A Time to Remember

I know many of you have followed along with my recent adventures courtesy of those more organised bloggers, Laurie over at Life on The Bike and Alys at Gardening Nirvana who put up posts of such loveliness all I could do was hit the ‘Re-Blog’ button and call it done.

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We had talked about a reunion ever since our first meet up in 2015 and seriously planned this adventure for a year.  It seemed a comfortable way off, but fortunately, at the six month mark I had chosen the holiday stay venue, booked the house and settled in to start making ‘welcome to New Zealand gifts’.  Two months later of course various accidents pulled me up short and curtailed my arty crafty activities and then time curled itself into a ball and hurtled past me into the future.

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And suddenly there I was standing early one evening at an airport gate searching the exiting passengers for a tiny Canuck who was arriving via Australia.   The following afternoon there I was again, searching through another lot of exiting travellers for the weary Americans who had missed their connecting flight in Auckland – due to some doggie treats that some surly, inhospitable customs officer had decided to study in minute detail.

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Just like that, there we were, feeling as if absolutely no time had passed since we last threw ourselves into each others arms in warm and elongated hugs.  Friends of the heart – nothing to do with proximity or commonality or any of the other usual ways of making friends.  Just four women who started off reading each others blog posts, liking, commenting, following each other around other blogs, sharing stories, deepening this growing, random connection over a period of months, morphing into years.

Feb 26 Dinner

Back then, in those early days, someone suggested a face to face meeting on Skype.  It turned into a voice to voice meeting, as Skype was uncooperative on that particular day.   But there were other group video calls and individual calls and letters and cards……  All interspersed with blog posts and comments which built into a long, ongoing conversation and burgeoning friendship.

It’s a modern form of pen-pals really isn’t it.  Blogging and video calls make it easier to reach beyond the old pairing of pen-pals to include a small group.  Reading blog posts soon informs how you relate to the writer.  One of us was told surely you can’t trust what people write, they could be pretending to be anybody.    Not so – we are women of some life experience – it’s pretty easy to pick up when there are inconsistencies, falsities or pretense.  Our intuitive alarm bells will ring when something jars.  There was no ringing of alarm bells – well not for me anyway.

So I went off to America in 2015 to spend a couple of weeks with these gals.

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When it was their turn to come to me on what they all referred to as ‘a once in a life time trip’ I wanted them to meet my small family, see something of the beauty of my country and also get to do what we all wanted to do, which was spend time together.

If we had some fun while doing so, so much the better!

My eldest daughter and her partner Steven arrived via a drive down the West Coast with his E-Bikes attached to the car and his shortwave radio gear stowed in the skybox.  My youngest daughter Danella opened her home to the travellers as mine is too small to accommodate any more than it already has.

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I gave them all a couple of days in Dunedin to get their feet on the ground and heads on relatively straight and then whisked them off to a spacious rented holiday house in Wanaka, four hours away from the coast, up in the mountain plateau, near to The Adventure Capital of New Zealand, Queenstown.

We had another eight fabulous days together and were joined by Alys’ husband Mike for the last four days.    My daughter remarked that the group felt complete when he arrived.

Alys and Mike at gondola March 4

We had endless fun

After dinner dancing

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and then, all too soon it was done.

Alys and Mike flew off for a brief visit to Auckland before returning to their home in San Jose.  Laurie stayed another two days in Queenstown before flying to Melbourne for a week in Australia.  Joanna and Steven drove back to Picton and the ferry to Wellington to return to their home and Kelly hopped a plane back to Canada after a month away from her home and kitties.  Danella returned to full time work – still sometimes on crutches, still with two metal plates and two screws in her leg, but getting stronger all the time and I returned home to Orlando who was in complete meltdown over being abandoned into a cattery for ten days and who is determined to never let me out of his sight ever again.

And Siddy went to bed.

Though the reunion is over, the warmth, the love, the friendship, all lives on.

Which all goes to show, we never know what might happen when we start to blog.  These friends, and all of you who gather around this blog, are dear to me and enrich my life in so many ways – thank you all, I am so very glad you are here!

