Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Abersoch Sunday

Seeing as it was Whit weekend we had planned to go to Abersoch, but I'm still recovering from the London visit so didn't make it. But John went down on Sunday for a day trip, and took lots of photos so I could see what (if anything!) had made it through the winter.

Abersoch Sunday

The oregano is doing well - look forward to seeing it covered in bees when it flowers. And I think that must be a hydrangea behind it, though I must admit Idon't remember still having one in a pot. The agapanthus has plenty of leaves, and one flower about to open, but John thinks there may be a further two flower spikes on the way. I think we may well try to split it this year - we meant to last year but ran out of time and weather and energy!


The agapanthus is very out of focus, but it's interesting to see the hedge in the background. I think there should be a jasmine in there somewhere, probably planted close to the bamboo stakes you can see. Looks like it didn't survive the hard winter - not only snow but hard frost - apparently the harbour began to freeze over at one point.

A few things have survived...

The bottom left hand pot is looking very sparse, but it got dug up by rabbits last year, and I didn't have the time and energy to replant it. I've bought some new succulents to plant in it this summer. The ice-plant seems to have some growth, but looks as if it might be sensible to have it out of the pot, remove the grass, and replant in some nice gritty compost.

There's lots more pics, but I feel a bit depressed by it all - I should be there planting and getting rid of more of the grass, and trying to maybe get cuttings off the things that are growing but have died back badly.

At least the plants at home are doing OK! Have 2 kinds of nasturtium, Canary creeper, possibly some Black-eyed Susan all sprouting. I have planted some Datura Ballerina Mix but it still hasn't shown any sign of sprouting... Soaked it overnight on 25 May, planted 26 May, so may well be it's just not an ultra fast grower. Besides, the other stuff all went in about a week earlier I think.

I bought in tomato seedlings - Tumbler (a bush variety, so don't need complicated stuff like taking out the side shoots), and they are doing pretty well. I did have them outside for a few days (brought in at night) but just recently it's been so windy and chilly I've kept them in since last week. Hopefully the weather is finally taking a turn for the better, so will be trying to get them acclimatised to the great outdoors! Only pics I have are over a week old, must get some of all of my seedlings if only for my records.

Tomato seedlings

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Some posts from May 12, International ME Day

Small Town Scribbles: ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or What You Will

Interesting blog entry for May 12, International ME Day.

And this chap dyed his hair blue!

And another May 12 entry here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sarah's garden

Saturday May 13

Spent far too much money at the garden centre near Sarah's - mind you, I did get a nice comfy pair of lined gardening gloves as well as some nice plants. It's on the side of a railway bridge, so has lots of terraces and little paths climbing the side of the railway. Met a little girl with her granny and Mum playing hide and seek in the maze of narrow pathways. :-)

Got a little Acer, jasmine, and a load of succulents for a pan at the caravan (actually the top of one of those pot-bellied barbecues that the legs broke on). It was beginning to look a bit untidy last year, so it'll be nice to replant it. Think we're going down to Bwlchtocyn Whit weekend, but not if the weather's as foul as it is today!

Some of my purchases from the Garden Centre

Last year's morning glories seeded profusely, I harvested some and planted some (soaked and just starting to sprout) seeds to grow on. I took some down for Sarah, at least 3 had sprouted by the time we left. Meanwhile we hauled last year's glories pot back to the front of the house and I planted about half the sweet peas out in it, after forking it up well and adding some organic fertilizer. Now I have loads of glories coming up in that pot too! I shall transplant them to small pots as they get big enough to handle - assuming the rain stops for long enough!

Astilbe and mixed pot...

But to get back to Sarah's garden... She bought a couple of really nice bronze coloured ceramic pots, and some really super plants. We had taken down a hosta that we had grown on from an offset last year, so that was planted up with some ferns - all like a similar shady and (hopefully) damp spot. May not survive if there's a drought, but not too bad to water just a couple of pots that happen to be outside the kitchen window. All the other things were lovers of dry conditions, or will be once established.

Sarah's pink bush

This is a Leptospermum. I figure it will manage without much water as it has very tiny, needle-like leaves. Once it has bedded down I hope it will get by without having to be watered much or at all. Much weeding went on before this could be planted!

Gardeners in action!

Sarah did the deep dig weeding - they have a lot of bindweed. Here's a good chunk of root that Sarah has managed to get out. But more comes every day!

EEEEK bindweed roots!

Of course we had very close supervision from next door's cat!

More photos are up on Flickr.

