Thursday…damp, damp, damp!

SalvosI have just realised it has been over six weeks since I wrote the blog (although I do wonder who is still reading it?)

So just after my bit of DIY, I headed north up the St Annes to stay with Martin and Stephanie, friends from University. We headed over to Headingley in Leeds to a Pizza restaurant we used to frequent as students, where we met up with our other two house-mates from those days (Jon and Elaine, and Tom and Carol) The photo shows the four of us outside Salvos.

In a burst of nostalgia, we headed off to our former home Canterbury Drive photographed here when we actually lived there! It hadn’t changed much, but we posed outside for another photo! Martin, Stephanie and I headed back to St Annes in the afternoon. Next day, after a walk along the Blackpool Promenade, Martin and I went sailing on the Ribble estuary before I headed back home, via my parents, after a very enjoyable weekend.Canterbury Drive

On the home front, I have been doing some baking! I started off with cake – this is a coffee and walnut cake I baked a few weeks ago. This skill also came in useful when I went to my sister’s for her Birthday. On this occasion I baked a chocolate cake, shown in this picture (together with her family!)Cake

Moving on from cake, I have also been trying my hand at bread making. I do have a bread maker, which I use for making the dough, but I have found that turning out the dough, knocking it back and proving it outside the machine, before baking it a conventional oven, gives best results. as I hope the picture shows!Cake

I have also been experimenting with flavoured savoury breads. So far olive (with Mozzarella and oregano) and sun-dried tomato (with Parmesan and basil) The tomato needs more practice, but they were made for when David and Frances (and their daughter) came to visit two weeks ago. The sun smiled on us and we ate outside in the garden. You may remember that I stayed with David and Frances for a week while I was homeless last December!Bread

The sun has been welcome in the garden, where the runner beans have reached the top of their poles and are producing flowers. The pots have also looked good, and this photo shows the two hanging baskets. There are some more garden photographs in the gallery!.

On the health front, I had a visit to the eye clinic at St Thomas’s about a month ago. I still have dry eyes, but I have a new medication for night use which is certainly soothing, and I hope will eventually solve the problem. I am expecting a referral to the cataract clinic, as these are slowly getting worse. However the visit to London was an opportunity to see my youngest daughter, Rachael, who is doing a three month internship during her summer vacation. We had a very good evening at a restaurant in Borough Market!Garden

I had also been planning to go diving, but the last two planned dives were cancelled because of bad weather, and the expedition to Devon has had to be cancelled for other reasons. That was very disappointing as I was looking forward to doing some camping (no accommodation) but I hope that we will get a couple of dives in the local area next week.

So a busy few weeks! There will be a few stressful moments in the next few weeks as the divorce rumbles on, but I need say no more about that at the moment.

But despite that, it is very much ‘Onwards and Upwards’! 🙂

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Saturday… The sun shines!

I’m afraid I haven’t been in the right frame of mind for blogging in the last month or so. The background activities to the divorce have kept me busy too – I am amazed by the mountain of paperwork that it generates. The bad weather doesn’t do much to lift the spirits either.

BUT – today the sun is shining, a court hearing on Tuesday went fairly well, and not as daunting as I feared, and there are a few things to report!

After my Birthday weekend, things settled down a bit, but the highlight of April was a week of diving down on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall. The weather wasn’t particularly kind to us (I was with my diving club) in that there were gales which gave a high sea state, but in the five days we were there, I did six dives. These were the first real and prolonged ocean dives I have done for nearly seven years, (discounting a 2 minute dive last year when my suit leaked) so it was quite an achievement. I was a little apprehensive, but once in the water I settled down and really enjoyed it. The training and practice sessions I had done in sheltered water had helped immensely, but it was great to be in the sea again. Another step in getting my life back.

Health wise, little seems to have changed. I had a clinic last week for one of the side effects of GvHd, but that has stabilised and I was discharged from it. The next major check up at the haematology department is next Wednesday, so another trip up to London and out to King’s College Hospital. The only caiuse for concern is my eyesight and the cataract problem. My next visit to St Thomas’s is approaching, and I think the time has come to ask about getting this sorted before it gets any worse.

