As I'm sure many of you have noticed, there has been a serious lack of 'birding' posts from me personally – its been a very difficult few weeks and that's putting it mildly. I have been off sick for the longest time I have ever had off work with stress, anxiety and depression – mostly due to my mother's failing illness, which can now only be 'managed'. We thought she wasn't going to make it just before she had two stents fitted and she wasn't good afterwards either – without these, she wouldn't be here now. Basically this operation has prolonged her life. Currently she is weak and can't walk far, but overall she has picked up a bit, but this is only temporary and her 'illness' will very sadly win in the end. She is having regular blood transfusions at the QEH to keep her Haemoglobin levels normal and is on various medications. I would have coped a little better, if I had not lost my father so recently – very difficult to get through life at times and our bodies and minds can only take so much, however strong you think you are.
We had a lovely wheelchair delivered last week and I am very much looking forward to taking mother out tomorrow on my last full day with her before I return to work this Monday. I had to take the entire chair apart to get it in the car though! Today we had a lovely lunch at The White Horse pub in Holme and then fell asleep all afternoon! I don't sleep very well at my mother's house, so we have both just had a glass of Sainsbury's Old Mout Cider Passionfruit & Apple to help us sleep – very nice it was too!
I have spent quite a bit of time trying to improve things to cheer mother up (as has Vivien) and I recently bought a big selection of bird feeders and hung them all up from an old iron rose arch. Mother has always thrown tons of bird seed on the ground and this in turn attracts families of rats! So I decided it was time to get the seed off the ground. I also purchased a wonderful bird table from Titchwell RSPB, which was a display model, so I was lucky enough to get it a bit cheaper! The model is called the Country Barn Bird Table and has a larger than normal feeding area and the brilliant part of the design, is the plastic removable tray for cleaning! This new feeding station has attracted even more birds than normally visit the garden, including both male and female Great Spotted Woodpeckers on the nut feeder. There has also been an incredibly annoying squirrel, who has challenged me daily! I had to make a cage of chicken wire around the fat ball feeder which has worked brilliantly and the squirrel is not happy at all! So far, it has managed to destroy a RSPB seed feeder and I had to return to buy a metal one and taken an entire coconut (I now have them wired up). The Jackdaws are also pigging out on everything! We also purchased some lovely colourful potted plants from Ringstead Nurseries, so that mother can view these from her chair in the dining room, whilst watching the birds feeding.
Vivien will be caring for my mother during the week and I will be taking over at weekends which is going to be difficult, but we are not putting her into a care home at any stage. After seeing my father in a care home, we won't ever be going through that again!