It’s been a while, but I’m still here! Time is very limited these days, plus my computer playing up on me. However, we did take a few days away on a cruise at the end of March. This is the only way we can travel at all now, due to my husband’s increasing lack of mobility.
We travelled to Bordeaux.
That was the view from our dining table as we left the Solent behind us. Gorgeous.
Bordeaux in the morning. We were very impressed by how clean the riverside was, and noticed the cleaners doing their jobs very well. This was a popular spot for walkers, with or without dogs, cyclists, joggers and people on their way to work.
This statue, in the Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux, is mainly in honour of the Girondins, members of a political group at the time of the French Revolution. Many of them were guillotined.
This is the Parque de Muelle in Avilés, our next stop on the voyage. We have been to Avilés before, but there is always something new to see. It was very cold here, with a morning frost, but the sun was shining later in the day.
It was still early in the morning here at A Coruña and again very cold. Only the workers were around as they set off for their destination.
We enjoyed the cruise, although it was not as warm as we’d hoped, but the ship was comfortable and offered everything we needed. Here’s to the next one (we hope!)
New inventions can come with problems as well as advantages. Once unleashed into the world, they cannot be uninvented. If we had only known, for example, the results of plastic in the oceans and general environment, we would not have welcomed it so easily. Now we have to try to undo the damage it has done. It is very difficult not to use plastic, although many of us are now trying to do so wherever possible.
Likewise with many inventions; the recent problems at Gatwick Airport in the UK demonstrate how things can be used for good or for evil, sometimes accidentally, sometimes not. A drone in itself is not a bad thing, but people do not use things in a kind way necessarily. There will always be somebody who wants to spoil or damage people or the earth. It has been the same since time began.
We all know that the internet is another instance of something which is so useful, but also damaging to many people.
No doubt our ancestors didn’t know any more in advance than we know now . We just welcome a breakthrough in something new, but what a Pandora’s Box we have opened in so many ways.
Let us hope, as the year ends, that inventions are only used for good, and not to help terrorists and others in their selfish ways.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Of course, we all know that it’s wise to have an eye test regularly, but I found out recently how very important it is. I had some trouble with my left eye, nothing serious I thought, but had been back to the doctor and the optician as I had a symptom I felt was not right. It was only slight – a pain in my left eye, particularly when I closed my eyes. I almost ignored it, but on the last visit to the doctor, I was advised to return to the optician and ask the optometrist to measure the pressure in my eyes once more and check again all round the eye. This I did, and having told him the symptom he knew what to look for. He told me I may have narrow angle glaucoma, a serious condition. He immediately gave me a letter to take to the doctor, asking for an urgent referral to hospital. The doctor did his bit, and thought I would be sent for within a week! He was being optimistic. I’d already been told that a routine appointment wait is now up to a year, but didn’t know how long I’d need to wait for an urgent appointment. Within 2 days I received a letter, which stated that 2 of our nearest hospitals had waiting list just to be seen of over 100 days, and the nearest hospital was even worse and I needed to phone for an appointment.
This I did at the first opportunity, and was told the wait is between 15 and 20 weeks, by which time I could have lost my sight. At that point I decided my need was so great that I would pay for my treatment privately, although I could have some help with funding the initial appointment from a Mutual Society of which I am a member. Within 2 days I saw a consultant and on the same day had some laser treatment to try to prevent the loss of my sight. This will probably not be the end of it; due to my age I shall most likely need surgery on both eyes, similar to cataract surgery although I don’t have cataracts. If my sight can be saved I shall be so grateful. Without it, we will be in a difficult position at home. I am the only driver and carer for Mike, my husband, and getting him to hospital appointments, which are quite frequent will be difficult, but no doubt we shall overcome these problems.
I would urge everyone though to have regular check-ups and if you have any symptoms, however small, do not ignore them. It could change your life.
The photo this time is dear Tarka; I’ve warned her that if she’s not good, I’ll exchange her for a guide dog! Only joking of course. She’s such a wonderful friend and is looking good today as I took her to the grooming parlour for the complete works.
In recent times, I’ve had little opportunity to take the camera out, but at the end of May we managed to have a five-night cruise over to France and up the River Seine.
The first morning, we awoke to this view. While it was a shame not to be able to see much, I felt that the view was quite atmospheric. Also we were in luck as the mist cleared quite soon in the morning.
The shrine is to the memory of St Joan of Arc in Rouen. Everywhere we looked there were memorials to her, from the shrine to a church and a museum. We also had a good look at the Cathedral in Rouen, which Monet loved to paint. He evidently painted it about 30 times.
The ship was moored for 2 nights at Rouen, before sailing back down to the coast to our other destination – Honfleur. This is a very pretty port, much loved by impressionist painters. Before we arrived there we enjoyed the views of the banks of the Seine from the ship.
It was soon back to reality, but we had enjoyed our break. For us it’s the only way we can travel now, transport directly from home to the port – Southampton – help for Mike to embark, and once settled in, he didn’t need to go ashore if his pain levels were too high. He needed to rest for the second day in Rouen. We didn’t go ashore at all that day, so I managed a short swim in the swimming pool on board.
Even I find it hard to believe that it’s over 4 months since I wrote a blog post. Time certainly travels very quickly and my writing and photography have not been used much. I’ve managed to write a short article and have some others in the pipeline, but progress is slow. Too many other things I have to do.
There is much in the press at the moment about the NHS, as it celebrates its 70th anniversary. I can remember, just, the days before it came into being. In fact, I was a patient before it started, but have no idea how any consultations or treatment was paid for by my parents.
