A flea who had lost his shoe
Just didn’t know what to do
He still had his socks
But they went hard as rocks
Cos of all the wet mud he went through
A flea who had lost his shoe
Just didn’t know what to do
He still had his socks
But they went hard as rocks
Cos of all the wet mud he went through
Here is the place where You waited for me
Knowing that I would come back one fine day
I found You under the rowan tree
Now it is only by faith that I see
The physical world to me is grey
Here is where You waited for me
How many years have I so longed to be
Back on this hill where my life was so gay
I found You under the rowan tree
Years have gone by Heaven heard my loud plea
In my darkest if nights I waited for day
Here is the place where You waited for me
Now reunited by the graves just we three
Souls holding hands like children we play
Here is the place where You waited for me
I sat and wondered yesterday. I wondered a lot. Sat there on the hill. Wondered if, if I really tried, I could walk up that hill again. In my mind I did. With the pink glow of the evening sun on the church tower.
I walked here with my grandmother. Taking goodies to an elderly lady in one of the houses. That’s what my grandmother did. Came down into the village from the farm with a basketful of baking and the most wonderful goodies for those who could not afford much food. We would go to a few houses. All of these people we knew well. Sitting chatting with them was an amazing time. They were always pleased to see us.
I could hardly believe that no longer could I walk up that hill. It is not a steep one. Just a bit of a rise. I still think that if only I tried harder, I could walk.
In the graveyard beneath the church tower are many graves. One is of my real grandfather, and his brother. I say my real grandfather because he died of a brain tumour when my mother was only a year old. No one looks after his grave. My grandmother never even told my mother where her father’s grave was. But we found it. And took her to it. It was overgrown. My mother began pulling out the bits of long grass, to try a d clear the grave. Beneath, we found the most beautiful grave in the form of an open book, like a Bible. I do not remember the words that were on it, for it is a long time ago now, that we stood there, looking at it. As we sat, yesterday, I wanted to walk to the grave again. But the churchyard is overgrown. A wilderness. Just like the lives of my family. Disparate. Unconnected. Wild.
This grave was secret. My grandmother married again, with my mother just a little girl. She never told my mother who her father was. My mother thought that her grandfather, my grandmother’s father, was her father. In later years, someone told my mother who her father really was.
My grandmother always felt that my mother was a burden to her new husband – a very rich man. Even though he wanted to give my mother his name. But my grandmother would not allow that. It would be to betray her first husband. A real lovematch. But she left the grave. Never visited it. Never cared for it. It all had to be forgotten. Never to be mentioned again.
I always thought that Pop, the rich farmer, was my grandfather. But he wasn’t. A very silent but very kindly man. I was scared of him. I had to be quiet around him.
But there, in the churchyard is the silent grave. But with such a story to tell. He was only 23 when he died. His whole life in front of him. There were plans. He was to have had a smallholding, and then, eventually, his own farm. How could he have lain in that churchyard for all these years, almost forgotten?
I can’t walk. But I want to put flowers on his grave. To salute him for who and what he was. A kind and good man.
How strange that when we arrived at that place near to the church tower where we park, the other evening, the church clock had stopped again – at 8.35, the exact time that I was born.
Empty of all
The things I ever knew
Inside a nauseating scream
To a new knowledge that fullness
Looks much like emptiness
For being stripped
Sun lights up
Tall church tower
Graves lie below
Sun sets rises
In morning dew
Falls on graves
Do souls rise
To meet sun
One fine day
Clothing the earth
With the freshness of Love
Yesterday now is gone, all things
From slumber to newness of life
Still I know the path hard,
It must be trod
Time is our prison
Holding us in a moment
Spread your wings and fly
Through the veil light comes
Taking us to other worlds
Shrouded in deep love
In the glow of summer’s light
Thorns and roses
Roses and thorns
Which do you see the most?
This is life
I like shapes
In their own way
Their message is obvious
Screaming at you
Their message is hidden
You have to search for the message
But it is worth finding
At the end
If I fall you too
Will feel a trembling inside
For that could be you
I write this, having read this post this morning:
I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all of you who read my blog and who make lovely comments, and/or Like my posts. A big thankyou to all of you who interact with me. I cannot tell you how much that means to me.
I also want to thank you for your understanding of my circumstances – newly blind, meaning that so often I cannot respond as I would like to, to all of your lovely comments, although I think I do most of them. If I inadvertently miss anyone out, I do apologise.
I am just so grateful to all of you for understanding, and for continuing with the colours on my iPa, so that I am reading white on black. That makes it easier for me, since I can still just about see that. I hold my iPad right up close to my eyes, which is exceptionally tiring, especially as my condition is that I experience pain too. But it is how I often do it. My dictationsn software is great but it writes things like “a tax” instead of “attacks” lol. So sometimes some real howlers come out. Probably a good thing at times, for we all need a good laugh. I think I have said before in here that I once wished a vicar an Arse day off when I had dictated “a nice day ofg.” Lol
The reason I have brought all this up is that I just read a post by Renard, the link of which I will give in a minute. It had to respond, and it made me feel quite anxious, and I am finding myself apologising and explaining myself far too often for not acting how bloggers really should act. So, that is what is behind this post.
If I just put “brilliant”. Or “great post” on one of your posts, I truly mean it, and I WILL have read right through it and TRULY liked it, but cannot manage to write out why I like it. So please forgive me if on occasions it is all I can muster. I do do my best. Some days of course, as many of you know, I am very very tired, and cannot do too much in the way of responding. I am sorry for that.
I hope I have typed this out so that you can understand it. There may be many mistakes in it.
Thankyou a million times to all of you who read and comnent on my posts, who offer kindness and encouragement, whomlike my posts and who are great friends to me. Thankyou!me.
I do try to use the software that is available to blind people, but it is difficult when you have no training in it, and you have to try and pick it up for yourself. Bthat is really really hard. Sometimes I can cope by reversing
In Sacred Time
Living in the present
I see nothing in front of me
I hear the lone call of a bird
Song in the wilderness
When friends say Goodbye
And lay down their written words
It leaves a big hole
Thanks for reading this. Can anyone help me to know how to turn Comments off? And can you turn Comments off just for some posts but not for others? I am just interested. Just occasionally I might like to turn Comnents off. Not often, but just sometimes. Is this possible to do. Many thanks in advance
Have you ever had something happen to you where, afterwards, you have thought, “Did that really happen?”
Some things are almost too hard to take in. Six years after I was diagnosed with cancer, from which I went blind and ended up wheelchair bound, I still can’t quite take it in, and I am saying, “Did that really happen?”
I wrote, last night, of how I returned to my home village of Blyton in Lincolnshire, and just sat, thinking, and remembering. I suppose it is all part of trying to process just what HAS happened to me, and to assimilate it. I am not sure that you ever CAN assimilate fully something like this. It is a long, hard journey, and along the way, I have had many things said to me, many different reactions, and many assumptions made. The path has been so hard that I have NEEDED to go back to that place where I was loved, made to feel secure, and where I found safety as a child, when my parents were shouting and yelling at one another, and when violence was the norm. In fact, my first memory is of being in my pram, and my mother and father being at either side of me, pointing to the pram (which had a wonky wheel that kept falling off lol) and yelling and screaming at each other, with fists raised. We lived in a tiny cottage in the village at the time, called Pear Tree Cottage, which has since been pulled down. The cottage was right at the top end of the village, whilst my grandparents’ farm was about two miles up the road going out from the other end of the village. In those days it seemed very isolated. You would walk up the road out of the village, and up a hill, until you came to a very rough lane going off on the right. At the end of that lane, which must have been almost a mile long, was the farmhouse. A beautiful if very old building. To me, it always smiled.
