Friday, 23 December 2011

Counting down to Christmas

Christmas flower arrangement
 I am really quite cross with my blog, I typed a whole load at the beginning of the week, and came back to add to it,. then the first lot I had written disappeared. I wrote about husband's trip to the dentist as he has another infection, and more antibiotics, about Daughter and I going to M K to look for a hat for her for a wedding , and how neither of us had a working mobile, and how we were late home. I wrote about me losing another pound, and looking after Nat, and his antics, none of which I can now remember. I also said about husband picking up his Mum on Friday, and how we had Nathaniel to stay  to stay for the weekend as Mummy and Daddy went to said weddding. Nathaniel seemed to enjoy himself, although woke up at 11pm for a short while, then again at 5.35 am!  we took hime to church with us and he fell asleep during the sermon. Now I have caught up!
On Sunday his Mum and Dad came round for lunch, having stayed overnight in London. We had roast lamb, and then a few of us tried to grab some shuteye. We rushed out for the carol service, daughter was doing creche at their church, so took Nathaniel, and we went off to our church, where I discovered I had forgotten the specially made mince pies. Husband wouldn't let me go home for them. The church was so full that we had to sit really near the front. 9 lovely carols, and my voice held out. There were so many mince pies that mine were not needed.
On Monday I spent a lot of time printing out our news letter, and doing a photo sheet. I also went to the surgery to collect form for my full blood count test to be repeated, then in the afternoon I went to the pathology dept. for another blood test. Only a small  bruise this time.  I made the almond paste and put it on teh cake in the evening  Tuesday morning, so fed up with coughing at night, I made an appointment with the doctor. They were quite booked up, so I had to see my least favourite doctor. The appointment was not till 4.50, so after spending time doing cards, going for a walk etc we had lunch and later went to see Daughter. I left Mum in Law there whilst I went for my appointment.  I now have a course of Amoxil but am still resorting to Benylin night. to help me sleep.
At WW on Wednesday I had lost a further pound despite eating a few mince pies. Sainsbury's was heaving with people, but I didn't spend an awful lot for a change..I posted some more cards, having posted the last of the parcels on Tuesday.  I collected Nathaniel on Thursday, and Great Grandma came out with me to collect the papers. Then I showed her Dunelm mill, I could see people saying 'Ah' as they passed in cars and realised that a little person was fast asleep.
This morning I picked him up again, and later took Grandma into town for a shampoo and set at  my hairdressers. I carried on to the bank, and sorted some money, then decided to call in at the optician's, on the offchance that my repaired specs were back. Eureka, they were. I went into a card shop, which was too crowded, and had to walk very close to the display.on my way out. As I left the shop I realised that Nat had 2 cards in his hand! I hastily went back in and replaced them on the display, watching him carefully as we left. 'Back home I tried to wrap presents, at husbands's desk, but Nat grabbed scissors, then unravelled ribbons, he tried to grab the mouse, the mouse ball, and anything he could get his hands on. in the end he settled for Grandad's wind up torch. I was quite relieved when his Mum who had half a day came to collect him.  Now the house is clean, well almost, Grandma has washed up,and all presents are wrapped, and I've actually hung up most of the cards. I marzipanned and iced the cake earlier this week too. All that remains is for me to wish all my blog readers a very Happy Christmas- Joy to the world the Lord is come.
Holly and Ivy cake

PS My blood count is coming down, phew!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

More Advent antics

Sorry for the lack of blogging, I have been rather chasing my tail lately, trying to get Christmas sorted, me sorted, cards and newsletter written,plus toddler minding It all takes up time. Monday of last week I went to the Doctor about the blood tests that had been recommended. she took my BP the gave me the necessary forms. At lunchtime I looked after Nathaniel whilst his mum went to the annual staff Christmas lunch. afterwards I went to pathology for my blood tests, parking at the local Asda, as it's cheaper than the hospital. the phlebotomist left me with a nice bruise.
 On Tuesday I tried to catch up with things, but never quite succeeded. Wednesday was Weight Watchers, I had stayed the same. Better than going up though. I did the Sainsbury's run, buying sweets and extras as one does at Christmas, and using my substantial nectar points to reduce the bill somewhat.
Thursday I had Nathaniel, and when I took him out for walk he fell asleep, Great!  I could now hope to get to Women's hour, which was the Christmas one. Nat behaved fairly well, but being held very tightly on my lap seemed to help. He had his usual run around afterwards. I rang the Doctor's later and have to have some of my blood tests repeated, full blood count in 2 weeks and thyroid is borderline, so 6-8 weeks. that could explain my constant tiredness.
On Friday we didn't do much as the weather was not so good, just the usual walk. Last week we had some pretty heavy frosts. Nathaniel's Mum says he has to sit still for his snacks, so I've been experimenting with him sitting at the table on a cushion. Not so good on Friday as he smeared yoghurt all over the tablecloth.
Yummy snack time
On Saturday we did the usual shopping. lunching in Marks and Spencer as we had to go back to the garden  centre. The fibre optic tree I bought for husband's office wasn't really big enough, and one of his colleagues had fallen in love with it and asked to buy it. so we bought another, plus a taller one, which was on offer. The later that day I asked to borrow husband's shed key as I needed to top up the compost in my Christmas tree pot. I had mislaid my house keys, but when I opened the shed door, there they were on the floor. I had a feeling that was where they might be. After dinner I brought the tree in, and went up stairs for the decorations. I found things as usual that I had forgotten we had. This is the finished tree:

I found Nativity baubles at the garden centre
Last years treetopper was top heavy, so I used the one we bought in St Ives
Close up of some baubles.
I used the Sainsbury's star lights and they seem quite effective.
Our Son and his wife were visiting Grandma on the South Coast, Daughter and Son in Law were in Kent at his parents, as he was going to have a Birthday. we had a quiet relaxing Sunday, 2 excellent sermons, a few unusual hymns, and some nice roast pork for lunch. Ovaltine helped me sleep for a few nights, but then I started with a cough again. To be continued

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Advent antics

Well it seems that I spoke too soon about the weather! We had a frost overnight on Sunday. My beautiful puffball dahlias are sadly no more. I was feeling fidgety on Monday, couldn't settle down, so I rang Daughter and asked if she would like to go to the big Garden Centre to have a look in their Christmas shop.  I said I would treat her to lunch. She agreed so off we went. We had a very nice lunch, but the table was a bit small and Nathaniel kept trying to grab the ham from my salad. We looked around the Christmas shop at the beautiful decorations, but Daughter decided that glass baubles were definite no no, as she will have enough difficulty keeping him away from the tree. I was disappointed in the selection of lights, decided that the little stars I had seen in Sainsbury's were better. I think most of their lights were intended for outdoor use. Later that afternoon I went for a much needed haircut My usual hairdresser hadn't been able to do it the previous week due to a family emergency. The lady who cut it on Tuesday said that the other lady's brother had collapsed and died with a brain haemorrhage. Only about 49, how very sad. It reminds us of the brevity of life and the importance of being right with God. Any of us can be plunged into eternity at any moment.
Daughter was due to go to London with friends on Tuesday, but didn't really want to take her buggy as it is rather on the large side. I offered to lend her mine. As she came over late in the afternoon to collect it, she caught a kerb and got a puncture. She had to ring the RAC as she couldn't get the wheel off.  So she ended up staying here until her husband arrived home from work. The RAC arrived just before my  husband arrived home form work, and I fed Nathaniel from my emergency store of
On Tuesday quite late in the afternoon I went over to the nearer garden centre to check on their potted Christmas trees. They didn't have a large stock and they are a bit pricey, but I had some garden club vouchers. I just needed to find out where I had put them. I came away with some snowflake lights, to compare with the stars I had bought that morning in Sainsbury's. I also looked for some bulb fibre, as I still hadn't planted the hyacinth bulbs I bought weeks ago. They only had big packs, and my back is dodgy at present, so I declined.
It had suddenly got very windy, and as I drove away from the garden centre it began to pour with rain, very squally.  What a difference from the brilliant sunshine that morning. I suddenly realised that a pheasant was taking a leisurely stroll across the road in  front of me. The last pheasant we hit cracked our number plate, so I braked as quickly as I dared, so as not to skid, and the pheasant disappeared under the front of my car as I  stopped. A solitary feather flew up, and then much to my relief the pheasant also flew up!
 I experienced a huge rush of adrenaline with the resulting palpitations as I drove off. Later that evening I rang Daughter to ask how she had coped with the buggy, but her London trip had been called off as her friend's little boy had a temperature. I do hope that he is better soon, haven't had a further report. I located some unopened  bulb fibre in our back porch store, and planted the bulbs, which are now hopefully growing in Son's old wardrobe.
On Wednesday morning at weigh in I had lost a further pound. I dashed off to Sainsbury's, spent far too much money, then rushed home grabbed a sandwich and out to parent and toddlers, where I was in charge of  refreshments. Daughter and Nathaniel came too, One little girl had her third Birthday, and her Mum provided a cake with candles, which were duly blown out. This turned into rather along procedure, as 2 little boys had also had second Birthdays that week, so the candle blowing out was repeated twice more. The lady also gave all of the children party bags, how sweet.
On Thursday we awoke to a heavy frost. I felt sorry for husband, as he had left my car out overnight. As I drove up to collect Nathaniel all along the road there were people scraping at their windscreens.  late that morning I walked into town with Nathaniel, intending to transfer some money from a building society to a bank, and do a bit of shopping. I suddenly realise that I had used my debit card to pay something on line, and it wasn't in my purse. So I couldn't transfer the money.  I then let Nathaniel play on the  little train which the council have provided in the shopping area.
  It was getting a bit late, so I decide on lunch in M&S, use their baby changing facilities, then I could get the bus back up, and be in plenty of time to get to Women's hour. As I reached the bus stop, I realised that N was fast asleep, so I had to park the buggy in the hall and wait for him to wake up. Sadly I missed Women's hour again.

