Saturday, July 8, 2023

England 14th-015th May

We did little on the Sunday. It seems from map history we went to Niece 2's for a drink, nibbles and cake. Son 1 of theirs was very busy socialising while the seriously disabled son was sleeping. He has never developed proper sleep patterns, in spite of so much parental attempts. 

Monday Sister 2 and her husband picked us up and after a stop off at Morrisons to pick up an ordered made up lunch for five, we travelled north to R's brother in law's sister farm. It is obligatory that we visit her each time we are England. Her husband, a chronic alcoholic died in the mid 20 teens and suddenly she was a merry widow with lots of money. And then she spent. 

Gorse blooming along the way, along with the ubiquitous canola yellow in the fields. 


I've never researched but the property's actual name is Thrunton Mill, on the outskirts of Wittingham, kind of pronounced as Witengem. 


A few metres from the house runs a creek called Swine Burn. 


The creek path. Her late husband once showed me the depression that ran through the property, a former Roman road. 



She leases out the farmland for sheep grazing and has a large modern sheep shed. It is a boring shed, so no photos. I think it was last year when a terrible wind came through and blew down many trees in her small forrest. 


The building here is a sympathetic recent extension with a downstairs bathroom and large bedroom
The covered over spa and outdoor area are used a lot by her family.


This conservatory was added.



She has won local vegetable growing prizes.



I can't remember what was in this outdoor shed. I did ask in the past.


The coal shed.


The AGA is either gas or electric. I only remember it wasn't a solid fuel burner. How disappointing. 


The forest destruction was terrible. She was made an unsolicited offer to clear the mess for a very cheap price. At 74, she is not a fool and quickly found out she can profit from the sale of the fallen timber. It is worth real money, lots. 


We walked up the hill behind the property with R's brother in law. Her dog whose name I forget came with us.


A view of the house down the hill. She has a self sufficient sewerage system but last year it failed and she paid a bomb to two different companies to get it working as it should. 



Speculating, but I think Thrunton Mill must have a wheat mill to make flour. Usually such endeavours need water and that would have come from the creek. These were guessed to be very old meat hooks in the living room ceiling but now that is doubtful. They are very old hooks though.



In the conservatory after our lunch Sister 2 and her sister in law cut out patterns to make teddy bears. I didn't understand what they were doing, beyond cutting along lines.




It was a lovely day in an historic rural area. Is that an oxymoron? Isn't all of England historic? 

Oh gosh, where has the time gone? We only have a week left and so much to do, least of all my medical problems.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Seal Morning

Does anyone remember reading the book called Seal Morning. Maybe the author's name was Rowena? I think I was quite young when I read it, more than once perhaps.

I read a summary a few days ago and it did not gel in my head. Woman moves to a Scottish crofter cottage, run down and without services. Summary says she moved there with her mother. I remember there being otters, but no mention of otters in the book summary. 

Yes, I could do more checking online and reach a conclusion, but that wouldn't be much fun for a blog post, and not give you a chance to think about the book and tell me what you know, off the cuff. 

What if my defective memory is of perhaps two different books? 

Another book that really grabbed me around that time was one by Gillian? called The Common Years? It was quite a fascinating book focused on her dog walking in Hampstead Heath. I wonder if Steve has read this book.  

Thursday, July 6, 2023

The personal

This is me undergoing my own therapy, as writing did does for my mother. 

Because Hippie Niece contracted Covid, we had to cancel our booking to see Imaginator. I asked and received a prompt ticket refund. We rebooked a week and a half later and she and her two twin five year old daughters, the cafe latte twins stayed over Monday, the night before. 

It is a terrible thing to dislike members of your own family but at their ages of two to three, we almost did dislike them. They have grown up. One who would hide behind her mother when any attempt at communication began is no longer like that. The other less shy one is maturing nicely. They are a little behind in their good school but help is there. Their speech should be clearer at five years old. Spoken sentences begin well but trail off at the end to be not understandable. They were having speech therapy but I am not sure that they are now. Anyway, they behaved quite well while here and were great fun at times. I am not their parent and it is not my place to mention their diets. My head was screaming, 'Stop eating all that shit rubbish'. 

After a long swim in the pool and spa, showers to get rid of the chlorine, we took them all into town for an early dinner to Brunetti's. I ate little, and did not have wine (Wow, this must be serious) as I was distracted by umpteen phone calls and messages.

