Monthly Archives: November 2017

My Garden

When I restarted my blog a few months ago, I promised that the Old Bat would not go on and on about her garden, boring everyone to death.  I did say that I might write a little update,  so this is it.

I have only a very small plot,  a patch of grass in front of the house running down to the iron fence next to the pavement.  There is a lilac tree on one side of the gate and a weigela on the other side.  Both are mature trees that have to be kept trimmed. Just beyond my large bay window there is an old camellia hedge which spoils the view to the park beyond, but is home to a variety of birds. I keep my bird feeder beside this hedge and spend quite a lot of time watching them come and go. My neighbour in the flat next door enjoys them so much that she came around with a bucket of fat balls to help with the feeding. No bird needs to go hungry this coming winter.

My garden has not been a great success this year  – in fact, it has been a disaster. The main problem is that the garden faces north, so it only gets  good sun in high summer, at other times it gets a few hours from the east or west. My old garden faced south. It was a big shock for my fuchsias in their pots to be placed facing north east or north west. They certainly protested: instead of flowering in July they left it until October or not at all. The frosty nights have started catching my favourite plants in full bloom.

Last year I sowed a few trailing nasturtium seeds below the camellia hedge. What a big mistake, they all flowered, dropping their seeds on the leaf compost below. During this fairly wet summer these seeds grew into extremely strong plants and became a green and orange hedge throttling everything in their path. I had to cut windows in this monster so that my fuchsias and my collection of hydrangeas could get some light. Yes, I know that the leaves make a good salad and the flowers and seeds are also edible but I will never plant those seeds again. By the end of the summer even the grassy lawn had been taken over by these dratted plants. As I now look out of my window in November, there they are, still creeping all over the camellia hedge, their orange faces grinning at me. There will be hundreds of seeds dropping later so I will have to root them out next spring before they get too big. It will be an uneven battle, as they have crafty methods of surviving.

My bird feeder has given me great pleasure. It has two hanging feeders which are always kept full, one with seeds, the other with fat balls, with a bowl of water nearby. All the common garden birds visit, lots of sparrows, flights of long tailed tits, blue tits and great tits, nothing exotic. About three weeks ago a very bossy robin appeared, taking complete command of the whole feeder. Any bird that dared come for their normal feed was chased viciously away, feathers flying everywhere. In between fighting off all the birds  he was fighting his reflection in my large window. This behaviour lasted about ten days. I enquired about this of my bird expert friend. She told me  that this was  the time of year that robins mark their territory. At the moment he only visits now and again so all the other birds have come back to feed. I have always known that robins are not the charming birds pictured on Christmas cards but I did not realise that they are quite so  nasty.

One little garden surprise, early in the spring a friend gave me five bulbs. The label had come off the packet so we had no idea what they were. I planted them just below my window and then forgot about them. It is now November when everything is starting to die except under my window where I have five beautiful large white freesias.



This has not been a very good week for me. The week before had been good, with the book group meeting being a success. I had also come to terms with the fact that I would have to wait a very long time for an operation on my spine. It seems to have been one of the longest waiting lists. Now that I am sleeping better, with the help of strong medication, I can manage the pain and do the best I can.

I have also made a big decision about my future.I still work a day and a half a week as a receptionist in a chiropody clinic. It is a job that I enjoy because I live on my own: I enjoy meeting and talking to clients. When I first started work the clients were just names on record cards, now they are my friends. I have just come home from work having decided that I will only work on Tuesdays in the future: the effort of getting there and back is no longer outweighed by a half day’s work. Tuesday is the day when most appointments are booked. I will make sure that all my best friends have future appointments on a Tuesday.

In the meantime, it suddenly struck me that I was drinking an awful lot of water, and losing weight. It was lucky that I had an appointment with Dr Davies to discuss the failure of the spinal injections, so when I told her about these new symptoms, she took a blood sample. Dr Davies rang up today to say that the sugar in my blood is very high so I shall have to take yet another tablet: I have developed type II diabetes. Dr Davies made an appointment for me with Sarah, the practice nurse, so that she can take more blood samples and explain the new situation. I do not know much about diabetes, except that it can occur in old age when certain organs do not work properly. I am certainly going to find out and let you know. I do not feel unwell, just thirsty, very very thirsty. I have never eaten a great deal of sweet food, as I prefer savoury.

Today, Tuesday, is my one day of work so I was looking forward to seeing my best friends who come in on that day. What a surprise when I got inside. The main shop had been broken into. Six electric bikes had been stolen and the Chiropody Clinic had been completely trashed. Every drawer and cupboard had been thrown to the ground, papers and instruments had been kicked all over the floor. It looked as if the thief had lost his temper because he could not find any thing to cash. I returned home before the police arrived. All appointments had to be cancelled. There was nothing that I could do as we had to leave the crime scene untouched, so that the police could take finger prints and so on. Apparently they were a long time coming to investigate because there had been a bad accident on the nearby motorway. When the police arrived they found a lot of evidence to identify the burglar. There were large fresh foot prints on the clean floor of the surgery, fingerprints everywhere, and a metal implement left behind covered with fingerprints. It will be interesting to find out how the investigation turns out. The police have, to date, no suspect.

Next day Dr Davies telephoned to give me the result of the blood test. It was not good. I do have diabetes, my blood is showing a high blood count. A normal count is between 5 and 9. At the moment mine is 22, so this has to be lowered gently with medication and diet. No carbohydrates, nothing containing refined sugar, no bananas because I have high levels of potassium. All this amazes me as I have not felt unwell at all. I have just complained about my long term back injury, while this other problem lurked. Apparently it is not caused by me eating too much sugar, but more by old age and my pancreas not working properly. I might be wrong. I am telling you this so that if anyone develops an enormous thirst,or starts to lose weight suddenly, please go and see your Doctor straight away, it is better to treat an illness early.

A week later.
I am not finding it easy to change my diet. I used to eat either a baked potato or baked sweet potato with salad as the main ingredients of my main meal. No more, they are forbidden, as is the biggest culprit, bread. Now I have to eat vegetables that grow above ground, fruit not containing sugar and proteins, i.e. bacon, eggs, meat and fish. This is quite expensive, therefore not so easy for someone living on their own. No sugar for my coffee until I find a replacement sweetener. I am gradually coming to terms with a new era. I do not feel at all unwell, thank goodness.

I hope that you have all had your influenza jabs.