Friday morning we went for a longish walk, and he was asleep before we got home. I met my old neighbour again, and we renewed our vow to get together after Christmas. Nathaniel was a bit late having his meal, and as I wanted to go back to the local garden centre  to get a tree, having found the vouchers, he missed his afternoon snack. The tree took up rather a lot of room in the trolley, and tickled Nathaniel's back, as he was in the child seat. I also got husband a fibre optic tree for the office, as their old tree has disintegrated. Nathaniel was fascinated by the till, which was at just his height, and his eyes nearly popped when the drawer popped open.
I struggled to get the tree in the car, but managed in the end, then drove home and deposited it on the patio for now. I also gave it some water. An early tea for Nat, who had missed his snack, and a quick pressure cooked cod and veg for me. Husband was calling at the chippy, he is allowed to occasionally, I dislike battered fish. I took N home and Grandad popped in to say hello, but didn't stay as parking was limited. Yesterday we went shopping in a nearby town, so that I could drop hints for stocking fillers to husband. we lunched and shopped at Waitrose for a change. I would love to shop there permanently, but the way husband sneaks things into the trolley, would lead to disagreements. I found some table mats which match my best china in a charity shop, very clean and not much used. They had 2 packs, but I just bought one, I also bought more Christmas cards, I actually saw someone posting some. Don't you just hate people who are smug and organised? Last evening we babysat as the younger generation had been invited to a friend's for a meal. Husband fell asleep for a couple of hours, then woke at 10. I fell asleep, and woke at 11.10 pm. Nathaniel slept really well. apparently he has been very good with the Christmas tree, which they put up on Friday evening.
This morning we went to the morning service as usual, got caught up in traffic for Sunday shoppers, and arrived a tad late. It was communion after the service and as I was singing the last hymn, I got a shooting pain in my chest and felt faint. I had to sit down. I got really bad ectopic heartbeats too, probably as I had a massive adrenaline rush. There is a Doctor in the congregation, and he checked my pulse etc, said I had gone very pale but, my colour had come back. He advised a visit to the 'urgent care 'centre. There I had BP checks, and 2 ECGs. which were both ok. I was advised to rest and go to my GP for blood tests for anaemia  and thyroid. I am on thyroxine, but the Doctors have never told me that that can cause ectopic heartbeats.    I get a reaction from my inhalers as well. The faintness could I think  have been from standing up suddenly and singing, a vaso vagial apparently. Sunday Dinner was a tad late, but I spent the rest of the day resting. Will try  to get an early night, have been sleeping a bit better.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

TV or no TV, that is the question

Well it is hard to believe that this time last year we had snow. It is very mild here, outside temperature at present 52f, (at around 4pm); the flowers are all still blooming out at the front, mainly the fuchsias, other shrubs are still producing flowers. The pink osteospermum out at the back is flourishing, and the copper one is producing more flowers too.The roses are not quite as prolific, but still budding. There was quite a strong breeze this morning though, which had us arriving at church a tad dishevelled. I was wearing a short jacket over a short sleeved jumper.
This week had been a bit of a mixture, grey days, but also some sunshine. On Monday I did not achieve much, mainly some house work and washing. I popped up to see Daughter on Monday afternoon to reunite Grandson with shoe. She too had had a slow day, I suppose it could be the constant greyness, I am thinking of getting out my lightbox again. Perhaps as well I didn't sleep as well as I thought at the weekend.
Wednesday was my busiest day I suppose, I went off to Weight watchers, then rushed around Sainsbury's. I had had a request for babyminding, as Daughter had an appointment with the hygienist and the dentist. I had lost another half pound this week, and we had the leader explaining the 'enhanced' programme to us. Nothing too startling, but we can continue with the established propoints values if we wish. So far I have experimented,  a sort of mix and match. On Wednesday I picked up a sandwich in Sainsbury's so that I could eat at Daughter's. I was pretty hungry, only having had fruit for breakfast. It's amazing what tricks I get up to on weighing days. Always wearing the same clothes, I have even been known to weigh underwear to check which is lightest; having a light breakfast, going to the loo just before weighing, how sad am I?
 I made it to Daughter's having spent less with no browsing time.  I had only forgotten Weetabix, which along with a banana is one of my staple breakfasts.
I am afraid I ate the sandwich, much to Nathaniel's disgust, at least it didn't have cucumber in it. I was just poking about in Daughter's fridge to see what I could give him for lunch, as she had left no instructions, when she arrived back home. She took over Nat's lunch arrangements and after a short chat I headed home to unpack the shopping  Later that afternoon I started to assemble the kitchen cupboard. This is the one that spent a year in my boot. I had brought it indoors, unpacked it and moved it into the spare room, out of N's way. I armed myself with a screwdriver, my glasses, the screws, brackets, instructions etc and set about assembling it.  Oh boy, I kept losing the screwdriver, then the instructions, eventually I had the carcase together, but despite using the pre-drilled holes the top is not level or the edges, and one of the holes in the back is too small for the bracket. Husband has looked at it, and said he would like to have a go at it, but when is anyone's guess. I would like to get it up before Mum in Law's next visit, as she was asking me about it last weekend.
On Thursday I was just about on time to pick up Nathaniel. I discovered I need eyes in the back of my head. Husband has  a plastic storage box with stuff in it, including a laptop.  Nathaniel climbed into said box  and stood on the laptop in order to reach Grandad's radios and scanners, to press all of the buttons. However on Friday just as I reprimanded him, he toppled out of the box, no harm done, just hurt pride, but will he have learned his lesson?. He also loves the baby monitor which has stars on it and plays tunes. It seems nothing is now out of his reach. Although he can't quite reach the monitor now I have moved it to the window sill.
We went shopping for newspapers and Weetabix, and I took him to a playground near where Daughter used to live.All of the equipment was wet however, so we came back. He didn't fall asleep in the buggy. He had his  meal, during which he demonstrated how good he is getting with a fork.
He needed a nap after lunch, so I missed Women's Hour at church. Later, I did wonder whether I could get away with watching a DVD whilst he played, but as I switched the TV on the screen died. I tried again, still no joy.  I didn't think it could  have been the remote ,with which N had been playing, and I was right. Still, we had had it 10 years, it didn't owe us anything. We only watched videos on it anyway.
Nathaniel had eggybread and beans for tea and seemed to enjoy it.

Mmmm, beans!