*Photo credits belong to various members of the group.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

Siddy Goes On Holiday

Hello friends!  We are home, settled back into normal life and Siddy has pretty much slept for the past few days.  He wakes up with me for first breakfast, followed soon after by morning walk and second breakfast.  He snoozes until it’s time for elevenses.  He takes a wee nap until time for twoses rolls around, which is followed by another little snooze  until first dinner.  A short game of fetch follows second dinner and then he takes himself off to bed for the night.

You may well ask why is this busy little pup so very tired?  Well, you all know we went on holiday yes?  The previous twelve posts have all dealt with this momentous event in some form or other – Gosh, I hope you aren’t bored with all this just yet……  for right now it’s Siddy’s turn to share his adventures.

Because yes, of course, Siddy came on holiday too!

Every day there was greeting and companioning duty to be done

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And breakfasts to be had.  Here he is offering assistance to Kelly with her breakfast

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He rode in the car – a lot!   Here he is tapping on the window because, don’t you know,  tapping makes the window roll down

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He had lunch at a pub in Alexandra

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Helped Steven with barbecuing the evening feast at the holiday house

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Siddy loved the holiday house.  It had many doors and a garden that wrapped right around the house.  He could often be seen trotting out one door, trotting through the garden, past windows and other doors until he chose which door to enter back in by to greet everyone again.   It was such fun!!

He went out almost daily for coffee, but preferred to wait for the snacks to come

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He went for early morning walks with his mumma when the moon was still up and nearly everyone else snoozed on

Early morning walk March 4

He was first assistant to Laurie when she sorted her photos and wrote her blog posts – it is very doubtful that she could have put up so many great posts without his assistance

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He lunched at Speights Ale House, where he patiently waited for the food to come and his good manners were remarked upon by other diners

Siddy at Speights Alehouse March 8

He enjoyed his final lunch in Queenstown at the Frankton Arms – after enjoying a fortifying glass of chardonnay

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He companioned everybody in turn.  Here he is with Laurie, keeping her out of trouble

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And he rode in the car every day.  This is the best part of car riding, wind and smells and the joy of speed……..

He’s one worn out little pup – but he sure did have a great holiday with all his family and new friends, he didn’t want to say ‘Goodbye’

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But he did, so it’s goodnight to all,  and thanks for the great memories ❤

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

*There’s one more Blogging Reunion post to come from me and then it is back to the art room.

** Photos are courtesy of the holiday makers whose cameras were constantly clicking away when mine wasn’t.  Thanks darlings!

Counting Down

Blogging is a wonderful thing isn’t it folks?   We all start our blogs off with  a certain outcome in mind, a certain reason for putting up those first posts and I wonder how many find those initial thoughts and intentions are changed or widened and deepened quite soon after that innocent and hopeful  beginning.  I bet none of us thought when we started out that what would really happen is we would build a community around our blogs, make new friends and sometimes even get to have real adventures with them.

In just two weeks two bloggers from the USA and one blogger from Canada will make their travel worn and weary ways to my little home in New Zealand for a celebratory reunion.

We all met through our blogs here on WordPress.

Alys from Gardening Nirvana

Born To Organize

Kelly from Boomdeadda

Laurie from Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things

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Three years ago we all gathered in Washington DC and met up for the first time in the flesh.  There was a core group, which included Julia from Defeat Despair, but we also got to meet and spend some time with other bloggers albeit briefly and of course there was Lisa from Arlingwords who toured us enthusiastically and knowledgeably around Washington DC – it was a fabulous time filled with amazing women!

You know, I got to see many amazing things on that trip – my first to the States – but the memories that stay most strongly with me are of the people.  My friends of course, and on one memorable afternoon, the many friends of one of those friends, but also left deeply etched into my impressions are of all the folk I encountered incidentally and accidentally and in passing.  Everyone was so NICE –  friendly, interested, well spoken, polite.  They all happily posed for photographs, took photos of us, for us and seemed genuinely pleased to meet someone with a strange accent from a little known place near (or in one case IN)  Australia.   Everyone said ‘Thank you!’ so convincingly I arrived back home saying ‘THANKyew!’ too.

