Wednesday, 31 December 2008

It's nearly over!!

Well I have to say I'm glad 2008 is almost over. As I said in the last post it's a year not to be forgotten in a hurry. At the same time I have a lot to be thankful for. We finally got a new roof, so no more buckets in my office! And as a result of all the mess the builders made we had to decorate and have some new carpets ( the old ones came with the house 15 years ago and were put down in the '70's). We now have a home rather than a house, which makes such a difference.

The week of Richard's heart attack was probably the worst of my life. But it has made him slow down and make some much needed changes. The business is finally not his first priority. It also made me realise that perhaps I'm stronger than I thought I was.

Jamie had a good Christmas. He never takes much notice, and this year was no exception. No interest in the lights or decs etc. But he did help open his pressies this year, and play with one or tow instead of waving them bye bye and handing them back! He's still not speaking, but he has settled really well at school and has developed computer skills far beyond his years. I'm starting to think that maybe he'll be ok, in the short term anyway.

My writing has gone really well. As you will see from the word meter Digging for Victoria is just over half way (I'll refer to it as DV from now on I think). I only started it in the summer. Mulberry Gin is with an agent. I never thought I would get to the point of finishing anything let alone sending it out. It has sooo many rejections before someone took interest. I'm keeping everything crossed, touching wood etc that she says yes, please let her say yes! But even if she says no in the end, at least the experience had made me more determined to be a writer and write all the other novels that are queuing up.

Whatever you're doing have a good night tonight. I hope the new year brings you whatever it is you want from it. And I hope the old year doesn't leave too many scares.
Thanks for all you kind comments, and for making me smile with your own blogs. xx.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Ta Da!!

Finally got round to posting a pic of the tree, the lights are on but it was daytime so they don't show. The sleeping cat is Twinkle, her foot seems much better now.
Have spent the morning doing battle, no other word for it, around Sainsbury's. But it's all done, all bought. The door is shut and the world can go hang for a couple of days now! I shall spent tomorrow cooking for Cornwall, but I confess to quite liking that.
I had a nasty bought of something like flu over the weekend and was wiped out for two days. It's doing the rounds everywhere it seems. Had the saw throat from hell. But getting better now. And the wood burner id finally back in and working, so toasty fires over Christmas. There were times this year when I looked at this house and thought we were never going to be able to live in it again.
I think this year will go down as one never to be repeated. It started in January when the builders turned up to strip the old roof off and we moved out, and just snowballed. In February my mother (a very complicated relationship, best not to ask) announced that she didn't want the roof doing and we should wait until she was dead before we did it, never mind that this house is the only thing Jamie and I will have for our future, no as long as she wasn't inconvenienced in any way (bad). In April I finally passed my driving test (good). I finished my first novel and finally got it out on the rounds (good). In August Richard had a heart attack (v bad). In July we moved back in (good). In September one agent asked to have my manuscript (v good). Also in September Jamie started school (good/bad). In October he was diagnosed with Autism (?). Actually when you look at it it hasn't been such a crap year, just a very stressful one. But one that will stick with me.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The 7 things...

A few weeks ago now HelenHM tagged me because I have more than one cat (five at last count). This is my attemp to answer the 7 things list.

7 things I plan to do before I die: Get published. Write the other novels in my head. Get Jamie to speak. Be a size 12(!!). See more of the world. Be happy. Kill my daemons.

7 things I do now: Eat too much. Not sleep enough. Worry. Write. Look after Jamie. Don't look after myself. Dream.

7 things I won't do: Go on a cruise. Stress about stuff I can't change. Borrow money. Go on silly diets. Go jogging. Ride a horse. Anything illegal.

7 things that attract me in the opposite sex: Eyes. Hands. Humor. Kindness. Thoughtfulness. Voice. Fidelity.

7 celebrities that I admire: Virginia Woolfe. Stephen Fry. Katie Fforde. Nigella Lawson. Billy Conolly. Richard Hammond. Victoria Wood.

7 favorite foods: Chocolate. Earl Grey tea, KFC, Roast chicken, Prawns, Roast potatoes, home grown veg.

I think that's seven of everything! I tag anyone who bothers to read this who hasn't already done it.

The tree is up, the lights are on and it's starting to look very christmasy. Jamie's off school with a bad cold and a 'viral' rash that his teacher was sure was scarlet fever coupled with pneumonia!! They sent him home this morning and there was a bit of a panic until we saw the doc this afternoon. He was a bit cross that school went so over the top, but they have to be careful. There are one or two in Jamie's class that have quite severe disabilities, and to get ill would be really bad for them. But the panic didn't last and he's tucked up in bed with Pooh bear.

Richard had a hospital appointment in Barnstaple the other day. Everything was fine. But the fish shop is on the way home and guess what? Yes he came home with fish tank number three!! The excuse was that the goldfish had got too big for the smaller tank. Well they have grown at an alarming rate, but not quite that big. Ah well. I think I might set up the North Cornwall Aquarium and start charging!

I heard back from the agent who has Mulberry Gin. She was very apologetic and said she hadn't read it yet. So I have said she can keep it a few weeks longer. Well it wasn't a no, there is still hope. She wanted to keep it, so fingers crossed that's a good sign.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Holiday over, bring on Christmas!

Well that was over far to quickly! It was nice to get away and be just the three of us for a while. We spent some time with one of my best friends who lives near to where we stay. It's one of the reasons for going there. We were at college together, nearly twenty years ago now. I lover her to bits and I wish we lived closer. But her life took her to East Sussex and ours took us to Cornwall. But we try to catch up at least once a year. So far she had been pregnant almost every time we see her! She is twenty weeks with her forth. Her first baby was a lovely little girl who died within seconds of being born. Jamie was only a few months old at the time. She then went on to have two healthy boys within 18months of each other. And now, with the youngest only just turned 18 months, she's five months gone with baby number four. But when I visit them there are two beautifully framed poems dedicated to little Libby, and it makes me realise how grateful I am to have Jamie. With all his problems he is here.

So then. On my last blog I made a thing of saying how I was going to increase my word count on novel number two. Well, um.. how shall I put this? I didn't write anything all week. I took the lap top and notebooks, and lots of good intentions. Then everything else got in the way. So now I need to start again. Hopefully having a week off will be a good thing. I did think through a few things and decided a couple of scenes need reworking. So I shall set to work. Well I'll do as much as I can with Christmas and all that.

Can well all please take a moment to mourn the passing of Charlie. My parents were left in charge of the cats and fish while we were away. And under there care Charlie died. To be far I shouldn't think there would have been much they could have done. As Bonnie said about her own poor Gilbert, there aren't many fish doctors about. But that was not all. We had a call mid week to say they had to take Twinkle to the vets because she was limping. Twinkle is the prettiest little black cat you can imagine. She seems to be getting better now though. On the up side however out black and white Mollies have had babies! So we mush be doing something right. There are three tiny little fish swimming around, so cute!

