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This topic contains 525 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  MissRori 2 days, 11 hours ago.

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    Missy @missy


    It’s terrifying what fire can do. You sound too close for comfort. These ‘kids’ lit the fire on purpose and being the woman I am I’d do more than slap their wrists!

    The damage and suffering they have caused. Homes lost, innocent animals burned to death. They should be made to help the Fire brigade fight the fires, then pick up the dead animals whose death they are responsible for.

    I feel such sympathy for everyone and everything in the fires path.



    Missy @missy


    Update on my OH and me.

    I am improving, but my poor OH has now been diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer.

    This proves that there isn’t any justice, I’m the smoker, not him.


    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @missy I’m so very sorry to hear that. Cancer is an evil bastard and has no regard, ever, for fairness and justice. I hope that you get the support you need, medically and in other respects too, to get through this.

    syzygy @thane16


    I’m very sorry to hear this. My mum and my dad are also very sorry.  I am passing my dad’s prayers to you as he has asked.

    I have heard of this in science, unfortunately, due to a precursor illness called Barrett’s disease which is one earliest form of it? Men get it more than women. Like @cathannabel says it is necessary that you have all the support you need from doctors & also support staff. When mum had cancer she was able to use the Breast Cancer support system which involved home visits, a pink bus for travel to & from hospital for treatments. She asked her specialist about support systems & found out a lot in Sydney and then Brisbane?

    So, I can’t imagine what you must be feeling & your OH too but I know there’s support people who actually make the phone calls, organise the lifts to treatment clinics so you can rest up yourself. I remember you have a daughter so whilst it is hard on her too, perhaps she can assist with the organisational aspects of Cancer Care.  But we are very very sorry to hear this & I’m sure everyone here, and in your area feels the same. @cathannabel said it well.

    From Thane and the family.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @missy best wishes from me also. Cancer can be so cruel, make sure you get all the support you and your husband need. I think @thane16 worded it so beautifully.

    do take care of yourself too. Life is so precious. This morning a poem was read (at a funeral) about the dash between dates of birth and death. That dash is our lives, our present. We need to ensure that we make the most of the brief passage of time in which we inhabit this earth.




    MissRori @missrori

    @missy So sorry to hear that.  I hope you and your husband can bear up the best you can.

    winston @winston

    @missy I am very sorry to hear your sad news. I hope you keep up your spirits and strength and that all goes well for your family.Cancer has touched the lives of many of us and I hope you can find the support that I know is out there.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @missy — So sorry to hear about your OH.  I wish you both the best in dealing with it.  The last “good” news I had about cancer was that my opposite number, my daughter-in-law’s mother (who started her own life-long war with this disease when her son went through a bout of it in his teens), died of a recurrence of her own cancer — aged 92.

    Missy @missy

    @cathannabel @thane16 @janetteb @missrori @winston @ichabod

    Thank you  – ALL of you for your kindness. I shall certainly look for all the support for the both of us that I can.

    We are fortunate in having three lovely children, all ready to help.

    It’s the moving that’s terrifying. I won’t be able to pay the rent on a three bedroom house, once – heaven forbid – the inevitable happens. Fortunately we are with Homes West (state Housing) and have been for over 40 years.

    They have offered to find us a two bedroom unit, will pay all removal expenses and give us a few weeks rent free.

    Wonderful people.


    nerys @nerys

    @missy Such hearbreaking news for you and your OH. Prayers that treatment is successful, and complete, hard though it may be. And may the inevitable not happen. Not too soon, anyway. No good way to word that. I know you understand that so many of us are standing by you in this virtual realm. It’s good that your housing is not as huge a worry as it might have been, otherwise.

    gameravatar @gamergirlavatar

    @missy Sorry to hear the bad news. Times like this are never easy. I hope you and your OH get all the help you can and you’re lucky to have three children to help you in this situation. We’re all here for you.

    Missy @missy


    Thank you so much, I truly do appreciate it.

    We are trying to move home to a smaller house, so you can imagine the chaos. Our children are wonderful,

    as I said to my OH, “we must have brung ’em up right!”

    However as a famous writer once said :

    “When sorrows come they come not single spies, but in battalions” 

    He is hospital at the moment with blood clots in his lungs! He’ll be home tomorrow.


    Missy @missy


    Did I thank you too?  if not Thank you.

    I’m all over the place at the moment.


    nerys @nerys

    @missy Please don’t worry about thanking me. But (being horribly redundant), thank you for thinking of it. Being all over the place is very, very understandable in your circumstances. Blood clots in his lungs? Oh no, that’s serious. I’m sure you are going through unbearable stress right now.