When it came to getting him ready for home however, I could only find one shoe. Not again! I knew they were both in the house, I remember taking them off before his nap. I searched high and low, with no joy. I searched again, praying as I searched, suddenly I decided to check the nappy bag. There it was in the bottom! Well I certainly hadn't put it there! In the rush to get him home I forgot to pick up the key to Daughter's house. I phoned husband when I got there, he had passed and seen no lights on, so had gone home. He agreed to meet me in our garage area with the key, so I didn't have to get Nathaniel out of the car again. I eventually arrived back at Daughter's a few minutes before she arrived home.
On Friday we went for our walk from the paper shop round on to the canal bank, the tent on the opposite bank near the playing fields had gone, so whoever was camping out there has decided to move on, perhaps the nights got  a bit too cold. We went into the play area from the canal side, and the equipment was dry. there was another child a bit younger than Nathaniel in there, and he was so fascinated to see another child that he kept on turning his head whilst on the swing. I chatted to the young Mum that he was with for a while, he is only 1 year old. She told me how much she had to pay for nursery fees on the days her boy goes, so I am glad to be available to save the family some money.
Nathaniel was desperate to climb the steps of the slide but I dissuaded him, as I was sure he would slip through, but I put him on about half way up, and he managed a few good slides. The other little boy was by the plastic tunnel, and he soon showed Nathaniel what fun it was to crawl through.  I had to  carry him away in the end after several goes, his hands were filthy! Back home I gave him his lunch then a yoghurt, but soon noticed that his eyes were closing. between mouthfuls. The end effect was this:
Eating yoghurt is so tiring

So I took him upstairs and lowered him into the cot, he briefly woke up as I set the baby monitor, but not for long. He managed a good 2 and a quarter hours. I had a  short nap, then got on with some tidying.
 This time I had taken his shoes off and placed them on top of the shoe rack in the hall, so that when I came to dress him ready for home after tea, I knew exactly where they were. I was more organised, got him home earlier, and Grandad came for some play, although he refused to hide and shout Boo as he had for me the day before, (Nathaniel that is, not Grandad!) Daughter was home earlier too, and we chatted then came home for  a dinner of Mackerel, potatoes and peas.
On Saturday we took the old TV to the dump then set off  for Watford, where we bought a flat screen. There were a lot of people in the TV dept at John Lewis,I was astounded at how much some of the bigger TVs cost. J L have a collection service, so we did the rest of our shopping, then went back to their restaurant. M&S cafe had an enormous queue. We then just strolled over collected the TV and off to put it in the car, then home. I was very tired and trying to doze off whilst husband put the TV in its usual place, and connected the video player. He was hunting for the DVD remote, and making so much noise that I gave up on my doze, and started hunting through the toybox. Yes, it was in there. Well where else would you look with a toddler sometimes in the house?
He began watching the Steve Mcqueen collection DVD, the Sand Pebbles, which we had been halfway through before the other TV packed up. You can tell it is a 60s film as it had an intermission. The only time I have seen a film with an interval in recent years was when it was too hot in Scarborough, so we went to see Pirates II to keep cool. They had one reel and had to change halfway through.  The usherette even came out with ice creams, those were the days! I phoned my sister, cooked dinner, and settled down with the papers. I had a bad night, couldn't sleep, then when I did awoke coughing. My cattarh is bad, so after getting up, taking inhalers, making a cuppa, I took some cough mixture, going back to bed at 4.15 am. Husband's alarm started at about 5, but after that I slept till nearly 9.
Two good sermons at church and some good hymns, husband's tum was gyppy , so at the last minute he decide to say at home this evening, and downloaded a sermon from the internet instead. Quite a clear sky and  a cold evening, with fireworks nearby accompanying the sermon. Some folk obviously have money to burn. Only 4 weeks now till Christmas, I just wish I could work up some enthusiasm. Must go now as it's late and I need to sleep, have a good week all.

Monday, 21 November 2011

A weekend away and a mystery solved

Husband's Mum was very pleased to see us despite the late hour. We chatted for a while then retired to bed. In view of my dodgy back, and a strange bed, I took a painkiller, and managed to get some sleep, in fact I was the last up on Saturday morning. It was a beautiful day, and we relaxed and chatted, only getting ready to go out just before lunchtime. Mum in Law wanted to go to Asda in Eastbourne, but husband missed the turning, so we had  a very interesting detour. From  the state of the traffic it seemed that the whole of the country was in or on the way out of Eastbourne. We eventually found Asda.  Ugh! what an experience. A huge store, people milling about everywhere, one tune playing loudly in the entrance, yet another assailing our ears in the first aisle. It took us a while to locate an assistant, but when we did he helpfully guided us to the area where the item Mum in Law  was interested in should be found. Unfortunately it was out of stock. I waylaid another assistant, who said that the next lot of stock should be in on Monday. After buying the papers, so as not to lug them around Eastbourne, we beat a hasty retreat from the busy store.
We eventually made it to our usual parking place, on a side street behind the station, then set off for C& H fabrics where we intended to have lunch in their lovely cafe. I decided on a turkey sandwich, with trimmings, till I saw that they did goat's cheese and red onion tart. It fully lived up to my expectations. I was very naughty and had a lemon tart for afters. 2 lots of pastry, I deserved to get indigestion, but didn't. After browsing the craft department, Mum in Law and I set off for the shops which she wanted to visit, and husband had already left for his usual tour of charity shops, and anything else which takes his interest. For once I avoided Lakeland, as I had been in the one in Watford the day before. Mum in Law is fairly slow at walking these days, so I didn't cover as many of the shops as I usually do. Eventually we had had enough, and phoned husband and arranged to meet him back at the car. We went back to Mum in law's via Pevensey for a change. Fog was already beginning to gather on the levels there.
Back home I had a restorative cup of tea, then settled down with the newspapers, every now and then popping into the kitchen to see if Mum-in Law needed help. The trouble  is we chat, so I feel I am holding her up. After our meal husband ran a check on his Dad's old computer, I only watched TV for the 10 o'clock news. I was much earlier to bed than usual, slept reasonably well, and woke at 8 am. Mum in law was in a hurry to get to her 9.30 am service, so we kept out of her way. We had a leisurely breakfast and got ready for the service in the church we go to down there. Mum In Law was back before 10.30, no 45 minute sermons at her church!  We had a very warm greeting as usual, and a good service. On chatting to the secretary after church, we learned that they have had 4 members die in the last few months. there are no regular young families these days, although it isn't just geriatrics who live in the area. Some people even commute to London from there.
Back at Mother in Law's after the service I sort of hovered in the kitchen, but she seemed to want to do it herself, as she thinks she might forget how to cook. When speaking of memory decline she said to me, 'don't get old'. I'm afraid I told her that I wasn't too keen on the alternative, which made her laugh. We eventually sat down to roast beef and yorkshires, etc, and had difficulty persuading her that we didn't really need dessert.  Back to relaxing, and husband doing something for her, then I decided I needed fresh air and exercise and went for a walk around the village. All too soon it was time to pack, and reload the car, and we left just as the sun was setting.
We had a reasonable journey home, stopping at Pease Pottage for a drink and a bite to eat, then seeing lots of fog. Despite the illuminated signs warning motorists to slow down, no one did, till we got near Heathrow, where it was particularly bad. I was a bit nervous of it coming down suddenly, but most motorists drove at their normal speed. You can see how tragedies like that on the M5 can happen.
Back home we unloaded the car, phoned or messaged people to say we were back, then got a reasonably early night. Daughter had taken Nathaniel to the shoe shop, and he had gone up half a size. he now has flashing lights on his shoes, so when he is not wearing them he bashes them on the floor so that they light up!
I was up a bit late this morning, and after a bath to help my back, decided to take  a walk round the garden, playing hunt the slipper having a look for the elusive shoe. As I walked back up the path I said, 'Lord you know where it is, if it is in the house, please show me'.  As I reached  a pink osteospermum, which hangs over the path, I suddenly noticed something blue tucked underneath.

Eureka! Answered prayer!. Obviously the torch beam hadn't picked it out as it was a dark colour. It must have fallen off his foot as I carried him up the path from the car. I phoned Daughter and promised to reunite her with the shoe, which if no longer needed can be a keepsake. I still have both pairs of first shoes from my two. Despite being in the open for 2 days it wasn't even wet. Must go now as it's very late. Have a good week.

