Monday, 4 February 2013

Birds, Spring and Doing Different Things

It is exactly one year since I logged into Blogger and learned how to set up a blog up and started writing my blog. I had kept a diary of all that happened to me in that first eighteen months of being diagnosed with PH and going on the Transplant List and wasn't quite sure what I would do with it, if anything, but I had by this time a notebook of hurriedly scrawled pencilled notes bursting at the seams just begging me to do something with it.  I ended up transferring it all into this blog and I am now on my 66th post!

delicious pud at Hambleton Hall
It's that time of year as we come into February that if you look really carefully you might just get a hint that Spring is around the corner, even though we are expecting some more snow this week! When I woke up this morning I could hear some birdsong and an odd tweet or two of the feathered kind and I've got bulbs pushing through in the garden, even bluebell shoots! The days seem just a little bit longer and there are daffodils and tulips in the shops, all just giving a promise of a brighter and warmer time to look forward to and some anticipation of warm sunshine - well I can live in hope of that too! I bought some daffodils for the house this weekend - yellow always looks so fresh and bright in February to cheer up the dreariness of winter- automatically it makes you feel uplifted.

Rob and I had a lovely few days away earlier last week, which was very relaxing and a real tonic to get out and about in another environment. We went to Rutland, which is only an hours drive away from us and is a small county sandwiched in between Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. It is only tiny, being only 17 miles east to west at its broadest and 18 miles north to south at its longest, but it is relatively unspoiled and you could even describe it as the Cotswolds in miniature or a bite size piece of the Lake District.

We had planned to stay here in November to enjoy a few Autumn walks - well walks of a fashion with me in tow - and to do a bit of Xmas shopping in Oakham, but had to cancel at the last minute because I lost my dad. We managed to re-arrange it for last week and hoped it would give us a lift after all the snow and dreariness of January. A large part of Rutland is covered by Rutland Water, an Anglian Water's drinking water reservoir with several large nature reserves and a visitor centre. It has a 25 mile circular track for walking and cycling and one day I have promised myself a proper long walk or better still a bike ride, which is impossible for me at the moment.

Rob and I visited the bird reserve on the Hambleton peninsular run by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. We were wrapped up warm with scarves, wellies and the lot. It is a paradise for bird watching and after speaking to the warden we reckoned I could manage the walk to the nearest bird hide, which was about 350m away, just around what I manage to do around when I do my six minute walk tests! This time I would be able to amble more slowly to keep my breath. It was a mild January day and there was seating in the bird hide, so I could rest while we watched the birds before I had to attempt the return walk. I always have to check how far I have walked so I can weigh up whether I'm capable of and have the stamina for the walk back!

Warming stew at the Lord Nelson 
At first we couldn't see many birds then we started to see several cormorants ducking and darting around the water, there plenty of ducks and gulls and some flocks of geese and we were rewarded for our patience with a big flock of lapwings flying above the water then landing near to where we sat watching. While we wandered back we saw thrushes, goldfinches, tree sparrows, wrens, pheasants, robins and blue tits and great tits. So nature rewarded us for our efforts and it gave my spirits a great lift to be outdoors and enjoying the quiet of the reserve.

After that we needed to warm up again and we went off to Oakham, an interesting market town with a small castle, a museum, some bespoke shops and its own market place with stocks. We found a lovely pub and enjoyed a warming lamb stew with crusty bread. It was a quirky place to eat if you love old buildings, beams, fires and antiques. All in all the whole trip was well worth the wait, a real pick me up and really helped me to get thinking of springtime and that it wouldn't be long before we get warmer, milder and longer days. A lot to look forward to while I wait.

For information on Rutland: things to do, Accommodation, where to eat:  
And a couple of tried and tested places:

View from Hambleton
On and off during our trip and during the rest of the week I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Life of Pi'. Most of you will know that this is now a major film and Rob has been badgering me to go and watch it at the cinema, but I refused to go until I had read the book. Rob recommended me to read it a few years ago, so I thought I better read it so we can go to the film while it's still on at the cinema. Anyway I was transported from Rutland Water to the Pacific Ocean with a young shipwrecked boy and a tiger! It was well worth the read and I can't wait to see the film soon. After our busy start to the week in Rutland I paid the price for overdoing it later in the week. This is a usual thing to happen with PH, try to act like you are a normal person for a day or two and then you will be exhausted and hardly able to walk for the next day or two if you don't try and rest up. You constantly have to try and juggle how much you can cope with and how much you can manage. It is at those times when I know and can acknowledge deep down that I cannot go on like this for evermore and I do definitely need to get my transplant.

I am publishing my blog a little early this week as Wednesday is possibly going to be an exciting day in our household and I might have more things to write about and tell you all by the end of the week. I will give you a clue and lots of you will probably get it - Valentine's week and From the Heart - so keep watching and if all goes to plan I might possibly have some interesting news and pictures of something going on in my home that I have just agreed to do, but we will have to see if it does really happen first!

We have just had another lovely weekend with friends to stay and enjoyed catching up on all our news and I was pleased and moved to hear that they had both signed up to be organ donors and they are spreading the word amongst their own family and friends. So if you haven't already:

sign up to the Organ Donor Register:

sign the epetition for the 'opt-out' organ donor scheme:

Finally, don't forget to tell your family your wishes!

Being fed!

Wanting to be fed! Sorry can't take you with us to the pub!

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