Now it’s my turn to return the hospitality.  It’s a smaller group sadly, but still it is set to be great fun.  We will spend just two full days in Dunedin before travelling ‘up Central’ to the mountain plateau town of Wanaka which will be our base for nine days and from which we will explore the beautiful places all around the area.  While there’s an unending choice of things to do and see I believe there will also be some crafting time and jigsaw puzzling time and crocheting time.  We are having a very hot summer this year and currently the temperatures are the highest that have ever been recorded in that area  (I’m hoping that by the end of February they may have dropped a little)  so sitting quietly creating things might be all some of us can aspire to.

There will be more than just the four of us going on this little adventure.  My ED, Joanna and her partner Steven are driving down from Wellington to be part of the convoy that heads west into the high plateau.  My YD, Danella, recovering well with her mangled leg will also be coming, but not driving.  Siddy won’t be driving either, though his head will be out the front passenger window and his backside on someone’s knee at all times…….

An added extra will be the arrival of Alys’ husband Mike flying in from California for a couple of days as we wind down our time together.

It is going to be FABULOUS!

Before we go up country there will be a couple of days to explore Dunedin City.

There’s this fun trike/ motorbike that takes four people at a time up and around the hills of Dunedin to admire the views with ‘Experience Dunedin Tours’ This photo from their website experiencedunedin.com

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There’s a chance to check out the model for this proposal at the museum – this is my favourite plan ever for a city in this country  (Yes, there is no sound)  It has already progressed from being a thirty year plan to being possible in just six!  I may yet live to see it soaring majestically at the head of our beautiful harbour

On March 1st  we head up and west to the Lakes District and the heart of Tourism Capital  We are hoping to fit in a few fun adventures between exploring gold mining towns and tourist towns and wine and cheese tasting;  There will be barbecues preceded by margaritas and lake paddling accompanied by Siddy.  There might be gondola rides up the sides of a mountain, kayaking, bungy jumping or a more sedate visit to a lavender farm.  There might even be some adventure cycling for some fit folk………..  There WILL be wineries and cheeseries and lots of food.  There may even be some shopping.  Mostly there will simply be the chance to enjoy each other’s company – how fabulous is that?

We’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

On Light Catchers and Other Things

I found the ensuing post in my drafts folder.  It was written in October 2017, just before I fell over my own feet and the legs of my easel and started the ball rolling on three months of ‘failure to stay upright’ events for myself and my family which you mostly know about and suffered through with us.

Now safely on the other side and having been uplifted by the wonderful community that gathers about this blog throughout, I want to share this news, aged as it is, with you and introduce you to some great folk, whom I do hope you will wander off to say hello to – tell them I sent you and you’ll be in like Flynn  😀

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Some months back, deep in the heart of my winter, Susanne and I got into a bit of a discussion on her blog about patios and light catchers and weathering and as a result of that conversation I sent a light catcher off to Canada.   Susanne was going to hang it in her little summer garden and we were going to undertake an experiment, observing how the components behaved in an outdoor situation.   It never arrived.   Please do go here to read her beautifully written and wickedly funny piece on time and tides and missing light catchers and what eventually happened…………

While waiting to hear from Susanne – and expecting the worst – I made more light catchers.  This is the only one that made it into the gift shop.  It’s called ‘Summer Garden’ and I love the colour mix…….

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The others were given away.  And eventually I even received a commission from Luanne to make a coral one – you read about that in the previous post.

Also included in the long forgotten draft was a little story about the inspiration for she who is variously known as YD or the Official Photographer or even by her own lovely name of Danella – the inspiration for her living-room do-up.  An event that some of you may recall from last year.   It’s important to still post this as I promised Derrick I would and life got terribly in the way of me keeping my promises for the past four months…….   

