Train of thought

Our garden borders the train line between Portsmouth and Southampton. The trees at the bottom of the garden and along the side of the track mean that I can see glimpses of the frequent carriages that whizz past although sometimes not so much whizz as rumble.

At this time of year as most of the trees are losing their leaves I get a better look at the trains passing by. I know that many people would hate to live so close to a rail track. I wouldn’t say that I don’t notice the trains but I do notice them. I am fascinated seeing them through the foliage. Other than the goods trains that rumble along from time to time, there are three regular rail companies to be seen.

Southern Rail which is the one I catch when I visit my family in Brighton.

southern rail

Great Western which goes to Cardiff. These are usually only short trains

GRW rail

Finally there are the South Western Rail which are probably the most frequent

south western

The reason I am talking about these trains today is that this morning I noticed a string of brown carriages flashing past. Possibly a steam train. I didn’t see if this was being pulled by a steam train or not. We do get them now and again. I did notice that on a couple of carriages the words Dream Steam appeared so I’m guessing that it was. I couldn’t find any images with the logo I saw.

Not long after I saw another train I had not seen before. It turns out to be a new train belonging to South Western rail so I expect I shall start seeing these more often.

SWR

Do any of you live near to a rail line and what are your local trains?

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Early days of motherhood

I have been reading a book about a ‘Mummy Blogger’. In this book an aspiring writer is thrown into motherhood sooner than she was prepared for with the early birth of her daughter. She begins writing a blog about life with her new daughter. I have reached a chapter where she describes being incredibly lonely once the first visits from family and friends have dwindled and her husband is back at work. She spends a lot of time speaking to her husband on the phone whilst he is meant to be working.

Reading this has got me thinking about what it was like for me as a new mother for the first time. I had moved from Kent to Hampshire and was staying with my parents for the first few months. My father was commuting weekly between Hampshire and Kent for work. The father of my baby had been made redundant from his job. He hadn’t decided until my son was born whether he wanted to be a father. He was splitting his time between Kent and Hampshire until he found a job in Hampshire. I was alone all day Monday to Friday while everyone else was working. I didn’t know anyone locally, I didn’t have access to my own friends. This was in the days before mobile phones and even the internet . My days were revolved around my little baby boy. He was one of those babies that doesn’t want to sleep.

When he was 4 months old the three of us moved into a bungalow about 5 miles from my parents’ house. If I thought I was lonely before the loneliness was about to increase a notch. Now I found myself living in an old farm house with no neighbours. We had fields on two sides, woods on the other side and a Household Waste site across the road. My only access to a phone was the Public Telephone five minute walk away. I had no transport as my son’s father was using it for work. At least I had had my mum to talk to in the evenings and weekends before but on the plus side I didn’t need to worry about my baby crying now. I was the only one who heard him now.

Life did improve when I started working in a local DIY store down the road at weekends. My baby would be with his dad and I would be with other adults. I made a couple of friends who also had young children/babies. I’m trying to search my memory (this was 31 years ago). Both these women lived at the other side of the large village/small town. I walked everywhere in those days but I don’t think I would have walked that far. Maybe I did. More likely they came to visit me more often. Later in my son’s life I had the use of a car so I could drive everywhere but by then we had moved again to another village 3 miles from my parents’ in the opposite direction.

This little boy of mine now has a two month old daughter with his fiance. Although they also moved shortly before the birth of their daughter, life is very different now. Contact with family and friends however far or near is at the click of a button. With the wide use of digital photography and mobile phones I am able to watch the progress of my granddaughter (and my 18 month grandson in London) from a distance.

What are your memories of those early days of parenthood?

It saw me and didn’t care

Last week I noticed that the bag of bird food by the back door had been nibbled at. I bought some mouse poison, the same as I had used back in the early spring. A few days ago I saw something out of the corner of my eye falling out of the fireplace. I put the mouse poison box on the fire place. Each morning I have crept about looking for any dead mice. Nothing! I have moved it to the same place as last time we had mice.

