Bad Day In Blackrock*

The flat phone rings.  Sighing, I climb out of the bath to answer it because have a feeling that know who is calling.

“Hello?” I say, wrapping my towel round myself, sitting on a chair.

“Hello, where have you been?” Mum says.  

“Here.  I’ve been here,” I say.  Knew it would be Mum as missed her call earlier.  “I’ve been sleeping and now I’m in the bath and…”

“I need you to be here,” Mum says.  “Your cat has got poo on his furry trousers and I need you to clean him.”

“He doesn’t like being touched near his bottom,” I say.  “He’d take my hand off and aggravate my lymphodoema or…”

“It’s ever so cold today,” Mum says.

“That’s why I’m at my warm flat,” I say.  “Must be under the weather: have even put the heating on.  Mum – is it OK if I return to my bath?  I’m washing my hair and…”

“OK darling,” Mum says.  “We’ll see you tomorrow.”

Am nursing a severe injury: dropped The Complete Richard Burton Diaries on my foot last night.  Have a huge bruise: it’s a 660 page book.  On the plus side, it’s perfect for #middleclassinjuries.

Have achieved:

1.  Washing hair and self.

2.  Washing and hanging up clothes on airer.

3.  Watching a bit of Wales vs Italy and now Ireland vs Scotland rugby matches.

4.  Unloading dishwasher.

5.  Watering house plants.

6.  Feeding birds.

7.  Spin – well, first half of it.  Had to leave early due to foot injury and earache.  Must be under the weather: can’t remember the last time couldn’t struggle through a whole spin class…

Now just need to put on clothes, make supper and prepare for England vs France later.  

Attached photo is my Spin outfit.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*2008.  By Kevin Power.  Detective novel set in the Dublin rugby scene.  Based on true events.

Sleeping Murder*

It’s World Sleep Day today: http://www.worldsleepday.org.  

In the bipolar community, we’re obsessed with sleep the way teenage boys are obsessed with sex: who’s getting it, how much they’re getting and so on.  Insomnia and hypersomnia are part and parcel of mental illness, so it’s important to keep on top of one’s sleep patterns.

Anyway, over the years have tried many things to improve my “sleep hygiene” as they call it these days.  Here’s what I’ve found that works.

1.  No computers or electronic devices in bedroom.  Turn phone off and leave it to charge in another room.  This makes such a difference.  Always sleep better at the parental home as there’s no phone signal or internet in my area of the house, so can’t check Facebook if wake up in the night.

2.  No telephone calls or television straight before bed.  Spend some time after watching tv winding down by reading or…

3.  Meditating.  Do the “20 Minute Body Scan” in bed every night now and usually drop off to sleep straight away.  If not, keep playing it until sleep happens. You can download one from the internet if you need to.

4.  If you’re not sleeping, stay in bed.  Roaming around the house and joining insomnia chatrooms isn’t going to help.  Listen to the Body Scan again or read.

5.  Don’t exercise just before bed, it will wake you up.

6.  Don’t go out late at night to a place full of loud music and then attempt to sleep straight afterwards.  Spend a while reading, meditating or relaxing before bed.

7.  Make sure that your bedroom is a place of rest, calm and sleep-inducing decor.  So don’t fill it with bills, work items or other clutter – see also point 1.

8.  Cuddle a pet before bed to relax you:

  
9.  It may help to have a small snack before bed: something containing carbohydrates is best.

10.  Avoid sleeping pills: they’re tempting but addictive and can make you eat and even make phone calls in your sleep.  Was addicted to them for ages and experienced these symptoms.

The attached photo is Mr Fluffypants demonstrating how it’s done.

Happy Friday everyone!
*1976.  By Agatha Christie.  Miss Marple’s last case.  Read it!

The Pinecone*

1.  Have just enjoyed an artichoke.

2.  Have unloaded dishwasher.

3.  And hung special pinecone on bird feeding station: it’s covered with fat.

4.  It’s great to be at flat for a couple of days.
5.  Having early night in a minute as looking after Mr Fluffypants early tomorrow.

6.  Hospital sent new gel to smear over broken skin.

7.  Irradiated chest still itchy.

8.  Enjoyed lunch with Dad: beetroot, cauliflower, houmous and pitta:

  
This was followed by mushroom risotto (not pictured).