Any hoo – the inspiration came from a photograph my friend Derrick sent me of his beautiful garden.  (I say ‘his’, but the garden designer and curator is really his wife, the lovely Jackie, and Derrick’s role is, I am led to believe, chiefly that of flower dead-header and chief photographer and eater of lovingly prepared evening meals.)  I requested a copy of one particular shot that had captivated me and Derrick kindly and generously sent me three different prints.  At first sight of a particular one, YD’s eyes lit up and per-ping it was off to live at her place.  Here it is seen on the wall in this previously unrevealed view of her living room, taken from the sofa

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And a closer up shot, in case your eyes are as poor as mine……

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Which, on reflection, I see doesn’t help at all – the light being on as it was a dull morning when I requested the photo be taken STAT!  Any how,  that lovely pink and green photographic print was the inspiration for all this

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Which I’m sure you recall…….    Various comments about the state of depletion of the wine rack not withstanding, this lovely room has been almost entirely her only venue of residence since breaking her leg and fracturing her ankle on that unfortunate night at the end of last November.  And said wine rack has been variously refilled and emptied and refilled again  – so it’s just as well we had made it pretty for her.  All thanks to Jackie and Derrick’s fabulous garden inspiration at the Old Post House in the UK.  Please, allow  me to urge you to pop in and say hello to these two charmers, Jackie’s already begun planting up her spring garden and the first daffodil has shyly bloomed and Derrick has his camera ready to capture whatever comes next.

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Now we are back to the present day.  We’ve had a largish fire, whipped up by a violent wind that preceded the arrival of a weather conflagration that was somewhat alarming as a tropical storm moving south through the country met an elongated east-west weather system originating from Antarctica right over the South Island and dumped an extreme amount of water in a relatively small area over a 24 hour period…..  It put the fire out (yay!) and flooded the usual places (boo!) and cooled the air down (yay!).  It went from 35C to 16C in 36 hours.  So, this is the new look Summer here in the Riviera of Antarctica folks.

Now that it is summer here and winter there, my friends in Alberta, Canada and Virginia, USA and San Jose, USA are busy rifling through their wardrobes to find some appropriate clothing to pack into their suitcases …………..  Come prepared for anything I say!  Three weeks to go and we’ll have kicked off our little bloggers reunion gathering!

And that my friends is a very big “YAY!!”

Here’s Siddy, before the storm,  wondering what that delicious aroma is floating through the air, from somewhere not here ………..  Mmmmmm B-B-Q!

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Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Back On-Line Again

Surely there’s a song in that title – the closest my in-head song repertoire is coming up with is Willie Nelson et al being ‘Back on the Road Again’  – can you do any better?  Share a link in the comments if you can.

It’s been an interesting few months – regular readers and friends on Facebook have the gist of it, with a lot of falling over that began at the end of October (me) and continued on at the end of November (YD) dealing with the results of those, Deep Vein Thrombosis (me) and breaks and fractures (YD) –  interspersed with losses and Christmas and slow healing and excessive and unusual heat, plus thunderstorms and downpours more suited to the tropics than the Riviera of Antarctica…….  and let’s not forget a laptop that completely gave up the ghost on Christmas Day followed soon after by a mobile that went out in sympathy leaving me briefly but entirely devoid of any contact with the outside world.

When life goes south on you it is always a wonderful opportunity to become mindful of how many ways you are loved and supported.  We have had many opportunities to be mindful and grateful.  At the top of my list is my eldest daughter who dropped her life and flew in to care for her sister for the first week she was home from hospital.  And when my phone was declared deceased immediately funded a new one.  Second is the phenomenal rallying around and support offered to YD by her friends and work place as she recovers and after 50 days at home begins to take her first tentative steps back into the world in a moon-boot.

Next comes my phenomenally generous and kind ‘friend who blogs’ the amazing Alys over at Gardening Nirvana who sent a note that left me speechless along with the money for a new lap top.   I was left silent and humbled in the face of such powerful generosity of spirit!

I’m also grateful for an understanding of therapies and foods that feed the body and soul and hasten healing.  I’m grateful for the ability to look at incidents like this and see a bigger picture.  I’m happy that YD and I can laugh at ourselves and support each other even if it is like a couple of old crocks.

But my goodness after almost three months of on and off trauma I was tired out and so was poor Siddy – he has been so busy with visiting and caring and helping out, his little eyes just droop as soon as we get to a ‘sitting’ or ‘waiting’ part of the day.  We were both longing for a day at home in cooler temperatures.  And today we got our wish at last.  Good things ALWAYS arrive if you are patient enough!

