We have reversed roles. Pickle is now well enough to gambol off to nursery and I am increasingly ragged of nostril and lung - not a pretty sight. A friend has brought a jar of mountain sage to brew on the hob for a few days and hopefully enable me to talk again.
But enough of such gloomy talk. Shall we have a happy post for once? Yes, let's.
Here is a whistlestop tour of the fun we've been having of late:
We've spent time with Pickle's special hound-friend, looking at the world through tinted lenses
playing Red Riding Hood
but we all know how that story ends
and that the danger is really from these beautiful ingrates.
We have been finding secret ways,
managing the elements,
being amazed by autumn abundance
and wondering why the ponies don't want to talk to our horse, even when he talks to them.
Meanwhile, Pickle's beloved Gappy has been very poorly and my mum has has her double mastectomy. Mum's home after only one night in hospital and doing fine - in fact, she's quite typically mostly concerned about myself and Gappy.
And back at the ranch, I am having a little exhibition in The Courtyard throughout November.
Rex of Barleycorn fame arrived just as I was starting to hang my work (in my straightforward hammer-and-nail style), bearing fancy picture hanging wires, which worked fine on the framed pieces, but the originals (on the right wall) were too light, so I did get to do some banging. And the lovely Rima of Hermitage fame came to lend a hand and assure me it was all fine and I could stop and drink my coffee.
The three larger originals are new, so they warrant a solo moment each.
Large Flower Meadow:
There's also the perpetual calendars drawn by the late, great Thomas, all my postcards, unframed versions of the framed prints and some new seasonal cards. The Courtyard is a lovely place to be, but if you find yourself far from Devon, you can hop across to my blossoming Etsy shop, where I may or may not be serving cake.
And if all THAT isn't cheering enough, then let me share an especially happy moment with you.
PICKLE: Mama, when can I get married? [This from nothing - we were reading about a dog!]
ME: Well, you can marry when you're sixteen, but you might want to wait longer or not marry at all. You can only marry one person, so you need to choose very carefully.
PICKLE: I know who I'm going to marry when I'm sixteen.
ME: Who's that? [Connor, Noah, Erick, Reuben?]
PICKLE: I'm going to marry you Mama.
Reader, I cried. And I didn't contradict her. This proposal may only be my second favourite because the first had the advantage of chips. And a cuckoo, who still calls in the long hot days.
But those days are gone, so now for another fat mug of mountain sage and honey - this stuff's good :o).