I have a memory of being taken, probably for the first time, to the farm. My parents were fighting – AGAIN – and my mother bundled me up and started walking, carrying me, to the farm. Of course, I did not know that at the time, but I do remember that we had gone quite a long way, and were on the hill, when we met someone coming down the hill. My mother handed me over to this person, who in fact was my Aunt – my mother’s sister, who was ten years younger than my mother, so just a teenager then, and told her to take me to the farm. I did not know this person, and was very frightened and confused. However, once at the farm, my grandmother took me in her arms and loved me. Bewildered as I was, I suddenly felt safe. I felt myself to be in strong, loving arms, and that all would now be well. Though my grandmother was a stranger to me at this point, we quickly bonded, and that bond was the strongest I ever had in my life. It was an amazing bond. A better bond than I ever had with my mother, or, indeed, my father. This pattern of being taken, or going, to my grandparents’ farm when my parents were fighting , developed and became a regular thing. The farm was a haven to me. A Refuge. It too has since been pulled down, but it should not have been, for it dated from at least the 1400s, and as I have researched it, I have found that it was the grange to Thornholme Priory, so originally it had Brothers living there, and working the land. When the present owners of the farm, which to this day is called Grange Farm, attempted to knock the farmhouse down, they could hardly get it knocked down. It was so solid. It was stubbornly refusing to go. However, they did get it down in the end, and built a modern ranch style bungalow in its place. Many of the beautiful trees were felled, too, and the place is just not the same, though I often sit at the lane end, and feel my grandmother’s essence there. This was the place where my life’s search for God and for everything else began, as I held onto my grandmother’s hand, looking up at the stars in the night sky, and asking her, “Where is God?” I believe that in many ways and in many places, I have found Him, for in fact, He is deep within me, the One in Whom all those questions began. And I believe that God is far bigger and greater than we could ever imagine, or put into the confines of our own thoughts and definitions. I am not conventional in my views about God, and I believe that He is so often put into a box that He continually bursts out of, for He won’t fit into a box. I am not really very good at being in conventional churches!
And so, last night, once again, I found myself sitting in that village of Blyton, contemplating. Yes, I WAS outside the church, for that is where I was, conventionally, baptised. It seemed to me to be the rightful place to be to contemplate my life, and what has happened to me.
Yes, I am on a journey. To what and where, I do not know. The path is not waymarked. I travel in the dark, in uncertainty, but in hope, tinged with a little bit of fear, and certainly some grief. But always, always, the sun shines down on me. Even when it is raining, and overcast, the sun is shining on me, just as surely as it did at the farm, and especially on those wonderful days of Celebration when the harvest was being gathered in, and there was singing and dancing in the fields. Though tinged with sadness, and some bewilderment, my journey is principally one of joy. And today, I see a rainbow.
THIS iS A REPOST. IT IS IN THE FORM OF A SESTINA.
The path had been made straight,
Smooth under the early sun,
Just in time for my arrival
Though no one knew I was coming,
It seemed it was just for me,
Time had been waiting
Long months had I been waiting,
My path had not been straight
Darkness then attended me
I never saw the sun
I didn’t see its coming,
In shock at its arrival
This was a new arrival
Light for me had been waiting
This day it saw me coming
My mind was now straight
The warmth of the early sun
Was protecting me
Inside She greeted me,
Seeing me on my arrival
Hidden from the sun
In the darkness waiting
Her truth had always been straight
Eternity was coming
Even the birds were coming
Singing their songs to me
Is Truth always this straight
So joyful its arrival?
Eternity will not be waiting
And neither will the sun
Gone for now is the sun
That shone upon my coming
Joy for me is waiting
Silence falls on me
Soon will be my arrival
Now the way is straight
I walk straight along the path waiting for my coming,
Guided by the sun shining light on me,
Now is my arrival, eternity was waiting
Yesterday has gone
No point in looking for it
The sky is winking
In the passage where time waits
Trying not to look back
Afraid to look forwards
A blockage has occurred
Thrashing around I try to kill time
That it is an illusion
Made to control us
Trip us up
“I haven’t got time,” you say
No, you don’t have time
You have eternity
I am at the beginning of a new journey. Or is it the end of the journey? Who can know? Who can tell?
I found out something very recently that did not bode too well for the future. I have struggled and been depressed for much of the week, though I tried very hard to keep my head above water. I also tried not to let my depression show. And anyway, there were chinks of light breaking through the dark clouds.
I can only write as I am and as I feel. I sure was grateful for Wildsworth this week, and the ability to go there and meditate on that place and its history. I was so glad to be able still to do some research on it. Even though some of what I found was not exactly uplifting!
We set off for Wildsworth again this morning, but when we got there I was in so much pain that we had to come home. I had awoken in a great deal of pain this morning, and feeling nauseous, but I did not want to let it beat me.
After a rest, we returned to Wildsworth this evening. It has been a very bad day weather-wise. Black clouds that had an ominous feel to them, and much rain at times. However, just as gas always happened, just as we got into Wildsworth the sun came out. It was shining right into our car, and onto the field where the sheep and the lambs are. We stayed there for a little while, but then I became restless and wanted to leave. I had no idea where I wanted to go, but we continued along the river bank road, and thence to the market town of Gainsborough. At that point I knew exactly where I wanted to go – to Blyton, the village where I was born. I have written about Blyton here before. But tonight, we went and sat, as we often used to, outside the church where I was baptised. We have not sat there for a few weeks, but tonight, just as we parked up outside the church, the sun shone on it, lighting it up so beautifully. It was enveloped in a sort of pinky glow, Quite beautiful.
Here I felt at home. Here I felt comforted. Here I felt at peace. Here I rested. I thought once again about the fact that here was where I began my life.. And I knew deep inside me that this was where I want to end my life. I have always known that I wished to move back to this place, but it has never been possible, though we have tried to do so. It still feels as though it will be impossible for us to move back there at the end of our lives. Yet this is my deepest desire.
Over the last few years we have gone through such a lot, and we have really struggled, alone. Now, I would at least like the comfort of being in a place where I once was safe and secure. A place that holds happy memories for me. I still hold onto the hope that this may indeed be possible and that I can, at the end of my life, be taken into that church where I was baptised, and then buried in the graveyard there.
The one thing that I do know is that whatever happens, I will be going to sit there once again, re-living happy memories, and connecting with that sense of safety that I had in that place.
A weird thing had happened though, to the church clock on the tower. It had broken, and had stopped at either midday or midnight. It was going to be too expensive to repair, so the church people had decided not to repair it. Tonight, however, we arrived and parked up at 8.35 p.m. And the church clock was displaying that exact time! It never moved in the whole hour that we were sat there!
As we drove, finally, home, to our left, on the western horizon, there was a thin line of the brightest red in the sky, between two massive black clouds. As we drove, it looked for all the world as if the sun was setting on top of a mountain. The clouds had formed the shape of a mountain. Aand I knew, in that moment, that I have another huge mountain to climb, but that the sun will always be there, on the top of that mountain.
My heart is ready now
To break with grief
A grief unobserved
You dressed me in platitudes
In glorious colours
They did not suit
The pallid face of death
The staring eyes
Paralyzed by demands
That could not be fulfilled
I tear off those clothes
And expose my raw skin
Bleeding into the soil
You pierce me with your spear
To see if I am dead
I lie there on the ground
My eyes staring into yours
See here is my broken heart
It is no use to you now
For I am blemished
In the light know
The darkness of your games
The light cannot be quenched in me
Will manifest their true intent
Egos need to be fed
Starve them they die
Spins full of false
Fronts masks that crack in time
I wait patiently know the score
In our midst we must not trip up
But wait for truth to dawn
Soon light will come
My hour has not come
And so I go in secret
To avoid your glare
Words fall from lips
That the heart does not match
I see the mouth curl into smiles
I know the score and am not fooled
Don’t play with me my friend
I detect games
Sent from my iPad
Dancing sunlight calls
In the evening breeze to me
Waltz to earth’s music
Here in this tin box
Are the best of memories
Take one out each day
Oh my GOD!
The minute I see the word “Bargain” I see my mother! NOT a pretty sight when there is a “SALE” going on. And in fact, that is MOST of the time!
“There’s 25 per cent off at Sainsbury’s,” I hear, most weeks. I know then, that the rush is on. She’s all of 93 and not in good health. She walks V E R Y slowly, leaning on her shopping trolley, resting every now and then to get her breath. She has emphysema, kidneys that are packing up on her, high blood pressure, vertigo – in fact, you name it and she’s got it!
BUT the word “BARGAIN” can be utterly relied upon to get her out of her chair! Off she sets, up the road. Sainsburys, here she comes! The monster bargain hunter.
She comes back with all sorts. Microwaves balanced precariously on her shopping trolley. Duvets – the same! Bedding. Towels. Tea towels. Kettles. Toasters. Garden shears. You name it, she comes back with it!
Only problem is, the next day she is taking it back again. Every time. Without fail!
They know her at Sainsburys.
They knew her at the Ford Salesroom too, when my Dad was alive. They got banned in the end, even from the forecourt! She ordered so many cars, then cancelled, that they just HAD to ban her! My Dad nearly died of a heart attack!
On a good day it’s not only Sainsburys. It’s Aldreds as well. And they sell more than Sainsburys. They sell beds, and fridges, and washing machines!
