Tuesday, May 31, 2011


"Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin

Jennifer is American, I am English

Jennifer has two little girls. I have one little boy, grown up now

Her favorite color is blue

My favourite colour is red

We both like trees

We both love, write, dream on our respective sides of the ocean

We are starting a new venture. We will be sharing our hopes, dreams and lives on our new blog.

Come and join us, at Notes Across the Sea

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Good advice in the post today

Outside my window the sun is shining

I am thinking have I got time to watch the DVD of Eat, Pray, Love before putting the dinner on? Answer? Sadly, no. I liked the book, but have heard bad things about the film. I thought I would give it a try anyway, I will let you know my verdict when I have had a chance to watch it

I am thankful for a friend who sent me a card to cheer me up today, especially as I know everything is not always easy for her, either

From the kitchen a smoked salmon sandwich and a glass of water with lemon. Soon to be followed by a packet of crisps and a coke. Balance in all things.....

I am wearing grey yoga pants, a grey and pink tshirt and my new earrings just because

I am creating a purple dishcloth and a menu plan for the next few days

I am going to finish this post and start cooking dinner

I am reading Overcoming Chronic Fatigue by Mary Burgess

I am hoping the weather will stay dry for the weekend

I am hearing various bleeps from the Young Philosopher's room, and the occasional car passing down our street. It's pretty quiet here, mostly

Around the house far too much mess

One of my favourite things sweet peas, and sadly I have missed the boat for buying some this year. Wedding got in the way! Not than I am complaining

A few plans for the rest of the week Sending out thank you cards for wedding presents, doing some writing, a day being a Saxon at the weekend (including using my new drop-spinning skills), and tidying up the garden. Exciting stuff.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

That Was The Week #2

Contrails over Kent

On Monday, I did a LOT of laundry. Did you know you only need about a tablespoon of washing powder? That's all I use, and I have never had a problem. At one time I made my own washing powder, but these days with a little more money in my purse and a bit less energy, I am not frugal to the same degree as when I was a penniless, home educating single parent. Although then, as now, a lot of the money seemed to go on books and getting out and about. Priorities!

I have no recollection of Tuesday, I expect there was a Tuesday last week, there usually is, but I can't remember it at all. I can safely say I probably spent too much time on the internet and drank a lot of coffee, forgot to eat either lunch or breakfast, or both. That would be a fairly standard day.

On Wednesday, the Prof had a couple of business meetings in Kent, so I went with him for company. We had lunch in one of our favourite places, MacKenzies in West Malling. The Prof had his usual pizza and I had what I always have, the maccheroni carbonara which is the best carbonara I have ever had. Other than that, I spent a peaceful couple of hours writing and reading in cafes, whilst he had his meetings.

Thursday was a bad day. Maybe I did too much on Wednesday, but I was wiped out and spent most of the day in bed.

On Friday the Prof finished work a couple of hours early and we went to collect the disposable cameras from our wedding from the developers. We put a camera on every table at the wedding reception, for people to capture candid shots. I sent the Prof on his own to collect the pics, and I was right to do so, because exactly as I suspected, one of the films contained a photograph of someone's bare bottom. I guess there is always one arse at every wedding.

On Saturday we drove into London, as we had tickets to see Warhorse, and were hoping the Rapture would hold off at least until after the performance. We had lunch first, then made our way to the theatre, only to see smoke pouring out of the roof. Not good. Several fire engines promptly arrived to deal with the smoke (which was caused by an electrical problem in a restaurant in the same building, and was not the beginning of the Rapture). The performance went ahead eventually, about 45 minutes late, as soon as the building was deemed to be safe. Warhorse was excellent, gut wrenching but very good. The puppetry involved in working the horses was nothing short of brilliant. Go see it!

We had quite a relaxing Sunday, a long lie in followed in the evening by dinner at our friends' house. Always nice to have dinner cooked by someone else! We took the scenic route home through the beautiful Kent countryside.

To make your own washing powder:

Grate some soap
Put in dispenser drawer with some washing soda
Run machine as normal.

