Monday, 27 December 2010

Boxing Day and after.

Nathaniel opens a present
Festive candles

festive table




The above were taken on Christmas Day.On Boxing Day I woke late as I'd had such a bad night. We made it to church in plenty of time, we were having leftovers today, so not much preparation needed. The service  was good, but husband still cannot sing. his speaking voice is improving a little though. When we got home I started to prepare home made wedges, the family were very late arriving,  son-in Law had had  bad night with Baby and they hadn't made it to church.We had a late Sunday Lunch, and I used the M&S chocolate and cherry roulade I had bought as a Christmas pud alternative. It was still slightly frozen, but that added a certain bite to it.
Afterwards I attempted to doze and the family asked if they could watch the DVD of Toy Story 3. I was awake for most of it, and it was the stuff of nightmares. I wouldn't let a  very  young child watch it. I'll never look at baby dolls in the same way again! It  reminded me of when our daughter, in a brave way took all of her dolls to a charity shop in St Albans, then felt she had betrayed them and wanted to go and buy them back.
Husband wasn't feeling too good, these viruses have knocked him for 6, and I was shattered after my awful night. We offered to babysit if the younger ones wanted to go to their evening service, but they had not brought formula or bottles, so we had a  quiet evening and a late tea. Nathaniel was a bit grumpy after his bad night, so they took him home early.
Today we have taken things easy  we ventured into town and had a walk on the clear pavements. We saw a young chap fall, and others help him up. I went over and said he should go to the hospital. His face was a mess. he wasn't drunk, but said he had been beaten up by Irish lads. He claimed that paramedics had been and cleaned his face up, but I pointed out he was still covered in blood. He said he would be ok, but we think he may have been concussed. Later we saw him on the phone, so hope someone would come and collect him. I bought Birthday cards for my bro in law, and wed deposited some cash in the hole in the wall. I was nice to get some fresh air. Hoping to see daughter and husband later for meal.
I'll have that bauble please mum
that's what I think of nappy changes
I'm resigned to it.








It's all over now

Well despite our lurgy, we have a had a relatively good Christmas. I was pretty tired as usual, too many late nights, too much shopping, too much slow progress on icy pavements, etc etc.
On Thursday I finally made it back to the Doctor's about a problem I had during the Summer. I said at the time she hadn't given me the right treatment.  The problem had flared up with a vengeance .She told me off for not going back before, and continuing with her prescribed treatment, buying it myself. Pardon me if this is too much information, but she then subjected me to a very intimate, painful examination. Then she said 'I'd better take your blood pressure', and wondered why it was high!!!!
I disagreed with part of her diagnosis, but accepted the prescription, as she had given me the stuff I wanted in the first place, in addition to some other stuff for a problem I don't have. Late when I got home I read the contra indications on the stuff I wanted, and cannot start it yet as my cold sore hasn't gone. I believe it contains a steroid, and steroids and herpes don't mix well. However the problem has abated a little. The other stuff contains aspartame, which I dislike, so after taking two doses, the first making the problem worse, I have abandoned it
On Friday I did a bit of shopping and finished decorating the cake. The route that I take to Sainsbury's was downright dangerous, pavements like glass. I decided to come home a different way calling in at Dunelm Mill. All the pavements in that busy shopping area have now been cleared by the council, but the road up back home is a hill, with two bridges to cross. I made it to a side road, where I walked on the road which was clear. Husband had been sent home early on Thursday, and worked from home on Friday.
I listened to carols from Kings whilst making a chocolate log, and eventually all the presents were wrapped, husband realised I was struggling and helped, and the stockings filled.
On Christmas morning I recalculated turkey cooking times for slow roasting, to allow us to go to the 10 am service at church. It was a lovely service, lots of visitors there. Husband couldn't sing, but was tempted to try Joy to the World. He desisted.
Our Daughter and Son-in Law came around after their service, they had arrived during the last carol before the sermon. We opened a present or two each, then had Christmas dinner. I only managed to cremate a few sausages this year. I couldn't manage all of my plateful, but managed a helping of pudding with clotted cream. I had found a a small nut free one for daughter.
We missed the Queen's speech, I think the time is  different on radio these days, but what went unreported by the press was the fact that she began by talking about the anniversary of the King James Bible.
The rest of the day was spent snoozing, playing a game and unwrapping more gifts. The  carpet could not be seen for paper. Nathaniel seemed pleased with his gifts; most went straight into his mouth. He also sampled various wrapping papers, but found none to his taste. He did however love to look at the shiny ones and the crackly noise they made
Unfortunately I was late to bed, and suffered a really bad night, only getting to sleep at 5 am. I think it was the old stress problem again, worrying about my BP as the Doctor had seemed really concerned. That of course makes matters worse for me, the more I worry the more it goes up.Well I must get some more tidying done, will talk about Boxing day later, and provide some pics

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Lurking lurgy

 When husband felt ill at the weekend,and was unable to come to the carol service, it did cross my mind that he had picked up another bug. Yesterday I had a very itchy throat, and felt very tired. I have developed a hacking dry cough accompanied by a cold sore. Husband went back into work as he had a meeting, but didn't know he would have to speak at that meeting. As he has been doing a good impression of Charles Aznovoice for the past few weeks, this was not fun.
The charity furniture collectors did not arrive, but when I rang was told yes they had been, at 10,30. Their calling card had lodged between the flaps of the letterbox. I did not leave the house all morning, except to walk to the bird table about 10 feet from the house. My bell is working too. Perhaps they used cotton wool to knock at the door?
When I worked for MANWEB, I once received a letter asking if we could pleases send out a meter reader who had enough strength left to knock on the door after climbing the stairs. It made me smile at the time.
As regards our present lurgy, I reckon Grandma thinks she has had a narrow escape.
Hope you are all well. Cough cough! Vicks first defence wouldn't have got this one as my nose is ok! Ah me! Still all the shopping is done, except for perhaps a smidgeon of Clotted cream to go with my Christmas pud......

Monday, 20 December 2010

When the snow lay round about part 2

Some of my plant pots
last year's Christmas tree
next door's bush
I had difficulty getting upright on Saturday morning. I was so stiff. I was late rising. I took some small parcels and a few last minute cards to the post office up the hill, and got there and back safely. We had a bit of a disagreement about the best way to go into town, I couldn't face walking after Friday, and I thought Husband didn't want to come.  Mum-in Law had rung up and asked Husband not to fetch her as it was already snowing there;  she was also worried about leaving the bungalow in such cold weather in case the pipes froze. So off I set in the Focus, for town, and it was snowing again. I went to my usual market stall, the market was open despite the snow, but they didn't have cauli's, and everyone was serving at the other end, so I thought I can't be doing this, so went into M&S where they did have cauli's. As I passed one aisle I looked down it and there was husband. He had decided to walk down. I am not supposed to be carrying heavy shopping in my left hand, so was glad to see him. He said he had to go to Boots, and I finished my shopping and got ready to join him. I pulled my phone out of my bag to phone him, and we met up and got some lunch to take home. On the way back to the car I suddenly realised my car park ticket was not in my bag. We took the lift up to the car, but it wasn't in the car. We set off back to the lift, thinking we would have to go to the information desk and pay a lost ticket fine.
Husband said 'Let's go back to M&S just in case you dropped it there'. No sign of it where I was standing when I pulled out the phone, I wandered up and down the aisles and there were lots of little bits of card on the floor, but none big enough. I was about to give up, when the words 'bakery department'  came into my head. As I neared the end of that aisle I suddenly saw someone step on a piece of card. I rushed over and picked it up, and yes it was a ticket. Thank you Lord!. We went back to the car via the ticket machine and the charge was right so it must have been my ticket. I reckon I pulled it out with my reading glasses.As we drove towards the exit we realised there was a problem, nothing was moving. We crawled along down the floors, and just after we had gone through the barrier a chap came along asking everyone to be patient. 2 lorries had jacknifed on the M1, and the tailbacks were right into our town centre. The A 41 had also been closed. Normally we would go up the hill by the doctor's, but watching one chap slither, slide and skid up there, Husband decided to join the slow queue through the town centre. The blizzard stopped and we sat in the car and ate our lunch. As we crawled along through gridlock, we saw 2 blue light ambulances go into what remains of our hospital. We knew things must be bad everywhere, as we do not have a full A&E, and all ambulances are supposed to go to Watford. We also saw 3 gritters along the same stretch of road, stuck in traffic. Eventually we arrived home just after 5 pm, 3 hours to travel about a mile. To add to the fun I got casserole meat out of the freezer, but must have accidentally pressed full power instead of defrost on the microwave. Husband alerted me to a dry lump of meat when he went to put a drink in there.
There was nothing for it but to eat the mackerel which I had bought for Friday, but hadn't used, but was now a day out of date. We have been unaffected, so it makes one wonder about use by dates.
Yesterday the general consensus was not to try the hill at the back to go to church. We phoned friends nearby, and they couldn't even get their car out of the garage so were not going either.
After lunch and a doze. I made some mince pies, then rang the pastor's wife to ask if she needed any for the carol service. She didn't but I promised to try and get there if I could. I checked out the back, and several people had driven up and down the hill, so we decided I might get there in my car as it has narrower wheels.
I scraped a lot of snow off it, and used the de-icer I had bought on Saturday.  The car looked as if it had a Mohican. Husband was not feeling well enough to come, but I got there, and enjoyed the service although we were thin on the ground. Mince pies and tea afterwards, and I got home safely.
I told husband he should stay off work today and work from home if necessary. This morning when I got up he actually asked me to make a Doctor's appointment. He must be ill! I can't remember when he last went
Apparently he has a chest infection, and now has an antibiotic. He says he feels achey so I'm hoping he doesn't get 'flu' on top of it, He is not yet eligible for a' flu' jab. I get one because of my asthma. I did a bit of shopping and bought my turkey in M&S. Oops!, haven't marzipanned the cake yet, but even if I couldn't get to Sainsbury's this week we could probably manage, just as long as the milkman keeps coming. He's not been today yet. At least I am not as stiff, the hot baths must have helped. If I don't blog again this  week, a Happy Christmas to all my readers,and remember to look beyond the Father Christmas myth, tinsel and holly and see the real reason for the season, 'Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King'
The bird bath