9.  Spin tough, as always, but have survived it four times this week.

Attached photo is this morning’s Spin outfit.

Happy Thursday everyone!
*2013.  By Jenny Uglow.  The story of Sarah Losh the architect.

Arrive back at flat to:

1.  Dishwasher:  needs unloading.

2.  Plants: need watering.

3.  Surfaces: need wiping.

4.  Washing: needs to be put away.

Am soooooo itchy all over self.  Not just sore irradiated skin: it feels like allergy itching.  Maybe will have bath.  Hospital sent special gel to put on broken skin.  Have applied some but it doesn’t help.

A Slight Ache*

Am collapsed on the sofa under my furry blanket.  The fluffy monster crashes through his flap, yells for his lunch and drags his enormous orange self to his bedroom to sit by his food bowl.
“Shall I give him some lunch?” Dad says, following him up the stairs.

“Yes please,” I say.  Am wiped out after yesterday’s gallery excursion.  Haven’t moved since returning from Spin this morning, which seemed even tougher than usual.

Need to rest before tomorrow which is big day of History Course in town.  

Painventory:

1.  Muscle pain across chest: from bike ride a couple of days ago. 

2.  Soreness under arm and across chest: from irradiated skin peeling off.  

3.  Itchy nose.  Forgot antihistamine this morning.  Have just taken it now.

4.  Upper arm soreness: irradiated skin breaking down has aggravated lymphodoema in left arm.

5.  Headache.

6.  Earache:  Ah.  This often means a cold is on its way.

It’s a beautiful day outside.  Maybe will pull some clothes on and drag self on walk around the block…

Stand up, feel dizzy, lie down again.  Burst into tears.  Obviously am not up to leaving the house.  Wander through house in search of fluffy monster.  Track him down.  Cuddle him.  He is so soft and orange and purry.

He has now escaped my clutches and hidden under the piano.

On the plus side:

1.  Breakfast – baked beans, avocado and salad:

  
2.  Despite various aches and pains, push self quite hard at Spin this morning.

3.  Enjoy The Omelette at lunchtime.

4.  Have new bottle of gin and it’s almost Cocktail Hour.

5.  Tomorrow’s course person is Boris Yeltsin and am looking forward to him.

6.  Mum is home at last.

7.  It is spaghetti for supper.

8.  And then Bedtime.

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*1958.  By Harold Pinter.  Play.

The Lion’s Game*

  
“So, how’s it looking?” Mum says, peering at my burnt chest.  Have wandered into the kitchen after my bath.

“Well, um, you know they said that two weeks after the end of radiotherapy would be the peak of the skin reaction,” I say, pulling my towel around me.  “It’s not.  All the red skin still has to flake off and…”

“Yes,” Mum says, giving me that pitying look.  “The skin reaction started two weeks after the end of treatment, didn’t it so…”

“So it’s still getting worse,” I say.  “The skin has started peeling off underneath.”

“Well look,” Mum says, taking the veggie burgers out from under the grill.  “I’m still pleased with you for going out and doing a normal thing today.”

“It’s hard work though,” I say.  “Going into town on public transport and visiting an exhibition in the winter when I’m so ill.”

“I know it is, darling,” Mum says, chopping the burgers into little pieces, putting them in the soup.  

Have just been to the Delacroix exhibition at the National Gallery: amazingly well done me.   Unfortunately this painting wasn’t in it:

 A Young Tiger Playing With Its Mother (1830/1)

Look at those gorgeous pussycats.  Apparently they used to call Delacroix “the tiger” as he was so unpredictable and exotic.

There was a painting of a lion hunt which was my favourite one.  The lions were repelling the hunters.  Here:

  
The Lion Hunt (1854)

Anyway, the exhibition is worth a visit.  It explores Delacroix’s influence on other artists and shows their work alongside his.  There are paintings by Matisse, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Degas, amongst others.  It wasn’t too busy on a Tuesday lunchtime.

Am exhausted now though.

The attached photo is the world’s second largest cat.  We saw the world’s largest cat last night on the television.  He’s a Maine Coon called Ludo who is 118.5cm long and lives in North Yorkshire.  His owner walks him in a harness.  Show you:

  
Happy Tuesday everyone!
*2000.  By Nelson DeMille.  The second John Corey detective novel.  

