Tuesday, 30 June 2009

It had better be woth it!!!!!

How hard can it be to book a coach ticket online and then print it off? VERY HARD INDEED!!!!
I booked my coach up to Northampton, where I will be sleeping on friends floor (very dignified), for Friday. I chickened out of driving, apart from anything else it's too hot. Anyway the booking all went smoothly. As did booking the train home from London for Sunday. The train ticket arrived yesterday in the post, lovely. The coach ticket, AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

They send you an email to confirm your booking, and a link to view and print your e-ticket. Easy I thought. Except it won't let me! I've been going round in circles for three days now. Endless phone calls to National Express. They assure me that as long as I have the booking ref, and all the numbers they've given me then I can still travel. I just have visions of being on a platform with the bus about to leave and the driver refusing to let me on because I haven't got the actual ticket. I could be stranded hundreds of miles from home. Ok I know that's what credit cards are for. But I really don't need the extra stress. This weekend had better be worth it!!

Dad's surgery has been brought forward. He goes in Sunday. So I'm getting the train to Exeter so that I can see him Sunday night. Then they're going to operate Monday. I'm trying not to think about that. I'm hoping this weekend will take my mind off it all. But I'm going to miss Jamie sooooo much. I have never been away from him since he was in special care as a baby. What it Richard doesn't hear him in the night? What if he gets too stressed at me being gone? What if he doesn't miss me at all?

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Here we go again!!!!

I have been off radar for a few days, not intentionally. I won't bore you with the gory details, but lets just say a rabbit in the headlights has had nothing on me these last few days. Everything seems to have been going on around me. It has been taking a lot to remember to breathe in and out and put one foot in front of the other. But I did remember, and now I'm back. I will be catching up with all your lovely blogs and comments as soon as I can.

Wimbledon as started, hurah! I never watch sport, but love Wimbledon, go figure! Maybe it's because it means summer's here? Mind you summer means holiday makers, in droves, with all their peculiarities. Of which they have many. I expect they will appear here over the next few weeks.

Dad had the letter we had been waiting for, and dreading. He's been booked in for surgery on 7th July. He sees his doc tomorrow to find out the details. They have told us that there is a 10% chance he won't survive the surgery, this is not good odds apparently. I'm trying very hard to not think that these might be the last few days I have with him.

On a brighter note I'm off to London on 3rd for a hen weekend (I know, at my age!!). The friend was never, under any circumstances going to get married. So I'm going to prove to myself that it's real. And two days in London will be fab. We're going to a show, do some shopping...maybe drink too much (did I just say that out loud?) Anyway will take the camera and put the, probably very embarrassing, pics up.

The show is 'Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert'. I'm sure there's a link somewhere. If you've never seen the film you must, it's the funniest thing ever. You will never look at a ping pong ball in the same way again!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A rather boring post. Sorry.

Well it was summer here for three days. Yes a whole three days! But normal service had been resumed and today has been wet. And not just rain, thick fog! In June.

I have to say that not a lot has changed. Dad had another overnight stay in Exeter hospital. They finally did the tests they were supposed to do two weeks ago. So now we wait. He's eating better now though.

We had Jamie's TAC meeting at school today. It went very well. They are very happy with him. In fact they love him to bits! And he's not the baby anymore, they have a little girl started who is younger than him. He wasn't there this afternoon because Wednesday is horse riding. He loves it apparently. They have taken some photos so I hope they'll let us have copies. It seems that he won't hold on though. He sits in the saddle and flaps with joy as someone holds him on! I can just see it. Bless him.

Ok I have the telly on and they are talking about stuffing slugs, cooking them and eating them!! I think I might have just lost the will to live.

Oh yes and I'm now on facebook. I know I have always said I wouldn't go there like I need something else to stop me doing everything else I should be doing!! As soon as I can work out how to link to my page I'll put it up.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The sun is shining (for now).

First of all thank you to everyone who said nice things about my story. I know it was a bit long for a blog, so thanks for taking the time to read it.

And welcome to my new followers. denise-macandrews I can't seem to find your blog.

Things have been quiet round here for a change. Jamie had another eye test last week. He was his normal not very co-operative self. But it went ok and they were happy with him.

