Sunday, April 22, 2007

Roman Legions in the Garden


If you think I am being fanciful with vikings in the living room and Romans in the garden, rest assured I am only embroidering the truth. This part of Scotland is full of living and silent testimonials to peoples and times gone by. The Romans were here and the vikings and the Picts and many generations of tribes of Celts. Caithness presumably gets its name from one of those early tribes that called themselves the people of the cat. Oh, yes, there were wild cats, here, too. Not the large wild cats of the savannahs or the mountains of North America, but small, wily creatures not much larger than housecats. As with the Romans and the Picts and the Northers, it is not clear if any remnant of those wild cats remains, but the possibility is there, which is all a fertile imagination requires.

My fertile imagination and I are out in the garden with my two semi-wild cats. As soon as he heard the back door open, Solomon appeared from the flower bed outside his cottage home. He probably had a nice sunspot, but he is always the first to join me as soon as I come outside. He is a stalwart companion, or, as his older sister would say, a momma's boy. She joins us quietly later. I become aware of her only because Solomon trots up to greet her, and the birds that have been making alert calls redouble their efforts.

I don't know whether by accident or by design, but the birds cooperate in announcing the presence of the cats. The first was a large gull flying low overhead and calling out shrilly. Now I am aware of starlings at the corners of the walled garden and smaller birds, wrens perhaps, twittering. Solomon and Sheba seem unconcerned with the birds as they frolic with each other, hide in the grass, leap over each other, and come occasionally to watch with curiosity what I am doing.

I am clearing out a Roman legion. A legacy left behind by the hungry, homesick Romans who brought their own idea of food into what must have seemed a strange, cold place to them. Bishhop's Weed, as it is known today, grows all too well here. The fate of plants that thrive too well, even those former darlings of the empire that brought us Pax Romana, is to be cursed and ripped from their mighty positions. Other people may just pull weeds; I redress ancient grievances and reclaim the Celtic traditions. I am Boudicaea; Bishop's weed are the oppressors.

"The Romans make a desert and call it peace," Tacitus allegedly said. Today I am trying to make a desert in just a tiny patch of one of the formerly resplendent flower beds in this garden. I have the intention of making a desert, well, not literally, but at least of removing all the apparent Bishop's weed, covering it with damp newspapers so that communication with Rome is cut off, and the supply lines cannot feed the troops.

In the space cleared of its Roman invaders, I will then create a garden of my own delights. I think Calendula officialis, which thrived in my kitchen garden would do well here. Like Bishop's weed, calendula is edible. Last year, I collected and dried the petals to use as dyestuff for some lovely white soft wool just crying out for a hint of summer flowers, but my imagination is outstripping my desertification. Even with Solomon's help, digging beside me like a meercat, the empty spaces pale against the forest reminaing. I call a truce, cover the cleared areas with several layers of newspaper, and prepare to return to the comfort of the house. A phrase from Russell Crowe's aide de camp in "Gladiator" comes to mind, "A people should know when they are beaten." He was talking then about the Germans and foreshadowing Russell Crowe's own heroic stand as a gladiator, but just now I am not sure whether the Bishop's weed or I am doomed to ultimate destruction. In any case, it will be an epic battle.
Thanks to Lynn Bitter, another Bishop's Weed scourger, for her photo and her stories about Bishop's Weed, http://www.wildflowergraphics.com/News%20&%20Notes/bishop'sweed.html

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wee Calfie is a Big Girl Now

I scramble out of bed earlier than I want to because Morris asks for help to get the cattle out onto the grass, including my calf, he says, in case I was not inclined to help initially. I have added another truism to my lore about cattle: just as you can't eat one potato chip; you can't move just one animal. Well, not easily at any rate.

Morris and I set out to move Wee Calfie while David finished feeding the cattle and opening and closing the gates so that she would get to the right field. She had been put in the pen with other cattle whose fate is not long term on the farm. From the moment I started feeding Wee Calfie, I told her and everyone else that her destiny was to be the Mother of Champions. Today was the day she would go out to the field where the bull, who has been bellowing with increasing intensity these last few days, will be joining her and the other heifers in a few days. If, that is, we can get her on her own to the field.

