Category Archives: Healthy body healthy mind

Trials of a Rambler

Ramble definition: v amble, drift, perambulate, peregrinate, range, roam, rove, saunter, straggle etc etc

And this certainly covers the range of topics I have covered in my blog posts since I started on March 1.  Right here you need to cheer.  Yesterday was my 200th post.  Aw c’mon – that deserves at least a little recognition.

Applause

msn clipart

But back to today’s post.  Usually, well quite often anyway, when I sit down to write I have some idea of what I shall write about.  But at other times.  Well, if you read my earlier post Kiss Your Frogs you’ll know that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, I start with an idea and then this over-age mind of mine goes off on a totally different track and I am reminded of the rambles that I take with Lotte each day.

Town Belt Sign

Here in Wellington, we are very lucky that our original town fathers had the sense to proclaim an area around the city The Town Belt.   For those of you interested here is a pdf of the Townbelt  Deed

“made the twentieth day of March One thousand eight hundred and seventy-three
BETWEEN THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM. FITZHERBERT
Superintendent of the Province of Wellington in the Colony of New Zealand
of the one part and
THE MAYOR COUNCILLORS and CITIZENS OF THE CITY OF  WELLINGTON
(who with their Successors are hereinafter termed “the Corporation’ of the other part…”

This deed specifically provides access to over 1,000 acres of walks, playing fields and leisure activity areas for the people of Wellington and it’s visitors.

central park 2

Lotte and I regularly walk in this part of the town belt as it is in our area and it has a designated dog area where she can run around off the lead.

Northern bushwalk

This is another favourite track of ours.  Khandallah to Mt Kaukau but since I have had Lotte we haven’t ventured to the top.  It is too steep for her little legs – well, that’s my excuse anyway.

Khandallah Bush walk

The bush is quite dense but is well-marked with paths and signposts.  Other people do let their dogs off the lead here but as there are so very many interesting and enticing smells she might follow them and never come back ,Lotte is kept firmly on the lead..

Khandallah Bush Walk

And so, as you can see it is not only my mind that wanders rambles but also my legs.  And I am so very grateful that I live here and that I am able to enjoy the peace and solitude (yes often we don’t see another soul on our walks).

Rugged coast

Added to the bush the sea is only a 10-minute drive away.  How lucky can you get?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing With Words

Words

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
Buddha

I love words.  I like the sound of them, I like to see them written down and I like to see them used by others in different ways and I just like playing with them.

Today, from somewhere in the back of this elderly brain, came the word Onomatopoeia.  I am sure you know what it means but my dictionary defines it as – “The formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss.”

So after playing around for a time I came up with this –

Onomatopoeia

Actors mumble

Birds flutter

Cats purr

Dogs bark

Eagles swoosh

Friends chatter

Guns boom

Harnesses jangle

Insensitives belch

Jellies squish

Kites swoosh

Lovers whisper

Mothers murmur

Noses sniff

Orchestras zing

Pigs snort

Queens giggle

Rain drips

Snakes hiss

Trains rumble

Unicorns whoosh

Victors roar

Water laps

Xylophones twang

Yaks shuffle

Zealots blare.

So what can you add?  I am sure you can come up with many others.  But it was an interesting way to spend an hour today.

Until tomorrow then.

Blowing away the cobwebs

After being inside for the past 5 days, apart from the short trips to the Open Home on Sunday and the Doctor’s office yesterday, I decided that both of us needed a walk today.

So Lotte and I got dressed to go out.  the sun was shining and where I live there was little wind.  After a quick lunch with a friend, during which Madam was confined to the car much to her annoyance, we went to the harbour.

Lambton Harbour

Lambton Harbour via Wikipedia

Here in Wellington one can walk for several kilometers around Lambton Harbour.  The old port of Wellington has been reclaimed and opened to the public.  An old building has been converted to apartments, a large arena has been built and several of the sheds have been converted to other uses.  Te Papa (Our Place in Maori) is  our National Museum and it sits on reclaimed land in the harbour.

Shoreline plaque

via Wikipedia

So as you can imagine it is a very pleasant place to walk on a sunny afternoon in Spring.  But by the time we arrived there the wind had got up – well this is Windy Wellington after all – and poor little Lotte had to contend with the wind blowing her ears back from her head, almost inside out.  I do wish I would remember to take the camera with me when I go out as she was quite a sight to see.

