Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Miaouli Square - Ermoupolis

Ermouplis Town Hall in Miaouli Square

On our way to Sifnos in 1985, we'd arrived in Athens, went to Piraeus and bought a ticket for the first available boat, irrespective of where it was going. We knew nothing about any of the Greek islands, so it was fairly unimportant which island, just as long as it wasn't any very well-known name among the package-holiday crowd. First stop was Syros, which we discover, is famous for it's Loukoumi.

After getting off the ferry and being accosted by the then usual crowd of kids touting rooms, we accepted help from one who took us to a house right on the main Miaouli Square in Ermoupolis, exactly opposite the grand and imposing town hall. At that time it cost the equivalent of around £3.00 per night, even in that central location. (Mind you, the rooms were basic backpacker standard and the bathrooms communal.) Prices there are still very reasonable, mostly because "You will meet very few foreigners on Syros. Most of the people coming here are Greek." Off the main tourist radar is my kind of destination!

This was also just a block or two back from the delightful harbour front, where we dined on fresh crab, also for next to nothing. Breakfast we took opposite in the square and it was never any busier than is shown in the video below. It looks like Ermoupolis has remained much as it was. My impression of Ermoupolis was a slightly Venetian flavoured (complete with decaying grandeur) junior Paris Sur Mer, only Greek, of course. With glorious Greek island weather.

The best information about Syros is from Matt Barrett, who says:
"One of the most interesting and lively places to visit is the agora (marketplace), especially in the morning. There are fruits and vegetable shops, fresh fish, and bakeries with fresh baked bread, cookies and cakes. Check out the Prekas Traditional Shop which sells local products like capers, sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses, dried figs, marinated artichokes, loukoumia, nougat, local honey, olives, pasta, oil, local spirits, wine, herbs and candies. Its the closest thing to a natural foods shop and in many ways better. Its on Venizelou Street just down from Miaoulis Square."
What more could one want for daily life? He also says, "I think if I was going to live year-round on any island I would choose Syros." Oh, so would I!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Friendliest Island on Earth

Kamares Bay

As others have already pointed out, the people of Sifnos are so friendly that a common reaction is for visitors to not want to leave. If I hadn’t been itching to explore Athens too, when I was in Sifnos back in 1985, we wouldn’t have eventually left either and, I've always intended to go back one day.

We were island-hopping on the ferries with no particular plan, but a vague idea of going to one of the next islands, Serifos (which we never did.) We arrived in the port of Kamares on route, saw the huge curve of beach and decided, “That looks nice, let’s get off here”. What made the island for me was the Boulis family.

The Boulis House where we stayed

When we’d arrived, a little blonde girl met us off the ferry with the usual greeting of “You want a room?” We did and she took us to the family home just up the road out of Kamares going towards Apollonia, to which had been added some rooms to rent. These purpose-built rooms were clean, fresh and – at that time, about 3 quid a night – with bedroom, bathroom and veranda and each with it’s own door.

The Taverna we often used for breakfast, lunch and dinner

We were given to understand that the same family who owned the restaurant we used for breakfast, lunch and dinner, also owned the house in which we were staying. This was when Boulis Taverna was on the waterfront at Kamares.

Actually, we had to stop going to the waterfront for breakfast after a swarm of wasps had taken a liking to my jam. I’d tried running up and down the street faster than they could fly, but that hadn’t worked. So, we bought bread in the bakery, butter and jam in the supermarket and took breakfast back to the room.

That was the point I discovered a) No knife b) No one at home who spoke English. So out came the phrase book and I made an attempt at copying out what I HOPED was “Please can you lend me a knife?” in Greek. And it can’t have been far off, because I got a laugh and a knife to spread my butter and jam with!

Meanwhile, back at the Taverna for main meals. Because it was small and family and because I can’t abide doing the “Oy, you!” business to call a waiter, since I had heard ours called Yannis (as it turns out, by his father), I did likewise.

No big deal, it just seemed more courteous.

Well, these are people upon whom such small courtesies are not lost and Yannis insisted that my partner and I accept a drink on the house as a gesture of thanks. And, so began a week or so of us tripping over ourselves to take our custom back to the same establishment daily and them treating us like right royal visitors!

We had actually intended to hop on and see other islands, but ended up staying in Sifnos for the duration of our holiday, bar one day in which to see Athens.

