daughter and grandson and chased the sun to a northern beach. We ran up and down sand dunes. It had got windy and cloudy and we were feeling the cold, so it was a good way to keep warm. It was a safe place for the 3 year old to learn what his body can do and triumph at reaching a high place on his own. It wasn't easy. On the way he collected a pocketful of sand, (unintentionally).

Eventually the wind and the clouds chased us away.

But not before my daughter had given me Iggy the Owl that she had made. I love the colours she has used and the details. She has been busy this week doing some hand sewing and has made a number of fun creatures and one impressive rocket. It's a shame I don't have photos of them all because they're all lovely and she did the patterns free hand. She has asked for a sewing machine for her birthday and wants me to show her how to sew before I go to Sweden. She wasn't really interested when she was younger if I remember rightly. So it's great that she's taking an interest now. I am in the process of finishing off a dress for her. It's years since I've done any dressmaking and I've quite enjoyed it, except that the material she chose was slippery and therefore not the easiest to work with.

I haven't seen them yet, but the cygnets have hatched! We've been waiting and wondering when they would appear. I'm looking forward to seeing them. I hope I get some good photos.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

"Bedroom or greenhouse?"

No not an invitation but a question from Mike as to the function of our bedroom. The photo shows the windowsill in the bedroom. It is the temporary home of 3 tomato plants, 6 sweetcorn and a mixture of 6 plants for a hanging basket. The tomato plants and sweetcorn are earmarked for my allotment. I've never had an allotment before and I haven't really grown vegetables before, flowers yes, herbs yes and fruit for a season when we were in Sweden but not vegetables.

I'm a bit behind with getting the plants in, not so easy with a bad back. I will keep a record of how they do on here, a good incentive to get me up to the allotment.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Home is where the heart is.

Mike finds it noisy here after the quiet of Sweden.

But he is pleased to be home back with his family.

This is Paddy and Jewel our Greyhounds. We adopted them just before Christmas.

More about them another day.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Fairy cakes for the hungry traveller

Mike returned from 10 days in sweden. I made some fairy cakes to welcome him home.

He had to leave behind him views like this;

This is a photo of the boathouse. It is a lovely place to swim from in the summer. No wonder Mike is missing Sweden right now.

My favourite place in the Uk is The Lake District and I've always wanted to live there. I used to live near Carlisle which isn't too far away. I used to enjoy fell walking and spent many a happy weekend tramping the fells.
I always wanted to live in The Lake District and I suppose to some degree I have accomplished that- just it's the Swedish Lake District, well we are surrounded by 5 lakes.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Six swans eggs

Took a trip out today with a friend and en route stopped to look at this:

The swans nest is situated almost below the bridge that I walk across everyday whilst walking the dogs, (more about them another day). This picture was taken 28th April owing to the fact that I don't have a camera at the moment, Mike has it in Sweden. I took my grandson to see this nest last week and the swans were having a changeover. As one swan returned to the nest from down river the other swan vacated the nest. We counted 6 quite large eggs, pearly grey in colour. When recounting this tale to his mother, my grandson said "there were, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 eggs." He's only three and had to do the counting instead of just saying six. Not sure how long the incubation period is, but they've been sitting a while now. A mallard had a nest behind the swans but it seems to be vacated now, so I need to look out for the new family on the river.

After viewing the nests we visited a museum specifically to view some paintings, those of the Ashington group. Although I had seen the paintings some years earlier, Mike and I had gone with my friend to see the play back in the autumn

Following on from the arts we went for an ice cream and a plodge in the north sea, only to find we couldn't see the sea for the fret

This is how the beach should have looked!

It was windy too,

and cold.

But once back home we found that it was still warm and sunny, and we'd only travelled a few miles.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Procrastination formally over

Almost a year to the day since my last post!

So time to stop the procrastnation and restart my blog!!

Enough of the exclamation marks.

A series of ill health events stopped the blog in it's tracks last year.

First of all I had kidney stones. The pain was dreadful and not knowing the reason made it so much worse. So Mike drove me down to our local medical centre where I was ushered straight through to be seen by a doctor who was able to quickly diagnose my problem and give me a pain killing injection. Problem sorted, more or less.

The next day I drove Mike to the same medical centre. Unbeknowns to me as I lay recovering the previous day, Mike was experiencing black floating dots in his vision. He carried on as normal, washing cars and motor bikes until later in the day he came to check on me and said he was experiencing light across his vision.

On the advice of the doctor I drove him to a hospital 40 minutes away. Where following an examination of his eye he was told to lie down immediately. He had a detatched retina. A serious one requiring immediate surgery. An ambulance then took him 100 miles to another hospital where he had the surgery. The outcome of all this is that it has left him partially sighted in his left eye. His main concern was whether he could ride motor bikes again. Fortunately he can and although he has days when his sight is quite poor, he manages very well. But it did mean a review of what we were doing and a period of readjustment.

The third (they say things come in three's) ill health event happened when my sister and family came over to Sweden for their first visit. Two days into their holiday and her partner had a mild heart attack. A trip to the local hospital at Ludvika resulted in him being taken by ambulance to the hospital at Falun 40 minutes away (the one I had taken Mike to) where he spent the next 10 days. It was a very worrying time particularly for my sister and their two children aged 13 and 7. Their time in Sweden was extended, I won't refer to it as a holiday in light of the events, and they ended up staying over Easter and for her daughters 8th birthday. The good news is that he came out of hospital on his daughters birthday and has made a good recovery.

What I will say is , the Swedish health system is excellent from all of our experiences, clean, friendly, efficient. Doctors and medical staff would routinely shake hands and introduce themselves by their first name with us all, and I mean all including 7 year olds. Food was available in both hospitals in the day room so that patients could help themselves to snacks and drinks. My brother-in-law was a bit perturbed to find on his cardiology ward, butter and cheese freely available. The Swedes philosophy being a little of what you enjoy. What a contrast from the English hospitals that Mike and I were unfortunate to experience when it came to caring for our parents.

These events took place between 21st March and 21st April when we came back to the UK. We were without internet connection for a few months so I somehow got out of the habit of blogging. Lets see what happens now.