Jamie loved his holiday, although he didn't sleep much. And he had started playing with 'proper' toys. Before we went he had taken an interest in his leap pad. But while we were away he started playing with a postman pat van belonging to Elizabeth's boys, and a singing IgglePiggle that we bought him in Brighton. He has taken IgglePiggle to bed, which I think might prove a mistake. I can foresee a night spent listening to him sing.

Friday, 28 November 2008


We're off on holiday tomorrow!! A whole week without holiday cottage owners calling with stupid demands. We go to Alfriston a lot because we found out it is a mobile phone black hole. It's great because they can't get us! We went away once and were sitting having a coffee, relaxing with the peace and quiet, nice views and all that, when the mobile went. It was a cottage owner to inform us that she had taken a booking for that week and could we get the cottage ready please!! We had told them all that we were going away, but do they listen? Now we have a Wendy. Everyone should have a Wendy. She is our supervisor and takes charge when we go away, so if they decide they need someone to go down and turn the telly over for them (that has happened, no kidding), then there will be someone to do it. If, and when, we ever give this up I could write several books on the weird and wonderful things we come across, but I don't think anyone would ever believe me!

I don't mean to sound ungrateful. We have a business that is still going well, and at the moment that is a blessing. So far there are very few bookings for next season, so we might not have such a thriving business in twelve months!

Still it will all go away for seven whole days. No work and no hospital appointments.

I still have so much to learn about Jamie's new diagnosis of autism. It took long enough to get information on Sotos, now we have to start again with another condition. Still there are some lovely bloggers out there who are proving very helpful, thank you.

My word count is nearly at the magic fifty thousand! I'm hoping it will go up considerably this next week. Either that or I'll not get anything written at all! I'm determined to get the first draft finished by my birthday in Feb.
The sixty days the agent who has 'Mulberry Gin' has it to read runs out next week. Keep everything crossed that she says yes! She has to say yes, please let her say yes!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Autism confirmed

We had the call from one of Jamie's doctors the other day. He has so many different professionals involved with him, about 11 at last count. Anyway this was the local community paediatrician who had organised the autism assessment. The various bods who had been into school to meet Jamie all met up and decided that, yes, he is autistic as well. I have to say I'm still not 100% convinced. I have a first cousin with Ashburgers (spelling?) and when I look at the two of them together they are so different. For one thing Jamie does what everyone says autistics never do, shows affection. And he looks directly at you when you speak to him, and will come and give you a hug without any prompting. There are autistic traits there. He goes off in his own world, is very obsessive about certain things (although he's never bothered about any change in routine), flaps and 'sings' to himself. I don't know.

The trouble is that Sotos is still such an unknown syndrome. It is quite possible that the autism experts who came to see him have never experienced Sotos. If you read about Sotos it almost always says 'autistic like traits', but it is not part of the autistic spectrum. I would have been happier if a Sotos expert had looked at him and said that certain aspects of his behavior were not Sotos. It would be very easy for someone with no experience of Sotos to assume he must be autistic. The trouble is there are no Sotos experts out there, as far as we know. I just hope the autistic diagnosis doesn't overshadow the Sotos, which I still think is the dominant condition.

We had to cancel the lumber puncture because Jamie developed a really nasty ear infection. He's still on antibiotics three weeks later. His main paediatrician, who was going to do it, decided to cancel until it had cleared up. And as we're off on holiday on Sat I guess it won't happen this side of Christmas now. Still at least it will be done in Barnstaple rather than Bristol.

Just to make the week even more fun thee of the new fish died. The two Rams and one of the Gurami's (not Guppies as I said before) got white spot. They must have come from the shop with it because they had only been in the tank two days. Still a lot of funny blue stuff in the water and a water change seems to have done the trick, the others are all fine. And amazingly the five cats haven't taken the blindest bit of notice of them. I was expecting them to line up with napkins and cutlery!

On a positive note, the sun's out!!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Pretty fish and bad endings.

Meet Charlie. He's out Siamese fighter. I would love a whole tank of just these, but they kill each other. So we had to choose just one. They come in so many lovely colours. Maybe if Richard gets his way and we have a third tank we'll get another one.
I have just finished a book that had one of those endings that make you want to scream. 'The Friday Night Knitting Club' (how do you get those little thumbnails of book covers up by the way?) started well. It was the right balance between chick lit and something with a bit more bite. And then the ending just ruined it. OK give the central character cancer, one of life battles and all that. But killing her off just seemed unnecessary. It was the kind of book that should have had a happy ending, and it so easily could have. There was nothing that happened after her death that couldn't have happened if she had survived.
Bad endings was one of the reasons I started writing. So often I would read a novel and be left thinking 'Well that didn't work, it would be better if this happened'. So I thought the best way to get the narrative to go the way I wanted it to was to write it myself.
On the Jamie front. He slept all night last night!!!! The first full night for over a week. And he has become a computer whizz. I think it might be the autistic side coming out. They say that Sotos can cause heightened memory as well. But this is way more.
He as always liked to 'play' on the computer (what kid doesn't?) and so we would sit with him and help. He would point to where he wanted to go on the screen and we would navigate and do the clicking. He had watched us doing the whole start up proses endless times, but still showed no sign of being able to do it himself. He's four with learning difficulties so we didn't think it odd that he wasn't helping.
Anyway one day he comes home from school and asked to go on the computer. We were both in the middle of something and told him to wait five mins. Next think we hear the computer starting up. We both dashed to the sitting room and watched in amazement as he started up. Clicked on the tool bar and brought up Google. Clicked on the favorites list and scrolled down to the one he wanted (he's not supposed to be able to read), clicked on that, then navigated his way through the sight to where he wanted to be. Of course Jamie being Jamie he doesn't go on the children's sites. He likes the BBC iplayer and the channel trailers, intro music from the news and certain programmes, and the freeview site because it has all the logos.
The trouble is we had limited Internet time with out BT package, which he took us over. Que snotty email from BT. So now we've got a new home hub coming with unlimited broadband time!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

More fish, more words and not enough sleep!

We now have six more fish in the tropical tank. I would post a photo but the little blighters won't keep still! So to add to the Danios and Siamese fighter we now had Guppies, Mollies and Rams. All very pretty I have to say. I just wonder how long it will be before the novelty wears off and I end up doing all the water changes. I seem to have already been given that role with the goldfish. And somehow I seem to be keeper of the sponge on a stick for cleaning the glass. Ho hum.

I'm nearly at 48thousand words! That's almost half way through the first draft. If I keep this up I might have the first draft done by my birthday in Feb. I started in the summer and I'm shocked how quickly it's coming together this time. 'Mulberry Gin' (novel one) took years! But that was on and off with months of inactivity in between. This time I've been spurred on by having an agent looking a Mulberry. I'm still not writing enough though. Not a sausage today. I had a quiet day, now cottages to do, or laundry (we can turnover 100 sets of bedding in the height of the summer). But instead of being productive I lolled around like a deflated balloon. Probably because that's how I felt.