Probably the best known and certainly the best content site on Greece is Matt Barrett’s Greek Travel, which I found a couple of years ago via a link on the BBC website. He has been traveling to or living in Greece since 1968 and Sifnos is his own favorite. It is through Matt’s site that I know that Giorgos Boulis Taverna has moved to larger premises, pretty much where the house we stayed in was. It is listed on his page for Sifnos restaurants, along with the comment: “Yannis, who is my favorite of the brothers waits tables and is the grill man.”

Naturally, I had to write and confirm a few details, but knew this was “our Yannis” (who had indeed worked the grill) and I have to say that it gives me a really warm feeling to know that the friendliness remains and that the family seems to be doing well with the restaurant, the bakery and the sweet and pastry shop …

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Pride and Prejudice meets Porn

Above is the Red Lion pub where, supposedly, in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth
meets and is slighted by Darcy at the country dance and we had lunch. 

Belatedly, as these are from a day out a year ago, here are some snapshots from the village of Laycock in in Wiltshire, England, better known to TV viewers as either Meryton in the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Cranford from the series of the same name or for various bit parts in Harry Potter.

Too many cars

Yet more cars

It's a crying shame that the English weather was, as ever, far from helpful for the photography, but an even worse one was that one has immense difficulty getting any decent shots of the streets of the "Charming rural village untouched by modern development", since they were chock full and virtually obscured by unsightly, modern vehicles. They need to address that.

Scenes in Lacock

And we wouldn't want to miss the entertaining group sex duck porn. :)

Group sex duck porn in Laycock

Thursday, 4 March 2010

More Malaise

There is so much that I want to do today, but I just do not have the energy and I am in far too much pain. First there's the deep burning, aching, stabbing, gnawing pain in my hip that does not respond to any painkiller I've ever tried and is so bad it breaks through any efforts at distraction with nauseating and tear-inducing regularity. I can't stand on it, I can't walk on it, I can't sit on it, I can't lie on it. I just can't tolerate it. Then it refers pain down my leg. And please don't tell me that some psychobabble pain management technique (however well meant) is going to be able to do anything for this either, because it does nothing. It needs a ruddy miracle!

My visit with the physiotherapist was helpful in a way. After I told her what a massive fail I'd had trying to do the exercises she gave me - I had tried several times, but even keeping down to 2 repetitions the pain it gave me was so severe I'd then spend the next three nights having great difficulty sleeping because of it. It had me in tears and was far too much to bear. Thus, she says, she cannot really do anything for me. She wouldn't even risk doing any work manipulating me, because it could cause too much hurt. But at least she recognizes that this is because of the ME and is not my fault, which is a VAST improvement on the general attitude of "if you'd just get some exercise", or worse.

The bad news is that she would prefer me to go all the way to Poole to see the physiotherapist at the pain clinic for my ongoing treatment. Frankly, I have no idea what they think I could do, so hopefully it won't take too many visits to discover it, because it's hell of a journey. Normally after any outing I will come home, collapse and involuntarily fall asleep from exhaustion, then I'll wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep again because of the pain. When I got home yesterday, I managed to keep awake and was rewarded by an entire night of restless, semi-conscious painful dozing. This is marginally better than getting no sleep at all, but it's no substitute for the real thing. Although I cannot tell you when the last time I had an actually restful night's sleep that allowed me to get up feeling properly refreshed: even when I was a kid, I started every day exhausted and had genuine, grave difficulty waking up.

Today my neck feels so weak and painful, again, that I can bearly hold my head up even for a few minutes and even in a reclining position, I'm having to support my neck with a neck pillow. Yesterday, I went out by taxi (which is less painful or exhausting than walking or going by bus) and I only had to wait 10-15 minutes for my appointment, but just that amount of movement and sitting was enough to cause the pain in my neck and in my legs to flare up dreadfully again. 

It was making me feel panicky, because I didn't think I could manage to sit there any longer and wanted to be sick. I couldn't sit upright. I really wanted to lie down. And I couldn't turn my head even to look in the direction from which I would be called. Add to that extreme nausea and sweating from yet another hot flush and the situation was fast becoming unbearable.

The awful pain I get in my shins if I sit in a chair or stand (even for moments), I attribute to orthostatic intolerance. After my appointment I called into the pet shop, went to buy a stamp (only had to wait for one customer, otherwise I'd wouldn't have even attempted that) and went to the bank (again, I was lucky to be only next-but-one in line), but even this tiny amount of walking (max 200 yards) and standing has caused considerable problems.