    Oh, and I apologize for my earlier typo. Heartbreaking is the word I was looking for, and meant to type.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @missy So sorry to hear about your troubles. Best wishes from me too.



    syzygy @thane16


    I didn’t know that -re Lady Hale as President of the Supremes. I should’ve known (partly because of the song on the music thread), having remembered the tiny speck of a snippet of a  discussion about Boris the Spider. Our High Court is headed by Susan Kiefel. I read part of a paper on rhetoric & gave up. 😉

    Ah, yes, your brother (the one in France): the sad dance of liturgical lament. They can turn ‘dirge’ very quickly. But better than “those 2 chords, the effin’ F and G march ..played at school….”

    Mudlark @mudlark


    OK, here I am in the pub with a pint (actually a glass of merlot) to hand.  So where were we? Ah, yes, compost and soil health.

    The basic principle is; you have to put back into the soil what you take out of it or it loses its fertility, and if you are not to spend a small fortune on buying manure and/or chemical fertilizer it pays to have a compost bin or two to process garden waste and household vegetable waste.

    Healthy soil contains lots of humus from decaying vegetable matter, worms to aerate the soil and process the vegetable matter through their efficient little digestive systems, and myriad bacteria and other micro-organisms to fix nitrogen and otherwise work their biochemical magic. Anything you grow will take out the nutrients, both for the plants and the supportive micro-organisms, so the more you feed the soil the more you will get out of it.  Medieval farmers used to leave part of the arable land fallow in alternate years between crops and graze their animals on the fallow land so that the dung would fertilize it. Later farmers cut out the fallow bit and spread the ploughland with manure from their farmyard middens, and later still they established scientifically the benefits of crop rotation and using leguminous crops to fix nitrogen in the soil. Then they discovered chemical fertilizers which worked wonders, except that these didn’t replenish the humus and the micro-organisms in the soil so that, except on ‘organic’ farms which still employ traditional mixed farming methods, farmland soil is now effectively inert and infertile if not dosed with yet more chemical fertilizer, the surplus of which drains off into rivers and the water table with all sorts of knock on consequences.

    Which may not seem to have much to do with gardening, but the same principles apply.

    Wormeries, which come supplied with the necessary worms, are an efficient way of processing kitchen vegetable waste and as an end product produce a fine organic compost and a liquid which, diluted in a ratio of about 1:10 is a good liquid fertilizer. Compost bins are, in my opinion, better all round. In them you can put not just vegetable waste from the kitchen*, but all waste from the garden, including annual weeds and the leaves (but not the roots) of perennial weeds, annuals from the flower beds once they have finished flowering, the chopped back remnants of  end-of-season perennials, fallen leaves and grass clippings – although grass clippings have to be thoroughly mixed with other material or you end up with a slimy, evil-smelling mat.  Ideally the mix should include a balance of green material which is high in nitrogen, and dry material which contains more carbon – and that can include shredded paper and cardboard.  For best results the mixture should be forked over periodically to mix everything evenly and aerate it, and since that is a labour intensive chore there are compost bins which can be rotated on an axle or by other means. There are also compost accelerators which you can buy to add to the compost and help speed the process, but they are not essential.

    I have a state-of-the-art composter which consists of an almost spherical drum mounted on rollers on a dished, hollow base, and every time I add anything I rotate it two or three times to keep the contents well mixed. In the base of the drum there are holes through which any liquid drains into the hollow base, and this year I tapped about seven litres which, diluted, I can use as additional fertilizer. I have never needed to buy a supply of worms because they arrive in the compost bins all by themselves, bless them!

    Ideally I could do with two of these rotary composters, one to contain the maturing compost and one the compost-in-the-making, but since I don’t have room for two I have a couple of conventional bins as well.

    And here endeth the oracular utterance of Mudlark the gardener, take it as you may 😉

    *Kitchen waste can include anything of vegetable or fruit origin, including tea leaves and coffee grounds, although I would advise ripping open tea bags and discarding the ‘bags’ unless you want your garden to be littered with little grey rags. The bags containing the tea do not compost efficiently. I now use leaf tea in a tea pot with an infuser basket, so I no longer have that problem.  Crushed egg shells are a good addition, but definitely no meat products or bread, or the compost will stink and you will attract vermin.


    syzygy @thane16


    Thank you SO much for your gardening assistance. Mayall* I call you Yoda? Or Goda? For God of Gardening -except the ‘d’ isn’t right for ‘garden’ but Goga doesn’t scan well.