So here we are – to say ‘Happy New Year’ even if it is three weeks late and to thank you all for those comments, emails and messages that have kept me buoyed up and forward looking even on days when I wasn’t.

The tiny courtyard garden has thrived this summer and in a few quiet moments we have enjoyed visiting it no matter the weather or time of day.  This was us taking a short break one evening just before getting the hose out ……..

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Siddy’s new safety gate arrived and was quickly assembled so we can have the kitchen door open and enjoy any passing breeze (and passing people won’t get mobbed and harassed by an over enthusiastic puppy who is convinced they are there just to see him).  Orlando doesn’t think much of it however

O at door Jan 18

I also found time to gather, combine and make up a light catcher and sent it off on its journey to its new home – a delicious combinations of pinks and oranges and coppery hues; sea jasper beads, tiny coral beads, seashell pieces and masses of crystals

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And as days return slowly to a normal rhythm I have even begun to work once more in my art room, stay tuned for anything coming out of there.  And my mind turns also to the upcoming reunion of friends who first met up in Washington DC almost three years ago and who first met through reading each others blog posts here on WordPress.  Stay tuned for more on that…….

Thanks for coming by today and catching up with us here, I love that you do!

 

Sew Chet’s Secret Santa 2017

When I signed up for Sewchet’s annual Secret Santa playground last November I was thinking only about the fun I would have making up a package for my recipient.  I had no clue who I might be assigned as I had never seen anyone from this part of the world on Sheila’s blog comments.  As it was I received a charming lady in Auckland who is a blogger, but not on WordPress and who was completely unknown to me.  I stalked her blog for several days hunting for clues and found enough to put together a few items I thought she might enjoy.   For some reason I felt an urgency, a need to commit to which items I would send quickly and to get the parcel organised well ahead of time and as it turned out my intuition was well tuned up.  I became unwell, which slowed me down.  I recovered, finished making and gathering and sent the parcel off the same day my daughter ended up in hospital with her smashed up leg…..   Once that incident occurred time evaporated and had the parcel not been completed and sent the fun and excitement of being a Secret Santa might have become a nightmare.

In all of that time I never once thought about the fact that I too would be a recipient of someone else’s fun at being a Secret Santa.   So imagine the excitement when my delivery man turned up with a package from South Africa!

At first I tried to give it back to him, I don’t know anyone in South Africa, it couldn’t have been for me.  He frowned and shook his head “No,” he said “it’s definitely for you.”  We are on first name basis, he knows who I am, I do a fair amount of on-line shopping…….  I checked the address label – there was my name.   I felt a little shock of recognition “Oh!”  I said.  “I think it’s my Secret Santa.”  I beamed at him.  Bless him, he beamed back.  “Merry Christmas!” he said.

Suddenly Christmas day was going to be fun.  We were on a no presents year this Christmas, saving instead for a special event in late February.  I had a few sneaky things put aside for YD and a special chew for Siddy and some catnip for Orlando and now there was a Secret Santa package for me.  Just three days to wait!

Then, first thing Christmas morning my computer died.  Dead as a dodo!!  My world as I knew it gone…..  I knew it was coming – Windows 10 has been a complete pain for months and now it seems it has made its final grand gesture.  Kaput!!   There’s a dear tech man who is determined to try and resurrect it – he can be seen heartily banging away on the various parts of it, adding or subtracting things, muttering under his breath and looking for clues on the internet – he grows paler and more fraught with the passing days but he says to not lose all hope just yet……

I’m writing this on my daughter’s laptop.  It took me three days to be able to break into my WordPress account from another computer.  It may still not let me post this – we’ll see  🙂   But if you have missed seeing me since Christmas, this is why.

Anyway, I got to open my gift from Joey at Little Black Dog SA .   I was delighted with the first package  – who doesn’t need their very own Christmas Gnomes?

 

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That’s enough of me grinning like an idiot – but you can imagine that was how opening the rest went…….  lots of smiles and oohs and aahs…..

