Friday, 26 October 2012

Chapter Fifty five

Much has happened over the last ten days or so. Most of it has been good and some less so. Those of you who know Linda well, will know how much she struggles against depression. Normally she can fight it and cope well, but on occasion it can knock her down.
Somebody famous once described it as "being bitten by the black dog".
In a stressful working environment of constant pressure and expectation, it is easy for someone who is a little fragile to struggle to maintain their own high standards. With Linda's hormonal imbalance due to the hysterectomy she had to have; plus the problems she is under from a strained colleague relationship; added to the pressure she puts herself under to continue with the high working standard she insists upon...something had to give.
The result at the moment is that she is off work for a while as she gets back on an even keel again. It's hard to explain this to those who have never suffered from 'the Black Dog', but believe me when I say it is very real.
The good side to all this means that Linda is at home now and away from the main source of all tension. This is slowly giving her some sort of strength to continue on the road to recovery. Our excellent doctor, who put me back on the right track, has got Linda improving daily. So long as she doesn't go back to early I think she will be alright.
As a side benefit to this being off...Linda has her own ideas about what therapy suits her best...and that is pottering about in the garden. Linda's idea of 'pottering' is most peoples idea of hard work, but she thrives on it. As a result over the last several days the garden has been transformed and pretty much dealt with for the winter. Even as  I write, a second load of granite chippings is on its way as Linda puts the finishing touches to the paths.

She put the first lot in this morning in barely an hour and a half.

As for me...I'm on the old blog.
For people who don't know us it must look very odd because it is Linda in our lifestyle who does all the physical work outside the house and me who tends to do the work inside the house. Of course we cross over in these things and share the work, but it does look odd to folk sometimes.
We have also had an excellent piece of news concerning getting an allotment for Linda. The ground here is not quite so good for planting as our cottage stands on a rock plateau which is only inches below the surface. Linda is desperate to start growing vegetables again, and I know she has missed the lovely garden she had back in Godalming.
We followed up a couple of leads for allotments close by, the nearest being at Portscatho which is about eight miles away. Sadly the waiting list for these was huge and we began to contemplate seeing if some elderly person with a garden to big for them to manage, would let Linda work a part of it.
That's when the local community stepped in. Word of mouth down here is so important, as is community spirit. People are just so happy to help.
My friend Claire who runs the poetry group I go to was the first to advise us. She told us that there were allotments in her village of Tregony, (3 miles from us), and gave us the name of the chap who owned them.
Linda rang him and it turned out he had a couple going spare. When we got up there to see him, he turned out to be one of the watch keepers at the NCI, and in fact, was the chap we met at the horse show who gave me the details for joining. Linda is now the proud tenant of two very nice allotments and is geared up ready to start production. Needless to say...I am banned from doing anything as this is her therapy project.
It seems I will be asked if I'm needed...thank God for that I say :)
This is me now in my uniform for the Coastwatch. It all finally arrived the other day and I was delighted. I wore it down to the watch house for a stint last Sunday afternoon. It feels good now to look the part although I am still only a trainee. Before I do anything I am going to have to get some ideas about taking bearings and the like. It is fascinating though and I feel as if I am contributing towards the community in my own way.
The new moon this month heralded some extremely high spring tides. Coupled with a very strong surge because of the high winds there was resulting flooding in several places along the coast. Poor old Lynmouth got it rough again up on the North Devon coast, while down here both Looe and Mevagissey in particular got flooded. For some businesses in Mevagissey it was the third lot of flooding this year.
The road beneath us was flooded as the tide crept across the quay and kept going. We waded back to our house from Sett bridge and that is over half a mile. The water came almost to the tops of the wellies in some places. Very eerie. The saltings became full of birds fighting for space on the reeds and marshland before they to had to fly away and sit the whole thing out on the banks of the estuary. I had never seen so much water out there in the year we have been here.
 Beneath the surface of the water here is the top of the quay. The water was over three inches deep here. To the left of the picture is the creek which is normally a foot or so beneath the quay at high tide. The whole creek depth here is about twelve feet. The road is to the right and the water was rapidly flowing over it. Straight ahead is a small view of the saltings and the estuary. The estuary gradually increased as the saltings were inundated.
Walking back later we started into the water on the road and it wasn't to bad. It was only as we neared the village that the road dips a bit and the levels became quite deep. It was good fun and very unusual to see.
 Normally to the right of were Linda is walking you can see grass and the like as the saltings edge across to the river coming out from under Sett bridge. Apart from a few tuffets, all has disappeared.
For those who didn't know...it was my fortieth anniversary of joining Royal Mail on the 18th of October. Sadly there was no official recognition of this as they made me leave Royal Mail and re-apply to come down here.
Even though I only had to leave for a short time; less than the leave time they made me pay back; it meant I lost everything. All my seniority went down the tubes along with 39 years of service. It hurts but it was my price to pay to get to Cornwall.
Having said that, some of my new managers and colleagues, plus some old friends from Farnham remembered and that was really nice. Linda and I celebrated with a meal out and a bottle of bubbly so I was pleased with that.
However; the following day I got even better news from my manager down here. My core hours are to be changed at last. I can work anywhere between twenty and forty hours a week at present but my core hours remain at 10 for the week. She has told me they will be going up to 25 per week in November. That has been a huge boost to me and I am delighted.
The weather here has been strange this week with glorious sunshine on Monday and a keen chill in the air so remeniscent of a beautiful crisp morning. That lovely day was followed by a fog on Tuesday, so thick, that it stopped me from seeing the sea. This as you can imagine was something of a shock as I am at Portscatho at the moment and the sea was only twenty feet away.
Still warm though.
Disaster struck on Wednesday however when Linda attempted to leave home and drive to Exeter to pick up her mum. Roxanne and Stephen were bringing her down to Exeter and Linda was going to collect her and bring her the rest of the way.
The bonnet catch on Linda's car stopped working and so the bonnet wouldn't close. Despite all our efforts it wouldn't stay shut but eventually I managed to close and secure it with some plastic ties. Success we thought, but sadly we were wrong. Because the bonnet wouldn't close down it meant that some of the electrics wouldn't work. This included the wipers. Its some sort of failsafe device.
As a result it meant that Linda couldn't go and collect her mum and the whole thing had to be postponed.
And then on Thursday it was my turn. I to, got bitten by the black dog. In my case it was a smooth haired labrador that chose to bite me on the arm. My first bite from a cornish dog since coming down here. In a sense it was my fault as I put my hand out to it to let it sniff me and make friends. It chose instead to bite first.
          I know it doesn't look much but it was painful and it bled. The end result was a visit to the surgery for antibiotics and a tetanus jab. Lovely, a bite on one arm and an injection in the other. As they say about Royal Mail...'if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined'. They got that right.

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