Today, every time I get up, I feel lightheaded, my thigh muscles begin to spasm and my shins scream in pain. The pain in my back is nauseating and in my knees is beyond excruciating. I'd made a point of walking between each destination at a relaxed pace. I'd carefully worked out where I needed to go, so as to avoid doubling back on myself. I didn't browse in any other shops at all before getting a taxi back home. I couldn't have done more anyway.

Adding it all up, getting a taxi both ways has slightly reduced - but certainly not eliminated - the amount of exhaustion caused by the outing and, maybe the recuperation period will be slightly less (normally, it takes a whole week), but doing so has done little or nothing to mitigate the increase in pain brought on by sitting, standing and / or walking anywhere.

This is where the medical profession's opinion and my experience begins to differ widely. Here in the UK, they are seeing me as someone newly diagnosed (in 2008) and keep suggesting that with exercise I can build myself back up to being able to do more normal things. They are willfully ignoring the fact that I have been ill since I was 16 and have never known 'normal' as an adult. Even ignoring all the reports that suggest otherwise in the case of ME, my own experience over the last 15+ years, during most of which time I was getting at least the RDA of 20-30 minutes walking, is that I just kept deteriorating and never built up this elusive tolerance (then I came to the UK & the combined stress, climate, pollution, et al threw that deterioration into overdrive), so I reckon - being realistic, not defeatist - the chance building myself back up to anything is zero.

Of course, I can't possibly afford to get taxis every time I need to go out. I avoid the bus, because there are so few of them and they aren't much cheaper than the taxis, as well as the fact that their jolting causes me more pain than anything else. Because of the pain, stiffness and weakness in my neck, shoulders, arms and wrists, I wouldn't be able to propel a manual wheelchair. And I couldn't go a whole mile to the shops even in a power wheelchair. I don't drive and wouldn't do so, for safety reasons. Likewise wouldn't even risk driving a mobility scooter, but again, that wouldn't be much use to go the distances required, would be a bloody liability in our high street and would be unusable in the cold or rain (364 out of every 365 days.) Basically, I'm buggered unless I can live nearer to the shops and in another climate. Which is, of course, what I've been saying all along.

Bonus new symptom today: irritating, incessant chesty cough that seems to think I have loose catarrh - which, if I do, developed from nowhere.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

A load of old rubbish

Because I've been replacing stuff and buying new items since I got to the UK - some are to try to make life a bit easier dealing with the fibro, etc., others are because I had almost no clothes after 16 years, the last decade of which I had very little money and, as I'd lost all my good clothes to the various floods and damp in the ramshackle house I was renting - I'm now starting to clear out my old junk. Starting: I did a bit - enough to make a mess - last Saturday, but I just cant stand long enough. Then I twisted my ankle and could bearly hobble for days ... it's gonna take ages.

Anyway, I put charity shop stuff in a clear (recycling) bag, because I need to be able to see what I've put where, since this is going to take so long and because I have fibromyalgia. You know, fibro fog. I therefore need to make this as easy for myself as I can. Mother will get this to sort into stuff to sell in the charity shop (where she works) and what's not good enough to go to the rag and bone man. It doesn't have to leave the house, or even my room, in that bag. No, that was wrong: she wanted it put in a black sack now. I refused. I explained, but her blank expression was as if she couldn't hear, as it wasn't what she wanted. Never mind that this was for my needs. Those never count for anything.

Then I had put proper rubbish in the bin, as you do. And this included snotty tissues and used sanitary items. She began to rifle through this for paper that could go in the recycling (there was one envelope - didn't seem worth it), because she says she's "trying to cut down the amount of rubbish we throw out." She claims we're only allowed to throw out one black sack of rubbish and says that the council are about to change to fortnightly collections, making it worse.

She was getting really worked up and sounded panicky about it. From the tone, however, I was sure she'd just made that up. (There may be other reasons why she wants to rifle through my trash: she's been doing it ever since I got here.) Anyway, every week she seems to spend more and more time faffing about rubbish. Her worry defies logic and has become totally ridiculous.

Of course, I could leave her to think whatever she likes, but the point is that she gives me earache with loads of totally invented rules about what I can and can't throw out and, when and where, that even just the stress of listening to it is beginning to impact. Naturally, I'm not about to start doing things that are not needed, but if I don't, I get another load of earache, so unless I want these arguments to continue, I have to do something to put an end to them.

