Month: February 2014

Migraines Can Kiss My Ass

So today two things were supposed to happen.

1 – My landlady and her partner/boyfriend/whatever were scheduled to examine a wind-damaged section of fence ready for replacing it tomorrow.

2 – I was to meet a friend after work (hers, not mine) and we were to go and have a drink, a catch up and maybe even some food.

You  may already be assuming that neither of those two things actually happened, although for (one assumes) two different reasons.

Landlady plus squeeze didn’t appear. Or if they did, they didn’t make any noise or announce their presence in the back garden in any way. There was certainly no notification by her that they did or did not attend. Would’ve been nice to know. Several months (if not a year) ago we were expecting a builder to visit and look at some loose roof tiles. He was due at 8am. He rang the bell. By the time I had put on a dressing gown and made it to the front door (we do not live in a big house …) he had not only gone, but rung the landlady to complain that there was nobody in. Cue angry phone call from the landlady having a moan. All by about 8:04. At which point I stated – in no uncertain terms – that I was at the house and had not heard the builder knock or attempt to use the (faulty) doorbell. He arrived 15 minutes later. No apology. The point being that she has issues with us not doing as arranged, and I would expect that to cut both ways. Clearly not. I have no idea if I am to expect them at some point tomorrow … Luckily they don’t need entry to the house to access the back garden.

The second one (and the part that I was most looking forward to) didn’t happen due to migraine. Mine, not my friend’s. I was feeling a little under the weather on Thursday, but not enough to not spend 6 hours in a record office with a different friend researching dead people. Consequently waking up at 6:30 in the morning with indescribable pain, nausea and all the other goodness that comes with migraine was not the start of something glowing. After an hour I was able to get back to sleep. Sometimes migraine is a little like being drunk – the room swirls and lurches when you close your eyes. I woke up again sometime after noon and I dragged myself around for a while before having a bath and yet more sleep. Currently I feel somewhat approaching normal. The fact that I can sit and look at a computer screen and type is a big tick in the progress column.

This non-day is doubly irksome as I am currently *lowers voice to avoid telling the weirdos* home alone. The other half is away at his mum’s for a few days. Hence the 6 hour record office jaunt yesterday and the trip out this evening (not that I can’t do either of those things with him here, but its nice to be proactive and have something to wile away the cold, dark, empty hours).

He’s due home tomorrow. When I will tell him that the oven appears to have spontaneously … stopped. Unless it decides to spontaneously … work.

I also want to make some Anzac biscuits, but need some desiccated coconut. I’m hoping the shop up the road has some otherwise I’ll have to walk into town and get some. The things we do for love.


99 Problems And My Garden Ain’t One Of Them

I have a problem.

Okay, I have many problems, but the one I am referring to in this instance is my ability to procrastinate.

Especially where writing is concerned.

I am currently undertaking a … how to describe it? … writing challenge (not the correct word but right now it will suffice) with an author friend of mine.

Week One was 3 pages. Not a problem. Blasted it out of the park with five pages (and two Rocky Horror references). Not too difficult when your inspiration looks like Brian Mazza.

Week Two was another 3 pages and a plot outline. Week Two technically ended on Sunday afternoon. As it happened, both of us had somewhat shitty weeks so we agreed to extend for another day. Currently my ‘3 pages’ is standing at one and a half (of stink).

You’d think, therefore, that an afternoon spent at my keyboard would be wise, even necessary, especially as I am the setter of the Week Three exercise.

This did happen. For a short time. However, I spent an hour outside in the garden. (The 90 minute phone call afterwards helping my mum register an email address and set up her tablet wasn’t exactly my fault.)

But an hour well-spent all the same, with general tidying and preparing and weeding and whatnot.

I now have three irises in flower.

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The more exposed clematis is shooting strongly in three places. (It did this early last year too – and then it got knocked back by frost.)

Compare to a picture taken on 05 March last year:


Currently no more blue Anemone blanda in flower, but I did give a whoop (yes, a 34 year old, 6’4″ man can whoop) when I spotted that the winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) are breaking ground and flowering!

