Category Archives: Mast Cell Activation Disorder

Weekly roundup

Following my peri-menopause post yesterday I’ve had a rash of fake likes.  You know they’re fake when a) they’re from random men liking a post on the fucking menopause and b) they’re from websites trying to sell a “healthy” lifestyle or some other such crap.  That these people prey on the chronically ill, or that they think the menopause, which many women find hugely difficult, is something they can cash in on disgusts me.  Bloody parasites.

My Mum has gone quickly downhill with her breathing this week and was so poorly on Weds we had to get the Doctor out.  She has severe osteoporosis and spondylitis, which can be hugely painful, and the usual paracetomol wasn’t touching the sides so she thought she’d try some Ibuprofen in the hopes the anti-inflammatory aspect would help.  And it did, enormously, which was great.  Around the same time she took delivery of her new custom made compression stockings for her fluid filled legs, which she has been wearing faithfully every day and which she says are really comfortable.  The rash of blisters on the inside of her legs has gone already, which is brilliant news, so the stockings do appear to be helping.  Only of course life is never that simple, and one or the other of the new treatments has put further strain on her heart and affected her breathing.  Four days without the new treatments, and with an increase to her water pills, her breathing is still rubbish but she’s thankfully not feeling as ill as she was.

My Dad finds my Mum being poorly really stressful and coupled with the fact his spinal stenosis is really troublesome now and very painful he too has had a tough week 😦

I started with awful pelvic pain again on Wednesday, which on Friday night resulted in my period arriving.  I was on day 20 of my cycle, when last month Aunt Flo didn’t arrive until day 40.  Couple that with my regular period-induced crippling migraine and I too have not had the best week ever so it probably wasn’t the most opportune time to tackle a technical job on my computer.  However my no-longer-supported-Windows-Mail email client has become so glitchy it was doing my nut in, so I bit the bullet and switched everything over to Thunderbird.  It took 4 hours all in all, and I managed to loose all my sent emails from the last 5 days, but I got there in the end which is nothing short of miraculous bearing in mind I’m not the most computer savvy person on the planet.

The only bright spot on the horizon was Tuesday.  I’d helped a friend by printing and mounting a photo she’d taken for someone’s birthday, so we met for lunch so that I could give it to her.  She works night shift as a volunteer Samaritan, which I admire hugely, though she had me in fits of laughter telling me of a sex caller she’d had the night before who lured her in with tales of self harm then ejaculated all over his phone.  Who the fuck calls the Samaritans just to jerk off?!

Today my Dad was supposed to be going out for lunch with some members of his family who were travelling over from the North East.  Mum was too sick to go so I said I’d cook us both a nice Sunday lunch at her house, however last night we had more bad weather and the main road from the North East to the North West is blocked by snow and a 12 vehicle pile-up, so I’ve no idea if our visitors will even attempt the journey.   My head is still banging with a migraine and the thought of eating, let alone cooking, a Sunday roast doesn’t do much for me but I’ll still go and there’s enough for three if Dad doesn’t make it out.

Will my goddamn periods ever end?  Will Spring ever arrive?  Has Prince Charming lost his fucking horse?  Can you become pregnant over the phone?  These questions and many others will be answered on the next episode of…………Soap.




Mast Cells in M.E.

This month a two day summit was held in America for clinicians working in the field of CFS/M.E. and long-time advocates and ME Doctors David Kaufman, Charles Lapp and Susan Levine all discussed the fact that they are now suspecting mast cell activation as either a cause, effect or perpetrator of the disease – their views are outlined in this piece from Medscape.  Having thought this for five years now I hate to say “I told you so” but……..well…………I told you so 😉

All joking aside, I am as convinced as I can be that mast cells play a role in M.E.  Having followed research on the illness now for a quarter of a century it’s the only theory I have come across that even remotely fits every aspect of the disease as outlined in my Canary post.  And in my world, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s probably a duck.  I may be proved completely wrong, but at the moment with the knowledge we have my feet are firmly in the mast cell camp.

The link to the Medscape article was posted on the ME Association’s Facebook page and seemed to ring a bell with quite a few patients.  They all then, naturally, wanted to get tested for mast cell disease in the hopes they would be cured.  I wish it were that simple.

Although I believe mast cells are implicated in M.E. that does not mean I think M.E. is just another name for Mast Cell Activation Disorder.  MCAD is a distinct disease entity.  You can have MCAD on its own, you can have MCAD alongside other diseases like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or M.E., of if you’re unlucky you can have both or in my case all three.  Treating the symptoms of MCAD (there is no cure) will do nothing to help your M.E., at least not in my experience.