Sunday, 19 December 2010

When the snow lay round about

Phew what a week! on Monday I went to Berkhamsted, looking for Christmas text stickers, I went in a shop called Temptation, and got tempted into buying stocking fillers. On Tuesday I went to St Albans and bought Grandma's present, went into the Christian bookshop and the Abbey, but no one had gold text stickers. Those I bought in Berko were red, and some of the cards I made were red....... However I had a chat with an old friend Jane who is quite bemused that I find time for Facebook. I thought I'd better not mention the blog. Part of Monday and Tuesday mornings were spent part sanding then varnishing our over large pine dining table.
We have been debating for a while whether to buy a new table and chairs with the table being drop leaf, to take up less room. We had been looking at some in Clements, and last time I was in there I'd phoned husband and told him that if we bought before December we could have them at a reduced price, but after then the price would go up, then that would add the new VAT. He had allowed me to order one, and choose the seat coverings. We were told we could get it before Christmas.
I got a phone call Tuesday to say that it was in, and arranged delivery for Friday. On Wednesday after Sainsbury's and between doing our news letter and sorting photo's to go with it, I contacted 3 charities to see of they would like to have the old pine set. One couldn't collect till January, another till Wednesday, the third I had to leave a message. In the end I decided it would have to go in my lock up garage for the time being.
On Thursday I went to the osteopath for my regular treatment for my disc. I confessed to the shoulder problem and he diagnosed a tendon problem, said he could treat it, but not till after Christmas, even then it would get worse before it got better, it might not work and I might need an injection. He told me to rest it (hollow laugh), and use ice packs to reduce the inflammation. I felt a bit stiff and sore after the treatment and decided to forgo the ladies meeting, which was a carol service, at the old folks day centre. We had been warned that some of us could have to stand as they were expecting 60 old folks for their Christmas dinner.
Instead I concentrated on the cards and news letter. I got a huge pile done and paired with cards, and spent a while sticking stamps on We had some snow on Thursday, but not very much. I took the chairs up one by one to my garage in my car, but when I dismantled the table I could not even lift the top. Husband and I carried it up very slowly, through the snow, and neither of us had a heart attack. Then we had our evening meal from trays. The base is still in the kitchen diner. The third charity phoned and offered to pick up the old table and chairs next Wednesday and I gratefully accepted.
I cleaned the dining area floor thoroughly and the skirting board. The old table had been so heavy it rarely got moved; the radiator got a good dusting too. They arrived well before the 'No later than 11.30, and when I had peeled off all the wrappings I decided that I just had time for a quick trip to Sainsbury's. I was due to babysit at lunchtime as daughter was going for a Christmas lunch with workmates in St Albans. I took the cards and posted them. By this time the snow which had started up again had become a mini blizzard.
As I continued on the level road my foot slipped on concealed ice. I tried to grab a fence, but went down on to my knees and cut the right one, that's the knee which has Osgood Schlatter's disease so is misshapen anyway. A concerned lady motorist stopped and offered me a lift, but I said I would be ok. On the way back from Sainsbury's daughter rang, she was concerned about the blizzard, and we both know how snow affects St Albans. Suddenly my feet shot from under me, I fell onto my back and my head whiplashed onto the ground. Ouch! I recovered my phone and told Daughter what had happened, she had however guessed, probably as I yelled in surprise. She offered to come and collect me, but I said 'No 'I'll be ok' then she said she would cancel her lunch date. I looked down and realised I was sitting on a sheet of ice, which again had been concealed by the snow. I got up very gingerly, as I didn't want to go down again, and cotinued on my my home. After lunch I took painkillersand rested abit. Then I saw that we had blue skies and brilliant sunshine!
I wrapped some parcels and was going to take them to the post office up the hill, but realised I was running out of time. I gathered some things together and went out to my car. It had thick snow on and was frozen. I managed to get the door open after a struggle and got in . The courtesy light wasn't working and it was like getting into a snow covered cave. I found a can of de-icer, but couldn't find my scraper. I found an old hairbrush and de-snowed the car enough to let me be able to see to drive to Daughter's. She was off to meet her Husband in London, they were going out to celebrate his 30th Birthday. She left me instructions on how to use i player and DVD player, most of which I almost instantly forgot. The next few hours were spent eating a microwaved meal, then having a coffee, and seeing to the needs of my Grandson. Daughter had left some formula, and I discovered that he can hold onto the bottle himself, and grab it and pull it towards his mouth. Part of the time was spent entertaining him, part rocking him to sleep. Not being sure how to operate the DVD I spent a lot of time watching or trying to watch Downton Abbey as it was in the player.
I had a bad moment when Baby woke up screaming, red in the face, and seeming to want feeding. He would gulp, then refuse the bottle. Suddenly I sat him on my lap and he burped long and loud 3 times. He drinks formula so fast that it gives him wind. Afterwards he was happier, and then content to lie on my shoulder gazing into my eyes. The wanderers returned at 11.30, and I de-iced the car and went home.
As I got into bed I realised where I was hurting - all over!  I had put 2 heat pads in the bed to warm it and spent the night lying on them

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Advent adventures part Two

Well last week seems a bit of a blur now, I continued with the ironing pile and moving the junk and dust around as usual. I visited daughter and had a cuddle with Baby,whilst she went shopping. I went to Sainsbury's and spent a small fortune, but redeemed £72 of Nectar points, so the damage wasn't too great.
The thaw happened, it got warmer, but the water barrels are still frozen up. The bird bath thawed, and I have cut back on the suet sprinkles on the bird table. I had a lovely 'close encounter' with a blackbird earlier in the week whilst it was all still frozen, as he patiently waited for me to fill up the table.
The avalanche of parcels arrived, so I started wrapping. Bizarrely I seemed to have ordered 2 of 2 items, so I had to repack some for return. One item hadn't arrived and I was beginning to panic. I wrapped everything else, and prayed. On Wednesday evening our Son and his wife arrived, but they were not staying with us as Daughter has been unable to return the guest hide a bed, due to lack of transport. I did take up  a mattress topper as the bed is a bit hard and I am told it helped. Daughter and I went to parent and Toddlers, I was very tired, not always sleeping well and didn't doze during the day, but I had to keep going.I thought of missing Women's hour, but it was our Christmas one, so I went, but don't feel that I listened very well. I had my fist mince pie of the season. I gave a lift home to our German lady, and she complained that we don't have a Christmas tree with lights in the church at Christmas. I tried to explain that the Christmas tree is not really a Christian symbol, but it probably came out ungraciously as I was so tired and she had been talking non stop all the way home. I must pray for calm again!
On Thursday evening the family came for dinner, baby was a bit fractious, but I manged to get him to sleep, and he slept whilst we ate. It was good to all be together again. Son and his wife popped round on Friday morning, he wanted to borrow his Dad's tools to do something to the car. Providentially, the last item arrived in Friday morning's post, so I was able to pack up the parcels and give them to Son, as we will not now see them before Christmas. Son is on a course in Birmingham this week, to do with his new job. They stayed a while and chatted but I had to go out, so they left. As it was I had missed the end of term nibbles at my old dance class. Someone had invited me earlier in the week, but family comes first. I was sad to hear that the dance teacher's young son, about 20, has a brain tumour. Poor J, her Dad died recently too.
I did manage a doze after lunch, and then went to the garden centre. I had some vouchers to spend, and was very tempted to but a new tree. Last year's has survived , but is a bit tatty, so I gave in to temptation, then found that my garden club vouchers were out of date.
One grouse from this week is that our Homebase candle bridge has lost a bulb.I visited the store and was told they are available online. Got home and looked on Homebase site, no joy. Back to Homebase another day, and told, 'oh no you look at the spares site.' Why couldn't they tell me that the first time? I got home looked at spares site, no joy. Rang number, eventually spoke to a human who said.'Oh, they are not coming up'.  I  asked why, but she said 'I don't know' So much for customer service. Husband has managed to locate some on ebay. Are candle bridges going out of fashion?
On Friday evening I remembered I had an unwrapped gift for Son in Laws parents. they were off to visit them on Saturday, so I had to go out hunting for ribbons, wrap the parcel, and take it up there, quite late I might add, as they had all been up to Oxford Street to see the lights and were late coming back. Son and His wife were very late leaving for their Cheshire home, but arrived safely. I expect Son was tired at work on Saturday.
We treated ourselves to a M&S meal deal for yesterday evening, and had lunch out , so I was able to relax a bit. We had 2 very good sermons today and I started writing Christmas cards. I will get there eventually, but this week will be hectic. I forgot to phone Mum-in -Law this evening, we must make arrangements for her stay. Must get to bed now, no wonder I am always tired. Hope you all have a good organised week