“QUICK. Shut the windows! Lock the car doors! Come on – QUICK”.
Sound of car doors locking.
“For God’s sake, start the engine.”
“What- do you mean you want us to move?”
“Yeah yeah – QUICK.”
“Come on, get GOING. Let’s get OUTTA here.”
Car starts moving – slowly.
“For God’s sake get a move on”.
“What the hell’s the matter”
“I don’t know but there’s someone behind the car. Something’s happening.”
Car takes off at a fair pace.
“Thank God. Keep going. Go ON, don’t stop again. Keep moving.”
We were at Wildsworth. It was dusk. The light was eerie. My head was full of tales of murder, mayhem and ghosties!
“What the hell’s going on?” asked hubby.
“Didn’t you hear it?” I asked, in a panic stricken voice.
“Hear what?” he asked.
“That noise at the back of the car. Someone was at the back of the car.”
“Yeah. It was a hedgehog.”
“Yeah. It was at the side of the car brushing its bristles against the back wheel.”
Sways, dances before you
Singing sweetly “Come now, taste me
My depths, wallow here for a while
While I caress your soul,”
When nothing is there any more
Not even the skin covering you
And you lie raw and bleeding
And touch is too hard to bear
The light piercing you
Like the arrows you have become used to
You hold out your hands
And find only air
From inside a cry rises
But gets strangled in a tightened throat
That fears vulnerability
For the skin you had has gone
The heart you had has closed down
No longer are you yourself
And death covers you where skin once was
Travelling at dusk
Mysteries lurk in the mist
One day all will clear
Dying light sun drenched
In one last burst of glory
I don’t need
I don’t need
Such as it is
I have what I need
Sent from my iPad
I have always been a questioner. Curious. Interested in EVERYTHING. Wanting to delve into everything, especially places, the people in them both past and present, and whatever IS or WAS! I think my grandmother got fed up with me, as a small child, because my questions never stopped, and each question led to another one.
My main question, as a very small child, was about God. Where WAS He? My poor grandmother could never answer that question for me satisfactorily. But the search went on throughout my life.
I have written about “thin spaces” before, and it really has been true for me that some places seem to open up a different dimension for me. Wildsworth is one of them! There never seems to be any rhyme or reason as to why a particular place does this for me. But I am not going to question that one, simply accept it with gratitude. I have had some wonderful experiences in my “thin spaces” some of which I will share in my blog as time goes on. One other such place is St. Ediths Church, in the hamlet of Coates by Stow, in Lincolnshire. I have already written a little bit about that, but I intend to give the full story one day!
I truly did not know why Wildsworth had drawn me, and I still don’t know really. But it has led to me going there every day, and just meditating, and trying to think myself back into past times. I wanted to know EVERYTHING about the place. How had people lived, in the past? What had been their joys and sorrows? What had been the tragedies there? Knowing so much about the river in whose bank Wildsworth stands, I was sure that there must have been some, and indeed it my probing showed that there were.
I LOVE doing historical research, and I become very involved with the places and the people that I find. When I was doing research for my doctorate, I unearthed the story of a rapist in Hessle, near Hull, who had raped and left for dead three young women. I discovered him through looking through the Court Chaplains Book in York Library. My research was on violence against women, setting it in historical times, and with particular reference to the Church. The reference that I found in the Court Chaplains Book stated the name of a man – John William Parkinson – who had committed the crime if rape on three women, whose place of abode was Hessle. He was stated as being married, and a blacksmith. It also stated that he was Primitive Methodist, and the Court Chaplain had written the words “”Utter Hypocrite” by that entry! It was stated also that he had been given twenty years penal servitude at Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight. From that information, I started building up the story, using censuses, (the crime took place in 1899), one neswspaper story in the Hull Daily Mail for 1899, and various other records. Every day, for six months, I was in Beverley Archives, trying to piece the whole story together. Never was I happier than when I was doing this. I lived and breathed it. I had the names of his three victims by now, all Primitive Methodist girls. I pieced their stories together as well, as much as I could. He had left them for dead, and I felt much emotion about the whole story. Whilst putting it together I laughed, at some things, I cried, I got angry, and strangely, I prayed. I tried to find out what happened to his poor wife, for she was aged only 28 and was pregnant at the time of his rape of the three women, and she already had quite a few children. In the end I did it. I pieced it all together. One day, I was sitting in Beverley Archives, and, after many weeks of searching, I found his wife, and where she was buried. I let out a WHOOP in the middle of this very serious, very silent and studious place! It is a wonder that I didn’t get thrown out!
After that, I visited the grave of his wife, taking flowers. . She was buried with two of her children. The daughter had done amazingly, considering the life they all must have led following their father’s crime. She trained to be a nurse in London, and became quite high up in the hospital. A very dedicated nurse at a hospital for infectious diseases. She caught one of the diseases herself, and died from it. In my book, she was a heroine.
I then visited the grave of one of his victims, buried at South Cave, where the crime took place. I stood at her graveside and wept, then prayed. I don’t really know why I prayed, but I could do no other.
Then, finally, I visited the grave of John William Parkinson, the rapist, and jumped in anger on his grave! Maybe I should not have done that, but I did! He returned to Hull after completing 18 years of his 20 year sentence, and kept a shop in Hull.
This is how involved I get with my research and my “thin spaces”! I am sure that Wildsworth is going to be no exception, only now, I cannot visit places so much, see graves, etc. with being in a wheelchair and blind. I am curtailed in my activities. But already, I have found a murder in the next village of East Ferry (one of the mariners murdered his wife, and was hung at Lincoln Gaol.), vessels that came to grief in the river, some people being drowned, and one or two other things.
The place is not what I had thought it to be in the beginning, but it is still beautiful now, to me, nevertheless. I will be writing much more about this soon.
Well it’s this:
You can get INTO the bath tub and get wet, quite easily; but you can’t get dry again! Well, I can’t anyway! The reason? TOWELS! They don’t dry you these days!
I get in the bath tub every day, and every day I get the same problem! The damned towel won’t dry me!
I remember the days when towels DID dry you. What are they doing to them tbese days? Even after washing them a few times, they STILL don’t dry you! I remember them being quite rough and stiff in the old days. But boy, DID they do a good job on drying you!
I have tried all sorts of towels. I always make sure they are cotton ones. But, whether they are big or little ones, expensive or cheap ones, THEY WILL NOT DRY ME!
Does anyone know why?
I resort, each day, to air drying myself,with a bit of help from some paper towels! Sometimes I use the hair dryer, but that’s no good if it’s a hot day!
I am fed up with towels that will not dry lol. Anyone else?
A flea who ate strawberry jam
Once met a nice flea called Pam
They both turned bright red
Went daft in the head
And partied all night on a tram
A flea who ate too many peas
Started to cough and to wheeze
One had got stuck
He hadn’t much luck
As he got propelled right overseas
A flea who jumped into the sink
Started to turn shocking pink
He dazzled himself
Then leapt on a shelf
And gave everybody a wink
Pulled awake abruptly
Eyes opening slowly
Is it day?
Pain punctuates waking
Inside a groaning
Dreams come back
A better land
Awaits me somewhere
With no pain
In evening’s breeze You come to me
Caressing my face with tenderness
Cooling the passions that none can see
From all earth’s pain I would be free
And all of my soul’s heaviness
In evening’s breeze You come to me
I sit beside the willow tree
For You to fill my emptiness
Cooling the passions that none can see
I wondered if truly I could be
Given light in my distress
In evening’s breeze You came to me
My soul was healed, together we
Entwined our hearts forever blessed
In evening’s breeze You came to me
Cooling the passions that none can see
Dark night comes
Spirit feels restless
Claustrophobia sets in
Through the smothering
A miracle happens
I breathe again
The sun appears
A crack in skies
Dark with suffering
Last night, at the end of a day when no sun had appeared at all, not even at WILDSWORTH, my husband came up to bed, looked out of the window to see the clouds suddenly, break, VERY slightly for just a few seconds, during which a streak of red appeared in the sky. On a day when there was no sun, suddenly, at the last, , the sun made a few seconds’ appearance. There’s always the sun, SOMEWHERE, when everything is dark. And yesterday was a very dark day for me. My disease, set in motion by a combination of my cancer and the chemo, is progressing, and there has been much deterioration.
We had lots of bad news yesterday, and I was hit by a very deep depression. However, we did manage to get out to Wildsworth for a short time, though the weather was so bad that nothing much could be seen. We sat, though, and meditated for a while on the things that we have found out about that tiny place over the last two or three weeks. It has been an amazing journey, and it is still not over yet. There is more to discover.
