Archive for category Life in General

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who reacted to my last post about the loss of our daughter Bryony last Christmas.

Whether you commented or didn’t have the words but let me know you’d visited with the ‘like’ button, some for the very first time, I really appreciated your kind thoughts and the fact that some of you shared some personal stories of your own with me.  Most especially, I am glad to have passed on some information about SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy)  – especially to a few of you who have more cause to be aware of it –  in the hope that lives will be saved in the future.

Christmas is fast approaching and, obviously, will be a very difficult time for our family.  We are not going to hide from it though – we do have another daughter to think about after all.  Bryony absolutely loved everything to do with Christmas and we will continue to celebrate it as I’m sure she would have wanted us to.  There will of course be more tears but also some smiles and, hopefully, even a bit of laughter as we share memories of our funny, brave, loving daughter and sister.

I will hopefully return more fully to blogging in the new year but, in the meantime, I hope you will all enjoy a healthy and peaceful festive season.

If you would like more information about this little known risk associated with epilepsy you can find it here.

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Slowly Resurfacing

Today is SUDEP Action Day – an annual awareness day to shine a light on SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) and other causes of epilepsy-related deaths.

Resources - SUDEP Action Day

So, hard as I’ve found it to write, it seemed like a good day to explain the reason for my prolonged absence from blogging to those of my readers who don’t know the circumstances and also show my support for the work of SUDEP in the hope it will help somebody else by acknowledging the risks of epilepsy and thus taking informed decisions in managing the condition.

Our youngest daughter – known to some of you as Miss Tialys the Younger – was due to come over last Christmas Eve with her sister to spend Christmas and New Year with us.

Her habit was to phone us every evening around 7 and, when she didn’t phone on the evening of December 23rd I thought it strange as she was excited about Christmas and I expected her to be asking what time we’d arrive to collect her the next day so, when I couldn’t get her to answer the phone, I became so worried I decided to drive over to her flat which is an hour and a half away.

When I arrived and could get no answer by knocking on the door, I let myself in with our spare key and found her collapsed on the floor where she must have been since the morning.  I called the paramedics but it was too late.  The police came, I gave a statement, they drove me home. She was 26.

The post mortem was inconclusive but, as there were no suspicious circumstances, an interim death certificate was issued so we could go ahead with her cremation.  However, they needed to do further investigations on her brain and, after six months, we had an official cause of death which is ‘sudden unexplained death in epilepsy’ also known as SUDEP.

She was on medication after she had a seizure in 2020, while her father and I were still in France (on lockdown) and her sister had taken her to hospital in the UK where they kept her in for almost a week and prescribed the anti seizure meds on her release.  So, in a way, the post mortem result was a relief because it was sort of what we anticipated and not something more sinister but also because we take comfort from thinking she wouldn’t have known much about it.  However, it’s also a bit surprising because although she was on anti-seizure medication, she wasn’t what I think of as being ‘properly’ epileptic – whatever that is.

She was on the autistic spectrum and I worry that, on certain occasions where she told us she’d felt ‘weird’ or had episodes where she couldn’t speak, these might well have been petit mal seizures rather than the autistic ‘meltdowns’ we put them down to.

None of this speculation changes the fact that she has gone from our lives at the age of 26 and that we are still coming to terms with it and nothing will ever be the same again.

I registered her death with SUDEP Action and filled in their questionnaire to help with their research into this fairly uncommon cause of death and, hopefully, it will help people in the future.

I would like to start blogging again but forgive me if, although I do try to read your blogs, I don’t always feel like commenting and sometimes might just press the ‘like’ button.

The urge to sew/crochet/knit etc. has only fairly recently come back again – strangely those things were of no help at all to me during the darkest days.  My only salvation was reading – I read so many books that I’ve lost count – but it was the only way I could escape and, still now, when I wake up in the night or early morning and my thoughts won’t let me rest, I reach for a book.

She hated having her photo taken as she got older but I can’t resist putting one of her on here from when she was little and didn’t care.

Bryony Kate 24th February 1995 – 23rd December 2021

 

Please don’t feel as if you have to comment – I know it’s difficult to know what to say.  A ‘like’ will do and will let me know you’ve read it.

 

 

 

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The Long and Winding Road

The past week has had some ‘irksome’ moments and I’ve been feeling a bit stressed.  Nothing to do with health – just so you don’t worry about me – but stressful nonetheless.  Which is the only way to explain me being a complete numpty the other day.