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I also have an allium coming on nicely. No idea if its the Album or Purple Sensation (what do you mean, label things??).

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The hyacinths also remain strong and are coming along very nicely indeed, as do the tulips.

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And because I think they are quite lovely … more oxslip/primrose pics.

And my 3 pages?

Still 1 and a half pages of stink …

More Spring Goodies

I was in the garden just now and noticed that one of the dwarf iris was in full flower. Not sure how I managed to miss that! (And yes, just one … none of the other bulbs has shot more than a couple of centimetres above the ground!)

The FIHY list

I would like to ask you to share your love. A friend of mine has recently had an epiphany of sorts. Not just that she has finally succumbed to the world of blogging, but a life-altering experience for the better. I’ll let her talk about her ‘FIHY list’ and the reasons behind it. But in the mean time, go and give her some love.

Just Breathe

I learnt something very important this weekend. I was reminded that I’d forgotten to breathe. Just breathe.

Of course I’m breathing. I breathe every second of every day. But I’d forgotten to use it as a way of hitting life’s pause button. I’d forgotten that when I feel overwhelmed, and cortisol is coursing through my veins, that all I need to do is breathe. When I get up on stage, and look at 100 pairs of eyes upon me, that all I have to do is inhale followed by exhale. When I write an entire blog post, and it disappears in front of my eyes (angry shake of fist) – just breathe. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been doing it since the day I was born, but I’ve taken it for granted.

So what made me realise that I needed to learn to breathe again? I attended a workshop…

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More Evidence Spring Is Not Here, No Sir

Another (!) very pleasant day here in the heart of (north) Wiltshire. Started off frosty (no frost pictures), but remained clear (!) and dry (!!) all day.

On an afternoon perusal of the garden I noticed a few things. Firstly that the neighbourhood cats continue their vendetta against me and have doubled their efforts to turn my garden into the Cat Poop Capital of Europe but apart from that I see signs that things are, as they say, coming along.

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Huh …

Wow – I just noticed that I’ve lost 70 Followers overnight.

On the off-chance that you’re reading this and thinking that you might do the same, would you drop me a line and let me know why?

Thank you.


Some Anne McCaffrey Artwork

I co-admin a Facebook Page dedicated to the author Anne McCaffrey. November 2013 marked the two year anniversary of her passing, so the other co-admin (a very talented author and absolute whizz with all kinds of graphics) and I decided to run an “Anne Appreciation Week” with each day focusing on a different book/series she had created. Each day had a new matching cover art to go along with it.

I’d like to share those with you now. All copyright to the original images lies with their original creators. All copyright to the subsequent images lies with my co-admin.

Jacob Calvin Adams

The Adams’ were first introduced via my grandfather, Ellis Howard Adams. In tracing him I learnt (rather quickly) that his parents were Jacob Calvin Adams and Dolly Clara Faulkner, and Ellis was the ninth of the 10 children born to Jacob and Dolly.

Descendant Chart for Jacob Calvin Adams

I was able to trace Jake back to the 1900 US census with no difficulty, but not before that. It also appeared that Jake had been married once before marrying my great-grandmother Dolly, and had a son called Roy.

Jake is also unusual in that, thanks to online trees being published, one of the first records I had of him was that of his obituary and the funeral notice in the local newspapers:

Jacob Adams' Obituary

Jacob Adams Funeral Notice

The obituary was key in picking out key details of Jacob’s life. That he died on his 73rd birthday, his exact birth and death dates and locations and names of his children and wife, including the date of their wedding. Genealogical gold! It also mentions a brother, George, and that the boys had been orphaned at a young age and subsequently adopted by the Reverend Mr. Keith c.1869.

However, Reverend Keith, George and Jacob remain elusive in the 1870, 1880 and 1890 US censuses (not so surprising for the 1890 census as what wasn’t destroyed in a fire in 1921 was destroyed by the Librarian of Congress in the 1930s).

