Friday, 28 July 2006

New toy!!

This morning I achieved greatness. I had an hour off work and managed to get done everything I needed to do in town: I went to Boots, BodyShop, the bank, Uniqlo and.......I went here and I bought one of these.

I am a very excited bunny and looking forward to home time tonight so I can go play and get on with the next challenge!

Thursday, 27 July 2006

Friends in pain

I had a long chat with my bestest friend the other evening. Niki has Trigeminal Neuralgia(TN), an extremely painful and debilitating condition. The drugs she is on are debilitating if taken in any doseage to kill the pain, which they never do completely anyway, leaving her incapable of doing anything other than lying on her bed semi-comatose. So she has to take a doseage that takes the edge off leaving her susceptible to attacks of pain from the slightest thing, cleaning her teeth or washing her face or the brush of wind on her face. What you or I might consider to be a fairly unbearable migraine is the pain Niki has learnt to live with on a day to day basis. I don't think anyone can imagine what it must be like on a bad day.

Niki has to live with her parents as she can no longer work or drive. She has had two major operations of open skull surgery and a nerve block through the cheek. None have worked. She should be having a third open skull operation but the nearest consultant to her is in Bristol and as she is in Wales, the Welsh Health Authority have to approve the expenditure. And they won't. They say the operation can be carried out in Wales but, whilst that is true, none of the surgeons who could do it have the TN expertise to know what they are doing once they are inside her skull. The Bristol consultant has also said that there is more chance of the operation not being successful that being successful but there is still a chance that it will be but she deserves that chance.

The problem is that, technically, it isn't a life threatening disease. Not in the conventional sense of the word anyway. But in the last 6 months there have been four suicides from sufferers of TN and Niki, at the moment, sees suicide as a very real and possible option for her. Niki is a strong-willed, independant person who, despite everything, remains cheerful and resolute. She is now dependant on her family and friends for almost everything she does and has borne the whole thing with fortitude. For her to see suicide as something she has a right to do if she chooses, and to talk about it so matter of factly and so rationally, leaves me reeling.

She is my best friend and I love her like she was flesh and blood but in this situation, is it right for me to think she is selfish to take this way out when all other options have been exhausted? Or am I being selfish to expet her to live in agony just so the rest of us have her in our lives?

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Monday, 24 July 2006

How green does your garden grow?

If it's anything like mine, very green. You might be excused for thinking these....

...are gooseberries. They are, in fact, tomatoes. I have no idea when they are supposed to turn red because I've lost my very helpful Reader's Digest gardening book, without which, my gardening skills plummet to zero. I hope they hurry up and turn red soon or I'll be digging (no pun intended) out recipes for green tomato chutney.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Stu's Tuesday Challenge III

I'm really enjoying these photography cchallenges that Stu is setting. I love taking pictures but have never had the gumption to go out and learn more about what I'm doing. this is a great way to start "thinking" about the photos I take rather than snapping away!

So here are my efforts for this week to capture a repeating theme…

Sunday, 16 July 2006

The man who killed 10,000 dogs

I've had family members almost sneer at me when I've tried to tell them about the atrocities that go on in the greyhound racing industry. "Oh" they say, "it's only a few dogs for heaven's sake. There's always going to be one or two people treating their dogs badly."

I want to ram this article in their faces and tell them to go away, read it, inwardly digest what it says and then tell me it's only a few dogs and it's still OK to go greyhound racing and support such atrocities.

Friday, 14 July 2006

And about time too

On Wednesday evening I finally got round to ringing an old friend that I haven't seen or spoken to for over 12 years.

Janet and I were at agricultural college together and we hit it off from the word go. We were "ladettes" before anyone had even thought to invent the term! We smoked, we drank, we swore and we didn't give a monkeys what anyone thought! The thing about agricultural college, even one as small as Gelli Aur, was that the boys seriously outnumbered the girls, in our case, 12 girls and 70 odd boys, so you did what you had to do to fit in. Even the lecturers said we were the coarsest bunch of girls they'd ever had there!

Janet dumped me in a bath of silage on my 18th birthday and I dumped her in a freezing cold water trough in January on hers! She taught me to roll cigarettes and I introduced her to the joys of Snakebite!

Janet's family - Mum and Dad, two brothers and a sister - welcomed me into the fold as one of their own, but then that's what farming families in Wales do. Being an only child in a single-parent family, this was such an eye-opening thing to happen that I've loved them all dearly ever since. As we grew up a bit, I was bridesmaid at Janet's first wedding and top-table guest at her second. Mine was the bolt-hole she escaped to when her first marriage collapsed around her. I should have been god-mother to her first daughter, Alice, but as I hadn't been christened, the Vicar was having none of it! Even if he had, I'm not entirely I would have been the kind of god-mother he would have had in mind!

The last time I saw Janet was Alice's 1st birthday. We didn't drift apart but she was in West Wales, I had moved to London and we just didn't stay in touch. My fault because I knew where Janet was and I kept moving about so she never knew where to find me. I still thought about her from time to time and kept meaning to call but never seemed to get round to it. Fortunately we have the kind of relationship that we could talk after a few months as if we had only spoken yesterday. But 12 years is a bit longer than a few months and whilst I was 99% sure Janet would be pleased to hear from me, that 1% doubt made me a bit nervous!

But I shouldn't have worried, once she picked herself up off the floor we were again chatting like we only spoke last week. What nearly made me blub was that she obviously had photos of me around and had talked to Alice about me and Alice says she remembers me and, with no prompting, ran off to get the totally inappropriate charm bracelet I had bought her for her 1st birthday! I've yet to meet her younger daughter, Sarah, but hhopefully it won't be too long before I do. Friendships that endure like that are to be treasured and I'm so glad I finally picked up the phone.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Stu Challenge II

I haven't blogged for a few days and thought I really must get round to it today but couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write and then Stu issued another photography challenge.....problem solved!!

The challenge was:

Your challenge this week, should you choose to accept it, is to take a photo (or several) with the intention of converting it to black and white. Of course, you can make the conversion if you wish, but the real work goes into finding a suitable subject.

I think I've gone a bit overboard on this one but I was having such fun and couldn't pick just one photograph so you got all seven! My only problem is that I don't have Photoshop so I had to make do with what I do have and the best of the bunch turned out to be Picasa. Even if it's not quite what Stu had in mind, I had fun!!

Edited to add...the pictures don't look quite so good now I've uploaded them because Blogger makes them that bit too small. They do look marginally better here

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

A mission accepted....

I'm hugely impressed by Stu's pictures and deciedd to take up his mission to take an interesting shot of a "bit" of an object rather than the whole thing. Being me though, I didn't use an object but one of The Lurchers. I love taking pictures but by Stu's high standards I'm pretty crap and I'm not sure if I've caught the gist of what he was suggesting or not. Well, I'll let you judge that one for yourself!

Monday, 3 July 2006


OH is watching a programme on TV about The Who. I don't really remember their early stuff and by the time I was old enough to appreciate music I was much more into glam rock (my first ever single was T.Rex's Ride a White Swan...what taste for a 7 year old!) and they never did, and still don't, do much for me.

Most people will have heard their distinct style over the years and will recognise the songs but isn't it a sign of the times that the most famous songs of one of the most notorious bands of their time will be more readily identified by which CSI they are the theme for!?