The first step was deceptively easy. As we approach the pen, Wee Calfie has already spotted me and comes up to be patted and steps out of the pen easily. Once, however, in the open corridor, she remembers what we used to do. She remembers the old choreography. I would feed her and then she and I would run up and down the paddock. This was cute when she was a little wobbly-kneed calf. Now it was scaring the hell out of me. One inadvertent glancing blow from her frolicking heels would send me to the emergency room or worse, so Wee Calfie danced alone as we persuaded her down the ramp toward the little door. I stood by the gate that she was not meant to go behind--an open, strawed paddock next to one of the bulls.

She sailed past me and danced all the way up and down the straw-filled dance floor until she noticed the bull, who had also noticed her. Wee Calfie is a big girl now. Eventually with Morris encouraging her from a safe distance behind and me calling her from in front, she came as far as the little door. The door is not really little. It is human sized; the other doors are animal and machine-size, so it is only by comparison that it is small. It is small enough, however, that Wee Calfie hesitates in the doorway and for an instant she and I are both wondering if she will fit through it. Wee Calfie is a big girl now.

Through the door. I begin to breathe easily again only to lose her again to the madcap choreography of her lost youth. After visiting with her friends, she trots toward me and we get her around the bend in the road. She stops by the paddock where she spent her first weeks and waits for the gate to be open. When it doesn't open, she admires the grass on either side of the road and turns back toward terra cognita. If Columbus had been a cow, the vikings would have colonized North America.

We compromise with Wee Calfie and get her in the "boxing ring"--a pen used for temporary holding of animals being transitioned from one place to another. We move the next two pens of cattle out and she tries to join in with them. We move the next bunch and she looks confused and lonely. I pet her and try to explain, but she is unsettled. I give her some hay as I run off to make sure the tiny knot of cattle stay bunched and turn where they need to be. All the others have now been moved without a hitch. I accept a ride back from the far field in the bucket of the front loader.

In front of the barn, Morris is ready to call it quits until later in the day, but I feel responsible for Wee Calfie, alone now and dispirited in the boxing pen. I get sent to open the gate into the field where Wee Calfie can start the next chapter in fulfilling her destiny. I have barely got the gate open before I turn around and see Wee Calfie standing there looking around. She sees me, and without missing a step, turns easily into the gate.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Vikings Have Landed

Vikings have landed and they are in the living room. First the disclaimers: Vikings never wore those horned helmets, and viking is actually a verb, meaning to go wandering or exploring (or pillaging and plundering depending on who is writing the definition). More properly, I should say: "Norsemen are in the living room," but that lacks a certain frisseur. When the doorbell rang, I was in my pajamas, so I quickly scurried upstairs. By the time I came down, Morris and the Norwegians were in the living room. They were here because they come from Voss, in Norway, where my husband's sister lives, and had been referred to us as part of their mission to explore this part of Scotland in advance of the first major landing of the Norrona in the nearby harbor of Scrabster.

Norsemen have been doing this for a few centuries in this part of the world, but they didn't used to ring doorbells. These Norsemen are reporters for the local paper in Voss and they want to write up what features this part of the world offers to those who might want to take the ferry that will make its way from Norway to here and to the Faroe Islands and to Shetland, and to Iceland. I am pleased that they are here and also pleased that the Norrona will be coming into Scrabster harbor--just 10 miles from here.

I am pleased because having come from Indiana, I relish every opportunity to get on the sea and to go, well, a viking. I am here, in part, because Norwegians in Cayman told my brother that we are part of the Norwegian clan that inhabited this part of Scotland. I am also pleased because I have friends who also have enough viking wanderlust in them to want to meet us in Reykjavik and explore the parts of Iceland mentioned in the epic sagas. Recently when I was mumping about being sick again with the shingles, my friend reminded me of our upcoming adventure. It was just what I needed to cheer me up. And now as my enthusiasm was in danger of being swamped with anti-virals and malaise, the Norsemen arrived.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

By the Pricking in My Thumb

By the pricking in my thumb I know I have run into something wicked, a stinging nettle, to be precise. For the millionth or so time I remonstrate with myself: I should be wearing gloves when I garden. Not just for the nettles but to minimize the drying effect of the soil on the skin and the grime beneath the fingernails and for all the other reasons I have heard a thousand times or more. I actually even sometimes remember before I have my hands in the dirt. I have several mismatched gloves from such good intentions. One glove comes off as soon as I really need to do something with one hand or the other, and then that glove walks away in despair at having been discarded.

And today was a celebration. Several pots have been languishing on windowsills suffering from too much cold and confinement, not unlike myself for these past weeks. Today was warm, the air was easy, and I was ready to spread my roots. First were the leftover Christmas trees in pots. By the time I bought them, they were marked down to 99 pence. Their little tag had no botanical name, but they looked and smelled like Picea glauca, Dwarf Alberta Spruce--great little trees for pots in a protected area. They are slow growing, gently fragrant, and retain their Christmas tree shape. They had been sitting still in their Christmas shiny wrapping in their pots long after Christmas had passed them by. I put them in a sheltered area in the corner of the close with a promise of better things to come. Today they shed their faded tinsel wrapping, slipped out of their tight-fitting pots, and had their roots spread out in tubs with lots of room for them. One of them managed to put out shoots of bright green new growth even while still in his little pot. Both of them looked surprisingly well for their ordeal. I think they are troopers. I have great hopes for them despite having been disappointed in two pedigreed picea glaucas bought from a nursery two years ago. Gardens up here favor the sturdy, and I have a fondness for underdogs.

Next to be liberated were the two surviving hyacinth bulbs that I started indoors as part of an activity for the local garden club. They were meant to be part of a competition, but that is not my style, so my lopsided, fragrant white blooms lived and faded in the privacy of our own windowsill. Now they are joining three lovely blue hyacinth bulbs in full flower. Their fragrance is a delight as I fuss over the few weeds sprouting where I want to put the white ones after I remove their faded flowers. The blue ones, hopefully, will be role models. They were originally potted themselves. A friend of my husband's came calling out of curiosity and courtesy when I was still new in the county. Both the hyacinth and I have taken root since that visit.

Two ridiculously yellow primroses join the hyacinths in the old iron tub in the center of the close. I give the heather on either end a much needed haircut and wonder briefly where I can get some more primroses, but I have more pot bound plants yearning for their freedom. Two heathers marked down to 75 pence at the local grocery store join the merry band of marked-down, liberated plants. These heathers join two others in a bed shared with other pink-blooming flowers--dianthus, tiny creeping heather, flowering currant, bleeding hearts, and a tall yellow bloomer that was included because its leaves have a lovely deep red-pink tone. I survey the bed. The rose is leafing out, the heather is sturdy and blooming already, the bleeding hearts are threatening to take over the bed, and the currant has burst into an exuberance of blooms that make me forgive the fact that it is elbowing out of its way anything except the weeds. The lavender did not survive. I pull it out and enjoy its last scent from the dried stems as it goes onto the compost heap.

The rosemary and the culinary thyme in pots on the close, within easy distance of the kitchen for last minute additions to cooking, survived the winter but succumbed to the spring, which brought a late frost and heavy wet-salt winds from the nearby sea. They were an experiment. I could not winter them over in Indiana, so I did not have high hopes for them here. I'll bring them in or build a cold frame or perhaps just buy them fresh each year. One of the favorite parts of gardening for me is this thinking about possibilities.

I begin to feel tired, so I turn away from thinking myself into more projects than I could manage in several lifetimes. The cats have kept me company, so I walk with Solomon and Sheba in the front garden. The purple willow transplanted from a friend's house is doing well. The daffodils are up but need to be moved because they have become too crowded to bloom well. I am so involved with flowers and cats that I fail to notice that I am now face to face with Hopalong, the lame sterk, discounting a flagstone wall and a budding privet hedge between us. He sees me and moves off quickly. I notice cheerfully that he moves much more easily than he did when he first was moved into the paddock by the house.

The cows and their calves have been moved into the field next to Hoplaong, so he feels less lonely. Today another sterk was moved into the field adjacent to Hopalong. In my gardening frame of mind, they seem to have sprouted along with the other flowers of spring.

Into the Darkness

We have had a bit of bad luck lately with the calving. It is bad luck to talk about bad luck, so suffice it to say that we are watching the mothers to be more closely. My husband and I have been married long enough now to have to an accord with our different sleeping cycles. He is an early riser; I am a night owl. He went to bed early so he could take an even earlier shift in the morning looking in on the expectant cows; I stayed downstairs working on my knitting and watching an Agatha Christie mystery so that I could do the late shift.

By the time the movie has finished, it is late enough that the dark has long settled in around the steading. I bundle up in pieces of the clothes kept by the back door for walking into the steading. The narrow corridor between the back door that leads into the close and the back door that leads into the house is a halfway area between the world of the steading and the world of the people. It is an illusion that they are separate, but it is a cherished notion, so when my kittens spent the night in the house, it was clearly breaking a taboo. They have come to understand it better than I have. Sometimes if they see that I am alone, they will venture into the middleground, the corridor between the two worlds. Solomon, the bravest or most irreveverent of them all, sashays into the kitchen and scampers down the interior corridor all the way to the office. He jumped onto Morris's lap and began purring. But even Solomon knows not to push his luck too far, so he usually ventures no further than the halfway corridor.

Now I am alone in the darkness as I pull on the hat and scarf to protect my face and slip into my husband's boots. They never seem to be quite as cold as mine. I have turned on the outside light even before I open the door because I do not want my first step to be into the darkness. I am not afraid of the dark. I am afraid of what might be in the dark.

Three steps take me out of the light of the back door light. I decide to turn on the garage light even though it will only banish the shadows for three more steps down the short driveway. Before I have left the half light of the garage light I am cranking on the wind up flashlight. The sound is almost as reassuring as the light. The three LEDs illuminate the area in front. I am grateful that the dark is not the full Stygian blackness of a winter night but I began to school my ears to help me find my way.

I hear the wind moving the barn door back and forth on its hinges. Two steps more. I hear the bull breathing deeply in his sleep to my left in the little enclosure. One step, I hear the last of last year's pinwheels whir as a breeze catches it where it hangs on the barn door handle. I move from the vague light of the road between house and barn into the complete darkness of the barn. I wait for a moment and listen. I hear nothing that sounds like rats scuttling along the ground or conspiring in the corners, but the easy path across the near empty barn floor has been changed. There are now several bags of feed and fertilizer, each about the same height as myself and pallets on the ground. It has become an obstacle course. I hesitate trying to decide if I turn on the lights or make my way quietly through the maze.

Before my nervous heart has a chance to leap, I become aware of Solomon beside me. He trots across the threshold as if to lead me on. I laugh softly to myself and pick him up. Now that I have someone else to worry about, I am ready to take on the rats, bats, birds, and any other terrors of the night. Solomon and I wend our way through the fertilizer and feed. I tell him he has to stay on the other side of the door leading into the cattle and he agrees. He was born somewhere in this barn but he now much prefers the comfort of the dairy maid's cottage. He has come to the limit of his courage, so I go on alone.

Before I turn on the one set of lights I'll need to see the expectant cows, I hear the sounds of the cattle breathing. It is like any dormitory would be. I turn on the light and some of the cattle shift and open sleepy eyes. They know the routine. I am not likely to be bringing food this time of night, so they give me very little active attention. I know they are watching carefully but disinterestedly. I approach the pen with the cows. The one who has lost her calf is still wide eyed as if by opening her eyes wider she can find her lost calf. Sympathy and fright are mixed in my look at her, but I tear my eyes away to look at the rest of them. I have to look harder because I am not sure what I need to see.

One cow is up and edgy and itching her face on the gate and the bars of the top rail. She is restless but not showing any other signs of impending birth. Another cow lying down stands as I approach the gate, and with her back to me, starts twitching her tail. She is restless, too, but I am not sure why. I watch a few moments longer. I pull out the cell phone and try to call the house. The three foot stone walls of the barn are not kind to cell phone networks. By the time I can get a signal I am next to the house.

Solomon has roused all the cats, who are waiting just outside the barn doors to escort me across the yard. Little Black and White kitty who has not chosen to join the others in the cottage but comes for food mews his hunger and runs away. He is desperate for food and affection but still too afraid, so I take a detour to feed him along with all the others, who enjoy their midnight supper.

I go upstairs and report what I've seen to Morris. He does not see any reason for concern, so I go back to double check, turn out the lights, and return to the world on the other side of the barn.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

High Tea and Hard Weather

It's Easter weekend and the far north begins to shrug off its isolation as the sunlight returns and the weather moderates itself. The cruise boats are beginning to return and so the hotels and restaurants and museums are beginning to open or to keep extended hours. For those of us more or less permanently here, it is the season for calving, lambing, sowing, and having family come to visit for the school holidays.

