Hello! I have missed you all and your support, particularly in this time of particular need. That's life. Thank you so much for all your wonderful messages when I bid my temporary farewell back in May. They were a huge help. I don't know when I'll next be able to post, but I have an unexpected bit of time free and am taking advantage.....there may be a few time slots required here and there so this might take a while to publish!
The holidays have just started for OB, who did amazingly in his SATS and won a fantastic shield for his achievement as a result. He ended up with a level 7B in maths which is just amazing. Next step, Okehampton College. He's been visiting regularly and, incredibly, funding has come through via a different route from Statementing, to have someone in the classroom should he need them. I'm so impressed with the College I can't tell you. No wonder their OFTSED report was 'outstanding'. Anyway, that's OB, looking forward to six weeks of kicking his heals. We've bought him a 6x6x6 Rubik's cube as a reward for doing so well but, unfortunately, I didn't look carefully enough at where it was being shipped from and it seems it's on a slow boat from China. Ooops.
My mum. Well, she remained in hospital for about six weeks in total, mainly because we just didn't know where she should go from there, and when I say we, I mean family and hospital staff. In the end, after weeks of the situation changing almost daily, the very difficult decision was made, with her, that a care home was the best option and I started looking for somewhere which wouldn't offend her aesthetic sensibilities too much. This is important, believe me. Care homes, it seems, are a hotbed of artex, swirly carpets and dodgy, cut glass light fittings. After much research, I found one that is family run and next to lovely Lakes, about 40 minutes drive from home. Nothing closer sadly. The South West is teeming with elderly people so I don't really understand the lack of facilities. As for sheltered housing, forget it. We all hope that this stint in the home may be temporary, but unless someone builds some suitable units quickly, it's not going to happen. Although this place has its share of artex and cut glass, mum's room was due for refurbishment because of the....er...unfortunate demise of its previous occupant, and the walls are now completely flat and painted magnolia rather than lavatory pink. She has french windows and her own wet room. The cost of this is eye watering and her house is now on the market as a result. How quickly things change. She wants me to have power of attorney, which will come through in the next couple of weeks. I did it for my grandmother and can't say I'm looking forward to more paperwork but never mind. It's all a bit sad and VERY time consuming, hence the lack of blogging, or anything else much. I'm not keen on admin at the best of times. However, she is safe, and that peace of mind is something I've lived without up until now.
We DID go to the Wye Valley and I realise I've forgotten to load any photos of it at all. I'll make sure I do next time. We had an absolutely wonderful time but, as with most holidays, it seems a very long time ago. The weather was incredible. Jack had what looked like some kind of eye thing where the hair seemed to be falling out around them a few days before we left so I rushed into the vets. They took hair samples, scrapes etc and prescribed antibiotics. I said jokingly that I should just rub a bit of vaseline into it as I reeled at the bill I was handed. I got a rather sniffy false laugh and a supercilious look from said vet. A week later, there was no change. I rubbed a bit of vaseline on them and he was cured in 24 hours.
Another reason for my absence is that, along with everything else, I've had more work than usual. A gardening job, more painting for my neighbour, an upholstery job for her too and set dressing for photo shoots for the holiday company M works for. Very useful, but fitting it around visiting mum three times a week is proving tricky. I haven't done upholstery for years and had forgotten how much I enjoy it. However, I'd also forgotten that it's best to get the chair up high so that, when stapling/hammering, you don't end up bent over, head hanging, with sinus cavities filling up with hayfever related STUFF resulting in having to lie down for two hours with extreme nausea. Two hours that could have been used to earn much needed cash. Anyway, my time is filled to the brim but it's lovely to be writing this. It's Sunday night now and OB is trying to get his Rubik's cube solve times back down to his record 17 seconds. Rusty fingers. We are having to think the unthinkable.....our son is going to need a mobile phone when he goes to secondary school. Should we let him buy one that his friends won't scoff at (they all have bloody i-phones), or one that will raise eyebrows of horror at its uncool android operating system but won't be quite such a disaster if it goes missing, which it will. I think we need to get him practicing carrying a dummy one around for the next six weeks to see how many times it gets lost.
Right, as the title of this blog suggests, I am now rambling, probably because I have two and a half months worth of things to say. Some pictures. I have hundreds but picked these at random. Birds first, starting with the beautiful Wheatear, including the top one. I always see them in the same two locations and never do so without a flutter of excitement:
I promise you, this IS a Cuckoo, not a shy pigeon:
Wren Fledgling - sorry about the foliage!
Since my last post there have been many more foals, who do a lot of sleeping............
Their mothers too:
OB's favourite, Tic Tac:
A lot of energy out there......the first two were in quite low light so are blurry I'm afraid but it kind of adds to the effect:
A beautiful green Common Lizard; I've seem absolutely loads this year and Adders to go with them:
The Ten Tors race came to Kestor again this year; team after team trudging up the hill to the checkpoint:
Early one morning I saw a hot air balloon in the mist. As I was photographing it, a mountain biker rode into the shot. I have seen cyclists about three times in the last seven years living here. A bizarre coincidence but quite effective I think:
May weather was pretty good. My morning shadow standing on the top of Kestor:
From mid May to the mid June, Trigger went on holiday to the friends whose ponies I've been helping headcollar train. At the time, the whole thing with my mum was kicking off and his being there was a godsend - tons of grass and good company. He and the mare rather fell for each other, leaving her albino friend in the background here, out in the cold. He was blown out in every picture I took - he really is that pale! No amount of photo manipulation could sort him out. When I took Trigger home, he stopped and neighed piercingly in my ear all the way home....the TWO HOUR walk home:
Trigger's little paddock at home had recovered a bit, but not really enough, so after much discussion, I asked the lovely farmers who own the Dartmoor Madams if I could fence a strip of my neighbours' field off that they rent for silage and never mow because it's so rutted. They said yes so Trigger now has yet another place with the best views ever. The field borders the moor and you can see for miles.
I don't think I've mentioned that he started developing white spots in the winter and they have been multiplying at a rate of knots. This doesn't really show them that well but you get the idea:
OB has been surfing at Westward Ho! again a couple of times and is still loving it:
I haven't really had the time to photograph the garden birds but here is are a couple of Sparrows, one adult, one definitely not!
The dogs and the moor have kept me sane over the last few months with our walks being a haven from all stress.
I don't know when I'll be posting next but thanks for reading this (if you are) and perhaps after the holidays, when OB starts at his secondary school and the gardening work dries up, I should be more free. It's taken three weeks to produce this post! Sorry about the false start a few days ago, or is it a week? I pressed 'publish' rather than 'save' and had to delete it. I'm seriously out of practice. Thank goodness for cutting and pasting but I know something appeared in people's sidebars which led to nothing. Hope you're all having a great summer, despite the weather and thanks again for your patience. Until next time, here are the dogs with a toy they found on the moor and lost again within half an hour. xx