Worries over the quantity of rubbish are not new and I've tried to tell her time and time again that compared to average consumers, we buy and throw out practically nothing in this house. Much of the food we buy is fresh, we avoid packaging and bags wherever possible and, there are only two of us. I'd told her to think it through: what do people with 4, or 6 or more in the family, for instance, do? They are bound to make much more rubbish than us. Bleedin' obvious, init? But no, it doesn't matter how many times I say this, she chooses to ignore what I say.

So I thought I'd ring the council for a clarification on these points. Then I thought, no I won't, I'll email them, then I'll have a reply in writing that I can print off and give to her. Of course, the council confirm that they have no plans at all to swap to fortnightly collections and, they say that we can put out as many black sacks as we like. So I printed both the email and reply and handed it to her!

"Well, now that I know, officially," she replies, hoity-toity.

The email said exactly what I'd already said to her over and over. Is she never going to believe a word I say? (Rhetorical question!) She says you used to be only able to put out one bag: that she'd had a letter about it "years ago". I won't waste my time asking the council, I'm sure that's not true. Then she thanked me for doing it, because, she then says, "it was two or three of the women on the bus" who were spreading the false information. Wasn't her, of course!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Day 1:
Saturday. Emptied contents of 6 drawers into corresponding piles on the bed, sorted the piles of clean laundry (mostly onto the same piles), sorted loose small stuff into boxes, baskets & bin. Fell asleep, in the midst of the piles, totally knackered from overexertion.

Day 2: Sunday. Felt dizzy as soon as I got up to go anywhere, even the bathroom. Giving the chores a miss today. Still exhausted and needed siesta.

Day 3: Monday. Fully intended to take the morning easy and make some careful, slow progress in the afternoon, but couldn't keep awake long enough.

Day 4: Tuesday. Had great intentions for today, then I tripped over a chair, stubbed my toes and twisted my ankle. Can't walk, can't stand, can't declutter.

Day 5: Wednesday. Terrible night in pain with the poorly foot and ankle. Still can't walk or stand, so there goes yet another day with nothing done.

And yes, me and the cats are still curling up in spaces where we can between the piles! I actually intended to start this task back in October, but, what with one thing after another; medical appointments, relapses, crashes, other sickness, it took until last weekend to find a day where I was actually up to doing something about it. Reckon this decluttering lark is going to take longer than I hoped!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Fighting to stay awake

This morning I just could not move to get out of bed. Despite sleeping reasonably well - at least several hours, during which I wasn't half awake, vividly dreaming or otherwise semi-conscious, as I usually am - yet, I feel utterly and physically exhausted, limp and heavy, where every movement or even thought requires supreme effort.

It wasn't much better yesterday, when almost as soon as I got up, I was yawning and finding it hard to stay awake. On Friday, I just couldn't keep awake.

As usual on the day after an outing, I developed all the classic feverish symptoms of Post-Exertional Malaise among them; sore throat and swollen glands, headache, aches, weakness, trembling ... By mid-afternoon, I could no longer keep my eyes open and had a couple of hours' siesta, got up, made a quick dinner and was back to sleep again within a couple of hours.

On Thursday, I'd gone out to my pain group meeting. Before I got there, I'd walked into town to collect a repeat prescription and pick up a few items of shopping from just a handful of stores (I wanted to go the the bank too, but I just couldn't have managed any more that day), then spent a very pleasant enough hour or so, listening to an interesting talk and looking at photos from the speaker's trip to Egypt. Went out at about 11.30 and was back around 3 p.m.

The group sometimes gets speakers to talk about health matters, but this was a pleasant diversion instead. It made me think I could do the same with my photos from Tenerife and, perhaps show people a side of the island they probably don't even know exists - except I don't have the right equipment, couldn't justify the cost of a projector and wouldn't have transport or energy.

When I got home on Thursday, even though I'd been sitting for that hour or so and been given a lift home, I was still sweating profusely from the now inevitable hot flushes. I'm constantly either too cold, or too hot and never comfortable - if I move, I overheat like an old boiler whose thermostat is f*cked. The outside temperature was hovering around freezing, but I had my coat over my arm, because I couldn't stand to wear it and was sweating b*ollocks, dripping wet, hair limp and sticking to my head, while walking through snow flurries! And I'm on drugs twice a day to *control* this already. Looks like I need to up the dose.

