Wednesday, 23 May 2012

scenes from the rollercoaster, part 93:

Yesterday, Chip felt awful, unexplained and immovable pains, nausea, hot and cold shivers, an inability to eat, deep misery – C dreading that this presaged another hospital bout, rather than the holiday she had planned for later in the week; we went to the GP in the late afternoon and got a broad spectrum anitbiotic for what she (the GP) thinks might be a urine infection underlying all the other symptoms, and C had a quiet evening zonked on prescription meds (most anti-nausea medicines seem to be small quantities of heavy-duty sedatives and anti-psychotic drugs) falling asleep in front of recordings of Homes Under the Hammer.

This morning, she suggested we take a walk up the hill behind our house, to the oaks where her ashes are to be secreted, and she positively zipped up the slope, without aid of sticks or asthma medication; we saw several hares, and a roe deer doe, and admired the wonderful view over the village and the extraordinarily blessed and verdant valleys and hills in which it nestles, with that special Devon colour combo of red earth, lush green and clear blue and white in a sky rinsed by the Atlantic, and felt privileged to be alive and here in the infinite now. 

the old oaks
Then, again at the instigation of the valetudinarian, we extended the venture by climbing to the top of the field, and over a fence into the grounds of Creedy Hall, the stately(-ish) home on the other side of the hill, where we walked through the Rookery Wood that tops it, admiring the natural gardens of mossy tussocks and nodding campion, shuttlecocked ferns and starry stitchwort, listening to the birdsong pinging down from above, all pleasures heightened by the thought that we were basically bunking in to someone's garden – although with C parading around in her sapphire pendant, cashmere and £2,000 shoes, I don't think any would have dared challenge her. It was glorious

Dressed for the country. The shoes are bespoke, and made from reindeer leather recovered
early in the 20th century from a Russian ship that sank in the late 18th century
And on the way back down the buttercup-strewn hill we stopped at the oaks, and Chip nominated the very hole where she wishes her remains to reside (and those of Kezzy, too). Neither of us believe for a moment that she will be able to appreciate the view once comminuted, but both agree that it's a fine and fitting place for her to end.

Later, we planted out some salvias that arrived in the post today, and some sunflowers C had raised from seed, had a fine outdoor lunch of smoked salmon and creamcheese on Finn Crisp rye biscuits, with cracked pepper and lemon; then I came in and wrote this, with moistened eyes, but, this time, not tears of sorrow.

Tomorrow, once we have taken possession of some oxycodone patches (C keeps throwing up the slow release tablets) we are going to the quaintly and ironically named Hope Cove, to stay for three days in a hotel on a low clifftop above a sandy beach looking out westward over the sea towards Cornwall: the weather forecast is for sunshine and 25°: we'll probably be home on Sunday, but as that day marks our 30 years as a couple, we may just do something giddy...

That's enough pics of C in the Rookery

Oh go on then, just one more, framed in campion
The way home

Thursday, 17 May 2012

moving on

As many of you will already know, our dog, Kez, died at 9 pm on Sunday 6 May, aged 14. He had been failing for a long time, with recurrent bouts of inflammation in his gut, and went into a swift decline over the weekend: his refusing food – an unprecedented occurence – told us he was on his way.

K-Paws in his sleek, plump prime, complete with ginger eyebrows
And of course we were both heartbroken, each in our way, but even in the middle of that (or, to be more geographically precise about it, the middle of the beginning of it), we were both aware of pressure lifted: not just the background worry of a sickly animal in the house, but also of the various strictures he put on our day, in terms of feeding, pilling and walking him, of trying not to step on or fall over him (he had a lifelong penchant for plonking himself down next to people's feet), of having our walks curtailed because he didn't want to go or was simply Not Allowed.

So, in line with General Policy, we made points of getting the yellow book so we could visit some local gardens over the summer, going for walks with each other (or on our own) rather than with old, tired dog, and C surprised us both by booking a holiday – three days at the end of next week – in a hotel looking west over the sea in the quaintly-named Hope Cove. When we first got K in 2003, when he was five, he was chock full of Mainwaringish bristling bluster and hair-trigger barks, and couldn't be taken anywhere near a hotel because of his vigorous attempts to repel, with bleeding eardrums, all who dared to come within ten feet of our room. We could have taken him in recent years, I guess, as deafness has been his friend in the repelling-boarders line of his doggy duties, but we got out of the habit. Anyway, the three days end on 27 May, our 30th anniversary, which is nice.

Anyway, here's my darling looking gorgeous and feeling hugged in cashmere, enjoying the local walk:

C thinks she looks like her mother here, but I have to squint a whole lot harder to see her, rather than the lovely woman for whom I fell so hard 30 years ago

The way home. Every now and then, everything's right about a snap

The loss of Kez meant that C was without a pet of any kind for the first time since she was in her 20s. And then we noticed that a wren had built a nest in the broken-down brick 'shed' at the top of the garden, or at least we assumed so, because it would fly in and out of holes in the wall (one just under the eaves, the other at ground level) carrying grubs and insects in, and faecal sacs out. It seemed completely unfazed by our presence on the new, extended patio/rockery/thingy I've been making, and we watched it for ages. It was not long before C began to refer to it as 'our' wren.

Our new pet
new, extended patio/rockery/thingy