Jamie's lovely sleep councilor came on Thursday and we've started again from scratch. This week 4am seems to be the favorite. At least that's better than 12.15 like it was on Friday! But he's so happy, and not naughty or troublesome when he wakes. He just wants to be up and doing. I just pray he's getting enough sleep for his own physical and developmental needs. Only time will tell on that one I guess.

Why is it that I have had my driving licence seven months and I still get the jitters whenever I have to drive? It's pathetic! I like driving, I'm quite good at it and I sailed though my test (OK so it was my fifth, my first four taken twelve years or more ago). And I seem to be OK when I'm on my own or with anyone else, except Richard. As soon as he gets in the car, wallop, back to a quivering learner! AGGHH! We're going on holiday to Alfriston in a couple of weeks and I'm supposed to be sharing the driving. I want to share the driving. Maybe I'll put the cases in the car and Richard in the boot!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Look! We DID have a summer!

I was looking through some photos on 'my pictures' and found this one of Jamie at Rosemoore in June. I think that day was summer. Maybe it's the way your memory plays games with you but I'm sure I can remember when we had proper summers, followed by proper winters. I can remember as a child the schools closing in the winter because the boiler had frozen! Mind you that was in Northampton where I was born. Saying that we have had snow down here, although not on the scale we got further north.
It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the wind. We're 666 (yes I know) feet above sea level here so we should expect it. I think Cornwall is just a windy place full stop. Our main weather feature is what we call the Woolley mists. They are a strange phenomenon that start of at the end of the lane and slowly roll in off the sea. If you happen to be out for a walk it feels like you've been caught on the set of a horror film. There's this white swirling, almost living thing relentlessly pursuing you. Once it catches you you feel like you've been swallowed by a giant marshmallow.
But would we live anywhere else? Not in a million years. When we 'escaped' fifteen years ago we thought we had landed in heaven, and still do. We have neighbours who just walk in and start chatting. We have three street light and a post box in the way of facilities and a beautiful stillness that rarely exists these days. We only got broadband last summer and still have the old overhead cables that sway in the breeze, get caught up in tractors and cause regular power cuts. We don't have central heating, but have walls two foot thick so we don't need it.
When the depression hits, or when Jamie has had us up all night (he woke at 1.15am and decided it was time to get up) it's easy to forget how lucky we are to have the life we have. Then we get a call from one of the family still in the rat race and peace is restored.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Slow progress and bloody rain!

Is it ever going to stop raining? Went to Barnstaple yesterday to the fish shop (this is becoming a Sunday pilgrimage) to get the first few fish for the new tank, and, as my grandmother would say, it didn't stop to rain! Stair rods, cats and dogs, nothing comes close. Just as we got around the corner near one of the Hartland turns off the A39 we saw a horrible accident ahead. We were about ten cars back so thankfully we couldn't see anything. It must have just happened because there were suddenly ambulances screaming past and the air ambulance overhead. We didn't hang around and took the back roads through Hartland. I pray no one was badly hurt.

My writing has become snail like. I try to do an hour or two every evening but somehow it isn't happening at the moment. I've only got up to 39 thousand words. That sounds a lot but it's only four thousand in about two weeks. Not good enough, must try harder. Hopefully once I've finished painting the kitchen I can grab a bit of time in the day when Jamie's at school. I had such plans for all this time I was going to have once he'd started school. So far none have been put into practice. Mind you it's been impossible to get up to the field to the veg beds with all this ruddy rain!

We have an appointment for Jamie's next lumber puncture. It's going to be next Tuesday. The last one was successful and we saw some improvements in his concentration for a few weeks. This time they will draw off more fluid and see if that makes more difference for longer. If so they may finally decide to go ahead with the shunt. Wish us luck.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Oh please let me sleep!!

Oh Jamie, Jamie, when will you let us sleep!?! Jamie has always had strange sleep pattens. It went from 12 hours to waking for a couple of hours and then going back to sleep. Now he's waking at stupid O'clock and not going back to sleep at all. Last night it was 12.30am, the night before 1.30am. We eventually got him to have an hour before he has to get up for school by putting him in bed with us, and holding him down! He has a lovely sleep councilor and we thought we'd got it cracked. Then we went to Butlins and it all started again. Ho Hum.

Richard had turned into a fish tank anorak. He used to keep fish as a child but hadn't shown any interest in ever keeping fish. He also used to breed buggies and rabbits. Then his sister and brother-in-law came down with a small fish tank for Jamie as a Christmas present. We set it up with plants and fish, lovely (see above). Trouble is it's given him the bug back. And because he's not allowed to do too much at the mo he's getting really into it. So, last week, I found myself handing over £150 for a huge tank for his own Christmas pressie. Now the, not very big, living room looks like a doctors waiting room! Mind you, I have to confess, I do rather like them, just don't tell Richard or he'll fill the house. I just hope he dosen't rediscover buggies and bunnies!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Writing progress

I finally had someone leave a comment on my blog!! Hurahh! It was from a fellow would be writer from Cornwall (see link on right). In her comment she talks about finding the time to write. It's something you read about in all the writing magazines. They all give lots of 'useful' tips about making writing time. I just to grab it when I can. I can't even think about writing until everything else is out the way. If there's any job still to do then it will buzz around in the back of my mind and stop the creativity dead in its tracks. There are often times when I have to really make myself do it. I learnt the art of this kind of self discipline when I did my English Literature degree with the OU. Not having a tutor constantly on your back to keep you going you have to find the time yourself, and you do. Now I try and apply the same techniques to writing. Personally I find the evenings when Jamie is in bed the best time. And now he's at school I try and make myself have a couple of afternoons a week. So far I'm nearly 35,000 words into novel number two which I started in July. When Richard had his heart attack and I had to take over the business I struggled. But I love to write, so I fit it in. It's like everything else, if you want to do it then you somehow find the time. And I'm lucky that running holiday cottages means only two days a week that are really busy, the rest can be slotted in. And it goes quite now so I'll have the winter to do more. Mind you I have eight fruit trees to plant up in the field, and all the veg beds to get ready for next year, and a pollytunnel to put up. Jamie now has his transport in place which means we don't have to do the school run, that will save two hours a day for a start.

Getting the school taxi sorted out took an age. We asked Cornwall council back in May. Oh well they got there eventually. I have to say that we have been so lucky with everything we get for Jamie. I know that in some parts of the country you have to fight for everything. So far everything has been more or less given to us. I had no idea what having a special needs child would involve or who to ask. But suddenly there were all these people offering all these different things. The latest thing we have been put in touch with is the Family Fund. They have given us some help with the cost of transport for all Jamie's various appointments. Just as well as he has just been put on the waiting list for another lumberpuncture, and that means a trip up to Bristol.

I will keep posting any news about novel number one. The agent has it on a read only basis until the end of the month. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Is there anybody out there?