The weekly merry go round

I can't believe we are so far into November, the weeks are racing by. I was in a shop yesterday and they had notices up saying  '5 weeks to go' I felt like screaming, 'Stop the world I want to get off'. In truth I haven't many presents to buy, everyone seems to want money, which is fine by me, but I still get that panicky feeling that says 'no time, no time. Breathe deeply, relax!' I've barely got over the change of the clocks!
I must check with some family members what they want, then will probably get them on Amazon. The beginning of my week was terribly boring, I was catching up on the never ending housework, and did a pile of ironing. I also did several shirts before husband ran out.
I kept on with the walking, with my back problems it is  probably the best exercise. I have thought about swimming, but not sure if breast stroke kick is right for my disc problem, which has flared up a bit lately. I also have pain on the other side of my back, which I hope is muscular , as I don't get sciatica symptoms, so am just using heat pads and occasional pain relief. I'm having to take one cocodamol at night to ensure that I sleep.
I took delivery of my new food processor. My old one has one the bowls broken, and it was obsolete. I managed to track down a Braun  online, and ordered it. It came all the way from Germany, but I couldn't try it out as it had a 2 pin plug.
On Wednesday  at Weight watchers, I had lost a further half pound, which means I have now lost a stone. I have got my second silver seven. I rushed round Sainsbury's, which was busier than usual due to the temporary closure of our local Tesco, whilst they finish off enlarging the store. I probably won't even bother with going into the new Tesco, as I have been increasingly unenamoured with the company, they ride rough shod over people's feelings when it comes to planning applications. I'm sure that our town does not really need 5 Tescos. They only seem to be interested in profit. After  a quick lunch I headed off for Parent and Toddler's, where I was doing registration. There were only 3 helpers there, and I was a bit relieved that we were not overbusy.
I went in search of an adaptor for the plug, without much success. I tried out one, but it did not work. Husband discovered it was the fuse and I was soon chopping meat and making pastry for his pie. I had chicken casserole and kept some for Nathaniel.
On Thursday morning, I collected Nathaniel then took him home for a while. I had some stuff, unused, which I thought could be used for a tombola, or stalls at a Christmas Fair. Ok, some of it was prizes from Scalby Fair which we didn't really need. I settled Nathaniel in the buggy and piled the stuff in the basket underneath, then set off for our children's primary school.  It is about a mile away, mostly uphill, but I chose the scenic route which takes me across a park. I stopped at the paper shop, and soon afterwards as we passed some trees, I spotted 3 squirrels chasing around and up and down the trees. I tried to point them out, but no answer. Nathaniel was fast asleep! Outside the school I met one of the old dinner ladies whom I knew when I did midday supervision. She was having a smoke outside the gates. We had a chat, then she walked back into the school with me, and pointed out the office. a lot has changed, they have an extra office.
When I pressed the bell and was let in, I did recognise the bit of the building I was in. They were pleased to receive the gifts, and although I didn't know the office staff, the head came over and had a chat. He was deputy head when my 2 were there, also he runs a scout group, where Son went through cubs, so I know him quite well. I even found out when Daughter has to register Nathaniel for nursery. It is probably her nearest primary school. Nathaniel slept all through the chat, all the way home, and in the buggy in the hall until I woke him for lunch.
He ate very well, and then after a quick nappy change we headed off for Women's Hour. We spent time signing  Christmas cards for missionaries, and one young woman who is spending a year of her university course in Russia, She will spend Christmas there. Then we had a prayer time. Nathaniel played quite quietly, but then afterwards ran around with the other youngster shrieking with laughter and having a thoroughly good time. Home for  a snack and a play, dinner, then back home to wait for Mummy. Husband called round again and spent time crawling around the floor with him.
Much later that evening I decided to look up on the internet why I had had difficulty sourcing a Braun food processor, and discovered that Braun no longer make food processors. DOH!  I just hope that it lasts me for a long time.
On Friday I decided to take Nathaniel to Watford. I felt like a look round the shops and wanted to go to Hobby craft, just in case I get time to make some Christmas cards.  As we stood in the back porch, I turned to lock the inner door, and in a flash he had tumbled out on to the step. Oh no! he had scraped his head where he still had the glue sticking to his hair, from his visit to A&E. He soon calmed down, but fell asleep in the car. He roused when I put him in the buggy, so I knew he wasn't concussed, and fairly soon after wards he was asleep again in the buggy. I walked all around the shops, then out into the High Street. I met an old friend in the High street and we chatted for a while. Nathaniel slept on. I moved on up the High Street with the aim of going to Nationwide, suddenly N woke up bright as a button and pointing to starlings and shouting Da!
We went back down the High Street and into the shopping centre where we had lunch in M&S. He had a sandwich, and some raisins, I had a cooked meal as we were going away on Friday evening. I poured some fruit juice into his cup of water, and not knowing what to do with the rest , popped it into the basket under the buggy. He didn't seem to want to drink much, so I popped his cup into the basket under the buggy. Thankfully there is a lap strap on M&S high chairs, because his latest trick is to plant both feet firmly on the footrest, shout and try to stand up. Shopping is a different experience with a toddler, you can't just jump on the escalator, or leap up the stairs, you have to locate the store's lifts, then wait patiently for the lift to arrive. John Lewis lifts are glass so I had to stand facing the doors as I have a slight vertigo problem. I had bought some dressings in Boots, and cleaned up the scrape on his head and tried to apply a dressing, but there is still so much hair stuck down that the dressing just sat on his hair.
Back at the car I put him in his seat, then tried to fold the buggy, It would not fold. I pushed a bit harder, then felt a sticky liquid. Oh no, the drinks carton. I removed that and tried again. A loud pop as the lid was forced off his drink cup, which I also suddenly remembered was there. I retrieved cup, folded buggy, put it in car and drove off leaving a river of  raspberry and apple juice with water running down the slope.
In Hobby craft he  was quite lively kicking and shouting, I had to apologise to a young woman as I thought he had caught her. 'that's ok', she said, 'I have three, I know what they are like'  In the queue he was giggling and chuckling, and it wasn't till I leaned over the buggy, and got a dirty look from a little girl in a buggy, that I realised that they were flirting. As soon as I moved she was back smiling and giggling with Grandson.
We got home and I gave him his snack, then decided a nappy change was in order. I had already used M&S nappy changing facilities. As I removed his rather long trousers, I noticed one shoe was missing. At that stage I didn't worry too much as he is always playing with the velcro, and often loses one shoe. Later as I came to get him ready for home I began searching for the shoe. I checked washing machine, cupboards, tumble dryer, bin, and every room in the house. It must be in the car. I checked the car as I put him in the seat. No joy. Husband was home, so he got out a torch as did one of the neighbours, and they checked the garage area. No Joy, so I just had to drive him home.  I didn't feel too happy, a bump on his head, a lost shoe, my packing only half done.
Daughter was slightly late home, and she wasn't too happy either. I did offer to pay for new shoes. When I got home, husband was having a snooze, so I had another look for the shoe, round the garden with a torch, round the garage area, and another check around the house. We were rather late setting off for Mum in law's, and when we got to Pease Pottage services in was about 9.45, and everywhere was closing up. We chose a sandwich each and a coffee, then took it in turns to nip into Marks for some odds and ends,  as they were closing at 10; him for breakfast stuff , me for a 'dessert'. then we finished our meal and got back to the car. there was a bit of fog about, but not too bad, and we eventually arrived just after 11pm. I think that I will talk about the weekend later.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Drizzly grey November, The year is winding down,(copyright Winfield Clark)

One of the things that I dislike about November is the weather. It is grey and miserable. We have had rain. mostly overnight, fog in the mornings too, but mostly unrelenting grey skies. so I was quite surprised to hear on the radio the other day that T shirt weather was to return. It has been pretty mild up to now, the coldest weather was when we were away about 5 weeks ago. Today however the sun has been shining, and this afternoon I was tempted out for a walk.
On Monday I went for my final appointment with the physio over at Harpenden. On the way I dropped off some stuff at the charity shop and bought newspapers. I was not with the physio long, she talked to me about my exercises, checked the strength in my shoulder, and then gave me a quick massage to relieve my 'tight' back. I had to be home for 12, but was pleased to see that it was only 11.16 as I was leaving. I went into Harpenden, deciding that if I could find a place to park I would nip into Sainsbury's and buy some bananas.I soon found a space, (free for one hour) and got the bananas. I also found the DVD of the new series of Downton Abbey so got that as well.
I was home before 12, I had been told that my second chest of drawers was to be delivered, between 12 and 3. I had cleared coats from the hall to allow easy access to the stairs, so all  I to do was wait. I had lunch and then sat for a while with the newspaper. I went into the kitchen at one point and saw that a van had pulled up outside. This time there were 2 delivery men. They carried the chest upstairs and left it in a bedroom doorway as requested , as I had to empty the old one first. I had a cup of coffee then armed myself with scissors, and a couple of plastic boxes. I had already moved a couple of drawers into the front bedroom, as the runners no longer worked, and they had collapsed onto each other. I set about emptying the remaining drawers into the plastic boxes sorting as I went, some for the bin, some for the charity shop bag, but most still wearable to keep. The carcase of the old chest was heaved over the bed, with some difficulty, space is so tight there is no room to go round, that went into our Son's old room temporarily with the drawers piled on top.
I then hoisted the Dyson over the bed to clear up the accumulated dust, and continued to vacuum the rest of the upstairs rooms, and down the stairs. After a short break to rest my back, I went back up and cut the packing materials off the new chest. It is all good solid wood. I took all of the drawers out then proceeded to drag the chest to our room. Getting it over the bed without hurting my disc was a bit of a nightmare, but even worse was trying to get it so that I could lower it into place. Eventually I got it at the right angle and there! It fitted beautifully. I was just glad that husband hadn't been there to see me, he would have thought I was trying to give myself a heart attack, although I suppose another pair of hands would have been a help.
Another break, then I set about slotting the drawers in, and putting things away. The bedside lamp and my radio alarm on top, and my collection of  bears having had a quick going over with the Dyson were also restored to their normal place. I left somethings for another day as I was pretty exhausted by my efforts.
Husband and I watched the first episode of Downton after dinner. The scene changes in this series seem to be quite sudden, and I was disappointed that there was a bit of mild swearing. I suppose that they are trying to make the trench scenes 'authentic'.

