Wednesday 29 December 2010

Our holiday season

On Christmas day, before a lovely lunch with my parents and brother, we went in search of adventure
(and non-icy roads).

We found a little bit of peaceful.

 A little bit of snow on the beach.

And a little palm tree in the snow.

Ray had fun making handbrake turns on the ice and sliding around the car park. I didn't close my eyes and hang on for dear life, no of course not. I loved every second of sliding uncontrollably around a frozen car park so I did.


 On Boxing day, before braving the family party, we went in search of snow and solitude.
We found the snow but unfortunately so did every one else so there was very little solitude.
We found beauty however.
Dartmoor ponies in the snow.

Blue sky for a blue Christmas.

Same spot, different direction.

The family thing was good...
ie I didn't run screaming from the room at the sight of a pregnant woman.

But it was good to get home.


Our kittehs are stuffed with turkey, beef and bacon leftovers. They quite like Christmas.
(I had nut roast and veggie sausages; they weren't interested in my leftovers)

We I provide lots of soft cosy woolly things for our cats to sleep on under the radiator but of course they prefer a plastic bag containing a back massage cushion or dangling off a hard shelf to anything a human could come up with...


Yeah, Ray loves being in a photo just as much as me. That's a smile not a grimace. 
Oh but it was cooold.

Thursday 23 December 2010


I mean, oh great... no... I mean, how wonderful, can't wait to congratulate them.

Ray's two sisters both have children but none of his three younger brothers do... did. He was going to be the first of the "male side of the family" to have children. Now it will be the next youngest brother. 4 months. They didn't tell us, they were worried about telling us. I'm worrying about seeing them on Boxing day at his Mum's.

Why can't it be us.

Sometimes I think I might explode.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Jingle bloody bells

It's everywhere.

You can't turn on the radio to listen to the snow/traffic reports without hearing something "festive" blaring at you. If I hear "fairytale of new york" one more time because it's "alternative" I might just explode.

As you might guess, I am not a great fan of Christmas music, in fact I'm not much of a fan of Christmas at all, not being religious and all that, and goodness I really don't enjoy worshipping at the altar of consumerism. Being buffeted along the street by panic shoppers when all you need is some bread is just so not fun.

After losing George I was even less interested in the whole thing, and as this year I was meant to be heavy with child, well, it's all even more of a bah humbug sort of thing.

But then this song came on the radio the other morning and it made me feel a little... umm... twinkly... so I thought that I must share it with you.

Listen to the second song, "Carol of the bells" you might like the others but this version of that song is something quite special. I think. I might even turn on the fairy lights.


Sunday 19 December 2010

Five good things

Opening the curtains in the living room, seeing a snow covered world outside and getting just a hint of the excitement I used to feel as a child, Oooooh pretty snow. Right before thinking, brrr, not going out in that.

Deciding that we were "snowed in" and not going out shopping.

Mum saving be a big blob of marzipan from her Christmas cake.

Dad telling us that he'd played "better" at snooker. (He is taken out by a volunteer once a week and they usually go to a snooker club for a game and a beer. My Dad used to be captain of his local team many years ago and had a cupboard full of trophies. He thought he'd forgotten how to play).

Standing in the garden watching the birds eating the seed I had just put out.

Friday 17 December 2010

Cinnamon apple pie cake

Oh this is yummy. 

Mix together

2 1/2 cups of grated apples
1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (I used 2 and Ray thinks it's a bit much but I rather like cinnamon!)
1 tablespoon of flour (I forgot this, duh, but I don't think it's made much difference).

It's not in the original recipe (which I adapted to make one not-so-enormous cake when I realised I only had half the apples needed) but I heated the apple mix with a blob of butter to get a nice thick syrupy mess but you know, whatever. Let it cool it a bit if you do.

Incorporate Beat the living daylights out of: 

115g/half a cup of butter
¾ cup sugar (I mixed dark brown, caster and granulated just to see what would happen, I'll probably just use caster sugar next time)
a drop or two of vanilla essence 

beating is best done with a wooden spoon if you have serious anger or frustration issues but a mixer is also fine

Then smoosh in, a bit at a time,

2 pre-beaten organic free-range eggs

Roughly moosh together:

1 ½ cups of self raising/cake flour
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 tsp baking powder

Add that to the egg mixture and mix well.

Butter your cake tin or line it with baking paper. Oops, on second thoughts better do this first along with heating the oven to 180•C or 350•F

Use a bit more than half of the cake mixture to line the bottom of the cake tin and then spread the apple mixture on top. Then put dollops of the remaining cake mix on top of the apple leaving gaps between dollops, mine wasn't quite gappy enough to let the apple mix show through because I didn't put enough mixture on the base... but hopefully you get the idea.

Place in the oven and cook for around 25 to 35 minutes or until a knife stabbed into it's heart the middle comes out clean.

