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

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Christmas 2010

There is no way that Balu would be persuaded to pull a sleigh! 

A few twigs and a nod in the direction of Christmas after 2 years without.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

‘Tis the season


A last look at the snow, which for just 2 days of this week, sent this little corner of Hampshire into utter chaos. To be fair, the area has never seen this much snow in one go before within living memory and neither had my cats – one of whom seriously hated it, the other enjoyed it immensely. Strange beings.

Overnight, last night, so much rain had fallen that it had washed all of that snow away, barring just some tiny traces that have also since been washed away by further rain during the day. It seemed to have melted, the temperatures have risen and there are liquid puddles, but I’m informed that the roads and pavements are still like sheet ice, so going out is still impossible.

Proper cold

Apparently, not even the main roads in this area have been gritted, which is exactly the same as didn’t happen last time we had snow too. Over the border into Dorset, at least the main roads have been cleared, so it’s reported.

Since I stagger, slip and slide even in perfect weather and always hurt myself when I fall, I think staying in is a sensible and very necessary precaution.

To be honest, over the last several days I’ve felt so low and sluggish that it has taken a supreme effort just to walk to the loo or the kitchen and back and just those activities – already simplified to the least possible exertion – have been too much for me, making it necessary for me to lie down to “get over” the exertion in between trips. Today, just walking to the kitchen and back made me shake from head to foot from the over-exertion: it’s almost impossible to explain how weak and generally unwell one feels as a result.

So, OK, I wouldn’t have been able to go out anyway, but somehow, when the weather adds yet another level of difficulty and makes being housebound a complete fait accompli, it’s the final straw and becomes harder to bear. 

The most snow the area has ever seen

On Thursday, all the trains in this area were suspended and we had no mail deliveries. Our buses didn’t run on either Thursday or Friday. Nothing new, of course, but this whole “Britain surprised by a sprinkling of annual white stuff, yet again”, is becoming very seriously irritating.

On Thursday I couldn’t have gone to a pre-arranged meeting, walking a mile each way in snow, but then as I couldn’t get an answer on the phone, I’m guessing nobody else could either. On Friday, my course was cancelled, but again, I wouldn’t have been able to get there, walking, in any case.

And today, I decided to give the local Christmas Extravaganza a miss, not just because of the ice, but also because I reckon the title is a piece of seriously extreme marketing exaggeration – considering the size of this no-horse town and the general level of excitement one might expect around here. Frankly, I couldn’t be arsed, which is about how I feel about the season generally.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Freezing weather

Wrapped up and still freezing

No matter where you are in the world, you can’t fail to have noticed that poor old Britain has, yet again, been taken by complete surprise by some snow and freezing weather that’s predicted to be going 'to grip UK for weeks'. Brrrr … Just how cold is it? Well especially for all my friends down in the sub-tropics who will probably have a right laugh at it, I took this photo when I came back from an outing on Saturday afternoon, while I was still wrapped in 10+ layers of clothes.

We haven’t even got any snow – that stuck – in this area, but it’s still bitingly cold out and having been out on a previous day without face protection, I knew I had to guard against the cold that was burning and drying my nose and lips. I already felt like I was fraying at the edges and might develop cold sores.

As a side issue, what’s the difference between me wrapping up in a beanie hat and a fleece neck-warmer and a Muslim woman wearing a burka? Frankly, I can’t see any difference at all, but I can’t imagine anyone suddenly getting their panties in a bunch over me insulating against the weather.

Anyway, the reason I decided to go out was because I’d spent several days indoors at the beginning of the week, trying to recover from a pretty bad fibro flare. The lack of movement, however, was creating other problems, namely, what we shall politely call, sluggishness in the bum department and I really didn’t want to spend days bloated, nauseous, with an almighty headache and increased aches and stiffness from the retained toxins (as always happens), so I went for a walk to, er, try to get things moving. I didn’t go far or stay out long, because the weight of the extra clothing was utterly exhausting that I felt like I was dragging a ton weight with me. Then there was the other problem that the cold made me want to pee, but there was no way I could undress again to go, whilst I was out.

Despite being wrapped like a demented mummy, I felt utterly miserably cold and the cold made my thigh muscles tighten into solid knots, which in turn has made my knees hurt so much I just want to cry and cut my legs off. From walking, the pain in my hip has gone way off the Richter scale yet again. It also just isn’t possible for me to walk fast enough to stay warm, without surpassing my abilities and going into the exhaustion zone with myalgic encephalomyelitis.

But the moment I went into a shop, I began sweating so profusely that I was soon soaked from head to foot with my wet clothes clinging to my body. Then I had to go back outside again, of course, so my soaked clothes got cold and I had to walk home like that, wet and frozen to the bone. That would be bloody torture for anyone. With fibromyalgia it’s beyond description.

The levels of stiffness and pain this cold and damp has left me with – that isn’t improving because of the ridiculously low temperature in the house – are, yet again, beyond excruciating and disturbing my sleep. I’ve tried taking herbal stuff to help me sleep, but even when I do sleep, I’m not refreshed.

Last week I took some notes in order to type a couple of letters and my shoulder froze from doing that and that hasn’t yet unfrozen or recovered. My joints are all now cracking – both audibly and painfully - at the smallest movement. My wrists hurt so much I’m now having trouble positioning myself to sit up in bed. My neck hurts so much I have to support it: I can’t hold my head up without. And I don’t even have the energy to sit up without support. So that’s it, until the weather improves (in about May), I don’t have an option other than to avoid going out at all unless it’s absolutely essential. Some life eh?

Sunday, 19 September 2010


The Parthenon in 1985

Erechtheion with the Porch of the Caryatids

Acropolis of Athens

Presumably for those scared of going somewhere truly Greek!

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

University of Athens

Numismatic Museum of Athens in the house of Heinrich Schliemann

View of Syntagma Square towards the Old Royal Palace

Various including: PlakaRoman AgoraEvzonesHadrian's Gate

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Obligatory Greek Cats at the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Ermoupoli, Syros

The harbour in ErmoupoliSyros

Looking over Miaouli Square

Eleftherios Venizelos Street, ErmoupoliSyros

Residential street in ErmoupoliSyros

Various views in ErmoupoliSyros

More attempts at recolouring ancient photos from 1985.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Apollonia and Kastro, Sifnos


... having walked up this valley.

Various views around Apollonia and Kastro

Streets of Kastro, complete with sleeping dog.


The bay below Kastro

Chapel of the Seven Martyrs

More of my (imperfectly) re-coloured, faded and sepia photos from 1985.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Kamares, Sifnos


Boulis Taverna, then on the waterfront at Kamares

Boulis House

View from Agia Marina

Church at Agia Marina

Traditional boat at Agia Marina

Far from perfect, but improved after re-colouring faded, sepia photos from 1985.