Tag Archives: Warwickshire

Gardening is creative too

Some of my favourite YouTubers and some of my online friends seem to garden all year around and for much of the winter I have been learning about what they have been doing; because I want to be an all year round gardener too!

For my American readers I live in the UK and my zone is approximately a zone 7 – gardening zones are determined by your climate and can determine what plants will do well for you and also soil is important too, but the zones do not tell you what kind of soil you have!  I have heavy clay with the acidity of 7 and I live on a valley edge in East Warwickshire.

For the first time in my life I have decided to sow some plants now; I usually do no sowing at all until the end of March, weather permitting, but after seeing an inspiring Swedish gardener called Sara Backmo sowing things a month ago which I thought were too cold sensitive, I felt that maybe I will have a chance too as it is a little warmer in the UK at the moment than it is in Sweden.

The Late Bloomer, Kaye has also set up a large homestead all on her lonesome in Tennessee and she is very inspiring to me because she shows me that women can be independent. That’s important to me because I was raised that a woman really needs a man around for that kind of life to work and she proves that’s just not so! What’s more, you are never too old to try something new!

LongMeiMei lives in the mountains of China and she does everything herself from smoking meats and butchery and fishing and she does it seemingly tirelessly, I am rather jealous of her life if I am honest. I know its bad to confess that, but it looks like a really good life.

I have just sown some yellow delight tomatoes, ridge cucumbers, basil and Brussel sprouts.  We never had the tradition here to eat Brussel sprouts at Christmas purely because I don’t like Brussel sprouts unless they have been harvested within 3 days of cooking – there is a significant taste you can’t buy from the supermarket!  Paul hates Brussel Sprouts regardless of when they have been harvested at all, but funnily enough my son Henry, who is nearly eleven years old, loves them – so does our rabbit Ray!

I feel that being a creative person can extend to gardening as there is a creation process there!  You sow, you grow, you design, it becomes beautiful and often inspiring for others and it is a productive thing to get into as it can often feed you.  I have a huge interest in paleo lifestyle; I don’t think you can get more paleo than growing your own organically and making your own jams, chutneys and so forth with what you have grown yourselves! 

Until recently, my season was like any other normal gardener, between the end of March if the weather was good, until mid-September, but now things are going to change!

Many people online are inspiring me, friends, but also YouTubers such as Sara Backmo, LongMeiMei and The Late Bloomer, Kaye Kittrall.

I hope my journey into self-sufficiency will grow into allowing me to do things more independently (health permitting) and hopefully I will get my longstanding dream of moving to a home that is large enough to call a homestead.  I have always fantasized about owning a homestead and being self-sufficient, with a large family – well, maybe the large family might never happen now – but I hope the other dreams will come about!

In a few days’ time, if it doesn’t snow anymore, I will take some photographs of what a big mess my gardens are in right now and then update this blog once a month with how I am working towards getting it better.  I will be working mostly single-handedly because Paul hates gardening and Henry is too addicted to making robots and fantasy wrestling matches with his toys to help me as often as he used to.  I am no fool, I know it will be physically tough on me, because I have been sick for too long, but this new diet is giving me more days out of bed lately and I am happy for it.

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Filed under Garden & Self Sufficiency

Research what your doctor diagnoses you with!

As someone who has had pneumonia once a year for the past 5yrs, I was told when Covid19 came into the world that I should consider never going out as I am on the very vulnerable list especially as I have other health issues on top of it all and Covid19 as we all know is known as a super pneumonia! 

Being used to isolation since childhood, it seemed to me to be a doddle of a thing to accept.  But it is frustrating, because I was just starting to get my life into gear and I am starting to feel that this is some kind of curse my mother has put on me.  I know it sounds ridiculous because the rest of the world has it and surely she can’t have cursed the whole world?  Of course I know that is nonsense, but it still crosses my mind a lot!

How ironic that this has happened just as I am free from her isolating me and shutting me away?

