Monday, May 29, 2006

Newsy Bits!

I've just added two posts with pictures of stuff in the garden. I hope that satisfies those of you who are interested in how the spring is progressing over here.

In fact, it's still beastly cold. After a lovely few days of warm sunshine, the rain came back along with a bitterly cold wind. The stream is rollicking along in the way it did last winter - it's lovely to hear the water, but it's a constant reminder of all the rain we've had.

My thumb is a lot better now. I didn't understand that trigger finger is yet another variation on the inflamed tendon theme. Now I know that, I realise that the only way to make it better is to rest it. So all the exercise I gave my thumb was just making it worse. Keeping it splinted for a couple of days allowed the swelling to go down and it's far less sore now. It still "triggers" in the morning and the evening, but I can put up with that. Since the alternative is stopping Arimidex and raising the risk of a recurrence of the breast cancer I don't really have much choice anyway.
We've visited some interesting places lately. Last weekend, with Nancy, we took a walking tour around Shrewsbury. I didn't realise how many old half-timbered buildings there were, nor did I know that Shrewsbury has it's own style of such buildings characterised by rope carvings and recessed quatrfoils. Anyone who's interested and wants to know more can write or visit!

We also took Nancy to Wroxeter, to the site of the Roman town there. All that you can see are the foundations and some of the walls of the bath house, which was a huge basilica about the size of a football pitch. The town itself was huge, but most of it remains unexcavated. It was the 4th largest Roman town in Britain.

This weekend we went to a craft show at Dudmaston Hall near Bridgenorth. It was sunny during our ride there over Wenlock Edge and we enjoyed the countryside and the lovely views. The Hawthorne is in full bloom now so the hedgerows are draped in lovely white blossom. Along the sides of the roads the bluebells and primroses are mostly gone, but there is lots of cow parsley (very similar to Queen Anne's Lace) with its delicate ferny green leaves and large umbels of white flowers.

It was a small show, but we enjoyed it - met and talked to some very nice crafts people and bought a few items for the house. The quality was very good, especially in the tents put up by the Ludlow and Shropshire Crafts organizations. We had lunch outside the hall but didn't visit the house or gardens, although they looked quite interesting. We'll do that on a weekday when it's less crowded.

Well, that'll do for today. Keep those e-mails coming to:

More Garden Pictures

After I deleted the first set of pictures, I decided to load them up in two attempts. This way, if one fails I haven't lost all my work!

To continue, this stunning Broom is up against the southeast corner of the house. We can't walk down the pathway, but who cares?

Another magnificent specimen is this tree heather. We actually have two of them. The foliage is acid green and the flowers are white.

And now for something completely different - the Poached Egg Plant. This is supposedly an annual which has just come out on our rock garden. If it really is an annual it must be self seeding. I hope so, I really love those blossoms and would hate to loose it.

We have rhododendrons and azaleas in various shades of red, blue, violet, purple and pink. This is a close-up of a particularly pretty one.

Garden pictures

I just uploaded a bunch of garden pictures and then managed to delete them all! So now I'm trying again - grrrrrrr!

This Clematis is massed on the trellis and clambering through an apple tree.

This one is larger than my hand ...

...and this Pittosporum flower is smaller than my thumbnail.

And here's a lovely red rhododendron which glows in the late evening light. This evening it didn't get dark till after 9:30, so we actually get a lot of that evening light.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Please help us name this bird!

As you know, we're volunteering at the Shrewsbury museum and working on their bird collection. Most of them are British birds and we've been pretty successful at identifying them. However, we've now run across a display containing several birds. Most of them are North American and we've got those, but this one has us puzzled.

Its main color is a beautiful purplish blue - the color in the upper photo is pretty close to the real thing. Upper back, upper wings and end of tail are black. Underwings are yellow and crown is irridescent light blue (similar to cyan in computer colors).

In the upper photo you can see John's arm. This is a small bird, about the size of a large hummingbird. It's wings are hummingbird-like also. In fact, John thinks it is a humming bird, but we have no idea which one. We've been searching the web, but have failed.

I'm sorry the pictures are rather poor, but we took them without flash in the low light of the museum. I have other (even worse) pictures and can send more details if necessary.

We'd like to name it in our database for completeness, so PLEASE, if you know what it is let us know at: or


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A quick note

Hi all!

This is just a quick note to let you know we're OK. I haven't posted anything lately because we've had a visitor from the US - Nancy Fields. It was a smashing visit, but it could have been even nicer if the weather had cooperated. We've had buckets of rain over the last week or so.

And now, the bad weather (or some other unexplained thing) has exascerbated the chemo-induced joint problems in my hands. They are very stiff and awkward and I'm finding it hard to use the keyboard. My right thumb is particularly painful with "trigger thumb" so I've splinted it and that's making it even harder to type!

Sorry to be moaning, but I wanted to explain why I haven't a) answered a lot of e-mails and b) posted to this blog for a while.

If there's some sunshine tomorrow I'll try to get out and get some pictures of the lovely azaleas, rhododendrons and clematis that we have blooming in the garden at present. That is if I can wade through the jungle of weeds. All the rain is making everything grown like mad.

In the meantime, here's my e-mail address. I don't discard your letters, they just stay in my in-box till I get to them even though that sometimes takes months!

Monday, May 08, 2006

One year later!

Here we are at the Studio Restaurant in Church Stretton enjoying a meal and celebrating the one-year anniversary of my last radiation treatment. This was last Saturday, and as usual the food was wonderful and the atmosphere warm and relaxing. We're very lucky to have such a good restaurant in our little town.

The garden is turning into a jungle - last week was warm and sunny, now we've had a couple of days of rain and everything is growing like the clappers! And of course, the weeds are growing fastest.

I'm not sure if we're going to win the battle against the ground elder (Bishop's weed) - when it first comes up it looks like a sweet little ground cover, but now it's starting to smother things and it's spreading like mad! John has his patch to weed and I have mine, but we're loosing ground, I think.

Right now the garden looks rather nice from a distance. It's very green as the trees and shrubs start to leaf out and there's a haze of blue from all the forget-me-nots. The heathers are fading and the daffs are pretty well gone, but the azaleas are just starting out and the rhododendrons aren't far behind. I'll be posting pictures of those later on.

In the meantime I wanted to share this sequence of photos which sums up canine bliss, I think.

These pictures were taken on a walk with Dave (our neighbour and Ella's master).

Yesterday it was sunny and warm and we took another walk up the hill you can see in the pictures from my study. Here are some photos from that walk.

I did try to take some pictures of our house from over the other side of the valley, but though I could see the house with my binoculars, I couldn't actually see it in my viewfinder and I must've pointed the camera wrong! When I came to look at the photos on the computer, I realised that I'd missed it completely. Sorry about that!