Apparently you can add Borax. I never did find out what it is, let alone track it down in the supermarket. I didn't notice it's absence!
You can add a few drops of essential oil: I didn't bother, though it is a bit strange having clean washing with no scent. We are just not used to it. Sometimes I used Ecover fabric conditioner as it has such a lovely smell, other times (when I was more skint) I used vinegar, which makes an excellent fabric conditioner. It softens things up beautifully and leaves no smell. I did find the home made washing powder did not have the same stain removing qualities as biological, so if necessary I used stain remover. Perhaps that was what the Borax was for. Ah.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The reincarnation of Olly Cushion

On honeymoon in Bath, we saw these owl cushions for sale, and the Prof bought this one for me.

When I was small, maybe four or five, I had a cushion with the face of an owl. His name was Olly Cushion. This one isn't the same as my Olly Cushion, but he reminds me of him. I think the original Olly was green. I used to take him in the car to sleep on, back in the days when there were no seat belts in cars and parents would let their children lie down on the back seat. He was named after Olly Beak, a character on children's television. I'm not sure if I used to watch the programme, I don't remember Olly Beak from his photograph. Perhaps my parents named Olly Cushion. Recently someone mentioned another children's television character to me, Humphrey Cushion, who I immediately remembered. I think my Olly Cushion's name may have been a mixture of the two.

Humphrey Cushion
Olly Beak

When our family car was stolen, Olly was inside, as was my my baby brother's car seat. The police later recovered the car and the car seat, but not Olly. I remember not understanding why the car seat was returned to us and Olly Cushion wasn't. I wonder now if the car thieves gave him to a child, or did he get tossed aside in a dustbin, or the gutter?

Perhaps there is a woman or man somewhere today who treasures the green Olly Cushion from their childhood. Even if their father/uncle/cousin stole him.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


We've been married now for a little over three weeks. I am so utterly happy to have found the love of my life, and even more so to have married him. I can honestly say that every day pretty much feels like this:

If you would like to see more of our wedding photographs, there are some here

Thursday, May 12, 2011

ME/CFS Awareness Day

I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, otherwise known as ME, or Myalgic Encephalitis, almost a year ago, though I had symptoms long before that. I have experienced, and do experience:

Severe pains in my limbs
Inability to concentrate
Brain fog
Constant tiredness
Periods of severely debilitating exhaustion
Unrefreshing sleep - ie sleeping for ten hours and waking up exhausted. Day after day.
Memory problems
Swollen glands
Inability to regulate temperature. I am often too hot or too cold, most often shivering with cold when actually its quite warm
Numbness/pins and needles, particularly in my hands
Chronic itching

There are many more symptoms of CFS and ME that I don't have. I am one of the lucky ones: most days I have enough energy to dress, to shower, make an evening meal, do some laundry. Those are the good days.

On a bad day, climbing the stairs in our house is exhausting. I barely eat or drink if there is no one else at home, as getting up is so much effort and it hurts to stand. I don't have the concentration to hold a conversation, to focus on a book or even a tv programme. Sometimes I have several bad days together. Occasionally the bad days continue for weeks, with maybe one or two slightly better days interspersed. Days on which I am delighted to feel a bit better, do too much and then am rewarded with another week of bad days.

Fortunately my bad days are becoming fewer, and a day as bad as I have described above is rare. However, the good day I have described is also about as good as it gets. I am no longer able to do something as simple as, say, hoover the house or change the bedclothes. I have changed the bed about twice this year (I hasten to add, my husband has done it several times also!) and both times I was left exhausted. I rarely leave the house alone. Another feature of the condition is that the exhaustion doesn't always come on until later. I can spend a couple of hours walking around the shops occasionally, or an evening with friends, and sometimes just that minimal effort is enough to make me ill for two days, a day or two later. When you have CFS, people tend not to see you at the bad times - during a good period you may seem fine (to them) and so they have an incorrect impression.

I haven't worked since January 2010. Since then, my condition has gradually improved, though with many setbacks. I do finally feel as if I have hope of recovery - which makes me very lucky. There is no cure for CFS/ME. There are a variety of treatments, none of which seem to be terribly effective: at least there doesn't seem to be much proof. The only 'treatment' I am having is B12 injections from my GP. The Primary Care Trust in my area took a year to think about it and then decided not to fund any treatment for me.

I am posting this not to make you feel sorry for me! There are many, many people suffering much more than me, but in the hope of helping even a few people more aware of the condition.

Please go and read this excellent post by the Laughing Housewife

and if you have CFS/ME, (or even if you don't) and struggle to get things done, particularly if you of a creative nature, (or even if you're not), check out Michael Nobbs' blog Sustainable Creativity for some inspiration.