The house is gradually getting into shape. My parents visited last weekend whichs good, and today I have been cutting the grass (I bought a lawn mower three weeks ago) and pricking out some germinating seeds, and setting some runner beans to germinate. I am fairly sure where I am going to put the beans, but I need to cut out some lawn (less to mow!) to make a bed for them.

So all things considered, not too bad, and justifying “Onwards and Upwards”!

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Friday… Birthdays come – and birthdays go!

It was indeed my Birthday last week, and I spent the weekend with my parents. Very relaxing and a welcome break from the paperwork and stress of the divorce settlement. It was lovely to be joined by youngest daughter Rachael too – with a bit of retail therapy for her on Sunday, before I drove her back to University and then onto my little, but homely, home.

Forthcoming events include a trip down to Cornwall, diving, which I am really looking forward to, especially if the weather is as good as it has been last week. My dive kit has been serviced, and is ready to go so should be good.

The move to BST last week was also welcome, the lighter evenings always lift my spirits, and I am looking at the garden to see what is going to shoot up there. The garden is a little overshadowed by the garage, but I have identified a spot where I can grow a few vegetables.

The sorting out of stuff stored in the garage is still a bit daunting, but once the bureaucracy has been dealt with, I may be able to get down and clear some space.

I must say that the last few months have probably been some of the more stressful in my life, but as ever, it has to be “Onwards and Upwards” 🙂

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Sunday… moving on

Things move on! Just after writing my last post, I had pretty much decided that I was going to rent a house for six months, and even got as far as paying the (non-returnable) administration fee to a letting agency to take up a tenancy. However, I still wasn’t sold on the idea, and two days later I had an e-mail from an estate agency with details of two houses. I went to look at them, decided one was suitable, and after a bit of negotiation agreed a price.

It is possibly the smallest house I will have ever lived in, but it has three bedrooms, one I can use as a study, a garage and en-suite bathroom.. Sadly no conservatory, which I will miss. But the runninmg costs will be lower, and I will only need a very small loan to purchase it, and so it will do for two or three years while I re-assess things and decide what to do next.

Meanwhile the division of our possessions and the dismantling of what has been my home here, and more significantly, the last 21 years of my life, continues. A lot of stuff is being got rid of, but the task seems never ending, but slowly and surely progress is being made, and with it the emotional detachment from this house.

Time scales are fairly tight, but I hope to be in before Christmas!

So, on a new path, Onwards and Upwards!

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Thursday… statistics, statistics…

It has been a long time since I last posted on here, and I suppose now is as good a time to explain as any.

It is a fact that couples that have been through some trauma are statistically more likely to separate after the event. The trauma either pulls people together, or exposes weaknesses in a relationship.

Sadly the latter seems to be the case for us. This all started coming to a head nearly two years ago, when Felicity said that she thought that divorce might be better for us. During the following months I tried to find an alternative way forward, but in October 2010 it became clear that there wasn’t one. We have stayed cohabiting in our house since then, but it was put up for sale in June, and a buyer has been found, and we are moving out in December. The divorce and all the paraphernalia still isn’t sorted, but I will probably move into rented accommodation for a few months to get my breath back and gain some sort of perspective on my new life, before looking for somewhere more permanent to live.

I am incredibly indebted to my parents and the few close friends who knew about this for their support and encouragement over what has been a difficult time. I will say that Felicity and I are still on amicable terms, and I hope that will remain the case.

Healthwise, there is little to report. I have been worried about the the inevitable raised stress levels on my health, but generally all seems to be OK. This January will be the sixth anniversary of the transplant, and five years since the donor lymphocyte infusion, and the scare and side effects that went with that.

The GvHd seems to be controlled, there are still one or two lingering side effects, but they are not serious, and seem to be stable, so that is some good news.

I don’t know what I will do with the blog – not because I don’t want to continue with it, but because internet access for the server might be a bit limited for a while. I will try and keep the server running somehow though! Perhaps I ought to change the tag line from “Getting my life back” to “Forging a New Life”! 🙂

I’m sorry this isn’t a very cheerful post, but sadly these things happen. Again I need to concentrate on the future, so as always “Onwards and Upwards”!

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