Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Hip Entertainment …

What to do when you’re confined and are remembering your health comes first … I have been really frustrated: it’s now week 5 of the six – that has been the salient time for exercise, getting out and walking a little and of course healing up …

Columbian Emeralds and
Indian diamonds in the
Cheapside Hoard
Salamander jewel

Except I seem to have got to that point at about week 3 and a half … and sort of hit this ‘fog’ of what to do: sense and sensibility did kick in and I did try and consolidate … but I was bored.

Thankfully a talk on “Conflict and Creation – Art and World War One” came up at the beginning of week 4 – and so I took myself off. 

The next night I went to hear a talk on “The History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to the present day” at our large theatre.

A model of the Redoubt in Eastbourne

Yesterday I went down to the Redoubt – a Napoleonic coastal defence fort – to hear about archaeological digs around Eastbourne and the ancestors found in those sites.

I had lapses when I actually read … and probably didn’t quite exercise as much as I should have … but I’ve been doing most things around the flat and have been out walking – to town, to the supermarket – but I can’t carry much at the moment – walking round the Close without sticks etc …

Yesterday’s taxi driver said half of Eastbourne must have had hip operations – as there’s a constant call out for taxis with high seats and where the legs can stretch out!!  I know I’ve been one of those ‘cri de couers’ to the taxi call centre!

Joseph Harold Swanwick: Harrowing on the
South Downs at Wilmington, outside Eastbourne 

“Conflict and Creation – Art and World War One”:

Despite the horror of war … much creativity flows … literature, poetry and art – all used for a variety of reasons: recording the war, political aspects, countryside changes and jobs, spreading propaganda, and remembering the truth, etc etc …

A poster by Edith Kemp-Welch

Art encompassed as now … drawing, paintings, cartoons, sculpture, photography etc … covering the complete range of subjects – the conflict, the people, the land, the food, the sea and ships, the industrialisation of war, the fauna (from the pigeon to the elephant) …

Andrew Forrest, the artist, showed us many examples – and I will do a separate post on more of the artists and their works, which Andrew wove together for this narrative of the Great War and the historic art that flowed from it.

Showing some of the finds and jewellery from
the Cheapside Hoard

‘The History of Jewellery from Elizabeth I to today’ … sadly the slide mechanism broke down about half way through … though we had plenty to see. 

The speaker began talking about the Cheapside Hoard – the only known examples of jewellery from the 1500s to 1640 … as after that during the English Civil War (1642 – 1651) … gold, silver, and jewels were melted or crushed down …

I twice went to see the Cheapside Hoard exhibition in 2013 – and have been meaning to write about it … the story is incredible – the Hoard was found in 1912 in a casket sunk over the centuries into London’s sticky clay, in a cellar that was being demolished.

The Museum of London preparing the Pendant ready for
the exhibition:  The sapphires are of exceptional quality

Cheapside in the city of London was the main trading centre – and today the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths still has its HQ nearby.

‘Eastbourne Ancestors’ – this was an update by the Heritage Service on the various burial sites around Eastbourne from which skeletal remains had been excavated … and what was going to happen to the human remains, the ethics concerning their storage, any research that might be conducted as to the Why, How and What …

Our Beachy Head lady -
came from Sub Saharan Africa

Again I’d been to an exhibition last year: “Eastbourne Ancestors: A story of life from the bones of the past” … where it was disclosed amongst other things the ‘Beachy Head Lady’, who happened to be the best preserved skeleton (being almost complete) … came originally from sub-Saharan Africa – beyond the southern fringes of the Roman Empire.  She dates back to 125 to 245 AD.

I’ve kept myself amused … I’ve started reading – with the intention of being able to ‘lose’ some the books – so I can clear some space … but, I hope, due the op and its after effects I fall asleep easily!  I haven’t felt inspired to clear stuff out – though will start doing that soon …

Animals in War Memorial at Hyde Park, London

Tomorrow – is D-day … ie visit to the hospital to get the first once over – we shall see …

I want to visit an exhibition on the horse in Woking, Surrey – as it happens near where we grew up – on Saturday … so I shall update you with the next post … I foresee no problems and don’t expect pride comes before a fall … I hope!

Eastbourne Grave Goods
So this is how the hip and I have entertained ourselves, while it comes to terms with its new situation … I walked to the supermarket without a stick today … which shows it’s not doing badly.

I might even update FB – that will shock all and sundry … another few weeks of settling down and getting over the op – then I can get stuck into the A-Z with a vengeance.  Better find my reference material to draft up my posts??!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

ABCs of Dictionaries …

Knowledge of words and their meaning is power … words describe the thing, the concept, the idea, the landscape, the sky etc – where would we be without them?


