Sunday, 27 February 2011

Final February Footnotes

Well that week passed quickly. Daughter called in on Monday afternoon, she had walked into town, almost  twice as far for her as for me, as she was meeting the ladies from her ante natal class. She broke her all uphill journey here for a couple of hours and we chatted and watched baby playing. A welcome distraction for me.
On Tuesday I managed to get a Doctor's appointment, time for my annual review. I saw the Doctor with whom we are actually registered, and I told him about my shoulder problems. He said that I needed to see a physio, but there is a 4 month waiting list. I told him that last time I went to a local clinic, and he said 'We aren't sending patients there any more because of the cost'. I told him that HSA had reimbursed me, so he said 'Well if they still will, go ahead'. I was fortunate to get a cancellation. The doctor also sent me for my annual blood tests but I didn't have to have cholesterol this year, so I went straight to pathology.
There was a poor little chap there whose Nan had to have some sort of test or consultation in a private room and he ran out in terror. It transpired that he had had an op himself a while ago, and had been traumatised. The staff tried to placate him till his Nan reappeared. He obviously thought that the appointment was for him. I walked back through town having walked down, and then got the bus by Debenhams.
Wednesday was quite a quiet day, no parent and toddlers as it was half term. For some reason I was running late for Sainsbury's. I also popped into Dunelm Mill for a couple of cushions, and some everyday tablecloths. Husband thinks we need to keep the new table unmarked as we paid a lot for it.
Th replacement drawer front for my washing machine arrived, so I cleaned out the area around the drawer, and then fixed it on. We live in such a hard water area that if it isn't cleaned regularly it gets full of gunk and sticks, then the handle pulls off. The fitting is a bit flimsy too.
I have been trying to sort out our summer holiday, but the properties in the St Ives Holidays brochure seem to be getting fewer, in the part where we usually stay. The rest either are too expensive, i e £900 a week or more, or have no parking or are really pokey. So I started looking elsewhere.I had contacted the lady whose flat we used to stay in when we first went as a family, and which we outgrew when the family got older, but she rang this week to say that their flat is now a permanent let. I have been looking at Yorkshire and have found a promising looking cottage inland from Whitby, which is very reasonable. Must send off an enquiry.
I am sleeping better at nights, but am still catching up in the daytime too, so missed Women's hour again. I have however started spring cleaning the kitchen cupboards.
I visited the physio on Friday, and she thinks my shoulder has become a bit frozen, so I have got exercises and an appointment next week. She checked that there was no referred pain from my spine, but most of my spine is tender, so I suffered a bit from that. I bumped into Son's best friend's Mum, from when he was at primary school. They were born about 5 hours apart, so had known J since then.  I wasn't 100% happy with the friendship at the time as B was quite naughty and a dominant character, and Son was quite happy to follow him. Fortunately the primary head split them up in year 5, so the mischief was confined to the playground. J is doing what I once did, working for the hospital clerical Bank, but in the complaints dept at Watford, so I suspect she is rather busy.
I went to collect my repeat prescription later and also got my blood test results. Everything is ok, which is good. I also bumped into C&C, my old friends and we stopped for a chat. I must arrange a date for taking Daughter and Baby to see them. On Friday evening we watched a DVD called 'From time to time', a family DVD, with Alex Etel and some of the cast from Downton Abbey. I counted at least 4. The story is based on The Chimneys of Green Knowe, and is a bit spooky in parts. It is set in wartime England and as in The Waterhorse, the boy has a father who is missing. It was quite enjoyable. I usually enjoy stuff with Maggie Smith.
On Saturday I received a letter form a company from whom I had ordered online to say my credit card had been declined. I was puzzled but sent off a cheque. We went into town and husband disappeared into geeks paradise  our new Maplin store. I had plenty of time to browse for an anniversary card, but found that they were
a)too expensive, ie £5.99,or
b) unsuitable pictures on the front, or
c) the verses were so soppy you would need the sick bucket.
How unromantic you might say, but I have been married long enough to know that love is not just about soppy sentimentality that ignores the other person's faults, but more to do with sticking together through good times and bad, and caring for that person whatever comes our way.
When I met husband he told me that his credit card had been refused in Maplin, much to his embarrassment.
We went in Marks for lunch and Daughter and Son in Law had the same idea, so we all got round two small tables and Baby sat in a baby chair and sucked on bits of bread  roll and butter from those of us who had soup. So we had a happy family time.
When We got home I phoned MBNA and they checked and  they said our card had been blocked. I asked why, and was told. It may have been compromised in a fraud, we were not the only ones and this happens from time to time. I said 'It would have been nice to have been informed' and he said ' There is a letter on its way with a new card and explanation which you should get by Tuesday'  Great!! For two pins I would look elsewhere, but it does have a small money back, so am reluctant to lose that. He was however apologetic.
A while ago I bought some Seville oranges to  make marmalade, but had almost forgotten them, and had borrowed the lemons for other things. I checked them and found 2 oranges had gone mouldy. I scrubbed the rest and after going out after dinner to Sainsbury's for more lemons, set out to make the marmalade. Sainsbury's  still have Seville oranges in stock. I used the pressure cooker to speed things up, and was late to bed. The set looks a bit soft, but I did use a thermometer, and the 'Drip test'. My last batch 2 years ago was a bit disastrous.  I boiled it and boiled it and it would not set.I ended  up using pectin, and it was so dark it looks like Olde English, however it tastes ok.
This time last year we were in the Lake District, a pity we can't afford it every year, but I don't think the scales would look too good after the lovely meals we have there.
Some of the finished product