I'm not very good at this blogging thing am I? I know you're supposed to blog something every few days and it's been a month! Sorry. Not that anyone seems to be reading it anyway, is there anybody out there?
We've been to Butlins! Now I try very hard not to be a snob. But I have never had any desire to go to Butlins. It's just not our sort of thing. But every year the wonderful people at the Cornwall Downs Syndrome Support Group pay for a child and their career to go on a long weekend. Last year we all went to Disneyland Paris. This year they chose Butlins at Minehead. And we had a great time.
Of course Jamie doesn't have Downs, he has Sotos (and they have just decided he's autistic as well). But because there isn't a local Sotos group, or a national one come to that, we have joined the CDSSG. It came about because we joined the Little Rays of Sunshine group in Bude. It's a local support group for children with special needs and their parents. They're a great group and I urge you to check out their website. Anyway the majority of the kids have Downs and everyone belongs to CDSSG. Although a lot of the specialist help they provide it connected with Downs it is useful for any child with special needs. And a lot of the challenges faced by Downs children are faced by most special needs children.
So off we went to Butlins. And Jamie went back to his bad night time habits. Three night without sleep wasn't much fun. But being with so many people who all go through similar stuff makes it much easier to handle. And all the kids had so much fun. It's lovely to see them being children. So often when they are alone or with mainstream kids their difficulties stand out so much. When they all get together they're just a group of kids having a blast together, fantastic.

The older Jamie gets the more aware I am of his problems and how they come across. The constant 'singing' and flapping his arms and going off in his own little world was cute when he was little. No one took that much notice when he was a toddler. Now he's nearly five and on the big side for his age it's become more obvious there's something wrong. I've started to notice people looking at him more lately. But he is so adorable, all those blond curles, and so happy and well behaved, that it hasn't been a problem so far. Not that it would be a problem to us anyway. He is what he is and if other people don't like it, well tough quite frankly. But I worry. I worry all the time about the future. When you suffer from depression you find yourself thinking about death a lot more than most people. Not always in a bad, suicidal way, but you're very aware of your own mortality. So I'm well aware that I'm not going to be here forever. At the same time I'm only 34 so I hope I've got a while yet. Never the less I'm already worrying what will happen to Jamie when I die. The thought that he'll end up in some faceless institution horrifies me. And I know how stupid that is because he's not five yet for goodness sake. The trouble is that now they have decided he has autism as well it makes it worse. Quite often with Sotos they catch up. Most Sotos children have caught up with the mainstream by their mid teens. And the Hydrocephalus can be managed. But Autism is a different kettle of fish altogether. A lot of autistic children never move on. What worries me is that the way Jamie is now might be the way he is forever. When it was only Sotos I didn't worry quite so much because all the evidence suggests he will, eventually, catch up and lead a more or less normal life. That might not happen now.

But he's so happy. I suppose, at the end of the day, that should be the main thing. Long ago I gave up on any dreams I might have had about him becoming a brain surgeon. If he can have a happy life, whatever form it takes, then that's what matters.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Agent intrested!!

I've had an agent ask to see the complete manuscript of my novel!! There I was about to give up hope and just publish the thing here in chapter by chapter installments. I have had so many rejections, too many. I decided to give it one last try, and bingo! It just goes to show that what they say is true, never give up. If you really think what you've written is worth while then keep plugging away. If it is good then sooner or later someone will pick it up.
They want it for 60 days on a read only basis, so they might still send it back with a 'thanks but no thanks'. But at least they think it good enough to call in. Asking to read a hundred thousand word manuscript isn't something you do for the fun of it. So I have everything crossed.

Jamie had his developmental review last Tuesday with his paediatrician. He did really well. He doesn't think he will need to see him on a regular basis now. Jamie is still only at the developmental rate of a two year old, which isn't unexpected. He'll be five in January bless him. He's so happy though, nothing seems to bother him. And now he's at school I think he'll come on much more. They do such a lot with them. They go horse riding once a week, music therapy twice a week, they have their own kitchen and do cooking with them, and gardening, all sorts of things to stimulate them. It can be frustrating at times because they can get him to do things that he just won't do with me at home. It's just a waiting game really. They say that SOTOS children do catch up eventually. So we'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


I promise not to rant this time. Things are starting to settle down a bit now and I'm slowly working out a new routine. We're still having to do the school run at the moment, which is making things harder than they need to be. The local council are responsible for getting Jamie to and from school because of the distance. We thought it was all sorted and on his first day the taxi arrived, with an escort, to collect him. Later that day we had a phone call from the lady who had been arranging it to say they had to stop for three weeks and get another driver and escort. The reasons are many and varied, and not worth going into. So we're back to trekking in to Bude twice a day, or I am. Richard's still not allowed to drive. He's seeing his doctor next week and I'm hoping he'll give him the all clear to drive again. He's getting so bored at home. He comes with me to take Jamie to school, but that's about it. Mind you the skittles season had just started which means he can go out with the lads on a Monday night, but he's not allowed to play skittles yet either. It must be horrid when you feel fine(ish) but are constantly being told you can't do anything. He's getting into the habit of just sitting with the telly or the paper. I think the frustration is mixed with fear that if he does do something it might be the last thing he does. And I suppose I don't help because I won't let him do too much. That's the trouble when you love someone, you want to wrap them up in cotton wool to keep the safe.

I have started writing my second novel. I thought I'd better seeing as no one wants to publish my first one. I have lost count of the number of rejections it's had now. I'm still hopeful though, there are still a few agents out there that haven't been sent it yet. And I have had some positive comments from one or two saying they like my writing, they just can't take it on at the moment. It's what they all say of course. But at the same time they don't need to say anything at all about your writing abilities, so when they do it's a fair bet they mean it.
Writing has become more and more important over the last few years. I've always done it, on and off. But when Jamie got his diagnosis my chances of going back to full time work got very slim indeed. We still don't know how much long term care he will need. I may never be able to go back out to work so I need something I can do that's flexible. The business is fine, but it's not what I want to still be doing in five years time. If Richard gets back to full health and can take it back over then fine. But becoming a writer would solve everything. If I can make enough from my writing to allow Richard to cut the number of cottages down then that would take the pressure off him. It would mean I could work from home and so still be around for Jamie. And it would be the fulfilment of a dream I can't remember not having. So I'm working on novel number two with number three in the planning stages. Novel number one is still in the running, it's called 'Mulberry Gin', so watch this space. If all else fails then I'll post it here, a chapter a week maybe.