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Advent adventures part one

Well I managed to survive the rest of Monday, despite the poor start. Actually after a second call to the call centre, I managed to find the local phone number for the dairy. The very helpful lady said 'we had a replacement milkman today,' she had heard nothing of my problems, despite the promises made by call centre. She 'would try and get a pint to me tomorrow'. Presumably they were still short staffed, so I didn't get the promised pint.
On Tuesday morning I went over to Watford, as I wanted to look for some Christmas presents. I bought one and a few stocking fillers. I couldn't get my car back into my garage because I had the same problem as last winter, ie someone had parked against the fence in front of my garage, and my car cannot get the necessary grip on the slight slope up to the garage. I ended up with my front bumper touching his van. By using the passenger side floor mat behind the nearside wheel I was able to get sufficient grip to get away from his van, and brought the car back to our parking area where it stayed till yesterday. Daughter came round with baby, her husband was working form home. Baby seems to be having trouble shaking off his cold, but is otherwise fine.
On Tuesday evening I went back to Watford to meet Son from the railway station. It was cold waiting and his train was delayed. He was chatting about his part time job on the way home, there are various training schemes he could go on to get better qualified, but is still unsure that this is the way that God is leading. 
It was good to see him. On Wednesday morning I took him  to St Albans, and we collected the paperwork for  small car a friend was selling to them. I took him to the town centre to buy the road tax, and drove around the town centre till he was ready to be picked up; then back to the friend's house to collect the car. He checked it all over, then we parted, and I went off to the local Sainsbury's which used to be a Savacentre, I was a bit disappointed as it there is probably less choice than there is in ours. There is a huge M&S right next door, and I think they must have some of the old Sainsbury's floor space. As I left for the car in biting freezing wind, I met an old friend who did not know that we were grandparents. We didn't chat for long as it was so cold  and she was on her way to Cardiff. I couldn't wait to get home for some hot soup.
I saw quite a lot of Daughter last week as she came round a few times to use my sewing machine. I looked after Nathaniel whilst she sewed. I made it to ladies meeting where we wrapped small gifts for the old folk at the day centre where we take a carol service, and for other old folk at homes where the church holds monthly services. On Thursday evening I went online and  ordered several Christmas presents, good old Amazon wish lists
On Friday the plumber came with the new radiators. I had dressed in my thermal trousers and a vest under my normal clothes, and didn't get cold. He fitted the two new radiators and thermostats on all the others. He didn't even take a lunch break. I got my card making stuff out and made a few cards. I told him about our problem with the boiler overheat and he said 'Ah, you had a pump running 24 hours, now this, you need a new pcb in the boiler'. He quoted me the local suppliers price, then said 'you may want to go on line and look for a cheaper one, if you can get one I can fit it'. That is what I like about this chap he seems quite honest, and accepts us as we are without making rude remarks about our permanent state of clutter, unlike the last plumber. I duly ordered a much cheaper pcb, which arrived yesterday. Now that is service! I made an orange chip cake on Friday evening for our ladies' coffee morning.
Yesterday dawned foggy, and it seemed a bit slushy underfoot. I dressed up, for the coffee morning, but put thermals underneath as the church hall can be quite cold. The coffee morning went quite well, but  not quite as many attended as usually do. We think the weather put them off. The lady speaker was very good and got her message over quite clearly. Afterwards I nipped into M&S for a few bits then home, and we had spag bol. followed by a browse through the papers and a quick 'forty winks'  Then we got ready for a party. Our friend C, who has had a lot of illness was 80 on Friday, so we went to her Son's home, for a party, mainly family and just 6 close friends. As we left for the party it was pelting with rain and most of the snow had gone. It wasn't a noisy do, just folk chatting over drinks, and then a buffet, followed by candles being blown out on a lovely cake.
We should have been babysitting in the evening, but Daughter and Son in law had been out all day, and when we got home we got a call to say Son in Law had decided to stay in, he'd had a bad night and was shattered, so Daughter would go to the 30th  Birthday party alone. Talking of bad nights I have been sleeping better, still not getting to bed early enough, but last night it was a bit warmer and I found it difficult to get comfortable, It was well after 2 before I dropped off. Not such a cold morning,still foggy, but warm fellowship at church, and an excellent sermon on the 10th commandment. Must go and put the kettle on. I wonder what this next week will bring? Lots of Amazon parcels I hope.



Monday, 29 November 2010

Dairy, dairy, quite contrary

I know that I don't usually blog two days in a row, but I am having a bad day so I thought sharing it might help.I slept ok, once I had got to bed. we'd had a visit from the family again and a nice evening. This morning I actually managed to get up at a 'decent' hour.
The new spring arrived for the washing machine door catch, so I took the door off again, and replaced the spring. Unfortunately as I did so, one of the extremely flimsy bits of plastic sheared off. However, although this holds a spindle in place I managed to get it all back together and the washing machine has a fully functioning door catch again.
I set off on foot for Sainsbury's to buy a few items, and after I had scanned them, and got over the 'unexpected item in bagging area' (MY bag), reached for my purse, only to find it was not there. I had forgotten to replace it in my bag. A helpful assistant cancelled all m my items and put them in a nearby trolley, and said to contact an assistant when I got back. I duly hot footed home picked up purse, car keys and drove back down.
Soon I was on my way back out of the door. I called in for petrol, then came home. When I got in I checked to see if the milk had arrived. It had, but only one pint. We only get 3 deliveries a week now as our milk depot closed and it now comes from Watford.
I used to have the number of the dairy, but now there is a call centre number, you know the ropes 'press one for...' press 2 for...'  By the time I got to speak to a person, I was beginning to get irritated, the young man suggested that he check my delivery, then came back to me to say 'yes I was down for 2 pints on 2 lists', what is known as stating the obvious. He then said 'I can try and contact Watford and if the milkman hasn't gone home they may be able to get a pint out to you, otherwise you will have to make do with one' At this point it was hard not to explode! I said 'well what am I supposed to do for tomorrow?' 'Oh, I will phone Watford and then if you leave it about half an hour, then ring me back I will adjust your bill'.
I have always believed in supporting my local milkman, it keeps a man in work and if we are too ill to go out, we know that at least the milk will be there. Also I do not have to lug milk from the supermarket.
However if this goes on, I just might well reconsider.
Perhaps praying for calmness will be like praying for patience, God often exercises our patience when we do so.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