If mast cells are implicated in M.E. why doesn’t treating the underlying mast cell disease help?  Good question.  I’m not a Doctor or a Research Scientist and even if I were I probably still wouldn’t know the answer.  MCAD was only discovered as a disease a decade ago and we currently know very little about it.  Treatments are available but they’re crude and even leading Doctors in the MCAD field admit they are limited in the ways they can help.

The focus is often on Histamine in respect of MCAD, but it’s only one of 30 chemical mediators expressed by mast cells so is only a tiny part of the MCAD puzzle.  We currently only have the capability to test for half a dozen of the 30 mediators (and in the UK only have the means to test for a couple), so we have a very long way to go in being able to accurately test for mast cell activation.  Even if excess histamine is found to be present it binds to four receptors in the body (at least, we only currently know about four) and we only have drugs to target two of those receptors (H1 and H2), so if H3 or H4 receptors are implicated in M.E. we can’t currently do anything about that.

Being treated for MCAD probably saved my life, but it had little effect on my M.E. with two notable exceptions.  The horrendous insomnia which has plagued me for the 24 years I’ve been ill was helped dramatically when I no longer had stimulating histamine in my brain, and the back pain from which I’d suffered for 30 odd years improved by about 60%.  But I still have M.E. in all its fluey, achey, brain fogged, POTSy, sore throated, weak muscled, post exertional malaise glory.  It’s a bugger.

It’s hugely difficult to get an official MCAD diagnosis here in Britain and most people end up having to go down the very expensive private route as MCAD still isn’t officially recognized here in the UK so isn’t funded on the NHS.  There are a couple of NHS Consultants who might see you but in practice only if you have severe disease and have classic MCAD symptoms like flushing, hives and a history of anaphylaxis which has been confirmed isn’t due to allergies.  Having received your diagnosis, treatments are limited and in my case the very fact I have MCAD and my mast cells reject drugs on a grand scale means I have anaphylaxis to the tablets needed to treat my anaphylaxis, which would be hilarious if it weren’t so scary.

To anyone reading this who wants to rush out to see an MCAD specialist trust me when I say you’re heading down a difficult and potentially expensive road with no real destination, so think carefully about whether or not you want to spend your energy doing that before you start.  I’m not saying don’t, just that it’s probably not going to help your M.E. so unless you have clear symptoms of MCAD and are debilitated by those it will all be a bit pointless.

Having said all that I’m still hugely excited by the fact that Doctors are picking up on the fact that M.E. and MCAD might be related.  It’s no coincidence that Doctors seeing Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos patients were finding that a large sub-section of those also had MCAD, and it’s no coincidence that many of those also had a diagnosis of M.E.  The hEDS/POTS/ME triangle is well known about in the patient population and the underlying common denominator appears to be mast cell activation.


Weekly roundup

I don’t know where to start with the summary of my week which has had more ups and downs than the Big Dipper.

Monday I made an appointment to see the Optician about my severe eye floaters.  I know I promised you a post on eye problems which I haven’t delivered so will try and rectify that in the next few days, but suffice to say my floaters are now so bad I’m effectively losing my sight and it’s seriously getting me down, especially as it interferes hugely with my photography and computer use.  She has referred me to the Opthamologist at the hospital and I have an appointment in May.  More on that in my eye post.

Tuesday the weather finally turned and a mysterious orange ball of fire, which hasn’t been seen in some time, appeared in the sky so I took the opportunity to tidy up my miniscule back garden which looked like a bomb had hit it after the recent snow storms and gales, including scooping up half a tonne of bird shit.  I think I’m looking after my little furry friends a bit too well because I now have about 30 sparrows living in the 10 foot piece of hedge which separates my garden from next door and they indiscriminately poop for England!  I wonder if you can potty train birds like you can potty train cats to crap in a litter box?  Hmmmm, I’ll have to work on that.

Wednesday was Camera Club and our last print competition of the season.  I shared joint 2nd place with my portrait of a little girl (one of my fav pictures to date, which looks so much better in print than on a computer screen) and joint 1st with my picture of some ducklings.

As it was our last print competition of the year (we break up in April for the summer) the scores were tallied up and I discovered I’d won the League!  This is my first year in the Advanced class, so to be honest I wasn’t expecting to win anything let alone the entire thing, so to say I was gobsmacked doesn’t do my jaw hitting the floor justice 🙂  I shall be receiving a cup at our annual dinner next month.