I have purchased a metal Bird food container. It actually looks quite cute. That will stop them stealing the food I buy for the birds.

This morning to my surprise I saw a mouse run from the fire place towards my mum (who is totally oblivious). A moment later I saw a mouse peering at me from behind a stack of books on the fireplace. I don’t know if this is the same one or a second one. He/she looked at me looking at it and calmly ran across the room and under the sofa.

I’m not going to look for it, I’m not that brave. I am stunned that I didn’t scream and climb onto the furniture. I have put down more poison, granuals this time. Time will tell but I won’t be able to relax until I know they have gone.

mouse

Unlike many of my friends I am not bothered by spiders but I am terrified of rodents of any kind. My instinct is to seal up the room and never go back in there again until I am sure we are free of mice. I know I can’t do that. My Mum who is disabled spends most of her time in her special riser armchair. She is aware that I thought I saw a mouse last week.

Before I left my husband we had mice in our house for a while. He used the little nipper mouse traps. I can’t use those as a) I am terrified of getting my finger caught in them. b) I wouldn’t be able to remove the dead creature (if it was successful in catching any).

This time it is up to me to deal with. I’m not happy about it but so it goes.

What they don’t tell you

As I have said before as in my last post, in 2001 I was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer. In September (just a week or so after 9/11) I was given the all clear. My treatment had been successful. Yippee, hurray, I got my life back. I remember one of my boys saying “I’ve got my mummy back”. It was a time to celebrate.

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What they didn’t tell me (I was told a few people have long term bowl/bladder problems). I would from then on be terrified of food that I had always loved. I look at the fruit bowl with longing. Grannie smith apples beckon to me with their glistening green peel. Crisp pears appeal to me. Peanuts and Cashews tempt me. In short anything with fibre is dangerous to me. Last week I treated myself to a small handfull of dried fruit in the evening. I woke up in agony and had to rush to the toilet not quite getting there in time.

I can and do occasionally eat small amounts of the foods I desire but fear. I have to plan when I can eat these things ie when I don’t expect to be out of the house for long the next day. Going for long walks are a thing of the past unfortunately. Apart from the time the activity makes my bowels work harder.

As I talked about in my last post ” the cost of surviving cancer” my bladder is badly damaged and I am now awaiting major surgery to make my life better. However over the last 18 years although my bladder has been a problem it has been my bowels that have made my life so difficult. It is only the last year that my bladder has over taken my bowel problems.

This doesn’t mean that my bowel problems have become less annoying. For 18 months until this April I was delivering parcels for a living. Not the best career for someone with my problems. I would be working when I would get a feeling and have to make a mad dash either home or to the nearest place where I could use the public toilets. I didn’t always get there in time even though it might have only taken me 5 minutes. Many times I only get seconds let alone minutes notice that my body is about to eject it’s contents. I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have needed to get completely changed and showered. During the years I worked in an office there were times I had to dash home to get cleaned up.

I love to wear pretty clothes, skirts, dresses, bright colours. I have had to learn to wear clothes that are dark (black or navy trousers) long tops that camoflage any accidents that may occur.

I wonder how many women would think twice about not being tested for cervical cancer if they knew that apart from the treatment which can be harrowing. If they knew that their reluctance to under go the indignity of a smear test could lead to a life like mine.

During the months of treatment there are rules that have to be adhered to. There are reasons for these seemingly odd rules. When I attended my first radiotherapy session (following weeks of tests measurements, scans etc) I was given a list of foods I couldn’t eat. Basically I could only eat food that is generally considered to be unhealthy. I still keep to this diet now because my body gives me no choice. I couldn’t wear perfume. Showers were out. Baths had to be luke warm and no bath oil or bubbles. How disconcerting to be laying in a luke warm bath with nothing to hide the floating hair. I didn’t lose the hair on my head as I didn’t have chemo, but the hair on my body.

How many women would willingly put themselves through all this for the sake of a five minute appointment if they knew what they were letting themselves in for.

I know I am lucky to be alive, others didn’t make it, however I wouldn’t wish anyone to live this way if they can avoid it.