Nature and wildlife are essential to life (our life on earth) … so I was somewhat horrified to read about some of the words that had been removed from the Oxford University Press Junior Dictionary … wait for it … because lots of children have no experience of the countryside …….. doh?! 

Perhaps true, but surely this is a good reason to keep words in?

Dictionaries exist to extend our knowledge, as much (or more) as they do to confirm what we already know or half-know …

I think the thing that got my goat was the words being included for the age group 7 – 11 … were “celebrity”, “MP3 player” and “broadband” … taking out the beautiful descriptive words such as “conker”, “acorn”, or “brook” …

“Blog” was also added in … but who but Lenny of such a young age blog, or know the reason for it … at 7 – 11?  Maybe one or two … but honestly … kids should be playing conkers, by the babbling brook, under the oak tree producing acorns.

Fifty percent of us now live in urban conurbations … but we wouldn’t be here but for life on earth … all our knowledge comes from this wonderful natural world of ours … it doesn’t come from broadband, or MP3 players …

A for Acorn - the fruit of an oak tree

So we must encourage our youngsters to remember words such as A is for Acorn, B is for Brook, C is for Conker, D is for Dictionary or Dog …

I grew up with these words … not D for Dog, but C for Cat … the Acorn is an amazing fruit which gives us that incredible oak tree, which will over time look after over 200 other species during its 250 year lifetime …

C for Conker - the fruit of the Horse
Chestnut tree

We played C for conkers … a childhood game – that may be a bit rough now … banished by the Health and Safety Peeps, while the Horse Chestnut tree is succumbing to Bleeding Canker – a lethal bacterial infection.

Two things here … do we not want our children to be interested in Botany and ancillary disciplines?  Also we should remember Anne Frank – this was the tree she mentioned in her diary … I have to say I did not know this.

Our food comes directly or indirectly
from plants, such as rice here

… and not A is for Attachment, B is for Block-graph, C is for Chatroom, D is for Dialogue … R is for ridiculous?!

In delisting these words we will lose their connotations and thus our descriptive phrases of the great outdoors … without language we will eventually lose the land itself.

B for brook
I checked in on B for brook … we had one nearby that as a family we’d walk to, paddle in, play Pooh Sticks, or just watch it babble away … as Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892) describes in his poem “The Brook”:

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Til last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling.

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go
But I go on for ever.

Pooh Bear and Christopher Robin
playing Pooh Sticks

PS H is for Hip … improving rapidly – walking without sticks, but taking one when I do my long walks – half an hour or so at the moment … stretching out each day.

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Lenny and update ...

Connections ... support, thoughtfulness, care and compassion ... 
Roses and Fynbos (South African
endemic vegetation) 

This is the email I got from Lenny as soon I emailed saying I was home safely from my hip op ... 

*~^o^~ cheerhip hip hooray!!!!

my grandblogmom is home!!! *=D> applause

*:D big grin im soooooo happy!!!

now all you need to do is just take it easy and.........  

eat yummy good food (wear expando pants). *^O^||3 eat

*:(tv) tv watch something fun on the telly.

listen to some cool music. *o|^_^|o music

*I-) sleepy take lots of loooong naps.

get a little exercise. *[]==[] exercise ack!

*?@_@? studying study for you next blog post or golden age university talk.

play an exciting computer game *:(game) play game "i won! i won!"

*o|\~ sing sing a happy song ("mud mud glorious mud! nothing quite like it for soothing the blood!")

have a welcome home party *&lt:-P party "yippee! I'm home!!" *&[] giftgifts would be cool! :)

*B-) cool stay the cool grandblogmom that you are.

it wont be long til youre skipping happily down the road!!

i love you bunches!

...lots of soft and gentle hugs from lenny

Lenny's African critters ... 

I have no idea if the emoticons will come out - if not ... then the squiggles are emoticons - think laterally!!

Bull Finch
Now Lenny needs lots of support from all of us bloggers ... if you know his email please send a get well and good luck message ... poor lad has also had a hospital trip and needs our cuddles and love ... 

I won't give his email out ... because he may be overwhelmed by his inbox ... but I'd love it if you could leave a thoughtful message here for him ... 

Honestly - life can be tough, most of us are oh so lucky and fortunate ... also my experience with my mother and uncle taught me so much ... but again I was lucky - they were both cognisant til the end ...

... however reading other bloggers' stories really has opened my eyes to positive experiences we gain should life lead us down these tricky paths ...

