Day 80

Level 2 Chi Kung. Microcosmic orbit.

Nick went for a long bike ride this morning so I was on morning duty with the children. It is a mystery to why the lidded glass bowl I have always used to make the porridge has suddenly started exploding porridge all over the microwave. Hey ho. Did some laundry, sat in the sun, cleaned the kitchen and made Dan Lepard’s Whisky and Ginger Cake (very good). Realised halfway through making the cake that we had run out of baking soda and had to make a trip to the local corner shop to get some more.

I only really enjoy baking when I start with a reasonably immaculate kitchen – with the result that I often start the day with the intention of baking but by the time I have cleaned the kitchen (sometimes several times if people have inconveniently required feeding and created more mess) the opportunity has passed. My hope is that my family will eventually clock that there is a correlation between the extent to which they clear up after themselves, and the likelihood of homemade cake being produced, and be motivated appropriately!

Day 79

Level 2 Chi Kung. Microcosmic orbit.

I am continually amazed at the growing strength in my hands since starting level 2 Chi Kung – the ‘claw like an eagle’ bit really works. Today I opened a fresh jar of sauerkraut without resorting to gadgets, running it under warm water, cursing etc.

A lazy day, basking in the afterglow of having such a lovely time with Denise Ball on Thursday and Friday. Did a bit of tidying, and put the apple sauce Denise made from our windfall apples in the freezer, but otherwise spent the day sitting or lying about resting the knee.

Katie announced this morning that she and Dash had packed a picnic and that they intended to have it on the heath. I explained that Nick would have to take them as I didn’t want to do much walking today and she was fine with that. I asked if she needed any food or anything for the picnic but she assured me that everything was already organised. She had packed: a towel to sit on, some dry rice bubbles to eat, a bottle of water and two cups. She explained that she and Dash would use the cups and Nick could drink directly from the bottle.

Several visits from young foxes this afternoon, which makes me think that, although Mr and Mrs Fox didn’t breed in our backyard this year, they probably weren’t far away. If the conservationists succeed in reintroducing lynx, I wonder if we will one day have lynx’s slipping across the bottom of the garden?

Amidst all this domesticity it is usually only through Richard Bolstad‘s posts that I am aware of the approach of war, but today it was all over radio 4. It is even scarier hearing it through a medium that doesn’t usually convey anything more troubling than Gardener’s Question Time. I admit to being nervous, as it’s getting hard to see how this can end well. I feel like a character from Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles, only lacking a convenient family estate in Sussex to repair to when push comes to shove.

Day 76

Level 2 Chi Kung. Microcosmic orbit. Inaugural skype with Betsy Corliss.

Decided that my knee was sufficiently recovered for sedate dog walking – shame I don’t have a sedate dog! Katie, Dash and I walked Sherlock to Manor Park Gardens, so that Sherlock could socialise off-leash. Met a lovely assistance dog called Ringo. Had a good chat with Ringo’s human. Alongside the other benefits of having Ringo (he apparently picks things up and gives them back if you drop them, and fetches the post, papers, books etc when asked), it is clear that having a ready made connection to other dog owners is also a plus. Discovered when we got home that Manor Park Gardens and back was just a tad too far for the knee and (sense breaking out for once) had a nap. Watched (you guessed it!) Ironman 3 with the children.

Day 75

Level 2 Chi Kung. Microcosmic orbit.

Spent the rest of the day at Lewisham Hospital. The staff were efficient, well organised, thoroughly professional and kind. The results were completely clear. So I’ll just say I’m hugely relieved that it’s over and draw a veil over the gross bits in between.

Felt I needed a bit of back-to-childhood type pampering in the evening, soNick Curnow made mousetraps and cocoa, which we ate in front of Dr Who. Watched Ironman 2 with the children (who find Dr Who too scary).

Day 74

Level 2 Chi Kung – including standing on right foot where necessary – yay! Microcosmic orbit.

Heavy rain for the bank holiday today so got some bits and pieces done around the house. Would have been a good day to curl up with a book and a mug of hot chocolate except that I was obliged to fast in preparation for hospital appointment tomorrow. Watched Iron Man with the children in the evening. I do love RDJ.

Day 73

Level 2 Chi Kung – some parts twice, as I was interrupted on the first attempt by Jack appearing in my room and saying “there’s burning downstairs”! Fortunately it was only some thoroughly cremated toast. Microcosmic orbit.

Nick went for a bike ride this morning and in the afternoon I took Kate and Dash to see How To Train Your Dragon 2. Great fun – and Hiccup’s mummy, Valka, is definitely the coolest mummy in cinema, with a very nice line in wing-walking. I have now forsaken Elastigirl and definitely want to be Valka when I grow up.

After we got home, Dash rather surprised us by saying that he thinks that Sherlock is unhappy after his trip to the groomer. I asked if he meant that he thinks Sherlock is cold now that his fur is shorter but he said no, he thinks Sherlock is unhappy because he doesn’t feel comfortable with his new physical appearance, because he no longer feels as cuddly! Sherlock seems happy as a clam to me but until one of us learns to speak dog, it’s impossible to say for sure one way or the other. Since Dash also had a haircut yesterday, it did occur to me that he might be projecting…

Day 72

Delighted to report dramatic progress on recovery of injured knee. After doing my old favourite, the Six Step Reframe, on knee pain this morning, I was able to comfortably do Level 2 Chi Kung STANDING UP, with hands on floor in the relevant bits! The only remaining modifications being that I had my feet about an inch apart (to accommodate the fact that my right knee is still a little swollen) and, when it came to the part where you stand on one foot, I only did the left, as I thought putting my full weight on my right leg might be pushing it a bit far. By the time I had finished, I felt so good that I decided to take a gentle walk up to the village (my first trip out without having Nick to lean on) and all went well. Other than going fairly slowly, and paying more attention than usual to uneven paving stones etc, it felt pretty normal.

It was so frustrating trying to do ordinary things like unpacking and tidying when every step hurt and felt dangerous – I feel so relieved and grateful to be getting back to normal. In the past, it has always taken weeks to recover from knee injuries, so I can only assume that it is the Chi Kung making the difference. It is rapidly becoming my new Rawleigh’s Ointment – worth trying for whatever ails you!

Meanwhile Nick took Sherlock to the groomer – to the famous Laura this time. We tried to get an appointment back in May but the 23rd of August was the first appointment we could get! Anyway, it seems she was worth waiting for, Sherlock seems happy and looks gorgeous.

Day 71

Level 2 Chi Kung sitting down. Microcosmic orbit.

A bright sunny, warm-if-you’re-in-the-sun days. Weeded the raised rose bed (raised beds are so great – no strain on the knees!) and supervised Katie in the swimming pool. It was funny watching her motivation to swim overcome her shock at how bloody cold the water was – she put one leg over the side, leaped out again, tried the other leg, leaped out, then decided she might wait until it was warmer. When I said “It won’t get any warmer today – if you are going in today, now’s the time”, she plucked up her courage and took the plunge. I had goose bumps just watching (from a safe distance).

Have felt all day like I’m swimming through waves of intense desire for sleep. I attribute this partly to the knee injury – although I am getting steadily more mobile, moving around without hurting myself requires constant concentration. And today it was aggravated by the fact that the babysitter put the kids to bed really early last night, (whereas we of course went to bed late after the theatre) with the result that Katie appeared in my room early this morning, climbed into bed with me and launched into a long-winded account of a dream she had last night. Every now and then she would poke me and say sharply “Are you listening to me? Because it looks like you’re going to sleep!”