Bells On Her Toes*

  
The fluffy monster dozes on his pink chair.  It’s been a long day for both of us.  Am collapsed on the sofa under my furry blanket as today have achieved:

1.  Spin.

2.  Zolodex injection.

3.  Walk home from doctor.

4.  Lunch.

5.  Bike ride with Dad.

6.  Bath.

7.  Walk to beautician.

8.  New Minx toes in Gold Lightning Cheetah:

  
9.  Walk home from beautician.

So that’s about ninety minutes of walking and ninety minutes of cycling today, which is Too Much.  It’s been such a lovely day though: bright, sunny and cold.

Felt dizzy and sick at beautician, despite how much water am drinking.  A lot.

Am just going to lie here on the sofa until supper, which will contain an artichoke – yay!  Am certain of this as have just purchased them from the greengrocer.

Skin continues to peel off under arm and across chest and the itching is still horrible.

The attached photo is the fluffy monster up a tree this morning.  He scrambled down after making a fuss.

Happy Monday everyone!
*2014.  By Diana J. Febry.  Murder mystery set in a racing yard.  

Killer Physique*

  
Have a Great Success to report.  At last have achieved walking Mr Fluffypants alone.  Have been anxious about taking him out in case:

1.  He pulled on the lead, hurting my bad arm.

2.  Some undefined Terrible Thing happened and he came to harm.

3.  He slipped his harness.

4.  Another dog attacked him.  He’s very soppy and some dogs are aggressive towards dogs on a lead.

Anyway: walked him on own and nothing bad happened.  So am pleased.  He is a good boy and doesn’t pull on the lead.

Was a beautiful day for a walk.  We saw this magnolia:

  
Everywhere, there is blossom and daffodils, crocuses and camellias.  At long last, it feels like spring.

Parentals are about to go out, leaving me in charge of the fluffy monster.  He is passed out on the piano stool.  Suzie is coming to help me watch the final of Crufts.

“If we’re going to be watching a dog show all evening, I’m going to bring some work to do,” Suzie says when we speak earlier in the day.

“That’s fine,” I say.  “Maybe will write a blog about Crufts.  It’s the Best In Show tonight – am excited.”

Parentals have set off.

The attached photo is Mr Fluffypants trying to work out his new toy.  It contains treats.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*2014.  By G.A. McKevett.  Number 19 in the Savannah Reid mystery series, set in the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency.

Black-Irish Setter*

1.  Spin was good this morning.

2. Medal to me for making it there.

3.  And managing a whole hour.

4.  My chum is here.

5.  We’ve been watching the rugby.

6. We beat Wales.

7.  Now Pizza is coming.

8.  Couldn’t work out why washing machine was not working earlier.

9.  Turned out that door was not closed.

10.  Made floor wet finding this out: jumping in and out of the bath to investigate.

11.  Is Working and Pastoral groups at Crufts in a minute.

12.  The Gordon setter won the Gundog group yesterday.  Love them:  

13.  Here are my baby irises:

   
   
14.  A terrible moustache has happened to Gary Lineker but this is just temporary.  Let us hope…

Happy Saturday everyone!
*2003. By Bill Stackhouse.  A Caitlin O’Rourke mystery.

Golden Eggs And Other Deadly Things*

  
Spin today is tough.  Skin is peeling off under arm and across chest, which doesn’t help, but it’s a difficult class anyway.  The sweat makes the damaged skin itch.

Now am back at flat.  Have cooked and consumed The Omelette:

  
It contains peas, mushrooms, broccoli and feta.

Need to tidy up and to prepare self for Crufts-watching extravaganza this evening.  It’s almost too exciting.  Last night there was a Keeshond in the “Utility Group” final.  He didn’t win.  The shiba inu was placed second though and he was lovely.

Am already looking forward to my future early night later and it’s only 3.30pm.  Ah well, never mind.  It’s the radiotherapy side effects.  

It’s a beautiful sunny day and need to change the birds’ water.

Am going to attempt Tidying Up in the flat, starting with clearing-out-bedroom-drawers.  

Maybe will manage a bit more writing later.  Have to apply aloe vera lotion to crumbling skin.

Attached photo is the fluffy monster watching Grantchester yesterday.  He’s not that enthralled by it, as you can see.

Happy Friday everyone!
*2012.  By Nancy Tesler.  Book Four in the Carrie Carlin mystery series.