Saturday, April 30, 2005

Whatever happened to this week?

There I was on Monday being happy that my form was done and sent off, and even received in time (just!), and suddenly it's Saturday and the week has got away from me again!

I've really got hooked on taking photos of the yard from the bathroom window. It's a nice way to see how things are moving on in the yard. And because I'm short (only 5'2") I think that I don't get to look down on much! I love satellite shots of the earth too.

I have actually managed to do a small amount of gardening this week. I planted out half of the pansies on Tuesday, and the rest on Thurday. I love pansies, and they do OK in shade, which is good news for the yard.

I split a strawberry plant that had got too big for its pot, thinking to get two plants, but ended up with three. I split one off and potted it on Tuesday before I ran out of steam. I thought I'd taken pictures, but if I did I can't find 'em. But here's a shot from the bathroom window looking up our terrace to make up for lack of strawberry plant pics!

Yesterday, in the 10 minutes it took while my cottage pie from Wiltshire Farm Foods was heating up in the microwave, I managed to split strawberries 2 and 3 and pot the smaller one up. And pot up the violets into a pot of spent compost - will take them to the caravan when we go, I don't think you can ever have too many violets!

Had a trip to see my GP yesterday. I put her down as the (professional) person to tell about my disability on the dreaded form, and thought it might be a good idea to let her know just what my life is like at the moment. It took me most of the day to make notes and condense it to two pages, but she will scan it into my notes and refer to it if DWP (Department of Work and Pensions - sounds positively Orwellian don't it!) contact her.

I said that I didn't know if they would bother. She waved her hand at a large pile of papers, "They usually do". She wished me luck with my application. Which was nice of her, but it comes to something when disability claims are so difficult to get that even doctors who know you wish you luck.

This afternoon John has been working on rooting out old mortar on the yard walls so that he can re-point them before painting with the Ecos Organic Paints masonry paint in Alabaster. It will reflect so much more light around the yard (and into the kitchen too). So to finish off this entry, here's a picture of the yard as it was about half an hour ago.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Amaryllis, yet again. It's almost over today, so I thought I'd do one final picture of it.
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Sunny Morning

The sun is shining, so I just flung on my purple seersucker pants and a T-shirt and headed for the back yard. Took a few photos, and then made coffee and took it out. I sat in the sun for a few minutes, but it was too hot! So moved into the shade and enjoyed my coffee while planning some gentle gardening.

These strawberries have really pretty pink flowers, but are very cramped in this pot. I've been hoping to split them and move them to bigger pots with fresh compost, maybe later on today if the rain holds off.

But my first job was to put the scilla into a large pot. This had a large wallflower in it last year, but it hasn't survived the winter. So it was only the job of a few minutes to dig the compost over, pop in the scillas and water them in. The tag that came with them said they "will thrive in moist but well-drained soil and partial shade if sited where bulbs will enjoy a minimum of disturbance." So I reckon they may do OK in the backyard.

The yard is thick with violets. When I originally begged them from my Mum she said they'd spread like weeds. And they do, but for a short time in the spring the yard is a riot of their flowers. And it's easy enough to pull up a few if you want to plant something else. The teeny tiny flowers are ivy leaved toadflax. I love it, it'll grow in the tiniest of nooks and crannies, and is getting established on top of the walls around our yard.

My miniature iris isn't looking very happy. For some reason its petals haven't unfurled very evenly. Maybe something chewed on them as they were growing. Or it's possible the pot dried out - with last week's form filling I haven't been keeping much of an eye on the yard. John is very good about watering the plants, but only if I remind him. He would never think to check if they need water or not.

Better get off for another coffee now, maybe I'll get to those strawberry plants later. And if it turns wet I'll start my germination trials.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Oh Joy!

This morning John set off for work at about 6.40am, bearing the fruits of my (and his!) labour. Yes, we finally finished the dreaded DLA form! Was up till 1.25 am trying to get it as well written up as I could, and staggered up to bed leaving John transcribing my illegible scribbles to the actual form. I don't know when he got to bed, but at 6am the alarm went off as he had to be in work for 7am today. All I had to do then was sign and date Section 2 and it's off to be photocopied and then sent Special Delivery. My prior claim ends on Monday and I want to be able to track it and know that it's arrived safely.

Despite being horribly tired I feel quite euphoric! Suddenly I have time again! The form took me 16 hours over 10 days to fill in, and that's just the time I remembered to log. This website is a mine of useful information, though I'm afraid I didn't have the time and energy to take it all up.

I found the last Disability Living Allowance Medical Report that I had done back in 2000. I disagree with quite a lot that the doctor said, but he did state that "According to her statement and I have no reason to disagree 3 or 4 times a week she does not get dressed and walks only a few paces to toilet". But best of all (from the point of view of having my claim allowed, hardly something to be happy about to be this disabled!) for the question "To what extent is the person's disability, as desribed throughout this report, due to physical factors?":

"She is suffering from a post viral fatigue syndrome since 92. The condition is variable but even when she is 'well' she cannot walk for more than 20 metres.