Share bowl scrapings with kittehs and then wash the bowls and clean kitchen so it no longer looks as if it has been the scene of a minor skirmish.

Sprinkle the cake with icing sugar or make up some sort of glaze to dribble over it.

Patiently explain to your Poppet why apple pie cake isn't the same as "soggy old apple pie" and yes, he WILL like it. Dammit.

Enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Season of sadness

Little Poppet was due at the end of January. I should have a big round belly today and I can't even imagine what that would be like; I have a flabby empty belly instead.

If George had been born around his due date in March 2009 we would have been enjoying our second Christmas with him. He would have been 21 months old. I can't even imagine what he would look like today. I can't even imagine how noisy our quiet house would be.

I try not to do this to myself too often. I try not to calculate and measure the time we have lost and wonder too much but I've just put out some fairly lights with a heavy heart and very little enthusiasm.

And while Ray has popped out I sit here with a cup of tea, two kittehs draped on my lap and tears in my eyes for what might have been... for who might have been. Our 2nd Christmas without George and our 1st without the hope that Little Poppet brought and I wish... I'm so tired of wishing things were different.

We're going to eat Christmas lunch with my parents and my brother again this year because it pleases my Mum who exhausts herself making things nice and I can't help but feel as if I have deprived her and my Dad of the joys of even more exhausting grandchildren. She has a hard time with my Dad some days and what a difference it would make for her to have a tiny tot to spoil.

Fortunately, these sad thoughts don't hang around quite as long as they used to but when they bite, they tend to hold on a chew for a while.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Five good things

A brand new magnifying work lamp ordered, from Mum and Dad to me for Christmas (and delivered the next day).

Finally... finally, some concrete going down outside our back door. Half done Friday, the rest on Monday. No more twisted ankles on the rubble.

A morning coffee with my Mum after a little shopping.

Cinnamon apple pie bars.

The satisfaction of two jewellery orders finished and posted.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

The catch

I was explaining the stone in my ring to my Mum,

"No it's not my birthstone, mine is ruby. It's October ... George's birthstone".

And there it was. That little pause before I say his name; a small intake of breath; a catch in my voice.

I wonder if it will always be there.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Five good things

Being up on the moors, Ray driving narrow lanes in the snow, in a traffic jam of 2 cars and a herd of 14 cows.

Chips with salt and vinegar, wrapped in paper and eaten by the sea on a blustery day.

Deciding that I need to think differently about pregnancy and babies and almost getting there (work in progress).

Finding the "perfect" small Christmas tree for my Mum and Dad .

More sex: there are good things about trying again you know. *blush*

What good things found you this week?

Tuesday 30 November 2010

I made this

I am inordinately pleased with myself and so I thought I might show off a bit if you don't mind indulging me?

It took one ring that I made too big, then sawed open to make it smaller and soldered it again, one melted bezel setting and one remade bezel setting with two soldered joints and four frustrating attempts to solder the setting to the ring. It's the first stone set ring I have ever made and it's about as far from perfect as it could be but I did it.

I bought the opal about a year ago with the thought of making a ring. It flashes pretty blues and greens in the light. Opal is the birthstone for October; George's month. I can't quite believe it worked so I'm a little wary of wearing it "out" in case it doesn't hold.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Five good things

A beautiful sprinkling of snow on Dartmoor.

A hot water bottle, thick socks, a blankie and a nice cup of tea on a chilly day.

Making a ring for myself... (or at least part of it; I have to remake the bit I melted).

A good nights sleep.

Making my Mum happy by telling her that we will be spending Christmas day with her and my Dad.

What good things found you this week?

Thursday 25 November 2010

And so.

This week has been less than easy.

We started it worrying about Ray's endoscopy, followed by relief that there was nothing found mixed with disappointment that they didn't find a simple ulcer and zap it (or whatever they do) and then worry again that he needs a colonoscopy because they know that there is something to be found. It can't be serious. It just can't. He's fine. He feels fine.

And breathe.

Our Landlord (also a friend and provider of work for Ray) still hasn't concreted the area outside our back door. It's a rubble path at the moment and the garden is full of scaffolding, sand, a concrete mixer, etc. Ray sent him a hissy text message and then he sent one back. The following day we locked ourselves out of the house and had to call him. 

The car failed it's MOT (road worthiness test) and the brake callipers need changing. We need to spend yet more money we don't have.

Life just keeps going on. Losing a baby, two babies, a whole team of babies doesn't exempt you from other crappy stuff. It should. It really really should. By rights all of we the babylost should win the lottery jackpot and suffer perfect health and a peaceful mind until the day we die, hand in hand with our love, in our sleep at 101.

They forgot that didn't they? Yoo hoo, hello? Excuse me? Can I have my babylost free pass to an easy life now please? Hello.....?