Sunday, 31 August 2008


OK so I'm going to have a bit of a rant now. Bloody, bloody holidaymakers! We run a small business looking after holiday cottages. It's stressful and hard work, but flexible and only needs two or three days work a week, in theory. At least that's what we thought when we started it five years ago. It was fun then, it's not anymore. Richard runs it you see, or he did. When he had his heart attack I was forced to take over. Now I know it's how we earn our living, and I know the show must still go on and all that. But when you've been working your whatsits off, are worried sick about your husband who's in hospital, trying to run a business that you usually don't have much to do with and have a disabled child still on school holiday, the last thing you need is someone calling you on a Sunday afternoon to moan that they have been given the wrong colour towels!! I kid you not. The complaint wasn't that the towels were dirty, smelly, tatty, nothing wrong with them at all, they were just the wrong colour. Apparently they should have been blue and I had put white ones in. I really think some people have too much time on their hands. And why is it that as soon as someone books a holiday they loose the ability to read. When you book a holiday cottage you're told what time you can get in and what time you should leave by. It says it in big letters on the sheet you get back. So why does no one take any notice of it??! Please, please respect the in and out times if you book a holiday. They are there for a reason. Mind you I'm sure there are those who think they are the only ones in the whole country who ever go on holiday. Likewise there are cottage owners who are convinced they are the only people with a holiday cottage that needs looking after.
On a brighter note Richard is home and doing remarkably well considering. In fact to look at him you wouldn't know there was anything wrong with him. I'm veering between wanting to hit something and wanting to burst into tears. Jamie starts school full time next week and I'm worried about him. He copes so well with anything that's thrown his way, or seems to. But that's the problem. I sometimes worry that he's too like me. I cope with everything thrown my way until I reach a certain point. Once I reach that point it all goes tits up and I end up in a gibbering heap, on the happy pills and sobbing on the councilors shoulder. And the day after Jamie's first day at school we have to take him to Plymouth (60ish miles) to see his neurosurgeon. I have seventy odd sets of bed linen to wash, dry and iron before Friday, and the tax return to get started on. Oh bloody hell!
So rant over, thank you for listening. I feel a bit better now.
(Grockles is the Cornish for holidaymaker.)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Heart attack drama

Three days ago my husband Richard had a heart attack. Just like that, out of the blue. He came to bed saying he really didn't feel very well and could I call the doctor. I did and was told to call the ambulance. They were here withing twenty minuets, not bad when you think we live in the back of beyond. They hooked him up to all the bells and whistles and pronounced those words no one wants to hear 'you're having a heart attack'. If I had to try and put my feelings into words it would be a mixture of blind panic and the rush of the stupidest thoughts running through my head. I was scared. Of course when you marry a man twenty two years older that you then you know the day will come when he leaves you for good. I've lived with that for seventeen years and I've accepted it. Richard was 'the one' whatever his age or circumstances, and that was that. But my cousin dropped dead, no other way to describe it, from a heart attack five years ago, he was thirty eight and left a three year old son behind. His name was also Richard and we have a four year old, a strange sense of Dejavue came upon me.
I suppose you could say we were lucky. Three days on and you wouldn't know there was anything wrong with him. Sitting there in his hospital bed he just looks like Richard. He's been given that rare second chance. I think he knows how lucky he was, I certainly know how lucky we are. So many people have given so much without being asked over the last couple of days. I was coping really well until people started being so kind. It was so overwhelming to realise just how much they all care about us. And I've learnt a lot about myself. I've grown up more in the last three days than the last thirty four years. If I can cope with this then I can cope with almost anything.
One thing I know for certain is that things are going to be very different from now on.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

New writing.

This is a short story I wrote recently which I'm quite pleased with, hopefully with good reason!Any feedback welcome (please don't be too rude!).

Living the Dream.

I push the glass door and glide into the hotel. It’s full of light and air. The huge space seems to go up and up for ever. I’m wearing a floral dres of the finest cotton. It floats in the air, but also clings around my body. The off the shoulder cut and bias skirt is sexy, but the floral print is innocent and feminine, the perfect combination. My hair is down and flowing over my shoulders, falling around in long, soft curls. My ballet pumps make no sound on the tiled floor, and to begin with he doesn’t notice me. Then the swish of my skirt catches his eye and he turns. Once he’s seen me he can’t take his eyes off me. His gaze follows me as I walk across to the reception desk. I turn, catching his eye. I glance down quickly, but I can’t help the smile that escapes. He has turned around so that he can still watch me as I wait at the desk. I can feel him behind me, even though he is still on the other side of the room. I glance over my shoulder and give him the smallest of smiles. Then the receptionist greets me and gives me my key. As I turn away to go to the stairs I can see him approaching the desk. He’s saying something to the girl and gesturing in my direction. She’s smiling and I see her write something down for him. Then he turns to watch as I disappear up the stairs to my room…

His fist comes crashing down on the kitchen table and I feel myself jump.
‘I said where’s the tea?!’ He shouts into my left ear. I wince as the sound hits my eardrums.
‘Sorry. Sorry. I’ll do it now.’ I hurry up and go to the kettle. Shit. I should have heard him come in. I was listening for him. Then I closed my eyes for a second. Shit.
‘Is that all you do all day? While I work myself to death eh? Sit around daydreaming? Bloody hell.’ He pulls his boots off and flings them in the corner, bits of dried mud scattering across the floor I’d spent all morning mopping. I sigh.
‘What was that? What have you got to sigh about?’
‘Nothing. I wasn’t sighing, just taking a deep breath.’
‘Huh.’ He snorts and lights up. Now the kitchen will reek of cigarette smoke as well. I don’t sigh again.
‘What’s for dinner?’
‘Bacon and eggs. Is that ok?’
‘ ‘Spose it’ll have to be won’t it?’
‘I can do something else if you’d rather.’ I rack my brains trying to think what else we might be able to have. My money doesn’t come thought till tomorrow so I haven’t done the shopping yet.
‘Don’t bother. I’m going for a bath.’ And he’s gone. I take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Well it could have been worse. I take his boots out to the back step and scrape the mud off with an old knife, banging them together to get the last bits off. Then I sweep the kitchen floor and empty and wash the ashtray. I listen to the sounds coming from the bathroom. When I hear the water start to gurgle down the plughole I put the bacon on and start the oil heating. By the time he re-emerges it’s ready. He sits down in silence and I put his plate in front of him. He attacks his food, shovels it in. Egg drips down his chin and I have to look down. I can’t eat anymore and push my plate away. He looks up.
‘I don’t work all hours so you can chuck it in the bin you know. Give it here it you’re not going to eat it.’ I hand him my plate and he scrapes the remains onto his own. I sit back down and stare at the floor until he’s finished.
‘Right.’ He says getting up and rubbing his hands together. ‘Pub.’ I watch him go to my bag, get my purse out, empty it, and fling it back on the chair. Without another word he’s gone. He’ll be out all evening now.