 bedside light and alarm

My bear family, although one may actuallly be a monkey

On Tuesday I was debating walking into town, when I got a phone call from Daughter. The petrol warning light on her car doesn't work and she had discovered she was out of fuel. I said I would call round later, but then decided to go  before I went into town. I went to the local Sainsbury's petrol station and used my can, managing to spill petrol over my hand as I tried to get the nozzle in the correct place. I duly delivered the petrol, put it in Daughter's tank, and went in for awhile for a hand wash,chat and a sly cuddle with Nathaniel. I had to play a game to get the cuddle, he was so busy.
Back home, I abandoned the car and set off for town on foot. I bought a card for a  friend who has recently had a baby, and a small gift. She has also called her boy Nathaniel. Home then by bus, and a soup lunch before falling asleep whilst reading the paper. Later I dismantled the old chest, loaded it into the car with the drawers and took it to the dump. someone had left piano there, and no one could resist plonking a few notes. I bravely tried the right hand first line of 'The Entertainer', but then beat a hasty retreat in case the staff thought I could really play and demanded a concert.
At Weightwatchers on Wednesday I had only lost 1lb, that left me half a pound short of a stone, how maddening is that?  I popped in on Daughter, but then that made me late for Sainsbury's. so I was running late for a while. however I didn't have to go to parent and toddler's and Nathaniel has been taking afternoon naps so is unable to get there. I did some ironing and changed our bedlinen. It's been so warm that I haven't got the winter duvet down from the loft yet.
I woke with a start on Thursday when husband came in to tell me it was time I was up.  I was in the middle of a dream. Uuurgh, when I wake like that I feel dreadful all day. I had been sleeping better than earlier in the week, having gone back to a nightly Ovaltine.  I took Nathaniel for a walk, via Sainsbury's and Dunelm Mill. we ended up at the playground and he enjoyed the swing, a few short goes on the slide, and toddle round in the leaves.Home for lunch, then a nap, so I missed Women's Hour again, as he was asleep when we should have gone. At some time on Thursday he found an old radio belonging to Husband tucked down by the armchair. He had great fun pressing the buttons and making odd noises.
On Friday when I collected him he was still in his pyjamas. They had had a terrible night with him, he may well be teething, as his upper premolars are overdue. I washed and dressed him, and took him to my house, taking his favourite toy with us. The car tyres were due to be changed over, if you remember we now have 2 all weather tyres, which needed to go on the back. I left the car at our usual place, got out the buggy and walked to the paper shop. By the time I got back the car was ready.
When we got home I defrosted a beef dinner and began helping Nathaniel to eat it. I suddenly noticed that his eyes were closing between mouthfuls, so I took him out of the highchair and he nestled into my shoulder. As Soon as I put him in the travel cot however he protested with a yell or two. I turned on the baby monitor, and when I got downstairs all I could hear was the soft music that it plays.
The internet had packed up for the second day running, so I had a doze then got on belatedly with making my Christmas cake. I had left the fruit soaking overnight. Suddenly I realised that I had no soft brown sugar, only demerara. When Nathaniel woke after 2 and a quarter hours I gave him his snack, and added the yoghurt which he had missed at lunch. At one pint he was trying to cram 4 mini breadsticks into his mouth at once!
Then I bundled him into the buggy using the cosy toes I bought, and we set of for Sainsbury's for sugar. I meant to get white bread for N but forgot. When we got back I boiled up some pasta bows and for tea he had those chopped up with a stir in sauce, and grated cheese on top. He absolutely loved it. He seems to have gone off satsuma, so I substituted blueberries. At the same time as he was having tea I was also trying to mix the cake and prepare herb crusted haddock. I gathered up his stuff to take him home,and missed a call from Daughter. However when we got to her home the lights were on, she had left work early, so she was able to get him out of the car seat, he was delighted. Husband called round, but we didn't stay long and when we got home I soon had the haddock and the Christmas cake in the oven. Fortunately I have a double oven cooker. Friday evening we relaxed with more Downton, and husband gave up on the internet. it was still accessible on his netbook. On Saturday wehen i got up he was already working on it. He took a break to walk into town with me for the shopping, we had lunch in M&S, I tried their Christmas soup, and was able to point it afterwards as they had it in their fridges. The propoints value is not too horrendous. Husband tried the Irish stew soup.
After getting the bus back up he continued trying to fix the internet whilst I tried to doze and read papers. Not much success at dozing as he was using a hand held Vax on the computer, and he actually cleared his desk.
By early evening he had fixed it, and after a chat with both sisters on the phone we settled down to gammon and eggs, with parmentier potatoes.
This morning we only just made it for the Remembrance service, at one point we had plenty of time, but then we were running late and had to go the long way round due to road closures for the local parade. We were pleased to see some visitors, and hope that they enjoyed the sermon too. After church this evening I phoned mum in Law.  Her friend has been moved to a hospital nearer home, but her husband doesn't think that she will walk again, and she keeps saying odd things, ie that she is expecting a baby (she is 70). She told another visitor she had been in a car crash, and doesn't even seem aware of her surroundings, she is  in a new hospital now in a single room. Poor lady who knows if she will ever recover her memory. Must go now as I'm tired and my back is aching. Have a good week all.

Monday, 7 November 2011

No dusk, no dawn, no proper time of day...

