dinsdag 28 september 2010

Living in a different World....

After coming home tonight I felt really sad. Sad to leave him alone there and sad in the way that it is going this way right now...Writing all the things happening to us over the last few weeks has helped me to keep on track but I am not sure if this blogpost will do the same..
Yesterday Bram has left the hospital to go to a Medical Nursing Home for further treatment because in the state he is in now he can't come home right now. So we had a talk last week Friday with a lady who is in charge of the transfer from a patient either going home to a Rehab centre . All possibilities were discussed but there were not so much choices. There are 2 of those institutes in our city and both are situated in old buildings. For other places we either have to drive long distances or you are place in a bedroom with 3 other patients.. So we opted for a single room (I can't promise right now but will do my utmost for it!!) in a home in our city. Later that day the "Transfer-lady" came back with a big smile telling Bram that he would get a single room. We had heard stories about this home either positive or negative...
On Sunday-night I have baked an enormous batch of Brownies for all nurses and staff who have been so kind and helpful to Bram over the last weeks. He really felt at home in the hospital. Everything is strictly planned for the patients, the environment is beautiful and open and lot's of wood and light colours.The food is great with lot's of choices and very good presented which also helps the healing process when you are ill. Bram who was an interior architect, really admired the building from in and outside It is really a good place to recover.
But on Monday-morning he had to leave this place and I drove him to the PW Janssen Nursing Home were we had an intake on the 2nd floor.
The first thing we were told was: Single room??? No, you are on the list for a shared room. So immediately I told them that we were guaranteed for a single room so the staff-member left to find this out. She came back with: yes, you have a single room on this floor. It happens that a friend of us is there also who is in a far state of dimension so we told her that we didn't thought it was a good idea and that we wanted a room in another part. Reply: we have to ask for that: you than probably get a shared room.. At the end of the discussion he got his single room as we wanted..... The room was not ready at that moment, needed to be cleaned, so we were placed in a so called "living-room" after driving through a corridor full of wheelchairs, walkers with and without wheels and more Medical helpful tools...The room itself was full of horrible old -so called practical- furniture, unnecessary cupboards and 2 sleeping old men in wheelchairs.
And there was the smell of cooked food, urine and no fresh air at all.. Of course I know this from the time my mother had to stay in this kind of centre. And I know all stories about it from the papers and the television.... And I know it is difficult to get staff to do this kind of work.... And I know it all has to do with money.... And I know it might only be for about 6 weeks if things go well... And I know I shouldn't judge or compare it with the hospital he stayed in.. And I know we should give it a least a week to find out how he is taken care of... And I know the fact that he is still alive is more important... And I know...... And I know...... And I know...... But it is just hard for the 2 of us to deal with...
He staying in this horrible surrounding having dinner at a table with a woman who leaks her food out of her mouth and knowing that in a lot of these places the situation is more or less the same. The only thing you can do is go to a private place but we can't afford that. I think it is a missed opportunity that at the newly built hospital they didn't built a Nursing Rehab centre next to it.. He told me today that he had physiotherapy with a high walker they used in the hospital and walking went well with it but they couldn't find the other one any-more and they told him it was too far for him to go to his bedroom (he can do that in his own tempo I am sure as I have seen in the hospital)It was about 20 minutes he had and that was it for the day.. and he want to recover!!!!! Soon we will have a talk about his "care-plan"and we will definitely put this to discuss
Our friend Ineke came over tonight to cheer him up and he got tears in his eyes when he saw her and earlier on the day he was so happy to see me coming into his room. We talked about it and we are going to help him to come through and get him home as soon as possible. Bram is such a social person and seeing him surrounded by only old people makes him and me sad. There are hardly younger patients in the building which is so strange comparing it to our normal life we live. Of course he also belongs to the category "old" but no one sees him like that and his behaviour and mindset is so young. That is why we go so well together over all those years. We have so much in common, so much things we like to do together, so much things we share.
It is just not easy and while writing this I can't stop crying.I am sure we will go through it one way or the other. He will come home as soon as he can.
And myself..I am so tired sometimes during the day.Sleeping doesn't go well and there are so many things I have to think of.It sort of feels that it hits me more now than over the last weeks and coping with it all takes so much energy from me now. Something positive: I have finished the shawl I did start when Bram was taken to the hospital (will take a picture of it soon for my next post..promise!!) and I did start a new photo-book on Facebook with the name Rehab Blues because taking pictures did help me to cope with it over the last weeks and it has kept me focussed..

