Saturday, July 9, 2016

Down Time

Not down time by choice!

Jim and his siblings carried home an unpleasant 'souvenir' from their recent Alaska cruise:  a really nasty respiratory virus.
Needless to say I wanted no part of it and promptly vacated the matrimonial bedroom for the small pleasant room at the far end of the hallway.
With determined zeal I wiped down surfaces with disinfectant, changed hand towels several times each day, added chlorine bleach to the dishwater.
It seems I might have spared the effort.

By Wednesday evening I too was ill--classic chills, fever, throbbing head, aches and weakness. 
We have both coughed until the muscles surrounding our ribs feel torn from their moorings.
At that, I will likely recover from that symptom long before Jim.

I am blessed that I can read a good deal even when ill.
I've sat, blanket wrapped, in my rocking chair, tissues and tea to hand, then toddled off to my bed to the thick smothering half slumber that goes with this sort of thing.

I began a re-read of 'China Court' [Rumer Godden] on the way to Tennessee last Friday, wedged into the backseat of my daughter and SIL's car.
 I expected to finish the book over the weekend, but a nephew's 18 year old daughter had a haul from the area second hand bookstore and offered the loan of something rather out of my usual zone of interest.

 This was an engrossing and horrifying [true] story, the medical terminology softened by the author's compassionate portrayal of the family involved.
I finished the book in time to hand it back on Monday morning before our return to Kentucky.

'The Hatbox Letters' [Beth Powning] is a fairly recent book and another re-read. 
I was surprised to read negative reviews for this book on 'goodreads'--many reviewers found the pace too slow and the details of locales and seasons too detailed.
As in my first reading of the book I was immersed--Beth Powning describes ancestral homes and gardens in New England--where I was born and lived much of my life.
Her descriptive phrases conjure the scents and sounds of old homes as I recall them, and the tracing of family history which forms one of several plot lines, is dear to my heart.

'Journey to Munich' [Jacqueline Winspear] is the latest in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series--one of the better ones.

I have bumbled outside for a few minutes each day--long enough to water plants on the porch and to clean the cat litter boxes.
This morning the air was less humid than it has been and I felt less feverish, so decided to walk to the barn.  I knew that F. and B. were away for several hours, so I could visit the goats and the barn cats without concern that I might still be contagious to humans.
Shadow-cat [on the right] is most effusive whenever I go down. When I start back up the lane he follows, mewing soft-voiced, twining insistently about my ankles.
There is a certain point in the lane when our own resident cats strut out to challenge Shadow.
This morning it was Nellie. 
There was no altercation, only a bit of bristling and some low key muttering.
As always, Shadow turns back. If I stop to watch, he mews wistfully, but knows not to push his luck.

Shadow-cat winding himself around my clogs.

During the 10 days of Jim's absence I weeded and spread mulch in the perennial strips.
This week has brought torrents of pounding rain and created a rivlet that has torn through the lower end of the garden.
Nothing I can tackle in the way of repairs until I am well.

The tattered butterfly, seen this morning, is likely too dramatic a symbol of how I am feeling.
I am impatient with illness [and if truthful, rather resentful that I have the 'souvenir' without the holiday!]
While I wait for aches and coughing to diminish and energy to return I shall continue to read and sip honeyed tea.


  1. That is truly a tattered butterfly. I hope you are all well soon. I like your Shadow cat and how friendly he is.

    1. Terra; Shadow-cat was really afraid of his own shadow when he was moved to the farm with the goats and three female cats. He has become quite a friendly soul.
      Re the tattered butterfly; I've seldom seen one that ragged, but still enjoying the nectar of the flowers.

  2. I hope that you start to feel better soon - summer colds seem to be much nastier versions of the winter ones somehow. I am glad you had some good reading matter - I have been deep in the latest Barbara Erskine novel - Sleeper's Castle, which is set around Hay-on-Wye again. I read it at top speed and was so sorry when I got to the end.

    Sending healing thoughts your way.

    1. Jennie; I think we've turned the corner today [Sunday] with the 'germs'--quite a ways to go before we will be useful. I've made a note to look up reviews on Barbara Erskine's books. Healing thoughts are appreciated!

  3. Dear, dear Sharon ~ May you feel healing coursing through you each and every day and may it soon be complete. Until then, it sounds like you are taking care of yourself, reading and cups of hot tea.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I like the thought of wellness 'coursing' through me--even as the onslaught of the virus moving in was very tangible. I try for patient endurance--and the hot tea and books are a help.

  4. I just love a good book, can't read any more of the mush.I have just finished 'A Japanese Lover' and loved this book, sounds mushy but isn't.
    Hope you are recovering from the virus now and feeling a little better.

    1. Briony; I'm taking note of the various suggestions for future reading--I don't care for 'mushy' stories either although a decent and believable love story is fine.

  5. Sorry to hear you both have been ill, the flu is awful and it just about seems to be impossible to keep from spreading it to our love ones. Love your new header.

    1. Janet; I do think 'flu' of any kind brings on a big dose of self-pity--feeling sorry for myself! We are plodding through it. I told Jim--'this might be how it feels to be old--shuffling about to do some little task and needing to rest from the effort!'

  6. What a bummer! I can only imagine that you wanted to just 'fall on your sword'. I too have very little to no patience with sickness; it seems such a waste of good time. The reading opportunity just might take the edge off , however. If you haven't yet read The Elephant Company by Vicki Croke, I recommend it. Captivating.

    1. Mundi; When I realized the virus was claiming me I should have liked to kick something--by then I hadn't the energy!
      Yes--I had 'things to do' which have been postponed.
      The Elephant Company--what an intriguing title.

  7. Sorry you've both been so ill, especially you - as you said you didn't even have the holiday. At least you had the consolation of some good books though - must get the new Maisie Dobbs book, haven't read that one. Get well soon.

    1. Rowan; The latest Maisie Dobbs book is a good one--I've noticed that in an on-going series there is always one or two of the books that seem less well plotted. I enjoy the period details of clothing and customs which Jacqueline Winspear adds.
      Books, tea--and did I mention the cats' company--have kept up my courage!

  8. Glad you are getting better, flu is a miserable illness to get rid of, remember to rest after the illness has gone away, it takes it out of you and you need to build up strength.

  9. Thelma; I suspect the lack of energy will be rather lingering--even as I see we are 'turning the corner' with this flu. My 'things to do' list at this point has about as much substance as a bit of paper floating on the wind!

  10. So sorry that you got the flu!!!! And in July, too. "Rude!" Extremely "rude"! >,-)

    Oh my but 'The Hatbox Letters' by Beth Powning sounds delicious. Love this kind of a reading... Thank you!

    Oh yes, you need to know, that we don't pop back, from the flu. Not nice to realize/accept, but.... Why fight reality? Wishing you many non-tiring things to fill your time, until your body returns to usual.

    And I love your hair! I have the pewter fringe, but if the rest of mine grew that long, it would be thin and stringy. -pout- Lucky you!!!!

    1. Luna; I think 'pewter' as a color designation for 'grey hair' is creative--I may borrow that!
      What would we do without a supply of books--to get us through rainy days, flu, to read instead of taking a nap--if you enjoy a slow-paced book, rich in descriptive scenes, you would probably enjoy 'The Hatbox Letters.'