I spent most of the day, and all night at the hospital. I didn’t want to risk another night like the last where all hell broke loose. Fortunately Aunt 1 was slower and quieter thanks to the sedatives they are now giving her.
Not that she’s calm. Unless she’s actually asleep, she’s pulling off her covers, murming or giving the odd yell to keep you on your toes, and struggling to get out of bed. Still. I’m amazed at her strength, will and resistance to drugs. Even when drugged to the eyeballs, slurred speech, eyes half closed, her hands and legs are struggling towards freedom.
Since 2 ladies left there are empty beds so I helped myself to one using a blanket over the plastic sheet and yucky pillow. And my scarf to lay my face on. Ugh. Its not easy sleeping in hospital unless you’re actually sick or injurred and your body just wants to sleep. but I got a couple of hours at least. Once I se the doctor this morning and full nursing staff is back on I think I’ll go shower and see if I can nap. Doubtful but you can always hope.
I did see the orthopedic surgeon for about 1 minute yesterday… Aunt 1 has 3 broken vertebrae, she’s had broken vertebrae before but these are in a new spot. I actually counted her broken bones vs mine last night. I’m still ahead at 12 to her 9. Unless any of her breaks were multiple spots in one area as some of mine were.
Anyway, the doctor said that all going well Aunt 1 would be released. Perhaps with a back brace. I’ll see him today and we will find out.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that its really rough out there and the ferries may not be allowed to travel. There’s a ferry to Paros tonight, none on Wednesday, another on Thursday. If we can’t get one tonight we’re here for another day and night.
Since its quiet around here I snuck around and took some photos just around the room…
I’m off to find some coffee…
Let me start this post with an update on Aunt 1, or the person I may start to refer to as my Cyborg. I’m convinced that that woman is invincible, beyond pain and impervious to drugs. She keeps going, no matter how many bullets are plugged into her.
Yesterday, the ferry got us here (to Syros) around 12ish. The ambulance brought us to the hospital where she was whisked in to have a CT scan while I was told to wait outside (despite being her designated ‘escort’*). I waited outside till 3.30pm when they finally let me in cause she was being unco-operative. That’s code for being a total uncontrollable pain in the ass.
So, in here, she was taken finally taken to a room on the first floor, shared with 4 other women. I felt sorry for them in advance.
I stayed here with my Cyborg till 10.00pm. She was calm for the most part… Going in and out of touch with reality. She wanted to go home cause her family was waiting for her and would be worried… Family? Yes, her mom and dad. Hm. She spent a couple of hours asking who I was, I was definitely not her niece, I didn’t even look like her. But what a coincidence that I had the same name! She spoke about people and places from her youth, saw people on the ceiling and then spoke to a cousin of mine on the phone and knew who she was, asked about her sister and parents. Made a total fool of me since she was lucid!
So I went and got a decent night’s sleep in a guest house provided by the church. I must say, that feels a bit weird to me since I’m not a church going person. I’m not religious at all… I feel rather hypocritical accepting their hospitality for free. Then again, my Cyborg is in a church owned nursing home and they arranged it for me as her ‘escort’. Plus, who can afford to pay for an air bnb (which looks like I may not use for sleeping in again, just a place to go, use the toilet** and keep my overnight bag).
I was way too tired to post last night.
Anyway, I got to the hospital at 9.15am this morning to find Cyborg tied to the bed by one hand and one foot. And to the complaints of all her room mates for her behaviour during the night. Luckily they like me and are nice ladies cause they were really angry. Apparently Cyborg, feeling no pain and having no sense of her condition, tried to get out of bed all night. Almost managed it a few times till she was tied down. She swore like a trooper, called on satan to curse on those around her and generally kept everyone awake all night. All the poor women are on headache pills this morning. One of them put crosses all over herself to ward off evil.
Meanhile, Cyborg was still in fine form despite having been given pain meds and something to calm her down. She struggled against the restraints, was constantly trying to get off the bed, twisting about in ways which reminded me uncomfortably of Linda Blair minus the pea soup vomit, swore at me and anyone nearby and even hit the nurse who brought her another dose of anti anxiety stuff. Ha. I think she needs a horse tranquilizer. Where’s a vet when you need him?
Maybe they shouldn’t give her pain meds… like they don’t give them to dogs cause if a dog doesn’t feel pain it will do things which will cause further damage…I’m not comparing my good ol’ Cyborg to a dog, but hey… the theory fits!
The second pill has finally kicked in or I wouldn’t be able to write this. A moment of breathing as she drifts in and out of sleep, muttering the whole while.
So…. now its time for the rant on the hospital… but before the general rant, let me address those asterisks.
