Friday, November 27, 2020

Pearlie Me

My mother-in-law Pearlie had some rare ideas at which Nellybert used to scoff. These notions came word-of-mouth and I dread to think what she would have gotten hold of if she had ever been subjected to social media. There was the collecting plastic bottle-tops craze. She had heard that if she managed to collect enough of these, somebody, somewhere, who was desperately in need of a wheelchair would receive one. Then there was the time she asked Bert to get her WD-40 as she had heard that this lubricant, if worked into the joints would ease the pain and stiffness of arthritis. How we laughed. Well. We’re not laughing now. Not now, when both of us are tortured with our knees.

 A good few years ago Bert was invited to take part in a trial being carried out by one of Swisser’s PhD students. He filled in a long questionnaire and duly received a full-body scan. Afterwards, when the results came in, Swisser informed us that her student had reported that Bert had the bone density typical of an 80-year-old woman with osteoarthritis. How we hooted at Swisser and her tall tales. Well, we’re not hooting now. Bert has his knees and I have mine. He’s been harpling about for awhile now and my own come and go. A careful reading of this blog would date the first mention of the Nelly knees to 2004 which I’d quite forgotten. I’d have said it was seven and a half years ago when Rusty inadvertently caused me to twist my left knee in a food-related incident. In fact, when my GP recently asked me how long my knees had been troubling me,

 I replied, 

Seven and a half years ago, when the pig knocked me down.

I might as well have said,

I am a crazy person and there is no need to take me seriously.

My GP is quite capable but does have an imaginary friend called Jesus and is totally bereft of humour.

But, to return to Pearlie and her ‘notions’. Listening to her back then I was quite certain I would never have notions for I was a rational human being. I think back on those days and laugh at myself. This recent knee thing began exactly two days after I had my first ever flu jab. ‘Rational me’ would say that this was a coincidence. ‘Pearlie me’ is certain that the pain in my aching joints, was an obvious reaction to the flu jab. ‘Rational me’ listened to every word of advice uttered by the GP and spent several long weeks applying his gel, and swallowing his tablets and not feeling one small bit better for it. Then ‘Pearlie me’ recalled words of advice given months before by a neighbour who swore that Battle’s Udder Cream (for cows) had worked wonders on his sore back. Apparently, huge numbers of dairy farmers had noticed that the application of this cream had eased the pain of their arthritic hands as well as alleviating daily wear and tear on their milker’s mammaries. I pondered this but it was not until my own brother told me that he had tried it on a friend’s advice and found it helpful that I sent my spouse up to Killyless Stores to get me a tub of it. Conversation as follows,

Killyless Stores: Is it for a cow you’re wanting it? 

Bert: No. It’s for my wife.

Killyless Stores: We do have rubs for pains, that are meant for people.

Bert: No. She has that. She wants the Udder Cream.

I had it in the house for ages and didn’t use it. Carried on with the GP recommended treatments. Had sleepless nights waking up with cramps, ups and downs, and this went on for weeks. Last night, before going to bed I applied the cow cream to both limbs, took two paracodal and had an unbroken night’s sleep. Woke up this morning, refreshed, my knees hugely improved and needed no pain relief this entire day. Probably just a coincidence. But, I’ll be using it again tonight, just in case.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Bicycle Built For Three. Not



My sore left knee wasn't too bad today but in order to rest it, I planned a family meal that would be simple to prepare and easy to serve. Spaghetti Bolognese, followed by Pear and Ginger Crumble. This must have been a good year for pears because we have had two separate gifts of bags of delicious pears. The second lot, the ones I used on Tuesday did not look like much but they tasted great. There's a story about how they came to be. Our friend Ron bought the tree in Lidl a few years back. He carried it around in the boot of his car for the best part of a year then decided he ought to dispose of it. The pear tree, a mere stick, was propped up at the back of his flat for an entire winter, its root ball wrapped in hessian. He kept meaning to take it to the council dump. Spring came and his wife informed him that the tree was budding blossom. He decided to give it a chance and planted it out. The first year there was hardly a pear to be seen but since then it has cropped well, so much so, that he's giving them to everyone and it is even getting scrumped by well-dressed Englishwomen in silk scarfs and pashminas.