After my craft group meeting finished I realised I needed to put some fuel in the car and for the first time ever in my whole driving life – which is quite a long time – I put in the wrong type.  I realised after about 30 litres and £42 and then stopped, rushed into the garage shop and asked what to do,

I had a vague idea I could just top it up with the right fuel and all would be well but no! I wasn’t even allowed to start the engine for fear of damaging it  After much umming and aahing, the charming mechanic at the garage said I could leave it there and he’d try to fit it in but they were extremely busy due to Monday being a bank holiday and everybody wanting their cars ready to cram up the roads for the long weekend.  This is the downside of our decision, now that Mr. Tialys works mostly from home, to manage with one car between the two of us.

Luckily, I had waited until the garage nearest home to fill up mess up big time so I started on the walk of shame, knowing I’d have to ‘fess up to Mr. Tialys that 30 litres of fuel would have to be pumped out and recycled, for which we’d have to pay the best part of £200  and then pay to fill the car up again with the right stuff.

So, in clothing chosen on an overcast morning, I set off up the hill in an afternoon of full sun with a handbag suddenly seeming to be full of lead weights,  my knitting bag and no water.

but at least the scenery is nice.

After what seemed like forever – although it was only about half an hour – I saw ‘the girls’ who are enjoying the grass in the field opposite our house at the moment  – and prepared to spill the beans to Mr. T.  who was absolutely fine about it of course.

Just in case you think I’m a wimp, we did an 8km (5 mile)  walk this morning which included an Iron Age hillfort at the highest point in Dorset (279m/915ft) and took a couple of hours but then I had water, no heavy bag and was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and walking boots which makes a difference.  Plus I wasn’t all hot and bothered because I’d made a mistake and wasted loads of money.

Lewesdon Hill from the west.jpg

Lewesdon Hill, Dorset

So, be honest with me, how many of you have put the wrong fuel in the tank?  Surely it can’t just be me.

Most expensive diesel in the UK ever hits 154.9p a litre despite falling oil prices | Metro News

I won’t be doing it again.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #34

Had to share this.

 

 I never seem to be able to get good photos of butterflies as they are more often than not on the move so, even though I thought it might be dead at first, I was pleased to see this Small Tortoiseshell so still and posed with its beautiful wings spread out.  Happy ending –  it was just warming up its wings in a patch of sunlight and, after a gentle prod with a blade of grass, it was off.

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Devoted to Dahlias

I was going to do a general ‘English country garden in August’ post today because I’ve been taking photos around the place to keep a record of what’s going on in the garden now that we’ve been here for almost 9 months and thought I might as well share!!

We didn’t have a clear idea of what was already planted in the garden by the previous owners as we moved in the late autumn/winter but now we do and the current ‘Head Gardener’ hasn’t been able to resist adding a lot of new plants despite all the good intentions we had of ‘wait and see’ so it’s a little bit of a jungly cottage garden at the moment.

Despite Dahlias having a bit of a reputation for being ‘old fashioned’ – whatever that means in terms of plants and flowers – I love them for their ‘in your face’ beauty, kaleidoscopic colours and variety of forms – I wanted to plant some for cut flowers but, when it comes to it, it seems a shame to disturb them.

Well, apart from these inherited ones growing in a raised bed in the vicinity of the veg patch.  They are fair game.

So, I’ll leave the lavender bushes, the sunflowers, sweet peas and veggies – and sewing –  for another post and leave you with my amateurish (on phone in intermittent sun) attempts at capturing some of these lovelies.

I can’t remember any names except I think one is called ‘Crazy Love’ and that seems appropriate.

and last but definitely not least my favourite one of all.

Until I see an even more lavish one that is.

Are you a Dahlia fan?

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Saturday Surplus

Really getting into the swing of English country life now.

Those redcurrants look lovely but what a pain to get them all off the stems and into jars.  But, before you think we are too lazy, we have made quite a few jars of blackcurrant jam and what gardener doesn’t have excess courgettes?

There’s not much passing traffic but most people can’t resist a freebie so most of it will go.

