The Special Matters’ Support Group was especially welcome this month as we were treated to a visit by members of the Moorlands Therapists. This group volunteers their therapeutic skills to those living with disability, once a month, at a local ‘drop-in’ centre. How inspired is that? I enjoyed a ‘non-contact’ Reiki massage which seemed to help ease the emotional pressure that had been building up over the last few weeks. The therapist also concentrated on my lower back which is showing signs of starting to ‘give’, probably a result of recent stresses on my mind and body. As any carer will know, the threat of a back problem is a constant nightmare so I am actively working with exercise and anti-inflammatories to make sure my back improves. I could really do with trying to shoe-horn yoga back into my life.
Back issues aside, I’ve always said that it would be marvellous if someone would come around every now and then and throw the vacuum cleaner around our house and dust off the surfaces. I am, of course, fastidious about cleaning our Bed and Breakfast rooms when I am on ‘U’ bend patrol, but I’m afraid that our own accommodation often looks like we’re getting ready early for Halloween –complete with cobwebs! It’s not that I don’t care; it just that I can’t seem to find the opportunity and become overwhelmed with all the extras that a family such as ours has to deal with, and it can get you down. Amazingly, it seems that the Caudwell Children Charity has spotted this need and is offering a cleaning service to local hard-pressed families, staffed by volunteers. How inspired is that? I suppose I could be whizzing round the Hoover instead of writing this Blog!
The girls started back to Guides which was wonderful, especially as Tilly was able to take her best friend along and I was able to leave them there for the first time with Laura from the AMG Caring Agency. Now that Tilly’s Carers feel confident to use Tilly’s suction unit in the case of a choke I do not need to wait around ‘just in case’ which feels good and gives me a possible hour or so to attend to the housework!
It also felt good to welcome Eileen, from the Children’s Airways Support Team, to do a ‘night-sit’. This meant that I could sit up late with her and catch up on the news and then go and have an uninterrupted night’s sleep knowing that she was keeping an eye and an ear on Tilly. These, sometimes weekly visits, are a real tonic and seem to occur just when I need them most.
I enjoyed a joyous sail with a young girl from a local special school at one of Rudyard Sailability’s sessions. Although this little soul is non-verbal her smile and whoops of delight spoke volumes. I also had the great pleasure of sailing on the electronic boat with one of our Wheelies’ Sports Club members. His sailing skill and expertise using the finger-tip controls was phenomenal, and in spite of his considerable physical challenges we powered our way to the top of the Lake in record time. Although there was complete communion in the boat as we raced across the water, this young man relies upon sign language for communication and it made me realise that it was time for me to learn. Bang goes the dusting!
After a skiddingly hectic Saturday including swimming, rowing, sailing and piano it was an absolute delight to settle down with one of my friends from long ago who had kindly mountaineered up from Surrey for a catch-up. I feel so blessed to have such treasures of friends who have kept in touch over the years. We were treated to exquisite Champagne and Rolf served up the most delicious meal of chicken wrapped in pancetta. Good food, good wine and good company – all the classic ingredients of a perfect Saturday night. We managed to behave this time and not stay up all night slurping wine and chatting and actually felt half human the next morning which was most refreshing.
After a family brunch we waved a fond farewell and spent a chillaxing sort of Sunday, doing homework and filling the ‘Operation Christmas Child’ shoe boxes with presents ready to take to Harvest Festival next week. I even managed to throw the Hoover around before being treated to one of Daddie’s scrumptious beef brisket meals with Yorkshire pudding and catching up on the ‘X’ Factor.
After dropping the girls off to school on Monday, I whistled around the rooms taking care of the ‘u’ bends aiming to be ready before the arrival of our very special lunch guests – Ian and Mary Parker. We have enjoyed the Parker family’s friendship for some years now following being advised to go to one of Ian’s Exhibitions at the Victoria Hall, Hanley. We were charmed by Ian’s work and marvelled at his skill and ability of creating such magnificent art whilst holding the paintbrush in his mouth -to see more of Ian's work go to http://www.ianparkerart.co.uk/ Rolf and I were equally charmed with Ian’s twinkling personality and Mary’s genuine warmth and soon become firm friends, enjoying family days out with them and their two girls. Rolf served a scrumptious lunch in the dining room, basking in the splendour of Ian’s snowy 'The Bridge at Chatsworth’ which we are proud and privileged to display ‘for sale’ in our B&B.
Tilly, Laura (Tilly’s PA) and I motored down to Birmingham Children’s Hospital to have a consultation with Tilly’s bone density specialist. Tilly has been receiving regular infusions to reduce the risk of spontaneous fractures as brittle bones are one of the symptoms of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Unfortunately for Tilly this process so far has been very traumatic and painful as the medical team find it almost impossible to locate a suitable vein. Tilly has been having a course of therapy from a wonderful Psychologist who has been working on ways of Tilly coping with this issue. Tilly was all revved up and ready to go yesterday, only to find that the infusion was not actually scheduled and it was only a consultation. This situation was met with a mixture of relief and disappointment on all sides, however the infusion and a bone scan will be scheduled during the half term holidays so that Tilly will not have to miss another day of school.
We got home from hospital to find my lovely friend from Melbourne who’d come to stay with her daughter and her friend and daughter. Quite amazing really as I’d been saying to Tilly over the summer how much I missed my girlfriends from days gone by and, it seems that the Lord was listening and has sent over a veritable wave of ‘old’ friends over the last few weeks, from all corners of the globe, to top up my ‘special friends-ometer’. This is obviously what can be called a real 'Godsend'!