Feeling Chirpy

The cockatiel has been on antibiotics for eight days and doesn’t look quite so much like a reject feather duster.

I wanted to get a video of his showstopper version of Jan Pierewiet, and discovered he is shy. Bring up the camera and he scurries off to the back of the cage. But he is looking, and sounding, much better. He wants to go outside, but we are going into autumn, and it’s getting cold. Enjoy your spring, northern hemisphere.

Thanks for all the good wishes for the little bird brain. Much appreciated.

This post is being written on my phone. There is thunder and lightning out there, and I don’t want my desktop zapped. We do pretty hectic thunderstorms up here on the highveld.

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Amazingly intricate art


Steeven Salvat

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A Cantankerous Cockatiel

The other day I went to take the cockatiel’s cage down to feed him and he had a go at biting my thumb. Now that’s not like him at all. He’s not used to being handled, but we have evolved a working relationship where he shrieks when he want to be fed/go out/be covered up or make a noise. I feed him/put the cage outside/cover him or tell him to shut up. When he is in the mood, he clings to the corner of the cage and sings Jan Pierewiet

So I took him to the vet and found out I have a Cockatiel with pneumonia. I didn’t even know that was possible! Poor little soul had a temperature of over 40°. He is on antibiotics and looks like a reject yellow feather duster.

Sick Cockatiel

He’s not a young bird, which may be part of the reason he got sick. Here’s hoping he makes it.

We had a week of load shedding recently – rotational power cuts if you want another term. Level 4, which means the power is off for two and a half hours and on for an hour and a half. All day and most of the night. Not fun. I won’t go into the whys and wherefores. I don’t really do politics here. Someone I heard of lit candles when the power went off and her three year old sang Happy Birthday and blew them out…

I am going to break my ‘no politics’ rule (that didn’t last long…) and provide a link to the Anthem Project. All South Africans are invited to submit their version of our national anthem and I will include links every now and then to particular versions.We are having elections on the 8th May and need all the unity we can get.

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I’m a Tiger, I’m a Tiger!

I’m a Tiger!

Some may recognize this as the title of a song by Lulu. (Released in 1968 – yes, I’m showing my age) This is Titch, enjoying the last of the long grass before it is cut.

My husband has been working on getting the grass under control. He was busy this morning when we spotted Titch doing her Fierce Jungle Predator impression. He smiled and softly sang ‘I’m a tiger, I’m a tiger’. He doesn’t smile often – it’s part of the Parkinson’s package. I laughed. It was an instant of crystal clear communication, and such a poignant moment. If you haven’t dealt with dementia, it can be hard to understand just how difficult communication can be. He struggles to find words, slurs and mumbles as well. He pursues his own line of thought, and then comes out with something that I can’t follow because I have no context.

We went up to the neurologist on Monday. One of the major freeways across Johannesburg is closed so I had to find another route. This was less successful than I hoped… At least we got there in one piece. Much swearing, I got hooted at a few times (I’m surprised it wasn’t more) and I rode over a traffic island. Look, I was watching the traffic, trying to read road signs and keep an eye on the GPS. I ran out of eyes. We were also late for the first time ever.

My husband has been having more problems lately, struggling to find the right keys, sometimes putting seed in the birds’ water dishes. He doesn’t know what year it is and misspells his own name. All the specialist would say was that his movement is not worse (how he walks, stiffness in his hands), but that the other problems are ‘the progression of the disease’. That’s not a happy phrase. He has been put onto an extra medication to help his memory. We will see.

We go to painting class once a week. it was suggested as therapy and he enjoys it. He produces some interesting work too – very much in his own style. Our teacher was talking about copyright a while ago (and emailed us copies of magazine articles to illustrate her point. Irony rules…) He would never have to worry about copyright, what he produces is so completely different from the reference image. Here is one of his paintings.


We have a coffee break in the middle of class. The other week conversation wandered onto dementia and out came all the stupid old jokes about confused elderly people with one woman saying if she developed it she would swallow a handful of pills. I sat there wanting to disembowel someone with one of the teaspoons. What do you do? I’m perfectly capable of creating a massive scene and have a great line in sarcastic comebacks. But it would embarrass my husband and undoubtedly spoil his enjoyment of the class.


A drawing of my husband dozing over a book. Not very clear, I’m afraid. My husband refuses to go without me and I’ve got to do something. Apart from disemboweling fantasies.

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Dirty Girl

And she paints with her fingers!


Iris Scott

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In the Jungle…

What with one thing and another, the garden was pretty much ignored over the last few months.

In the Jungle

We have been attacking it spasmodically. My husband gets tired, also I don’t think sunburn on a healing skin graft is a good thing. But he gets upset if I go ahead and do it. Some progress has been made.

Hack and Slash

I’m expecting to find an outbuilding or two we may have overlooked.

I’ve been doing some crocheting recently. I’d forgotten how fast it is, certainly compared with knitting and tatting is not even in the same postal code. I made a couple of shawls in a couple of weeks, and I wasn’t even pushing it. Not an intricate pattern, but a stitch I love, Solomon’s Knot. Also known as the Lover’s Knot and (damned if I know why) Hailstone.

Grey Shawl Closeup

This was a gift. I made myself one as well.

Sparkly Shawl

There is a metallic thread through this one, although it doesn’t show up well in the photo. Don’t look at the dates which show how long ago I did them….

Here is the odd story for anyone who is interested.

I saw a mark on my son’s left shoulder that I thought could be dangerous. He can be less than cooperative with doctors and such. He has spent a lot of time in hospitals and sometimes refuses outright to be hauled off for whatever. So I made an appointment for all three of us for a ‘routine health check-up’. We went to the Dermatologist and there was no mark on my son’s shoulder… The Dermatologist, however, took one look at an innocuous (to me) brown mark next to my husband’s eye that I can find in photos going back ten years. The rest is history.

I have no explanation for the mark I was convinced I saw. I can still see it clearly in my mind’s eye. All I can suggest is that it was a vivid dream. I very rarely remember my dreams. There was one lucid dream (where you know you are dreaming and can actually control what is happening) that I had when I was still in school, and can still remember. Another dream was of my parents, some time after they had passed away. I remember saying in the dream ‘I know it’s a dream, but it’s so nice to see you’.

I’m never been one who has ‘feelings’ or ‘forebodings’ or anything like that.

So there it is, for what it’s worth.



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All Clear!

The results are back and we caught the Melanoma in time. We do just have to be vigilant about check ups with the Dermatologist. Many, many thanks for all the positive thoughts and messages. All greatly appreciated.

Because the Melanoma was so close to the eye, he needed to go to a plastic surgeon. I’ve never seen a skin graft before. She did warn us that it would look bad. Yes. More than 5 cm in diameter, a deep dent and right up against the eye. Apparently it will take about three months to heal. I’m not complaining. I’m just tired of people asking’what haaaapened?’  Me, I’d just put a dressing over it to shut people up. Husband doesn’t seem to mind the questions and doesn’t want to put anything over it.

It’s a weird story how we even ended up at the Dermatologist in the first place. I don’t know about sharing it yet. I’m no believer in premonitions or anything like that, but weird is the only way I can describe it. I think Shakespeare covered it, as usual. ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.’

My poor blog has been rather neglected over the last year or so. I don’t dare say I will post more regularly. To add another quotation, Robert Burns this time. ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley’. Go pear-shaped, if you want a translation on the last three words. Although that is British slang which might be from the second world war. And that’s the start of a rabbit-hole right there…

I’m crocheting myself a shawl. If that makes me an old lady, so be it.


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