January Small Stone# Nineteen

Today began cold, I seriously considered a duvet day and would have liked a share of http://dadirridreaming.wordpress.com/ ‘s scorching heat! I forced myself to move and made some butternut squash and pepper soup before venturing out. I had to top up the fruit bowl and the girls wanted to walk, so we set off to the green grocers close to the river.

The Mill On the Exe
The Mill On the Exe

The river was just returning to normal winter levels but now there must be melt water from Exmoor topping it up again. In the far right of the photo is the Mill on the Exe pub, they regularly get flooded and can no longer get insurance.

The dogs had a god run, I saw cormorants on the weir and then turned back to the bridge where the graffiti is vibrant.
Topped up!
Topped up!

This will last a couple of days! After healthy soup, I settled on the sofa with the new book that arrived this morning, all wrapped in a blankie! DSC_0110
But I’m still cold 😦


January Small Stones# Eighteen

From my office desk I see the evergreens a quarter of a kilometre away; they are peppered with naked orange branches of their deciduous family and gulls retreating from the coast. In the foreground I can see the low roof of the hospice next door, but nothing more except the white sky that foretells snow.
It arrives, a horizontal mix of flake, sleet and rain landing slushily and washing itself away. Soon my vista changes and I get my first clear view of the Haldon hills; where earlier today the A38 and A380 were down to single lane traffic crawling in the wake of gritter trucks. Those hills and the ones to the North West are white and can only be distinguished from the sky by their own dark tree fringe.
It’s just a fleeting glimpse and soon the snow here becomes a fine drizzle followed by heavy rain, which obscures the view again. Hopefully that will be the end of it.

January Small Stone# Fifteen

Coughing my way home

A slightly strange stone today, nevertheless it was the observation of a possiblity of change for me. I have asthma. It was diagnosed around ten years ago, after many, many years of coughing! It isn’t severe, just irritating and must drive other people crazy. Sometimes in public places people will come up and offer me a glass of water, when I haven’t even registered that I’m coughing.

I have inhalers of course, but if I use them as prescribed I get a sore throat and oral thrush. So it’s a fine balance. There are quite a few things that trigger a coughing fit; aerosols, some perfumes, dust, things that have a bad smell, pollen, too much dairy etc, etc. I try to avoid exposure when I can.

A change in temperature, like leaving a warm place to go out in winter, is a real pain, especially when I rush to leave work each day. You know how it is, the freedom after a long day and you just want to go home as quickly as possible!

Recently I’ve tried a simple breathing exercise when I leave. It’s just inhaling through my nose and then exhaling through pursed lips – it’s supposed to slow breathing down. It works for about 200 metres and then I lose it. So today I invented my own version, breath in slowly through my nose (and very cold air hits me), then breath out through pursed lips – but in two stages – it slows me down more. I also walked a little slower than usual, so the walk took 20 minutes instead of fifteen.

Guess what? I made it home without a single cough. I’m hoping it isn’t a fluke, the next few days will tell.

January Small Stone# Twelve

I’ve just been out with the dogs and along the way I noticed an elderly lady in front of me. She made me think about luck, health and loneliness. Her clothes were an outlandish mix of brightly patterned leggings, old lady sandals and astrakan coat. Just as I caught up with he,r she stopped a young woman and asked her if she would pull her shopping trolley up to the traffic lights at the junction. I paused a second and caught her eye, eyes with those drawn on eyebrows and bright red lips, but she ignored me. She probably wasn’t as old as I had thought, but she was razzled and had a cigarette dangling. The young woman talked to her so I carried on, wondering if she got the help she needed.

Around the next corner was my lovely old man, https://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/a-contrast-of-elderly-men/ chatting to a van driver. It’s been a couple of weeks since I saw him, so I was relieved and asked how he was. He assured me he was fine and turned to the van driver saying ‘Hers boodiful’, I laughed and tutted at him and carried on. My last encounter was with another really quite old lady, with her dog, who stopped to talk to Daisy and Dido. I’ve seen her before, but only exchanged Good mornings. Today she wanted to chat so we started with the weather. She had a walking stick and told me how she woke on Christmas day, in agony with her knee. She is having knee cap replacement surgery on Tuesday coming and was quite anxious. I tried to reassure her with stories of friends who had similar work done and said I’d see her in a couple of months good as new. Brave lady, I hope she makes a good recovery.

These lovely people make me so aware of how isolated the elderly can be, but I really enjoy talking to them and I know it makes such a huge difference to their lives. They may not have as many opportunities for chatting as I do – or as you do! If you come across people who may be glad of a smile and hello, I hope you will. We will all be old one day, if we’re lucky.

January Small Stone# Seven

I’ve been preoccupied with writing an assignment for my creative writing course for a while. It’s been a tough one and I have been getting increasingly tense for the last week as the deadline crept closer. When I started this particular story I enjoyed it, it amused me, but as time went on I was drawn deeper into the character, to the point where I was unable to be objective. I’ve been working on it for too long, the season meant that I had extra time and I’ve used it badly. I’ve read lots of short stories – as I’m supposed to, and that’s been great, but the story has been stop-start. As a result, now that I have finally submitted the blinking thing, I am thoroughly bored by it.

Goodbye assignment two. Hello new section and new writing – I welcome you!

January Small Stone# Six

Red vested love bird

 tweets declaring territory

scatters flyers its size twenty times

widgeon’s scarved with orange rise,

 with wings a choir of sopranos

and a solo plover wades haughtily by

January mist over Riversmeet

tide covers a murking of mud

fading web prints rushing away

taken by sizzling foam

twitchers with tripoded lenses

gaggle off to identify geese

arriving as guests of the Clyst.