Well anyway, Monday was the first time I went out since the first ever lockdown in the UK, because I have dental issues that need to be seen to and I am due to have an IV treatment for my teeth in February – coincidentally today I have woken up to feel as though my chest is bruised and I have a cough and a cold on top of my usual respiratory problems.

A few days ago I started getting into the habit of making smoothies, particularly green ones, because I wanted to boost my immune system for when I have my tooth seen to in a couple of weeks’ time; when I get a cold and a cough like this after being on a really super rich high vitamin and mineral diet for the last 2 weeks, it makes me wonder why I bothered in the first place?

Surely I would be stronger by now?  But no, I have a cold or something…

Well anyway, desperate I am to find any recipes for immune boosting so I found something called Goot, made it myself, lemons, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, garlic and honey, going to take 2 spoons 4 times a day to see if I get better any sooner than I would normally – which would normally be around 3 to 5 weeks’ time – a lot of colds and flu turn very chronic for me and last up to 6 weeks on average at the chronic level, something doctors could never understand!

Well anyway, a few years before I met Paul, I remember being diagnosed with pernicious anaemia, but nobody explained to me what that meant so I presumed, much like my mother did, that it just meant really bad anaemia – well Paul after hearing me reminisce this, decided to research it to find out it is an auto-immune problem which can make absorption or development of vitamin B12 very difficult for me, which would explain the neurological problems I seem to be developing!  I have been living with pernicious anaemia for a little over 15yrs and no one told me what it meant or treated me, no wonder I am falling apart!  I have also been diagnosed with and untreated for 17yrs with rheumatic arthritis!

Pernicious anemia can severely damage your nervous system and digestive system over a course of years if untreated, it is an autoimmune disease which can make you severely malnourished of certain B vitamins!

So because I am scared to go out unless absolutely necessary because of Covid19 I am waiting until things die down a bit so I can tell my new doctors here in Rugby, Warwickshire about my health past and how I have never received treatment and see what they got to say about that!

I think perhaps this is what my doctor meant when he phoned me a few months ago about a medical review, because I gave him a list of symptoms in an email and he was concerned and said he is going to look into my files etc. about other things and see if there are links – but I never got back to him!  Perhaps he has seen my medical records and understood I am not being treated right!

My doctor knows that I have suffer from chronic anxieties at the best of times and I am very OCD, so getting me out of the house unless it is an utter emergency during covid is going to be a huge challenge!

Just thought I say this to update you all!

Hope that the UK takes lockdown seriously this time around so I can get my health back into check by keeping to my appointments and investigations!

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Filed under Lifestyle & Health, mental health

What is luxury to me?

I have always loved reading books about cosmic ordering and creating your own reality and yet still I haven’t mastered my own mind enough to make the realities I want – happen.  I am not at all surprised at my financial status for two reasons, I am sick and don’t work and therefore live on benefit handouts, I do try and do something to help change this, but sometimes it can become too much to handle with all the daily symptom managing – also I am not at all surprised at my financial predicament because of another matter… the fact that I find money one of the biggest evils in the world, so therefore, it keeps away from me because of that mind-set.  Well that is what cosmic ordering experts would say anyway.

So it is my own fault for two reasons.  One I believe that money is a source of evil and two I am too sick therefore can’t work, therefore the universe adds more sickness to keep me in that reality.  It is pretty screwy stuff, but I actually believe it to be true, which makes it all the worse for me I guess?

I am in what I call a ground-hog day of sickness and poverty and I have the knowledge that my own beliefs can change that.  So, why can’t I favour money in a more benign light?  Because I would be lying to myself, that is why and for me, lying to my-self is an even worse evil.