There is no evidence in her case that it is not 100% physical"

So now I'm expecting to get another medical, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I'm looking forward to having more time to draw and declutter. And maybe do some reading and catch up on the backlog of books and magazines that's built up while trying to work on the form. Yay, freedom!

Not everything has been doom and gloom though. My Dad gave John his telescope (strictly speaking an Adlerscope) and tripod. My camera fits on the tripod, so on Tuesday I took some time lapse photos of my Amaryllis while one of the buds began to open. I haven't worked out yet quite how to convert it into a short "movie", but hopefully I'll be able to. Here's a picture taken the following day when the bud had opened fully.

This morning I stepped out into the yard briefly to see how things are growing. It looks as if something has been nibbling the primroses and primula flowers. I wonder if the wren is visiting the yard again. My iris flowers are showing a hint of blue. I am so happy they are flowering again this year, last year they didn't. Once the flowers are over split and re-pot the plant, the current plastic pot is disintegrating!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Life is difficult sometimes

Trying to fill in my DLA form (Disability Living Allowance). I always hate doing this, as it requires you to concentrate on everything that you can't do, rather than the things you can. My current claim finishes on 25 April. I've had the forms since last November. but my Dad's hopitalisation and illness and the repercussions on my own life have prevented me filling in this long and complex form sooner. This is a site I've had bookmarked for a while now, very helpful.

We went plant shopping last Sunday, and now have more gardening to do! Got a really nice looking hosta. It's too big to fit in the slug collars, so I may split it into 3 plants.

We also got a load more plants - Scylla, lobelia (Queen Victoria), variegated lemon thyme and prob more I forgot just now. Some pansies, I planted one up yesterday into that huge shell planter.

John went clubbing on Friday. He was waiting at the bus stop with several other folks, and asked if anyone would be interested in sharing the cab fare into town. Just one of around four replied, so they hailed a cab. Turns out this chap is a "people's poet" and was on his way into town to try make some money off the Irish folks over for the Grand National. He offered to write a poem for John on a subject of his choice instead of paying his share of the fare - John, needless to say, took him up on it. Subject the Sea.

Poem John "commissioned"
Wanted to write more but am too knackered. Soon I hope!

Monday, April 04, 2005

And another trip to the dentist!

I was hoping to post about my weekend's gardening, but I had another dental mishap yesterday. Thought I had a bit of bacon stuck between my teeth, tried to scrape it out, and my capped tooth fell out. John rang about an hour ago to say he's managed to get me an appointment at 2.40 today, so had to rush to the bath so that the poor dentist won't pass out at the smell! I hope he can glue the thing back in, it looks kinda gungy to me, but maybe he can clean that off and repair it. Meanwhile I have a very strange looking smile! But vanity prevents me posting a picture, I'm sure you'll understand.

Here's Saturday's coffee break in the yard. If I survive the dentist I'll try and write some more later.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Throwing stones into the sea

I had some very nice feedback about my drawing of my bed from folks on the Everyday Matters Group. Feeling quite swollen headed this morning!

I only just noticed that Robyn has a Category for oil pastels on her blog. I really love this picture. It reminds me of a photo I took back in 2002 of two children playing on the beach at Bwlchtocyn. There's something really joyful about coloured wellies isn't there! Strange to think that those children will be so much bigger now. Strangers, they are forever small children in my memory.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Die you slugs!

John has watered the nematodes in this evening. Tomorrow I think we are supposed to water the ground (and pots) again, and then the forecaste for Sunday is rain, so I think we'll leave it to nature after that. Die you slugs!

I better not say what John caught some snails at recently (I like to think this is a U-rated blog!)... Needless to say they got chucked over the yard wall into the alley, to be joined by some of their single friends from my few recent explorations in the yard. I know that they have homing instinct and will try to get back... But they will have to scale a 7 foot or so wall to get back into the yard. It all takes time, and who knows, they might get splatted en route.

Two summers ago at the caravan I tried an experiment. My normal practise has always been to just chuck slugs (I toss these using a trowel - eeeuuuggghhh couldn't stand to touch them aaaaggggghhhh!!!) and snails into the next field. I'm just a bit "thing" about stomping on them, even slugs (stomping is too messy and can carry in onto the carpet - secateurs are good, or just slice 'em with your trowel). So I marked snail shells with Snopaque before chucking them over the hedge. Took between 1 and 2 weeks (if I recall correctly), but at least one snail made it back.

Aaah molluscs, can't live with them (seriously allergic to shellfish), can definitely live without them. Just wish I had the chance, and so do my plants!

I expect tomorrow I'll be moaning about greenfly. At least it'll be a change!

Bed drawing for the Everyday Matters challenge

I finally finished the drawing of my bed! I guess I worked on it for a couple more hours. Hopefully I'll get going on the next challenge (which I think was the toyland one) tomorrow.

But I will be working on a different challenge too. My DLA finishes on 25 April, so I really MUST get the awful form filled in and sent off. I reckon it will take me at least 10 hours to finish it off, and then John will write it out for me as my handwriting becomes totally illegible after about 5 mins of writing by hand. So that's going to take a large chunk out of the weekend.