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Getting Along



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There are certain times of the year when the sea looks to be bathed in gold and it is when the seaweed turns a lighter colour and as the tide comes in it shimmers beneath the surface, shimmering like pure gold. That is how the sea has been for a few weeks now and that is what I saw as I went to Langness last week in my camper with the dogs. I decided that for the first time since Tom died, I would go out and make a cup of tea for myself and feel the serenity whilst the dogs mooched about. On my way there I marveled at two lapwings whooping and diving as they perceived danger and as I looked closer, a heron stood on a rock close by. All the birds get distressed when they have young and a heron is in the vicinity. As I drove further I just missed a beautiful male pheasant as he flew in front of the car but landed safely in the hedgerow. On arriving at Langness, there was a large flock of starlings seemingly playing in the morning sun, chattering, whistling and rising as a unit, only to land again a hundred or so feet away. The sea was still and across Castletown Bay the houses and the Castle reflected in the water. The bellbouy rang in the distance and because of the lack of wind, it was so clear. It was so magical. It was a time when a person feels glad to be alive, but at the same time I felt sad I had no-one with which to share the moment and peace. I decided at that point that I could share it with you. A couple of Shelducks flew over and landed in the dub. Seagulls and Oystercatchers cried in the distance, some flying, some just sitting on the rocks. Skipper rolled in the grass and a pheasant called in the distance. A small orange tipped butterfly fluttered nearby and sat on a flower quite close to me. I did get upset and then I received a phone call on my mobile from my friend Pauline. We chatted, I sniffled and eventually I pulled myself together. I made that cup of tea, took lots of photos and had taken another step in my new life, not entirely on my own as I have friends and I am drawing on strength from my faith.

Another friend Eileen invited me for dinner last week, which I have always declined in the past. Eileen is very supportive and lost her husband just over 3 years ago. She also has an aviary and could be blamed for getting me started in that hobby. Eileen is the friend that makes me laugh until I ache. She also makes a mean lasagna.

I went walking with my friend Ann on Sunday. Ann was the specialist nurse that came weekly to see if Tom was OK and needed anything. She would sit and chat and support us both, giving us hope. She is responsible for Holistic care of patients, body, mind and spirit. She can define it much better than I, but all I can say is that she is a saint. Anyway, she is another friend I have and we walked quite some distance on Sunday morning. I love her company and we chat the whole way. We're supposed to be looking at birds and nature which we do when pause for breath occasionally. She is the only person I can do that sort of walking with and she doesn't mind my crazy dogs either. We are going to plan our walks better in future so we know where we will actually end up.

Another thing I have been up to recently is finding a Church and form of worship where I feel comfortable and settled. It is amazing how things have worked out for me on that score. Last year when Toms father died, the regular vicar of Malew was on holiday and a stand in vicar was found to do the service. The Reverend Norma Cole from Rushen came and she was wonderful. I was to sing The Old Rugged Cross as it was Toms Fathers favourite and he loved me to sing. It was always going to be difficult as I loved him dearly and he was more a father to me than was my own who died some years ago. Anyway, I didn't make it through without breaking down and the Reverend continued singing the song until I pulled myself together. I was going through a bad time myself at that time, as I knew that Toms improvement with the cancer was only temporary and I kept it to myself as I wanted him to enjoy what he had for as long as he could without that hanging over him. I felt his optimism may drive him forward for longer. I felt a strange affinity to the Reverend and would have loved to have spoken to her, but I didn't and neither did I attend her church. This year when Tom died, the same thing happened. The regular vicar was on holiday and the stand in vicar was none other than the Reverend Norma Cole. Once more she went beyond what is expect as a vicar and sang a chorus at the side of Toms coffin, without accompaniment, "Thou wilt keep him in Perfect Peace." That was because of how Tom felt before and as he was dying and she knew I would like that at the service, but it would be unknown to others. Once more I felt I would like to talk to her personally and I didn't. Then some weeks later she sent a message through my Sister in law Rosie, that if I would like to talk to her, to phone. I did so immediately and have built up quite a relationship with her. I started to go to Church and have never attended C of E in my life. I felt at home there and now I have made a decision to get baptised. Anyway, this is not a baptism for softies. It will be in the sea at Port Erin on the 28th June along with 2 other young people. I wouldn't mind but I have a fear of water. The Vicar says she will be gentle with me though.

Now a pet update. Stitch the canary is doing great and I will do an updated picture at some point. Goosey Gander went back to the vets and had more treatment. Katie the vet managed to cut some tissue away and put stitches in the gooses toe. He will be released this week if all goes well. At the moment he has built a nest at the bottom of the garden and so everyone that has had him down as a gander may get a shock. I will watch that one. Sunday evening I got home and was doing some bits in my aviary when my next door neighbour, also called Tom, came into the garden holding a suspicious bundle. He then produced what appears to be a day old Moorhen which a seagull dropped. Tom was going away and so he was smiling as he said it would be a shame if it died.

I know absolutely nothing about feeding wild babies, especially a tiny moorhen. I made a few phone calls hoping to find someone to do it for me, but alas, I am sitting here writing this with a baby moorhen calling from its box. I got advice on what to do and it is being fed on crushed dog food which I have mixed some egg into and also some bird food with insects in it. I was pretty stressed yesterday and tried to phone the MSPCA, but only got an answer phone which I am loathe to use. I decided to go with it and maybe I will use this experience to handle stress. It may seem a trivial thing, but I am being treated for stress, anxiety and depression and it only takes something small to slightly upset my routine that I am trying to have and I tend to walk round not completing tasks and taking longer to do anything. So here I am, feeding a baby bird with one of my artists paintbrushes and we seem to have formed an understanding now.

I have added a picture of a baby moorhen with the biggest feet I have ever seen on a baby. They must grow into their feet. The picture is real, it isn't a photographic illusion.

Bye for now from Barbara on the banks of beloved Silverburn River, paint brush in hand about to give a birdy its next feed.

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HI Barbara, how did yesterday go? I was thinking of you & the weather was good for you. I remember seeing a baptism in the sea when Colin & I made our first trip to Vancouver B.C. 10 years ago & the memory of it has stuck in my mind from then. I'm not liking this hot & sticky weather at all, are you? Take Care of yourself, love Pauline xxxx

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