I always love the exotic sounding names of places in this part of the west country. As we drifted lazily (90km/h) along the M5 this afternoon on the way to Southmead Hospital in Bristol I couldn’t help but reminisce on the beautiful and quite disregarded Lox Yeo Valley that the wretched motorway cuts through. Farmsteads are scattered throughout the area and many of the houses are spread about. The buildings both ancient and modern are largely constructed of local limestone often hidden by further surface rendering. They include two small churches, the church of St. Mary at Christon with its fine Norman doorway arch and the church of St.Andrew at Loxton dating back to the 13th c The parish consists of narrow winding lanes, woodlands, numerous stone walls and neatly trimmed hedges surrounding fields of grazing cattle and sheep. An abundance of wildlife and wild flowers set against the 'backcloth' of the Mendip hillside adds to the rural charm.

Many very old mine-workings on the hills, indicate that at one time mining was abundant, probably for calamine, lead, copper and more recently yellow ochre. For a short time, the area was part of the Royal Hunting Forest of Mendip, where privileged men generally of noble birthright had the exclusive right to hunt deer, boar and other wild animals during the period of the Saxon kings to the end of the middle ages. The term ´forest´ is not necessarily woodland but refers to unenclosed land belonging to the king. Loxton was excluded from the Royal Hunting Forest of Mendip in 1298.

My guess is that little has altered here over the centuries. It is still largely a farming community, though in recent times changes in farming practices, transport and social needs has led to the demise of many trades and the evolution of a cosmopolitan community. Many of the old farm buildings have been sold and the barns converted into bijou residences. But at least the buildings have been saved rather than allowed to fall into disrepair and ruin.

Anyway – you don’t want to know about Somerset today – you want to know what happened at the hospital! I saw a very nice senior registrar – a Mr Parker. He looked at my shoulder, at my notes and at recent scans and very kindly said, “I think we can help you.” Evidently the offending lump is attached only to the scapula and has not hooked up to anything else making its extraction relatively straightforward – although he said I will also loose “the blade” bit of bone on my shoulder. Nevertheless I should regain almost full use of my arm and shoulder and it wont affect me that much after the scar tissue has healed. Good job then that we’ve decided to go for an automatic car eh?

The running order now is: admission to Southmead Hospital (Chew Ward) next Tuesday afternoon ready for surgery on Wednesday morning and, all being well, discharge on Friday. Then about two weeks after this – admission again for the radio therapy. So everything has moved right by a week or so, unfortunately – but still going ahead quite quickly with only a minimum delay – so no complaints – au contraire – I am grateful for the speed and coordination between the different departments of the NHS. Meanwhile they have upgraded the pain killers by a notch – jolly good.

Thanks again to everybody for your prayers, thoughts and enquiries by e-mail, text, letter and phone and for those of you who have kindly called at Dunpreachin. As you know I try to update the blog at least every other day – so all news here as we have it. So as Tiny Tim says, “God bless us all – everyone!” (Or something like that!)

Comments on this entry:

  1. I’ve been away to God’s country so am just catching up with your “blog”. I’ve been down memory lane as well – with the “girl” I was at DOLPHIN with in the 60’s and who I was bridesmaid to in 1966. She’s Glaswegian as well but married a Aussie S/M and left for Sydney in 1967 – the last time I saw her. She’s been home since then but for various reasons I’ve never been up home at the same time – HOWEVER – this time I made the trip deliberately to see her. YAP YAP YAP, or something like that.

    We do think about you a lot and glad to read your words of wisdom. David Hodges will be with us at the beginning of March for the writer’s annual dinner. Bill, Muriel and he also send their love and prayers your way.

    We’ll be thinking about you especially next Tuesday/Wednesday and look forward to hearing the GOOD NEWS.

    Love to Fiona. God Bless

    Nancy & David

    — Nancy & David · Tuesday 20 January, 2009 · #