Mother has spent two weeks lounging around in bed in a private hospital. Umpteen diagnostic tests were performed and the her medications adjusted. The general conclusion was extreme anxiety was cause of her problems and we all agree. Unfortunately no matter what was prescribed and Mother tried, she reverted to her old and bad drugs. The doctor in charge of her care put it bluntly to her. We have done every test we can and you are physically fine and better than you should be at your age. You are suffering from extreme anxiety and you will not take the drugs we want you to and we have nothing more to offer you. I will add that she is very frail.

She had banged her head when showering, so another day or so for a brain scan to be done. She was advised to go to the rehab hospital where she had been before but she refused and wanted to go home. That did not work out so well as two days after being home what I suspect is a bedsore on her bum was troubling her. 

The third day, her legs would not work to get her out of bed. ABI Brother, her carer, called an ambulance and she was taken to a nearby public hospital. At about 4pm when R, Hippie Niece and the girls were swimming around I took a call from a doctor at the hospital. Your mother is not doing well. Her blood pressure is dropping rapidly and we can't get it back up again. It might be a good idea to come and see her. Yes, it was a very loaded statement. I asked the blunt question and I did not receive a direct answer. I tried again, should we see her within hours or days? Hours was the advice I received. 

Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo are on holidays in Western Australia and immediately started to make plans to return on a two am flight from Perth back home. I told them to hold off until I had seen her. After our dinner out R and I drove the forty minutes to the hospital and left the niece and hers at home here. Meanwhile I  had contacted ABI Brother and Tradie Brother and Ex Sis in Law I told them to hold off until I saw her. I dealt with calls from Mother's grandchildren. It was a nightmare.

The hospital doctor had just come onto duty and was taking bloods etc and filling in a huge amount of information on a large screen. Nurses were fussing around. Mother was delirious, but still making us laugh. We had met Ex Sis in Law at the hospital and she comforted Mother as much as she could. Mother asked her to check her suitcase and make sure there was some barley sugar and beer in her case. Mother hasn't had an alcoholic drink in years. 

Bone Doctor called from Busselton, WA, to seek an update. Mother's doctor kindly spoke to her in medical language. I did hear him say, 'When I walked into the room, I did not see a dying woman'. Her blood pressure had recovered but the cannula in her arm had collapsed. Her arms with covered in bruises from various skin penetrations by medical staff. It was later confirmed she had a blood infection and an anaesthetist would be needed  to insert another cannula so that antibiotics could fed straight to veins. 

We were home by 9.30 and the girls were already asleep with Hippie Niece dozing off in the lounge room. 

The next day we went with Hippie Niece to see the light show at Cocklands Docklands and then lunch afterwards.

Ex Sis in Law in law and ABI Brother saw her the next day. ABI thought she was pretty coherent. Ex Sis in Law said she had improved over yesterday but still far from right. Sis in Law found out more information as I have partly stated above. It is a rough time for Ex Sis in Law as her life long best friend and bridesmaid at her and Tradie Brother's wedding some thirty plus years ago is in the same hospital nearing death. Her death is taking time and she pleads that she just wants to go.

After an unrelenting barrage of calls and messages from Sister holidaying in Western Australia, often via Bone Doctor, in spite of my earlier opinion that there was no need for her to rush home. Eventually in exasperation I sent a message to Bone Doctor telling Sister to come home. I did not want to be responsible for her not seeing her mother alive for the last time. I expect she is in transit now. 

A report this Wednesday from Tradie Brother who visited her today sees more improvement and some early physiotherapy. Tradie Brother was assured she would not be sent home until she was properly up and mobile. 

Mother has never been a fan of public hospitals and in my opinion her care in this public hospital has been superior to what she experienced in the private hospital system. Early days of course, but a big thank you to the staff of Casey Hospital whose care and patience has gone beyond expectations. 

PS After the initial doctor conversation and that it might be hours rather than an extended period and I passed it on, there were wet eyes and cracking voices. Is this really the end of old and impotent but still pack leader? It seems not quite yet. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

England 13/05

Last year we gave accommodation to R's great nephew and his betrothed. They were very agreeable house guests and we did take them out to the Dandenong Ranges and a couple of restaurants. They cooked for us once and they were no bother. I think it was October or September and still a bit cool. They bought a couple of warmer items while here. They were the best house guests ever, even if they told us what their plans were. Well, they didn't really plan until the morning of the day. From here they journeyed north along Australia's east coast before going west to Darwin and then on Asia.

