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 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.