I have always been by nature a very philanthropic person, therefore I have tried to think about who could benefit from my future wealth, when I get it?  There is always someone in need and I always want to help, but I am not a sucker for a sob story unless there is evidence for it first.  So I have tried to concentrate on benevolence regarding money, because as evil as money is, in the current social climate it can be a blessing for many.  I have another belief about finances too, whether or not it contradicts my former belief that money is evil or not, remains to be seen.  But I have always lived by this financial code of conduct (before benefits came into my life) that 33.3% of my earnings go to me and my needs, this includes bills and essentials and fun, 33.3% goes into savings and 33.3% is invested in some way.  Now to me an investment doesn’t have to go towards a personal gain for me, it can be an investment for a charity of which I will not benefit from – to me, it is a social investment, bettering the society I live in, I deem an investment.  Not many people can understand where I come from stating this, but to me it is quite simple, the more money you put into your local charities and amenities, the more you will benefit and future generations will benefit.  It is a shame people recoil so much from taxation and donating, they just don’t see how it can benefit their local area, and they can only see what benefits them, unfortunately they don’t always see it as a positive circle which could include them eventually.

Currently we live in a world where the idea of a no money system is a non-starter; as much as I hate it, I have to come to terms with it and work out a system for my-self which will make me and others around me happy.

I have never really wanted huge extravagances, but I have wanted comfort and happiness – I mean, who doesn’t?

To me a luxurious life would come across very basic, plain and simple to a lot of people of today.  My main desires for a happy and indulgent life is determined by how big a piece of land is that I will personally own in order to grow my own food, raise my own chickens and geese, build an adventure playground for my children, entertain guests with lovely BBQs or alfresco dinner parties, a very large area for rewilding, as I love wildlife and want to save it.  I have thought if I ever became rich that I would buy woodlands just to make them a nature reserve, stopping logging companies and housing from using the land. 

For me a luxurious life means I would be able to afford natural fibres for my clothing, I dislike all the plastic in my clothes.  I would be able to afford a very healthy allergen free semi-paleo diet – why semi-paleo?  I like legumes; I like vegan cheeses and gluten free grains that’s why.

My idea of true happiness is the ability to care for animals too.  To have the pets that I desire, though I will not be one of these horrific pet hoarders like most people who know me personally think I could be if my finances were better, I am not like that; I will never take on more than I can manage.  Despite my dreams about running a small holding or a farm, I know and realise it is just a dream, even for when I am better off, because I know my physical limitations, and unless I can afford staff to help me run things, then I can’t live exactly how I want to.

For me, luxury is being able to go out to town and choose something to eat without worrying about the cost.  Without worrying that my trip to town on a bus and a lunch would actually take half of my week’s food bill away – which it currently does, hence why I rarely see the doctor, despite needing to see them more often than I do.

Luxury also means that a zoo trip won’t be negotiated with Henry about whether or not, if we go to the zoo, we may not be able to go to the Severn Valley this year or have a birthday party, and to me luxury would mean that we can do it all that year and go to other places too, such a beach – we’ve never been to a beach as a family before.  I haven’t been to a beach since I was fifteen years old!  I have only visited the beach twice in my entire life!

I have never had a proper holiday, the only thing that came close to it was a four day camping trip in Yorkshire with some spiritual friends, but that is the only real holiday I have ever had.  I am curious about a few places in the world, but I wouldn’t say I have a strong desire to travel; I am very boring regarding this.  I get home sick by day four; I can’t be away from home for more than four days at a time.  I am a home stayer and lover.  For some reason people think this makes me a recluse?

Unfortunately the places I would like to go to are so remote, it will take four days to get to them, I have researched, and so by the time that I would have got to those places, I would be pining for home again.  I find it a struggle to be in hospital for more than three days.  I know that isn’t exactly a holiday, or a hotel, but the ten day stay at hospital when I was having Henry was very emotionally difficult for me that they felt the depression was postpartum and very nearly kept me in longer because of it, until I had almost broken down and burst into tears explaining how I have never coped being away from home for too long.  Then they had to release me.