But we both welcomed the opportunity to get out on such a lovely day.


I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.
Gilda Radner
, 1946 – 1989
American comedian and actress,

 

A visit to the Doctor

“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died”
Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996

After a disturbed night of coughing, tossing and turning I give in.  As I have been urged to,  I call the doctor’s office to make an appointment.

I turn up at the appointed time, 11.45 am and am told to take a seat.  I am in a  house in the village converted to a health centre.  It is an old house, well old by our standards, with polished wood floors, a central passage and doors leading off both sides.

I take a seat and for the next 45 minutes, I sit idly thumbing through an out of date magazine and looking at the others waiting.  There is an older couple, he with a walking cane and she obviously taking care of him.  They seem to know the only other person in the room, a woman probably mid-thirties.  She doesn’t seem to be waiting to see a doctor and indeed, when the man’s name is called she tells the couple she will wait until they come out.

Meantime, staff come and go; people come and go.  The receptionist leaves for lunch and her place is taken by a nurse.  She is the one who removed the stitches after I tried to cut off my thumb.  That’s another story for another time.

A staff member (because she was wearing a name tag) appears in the waiting room and walks over to the young woman and they enter into a discussion as to who should pick up the girls from school and take them to practice.  It’s agreed that the staff member will pick them up and they will all meet later after practice.

A couple of young girls arrive and only one stays.  It is spring here but not warm although they don’t notice that they are barely dressed for the weather.   The one who stays is called into the doctor’s consulting room and still I wait.

A mother and her young child come out of a consulting room; have a brief conversation with the nurse/receptionist and after saying they will be back tomorrow, leave.

A child is crying in one of the consulting rooms, a young man comes out with his arm bandaged and the elderly couple appear.  They meet up with the young woman who has waited for them, and all leave together.

If I had been feeling better I would have played my usual waiting game.  When waiting in airports, grocery checkout lines or waiting for friends, I make up stories about the people I am watching.  People-watching is one of my favourite games.  But this is an opportunity missed today.

And at last it is my turn.  A charming young man appears.  Well he certainly doesn’t look old enough to be a doctor and leads me through to his consulting room.  Because I have been sitting in his waiting room for 45 minutes loudly coughing and choking, he doesn’t have to ask why I am there.  He proceeds to tell me that it is the flu.  How can that be I ask when I had the flu injection at the beginning of the winter.  This is a strain that they knew nothing about,  It is rife and resistant to the shot I had earlier.  Great.

He is only just getting over this flu himself.  He tells me the cough will last for about 3 weeks.  How long have I had it – one week?  OK, then I should expect it to be around for another two.

We talk about the operas that I saw last week.  A double billing by the NZ Opera Company and billed Cav &Pag (Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci).  A truly magnificent show during which I managed not to cough too often and too loudly.  And then he told me about WOW (the World of Wearable Arts show) that he had seen last week.  Only then, does he decide to take my temperature, listen to my lungs etc etc.

He writes me a prescription for a steroid, an antibiotic and some linctus to ease the throat and help the cough.  Then I am out of there.  45 minutes waiting and 15 minutes consultation.

But I know why the wait was so long.  He is really a charming young man and he likes to talk with his patients and get to know them.  His comment to me was that looking at my file he saw that I didn’t go to the doctor often.  And over the past three years had been twice with broken bones.  Can’t fool that nice guy.

Then off to the pharmacy where I had another 20 minutes wait.  I just couldn’t wait to get back home.  I was exhausted after my morning doing nothing.

I started with Erma Bombeck and will finish this post with a quote that bears no relation to the theme of this post.  Put it down to a hard day achieving nothing.

“Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world”
Bette Midler

Red Shoes

If only I was still able to wear those heels!

It’s all English – isn’t it?

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away.”
So sung the Bee Gees way back in 1997.

I started to write my blog today feeling absolutely ghastly.  The cold that I have been nursing for 8 days has now morphed into an awful cough and all I wanted to do today was lie down with my book.  Waking up several times during the night didn’t make me bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.  Fortunately, I only had to attend one of the open homes being run by my Real Estate friend.

But I made a commitment to myself some six months ago to post a blog every day so here goes.

Some time ago I read a blog from Robin entitled Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve that started me off on a different tack altogether.  Robin’s blog made me think of the different words in the English language that can have two definite and different meanings.  They often sound the same but may have different spellings.

