dear diary :: rest and restore

Oooops….how did so much time pass by since my last post – it has been more than busy here since our return from Scotland at the beginning of May, a bit of a roller coaster, and I am feeling rather fraught and fed up at the moment. Mum has been on another visit and they don’t get any easier. By the end of the last day, as lovely as it is to see her, she is such high maintenance now and has me in such a tizzy. I certainly needed my calming yoga class this morning. She is steadily going downhill, no major or serious illness more an accumulation of niggly complaints that are limiting her mobility and confidence; she is constantly anxious about her deteriorating condition which is making her frustrated and a bit demanding. She would like things to be as they were when she was young and fit and well – sadly her body and mind will never return to that….. but that is true for all of us as we age, and she is both in denial and expectant that the doctor is going to hand her some magic pill to restore her to her old self…….and that is not going to happen. In fact the more tablets she takes the more problems are occurring because of the side effects. It feels like we are fire fighting added to which her daily diet of sausage rolls, mini cheddar crackers and Magnum lollies in place of a good balanced meal is not helping but she wouldn’t agree! Still at 93 does it really matter if she is enjoying them.

Yesterday we took her back home to North Yorkshire and on the way we stopped in Thirsk for lunch. It was beyond busy with the bank holiday visitors and the outdoor market taking up most of the parking places near to the shops and cafes. With no disabled spots available mum had to hobble along the bumpy cobbles with her bad knee (it was actually her good knee until she managed to twist it badly on Wednesday and is now back to a pronounced limp). After lunch she insisted on walking to Boots as she had her mind fixed on getting some Ibuprofen to help with the inflammation on her knee. When the pharmacist knew she took blood pressure tablets she advised against taking the Ibuprofen tablets but suggested continuing with the Ibuprofen gel the doctor had prescribed as it is more localised (taking tablets can cause kidney failure in people with high blood pressure). Mum reluctantly put the tablets back. Later on though whilst shopping in Sainsbury’s in Northallerton I discovered she had sneaked a packet into her trolley! What can I do? She is determined to take them and ignore the advice. She is looking for a quick fix. Aren’t we all!

The Christening of Sweetie took place on the Sunday before last at the little church in Healey, North Yorkshire; a beautiful church in a beautiful village setting and at the moment one of the churches taking part in the Art Installations Trail around the Masham area – for anyone interested see the link here.

It was a gloriously sunny day and the vicar, who was on TV last week and married my daughter in 2008, delivered a very memorable address during the service reminding us that whatever shape, colour or creed we are all unique and handed ‘mum’ a picture of a Zebra as a reminder for Sweetie when she is older (each Zebra’s stripes are unique to them). We sang the hymn with gusto…….well the vicars wife did….’One more step along the way we go’ and then Sweetie was doused with the baptism water…..Sweetie did not take kindly to this.

Making the dress was a labour of love – a joy to make but I am not sure it was my best work – I found my eyes are not as sharp now for such intense sewing and wearing reading glasses all the time is a bit cumbersome and gave me eye strain. Added to which I spent so much time looking down that by the time the dress was finished my neck and shouders had become so tense I was quite dizzy moving my head.

We had a change of mind about the fabric and in the end we used some leftover ivory silk from my daughter’s bridesmaid dresses and Nottingham tulle lace left over from when I made wedding dresses.

If nothing else making this dress helped me to see that there is no way I could do this kind of intense sewing now – any ideas I have had recently about starting another business in this line are firmly quashed. As much as I love to sew and make things my life has moved on now, I am older and slower, and I must move on with it and accept that any sewing I do will be as a hobby….for pleasure only and something not time limited. Although I enjoyed making the dress nothing else got done and I feel like I am back to square one with the house. You should see it now (well no you shouldn’t it is an absolute tip). I have washing and ironing to catch up with, phone calls to make, general cleaning, gardening and it is now time for a visit to Scotland again.

During all the must do’s we have managed a few days out and about – this is the best time of year to look around other gardens. We spent a lovely day walking around the hidden gardens of Little Ouseburn, near York – some of the participants have been opening up their gardens for many years now and it is interesting to see how they have developed and changed over time.

Little Ouseburn Gardens

After my Yoga class last Tuesday we had a trip out to York Gate gardens in Leeds – one of my favourite small gardens now in the care of the charity Perennial and their many volunteers.

I am in need of rest and restoration at the moment – a few days relaxing and time to think about the days ahead and what I might plan to do during June. You may have noticed my lack of comments recently – I have been reading along with my favourite blogs as much as I can and I hope normal service will resume soon.

16 Replies to “dear diary :: rest and restore”

  1. The dress is beautiful, Vivien. As someone who hasn’t the first clue about sewing, I can only imagine the amount of work you put into it. A family heirloom for sure.
    You’ve had a busy time of it recently and I don’t blame you for taking some time out for relaxation. X


  2. I totally understand the difficulties of caring for your mum. We are facing similar issues with Mr S’s mother. Except she has dementia. We have her in an aged care facility as she can’t be left alone.