Quite a busy week this week, but I did rather start off on the wrong foot. I set off for Harpenden on Monday morning for what I hoped to be my final physio appointment, only to realise as I walked down the hospital corridor, that my appointment was for Nov 7th. Oops! I checked with reception and yep, I had it wrong, I had mislaid my card when we were away. I decided to have a wander around Harpenden instead, ending up in M&S simply food feeling really hungry and buying a roll that was a massive WW 10 propoints.
Monday I had a bad night again, and struggled to get up on Tuesday. I was due to look after Nathaniel for a couple of hours whilst daughter went into work for a very short course. I suddenly realised that I was running late and didn't have time to pick up my buggy, so I got Daughter to assemble theirs, and took him for a walk to the paper shop, then along past the junior school, and around the big 'posh' estate there. After we got back he had almost fallen asleep on my shoulder when his Mum arrived back. I came home feeling pretty rough and had a doze, then spent over an hour ironing in the early evening.
Wednesday morning was Weightwatchers, and despite me feeling as if I hadn't lost any, I had in fact lost 1.5 pounds. Not far off a stone now! Off to the supermarket, and again shocked at how much I spent. I bought a joint of beef that was expensive, I usually buy the large vacuum sealed joints and cut them in half, but there were none to be seen. Later I phoned daughter to see if she wanted to go to parent and toddlers, but she was tired too,so we didn't go. Why are we all so tired, is it 'the hour' time difference? On Wednesday I also made and posted Birthday cards for my niece.
It's been so dull here I am putting the light on at about 4pm. I may have to resort to using my lightbox soon, the days are so dull and the sun almost a distant memory. I try to walk as much as possible, but don't succeed every day. Thursday however I managed a good long walk. There was no Women's hour at the church, instead the Christian bookshop at Dunstable brought a lot of stock over and held a bookstall. I took Nathaniel in the buggy, and popped in a few shops on the way. Nathaniel fell asleep, so when I got there I parked him in a side room, and was able  to browse in peace.I also managed a coffee and a brownie.I stocked up on Christmas cards, bought some board books for Nathaniel and a Faith Cook novel for me.
Nathaniel woke just before I was ready to leave, I think that the little boy he normally plays with may have had a hand n the waking. I set off through town intending to get the bus in the town centre, but suddenly realised the time, and thought I had better take him somewhere where we could have lunch. So we went to M&S, he had a sandwich and I had soup, then we shared somed fruit salad. He enjoyed an apple juice too Afterwards we got the bus outside Debenhams, as I couldn't face pushing the laden buggy up the hill.  Nathaniel played for a while then went for another nap. after his meal I took him back home and Grandad called and played with him till Daughter returned, in fact we stayed quite a  while, but dinner was easy, just lamb steaks and veg.
Friday was a quiet day it was miserable and wet. Nathaniel quickly fell asleep in the buggy as I set off for Sainsbury's. I had to put the rain cover on. It brightened up as I left  Sainsbury's and I came the long way back to give me a longer walk Nathaniel woke up as we neared the playground, but the swings and slide would have been too wet to play on. I was felling a bit unwell, so he got into all sorts of mischief played happily  whilst I kept an eye on him. If I was using the keyboard every time I pulled the shelf out he pushed it back in. He kept on pinching the ball out of the mouse, but would put it back when told to. He found my fountain pen, removed the top and jabbed the pen into my arm, and there was me thinking he wouldn't remember his injections! He wouldn't eat his meals, but was soon after my bread when I had some soup. I took him home a little bit earlier than usual, so that he had more room to run around, their living room is bigger than ours and less cluttered. Husband came round so I took the opportunity to go to the loo unaccompanied.
we stayed quite a while again, and when we eventually got home I made fish pie, which was easier than the somewhat fiddly recipe I had planned.
On Saturday we did our usual shopping, taking the car, as both of us were suffering various aches and pains. We came a different way home, just as well, as when we came down the hill the road was blocked with fire engines an ambulance, several police cars and a paramedic fast response car.  The side road which leads to our garage at the rear was clear so we were ok. We joined the rest of the neighbours out at the front. Nosey ? us?  There was a van badly dented at the side, with one of the nearside wheels underneath the van. I had seen someone being helped out of a vehicle onto the grass bank Fortunately the  fire engines didn't seem to be needed and the paramedic said that there were a couple of people being checked over in the ambulance. We couldn't work out which other car was involved. It may make the local papers but accidents don't always The last accident along here was about a month ago. I had seen a lampost down on one side road with a car in front of it. On Saturday the local paper delivery man was enjoying the scene and he told us that he had been around when the car crashed into the lamppost. He also informed us that it a was a Mercedes, stolen from a local dealer.
We don't bother with fireworks, I was put off them completely a few years ago when people were killed by Chinese fireworks. We haven't been to a display for years, the one in St Albans where we did go tended to be the same every year. Thankfully most of the local fireworks were over by 8.30, but then some idiots started letting them off at midnight. I was glad we no longer have a dog. he alternated between being terrified and wanting to go out and bark at them.
Daughter had gone to a hen weekend, so I rang Son In Law on Sunday to find out what he was doing for lunch. He hadn't anything planned, so as he didn't have the car We offered to take him and Nathaniel to church with us, with lunch at our home to follow. Nathaniel however was a bit noisy, so I took him into the church hall, where he obligingly fell asleep on my shoulder. I laid him across 2 chairs and was able to listen to the sermon which is piped through. Nathaniel woke at one point, so I picked him up, and he fell asleep again. He had just woken up as the service ended, and husband and Son in law decided to skip communion and came through with all my stuff. When we got home we got a call from Daughter, who was on her way back, so we had a lovely family Sunday lunch. Nathaniel finished his yoghurt and fancied a taste of our ice cream. He didn't stop at one spoonful either, not being satisfied till we showed him it was all gone.
He declined a nap, the only person lucky enough to get one was Husband who very determinedly went and lay down upstairs. As Daughter and Son in Law haven't been to their church much over the last few weeks having been away a lot, I offered to babysit. So we took Nathaniel home and I bathed him, getting rather a shock when he threw one of the cups I had given him to play with out of the bath. It was full of water and I got a bit wet. He went to sleep very quickly, and only cried briefly once when someone let off particularly loud fireworks. I settled down with my new book, and had read more than half, then had a long break, before they arrived home later than expected. They were full of apologies, they had met lots of people they hadn't seen for a while.
I came home and after a quick late tea phoned Mum in law. She is still feeling breathless , but a hospital ECG was pronounced ok, so it may be down to her change of eye drops. She has stopped using them for the time being. Her friend, who was so badly injured about 3 months ago, has been moved to a hospital nearer home. Sadly she still 'talks rubbish' to quote her visitors, so it may be that her brain has been affected by the 2 bouts of meningitis she is thought to have suffered whilst in the London hospital
Whilst driving to church yesterday morning we had quite a jolt seeing yet more police cars, police tape, groups of young people gathered near the market square, lots of police officers  and piles of flowers. Later we heard a young man of 21 had died from stab wounds,and 2 17 year olds had been arrested. Why 17 year olds are roaming the streets at 1.00am is beyond me. They are too young for pubs and clubs. My 2 were rarely out late and were always collected when they were that age. I suppose though that I am an old fashioned parent, who actually disciplined her children.
We Christians are considered out of date and out of touch, but when people gave more respect and honour to God and His day there were not the problems in society that there are now. Must close now as I have work to do

Monday, 31 October 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream....I wish!

The beginning of last week wasn't terribly exciting, back in the old routine, washing the stuff we had brought home with us, walking to Sainsbury's to get stuff, as I'd only really catered for the weekend, and trying to slide back into non holiday mode.
Coming home from holidays often brings another problem for me. I don't always sleep well in a strange bed. If the bed is too hard, it can aggravate my disc problem, as can long journeys. During the week away, I found the bed increasingly uncomfortable, should have taken the mattress topper, but it is so bulky, and on holiday last year in Dorset the bed was so hard that it made no difference and I ended up in the other bedroom. I began to feel the warning signs, the pain in my ankle, the burning in my hip, the ache in my leg muscle, and finally the niggle in the back, all signs that my back isn't coping, and the disc is swollen, and the squashed nerve complaining.
You would think then that I would sleep well when back home. Not so! My body has to adjust to my own bed again. plus the annoying cattarhal cough came back, so all in all I struggled to sleep last week.
I had been asked by Son to pass on something to Daughter, so was only too pleased to be able to visit Daughter and see our Grandson again. He makes me laugh, he is always so 'busy' never still, he reminds me of my son at that age. My Mum used to say for many years 'that child is never still'. It was quite true, he used to burn off calories at a great rate, till he hit the teenage years!
Some of the crockery replacements I had ordered hadn't turned up, and I managed to contact the seller who promised a refund. Fortunately I managed to locate more on ebay. I now have a full set plus one spare except  for the cereal bowls. I had discovered that a comfortable range of shoes had been discontinued, so set about tracking some down online.
I also rang our friends C&C, but the wife had a cold so my visit to them was postponed again. A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the fraud on our mobile phone account. The promised refund had not materialised, they had deducted our latest bill from it, but I was annoyed as we were getting close to having  'more month left than money', a situation that would not have occurred had they refunded the money immediately.  I got the letter confirming that I would not be getting any more pension from the NHS, so had to gather all the paperwork on that in order to compose yet another letter to the tax people.
Wednesday was Weight Watchers. there were fewer there as it was half term. the good news is that despite being away I had still managed to lose a pound. I then went to Sainsbury's for the weekly shop, spending more than I had intended to, but I had a triple points voucher. so managed to use that and get triple points on an expensive shop. How sad am I? However I now have over £70 worth of points, so Sainsbury's will once again pay for my Christmas. Husband had left early for a meeting in Bristol, and was home a bit earlier, so was able to refit the child car seat which we had removed prior to going away, to give me more legroom, and also more room for the stuff we take with us, and the shopping on the way to the self catering properties.
Thursday morning I struggled to be up early to go and collect Nathaniel. He however was bright eyed and bushy tailed and raring to go. He managed  to lose a shoe as he pottered around my house. As I came to load the washing machine, I discovered it in there. His efforts at putting everything down the toilet have been thwarted, so he has now found a new repository for stuff! Reminder to self, check washing machine for foreign objects before use on Thursdays and Fridays. He was soon up to his old trick of pressing the washing machine buttons, he loves the way they flash and beep, and I had to completely reset one cycle to ensure it got the required wash time.
I decided to take him into town to get some photocopies of documents and we set off, with him in the buggy, and me chatting away to him, pointing things out. I tried to let him walk with reins on, but he objected and asked to be picked up. He then started to play with the buggy handles. I put him down again and redistributed the shopping on the buggy, so that it wouldn't topple over. He complained again, so I abandoned attempts and he went back in the buggy.
When I finally reached the library it was closed. New opening hours mean it opens from 2-7 on Thursdays. there was a photocopying shop nearby, so I went there and got the copies done for me. Nathaniel fell asleep on the way back through town, but woke up when we reached the bus stop, so he was wide awake when we got home. I quickly reheated something for his dinner, and cooked some veg to go with it. the veg were too hot however, then I put them in the fridge and forgot about them. He ate his cottage pie, and some veg that had cooled, then lifted his bowl and attempted to say 'all gone'. After I had given him his pot of yoghurt, I remembered the veg. I put them on his tray, and he dipped some of the carrot slices in the yoghurt. After lunch he played for a while, then I put him upstairs for a nap. he eventually settled, and I caught up with a couple of jobs, then had a rest myself. All too soon he was awake, and came down for snack time. Later I gave him an egg mayo sandwich, but he wasn't keen, he wasn't too keen on his satsuma either, so I let him get down, and got ready to take him home. Grandad arrived  when we were at Daughter's, and  when Daughter came home we chatted for a while then came home. As I was tired I did something quick; salmon steaks with veg. Another disturbed night, and I struggled to get up on Friday morning. I decided on a fairly quiet day with Nathaniel, a trip to the park on the way back from our walk, he didn't fall asleep this time. I thought he was eating his chicken casserole but afterwards I found a little pile of chicken bits on the seat of the high chair. He went for a nap pretty soon after, and had a good hour and a half.
 I gave him his snack earlier than usual, then he just played quietly, it was a really warm day, so I had the back door open and  the safety gate in place. I gave him a cheese spread sandwich for tea, I had discovered that he knows how to put the cover on his sippy cup, but he had to bring it to me to have it removed. It is fascinating to watch him developing and learning new skills, we are so privileged to live so close. Once again husband came to Daughter's and played for awhile with his grandson.
I had been more organised, and whilst N was eating his tea had prepared a casserole, so when we got home agin all I had to do was veg. I actually got to bed earlier on Friday and slept really well.
Saturday was the usual shopping, but we went by car and then took our sandwiches up to Ashridge, then got out our cameras. I was disappointed  that  all the trees were the same, beech, and there was not much variation in colour. we drove the scenic route home, and  I made a hot pot using lean lamb. We remembered to put the clocks back, and I had a reasonable night.
Daughter and Son in Law had gone to his parents for the weekend, as it was his father's Birthday. Daughter was meant to be doing creche at church on the Sunday, but could not find anyone to replace her, so she gamely got a train to St Albans on Sunday morning, then she rang us up after church, husband collected her, and she had lunch with us, then dragged me out for walk. After tea she came to our church service with us which was good.  The Pastor was up to his usual high standard.
Unfortunately, her husband had taken Nathaniel with him to his home church, and in the creche there Nathaniel toppled over and cut his head on a radiator, so he spent 2 hours in A&E,. They glued the cut together, it was small but deep. His daddy brought him back home after the Birthday tea. Daughter says that when he arrived home he was quite glad to see her.
Well I think I will save what I did today for next week's blog. I am not the world's fastest or most accurate typist. I will try and upload some pics of the woods.

