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Kay has a meltdown

17 MAY 2020

Today doesn’t start well, Jean has had us up in the night shouting because of a bad dream and buzzes for us early in the morning, waking us up. We then have the most difficult morning ever, trying to get her upright and to stay standing and to move to the commode. She did not seem able to move her left leg, and twice collapsed her full weight onto us. We had to devise a new system with dad’s footstool which is on wheels, to save her from collapsing to the floor. The whole episode was a nightmare because Jean is so heavy, I suspect at least 18 stone. I will have to speak to the district nurses tomorrow about extra equipment to help us. Ironically in the evening, Jeans mobility seemed more normal, it is very hard to anticipate how she will be at different times. The whole morning routine, which also included redressing her legs, took two and a half hours. It is a very depressing situation, and I feel quite down when I go outside.

My mood is not improved by the hosepipe… Patrick has rolled it up neatly after using it, but unfortunately because I have such a backwards way of doing things, I just get the hosepipe in a tangle when I unroll it. When I eventually straighten it out, all of its ‘kinking spots’ are ten times worse than usual. I am not in the right frame of mind to deal with this, and get very cross, and after repeatedly having to walk the length of the hosepipe to release kinks (which stop the water flowing) I burst into tears! I obviously blame Patrick for the hosepipe problems, because the hosepipe works better when left in an untidy heap, Patricks position in my estimations was not helped when I discover he was put my favourite kneeler in a wheelbarrow and covered it with a pieces of wood! This is after I’ve spent 20 minutes looking for it, I call him something rude and stomp about a bit. I realise I am being childish but I am finding it hard to achieve a more positive frame of mind today.

I decide to spend my day working on the ‘organ pipe bed’ which is causing some concern and partly to keep out of everyone’s way. I really love this bed and the plants it contains, but it is facing several problems. Its position is shady but dry (the worst combination), its soil is poor although I have improved it to some extent with compost and finally it seems to be the main place for badger interference. I had already decided that a good destination for some of my surplus manure (acquired for the mushroom beds) would be to fill up the holes left by the badger (or squirrel) at the front of the bed. I give the area a good soaking before weeding and mulching with well rotted manure. I also take the time to tidy up the box hedges which had been badly attacked by box tree moth caterpillars and remove any remaining caterpillars, and squash them, probably quite therapeutic considering my mood.


Everyone else continues with pointing the path and removing nut trees from the terrace. The trees which grow from a stool, are a mass of separate small trunks and poles. Patrick is conserving poles of varying diameters, James is shredding the twiggy tops and Aideen starts a bonfire to assist with the general clean up operation.

In the evening I cook boeuf bourguignon with herby dumplings (using parsley from the garden) and I use two more elephant garlic that are sadly attempting to flower (I remove the tough inner core), one in the boeuf and one in vegetable dish of sautéed cabbage and broad beans both from the garden (the cabbages are in the polytunnel) which was delicious.

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