  • Preserve – for me as I have said means a preserve or jam of fruits or vegetables. For Robin it meant a wildflower park.
  • Conserve – to prevent injury or waste or to make a conserve such as jams, pickles or chutney.
  • Bow – to bow down in homage or the bough of a tree.
  • Left as in direction and left as in ‘he left the store’
  • Address – where one lives and address as in making an address to the assembled people.
  • Close as near and close to shut
  • Permit – allow and permit as license
  • Incline – a small hill and incline towards something
  • Anchor – used to secure a boat or alternatively the shops that anchor a shopping mall ie a large variety or department store at each end of the mall or the newscaster.
  • Rebel – as in resisting authority and rebel the person resisting

And then of course we could open the can of worms of how the same words have different meanings to American and British people.

  • Purse – American handbag, British change purse
  • Vest – American sleeveless garment worn over clothes, British undergarment
  • Jelly – American jam and British equivalent of Jello

And different names for certain things.  For example, in a car

  • Gas in America = Petrol in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Hood in America = Bonnet in Britain, New Zealand and Australia
  • Trunk in America = Boot in Britain, New Zealand and Australia

This didn’t set out to be a lesson in English grammar a subject in which I have always been interested.  But can you tell the difference between  homonyms – words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings, eg bore and boar; homophones – words that sound the same however they are spelled eg whole and hole; and homographs – words that share the same spelling however they are pronounced eg content – happy or satisfied/all that is contained inside something.

As I don’t know where this is going I think I shall end there.  Hopefully my head will be in a better place tomorrow and the blog will make more sense.

But for now, please share my rainbow

Rainbow

My rainbow

Favourite things

Today I had no idea what to base my blog on and then it came to me – Here are a few of my favourite things.

Julie Andrews (and many artists since) sang of

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

But really none of these make my list of favourite things except perhaps doorbells that ring heralding the arrival of family and friends.

My list is made up of (among other things):

  • Bright spring mornings after a long, dreary winter – Spring starts here officially on September 1
  • And as it’s spring, the first daffodils pushing up through the earth and soon will be showing their yellow heads along with the crocuses and soon the roses will flower and we will know the winter is past.
  • My faithful companion Lotte, the Tibetan Spaniel
  • My four ever-growing, sturdy grandsons.  All with one exception are now taller than their Granma
  • My son and daughter and their spouses
  • The smell of home baking in my daughter-in-law’s or friends houses
  • My two sisters though on other continents and far apart we share an ongoing love and commitment to each other
  • The early morning birdsong heard here even in the middle of a busy city
  • The happy sound of children walking past on their way to school
  • My first cup of tea in the morning
  • My warm shower to start the day
  • My friends both in real life and in the blogosphere
  •  My coffee with friends each day
  • My time spent at the Hospice each week among people doing what they do best, helping the sick and dying, and doing it with charm, grace and cheerfulness
  • One piece of particularly good chocolate to savour
  • Fresh flowers around my house at any time of the year
  • cup of latte

    Latte from my favourite coffee shop

Daffoldils

Photo - Anthony Hall, Dreamstime

Lotte at the window

Watching the world go by

My list can go on and on but what about your favourite things?

 “The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.”
Veronique Vienne, American Editor, writer, commentator

Yellow Bags and Vegemite

Did I get your attention with the heading of this blog? Well these two items were at the top of my shopping list yesterday.

Rubbish bag

image from WCC website

Yellow bags are the bags we purchase so that rubbish will be removed by the city’s garbage collectors.  It used to be that rubbish collection was paid for as part of the annual rates for services provided by the Council but some years ago this was changed.  Reduced services = higher rates (aka Council Tax.)

So we are faced with two options – pay for an independent garbage collection company to bring one of their wheelie bins to the house for weekly collection or buy the Council rubbish bags as these are now the only bags they will collect.  The bins are not expensive but as I don’t really have a great deal of rubbish I choose to use the Council bags.  And so yesterday I had to purchase some.

WCC wheelie binsWe also have recycling.  This is collected once a week and the Council have supplied wheelie bins to some areas in and around the city and in those they deem to awkward to service, ie steep or narrow streets, they have provided green rubbish bags.

