Thursday, 29 April 2010

Pottery and a trip to Brixham

Hi Folks. Thank you for all your lovely comments. You'll be happy to hear that I've rallied a bit the last few days. And I intend not to be dragged under by suicidal thoughts again. I am going to try to find a way to step out of that mindset when it next hits, which it will at some point. I need to find a different response to what often seem at the time very seductive thoughts. Mainly it's about not being able to see any future I want to be alive in. I know I do have a future. But when I feel very down I think that there is nothing ahead of me that is worth staying alive for. There are lots of components to these negative thoughts that I need to challenge when they arise. Like NOT feeling helpless because actually I CAN make a future that is worth living for. We all create our own lives to some extent. We all have some (though to differing degrees) choice over what the future will hold. Most especially, and fundamentally, we always have a choice as to how we view our lives. A shift in perspective can paint the whole world in a very different colour.

Yesterday I went to pottery and finished off my candle holder. I left it to dry out before it goes in the kiln. I will photo it when it is glazed because you won't be able to see the detail before then. I did some engraved decoration on it and I'm hoping the glaze will very artistically run into those bits and make it look interesting. I also started work on a new piece - a vase with frilled edges.

I'm slightly worried that it was the last occasion I will be seeing the lady who helps me get out. She has been working with me the last 6 months. Next week I will be going there on my own. But as the lovely lady who runs the studio pointed out: I won't be alone when I get there. The senior (as you Americans say, and much more respectful than "elderly" as we say) couple who run the studio are pure sweetness and gentleness. A true delight. And there have never been more than two other people in the studio whilst I've been there, which is great for me as it makes it social but not overwhelming.

I'm posting pictures today of a trip I made to Brixham back in the winter time. I didn't post it then due to my long absence from the internet. I took the same train that I went to Totnes on, but got off one stop earlier at Paignton and then took a bus for the final 4 miles (if that) to Brixham. That bus journey is a killer though! It took over half an hour crawling much of the way because the traffic is so heavy. For a while we were so stationary I thought there must have been an accident further on. But no, just normal early afternoon winter traffic. Unbelievable! You may remember my complaints of the traffic in Totnes. Too much traffic seems to be a continuing theme in my life. And if it's that bad in winter, I can't even begin to imagine how it would be in summer with all the tourists.

I apologise for posting so many photos - but I just love those blues so much that it was difficult to choose! Hope you enjoy them.

Views of Brixham harbour

Walking out along the quayside

The lifeboat

Walking out along the coast

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Quite a bit of walking and some pottery!

Hi Folks. The last week has been pretty rough. I had a couple of days when I was suicidal. And a couple more of feeling very depressed and helpless about everything. On the up side I have been getting out and about a lot - mainly though not entirely with the Bear. And I started pottery classes!

The lady who helps me get out has accompanied me twice to a class at a little private studio where they only charge 5 pounds a session - a session being up to 3 hours. Pretty good value. I'm going with her again tomorrow. I couldn't even think of what I was going to make before the session, but as soon as I got there I spotted a bhuddist type of candle holder (not made of clay) and decided to take inspiration from that. I was amazed at how easily I got into it. I was completely absorbed in the process very quickly. It's as though everything else from my mind vanished and there was only this moment and the clay I was working with. I loved it! I hope to finish my candleholder tomorrow. My hope is that I can do something very clever with the glazes to cover any inadequacies there might be in the sculpting! I also already have my next item planned - a vase. I will post photos as I finish things.

I am seeing the Bear quite a lot these days. He has been spending a lot of time out and about as a way of avoiding Mrs Bear - since their big public argument. Last week he spent many hours talking about leaving her, but I think things have calmed down now.

Being out with the Bear does tend to get me moving. We always walk somewhere, and even if not a long walk - any walk is better than just sitting at home. Which is what I'd be doing otherwise. Even gentle walking with plenty of standing around burns a lot more calories than sitting.

We've been up to the university grounds again taking photographs, some of which are below. Today we walked around that area again and the Bear kept complaining that the hills were killing him etc etc etc. But I keep reminding him it's good for his heart.

The down side is the near constant grumpiness and also the chips. The Bear never eats breakfast, or anything at all before I meet up with him in the afternoon and is therefore always starving and wanting to visit a fish and chip shop. Last week I realised that I was eating about half his chips every day - and he had started buying a large portion to compensate for what I was eating. Not good. And then there are the meals out. I mean the proper meals in pubs in the evenings. With chips. And many other high fat options. I decided to draw a line under this behaviour. I am happy to walk, drink tea and coffee, and sit outside with the Bear as much as he wants, but I will not be eating any more meals out. Because I don't really enjoy the food that much and it's costing me a lot of money to eat calories I don't need.

So today we went to M and S cafe and had drinks but no food as I refused to pay and the Bear won't pay their prices. After that he had to get some chips but I didn't tuck in with him and only had a very few at the end which he left. Then we went on a walk up and around a hill ending by sitting on a bench with a long view over the hills. Then we walked back down the hill, through the uni grounds and around town. A good lot of walking!

I had my evening meal at home of a less than 400cals thai curry and rice with a pyrex dish of veg. Followed by a Muller light yoghurt.

