Tag Archives: ME

The week so far…

DSC_0010.JPGI’ve been without the Internet.  Apparently there was water in the works!  I suppose its one of the perils of country living.

I am now officially a churchwarden. I’ve been sworn in and have met the Archdeacon. I’m not sure I’m of a suitably serious disposition because on glancing through the order of service I noted ‘the Archdeacon’s charge.’  In my mind I imagined a sober cleric of indeterminate years (but preferably with a fine set of mutton chop whiskers) astride a hobby horse in full ecclesiastical regalia galloping down the aisle followed by a company of choristers – possibly accompanied by bugle and drums.  I clearly need to get a grip.  It turned out that charge is another word for sermon or set of instructions for what churchwardens might like to do – and I can tell you this, I shall not be inspecting the lead on the roof or dealing with the gutters no matter what the archdeacon might have to say on the subject!

And then I went off and attended a meeting.  Clearly I can’t divulge what went on in the meeting as that would be breaking confidentiality but let’s just say that I’ve probably joined the vicar on his mental list of ‘b****y difficult women,’ – but that’s his own fault for volunteering me for the role.

Whilst I was doing that, contemplating the scrapes I manage to get myself into, HWIOO was stripping the cloakroom of its carpet, wash basin and toilet.  I have a very fetching new planter and we have set five days aside where once two would have done for the tiling, flooring and refit of slim line wash basin with waterfall tap (will we ever get the Littlest Madam out of there?)  and low flush toilet.  We have also identified the fact that even with regular breaks and the occasional nap the following two or three days are going to be low key ones.

So all in all today has been a fairly busy one and that’s without celebrating the fact that I managed to install a Paypal button on my main website; send advertising leaflets for the WI to go into the school book bags at our local primary school and sort out my paperwork during the two days where all it did was rain and ruin the flowers.


Naomi, niblings and a nasty scratch

DSC_0004Last Monday I saw Naomi. The afternoon commenced after I’d climbed out of my work clothes and into something not splattered in paint with a visit to a nearby patchwork shop.

I can safely say that I have never, ever, seen so many patchwork fabrics all lovingly filed on their shelves by colour and pattern in any one place, nor so many books on quilting and patchwork- who would have thought for instance there would be ten hen related fabrics in one shop?  Now let us face it – I’m renovating a house.  The ladylike arts of stitching are not something that I have much space for in my day at the moment.  In addition to which the contents of my ‘wardrobe of doom’ comprise enough craft related projects to keep me out of mischief for the next few years once they and the wardrobe come out of storage and that’s not counting the U.F.O.s – Unfinished Objects.  So I left the shop – with a lovely book about Christmas patchwork and two small projects to do while HWIOO slumbers in the the afternoons when we go on holiday so that I don’t develop cabin fever.

But back to Naomi who has a bigger pile of history books on her bedside table than I do which is saying something.  It was a very lovely afternoon of books, gardens, travel and cake – did I say cake?  Obviously not.  That fruit gateau and lemon drizzle cake must have been a figment of my imagination brought about by the excitement of all those fabrics or possibly paint fumes.

Naomi and I found ourselves discussing HWIOO at one point- she frowned slightly and asked about cortisone. At the time I filed the information away with a mental reminder to find out more once I’d painted the landing ceiling, the skirting boards, two walls including the stair well and wall papered the other two walls.  I was optimistically thinking I would get all that done by last Friday – you’d think I’d have learned by now.

By Friday I’d managed the ceiling, the preparation of the walls and putting up the lamp shade.  We are also now slumbering in the newly completely decorated spare bedroom which is delightful not least because it has curtains rather than an old blanket over the window.  By next week I should have completed the landing and the stairwell even though rather a large quantity of gloss paint in two different colours is required.

On Saturday we set off to see the Niblings – Jupiter and Venus celebrated turning one by being baptised.  Nibling is a rather wonderful swedish word meaning nephews and nieces. I discovered this during the party after their Christening when one of the niblings’ glamorous, sophisticated, hugely talented and fun godmothers shared the word with me.  I’m not sure whether I’m going to be the wicked fairy godmother who brings drums and cymbals into their lives or the slightly mad one – I might combine the two roles- I shall certainly be the most dishevelled one and possibly the most paint stained.  But from henceforth I shall refer to them as the Niblings – with a capital letter as I don’t have any others.

And that brings us to the nasty scratch which, as you might expect, belongs to HWIOO.  He caught his shin on a corner several weeks ago and instead of healing the wound looks like its getting larger.  After much humphing he is going to the Doctors’ but as ever I referred to his CFS book and discovered that slow wound healing is yet another symptom of CFS – its the syndrome that never seems to stop giving new surprises!  A swift search of the net suggests three possibilities – zinc deficiency, not enough Vitamin C or something to do with cortisol levels – no doubt the Doctor will explain all and prescribe something – not that the CFS clinic was very keen on supplements – keen on diet but not pill popping on account of lack of empirical evidence or plain contradictory evidence. However,  in the meantime, it looks like Naomi is on the right wavelength – she certainly was when it came to the cake.