No deep, but much crisp and even


I was looking through some of last winter's pictures to see if I could use any to make cards when I came across these pictures. Thankfully we haven't had as much snow as this yet, but it seems so little time since last winter, although much has happened. In fact we have had some heavy frosts this week and 2 light dustings of snow. I was feeling a bit down again on Monday, still haven't caught up on my sleep debt and fed up with never reaching the bottom of the ironing basket, so I thought I would pay the ironer's a visit. I took a fully loaded bag with me. It is not something I do regularly these days, but I started going there when I had a bad right shoulder, and then when my disc was bad I went a few times. The proprieter was glad to see me, I think there has been a drop off in trade since the recession started. So I thought, 'well I am helping keep him in business'.
Of course it was so near that I couldn't resist popping in to see Daughter. We had spent a pleasant hour or two with them after church on the Sunday evening. Baby  is always glad to see me, and I think Daughter is. She can leave him with me whilst she does other things. Poor little chap still has a nasty cough though, and the cattarh makes him bring back milk, so as I've seen him a few times this week, I have also ended up with a few changes of clothes.
On Tuesday I drove over to our nearest Hobby craft to buy some card making stuff, I'm not doing many this year as I've left it too late. The morning seemed to fly by. On the way back I called in at our local washing machine repairer's to see if they had a door spring in stock. I've been having trouble getting the door to close and my washing machine beeps annoyingly if the door isn't closed properly, so I had taken it apart, and as I did noticed a bit of the spring was broken, as I examined it another bit broke. He didn't have the part  in stock and offered to order it, ''S'ok', I said,' I can do that online'. He had confessed to not being really au fait with computers.
Wednesday was busy, Sainsbury's, parent and toddler's, then up to collect the ironing. I also called in on Daughter as I had been unable to contact her. She has been having sleepless nights with baby, but sometimes if he sleeps she can't, so her days are a bit hit and miss at present. I told her about the problems with my washing machine, and she offered to do a load for me.
On Thursday I managed to get to Ladies' meeting, a book/ bible study on Jepthah's Daughter, we are going through 'Contagious Christian living' by Joel Beeke, a series on which he preached at the Aber conference one year. We had quite a lively discussion over whether Jepthah's promise was 'rash', and marvelled at his Daughter's obedience. Someone quoted from a poem by Tennyson in which he refers to Jephthah's Daughter, which prompted the comment, 'People knew their bibles in those days'.
I forgot to mention that husband came home complaining of a cold on Tuesday evening, so I hit the Vick's First Defence. As I write I am still cold free. He brought his work laptop home with him, but he was officially off sick on Wednesday and Thursday.
Daughter came round after I'd been to Women's hour, she had taken Baby for his appointment at Watford hospital, about his umbilical hernia. the consultant was fairly dismissive, saying ' I'll eat my hat if that's not gone by the time he's three' (I've just thought of a wicked response, 'would you like fries with that sir?'). He will arrange an appointment in a year's time to check progress. He says it will 'just disappear one day'. I hope he is right, I believe someone in the family still has one at 15. Daughter stayed till we got a call from her husband asking where she was, and she departed with a basket of my washing. I said I would fetch it when it was done, but when she rang I had just finished my meal, and it was cold, so I said I would go on Friday.
Before I went to bed I made myself a hot blackcurrant drink. Husband had had one, but I forgot to check the water level. I soon realised, but too late. The element had gone and as it is a concealed element.....I had to use saucepan to boil the water.
 On Friday I picked up the washing, went into town and to the local retail park, but no one does the same model. I came home and tumble dried most of the washing.  I went online to search for the kettle, and got down my old one which I had way before I met husband. It scrubbed up quite well, I put a plug on it, got some of the scale out and it worked. It's a bit slow, but boils quite quietly, and  doesn't switch itself off.  When I first had it automatic kettles were in their infancy, expensive, and not trouble free.
I also  got the bed ready in the spare room for a fleeting visit next week from our Son, he is staying overnight on his way to somewhere. It will be nice to see him. Husband came home with no voice and a hacking cough.
On Saturday morning I shopped alone, I took the car as we had had a dusting of snow, and after my fall last January am wary of slipping.I was home quite quickly, then later after lunch, and as the spring had not arrived, I reassembled the washing machine door and managed  to force it closed for long enough to do 3 loads. I was fed up with an over flowing washing basket in the bathroom and being knee deep in washing.
I went to church alone this morning, a good sermon on  the 9th commandment. I wrapped up warm. but it was so cold most kept their coats on during the service. Our thermometer has not gone above freezing all day. Global Warming anyone?
In my bible notes this morning it was suggested that we should  'pray for the gift of calmness for the day' So that's where I have been going wrong obviously.  If I remember to do that  every day I may become less of a grumpy old woman.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Thoughts on a grey Sunday afternoon

Oh dear, the further we get into November, the more that I think it is my least favourite month. So many grey days, outside temperatures falling, longer evenings, drivers who insist on driving with their headlights on in the daytime, thus dazzling other drivers; it is a wonder that I manage to get out from under the duvet. I have been sleeping  a little better but some nights have been restless, so I feel like a zombie till about lunchtime. Turning on the heating makes my cattarh much worse, and inevitably my sinuses start to play up.
I have tried to contact the plumber to have the new radiators fitted but despite leaving messages on his landline and mobile, have not had a reply, perhaps he is sunning himself on a beach somewhere hot.
I have seen quite a lot of Daughter and baby this week, Unfortunately Daughter caught another cold and gave it to Baby. Sadly we have seen more incompetence this week. When daughter tried to make an appointment a while ago for his 8 weeks jabs, she was told by the receptionist that there were no appointments with the nurse till December. In the meantime she received a letter from the surgery which actually referred to another baby, so she phoned the surgery to tell them an admin error had been made.
This week she received a letter asking her to phone as he had not had his jabs. When she phoned and explained the receptionist was a bit sharp and said '' he must have his jabs'', and insisted she took him on on Thursday. Daughter explained he had a cold, so the receptionist fixed an appointment with the Doctor in the morning, to check that he was fit.  I hope that the receptionist then lectured the others on the importance of making appointments for jabs at the correct time.
I went to visit an old lady we know who was 100 years old on Wednesday - and took her a card and some flowers and chocolates. She was having a difficult day, with problems with her house. She has stayed in her council house with stairs and will not hear of moving. Daughter and I took Baby to parent and toddler's, and he was a bit less fractious. He was looking around at his surroundings, and seemed fascinated by the lovely creation collage we have which has stuffed toy animals sewn on it. We have some talented ladies in the church. Occasionally we have craft evenings, and our attempts to reproduce the set items usually result in much hilarity.
Baby saw the doctor and was pronounced fit enough for jabs, she said Daughter should have had a letter asking her to take him back after the tongue tie op. Daughter explained about the letter she had received about the wrong child and the Doctor was distinctly unimpressed. As you can imagine, Baby had a temperature on Thursday evening  which would not come down, so they had a trip to the 24 hour 'Urgent Care Centre' where they gave him baby ibuprofen on top of the Calpol he had had. They let him leave when his temperature had gone down, but gave instructions to return if it shot up and wouldn't come down again.
The poor mite has a hacking cough, and when I saw him on Friday, he was one minute laughing and gurgling the next, sneezing coughing and crying. He has been kept indoors most of the time, just in a nappy whilst he had the fever, but I think he has been a little better and the fever has gone. Must go nearly time for church

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A not very newsy week

The last week hasn't really been terribly exciting, no major upsets, no irritating phone calls and the weather has been so Novemberish I quoted Thomas Hood on Facebook. One thing that I forgot to mention last week was that whilst in town, on the Saturday, I met J, whom I have known for a very long time. She did not remember my name, so I told her, and then asked about her family. She told me that E, her youngest Daughter, aged 44 has inoperable liver cancer. She is receiving treatment, and is remaining cheerful, but nevertheless it is a huge shock to everyone. There are some treatments that she cannot have, but J was a bit vague about what treatment she is having. J has had memory problems for quite a while, but she says that this news has made her even worse.
E was baptised as a believer, but a while afterwards began to question her faith, in the same manner that her Father did. Her Father had been a minister of the gospel, in Wales, so this was difficult and he remained in this state up till the time of his death, also from cancer.
We may ask why does God allow such things? But we are living in a fallen world, and  once Adam and Eve disobeyed in the garden of Eden, things like disease, and disappointment came along and sin took a hold. God can use this illness to bring E back to Himself, and I know that many are praying that this will happen, also that the treatment might work, and she might have more time with her husband and children. One good thing is that her husband who was opposed to marriage has changed his mind and married her. Please pray for E. You do not need to know her full name, God knows who she is. Later in the week I broke the news to my friends C& C, who had invited J for lunch a few weeks ago, but she had not turned up. I explained to them that she had so much on her mind she must have simply forgotten.
I made my Christmas cake this week. usually I soak the fruit overnight in lemon juice and brandy, to give a moist cake, but this time I soaked the fruit during the day, and baked it in the evening, so that we went to bed with a lovely spicy smell pervading the house. I had mislaid my lemon squeezer, and only found it after I had walked to Dunelm and bought a wooden lemon reamer. I blame it on having such a small kitchen, although I suppose if I had a bigger one then there would be more room to lose stuff....
I had 2 really bad nights last week, and decided it was time to change to the winter duvet, so when I changed the bed yesterday I enlisted Husband's help to turn the mattress, then made up the bed with the winter one. My feet had been getting cold, and the bed was feeling cold when I got in.
I was on duty at parent and toddlers on Wednesday, but Daughter didn't come.She had a friend from church visiting. In Ladies' meeting, on Thursday, we were writing Christmas cards for missionaries, and we had a prayer time too. The card writing was slightly chaotic, and I ended up signing one twice. Afterwards I called in on Daughter as I hadn't seen her since Sunday. I got plenty of cuddles and smiles from baby. He is now able to grip  a rattle if it is offered to him, but his coordination is still far from perfect.
Yesterday husband saw the optician, he has to go annually because of his Mum's eye problems, and gets free examinations. There is a slight problem with his left eye, but nothing too serious, I expect they will keep an eye on it. ( sorry, awful pun I know, but it just escaped) Afterwards we treated ourselves to lunch out, one less meal to prepare and wash up!
Mum in Law has been unwell, she is blaming it on her IBS, but she had a routine blood test this week, which should show up any serious problem. I must phone her later to check that she is recovered and eating properly again.
I tracked down some more of that tablewear on ebay, and now will soon have the full set again. I must get that new kitchen cupboard put up, it's been in the boot of my car for weeks, but now has the road salt for company.  I have to rearrange the boot when I go shopping. My half price crackers from Sainsbury's ended up on the back seat. First though I want to get a socket sorted out, so need an electrician. Must phone the plumber too, it is better to get the new radiators before the snow comes.
I found the Downton abbey DVD in Sainsbury's, and have heard such good reports  that I bought it.we have watched 2 episodes so far, and apart from one scene in the first episode, which wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, have enjoyed it so far. Fortunately I have a husband who doesn't mind costume dramas, I know some men don't like them.
I hope your week was good and not as boring as mine.