I think I know why I am like that.  In my past when I have been away from home for more than four days, I have come home to big changes that were always uncomfortable.  Also after around two weeks of being somewhere something strange happens mentally, where I feel like that new place is a new home and unless I leave that place quickly, I will start to pine for that too.  There are many places in the UK I pine for, even to this day, because of stays longer than four days.  Not holidays, family visits that were prolonged.  I don’t include a six week stay in Cheshire with an aunt as a holiday, funnily enough.  As a child being sent to this person and that all the time for varying lengths, I guess I have a nomadic heart, but I have always been bought back to base as it were.  I get itchy feet, but I don’t like to stay away for long.  It is all rather difficult to explain.

But generally the longer I stay somewhere the more I will pine for my actual home, then the longer I stay in that place, the more likely I will start to pine for that, like home.  Basically going somewhere new will be difficult for around ten to fifteen days, and then I readjust and think that this new place is another home.  I have homes everywhere in my head, but none of them are actually my homes.

Shrugs* I am mad I guess?

But yes, I miss a lot of places.  I miss a few places in London – Burnt Oak, Hammersmith, Hendon, Brent Cross, Wembley, Barnet, Finchley, Whetstone, Enfield, Northolt, Kingsbury, Edgware, Portobello Road, Camden Town, Kentish Town, Swiss Cottage and Kensington.  I miss Luton (I know who misses that?  Well – me), Dunstable, Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard, Wickford, Basildon, Margate, Crewe, Leeds, Market Drayton, Telford, Manchester, Halifax, Sheffield, Sunderland, Scarborough, Derby, Seven Sisters, Maidstone, Barnstaple, Battle and whatever that little village on the Welsh border was (I never knew I was a kid when I was there for a while) same as a small village in the Scottish Highlands too, Crawley, Radlett and Slough.  Imagine if I did have houses in all those places, I would need to be rich just for them!  It would be ridiculous to purchase houses in places like these though and selfish.  But for me there would need to be three homes in specific locations, because of how long I know I would stay in specific areas for, because to me they are too much like home.  A house somewhere in Barnet or Hammersmith & Chelsea, London; and a house somewhere in West Yorkshire or Cheshire, as well as something suburban or semi-rural around Rugby, Warwickshire.  I could stay at either of these areas until I start pining for the other, then, instead of constantly pining for places I can’t even afford to visit for the day, like I do now.

I make do with wherever I am put though.  I get on despite my pining’s.  I don’t mean to sound depressing or down-hearted, but I have got used to disappointments and discomfort, as my mother always made sure I never felt settled in any regard in life.  Therefore, she has made me resilient to change and adaptable to most hurtful and life changing situations – by making certain things happen so regularly I eventually became numb to certain types of sentimentality.  In a bad way too, in one particular thing; that I have learned that nothing is permanent, I must always expect things to change drastically and quickly, things such as people dying.  Don’t get too attached to organic things such as people or animals, because they can die.  I will mourn an animal more readily than a human, despite how much I may deeply love that human and I have always been afraid of losing Paul or Henry, because, I am not known to cry for human passing’s.  It could be because my mother was very aloof about it all when I was growing up and if I was to shed a tear she would berate me and make me feel humiliated for being sad about a person’s death.  It could also be because I am clairsentient, a strong clairvoyant.

I don’t usually talk about that part of me.  It weirds people out, but it is a true part of me.

Some people when they die can take ages to visit in the spirit world, some people don’t understand that.  There is a cleansing process for spirits when they first die, some can visit us literally within minutes of dying because they don’t have that much baggage, others can take years before they start visiting the living again.  My grandma, Dolly, took nearly nine years before she started visiting me, whereas grandad only took a few weeks.

But generally to me, luxury is comfortable natural fibre clothes, the ability to travel across the UK whenever I like without financial strain, to eat a healthy diet, to have a lot of family time, gardening organically and for wildlife on a large scale, the financial ability to fund continued learning in desired subjects, charities and pets.  That’s all I really want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stifled writing and a look into my brain! (WARNING – it is not for the faint-hearted)

People who write can often get bogged down with the concept of finding that great idea which will earn them money and quite often when they do this, they lose themselves and in some cases, even lose the love for writing itself.