Blue Tit
... then we meet the little wonders of this world - the carers, the friends, the family, the ones who realise what it is that is required to offer pro-active support and care - having been in hospital myself for elected surgery ... I've been struck by peoples' meaning towards care ... interesting and honestly not particularly brilliant from many who should know better ... such is life ...

Gold Finch

... but I know you all - the bloggers who read, who care and who are thoughtful ... 

So a quick update from this end of the world ... all is progressing nicely - I'm nearly off my sticks in the flat ... and am walking round the Close twice a  day now - to stretch out ... I'll increase the walking out slowly ... slightly pulled muscles by doing too much over the weekend ... 

Lenny is priority - but you'll have gathered that ... but isn't his email to me just brilliant ... and he emailed again last Monday just before he went off to hospital - though didn't tell me - perhaps he didn't know ... 

Hardwick cares
and sends his love
to Lenny

He was full of the Baseball Game - Seattle Sea Hawks v New England Patriots ... which he'd obviously enjoyed ... and had also watched the Australian tennis ... and asked how I'd enjoyed it as he knows I love my tennis ... 

Thanks all ... and looking forward to reading your comments for Lenny ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 30 January 2015

Hip op update ...

First thanks so much for all your thoughts,wishes etc - am slowly progressing: though computer sitting not really an option ....

Chatty Crone put this one up in November -
couldn't resist saving it for my time under the knife!

Can't keep my brain from working though ... also forgot my last post took me into my 7th year of blogging and some of the birthday wishes came from friends made all those years ago - seems incredible ...

One not so little lad kept tabs on my progress - guess who: Lenny Lee ... whom quite a few of us have known for nearly four years ... on my note on Sunday morning saying I'd woken up from the op ...

"hi my grandblogmom

hooray its done! now just rest and do what the doctor and nurses say. don't worry about emails or anything else. just get better. :)

i got you in my prayers.

...loads of love and soft and gentle hugs from lenny"

Also loved hearing via email from some of you ... and on the last post - asking for updates ... 

Thank goodness this 'serach' was not required!
All went smoothly ... I was last on the list ... came round 2.30 pm (it was Saturday!) and then had a minor reaction ... but once 24 hours had past - I was exhausted, but 'up and running' again.

Tuesday before lunch I was collected and managed the walk to the flat, and the 9 x 2 stairs up to the flat ... and from then on it's been adjusting to routine of pills, rest, exercise, fending for myself and answering the door bell .... 

For safety's sake I had and still have a
large indelible ink black arrow on
my left thigh!
Just walked outside and down the road a little - on crutches, but 'easily and carefully' done ... in the flat I'm on one stick and on occasions none ... small spaces and things to hang on to - but I'm being sensible.

Dressing on the wound came off on Monday and half is healing well, other half is catching up!  Lovely bruising that stretches down the leg ... but all healthy apparently ... 

Essentially I'm left to my own devices ... the nurse checked in 48 hours after I got home, and again for the bandage removal ... the occupational therapist came the next day, when I walked out briefly ... she is in fact coming again next week ...

Had some of these to welcome
me home ... 

But it's go slow, exercise and walk ... once the weather warms up I'll take myself downstairs and walk around in the Close (quiet dead end road) ... 

Back ache at night has been a nuisance ... and resorted to 'midnight feasts' at the hospital and here - but last night managed to stay put.

Thankfully very little pain - the leg is weight bearing ... I am taller on the left now - the right leg is much put out!! and those muscles will need to work: but all is well.

Used a zimmer in the hospital - came out
with crutches, and now have sticks
Went to hospital on a very frosty morning ... and on the Monday night/Tuesday morning we had snow ... so padded my way to the flat through that ... 

The wound is refurbished from the inside out, dissolving stitches, then final layer of skin is glued up - so no visit to the doctor to get staples out .... 

I've managed to do most things and have had some wonderful friends who've been in often and regularly to care and check up and ask what I needed ...  though, in fact, the fewer visitors the better, because I can concentrate on doing the essentials ... 

It's good to know Spring  is on its way

One third of way to end of first period - six weeks: is end of February ... 

Oh yes ... if you ask for two of something (fruits or veg) ... expect a packet of them ... and one of those is an accountant?!

I'd organised some frozen meals ... but was grateful for some plain chicken, leeks, carrots and potatoes ... and made "Chicken Soup for the Soul" ....... it had not occurred to me I might need 'invalid' food ... 

Homely food - Penne, sauce with fresh
So - garbled update complete ... I'm off for a rest and no doubt some more pills - never ending! and exercises ... which a friend instilled were essential: as what I will achieve in these first six weeks are what will be with me for the next 1/3 of my life ... yes I intend to be around a while!

Thank you so much ... and remember I won't reply individually to comments - but appreciate them all ... 