I’ve emailed the State Archives to see if they can shed any light on the mysterious Reverend Mr Keith, or the birth records of Jacob and George. I did also email the Pierce City Branch Library but their email address seems to be null and void. This is the second time I’ve had a similar experience when emailing public offices in America.

In 1900 Jacob was living with his first wife in Washington Township, Missouri and gave his occupation as Farm Laborer.

Jake in 1900 US Census

Jake in 1900 US Census

He married Dollie Clara Faulkner on 3 April 1903 in Cassville, Barry, Missouri. Their first child, Mary, was born exactly 9 months later.

By 1910 the family is living in Sheridan Township, Jasper, Missouri. Mary has been joined by siblings Virgil and Vernon.

Jacob in 1910 US Census

Jacob in 1910 US Census

In 1920 the family had travelled almost 250 miles south to Quapaw, Ottawa, Oklahoma, where Jacob was employed at the water works. However, most of the later children (including my grandfather, Ellis) were born in Neosho, Newton, Missouri – less than 40 miles to the east.

jake 1920

Adams family in 1920 US Census

Jacob died – as we have seen already – on his 73rd birthday in 1938.

His death certificate lists cause of death as coronary thrombosis – aka myocardial infarction or heart attack. The informant was his wife Dollie, but no details are listed for his parents. Presumably whatever little information was known by the orphaned Jacob was not passed on to his wife.

Jacob Adams Death Certificate-page-001Should I receive a response from the Missouri State Archives then his story will continue. However, for now at least, it seems as if my Adams line will remain a mystery.

Spring Has Not Sprung

Looking out onto my garden, in the rays of the late afternoon sunshine, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the worst of the winter depredations were over. Whilst not early April, it could pass as a day in mid March with everything green and the promise of spring just around the corner.

Despite appearances, it isn’t. Its one week into February and I can’t remember the last time we had a frost. I like to think that we have had one since New Year, but I wouldn’t like to commit to that.

As I have mentioned, the primroses (Primula vulgaris) haven’t really stopped flowering and are still going strong. Here’s one my mother swears is called ‘Ron’s Red’, but I can’t find it mentioned online, and it looks fairly purple to me.

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And talking of my mother … I was on the phone to her this morning (its a regular Sunday thing), I was looking out across the sodden wastes lawn and noticed a smattering of yellow in the fenceline. Clearly it couldn’t be the cowslips (Primula veris) oxlips (Primula elatior) coming into flower. Could it?

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So that’s a thing.

Plus I saw an Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) the other day feeding in the garden. Which at least is a change from the resident thugs visitors – pigeons, jackdaws, starlings & magpies.

Blackcap by Margaret Holland

Blackcap by Margaret Holland

The forecasters seem to be saying that this is our lot (wind and rain but above-average temperatures) for the remainder of the month, but with colder snaps between the wet nearer the end of February/beginning of March. So nothing to get excited about.

Is This A Dinosaur Resurgence?

I love dinosaurs. I love going to the cinema. However, combining the two often leads to disappointment (i.e. dinosaurs in the movie, not running amok in the multiplex) of one sort or another. I’m not talking about animated dinosaurian offerings – those are … different, and you can’t expect 100% scientific accuracy from Disney’s Dinosaur or The Land Before Time.

However, the Jurassic Park films were pretty accurate for their day. Well … sort of. The concept of feathered dromaeosaurs wasn’t accepted until the late 1990s (although restorations of feathered dinosaurs appeared in 1975) so perhaps one can excuse Michael Crichton for including them as such in his original book as it was published in 1990 with the movie appearing in 1993. Despite this, the overall image of dinosaurs as avian, active, intelligent creatures was spot on.

In the 20 years since JP was released, dinosaurs have cropped up a few times in film – although the less said about CarnosaurRaptor Island and Land of the Lost the better – but we seem to have had a slew of mainstream movies featuring them recently. Is a resurgence in dino-love on the way?

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