I hear a quiet tap at my hotel room door. My heart skips a beat and I hold my breath. The tapping comes again. I look in the mirror and run my fingers through my hair. Slowly I walk across the room and gently open the door. There he is. Oh God he’s beautiful. My breath catches in the back of my throat.
‘The girl at the desk gave me your room number. I hope you don’t mind?’
‘No.’ I whisper. He’s wearing those tight black leather trousers he wears on stage sometimes, and his white shirt is open just enough. I bite my bottom lip and look away, I mustn’t stare. When I look up again his eyes are on me and he has that smile, the one I’ve seen so often in photos.
‘I was wondering if I might take you out for dinner?’ He has one hand resting on the top of the doorframe and he’s looking into my eyes.
‘I’d like that.’ And I take the hand he offers me. As soon as my fingers touch the palm of his hand my whole body explodes, and it feels like a hundred ice cubes have been dropped down the back of my dress, my spine quivers.
The food is wonderful I’m sure, but I don’t taste it. I ache all over with longing. Every time I look up he’s looking at me, and it’s a look that makes me tremble, I know he’s thinking what I’m thinking.
Neither of us eats very much and we both pass on coffee. Slowly we walk back up to my room. As soon as we leave the restaurant he takes my hand again and he doesn’t let it go. My skin seems to have melted into his and I have to look down to see where I stop and he begins. Finally we reach my room. I linger over getting my key and opening the door. Silently he watches me, I can feel his breath on the back of my neck. In a moment I’m going to turn, I’m going to have to say goodnight, the evening will be over.
Before I can say anything he has taken my hand and pulled me towards him. I press my other hand on his chest; his heart is beating as fast as mine and I wonder who will expire first. I open my mouth to say something but he dips his head and kisses me. His arms slip round my waist and I feel his hands on my back, burning through the thin fabric of my dress. I lace my fingers around the back of his neck, his hair brushing against my skin. I don’t close my eyes, I want to see him. I want to be sure he’s really there, that this is really happening.
He shifts his weight and pushes me gently against the doorframe. He stops kissing my mouth and moves down to my neck and bare shoulders. Oh God. I can hear myself gasp every time his lips touch me. With a quick movement that I don’t see he spins us round and in through the open door, kicking it shut behind him. He stands before me panting slightly, I’m sure I’ve stopped breathing.
‘God you’re beautiful’ He whispers. When he pulls me to him again I can feel the effect I’m having on him thought the leather of his trousers. I let my hand slide down and over. I hear him groan and feel his back arch towards me.

The back door bangs and my eyes snap open. I pull the duvet up tighter round me and burry down into the pillows. I can hear him thumping about, the fridge door bangs, that’ll be the milk gone for the morning. I close my eyes tight and calm my breathing, turning to face the wall. By the time he fumbles up the stairs and into the bedroom I’m breathing deeply and evenly. Now he’s hopping around on one leg getting his trousers and socks off, now he’s taking his shirt off. I hear a thud and a curse; he’s banged his arm on the wardrobe again. There’s silence, then I feel him flop into bed. I keep my breathing level and keep perfectly still. I can feel his hand, clammy and cold, on my back, I screw my eyes up tighter. His stale breath clouds round me and I have to stifle a cough. He’s pushing his whole body up against my back now. His breath is coming faster and faster and I can feel him rubbing himself against my thighs. He starts grunting like a stuck pig and I have to focus on the patterns dancing on the backs of my eyes to stop myself gagging. Eventually he lets out a loud groan and lolls onto his back. Seconds later there’s snoring.
Carefully I get out of bed and plod to the bathroom. I put on a clean pair of pyjama bottoms from the airing cupboard. Then I go to the kitchen and make myself black tea.
When I get back to bed he’s rolled over to face the wall, taking the duvet with him. Carefully I climb back onto my side and hope the heating comes on soon.
I wake with a start and look at the bedside clock, six. His alarm will go off in half an hour and he’ll want his tea. I ease myself up and creep downstairs. I pull my coat on over my pyjamas and push my bare feet into shoes. I take the five-pound note from behind the hall mirror and shove it in my pocket. With practiced skill I silently open the front door and hurry to the corner shop. I’ve got the milk got back home and got back into bed before the alarm goes off. When it does he roll out of bed with eyes still half closed, and his feet take him to the bathroom without his knowledge. While he’s in there I go and make breakfast.
‘I’ll be late tonight.’ He says, spraying toast crumbs across the table.
‘Oh that’s a shame.’ I turn away so he can’t see the smile that has escaped.
‘Yeah well, can’t be helped.’ He doesn’t look up. I wonder what this one’s called.
‘Will you want dinner?’
‘I’m still eating my bloody breakfast woman. Christ.’
‘I was just wondering if you’ll be home for dinner that’s all.’
‘For fuck sake stop nagging will you. I don’t know what time I’ll be home. For God’s sake you’re not my fucking mother, I don’t have to get your permission for every little thing.’ He raises his hand and I flinch before I can stop myself. He burst out laughing. I relax a little and start collecting the breakfast things. When the blow comes I’m not expecting it and I stagger and have to grab hold of a chair to steady myself. The laugh goes up a gear and he brings his face right up close to mine. I can smell the stale beer from last night. I straighten myself and pick up the knife I’d dropped. I carry everything over to the sink and start washing up. I keep my back to him so he can’t see the tears. I hear him go out into the hall, then the door slams. I slump against the sink and put my hand up to my face. He used to be careful and make sure it never showed. I didn’t need to go and look, I knew what I’d see.
I plunge my hands back in the hot water and carry on with the dishes.
I feel his arms circling around my waist, his firm body pressed against my back and I lean into him. As I wash mugs and plates I feel his lips start to caress my neck and his hands slide up to my breasts. I gasp and grip the edge of the sink. I close my eyes and give myself over to him. It was more real than it had ever been before and I let it take me, let him take me.
It’s past eight and he’s still not home. I made dinner anyway, salad, and put his in the fridge. I do the ironing, tidy round, take the rubbish out. Eventually I make a cup of tea and put the telly on. Just as I sit down he burst through the door.
‘Sitting on your fat arse again I see.’ He slurs and leers at me.
‘No, no I was just…’
‘Being a lazy cow as usual, I can see that.’ He staggers through to the kitchen and sits down at the table.
‘Well?’ he looks up at me as I follow him in. I get the plate from the fridge and unwrap the cling film.
‘What the fuck’s this?’ He’s staring at his plate.
‘Salad. I wasn’t sure what time you’d be in so I thought I’d do something that wouldn’t spoil.’ I can hear my voice getting higher and tighter and I can feel the tea towel being throttled in my hand.
‘Salad!? Christ woman I’ve been working like a dog all day and you give me fucking salad.’ He picks the plate up and hurls it across the kitchen at me. I duck just in time and it crashes against the wall, tomato sliding down onto the floor. I pick up the dishcloth and go over to the mess.
‘Leave it!’ He yells. ‘Leave it and get me something proper to eat.’
I scuttle to the freezer and thank God today was giro day. I pull out a steak pie that will microwave, and a bag of chips. He watches me, hand twitching. When he sees what I’ve got he frowns and sits back down to read the paper. While the food cooks I make him more tea, but he waves it away and points to the fridge for beer. Reluctantly I pull one out for him. He knows I get the money today, he knows there’ll be beer in the fridge, and I know that by the time he’s finished eating it’ll be gone.
And I’m right. He goes to the fridge and mutters when he realises there’s no more.
‘Is that all I’m worth eh? One lousy four pack?’ He turns to glare at me.
‘It’s all I could afford.’ I say meekly.
‘You could get more if you didn’t waste so much money on yourself.’
‘I didn’t, I don’t…’ And I don’t. I can’t remember the last time I bought something for myself.
‘Crap. Where else does it all go?’
‘Food, electric, the phone….’ I know it’s no use, I don’t know why I still try to defend myself.
‘Bollocks. That’s bollocks. With what you get and what I give you there should be plenty.’ I watch him clench and unclench his fists.
‘I’m sorry.’
‘Oh you will be.’

