The Covid Carousel keeps turning, Recently Daughter and WeeBoy have had it, my nephew, my brother, close friends….Cannyrob seemed better after having it but has just spent ten days in hospital.
On the Saturday of Easter weekend he was suddenly in excruciating pain. He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a volvulus (twisted bowel). The initial procedure didn’t work and they had to try again. It was a very anxious time, with worries about recurrence and wondering why it had happened. My friend in Seattle (I can phone her at 3am) said Hang on in there. Yes indeed, like the Tarot Hanged Man. Waiting. Hoping. Trying not to think. I did a two card reading on April 20th. ( All cards from the Leonora Carrington deck.)
He eventually had emergency surgery to remove the damaged part of the bowel. He is now home to convalesce. After more than two years of being the one being cared for, I have had to step up into the role of carer. At least I can drive now and get around the house. I have cut the grass and done some weeding and planting. I’ve fed fish, birds and next door’s hamster. I’ve collected prescriptions and shopped for food. I’ve put the bins out.
My family have been amazing. Both Daughters, Son and WeeBoy have offered practical and emotional support. Friends have rallied round and helped me handle the stress.
Life will be challenging for now, but it has brought us closer as a family and made us appreciate the value of everyday pleasures. Sitting in the garden listening to the birds.
And now for something completely different…..
Daughter (here for the weekend):
Mum. Did you happen to see my special Youth to the People Spinach and Kale face wash (from Cult Beauty) in a reusable bottle in the upstairs shower room?
Me: Em…. I might have thought it was shower gel and used it. I might have put the bottle in the bin…..
We found the empty bottle in the green plastics wheelie bin outside. So I was forgiven.
I’ve stopped looking at clothes, apart from in charity shops and am knitting a jumper from wool stashed away ten years ago. Unfortunately, when I located it in a cardboard box from the Wash House I found unmistakable traces of mouse occupation. Salvaged balls went in the washing machine in a net bag. Then they had to be rewound and the chewed strands discarded. My knitting has been a good pastime on hospital visits, initiating nice chats with staff.
Audiobooks have helped me through sleepless nights and long car journeys this month. Endurance, an abridged version of Shackleton’s incredible adventures in the ice is shocking and gripping. Although I knew the story, this account, based on diaries and letters, is vividly realised and made me appreciate my warm bed.
My next listen was Hard Times by Charles Dickens. Read by Martin Jarvis, this is a satire on the industrial revolution. Mr Gradgrind’s philosophy of ‘Facts. facts, facts!’ damages his own children and ultimately himself.
The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews is a story of post Civil War England, told by a young soldier who returns from the army to find his family beset by what appear to be supernatural powers. There are a number of novels with a similar theme, but this one is different, with its connection to political thinking and religious attitudes.
The Whistling by Rebecca Netley is an excellent ghost story set on a Scottish island. Utterly absorbing with a soft- voiced Scots narrator. I recommend it. Next was Last Woman Hanged, the terrible true story of Louisa Collins by Caroline Overingtonl, an Australian true crime story about a whole culture and way of life through this gripping account of four trials and a botched execution. I’ve gone straight on to another modern Gothic tale, Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster.
My reading this month has been intermittent. My concentration since Cannyrob got ill has not been good. I have probably spent more time than usual listening to audiobooks. I was disappointed by My Real Children by Jo Walton. I liked Among Others but this dual tale of the same woman’s life didn’t appeal. Next was Roadway by Roger Zelazny. This writer was mentioned in Jo Walton’s book and as I used to read a lot of SF I thought I’d try it. I didn’t like it.
To Eat a Bear by Mikael Noemi, recommended by B at Waterstones. This is an unusual book set in 19thC Sweden. A murder mystery played out against a backdrop of superstition and prejudice where literacy is empowering. I loved this quote: If you owned books, you would never be alone
The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister edited by Helena Whitbread is an entertaining read. I didn’t watch the television series so it’s new to me. Super-infinite: The Transformations of John Donne by Katherine Rundell is a beautifully crafted biography of this amazing poet. Cannyrob and I read The Good Morrow, verse about, at our wedding. Companion Piece is Ali Smith’s new book. She is a unique writer who continues to intrigue me
I am still hooked on Outlander, watching it when I have time on my own. It is pure fantasy but highly enjoyable. The Split on BBC is a series we’ve loved since the start, with great performances by Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan. I think Season 3 has to be the end though. Watched Coda, a wonderful award-winning film about a hearing girl in a deaf family.
I’ve been working in pastels, a medium I tried before but couldn’t master. Forgetting all the ‘how to’ advice, I’ve been working on portraits. Here are a few, shared with permission.
This has been a month of unexpected events, a topsy-turvy roller-coaster of emotions. A testing time for our family. My Daughters have surrounded me with love and strength, providing practical help and emotional support. Family and friends have kept in touch and offered help. Most of all, I have faced the prospect of losing my Lover, my soulmate, but he has come home to me.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere
John Donne The Good Morrow
Thanks for reading, supporting, being there. Love. Elinor