Have a good weekend whatever you are planning

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The Dog Days of Summer

Apparently, in the northern hemisphere, the days between the 3rd of July and 11th of August are known as the dog days which are considered to be the hottest days of summer..  In my lovely corner of England, nobody appears to have told the sun. I don’t mind because, in the end,  I didn’t like it in Southern France when it got too hot to go out in comfortably.   I have discovered that the temperate climate of England suits me and, when we get good weather, it’s such a treat that everybody makes the most of it and never takes it for granted.

Still, last weekend my very good friend Sarah, drove the three hours from London to see me in our new house.  She arrived Thursday afternoon and we did a tour of the immediate surroundings so she could see the resting race horses, the rams and the Ladies in Waiting – the cows who are in the field opposite full-time at the moment waiting to calve.  I was especially  hoping for good weather on Friday so we could get out and about a little further afield.  Luckily, Friday was a lovely day so we went to another beach  just to ‘mill about’ and then we walked into the local market town of Bridport. 17,000 steps if you’re at all interested.  She, being a triathlete, has a Fitbit thingy on her wrist so I know it to be true.

The beach we visited is West Bay – more stunning cliffs along the Jurassic Coast.  This was the setting for ‘Broadchurch’ and also the place where Gabriel Oak’s errant sheepdog drove his entire flock of sheep to their deaths in the 2015 film version of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ (very good by the way but no substitute for the book).

There are always some brave souls ready to make the most of the sunshine.

Close up, the texture and colour of the cliff face looks as if somebody has built a giant sandcastle.

Anyway, back to dogs – sort of.  Do you remember this stitch and flip dog’s face I made yonks ago which, like the paper pieced gnome I showed you recently, I didn’t quite know what to do with afterwards?  Well, I thought I’d use it as the central motif for another quilt for Project Linus UK but, this time, a slightly larger version measuring 36×42 inches which is the size requested for young children.

The block is rectangular – but in the wrong way for a quilt – so I searched my stash and made up the measurements as I went along, in order to utilise the fabric I had and get it to the right size.

I put a large spotted border around the outside and then remembered a dog print fabric I’d bought ages ago for face masks (Miss T. the Elder has one)  so started to make a further border with that using a greater width top and bottom in order to get the rectangular shape going.

One of the lessons I learnt early on in patchwork was to measure through the middle of the piece and cut your border to that size rather than to the size of the sides.  I forgot and ended up with a very wavy quilt top which became apparent when I put the first of the batik borders on.  OOPS!.  So, I had to take all the borders back off (apart from the spotted one) and was amazed at how much shorter I’d cut the doggy print fabric – what was I thinking?  I got creative and made up the shortfall by inserting a small piece of batik on each side.  I think it looks intentional 😉

Anyway, it turned out alright in the end.  The red batik is actually all the same shade but the light wasn’t good in my workroom for the photo so it looks as if it’s lighter at the bottom but it’s not.

Just need to sandwich it together with the wadding and backing, then bind it and quilt it as simply as possible.   I didn’t have enough of any suitable backing fabric in my stash and I had in mind some  dog paw print fabric so I broke my ‘no more fabric until I’m 110‘ rule and ordered a bargain piece online.

I’ll show you it when it’s finished.

I just hope there’s a small child in need of a quilt out there who also loves dogs!!

 

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The Visitation

Although I went out for a lovely meal with Mr. Tialys, his sister and her OH on my actual birthday, it was on a Tuesday so the Misses Tialys couldn’t make it until the weekend.  So, we went out for another one on Saturday night when they both arrived and slept over so they could be with us for Fathers’ Day on the Sunday.

For my birthday, Mr. T. planted this lovely rose against the front of the house and, hopefully it will climb up the white wall (once he puts a trellis up) and eventually it will really look like a cottage with roses round the door.

A few seasons to go yet before the ‘Dancing Queen’, as the rose is called, dances far enough to make getting through the door difficult but fingers crossed.

Miss T. the Younger bought me this lovely, rusty plant stake.  It’s just stuck into the weeds cottage gardenish bank at the moment but we’ll decide where its eventual home will be in due course.

So, Fathers Day dawned all grey and rainy but we were determined to finally get to see the sea and decided to drive down there anyway as it’s only a 15 or 20 minute run in the car.

As we are British, we can’t allow the rain to put us off otherwise we’d never do anything so when we arrived there were quite a few people and quite a few more clouds.  We set off up the cliff path anyway and took in this view looking back

I fear for those cows.

This is part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site and so called because of the best known of the geological periods found within it, but also includes rocks from the Triassic and Cretaceous periods.

