Tuesday, 14 August 2007

excavations

Pa's a bit better - the stomach bleeding has stopped. However, they have taken him off pretty much all of his medication, because they are worried that it will reoccur and all the things like warfrin etc. make him more susceptible to bleeding. They've also taken him off his arthritis medication, with the result that his hands are swollen up like balloons and he can't do anything for himself, even hold a cup.

Perhaps part of growing up is feeding your father with a spoon, shaving him and cleaning his teeth.

However, by the time we left for home he was much more himself - slightly grumpy, a bit frustrated and able to tell me off for 'being vulgar' when I told him that these days they send you home from hospital as soon as you've 'slid the baby out'. The aim is to move him to the local cottage hospital as soon as possible - it's closer to home, it's a less intensive medical facility and, of course, they don't have MRSA. Also, it might be possible to arrange for Moss-the-dog to visit him in some way - she is pining for him. And so is he for her.

We are home now - I am shattered and B isn't much better. I am having a day of rest and B is doing some design and planning work.

One of the other things we managed to do whilst down at Ma's, was Go In To The Top Shed.

If The Top Shed was in a role-playing game, it would automatically knock about three points off the morale, cleanliness, dedication, ability and strength scores of any character who went inside. In Real Life (tm), it has much the same effect.

jarsWe were on a Quest, for Kilner Jars.

For some time, our group of travellers had been hearing rumours from local residents that there were Kilner Jars stored at the back of the shed. Our mission was to locate the jars, extract them intact and not cause the enormous pile of, well, STUFF, to topple off the top of the Vauxhall Cresta in the meantime. Or the pile of broken white goods and televisions to overbalance. Or the three-door 1930's walnut wardrobe full of binder twine to topple over on to us. Or to do ourselves serious ankle damage on the rotovator. Or to cause the decaying pigeon loft to shake loose from the wall and crush us and all of the above.

After some serious rummaging about and the use of one or two 'reveal' spells, B was able to report that the rumours were correct. There WAS a box of preserving jars at the back of the shed, behind the chinese screen, next to the chutney boiler (disused) and the stack of old freezer baskets. By judicious wriggling, he was able to pass the jars out to me one at a time.

I put them in a handy cardboard box, and after about half an hour, we stood back and assessed what we had uncovered.

It was scary. See the scaryness.

At this point, Ma arrived to help. She was able to throw some light on the matter. They are the preserving jars that her mother used during the Second World War, for fruit.

Some of those things have been in there since 1942.

Honest.

That's sixty five years.

B and I found some surgical gloves in the cupboard under the stairs and I levered the tops off of the jars with his Man Tool, whilst B emptied the contents in to the back of the flower border beside the front lawn. We felt rather like Howard Carter dealing with Tutankhamen's organs. Some of the tops were perforated and the contents had dried out to a dessicated substance not unlike coprolites. Others were in better nick - the rhubarb for example. And some blackcurrants. And some pears that Ma reckoned were only forty years old. It was a really odd feeling, chucking away stuff that my grandmother must have picked all that time ago.

Anyway ... we now have twenty 2lb jars and fifteen 1lb jars for jam and chutney experiments. I am going to have a look for some lids for them - but they aren't real Kilner Jars, so I think we may have a problem finding caps for them and won't therefore, be able to use them for pickling and preserving.

We also scored a seventy year old pressure cooker affectionately known by the family as 'the bomb', of which, more later.

Now, I am off to write a birth plan. Excuse me.

23 comments:

  1. I'm so pleased your dad's on the way to better health.

    65 years! Well, if that isn't taking fruit perservation to the extreme. I don't know what is!

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  2. I'm so pleased your dad's on the way to better health.

    65 years! Well, if that isn't taking fruit perservation to the extreme. I don't know what is!

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  3. thinking of you and your folks Ally. you spend all your life thinking of your folks as indestructible and then they get old.... :(

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  4. Glad your Pa seems a little more himself. I can quite understand his pining for his dog.

    Birth plan - make calm, unhurried way to clean, friendly hospital. Have baby with minimum of fuss (mini-mum - see what I did there?), go home and live happily ever after.

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  5. Glad your Pa seems a little more himself. I can quite understand his pining for his dog.

    Birth plan - make calm, unhurried way to clean, friendly hospital. Have baby with minimum of fuss (mini-mum - see what I did there?), go home and live happily ever after.

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  6. Seeing one's parents age, may be part of the life cycle, but that does not make it in any way enjoyable...