    I love all the garden and flower shots. Except for the crowds, I’d love to do a garden tour in the UK.


    1. Some of the private ‘Open Gardens’ are just as interesting as the large public ones – if you look online at the NGS (National Garden Scheme) site it tells you all the gardens that are opening their doors over the season – so if you ever pay the UK a visit you can check what is on in the area you are visiting. Mum is finding it more difficult on her own but not really ready to go into care. She could do a lot more than she does especially if she did not keep falling out with the other ladies in the apartment block. The communal laundry has now become very contentious in my mum’s mind and she remarks on how they do their washing all the time – not the best way to keep friends!

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  3. With all that you have doing, I’m not surprised you are feeling worn out. The Christening gown is absolutely beautiful and the photos of the day are ones to be treasured. I’m glad you had some down time to visit the gardens, it’s a lovely idea for people to open up their gardens. Hope you manage to have some more time to replenish your energy and well-being:)


    1. I know you can identify well with my situation of having long intense periods of work and then a few recovery days. It isn’t the best way to live is it but I am not sure how I can make it any better as I am not able to set some of the dates. My mum’s visits all depend on when my sister decides she is going away and it is often at short notice. The Christening was booked a while ago and then just happened to coincide with a busy time for us. The bank holidays seemed to all be so close together this year which hasn’t helped.


  4. You did a really good job with the gown, it’s just beautiful. It’s no wonder you need some down time, I hope a period of rest and being kind to yourself helps. Your mother is marvellous for her age (my mum’s nearly 83) – elderly parents are such a worry aren’t they?


    1. Yes they are and it is so difficult when they want to do things but just can’t. My mum would like it if we could just sit and natter with her all day or run her from tea shop to tea shop because she can’t get out by herself anymore but we do have our own lives too.


  5. Oh my, that is quite a challenge with your mum and I commend you for spending as much time together as you do. This month I was out for brunch with my mom; she uses a walking frame but won’t bring it into a restaurant. So she gets around quite cautiously. We knew the buffet would be a challenge. She understandably wanted to load up her own plate, but wouldn’t accept any help bringing it back to the table while also trying to keep her purse on her shoulder. One part of me understands wanting to do everything yourself, because it helps you maintain your abilities. The other part of me thinks, can’t she see what an imposition this is for other people who are worried for her and who want to help (and potentially spare her harm or embarrassment)

    The Christening was a lovely intergenerational day and what beautiful dresses! The gown you made will be a family heirloom.

    PS I love both kinds of white tulips in the photos!


    1. The tulips were incredible mine look weedy in comparison – they must have sturdier, bigger varieties or much better weather! I smiled at the vision of your mom with her plate full and purse – I know this scenario well, although in a cafe my mum now says I’ll sit here and you get me something from the counter – we often get the wrong thing of course -not sure which is the harder way of doing it.


  6. You did lovely work on the gown. And I am sure if you don’t sew anything else for a long time, it will be too soon! I understand your feelings about sewing. I find that standing over the table cutting out garments, as well as bending over the machine to sew or work with fiddly bits are all neck and back killers. It completely takes the pleasure out of the experience. I just did sleeve alterations on a lace, long-sleeved bridesmaid’s dress for my DIL. By the time I unpicked the stitching and cuffing layers (3) and put it all back together, three hours had passed. Can only imagine the time it took you to do the gown.

    You so deserve a break and I hope that Scotland provides a respite for you (even if it also means a great deal of gardening work). It is painful to see a parent in decline–someone who was once so independent and capable. Trying to care for someone who is no longer able to make good decisions and is querulous, too, is beyond frustrating (and heartbreaking) especially when there are so many other demands on your time. Take care of yourself in these challenging times.


    1. Even a few days now are such hard work especially as she cannot open anything in our home – wardrobe doors etc as she is not used to them. The bedside table has to be moved each time to the other side of the bed as she can only sleep on one side…and so it goes on….so every little issue has to be overcome and that is what makes it so tiring.
      I can sew reasonably quickly but I am out of practice and of course the armholes and neckline are tiny for a 6 month garment so quite fiddly. I never needed glasses before when I had my wedding business and find it hard having to sew all the time with them on.
      Everything in life is a learning curve!


  7. It’s an absolutely beautiful dress, well done.
    I totally understand about your mother. It does make things really difficult and one feels stressed and then guilty. Really not easy at all.


  8. A very busy few weeks, I’m not surprised you haven’t had time to blog. The Christening looks beautiful. What a special family occasion. So pleased it went well My house is a state too again! It will have to wait. I’m loving quilting again. I even brought some with me to Center Parcs, but I’ve now finished all the bits I brought with me. The eyesight thing is a challenge when threading needles though. I need good light these days.


    1. Me too – the light – my eyesight went downhill the day I started the office job and worked with computer screens all day. Sewing with glasses is just not the same.
      Have a lovely rest at Center Parcs – your quilt is so lovely I hope you will take a picture of your progress.


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