Thank you for visiting this blog site. It's mainly writing-related posts including thoughts, tips, info and psychological aspects of writing. If you felt like following, well that would be great.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Short post - a family poem

Wanted to share this poem, written recently by my very lovely granddaughter Olivia. With her permission of course ...

My Home

A safe haven,
A nest to hide away,
A familiar, welcoming embrace,
My home.

My bedroom, a friendly mess,
A treasure trove of memories,
I can relax, remember,
In my home.

In my bedroom, I am free as a bird,
To do what I like, think how I wish,
Letting my true self shine,
My home.

From dazzling white to crimson red,
Our past pasted to the walls,
In the ever-changing camouflage
Of my home.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Ladies: Pregnancy in 1911 - How to Dress, Cure Burning Feet and Manage Hysteria

Who'd know that 'Tokology' is the science of obstetrics and midwifery? The author of the book of that name certainly did. She was Alice B Stockham from Chicago, the fifth woman to become a doctor in the USA. Born 1833, died 1912, the year after the book was published.

Tokology is an amazing collection of advice for the time. It covers aspects of pregnancy including how to dress, conception, foetal growth, diet, physical and psychological health issues, hygiene, birth itself and afterwards, and 'diseases of women'. Its style is chatty and very accessible.

Here are brief quotes about some of these areas.

How to Dress 
If women could be made to understand what is gained by absolutely dressing the waist free from any pressure or constriction, we could predict a near millennium of safety and freedom of pain in childbirth. It (is) hopeless to convince any lady that the bands of her skirts and drawers are any detriment to her in the performance of natural functions.

Burning Feet
Best relieved by bathing them in very hot water. A sand bath, too, is excellent. Have a box of moist sand, in which bury the feet for thirty or forty minutes.

Hysteria (Stockham sees the same root here as in hysterectomy)
Hysteria is only a culmination or exaggeration of the reflex or nervous symptoms in diseases of the uterus. It is simply temporary insanity. Some quiet, decisive means will restore her. Inhalation of ammonia, cold water on the head, a hot foot bath ... readily establishes her balance. Banish agitation from your manner, and then say ... "Why, you are all right!" Get her attention, then with tact relate some incident, or make some startling statement. To prevent the attacks, treat the uterine affection from which they arise.

Frequent bathing in pregnancy is of the greatest importance. The sponge or towel bath, taken two or three times a week, is stimulating and invigorating. It should be followed by friction with a Turkish towel  or coarse mitten. Foot and leg baths... taken warm they will relieve nervousness, sleeplessness and irritability.

Colic, Neuralgia and Inflammation
The very best method of making hot applications is by means of the rubber "hot water bottle". No well regulated family should be without a hot water bottle.

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If anyone should require more helpful advice, just let me know! Seriously, though, much of Stockham's advice is still practised now and considered sound - although I'm not sure that the sand bath would help, even if we had 30 or 40 minutes to spare. Still, that's the sort of situation for which laptops were created.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Wildlife on our Doorstep

Despite knowing about Marwell Wildlife Park for years, we'd never been. On August 31st, though, with our son, daughter-in-law and both granddaughters visiting, we all trogged off to Marwell (near Southampton and Winchester).  The visit was unforgettable.

We took about four hours to stroll around the recommended route, in addition to a picnic break - they don't insist you eat only their food, unlike theme parks - and there are plenty of clean picnic areas or grassy patches. (Vegetarian sausage and ketchup wraps featured strongly for us.)

Though signed as a zoological park, Marwell doesn't have elephants, lions or spiders. They specialise in endangered animals and those rarely seen in UK zoos.

So many stunning, odd, beautiful creatures, it'd take all day to blog about them all. But here are my favourites; unless attributed, the pictures were taken by John or me.

Giant Anteater - elusive, hiding
behind the post

The wondrous Capybara, by
Jay Dodge via

We've a huge ink line drawing of an anteater on our living room wall. The only colour ink used is a rusty red.
Ring-tailed lemurs - perky, friendly,
and keen sunbathers

 The ever-popular Meerkat
on 'sentry duty'
My personal favourite, the Okapi
By John Morris via
Visitors stand in the enclosure on the
right, and the Giraffes come very
close - a bit crowded at the time
so couldn't get face shot.

The okapi has a giraffe-like head, body and size similar to a horse, and rear end like a zebra. Marwell has several okapis, and each can be identified by matching the pattern of stripes on its haunches and hind legs to the pictures on the wall!

The three snow leopard cubs born 12 weeks previously would not come out of their 'cave' for their visitors, sadly, even though we waited, and waited ...  A good plan would have been to go straight to their enclosure on arrival (it's near the end of the recommended route), and if no luck, then to return later. And the gift shop can be quite expensive for some items. Entrance fees at first seem quite high, e.g. from now to end of October, £18 adults, £12 children, £50 family ticket, but I consider Marwell good value. Their website has all the details: . Prices in the gift shop can be quite high, although there's a huge range of wantable goods.

We all plan to return to Marwell sometime soon. It really is, as they say, "A Grand Day Out".