It is amazing to think how one tiny hamlet that is so isolated and wild now, was once a very busy place, which had a ferry over the river connecting it with the Isle of Axholme.Nowadays , the two places are not really connected, with no ferry across the river, and the only crossings being at Gainsborough, some eight or so miles away, and Keadby Bridge, some ten miles away. It was seemingly a very busy ferry. Owston Ferry, on the other side, was a centre for many things. There were shops there, and a market, and many other things too.
Boats sailed constantly along the river at one time, beginning even in Viking times. Now, no boats sail along the river. All is quiet and peaceful. Trade was conducted via the boats, and I began to think, on discovering this, the river was once the wet equivalent of Picadilly Circus!
I have much more to tell on this, as well as at least one murder, just up the road from Wildsworth, in 1882, some river drownings on the boats, infanticides in the river, and various other things.
Since I first started going to Wildsworth, my conception of what things were like in the past has changed. I like it as it is now, but there is a kind of sadness to it all.
Today, though, we went and sat by the field where the sheep and the lambs are, and we discovered that the third lamb that was born only two or three days ago, has been possibly rejected by its mother, or the mother has died, because the farmer’s wife was feeding it from a bottle today. It was leaping around fine, at the bottom of the field, but there was no sign at all of a mother.
More to come another time. Waiting for the rain to stop now!
Tales of the past seep
Through cracks in my consciousness
River now silent
After carrying many
Bearing needed goods
Engineering took away
Beauty of boats
From many countries
Villages a wilderness
Once busy ports
Tales to tell
Yesterday there was no sun
Sapped of all strength
I rested in the darkness
Mapping out a future
The sun refused to shine
Stirring up the jangling
In the darkness I rested
Waiting for the sun to return
You stand there bare, solitary,
After the frippery
The clanging words
Raised to heaven
In a trice you became empty
After you were full
Of the emptiness of words
The procession gone
You stand there
Speaking in your starkness
The candles burning on your emptiness
Speaking of the darkness in light
And the light in darkness
For both are the same to you
And neither can be quenched
I make no apology for what I am going to write. It has been a most dreadful day today, but please keep reading to the end, if you can, because once again, the sun appeared!
I woke this morning feeling nauseated by life. I have had so much criticism from various sources lately. I was fit to burst – such that if one more person had told me I was doing it wrong, I would have wanted to shoot myself.
So often, people think I am not trying. Not doing my best with my blindness and other pains and disabilities. I want to tell them to walk in my shoes before they say the things they do. But of course that is not possible. They cannot walk in my shoes, but at least they could stop criticising me and telling me I am doing it all wrong.
When life is such a struggle, and you end up in tears of frustration, yes, sometimes depression, you become exhausted just with day to day living. Unless you have been in our position, you cannot imagine the fights with various bodies and authorities that we undergo. Living is not easy. I will not enumerate everything, though I would like to. Life is just plain manure at times, to put it politely!
Today, I wanted nothing more than to withdraw from the world. Too much criticism. Too much harshness , when I need kindness. And whereas normally I manage to pull myself up somehow, by my bootstrings, I could not today.
We did our usual things. We went out this afternoon, then home for some food, then out again in the evening, making the most of the light nights. My depression was BAD. I don’t normally suffer from depression. I did many years ago, but not for over 40 years. But today I was kind of numb, but black inside. Dead. My life felt useless , as I am now. It all felt too much of a struggle. I grappled with bad physical pain in the car, and total exhaustion. But to have stayed in would have been worse. It would have been like giving in.
I could find no pleasure in any of the things that normally give me pleasure. It has been raining all day, and I LOVE the rain, because even though I can’t see it, I can feel it. But even that could not revive me today. My life just felt hopeless, and frankly, I did not want to go on. I was just plain tired of fighting.
This evening we went to Wildsworth again. No CHANCE of a sunset. It was still raining, and the sky was overcast. We came to the field where the sheep and the lambs are, and the lambs were jumping up into the air vertically. Full of life and mischief. Their mothers were trying to make them behave, with no success. Normally, I would have been filled with joy by this. But not tonight. I was too far gone.
Then, suddenly, we heard, from the bottom of the field, a tiny lamb’s cry. A newborn lamb again. I still felt fairly numb, but this did revive me a little bit.
We eventually drove down the road a bit, to turn round to go home. Just as we turned, THERE IT WAS! Again! The SUN. The sky had turned scarlet in a long narrow line across the sky, underneath the clouds. And the sun was bright red. Looking at me! What an amazing sight. As I have said before, I can still see sunsets.
For the first time today, I FELT something. I was not numb.
The power of the sun! It is amazing.
Take my life once more
Re-create it till it shines
I need some polish
I slide away into the darkness
Confidence all gone
But I fell
A few times I fell
But many times I kept on walking
Through the pain
Living when I was dying
I need to slide away
Into the darkness
That is brilliant to me
But where you cannot see
Now to rest
The darkness understands me
Does not push me out
I melt into the darkness
And hope one day
Trying to live
In the face of death
Of many kinds
So many hurdles
So many high jumps
So many doors
Doors to life
Of a kind
Deemed dead already
Not worth reviving
How to live
In the face of death
I do not ask for sympathy
I simply express my apologies
I ask for your patience
As I grapple
I ask for your understanding
Complaints do not find a home
I ask you to see
When I cannot
That I cannot always be
What you want me to be
Will not get results
“Go faster” you say
“You’re holding us up”
I go slower
“You didn’t see me” you say
“No, you know full well that I am blind”
I try to leave
Because I cannot find my way
Out of this room full of critics
I feel you sitting staring at me
As I sit there in the centre of a huge room with no doors
No way out
You giggle in your huddle
In my wheelchair
I cannot get out
Away from your cruelty
I cannot breathe
I sit there
In the middle of the room
Like a sore thumb
You in a corner
Laughing at me
Yes, this is what being blind
And in a wheelchair
Can be like
I ask not for sympathy
Steps out of your sight
Or even your blurred knowledge
Don’t criticise blind
It’s that sleepy time of day
When you’re not sure
The light drags you awake
From a land of dreams
You wonder where you are
The last you knew
You were in a park
In the light of the new day
You know there are no steps
Except the ones in your heart
That call to your soul
The challenge of the steps
Each step a different one
A very strange staircase
Hopefully to heaven
The sky leaks her light
Into a world of darkness
Soon the sun will shine
Under the trees
I come to You my Love
Where You have been waiting for me
Hearts that had waited for ever
Here we are One
Calls me through the grey haze
I answer the gentle calling
That are about to fall and die
I feel inside a peace
My soul caressed
In the old town ships
Brought to souls new worlds of light
In different flavours
You speak many words
Tied up with letters of law
And needing a heart
Seas engulfed me
During my many years
Each wave threatening my lone life
My lifespan here I know I rode
Those foaming devils out
I’m here to tell
Surrounds the one
Who truly does Love’s will,
Love is not a clanging cymbal,
Announcing your prowess, seeking
I hear it all,
Gentle, seeks not
To boast, nor dwells in pride,
Real love does not attack the weak,
But lives in dying to the Self,
Steps back from the limelight,
You call me
Back to the earth
Always we were dust
Soon I will lie scattered
In the lushness of Your love
There to rest for eternity
Oh sweetness bathe my aching soul
Washing away all sorrow and pain
Here in Your love I will rest for ever
We returned to Wildsworth again this evening after our jaunt across the river to Owston Ferry yesterday. Once again, it looked like there was going to be no sunset at all, but quite suddenly, very late on, the sky went fiery red again, on the western horizon, and the sun was so bright you could not look at it. I don’t know what it is about that place, but it seems to attract the most intense sunsets.
I have become fascinated by the river, in a way that I never have been before, though I have lived around these parts for a long time. I have always liked the river, and used to love walking along the top of the grassy floodbank with my dogs. But lately, it has taken on a new character. This evening, I imagined what it would been like to be out on the river at night, with that gorgeous sunset. Did they even appreciate it in those days? They would be so used to living with it that it might have meant nothing to them at all. We shall never know, I guess.
It seemed so poignant to me that at one time, not really so long ago, the two communities of Wildsworth and Owston Ferry were united. The ferry did not stop running until 1950 and as I sat by the river, on what was called Front Street in the 1800s, by where the jetty was, I imagined what a terrible thing it must have been to the villagers to lose their ferry. The nearest place to Wildsworth is Laughton, and there was not much there either. It is a very small village. Then there was East Ferry, another very small village just along the river bank going towards Keadby Bridge. Neither place would have provided very much, but Owston Ferry had shops. In fact there was quite a lot there. Also, many people had family at Owston Ferry, and getting to see them would have been much harder once the ferry went.