Dad came home from Exeter hospital. He's put weight back on and his lung seems to be healing. Did I mention that? They wanted to do a biopsy on another spot the found. In the process the damaged him lung! Still he seems a little better for the moment. He has to go back next week overnight for more tests.

And the sun is out! I've dusted off the sunglasses and changed my wardrobe over. That makes me sound very posh. But really I have a very small wardrobe, that I have to share with Richard, so when the summer clothes come out the winter ones have to be packed away, and vice versa.

So I might be able to finish attacking the garden. I promised more garden pics didn't I? Ok I'll see what state it's in over the weekend.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

I want to tell you a story.....

I wrote this last year. It's, more or less, a dream I had, one of those really vivid ones. Hope you like it.

The Little Dolphin Creature

She walks in carrying the margarine tub cupped in both her frail, lined hands. With a soft smile she places it gently on the counter and lets out a satisfied sigh. She doesn’t
seem to see the girl behind the counter who is smiling
brightly back at her, waiting. She stares passed the girl to the back office, where Mel is busy staring out of the window when she should be filing. With a nod to herself the old lady eventually turns her face to the still smiling girl.
‘Hello my dear.’
‘Can I help you madam?’
‘I shouldn’t think so, but I think that young lady might.’ The old lady points a long, slender finger over the girls shoulder to Mel. The girl turns and looks. With a frown she turns back.
‘Mel isn’t a vet either. I assume you have brought something in to see a vet?’ She nods to the margarine tub.
‘Oh yes. I have a sick creature if that’s what you mean.’
‘So you want a vet, not a nurse.’ The girl says firmly, shooting another glare over to where Mel is oblivious and still staring out of the window.
‘If you insist dear. But I would like that young lady to join us, if you please.’ The old lady keeps the soft smile and lays her hand gently on the margarine tub.
The girl frowns again and pushes a button on the internal phone.
‘I have a lady out here with something that needs the vet…No I don’t know what it is but it’s in a margarine tub so it’s not big…. Yes I will, but she wants Mel…. I don’t know…. well that’s what she said…Ok.’ With a heavy sigh the girl puts the phone down and turns to the back room.
‘Mel!’ she calls. ‘Can you get yourself to room three to assist David?’ She turns back to the old lady with slightly strained smile. ‘Could you go through to room three please, David will see you.’
‘Thank you dear.’ The old lady carefully picks up the margarine tub and walks silently through the double doors to the consulting rooms.

