Guest Serial: Author Reveal

Hello to all of Pete’s readers! I hope you are doing well and the sun is shining where you are.

Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to Pete, for sharing my story on your blog. You are a very kind man to have done this and I will be forever thankful. Secondly, to you, the readers, thank you so much for reading my story, liking and commenting, I really do appreciate it.

I bet you are wondering who I am by now! My name is Ami, I’m 26 and live down the road from Pete (well, about 20 minutes away) but we’ve never met yet.

I am the blogger over at Undercover Superhero https://undercoversuperhero.com/ and have been blogging since October 2018. On my blog, my story is called ‘My Recovery’ and currently has 13 chapters.

There are only 13 chapters so far as I’ve not had time to really focus on writing more about my recovery. Not bad going though, considering I struggled to type with one finger at one point. It is true that, in total, I spent 9 months in hospital and a specialist neurological rehabilitation centre. During that time, I went from bedbound, total loss of co-ordination, dependent on everyone and anything to do the most simple tasks.

To then learn to write, type, eat and drink independently, sit up, stand up and walk again, albeit only a couple of metres with my walking frame and the assistance of 2 people. What have I been up to since being discharged from rehab in November 2018?

Ewan and I got married, and I walked down the aisle with the support of 2 people, this was my motivation to give it my all when I was receiving intensive physiotherapy, and it definitely paid off! In November 2020, we welcomed our baby girl, Daisy. She is nearly 7 months old now and is amazing. I love her more than anything. Aside from being a mum, and blogging, I enjoy writing for different publications and raising awareness.




Ever since Pete published the first part, I have been keeping up with the comments, and I would like to reply to some of them here. Nothing bad, but some of them really touched me.

“It seems to be a mystery to everyone, but meanwhile, the writer’s health seems to be declining more rapidly. It must have felt like there was no reason to hope.” – You are absolutely right, I had no reason whatsoever to hope. I was losing everything and to say it was devastating would be an understatement.

“I don’t understand the disbelief from the others unless there have been past episodes that suggested the writer might be exaggerating. I would think most people would err on the side of caution and do everything to make sure a loved one was really okay”

I asked both Mum and Ewan why they didn’t believe me when my symptoms were at their worst. It definitely wasn’t a case of not wanting to believe it all, but they just genuinely could not believe everything that had been happening. I was angry with them for quite some time after it initially happened but it really wasn’t their fault. They didn’t know what to do and I don’t blame them at all now.

“This is a real living hell, I’m hoping there is a happy ending as no one should have to go through all of this.” – That last bit really got to me, I think because it was all a constant, and there was no break in-between whatsoever, I guess I just got used to it and convinced myself that there was a reason for why I was going through all of this.

“Blimey, what else can go wrong?” – This made me chuckle a little, sorry I use humour to deal with certain aspects and saw the irony to this comment.

“I never heard such a tale of woe!” – Me too until I was experiencing it and then also reading back of what I’ve written about it so far.

“Mom never said ‘I love you’ back?”

Not that I remember whilst growing up. However, her actions speaks volumes. If she didn’t love me, she wouldn’t have worked 5 days a week, went home to walk the dogs, then travel to King’s Lynn at the beginning, then to Cambridge when I was at Addenbrooke’s, stay with me until visiting time ended, travel back home, and then do it all again the next day. Mum made herself ill by doing this, hence why she couldn’t come and see me.

She was so run down with the stress and worry of everything, barely eating, or sleeping, and ended up with a chest infection. So, even when she doesn’t say “I love you” back, I know she will always love me.

“A tracheostomy sounds like a horrible experience” – Initially, it was very daunting. But, had I not had the tracheostomy, it would have taken me a lot longer to recover. Yes, the process of having one is not pleasant, but that aided my recovery significantly. In comparison to the breathing time, it was in a league of it’s own, and in a good way! I no longer have the tracheostomy, it was removed after a few weeks of having it, I’m left with a slight scar.

“How did she eventually remember so much detail?” – I wondered this too, and asked this when I attended my ICU reviews. Apparently, some patients do remember a lot of what happened, some don’t. I think it’s clear that I’m one of the one’s that do! Would you be surprised if I told you that I have PTSD?

“Perhaps an alternative title might have been ‘If you think things can’t get worse…” – This also made me chuckle. I wanted to give some hope, given the circumstances!

“Addenbrooke’s – “Nothing but praise” – Absolutely spot on! This hospital saved my life and I can’t fault them.

I was quite taken aback reading everybody’s reaction to my Ataxia diagnosis. It could well be my adaptable mindset talking but with the right support, equipment, etc. You can still have a good life. Given all of my diagnosis, we were convinced that I wouldn’t be able to have a baby, so Daisy will always be our miracle.

Lastly, I just want to say thank you again to every single one of you, and Pete too. If anyone has any questions, or would like to get in touch with me to have a chat, a natter, a bit of banter, then I’m only an email away. My email is ami.hook.ireland@gmail.com

My sincere thanks and love to you all!

New Arrivals: Rusty

Last December, I mentioned Rusty, a puppy that had arrived on the dog-walking scene. Full of youthful exuberance, he is always excited to see Ollie, and beside himself with the desire to play. Unfortunately, Ollie considers himself above such childish behaviour now, so Rusty has to make do with pretending to play, while Ollie stands still and gives him an occasional warning growl.

Rusty is older now of course, though not that much bigger. He enjoyed himself in the snow when it was here.

He recently had his first trip to the groomer, and his super-soft fur is looking in top condition.

I am hoping that Ollie will soon decide that Rusty is in his gang, and one of his new best friends. But I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

Edward Hopper: A Tribute In Photographs

American artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967) created stark images on canvas that were powerful enough to tell the story in your head. You may not have heard of him, or like me, you might well be a fan. These are some examples of his work.