Even though many people in my street have commercial wheelie bins for their rubbish, the Council have decided in their wisdom, that our street is too steep and/or narrow for their trucks so we have more plastic bags.  But we are assured that the bags are made from recyclable material and are themselves recyclable.

VegemiteNow to Vegemite.  This is a yeast spread beloved by both New Zealanders and Australians but not my children or theirs.

It is made from yeast extract and we are told that it was banned in the US because it contained folate.  Apparently this can only be added to bread and cereals and so one could not import it into the US.  this would have been a real hardship for many of us who like it on toast in the morning with our tea or coffee.

Single packs of VegemiteBut beware.  Some years ago we had a visit from some Canadian friends.  While on a short flight from the South Island they were offered cheese, biscuits and those awful little packs that contain jam or in this case, Vegemite.  With coffee in hand, and thinking the Vegemite was jam, my friend liberally spread it on the crackers supplied.  But it should only be spread very, very thinly on crackers or bread.  She found and pronounced it disgusting.

And what is this post all about.  Rubbish and food.  They kind of go together, don’t they?

Chop Off Her Head er Leg

“Now, I give you fair warning, either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!”
from ‘Alice in Wonderland’

When I read Monica’s Tangled Web blog today I was taken back 62 years to a similarly, frightening experience.

On Saturday morning I woke with a sore knee. It felt hot but mother put a cold compress on it and told me all would be well.  The next morning I awoke and could hardly put my foot to the ground.  The knee was red and swollen.  Mother decided then that it needed attention.

We had no car so I had to hobble with her to catch a bus to the hospital some half hour ride away.  She obviously deemed it far too serious for the doctor’s office.

I don’t remember much of the ensuing hours while they tried to find out what was wrong with me.  I told them how I had fallen in the school playground earlier in the week and the staff had bathed and bandaged the knee.  The doctors determined that they hadn’t got all the asphalt chips out and so started poking around looking for the chips that they were convinced must still be in the leg.  I don’t remember, but hope that they gave me a local anesthetic prior to the digging.

Some time later and after much discussion among the doctors and then with my mother, it was decided that I had osteomyelitis an infection in the bone.  At the time there was no cure and my mother reluctantly, I hope, agreed that the leg could be amputated to prevent other bones being infected.

Can you imagine the terror  this 11-year-old girl felt when she was told by her mother that this is what was to happen, and fairly soon.  Fortunately, the surgeon came into the ward and told mother about a new, untried drug that was being tested.  Would she give permission for this drug to be used on her daughter.  She agreed and there began a six-week course of Streptomycin every three hours.

So my leg was put into a cast to keep it from moving and the cast was attached to a hoist.  As I have grown I have never worked out why it had to be attached to the hoist, but anyway..

So every 3 hours, night and day my poor little skinny backside was injected with this drug.

It was a scary and lonely time for me.  I was in a room on my own, maybe because they thought the infection was contagious (although that could not have been the reason) or the most likely reason was that they had to disturb me every 3 hours and wouldn’t want to wake any other patients during the night.

Mother, father and my sisters came to visit each day but at that time, visiting hours were very regulated and the staff really didn’t give much thought to a scared young girl laying there alone after the family had left.

I have no clear memory of any of the nurses – hey we are talking 60 plus years ago – but I am sure they all took care of me in ways they knew how.

But I do remember the night that the doctor came into the room.  Mother and the rest of the family had gone for the night.  In a kindly tone he asked if I would like him to release the hoist for the night.  Up until that time, the hoist was released only for short periods, bathing, lavatory trips etc.  I was overjoyed.  And then he told me that the plaster could come off the next day and they would then determine how well or if the treatment had worked.  So  although I was delighted that the hoist was released I was left alone with more scary thoughts.  I am sure that I spent most of that night in trepidation wondering what they would discover when they removed the cast.

I was in a fever the next morning.  Each time I heard footsteps coming towards my room I thought they were coming for me.  But they waited until mother could be there before removing the cast.  I remember looking at her and feeling that she was worried about the outcome too.

They removed the cast and apart from the look of  this sorry, wasted right leg, they pronounced all was well.  The Streptomycin had cured the bug infection and I could go home later that day.  Of course, I had a series of exercises to strengthen the leg and they had to be done several times a day.  I couldn’t go back to school until I had recovered some strength in the leg.  And so I spent some of the only days alone with my mother.  Always the other girls were there needing attention but here I was the only person she had to attend to in the hours in which the girls were at school.  I really enjoyed that time and look back on it with gratitude.