Mel drags her eyes away from the dancing trees when she hears her name. Slowly she turns to the source of the sound. It is Connie telling her to go and help one of the vets. This is odd, it isn’t her day to be out front. She loves it, of course she does, but some days all she wants to do is hide out here and pretend to be doing paperwork. Today is one of those days. She’d sighed with relief that morning when she saw that she wasn’t on the nursing rota. She pads through to the front desk to see what was going on.
‘You’ve been asked for by her.’ Connie nods to the back of the old lady who is disappearing through the doors.
‘Why?’ asks Mel.
‘Don’t ask me. I assumed she must know you.’ Connie shrugs.
‘No, I don’t think so.’
‘Well she wants you rather than me so you better get through there.’ Connie tosses her head and turns back to the desk.
Mel follows the old lady through to the consultation rooms. David is waiting and greets the old lady with a dazzling smile.
‘Hello there and what can we do for you today?’ he gushes. The old lady looks right passed him towards Mel. She hands the margarine tub to Mel with great care.
‘I’ve brought you this.’ She says looking Mel deep in the eye. Mel tries to look away, but can’t.
Mel takes the margarine tub gently and sets it down on the examination table. She looks up at David, who nods. Carefully Mel lifts the lid. They peer in to see that the tub is filled with water. To begin with they think it is empty. Then Mel sees a flicker of movement from one corner. She points and they get their faces right down until their noses are almost in the water. The little flicker slowly moves out into the middle of the tub and shows itself. It looks like a dolphin; but it is barely the size of a little finger. Mel gasps and looks across at David. David stands up and purses his lips.
‘Where did you get this?’ he asks.
‘Oh I’ve had him a long time.’ The old lady still keeps her eyes fixed on Mel.
‘And why have you brought him to see us today?’ David continues.
‘He’s sick.’ The old lady says to Mel.
‘In what way?’ David asks.
‘He needs looking after and I can’t do it anymore. He’s ready to move on.’ The old lady continues to fix her attention on Mel while she speaks. Mel shifts her weight and tries again to look away.
The creature gives a small flick of the tail that makes the water ripple. They all turn back to look into the margarine tub.
‘You said he’s sick madam. What are his symptoms?’ David tries to keep the tension out of his voice. He has no idea what the creature is or what on earth he is supposed to do with it. With any luck he can convince the old dear that there really isn’t anything wrong with it and she’ll take it away again.
‘He needs taking care of.’ She says simply.
‘We are a vets madam. We can only take care of your…pet if you tell us what’s wrong with it.’
‘I think if this young lady takes him home for a while he’ll be much better in no time.’ The old lady smiles her soft smile and gives Mel a look that makes her glow and shiver at the same time. She tries to smile back but all she can think of is the little thing struggling in the margarine tub. It needs help and all David seems to be doing is going round and round in circles.
‘I could take it.’ Mel says. ‘I could take it home and keep it in my old fish tank for a few days, see how it gets on.’
‘That would be perfect dear, thank you.’ The old lady finally takes her eyes off Mel and turns to David.
‘I don’t think we can do that madam. It’s not very professional. The nurses can’t just take animals home you know. Especially if we don’t know anything about it.’ He shoots Mel a look that tells her she will be in trouble later. Strangely she doesn’t care this time. She keeps looking at the margarine tub. The tiny dolphin creature is still again now, for a moment she thinks it is dead. Then it twists its body and she breaths again.
‘Oh that’s all right dear.’ The old lady turns her soft smile on David. ‘I really think it will be for the best. I’ll leave him here with, Mel was it? Yes with Mel. Thank you very much.’ And she turns before anyone can say anything, and is gone.
David opens his mouth to call after the old lady but can’t. Instead he turns to Mel and pushes the margarine tub across the table to her.
‘Take whatever it is and flush it. I don’t even know what it is let alone what’s wrong with it. And don’t you ever do that again.’ He storms out of the room, his embarrassment turned to anger.
Mel stares at the margarine tub. Quietly she peeps in and sees the little dolphin creature. It turns its head until one eye is looking up through the water and meets hers. She blinks in surprise and jumps back. When she looks again it is still looking at her. There is no way she is going to flush it down the toilet. Carefully she puts the lid back on and takes it to the staff room. She tucks it away at the back of her locker. Then goes and flushes the toilet so David will think she had done as he has asked.

When she gets home she fetches her old fish tank out from under the stairs and fills it with bottled water. With panic she realises she doesn’t know whether should be fresh or salt water. She dips her finger in the margarine tub and licks it. It isn’t salty, good. Carefully she takes the tub and tips it up over the tank. The little dolphin creature plops into the clear water and sinks down to the bottom. Mel holds her breath and watches. For a long time nothing happens. Mel pulls up a chair and sits by the tank. For three hours she sits and stares at the little dolphin creature. Still it doesn’t move. By midnight she can hold back no longer and lets the tears fall. It was dead, it had to be.
She sits and mourns. She mourns for the little dolphin creature. She mourns for her mother. She mourns for her sister and the foetus that went with her. And she mourns for something else; something she somehow knows she will now never have. When she’s empty and her shell collapses down on the kitchen chair she sees a flicker. Her red eyes move across to focus on the tank. There, swimming about, is the little dolphin creature. Mel starts to cry again.
The next morning Mel hurries down stairs into the kitchen. As she opens the door she stops dead. In the fish tank the little dolphin creature isn’t as little as it was. Overnight it had grown, doubled in size. It flicks its tail and turns to look at her. Through the glass it holds her gaze. Mel gets down to its level and they watch each other. Suddenly a thought occurs to Mel.
‘You must be hungry. What do you eat?’ She gives the little dolphin creature a questioning look. It twists its body round so that it is facing her again, but doesn’t answer.
Mel pulls open cupboards and hunts for something that might look right. She rejects cereal and bread, tinned beans and pasta. At the back of the top shelf she finds a tin of can food that she had bought the other week for the stray that is hanging around. She fishes it out and shows it to the little dolphin creature.
‘What do you think?’
The little dolphin creature turns a little summersault. Mel opens it and mashes a spoonful down with a fork. Carefully she drops little bits into the tank and waits. The little dolphin creature snaps the bits of food up while Mel watches from her post on the chair. She wants to sit there all day and just watch it. But the clock tells her she’s late so she drags herself back upstairs to dress.