On to the bad news.  Ever since my Armageddon period the other week I have had awful endometriosis pain, then this week I was ovulating and the pain catapulted into outer orbit.  My lower back, hips and pelvis are on fire and have been on fire for 4 days now.  I don’t know whether I’ve had yet another ovarian cyst which has burst (the pelvic pain is on the right side) or whether my bad period has caused fresh adhesions on my bowel, bladder or ovary, but OMG it’s rubbish.  I can barely stand upright, pooping is torture, peeing isn’t much better and nothing I do alleviates the pain.  I actually slept last night with 2 TENS pads on my tummy and 2 on my back/hips but my TENS machine is only just taking the edge off.  FFS I’ve had enough.

After sleeping like the dead for months, which has been totally wonderful, this week I’ve barely slept a wink.  If I manage to ignore the pain long enough to actually get to sleep I wake around 4am and am so perky it might as well be lunchtime.  I’m assuming this is hormone related, as many women going through menopause complain of insomnia, but it makes for a lonnnng day especially when that day is riddled with stinging, fiery, unrelenting pain.  Add to this my 4 days of weird head symptoms and it’s fair to say I wish, not for the first time, I’d been born a man.

My best mate took pity on me and drove through to meet me for lunch yesterday.  She looked about as crap as I felt (she also has M.E.) but it was lovely to have a catch up, even if I do scare her witless with my tales of peri-menopause which, as she is 8 years younger than me, is a journey she’s only just starting to embark on.  She asked me how I was feeling emotionally, as many women going through the menopause complain of being depressed, anxious or evilly bad tempered, but to be honest despite everything my mood is remarkably good for the most part.  Yes there are times when I feel so ill I wish I were dead, but 85% of the time I still wake looking forward to the day and have lost none of my passion for life which is quite an achievement considering everything that’s going on.

Today is Mother’s Day and I am going out for lunch with my folks and the dog.  Mum is still drinking but it appears to be much, much less than previously and she’s actually said some really nice things recently such as the fact she is proud of my achievements in photography and that despite my health problems I went out and found a hobby I love and through that have met some wonderful people.  It’s been so long since she’s been even cognizant of my life, let alone expressed any emotions, that I was completely taken aback and didn’t know quite how to respond.  She’s also been to a couple of family meals recently, which she hasn’t done in several years, and really enjoyed them which are all super positive steps.  I’m so wary, though, of her falling off the wagon I can’t let myself relax or trust the new her, which is understandable after everything we’ve been through.  She’s been a slurry, fuddled, bullying, critical drunk for so long that’s it’s hard to remember the lovely person she used to be and it’s going to take time to get used to her being nice again.

On that note I shall love you and leave you.  I’m ravenous so will get some breakfast then take the mutt out.  It’s a hazy, spring morning and I can hear a blackbird singing its heart out in my garden, which always brings me joy even if the little fucker has probably just shit on my patio.


Weekly roundup

Apologies for the fact there was no blog post this week – I’ve had a peculiar few days.  To begin with I didn’t skip my period.  It arrived on day 40 of my cycle and was like Armageddon.  I had one of the worst migraines I’ve ever had with pain so severe I actually cried (which made my head throb even more!) and spent half the night puking my guts up.  It lingered for three days and left me feeling like a rag doll.  On the one hand I was really upset that I hadn’t missed a cycle and the end might not be in sight after all and on the other was relieved that my ten days worth of horrendous back and pelvic pain could be explained and lessened slightly after it was over (though it hasn’t gone away).

To add insult to injury we’ve had some unexpectedly bad winter weather here in the UK which resulted in my village being blocked in by snow.  It wasn’t a huge problem but was seriously hard work.  I had to get the shovel and salt out to clear the paths to my house and the poor birds are currently nesting and egg laying so I made a special effort to keep them in food and water.  Trust me when I say that getting all your togs on at 7am and going out in a raging blizzard takes it out of you – I was knackered before the day even started.  I couldn’t take my scooter out either, so have had to physically walk Bertie in the snow every afternoon which didn’t do my joints any favours and my dog walker was snowed in her village so didn’t turn up for the mornings she usually takes him, so I had to do that on top.  She also cleans my house, which of course didn’t get done, so I had to get the mop out to wipe away the legion of snowy, wet paw prints the mutt left all over the house – my back was unimpressed and has hurt like a bitch for days.

Bertie loves the snow but it clings to him like cement, so twice a day every day for a the whole week he’s had to have a warm shower and a towel dry.  To say I am absolutely and utterly exhausted doesn’t do my tiredness justice.

By evening all the extra work had made me very ME-ish and I’ve lain in bed feeling wiped and fluey.  I also had another super scary head symptom, which I think is menopause related but to be fair could be anything.  I was sat in bed watching TV on Weds when all of a sudden it felt like I’d been hit over the head – an actual sensation of being struck by a blunt object.  I literally saw stars then felt ridiculously woozy.  This has happened once before a few months ago while I was giving a talk at my Camera Club and it honestly feels like I’m having a stroke.  It leaves me feeling incredibly sleepy, weak and a bit like my brain is bruised.  I’m sure it’s some kind of vasomotor hormone-related thing, a bit like a hot flush but without the flush, but whatever it’s frightening and the fact I was alone and the paramedics couldn’t reach me even if I needed them to didn’t help the situation.  Five days on and I’m still feeling woozy and dizzy.

Tesco didn’t get through with my groceries on Thursday, so on Friday when the village road was open (if not brilliant) I braved it into town.  Sainsburys was heaving, there were only 4 loaves of bread left on the shelf and I was unimpressed at having to lug heavy shopping bags in and out of the trolly/car but at least I won’t starve to death.  Parts of the journey were a bit hairy but I got there and back in one piece and managed to call in on my parents to check they were both OK.  Here was the scene in my village the day I drove to town – I don’t have a four wheel drive or snow tyres fitted and was amazed my little Corsa hatchback made it through!

Of course my Camera Club was cancelled on Weds night so I didn’t see or speak to a soul for five days and I admit by the weekend I had cabin fever and was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  I could never live in Alaska 😉  If I were elderly I’m sure my neighbours would all have checked I was OK but when you’re a younger adult no-one thinks you might be physically struggling or feeling isolated.

The odd hour I was feeling half human I did some more light painting photography in my bedroom.   I spent ages doing two pictures which didn’t work in any way but quite liked this one of some blue Stargazer lilies I bought in Aldi.  It passed the time if nothing else.

I’m so over winter now though – Spring needs to get its arse in gear and put in an appearance!


Food Shaming

I’ve written about the Food Nazis several times before.  Y’know, those people online who say that following this diet or that diet has helped them enormously and you can’t possibly want to improve your health because you’re still eating sugar/gluten/dairy/processed food/high histamine food (whatever that is) or “food with no nutritional value”.  And whilst I know that eating healthily is vital to………..well, health…………I also know that when you’re chronically ill there are days when you’re lucky to have eaten at all let alone have spent hours preparing raw foods washed down with a green smoothie.

There is so much emphasis on food in the management of chronic conditions that’s it’s easy to feel really down on yourself if you’re not able to follow the legion of (often contradictory) dietary advice circulated online.  But it’s important to remember that hardly any of this information has been backed up by research and even if it has been scientifically proven to help you are sick, your life is already ridiculously hard and you are doing the best you can.  Don’t let anyone shame you into thinking badly of yourself.

I thought I’d share with you a few pearls of wisdom I say to myself when I’m having a wobble and doubting that I am doing all I can to manage my diseases:

  • Jak, you live on your own with limited money and zero help.  Be proud that you manage as well as you do.
  • You don’t just have hEDS.  You also have MCAD, M.E. and cripplingly painful endo and adeno.  On top of that you’re going through the Menopause which even healthy women find difficult.  Be kinder to yourself.
  • Nausea kills your appetite.  If you haven’t eaten a thing all day and the only item of food you fancy is a packet of Wine Gums they at least contain sugar and sugar equals energy – it’s better than starving.
  • As a species, we have managed to survive and thrive for 2 millennia without chia seeds or sprouted peas.  And you have managed to survive for 24 years of chronic illness without them too.
  • What works for one person doesn’t work for another, especially when that other has both MCAD and Histamine Intolerance.
  • I live in the north of  England, not California.  It’s sodding cold here and a green salad is not going to keep me going when it’s -10C outside and I have to walk the dog, bearing in mind I have M.E and my muscles don’t work properly.  Without some seriously stodgy carbs I’d never get out of bed.
  • Your life is ridiculously restricted.  If you want to binge on Pringles and Jaffa Cakes washed down by pint mugs of Yorkshire tea every now and again knock yourself out.
  • If all you have the energy to make for dinner is oven chips and a fried egg you’ve just consumed 14% of your RDA for Vitamin C, 26% Thiamin, 16% Riboflavin, 16% Niacin, 30% B6, 18% folate , 11% B12 plus Vitamins A, D, E & K alongside Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese not to mention 490mg of Omega 3 fatty acids, 26% of your RDA of protein and beneficial to POTS sodium.  Processed or quick food does not equate “nutritionally deficient” whatever the food nazis tell you and it’s better than not eating at all cos you’re too knackered to make anything.
  • I am doing the best I can under very difficult circumstances.

I watched a talk on the proposed dietary research EDS UK want to undertake recently and while I’m sure, in an ideal world, eating a diet rich in nutrients which aid collagen synthesis and wound repair would be beneficial let’s not forget that lots of people with hEDs have a digestive tract that is so fucked up they are being fed via a tube into their stomach or heart.  Advice on a new diet isn’t going to help them much, or the estimated 10% of people with hEDS who also have MCAD and who are on restricted diets of varying types and severity.  So to spend £250,000 on a treatment which is only going to help a proportion of hEDS patients makes me kind’ve pissed not to mention left out in the cold.

I’m really, really, fed up of being left out in the cold simply because my illness is complex or severe.  Surely to goodness those people at the severe end of the spectrum are the ones we should help first not last?  They are the ones whose entire lives have been robbed, whose futures are bleak and who are suffering the most.  Instead, they are the ones ignored while the focus is on those easier to treat.  It’s been just the same with M.E. for decades until, of course, world renowned geneticist Ron Davis’ son became severely ill which has resulted in the severely affected being studied by Nobel prize winning scientists in a race against time to save his life.

We are not all on the same journey – the path for some is smooth, flat, concreted and accompanied by helpful companions and for others is rocky, pot hole strewn, uphill and crawled alone.  You can only do what you can do and don’t let anyone tell you that your best isn’t good enough.

Weekly roundup

As I’ve not been sleeping and having a lot of back and pelvic pain, getting through the week has been tough so I’ve been photographing like a demon in my spare bedroom to take my mind off how crap-o-la I’ve been feeling.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was groped by the village paedo when I was 11 and because of the way I look have been treated by men as an object for most of my life so I’ve wanted for some time to do something towards the #metoo campaign.  This is what I came up with.

You probably can’t see on this small picture but I have sewn my mouth shut, which represents the silencing of women who suffer abuse of any kind – it may be at the forefront of the news now but it’s been ignored for millennia.  Everyone in my village knew that the man who touched me was a pervert, so we kids were just warned to stay away from him.  Even when he wandered into my home when I was there alone and stuck his hand down my pants my parents didn’t report it to the police because kids weren’t believed in those days.  My Dad just threatened to beat the crap out of him if he ever came near me again and that was the end of it.  However, he had 3 daughters and it came out decades later that he had sexually abused them all for years and years.  I went to junior school with his middle daughter and don’t know how she got through the days looking normal when she was being raped on a daily basis at home at the age of 9.

One of my lovely readers came up with information on why my Dad is now making up parts of conversations.  It’s called confabulation and I found a good article on it in respect of MCI which I printed off to give to my Mum.  I hope she can now appreciate that he’s not lying but simply trying to make sense of a world which is increasingly confusing and senseless.

On top of everything else that’s been going awry with my health I am having some awful eye problems which I’m hoping to write a post about this week.  Consequently I made an appointment on Thursday to see my Optician who has referred me to the eye specialist at the hospital.  My reading prescription has also changed just in the past ten months so I’ve ended up having new glasses which I wasn’t expecting.  More sodding expense.  This month I’ve spent £500 on my car and £250 on glasses.  It takes me two years to save that kind of cash for God’s sake!

The ME Association, Britain’s leading M.E. charity, has put out a call for photographs which represent the disease.  I’d love to do something but am devoid of inspiration.  How do you represent an illness for which there are virtually no outward physical signs?  Yes you can show people in bed but that only makes up a proportion of the day for most patients.  I thought about doing a split photo, for example with me on one side having lunch with friends smiling and having fun, then me on the other side 2 hours later lying in bed with my eye mask on in the dark, but other than that I can’t think of ways to show how the illness affects us when we look so normal.  If you have any inspiration let me know, but please be specific rather than giving me vague concepts as my brain is totally addled atm.