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There’s teas and chocolates and pot holders and crochet coasters and washi tape………. and somewhere in there is a beautiful blue covered notebook and a book of different patterned and sized post-it notes.

Look at this gorgeous South African yarn and beneath it is a bamboo paintbrush holder especially made for my paintbrushes – who wouldn’t smile!

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I felt so spoiled – Joey you did good and made the day really special!  Thank you  🙂

And to finish, here’s a very unglamorous picture of me and Siddy.  He’s waiting for his gift reveal – a large rawhide bone wrapped about with shards of chicken jerky – a most opulent Christmas chew that has given many hours of gnawing pleasure

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Thank you Sheila for initiating so much fun – I’ll be in again next Christmas, won’t you come and join us too?

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did.  I’ll be visiting you too, though maybe not chatting so much until the computer woes are over.

Season’s Greetings One and All!

I’ve been mostly absent from my favourite blogs, even more absent than usual from Facebook and other social media platforms and playing catch-up in my daily life for a few weeks or so – did you notice?

Sometimes it just seems that outside influences and the vagaries of life simply get together and decide to invade what is otherwise a peaceful and well modulated existence.  But let’s be honest.  It all started with not paying attention…….

I was hurrying.  My mind already several tasks ahead of where my feet were going and in that unmindful state I tripped over the leg of my easel – you know that one sitting just to the left of the doorway encumbered with the 140cm wide, still unfinished painting

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Hurrying past, I tripped, I lurched into the door of the art room at such speed I bounced off it and hit the opposite side of the doorway.  Bang, bang!  I knew I was going down and I knew I was going down hard.  You know how time slows at these moments and everything is really clear and you have time to think things through.  I’d whacked my left arm really hard and now I knew I was going to do the same to my right.  Don’t break, please don’t break.  I was alone.  My daughter had just left town visiting her sister for a few days.  My neighbours were away for the weekend.  Don’t break anything.  Don’t break anything……  I went down full force onto my right leg as I spun through the doorway and crashed my head into the opposite wall.  It’s only a little house – there’s no wide expanses here to topple gracefully into and rise again unharmed.

I lay face down on the floor trying to figure out which bits hurt and could I move them.  Siddy was delighted.  He bounced around me making quick darts in and dancing back flapping one paw in the air.  A lovely new game.  “No!”  I said.  He darted and bounced some more.  “Stop!” I cried.  He smiled at me and bounced some more.  “You’re no (beeped) Lassie!”  I snarled as I tried to roll over in the awkward space and find some way of sitting up.  My head hurt.  My arm hurt.  My leg really hurt.  Eventually I gathered myself from doorway and walls and decided nothing was broken.  Sitting up having become impossible I pushed myself up from the floor in a complex series of steps that kept head, arm and leg attached to body sufficiently for me to crawl – yes crawl – into a slightly larger open space where I felt the need to have a wee lie down for a few minutes.  By this time the puppy had ceased his invitation to play and, having watched this new activity with some interest, bustled off and returned with his favourite soft toy.  I was invited to partake in a game of fetch which I again declined reminding him that he had a long way to go to catch up with the rescuing abilities of Lassie.   He wasn’t bothered.

Eventually I got myself up and inspected.  Nothing was broken, there was no blood.  I was shaken and sore and felt just a tad ridiculous I decided.  Thank heavens no-one was here to witness that little display of indignity!  I felt so fortunate I played a short round of victory fetch with the pup while I swallowed arnica pillules for shock and rubbed arnica cream onto the sore bits.