Work is so slow Mel is convinced the clock has stopped. At lunch Connie tells her, in great detail, about her love life. Mel smiles and nods in all the right places, and stops listening after five minuets. In the middle of afternoon surgery David’s wife comes in with their baby daughter and she watches them be married. With a sigh she takes the dogs for their afternoon walk. On the way back she wonders about the little dolphin creature and the old lady. She realises that she has no idea who she was or how to get in touch with her. This is dreadful. She needs to talk to the old lady. She needs to ask her why the little dolphin creature grew so much like that. She needs to ask how she should take care of it. And what happens when it gets better?
Suddenly she feels warmth in the centre of her back. It feels like someone has put a warm hand on her back and is gently rubbing it, it feels nice. But it’s not the sort of feeling you should have in the middle of the street. Mel pulls herself up straight and slowly turns round. Standing just behind her is the old lady. Mel jumps and nearly lets go of the leads. The old lady smiles her soft smile.
‘Has he grown much?’ the old lady asks.
‘Oh…um…yes. Yes he has.’
‘I thought he would.’ The old lady nods to her self and in the time it takes Mel to adjust her grip on the dogs’ leads, she has gone. Mel spins round full circle, but nothing.

Mel doesn’t even take her coat off but goes straight through to the kitchen. In the tank the little dolphin creature now fills half the tank. Mel gasps and plops down on the chair to look closer. The little dolphin creature summersaults and splashes and Mel is sure he’s pleased to see her. She hurries to the fridge and gets out the rest of the morning’s cat food. The little dolphin creature twists and flips and then eats and eats.
All evening Mel sits on the kitchen chair and watches. The little dolphin creature performs all his best tricks for her until he is tired out. For the last hour before she goes to bed they sit and gaze at each other. Sometimes he looks so deep inside her Mel is sure he can actually see her heart beating. With great care, and not a little difficulty, Mel carries the tank upstairs and places in beside her bed. All night they watched each other.
In the morning she brings the tank back down into the kitchen. It is her day off and she decides they will spend it together. She has been a vetanary nurse for three years now and she had quickly learnt not to get emotionally involved with either the animals or their owners, it was just too painful. And this…thing…whatever he is, he isn’t the cutest thing she has ever seen, not at all. A fluffy kitten, a waggy puppy, she could understand. But this was a fist size fish with a long nose and boggy eyes. And yet as soon as she peered in the margarine tub she knew that she had to help him. Looking at him now her heart skips. He is gazing back at her with a look she wishes she could see in other eyes.
After breakfast they go through to the sitting room and she puts the TV on for the little dolphin creature. For a few minuets he floats, eyes fixed on the screen. Then he flicks his tail and turns away.
‘I agree.’ Mel says and turns it off.
The house has to be cleaned, dust removed and order returned. Mel puts the radio on and makes a start. The little dolphin creature watches her progress around the room, and waits for her when she goes to do the rest of the house.
She hasn’t noticed she was doing it until she catches her reflection in the mirror. All day she has been talking to the little dolphin creature. Mel blushes and turns away. In the tank the little dolphin creature waits for her to finish what she is telling him. He floats there with his head on one side. Mel smiles and puts a finger gently on the glass. The little dolphin creature bumps his nose against the glass where her finger is and Mel is sure she can feel the warmth ripple through. She leaves her hand there for a while, slowly unfolds her fingers until her whole palm is flat against the glass. The little dolphin creature rubs his head against the tank and Mel quietly sobs.

