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I came out of hospital on Wednesday afternoon. I still have pneumonia and pleurisy and have to be careful for a couple of weeks before gradually returning to a routine. The support network of friends around me has been phenomenal, to say that my immediate family live across and I am now alone. Karron has looked after the aviary, moorhen and Orry, not forgetting the river birds and a sick goose I took in before I flaked out. Pauline and Ray have been my doggy walkers and looking after them during the day and again, they still walk them now until I am fit again. On Thursday my friend Eileen arrived with 'meals on legs' as she calls it and brought me a lovely homemade lasagne and fruit crumble that lasted 2 days. She came back later to put away a Tesco order which was delivered. Along with that, Michael, Toms lifelong friend has been at my beck and call putting washing in for me and then the dryer. He has also taken Skipper for walks as he has looked for the odd mushroom with his lovely 5 year old grandson Tom. All I have had to do is rest and cope with my illness. I have been too drained to bother with the computer and a little down as well if I'm honest. With the illness, along came all thoughts of Tom. In hospital it all came back to me and I dwelled on things too much. When I came home I missed that comforting gentle man that made me feel cherished and I felt so lonely despite everyone around me. Antibiotics don't help and the pneumonia has been a serious one by all accounts. As I say, I', picking up a bit now in mind and spirit and the body will follow in time. I have received some lovely cards and well wishes from people and Sean and Wendy, I did get your special card thank you very much.

In hospital I did start to paint again, but haven't resumed yet since coming home as I have been more wiped out than when I just lay in a room. Thats my galivanting now for this year. My menagerie has been unsettled by my comings and goings and the one that appears to be most affected was my lovely Skipper. Probably with losing Tom this year and then me going AWOL, it has unsettled him a bit. He has lain at the side of the bed since I came home and has treated me as he did Tom when he was sick. Skipper is much better these days when going out. I have been having the dog behaviourist every 2 weeks and it is all starting to show. Everyone that takes him out now is asked to continue with the commands so we have continuity and we have a much calmer dog. I don't know if I mentioned that the goose was almost blind that I took off the river. It was suggested that he may be better put to sleep, but after having been married to Tom and listening to him say that a blind animal is fine as long as it can find its food and drink, there was no way I was going to end its life. Its happy in the garden with the hens milling about and it can find shelter when the weather is bad.

Fluffy the moorhen is now a juvenile and gets stroppy when you try to hold him. He will let you stroke him to a degree, but is definitely a teenager with attitude. In a week or so I am going to get onto the wildlife park to see if they will take him in as he will get protection there, be fed and can interact with humans if he wants. It seems to be the best thing to do. He's very independant like a cat. He goes out all day in the garden if its fine, and comes back in the evening, has something to eat and goes to bed in the bathroom. He even takes himself off to bed.

Next week I am getting a few more hens to join my exiting old ones, 3 Black Rock and 3 White Sussex. I have 5 hens at the moment but the youngest will be four with 3 of them being 7 years old. My rooster is also getting on and not really interested much in waht roosters do. He's always been a gentle boy and whereas most roosters make sure they are outside the coop waiting for the females to emerge so he can jump on them, Quilliam seem to stand in the shed and say 'after you' to all the hens. He looks after them and keeps order, but I'm never going to get any chicks from him.

It is a lovely sunny day and I'm sorry Cheryl that you can't see it on the webcam. It appears to give up the ghost and I will replace it soon. I just hadn't worked out what to replace it with.

I will go now and rest a little. Best wishes to you all from Barbara on the sunny banks of the Silverburn River, glad to be home.

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Guest Lou-Lou


Glad your home safe and sound, the menagerie will be so glad to have you home...hope you get stronger by the day..So funny the antics of Orry and Fluffy, hope you keep him, he must be quite attached to you now!!! Give Orry a kiss from me, my lip is still recovering from his last one :-) Lovely that you have helpers on hand for them, it takes the worry of you...Take care, lots of love

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