Monday, 8 November 2010

part two of the week

On Wednesday I also took my shoes in for repair, we have an old fashioned shoe repairer near here, so he always gets my custom, sadly some of the shoes we buy these days cannot be repaired. He still keeps going despite the heel bar in the town centre, and the Timpsons. I also took in a repeat prescription form. I don't know how but some of my thyroxine must have got squashed and were powder when I popped the foil.I  had also decided to order some boots online, having ascertained the calf size by e-mail
On Thursday I didn't have  particularly good day, have  had a few nights when I haven't slept again. We didn't have a proper ladies' meeting, a local Christian book shop brought their bookstall, so they were there from 11 till 3. I managed to get there and bought more Christmas cards and a couple of books so that I have something to read for our book reviews.
I didn't buy any as Christmas presents as their stock was a bit limited and I'm not altogether sure of people's tastes. Friday was a parcel day, I got some china in a huge box in the morning, I had been browsing the internet and come across some Poole pottery 'Springtime'. We bought  the teaset to use for visitors with some  of our wedding gift money.  We were unable to afford the dinner plates before it became discontinued. when we visited Poole pottery it was in their museum! All of the cups and most of the saucers got broken, but I have now manged to replace them. I was knee deep in packing beads, it was all so well packed. I have spotted some teaplates on ebay so am watching those. I think the sugar bowl was broken too. This was sometimes the cause of much hilarity. It was the same size as the cups, and occasionally we would accidentally serve tea in it. The faces of the guests who had it were a picture as they turned it round and round looking for the handle. Maybe we should try and find the sugar bowl.
Later I started collecting Johnson Bros Summer Chintz, a sure sign of our increased affluence that I managed to collect 12 of everything before it was discontinued. I still buy up bits when I see them and we have a matching tablecloth, how naff is that? Sadly we now do not have many potteries left in this country. When our son was doing teaching practice a couple of years ago he was in a school where the local kids would have gone into mining or the potteries, now they have no prospects and as a result are hard to teach as they do not see the point of education.
Speaking of which, our son has managed to find work, but it is part time and in an optician's. He uses the 'air puffer' machine and does retinal photography as part of his job. He is still waiting to hear if he has been short listed for another job. Many jobs these days want 2 or 3 years experience, but how does one get experience  if no one wants to train anyone?
I digress. The second parcel was the baby's new trousers, so I went to collect my prescription then called in at daughter's to deliver them. I couldn't make her hear so let myself in. baby was asleep on the sofa, and I soon found Daughter, clad in wellies and a waterproof. She was weeding just outside the French windows, in the pouring rain. She was close enough to see baby, but he was fast asleep, till I spoke loudly and he woke up. I stayed a while whilst she fed and changed  him, then I managed to rock him to sleep again. They had had a bad night with him again. he does seem to feed a lot. When I got home there was a note saying my boots had been delivered next door. They fit and I wore them for church last night as my legs had been cold out of doors in the morning
Saturday I went off for my flu jab for 8.30 am. I was about 9th in the queue. T hey were expecting 900. We walked into town and got the bus up,  we didn't buy as much in Marks, but I still didn't buy butter for my Christmas cake, so later went to Sainsbury's. Yesterday Daughter and Son in Law came for Sunday lunch, but Baby slept most of the afternoon. They stayed on as he had a nappy change just as we were leaving for church, which meant a whole change of clothes. We had a late tea together and got many cuddles and gurgles from baby, especially when we sang to him. For some reason he appreciated Widdecombe Fair, harmonised by 3 of us. I'm sure daughter's husband thinks we are potty,- he could be right. We did on Ilkley Moor baht  'at for an encore. Mad? who? us ?

Just half of the week for now

 I can't believe how quickly the weeks are passing. Last Monday morning I took Mum in Law to Watford Junction, I was allowed on to the platform to see her off, then I went off into Watford town centre in search of  coffee, as I had missed mine that morning. I went into M&S cafe, then had a look at the baby clothes and was tempted by a gorgeous outfit with a matching furry lined jacket. Then I stocked up on low fat sausages and other things I cannot get in our local M&S, wandered round a few shops, then headed home. The Harlequin centre have their Christmas decorations up already, unlike our local shopping mall. Mum in law rang about 2.30 to say she had got home at about 2pm. She took a taxi from the station, which was better than her struggling on the bus. I hope she enjoyed her stay. Seeing Nathaniel was probably the best bit. I discovered that the trousers of the baby's outfit had the wrong size on the hanger, so ordered some online, then took the others back. I was surprised to see they had the outfit in our local Marks, which doesn't usually carry as much stock
On Tuesday I decided  to visit Harpenden where there are some  nice shoe shops. I always used to buy Clark's or K shoes, but don't fancy any Clark's atm, and Ks now all seem to be EE fitting , which are too wide. Are all feet getting wider?
I was after sensible flats, but the first pair which I tried on were also EEs and slopped around. Another pair I tried had a slightly lower heel, but being a D fitting were comfy. I bought them. My sensible brown shoes were in need of repair. Unfortunately the new shoes are not as comfy as they were in the shop, this often happens to me. I think my feet must change shape during the day. They need a bit of stretching and wearing in.
I also looked at the boots, 12 years of tap dancing gave me bigger calf muscles, plus a vein that leaks fluid, all combining to mean I need an expandable calf in boots. I have one pair in brown, but they are hard to put on as the zip only goes as far as the large 'cuff', and my foot tends to go into the top of the boot then out through the zip hole. I didn't buy any boots there, but had a wander round the town. I bought a sandwich, then sat on a bench to eat it then later went for a coffee, and got tempted by a chocolate eclair. There is a shocking dearth of public loos in Harpenden, so I had to go in supermarkets, to use their's, and then buy something.
I took my HP camera and took a few pictures of trees, but should really have gone to Rothamsted common.
Years ago we went for a walk there with folk who had asked us for lunch. We had our dog with us, and the pastor also brought his dog. The 2 dogs were racing round near the experimental centre, when Jess leapt over some water. Our dog Peppi gamely followed but had shorter legs and didn't quite make it and fell backwards into the water.T he pastor wryly commented, 'That's about 5 years worth of experiments destroyed' I hope that the pools were just ornamental!
Wednesday was just my usual Sainsbury's trip then later I called in on Daughter to take baby's new clothes. She had missed parent and toddler group as she had an upset tum and was afraid of passing anything on to others. As it happened it was not a bug, but I think she did the right thing. I got lots of cuddles, smiles and gurgling from baby, he almost tries to talk to us. It must be very frustrating being a baby when your only method of communication is crying. Must go now will catch up later.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Nathaniel meets Great Grandma.

 Well I certainly haven't been in the old routine this week. On Monday afternoon I went to Watford Junction to pick up  my Mother in law, who had travelled all the way from the South Coast by train to meet her great Grandson. The last time we saw her was less than 2 days before he was born. She did very well for an 86 year old with poor eyesight, but had had lots of offers of help with her case when she changed at Clapham Junction.
Daughter had been to visit friends,  so we had lunch and went round to her home at the prearranged time. there was no-one there so I let Grandma in, and came home for my mobile, only to discover that I already had it in the dark depths of my bag. I couldn't contact Daughter for a while, but when she eventually rang she said she had been delayed by one of Baby's more spectacular nappy changes, and was at that moment buying a different size in Tesco.Personally I dislike disposables, and find terry nappies much more reliable; there seems to be doubt over when to change sizes in disposables, but I digress.
They eventually arrived and baby had a bath in the sink, and was soon clean and sweet smelling enough to be held by Great Grandma. We spent a very pleasant time baby worshipping   chatting and Nathaniel got to know Great Grandma.
 As we parted I said I was planning to take Mum in law to the big garden centre for lunch, and Daughter said 'Can we come too'? 'Yes of course' So on Tuesday which was a horrid wet day we went there and had lunch, and I met an old friend and former Sunday School teaching colleague, so she got the chance to meet baby and coo over him too. We women are a soppy lot. Most of the garden centre is under cover, and they have a huge new Christmas shop. Baby isn't quite old enough to appreciate it yet, but we oohed and aahed, and I bought a new Christmas tree topper. My fairy hasn't realised yet she has been pensioned off, I've had her for 25 years, and she has already been revamped once. I did venture into the rain to get a trolley, and a few trays of winter flowering pansies.
We went through the indoor plant section where I bought some orchid feeders, and Daughter chose a snazzy striped pot for one of her plants, then back into the main section where I chose daffodil bulbs for my pots, and we admired some clothes; then back through indoor plants to the checkouts. Of course we took a detour round the gift shop, and I found a larger key holder than the one I have. Now that I have keys to Mum-in law's and Daughter's, they all jostle for space and I often find some on the floor presumably having been pushed off by a big heavy bunch. The total at the checkout wasn't too horrendous, but we really noticed the rain when we came out. Oops I had forgotten I didn't have my own car, but everything went in Daughter's boot thankfully.
On Wednesday we were quite late setting off for the Sainsbury's run, but it didn't take too long. I did however
spend too much. After lunch I decided to start my pots, but soon ran out of compost. I nipped over to Homebase and  got two manageable ones, also some different coloured pansies for the flower beds. As I approached the till I saw that they had rock salt, so struggled to heave a bag into my trolley. I managed to heave it into my boot, but there it has stayed. I suppose that now I have stocked up we will have a mild winter. Daughter came round soon after and her husband came after work. I had made minced beef cobbler, and we had a bought sticky toffee pudding. We had a very pleasant evening.
On Thursday we were planning to go and visit Husband's other Aunty, but Daughter struggled a bit getting going, so we had a quick lunch and went after that. This lady is even older than Mum in law, but is very cheerful despite health problems. She has a grand total of 12 grandchildren, and one great grandchild and another on the way. It was lovely to see her, we hadn't seen her since Daughter's wedding, she was a bit to frail to come to our Son's. One of her Grandchildren is due to marry in Scotland in December. Her Daughter in law has promised to fly down and escort her there, but Aunty seems quite apprehensive about that.
We came home across the Dunstable Downs but too quickly to admire the view very much. Daughter offered to stop, but we preferred to get home.
On Friday morning, Mum in law accompanied me on my walk to our local Sainsbury's, but said she hadn't walked so far in ages. Later, in the afternoon daughter came over with a pile of tumble drying to do, and we went with her to Watford as she had presents to buy. We had a very late lunch in John Lewis, but the portions were huge. We looked after Nathaniel whilst Daughter flitted around shops. He was very vocal in a bookshop, wanting to be released form his car seat on wheels so he could look around, but his Mum came back and we were soon on the move again.
Back home I did all the tumble drying so that he had clean clothes for the weekend, to visit his other Grandma. We sat down to herb crusted haddock, which is a recipe I got from the internet, and Mum in law enjoyed it. Then we were quite good and finished off the huge fruit salad I had made for the previous evening. I discovered some kiwi berries in Sainsbury's and had added those. They are tiny kiwi fruits, but very sweet.
Mum in law had painful feet on Saturday, so husband and I went on our own to town. We went into husband's favourite gents shop to order new trousers, which were not in stock, and I got some photo's of Nathaniel so that Mum in law can boast to her friends show her friends back home.
The extra hour threw me right out this morning, I seemed to have too much time before church. We had a young LTS student, who was attached to our church last year, our pastor was preaching elsewhere. The sermon was a lot shorter than usual. It is raining here again, it sounds an awful thing to say, but I hope it rains harder this evening. Our local council close off the High street for a Halloween fest, with stalls etc, and it becomes very difficult for us as the people attending fill up all the car parking spaces outside the church, and the local car park, leaving us to have to walk great distances from town centre car parks. I dislike Halloween, it is something that the shops have cottoned on to as away to make money, and I find this obsession with the occult most unhealthy. I read recently of a young man who became interested in the occult, and went to a local graveyard to try and speak to the dead at Halloween. Who knows what he saw that night, but he has never been the same since. People don't realise that ghosts are not dead people but evil spirits, masquerading as the dead. Evil is very much alive in the world today, there is a spiritual warfare going on. which is why I will not treat Halloween lightly, or wish anyone happy Halloween. Must go as we need to get to church early!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Back in the old routine, (well nearly)

I've been trying to get back into routine after last weeks trip away, but it has not been  easy. On Monday I had to go into town to transfer some money for a bill I paid just before we went away. I also had to take my glasses in as the other arm had broken off, oh the shame! They said I would not have to pay as they were under 1 year old. I also went to Debenham's to try and find a jacket to match a dress I had bought in the sale last week, for a third of the price. The jacket was not quite as inexpensive, but I got it and am now waiting for a special occasion, next Spring perhaps? I mustn't gain any weight though.
I may not have mentioned on here that our combi microwave died suddenly a few days before we went away.  We really missed it, so on Monday afternoon I took the dead one to the dump, having cleared out the mess under and behind it, and then set off in search of  new one.Our local Curry's had one, almost exactly the same model, but half the price that we paid for the original 10 years ago. I duly bought it and brought it home trying to be careful, but my disc problem has been niggling a bit. The worst bit was trying to get through the back gate, I just couldn't lift the latch without putting the heavy box down
I did put a little weight on last week, but it came off. For the rest of last week it has fluctuated though, partly as I am  having trouble sleeping again. I blame that night in the travel inn.  Actually that hard bed probably didn't do my disc any favours.Fair dos though they contacted me and offered me a full refund, and I had a letter from them which confirmed that there had been a problem with the water temperature, so it wasn't just me.
On Tuesday I had my mammagram booked, just the 3 year routine one. Daughter rang and asked if I could look after Baby whilst she went to the dentist, I said OK, and thought I had better start moving. I walked down to get the papers, which gave me some exercise, then decided to go early for the mammagram, as time was rather tight. I did wonder whether to tell Daughter I would meet her at the dentist, but I got to the unit at 10.50 for an 11.10 appt, They say their appts are 5 minutes apart, but there was only one other lady in there actually in the x-ray room. I was in at 11.00 am, and out before my appointment time, so got to daughter's in plenty of time.
She left me a bottle of expressed milk as she had had to cut short a feed. He would not settle, so I had to give it to him. He drank every drop. Daughter soon came back and I left, and she promised to come round later to use our internet. Naturally I didn't get much done when she came. (who is complaining?)  Later her husband rang as he was coming home early as the electrics had failed where he worked.
On Wednesday he came here to work using our Broadband. I went off to a Tear Craft coffee morning, I was sad to see as I went down the garden, that my beautiful late Dahlia, which I had meant to photograph, had been killed by the frost. A local town had a temperature of -5.7 just before dawn. I met some old friends and chatted, but just bought Christmas cards, the crafts are very pretty, but I don't know who I would buy them for. Then it was home for lunch, and off to parent and toddler's. Daughter came, with baby, and one friend in particular was delighted when he appeared to respond to her as she chatted to him. I've been getting smiles and gurgles for a while.
Afterwards daughter and I met up at Sainsbury's, but Baby was very restless in his car seat, we had to take it in turns to carry him round. Of course the temperature by the chill cabinets doesn't help. I'm not used to shopping in the afternoon. Daughter took her stuff home and I came home and unpacked mine. Later I took Son in Law home. The problem at work had been fixed so it was a one-off.
On Thursday I just did routine stuff, and was busy on the internet, when I looked at my watch I realised I was too late for ladies' meeting.We had the brochure for the holiday rental company that we use in St Ives, and the flat we used last time is no longer in the brochure. There is a lot of property on the market there, as the recession has bitten, people have decided to sell second homes. I was looking for alternatives. It seems awful to have to book next year's holiday so early, but St Ives is very popular.
I had 2 really bad nights, not sleeping till 3am. On Friday I went to see my friends C&C. I haven't been since the baby was born. They were away just before we were. I took some photo's and I think she could just about see them through her magnifier, she has severe untreatable macular disease. She has had to have several ops, 3 for cancer, and has been told that operations can affect you when older. I don't know if this is just an excuse for the medics not being able to say what causes her to tremble, and sometimes fall.
She was quite cheerful though, and we chatted about old friends, when we could remember their names!
I went to Tesco afterwards, it was freezing in there. Their heating had packed up, and with all the freezers going it was like an ice-box.
Yesterday was a normal Saturday although we drove to town as my back wasn't too clever. I took a Cocodamol, then another before bed, but was very aware that my asthma was bad during the night. Codeine does depress the breathing  At least I slept and well before the 3am of the two previous nights.
One bright spot of this week was reading an article in Woman's Weekly about  the lady who was inspired to start Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. As I read the article, I realised she was someone with whom I used to do Beach Mission, more years ago than I care to remember. I looked them up on the internet and found her husband is on facebook, so sent him a message and had a response from Jan, his wife. It's good to be in touch again.
Our second sermon on 'Thou shalt not kill' this morning, very thought provoking, there are over 11, 500 abortions every day worldwide. Over 365 days that is an awful lot of deaths of the unborn. So very very sad.
 I broke my other glasses too, but have made a temporary repair till there is a decent interval. I will need new frames. They are very pretty but a bit flimsy. Not really suitable for a grandmother when he is a bit bigger and able to grab.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Some photos of last week

Nathaniel
Nathaniel and Mum

High Tide Llandudno

Daughter and Son in law  Betws y Coed

The Two Towers
River Dee


Street Entertainers Chester
Nathaniel takes a nap
Impressive castle entrance near where we stayed

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Nathaniel goes to Wales.

I'm now back home after spending most of last week in North Wales, and overnight in Macclesfield. We go twice a year to North Wales to see my sister, who does not often travel. This time we rented a bungalow in Abergele. It had 2 bedrooms, so Daughter and husband came too, with baby Nathaniel.
We had a pretty good journey up there, the weather was good, and found the bungalow easily, it was in a nice quiet area.
We usually go to Chester to church once a year, but went more locally to a small church in Rhuddlan, Gosen. Their congregation seems smaller these days, perhaps some were away, but we have heard that there is a church a couple of miles away which is fashionable, and at least one couple we know have gone there.The preacher was a visitor too, he was last there 2 years ago, he remembered us and where we came from! Daughter and Husband had had a bad night as Baby was unsettled by the journey, so they did not make it to church. After lunch and a short doze, I went to visit Sister, but some family members had already gone home. My niece was away, and her Son had a cold so we didn't see anyone else. The others came over for tea, and we spent a pleasant evening chatting (and watched Antiques Road Show)
On Monday we wandered around Rhyl, it is still quite a depressing place, although there is much building work planned and some more demolition has gone on. Only one toilet open on the promenade meant that we had to hot foot it to the town hall. The season there definitely ends in September. I browsed the shops whilst husband went for a haircut, despite the sunshine we soon got tired and headed back to our base.
On Tuesday husband had a painful foot, so I went off with Daughter, her husband and Baby to Llandudno. After lunch in Tiffany's  we separated, they did what they wanted to do and I browsed  my usual shops. However I didn't really buy anything. I ventured on to the prom, but there was a cold wind, so set off in search of a coffee whilst I waited for the others. Later I bought a rolling pin for husband to exercise his foot.
On Wednesday we all headed for Bettws y Coed, where we browsed the station shops, had lunch al fresco, and husband went in search of his first new pair of walking boots in over 30 years. The chap in the shop said it sounded as if the foot pain was plantar fasciitis, which I had already suggested. He measured husband's feet properly and duly fitted him with decent boots. Then we wandered a bit more, and I bought a bright red duffle jacket. Daughter and husband rushed off to Pentrefoelas, to a chocolate shop which turned out to be closed, and as we were leaving Bettws, they were heading back as baby needed feeding, and Daughter was fixated on getting a hot chocolate. They got one where we had had lunch.
On Thursday the morning was the usual disorganised chaos, which meant that husband and I did not leave for Chester till Noon. The other 2 were not quite ready, so eventually they went to Conwy to explore the castle.I met a friend in Chester, at the foot of the M&S escalator, and we had a catching up session. She is due to become a Grandparent soon in stereo! Both her Son and Daughter are awaiting arrivals. Sadly she also broke the news to me that Mike, who had been part of our group of young people, had died. He had had a sad time earlier and became bit of a drifter, and eventually fell away from church life and became an alcoholic like his father before him. Friends were trying to help him during his final illness, but I don't know if he returned to the Lord before he died. It was the second death I had heard of that week, strangely enough the lady concerned  had moved from Rhyl many years ago to our home town, where she had a sister.
I had a good look around Chester, and went down to the river to take some pics. Husband went to his usual shops, then we met up for the park and ride back to Sainsbury's.
Friday morning was spent packing and Daughter and I also bought flowers and visited Dad and Mum's grave. the cemetery is getting pretty full, I don't know where they will acquire more land. After lunch we cleared up and set off for Macclesfield to visit our Son and his wife. As there were so many of us, husband and I had booked into a travel inn. Son cooked us  a meal, he is a very good cook, and after a pleasant evening chatting we left at about 10 for the lodge.
Unfortunately, the bed was extremely hard and as a back sufferer I could not sleep. Husband who can sleep anywhere, complained of his discomfort too. I then had a battle with the shower, an unfamiliar set of controls which meant that I leapt out of the bath after being doused in freezing water, then after I'd had a reasonable shower, tried to turn it off, being unable to see, I turned it the wrong way and got scalding water, and a very red back.
This company say they they give money back if not satisfied, so I have lodged a complaint on their website and am awaiting a response. Son cooked us a full English, and around lunchtime husband and I set off for home, whilst the others set off for the Trafford centre so that the house would be empty for a viewing. Daughter and family are returning home today.
It was good to be back in our own home and bed, although the heating is a bit haphazard. We came home to the estimate for replacing the leaky radiators, and will have to start saving our pennies. It's good to be back in our own church too and we were eased back into the 10 commandments. I don't think that we missed any, as Ian didn't preach last week. I put on thick tights as it was 44 f in our garden, but saw someone in bare legs and sandals. It takes all sorts!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Central heating, showers and Sunshine

The plumber came on Monday. He checked our system and said we did not need a power flush. He told me that  the pump which pumped the cold water to the shower was dying, but he could not understand why we had the pump. I explained that the chap who fitted it had fitted it from the water tank in the loft. He said, 'but it should have been connected to the main which supplies the loft tank' The annoying hum was caused by the central heating pump having been connected to come on for 24 hours.The fact that it had been on 24/7 for 6 years meant it was wearing a bit, so that was the reason for the hum.
The reason  the radiator in the living room wasn't coming on was that it is the last on the system and as the radiators upstairs were full on, (my fault) the water didn't quite make it to the last radiator. The bathroom radiator, which the gas engineer said had no water in it, did come on quite hot when tested.
So: he disconnected the shower pump, reconnected the shower to the main, rebalanced the radiators, and rewired the central heating pump. He said he didn't like to criticise, but he wondered if the chap who did the shower and the boiler actually knew what he was doing. We stopped using him because he fitted a valve wrongly on the toilet, which caused it to leak, and also missed off another valve. He was recommended to us by someone in our previous church, so I'm glad we don't have the embarrassment of having to share our plumbing problems.
The only thing the new plumber did suggest was that we had 2 radiators that sometimes leaked replaced. I am waiting for an estimate for this. Now there is no hum at night, and if I touch the heating pump it is not so hot that I worry about an airing cupboard fire. Plus I have saved £500 by not having the Gas board flush.
On Tuesday I went to Watford just for a look around, and ended up drooling over the dining suite, which we really like, again. We haven't had much joy with dining suites, but that is another story. On the way home I popped in on Daughter, and she had been going to come and see me, so she gathered up her stuff and came here as she wanted to use our internet. They are still not connected. I enjoyed some cuddle time with Baby. I managed to find the old nursery rhymes tape which we had for our 2. It still plays beautifully, must be over 25 years old. Baby likes being sung to.
On Wednesday  after Sainsbury's, I had lunch and dashed off for parent and toddler's. For some reason all the lady leaders were a bit crazy that day. We had a good number there, but Daughter didn't make it. I went up there just after husband got home to take a chicken and bacon pie. Her husband was going to be late, so she was glad to have dinner sorted.
I remembered yesterday to take a pair of trousers to the dry cleaners, then, as I was eating lunch, Daughter rang to say Baby was being grizzly and she didn't know what to do with him. She felt like going out. I had ladies meeting, but said I would go up for a while. Baby was indeed grizzly, I wonder if her antibiotics are upsetting him? I took over and sent her for a bath and a bit of 'me' time. I managed, just, to keep him fairly quiet till she came down, but I missed ladies meeting. I had to leave to go to the hairdressers, and just as I did she decide to take him for a walk in the sling. I was in M&S when she phoned to say she had walked to the Marina, and he was fast asleep. So she got some fresh air and exercise and Baby got a much needed nap.
My hair feels better now it has been cut. the weather has changed again, hot yesterday, rain overnight and a muggy morning. When I got back from my walk I changed into a  t shirt.  The sun has come out and I'm sitting here with the back door open. it's 76.3 in here.
I must go soon as I have been wading through a pile of ironing, not literally I hasten to add. I still have more to do. It would be nice to see that rare sight, the bottom of the ironing basket.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Soup recipe

I have been asked for a butternut squash and red pepper soup recipe.
I onion,
3 cloves garlic (optional)
1 small butternut squash
I red pepper
1 pint hot vegetable stock ( a little more may be needed)
salt and pepper to taste.
about a tablespoon of olive oil or oil spray if dieting
Chop onion, peel dice and de-seed peeper and butternut squash
sautee onion and garlic. if used, in oil, add butternut squash and pepper and veg stock
Simmer till squash is tender. or 5 minutes on high in  a pressure cooker.
Whizz with a blender to desired consistency, season to taste and serve.
This soup has a slightly sweet flavour
if made with an oil spray classes as 0 points by WW

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Still de-cluttering by degrees.