Morris and I celebrate Easter with a trip into town for a high tea at one of our regular restaurants. Tea, as in a meal, not necessarily associated with the beverage, tea. Comes in many varieties. Mostly, it is a light meal at about 5ish in the evening. High Tea comes earlier in the day and has more food assocaited with it.

When I was the native explaining American culture to non-natives, I learned that one of the biggest areas of confusion was words for food. Now the shoe is on the other foot. I can manage my way around a grocery store and know what fairy cakes are, but the many names for baked goods are still a bit of a mystery. Today's high tea--which is best described as a combination of breakfast brunch and lunch--included the three-tiered, circular tray with a handle on top of miscellaneous baked goods.

I recognized scones and pancakes (or flap jacks or drop scones). Scones are like biscuits, but rich in cream and usually a bit sweet, but there are also cheese scones. Today's scones were plain--no fruit or cheese, but a bit sweet and crumbly. Pancakes are here served either warm, freshly off the griddle, or cold. You can even buy them in plastic packages in the grocery store. They are eaten with jam or preserves.

Also on the tray was fudge--butterscoth rather than chocolate, and softer than tablet, which is more often chocolate. There was a macaroon--which I was told is coconut with a jammy filling and it came in a little tart pan. Another baked square was described as tiffin. It looked remarkably like the tablet. There was no million dollar shortbread on the tray, but I want to describe it to you. The name is supposedly derived from the fact that you have to be a millionaire to afford the butter and sugar that go into it. It is so sweet that my teeth ache and my eyes threaten to roll back into my head in sugar overload at the thought of it. If you are prepared for it, it was wonderful, but I defy anyone to eat more than one piece at a time.

Despite the fact that it is nearly mid-April and the days are longer and gales are less likely, we are experiencing what Morris calls "hard weather." The winds are cold (off the north this morning, so full of the sea and the arctic north) and gusts are nearly 50 miles an hour near the shore. Now the greyness has descended so that the horizon is flattened into a grey mist.

When the wind blows hard enough for white caps on the sea, getting in and out of the car is a two-handed maneuver. If the car is facing into the wind, it will take both hands to open the door enough to get out and to hold the door steady enough not to press you back into the car. Worse still, if the wind is behind you and the door, you need to move hand over hand along the door to keep it from getting the characteristic "Caithness crick"--an all too familiar crinkle in the metal over the door as it yields to the wind if someone is foolish enough to let the wind have its head.

Now arguably, the high wind and the greyed horizon could come in any season. The final defining characteristic of "hard weather" is the fact that grass can't grow in such weather. And if the grass can't grow, then the cattle can't get turned out onto the fields.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Simple Pleasures


Ilse Bing took this photo in 1947. I liked it for the easy way that the two women have with each other and with their knitting. They are relaxed and leaning in close to each other for gossiping or story telling or comments about the yarn or the creations in their hands or in companionable silence.
Knitting may be another one of Islam's gifts to European civilization although twiddling with textiles in many different varieties has been around for a long long time.
While looking for this photo, I discovered a bevy of knitting blogs. I was overwhelmed. I'll be back to look at patterns or get ideas or listen to other knitter's stories, but there is no substitute for the real thing--both the knitting and the real time, interactive, old fashioned in person conversation.
Morris took this photo of my friend and knitting buddy, Angela, as we sat in a sunspot in her yard, knitting and talking until the sun moved on.

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Caithness Stories

Learning my way around Caithness includes learning the stories. Some of them are not much more than gossip or localized history, so they are hard to translate into a blog post, but here is one that I think is big enough for sharing.

It follows a theme of Us vs them. In this case, the "Us" is the wise locals, and the "Them" are the outsiders or the unwise who think they can tempt fate or outsmart Mother Nature. Many of the stories I have heard remind me of Trickster Tales--overcoming larger adversity through cleverness or mother wit. This story has those elements, too, maybe that's why I like it. I have heard this story from several people, so I'll stitch up the versions and add my own title:

How Billie Snowman Earned His Name

"The snow was just beginning to collect on the tops of the hills as we were shooting pheasants at Sandside," my husband told me. "It was Saturday," he said and only later did I realize the full implications of this. "I remember seeing the snow just starting over the tree tops. It was an unusual snow because it came out of the northeast. And it was wet. It clung to the wires until they sagged in the middle and some came completely down."