It’s a bit precarious (possibly an understatement) – this rock face was sending down pieces of itself in a steady trickle as we walked along the shingle below.

As the morning progressed there were more dog walkers, fishermen, beachcombers, hardy swimmers, paddle boarders etc. and also, the sun came out for long enough to make an ice cream cone seem like a good idea.

We did some beachcombing, half-heartedly searching for fossils and driftwood.  Mr. Tialys and Miss Tialys the Elder – having the longest legs – left me and Miss T. the Younger behind so they only have themselves to blame for the rear view.

Hopefully those pieces of bleached driftwood will turn into something decorative in the fullness of time.

So, having paid for my second birthday dinner the night before, been the first to get up in the morning, driven us to the coast and bought us all ice creams, he drove us back home again and made us a lovely Sunday Roast.

Happy Fathers’ Day. 🤣

(well, they did buy him a nice card and a case of craft beer).

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Pond Life And Other Goings On In The Garden.

I promise you that I have actually created some quite nice things from fabric recently and will definitely be posting about them but – I have had a bad back. Ouch!  I don’t know why but I know it’s been hurting for about a week now with a particularly nasty few days where I actually ‘took to my bed’ as a friend of mine with a dramatic turn of phrase might say.

So – I can’t spend too much time in front of my laptop at the moment – or in any one position to be honest – so, for now, I will show you some photos that I took whilst taking a gentle walk around the garden today as a counterpoint to laying flat on my back and, if feeling adventurous, doing reverse curls.  It will be quicker than typing words – although there will be a few.

There’s never a dull moment in the garden and a lot of them centre around the pond – more of that when I can sit and type long enough to tell you the stories.

Let’s get the pond porn out of the way first, then we can move on.

These, I believe, are some sort of damselflies laying their eggs on the surface of my pond weed.

After they’d indulged in a bit of this.

Ooer Missus.

I tried, in vain to photograph a rather fat looking dragonfly-type creature but this is as good as it got.

I believe it’s a Broad Bodied Chaser – a type of dragonfly.  I think that’s correct as he was trying to get jiggy with it – mid-air mind you – with a similar but golden brown creature who I believe is the female of this species.

Drawing a discreet veil over the pond performances and turning to the flora in and around the pond I give you this lovely water lily.

Cotton Grass – looking exactly as if somebody’s thrown some cotton wool to the ground

Another marginal – not sure what it’s called though.

It looks as if we’ve fitted a white rug beneath this wire bench but it’s actually Snow in- Summer.

An overview of where it all goes on.

Away from the pond, there are some other favourites.

This huge poppy is an early starter but look at all those others waiting to emerge.

We’ve inherited many and variously coloured Aquilegia but this one is my favourite.

A close up of a sea pink.

A carpet of yellow stars – a type of Sedum.

Which together make for a colourful rockery in a quiet corner.

Now we’re back in England I can have Foxgloves again.

The vegetable growing hasn’t been neglected.  This row of assorted Kale is a forewarning that Mr. T. will be making me greeny brown smoothies again that I (reluctantly) drink as if they are medicine.

Spotted a few stems of Quaking Grass in a post by Sandra (Wild Daffoldil) the other day and was fascinated by the many names it goes by.  My favourite is ‘Wag Wanton’. It shimmers beautifully in a breeze and the little pods look like mini scarabs.

A bit blurry but, true to their name(s), they were quaking, wantonly.

Talking of funny names – this beautiful viola would also be called a ‘Johhny Jump- Up’ or at least in Maine, U.S.A. where Laurie of Notes from the Hinterland blogs.

Some blooms just have to be taken inside to enjoy.

Well, not such a short post after all but it took me about 3 days to complete so, back to my ‘day bed’ for a bit of flattening out, followed by a few knee hugs and a couple of sets of reverse curls.

I have a chiropractor’s appointment on Monday.

(They are apparently busier than usual due to the depressing and daunting task of getting a doctor’s appointment these days.)

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When The Cows Come Home

The cows are back in the field alongside our garden again.

Some are trying to help us keep the grass in check.

Some just find us fascinating.

This one was a bit shy at first

Although she did pose nicely for me between rubbing her head on our willow tree.

I love them but Stan’s not quite so sure.

Very distracting from our home office when this is the view…..

………and not only for us

But I can think of worse ones.

 

 

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