The other thing that happened on Tuesday was I decided to pop down to the village to buy some Ben and Jerrys to go with the crumble. I haven't been driving but reckoned I could manage it. And then as I was climbing into our van something went in my right knee and afterwards, I could barely walk. It's only starting to ease now. Bert and the girls did the ice cream run and I was glad that dinner was all prepared except for the pasta. Zoe sorted that.

Watched The Crown.


I spent most of the day lying on the sofa, reading and resting. Called Kerry Sister to wish her well on her upcoming major surgery.

Watched The Crown.


Bert collected Martha and Evie from school. I can walk now but would rather not drive.

Watched The Crown.


Kerry Sister's big operation. That's what Matty and her sisters would have called it. From five onwards my phone was never out of sight or hearing. The update came from my niece. It had gone well.

Watched The Crown


My knee was feeling much better. I even got a few non-essential chores completed. But it is boring not being able to go out, even if it is only to the local shop.

Katy sent us all this picture of Miss Emily in her Ireland supporter's outfit. Very cheering to see even though the game did not go Ireland's way. It was a win-win situation for Emily as she is half English, or is it a quarter English and a quarter Welsh? 

Finished Watching The Crown.


Long and tedious day. Clint came round and was tedious about Brexit. Still thinks it is going to be great. Doesn't like Biden. Says he is a Republican. What he means by that is that he fears 46 would support a United Ireland. Personally, I think the new President will have enough to be getting on with in his own country to be troubling himself about us.

Heard that Kerry Sister is taking little walks and hopes to be home in a few days. She has only one episode of The Crown left to watch. As I have none there is only one thing left to do and that is to update Nelly's Garden.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Fooling Around

It must be all of two months now since Bert got the new phone and Martha showed us both all the cool things he could do with it, like the panoramic view function. The girls preferred to take crazy disjointed photographs like this one.

And this one.

When it was my turn I took this shot of the front of the house. It was taken in the second week in September and there are a lot of incomplete projects in it. They are still mostly unfinished.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

What Do Old People Talk About?

I have been tending the Garden that is Nelly's for sixteen years now and must be well past the halfway point. If this blog could be kept going another sixteen I'll be in my 84th year. Can't see it. What do old people talk about anyway? 

Yesterday I was looking through old posts using the search word 'knee' and found that that I have had intermittent knee pain for at least seven and a half years and that it all began with Rusty. The following from Nelly's Archive.

It was last September when Rusty first knocked me off my feet and he has went and gone and did it again. I was carrying a gigantic bucket of goodies down to their paddock and while I was looking for a sweet, clean place to dump it out, Rusty all impatience, barrelled through my legs and lifted me off my feet. Yes folks, for a split second or so I was sitting atop his broad back and he just kept barrelling on and I knew for certain I was for landing on my arse. Wish I'd followed through on that one for all I'd have got would have been a soft if muddy landing. But I thought it best to try to stay on my feet and that was my downfall. People, when trying to extol the virtues of the smaller pig, say, "They'll only grow to knee height." That is all very well but they forget to mention that the 'small' pig will likely grow to around two foot wide. I know that when Rusty dove between my legs I ended up standing on tippy-toes with my legs well extended and it was when I tried to keep my balance that I twisted my knee.

Oh! The agony. At first I couldn't even put my foot on the ground. As I stood there one-legged, crying with pain and frustration I really had no idea how I was going to make it back to the house. After a few minutes I found I could weight bear but it was no fun and I made my way slowly and uncertainly to the house. Bert was, as usual, totally unsympathetic although he did help me off with my wellies which were very filthy indeed. (May, 2013)

I spent many months limping on that twisted knee but it did get better eventually. Nelly's Archive has this to say on Christmas Eve, 2013.

It's been another busy day. Lots of friends calling round and lots of baking and cooking. I felt a bit like Nigella except her kitchen is nicer than mine and obvs she has access to better drugs. All I had was some paracetamol for my sore knee.

And regarding that sore knee - I was striding through Cully yesterday when it occurred to me that my knee hadn't troubled me for well over a week. Within moments it had started to throb. I wonder if it had been sore the whole time but I'd forgotten about it? The mind is a very curious thing. (Dec, 2013)

I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories but when both my knees started to hurt just two days after receiving my first ever flu jab, I couldn’t help but wonder if my aching joints were caused by the jab. I’d not been doing anything unusually strenuous and had not hurt myself and now, both knees were equally sore. The aching and discomfort came and went. After a week I started taking ibuprofen during the day and paracetamol to help me sleep at night. I was careful not to overdo it. There were good days and not so good. Then it was not so good and bad. Today, after limping out to feed the chickens and put the bins out I put my left foot on the back doorstep and was unable to go any further. The pain in my leg was horrible. I managed to drag myself into the house. For hours I could not weight bear and of course I phoned my GP and had a telephone consultation. He thinks it is something called a Baker cyst which may have ruptured. I have a cream to pick up tomorrow and I'm already taking the medication he would have prescribed. (Brownie points for self-funding on that.) Appointment on Friday and I'm to rest a lot.

So, to answer my own question, this is what old people talk about. Hurtings and sorenesses. What the doctor said. And crumbling away.

I had this conversation with Matty eleven years ago when, compared to my ancient mammy, I still considered myself relatively young. The title says it all. 

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Mostly Up

What a week this has been. It was a heartbreaking one for Zoe and family that their little dog Miss Gracie had to be put to sleep. It was a wrench as she'd part of their family for fifteen years. But she got a special place in our garden. It was only fitting when we think of the numerous funerals that Martha and Evie carried out for all sorts of creatures from shrews to unborn chickens. This burial was far more real and painful.

Dave's picture

Evie's ninth birthday was on Tuesday and everyone put their sadness for the loss of Gracie on hold so that Evie could enjoy her day, the special birthday that will be her last in single numbers. I made supper and, though I say it myself, it was a big success meaning that everyone enjoyed it and had second helpings.

We did not discuss the election taking place in the USA although Evie had previously said that she wanted America to have a new President. And speaking of presidents I am pleased to say that throughout the Trump years I never (except once, when only Bert heard me) put the President word before the Trump word. And it felt like swearing in church.

Then I spent the rest of the week paying an unhealthy amount of attention to the news coming from across the Atlantic. It was worrying at first. No landslide for President-Elect Biden. Eventually, by Saturday all came good and Biden was called. I realised that I actually know far more about the American political system than I do about Ireland's and there's me hoping to become an Irish citizen with voting rights before I die.

Today is Remembrance Sunday. Is it only me or does this day seem to come round really quickly, even oftener than Christmas? I noted that the PM had made some effort and combed his hair and that Andrew of York was banished from the ceremony. All's as it should be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Neat Eyed Division

 Another day, another birthday party.

Evie's. What age? solve the anagram in the title, or easier still, count the candles. She has a special birthday wish but we won't know for a little while if it will come true.

It was a real privilege to give you your birthday supper Miss Evie.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Dog Years

Ten years ago Miss Martha and Miss Gracie attended Bark In The Park in the Ecos Centre. Here they are discussing Bonnie's chances of winning Best Rescue Dog. Bonnie's there in the background with Ben Reed

Ten years isn't that long a time for a human bean. Miss Martha is looking at her last year in primary school. Ben Reed is learning to drive. Bonnie is long gone and Miss Gracie will be leaving us soon. Dog years just don't last long enough.