Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
A slow start to the day, not much change there but, today’s going to be rather different from over three years of recent experience. A gentle sense of trepidation haunts the morning hours; the gardener arrives to carry out a few tasks and, I decide it’s time for a leisurely shower before I get dressed and set up for what the day has in store. Muscle, joint and glandular twinges were already in evidence as soon as the transformation from somnolence to wakefulness had occurred, so a peremptory dose of codeine phosphate and paracetamol was called for.
Another big adventure for yours truly is on the menu, as Helen packs the suitcases in the car, in preparation for our weekend excursion to Liverpool. On Sunday, Helen’s step-mum will be celebrating her entry into the octogenarian stakes; come to think of it, in a mere 17 years and 4 months I too could be entitled to enter those same stakes.
As we venture out across, and beyond, the Yorkshire Dales, the sun smiles on us and them; we are both truly captivated by Yorkshires wonderful rolling and rounded hills populated by sheep, in both the wilder moorlands and more verdant territory. For all that I appreciate the scenery, the journey seems in some sense to be a kind of endurance test. Questions roll through my mind, about how I’m going to cope, both with the journey and being away from home for a few days. More importantly, are my spastic colon and temperamental bladder going to behave themselves?
We choose to travel a more roundabout route as, neither ma belle chauffeuse nor myself are over enamoured of the main (M62) motorway route. More than half of our journey is travelled along ‘A’ roads before we venture into Motorway territory, with rapid switches between M6, M58, M57 and the tail end of the M62 into Liverpool. Only a couple of stops are made en-route, to stretch ones limbs, unpack and devour the sandwiches, quick nicotine fix pour moi. And, of course, my bladder screams out for relief, partly from a slight sense of panic but largely owing to a rather disordered processing and retention facility.
In total, the outward journey takes about 3 ½ hours by the time we reach Kathleen’s (Helens’ step-mum) to say Hi and partake of a nice cuppa and a cookie. After this brief respite, we head for the Innkeepers Lodge (Liverpool South) where we’ll be spending the next three nights. With my lack of travelling experience, over recent years, it’s a remarkable sense of achievement that overwhelms me on arrival. Take stock: I’ve arrived at my destination, almost panic free and with scarcely more than my usual quota of sundry aches and pains; even the disorientation is less than I’d anticipated.
Once we’ve moved our baggage into the room, and rested a wee while, we venture across to the Toby Carvery. For some reason Carverys have never been a favourite dining place for me but, at least there was a warm Liverpudlian welcome and I felt it may be worth a try; truth be told, by this time, I was rather too de-energised to venture farther afield. My beloved ordered a mountainous plateful of salad, enriched with glazed ham and turkey, whilst I settled for the baked cod in cheese sauce. To accompany the cod, I helped myself to the generously buttered new potatoes, roast parsnips, broccoli and swede. Quite surprisingly, the roast parsnips proved an excellent companion to the baked cod. I avoided the roast potatoes as, having once tasted my very own recipe herbed and spiced roast potatoes all others are but warmed up crispy coated sludge.
Although I became quite disorientated, and feeling totally discomforted on being seated in the restaurant, I felt much more at ease once an adjacent table was vacated. I swiftly realized that a lot of my dis-ease had been very akin to claustrophobia.
Saturday 24th February
Awoke early this morning, having found it impossible to adjust to the rather worn out mattress in our room; no matter how much I needed sleep, a soggy sprung mattress somehow made me too well aware of the care worn spring coils. The fact that I had some weird dreams seemed to demonstrate that some time had been spent in the arms of Morpheus but, the overall nocturnal experience was of the sound of speeding motors, the sound of raucous chatter and laughter both internal and external to the Lodge where we are staying, and a distinctive unease with the provided sleeping apparatus.
Breakfast was a most satisfactory affair, a wide range of cereals, teas, croissants, and toasting bread as well as fresh fruit. The chocolate croissants were a special treat. Breakfast concluded, we headed back to our room for some necessary rest; this was to be discovery time as I realized that the bed was reasonably comfortable if one lay on top of the duvet so, perhaps that will be tonight’s routine, at least on my part.
Duly rested, we then walked over to visit Helen’s step-mum once more and, after a chat, I donned my troubleshooting mantle as Kathleen’s computer and printer have been causing a few problems of late. Once I’d upgraded and updated the antivirus, the attempt at problem solving was underway; no matter how tired I may feel I do enjoy the occasional technological challenge although, on this occasion, I can only admit to about 70% success.
Following a light lunch chez Kathleen, we headed back to the Lodge for another rest period…….
Rest was to be a keynote of the weekend, primarily from necessity, and a visit we planned to Tate Liverpool seemed too much to tackle. The afternoon was spent back in our room, Helen managing to catch up on some reading whilst I drifted in and out of snoozedom.
Come early evening, we ventured across the Aigburth Road to view the menus at the ‘Madhari’ and ‘Gulshan’ Indian restaurants. Though once a regular frequenter of such establishments, it’s several years since my last visit, frequently preferring my own unique blends of spices and herbs. The ‘Gulshan’ seemed like a rather upmarket large restaurant, fully Air-conditioned, and winner of several national curry house awards whereas the ‘Madhari’ was a much more domestic type of establishment, nothing poncy here just real quality food and, I quite enjoyed the Bollywood musical selection playing quietly in the background.