I’m back in my hotel room. I’ve no idea what the time is or how long I’ve been here. I can hear soft breathing beside me and I turn over. There he is, lying beside me. He’s on his front with his head turned towards me. The sheet has slipped and is just covering his buttocks. I stare at his naked back, burn the image on my memory. I want to touch him; I want to cover his bare skin in kisses. But that would wake him. I realise that I’m naked too and I smile as I remember.
After he told me how beautiful I was he gently unzipped my dress. I gave a small shrug and it fell to the ground. I hear him catch his breath and he started pulling at his shirt, I went and helped him. In moments we were both naked, facing each other. I never found naked men very attractive, not full frontal like that. But he was fabulous, I mean really fabulous. My eyes ran over every inch of him, locking it all away for later, he was doing the same. But it didn’t last; we couldn’t stand there like that for long. We lunged at each other and soon we were smothering each other in fat, wet kisses. I wasn’t nervous anymore; I didn’t care about anything but this one moment.
By the time we hit the bed we were breathless and sweating and giggling like children. When was the last time I laughed? He pulled me to him and we clung together to steady ourselves. Calmer now he rolled me over onto my back and rolled himself on to me. I felt him slip his knee between my legs, but I didn’t need the encouragement. I wrapped my legs around his waist and arched my back to bring him in. I held my breath to stop the cry I knew was coming. The room pitched and rolled around us and at one point I was sure we were floating. When it came I felt it from my toes to my hair roots, wave after wave shacking through me. My eyes snapped open and I was sure I had died of it. It was only when I heard, and then felt him following me that I knew I hadn’t.
And now we are lying here in the soft light of the early morning and I’m watching him sleep. I can hear something outside, out through the open window. It reminds me that there are other people in this world, but I don’t care. Whatever it is they might be doing it has nothing to do with me anymore. I prop myself up on my elbow and watch him sleeping. Gently I run my finger down his spine and he twitches. The noise comes again, someone shouting. Briefly I look across at the window, but there’s nothing there. I turn my eyes back to him. I want him to wake; I want him to make love to me again. But I also want him to stay like that so that I can look at him forever.
‘Oi! Hey!’
I can feel something slipping, moving away. He’s getting fuzzy and out of focus.
‘Bloody hell! Oi!’
A heaviness comes over me, a darkness. He’s fading, leaving me. No, I’m leaving him. I can feel my feet on the cold kitchen floor and the cold water. I can feel a pain in my shoulders and all I can see now is the darkness of my closed eyes. A sudden pain in my shin snaps my eyes open and I gaze at my kitchen. I’m up to my elbows in cold washing up water and my feet have gone to sleep.
‘I’m talking to you.’ He kicks me again. ‘What the bloody hell’s going on?’
I look round at him blankly. I was washing up. We’d had breakfast, he’d hit me again, gone to work and I was doing the washing up. What was he doing back so soon?
‘I’m washing the breakfast things. I thought you’d gone to work?’
‘That was nine hours ago you stupid bitch. Have you been stood there all day? Jesus Christ! What about dinner?’
I look round in confusion. He’s right though, the clock says six and it’s getting dark out. When I look down my hands are deeply wrinkled and bloodless. I pull them out of the water and dry them quickly. I don’t say anything. I dash around the kitchen doing all the things it usually takes me all morning to do. He’s watching me closely but I’m moving to quickly. In half an hour he’s sitting down to sausage and mash, the ironings done and I’ve mopped the floor. While he eats I fleet around the rest of the house, and by the time he’s eaten it’s all done. I’ve lost a whole day, I’ve never managed that before. A few minutes, maybe as long as an hour, but a whole day!
He’s wary when I come back into the kitchen. I see him watching me out of the corner of his eye. I gather up his dirty dishes and fill the sink again with hot water. While I wash up he circles round me.
‘So what was that about?’
‘What’s that?’
‘You’re not telling me that’s normal.’
‘It’s easy to loose track of time sometimes.’ I give a small laugh.
He frowns and shakes his head. ‘I’m going out. You better be acting normal when I get back.’ He empties my purse and leaves.

I hear the back door bang and look at the bedside clock, it’s gone midnight. He’s drunk again. I hear him stumble up the stairs and curse. He leaves the bathroom door open and I can hear him. He flings the bedroom door open and I know what’s coming. I keep still and slow my breathing. He pulls my shoulder and rolls me onto my back. I keep my eyes closed.
‘Wake up.’ He slaps my face and I slowly open my eyes, trying to look like I’ve just woken up.
‘Don’t pretend you’re asleep again.’ He’s standing there in his grey underpants and socks. When he sees my eyes are open he tugs his pants down and makes for the bed. I lay still and wait. He leans over me and pushes my pyjama top up. He takes a breast roughly in each hand and squeezes. He’s making a gurgling sound in the back of his throat as he kneads me like dough. When he’s had enough of this he starts yanking at my pyjama bottoms until he’s got one leg off, that’ll do. He grabs my knees and pushes them apart. As he climbs up I close my eyes and turn my face to the wall.
‘Fucking look at me while I’m screwing you!’ And he slaps my face again. I turn back and fix my eyes somewhere near his ear. He thumps and bumps, and huffs and puffs, and then rolls off with a satisfied sigh. He flops off the bed and fumbles back into his pants, then he goes for another loud pee with background farting. While he’s gone I straiten myself up and pull the covers back over me. I see him come back in scratching and stretching. He plonks himself back on the bed and is asleep within seconds. Finally I close my eyes and roll over to face the wall.