Other than that I have nothing much to report.  Some weeks, indeed some months, are tougher than others and February so far hasn’t been the best.  I was looking forward to spring, of which there are signs in the garden, only to discover we are due to receive an arctic blast this week with “significant snowfall” and a wind chill of -15C.  So it looks like both Bertie and I will be wearing our jumpers for a while yet!


Weekly roundup

I’ve had a very mixed week, with some really nice, and some absolutely God awful, days.  Following my Mum’s Guillain Barre Syndrome her legs started to swell, they’ve gone all lumpy and she has weeping blisters on her knees which I think is lymphatic fluid.  Her GP wasn’t the slightest bit bothered but they’re driving my poor Mum nuts as well as looking unsightly so I asked for a referral to the Lipedema Clinic to have them checked out because they looked exactly like the photos of Lipedema I’d seen online.  The appointment was on Monday, but the nurse didn’t think it was Lipedema.  She didn’t know what it was though, so she’s ordered some compression stockings for Mum anyway to see if they help.

Eighteen months ago I was on a very rare outing taking Autumn photographs up the lakes when another photographer set up her tripod beside me.  We starting chatting and got on like a house on fire, so despite living a good distance apart we occasionally meet up for a photo day or simply for a coffee ‘n a gossip.  Tuesday was one such day.  It’s rare I ever go through to the city unless I have a hospital appointment because it’s a 60 mile round trip and absolutely floors me, but being as though I’m down to my last pair of jeans (the rest having given up the ghost and gone to ripped jean heaven) I thought a mooch round the shops was in order, so arranged to meet my mate for lunch first.  3½ hours later I hadn’t visited a single store but had had a brilliant catch up and stuffed my face with Pannini while the snow fell down outside!

Wednesday I didn’t have my usual Camera Club, but instead attended an annual competition between our Club and two other local Clubs.  We came last, as usual, but it was still a good night and a chance to have a natter with some fresh faces.

Thursday my busy week caught up with me and I felt like I’d been trampled by a herd of wild elephants.  To add insult to injury my period was due and I just felt bleugh.  I wasn’t alone either – my lovely Bertie has suffered with a herniated spinal disc for several years now and his back has really been playing him up the past few weeks.  My usual treatment plan of giving him strawberry flavoured infant Calpol (which I think he hates more than the pain) and sleeping on a 4″ orthopaedic grade mattress with a heated pet mat so that he doesn’t get cold and stiff during the night doesn’t seem to be helping – not that he’s spoiled in any way you understand, or receiving 100% better care than I am 😉

Friday I woke with a migraine which, by tea time, felt like someone was stabbing my brain with a pick axe.  I couldn’t eat a thing, felt so nauseous I didn’t know what to do with myself and was hugely light and noise sensitive so I spent the day lying in bed, bored out of my mind and wishing I were dead.  It’s all the fault of my sodding hormones.  I was on day 32 of my cycle and my period had still not put in an appearance – hurry the fuck up and let’s get it over with.

I woke the next day with residual pain but at least the stabbing had stopped.  I was completely loopy loo, however, and got all togged up to take Bertie out and was halfway down the drive with him when my dog walker rocked up.  In my fuddled brain it was Sunday, which is my day to take him, but of course I was 24 hours ahead of myself and it was only Saturday.  Doh and double Doh!

Needing a treat for surviving the previous 48 hours I mugged off the washing up and laundry and spent the morning taking photos in my spare bedroom.  I had a plan to do just my eyes behind a bedouin type veil, but ended up with this photo which I was quite happy with.  Before anyone gets excited I look nowhere near this good in real life – I might have 30 years ago, but the taut flawless complexion in this picture is all down to airbrushing and other computer trickery, like removing my 50 year old wrinkles and all the horrible red capillaries in my eyes.  The eye makeup was added in post processing (because who the hell has the energy to put eyeshadow on), the lips are due to cherry flavoured chapstick and I don’t ever need blusher with my permanently rosy histamine cheeks – every cloud ‘n all that  😉Saturday afternoon Bertie and I had a potter down by the river (or rather, Bert pottered and I sat and watched) and it was wonderful.  It reached the dizzy heights of 8C, the second warmest day of the last 4 months, and a strange yellow globe appeared in the sky which I think is called the Sun 😉  The Oystercatchers have arrived back from their wintering grounds, the song of a solitary Lapwing was on the breeze and I even spotted a young Heron who flew away the second it spotted me back.  Spring is around the corner my friends and it can’t come soon enough!