I will check in on FB as life gets easier ... 

Cheers - Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Hip Happity Hop … and I get to grow – how cool is that?! Hardwick makes a requested visit …

St Hilary’s Day has rolled around … another year has passed … and life is hip hip hipping forwards very fast.

African tea lights

I am hip-hopping off to hospital for a hip op on Saturday … it’s all go round here!  Birthdays where do they feature?  Hospital visits today – such is life, when they fast track you.

I suppose I could convert the rhyme: 

told on Friday
partied on Saturday
worried on Sunday
dusted on Monday
rushed on Tuesday … 
     ... just so you can’t think about getting a year older
or greyer!
moved furniture on Wednesday
dashed about on Thursday
panicked on Friday and ...
collapsed for op on Saturday

Dancer - hands on hips by
Antonio Canova 1812
I’ve been in some pain for a few years … decades … but as I’ve always played fairly serious squash – not at the top level, but next level down … and was always playing leagues, or different friends, or in tournaments … a hip problem?  No!

Anyway having exercised, tried various therapies, checked out my back – eventually I had my hip x-rayed early last summer;  it obviously wasn’t serious as I wasn’t called in and was happy to wait – I wanted to take Jenny (86) round England in October and to visit relatives etc

Saw the doctor after Jenny had returned to Canada, got sent off to the consultant – with the words … well you’re not taking pain killers and you can walk … my comment: well I need to know what’s happening -  I’m in pain and it’s getting worse.  The doc is not unsympathetic … and I don’t do pills, if I can avoid them ... and I cope usually – so I’m an 'unusual bird’.

My colourful sofa!!

Consultant’s visit – I eye the two hips on the x-ray screen: right one looks solid and nice, left one looks flaky and pittedly weak.  Brief discussion: it is congenital – I told him about my 67 years of life (as of today) – and how much squash I’d played and how I’d always been happy playing ball games – tennis in those early days. 

That seemed to stop him in his tracks … a brief silence ensued … his arm reached in his drawer, extracted a yellow form … sign here and we’ll give you a new hip.

Did you know, by the way your left leg is an inch shorter … and we’ll give you an extra inch!!  Yay – life improves I get taller – everyone else gets shorter!!  Sadly, I was brought back to earth … it balances out and it’s only half an inch.  Then when I had the early pre-assessment last year … I’ve already shrunk an inch – must be blogging … all the blame is on you lot?!

Fun wrapping paper -
present still to be opened!

Normally we are given 4 – 5 week’s notice … Friday I was rung up – by the time I rang back – the hospital lady, I needed to speak to, had gone for some lunch.  I was partying on Saturday and needed to go out to shop ... so said I’d be back by 3.45 or so …

Late Friday pm … would I like to have my hip op on 17th November … this somewhat non-plussed me … laughingly I said “November” … she, I think, was quite pleased I’d laughed … said "oh no January" … I said “Saturday”?  Yes – we operate on Saturdays.

So I’m going to the posg hospital – when I replied to the text message I’d had – of course I realised what posg meant: posh!
Hardwick resting ... 

So today is hospital visits and assessments … and chaos reigning … they only phoned me after lunch yesterday … so as I’m on my own – life is interesting to say the least … working out what’s needed.   Some things have slotted into place – others still need to.

Their system is different to the general hospital, and to the other private clinic (that does National Health work) that I have some information on … so now I need to adjust to the way their method of process works.

Hardwick's nose
This will be my last post for a while … I’d like to do the Ubuntu blog-hop if Michelle Wallace organises, and I thought there was something else, but brains are addled at the moment, then the A-Z theme reveal in March … so I may just quietly stay on the side-lines til the A-Z rocks around.

Give myself time to completely recover and get my hip working fully … and be ready for the future …

Hardwick with his Santa hat - Christmas 2010
in my mother's room

Betsy of My Five Men … asked about Hardwick, so he’s come out of retirement briefly … he needs some air … and it’s good to have him around for my birthday … and the many memories of him on my Mum’s bed for all those years.

Right that’s me done … I will happily hip off to sort this motley life out … and get the post up – so please go gently on me re commenting and being around … I’ll be here – but a break will do me good …

Mandela Apron

… the A-Z will kick me back into gear (hopefully not breaking the new hip!!) … and Ubuntu will remind us of who we are and what we should be embracing in life … “I am; because of you” or the Zulu word ‘Londolozi’ meaning “Protector of all Things”  - my post ishere, which includes a TED talk.

Hip hip hooray to me … and to all of you for nurturing my blogging interests … I might even be looking to get a little into FB and Twitter … now that will be a shock to one and all!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories