Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The First Cuckoo of 2009

Tomorrow will be the first of April. Today, I stopped to listen again as I thought I had heard a familiar tune and sure enough,  a bird is singing 'Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo'. However, I couldn't see this grey beauty flying on the wing in the countryside surrounding our garden.  The warmth of the sun can be felt as I hang the washing on the line. The wind has abated and the bees are humming loudly in the heavily-laden blossoming cherry tree which desperately needs attention. We have noticed that the trunk is leaning somewhat at too much of an angle as a result of the prevailing wind that likes to blow towards our house.  The branches need pruning. A few hours later the wind is back to full speed again! March winds are fickle.  I do not like the wind.

Here are two songs from Sussex and Norfolk.

The cuckoo is a merry bird, she sings as she flies,
She brings us good tidings and tells us no lies;
She sucks the sweet flowers to make her sing clear,
And she never sings "cuckoo" till summer is near.
O meeting is a pleasure, but parting a grief,
An inconstant lover is worse than a thief;
For a thief will but rob you and swear to be true,
And the very next moment they'll bring you to the grave.

The grave it wil rot you and bring you to dust,
There is not one in twenty young men girls can trust;
They will kiss you, and court you and swear to be true,
And the very next moment they'll bid you adieu.

Come all you young women wherever you be,
Build never your nest in the top of a tree;
For the leaves they will wither, the branches decay,
And the beauty of fair maids will soon fade away.

CREDIT TO .... http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/pardon2.htm

Is there a moral in this tale?
What does this say about the male cuckoo? Nothing. And the female? Not a lot .. yet we know they are both lazy.
We know that the cuckoo lays her eggs in another bird's nest and throws out all other eggs and fledglings so that her young cuckoo has the greatest opportunity for survival and will grow to be larger than it's adopted parents. I never realised that the first verse of this poem/ song had such following verses. Researching information using the world wide web creates a far better learning environment than encyclopaedic books, although of course one cannot believe everything one reads anywhere

And here is a poem sung by Walter Pardon of Knapton, Norfolk

The cuckoo is a pretty bird, she singeth as she flies
She telleth us good tidings, she telleth us no lies
She sucketh all sweet flowers to keep her throttle clear
And every time she singeth "Cuckoo, cuckoo"
The Summer draweth near.

The cuckoo is a pretty bird, no other is as she
That flits across the meadow, that sings on every tree
A nest she never buildeth, a vagrant she doth roam
Like her, I would be singing "Cuckoo, cuckoo"
I nowhere have a home.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Mick Watts Marine Services

I am so proud of my son, a new man, a hard working man.

The tug Wendy Ann 2 has made it to it's new berth. The photographer who took these shots is obviously an expert. They are excellent and some remind me of Constable paintings.


Go to Mick's Home Page and his Blog for March 11th to read more.

Congratulations to the pirate aboard WA2 and his lass and all seaworthy sailors and landlubbers who've got this boat afloat.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

What are the odds?

There are about 60,000 people in UK and 60.000 people in France.

How many hospitals are there? 

What are the chances or odds on two ladies from England, who are resident in France, meeting in a two bed ward of a hospital in France ...... they came from the same area / towns of England ...... the husband of the other lady taught my two children 20 years ago ... and we know the same friends.  

It's quite spooky yet peculiarly funny. The world is huge and yet so small.  All the world is a stage!!

Off we go to the Magic Wood.

Looking in the bright clean mirrors of the ward bathroom I see a reflection of wrinkles that need to be celebrated. I have become of age in many ways. For six winters it has been a problem to walk and now a bunion on my genetic foot needs osteotomy.

The French Medical System beats that of the UK any day. All is efficient and structured. The administration is thorough. Plenty of papers have to be read in French and signed once the chirugien agrees to do the operation 6 weeks later. An appointment is made with the anaesthetist. The orthopaedic chaussure is ordered. The evening before the op, I shower and shampoo with iodine. The same the next morning and also one hour before the operation.

On operation day we arrive at Reception. Take a numbered ticket. Wait. Complete the administration process. Proceed to blood test. Return to desk. Put blue ticket in box. Receptionist collects ticket. Accompanies me to x-ray department. Wait. Foot is photographed. Return to desk with yellow ticket. Wait. Receptionist collects ticket. Accompanies me to bed 381. Bon Courage.  

My room has two of each of the following: English patients, beds, chairs, armchairs, footstools, tables, bedside cabinets, wardrobes, telephones, televisions (watch two programs at once if the patients have paid for this facility), two sinks, one toilet and one shower en-suite.  Clean and comfortable.

I wait on ward all day nil by mouth. Then ‘Off we go to the Magic Wood.” I steal the pantomime phrase from my ward friend as I am trolleyed along the corridors to the operating theatre where it is cold. I need the loo so we go to a long ward where men and women lie in blue operating robes and are attended to by male and female nurses. It feels like a wartime zone! Where am I? I piddle in a potty whilst horizontal. Then I am trolleyed to my destination. Injections and attachments to a saline drip. I am placed on the slab, with my arms outstretched in a crucifix form. Haven’t I been here before?  Warm air is vacuumed through a paper bag put across my upper body. Heart monitors are attached.  I see my anaesthetist behind me and he smiles. I remember no more until waking in the aforementioned recovery ward.  I am the last to be leave this efficient, caring hub.  I sleep with morphine but am woken several times throughout the evening and next morning as nurses, male and female arrive to check temperature, blood pressure, pain threshold, and condition of foot.  I am not allowed out of bed until I am detached from the morphine and they have checked that I can stand without being dizzy. I am encouraged to use the special shoe to walk about. They are pleased with my progress as the pain threshold drops to about 0.5 on the 0 to 10 scale. The bandage is removed. The foot is not a pretty sight, but it is neatly executed and I can see that my big toe is a different shape. All OK, so they release me from their charge. The doctor was charming, smiling and happy to answer my questions. I am instructed as to what to do next. I receive my xrays, prescription and information for the nurse who has to come to my domicile for the next 15 days to change bandages, give me daily anti-phlebitis injections and take blood tests.

Under the French system you know how much everything costs. One is invoiced and charged appropriately. Before the operation I received over 200 euros worth of protective bandages. Now I have received another large sum’s worth of medical materials. The French patient is aware of the cost of health treatment.  Mind you it could be interpreted as a hypochondriac’s paradise.  

The food wasn’t great but being hungry I ate what I could:
Breakfast – a bowl of hot milk, a sachet of chocolate powder, a bread roll, butter, jam.
Lunch – Fish cake, steamed potatoes with parsley, Rice salad, Yoghurt.
Gouter – Tea and Rice biscuit
Dinner – Vegetable Soup, Coley square, pureed potatoes, Camembert wedge, bread and a pear.

Check out of  hospital. Take a numbered ticket. Wait. Receive the hospitalisation certificates. Leave the almost emptied hospital. It closes for the weekend.   Probably to be scrupulously cleaned.    Thank you French Health System.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Certainly not Larking About


Life seems to have got busier with a small adventure northwards to see Francesca, the delightful little one, toddling, demanding attention for her very first birthday (and of course her mummy and daddy).
Then some time was spent with other family and friends and most importantly a little time snatched to be by myself, to walk favourite memories of beach and sand. Listen to the curlews piping along the Southwold harbour. Chase away the seagulls who cry for my fish and chip lunch on Aldeburgh shingles.

Search for a house. France or England? Looking for the one with the 'coup de coeur', the one with the 'this is it' factor as I walk across the threshold and know. I thought I had a blank canvas but I can see now it has been just a little blotchy. My mother says 'the world is an oyster' but for me the crab is significant as I scuttle searching for my roots, for my little home all of my own. I LOVE France. England does not hold all that I love but maybe a special place that I can afford will reveal itself either in England or in France. I am on the point of not caring where.

Hop Hop Hop to the op shop hopital demain! If I can walk in winter as a result of the shaving of the bunion then that will make me smile. I have missed the randonees. No pain, no gain!