Our welcome at the Madhari couldn’t have been warmer, the warmth matched only by the cuisine; whilst Helen settled for the Chicken Shaslick, served sizzling hot from a trolley and accompanied with salad and pilau rice. My choice was a Mixed Tandoori Kohari which completely surpassed any expectations! We chose to have garlic Naan bread with the meal, not having realized how generous their portions of the main dish and the pilau rice would be. Whilst we waited for our meal, a good range of pickles and chutneys were supplied to sample together with the poppadums.
On return to our room, rest and relaxation was the order of the evening.
Sunday 25th February
Sunday was really the reason for our visit, a lunchtime and early afternoon celebration of Kathleen’s 80th Birthday, at Liverpool Cricket Club (one hundred yards down the road from where we were staying). In the morning I was thoroughly and achingly shattered and, I seriously started to wonder if I’d be up to attending the celebrations. By mid-day, I started to feel a little brighter; meantime, our daughters had popped in to see us and headed off back to the cricket club. Half-an-hour later, my beloved and I ventured along there too. All 58 0f the invited guests had turned up for the occasion, and I entered with a degree of anxiety, not having been able to attend any such social event for the past few years. At least I had the safety blanket of our accommodation being in such close proximity, had I not been able to cope. In the event, I enjoyed the buffet, my beloved selecting all the items she knew I would enjoy and, I even went on to enjoy the speeches and the musical entertainment provided by flute and keyboard, and arrangements for flute and guitar specially composed for the occasion; there is such an array of musical talent amongst Helen’s nephews and nieces. It reminded me of our wedding ceremony when Nichola (the flautist) and Matthew (keyboards and guitar) performed a jazz piece composed by Matthew for the occasion.
To my surprise, I coped admirably with the whole event. I rejoice in the fact that even six months ago it would have been impossible for me to have anticipated, the journey to Liverpool, the stay at the Inn or participating in such birthday celebrations. It’s amazing how often I am compelled to count my many blessings!
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Sunday was yet another day of bright blue skies, sufficiently bright to arouse me early from the duvet realm; quite unusually, I was up and dressed by 9.00AM. After enjoying a cooked breakfast, fatigue soon hunted me down, and necessitated a return to the bedroom for a rest; it must have been too much of a shock to my nervous system, springing out of bed at such an early hour (by recent years standards) . Many of the aches, and generally leaden demeanour of the lower limbs, that I’d anticipated on Saturday, finally caught up with me by mid-afternoon.
I managed to remain grateful that, I’m generally feeling so much better than at the same point (in the calendar) last year; Sunday’s aches are veering towards the dull throb end of the spectrum, frustrating, but far better than the kind of acute pain which totally disables the relaxation mechanism.
This morning, my emergence into the day was of the heavily sluggish variety, feeling catarrhally bruised and choked, in both sinus and throat, a throbbing intermittent earache serves as counterpoint to a touch sensitive tenderness of the glands under the chin. I resist the urge to be tempted out to play under the bright clear sky. By 11.15AM, I manage, albeit reluctantly, to release myself from the duvet lair.
A venture to the bathroom, in eager anticipation of a refreshing shower, was somewhat thwarted when, having washed my face and undercarriage, I flopped onto the shower seat and totally lacked the stamina or impulse to carry out the rest of the cleansing operation. Could this still be payback from Friday’s overstretching?
Two-fifteen in the afternoon, finds me taking a sauntering stroll to the local shops to obtain a nicotine fix, the air is gently bracing and, within these few hundred yards I find myself struggling to stifle an overwhelming desire to yawn. The yawn wins out, again and again. By now, my right lower limb starts to feel crushed by a wide heavy ankle bracelet of pins and needles.
Back in the house, I swiftly yield to an afternoon nap. These forty winks fail to refresh and, I pick up the laptop in an attempt to overcome my lethargy. Whether it will succeed remains to be seen but, at least I’ve managed to tap out these few uninspiring words.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Last night the stars were so brightly sharp, it almost felt like one was viewing every marker of the constellations, rather than the odd solitary frontiersman. Of course, after such nocturnal clarity, a sharp frost swathed the ground by morning. By mid-day though, I was sat out on the bench beside the garden pond in shirt-sleeves; can this really be the north of
After yesterday’s endeavours, relaxation was of the essence and, after a short time, I was able to ignore 90% of my muscular and joint aches and pains; these were of course my reward for Friday’s efforts. Meantime, my beloved had donned her gardening gear and, womanfully tackled some necessary tidying up. For me, gardening became a delightful spectator sport! Mind you, I enjoy watching ma belle whether relaxing or endeavouring; I’m just so proud to be her other half.
Several ladybirds clambered through the undergrowth and, a cirrus cloud of midges’ hyperactivated above the pond. Bliss was it in that day…, as I basked in the gently warming sunglow. The highlight of my inactivity was a formation flight of honking geese overhead; an open umbrella headed the flight, with two small inverted V’s immediately below its shelter. A larger V formation followed, with a straight line completing the arrow-like direction marker. As they moved away, I revelled in the gentle oscillation of their synchronized flapping wings as they soared across the clear blue sky.
I rejoice, and am glad, in this day the Lord has made!