When Mike, my husband, and I visited Poole Hospital at the end of last year many of those memories came back to me. This was mainly because, in the hours we spent there, I had time to peruse photographs on the wall, telling of the early days in that hospital. How old-fashioned the nurses looked compared to how they are dressed now. There were photographs of the children’s ward in the early 1950s – obviously by this time run by the NHS. I studied them well in case I should find myself in one of them, but no. I was an out-patient from about 1948 onward, for the next 15 years, and a few times since. I was also an in-patient on at least two occasions, once for surgery and once for observation and tests. Strangely, I liked being there; the nurses were lovely and caring, and the doctors and other staff. I had my own make-believe uniform and stethoscope, and used to follow nurses around the ward.
One bad memory of my time in the hospital exists. When I was due to go for surgery, a young nurse gave me a cup of tea. I had no idea that I was ‘nil by mouth’ and drank it. When it was discovered, I needed my stomach pumped – not a pleasant experience. I just hope the poor nurse was not in too much trouble for an innocent mistake. The other thing which I didn’t enjoy was the smell of the rubber mask as I was being anaesthetised.
Later I returned to the hospital to work there, which I did for 7 years before moving to another part of the UK.
How the NHS has changed over the years. Their medical expertise means that more of us live longer, plus there are so many people in our country. Every aspect of the NHS is under pressure; let’s hope it can survive and thrive, and we should all do our bit to not exploit it in any way and not demand too much of it.
There are certain things which can trigger memories, even sometimes in dementia patients. Things such as aromas and melodies, but especially photographs. These days we often take photographs for creative reasons, but in those days, it was more snapshots of the time. Maybe we should all take more snapshots of our time here, for future generations to be able to see how things were in our days.
Sometimes our pets give us a real scare. This happened recently with Tarka.
I had a bunch of daffodils in a vase – one of the first signs of spring I hoped! When the daffodils were past their best, I threw them into a bag which I placed on our patio ready to take to the local tip when next we were that way.
While I was busy one Saturday preparing lunch, Mike informed me that Tarka had taken the daffodils out of the bag and was eating them. I knew that daffodil bulbs are poisonous to dogs, but I wasn’t sure about the flowers and stalks. Sure enough, within minutes Tarka was throwing up – 5 times in all, with froth making up the most part. I phoned the veterinary surgery, which was by this time closed for the weekend, but thankfully they provided an emergency number. I phoned this number and was advised that all they would do in these circumstances would be to make her sick, which she’d done herself. The vet advised me to watch over her to make sure she was okay. She stressed that it would have been far more serious if it had been the bulbs, but I knew it wasn’t. It really scared me though, and any further cut flowers are now kept firmly out of her reach. Strange that she is not at all interested in the daffodils growing in the garden as that would be a big problem. I was impressed that the vet phoned me back that evening to check that all was well.
I love this post about the song Pretty Paper. It has a wonderful story.
Roy Orbison was far from his Texas Home and assailed by a raging fever.
He was in Britain following a successful tour supported by a new Beat Group, The Beatles, who really seemed to be tearing up the place.
They were nice guys.
Every night they stood on the side of the stage to watch Roy – open mouthed as he effortlessly hit operatic notes and held the crowd, frantic when they’d performed, spellbound without moving a muscle.
Though the thermometer showed 102 and rising Roy had a job to do.
His producer and mentor Fred Foster had found a Christmas song from a fellow Texan, Willie Nelson, called, ‘Pretty Paper’ that might just give Roy another big fat hit.
No one could write a better heart tugging song than Willie and damn sure No One, absolutely No One, could sing such a song to rival The Big…
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As we move towards Christmas and the ‘Season of Goodwill’ I think it’s time to take stock of the world.
Social media has a lot to answer for. It’s a force for good or evil as so many things. What I find so hard to accept is the vitriol which pours out on some social media sites. Politicians are fair game to the people who want to comment, but they don’t know the politicians personally and are therefore in no position to hurl so much abuse at them.
What I would wish is that people could be kinder. That applies to us all – even a small act of kindness to a stranger could make the world a better place. There is far too much hatred, religious or otherwise and it is not necessary or desirable. A smile to a lonely person could even mean so much and costs us nothing.
Thankfully I’ve not come across any of this hatred on WordPress. Perhaps I’m just lucky there, but I do see it in the comments on Facebook. I don’t have a Twitter account any longer as I don’t have time to deal with any more social media. I find Facebook useful for keeping up with friends and relations scattered around the world. I would ask all those who use Facebook not to be so cruel if you have been guilty of this. Let’s all try to make the world a better place.
Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year.
How much is this doggie in the window?
Tribute to Edward Hopper
Anyone who has visited Swanage in Dorset may have seen the top three images before. The last image of Avilés was taken in that Spanish town last year.
Tarka has had her first visit to boarding kennels since we brought her back from the rescue centre. We didn’t want to do it really, especially as we were not going away, but we had a full day of hospital appointments on Thursday, so couldn’t leave her alone at home all day. I took her in on Wednesday morning, as we had an early start the next morning. We didn’t want to ask neighbours to check on her, as they all have their own problems, and we thought it would be a good idea to let her get used to going into boarding for when we do want to go on holiday, unless of course she’s able to go with us.
The boarding kennels are at the same place as the rescue centre, so I feared that she might think that’s where she goes when she’s abandoned, and indeed she looked so sad when I left her that I thought I’d never do this again, don’t ever want to leave her. Our home felt empty without her. However, when we went to collect her on Friday, the girls said she’d been loving and cuddly, just like at home, so I guess once they’d given her some food, she was theirs! The photo above was taken that afternoon where she is in her usual afternoon position on the sofa.
Here in Dorset the autumn is setting in now, colours beautiful and acorns and conkers dropping along with the leaves. While I don’t look forward to winter, the beauty of nature never fails to amaze me.