*An escort is a person who is designated as THE person who accompanies someone in hospital. Pre COVID days this chore was split among family members who would take shifts. Now an escort is ONE person who has had a COVID test and has the paperwork to prove it and their role. Escorts are necessary cause greek public hospitals are either lacking in nursing staff. nursing staff don’t have actual ‘caring for patients beyond the very basics’ in their job description, or think certain aspects of care are beneath them. From what I gather, if Cyborg needs a bath I’m it. If Cyborg soils herself, I’m the one to change her pad (unless I’m not here, in which case someone will take care of it reluctantly). Anything she needs, I’m it.
Boy am I glad I’m here.
Yet despite the rules, two women in here have had more than the one person with them. One of them had 3 visitors last night. Another has two with her today. Go figure. Its Greece. Maybe its all about who you know. As always. A good friend’s son died yesterday in an Athens hospital and his mother was not allowed to go see him. His wife was his ‘escort’, no one else was allowed in. He was positive for COVID after spending weeks in hospital, but he died of cancer and she wasn’t allowed to see him even before he contracted COVID.
**The toilets… Another whole rant just on this one subject. The toilet in the room is for patients only. It has toilet paper and hand soap. No toilet paper. No soap should someone need a shower. No towels are provided that I can see. When I mentioned that to a nurse she actually snorted. Maybe if a patient is well enough to have a shower and bring their own soap, they can ask for a towel. Maybe. I don’t know. Since Cyborg is unlikely to be allowed upright to shower I’m not going to find out any time soon.
The toilet for the public has no toilet seats. The one I braved didn’t flush. The hand soap pump didn’t work. There are no hand towels. Hands must be drip dried or wiped on pants apparently. Hygiene at its best.
Oh great. Cyborg is awake again and complaining that someone stole her glasses.
Greek public hospital. Wonderful places. I highly recommend them to anyone without self respect. And to those with a self sacrificing need to do for others. Great places where you have to provide your own tissues, hand towels, and who knows what else.
Apparently the doctors in Greece are great… but the hospitals? I think I’ll go back to Australia when my time comes as I don’t have a daughter to be my designated escort.
That’s all for now. The tablet batter is running low. It didn’t charge up properly last night. I’m sure I’ll have more to complain about later.
One of the things I really want to do with this big move is to find the artist in me again. I’m an artist but I’ve never really worked at it. I feel its time I spent more time creating art at this stage of my life than all the other things I put my energies into.
Don’t get me wrong. I will continue to make stuff cause I love doing it. I’ll still repaint dolls and sew and revamp old furniture and make things out of found objects…
But I really want to paint more.
I realised a while ago that when I paint (in any medium) I feel good about myself. Sure, I often start something, hate it, stop, then go back later, rework it and finish it and love it. And then I get the most incredible feeling inside – achievement, pride, amazement that something I admire came out of my own hands.
So here I am, in Athens for almost 2 weeks now… without my art supplies. So I went out to find pastels (always my first choice of mediums to work with) and I couldn’t find what I wanted. I bought acrylic paints instead and gave them a try.
This is my first attempt with straight acrylics in years.
Its Phaedra, a toy poodle that used to belong to our neighour. I never met her but naturally I’d start with a poodle! I tried to loosed up and make it more painterly than is my normal style. Its something I love when I look at other works of art and always wish I could paint like that. But I’m not totally happy with it, its not really me. I’m not a loaded brush type of person. I tend to work best with washes and less paint than with more…
This is my second attempt.
This is a friend’s cat. For her I used a mix of dry brush and watered down acrylics. She’s not finished yet but I like it much better. I think I found the way I like to work best.
More than that, I realised that what I really want is to mix my media. I want to go and buy myself the soft pastels I didn’t find last time I looked for them (I found a shop which sells them!) and to get some pastel pencils as well. Then I can finish this little cat with charcoal and pastels. That way I can get both the texture and the detail and depth I’m used to getting in my work.
A painting a day keeps the depression at bay!
Now I want to go find mom’s old Singer and see if it still works! Cause I feel the urge to make some of my little critters…
Other than that, I’m slowly learning to live in Greece though it not easy. I have friends and family and that helps. I’m still very eager to get to Paros and start sorting out my life there. Till then, I’ll do what I need to do here.
I don’t know about you, but I love falling down, abandoned houses and sheds. There’s something so sad yet beautiful about them. I love the faded colours and the weathered timber. I mourn the waste of these places, left to disintegrate ’cause for whatever reason, no one wanted to live in them and love them any more.
A few years ago I spent time photographing old sheds with greyed timber and rusty roofs. This trip I couldn’t resist some of the abandoned buildings we saw. There are too many of them…
This old church was one building we were able to walk around and even inside.