I am at fault of doing this as much as anyone, particularly in the past five years, this is because financially I am suffering to the extent that birthdays and Christmases have been disappointing and not as traditional as I am accustomed to.  In fact recently I found an old Christmas shopping list, which included food, presents, games and décor and basic normal food to last for two weeks over the festive period so we can focus on more family time and that list was five pages long with two sections on each page; this year it was only 3 pages long with only one section as when I write in an excited state, my letters get bigger than my usual handwriting – which is a bizarre idiosyncrasy that I have.  My lists are quite methodical, I will list food from Tesco, Food from ASDA and food from other places separately within the list; I will list where to buy certain presents too and for whom, which shops, so we kind of plan a shopping map in our minds whenever we go to town.  Along with this list will be a separate length of what kinds of decorations or traditional Christmas stuff we need, such as crackers from B&M and purple bauble at Wilko, you get the idea?  We usually do a massive buffet on an old pasting table in our living room and fill it to the brim with food and drinks as well as the coffee table, because Christmas Eve is the only time in the year where we can guarantee an influx of visitors and we like to feed them – this year it is a no go and I am embarrassed that this may come across as too inhospitable compared to what they are used to, as everyone usually got a bag of food to take with them either for snacks at home that night or jars of homemade stuff, which we just can’t afford to do this year.

I hate pleading poverty, but lately it is getting me to a state of breaking down.  I went for advice on my ESA benefits two weeks ago to a lady who is very kind and runs a charity, I was so embarrassed detailing my struggles to her as she was helping me fill out the forms that I was shaking and my teeth were chattering so badly with the humiliation of it all.  She thought I was freezing cold, but I told her, it’s just that I am so embarrassed by it all and she said that it was OK, but it really isn’t though is it?

Usually I am very good at being calm and self-composed, despite anxiety issues, but lately I just can’t keep it together, I am struggling to hide behind a façade like my normal self would.  Most people can’t tell that I have anxiety issues because I masked it so well, but lately I break out in tears over the smallest of things and what is worse is that I am getting short tempered with it, with people I feel are cold or unfeeling and I have this awful feeling that I will say something out of character at my next medical which will make me lose the benefit.  I am very scared about it.

If I could get a job I would, but no one is going to employ someone with the health issues I have.  I did struggle a few years to get a job, before it got too bad seven years ago.  All of this makes me try to push myself to create something just to get out of this mess, but it isn’t working, it is stunting my creative growth badly because I am not writing what I really want anymore.  I am writing the lesser ideas I have which are the most popular amongst my nearest and dearest and unfortunately what I love to write about, they hate immensely.

What I like writing about are dystopian stories similar to Mad Max, I am Legend and Tank Girl.  I enjoy writing about vampires and their sired offspring as I call them and histories as a massive saga dating back to the Ancient Sumerians and contemporary times too, how they live and how they lost loved ones.  I enjoy writing inane pun infested comedy fantasies where you meet mermaids and trolls with a very Monty Python meets Discworld air to them and I enjoy writing horror that touches taboo subjects.

According to those who are in the know, the only type of book up there I have mentioned that they can barely stomach is the comedy fantasy, not my main love of in depth vampire soap operas and dystopian tribal warfare.

Yes I love my fantasy comedies, but whenever I discuss my writing with those who are privy to them, they always get more excited about any updates on that genre than anything else and I feel if I don’t write this genre more than the others, I am failing to please this specific audience.  I am one of these people who find it really hard to talk to people about my work, those I do are precious to my motivation, if I don’t talk about my work, I can’t do the work.  But unfortunately my discussion circle seems far too niche and not entirely me.

I used to mix and mingle my genres a lot and had a wider circle I trusted to talk about them to, usually as dinner party discussions but since moving to Warwickshire, I don’t have that anymore.  London is a very different place, with very different people with mind-sets very different to Rugby’s.

I have mentioned vampires and horror to people up here I thought I could trust with my writing, but they recoil or give sideways glances to those next to them and simply state “Oh, right, not my cup of tea really”; Then I share my fantasy comedy ideas and they feel that fantasy is strictly for children, surely I should write something nicer for them?  Not drunken elves and mermaids who rip eyes out and swear profusely with such corny puns as well!

Apparently my personality must reflect my work and because I don’t lark around like some tomfool jokester all the time and I seem a pretty calm deadpan person in real life, I can’t be taken seriously in comedy surely?  Won’t I come across as some kind of fake?

Now that hurts, but it has been said to me before and I find it amusing that comedy must be serious… really?  I wonder how we all laugh at serious comedy!  Should we laugh at flippant tragedy then?  I don’t know what kind of world I have tripped into a hole of, but it is certainly quite different here to where I am from, I can tell you!

I think if I was to walk up to my favourite British comedian of today and say “Darling, you are not taking your comedy seriously” he would choke laughing and crying at how stupid that sounds.

*passes a dictionary to said people and points to the word “comedy” for reference*

So, though I am currently in quandary over my work, my main quander is this – “how can I develop a trusting relationship with people online so that they can become my beta readers and I can learn to trust the online community with my plans and outlines”? 

I’m not sure I can.  I am very protective of what I share with people because I have often had entire ideas stolen and published behind my back and that someone became very successful with my ideas and have not produced work since I eliminated them from my social circle a decade ago.

I have thought that maybe signing up to a free creative writing course with the OU would help me discuss work and improve my skills with an online tutor?  But not sure if that is really what I want – improved skills are always good, but not sure if I want straight laced professional opinions which are bias regardless of genre and content.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about just writing whatever, whenever and go back to my scatty ways that were long lost a decade ago.  Paul tried to organise me too much I think?  Tried to get me to focus too much that I lost my way; I don’t really have a way.  I am higgledy-piggledy and mentally a mess when creating.  Paul often said if a hypnotist was to delve into my mind for just five minutes he would run out of the room screaming “get me out here, she is completely insane, she is such a mess, she is so confusing, help me, help me…. And oh, pass the paracetamol that gave me a headache!”

Why the drama?  Because I will have seven documents up at the same time, one is a horror about a cat, two are vampire novels concentrating on two entirely different characters, one is a comedy fantasy with tiny people, and one is a dystopian story based on a religious concept of the apocalypse and angels, the other document is writing notes to eventually put into any work in the future, along with research papers and notes, scribbled papers and notes off the computer, and Wikipedia up on the internet with another internet page looking for the history of Thracian warfare.  If that is not enough, I am also meddling with playlists on Amazon music flipping through them depending on which scene and novel I am working on in those few seconds, whilst daydreaming about food and what it might be like if I was the size of a peanut in my garden.

You get the idea?  That’s my brain in just five minutes.

I am like the dog who is in the garden playing fetch with you then all of a sudden I have ran away chasing squirrels, then coming back to you wondering where the ball is and oh look sausages!

With a mind like mine, it has been said by people before – is there any reason to wonder if I will ever find it possible to get anything finished?

I pass them some books I have indeed already finished and I do so quite proudly.  Then I announce, they are not for sale, they are not edited and they are not good enough.  The person looks through them, finds they do indeed need editing but are absolutely wonderful, why not publish them? 

Because they are mine!  Then I grab the books and hug them close to me with a snarl!

I am like this even with the art I paint too.

Thing is, there are ideas I do want to sell.  But I am scared that those private stories reveal too much about my inner workings.

I feel psychologically exposed, basically.  It brings about the kind of feeling in which I can only sit back and think, it would be better to be physically nakedly exposed than that, then Paul tells me to stop being weird and dramatic!

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Filed under About my work