The next morning Mel throws open the curtains and cries out. In the tank the little dolphin creature is no longer little. He has grown so large over night that his nose and tail are rubbing against the sides of the tank. Mel runs to the bathroom and fills the bath.
The tank is very heavy and Mel struggles to get it through to the bathroom. In the end she slides it along the carpet, water sloshing over the sides and soaking the floor. The little dolphin creature watches Mel carefully, but he stays still, not scared. Mel heaves the tank up over the side of the bath and the little dolphin creature crashes into the full bath. Mel collapses on the bath mat exhausted. She hurries down stairs and fetches the little dolphin creature some food. She is late for work, she has to go. She blows him a kiss from the bathroom door and hurries away.
All day Mel worries. If the little dolphin creature keeps growing like this he will soon be too big for the bath, and then what? In three days he has grown to nearly ten times the size he was when the old lady brought him in in the margarine tub.
On her way home she remembers something. At the bottom of her parents garden there used to be a swimming pool. It has long ago been drained and is now overgrown. But it can be refilled can’t it? She can think of nothing else, no other solution, the alternative does not bare thinking about.
She opens the front door with a trembling hand and runs up the stairs. In the bath the now not so little dolphin creature is bobbing in the water. He twists around at the sound of her at the door, Mel is sure he smiles. She smiles back and drops to her knees beside the bath. An hour later she is still there, still in her coat with her bag at her side. The dolphin creature flicks and twists and puts on a show for her. Her hand hovers over the rim of the bath wanting to dip in. finally she touches the surface of the water with her fingertips. The dolphin creature turns around and touches her fingers with his nose. Mel is sure her heart has stopped. His nose is warm and soft and touching it feels so familiar. They stay there and watch each other. The dolphin creature looks into Mel’s eyes and she notices something. His eyes have changed colour. And the skin around his face has lightened. Mel starts to worry again. Is this normal or does it mean he’s sick again? But his eyes are bright, sparkling, and his skin is smooth and glowing.
When bedtime comes Mel cannot bare to leave the dolphin creature, so she drags her bedding into the bathroom and makes a bed for herself on the floor. All night she listens to his gentle splashings, and he listens to her gentle breathing.
By morning the dolphin creature has grown again. Mel takes a deep breath and calls her parents. While the phone rings Mel tries to decide how to explain the situation to her mother. She can see her mother rolling her eyes and deciding that her daughter has finally gone mad. If her mother had a better nature then she could try appealing to that. As it is she is going to have to rely on the truth and hope.
An answer phone kicks in and tells Mel that her parents have gone on a cruse around the world, Mel is glad she is not a burglar. This is good. She will drive down at the weekend and fill the pool. Mel prays the dolphin creature doesn’t grow too much in the mean time.
She goes back up to the bathroom and tells the dolphin creature that she is off to work. He flicks his tail and looks at her sadly. Then he makes the first sound she has heard. A low-pitched wail that sounds like ‘Nooooo’. As she turns to go down the stairs it comes again, then again. By the time her hand is on the door handle it is echoing around the whole house. The dolphin creature is begging her to stay. Mel has to go to work, she has to pay the rent, buy food. But her heart breaks a little more every time she hears that sound.
Mel drops her bag, shrugs off her coat and runs back up the stairs.
‘It’s ok. It’s ok.’ She sooths. The dolphin creature is flicking and twisting in great distress.
‘Hey, hey. I’m here. Look, look. I’m here.’ She stands and leans over the bath until she’s sure she will fall in. Slowly the thrashing around eases, he calms. He gazes up at her and says thank you as best he can.
‘I need to go down stairs and call them. Tell them I’m not coming. But I’ll be right back.’ She watches and is sure she sees him nod. She nods back and dashes down to call the vets.
Mel is not good at lying and she is sure they don’t believe a word. Still it can’t be helped, and now there are more important things.

Saturday comes not too soon. The dolphin creature is bursting out of the bath now and he has to be moved. Mel explains why she is having to leave him. He looks at her and blinks his long lashes. When she leaves she listens for the cry from the dolphin creature, but it doesn’t come. He understands.
Mel drives down to her parents’ house in the country and hopes they still leave the key under the same flowerpot.
They do. Mel wastes no time in setting up the hosepipe. Dragging it across the lawn and threw the thicket of brambles and bracken that had grown up around the swimming pool isn’t easy, but she has to do it. Eventually water is gushing into the empty, gaping blueish green hole in the ground. As Mel watches something occurs to her that makes her loose her balance for a moment. How is she going to get the dolphin creature from her flat to this swimming pool? And what if he’s grown again by the time she gets home? Mel goes pale. She has to think. Her car might be big enough if she lets the back seats down. But he will be heavy. And it is quite a long drive. How will she keep him wet? She can’t keep him wet. She feels faint and leans against a tree.

