I don't want this blog to be full of doom and gloom, so I haven't posted much lately. The days have been full of trying to cope with the treatment for my illness, and the side effects of the cancer drugs and even when there were happier interludes I could have reported, I haven't really had the energy. But we now seem to have turned a corner with the drug trial and error and , fingers and toes crossed, we may have found the right dosage of the right drug to keep the tumours at bay and still allow me some quality of life.
I looked in on my singing group yesterday, was made a big fuss of and even managed to warble a few of the Christmas songs being practised for the seasonal sing-outs. Maybe I'll get to join in with them yet.
My daughter has started her new job. My neighbours have been helping out with dog walks. My granddaughter has begun taking two buses to school and is more grown up than ever. She put on a pair of new shoes today and is now - at 12 years old - taller than both myself and her mother.
Jade has also found a new lease of life; her limp disappears when she is out walking and running around with Rafi. Yesterday my daughter met a friend to take the dogs to Sandbanks beach and this friend took a great pic of Jade. I just had to show it to you.
A post over at Sharkbytes' My Quality Day' has inspired this one. It reminded me of the largest cemetery in England which I pass in the train on the way to London. Some of my friends have done the guided tour and I have long wanted to make a visit myself.
I'm not sure what the attraction is of cemeteries. Perhaps it's just their tranquil nature. Sometimes people just want to visit the last resting place of someone famous or just known to the visitor. I just feel drawn to this place for its history and the intriguing way it looks.
I found it has a wikipaedia page which tells me it was opened mid 19th century to take the London overflow. It also mentions how spacious and uncluttered the grave sites are, and that it was landscaped and planted to make it attractive, with for example, large avenues of tall sequoia trees and various luxurious shrubs.
Half of the Necropolis was designated for those with non-Anglican religions, including Jews. It was considered so important that it had its own railway line built - the London Necropolis Railway - with a stop in each of the different halves of the grave yard. The designated railway is long gone but you can still reach the cemetery via a stop on the main line. The cemetery has developed significantly over the years and part of it was taken over by the military to accommodate war graves in the 20th century.
I've just had a weekend away, staying with an old friend and her husband and their dog, Ginger.
My friend is old in more ways than one. She is my age and we are both well into our twilight years. But we first met at Torquay Girls' Grammar School when we were in our teens, so we really are old friends. I only have one friend who is older in that sense of the word - someone I met at primary school age - and they are also known to each other and whenever I see one of them, she asks after the other.
So here is the story of the weekend. I left Jade with my family, who were having their own friends to stay and were pleased that my bedroom would be free. I let the train take the strain and after about an hour's journey, was met at the other end by my friend, who ferried us on to her home in the country. She and her husband have been there for a lot of years. The house is one that is carved out of the estate of a 'big house', and the garden is surrounded by mature trees which shield them from all the individual new homes that have been built around them. Neighbours are not often evident and it seems to me like a peaceful haven. I always relax straight away when I get there.
Another bonus is the saluki-like greyhound they acquired from a greyhound rescue centre, who is the most laid back dog ever. Yesterday we took her for a walk around Bishops Waltham, which is a delightful little nearby town, where everyone greets you with a smile and a comment about the dog or the weather or some such.
The day before we left her with her master and took ourselves off to Mottisfont Abbey, which is a favourite haunt of mine that I have written about before in this blog. This time it was showing an art exhibition of paintings of trees which included some pictures by a friend of my friend. Of course we also had to go and see the walled garden, which was still a delight although it was way past the time for the olde English roses to bloom. There was colour outside the walls though. Here are some pics I took of the flowers and foliage.
After being without the internet on my laptop for nearly two weeks, I finally have a new BrightBox courtesy of EE, and I can post again. Yippee. My faithful Belkin was working hard to connect everything, but couldn't get me internet access so it has been consigned to the stationery drawer, where it will probably languish for a while before exiting for an unmentionable future. It was touch and go with the BrightBox when I got it set up, but when I turned everything on yesterday, we quickly got connected.
Everyone is pleased, but granddaughter jumped for joy that she can get Youtube on her i-pad and can play on the Xbox with friends from the London area.
We've had some good weather recently, and a lovely walk on Sandbanks beach on Sunday while the lamb roastie was cooking. The dogs loved it, as they do most of the off road walks we have around here. Here they are both waiting patiently by the front door for their humans to be ready.
Now we are a two dog household one of the problems is that when Rafi gets excited, Jade joins in and they both chased a local cat in the garden recently, after which Jade's limp has returned with a vengeance. The vet says she must still have moderate exercise so she still come for walks with us, but we can't go too far and she musn't run much, not that she wants to.
We took the dogs on a recce to Badbury Rings this morning. Jules goes horse riding nearby one day a week, but she rides alone and wanted to learn her way around a bit on foot. We did some exploring, which I love to do, following the bridleways. Didn't meet any horses and riders - just a few walkers like ourselves.
It's a lovely place. I went there with George in June last year and wrote about it here. Of course it was a little bitter sweet remembering that. This time we went through the gate at the far end and followed little paths until we could see the farm where the horse Jules rides lives.
Then we turned to do a loop that took us back into another entrance to the Badbury Rings enclosure and along the outside of the outer ring of the hill fort to the car park. We walked for nearly an hour which is a bit longer than I've been doing lately, but I really enjoyed it.
The dogs had a great time too. Unfortunately, Jade found an area of sheep droppings to roll in so she had to g in the shower before the indignity of the hair dryer and then getting well wrapped up for her kip.