donderdag 23 september 2010

Hospital World

Bram is still in the hospital. Of course I had hoped that the progression would go faster but there are some complications which still need attention. So he has to stay in his double room which he has shared already with 3 different persons. On the right side of the unit is place for people with heart problems. First there was a 83 year old woman with whom Bram had a nice contact. Next there was a man who only liked to listen to horrible music (and he even sang while having his earphone in) and was keen on the ideas of Geert Wilders (never thought I would mention his name in my blog). Bram immediately told him that it was very bad for his heart to get into a discussion about the ideas of this man. So not a good company that was. And than there was a 91 year old man who -yes it is a small world- happened to be an uncle of our neighbour. He is on and off in the hospital but has given a big birthday party a few weeks before. He was a sweet and quiet man who cried a little every afternoon while we had a chat.
I feel my life has been taken over by a kind of Hospital life. I go there everyday, know the doctors and nurses, park my car or bike, take a coffee and sometimes wonder how fast you can get used to something which suddenly enters your life. It feels like a safe haven to be in and we both have great respect for the care the nurses give. Not only to him but also to me when things are not easy to me. A few times this week Bram fainted for a few seconds which is really scary to see. His blood-pressure drops when he coughs so his heart doesn't get enough blood. He panics, gets a red head and returns after a few seconds. They than take care of him but I also get some tea from a sweet nurse to calm down.
On Tuesday we also had talks with the social worker and the doctor about the state he is in right now. When I came in Bram told me they wanted him to leave the hospital this Friday or Saturday which sounded very odd to me. His legs were thick, he was very tired and nervous and his condition was(and is)very weak...Later I discovered that they wanted to put a little pressure on him to work harder which really doesn't work for him.The talk with the social worker went well, She was very clear, asked the right questions and gave good information.
For the meeting with the doctor I had prepared myself really well and her answers were clear. They are not sure if they can fix him and get his condition back while he stays in the hospital so it might be possible that he also has to go to a medical rehabilitation centre to get much better before going home. He has to come from a far. His condition before having the operation was very, very weak and that doesn't help to get better soon. So that might happen and Bram is really aware of that. Not a nice idea perhaps but in the state he is in now living here will be too heavy. Yesterday I had a little talk again with the doctor to make clear what kind of person Bram is and that pressure is not good for him. So probably next week a decision will be made.
It is strange for me to live alone in our house. I really miss him being around. No talks, no discussions, nothing together right now. Of course we talk when we are together in the hospital but that is so different and sometims talking is too much and we just hold hands. I am so aware of our relation over all the years and everyday memories turn up. We have met almost 28 years ago and in between that moment and now, so many things have happened.To stimulate each other was always a big topic. So I went to art-school and he started his own business after he got fired. We camped in Scandinavia and made great day walks in the mountains although we both have slight fear of height. He is really the love of my life and that is why it sometimes so hurts to see him in this state. This bright and lively person has become a nervous and fragile man who struggles with the way he is and feels now.Being positive is the only thing I can do for him and for myself. At the end I still believe he will get better but it will take some months. We have to take a deep breath every day for the coming months to survive this. But we will arrive from this trip safe and healthy.
For me: some days go well and some days I feel so tired that I am so happy the neighbours in our street invite me to dinner (they have even made a schedule for me). Sleeping is still a bit of a problem but with the help of a melatonin tablet and a little reading till my eyes close it more or less goes. To relax has always been difficult for me but I try to do it also. My mind can't handle much, so knitting in the evening helps me to keep myself calm. It also has to be a simple knit so I am knitting now further on my "Old man of Storr" shawl in Kauni yarn (only 30 rows to go) And I am spoiled by gifts I got from my knitting friends Puk, Marjoleine and Evelien with these beautiful yarns. Not sure yet what to knit out of it but it will be beautiful!!

donderdag 16 september 2010

Step by Step....

