Thursday, 26 July 2012

All change again

Wow, just when life is ticking over nicely something comes along to pull the rug from under your feet and to stop you feeling too complacent. I got the call last week that everyone who lives away from their family dreads. "Call me urgently, it's about mum" In my family this means business.

Mum had not been seem all day and when someone went to check they had found her collapsed on the toilet. Looking at the fact that the breakfast things were still out, she must have been there since morning. My sister arrived at the same time as the paramedics and she was taken to the nearby hospital where she was admitted, having had a very large bleed into her brain. It was critical and I had to come.

It's amazing how quickly you can do things! Ian had booked my flight for the following morning and I had packed my hand luggage in half an hour. We had to leave at 5.00a.m. the following morning and I worked hard through the night to get my head round the fact that my mum was dying and I might not make it in time. Sleep was never really going to be an option.

At the airport the following day I noticed that red eyes mean you get given plenty of space in the waiting room! I made my way from Gatwick to Heathrow, seeing the first arrivals for the Olympic Games at Terminal 4 in a slightly surreal atmosphere. From the airport I got a lift to the hospital. She was in the acute stroke unit and we were given unlimited visiting (not a good sign). As I arrived I saw the red eyes and worried looks of my brother and sister and then saw a person in the bed who had some features of my mother but really wasn't her. She was wired up to a drip as she was unable to swallow and was being given fluids, but that was it. The bleed had affected over one third of her brain and was untreatable. We spent the weekend waiting.

On Monday, the doctors returned from the weekend, surprised to find that she was still there with relatively stable vital signs, although she had a chest infection. At this point they started a more active treatment approach and treated her with antibiotics and started to feed her through a naso-gastric tube. By Tuesday she was a little more responsive. She is able to follow us with her eyes, hold hands and move her left arm and hand. The worst of it however is that I think she is able to understand a reasonable amount of what is going on but can't speak or communicate in any other way. I really at this stage don't know what I wish for and what is possible.

Arriving in London in the countdown to the Olympic Games, in an unplanned way, with just hand luggage is a really unsettling experience. Today I booked a flight home in a weeks time and I will go whatever happens, even if I have to return again quickly.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Things to do!

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted here. I think we thought somehow that coming to live here was going to be a bit like early retirement, where we would still be busy but would have more time! Well that couldn't be further from the truth as we have a list of projects that gets longer each day and each time we cross off one job we add on two more!  The positive things are that we are working in a nice environment, we are pretty much working for ourselves and we don't do the same things everyday.

So here is some of what we have been doing:-

We have been making hay while the sun shines.. although it turned out that was only for a weekend and came at the time when we had a million and one other things to do. So, our one day off for weeks was spent cutting, baling and lugging hay. We called in a few favours in order to get it done and by the end of Sunday had a field full of large bales and a big pile of small ones. The wet summer has meant we have about 5 times as much as last year.


The wet warm whether has caused the garden to grow and I have been inundated with courgettes again! We have been eating courgette soup (quite nice), courgette lasagna, courgette muffins, stir fried courgettes, courgette scones.... (next year must remember that two courgette plants is ample!)

I guess people who have been reading the blog for some time expect that after 18 months our building project should be complete, we should already have our llamas and be open for business.  We are now more accepting of the fact that it will take longer than we anticipated to get that far!  Day to day life seems to take more time than we expected! Still we are progressing slowly. A big step this week is that for the first time since Ian and I met, all our possessions are in the same piece of land! For 18 months most of the boxes that we brought from England have been stored at a neighbours house. This week Ian managed to finish boarding an area in the garage that we can use as storage and we moved our boxes in there. They didn't look so bad when they were all piled up in one space.

We have also been trying to make headway with the electrics so that we can get our permanent supply connected before our temporary supply is cut off (as is being threatened!) We have a 4 page list of jobs and are gradually ticking off the red (high priory ones ). Some days we get it down to three pages but then remember other things that need to be added!

So, with all these things to do, I suppose we don't need another project but we just can't resist! Someone was offering an old caravan free to someone who could collect it. We volunteered our services and so yesterday drove 2 hours to collect what I have now christened 'Norma' the caravan; named after my old cat that never made it to France with me! Here are two pictures of Norma as she was this morning.


Of course we can't resist attempting a major restoration project at some time in the future. I have always wanted to have a go at tarting up an old caravan and turning it into a kitch waggon. Ian is not so sure about the kitch bit but when he saw what we could get in rental for one he was more convinced! For now we are just going the repair the leaks and damage and clean it up....but it has been a great thing to be thinking about while we should be doing other things!

Someone asked me before I left whether I would be bored in France and questioned what I would find to do with time! I can honestly say I have never been busier!