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Summer break

Here is a painting of some summery figs. It’s so windy and grey this morning that I don’t feel like going out and taking photos of the garden. There aren’t many things out there apart from the crocosmia which has it’s lovely orange slashes of colour. And some dark red day lilies; I’m wondering if they are called that because the flowers only last a day?

I haven’t painted any yet but I did do a little bunch of scabious, lavender and geraniums plus the one echinacea flower that was out.

I foraged in my friends garden yesterday and got some dahlias and sneezewort, and a giant white poppy. I’m experimenting with a different way of painting and I’m enjoying it more as I get bored with doing the same thing.

Our broccoli has gone to seed although I was very pleased with my beetroot harvest:

I’ve ordered some aubergine, pink speckled lettuce and Cavolo Nero to fill in the gaps. The aubergines will need some sun so here’s hoping as summer seems to have taken a downward turn. I don’t need any more lettuce but my Treviso didn’t grow into what I expected so I’m compensating for that.

Last week’s Papworth appointments went according to plan and I am starting to reduce my psych meds (my main motivation being that they make you put on weight) which I’m a bit worried about because it will almost certainly affect my sleep. Being able to sleep 10 hours a day has been a bit of a bonus during lockdown.

My check up at Papworth went well; my new lungs are doing fine. Only ongoing issue is my low white blood cell count; I stopped one lot of immunosuppressants because of that but they haven’t come back up which means I have to stay on current dose of steroids as they support the one that I am on. I've resigned myself to waiting months for getting my cataracts seen to.

I had an interesting discussion with the consultant about COVID and apparently although I may be more susceptible to catching it due to immunosuppression, that is also what helps to reduce the damage to lungs as it is your immune system that attacks them. I’ve probably put that a bit clumsily but in a nutshell it seems that transplant patients aren’t automatically going to die.

But no need for complacency; there is still too much unknown about the virus and it’s longer term effects. One risk I am taking this week is to go for a haircut; can’t wait to be rid of my lockdown hair. My reasoning is that the sooner I go after lockdown the less chance the virus will have had to spread again, as well as ensuring I get a haircut before the next lockdown. Seize the moment I think.

We’re still getting good use out of the wood oven mainly due to M’s willingness to go out and light it even when the weather’s a bit adverse. So our chicken yesterday was wood roasted and we put some baby carrots and some of my homegrown beetroot in too, which we had with fresh peas and a walnut and anchovy relish.

This is my favourite time of year for fruit with an added bonus of being able to paint it as well as eat it. I’ve done some more figs and cherries , now eaten, and have lots of peaches, nectarines and apricots. We get strawberries from the strawberry hut by the road although good to eat they are difficult to paint. I pickled a peach a few days ago to go in a salad which was delicious.

All this summery fruit and I’m inside wearing a woolly! Perhaps we’re in a north Norfolk climate, I don’t think it’s as cold everywhere plus we have had an infernal wind for days so it feels like a break from summer. Hopefully temporary and that it will clear for the weekend as I am taking part in an art exhibition at Cley. Should have been in the village hall but that is still out of use due to COVID so we are doing it outside under gazebos. I am putting faith in Steve who has organised it and who is confidant that we will get plenty of foot fall.

M has gone off to sort out something with the motorhome in anticipation of being able to go somewhere at some time. It’s probably the safest way to travel as you don’t need to have contact with anybody other than when showing your passport. No ludicrous having to take your shoes and belt off to be scanned with your luggage, and no standing around queuing, you just stay in the motorhome the whole time.

My next appt with Papworth will be in September when it will be my transplant anniversary! Sort of straddles the 4th and 5th. Difficult to believe it is almost a year ago. I still think about it quite a lot, which I think is fairly normal given that I’ve been going to Papworth so regularly and am still going through process of refining meds and recovering generally. I've stopped my gabapentin (also makes you put on weight) and I can now really feel the pain from the op. It may sound as though I'm obsessed with my weight, which I am a bit. although I'm less concerned with losing weight right now, as with putting more on.

It’s quite interesting to read others experiences on the Papworth support group page on Facebook. I’m not really on Facebook now as a/ most of my feed is from political groups/ people raging against Brexit etc and b/ I can’t cope with Facebook and Instagram. I use my Instagram largely for my paintings and everything I get/ follow on there is to do with art, food or interiors so it doesn’t add to my own anger about things.

I am sitting in the kitchen looking out onto the windy garden, just about to have a nice macchiato with Ralph stretched out contentedly on M’s chair. I am really enjoying having a cat around, well Ralph in particular as he is such good company.

Today’s artIst is Howard Hodgkin, just for his colours alone:

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