Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Odds and ends




These photos have nothing to do with my post but I just wanted to show you how an unwanted bathroom can be successfully transformed into a little library. We used to have our bookshelves up in the bedrooms because the downstairs rooms were not big enough to take them all; once we decided however that a quiet book room was more important than both being able to have a bath or shower in separate places, it was but a short step. Yes, I couldn't think of what photo to use today - you are quite right. Anyway...

I'm feeling a little better after just two sessions of physiotherapy. The first involved a back massage with lavender oil followed by a very hot pomade placed on the sorest parts of my back. It was so very hot that I thought I would not be able to bear it for long, but it grew to be comforting and I could almost feel it going through to inside my body and healing me (I know - uber-imaginative here). I could hardly wait for my next session, hoping it would be more of the same; however it turned out to be electrodes placed all around the back of my hips. They pulsed away for about 25 minutes and it felt like nothing was really going on. The next day though was the first day in about two months that I got out of bed without clutching my back and giving an old lady groan. So -with 18 more sessions to go - things are looking much more optimistic for me. I wonder what tomorrow's visit will produce.

My OU course in Creative Writing has begun and every day I am meant to do what are called Freewrites. Just as a pianist will warm up with scales, so a potential writer (although all us bloggers are writers per se but you know what I mean)will find it beneficial to sit down for ten minutes and write anything that comes into their head. Just scribble away on a sheet of paper and wait for the words to come tumbling out. It is quite astonishing what comes to mind and things buried away that have not been thought about or seemingly remembered for years suddenly emerge. It's early days for the course but my group seem like a good bunch (other expats in Europe), we have a good tutor who has written for the BBC and I'm in the zone, shall we say.

Our flea problem is in the past which doesn't mean that there are none about outside. It's very humid here at the moment and fleas are everywhere. The bichons are now on a flea prevention programme called Stronghold (remember in my earlier post where I moaned about Frontline not working any more). Judging from the number of people who have found my blog through putting something like Frontline doesn't work any more into Google, there must be lots of dog owners who have discovered the same thing - that since Frontline was relicensed to enable pet shops to sell it (it was previously only available through the vets), it has been made weaker. I found this out through extensive online searching of lab tests - and I spent a couple of hours reading the lab results for Stronghold. Those poor dogs used for testing are given 50 female and 50 male fleas who have not eaten in 24 hrs - imagine how many bites these poor lab dogs get. As someone normally opposed to animal testing, I feel very grateful that these poor beagles have suffered so that my two little bichons can be safe with the product. For anyone about to flame me re my views on testing - remember that thalidomide tested with perfect results on monkeys.

22 comments:

Mark said...

My study used to be our garage - who needs a dry car when you can have peace and a computer?

Free writing; morning pages are helpful, though it is supposed to take a few weeks to really get into the swing of it. I keep meaning to carry a notebook but I seldom do - the blog is good practice too.

A Super Dilettante said...

I'm with you when you say you prefer a quiet room instead of a separate bathroom. I need a quiet place to work and especially writing, I'd like to be in total silence. It sounds like you are really enjoying your course, my dear. I often feel carried away with writing, esp. stream of conscious - that's the fun part of it. You never know what it will come out when you write. Take care with your back. Keep doing your exercise! I'm trying myself to lock in a ruined castle (like in Dodi Smith's I Capture the Castle) and write this dreaded book and not come out until I finish it!! Get well soon x

the fly in the web said...

In one and in only one way, I am like Jane Austen...I am continually being interrupted when I am working...be it blogging, doing the accounts, overheating the telephone lines in dispute with the taxman and, despite having lots of room here, there seems to be no one place where I can lurk undisturbed.
Lack of respect, that's what....

Steve said...

Love the mini library! I might dispense with our bathroom altogether and rig up a make-shift shower in the garden using a bucket with holes in and a hosepipe!

willow said...

Our upstairs bath just needs to be gutted and redone. One of these days, after everyone is finally finished with college. (we've had kids in college for the last 11 straight years, oy)

Glad to hear you're feeling better. :)

Dumdad said...

Glad to hear the treatment is working.

"Just scribble away . . . and wait for the words to come tumbling out" - isn't that what we bloggers do?!

Do what sort of books we have on our shelves indicate what we are like? I see you have a book entitled A-Z of Crosswords. Ah, a x-word fan. Did I tell you I won the Financial Times cryptic x-word a couple of years ago? I won a dictionary and a book about words. Big thrill!

Bill Stankus said...

I totally understand value of "Freewrites". I bet a few good ideas will spring out of the exercise.

Since the plumbing is probably still in the walls, you could have a wet bar built into the reading room. Reading and martinis makes perfect sense.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

What an adorably peaceful little spot - I continue to lie in bed to read, but you've inspired me to try to do something with my study, rather than it just being a Lumber Room! I visitied Ikea today, more inspiration!

I am pleased your treatment is making you feel a little better, FF - I was signed off by my consultant on Monday, who says I've got to accept that some of the pain I feel (and the second episode I had) are all down to them cutting me to bits back there, tearing muscle from bone sort of thing, and scar tissue - And they can't say if I'll ever lose the numbness in my leg and foot (which I'm living with, so it's not too bad) and the occasional shooting spikey pain in my leg nerve... C'est la vie, non? Bonne chance, ma belle x

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh yay! That first massage sounds so wonderful. I once had a hot stone massage that was also nice, but yes, the initial contact with the heated stones made me worry that I was going to get more burned than relaxed ...