This afternoon when I came home I had a "slight lighter feeling" than over the past 2 weeks when everything which happened over the last 2 weeks felt very heavy and difficult to cope with. Bram has come back to Deventer on Tuesday. He was very happy to leave the hospital in Zwolle because he really didn't feel good over there and for me it is much easier to visit him here than driving off to Zwolle. It is a strange and very busy hospital he had his operation, and it felt like a "kind of factory" where patients came in and had to leave as quickly as possible when everything was fixed. The building is very dark with small rooms for patients,old and not very comfortable beds and a depressing atmosphere. They are building a new hospital right, now which will open in 2013 so I guess they leave it like it is. But on the other hand: the hospital is specialized in heart operations and it is the best place to go if you need on.
The hospital in Deventer is rather new (almost 2 years) and feels very good when you come inside. Spacious rooms and a nice interior. He has had a room for himself for 2 nights and is now placed in a room for 2. His room-mate is a 83 years old woman who is really friendly ,but doesn't have a clue that we are a couple. She was surprised that we hadn't find a woman in our life....
Physiotherapy has started today and he had to bring me to the elevator with a kind of "high rolling thing" He felt a little better than yesterday when he had fluid behind his lungs and very thick legs. With some medicine he gets now, it will go away.
Emotions go up and down also with me. There are often tears when everything gets too much for me. A friend yesterday said to me that "both our hearts are hurt heavily" and that is exact how I feel and it will take time that our hearts will be healed. For that reason I can't work at the moment. My doctor advised me not to go to work because that would take all my leftover energy, and it can't happen that I break down when he comes home. It was difficult for me to make this decision because I felt that I let my colleagues and students down. But after a lot of thinking and talking with friends I made the decision which feel right at the moment. Sleeping doesn't go well and days are filled with doing the laundry, buying things for him, visits to the hospital and dinner at one of the neighbours. Round 8 I am usually home. I make some tea, write sometimes a mail to friends and family, there are telephone calls to be done and I take some time for myself. I knit on a simple shawl, read a little or watch televison.
During the visits to the hospital I always take some photos for my album "Hospital Blues" on Facebook which really helps me to cope with everything and it focusses me on the positive side of everything.
"Step by step" is the way to do those things..and be aware of the positivity of all things happening after the operation. There is an amazing amount of love round us which really helps me now to deal with it. There are postcards,chats on the street, houses from friends who are always open for me to enter no matter what time it is. I often get the question: how are you doing? so I can tell and share my feelings and thoughts which really helps.
Time to go to back to bed now after I went earlier but couldn't sleep...

zondag 12 september 2010

Everything tumbled again...