Monday, 21 February 2011

Big Sister is watching you

I am a little late blogging this week, partly due to having the family round yesterday, partly due to having had 3 bad nights in a row and feeling like nothing on earth last evening. I didn't make it to the evening service which is just as well as I spent part of the time dozing.
It hasn't been a very exciting week, we did go to the dentist me for a checkup, husband for a check up and a replacement filling. I spent most of one morning trying to order 2 items online, eventually succeeded, and have had one item delivered very quickly, (a new chimney for the lamp). I found one on eBay eventually,  A few sites had them but ordering proved difficult.
Daughter came round on Tuesday afternoon as her water was off again. Baby has started having tastes of solid food, so tried out his new high chair. Also on Tuesday I picked up a very nice bunch of a dozen red roses at half the price they were on Monday. Unromantic? Perhaps, but Valentine's day is just a money spinner, and we have never really bothered much with it. I do sometimes top up husband's chocolate store, as it is slightly down since Christmas.
I made it to our ladies' meeting, we had students from EMF in Welwyn. these people often apologise for their poor English, but hey I have no knowledge whatsoever of  Slovenian, Romanian, Hungarian etc. I took our German friend home again, so decided to pop in on Daughter to collect my small set of steps which she borrowed. I spent some time playing with Grandson, whilst she flitted around doing little jobs. She had a friend coming round who has a 5 week old.  She said she had got more done in that short space of time than she had all day. I said that if ever she needed time I would always look after Nathaniel.
On Friday morning I visited my friends at the dance class. They are getting very good and use canes for some routines now. I think I would be hazard with a cane. Baby's photo's were much admired.
That afternoon I went to Daughter's and took Baby out for a walk whilst Daughter sorted the study. I soon realised that the pavements in our town are not buggy friendly. We walked down the hill  across the canal bridge round to Sainsbury's. I walked around Sainsbury's but only saw one person that I know. Baby was very solemn, and hardly took his eyes off my face. I showed him a cat and a dog, but he was nonplussed. He fell asleep as we walked round to my house, I managed to get him down the front steps and into the house without waking him. I nipped up to the bathroom, then managed to get him out again and up the steps whilst he still slept. As I pushed him up the hill, I reflected that I used to push Son up there when Daughter first started school. That must have been about 25 years ago. I must admit I wasn't as fast as  used to be. We arrived back at Daughter's, Baby had woken about halfway up the hill, still very solemn, but soon after arriving home  and taking off his coat he was wreathed in smiles and indeed chuckling. He seems to have quiet periods like this. Last evening he was really shouting, trying out his voice range.
I seem to have some sort of a cold, but not one that involves lots of sneezing. I am due for a meds review this week, I always hate going for those. A while ago one GP said I don't need a cholesterol test every year, but a different GP organised the blood test and insisted on one. I hate making appointments, we have to make them at 8 am.
The week before last I was somewhat annoyed to have 2 callers, both wanting to us to change our energy suppliers. Both in red fleeces, but according to the second one not from the same company. Husband was home when the second one arrived and quickly joined me at the door to endorse the 'We are not interested'. I know that we should never change on the doorstep anyway, and have heard of people getting in a real muddle. As I closed the door I sighed, 'I wish I had some way of seeing who is at the door before going into the hall'. A spy hole isn't feasible with our UPVC door.

