Life goes on, winners have been picked

Well it’s a strange time and that’s putting it mildly.

Firstly a thank you once again for all your kind words, we both appreciate each and every one.  It’s the first time Adrian or I have had to deal with all the arrangements and sort out the estate as Alma couldn’t manage it.  Today we met with the vicar conducting the funeral service and Alma was involved in the discussion about how we celebrate Derrick’s life and she made some of the decisions about readings and hymns.  Adrian’s cousin was there too and it was almost like a little private family memorial as we each shared stories and memories of Derrick.  We saw four rainbows last week and reckon he had his paintbrush out already.

It’s pretty exhausting stuff and we are taking the rest of this week off now to get the funeral over and catch up on some rest I hope.  My crafty mojo has completely vanished which is hardly surprising, so I’m not going to force it though I do have some cards to blog at some point that I made a couple of weeks ago.

However,  it’s high time I picked a winner for our Christmas giveaway and I have in fact picked four, as there were four sets of stamps released.  The random number generator was called into action and the winners are:



Dee Wicks


Ladies – can you email me and I’ll get your stamps organised for you – I’m pretty sure we have most of your addresses already, but could you just confirm your address when you email, thanks.

Take care everyone and thank you again for your kind words of comfort.


Peace at last

I am sorry to tell you that Adrian’s dad, Derrick, is no longer with us, he passed away on Monday.

This photo shows him on a trip out from the hospital after his stroke in 2008, being spoiled rotten by some of the Graphicus girls.  He had been home with the physiotherapists to assess his care needs at home and Adrian brought him to the office to see everyone as a special treat.  After weeks in hospital, you can see how thrilled he was to have escaped for a day.

He had another stroke on January 1st 2010 and spent months in hospital.  Over the next two years he went through shingles, cellulitis, c-diff, a hiatus hernia, a broken rib, a broken pelvis and so many bouts of pneumonia and pleurisy that we lost count.  He was on palliative care once last year with pleurisy when his rib was broken, but he confounded the doctors and pulled through.  Back in July this year we were told he wouldn’t survive the weekend and again, he promised us he would.

He then developed acute pancreatitis and the hospital team did everything they could, but knowing he could not survive surgery, they offered Derrick the chance to go home and spend his remaining time in his own home with his wife and family around him.

When he arrived home last Monday, he was still full of fighting talk, but as the week wore on, we could see the light going out.  He spent his last week in his own home with a wonderful team of carers and district nurses who kept him pain free and as comfortable as possible.

Adrian was with him at the very end, holding his hand and talking to him and I know it means a lot to him that he was there to tell his Dad that it was ok to go, that he would take care of his mum and that everything was going to be just fine.

I know that many of you have followed Derrick’s story here on the blog, and will be saddened by this news.  We have been so grateful for all of your kindness and heartfelt messages in the past and even though he never really understood the mysterious workings of the Internet or blogs, Derrick always understood that there were people out there who were rooting for him and he always asked me to say thank you.

The funeral will be taking place next Thursday and in preparation for that, we have set up an online donation page in Derrick’s memory.  The charity to benefit is the PSP Association because Derrick’s dearest wish would be to find a cure for his wife’s illness.  If anyone should feel inclined to make a donation (and this is NOT a request at all) there is a link below.

Adrian and I would just like to send out our warmest wishes and supportive thoughts to anyone else out there who is caring for a sick or frail loved one – it’s not easy, but the reward is the quiet internal truth of knowing you did everything you possibly could.

Farewell Derrick and rest in peace.


Difficult Times

I have some rather sad news to share. Adrian’s dad, Derrick, is not well at all and he was sent home from hospital on Monday so that he can spend his remaining time with family. The hospital doctors don’t think he has very long left, but of course no one can predict how long that will be. Those of you who have followed Derrick’s story will know that he has confounded the medical world before!

They told us on Friday, but didn’t want to discharge him on a weekend, so we’ve had a bit of an anxious few days and now he is home, it’s just a horrible waiting game. He is not in any pain thanks to morphine, but he has acute pancreatitis and there is nothing more that they can do for him other than make him comfortable and pain free.

We have a great team of carers, nurses and overnight hospice support in place which means that we are free from the practical day to day care and can spend quality time with him and Alma.

We also have support at work – after all, the bills still have to be paid, so we have to continue running the business with as much normality as we can. I’m delighted to say that Design Team member Lesley Wharton has now joined the Chocolate Baroque team. She’s been helping out on an ad hoc basis for a while, but we are delighted to have her on board officially now for three and a half days a week.

It is our intention to continue to provide exceptional service, but we know that this situation may bring unpredictable difficulties. If I’m slow responding to email or orders take an extra day, I hope you will understand.

Carousel Horse

Well great minds think alike – this is the first card I made with Carousel Horses and the colour scheme and background is strikingly similar to Design Team member Debbie’s carousel card too which you can see on the Design Team blog here.

Click on image for Carousel Horses

These carousel horses are such lovely ornate designs that you don’t need much to show them off.  This is a simple card stamped with Versamark and embossed with gold powder.  I have coloured with watercolours, just sticking with a pink and aqua colour scheme.  The bunting at the bottom adds a fairground feel, as does the ice cream cone stamped in the background (with Versamagic Pixie Dust).

It is an interesting time for us again – Derrick is in hospital once more, though not as an emergency this time.  He has been taken into a local community hospital for rehab and physio on the recommendation of his community nurse who felt that he needed a little extra help.  We’re all quite impressed at this example of common sense as it’s just what he needs.  Sadly he’s been a bit poorly since he arrived, but at least we know he’s being taken care of.

However we are not able to visit at the moment as all my sick bed energy is reserved exclusively for my poor hubby.  I won’t bore you with the details of last week, but after a false start and a misdiagnosis, it turns out Adrian has chickenpox.  He’s slightly embarrassed about it, but it would seem his childhood vaccination has worn off and he is seriously spotty.  Thankfully I’ve already had it so I know I can’t catch it again.  I actually had it very severely and ended up with septicaemia, so I’m keeping a watchful eye on Adrian to make sure he doesn’t get any kind of secondary infection like I did.  Even though I can’t catch it, I’d never forgive myself if I carried an infection to Derrick, so for now we’ll keep our distance and paint a black cross on the gate or something.

It should make for a fun week at work.  As Adrian is under strict orders to rest and give his body chance to fight off the virus, he can’t run the presses and make stamps.  I’ve been pressing stamps today, but made a few phone calls tonight to draft in the cavalry.  My sister is coming in to help and Lesley from the DT is busy trying to re-arrange some of her training students so she can come in and help out too.  It’s hot work in this weather, so we’re stocking the freezer with fruity ice pops,  turning the fans on full and the music up loud.

I know one thing for sure – I definitely can’t complain of boredom!