I had always thought of Wildsworth as being so isolated in times past, but tonight I realised that there was much river traffic. Boats would regularly sail down the river to Gainsborough carrying goods. In fact, it was a very busy river indeed. The character of the whole place has changed so much now, from what it probably used to be. Now, no big boats go past as they all stop at Gunness Wharf near to Keadby Bridge. But it is a place in which I could quite easily settle if ever I had the opportunity. Its very peace and quietness attract me. There, I could be at one with nature. There, I could have the hermitage that I long for.
This evening we saw the two newborn lambs again, in the field, head butting each other, and also their mothers. They seem to have formed a gang of two, now. I imagined the mothers questioning why they ever had one of these!
We have been trying to build up a picture of Wildsworth through the ages, and to ascertain whether or not there were many poorer families there. We wanted to try and find out if there was the usual gap between rich and poor. There always were a few big farms there, one of them at least, employing six servants. Others employed slightly fewer servants, but in general there were some very rich farmers there.
From looking at the censuses, we discovered seven families who were poorer. They worked as agricultural labourers mainly. I wondered what life was like for them, and according to my reading of history, it would not have been very good. No sanitation, long working hours, little pay. The women of course bore lots of children, many of whom died in infancy. Some women died in childbirth. There is a record of one woman dying at the age of 46 in childbirth.
Things did not turn out too good for one of the girls in the village. A Harriet Turner went to work as a servant at one of the big farms in Grayingham. She became pregnant by the 18 year old son of the farmer. She left the farm and went back to her parents at Wildsworth. In 1857 she fought a Bastardy Case against the son but she did not win. She was fortunate enough to come from a slightly richer family – her father who farmed 35 acres. Not one of largest of farms, but enough to be comfortable. Had her family been poor, she would have had to live off parish aid. As it was, she had to register the child formally as a bastard, and bear the stigma of this. Girls who found themselves in this position were not allowed to ever go back into service again. It has been said historians that girls in service were seen by their masters as being there to serve ALL their needs, and that included sex. Whether or not that was what occurred in this case, we do not know, but even the son of this big and powerful farmer who held many lands, would probably have seen Harriet as fair game. Certainly she lost the Bastardy Case, as her family would not have had the money to fight such powerful people.
Harriet did end up getting married, however – she was lucky as many girls in this position would never have been seen as marriage material. There was a huge stigma attached to bearing a bastard child. But her family gathered round her, and looked after both her and the child. This was in 1853. A few years later, she married at Laughton parish church, and her husband took on both her and the child. They set up home in Spridlington, about twenty miles away, and Harriet bore more children, but sadly, died in her early thirties. I wondered if she had died in childbirth, for this was quite common. We may be able to establish whether or not this was the case, as we examine the parish records. Her husband, John, an agricultural worker, was married again within a year, to someone calked Maire, who already had a child. She was a widow.
So, it was possible for a girl to turn life around after bearing an illegitimate child – but only probably if she had a family to help her, and who did not turn away from her. Many women who had illegitimate children did indeed drown them in the river. Thank God that this does not need to happen today!
And so, life at Wildsworth goes on, and the sunsets are still gorgeous, and I will continue to enjoy them and to write the story of Wildsworth.
See the sun rise
A new day awakens
And soon the fullness of the day
But now let the morning dew fall
Onto you, refresh you,
Fill now your well
A secret flame
Burns strong even when dark
It lights my path, illuminates,
Not brilliant but just enough
To keep me holding on
This, my secret
A flea who got out of bed
Got a big knock on the head
His eyes popped out
And he started to shout
Thinking that he was dead
Excess hides the real
Knives live underneath the cloak
Of excessive words
I am very sensitive to atmospheres, and the “feel” of places. Yesterday our little affair with WILDSWORTH took us to the other side of the river – to a village called Owston Ferry. A village which is much larger than Wildsworth. Nowadays, Owston Ferry feels to be in a different land to Wildsworth. You have to go to Keadby Bridge, which is about ten miles away, or to Gainsborough, which is nearly as far the other way, to get over to the other side of the river. Once over the river, you have, of course, to travel that ten or so miles on the other side again, back to where Wildsworth sits, on the opposite side. So, although it is in fact very close, it is actually not close in terms of travelling there. It feels as though it is in a foreign land, in more ways than one, and indeed it is, lying, as it does, in what is calked the Isle of Axholme. In times past, however, there was a ferry from one side of the river to the other, called Kinnards Ferry, and, going by the censuses and various other things, it seems that Wildsworth and Owston Ferry were closely linked. And so, yesterday we were taken there – by road, not by ferry!
I have always felt the Isle of Axholme to be a very strange and mysterious place. It truly DID become an island when the River Trent was high, as the lower land land all around it flooded regularly. It was thus cut off from everywhere else. It is a place where bandits went to hide, as it was often inaccessible, and it was kind of a “forgotten land.” It truly does have an atmosphere all of its own. As we were travelling along I kind of shivered. It was not a place that I enjoyed being in. There are villages dotted along the river bank, very different in character to the ones the other side of the river. The difference is hard to describe, but in between the villages are large expanses of what seems like shrubland. Yet the roads are much wider there than on the other side of the river, and it seemed that everyone was driving madly along these roads! It was not a pleasant experience.
There are many tales told about the Isle of Axholme, and its history. There are meant to be ghosts there – and I could believe it! Over the years there have been many incidents involving the river, including women drowning their babies in it, murders, people falling overboard from the ships, men going over to Wildsworth from Owston Ferry to steal sheep from a rich farmer (there were two men, one of whom was the butcher in Owston Ferry, and the other his accomplice – they ended up in Van Diemens Land, sentenced to 14 years, but of course once there, they would never have got home again!) and various other happenings.
Once in Owston Ferry we were very aware of the river’s dominant presence there, but there was a massive high concrete floodbank to keep the river out. Again, I shivered, but was not quite sure why. Although, according to my husband, the village was quite picturesque, with its white painted houses (with a few duck egg blue ones thrown in for good measure) it still felt eerie. It is not a place that I would like to live in, whilst Wildsworth is. I could actually picture the place, as I had been to it a few times in the past, before I went blind.
We hoped that we would be able to find what was Kinnards Ferry, so named because it was founded by King Edward the Confessor in the 1100s. Kinnards is a derivative of “King Edwards”. There is also the earth remains of what was Kinnards Castle, but it looked like both of these places were up a very uneven, muddy track alongside the river. This was a great disappointment to us, but one day we will go back and find it.
We continued through the village, away from the river, for which I was glad, as I could not stop thinking about women in times past drowning their babies in the river. We ended up very shortly at Epworth, which was the birthplace of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. We know Epworth quite well, having been there many times. Again, it is not a place I particularly like, but it is familiar. We wended our way back to Scunthorpe through some more sprawling more modern villages, and over Keadby Bridge – again, not a happy place for me, since this is where my friend Molly jumped into the river and drowned (a purposeful act).
I am sure we will return to the other side of the river as we find out more connections between Wildsworth and Owston Ferry. But for now I prefer to remain this side of the river
In what you have ,
The present moment holds
All that is and will be this day,
This time into eternity
So precious is all time
Love’s gift to us
When the light shines on your face
A flea who once had a green nose
Had blue nails upon his red toes
He glowed in the dark
As he sat in the park
Under a beautiful rose
A flea who wire nothing in bed
Had a rather big nose that was red
He got up one day
And started to pray
That he wouldn’t go daft in the head
A flea made a nice hearty stew
But he didn’t know what to do
When he fell in the pan
And shouted out “Damn
I should have stayed safe at the zoo”
A flea met a nice girl called Kate
And took her out on a wild date
They married so quick
But soon she met Mick
And they kissed at the garden gate
A flea bought a nice woolly hat
And found a nice girlfriend called Pat
He gave her a kiss
And thought it was bliss
To the sounds of “You look such a pratt”
A flea who once lost his vest
Caught a cold but he still did his best
To find a nice girl
And give her a whirl
But he died of the bug in his chest
A flea went out on a spree
Hey fiddly diddly dee
He flew through the air
Without any care
And now he’s on Cloud Number Three
Control be gone
Like the devil it is
Let me be wild
Like the roaring lion
Let me roar with the wind
Dance in the sun
Gyrate in the rain
Let me be naked
Let me be free
Loose my bonds
And those of all the innocent ones
My sight but found
Heaven, held it in hands
Wounded and scarred by deepest pain,
Your wounds met mine oh so gently,
Sweet balm of tears caressed
My face, I know
I know today
That I know nothing
And as I shrink,
Once I could see
Now I am blind
The path ahead was clear
Now I see nothing
If I look forwards
I learn nothing
Except that I am blind
And so I have no choice
Except to look inwards
For in looking inwards
I do not need my eyes
I see far more looking inwards
Than ever I could with my eyes
And as I travel inwards
That I know nothing
Except that by grace
I will be saved
And what is better
To see the path ahead
And feel sure
Or to travel inwards
And know that I know nothing
To find my true self?