They offered to take us out for a day. They are great company and it was nice to be with young people who weren't talking about ailments and old people's stuffs, but rather their futures. L, the woman, has a rather old car but that was fine. J doesn't have a car. He sold his BM Trouble You before he came to Australian on their world trip and has not needed one since. Like all drivers in the UK in my experience, L drove fast within limits and competently without hesitation. Soon after we left they were again away in eastern Europe for over a month. They will settle down but they don't feel a need to rush. 

This time we really did visit Cullercoats.

We had a nice cup of coffee outdoors at a cafe with them having something more exotic and fluffy. 






We motored on to Whitley Bay where J's mother, R's niece 2 and her husband and one of their teenage sons joined us for a fish and chips lunch. 




More on this place at Whitley Bay in a future post. 



A little of J in the passenger seat and a glimpse of L in the rear view mirror. They are a handsome couple.


They took us on to weekend market at Tynemouth, under a grand railway station roof. 


The market was really good with many original works of art



One of my wants when visiting Newcastle was to travel on the Metro train line. I didn't but I saw enough of the station, the train and the heavy loading and unloading to understand. It is a very basic train with hard seats, somewhat old but an efficient people mover. 


It was a great day. L dropped us back to Sister 3's. My what a big boiler she has. This heats water for tap hot water and for the radiator central heating.


The kitchen light was a bit trippy. One day a man arrived from the council and with an app on his phone, he checked the the smoke detectors and the fire alarm system inside her flat with his app. The smoke detector's alarms went off, all at the control of his phone. Big brother has arrived.


Next morning a layer of mist lay over the River Tyne if you were up early enough, and I was. 

Monday, July 3, 2023

Monday Mural

I am joining with Sami and others for Monday Mural.

This photo is dated November 2021. Clearly I have a reserve of mural photos. On second glance I found it quite interesting. There is a lot to see in the mural but if the artist is trying to say something, it passes me by. If the artist is painting for fun, that is fine with me. 

Sunday, July 2, 2023

May 11th - 12th

Farewell to York. Our train passed by Durham and its cathedral. We visited the cathedral during a visit to England before the last.

Arriving back in the city of bridges over the river and tunnels under the river.

It was good to be at Sister 3's, with some space around us. She is at the top here somewhere.

With its fabulous views.


I've never seen a lift like this before. Obviously there was a second lift to take people to the even numbered floors.


The next morning like every morning when at Sister 3's, we found a reason to visit the local shops. This sticking out 'architectural feature' is at eye height, just ready to kill you if you were careless. It was worse than it appears here. Apparently the area was quite nice, until the tower Sister 3 lives in was built and then to quote, 'The immigrants came'. The area was the dirtiest part of Newcastle I had seen, but one morning clearly the council workers had cleaned the litter up and it didn't look so bad. 


Sister 3's cat wasn't very friendly and would at times swipe at my ankles as I walked past him. I don't think he liked invaders in his kingdom


Sister 3 drove us to Sister 2's bungalow which is being renovated, and so she and he husband could not offer us accommodation. That was pretty well all we did that day. An hour after being there, Sister 3 took a phone call from her son in law who was caring after his young boy with severe autism. The boy had an explosive bowel episode, all over the carpet, the television screen and himself. He was very distressed by what happened and screaming. Sister 3 went to the rescue and returned home two and a half hours later. The boy's parents are on difficult road. Meanwhile Sister 2's husband had driven us back to Sister 3's place.   

My photo undersells the dodgy construction of the new house next door to Sister 2's. It was a disgrace and I wonder how it has been allowed. 


The next day we bussed to town and met the brother and sister of R's cousin in Chesterfield. If you are confused or not keeping up, I don't blame you. The brother and sister we met at The Goose are also obviously R's cousins. Sister 1 joined us later with her partner. It went well and I took some nice photos of the cousins and R. 


Sometimes I am amused by simple things. 




I've photographed and written about this civic structure in the past. I forget now and feel no need to look at information again. 

Sister 1's partner had driven into the city and parked at a commercial parking station. He dropped us back at Sister 3's high rise flat. 

Bumping another car

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