carpet of leaves

a giant begins to fall

 a pigeon bathes in a puddle

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A Wettish and Windy Welsh week

Well here I am, back from a week in North Wales. I had my flu jab nice and early on the Saturday, then we spent time packing, tidying the house, and loading the car etc. We didn't set off very early, and had two stops, one for lunch at Corley, they have a Waitrose there now, so we had a browse there. I chose a chilli jacket potato from the Eat menu, but I was disappointed as the jacket potato was a watery variety. We stopped again, at Sainsbury's Chester, to stock up on food for the weekend, and had a cuppa in their cafe.
We arrived at the farm cottage where we were to stay, and were greeted by Holly, one of the farm dogs, who came into the cottage with us till we shooed her out. She is a golden labrador.
Rear view of the cottage
 the 'view' after sunset

 The farmer's wife came over and  chatted to us about the cottage, apparently she and her husband renovated it, with the help of his brother. It was derelict old bakery and coach house, they lived there for 11 years, then moved into the main farmhouse, a beautiful red brick Georgian  house, built in 1776. After a meal, I drove down to see my sister, whilst husband flopped in front of the TV to recover from the drive.
On Sunday we went to the little chapel in Rhuddlan, Gosen. They have a new pastor, an American. he was very good, very simple but very clear and easy to listen to. After wards we chatted over coffee, and I caught up with D. She  was converted at a the same church as me, around a year later. Her brother died last year, and it seems he came back to God before he died. He was a very gentle chap, but like his father had an alcohol problem, although he hadn't touched it in the 3 years before he died.
We went back to the cottage for a steak lunch, and then set off for my Sister's home where we saw some family members, ate tea, and watched TV, unusual for us. We saw parts of Downton Abbey, but will have to wait a while for the rest when the DVD appears. Maggie Smith doles out her usual one-liners.
On Monday we went down into Rhyl.  It was blustery and showery, and husband went to get his hair cut, it had grown rather long, and he looks like a different man now. We had lunch in a small cafe where we have been before, I say lunch but typically husband chose the 'all day' breakfast, and I had a lovely warm honey and mustard chicken salad. It was really quite yummy, and better than cold chicken which can be quite dry. Sadly the cafe is up for sale, as the owner now has grandchildren and understandably wants to see more of them. They do a lovely yoghurt surprise, which is low fat yoghurt with fruit salad and meringue, so I didn't feel too guilty, as all are allowed at WW.
We had a good walk round Rhyl, and I used an internet cafe, as husband's laptop is so slow, and the connection not wonderful at the cottage. Rhyl has a very short season compared to somewhere like St Ives, but they do get people there at half term. Most people seem to be day trippers though. They have reprieved the M&S store, at least till the new one opens in Prestatyn. We walked on the promenade, but had  to keep away from the sea wall as the sand was blowing around, and it was going in eyes, hair etc We then went back to the cottage, read papers and dozed till dinner, then visited sister in the evening.
Tuesday we went over to Llandudno. I bought a pair of shoes at the 'posh' shoe shop, they were rather expensive but comfortable. Then we went to Tiffany's which was always our favourite place. They have dropped most of my favourites from the menu, so I had a Greek salad which tuned out to be a bit of a disaster. Husband had lasagne. The Greek salad was feta, with anchovies, horribly salty; a couple of olives then a mountain of iceberg, about two slices of tomato and pepper and loads of cucumber. I loathe cucumber, and as I piled it up on the side of the dish, I did wonder whether they had sliced a whole cucumber into my dish! We would have loved a coffee, but were ignored till I went to pay the bill. We may have to find a new place to eat.
We did our usual tour of the shops,  hurrying across side streets, as the wind was  quite strong. I bought hat and gloves in M&S, as I hadn't packed any. I put them on straight away. When I met up with husband I asked if I looked like the village idiot (probably not very PC) and he said ' not quite'. I am always a bit self conscious of beret style hats but it kept my ears warm. We didn't buy much else, but got plenty of exercise walking around.
On Wednesday we were not sure where to go, husband suggested Conwy, but I thought it might be too windy by the coast. I found a leaflet in the cottage on Mold, so we went there instead. had lunch in a nice little cafe, soup and a sandwich, just the job for a cold day. The cafe was called 'truly scrumptious'. Then we wandered around markets, indoor and out, browsed shops, not many big chains, and I found husband a new spout brush for his work teapot, which he uses for green tea. We came 'home' the scenic rout via Ruthin, Trefnant and St Asaph.
On Thursday I overslept, husband had been staying up late, so had I. so we were late leaving for Chester. It was a sunny day, not much wind. Husband set off for the pasty shop, and I bought a sandwich in Marks, then headed down Souter's Lane to eat it in the sunshine in the Groves, by the river.
children being taught about the amphitheatre, by a 'Roman' guide

The Newgate

pleasure boat on the river
Bandstand, and  suspension Bridge

Husband and I met up for a while, then went our separate ways, then met up for coffee. I bought some fleecy joggers in M&S. Will have to see how warm they are.before throwing my worst ones out. Footsore, we picked up a dinner main course in M&S, then headed back to the park and ride There are massive roadworks in Boughton, at the A55 roundabout, so were glad we didn't need to go to Sainsbury's. When we got back, I lit the log burner for the first time, and gave Reg our faithful farm/guard dog a treat I had bought at Chester Market. I nearly lost my hand!. Husband thinks I am a softy.
The old range and oven, no longer in use
some of the Dairy herd

The Lovely Reg

Alcove in the walled garden.
Thursday evening we went to sister's, and as we left said our goodbyes. Friday morning I popped over to Sainsbury's for some lunch, and flowers, then off to the cemetery to visit Mum and Dad's grave. I never seem to be able to find it first look, I must write it down. Back to the cottage, a quick lunch, then finish packing, tidy cottage, and inform M&J cottage owners that we are leaving early to visit Son and wife.
Leave at about 3, and have a lovely traffic free drive to Sandbach, where they are now renting a house, having sold their's in Macc, they are looking for something to buy in the area as it is nearer their church. Son however still works in Macc, now full time, but still not earning much, and working most Saturdays. Please pray he will get something better, nearer home.We arrive too early, so head back into town centre, wander round the shops, most cafes closing up, but find a cafe in Waitrose for a cuppa. Arrive back about 10 minutes before Daughter in Law, and have a tour of the (massive) rented house. Son arrives home and he cooks dinner whilst we chat, then we spend a pleasant evening, going to bed early. I don't sleep well, I've been in too hard a bed at the cottage, which has upset my disc problem, probably my own fault as I didn't bring the mattress topper, ( very bulky).
Next morning see Son briefly, have first shower for a  week, no shower in cottage, the only bad point, although I did use the bath, but not ideal for hair washing. We walked into the town centre, took Daughter in Law out for lunch, browsed an antique place, then bought food for when we got back, from Waitrose, to save having to shop here at home. A good journey home except for congestion at Birmingham on M6, an accident involving a few cars and a lorry. Seeing the awful queues going North, we are glad that we no longer have to go away at half term! Stopped at Corley for a break, then home about 6.30.  Unload car and try to sort out mess before dinner.
Good to be back with good phone reception, (cottage walls at least 18in thick), and good internet connection. Back to our own church today, numbers down a bit as it's half term, ease back into our Pastor's preaching style, and feel challenged by preaching. Back to Normal tomorrow, but at least I  relaxed last week.