The dolphin creature watches Mel as she moves around the room gathering towels. She runs each one under the tap until the floor is covered in sodden piles. He tries to flick his tail but he is now so big he can no longer move. He is wary and he doesn’t take his eyes off her. But Mel can’t look at the dolphin creature. She knows there is a good chance this might not work, she might be about to let him down in the worse way. And she tries not to think about getting him to the car.
The time comes and she has to try. She lays a row of towels out on the bathroom floor and takes a deep breath. She scoops her hands under the dolphin creature’s belly and is amazed. She lifts him out of the water as easily as if he was still in the margarine tub. Because she has braced herself so much for the expected weight she nearly falls backwards.
Recovering herself Mel wraps the dolphin creature in as many of the wet towels as she can, and tries hard not to feel the warmth of his skin.
The drive takes longer than it has ever taken before. At every junction and at every red light Mel turns to check the dolphin creature. He gazes back at her and rolls his big eyes. Mel bites her lip and puts her foot down.

The dolphin creature is even lighter in her arms now and Mel runs across the lawn. She stumbles, trips and runs on until she is beside the swimming pool. The towels are almost dry by now and his skin is cooler. Mel drops to her knees and rolls the dolphin creature into the water. He disappears into the darkness and Mel wishes she had had time to clean the disused pool from its years of dead leaves and slime. Her eyes scan the murky water for a sign of him in there. The sun starts to rise and lights up the garden. Mel gets down on her knees and puts her face down to the water’s surface. She peers and peers until she sees a shadow. There, at the bottom lays the dolphin creature. Still. Mel sits back on her heels and waits. An hour passes, then two, then three. There is no movement, no stirring. The dolphin creature sits on the bottom of the pool unmoving.
The tears drop silently onto the stones and splash into the water. Mel sits and stares into the water until she stops seeing anything. She knew there was a chance, a good chance this would happen, but what choice did she have? After another hour of nothing Mel stands and hugs herself, pulling the garden around her like a blanket. He’s gone, it’s finished.
Mel peers again into the water, trying to catch a last glimpse, to say goodbye. But she can no longer see anything down there. She pulls off her coat, kicks off her shoes and jumps. She takes a deep breath and dives down into the darkness. She kicks down and kicks down until she is on the bottom. She opens her eyes but can see nothing. Then the sunlight filters through and she sees.
The dolphin creature is lying still where he has settled. Mel swims over and reaches out to him. Gently she lays her hand on the dolphin creature’s side. For as long as she can she strokes the cold body and mixes a little salt water into the fresh. She has to get back up or she will have to stay there with him forever. She lets the dolphin creature go and floats back up to the surface.
Mel heaves herself out of the water and pulls one of the now dry towels around her shoulders. For the rest of the day she sits crossed legged on the poolside. After a while she stops thinking and nearly stops breathing, everything beyond her.
She doesn’t notice for a long time. The ripples get bigger and bigger until it is impossible not to see them. Her neck is stiff, her back screaming, but she manages to turn her head enough to watch the water start to move. For a few minuets she watches without seeing. Slowly, slowly her brain catches up and she starts to realise that what she is seeing is very strange indeed. She carefully uncrosses her legs and crawls to the pool edge. Kneeling and watching Mel sees the ripples turn into small waves that start to lap at the pool edge. The waves start to splash up over the side, soaking Mel’s skirt. She knows she should be scared, this is not normal. But she isn’t. In fact she is very calm, fascinated. With wide eyes she stares at the heaving water. There is a centre point that is creating the disturbance. Mel watches the place where the dolphin creature lay as the water starts to bubble. She stands and takes a step back. From the bubbling foam a shape starts to rise from the water.
The shadows start to clear, the water calms and there he stands in front of her. His large eyes are human but Mel knows them well. Wide and clear, deep blue they are the eyes she has spent so long looking into. His tall, broad nakedness, the dark hair falling around his face, and the wide smile keep Mel rooted. For a long time they drink each other in.
Finally he holds out his hand to her. Mel takes a step forward and melts into him as he curls his strong arms around her. She tilts her head up and they look deep into each other. Gently he dips his head down and kisses her. Mel slips her arms around his neck and the rest of the world disappears.
At the edge of the lawn the old lady folds her arms contentedly and nods.