With the sudden boiling hot weather I am really motivated to reign my eating in and establish a good routine. Which is just as well because I can't even fit into Biggest Ever Trousers and am having wear jersey stretch trousers to encase my bulk. I also cannot see myself removing my coat in public any time soon which is a real drag. I manage to take it off at pottery class by immediately putting a very large apron on which I kid myself sort of disguises my size. I rely on my delusions!
Some sort of bog plant

I tried to take some pictures of these ducks but they weren't ready for their close up and protested loudly while waddling away from me.   
A tree with amazing peeling bark which the Bear informed me is a Eucalyptus tree.

Magnolias. They seem to grow especially well in this part of the country. Where I am from in the north they are very rare and difficult to grow.  

There were many petals as well as furry bud casings on the ground - which I think look like abandoned mouse coats!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Bear meltdown and I hit the deck again

When the Bear and I arranged to meet up today I didn't realise just how eventful the afternoon would turn out to be. And not in a good way.

The Bear was tetchy to start out with.

Yesterday I took Mrs Bear to the dentist for a root canal. Mr Bear cannot accompany her due to traumatic memories of his own dental treatment. Although such things are well in the past for him - it must be over 15 years since he had any drilling in his mouth and possibly much longer than that. But he's still traumatised! The only dental treatment he's accepted since I've known him is extraction. This accounts for the fact that he only has 3 teeth left (he wears falsies). But then he only had 6 teeth (or remains of) when I met him, so the loss of 3 teeth in 9 years is not so bad. I never cease to be amazed at how those teeth hang on in there, esp when all their fellows have long since departed.

Anyway Mrs Bear's treatment went smoothly enough. And we walked into town to meet up with the Bear. We went to Dingle's cafe - yes, I completely forgot how half the staff there had seen me laying on the wall the previous week. Anyway after at least half an hour of pleasant chit chat they were suddenly at each other's throats and it was a bitter full-on domestic. If looks could kill there'd have been two dead bodies in that cafe. I found myself in a somewhat difficult position! I tried to diffuse the situation as much as possible and eventually broke it up by suggesting we get Mrs Bear home as she wasn't feeling too well after the injections. Luckily it was only a 5 minute walk. I say luckily as they walked 4 metres apart, both in a very deep sulk and refusing to look at each other. At their place I waited outside the door for the Bear to re-emerge and heard snatches of them viciously tearing one another apart.

I stayed out with the Bear for many hours as he seriously did not want to go home. It turns out she had taken a valium for the dentist stress and the kickback from that may have contributed to the flare up.

So he came out today from a still difficult domestic atmosphere.

We went to the Post Office where he expected to withdraw a payment - but the cupboard was bare so to speak. There was 0.00 pounds in his account. Not a good amount. This was swiftly followed by a meltdown. The Bear's brain has an unfortunate tendency to short circuit all powers of thought and reasoning and simply hit the panic button - in which state he cannot hear or understand anything that is said to him. He just kept saying very loudly (or actually shouting) "I cannot understand what you are saying!" This was followed by much anger, shaking, a valium and a cup of very sweet tea. We spent over two hours trying to work out what the bleep had happened to his money. After much perusal of opaque and circuitous benefits letters, and an expensive phone call to the relevant department, it turned out the payment wasn't due until next week.

In an effort to turn things around we walked to the university grounds - which is the Bear's favourite place - to see if there was anything interesting to photograph. Luckily there was blossom aplenty and we both got into "flow" as it were, forgetting all our travails, just totally absorbed in the moment of capturing so many beautiful images. I haven't felt so much at peace in a long time.

Then as we were walking back from there I caught my foot in a small pothole on the pavement and went all my length. I couldn't help crying on top of all the stress of earlier. But there was no damage apart from the shock of it and slight grazes to my palms. Possibly I may get a bruise or two, but generally my fat cushioned me from the impact.




Thursday, 8 April 2010

An unfortunate incident and the 1000yr old house

An unfortunate incident occurred today. I went out to meet the Bear in town. I wasn't feeling too great before I set out but as I left the house I felt OK. It was a very sunny day and the Bear wanted to walk to the university grounds to take photos of any flowers or blossom that might be out.

I arrived at the square behind the high street - where the church ruins are that I showed you a while back - and perched on a wall to wait for him. This may have been my mistake. To sit down. Maybe if I'd kept moving I would have been OK.

After a few minutes he arrived and we chatted about where he had been that day and then my blood pressure went. I suddenly went hot and had that certain feeling that precedes part of my vision going black which is swiftly followed by unconsciousness. I immediately bent over my bag that was on the wall at the side of me. Getting down before I fall down is the name of the game in this situation. If I had blacked out I would have hit my head on a very hard granite wall or pavement. I ended up actually lying on top of the wall for about an hour feeling very ill and trying in vain to get my blood pressure up. I felt fairly desperate at the time as it was quite a long time to be unable to get up, and was starting to think that it was going to be an ambulance job - and indeed a group of workers at Dingles (House of Fraser department store) who were on their ciggie break nearby kept coming up and asking the Bear if we needed an ambulance calling. I suppose it was very nice of them to offer their concern (or maybe they thought it'd be bad for business if someone died just outside their store!) but at the time it was embarrassing esp for the Bear who had to keep explaining it was just my blood pressure.

