Friday, November 24, 2017

Polly's Unpublished Moaning Disclaimer...

*This is another un-published post discovered while tidying things on my computer up a little...*

Disclaimer: "...If this sounds like I'm just having a moan, you're welcome to think that if that's what you choose to think but you might want to refer back to the third paragraph of my last post which qualifies the reason for my complaint. Sometimes I'm so short of energy that if I do shopping I have to choose between bringing anything but perishables in from the car or making dinner, other times I can bring everything in but not put it away and make dinner and on really good days I can do the shopping, bring it in, put it away and cook dinner. That's just the way it is and from day to day I don't know how well I'll be.

This brings me back to what is both a chore and a pleasure; the garden. It's big. If we were to move the house to a different part of the site we would probably fit at least two more houses in assuming that they didn't want big gardens! There are five lawned areas, several beds, a long enough drive and quite a lot of paths and before we bought it some twenty odd years ago it had been derelict for a number of years with the result that it was badly in need of a tonne of TLC. It got it and the beds looked somewhat nice, but it's a constant struggle to keep on top of it and then I started to suffer with my health which caused things to regress. Sadly the trees that surround the garden didn't, they grew during that time and are now in need of rigorous tree surgery and pruning but that's only one part of the story.

If the weather is nice the weeds grow, the grass grows, the plants grow and sometimes need to be watered. In fact everything grows which means it needs to be attended to. I could do with a gardener but I can't afford one as our bank balance has also been affected by my forced retirement but if I do a little bit every day I've found that it makes a huge difference and it's more manageable. The lawns need mowing every week and thanks to my Mum I now have a lawn mower that I can start myself without the need for assistance and this has made an enormous difference to both the health of the lawn and to how much I can do for myself. I now collect the cuttings every second week which entails tending to the compost heap while I'm at it.

The flower beds need weeding & dead-heading/cutting back on a daily/weekly/monthly basis & the hedging needs clipping a couple of times a year. Seedlings need transplanting & plants need watering in. Wild raspberries, brambles, nettles and other more vigorous wild things encroach a little more every year if I let them. Damsoms, blackberries, apples and flowers need picking and processing. The list is endless and exausting but I enjoy it. Thank God. And all of this needs to be done on relatively good days as I can't even think of doing anything other than the lightest of work if I'm having a bad day or worse again it's raining. At this time of the year & living in Ireland the lawn has got to be mown before it rains as it mightn't be possible for another six months...

In a small garden non of this would be an all consuming task but unfortunately there's a lot to be done and nobody else able or willing to do it. Luckily I love it - most of the time, though I find turning the compost heap is sometimes too much for me. So, if I'm outside doing all of the above could someone please tell me when and how I'm supposed to attend to the more mundane chores that I really don't enjoy at the best of times? I try and fit it all into the week, not necessarily the day.

This includes rest as if I don't rest I can't do any of the things I'm supposed to be doing, not even putting the bloody buns away so the cats and flies don't get them. As it stands at the moment I've to go and make dinner (I'm cheating slightly as I made some of it last week) and empty the dishwasher, reload it & tidy up the kitchen a little bit & feed the animals. First of all I think I might energize myself with a cup of tea outside in the garden while I can still enjoy the relatively mild temperature and lack of rain! I might try and take a couple of photos just to illustrate the size of my complaint while I'm at it.

Tomorrow it'll be up early to drop my son into his course and then off to the bottle bank to do some recycling, pay my car insurance, do some administrative work for the scouts, do a load of washing and hopefully line-dry it. Clear off the paths which are covered in weeds and vegetation from plants which I cut back yesterday, relocate and hopefully uncover a flower bed & the edges of the drive that have long been over-grown by the lawn and then collect my son from his course. None of this will necessarily be in that order depending on the weather and how I feel! After which it'll be make dinner & tidy up the kitchen again..."

Polly Has A Visit From The Fairies...


*written but not published sometime back in September*
Autumn is such a strange time of the year weather wise. One moment it's lovely out, if a little colder than it was a month ago and the next minute it's freezing (I kid you not!) and the rain is coming down heavy. I'm not spending anywhere near as much time in the garden as I have done over the past few months, but the fruits of my labours are definitely showing to the degree that my neighbour remarked on how well the garden's looking!

A chance remark made by a young friend of the family led me to rethink the garden a couple of years ago. It was his first visit in all the years we've known him & he was disappointed. We live some distance from town & transport here isn't what it could be but he came out for one of the summer parties & was disappointed with what he found! Given that we've so many common interests he'd imagined for years that I'd have a neat & tidy garden, with herbs, flower beds and rows of vegetables and yet what he found was little more than a neglected jungle...

For such a long time I just wasn't able to keep on top of the housework or the garden because my health isn't what it used to be. I've been plagued with pain, lack of strength, stamina & energy for years due to fibromyalgia & ME. It was worrying at first but less so now as I know what the cause is & it's lifestyle rather than life threatening. Thank goodness for that, but it has affected my life and the lives of those I live with significantly as I have to spend time resting and at the very least pacing myself...

I also suffer with another condition called scouting. I'm doing my best to get that under control as little by little it had started to take over my life but now I realise that it can't. Balance is important but I suppose I found myself volunteering to take on responsibilities and duties when I was having to take rest days in an effort to feel useful and to relieve the pressure on other people. Unfortunately it had started to dominate which left little time to attend to my main responsibilities in life so I've learnt how to stand on one leg without falling over... (metaphorically speaking)

Without a doubt I will always prefer being outdoors, weather permitting than being indoors attending to such mundane tasks as vaccuming & dusting, or even doing the laundry but sadly these things have to be done, as does the laundry, general cleaning, running my son into his course & collecting him each day & then feeding the family. Some things truly are a labour of love & for me this has to be housework, I hate it.

Cleaning is just laborious and tedious. Anything which is cleaned is generally dirtied again fairly quickly which just makes me feel that I've been taken very much for granted as clearly my hard won efforts aren't appreciated especially not by a worn out partner who's getting home at ridiculous-o'clock every night for weeks on end. How could he appreciate what goes unseen by his eyes? He falls in the door late at night, eats his food and falls asleep within minutes on the sofa, I think his refusal to go to bed is his attempt at living a normal existence. Thankfully once the various harvest work is done his hours will seem a little more regular and he might have some life to call his own then!

To be honest I've also come to feel the same about cooking in recent years. I enjoy experimental cooking or something which will be enjoyed by everyone, but utilitarian cooking is just too much. It's very easy to fall into bad habits because it's easy. If the food were to just magically appear in the cupboards, fridge and freezer perhaps it wouldn't be quite so bad, but it doesn't and afterwards everything has to be washed up and put away. So, you see eating isn't just as simple as cooking is it?

A great example was yesterday morning when I got up early to attend a scouting meeting in another county some hour or so's drive away I was greeted by a dozen ginormous pink iced, silver sprayed, sugar coated cupcakes sitting on the kitchen table.  Made with free range eggs and BUTTER they tasted pretty good, especially as for some unknown reason my son doesn't like to use paper cases which meant there was a proliferation of the slightly crispy caramel coloured outter surface to be enjoyed...

So that's all well and good but having been made by the fairies they were then left there for the cats and the flies to find which meant that I had to put them away whilst enjoying one for breakfast! One glance around the kitchen revealed sugar, butter, food colouring, sprinkles, beaters, mixers, dirty bowls and icing nozzles and bags just dumped in the sink as he wasn't about to clean & put them away! I was awake at seven am and got back shortly before 7pm and was not in the mood for cooking, or tidying up someone elses mess especially not the bloody cupcake fairie's mess because they ought to know better...