An American photographer, Richard Tuschman, has been experimenting with recreating some of Hopper’s images, using a digital camera. My friend Antony sent me a link to a short (six-minute) video presentation of his photos, which are quite simply stunning.

All you photographers out there are going to appreciate this video, I am sure. And also many of you who never take photographs, hopefully.

(The video link looks blank, but it does play when you click on it.)

A Special Lunch For My Birthday

Julie got up early today, to cook me a home-made ‘High Tea’ for my birthday.

(The photos can be enlarged.)

We decided to have it for lunch instead, so she prepared the coffee table in the living room, and I watched the news as we ate.

As you can see, she made Scotch Eggs, Quiche, and Sausage Rolls. Presented on our special ‘Tea stand’.

(Ollie’s toy box can be seen behind.)

The top tier includes home-made cupcakes and a selection of Baklava from my step-daughters, which were brought over last Sunday.

I hasten to add that we didn’t eat it all!

It will provide lunch tomorrow, and the rest of the Quiche will be eaten as a main meal this week.

And I am pleased to confirm that it all tasted as delcious as it looks

Is Blogging Writing?

Some people write very little on their blogs. Perhaps just captions above or under photos, a list of ingredients for a recipe, or a few lines of Haiku.

That’s fine. I say well done to all of them. Blogging should work for you, and be what you want it to be.

Others use their blogs to promote their published books. ‘Real writing’, by real writers.

Occasionally, a blogger will write 2,000-word posts about their predicament. That might be suffering from depression, the break-up of a relationship, or enduring a lifelong medical condition that affects them in many ways.

Good idea. Get it off your chest, connect with others in similar situations. Blogging as a form of communication.

Diary bloggers tell us about their week. What they did, where they went, who they met. That kind of thing. Travel bloggers do something similar, except that it is usually in an exotic or unusual location.

Then there are bloggers like me. Weather reports, dog-walking, nostalgia pieces. And fiction, a lot of fiction. Some of my long serials published as one story fall just short of the accepted length of a novel. But I don’t try to publish them as novels, and have little interest in doing so.

That begs the question. Am I a blogger, or a writer? Is blogging ‘Writing’, or something completely different?

Over to you.

Birthday Boy!

On this day in 2012, Ollie was born in the house next door. Today is his ninth birthday, quite old for his breed.

But as you will have seen from his recent video appearances, he is still lively, and enjoying his walks.

2020 saw the loss of his mother, Molly. Then later in the year, his sister Milly died. He didn’t know of course, so was spared any sense of loss.

Today he received two new soft toys as birthday presents. A Crocodile, and a Sheep. With his dinner later, he will get an extra bonus of a large smoked sausage.

I hope my best friend and constant companion will be around for a long time to come.

An Alphabet Of Things I like: T

Tortoises.

The smaller breeds of tortoise are very popular as pets. Slow-moving, easy to feed, and long-living. Many families, including mine, have kept a pet tortoise, or more than one. But that doesn’t mean to say we should keep them of course, as they are never truly domesticated.

In some countries, they are called turtles, because they are in the same animal family. As this graphic explains.

In far-flung places like the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises can grow to an enormous size. In the past, they were hunted for their meat, and also for their shells.

I understand that they are no longer so popular as pets, and that is a good thing. Hopefully, they can be left alone to live their lives naturally.

An Alphabet Of Things I Like: P

Parrots.

Parrots, including Cockatoos, Lovebirds, and Budgerigars are colourful, noisy birds. They have been kept as pets for centuries, and their feathers were also prized in some civilizations. As a child, we had some budgerigars in a small cage, and they would bash the mirror, and ring the bell. It was my job occasionally to change the sandpaper at the bottom, and to restock the millet that they ate. I wasn’t old enough to consider that keeping two birds in that tiny cage might be cruel.

My first close-up experience of a large parrot was when my uncle kept an African Grey as a pet.

Although it had a large cage, it was allowed out, and would walk around the furniture, often choosing to sit on my uncle’s shoulder. I was wary of its powerful beak, and it made me jump when it would suddenly fly off to perch on top of the curtain rail. I soon decided that it wasn’t right to keep such a bird in a domestic situation. I was later proved correct in this, when his parrot began to pull out all the feathers it could reach, until it was bald over about 60% of its body. It also bounced its head up and down constantly, a sure sign that it was suffering from mental health problems.

Parrots should be allowed to live in the wild, and fly free.

Like so many other animals, some varieties of parrot are now endangered in the wild. Hunting for the pet trade, deforestation, and other encroachments of humans are threatening their existence. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just learn to be kind to them, and leave them alone?

Gosia’s Soaps: The Best I Have Ever Used

Christmas is coming, and it is time to think about giving something useful as a gift. I am happy to suggest the wonderful soaps made by the wife of fellow blogger, Eddy Winko.

Gosia produces them with 100% all-natural ingredients, in a real home-crafting situation in Poland. Even better, you can choose from a great variety, including those suitable for sensitive skin, like mine. Prices are fair, and much better than those so-called ‘Artisan soaps’ seen for sale at craft fairs and trendy markets around the country. The soap I buy even softens Norfolk’s hard water, and makes the bath easy to clean after use!

Gosia will post to anywhere in the world, and advance payment is easily arranged by using Paypal. You can contact Eddy through the website for any special requests, or to leave your order and address details. I am not the only blogger who uses these soaps regularly, and every customer always comes back for more!

The latest updated link, in English.

Soaps

This link is in Polish, but can be translated using Google.

Zielona Koza

Here is a link to the site in English, where you can scroll through and look at photos and descriptions of the products available.

Soaps