After Tuesday's trip to London I felt pretty tired, but managed to get up early enough on Wednesday. I was getting ready for the Sainsbury's run, when I got a text from Son-in -Law asking if I would pop up to see daughter as she felt unwell. I drove up there and let myself in and called to her. She was upstairs with Baby, so I went up. She had been feeding him, but had been feeling icy cold then hot and sweaty. I said it sounded like another infection. I took Baby downstairs to wind him, and Daughter came down later saying she could not get a Doctor's appointment. I was due to babysit later that day whilst she went to the dentist, and asked if she wanted to cancel. She said 'No' She would be ok. She still seemed a bit tearful, but I said I would be back after my Sainsbury's trip. I rushed around Sainsbury's, for once thankful not to meet any friends, dashed home dropped flowers into water, put away cold stuff in fridge and dashed out again.
When I arrived she was almost ready to go, just a quick chat about what to do if he needed feeding, and she was off. We were fine at first, but as the time wore on my singing and jigging were not enough for him, so I carried him to the kitchen, and one handedly got a teat and screwed it on the ready prepared bottle of formula. He seemed very hungry and gulped it down, but he certainly gets lots more wind with formula than with breast milk. Daughter came back with a frozen mouth, she decided she would be ok on her own, so I came home, had a bowl of soup, settled down to read the paper and fell asleep.
I eventually unpacked the rest of the shopping, and started to prepare a shepherd's pie with some left over lamb. I soon realised that there would be too much for 2 of us, so made up 2. I also made up a jug of gravy, and took one of the pies and the jug to daughter. By this time it was pelting down with rain. Her husband was on his way home, she had asked him to come early, so I rang him and picked him up from Sainsbury's. He would have been like drowned rat otherwise. 
In the car he told me he was thinking of taking her down to the hospital.When that took away most of our hospital services we were left with a GP service till 8pm and a walk in 24 hr 'Urgent Care' centre. I was pleased later on to get a text saying she now had an antibiotic. We have a pharmacy that stays open till 10pm. She also got a prescription for the special dressings, but the pharmacy do not stock them so had to order them.
Thursday was spent doing housework and tidying, sorting papers and shredding those not needed. I managed to get to Ladies' meeting, which was good. I had a really bad night on Thursday as our central heating pump is faulty and hums during the night even when the heating is totally switched off.
On Friday it was raining again, and I set off in waterproof to buy papers, and redeliver an envelope pushed through my door which had the correct house number, but was the wrong road. By the time I found it I was almost in town, so carried on into town and bought papers there. I also withdrew the money to pay the electricity bill, then got the bus back up.I made up some butternut squash and red pepper soup, which is low fat, and I scoffed two small bowls of it. There is still loads left. I was miffed to find  had missed a parcel, there was a card through the door.
Daughter rang later sounding much brighter, she had seen a breastfeeding counsellor in Luton who had given her some advice and said that the 'op' site was healing well. She asked if she could come round later, so I said 'of course'. I was preparing fish pie, and we chatted whilst I did so, then I went  through to the living room for some cuddle time. baby got very fractious, especially after being changed, and I said I thought he was just overtired. Daughter got out the sling, and we put him in it and he was quiet and fast sleep in no time.
She went off in time to pick up husband from the station, we had more tears getting baby into the car seat and dressing him warm for outdoors, but the crying stopped when he was on the move.
there were planning a trip to husband's parents yesterday, and one of their uni friends has her 30th. They declined the party, but were hoping to join the gang for brunch today, so we have had a quiet day today. Yesterday was town, via the sorting office, shopping then bus back up, there was a bit of confusion over the buses we ended up with one behind the other, but chose the one which actually had a driver, they change over in the town centre. Then after lunch we began emptying cupboards and carrying the contents upstairs. These cupboards have to be moved so that the plumber has access to all the radiators if needed. It's amazing what those cupboards hold, and I was soon off out for more plastic boxes. Another bag went to the charity shop yesterday morning too, but we both decide we need to sort the cupboard contents to see what we can ditch. We will have to be quick as Mum-in -Law hopes to come for a visit in the  next few weeks. She is longing to see her first great grandchild.  I need to chuck out some Sunday School stuff, haven't taught for a few years, and do I really need all my college notes on Word, Access and Excel?
Must go nearly time for my pre-church cuppa.
ps managed to contact S whom I mentioned wasn't answering her phone. Communication restored there thankfully.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Just a quick update.

Well Monday morning was spent boxing up and delivering the harvest gifts. I have to confess that Monday afternoon was not so productive, but on Monday evening, I at last contacted a plumber. He is not too keen to do a chemical flush of our heating without investigating first. I like that. He will also look at our shower, which for some reason is reduced to a trickle of cold water, he reckons the filters could be blocked. He is coming next Monday, which gives us the weekend to sort some clutter, and make sure he has access to every radiator at one end. I have started a 4th charity shop bag, which can only be good. Oh yes, I did dig out my winter clothes,and was ashamed to see I couldn't do up one skirt. No choccy biscuits for me, must make up some low point soup, I have a butternut squash and red pepper waiting.......
Yesterday I went up to Daughter's house and helped get baby ready for his London trip. Daughter had managed to borrow a sling, so we didn't have the buggy to manouevre. We got a train which left just after 12, and bought M&S sandwiches at Euston. Baby also had his last feed before the 'op'. We arrived at Kings College hospital just before 2, and were ushered into a room which was rapidly being filled with parents and babies, some already crying with hunger. Natahaniel slept, quite oblivious.
The necessary forms were filled in, and more and more parents and babies arrived.  The paediatrician eventually came in, and gave us all a little talk on tongue tie and the problems it can cause with feeding. One poor Mum confessed to feeding taking an a hour and a half!  He said he would not do the op 'just in case it caused speech problems' as the tongue can grow and the problem be resolved  before the child starts to speak. Originally at that clinic he was supposed to see 4 babies a week, but there is such a problem he sees 20. He also described what aftercare would be needed.
We were told that the babies would be done in age order. That no anaesthetic woud be used, and the babies would be brought for feeding immediately afterwards. There would be trained breastfeeding counsellors there to help sort out any 'latching ' problems. Typically, Nathaniel was in the middle of a nappy change when his name was called at about 3.40 pm. We duly were escorted to the floor below, and Daughter decided she would be ok on her own at that point so I armed myself with a coffee and some newspapers and a mag.
I ploughed my way through the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and a Yours magazine, and was reduced to watching The weakest link on the tv in the waiting area. Every now and again I heard a baby crying loudly, but couldn't tell if it was 'ours' or not. Daughter reappeared at about 5.45 pm, with a peacefully sleeping baby, looking a little rueful, but I quickly assured her he would be fine and not remember it at all.
She had been told that the 'bit of a tongue tie' was actually quite severe, which I had suspected. The staff were also appalled at the poor state of  Daughter. She has to go to our GP for some special dressings for herself, and contact  someone from the NCT or La Leche league to help make sure that she and baby re-learn the process of feeding. I think they were all amazed at her persistence. She obviously has both her dad's stubbornness and mine!
We left the hospital at about 6, and struggled through the crowds back to Euston. We were glad we had not taken the buggy. We met Daughter's husband at Euston, he was on his way home from work, and he took over the sling for a while. He had to get off the stop before ours, we had gone from the 'main' station as there are more trains, but we met up with him in Sainsbury's, where daughter stayed in the car as Baby needed feeding again. She is already feeling the benefits of the op. I picked up some sausages as husband had been unable to locate those I had put in the freezer, then they drove me back to their house so I could collect my car. We eventually sat down to sausage,  mash and peas at 9 pm. I blessed my microwave as the potatoes took less than 10 minutes. I had no trouble sleeping at all last night, but I don't intend to start commuting just as an aid to sleep!