Beside the sea with labyrinthitis

IMG_6468It has been a very, very nice Saturday indeed. Hattie and Archie kindly invited us to Staithes for the art festival and have fed us lots of lovely food and drink too. Thus far today I have looked at art in its various forms from watercolours to wrought iron via acrylics, felting and pirate teddy-bears, admired a beautiful felted dormouse; purchased a papercut of a hare and a print of a magnificent barn owl; looked around assorted Staithes cottages; worn my new purple wellies and jumped in puddles; been beachcombing; drunk wine on the seafront; watched a film starring Colin Firth; joined in with the last Night of the Proms; crocheted eight repeats of the pattern for my new sweater whilst Hattie whipped up a pair of snazzy socks. What more could a woman want?

Well actually, she might want to plan what comes next – and with Archie and Hattie’s help that’s actually what seems to have happened.  The game, as Sherlock Holmes was prone to comment, is afoot.  Though in my case, it’s more settling down with the laptop to get the novel written and accepted by a publisher; produce the cover for my ebook; get creative (I’ve got a little list of things of seen today from felted sketchbook covers to driftwood picture frames); sort my Etsy or possibly Ebay shop front out; and finish the cottage…simples…and it really does seem straightforward here. Perhaps its the ozone in the sea air that’s doing it. Or the wine on the seafront.


Meanwhile HWIOO is having a bit of a do with labyrinthitis – which is part of the CFS. Labyrinthitis manifests as vertigo, with accompanying nausea but it can also result in a sense of disorientation and spatial mishaps – he once said it made the floor and the walls distort- a bit like a hall of mirrors at a funfair but not so much fun which is perhaps why he decided not to go up into the gallery of the old Methodist chapel this afternoon. In the past I used to know how tired or stressed he was by the number of walls he walked into as he arrived home from work. These days it’s a bit more perplexing because he’s been pacing pretty well these last couple of weeks. So your guess is as good as mine as to what caused it – possibly congestion brought on by dust as we’d travelled through a landscape of combine harvesters and clouds of dust drifting in their wake yesterday morning- or possibly the amount of travelling he did yesterday- it might just as well have been because there’s an ‘e’ in the month for all the logic there is to it.

Fortunately, one of the consultants he saw when he was first diagnosed gave him some exercises that seem to help; so does being vertical (bizarrely) – draining fluids away from the ears (yuk); some lovely sea air of course; and being allowed to do things at his own pace. Mr Dogson, Hattie and Archie’s miniature schnauzer has been most attentive. He and HWIOO have spent much time together on the sofa in quiet contemplation of life and ginger cake.

Of course whilst thy were quietly contemplating- okay HWIOO was sound asleep and never even noticed the thunderstorm and heavy downpour that accompanied it -I was jumping in the aforementioned puddles.  There’s a lot to be said for forgetting how old you are and going by your shoe size once in a while.


Action Plans and Pay Back

I discovered this morning that an action plan is much more than a list – which is what I’d created and actually started working my way through as I thought of what I needed to do in the coming week and months.  To be honest sometimes I write things on my ‘to do’ list that I’ve already done just for the pleasure of crossing them off.  Not any more apparently, HWIOO announced that not only was this cheating but that my listing technique was all wrong.  I must, because of my new freelance status, have an annual action plan.

An action plan prioritises tasks, breaks them down into their component elements, sets target dates for completion, identifies who is doing what and when.  There’s also a final column for monitoring. This is a worrying development. Somehow I feel that I won’t be monitoring myself and I’d have thought most of the outcomes will be fairly clear.  At one end of the spectrum either HWIOO will go to his underwear drawer and find a neat pile of clean undies or he won’t. At the other end of the scale either I will deliver a manuscript to my publisher or I won’t be speaking at next year’s Words by the Water at Keswick.  To avoid either of the disasters, I am now told, I must think what to do and when to do it by….I’m not sure just doing it as I think of it or multi-tasking comes into the equation.  I think HWIOO might be getting work withdrawal symptoms despite what he says to the contrary.

Having left me identifying the fact that a mountain of ironing was my most immediate target HWIOO took himself off to bed.  He’s definitely experiencing pay back for all that festive merriment.  He feels as though he’s run the marathon and doesn’t feel any better after several hours of sleeping.  However, looking at it positively I’ve been able to do half the ironing, set up my Etsy account and do some writing as well without any managerial intervention.  I’m not sure if all that should have been broken down into component parts before I started but I can cross something off my list.

HWIOO went to sleep at midday, it’s getting on for four-thirty now.  It just goes to show how much we’ve got used to HWIOO’s Rip Van Winkle tendencies.  Three years ago I was starting to panic about the amount of sleep he required and had just done the thing that everyone tells you not to do…yup- that’s right I googled his symptoms on the quiet.  The Doctor had already ruled out diabetes and I thought it was fairly safe to assume that HWIOO wasn’t pregnant which left a whole lot of things that you really don’t want your nearest and dearest to catch or to develop.  As I recall it was May before the panic subsided and by that time we were grateful for a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

Actually whilst I was doing the ironing I worked out a cunning plan for HWIOO to earn money during the summer months.  He could become a living statue.  I thought that if we provided him with a very long beard, a tunic and cloak and lots of cobwebs and then spray painted him silver he could be a statue of Old Father Time.  I’m sure I could find a giant egg timer from somewhere…perhaps I should add it to the action plan. I thought that perhaps I could dress the little madams as fairies who could skip around with the collection tin.  On second thoughts scrap that idea – they’d probably demand all the takings or leave HWIOO sleeping peacefully while they went off and purchased ice-cream and chocolate.