Your creative writing class sounds like it will be terrific fun. Exercises are indeed helpful -- I found that they freed up my brain from the pressure of writing something "good" and allowed me just to play with ideas (that ultimately turned out to be better than a lot of things I set out to write!).

Reasons said...

Ooh I'm with Steve, who needs a bathroom?!! Tsk who am I kidding as I type whilst waiting for the bath to fill.

Angie Muresan said...

I have a little walk-in closet that I've outfitted with a desk and shelves and good lighting. I go in and shut the door and I could be miles away. Oh, I forgot to mention that I've soundproofed the walls. Can't hear a thing!

Lulu LaBonne said...

Love Bill's wet bar idea, how civilised to have a library though.

Glad treatment effective - but you can still keep the drugs right?

Ken Devine said...

Really pleased the treatment is working.
Enjoyed the comments from readers. I actually did have a solar panel shower in the garden while we were renovating...just the once!

French Fancy said...

Mark - agree about the car being less important than a 'room of your own'. I must admit with the Freewrites - I do think immediately prior to doing them, 'oh well, I suppose I'd better fw now, but then, once pen is in hand, it doesn't seem so bad and by the time I'm halfway through it is very enjoyable.

(oops, interrupted by doorbell before carrying on. Will be back to answer others later)

Dedene said...

Hooray that the kiné is able to help your back pain. They are magical. Keep going -- for the rest of your life.
I love your little library. A great use of the space.

French Fancy said...

ASD - We have absolute silence here a lot of the time but Poppy, the rescue, is very noisy if a car pulls up nearby and can bark and bark (deep bark) and then Misty joins in (high yap). I then begin shouting and it sounds like absolute mayhem - so not very peaceful.
x


flyintheweb - well, we've taken the doors off the little quiet room in the photo and also the dining room, so we are not exactly secreted away from each other. You need to find a little corner just for you

Steve - just think that when the boys are grown up and have left home you can finally have a study - not just one but one EACH

willow - one day with no kids there being students you will have endless spare money - start planning now.

Dumdad - before I took the photo I should have thought to have put all my arty farty books in shot - and hidden the Ben Elton. As for cryptic crosswords, both Mr FF and I are devoteses. Well done on winning - I recall you'd blogged about it in the past - see. I do remember stuff.

Bill - the one drawback with no bathroom downstairs (but still a second toilet at ground level) is that the washing of the hands has to take place in the kitchen - which is not always convenient. When we get some spare money we'll get the smallest hand basin in the world put in by a plumber.

AWONI - hello you. I didn't realise you were still suffering so badly. What a shame there is nothing further that can e done. Is there no physio? Mine is helping ever so much

ContemTroub - a hot stone sounds like it might be much hotter than my wool compress filled with grains - I think that really might have the ouch factor

Reasons - we still have the upstairs bathroom - it was only the downstairs one that we had transformed. I bet everyone thinks we must be stinky people :)

Angie - you Americans with your luxurious walk in closets - what I would give for something like that

Lu - do you know what? I've not even opened the box of 'those' pills yet. Actually, I've not even had my milder pain killers for a few days now. And I can manage to use my right leg going upstairs - as opposed to leading with the left and limping with the right

Ken - not many people would know enough to put their own solar showers in. You are really a Mr Handy

Dedene - the French really do medical advice so very well - and thank you.

LadyFi said...

How wonderful to have a reading room! And I'm so glad to hear that treatment is helping your back...

Carol said...

Oh I love your library!! Wish we had a space like that where I had peace and quiet to study...still, If we did it would mean that we would have to pee in the shed (I wantyou to know that I'm resisting writing shit in the woods...oops I just did didn't I *grins) and wash outside and I don't think that would be good for anybody!!!

I'm so glad that the treatment is working on your back...here's to more improvements!!

C x

Larry M. Brow said...

Looking at our library (the extra bedroom minus the bed, etc.) it occurs to me that I need a sabbatical, and a big comfy chair. I could read a book a day for a year and not get caught up.

Glad the treatments are helping. I finally got a cortisone shot in the shoulder, but that's not explaining either cause or cure for the tendonitis. Still, no scalpel.

Family is well, thanks. Rainy today, and not any of the good kinds of rain.

mrwriteon said...

I used to do Freewrites with my students when I taught creative writing. And my blogs, and even my former column, used to follow that process.

Lovely use for that former bathroom, by the way.

cheshire wife said...

I do like your reading room. I left husband to put shelves up in our study and only he could make the shelves to big. Now he realises that it needs to be redone!

French Fancy said...

Fi - I wish I could remember when I last sat in it. I prefer to read in bed at night when the dogs are asleep and won't distract me

Carol - I sit and write all my things in the dining room, read in bed and seldom actually sit in the little library - Mr FF uses it most to escape from me watching tv (which I don't do often)

Larry - glad the shot helped the shoulder pain.

Mr WO - so this freewriting is an established tool - I thought it was an OU device, silly me

cheshire wife - but did you ever get the mirror hung?