    I have a question: How do the worms arrive by themselves? I am, as you see, neither Goda, nor Goga but possibly Daga (Dumb at Gardening).  Also, Daga sounds like a planetary system in Star Wars….

    @whisht that one’s for you.

    @mudlark I’ll get back to you on your state of the art composter 😀

    Old Puro.

    winston @winston

    Hello everyone!  Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, a day to celebrate the harvest and to give thanks for the good things in your life. We ate roast turkey and all the side dishes you can think of followed by pies for desert . I baked a lemon and apple pie with lots of whipped cream. My boys and granddaughters left with full bellies and leftovers and I am resting with a cup of tea.

    Besides being grateful for my family and friends and my husband of 40 years I am thankful that I made it through one of the worst months of my life and am still standing.

    On August 18 my wonderful mother in law passed away after a short but devastating illness and the next day my lovely little dog Newton who I had for almost 11 years also died. He got very sick very quickly and after much medical attention he died from what we think was pancreatic cancer. He left us before we found out why he was sick. I miss my wee dog so much. It is almost 2 months since these horrible sad things happened and life slowly goes on while we struggle to find a new normal.

    I tell you this sad stuff so I can tell you all how thankful I am for this site and the distraction it has offered me these last few weeks. I am thankful for all the people here and the posts and news and music and links to funny clips that have helped to keep my mind occupied. So thanks to every one of you and especially @craig for giving us a great forum!

    janetteB @janetteb

    @winston. So sorry to hear about both your losses. I still grieve for my Mother in law who we lost back in 2003. In fact I have been thinking of her a lot these past couple of days while out taking photos. Sometimes I feel as though she is looking over my shoulder and that encourages me to try harder to do well. Unfortunately our sons were still young and barely remember their grandmother.

    So sorry also about the loss of Newton also. They become part of our family, part of our lives.

    this is a great forum. I check every day for new posts and always glad when someone has posted.

    @mudlark I too appreciated your gardening tips especially regarding compost. I did not know that bread was bad.





    syzygy @thane16


    You are a wonderful cook.  Our young lad could eat dollops of cream, pie, lemon pie, apple pie and turkey, probably in that order! Not unlike his uncle he prefers savoury food which means weeks of baking in, well, baking heat, might ease a little. But it’s significant to share a table around which many memories are built, where troubles are sorted and happiness shared.

    I am so sorry about Newton. The gorgeous pets have a story behind them of doting ‘parents’ & the significance of their name. My parents had dogs named Clicker & Clackett -at least at 3, that’s what I thought I heard. Later they had a cat named Quaver & I could pronounce that.   🙂

    You have held this devastating news about your mum in law for a long time. Obviously something so crushingly sad is held in our hearts until we need, or want, to share with extended family. Even though we are hidden by screens this is a positive, warm place, where genuine sadness will find a little consolation. If you are falling we can catch you. Please reach out.

    Congratulations on your marriage of 40 years; a sign of dedication to each other in times where things may seem transient &, as you say, struggling thru life as it rushes past, no pause for a life that just stops, and suddenly. I am so sorry.

    Your husband & extended family were overwhelmed by her death; perhaps they still are. It seems like you had an excellent relationship with your mum in law & I can imagine her thinking of you a lot -you gave her grand children & she would’ve been devoted to you: with gentle hands and heart you took care of her son for 40 years. She’d be very proud of you  @winston.

    All our love to you & your family. Sincerely, the Syzygy. xxx000

    Mudlark @mudlark


    So very sorry to learn of your recent painful losses. When the death of a beloved relative is followed so closely by that of a much loved pet I can well understand how much the latter serves to compound the grief and make the process of adjustment all the more difficult. It is good to know that you have the support of family and friends so close to hand.

    My sympathy and a virtual hug


    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane16  @janetteb

    After writing the above, and on reflection, I had feared that the reaction would be ‘too much information’ or ‘teach your grandmother’; so I’m gratified if it was of the least use.

    Janette: when it comes to what to put in the compost bin the rule is; no meat or dairy products and no cooked foods – although I think left-over steamed veggies (if you can think of no other use for them) are probably exempt from the latter category. On the rare occasions I have any left-over bread which isn’t actually mouldy (bearing in mind that I bake my own and it keeps pretty well for at least five days) either it is crumbled and fed to the garden birds or dried in the oven at a low temperature and then crushed to make bread crumbs and stored in an airtight jar for later use such as sprinkling on gratin dishes or coating croquettes etc.  If it is mouldy it goes in the household waste food bin to be put out for collection by the local council*.

