Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Still here

Oh dear, it’s been a while since I posted! I’m blaming a combination of being busy and toothache. The tooth that started niggling when I was down in London for Knit Nation slowly got worse until I gave in after several disturbed nights and phoned the NHS emergency dental line (not having my own NHS dentist due to forgetting to make an appointment). I was impressed to be seen the same morning, but less impressed to hear that my bottom left wisdom tooth was the root (no pun intended) of the problem and would have to come out. She made me an appointment at the drop in centre in town to have it out a couple of weeks later, and left me with the impression that it would just pop out with very little trouble. In the meantime I was on antibiotics to clear up the infection, and had very little interest in anything. I did manage to go to my parents’ caravan on Anglesey with them though, which was nice.


I didn’t take many photos, mainly because I go every year and already have plenty, but this was new ground – the walk from Breakwater Park in Holyhead round the back of Holyhead Mountain.


And the view back down to the harbour – over to the right is where the ferries to Dublin go from.


The tooth continued to ache, so I was glad when the day came to have it out, but sadly it wasn’t nearly such as straightforward procedure as the first dentist had implied – it took 45 minutes to get it out, plus stitching up afterwards, and left me feeling as though I’d gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson, with a swollen face to match :(


I had a week to recover before going to Alnwick for a week with my friend Lucy (more on that in another post), and whilst it was a lot better by the time we went, it still wasn’t right, sadly. But it’s finally settled down now, and I’m hoping it’ll never bother me again!

I have been knitting, mostly baby things as my brother and my cousin are both expecting in the near future, and because my brain wasn’t really coping with anything more complicated! I’ll do a separate post on that too, I think, just to keep things vaguely tidy round here.

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My Nan died last night. She was 90 and had been in poor health for the last few years, and was fed up and ready to go, but it’s still sad.

When I was born, my parents owned an off licence which they ran without help, so I spent quite a lot of time with both sets of grandparents. My granddad died when I was six months old, Nan was devastated, he’d been the love of her life since she was about 18, and she often said that looking after me helped her through. I spent a lot of time with her as I grew up, even after the shop was sold when my brother was born (Mum said an off licence and two babies was just too much for her), and going to stay with her was always a treat.

She’d tell tales of her days in the Timber Corps during the war – she was based in the New Forest from 1940, when she was 20, until just before my Mum was born in 1944, and said that they were the best years of her life. She’d have liked to have stayed down there, but Granddad wanted to settle at home, so they did. But she talked of her days there a lot, especially once dementia set in, reliving the past and doubtless gilding it a bit too. She was in charge of a sawmill, measuring the timber to determine what it could be used for, and was helped by a contingent of Italian Prisoners of War – she said that they were no trouble, they were far happier cutting down trees than fighting.

As I grew up she taught me to knit and sew, and helped me with anything else I was having a go at. I remember a box of loose beads I’d string into different combinations for hours. She worked at the local Co-op, on various different counters, but her favourite I think was haberdashery. Of course she’d grown up when knitting was a cheap way of making clothes, I’m sure she’d have been horrified to find out how much I pay for yarn (or wool, as she would definitely have called it!)

I moved away to go to University when I was 18, so I didn’t see so much of her, but I’d always call round to see her when I was down. She managed to come to my wedding in York seven years ago, and was comforting to talk to when my husband died soon afterwards – probably because she’d been through it herself.

She lived alone until about three years ago, despite various falls, one of which resulted in a hip replacement. Sadly she did get confused as dementia set in, but she was quite happy in her own little world, and steadfastly refused help at home. But about three years ago she had a fall which broke her other hip, and the operation to fix it didn’t work, so she had to go into a residential home, just up the road from my parents’ house. She wasn’t happy there, not because of the care she received, which was always very good, but just because she wasn’t at home in her own house. I had every sympathy with her, I love being in my own place, on my own.

So it was really a relief when she finally slipped away last night. We’ll miss her, but I’d really said goodbye to her a long time ago, once the dementia set in she wasn’t really herself, although she wasn’t so bad that she didn’t recognise people, and you could have a rational conversation with her, so long as you didn’t mind having it again two minutes later. She loved to see and feel the things I’d knitted, and to see photos of places I’d been on the laptop, but it wasn’t her as I remembered her.


Doris Foulkes, 1920 – 2010

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