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‘Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.’ - Wallace Stevens

One thing I really cannot stand are surfaces bedecked with ‘stuff’. ‘Stuff’ just left or shuffled from another place with ‘stuff’ on it. Living in the building site as we do and have done for ten years, there’s not much cleanish space and it is imperative to try and keep some areas reasonably tidy. Our kitchen table is the main dumping ground and it drives me mad. After a little clear up yesterday, Simon thought this ditty appropriate today…

’I cleared the kitchen table this morning. Made it, but only with a long run-up.’

What may be normal for others, became normal for us this morning. After ten years plus of washing our faces and brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink, we finally have a basin with hot and cold running water. It’s a temporary-ish set up at present but nevertheless, a magnificent leap forward that suddenly feels as if we have arrived in the 21st century, not the 18th. So too, the upstairs loo. Flushing, no less. A giant step for us and it feels luxurious, even unfinished as it is.

Poor Arnie is in the wars. He was outside yesterday evening, shouting and rousting about. Possibly at Monsieur le Fox? Whatever it was, he’s very under the weather today. Not eating, moving, squeaking with pain when he’s touched and asleep most of the day in the gloriously warm sunshine.

Yet another trip down to Mathieu the vet but he doesn’t think it’s serious. Perhaps Arnie ate something oozing and fetid on his excursion yesterday evening? Who knows, apart from him.

Simon is run ragged with all this caring stuff, although it must be said he’s doing a great job. His roast lamb dinner yesterday evening was one of the best.

The sun continues to engulf us in it’s warming rays and today we lunched in the garden again, basking and lapping up the incredible un-February-like warmth. It could be April. Another few days of this beckons then it’s back to the seasonal norm. Boo!

Day 6 post-op for me. A day abundant with positive feelings, starting to shed the skin of tension, pain and anxiety that has cloaked my daily existence for so long now. Moving around far more easily, walking well, exercises executed better and with more control every day, washing and getting dressed unaided apart from the infernal compression stockings.

However, still no ‘Bingo!’ moment and I’m getting pretty uncomfortable. It’s six days after all. Simon is despatched to the pharmacy and returns with some packets of ‘stuff’ that I hope will assist a mass evacuation in the not too distant future.

As the nurse is due to arrive at 18h00 to change my dressing, at 17h30 I carefully and incredibly slowly shower. Such a relief to be properly clean and wash my hair with my real homemade soap and good hair products! Two very jolly nurses turn up and administer the daily injection. After they carefully peel back the still moist-from-the-shower old dressing, Simon snaps a photo of the progress. Admiring comments from the two nurses as to the state of the 12cm wound, before it’s carefully cleaned and recovered with a waterproof dressing. Yay! I will be able to shower every day from now on without worrying about it getting wet.

It’s all going very well indeed. Quelle soulagement! What a relief! Although… I hope it’s only a temporary thing exacerbated perhaps by the over-capacitised colon and maybe not enough rest...

Ruby and I trundle off for our gentle, early evening stroll, Arnie being confined to bed voluntarily. Walking through the orchard there’s suddenly an comfortable feeling - I’ve wet myself - bugger! Not masses but definitely enough to know about it. Had no warning that was going to happen! Fifty metres further, the same thing happens again. Totally without warning. FFS! I wrap my coatigan firmly around me as my honey-of-a-neighbour wanders up for a chat. I’m very conscious of the uncomfortable moistness below as we have a good chat. So very happy to be able to do so with reasonable ease.

Not only did I get my back shored up but my I had an intensive course in French too, as it has definitely progressed mightily.

The incontinence is something I need to keep an eye on as pre-op, this was a warning sign of potential serious problems. Will see what tomorrow brings.


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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