As was to be expected: everything tumbled again to the positive. At 17.45 on Friday-afternoon I got a phone-call form the surgeon who told me that everything went well with the operation and he could tell me that Bram has got 6 By-Passes. After I had put down the telephone I got a phone-call from the nurse who who had guided me through the operation telling me that I could come to see Bram at Intensive Care round 19.45. They had started the operation with 1 hours delay at 14.00 hrs. I got phone-calls form the hospital every 2 hours telling me how everything was going and how I was feeling. I have found this very useful for the family and friends round the patient and it gave a more secure feeling to it. Usually this kind of operation can be done between 3 and 6 hours and with Bram it almost took 5 hours.
So there were tears from relief,phone-calls and sms messages from friends and I felt that this was one of the special moments in my life and in our relation and while writing this tears come up again.
Friday was a strange day. Bram and I had talked about it and decided that I should not come over to Zwolle in the morning, but I did a phone-call instead. There is no need to stay the whole day in the hospital so I stayed home instead. You know something is going to happen which is very scary but I tried to keep myself going with things as doing the laundry, knitting, coffee in town and a chat with a friend, going on Facebook and writing ow the situation was..but my mind was was in Zwolle all day. I felt so much support and love around me during the day which helped me to come through.
So I was over the moon when I drove in the evening to Zwolle. Jochum and I were taken to Intensive Care after preparation on how things could be with Bram but he looked fine to me. His skin colour was OK and the IC-assistant guaranteed us that everything was going well.In a way it was strange to see this "lively person as Bram is" connected to machines and computers but on the other-hand I realized that he was still alive and that everything could have gone totally wrong if this all hadn't happened and he wouldn't be alive right now. We stayed about 1 hour and left with a good feeling back home. A few neighbours came,we had a good glass of wine and celebrated.
On Saturday morning I woke up early and before breakfast I went to buy some food in town. Met some people in the shops we know quite well and could tell them that all went well. It was great to tell the good news. Because we live right in the centre of Deventer (Bram more than 40 years and I 27...and because the centre is not big... and because we are both very social persons we know a lot of people. Deventer centre is like a living room for us so meeting up is very easy. After breakfast we went to Zwolle and Bram had just left the IC and was placed in a nursing-room with 6 beds. Not good for him because he is a person who in these kind of situation needs quietness. He was not 100% aware of us (in the afternoon he knew nothing any more from our visit) but we had a small talk. We left after a short time and I had a talk with a nurse about this room and he told me that they also had noticed that and that he would be taken to a room for himself.
Back in Deventer we had coffee and lunch in town. I bought some flowers for myself to celebrate life and could not resist these beautiful hydrangea. We went back to Zwolle to see him and came in just after 4 o'clock. I could see immediately that he was not comfortable with himself which I can understand. Pain in his chest when he had to cough. He had to sit for half an hour in a chair which had made him dizzy. Hard to see but all I could do was give him as much a support he needed, but even holding hands was too much for him. It was and is very hard he has to go through. He got a new cushion, I put his bed more up and down, helped him with drinking tea and water, asked for another pudding but nothing seemed to give him more comfort.I spoke at the end of the visiting time with the very kind Nurse Liesbeth and she decided to give him his medicines to get more calmer and sleepy earlier than planned. So I left a rather not feeling well Bram in the hospital and drove home to Deventer and felt so sad for him.