And so, we found the brake callipers for half the price we were originally quoted and my Mum is lending us the money until Ray's next job and it's not as much as it would be if Ray couldn't do it himself. When our landlord turned up with the key he cheerfully apologised for all the delays and promised that next week... and as for Ray, well we don't believe it is anything sinister because well, it's not possible.

Things are rarely quite as bad as our imagination tells us.  Of course sometimes things are very very bad, but mostly... hopefully...

And so, life goes on, even with an ache in the chest, a knot in the stomach and an inconvenient hole in the pocket.

Monday 22 November 2010

Good thoughts update

The endoscopy was "horrible", even with sedation.

The nurses were lovely.

There was no ulcer or anything to explain his test results.

He feels fine with no ill effects other than some mighty burps.

Colonoscopy next. *shudder*

We are trying not to worry.

Thank you for your good thoughts, you are lovely lovely people.

Sometimes I think the universe has it in for us.

And sometimes I think we are the luckiest people in the world to have found each other.


Good thoughts needed

Could you take a moment to think of us today?

and send a few good vibes our way?

Ray has an endoscopy this afternoon to search for an ulcer.

And that's all we want to find.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Five good things

Ah ha, I managed my list on a sunday!

Tasty tea for menstrual cramps instead of painkillers (recipe coming soon)

Making (bodging) a table top work bench all by myself (pictures coming soon)

New jewellery supplies (it's been a while since I made anything)

My Mum being better

Being enough for each other

Monday 15 November 2010

Five good things

Late again, or maybe this has slipped into a Monday thing.

Having to get out of a warm bed on a chilly night to pee and coming back to find a Poppet on my side of the bed keeping it warm for me.

A cheque from the tax man.

Mum being ill again but not having to go into hospital.

Kitteh's falling out again and making up much quicker than last time.

Ray. Just because.

What good things found you last week?

Saturday 13 November 2010

Carly Marie's Pie throwing festival

Ha, don't you just love our Carly!

I am honoured to be honoured.

So I would like to throw a pie at our lovely landlord who has been faffing about renovations on our home since springtime. Gaaaah get it finished already!

And I would dearly like to throw a very large pie at the universe for getting things so stupidly horribly wrong for so many lovely people.

Please click the image above to hop on over to Carly's page and join in with the fun.

Monday 8 November 2010

Five good things

Late again... maybe that's a good thing?

Autumn colours
Reading in bed in the morning.
Starling hunting at dusk. Not actual hunting of course. Just trying to see this amazing spectacle.
Drinking tea from our flask and watching the sea.
A little bit of hope

What good things found you last week?

Saturday 6 November 2010

Future imperfect

There was no conscious decision to give up.

Only the feeling of utter hopelessness after losing the tiny leap of faith that was Little P.

Walking through the waiting area filled with expectant life after the ultrasound that showed only death we were both ridiculously embarrassed, Ray called it "The Walk Of Shame", and we both felt like imposters. I couldn't bear the thought that we might fail a third time. I couldn't bear the thought of that walk again. I couldn't bear any thoughts at all to be honest. In the space of a moment my mind became sludge.

We were destroyed.

(I have read the comments on that page several times and they never fail to make me cry. You are all so kind.)

One or two people (in the real world) made comments along the lines of, "You'll get there" and "It'll happen" and I would shrug without enthusiasm and mumble a non-committal, "We'll see" whilst thinking, "Oh no we won't".

But the thing is, when I did start to think through the sludge, it turned out that the thought of giving up was so much scarier than the thought of trying again. I mean way scarier. In fact giving up felt wrong. Feels wrong.

It's been about four months since we lost Little P. (I'm trying hard not to keep track of how far along I would be.) and my ladyparts seem to be functioning as best they can. I notice signs of fertility, I feel ovulation twinges and my cycle is regular.

And so...

And so, we are going to try to become pregnant one more time. We are going to try to stay pregnant one more time and try to give birth to a living child at the right time.

There will be no IVF, no donor eggs, please don't suggest it, we have no money and we will not get into debt. This is one last try with my old scrambled eggs, good food, vitamins, the odd herbal thingy, plenty of water, and whatnot. At least the whatnot is fun. Mostly.

We can't go on indefinitely, hoping and hoping and hoping not because it's exhausting but because we are running out of time. But we can go on for a little while longer. We can hope a little more.

I might let you know if it works. Well no, that sounds like a mean tease. Of course I WILL let you know if it works but probably not until I see a heartbeat and possibly not until after any scary tests and even then maybe only in an email* if you really want to know. 

This secrecy idea is partly because we wouldn't tell anyone out here in the real world, especially my parents, for as long as possible. The memory of my Mum's heart breaking when I told her about Little Poppet still haunts me and I won't do that to her (or me) again.

