My goodness, I can’t believe it’s nearly 2 months since I’ve posted anything. I have been a tad busy though. I retired from paid employment in mid-June, but in the preceding couple of months I was heavily involved in the handover process. I’ve enjoyed a series of amazing retirement celebrations and gifts, which have left me feeling thoroughly spoilt. In among this I’ve been doing a University course on creative writing for non-fiction – don’t be expecting miracles though! I learned about different writing techniques and what to avoid – I realised I do all the wrong things, but will probably continue to do so! (excessive exclamation marks included). I submitted my assignment last week so .
I’ve also been on holiday to St Maarten – it was wonderful. One thing that struck me was how few insects I saw – hardly any flies, bees, wasps or mosquitoes – I’m wondering why? Was it the time of year? I hope it’s not due to insecticides. Do you know? I’m usually a magnet for mossies, but not one bite! A week home and I’m sporting 6 bites courtesy of beasties in my own garden. This is despite dousing myself in 50% DEET and lashings of Avon Skin So Soft. I’ve identified the culprits as flower bugs. I know it wasn’t midges as they’re minute, whereas flower bugs are 3-4 mm long. I’ve seen them on my skin, but not quick enough – by that time they’ve already taken a chunk out of me. The bites are quickly surrounded by a bright red area of inflammation the size of a 10 pence piece. They soon develop a large blister in the centre, which over time starts to ooze, before drying out – very attractive (not). They itch like hell and leave dark red scars for weeks afterwards.
While I was away I was lucky enough to have two friends willing to share the watering of my multitude of garden pots. I’m so grateful. It dawned on me as I was watering the night before I left, it was a very big ask. I regard the treks up and down my garden steps with a full watering can in each hand good exercise, but I realise this isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. It set me thinking that if I’m to ask again, I need to make it easier for them, or even make it automatic. I eagerly unpacked a cheap watering system I ordered online. I was faced with 2 reels of narrow tubing and a multitude of brackets and sprinklers. The destructions were in a choice of English or German, but I suspect translated from Chinese. The diagram annotations were in minus 5 font. Anyway with the aid of a magnifying glass and my superior powers of deduction, I got up and running after a bit of a setback, due to lack of understanding of hose attachments. Grumbling Rose contributed plenty of high volume advice, I felt at times verging on the sarcastic – “didn’t you learn at school which way to turn a tap on/off?” Mind you, I’m not so sure he had either, as at one point a wrench was required to unscrew one of the fittings he’d supposedly been undoing.
My other big thanks has to go to Rosie and Daisy who were press ganged into minding Lily for the week we were away. The issue for them wasn’t so much Lily’s tendency to refuse to move another inch while out on walks, decline to eat breakfast when trying to get her off to day care in the mornings, before going to work, or to do her final wee before bedtime. No, it was her snoring of epic proportions during the night. Rosie and Daisy had to resort to separate rooms and take it in shifts to have Lily as their bed partner. I’m doubtful we’ll be able to go away for more than a night without Lily again. Thanks to everyone for making it possible this year though.