It is hard to see your lover in such a state and there is nothing you can do to take everything from his pain and uncertainty. When I was home Paul and Anja (very good friends who live in our street) came over to see me and it was good for me to share my feelings with them and I could cry. Deep in me I know everything will turn out well but this is one of the hardest time in my life and it such an emotional roller-coaster. I have never cried so much as over the last week. I really know it will turn out fine and he will be home hopefully soon, but it is just hard right now to come through.
This afternoon I hope he is feeling slightly better. Just phoned the hospital: he hadn't slept very well but was not panicking which is a slight relief to me. He and I will come over it but it will take a lot of time. It's now Sunday-morning round 9.30 and rain is falling on the window in my workroom. I have woken up much too early but can't sleep so well during these days. I am going to make some breakfast but really felt the need for writing this first.

vrijdag 10 september 2010

Living inbetween...

Bram's operation will take place this afternoon. Yesterday he was brought by ambulance to the hospital in Zwolle. The hospital in Zwolle is very different from the hospital in Deventer which is brand new. But nurses and doctors are usually very friendly people and they really take good care of him. I went by car behind and was round 10.30 in the hospital. While driving among the river Ijssel I listened to music I bought on Shetland which moved me. I am really found of the landscape which surrounds Deventer and the drive to Zwolle goes almost among that river.
Blood was taken, tests were done, all to prepare him for the operation which would start at 7.45 today, but a little later they put him round 13.00 hrs and if nothing comes between (like an emergency case, so they do need Operation Rooms which happened yesterday) it will happen.
Till tomorrow it wasn't sure because yesterday some blood values started rising and if they wouldn't have been dropped today the operation would have been cancelled because they don't want to take risks. But I phoned round 8.30 and they confirmed the operation time. It is rather scary but I am almost 100% sure it will be a positive result. The hospital is one of the best for heart operation and is very specialised it it. So he is in really capable hands, no doubts about that. They also have a special program for the family, so they also take good care of me. They will phone me when the operation starts, than every 2 hours and after the operation the surgeon will call to tell all details. Than we can come to Intensive Care to see him. He won't be concious but we just want to see him. You are not allowed to go there alone, so someone will go with us.
In between the various tests Bram became very tired, so he took some sleep and I went down to the hall to have some coffee, cake and a moment to reflect. I had taken an easy knit with me so I knitted a few rows and I noticed it really calmed me down. After that Jochum (Bram's son) came and we had some really nice and special time with him.
But it is a strange moment in my life. Over the last days I felt living in a kind of glass cloche, a very small world surrounded by the love and care of friends and family. It is in a way not the real world but on the other hand it is my real world now. Feelings go up and down. One moment there is a shock, the other moment relief and after that tears but also laughter and determination that all will go well. For 99% I am an optimistic person which is very useful now, so I can deal with it. This operation is different from Bram's aneurysm operation 2,5 years ago and I am dealing with this one much better after I have learned a lesson in that previous period. Like things as:accepting invitations to come over for dinner, being open on my feelings and sharing if I feel the need for it.
And there are wonderful things happening also. This week the postman brought a package from Switzerland from my dear friend Franzi in which I found "Lebkuchen with a little bear" on it as I have written about in a previous post. Last night I came home and found a big heart on the table waiting for me.
To keep myself going and to stay focused I decided to make a little photo-book on FaceBook named: Hospital Blues. Not from Bram's face but from all things which surrounded him. Here are a few and the rest can be seen on FB.
So in a few hours they will start and I am almost sure my next post will be a very happy one. Thanks for all the comments and mails. I feel blessed with so much love around me.