Walking through the darkest night
Holding grief’s strong hand
I see with faith the greatest light
Giving up the mental fight
Resting in a future bright
Embracing now this unmarked land
Walking through the darkest night
Holding grief’s strong hand
Life is a funny thing. It tends to throw at you the things that you most dread. And then you discover that you can get through losing the control that you try to exert over your life. You find that you can let go of certain things, and indeed HAVE to. You then discover that in what seems to be the utter darkness is the purest light. This land of nothingness becomes the fullest land you have ever known. The desert that you find yourself in blooms with the most beautiful flowers. You find things in the darkness that you can never find in the light.
I am going to recount something here that I may have written about before, so please forgive me if I have. It seems pertinent to write of it again now.
Some time ago, I went to a church, and things did not go well at all. Though it was known that I am blind, people did not seem to understand. I do not know what went on in their heads, but they would wave at me without speaking, and expect me to wave back, or respond in some way. Of course, I did not because I had not seen them.
This was badly interpreted. Someone who was a kind of spokeswoman came up to me and told me that I was stand offish and snobby because I never waved at them. I felt aghast at the time, and was close to tears. It got worse though. I was told that I had the sin of pride, which was what was behind my being stand offish. Pride is considered to be one of the worst sins! I was told I needed to go to Confession. I was being warned about my eternal destiny if I carried on like this.
I think that that was the lowest point that I ever reached in my struggle with what had befallen me – blindness and inability to walk, thus being in a wheelchair. I had been struggling with so many things, trying to keep going, not letting my blindness get me down, and in fact treating it as a challenge. I did not ask for sympathy or anything like that. I just tried to get on with it. The struggle WAS great, though. There is no denying that. It was HARD. I was in a fairly hostile place. We were struggling with so much generally, in our lives at home. Just existing day to day was hard beyond belief.
So, this actually nearly finished me off. I could not deal with it. Emotionally and spiritually I was all done. I could cope no more. I felt the extreme cruelty of this.
That evening, we went to the tiny little church out in the wilds of nowhere, that I have written of before. I used to go there often, to find some solitude. I always found peace there. On thus evening I went, completely paralysed and numb with the pain of this latest episode. I did not believe that I could ever feel good again. Many other things had happened to me regarding my disabilities that were very cruel, and I could no longer go on. I was at the end now. I could never rise again. I had no hope whatsoever. I did not even cry. The pain was too bad even to cry.
So, I went into the little church just out of habit almost.. I did not seek anything. I did not expect anything. I was done.
I sat in there, just ‘be-ing’. I was not open to anything at all. I did not really know why I was there. At that point I had lost belief in anything at all. Only the darkness was real to me. It WAS pitch black in there. It was by now, night time. I could feel the pitch black ess around me.
And then, the strangest of things happened. The darkness was putting its arms around me. Protecting me. Loving me. I did not sense it as being GOD, but just the darkness. It comforted me. More than the light could ever have done.
I left that church comforted inside. The pain had gone. And I realised that something wonderful and mystical had happened. It changed my perception of the darkness. For ever. The darkness glowed. The darkness was luminous.
My path then changed. But I will write more about that at another point.
You get up to some stuff at College. At least I did!
I went to Teacher’s Training College when I left school at 18. It was, as it was for most people, my first time away from home for any length of time. It was a shock to my system – not the being away bit, as I could hardly wait to get away from home, but the lectures and the College atmosphere. It was the 60s, and it felt like everything revolved around sex. Including the lectures!
But that was not the stuff I got up to! No, it was ouija boards! Well, one, at least! We had a DABBLE.
A few of us gathered in someone’s room one night, and there we were, wondering what would happen. I don’t remember whose idea it was, but there were some of the guys from the University there as well, and we were all really hyped up! None of us truly believed anything would happen. It was just a lark really. We ended up terrified out of our wits!
We began the “séance” and the glass moved alarmingly across the table. Suddenly, it started to move faster. It was spelling out a name: M……A…..L….C…..O…….M S…….A……R……G………E…….N……..T.
The glass was going crazy. We all gasped. Someone screamed.
I don’t remember how long he had been dead, but here he was, in this room, wanting to communicate with us.
Everyone was so scared that they brought it to a halt. I had never been more fed up in my life! I mean, here was THE Malcom Sargent, and it was the most exciting thing that had happened to me in a long time. And I wanted to talk to him. But everyone chickened out vowing NEVER to do anything like that again!
Spoil spors, I thought. What was College for if it wasn’t for having seances and getting to talk to Malcom Sargent?t
So, here I was, in our new home, alone, with my husband in hospital 100 miles away!
The removal firm that we got turned out to be horrendous. Very angry men who just wanted to be back in Chapel en le Frith again. Even though I had labelled all the boxes with the name of which room they should be in, I ended up with kitchen boxes in the bathroom, bathroom boxes in the kitchen, and so on. It was hell on earth.
I am used to moving house, having done it many times, and normally I am organised, with a small box packed with a kettle, mugs, tea, sugar and spoons, so that at least a drink can be made. However, this time, all that had gone to pot. There was NOTHING. I was desperately thirsty at one point, and could not even get to the tap in the kitchen to get a drink of water. I began to panic. I felt dehydrated. But the boxes were all piled almost to the ceiling in the kitchen. It was impossible to climb over them to get to the sink, and I certainly could not lift them down. I just felt so helpless, and alone. I eventually just managed to get into the bathroom and drink from the running tap.
I almost lost it at this stage – but I knew that I couldn’t lose it. My husband would be brought home in the evening, and he would need a drink, and I would have to care for him 24/7. How, I did not know, at this stage. But all that I wanted was him home.
Eventually, at 9.30 in the evening, John, one of my husband’s ex workmates brought him home. My husband could not put weight on either leg, and to this day I do not know how John got him in. I was unable to help support him because he is a big man, and I had lost all my strength. However, somehow or other, John got him into the living room and into the riser/recliner chair in there. Thank God that we had that because my husband was to spend many weeks in that chair, both living and sleeping in it.
I think John must have sought out the kettle for us, and a few mugs and spoons. He lifted a box for us so that at least we had that. I had not eaten all day, and I went to bed exhausted, aching, and hungry. My husband was on the recliner chair downstairs. He had his wheelchair that he found he could get into himself, and he could just about manage to push himself to the downstairs toilet. Thank God we had one of those! Not all houses do have them, and in fact most semi-detached ones don’t. Ours is a semi-detached house.
I fell onto the bed that night, feeling exhausted but desperate. I laid on the bare mattress as I could not find bedsheets or duvets. I felt so helpless. How was I going to lift all those boxes, and unpack and get the house at least liveable in when the boxes were piled almost to the ceiling? My family certainly was not going to come and help! Our new neighbours did not seem too friendly, and are still not, to this day. There was NO ONE to help us.
Unfortunately it was a Bank Holiday weekend, which meant that no Services were available. And the wheel fell off the new wheelchair ! Now, my husband could not even get to the toilet!
I did ring the Emergency Number of Social Services, but they were all on holiday, and as we were not on their books already, the one person who could have put us in touch with someone, could not. How was I to get my husband to the toilet?
I rang round a few Nursing Homes, asking if they could possibly let us have any bottles. Most said no, but one did in the end agree to let someone bring us some.
Here I was, trying to unpack the things that we needed, and also feed, wash, and toilet my husband! I do not know how I did it, to this day, but I did. We had moved in on the Friday, and Monday was a Bank Holiday, so the shop where they sell things for disabled people was not open. But Tuesday morning saw me at that shop, telling the assistant, in a full shop, that I needed to be served quickly because my husband was at home desperately needing a bottle. Fortunately, they saw the urgency, and the desperate look on my face, and served me before anyone else. They even let me run out without paying, saying I could go back later to pay!