When I look across he’s still asleep, the sheet has slipped a bit further and he’s almost naked. I bite my lip and resist the urge to run my hands all over him. I should let him sleep, after last night he needs it. I should be asleep myself, but I don’t care if I never sleep again. I tuck my hands under my pillow and content myself with watching and waiting.
Eventually his eyes start to open. He shifts slightly and looks right into my eyes, a huge beaming smile spreads across his face.
‘Good morning.’ I say.
‘It is now.’ He rolls towards me and plants a kiss on my forehead. I put my hand up and stroke his cheek. He grabs my hand and kisses my palm, oh God it’s like fireworks going off everywhere. I try and keep myself under control, but I can see the smile on his face and I know he’s teasing me. Before I can take another breath his hands are over my hips and ohh!
By lunchtime we’re exhausted and famished, reluctantly we get showered and dressed and go in search of lunch. Walking down the street I can see heads turning and people whispering as they recognise him. A few pluck up the courage to approach and ask for autographs and photos. I step aside and watch. I was like that once, dreaming and wishing. He turns back to me and takes my hand. The girls watch and I can feel their jealous eyes burning into me as we carry on down the street.
We find somewhere quiet and spend the afternoon eating and chatting. I tell him things I never thought I would tell anyone, and he listens. I find out thing about him you never read in the magazines. Together we find each other, and ourselves.
Days pass like this. I know the time is coming when he will have to go off again on tour. The holiday between finishing the last album and going on the promotional tour is ending. And I must think about what that will mean for me. Up to now we have avoided talking about the future, but it’s looming and needs to be faced.
‘I’ve been thinking.’ He says one golden afternoon. We’re sitting under a tree in Hyde Park; he’s laying with his head in my lap looking up at me. I stroke his hair and try to concentrate on what he’s saying.
‘I’ve got to go back next week and get things ready for the tour.’
‘I know.’ I sigh. ‘I’ve been trying not to think about it.’
‘Well I have been thinking about it.’ He sits up and faces me. ‘I want you to come with me. I want you to come on the tour with me. I can’t leave you here.’
I can feel the tears pricking at the backs of my eyes. He takes hold of my hand and grips it hard.
‘I love you.’ He says at last. And that’s it. The tears are streaming and I can’t speak I’m so happy; I never thought I could be this happy. All I can do is nod, but it’s enough. He kisses me and kisses me and I never, ever want him to stop.

Dean knew Ally wasn’t asleep. She’d been like that when he got up. To begin with he had been cross because he wanted his tea and his breakfast. He’d shaken her and shouted at her, he’d slapped her face a couple of times, but still she stayed there. When he got home that evening she was still there, it didn’t look like she’d moved at all. He tried again, this time he left his handprint on her cheek. Still she lay there with her face to the wall. He sat on the end of the bed and watched her for a while. Every now and then her hands would make small movements and her lips would move as if she were talking to someone. Sometimes her mouth would open and her breath would come faster, her face would flush. He banged around all evening trying to make as much noise as possible, until the neighbours started banging on the walls. Still she stayed there.
Days past. Dean moved out into the spare room, it was starting to freak him out. She hadn’t moved at all. And then there was the smell. Her mind may be somewhere else but her body was still in the here and now, and functioning. The sheets were beyond rescue and he was starting to worry. Nothing he tried worked. On the fifth day he called the doctor.
‘How long has she been like this?’ The doctor asked.
‘Five or six days.’
‘And you only just thought to call me?’ The doctor shot Dean a look that shrank him to half his size. Dean just nodded. The doctor sighed and called an ambulance.

‘We can find nothing wrong Mr Caby. Your wife is physically in good health. We ran a number of tests and Mrs Caby is not in a coma, in fact she seems to be awake. We have never come across anything like this before. There is really nothing more we can do for her here and so we are going to let her come home. We will arrange for a counsellor to come in and talk to her, try and get through to her. Something very traumatic must have happened to her to put her in this state, any idea what that might be?’ The doctor looked at Dean hard. Dean looked away and shook his head.
The next day Ally was brought home and settled in bed. A nurse came and showed Dean how to turn her and dress her bedsores. A therapist came once a week and sat on the edge of the bed softly talking to her, Dean watched from the door.
‘She moved her eyes today, they flickered slightly. That should be a good sign.’ The therapist said brightly, Dean nodded.
He made sure her feeding tube was set up properly and the drip was secure before he slipped out to the pub. He couldn’t be too long; she would need turning again in an hour. He took half a pint into the corner and watched the lads playing darts. They called him to join them, but he shook his head.
‘Poor bugger’ he heard one of them say, ‘wife’s bedridden you know, gone funny in the head they say.’
Dean pretended he hadn’t heard and left.

It’s lovely here, I’d never been out of the country before and now I’ve been to more places than I can remember. I liked Australia, but it smelled funny. America was nice, but loud, lots of bright lights as noise. No, if I had to choose a favourite stop so far it would be here, in Norway. It’s quiet and warm and safe feeling. And he’s happier than he’s been all tour, well he’s home of course. He’s taking me to all his childhood haunts, all those places that were special to him. When we get back to England I’ll do the same. It’s tiring though, all this travelling. But it’s worth it. He loves me, he tells me every day. And I’m so happy, I’ve never been so happy.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Still raining!

Well it's still raining! Is this global warming then? I notice they seem to have stopped calling it that and now say 'climate change' instead. Ok so we get a lot of rain in Cornwall, especially in the north here, but this is getting silly now.

I'm going to try and post some photos over the next few days. I always think it's nice if you can see who it is your reading about. Not that I allow photos of myself to see the light of day very often. I'm one of those people who dosen't photograph well. But Jamie (our little boy) is angelic in photos.

People say it must be hard having a special needs child. To be honest I have nothing to compare it with so to me it's the norm. Jamie is an only child and so all his little odd ways are just the way it is. But I do wish he would talk. Of everything I think that's the thing that bothers me most. I long for the day when he says mummy. They tell us not to expect proper speech until he's seven or eight. I know it will come, there is no reason to think otherwise. He has speech theropey and they tell us that he has the ability, makes all the right sounds for speech. So it's a waiting game.

So what is Sotos syndrome? Well I wish someone would tell me! It's quite a rare condition that currently affects about 300 children in this country. It's a groth and development problem. Basically Jamie is about two years behind with almost everything, about three years behind with his speech. But he's ahead with groth, especially his head, as you'll see if I can manage to post a photo. And he's ahead with some things like memory and recognition, we're pretty sure he can read.

If there's anyone out there with any experience of Sotos I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Welcome to sunny Cornwall!

Hello to whoever might be reading this. Welcome to the first blog from a not so sunny Cornwall. I think it might just rain forever. Not that it would matter if it did, it would still be about the best place to live I can think of.

So a bit about me and what you'll find here. My name is Claire and I live in North Cornwall with my husband and little boy. We moved here nearly fiveteen years ago to escape our old lives. Of course everyone seems to be doing it these days, but we did it before it became so fashionable. Eight years ago we finally got married and four years ago Jamie was born. He had problems from the start and was seen by this doctor and then that doctor. Finally he was diognosed with hydrochephilus and later with Sotos syndrome. Sotos is quite rare and we still don't know everything about it. Not that it makes a difference, he's a joy.

I want to use this blog as a cross between a diary and a place to try out some creative writing. I started writing years ago but it's got more serious recently. I have written a novel which is currently out there floating around agents and getting rejected. Still it's early days so fingers crossed. Topics may vary depending on what's going on. I suffer from depression and if I'm having an episode things might get a bit dark. I suppose I should have started this in the new year when the builders moved in and we moved out. Chaos is not the word. A five bedroom three hundred year old farmhouse in need of a new roof is not the best place to be.

The timing could not have been better really. In this weather we wouldn't have dared go out in case the buckets overflowed. I know how melodramatic that sounds but it's quite true. And it's just started raining again, for a change, In fact I'm not sure it's stopped. Ho hum.

So I think that will do as a brief introduction. Next time I might try and inport some of my writing.

Bye for now.