From Chris's point a view - A good job - ; from mine - just a pain! Those of you who have visited us here will know that outside our kitchen door there is a narrow paved area, used mainly for hanging washing and feeding the animals, and it is divided from next door's orange grove by a big bougainvillea, which has gradually spread all along the fence. This is a vigorous grower, and local folk have told us that November it the time to prune it. Usually we just trim it when the long shoots get in the way, but this year we decided to be more brutal and cut it back hard. I hate cutting off all those lovely purple flowers, but it opens up the centre so all the brown, dead ones that have settled inside the branches can blow away, and it will be a mass of colour again in a couple of months. As this will need to be done at least annually, Chris decided to buy an electric hedge-trimmer to make it easier, so last Thursday being a beautiful sunny day, he made a start on it. He had taken the first layer off the front and top and then he went over the fence with the ladder (the house is empty and the gate is kept locked), to cut the far side. My job is usually to do most of the clearing away of all the debris. Luckily we have a big bin just outside our property, but bougainvillea has wicked long thorns so it is quite a task, and I have to chop it down into shorter lengths so I can get it into a plastic dustbin and lift it over a low side fence, and then out the front gate to the bin. While deciding how to tackle this, I picked up the 'loppers' and idly snipped at a few high branches that Chris had missed first time around, but unfortunately one was thicker than I had realised and I couldn't cut through it so the lopper jammed and sent a shock wave up my arm. Apart from 'ouch' in my head I didn't think anymore about it and together we cleared the branches ready to give it a second cut the next day, but by bed time I knew I was in for a stiff left arm. By Friday I was in agony with a pain I recognised from when I tore my right bicep a few years back, and my ham-string last year. By the evening I was shaking like a leaf, my teeth were chattering and the pain was severe, so I took my strong ibruprophen and went to bed. We even got out the duvet for the first time this year as I was so cold. On Saturday I toyed with the idea of going to an Urgencia (a kind of A&E unit that you find in most towns), but I know from last year that unless you have broken something they won't do anything, so instead we went to our local farmacia and bought the strongest dosage diclofenic tablets. (It's amazing what you can buy over the counter out here!), and they did the trick. The downside is they make me feel like a zombie, but it was worth that to feel more comfortable.(When I said that to a friend at choir practice today, he said, "Really. Do you actually mean you stopped talking?" Cheeky!). Chris strapped my arm up for me just to give it some support. It is heaps better now. I still have a tubigrip on it, but I've done away with the sling, and I don't need the tablets in the day now, though one at bedtime ensures I can lie in enough comfort to get a good night's sleep. In future I'll leave the lopping to Chris, and I'll stick to the clearing away! We've had a bit of rain since then so he hasn't got out there to do the final cut, but he will soon. Already it looks heaps better, and it makes a huge difference to the amount of light I get in the kitchen. It also means I won't get drowned feeding the dogs, everytime it has rained.
I would like to add a quick welcome to one or two new followers, who have stumbled across my ramblings via my, or mutual friend's, crafting blogs. It is great to have you aboard and I hope you enjoy reading about everyday life in sunny Spain.