But that was not all that happened. My husband’s wound started leaking green fluid. Something was wrong. We rang the hospital and explained the situation. But we were told that we had to return to the hospital in Stockport, a two and a half hour drive away in the car, because THEY were responsible because they had done the surgery. There was NO way that I could get my husband into my small car and to Stockport. We requested an ambulance to take him, but were refused.
My husband kicked up stink on the phone. We were at the ebd of our tether. There was also the problem that he was not yet registered with a G.P. With us just having moved. The hospital said that they could not deal with his wound because we were not registered yet.
So, I went off in my car, trying to get my husband registered with a G.P. But it was impossible. They refused to register him because he was unable to go to the surgery and go through the formal procedure of filling in a form, and seeing the Practice Nurse. I asked if they could come to him, explaining the situation, but they refused because we were not registered. I went home and delivered this terrible news to my husband. We both sat and cried!
I don’t know how we managed it, but in the end, after kicking up a big stink with a lot of people, my husband finally got a conversation going between our local hospital and the one in Stockport. Our local hospital finally agreed to take responsibility and deal with the infection in my husband’s wound. They also sent an ambulance to get him to the hospital.
This was the first of many emergencies, and an ambulance outside our house at ungodly hours was a common sight.
Two weeks later, I still had not found the proper bedding for my bed, but I had found one duvet cover that I placed on the bed to lie on so that I was not lying on the bare mattress. I eventually found some fleeces that I could put over myself at nights. There was not even the possibility of going to the shops to purchase some bedding because I could not leave my husband.
We also attempted to get help from Social Services, but they said it was my responsibility to care for my husband as I was fit and healthy. The fact was that I wasn’t because, unknown to us, the cancer was taking hold. All that I knew was that I was exhausted all the time, and aching all over. But with all that I was having to do, it seemed normal.
(To be continued)
I am not really sure how to do this but Carol Hopkins has nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thankyou SO much Carol for your kind words about my blog.
I don’t normally do awards because I can’t deal with the process, but I would love to answer these questions. Hope I have done it right! I won’t nominate anyone else as everyone is worthy of an award, but hope you can feel you know me a bit better from my answers to these questions.
Because I love this blog and because you bring so much light to my world I have nominated you for the Sunshine Bloggers Award see https://chopkins2x3.wordpress.com/2019/06/02/sunshine-bloggers-award/
Here are the questions I am posing for you to answer, if you choose to accept the award:
1. What is your favorite thing to write about?
2. What makes you very happy?
3. What makes you feel angry?
4. What experience changed your life or was a pivotal turning point?
5. What is your biggest fear?
6. What advice would you give to people younger than you are?
7. What is the source of your inspiration?
8. What would you like to change about yourself?
9. Which of your character traits are you grateful for?
10. Where would you most like to live?
11. What are you most passionate about?
1. What is your favourite thing to write about?
I think nature is my most favourite thing, but I love writing humour too, so quite a few fleas get into my writing. I also love writing about light and dark, as I am blind
2. What makes you very happy?
My beautiful rough collie dog called Hope makes me very happy. I know she is laughing all the time even though I cannot see her. Things that I can feel make me very happy, with not being able to see, so the wind and the rain can make me ecstatic.
3. Injustice makes me very angry. Seeing people who are already down on their luck being trodden on yet again. I dislike it intensely when people treat others badly just because they are different. That makes me very angry.
4. Having advanced cancer changed my life and was a pivotal point. I found out how strong I could be. I faced something I had always feared, and in fact I felt so amazed at myself that I can honestly say I am glad I had cancer. The chemo left me blind and wheelchair bound, which is very hard, but even that, I am in some ways glad for, for it has given me a lot spiritually
My biggest fear is having to go into a Home. I cannot look after myself and am totally dependent upon my husband, who is also wheelchair bound but not blind. If he should become sick or die before me I would probably have to go into a Home. I am not the sort of person to be in a Home, for I am too lively and free spirited.
6. I would say “Be yourself. You can’t be anybody else.”
7. The source of my inspiration is life itself. And people. And spirituality.
8. I cannot think what I would like to change about myself. I am happy as I am, though this has only come after many years. But now I am at peace.
9. I am grateful that I inherited my mother’s iron will that has seen me through many a trial. And for my sense of fun and humour that comes from my father.
10. There are many places that I would like to live, but it would have to be in the heart of the countryside close to nature and the elements. I am a child of nature. I often crave a hermitage where I could just live in solitude alone with nature.
11. I am most passionate about everyone being able to be themselves without hindrance or attack. I hate barriers, and would like all barriers between human beings to be gone, and for everyone to live in peace with each other, whatever race, colour or creed they are. I want to end all violence.
A flea who jumped on Donald Trump
Bit so hard and gave him a lump
Don started to frown
The lump wouldn’t go down
And he pouted and got the hump
A flea who once joined a brass band
Blew so hard he could not stand
He flew through the air
On a wing and a prayer
Now he lives out in La La Land
A flea who got lost in a bed
Got really fed up and he said
“I’ve got to get out
Without any doubt
Cos otherwise I will be dead”
A flea once lost his pyjamas
And he really didn’t like dramas
He wasn’t a prude
So slept in the nude
And woke shouting “Look I am starkers”
And now the dawn comes again
Last night I watched the sun go down
But now, so soon it is back
Each sunset heralds a new dawn
The darkness passes
Sleepily I greet the new dawn
A blackbird sings
As I do
That life is worth living
And that the darkness will always pass
Sing on my friend
Arms of the dark,
Envelop my body,
All now is still, silence my friend,
Rest in the arms of the darkness,
My soul finds peace again,
Time is no more
In the ancient trees I saw you
Such wisdom as I had never known
Time honed and perfected
As storms raged
Growing from the darkness
Reaching up towards the light
Thrusting through the wildness
Offering yourself to the world
Speaking your wisdom
In the still small voice
Do you hear?
Do you see?
Here lies the body
Covered in the soil of years
Eternal rest grant
Weakness is strength
Is stronger than earthly power
Like the petals of a poppy
And melts all who come by
Teaching just love
Of your small boat
Walk across the water
Deep and dark with your suffering
Let not the darkness suck you down
Look ahead to the sun
Drawing you on
It happened two days before our move. Disaster struck again!
We had been feeling hopeless, and totally overwhelmed by all the packing we had to do. Legally we had to be out by a certain date, chance what, and take possession of the new house on that same date. There is no leeway!
We had accumulated so much stuff, it seemed, and yet our house in Derbyshire was only a very small one. But we loved it. We could see the hills at the back of the house, and at the end of the street. We had always vowed that somehow or other we would retire to the Lake District, and spend our time walking the hills and climbing the mountains. There are five mountains in the Lake District, so plenty to go at! When my father died in 2001, however, we decided to make the move then. Though not to the Lake District. Instead we went to Derbyshire which does not have mountains, but it does have some very demanding hills, so we could still keep our walking boits greased and oiled!!!
We were never happier than when we lived in Derbyshire. We never envisaged leaving. To this day I mourn over having had to leave there. I live in an industrial town now, with a steelworks on our doorstep and a toxic family that causes me much pain. But there is no way out now. We are lucky to have a house at all!
But I digress!
Two days before the move my husband was packing some things out of a drawer in the kitchen, when suddenly, from where I was in the living room, I heard a HUGE bang. I thought my husband had dropped something, and went to see what was happening. My husband was moaning and yelling at me to dial 999 and get an ambulance. He had fallen onto the floor, and could not get up at all. He knew that he had snapped his foot off.
Inside, I panicked. How were we going to move now?
The ambulance arrived, and immediately, they administered nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to my husband. I felt sick inside. The ambulance crew could not get my husband up off the floor and onto a stretcher to get him to the hospital. The reason for this was that the kitchen was very narrow – what we call a galley kitchen. He was wedged between the cupboards on either side of the kitchen. Normally the ambulance crew carried lifting gear, but on this day, for some reason, they had left it back at the depot.
Panic stations! This was worse than being rescued from Helvellyn!
In the end, they gave my husband morphine, and asked him to pull himself up with the cupboards and work surface, as they held him. However, with the kitchen being so narrow they could not position themselves at either side of him. However, eventually they did get him onto a stretcher and into the ambulance, and off it went wuth blue lights flashing and the siren sounding.
I was unable to go with my husband to the hospital because legal things were going on that I had to handle, and all the packing had to be completed during the next two days. I had NO IDEA AT ALL HOW IT WOULD GET DONE!