My face gets so red and I now have so many broken veins on my skin from the overheating that I've had to buy Vitamin K cream to try to repair them and green make-up to hide them. Yet indoors, I'll feel icy and wrap myself in blankets. There's no sense or logic to this failed thermoregulation. It just is.

At the meeting I succumbed to the temptation of one solitary fancy cake - and quickly paid for my pleasure as my stomach blew up into a solid and bloated.

Just for those few hours, I wore an acrylic jumper and where it had a seam on the shoulder, it rubbed and irritated a spot on my skin leaving it raw and in the sort of pain you might expect from bad sunburn or blister. Once clothes rub spots like this, they remain sensitive forever, so I'll have to get rid of the jumper now.

Thursday evening, I was struggling to stay awake even before dinner, but whilst I successfully fought it then, I succumbed shortly afterwards, only to wake up again at midnight and then spend most of the night awake because of the tremendous pain in my hips, legs and feet. My thigh muscles had gone into spasm, contracting and refusing to work in the cold - despite me overheating - and the resultant burning pain right down to the bone was excruciating.

Pain was also throbbing and shooting through my calf muscles and the pain down the front of my shins and in my ankles that always follows after being vertical or seated, even for a moment (caused by the pooling of blood, because of bad circulation due to orthostatic intolerance) was still dreadful, even though I'd sought to mitigate it by wearing compression flight socks.

From both the exertion and cold, the joints in my neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles and feet are all once more clicking painfully.

There is no position in which I can get comfortable, even lying down. It is often too painful to do anything. I couldn't even concentrate on banal TV, was in tears and at the point of screaming. My neck has "gone" again, so every movement is painful and I can bearly support my head, needing to keep it upright with a inflatable neck cushion and propped against pillows. My arms ache, my wrists and hands have been throbbing with pain, my shoulders ache and my back feels like it's broken. And that's now, 3 days after the exertion. For the last 3 days I've felt so ill I couldn't get the physical or mental faculties together to write this.

The pain in my legs and feet today is still so bad that I've had to intermittently use childbirth-like breathing exercises to try to withstand and distract myself from it - and it ain't working. And this is how it goes every time I have to go out to any appointment. It will take another couple of days to begin to feel anything like human - although it ain't ever that great - then I'll have to start taking it easy in preparation for the next appointment, or suffer worse consequences.

The only outings I get now are for medical appointments or help groups (and I don't always manage to get to the latter if they're too close to other events). This isn't enough social interaction, yet is too much for me: the price, in terms of pain, exhaustion and feeling like sh*t for days on end that I have to pay to attend these appointments far outweighs any benefits I could get from them.

There's a meeting of my fibromyalgia group tomorrow and it would be a chance to meet with other humans and benefit from the discussion, but I'm just not up to travelling, sitting or even thinking. About all I can manage to do these days is to get up to go to the loo and to get myself and the cats something easy and quick to eat - as long as it doesn't require peeling or standing - and, just from those *exertions*, I'm ready to collapse with exhaustion again each time. But if I don't get up and get it myself, nobody else will, no matter how ill I am!

I know exactly why some prefer to end it all than suffer this kind of non-life.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

For the last couple of days I've had a new pain (yeah, like I don't have enough already), this time, under my left boob: the larger, more droopy, more fibrocystic one of the two. It's a duller pain than "stitch" in your side, but this morning it was winding me and taking my breath away. On the outside, it feels like a nasty bruise to a rib. Now it's spread around to my back and is a nausea-inducing pain on the back of my ribcage, below my shoulder blade, that feels as if I've been punched there. (Costochondritis?)

My lower back and neck both ache so much that I'm having to prop myself up with a mountain of pillows, supports, inflatable neck cushion, etc. 

Yesterday afternoon, my thigh muscles tightened into knots and ceased up again. My legs were reluctant to move, my knees became painful and sore and it felt as though my femurs had been replaced with rods of burning dry ice. This is nothing at all unusual: it comes and goes, but is a lot more frequent and painful in the UK. Usually it isn't a painful problem until I go outside in the cold though.

This is all on top of the near unbearable, constant pain in my hip.