I was however pulled up sharply from my rushing about and forced to spend the next few days resting up as the bruises slowly came out and the aches and pains settled down.  A trip to the chiropractor graunched the bones back into their proper  places and we were getting back into normal life when the swollen left leg became too painful to walk on and I knew I’d gotten myself a blood clot –  a ‘Deep Vein Thrombosis’ a thing that has always made my GP’s panic given the family history.   A quick call to my homeopath and I was in her rooms and we were sorting a plan to fix that little sucker.  It’s the first time I’ve refused to consider allopathic care for a blood clot – I’m not a fan of warfarin or hospitals and that is the usual route when I get a DVT.  I’m happy to report that within three days the leg was completely restored to health and I was striding out again.  No side effects, except perhaps for a rather grumpy mood for several days.  I used the time to work on getting as many Christmas cards made as I could manage and my Sewchet organised ‘Secret Santa’ parcel completed, wrapped up and ready for sending.  It includes this delicious bamboo-cotton crochet wrap

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With just six cards still to make I ran out of time.  My youngest daughter, returned from visiting her sister and back at work, took her turn at a nasty fall and not being as fortunate as me, was outside in the middle of the night, looking up not down and tripped over a very high speed bump in a narrow University back lot lane, broke her leg in two places and fractured the ankle – all on the same leg.

I took this photo when I finally found her.  She hasn’t slept for close to 36 hours except for the induced sleep of the operating table………  She’s on a morphine drip, still feeling the pain and just wants to go home…….

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What followed was three nightmarish days in a less than happy hospital environment during which she had surgery and post-operative recovery followed by one full day of black comedy waiting for the hospital to organise it’s bits of paper and allow her to leave.  From 9 am until 5.30 pm she practised patiently waiting while being told it would ‘just be another half hour, we just need to……’    Siddy and I practised patiently waiting less effectively at her home.  But eventually we were rewarded and so great was poor Siddy’s joy at seeing his second-favourite person in the entire world that he fell off the bedroom window sill where he was waiting and found himself jammed down the side of a bed and wall with no room to move.  Extricated he rushed off to continue his ecstatic over-the-top greeting ritual as an exhausted Danella was carefully maneuvered from car to couch by her caring friends.   One half of that pair of friends, Karen, stayed that night which was wonderful and allowed me to go home and recuperate too.

A day later and we were all immensely grateful when my eldest daughter dropped her entire life and came flying down to be with her sister for the next six days.  Having another person on hand as we nutted out ways to make doing the most mundane activities possible for a person in a plaster half cast, still in shock and a lot of pain was invaluable.  Joanna and I role played the showering scenario and so found a way to meet every possible need.  We tried it out on the patient and finding it all went rather well, her mother, sister and Siddy, stood around watching carefully as she soaped herself and laughed uproariously as she remarked morosely on the fact that all privacy and dignity was now a thing of the past.

Joanna companioned, cooked, sorted and tidied and even put up the Christmas tree for her sister before returning to her abandoned partner and job and leaving us better off and very grateful for her special presence.

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As I drove back home after delivering Jo to the airport my phone was tinging with constant messages.  I discovered that my youngest brother had died suddenly and unexpectedly following a massive heart attack.  It is a very private devastation and remembering that followed that news.

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My remaining sibling, who lives in Australia, and I connected on a deep level later that day.  I am filled with affection and pride for both my brothers, and especially my remaining brother Colin.  We have overcome!

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Let’s fast-forward another week and return to Danella who is doing well.  She now sports a lovely purple fibreglass leg brace and has returned to her usual positive and sunny self, dealing with her changed circumstances with grace and dignity and using her incredible ability to nut out challenges and problems and come up with ingenious solutions.  Her home is organised and everything she needs has a place.   Her workplace, Otago University has been incredible.  Danella’s boss is the University Proctor and I can’t speak too highly of him.  Help and assistance has been put in place at so many levels, making both her life, and therefore mine, so much easier to cope with.   We are grateful!

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Siddy and I visit every day.  While he bathes her in love and happiness I potter about and clean and tidy and prepare nutritious smoothies.  Yesterday we got her down the steps and out into her courtyard garden where we spent a happy couple of hours weeding, dead heading and tidying up.  Today the bird feeders, neglected for a week, were all refilled, calling the birds back into her garden.

The final half dozen cards never did get made.  It might have to be e-cards again this year……. or this……….

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It’s dreadfully true, he’s no Lassie.  But Sid-Arthur has his own unique ability to spread happiness and smiles and pure love.  In case I don’t make it back before – Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, Blessed Hanukkah and Merry Christmas Y’all  ❤

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!