Monday, 13 February 2012


There’s been a lot of sickness doing the rounds in my world – yes, I work in a hospital, but it seems to be around everywhere.  I looked after my partner John while he struggled with a nasty version of the usual cold, cough and temperature, which he passed to me in due course (I’ve no idea if it was flu’ but it certainly felt like it) and unusually for me I had to take a week off work, too miserable even to do any writing. 

I was glad to lose myself in Dumas’ Count of Montecristo – what a magnificent storyteller he was – and when I’d had enough of the sublime I resorted to the ridiculous card games on my computer.  My box of tissues became the most important item in my life, and John my lifeline.  Our loud sneezes and coughing fits amused the cats not at all.
When I returned to work I saw the silver lining:  the multi-storey car park was a shadow of its former self.  I imagine staff had been struck down in droves by flu’ and nurses were probably encouraged to stay away so as not to infect patients.  For two weeks there have been so many car parking spaces that I have longed to just go from one to another and stay for a while in each, JUST BECAUSE I CAN...
In our office I learned that our Finnish colleague Hedda had been very ill and was in hospital with appendicitis.  We had barely got our act together to get her a card when we were told she had discharged herself, and 24 hours after her laparoscopic procedure she was back at work because ‘she hated to break her routine’. 
She was clearly fragile though, and after a few part-time days she disappeared again, and we learned she had been rushed back to hospital with peritonitis.  This time we didn’t delay in signing a card and getting her a woman’s magazine, but when a colleague went to see her and to deliver them, she had gone – once again she had discharged herself after 24 hours.  The following day she was back again at work… She’s very slim, delicate, blonde, a mother of young children… and obviously tough as old boots.
The Self-published Book

The book of my great aunt’s letters between 1912 and 1919 was successfully printed on top quality satin paper in hard back with 102 illustrations on over 220 pages.  The weekend before last John and I drove to Oxford to hand it over to my 94 year old cousin (my great aunt’s surviving daughter).  She’s a feisty lady who speaks her mind and is as sharp as a razor, but I needn’t have worried.  She was very pleased with it, and would be taking it with her to Argentina the following week whence she was headed on business.  She’ll read it while she’s there and tell me about all the typos when she returns in a couple of months’ time.  Here are some pictures I took of it before it left my hands.

I know, not the best I've ever taken.  But you get the idea.


Flu’ and very cold weather have discouraged me from going out and about very much using my lovely new camera, and also because I’ve been searching the accessories market for a chest pod to help me support it and not get camera shake – it’s quite heavy.  But I must, because I’ve been asked to take pictures at a friend’s wedding in April.   I’m already starting to shake.  This coming Thursday I shall be travelling to Dorchester to visit my niece and His Gorgeousness (my great nephew) and will be having another go, and also (gulp) trying the video facility.


Selina in 2011 (not taken by me, sadly)

Some of you kindly asked me to update you on the state of health of my friend Michèle’s younger daughter Selina who was in a terrible car accident in early October last year (In Argentina).  I’m told she is still in some kind of a coma, yet her eyes are open and she is moving her arms slowly. 

Though not speaking yet, she can hear on both sides, understand speech and reason for herself, and by the simple expedient of putting her thumb up or down can communicate her wishes to those around her.  She has shown initiative in grabbing the soap to wash herself, and has stroked her mother’s cheek.  She’s making slow but steady progress, and the specialists are pleased with her. 
This last weekend her faithful girlfriends visited her, giving Selina’s mother a break and a chance to catch up on her sleep, and took it in turns to fuss over her.  One moisturised her face while another gave her a manicure and pedicure which she obviously enjoyed.  She stroked their faces and reduced them to tears.  Love is never forgotten.
Photo Finish -
from Lonicera's non-digital archive
Que Viva España!!



Sandy Lee said...

I'm so glad you are better now. And congrats on the book. It looks amazing. Now for your next one with all your stories you are writing.

Joyful said...

It is a great project you gave to your aunt. I can't imagine such a long flight at her age. I sure hope I will be able to do it! I hope too that she LOVES the book and tells you so when she returns.

I'm moved by Selina's story. I'm glad you gave us an update because I have been wondering though I didn't ask. I am so pleased she is at least able to have some form of communication.

I do hope the flu is behind you. Several people I know over here have had to fight it as well. Hugs. xx

Sara said...

Your book looks fantastic. Makes me want to do that too with some family history. And as usual, your photos are so beautiful.

Coral Wild said...

Hello Caroline, I haven't left a comment for a while but I've been reading both your new posts and some from the past.
I hope you are better now and keeping warm?
The book looks wonderful, what a good way of preserving some of the fast vanishing past.
I read your story of "Chubby chops" a few days ago. So wonderful of you to open up to us with your story, your feelings and your journey. I found it very moving.
Take care,

Lonicera said...

You're right Sandy, I'd enjoy turning part of my blog into a book. I seem to be more confident about doing it with other people's work...

Thanks Penny - I've not said what this 94 year old aunt is like. She virtually runs her farm in Argentina from Oxford, via fax, telephone and letter because she can't get on with computers! She's in Argentina now because they have a board meeting. She's amazing, and calls a spade a spade, which is why I was nervous. I'll keep on posting about Selina from time to time, it's so nice that some readers are interested.

Thanks for your comment Sara - actually it's not difficult at all to do it, because makes available all the software you need. Once you learn how to enter text and photographs (which can be a bit fiddly as far as text is concerned), it's mainly just clicking in the right place. Their printing facilities are terrific, and they turn out an impeccable product with a very fast rurn around. From ordering the book to getting it printed (In Holland) and sent to me, took one week.

Sue, how noble of you to go back to past posts - thank you. The blog was started to help me with the vicissitudes of the gastric band, and I felt I had to start by making a clean breast of my past weight problems, which I had never before done. It was an excellent psychological exercise and I've vowed not to go into denial any more - helped by other bloggers who are in the same situation as I am. As therapy it's wonderful.

Thank you all.

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