    Home birthing has a definite place in society, but do make sure your birth plan has contingency plans if aught goes wrong. Our first two where model births (if long, 27 and 26 hours labour respectively). The third went a but pear shaped and involved flashing lights and being run through the hospital to theatre. Just back sure you've got back up, that's all.

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  7. Seeing one's parents age, may be part of the life cycle, but that does not make it in any way enjoyable...

    Home birthing has a definite place in society, but do make sure your birth plan has contingency plans if aught goes wrong. Our first two where model births (if long, 27 and 26 hours labour respectively). The third went a but pear shaped and involved flashing lights and being run through the hospital to theatre. Just back sure you've got back up, that's all.

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  8. Thanks folks - and thanks Boy for the 'just in case' reminder. I've just sent my draft copy to a friend who is a midwife and I'm hoping she will point out any glaring holes that I've missed. Our own midwife is off (with chicken pox, bless!) until the middle of next week and I am already walking like Horatio Hornblower ... so we thought it was worth getting *something* down in writing, in case things happened early. The plan is for our midwife to go through it with us when she gets back. All things being equal. Which they often aren't!

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  9. Thanks folks - and thanks Boy for the 'just in case' reminder. I've just sent my draft copy to a friend who is a midwife and I'm hoping she will point out any glaring holes that I've missed. Our own midwife is off (with chicken pox, bless!) until the middle of next week and I am already walking like Horatio Hornblower ... so we thought it was worth getting *something* down in writing, in case things happened early. The plan is for our midwife to go through it with us when she gets back. All things being equal. Which they often aren't!

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  10. The main thing is that you have the baby. Wonderful if things go to plan, but who cares if it doesn't? It's not, actually, important.

    Grumpy and frustrated is quite a good sign.

    I would not have resisted tasting some of those fruits. 'Course, I would now be suffering the torments of botritis.

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  11. The main thing is that you have the baby. Wonderful if things go to plan, but who cares if it doesn't? It's not, actually, important.

    Grumpy and frustrated is quite a good sign.

    I would not have resisted tasting some of those fruits. 'Course, I would now be suffering the torments of botritis.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Well, I assumed that you were looking for EMPTY jars. Did you? The shed sonds like quite the treasure trove. You could probably put the old jars on ebay and make enough to buy all new ones. But there is something to be said for using the jars your randmother did.

    Good luck with the birthing plan. Once yoou have kids, you can make plans and then youn throw them out the window.

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  14. Well, I assumed that you were looking for EMPTY jars. Did you? The shed sonds like quite the treasure trove. You could probably put the old jars on ebay and make enough to buy all new ones. But there is something to be said for using the jars your randmother did.

    Good luck with the birthing plan. Once yoou have kids, you can make plans and then youn throw them out the window.

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  15. Good news about your dad, and yes, I think that is definitely part of growing up.

    Oh, and well done on the birth plan thingy.

    And now down to the serious business: Kilner jar envy. :)

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  16. Good news about your dad, and yes, I think that is definitely part of growing up.

    Oh, and well done on the birth plan thingy.

    And now down to the serious business: Kilner jar envy. :)

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  17. Then you must be VERY grown up INDEED by now!

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  18. Glad Pa is feeling better. I hope he and the dog have their reunion soon.

    My mother used to seal jam and jelly with paraffin. Of course, you will have to make a LOT of jelly to use up all those jars.

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  19. Glad Pa is feeling better. I hope he and the dog have their reunion soon.

    My mother used to seal jam and jelly with paraffin. Of course, you will have to make a LOT of jelly to use up all those jars.

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  20. I miss read that last comment as:
    My Mother used to *do* seal jam and jelly with parrafin.

    Which didn't sound appetising at all.

    [shuffles of muttering 'i must read blog comments more carefully. i must...']

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  21. Glad your Pa is on the mend :-) My father in law is going through something similar. And yes...there is this symettry to life isn't there - part of growing up is feeding your parents once more perhaps, as they seem to travel back in time to a place early in their lives where they are dependent once more.

    Good luck with the Chutney Fest.

    Jo x (late of innergirl...now opened up at my new home...it's on the profile).

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  22. I miss read that last comment as:
    My Mother used to *do* seal jam and jelly with parrafin.

    Which didn't sound appetising at all.

    [shuffles of muttering 'i must read blog comments more carefully. i must...']

    ReplyDelete
  23. Glad your Pa is on the mend :-) My father in law is going through something similar. And yes...there is this symettry to life isn't there - part of growing up is feeding your parents once more perhaps, as they seem to travel back in time to a place early in their lives where they are dependent once more.

    Good luck with the Chutney Fest.

    Jo x (late of innergirl...now opened up at my new home...it's on the profile).

    ReplyDelete