I had to take care not to knock the leg for a while, but I quickly forgot about it in the days when I went back to school and then there was the excitement of going to the grammar school and moving house.  Osteomyelitis, the possibility of losing a leg, six weeks in hospital were all forgotten as these things should be when one is only 11 years old.

I will always be grateful to that surgeon who offered the alternative to losing a leg.  I have not thought of him for many, many years and I never knew his name.  Obviously I thanked him when I left hospital but in later years, I could have made the time to find out his name and thank him properly.

And I have not often thought of it in the intervening years, with one exception.  My husband was seriously ill in hospital and I met a young couple with a child of about 11.  They had just been told that she had osteomyelitis and though they now had drugs with which to treat the infection, there was still a lot of dread connected with this disease.  I was happy to be able to assure them that the disease could be cured and told them own experience.  I like to think that I helped them in some small way.


Driving Test No 2

View of Montreal

Montreal

During the original two years we lived in New Zealand, we were allowed to drive on our British licences.  But when we arrived in Montreal, we were told that we would have to obtain Quebec licences immediately.

So shortly after we arrived, my late husband told me that he had arranged for us to take our tests.  There were two other men transferred into the area by the company at the same time, so we all went off to the testing centre together.

Frank and Lise were from Paris, France; Alexandros and Maria were from Cuba, via Bogota and then there were us from New Zealand.

We duly arrived at the testing centre and were separated while we took a very cursory written test.  Then we were each called in turn to take our driving test.  The man who was to test me arrived and sheepishly herded me out of the door into the car.  He then looked at me with hung-over, bloodshot eyes and told me that he had very little sleep and was very tired and I added under my breath, ‘hungover’.

Cartoon

Cartoon from Flickr – raybreakstonewebcomic/3145700127/

We drove once around the block whereupon he asked me to pull over and promptly fell asleep in the passenger seat.  Well, what to do.  In a car in a strange land with a strange man asleep.  So I turned on the radio to some very quiet music and sat there for about 15 minutes.  I then gently woke him and he sheepishly told me to return to the testing centre.  On arriving there, he pronounced me safe to drive, took me inside the centre and signed a form whereupon I was the proud owner of a Quebec licence.

When I told the other members of the party – well out of earshot of anyone in the testing centre – about my tester they thought it a great laugh and very unfair.  They had all been put through the hoops to prove that they were competent drivers while I sailed through.

My late husband always said I was born under a lucky star and I guess in this instance he was correct.

© Carolyn Seelen | Dreamstime.com

© Carolyn Seelen | Dreamstime.com

No day is so bad it can’t be fixed by taking a nap.”
Judith Baxter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Driving Test

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.  ~Dave Barry,
“Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”

My father in law bought me a car when I was expecting my son, so I had to drive.  I had taken lessons before that and failed but as I had no real urgency to get a licence I did nothing about it.  However, there was a brand new Austin A40 car in the dealership just waiting for me to go and pick it up.  So I had a few lessons and applied for my licence.  The driving instructor was very strict making me reverse into tight spaces and around corners etc.  Reversing is still not my strong suit.

Austin A40

This photo sent to me by a friend. My A40 was white.

We were living just north of Glasgow at the time – 1962 – and so the test had to be taken in Glasgow.  By the time my appointment came I was about 8 months pregnant but didn’t want to go to the back of the queue again so I duly turned up for the test.  I wish I had had my camera with me when I saw the look on the tester’s face.

Glasgow

View of Glasgow via Wikipedia

We got into the car on a wet, windy Glasgow day.  At that time, many of the streets were cobbled and of course, slippery in the rain.   We did a couple of hill starts, drove around the streets, some parallel parking and driving through the centre of the town.  This was a bit hair raising as there were many policemen on point duty for some reason that day.  Although I was nervous I managed not to hit any of them.

Cobblestone

More recent photo of cobblestone street

If I may say so I took the test with aplomb although the tester did say he thought we shouldn’t try sudden stops with a look at my advanced stage of pregnancy.

I don’t know who was the most pleased to get back to the testing office whereupon he pronounced that I had passed the test.  From the look on his face I think the tester.

Have you seen this?


“You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.” Author Unknown