Another problem I've had for a long time, has been getting worse recently too. Back when I was a kid, but it got much worse when I lived in Birmingham in the 80's and early 90's, was a pain in the palm of my left hand when it was cold that I can only describe as feeling like it's having a crucifixion nail driven through it. Never once had that problem in Tenerife. Ever since I got back to the UK, this pain has constantly increased, along with the development of another new pain in my left wrist, arm and shoulder that I can only assume is carpel tunnel syndrome (it puzzles me why the left is more badly affected, when I am right handed, but I've given up trying to find logic in these ills.) Over the last few weeks, this has suddenly increased even more - it was already limiting my typing to 15 -30 minutes a day - and over the last few days, even when I'm not cold and not doing anything with that hand, the pain shoots and throbs right through it.

Now my right hand is starting to "complain" about "excessive" (any) mouse use. In the last 24 hours, I've been making a concerted effort to avoid deliberately making my joints click when they feel tight, achy and as if swollen, since reading that it could make matters worse. I did it, almost involuntarily, because, although painful at the time, it did bring some relief. Instead, I try gently stretching the affected limb, but it has had the effect of making me feel more stiff, achy and decrepit. The only other help would be to take more warm showers (If I could).

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The last few days, after going out (to my assessment appointment at the Pain Unit in Poole) on Friday, I've been suffering the usual level of post-exertional maliase, sore throat, swollen glands, feverishness, aches and pains.

On top of that, now the temperature has dropped again, the pain in my hip has become excruciating to the point that I just cannot get into any position in which it is comfortable for more than a couple of minutes or that allows me to properly think and function.

The exercises that the physiotherapist gave me to do last week (my appointment was on Wednesday), specifically for this hip problem, have served only to increase the pain 10 fold too. The sideways movement more than the other two. I shall persevere as it may help with diagnosis, but as we discussed at the appointment, it seems to indicate that the problem cannot be sciatica and is thus yet another part of the fibromyalgia. That also means it isn't treatable.

The only relief, as I've constantly maintained, would be to get back to a warmer, drier climate. This pain, which I have 24/7/365 here, I only suffered badly once every few months or so when there was really wet weather in Tenerife. Now it's permanent and most of the time it's unbearable. Now the rest of my joints - all of them, ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists and in my hands and feet - are painfully popping, clicking and banging every time I move.

Medical advice is that one should not deliberately make joints click, because the more you pop your joints the more you are introducing laxity and potential for injury, so it can make the situation worse, yet, I cannot keep them still, because it's an almost involuntary action to try to alliviate the pain and stiffening when they feel as though they are ceasing and swelling up. It's another no-win. It's another symptom I simply had never had in Tenerife.

How I'm affected undoubtedly has to do with humidity and barometric pressure and has absolutely nothing to do with how cold I feel - often I can be sweating from head to foot with hot flushes - and putting on extra clothing or blankets only adds to the pain and does not help, but if the temperature of my environment drops below 20 degrees centigrade, then my pain elevates in the same way as it would if someone were to beat me from head to foot with a baseball bat.

Add to that today that I'm yawning, can hardly keep awake and can hardly sit up, because I am so exhausted - yet, I've had several nights of fairly decent, uninterrupted sleep - something almost unheard of. It makes no sense.

Friday, 5 February 2010


Today's gem (there's one similar every day.) Before I went out (a medical appointment), I showered, naturally. While I was out, as usual, I suffered dreadful hot flushes, where sweat was running down my face and plastering my hair to my head and I came home with my clothes sopping wet from where I'd been sweating from head to foot. I felt incredibly uncomfortable and sticky, as well as the fact that I was exhausted and aching from the whole day's events. I changed as soon as I got home and after dinner, had another shower, because I needed it.

I'd finished and come out of the bathroom when mother went to the kitchen for something, from where I heard her "stage whisper", very clearly in a somewhat gruff, huffy tone that inferred some sort of problem - "in the shower again".

So I called her on it: told her I'd heard the stage whisper and informed her - not that I need to justify my needs - that I needed to shower because a) warm water is about the only thing that helps my aches and pains (this, I've needed to reiterate 1001 times already) and b) I'd had hot flushes and came home sticky.

Then I told her if she has anything else to say, to say it to my face.

Believe me, I have good hearing and I know what gruff, low, snarky tone of voice I heard, but she tried to spin it around, claiming that she had merely "wondered" (out loud) what the noise (of the shower) was. Bullshit.

OK, I'll ignore the wondering out loud part, because we all do that. Actually, no we don't all do it in that manner. And most people, even when they do try to spin lies, try to be more plausible and less blatantly deluded. This is cruel, unreasonable, deliberate and so unnecessary and makes daily life so unpleasant.