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.