Friday, 14 October 2011

A taxing time, a tidying time, and a telephone nuisance.

Well I am blogging early this week as I have a busy weekend ahead, starting with my flu jab first thing tomorrow morning. It has been an up and down week for me really
I was very cross on Monday to get a letter from the tax people to say that they could not refund the £400 odd pounds they had taken from my trivial commuted NHS pension as I had not sent various parts of a P45, which I had told them on the form I did not have. I spent the best part of the next hour holding on the phone whilst listening to all the messages that  are recorded to prevent us from actually speaking to a human being. Briefly the tax office told me I needed a P45, I explained I hadn't got one. I was told to contact my employer. When I pointed out that I last worked for the NHS in 2006, I was told to contact NHS pensions, to ask for a P45. They also said I 'had started receiving an NHS pension'. I replied that I have not and would not receive a penny over the amount they had sent me. NHS pensions said they could not send me a P45. They suggested I spoke to 'The Paymaster'. More hanging on. The paymaster's office said they could not send me a P45, but the chap to whom I spoke did concede that he could send me a letter of explanation. I asked what was meant by the assertion that I had started receiving a pension, and he said 'Well you have, but you got it all in one'. I should receive the letter in the next 10 days. By the time I had finished my head was reeling and to be honest I felt like crying Latr in theweek we got our mobile phone bill and found they had used some of the huge overpayment to reduce our bill. they were intending to carry it forward, till husband insisted on a refund.
I went for a walk to help clear my head, then spent quite a lot of time sorting out summer clothes, ironing and putting stuff away. I have kept a few T shirts handy though, as it is quite mild.    I got the winter stuff out, I can get into one of the skirts that I couldn't get into last winter, but the other is still a bit tight. Funnily enough they are both CC, and the same size. I hasten to add that I can't normally afford CC clothes, these 2 skirts were both reduced considerably when I bought them. Sadly we have lost our CC, the nearest is a good 5 miles away. St Albans has also lost its Edinburgh Woollen Mill. I often get Mum in Law a voucher from them. I'll have to wait till we get to Llandudno, or Chester. I need warm joggers, most of mine are ancient, but M&S don't do much in the brushed lining these days, and they are not as warm without.
On Tuesday I called my friends C& C with a view to visiting them. However the husband said the wife was unwell and had gone for a nap, so I decided to go to Watford instead. I have been keeping my food processor upstairs as since husband bought a coffee machine, the working surfaces are too full. When I get my new cupboard up, things will improve. So I decided to buy a mincer from Lakeland as  bits of my old one were missing, and rusty so I had ditched it. I also went into John Lewis, they have their Christmas decorations out in the basement, very beautiful, but I intend to make do with last year's. I may buy some new lights, but that is all.
 I walked as far as the old TJ Hughes / Clements, the furniture dept of Clements now have 2 shops near the market. good to know they are still trading. I grabbed a wrap form M&S, stocked up on low fat sausages, and got back to the lifts to find they were not working and hiked up to the 3rd floor of the car park. I pottered around doing things after lunch, then left home about 5.15 for an appointment with my consultant. Bad move, I should have left earlier. Rush hour traffic was awful, but after taking a short cut in Harpenden I arrived in plenty of time. When I made the appointment, 6pm on October the 11th sounded ages away, but here it was! He was very pleased with me, and said he would like to see me again in about a year, but to ring him if any problems in between. There was a query recently over whether husband's medical insurance would continue due to the merger, but it seems to be safe, at least till he retires.
Husband wanted to look for something and did some tidying. he unearthed my 'round tuit' which I had taken down last Christmas to put up a decoration. It is now back in place but I now need a new place for the picture of Nathaniel which  had taken its place. Husband asle produced 3 paper piles, one for shredding, one for recycling, and small one for filing.
I got my Lanham's brochure for St Ives this week, we haven't been for 2 years, so I got the go ahead from husband to book the flat which wasn't in the brochure last year.  On Wednesday I set off for Weight watchers thinking I hadn't lost, only to be told I had lost one and a half pounds.  Strangely enough, I seem to beeating more on this diet than before. I have reached my 5%, so am going for the next 5%. I took off for Sainsbury's afterwards, didn't spend quite as much, then after lunch daughter and I went to the last hour or so of parent and toddlers. Nathaniel seems to enjoy it more now that he can run around. We stayed to help clear up afterwards.
Yesterday I picked Nathaniel up at 8am, then brought him back to my house. I needed to go to town to transfer some money to pay the deposit for next year's holiday, so off we set with the buggy. There is a narrow pavement, and I could see a young woman with 2 young labradors coming towards me. I pulled as far over as I could with the buggy, and Nathaniel said 'Dog, dog'. The young woman was struggling to to control the dogs, and I was speechless as once again poor Nathaniel had his face licked by one of the dogs. The young woman told him to get down, but he repeated his actions, the young woman did not apologise, in fact she spoke only to the dog. As I wiped Nathaniel's face with a baby wipe, I said 'An apology would have been nice'. I don't know if she heard me but I feel like firing a letter off to the local paper about inconsiderate people who don't control their dogs. I am a dog lover, but wouldn't have let my dog behave like that when out walking. Fortunately Nathaniel doesn't seem to have been put off, But I dread the day when it is an unpredicatable dog. I met an old friend in town and we chatted for a while One of her Daughters was a dancer and led a fairly glamorous life, now she has 'retired' from dancing (she is 27), and is working in an art gallery. She is one of these very attractive slim young ladies, who seems to look good in anything she wears.
Nathaniel fell asleep in the buggy again, and I left him asleep when we got home whilst I did some housework and prepared lunch. I waited till he was properly awake before I gave him his lamb casserole, and he ate quite well. I was annoyed to be rung by BT for the umpteenth time, asking to speak to husband. Why do they expect him to be at home in the middle of the day? If I go out when I get in they have  always tripped the answering machine when I get back and it sits there beeping at me. I told the young woman that it was tantamount to harrasssment. They haven't rung today!!
We made it to women's hour, just halfway through the first hymn. I had prepared the study, but couldn't answer the questions as I couldn't find my glasses to read my notes. Nathaniel played fairly quietly with the other young children, but insisted on giving toy farm animals to our oldest member, 95,one by one. She ended up with a pile on her lap, poor dear. At the end of the meeting I found my glasses in the pocket of my fleece!
Afterwards the little ones ran around the hall again, full of energy and shrieking with laughter, Oh the joy of being alive, with no cares!
Home, and we met a neighbour whom we hadn't seen for a while, she was amazed how he was walking. we caught up on news then I came indoors with N. A nap for him, and a soothing cuppa for me, then after an hour, up for a tea of scrambled eggs with cheese and then toast. I barely had 5 minutes back at daughter's before she arrived home, followed by her Dad, who had taken my car home and walked up the hill. We stayed till 6.45 when Daughter's husband came home.
Today has been different, N's Daddy has had the day off and has been looking after him. I haven't been at a loose end, have been catching up with house work, walked to Sainsbury's found some new exciting Oatso simple flavours, including a chocolate and raspberry. I also spent part of the morning potting up some bulbs and winter flowers, then planted the rest of the pansies in the flower bed. I also tidied the garden a bit. I spent an hour ironing too.
I called in on Son-in -Law to lend them something, he had had a doze whilst N was napping. No wonder, he had walked miles, pushing N in a pushchair a lot heavier that my lightweight buggy. N was having a snack, he indicated he wanted me to hold him, but it was only so that he could reach the microwave, he wanted to play with the buttons but is not allowed. Just as I left he wanted to come to me too, but only to reach the door handle to try and turn it; cupboard love, that's what it is.  He was weighed today and is apparently now 24lb
I had planned an easy meal, oven fish and chips, but it was not very successful, as the oven wasn't hot enough, some of the thermostat numbers have worn off the dial. I really must start to seriously look for another cooker. One burner doesn't work at all, and one burns with a lopsided flame.
Well it's almost time for bed, I hope the weather stays warm for a bit longer, one forecast says it will, another says it will get colder, do they really know?