woensdag 8 september 2010

Everything tumbled.....

And just when I had saved a part of the 2nd episode of my Shetland Holiday everything tumbled in my life. Last Friday I got a phone call from a friend of us and she told me that Bram was with her and not feeling well. I went there as fast as I could on my bike and found him looking very pale and having pressure on his chest. I phoned the emergency doctor but because I sounded calm he mentioned to me to wait till our own doctor was back from lunch. I picked up the car and we drove home. But being at home we both got slightly panicked. I phoned the doctor again because he felt more worse. After 5 minuted he was with us and checked and decided to get the ambulance and Bram was taken to the hospital. I grabbed the things he might needed and packed them in a bag.I felt like being in a film and there was no time to think. Driving behind the ambulance which was one of the weirdest moments in my life knowing that he was in it. Strange, but I had to take this picture, probably to realize what was happening to us.To be really aware of it....
At Emergency Intensive Care he got medicines to calm down (very high blood pressure),blood was taken and a heart film was made.The first results in the evening showed a light cardiac infarction. After 8 hours after the infaction they can find things in the blood which shows what is has been. He was taken to the Intensive Care Unit and connected to all kinds of machinery. The staff was so supportive and kind to the both of us.
We both realized that we were lucky to be home and that it hadn't happened while on holiday. After the first result I went home, phoned some friends and relatives and cried and cried...
Saturday passed by with more tests and and me buying pyjamas in town. Every now and than the pressure on his chest came back but with medicine it went away. He slept a lot during the day while I hold his hand. We cried together and we felt very close to each-other.Strange maybe, but in a way I was relieved that now he was taken care of and that something might be found after all the years that his health went down and no one could find anything.
Bram has been very, very tired over the last year and his walking became very difficult and even last year they did a heart test with no result ( I did write a blog-entry about it). So strange that no one in the hospital noticed something. No doctor was curious and I remember the geriatric doctor told him after she couldn't find anything that he was over 70... so those things could happen when you are getting older.I am not blaming them but will ask without judgement how this can happen.
All friends, neighbours and family are very supportive and everyone really takes good care of me. After the previous operation from Bram (an aneurysm, almost 3 years ago) I tried to do everything by myself, but at the end I collapsed.That has learned me a lesson to hand it over and to accept help. Paul, one of my best friends who lives 5 houses of (I know him from Art school when we went there by car,; we are the same age and both having birthday at the 7th of August)told me to be slightly "more egoistic" to mention to them to come over for dinner, not to socialize but to make it more easy for myself.
On Sunday he was taken of from Intensive Care and brought to a General Nursing department because everything has calmed down.
Monday morning they did the heart catheterization on him. Round 12.30 I got Bram on the phone who told me that he needed to have a by-pass operation because his right coronary artery was almost closed and there were 2 other problems which couldn't be solved with angioplasty. The cardiologist told him that he was really in the danger zone and that if it hadn't happened right now it could have been fatal for him.So everything tumbled again...and after tea at a neighbour I calmed down.
We both know there is no other way, no other choice. Bram has always been very afraid for this operation and always told me that he hoped before this kind of operation he would be passed away. Heart problems are in his family and his mother passed away when she was 42 after a heart infarct. In a way I am very optimistic and try to look at the positive side of it. But I also know it is a very heavy operation and his condition is not very good. On the other hand I know the surgeons in Zwolle (where the operation will take place, 40 km from here) are very good and very capable. It is just very scary....
Bram is dealing with it in his own way. He is a very "social" person and he is making contact with all staff and the other patients in his room. I guess, they all love him in a way because who he is. He could tell me on Sunday that Judith (a very kind nurse) was living in Twello, was married and had 2 sons and one of the 2 (who was 2) was very good in killing flies. This spontaneity is really how he is, but on the other hand he has to learn to tell them when he is not feeling well. He is that kind of person who always feels that other are having it far more difficult than he has. They have told him that it is really serious and that he is not in the hospital for a slight problem at his big toe.This week all kind of tests will be done on him and maybe the operation will take place next week.
For me..I am very, very tired. Sleeping is not very good but I feel that it all has to do with al my energy who went in it all these years of taking care of him. I need to take care of myself and deal with it. Over the last months it sometimes became almost too much for me, to difficult to deal with and there has been moments I wanted to step out of it. I am sure I would never have done it, but the feeling was there: to step out of it and leave everything behind. Maybe very selfish, but I never took the step...Simply because I love him.
At work they are very supportive and my head of department told me not to think about work and so did my director. Days go by with phone-calls, mails, visits to the hospital etc. etc. I bought myself a book yesterday to celebrate that he is still with me because I realize now that he everything could have been totally different for the both of us if it all had been too late. I knit in between to keep calm and writing this blog- entry helps me to stay focused in a way and to keep everything clear for myself. It is not easy after all, but at the end I hope all will tumble back into the right direction.
P.S. Shetland part 2 will appear soon... I promise