I got the middle of the story from another friend who hit on the familiar theme: "If they had taken the old road, they would have been OK," because the locals had told the road builders that the cut in the new road would be a snow trap. The old road for all its faults, would still have been passable.

The experts, however, thought they knew better. The snow just kept coming on that day and it built up in the cut just as the locals said it would. A hotel manager who had been to Thurso to check on preparations for a wedding got stuck in the snow there with his wife. A lorry (truck) was also stuck despite being several inches higher than the passenger car. The workmen in the lorry invited the couple to join them in the cab, but they thought they would be all right in their car.

Billie Davidson, a traveling salesman stocking ladies tights and knickers (underwear), was also stuck in the snow. The wet, heavy snow that stopped them from moving just kept falling and falling and falling. The cars were completely covered. Although it probably would have made no difference, the road workers were on a "work to rule" action. They would do no overtime or extra effort, so the cars were stuck in the snow all day Saturday and Sunday and Monday before they came to clear the road.


Billie Davidson had piled on another pair of women's tights as the temperature got colder and colder in the car. He had tights on his arms and his legs and even on his head. He had drunk the two flasks of tea that his wife always gave him when he set out, and he had used his trademark walking stick to poke holes in the three feet of snow on top of his car.

Billie survived. He certainly looked a sight, so everyone says, but he lived to earn his name and a story in his honor. The workmen in the cab of the lorry survived, but the hotel manager and his wife did not.

Now I had heard this story only up to the point of the rescue and Billie's survival, but I recently heard a post script. I was told that Billie's company then decided to charge him for all the tights and lingerie that he had piled on himself in order to stay alive. One person said he was fired; another said he quit in disgust; a third said that he was near retirement age and probably took that opportunity to retire from the road.

Whatever the truth of it, he earned his name.

Update Feb 26, 2008
The Feb 22nd issue of John O'Groat Journal had an article on the 30th anniversary of this event. The salesman's name was William Sutherland. The old road did remain clear, but the cut accumulated snow and there was 6 feet of snow on top of Willie Sutherland's car where he was isolated for 80 hours. Complete article should be available on line at www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bouncing on the Amity Trampoline

The bazooka-size antivirals have done all they can to induce shock and awe to the invading virus. The war has been won, or, at least, we have a cease fire. Normalization, however, continues to elude me and my face.

The nerves that the virus used like Ho Chi Minh trails from my spinal column to my face are still full of traffic--or maybe phantom traffic. At any rate, the nerves are still firing away. It is not comfortable being in an active combat zone. I have post herpetic neuralgia. According to the shingles web site, nearly half of the folks in the UK who get shingles also get PHN. It is minimized by quick treatment with antivrials but just how to treat it and how long it may last is not quite as straightforward.

My GP pronounced me as having PHN and looked in my ear and at my eye. I was reassured to know that neither ear nor eye are showing anything worthy of note at this time, but disconcerted to know that PHN can last for weeks or months or longer. He explained that antivirals had done all they could and now he would suggest a pain killer specific to neuralgia--nerve pain. He prescribed a very low dose of a tricyclic antidepressant, amitrypyline. In low doses, it has relatively few side effects (despite the long catalog of worrisome things on the patient leaflet), and I had the flexibility of taking 1 or 2 of the wee blue tablets with water twice a day.

I had not realized quite how active the nerves were until they began to slow down. The first little blue pill seemed to start working pretty quickly. The tip of my nose had been a battle zone. I imagined the fired-up nerve endings running right up to the edge of their pathway and waggling their bums and sending raspberries across to the other side. It was a relief when these hijinks discontinued. I ate my lunch in peace. By the time we were in the car coming home, I had lost contact with my nose altogether and my cheeks and fingers and other appendages were also very slow in reporting. I dozed. By the time we got home, I could barely walk and vaguely realized that "may cause drowsiness" was a serious understatment.

I slept for about three hours. I woke very slowly and was relaxed because I was neuralgia free but I had to struggle to sit upright or to walk. When I realized the choice in front of me--pain free or zombie, I re dubbed the medicine the amity trampoline.

Now I'll make another truce with the neuralgia-amity trampoline conflict. I'll have neuralgia by day and sleep with amity at night.

While my world is so circumscribed, I am going to mine my drafts folder for stories that just need a little sunlight to grow.