Back to the beginning

HWIOO is sound asleep.  He washed the car this morning and it rather took its toll along with eating all the wrong food at Christmas and not following the usual routine.  It seems odd that we are now into the third year of Chronic Fatigue.

It all began with a virus.  I can even remember when it started.  My friend Hattie and I went to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show.  Neither of our husbands fancied coming with us for some strange reason. The only men you see at these events tend to wear long suffering expressions, eye their watches surreptitiously and occasionally look as though they would like to bolt for the door but realise they wouldn’t be able to force their way through the crowds of craft maddened ladies in search of a bargain and new wools, fabrics, buttons, felt, silks, threads etc…

Hattie drove and when we got home HWIOO picked me up from her house which gave me an opportunity to try and squash my haul into one carrier bag before he arrived.  He couldn’t be persuaded to stay for a cup of coffee because he thought he was coming down with something because he ached all over and felt incredibly tired. “You’ve been pushing yourself too hard all this term,”  Hattie told him.  “If you’re not well you should take some time off.”

“I told him that.”  I grumbled.

“Its Ofsted next week.  I’ll take it steady this weekend.”

As it turned out HWIOO wasn’t far wrong – he wasn’t coming down with something though- it had arrived weeks if not months ago and was just settling in for the duration.  By the time Ofsted went away again he was feeling very groggy – so groggy in fact that I received a phone call from Hattie, “Are you picking HWIOO up to this evening?”

“Yes.”  I glanced at my watch.  It was only four o’clock.

“Could you come and get him now.  Only he’s walking into walls and the furniture.”

We both thought that the heavy cold/virus had gone to his ears and triggered his labyrinthitis.  Unfortunately this was what he told the doctor who then proceeded to treat him for dodgy ears and tell him that he had a virus and that antibiotics wouldn’t work.  By the time Christmas came round he was sleeping for hours and hours but not waking up feeling any more refreshed.  He was starting to feel less dizzy but his spatial awareness was all over the place.

In fact it was three Christmases ago that HWIOO managed to set fire to himself over the Christmas dinner.  There were candles on the table.  My brother had a confetti cannon he set off after the meal and HWIOO helpfully leaned over to cover my sister-in-law’s wine glass so that it didn’t fill with glitter.

“I can smell something burning.”

“Can you?”

“It’ll be the confetti canon,” my brother announced confidently.

“Something’s definitely burning.”  Caitlin wrinkled her nose. “You don’t think that some of that confetti’s caught fire do you?”

“We all looked around us.  By now the smell of burning was getting stronger.

“You’re on fire!”  I finally screeched. These things tend to happen if you put your arm directly over a lit candle and leave it there. Well to be fair, HWIOO wasn’t well and truly alight but his best and most favourite jumper was smouldering nicely with little blue flames starting to lick around the edges of an increasingly large and blackened hole.  There’s a lot to be said for natural fibres not least their fire retardant quality.

We all stared at HWIOO’s arm.  At which point I squawked again, grabbed my spouse and patted him out.  The smell of burned wool isn’t so great but its better than the smell of scorched husband.  Amazingly it was only the jumper which was damaged.

Later we told the Number One Son what had happened.  “Didn’t you drop and roll Dad?” he said laughing down the phone.

Strangely, I’ve noticed, that during the last three years no one ever puts lit candles on the table when HWIOO visits.  I can’t imagine why.

Anyway, home we came but HWIOO felt no better.  He was still walking into walls and if anything he felt even more tired. He was sleeping for longer and longer.  “It’s like being married to Rip Van Winkle,” I complained one day when I found myself on the wrong side of the front door without the key when I arrived home from work.  It took me half an hour to attract his attention by which time I’d realised that either our home is pretty secure or I wouldn’t make much of a burglar.

By the second week in January we were both becoming much more worried that this wasn’t labyrnthitis and it certainly wasn’t the kind of tiredness that happens when you get a virus or the flu – not that the various GPs HWIOO seemed unduly concerned when he went to the Doctors again and again and again.  What we didn’t realise was that it would take several more months to get a diagnosis and that our lives were about to be changed forever.

These days I don’t go anywhere without my door key which has comedy elements all of its own because I have a deep handbag with many compartments and the front door key is very small.  This evening for instance I had to empty its entire contents on the doormat before I found the little blighter.  I couldn’t help thinking of my friend Teddy as I scrabbled around on all fours occasionally waving my hand manically to make the security light come back on.  She’d modelled her brand new handbag earlier in the afternoon.  As well as being capacious and with many pockets in which to loose pens, keys, lists and the kitchen sink it came complete with a leather strap on which to tether your keys.