And if it doesn't work... well, that doesn't bear thinking about any more than we have already so we won't go there again for a while.

All I would ask of you is that you muster yourselves, perhaps light a candle or burn something, maybe walk around it three times, do a fertility dance or ritual, utter some sort of incantation and send the biggest most concentrated, clearest heap of conception intentions our way. We need them. Seriously.

And then,


we'll see.

*drop me a line and I'll add you to my "in case of pregnancy, inform" list.

Thursday 4 November 2010


Dearest Danielle.

I have been thinking about you and Alan all day.

Thinking about your son Kai on his day.

And missing him with you.

Thinking about how glad I am to know you and how I wished I didn't.

Hoping that you can pick up the frayed threads and make something new and beautiful with them.

Sending great heaps of love your way.

And lights in the darkness.

Tuesday 2 November 2010


We have moved back into our bedroom from the tiny back bedroom that we squished our kingsized bed into. finally.

Finally I can find my clothes; ah, that's where all my clean knickers have gone.
Finally that awful dirty yellow wallpaper has gone.
Finally, the lime green fireplace is white. We have our bed against it but really, lime green fireplace?
Finally the wardrobe is out of the kitchen.

Colours: Blue, chocolate brown and white, with a bit of cream thrown in for good measure.

Ray's side, untidy to start with... he he.. well that's unfair since I am FAR more untidy than he is. He just hadn't put his clothes away before I took the photo.

Ray bought this wiggly light for me as a gift when he first moved into my old flat over 3 years ago. It never went up but became a table lamp. Finally it's in it's rightful place (next to the stupid smoke alarm). The "arms" can be bent and wiggled around, it is very cool.

My side of the bed (the curtains really aren't quite as dark goldy-yellowy as they photograph) An Itteh bitteh happeh kitteh waiting to jump on the bed and snuggle on the blanket my Mum knitted for me and extended for us to big bed proportions by adding the blue and cream bands to the outside. The cats have been quite put out by all the building work and moving shenanigans but seem happy to have "their" bed back.

We haven't put the pictures back up yet because I'm enjoying smiling at the walls too much. I'm planning on painting a wall-blue tree silhouette on the white wall behind the bed but we ran out of paint so it will have to wait. BUT it's a much more peaceful and happy room now. (I have some sage from the garden drying to do the smudgy thing).

However. Outside the bedroom window there was this

 and this (bedroom window on left, kitchen window on right)
Two or three days of bang bang banging got the walls to this state.

And now there is this:

With half of one wall finished.

At 7am, just before the two workmen arrive, I get up and grab kittehs, kitteh food, flask of hot water, jug of milk, tea cups and tea bags and we shut ourselves in the bedroom while the two workmen scrape and tap outside our window. Fun fun fun. Weather permitting it should be finished in the next few days. And then when it's dry Ray gets to paint it.

And then our landlord and Ray will re-do the concrete path to the garden.

And then, finally, we will have our house to ourselves again.

Until they start on the hallway ceiling next year. (Not this year because our landlord is going off to India for three months. Nice for some eh?).

Going to sit in the bedroom now and smile at the walls.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Five good things

I missed last week and hardly realised it.
It's Halloween today but we don't celebrate it so it isn't a what-we-should-be-doing-with-George grieflet. It's the day of the dead tomorrow but it's not part of our cultural reference so we don't think about it. It's an ordinary Sunday here. Later this evening the neighbours (who somehow have the fuse for the intercom in their half of the house) will turn off the doorbells and there will be no trick or treating which is perfectly fine with us.

Anyway, five good things from the past week:

Seeing the lovely blue paint on our bedroom wall and smiling at it. I smiled at a wall.

My Dad smiling, joking and eating at his birthday dinner on the 25th (takeaway Indian food) after what my Mum said had been difficult and grumpy day for him.

Getting absorbed into a good book.

Making a decision.

Sending love.

Please join in: what good things found you last week?

Wednesday 20 October 2010


Two years
I don't want to believe it.
My heart is so heavy today that I can hardly carry it's weight.
My poor George.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

It's quiet here.

Ray is painting across the road, the plasterer is in the bedroom prepping, landlord Dave has skulked off home with "man flu and broken legs" (his words) after a weekend 80's roller disco, the radio is silent, the tv is off, the computer is muted and it's just too damned quiet.

Normally I crave silence and peace but today I can hear my thoughts in the quiet and I don't much like them.

It's quiet here too... maybe it's time to end this blog?

In order to restore some order in my head (or just stop listening to the idiot in there) I need to turn on some noise.

A cup of raspberry leaf tea with added fresh ginger, honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon, a warm blankie (because naturally, having builders in the house, all the doors and windows are open), a cat or two on my lap, a good book and a documentary about medaeval England playing in the background and I think I have it.

For now.


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