Inside it had a lovely curved roof and a small stage. Vandals had broken windows and most light fixtures. Rain and critters had done their share of damage as well.
Nature starting to assert itself, bushes starting to grow in through broken windows.
Around the back two outhouses, one still standing, the other on a serious lean. Would you visit this outhouse? I’m sure the redbacks living in there wouldn’t mind…
Next, a simple old farmhouse, one which already had plants growing over the porches and inside the front room. You can believe me when I say I stomped around really loudly as I explored. I wanted to let the snakes know I was there.
Around the back things were sadder. I know there are lots of reasons old homes might be abandoned, but it still makes me sad to see.
What was left of the sheds was a mess, but offered some great textures for photos.
This is one of my favourite photos, an old door and a bit of old metalwork…
This old house stole my heart. It would have been such a beauty when it was loved.
As it stands now, sagging verandah and rotten timbers, I wondered if it would be possible to restore it or if it was too far gone. Too far gone I think. But what a lovely old home… A part of me wants to know if its for sale…
There were sheep grazing in the yard so I’m guessing the old farm was bought by a much larger property, the old farmhouse not needed and left to eventually become part of the landscape.
This little cottage is definitely beyond any hope. From the outside it looks a bit of a wreck…
With the leaning chimneys…
And inside is more of a wreck. The place has perhaps been gutted as well.
Look at the colours of the ceiling timbers! If I was salvaging bits of this house I’d be taking those ceilings, rotten timbers or not!
And look at the old bits of newspaper and wallpaper still clinging to the walls.
If I can’t restore and love these places, can I at least salvage from them?
Apparently no. It’d be considered stealing.
We’re back from some weekend fun. And I’m so tired. It seems like I’ve been driving all day today (in fact I was driving most of the last two days), but it was worth it.
I took Wayne away for a weekend up north of the state, to the Carrick Bull Riding Rodeo.
I don’t have any photos of the rodeo. It was too windy and too hard to take photos, but hey, everyone knows what a rodeo is like. Horses, bulls, whips, cowboys, hats, barrel racing, roping, steers and dust. Not in that order necessarily.
It was an evening event and by the end of the night we were both frozen and could pass for a red indians thanks to the red dust. It was fun though. I do love a rodeo.
Here are some pics of our trip. I decided it’d be a trip through the central highlands and past the great lakes of Tasmania so we went through Bothwell where we stopped for coffee at a cute little coffee shop.
I loved the sign, but I loved the door even more!
Not to mention this table was so rustic, I could have it here, no worries.
The only photo I took of one of the lakes at Breona, dark clouds and amazing colours. I began to think I’d love a shack up there… to spent time up near the lake.
I love going up north through the middle of Tasmania, the way the countryside changes as you leave the lush Derwent Valley, through the dry highlands, trees being replaced by scrub as you get up higher, down the mountains with their dense forests and ferns, all opening up to the lush pastures as you go down the other side.
This time we stopped in Deloraine. I’ve only ever driven through (on the way to dog shows up north), never stopped to look around and appreciate the town. It’s beautiful. I love it. I want to live there.
We had lunch at the 50s Diner and it was great! The best malted milkshake I’ve had in years!
And all the collectibles! I was in heaven. If I lived in Deloraine I’d live in the Diner…
I’d found a cute little Air B&B unit to stay in at Evandale. It was a bit further on from Carrick so we drove there to check in, then backtracked to go to the rodeo.
Our hosts were great and the self contained unit was gorgeous, thoughtfully decorated and very comfy. This was only my second Air B&B stay and way better than the first!
Wayne made himself at home straight away…
I’d been to Evandale before, (for a dog show – obviously!) so bascially I hadn’t really been there. For years I traveled around the Victoria and Tasmania, only ever seeing the showgrounds…
Evandale is gorgeous. I love it. I want to live there.
Wayne says I want to live everywhere I visit. Maybe so, but Evandale was beautiful…
And it has a famous Sunday market. I didn’t take many photos, I was too busy darting around from stall to stall, but loved the colours (and items) at this stall.
Before you ask, yes, I did buy a few things. Like this little rusty corrugated iron pig made by a local Evandale artist. Isn’t he gorgeous?
I also got a jar full of wooden buttons, some bone handled knives, a poodle with her pups and a minty green clock!
Tired and happy.
I have a ton of wonderful photos of falling down houses I’ll share in another post, so stay tuned!
I just got this email from a friend and I have to share. I’m seriously sore from laughing so hard. Its not often you get something that makes your day like that. So this is my gift to you – Hope it makes your day!
Complaints from Council House Owners.
These are genuine clips from council Complaint letters:
1. My bush is really overgrown round the front and my back passage has
fungus growing in it.