I was not brilliantly well myself, having been suffering from extreme exhaustion of late, and much aching. I put it down to getting older, but it wasn’t. In fact, I believe that it was the start of my cancer. I had noticed tiny little purplish red spots underneath my skin all over my body. They were called petechiae. I knew that potentially this was very serious, as it indicated that something was happening to the platelets in the blood. However, I put this aside, not believing that anything serious could be wrong me. I come from a family where illness was never accepted, and so I just cast it aside. In hindsight I should not have done that.
I spent the next two days desperately trying to get packed ready for the removal van. It was hopeless. No way could I do it. I was up at two o’ clock in the morning, unable to lift and carry anything any more, walking painfully and slowly out to the skip that we had ordered to be placed on the road outside our house, to put rubbish in, carrying the tiniest and lightest thing, hardly even able to carry that. In the end, I sat in a hot bath and just cried.
I had not been able even to go and see my husband in Stockport hospital which was a fair drive away. We kept in contact via our mobiles. My husband was to have surgery to mend his foot and ankle, but he was unable to have a general anaesthetic for other health reasons. So it was decided that it should be done under an epidural. The problem was that I did not know this, as it was only decided at the last moment. I thought he was going to have a general anaesthetic, and I knew that he could die under it. I said “Goodbye and good luck” to him over the phone, not knowing if I would ever talk to him again! And STILL, we were being pushed legally to get out of the house. My stomach was churning and I was shaking. I was alone with all of this.
My husband was O.K. in the end. The epidural went fine, and his foot and ankle were fixed again, with screws.
I moved on my own. The removal firm was abysmal, and even though they had been to the house and seen how much stuff we had, they said their van was big enough. It WASN’T! I watched them as they hauled my precious two keyboard professional organ onto the skip and smashed it up with an axe. I felt sick!
I am used to pain in my life, but this was the end. And yet, in a way I kind of accepted it. Life had gone drastically wrong, and I just HAD to cope with it. I pushed the pain down and told myself that it didn’t matter that a beautiful organ had been smashed up.
However, at that, I could take no more. I asked the removal men to finish off the next day and told them to do what the hell they liked with things. Our lives were over anyway, or so I felt, by now, and I did not care what happened any more. I said I would see them at the new house the next day.
I set off and drove to Scunthorpe along the motorway feeling powerless to save our lives in any way. I had lost it by now! I had piled the two dogs in the car, and stopped at a layby on the road from Chapel en le Frith, where we lived, to Castleton, and looked out over the valley and said Goodbye to Derbyshire, knowing that we would never return again.
I spent that night in agony of spirit. I had no idea at all of what would happen to my husband, and oh, how I wanted to see him. How I wanted him to be with me. My two dogs were my comfort. We cried together, my head buried in their fur.
The next day found me with two phones to my ear outside the new house – which I had had problems finding, because it was buried in a labyrinth of roads on a housing estate that I did not know – one talking to my husband in the hospital about his discharge that was to happen late that evening! Yet at that moment we had not moved into the house, and legal problems had developed. For some reason the monies had been delayed and we could not have the keys to the house. So the other ear was to a phone talking to our solicitor. The hospital insisted that they must discharge him that day, as they needed the bed, but were instructing me that I MUST purchase a wheelchair for him, as he could not walk AT ALL. So, there I was, the removal men parked outside the house, getting irate because I had not got the keys to the house meaning that they could not start getting the furniture and boxes into the house, and they wanted to be back in Chapel en le Frith that evening, trying to sort out legal matters with the solicitor, deal with the hospital, and find a firm who would take payment for a wheelchair over the phone and deliver it that day to a house that we did not yet own and could not move into! The man from the wheelchair company wanted to know the width of the doors inside the house, but I could not tell him, as I could not even get into the house to measure! Talk about pressure! From ALL sources!
I was feeling a bit fed up by now!!! We had also to arrange for my husband’s discharge from the hospital, that was a two and a half hour’s drive away. They refused to allow him an ambulance as we no longer resided in that area. So we had to try and arrange transport for him. How was this to be done when he couldn’t walk?
I was by now at my wits end, with no one to help me, and no one playing ball.
In the end, my husband contacted an old work mate who agreed to pick him up from the hospital in his car and bring him here. Problem was, my husband could not walk, so his mate John was going to have to support him and almost lift him into the house that was not ours yet and that I could not get into. The wheelchair man delivered the narrowest wheelchair that he had, and deposited it in the drive of the house!
Eventually the monies were released and we finally owned the house. I had to drive across town to the solicitors to pick up the key, leaving the angry removal men outside the house! Once the key was collected I could not remember my way back to the house again, and I got lost!
Eventually I arrived back at the house and could let the removal men in. But that was only the start of even more problems!
(To be continued)5
Ever since I wrote about our climb up Scafell Pike in the Lake District here in England I have been unable to stop thinking about it, and memories have come flooding back. My husband and I have been talking about it, and reminiscing. He found some accounts on the internet of different people’s experiences of climbing Scafell Pike, and he read them to me. Upon hearing them, I could hardly believe that we had done that! It certainly is not a climb for the faint hearted! Had we read those accounts before we did it, I doubt we would ever have done it at all! We discovered that actually, it is not really possible to do it in less than five and a half hours. If anyone reading this has done it in less I would LOVE to hear from you. As I stated in the piece that I wrote, it took us eight hours in all, and this, it seems, is not unusual. It certainly is a tough climb, and not one to be undertaken lightly. As my husband read to me various accounts of people’s trips up this mountain, it brought back so many things that I had forgotten about the climb.
One thing that I do know is that we will never do it again, although we had always intended to. It was our dream to do it again. But, it was not to be. We continued climbing, but one day when we were climbing Helvellyn, disaster struck. It ended our climbing days for ever.
My husband had polio as a four year old, and his left leg was badly affected, leaving him with one leg shorter than the other, and very very thin. There was little muscle in it at all. It did not stop him doing things – until that fateful day when we tried to climb Helvellyn.
We set off up the mountain from Thirlmere, which is on the Ambleside to Keswick road. We got part of the way up it when my husband fell. His leg just wouldn’t hold him up. At first we did not panic. He had fallen in the past and been O.K. However, this time, when he got up and tried walking again, the minute he took a step forwards he fell again! Now, we were really worried. What were we to do?
I had, until then, kept Striding Edge in my mind, wondering whether I would have the guts to cross it. Striding Edge is a very narrow ledge that many people baulk at once they get there, and some decide not to try it. I had been wondering what I would do when I got there. I so much wanted to do it, but did not know if at the last moment I would chicken out! I am no great lover of heights! Certainly not with huge drops attached to them! The gullies on Scafell Pike had been bad enough, but Striding Edge presented me with a much greater challenge.
That day, however, our challenge turned out to be something much greater. How were we going to get my husband back down this mountain?
We decided just to sit down and rest for a while. My husband said that if the worst came to the worst he would have to go down on his derriere!
After a long rest, he tried again, and he managed to take two steps forwards. Then, very very slowly, he took more steps, until eventually we had made our tortuous way down the mountain.
Once down the mountain and safely in the car again, we contemplated what had just happened. We had no idea at all what had gone wrong. The rest of our holiday we did not do much, but when we got home my husband visited his doctor, and eventually was diagnosed with post polio syndrome. Apparently this can strike in later years even though the person has seemed O.K. up until then. With the onset of post polio syndrome, the muscles start to weaken and die in certain places, thus hindering walking. This was disastrous for my husband, for his job entailed a lot of walking.
He took to using walking sticks. That was fine for quite a while. He had physiotherapy, which did little if any good at all. You can’t bring back muscles that have died!
As things eventually deteriorated further, he took to using crutches. But he still fell from time to time, constantly breaking toes, his feet, etc etc. Eventually the doctor told him he would have to give up work. One of the problems with post polio syndrome is fatigue, and it is necessary for the person to pace him or herself throughout the day. So even a sitting down job was not possible.
We were now in a mess! How were we to pay our mortgage? How would we pay our bills? We were terror struck.
We lived in a beautiful area of the country at the time – Derbyshire. We never wanted to leave there. But we needed to sell the house and buy a cheaper one in order to release some money to pay off our debts. Thus, we would be able to manage our household bills.
The house sold quickly. Our next door neighbour bought it, to rent out. There was only one place we could go – back to my hometown. A very cheap housing area compared to the rest of the country. It was NOT a place I wanted to come back to. But we had no choice. We found a house that we could afford to buy. A very lowly house, but one that we can just about live in.
(I will continue this in a separate post, as I am aware that long posts are very difficult to read, and peoples’ time is limited)