I was lucky the Bear was there because it would certainly have been a hell of a lot worse if I'd been on my own. I would have been very vulnerable lying there on my own. Although someone would have called the police or an ambulance or both. The Bear rose to the occasion surprisingly and uncharacteristically well - going to the nearby outdoor cafe and getting some salt at my instruction - I usually carry some myself. But it didn't work this time. Then later when I felt fractionally better he went and got me a diet coke - I thought the caffeine might pick me up a bit. And he put a reassuring paw on my sizeable rump to stop me toppling off the wall and onto the flowerbed on the other side of it! Fat girl lying on top of a narrow wall - it must have been a fairly ridiculous sight!

The whole scenario was grimness itself. Usually getting my head and feet on the same level returns some blood to my head - although raising my feet above my head is the best position - but it wasn't possible in this situation. Still a whole hour unable to move. My body's going hardcore on me over this. It's saying enough is enough. We can take no more. This is my body's extreme stress response. While most people go into "flight or fight", I just keel over - the "injury response" as it's known. The body slowing the flow of blood so that less blood is lost from a wound. But of course there is no injury. Except when I crack my head on the floor.

Blood pressure can be deliberately manipulated. And sometimes by intense effort I can achieve this - but I failed miserably on this occasion.

If anyone knows an innovative way of raising blood pressure please let me know. I say innovative because I'm already doing all the sure fire techniques of being fat, eating plenty of salt and hardly getting any exercise, but it's just not helping at all. (Weight is not a factor in low blood pressure just in case anyone might think so.)

Finally, I was, by some miracle able to get up off the wall and the Bear walked me home. And now, many hours later I only feel mildly sick.

I really hope everyone else has had (or is having) a better day than I've had!
Some pictures of an almost 1000 year old house - which is now owned by the council - I wasn't peeking into private property! I took these photos quite a while back through one of the windows. It is situated on a quiet pedestrian alleyway.
The interior decor dates to the 1500s when the property went into private ownership - it was a monastery before that - but Henry VIII - he of the 6 wives - did away with the monasteries. The walls are covered in intricately painted panelling (obviously restored as it's very bright).
Close up on the panelling.
The ceiling is covered in strapwork - which is decorative plasterwork. Above the fireplace you can see what is probably a decorative plaster panel (it could also be carved stone - I am uncertain).

The pane of glass I took the photos through was obviously a more modern replacement. But many panes of glass in that window are very old with many imperfections (which are actually elongated trapped air bubbles) as you can see in this close up.
Thank you for all your sweet comments to the previous post. I really hope to catch up with all of you on your blogs very soon.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Sincere thanks

Dear dear Friends - It has been a long time! I am so sorry to have been absent so long. Thank you so much for your messages of concern on the blog and via email. Yesterday was the first time I logged into my email in over a month. And today is the first time I have logged into blogger. Thank you for all your sweet messages.

I didn't mean to cause anyone any worry. I have a terrible tendency to isolate myself when things are tough. For my horoscope today Jonathon Cainer said "When we find life painful, we tend to put up barriers. Ultimately, these don't protect us. They just make us even more vulnerable." This is the story of my life. Sincere thanks to those of you who reached out to me.

So, what happened? My grandmother died - but before you leave messages of condolences - there's no need! She was a highly abusive character whom I had ceased to have contact with almost a decade ago. But the death of a major abuse figure is a major life event even though she wasn't a physical prescence in my life anymore. It also means that I am in uncharted territory.

I know what grief for the loss of a person is like - I grieved my mother for 5 years. Obviously I'm not upset that my grandmother is gone. But A LOT of stuff is coming to the surface - a whole lifetimes worth of stuff actually. And things in my head are totally unpredictable.

At first I was in shock and trying to get my head round it - seeing where it left me. Then I went through a time of feeling quite low - because I felt my life hadn't significantly changed in any way and I was disappointed. If she had died, say 3 years ago, I would have been dancing through the streets at the news. But I've been so ill the last couple of years that I've just completely gone beyond it (as the Bear says) ie gone beyond caring about anything very much that was outside my immediate existence.

Then there was a short period of euphoria. But for the last week it's as though my nerves have gone to pieces - I can't stand for very long due to low blood pressure. I have felt like I was going to be sick a lot of the time. I've spent much of the last week in bed.

I am still struggling to find any level ground. For example - yesterday I cried most of the day, then had constantly alternating moods late at night.

"It's a  process!" as Billy Crystal keeps saying in Analyze this (I think it was in the sequel?) I know I will settle down e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y.

I hope all of you lovely people are doing well. I haven't read any blogs yet so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Once again, thank you Dear Friends for all your caring and concern. Bloggers really are the best people in the world!

I'll leave you tonight (as it is here) with images of an ancient oak door - dating from 1500. Appropriate because I hope I am stepping through a door from the past and into a new stage of my life (How's that for a bit of positive spin?!)

A close up on the detail of the carving.