The Last Furlong

Comments on the race of life.

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Meet the neighbours

Mr Furlong and I have new neighbours.

For six months the flat next door has been empty. The story has been that it was snapped up by a couple in a midland town who had never even seen it. They bought it directly off the Internet. They bought it immediately it was listed.

Seems the story was true. They took six months to get here because of complications to selling their own house. British property laws must be the strangest and most medieval in the world! Nobody ever knows if the deal has gone through until the very day of moving. I have heard of people arriving at their new home behind the removal van, only to find the sale has fallen through for some technical reason, or delayed, and they have to find lodgings for themselves and all their furniture.

It’s insane.

So we have met the neighbours.

They shine much brighter than we do here in the neighborhood.

They are old just like the rest of us. They have brought with them blue ceramic pots very similar to ours, so our back gardens are going to ‘match’ They have put tall, elegant wire things up in the garden that might be bird feeders.

I have ascertained they have no pets of any kind, nor ever have had even though having had children. This might be a sign of a perculairity. But the bird feeders if they materialise, might absolve them from this defect.

They are cis white and retired teachers into fitness maybe. They ‘feel’ like Greens. There are no Greens here nor fitness practitioners. But cis white and retired teachers there are.

But (or should this be And?)

they WALK!

Yesterday they went for an early morning walk – a round trip of about six miles to a National Trust castle we have here. They are National Trust members evidently.

Am I right in guessing that it must have taken them over three hours to do this before anyone in this little neighborhood had even shuffled into their kitchens to make their morning coffees?

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Oh no Mr Furlong, you forgot to ASK!

Our new neighbours have arrived. We haven’t seen them.

We saw the huge removal van in the road, as Bass, the dog, loudly pointed it out to us from our front window.

Our neighbours over the road actually saw the new owners.

Mr Furlong forgot to ask what they look like!

Are they old like the rest of us around here?

Are they thirty something?

Do they look as if they are simply making a rental holiday cottage for the Lake District?

The over the road neighbours said they seemed to have very little furniture….

Are they young and daft with super energy and vigour – enough to exhaust us all?

Have they got small children?




We haven’t seen them at all and our gardens are adjacent.

I’ll tell you what they will think of us. We are sorting and about to tip trash. Our garden is a mess. I am ashamed. It has never looked so dreadful.

They are going to think they have moved in next door to squatters!

That is not a good start!



Yesterday was a bad day for me.

For years I have used my bed as my ‘office’. Everything that has to be done is done in the morning with a cup of coffee next to me and myself tucked in to bed, sitting up in a fashion comfortable for my wretched back. I write blogs, letters, replies, watch videos, social network, create in Night Café and follow the news in my bed. It’s routine.

I really enjoy my ‘office’. I’m in my office now.

It’s from here I watch the birds in our garden.

Sometimes I simply think in my office.

I’m up by lunchtime every day when I move to our lounge. Occasionally I have stayed dressed in my nighty but never in my bed all day. Recently, I have learned to get dressed first thing, as soon as I wake – and then get back into bed, fully dressed with that ordeal completed.

I don’t know what happened yesterday, but I felt very tired.

Extra tired.

So I lay back in bed instead of going through to the lounge as is my habit. And after lunch I fell asleep. Mr Furlong watched TV in the lounge without me.

My constant companion, Bass, the dog who lies next to me every morning, did the most perculiar thing.

Already we are used to him calling us with his calling-people-bark if we are not both in the lounge together by lunchtime, but yesterday he did what I consider to be an extraordinary act of concern.

He positioned himself on my pillow next to my sleeping head. And pushed with his snout under my shoulder. He repeated this over and over pushing me up, burrowing underneath my back, waking me up, communicating. Consciously, physically pushing me up.

He was communicating concern that I was not where I should be.

I checked my clock. It was three. Wow, very late for me.

And Bass didn’t like it.

He has us very well trained.

So I moved through to my chair in the lounge. And we all sat there happy and together again.


Chronic Pain

I have now entered the category of people with chronic pain.

That means I have been in pain for over 3 months.

My piriformis syndrome started in July last year, the day after I received very bad news. It morphed into Sciatica and continued through the last 6-months of last year during which I lost 5 friends to the condition called Death. The very day my piriformis syndrome started I recognised it could be psychosomatic.

