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Good things (mostly)


My glass Finnish owl. I’ve had it for years and suddenly decided he’d make a good subject for a painting. I’m quite pleased with it.

We’ve now been plunged into wet and windy weather which makes lockdown so much worse. I don’t mind so much when I can sit with the doors open onto the patio and while away the time with a good book. I'm forgetting that last week was sweltering for a few days though.

I’m feeling guilty as I haven’t been out on my bike for what seems like an age but is probably a couple of weeks. I still don’t have a great deal of strength in my legs due I guess to all that time when I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without being terribly breathless. It’s strange, I know that it was real but now I cannot conjure up that feeling of breathlessness.

You might wonder why I would want to! I don’t really know other than to remind myself of the contrast and how fortunate I am. I haven’t written to my donor family yet, but I am sure I will. The transplant team will support with that if you ask them. I’ve wondered what I might say but I’m not quite ready yet. I do think I need to say thank you at the very least. It’s such a strange thing and just thank-you seems inadequate. I’ll find the words at some point.

I’ve just started a book Swan Song about Truman Capote; a fictionalised account of his relationships with the wealthy high society in America. He was a confidante of many of them but also a terrible gossip which makes an entertaining read.

Last night we ended up watching the Glastonbury Channel all evening - a change from the usual Sunday sedatives of Country File and the Antiques Road Show. They were showing clips of various artists from different years. My favourite was Amy Winehouse. I still think of that tragedy whenever I see her. Everything about her performance was fab including her backing singers/ dancers.

We had booked to go to a festival this year, Bigfoot, but of course it was cancelled. We would have been in the motor home so no leaky tents and nasty toilets but maybe a blessing in disguise. There were plenty of oldies at Glastonbury, not least the musicians, some of whom were pushing eighty- Willie Nelson, Shirley Bassey, Neil Diamond.... and REM, Ray Davies and Isaac Hayes are no spring chickens.

Another treat on telly has been Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads. The last one had Jodie Foster (Villanelle!) as an ‘actress’. He always has such good performers; Harriet Walters is great and the woman whose name I can’t remember who was a mother in love with her son. Creepy but not an uncommon theme I know. There was the Ibizan (?) mother in White Lines who could barely keep her hands off her son.

There are some bits and pieces flowering in the garden but it looks a bit bleak today. I have lots of dahlias although they are all still in bud so I’m hoping for a burst of colour soon.

This week I have a succession of Papworth appts albeit two of which are video conferences with the psychiatrist for a meds review and psychologist for a mind review. I go to Papworth for my check up on Thursday. The thought of getting up at 5 drove me to book a hotel which I’ve now cancelled as the thought of staying in a mostly closed (ie bars and restaurant etc) hotel outweighed an early morning.

I at least seem to have stopped putting weight on, maybe due to the steroid reduction, so thankfully going in the right direction at last. I've had to buy some new clothes as not only have I gone up at least one size I have completely changed shape! All I need now is a haircut, but so does everybody else so I may have to wait a while before I can get an appt, assuming I can get one before we're locked up again as we almost certainly will be.

I'm hoping I can reduce my steroids by another 2.5mg to 5mg where I'll stay. My ankles are also less elephantine which is a good sign. I suppose it's not surprising that it takes so long to recover from such major major surgery, particularly as I was in such poor shape beforehand.

I have had no communication from the cataract service; I’m not even certain that they’re running a service. All the stuff about ‘protecting the NHS’ is rubbish as in order to cope with COVID they stopped almost everything else and will start again with new ways of working that will significantly restrict numbers that they are able to treat. But no moaning today about the state of the nation.

Despite the last few days weather M has been lighting the wood oven so we had our usual chicken yesterday. We also had some delicious lamb with a black olive salsa; olives, a bit of red chilli, lemon and olive oil.

The veg patch continues to supply catering quantities of lettuce and we ate our first purple sprouting broccoli which was very satisfying. The beetroot are almost ready but I have quite a lot of some bitter leaves that I’m not sure about. I think they should be the Treviso but they bear no resemblance to what I thought it should be.

I haven’t been doing a lot of painting although I have done a couple that I’m not really happy with. Apart from the owl, I rustled up a little bunch of flowers from the garden yesterday and did this one:

I am sure that I’ve posted some painting by him before but Shozo Ozaki’s cat paintings are worth showing again; I love the character he manages to give them without being mawkish or too cute:

And here is the lovely Ralph living his cats life:

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