Croxted Road Garden Centre
Sarah's Garden
May 12

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A visit to London, and to Downing Street

We had a fun day on Friday (May 12). Managed to get showered and dressed early, sorted out papers, John got wheelchair out of the car, and I sat in it in the sun while we waited for the cab to arrive. Got to DoH a bit after 10 I think.

The demo outside DoH was small, my guess is around 20, but no more than 12 or so at once. The sun shone, and there wasn't the chilly breeze blowing up from the river that we had the last 2 years. It was nice to see some familiar faces - Gus, Ciaran, Stuart, and meet some new people too.

Some of the more able-bodied (carers) accosted folks as they passed and asked them to sign the petition. A lot of signatures were obtained, from people from all over the world (Downing Street is just across the road and is a popular tourist attraction).

Since I had some copies of the professionally printed copies of the short Canadian Guidelines (which luckily arrived 2 days before we drove to London), John wheeled me into the DoH and I left a copy for the attention of the Chief Medical Officer along with a Co-Cure flyer. Someone said to ask for a receipt, so we did. The girl behind the desk initially tried to refuse to accept the guidelines, but did in the end.

Me at Number 10

I made a presentation of documents from the MEACH Trust to 10 Downing Street. Usually they only let 5 people in through the gates, but since 2 of us were in pushed wheelchairs our carers were able to come in too. After the presentations were made to No 10 we walked (or were pushed!) to the House of Commons. If you are in a wheelchair you don't have to go and queue to get in - there are steps at that entrance. You get to go in at the Members Entrance, and use the Members lifts. Everyone is incredibly helpful and kind. I wish the rest of the country was like that!

The policeman who escorted us to the Lobby said he had a friend with ME, so he was very interested in the demo. He goes round to help her out as much as can, he said she was very up and down with her symptoms - good days and bad days. I gave him one of the short version of the Canadian Guidelines.

The Lobby is wonderful - mosaic ceiling with all the symbols of the UK - roses, daffodils, shamrock, thistle, and patron saints. Amazing floor tiles too, and the chandelier in the centre is gobsmacking!

I was the only person lobbying, my MPs assistant came to meet with us, found a quiet corner and I handed over the papers I'd taken. Another copy of the short Canadian Guidelines too.

Then we went up to Committee room 6, where about 10 of us had a talk about what we might do next year, as May 12 falls on a Saturday. Nothing finally decided, but the suggestion that I think best was that we lobbied on Wednesday (9th) since that's the day of PM's Question Time so most MPs are likely to be there. We talked till about 3.30, then packed up and left. No MPs came to see us. Di Newman's (organiser) MP had said he might be able to but didn't. Met up with Gus and a young man from Peterborough - Steve? outside, Ciaran had come with us in the lift as he can't easily manage stairs.

Walked (me pushed) along to where the IiME conference was on (Insitute of Mechanical Engineering, 1 Birdcage Walk) in hopes we could manage to meet up with Mary Schweitzer when the conference ended. This was more complicated than it might appear, as we haven't met before, so we didn't know if she'd find us. (the hotel said she wasn't staying there when we phoned in the morning)

But John went in to recption and found out that she was registered at the conference and sent in a note, so she at least knew we were there. We all went and sat in St James Park until it became obvious the conference was finishing. I was wondering if Mary would find us - I had one of my Co-Cure flyers laminated, so I had that taped to my walking stick as she would recognise the Co-Cure sign. We saw lots of people come out, but eventually we decided to get a cab home.

Had to cross over to hail cab, as we were waiting a young lady came down the steps from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering. She came up to us (I think she thought we'd been at the conference cos I was in wheelchair)... Turns out she was someone I "met" on the Co-Cure Message Boards! Kate.

She said Mary was still there, went in and found her for us. :-) Kate had met Gus and Ciaron at the last APPG, so went over to have a chat, while we whisked Mary back to Sarah's house in Herne HIll, and we had fish & chips from Olleys (best fish and chips in London).

Mary and me

It was so much fun meeting Mary, I have known her online about 10 years I guess, lovely to put a face to the name. :-) She is on Ampligen, which she has to have infused twice a week. She tried coming off it after the original trial was over, but got much iller again. She said it has given her her brain back. :-)

John, Mary and me again

See that tatty old bench-table in the background? John spent a happy Saturday morning breaking it up into pieces, and retrieving the very heavy duty bolts that held it together.

Mary left for her hotel about 9.30, and I got into bed. Sarah and John were watching Green Wing (taped earlier) and it was funny, but I was so tired I just fell asleep.