My pain is always with me. It has completely changed my life. I have become Agoraphobic and depressed. Just getting my body to the loo is a massive mission. Going “out”, impossible! I have tried everything from excercise to medications, lotions, electrical stimulation and massage. Walking is excruciating.

I don’t like it it and I want it to go away.

Chronic pain is not imaginary, it’s a strange condition that scientists are studying where the pain pathway gets sensitised even though physical healing is complete. It’s a condition of the body/brain rather than physical injury. It is a disease.

All Chronic Pain can be helped with psychological therapy. I referred myself for that. I have been fortunate enough to have Chronic Pain counseling booked with mental health services here in the North West of England. My sessions start on March 1st.  I’m interested to see how I can re-educated my pain pathway.

Yesterday I had a long interview with the physiotherapy department at the local hospital. On examination, there is nothing “wrong” with my back.

It’s a bugger.

Maybe I fear subconsciously to step into my future of old age, decrepitude and death?

My pain pathway has now fallen into the habit of screaming every time I step out. My glial cells have gone rogue!

Interesting that the physiotherapist said ,”Getting out and about will do you more good than all the excercise you do. Get out, pleasantly distract yourself”

Ho hum.

Easier said than done!


I got fired

Yesterday was our interview with a gardener chap. We wished to employ him on a monthly basis to pop in and clean up our small garden. Much of it is gravelled or paved.

Our garden might be small, but I have tended it for almost six years and I know each and every plant in it.  I also am on very friendly terms with the exotic plants that people here call weeds.

There is nothing more sweet than the yellow Welsh Poppies that make their home here in the UK. Margaret from next door ,(RIP), gave me orange ones too that grew in her garden. She had a beautiful garden. She never weeded them out. Welsh poppies bloom colour for months. Here in my garden they cluster in patches they choose themselves for the year at hand.

Then there are the exotic mosses and ferns. They cradle the base of our garden sun dial. All over my garden there are creatures hiding where plants cluster, and there are special wild grasses planted amongst flowers that Bass, the dog, eats during his grass-eating bouts.

And then there are nettles – stinging nettles in pots, special strong stingers that I brought from our last house, for urtifying my arthritis.

I could go on. I love my garden. I just wish I was able to tend it.

But the dissalutionment of me by the gardener chap started with a discussion about the Ornamental Hops. The chap said “Oh,that just needs cutting down to clean out the fence”

I said “No! It was cut down year before last. Last year it didn’t flower because of that, but this year it will. It might look messy right now, but in a month or two, it will be stunning.”

The chap pulled a dead vine off the fence and said “It’s dead. Needs stripping off”. The two of us uncoupled in some way. I saw a stripped bare wire fence as ugly. He saw the tangled dead looking creepers (there was a Clematis too) as ‘mess’.

Welsh poppies, tiny ferns, mosses, stinging nettles, wild Jasmin, dog grass, wild garlic, were mess. Exotic plants that people in Africa buy at a price, were mess.

I explained about the poppies in the back garden and that the front bed couldn’t just be “dug over”, because the tiny green things coming through the soil were all different kinds of bulbs which come up every year without fail.

We did not clash. Our eyes simply saw differently. I saw wild as beautiful, he saw it as mess.

The chap saw how horrid keeping a garden ‘clean,’ when his clean and my clean were so far apart in concept, that he said quite respectfully and in humour ” You don’t need me. You need a horticulturalist!”

So I got fired.

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Driving about

I haven’t been out of our flat for days

and days.

Yesterday we went for a drive. I thought to try a very short walk with my stick whilst Mr Furlong drove the dog Bass on the lead.

This was a rare occurrence for me of being pretty much pain free. So I stepped out gingerly and it immediately started to rain. Mr Furlong, the dog and me,  found shelter back in the car.

We came home.

And drove around on the busses. We were warm, comfortable and strangely engrossed….

Try it!


Happy Birthday for today

Dear Mr Furlong,

As usual, you need to buy your own birthday present from me.

That’s the trouble with a joint account.

What’s yours is mine.

What’s mine is yours.

Our joint account goes VERY deep.

I know that I will like your birthday present choice whatever you decide on, no matter the cost. I wish you a happy day together with me.

I really enjoy being here with you. You always feel like home.


Mrs Furlong