woensdag 1 september 2010

A Summer in Shetland....Part 1.

Work has started this week but we came back form our holiday last week Friday. Looking back at it now it had ups and downs. Bram has suffered being ill for almost all weeks over there and taking care of him did take a lot of energy from me. But on the other hand we both are very happy that we have done it. Not really what we had expected it would be but sometimes life sends you to take another route.
We left our home on a Thursday and took the ferry from Ijmuiden to Newcastle. Our brand new car was packed with everything we thought we needed (later we discovered that we went on trip very chaotic) and on top of all package was the wheelchair. We has asked if we could be placed by the elevator so everything would work out fine. So it did....in a way.... Bram seated himself in the wheelchair, I packed the bag and we went into the elevator. All fine till that point and the button to level 6 was pushed. Small mistake.. Bram asked me on what deck we were. Guess what happened? I stepped out, had a look (deck 4) and before I knew the elevator closed with Bram inside and leaving me on deck 4. Elevator came back and was empty. I had to laugh and went in to search for him. I finally asked a woman from the ferry if she had seen my husband in a wheelchair and she told me that he was taken to the cabin already by 2 very nice Philippine male crew members. We both had to laugh when we met and Bram told me that smiling that I came a bit to early to the cabin...
I found out that driving the wheelchair wasn't so easy and I didn't feel comfortable with it at all.Now it goes slightly better emotional but I think it will take much more time to get used to it. We both keep ourself strong in a way when we go out with this "new vehicle" but inside me is still a lot of tears and sadness and resistance to it all. It feels like we only loose at this stage of life in our relation. I know it is supposed to give us more freedom but I still can't cope with it very well. Time will heal I know.
But back to Shetland now. We arrived and after some coffee in Lerwick, some shopping and another coffee at the Pierhead Bar in Voe we went to our cottage in Sweening (north of Lerwick) From Vidlin the road went down and at the end were 2 houses: a big one with our landlord Des and as last house on the road our cottage.benches, books and magazines Very well equipped with a nice living-room with comfortable benches, shelves full of books and magazines(so enjoyable to read Country Living I must admit!!). A very good kitchen and in which I have enjoyed the joy of the dishwasher (thanks to Birgit!!) and 2 bedrooms and a good shower room. It felt a little damp when we came in but with the help of a dehumidifier it all came well. The view outside was amazing and beautiful in all weather conditions. On the first Sunday afternoon I made a walk among the Voe and on the way back I thought of the program from Simon King (the Shetland Diaries) and how wonderful it would be to see an otter this holiday. At that same moment I heard a strange noise from the water and 2 otters looked at me. I couldn't believe it and it brought me in tears. In Shetland they say that you never will find an otter, but the otter will find you. I took some pictures and at the end one of them almost swim with me on the way back to the cottage. The experience was overwhelming for me and this is one of the things I feel that will always stay with me.
The colours and different shades from the nature in Shetland always connects me to the colours of the Shetland yarns (will post another episode only onto knitting) I took all this pictures during a walk I made while on the top of a hill next to our cottage.
After a few days together our friend Birgitta (who lives near Glencoe, awesome place!!) came for a visit for 5 days and on the first friday I picked up our friend Tiny who stayed 9 days with us. So I had friends over for my birthday since many years celebrating that together and for the first time I had a garland hanging in the kitchen.
We made little trips together and one afternoon we went to the cliffs from Eshaness on the west coast of the Mainland which is always great to go to. There is a great lighthouse and the view is fabulous.
But Bram kept very tired and not very well (which was really worrying for the both of us) so we ended up going in the first week to Doctor Scott in the health-centre in Brae and Bram got antibiotics. The have helped more or less but the tiredness and not well feeling stayed so he had to stay home most parts of the days and if we had f.e. coffee in Lerwick he had to rest the whole afternoon. I loved the place very much but Bram later told me that he had felt sometimes very lonely when I was away which I can understand in a way from his point of view.
During the afternoon from my birthday we went to the Agricultural show in Voe where you can see all results from a competition in which everyone can join. From nice sheep to cakes and from fleece to knitting and from crafts by children till Tug of War(Yes, the Vikings came back but lost the game!!) I always love to go to these kind of shows because you can see how important it is for a community living on those islands. It is about meeting up with friends, drinking tea with home baked cakes, the competition and lots of fun and laughter.
I made a nice walk with Tiny on the Lunna peninsula. We started at the house with a bric-a-brac store done by Frank who was obviously gay and who lives in an amazing spot (and the house should be really beautiful inside) at the end of the road with striking views to the island Yell. Mind you, he knew the Dutch singers Pussycat who sang that song in the 70's.......(later I heard that he is into reading tarot cards with famous people) It started foggy but later the sun came out and after we found the track back by going through the bog we arrived rather later at home than planned. Lunna is wonderful with Lunna house, a nice church and great views, especially in the evening
I really wanted to go to the Northern Isles. Unfortunately Bram could not come with us. We left early and took the 2 ferries to Unst, which is the most northerly island and there (after coffee and cake) we visited the Boat Haven with great examples from boats used in the past by Shetlanders. I found this great example from a prayer at the exhibition. Unst is a great place to go. Not so desolated as Yell, but I always wonder how people live in those conditions. In summer is isn't so bad I guess. Sometimes there is sun (we didn't had such good weather as last year) but all is very changeable during the day. But during the winter it must be different with dark and short days, storms and rain. So I always like to look at houses in were you can see people make sort of effort to make it a home. This example I found on Unst but close to it was this shed with in my point a view a beautiful colour palette.On the way back a group of Shetland ponies was on the middle of the road and Tiny took this picture of me surrounded by those beautiful animals.
It is sort of funny but when we are in Shetland we always meet Jan and Paula who now came sailing with their beautiful sailing ship "De Bastaert van Campen" from New Newfoundland and who I found in Lerwick harbour. I picked them up and we had lunch in our house and I made tasty fishcakes after a recipe in the Good Food.
After the girls had left we had a week together and we did is very easy. Coffee in Lerwick at the Peerie cafe (still a good place to go), a visit from friends, a little shopping (yes, yarns and books again!!) and we had tea in Busta House hotel where I pictured Bram as Laird of the surroundings.
We left Shetland on Saturday and thanks to a sleeping pill we haven't noticed anything from gale-force that night or as a crew member mentioned: it is going to be very bumpy tonight..
More about our return home in my next post and part 3 (and maybe part 4 too) will be all about "KNITTING"