    Puro: I oversimplified the role of earthworms somewhat, because there are several different species which occupy different ecological niches.  Those which directly process decaying vegetation and are thus helpful in compost making are the various varieties of tiger worm (eisenia)  and also the somewhat larger lumbricus rubellus, both of which I think are to be found on all the continents of the world (except Antarctica). Tiger worms are relatively small and thin and generally red or brownish-purple in colour, and are the ones supplied with wormeries. They are also the ones which turn up in my compost.  Obviously, there are two preconditions if they are to arrive spontaneously in a compost bin: a) there need to be some already in the vicinity, and b) the base of the compost bin has to be in direct contact with the soil surface. Otherwise you would need to order some to kick-start a population.

    The older and more basic compost bins in the utility corner of my garden look somewhat like Daleks, minus the bumps and with a domed lid instead of the rotating top part with the eye-stalk, sink plunger and weaponry, and they stand directly on the soil surface, so the arrival of the worms in their contents is no mystery. The ones in the new roller-ball composter could have crawled over the base and in through the holes in the drum, but it’s also possible they arrived as cocoons in stuff transferred from a Dalek, because over the winter, while the compost in the rotating drum is maturing, I put all the kitchen waste etc in one of the latter. Then, in late spring, I transfer the made compost into another, empty Dalek for storage until needed, and the stuff accumulated over the winter forms the first instalment of the new batch in the drum.

    Most of the other kinds of earthworms found in garden soil feed chiefly on fungi growing on decayed vegetable matter rather than on the vegetable matter itself so it is a two stage process, with the fungi having the primary role in breaking down the humus; but some types of worm actually drag dead leaves and stems lying on the surface down into the soil. When the large and very bushy Japanese Maple in the middle of my lawn sheds its leaves I use them to mulch the surface of the adjoining herbaceous border. The leaves lie there over the winter, but by late spring they have all disappeared, dragged down into the depths by those industrious little helpers.

    As for my gardening activities at the moment, I’m suffering acute frustration. October in this region can usually be relied upon to provide a fair number of calm days with hazy sunshine – ideal weather for preparing the garden for its winter sleep. Instead we have had day after day of wind and rain, and the occasional dry day has generally been heavily overcast with quite strong winds (all possibly the tail ends of a succession of hurricanes and tropical storms which have been funnelling northwards up the Atlantic). My garden is fairly sheltered by surrounding trees, but even so conditions have not been inviting.


    * Norwich is very keen on recycling, and not just plastics, metal cans and paper. They also collect garden waste, which is useful when it comes to things like prunings and hedge clippings which aren’t suitable for the home compost bin and which are shredded and composted in industrial quantities for use in municipal parks and gardens or for resale.





    Whisht @whisht

    @winston – really sorry to hear about your bereavements.

    I don’t have the right words, but I can only imagine that losing both meant that neither could help with the grieving of the other. Which is what loved ones (whether human or not) give us.

    I won’t post any music specifically, as anything I do would be cack-handed (see my most recent response to depression!).
    The song I’m about to post I was meaning to post about two weeks ago but I managed to break my laptop.
    But it is at least about Love.

    take care and glad you’re here.

    winston @winston

    @whisht @mudlark @janetteb @thane16  Thank you for all of your kind words although they have brought me tears they are gentle tears. My mother in law never said an unkind word to me in all the years I knew her. She loved her family and we all loved her ,as simple as that. We got her home from hospital to her own room that looked out on her morning glories where she wanted to be and after a few short days she died in her sleep.It was very quiet and peaceful. Up until a few months before she died she was a tiny fireball of energy who me feel positively lazy. She left us a list of chores and her last worries were for her husband and family. She comforted us!

    While my husband was spending as much time as he could with his mom I had my Newton to take care of and we ran ourselves ragged going from vet to hospital and hearing the worst news possible in both places. While I tried so hard to nurse my dog back  I felt sad about not spending more time with my Mom in law. Each would have been comfort and I miss them both.

    We brought Newton home when he was 8 weeks old and he made me happy every day for the next 10 years. This is the only time he made me sad. His footprints are every where.

    Anyway, thank you all for being so kind and for understanding. This is a nice place.


    MissRori @missrori

    @winston I’m glad to hear you and your family are getting by despite some very tough times.  Much love!

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