2. He’s got this huge tool that vibrates the whole house and I just
can’t take it anymore.
3. It’s the dogs’ mess that I find hard to swallow.
4. I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt
my knob off.
5. And their 18-year-old son is continually banging his balls against
6. I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet
roof. I think it was bad wind the other night that blew them off.
7. My lavatory seat is cracked, where do I stand?
8. I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the
9. Will you please send someone to mend the garden path? My wife tripped
and fell on it, yesterday, and now she is pregnant
10. I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.
11. 50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster and 50% are
12. The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is
13. Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces.
14. This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broke and we can’t
get BBC 2.
A Spot of British Humor
As reported in the newpaper…
Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas
bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, “We agree it was rather high for the
time of year. It’s possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up
during the explosion that destroyed his house.”
(The Daily Telegraph)
Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because
they cannot issue a description. It’s a Special Branch vehicle and they
don’t want the public to know what it looks like.
At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard and
asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn’t
have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land
Rover off the cliff.
( Aberdeen Evening Express)
Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue , Boscombe, delighted the audience
with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to
do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. “He’d
always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the
middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out ‘Heil Hitler.'”
( Bournemouth Evening Echo)
A list of actual announcements that London Tube drivers have made to
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service. I
know you’re all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be
married to my ex-wife, in which case you’ll want to cross over to the Westbound and
go in the opposite direction.”
“Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from
E & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I’ll let you know
any further information as soon as I’m given any.”
“Let the passengers off the train FIRST!” (Pause.) “Oh go on then, stuff
yourselves in like sardines, see if I care — I’m going home….”
“We can’t move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door.”
“Please move all baggage away from the doors.” (Pause..) “Please move
ALL belongings away from the doors.” (Pause…) “This is a personal message
to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put
the pie down, Four-eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door
before I come down there and shove them up your bum sideways!”
Are you laughing yet?
But do you have idea how expensive those things are? As expensive as a new leather couch. Plus almost impossible to find. Sure, I found a few I drooled over… in Sydney. The price of the couch plus shipping would have killed me.
Then I began to think of club lounges. The solid, chunky blocky type.
Not as shiny as that… softer, cosier…
Couldn’t find one I liked that I could afford.
So I began looking at stores in Hobart and found this one at Freedom. The Hermitage.
Not exactly the thickest of chunky club lounges, but very comfy, in a lovely dark brown, studs at the bottom… I was ready to buy.
If I could have afforded it.
So I started saving.
Then, somewhere along the line I began to think of tan leather… lighter colours, not so heavy looking… I think it was the mid-century looking TV divider I built which changed my mind on style of couch. So I began to look for a couch like this one…
I was totally convinced I wanted this one. I dreamed of it. It was even more expensive than the Hermitage, but I wanted it.
Till I went in and sat on it… and slumped back and almost slid off it.
It was too deep, I couldn’t sit in it properly. I’d have preferred that when I was younger and could get up off a couch without having to roll off, but not so great now I’m older, fatter and I almost need help hauling myself off deep low furniture.
Bean bags are a nightmare these days!
Anyway, I spend a lot of time in Freedom testing their couches. In the end I picked this one. The Bonnie 3 seater.
Not as long as the Hermitage, not as deep as the Copenhagen, not as soft as most of their couches. A firmer, higher couch. Easier to sit up properly in and get up out of.
I can get off this one without looking like a floundering whale.
Here it is in the living room.
I need to make new cushion covers. I want a bigger rug. I need to get rid of the awful carpet. I want to get rid of wires everywhere. I want a full wall of books behind the couch but till then I wonder if I should paint the timber bookcases white so they’re all the same colour.
But at least I have my leather couch!
And bonus: the dogs don’t like it! They only get on it if I’m on it and have a throw over me. Fantastic. I was worried they’d damage the leather with their nails.
Another bonus is that Wayne won’t sit on it either – he’s terrified he might ruin it and I’ll kill him.
I have the nerve to come back after a long absence with a recipe!
I feel your frustration.
But I have an excuse. I’ve been busy! I ran out of gas! I had a flat tyre! I didn’t have enough money for cab fare! My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! It wasn’t my fault! I swear!
(must be channeling John Belushi)
But we all have to eat, right? So I made cake.
This is the cake I decided to try (click image for original recipe).
Holly from Spend with Pennies calls it Apple Bread with Cinnamon.
This is what mine looked like the day after. I was too busy eating it the day I made it.
You’ll notice two things: mine is darker brown (I took the photo under artificial light without flash) and its drier. I probably cooked it a bit longer than I should have…
But its still yummy!
This is her recipe with comments, I didn’t change it: