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Holiday success

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 My week away has paid dividends in so many ways that, if I could afford it, I'd do it again and again throughout the year. The things I was looking forward to the most, other than a complete absence of responsibility, were getting up when I wanted, going to bed when I wanted and watching what I wanted to watch on the tv in the evening.  For seven days I had all of that but so much more.  I roamed bookshops, ate out without worrying about how busy places were, where the toilets were or how long the wait for food would be; I visited cathedrals, wandered around shops, looked at ancient maps and walked in the woods as far as I wanted and for as long as I wanted.  It was so wonderful and I've come home full of energy and good humour. As for Ash he had a good time too and the difference in him is as obvious as the difference is in me.  I was greeted with a huge smile and a hug, lists of things he'd done (yes he did remember some of them), I was shown the new fencing erected whil

The real Ash makes an appearance

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 I'm writing this the morning after the night before and feeling amazed at how much has changed in the last few weeks. The 'night before' was yet another successful social event and I still can't quite believe we went. It was 'Bike Night' in our local town with hundreds and hundreds of motorbikes and their proud owners lining the streets.  Live music played from a trailer in the market place, stalls sold food, pubs and shops were open and people arrived in droves. This is an annual event but, even though Ash spent much of his working life on two wheels, we hadn't been.  He'd never shown any interest in the event and any time I'd suggested we went the idea was dismissed.  But not this time.  I tentatively made the suggestion a couple of weeks ago and was met with enthusiasm so I allowed a little hope to flare but daren't really think that things had changed that much.  Only, whenever I mentioned it, the enthusiasm was still there and so we went. F

A minor miracle occurs

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 If I tell you that, having got into bed at 10pm last night, Ash was up and dressed at midnight you might understand why I didn't have high hopes for today.  Not only that but, whereas his normal routine is to wake for the day around 6.30 and then have three cups of tea before getting up properly, this morning he was downstairs fully dressed at 6.15. So we didn't get off to the best start and our morning was full of confusion.  Ash didn't know what to do with himself, when to eat, how to make a cup of tea and on and on until I was driven to distraction.  Then however, a friend came to collect the play house that the 8 year old is now far too grown up to use and we were left with a space that just needed a bit of sweeping and plant trimming to turn it into a sheltered seating area. We set to and did it between us with Ash happy to do the sweeping.  Finished just in time for lunch and there followed yet another afternoon on the sun loungers topping up the tan which was, once

DIY skills aren't what they used to be

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For a while our gate has been irritating Ash.  He likes it when you come through it, push it backwards and it, almost silently, clicks shut.  That's the ideal then, but what was actually happening was that the gate swung backwards and stopped, leaving one of us to lift it a couple of centimetres before it would shut properly. Two days ago Ash decided enough was enough and he set to with screwdrivers, hammers etc and proceeded to get to grips with the problem. I'm actually guessing at the scenario here because I was sitting at my computer at the time and was only dimly aware of someone doing something at the side of the house. Eventually I became aware that something was happening that might just require creative thinking on my part and I wandered out for a look.  As I got out there Ash was packing his tools away so I asked, as casually as possible, 'have you fixed it then?'.  'I think so' he replied and walked towards the shed carrying the tool box.  The thing w

A new hiding place

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 I realised this morning that I didn't tell you about the near miss we had at the weekend so here you are and I hope you feel for me. We'd spent the afternoon gardening (again) which was very nice.  At the end of the afternoon I saw Ash in the shed but didn’t think anything of it.  After tea I went to lock the shed door and noticed that the top inner tray of the tool box was on the floor.  Opened up the tool box to put the tray inside and discovered the camera nestled in the bottom!!!  I went hot and cold at the thought of what would have happened if a) I hadn’t seen the tool box tray and b) I’d decided to leave it where it was.  As some of you know, tidying up isn’t my strong point so putting it away wasn’t the only option.   Never in a million years would I have thought of going out to the shed and peering into one of the many tool boxes Ash owns when the camera went missing.  It wouldn't have even been one of the last places I'd have looked, it just wasn't on m

A near miss

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 On Monday I decided to weed the path at the front of the house.  Ash joined me and announced he was going to trim the grass along the edge.  This is something he likes doing and, most importantly, has the patience for. All went well and we each got our jobs finished, at which point he looked at the front door step and announced he was going to paint it, and the slab of concrete in front of it, black.  The only black paint we have is fence paint which I queried (I can here you asking at this point 'why the query?' and I can only say 'I have no idea') only to be told that it would be perfect for the job.  My instinct was to cry 'Noooooo' but I quickly realised this wasn't a life or death situation so I kept quiet. Ash disappeared into the shed at the back of the house to fetch the paint and I waited for him to return.  When he didn't reappear I went to see what was happening and found him in the garden, paint and brush in hand, looking puzzled.  When he s

What a difference a few weeks make

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 I can't quite believe what I'm telling you but we went out last night!!  Properly out, a social occasion, with lots of people there.  Who'd have guessed, even four weeks ago, that such a thing could happen and that we'd have a lovely time. It was a memorial concert for an old friend and held in one of the local churches.  I'd mentioned it in the morning and Ash said straight away that he thought we should go.  He even said we should arrive early because there would be lots of people attending.  I wasn't quite sure he'd see it through but he did and without fuss or trauma.  We arrived in plenty of time, saw people we haven't seen for a very long time and were welcomed with open arms.  Ash chatted to old friends and, when we got home, kept talking about how everyone had seemed pleased to see us.   So that was all wonderful but the effort he'd made did take it's toll a little.  He was still fine when he got into bed and even made a joke which had m