Self Portrait in coloured pencil

Tuesday, 23 April 2019



I wanted to write this post after I read an article about the importance of immunisation. 

I suppose it rang a bell because I had polio when I was a baby. It left me with a paralysed right leg and general weakness down my right side (which nobody realised until I got post-polio syndrome and lost the use of my right hand). 
I was puzzled about finding a photograph to symbolise my problems then I thought of my saddle stool. You see, with my right leg being paralysed and skinny, my left leg compensated and is very muscular. This includes my buttocks which means that sitting on an ordinary chair is very stressful and even painful because of having to balance. The saddle stool is the only really comfortable seat in the house. 
So it lives in front of my easel so that I can sit and paint comfortably. 

To get back to immunisation, I have often heard children ask their mothers “why does that lady walk funny?” and their mothers commonly hush them and rush them away as if walking funny was shameful. Whenever I had a chance to interrupt the hushing, I would explain to the child that it was because I caught a nasty disease that they wouldn’t catch because scientists had discovered a way of immunising against it, and they should be happy to go and have injections to keep from catching nasty illnesses. 

I am so happy about the campaign to eradicate polio all over the world. There’s still polio in places where there is war going on and people are risking their lives to take the polio vaccine to these places. 

When I was growing up there was no immunisation against illnesses like measles, rubella, mumps or chicken pox, so I had to suffer through them and I was lucky not to have bad side effects from them. 
I remember the day when my whole class at school came down with rubella and we were comparing our rashes. That must be so infectious for us all to get it the same day. I hope that none of us got anywhere near a pregnant woman. 

When I was growing up, there was immunisation against diphtheria which is another frequently fatal disease that immunisation has pretty well eradicated. My mother caught that and was hospitalised when she was a teenager. She made sure that I had the injections against that, I promise you!

Friday, 12 April 2019

Gardening Break

Gardening Break

I have been using up my energy gardening recently. It is that time of year. 
The photo above is of a fruit tree. It is a cross between an apricot and a Mirabelle plum. There’s a few flowers on it but I doubt that there will be any fruit this year but it is exciting. 
The Miracot isn’t the only tree that I have in my garden. I have a hazel tree with a forsythia growing up through it which is so tall that it is trying to be a tree too! 
One year, I saved some horsechestnut conkers and one grew. I have that one in a pot to bonsai it. There is no way that I have room in my garden for a horsechestnut tree. 
I love trees but my garden is very small so I have been looking for small trees to fit in it. And fruit trees add extra value of course. They have flowers and attractive fruit and I can eat it! 
A very small tree is an apple tree, an Appletini, which I have planted in the catio. The space where the catio was built, had raspberries shooting up everywhere. I have been able to move some of the runners and you can see one just beginning to shoot up under the Miracot tree in the photo above.
Another good reason for having trees in my garden, is that trees sequester carbon and help wildlife. I don’t use pesticides. 
Talking of wildlife, I rescued a collapsed bumblebee by giving her a spoonful of honey. She put her tongue straight into it and later on she had gone. I left the spoon in case she came back. 
I have another area at the top end of my garden and I am wondering if I can fit another tree in there. I really want it to be a moss and fern garden so I am sure there’s a suitable tree if I can find one that doesn’t grow too big. 
I have planted alpine strawberries in the catio and I mean to add herbs (including catnip of course).
The photo of the catio below shows blackcurrant bushes. I probably won’t get many blackcurrants this year. The bushes were cut back in February to make space for the catio. 
I tried to photograph the forsythia but I didn’t get the focus right.