 Natahaniel tries some food
Nathaniel tries out his voice range
My new Amaryllis
Nathaniel tries cream cheese
Husband was soon on my case. We now have an infra red camera. with a screen to be installed in the dining room so that I can check who is there before I answer. Hopefully it will be installed next weekend when our new Maplin store opens and husband can buy the necessary cable. So if you come to my front door, beware I may not let you in ;>)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Futher into February, forecast fickle

As I write this blog it is raining. Huge drops sit defiantly on the windows, and a large lone drop shakes on our denuded prunus, but clings on with no intention of falling. There are signs of spring coming; lots of bulbs shooting in the garden, one seems to have survived out at the front where we had the wall built 15 months ago.
This week we have had lots of wind, some drizzly days, the usual grey skies, but also some beautiful warm  sunshine. A mixture with frost thrown in for good measure.
I do get a bit tired of living in artificial light, but one has to actually be able to see what one is doing, not that I seem to have achieved much in the way of housework. I did however manage to dry some clothes on the line one day, or partially dry at least.  I am trying to cut down on tumble drying as our electricity bills are quite high. I visited my hairdresser on Tuesday, just for a cut. I walked down there as parking is so poor in that area. The lady who cut my hair is expecting her second baby, so there was no lack of subject matter, she was telling me all about her IVF. Like me she is an older mum, but because of her age had to pay for her treatment. I am pleased for her, she sounds a good Mum. She is Greek Orthodox.
Feeling much lighter, and pleased to have gone on the 'concession' day, I walked into town and bought a couple of things in M&S. Daughter rang and said she had been to a meeting in St Albans and was meeting a friend for lunch, but would be round later.  I had thought she was coming round the next day, as her water was to be off.  She had actually sent the text Monday evening, but I got it on Tuesday morning. When they eventually arrived I showed the Nathaniel the toys I had bought so that he has something to play with whilst here. He seemed to approve of my choice. I built a cup tower and he immediately demolished it, I did so again with the same result. He much preferred to chew on one of the plastic cups. They stayed till Husband came home as their water was off till 8 pm. Baby didn't get a bath that evening.
I'd had a phone call asking me to swap duties at parent and toddlers, and Daughter was to come and join the fun. However she didn't turn up and wasn't answering her phone. I called in afterwards to check on them and discovered that Baby had changed his nap time and she had her phone on silent so as not to wake him. He woke up just after I arrived so I got some fun time with him. He's not quite got the hang of rolling over, and was really surprised when I got down on the floor to show him how.
On Thursday I set off for Watford to look for a folding high chair. I had got an Argos catalogue, but wasn't impressed with their selection. I need one that folds, so that it is not in the way all of the time. The John Lewis selection was, I thought, poor. I had a look round M&S, and bought some undies, and bought lunch in their cafe. After a trip to Clements, and advice on how to stop a dining chair wobbling, our floor apparently, I set off for Toys R Us. I hadn't been in there for long when I spotted just the high chair I wanted, cheap and cheerful, but also safe. Afterwards I popped in to Hobbycraft as I was so near, I find that there is a dearth of card toppers for men. I didn't spend too much, they have a massive display of Easter stuff.  Home again, and I managed to put the high chair together.Brilliant!
I decided to visit the folk at my old dance class on Friday, but they were not there. I took a stroll round the old High street, of Midsomer Murders sword of Guillaume fame, and found a globe for our brass imitation oil lamp. The previous one got broken recently. I needed to measure the size however. When I got home I phoned one of the ladies from the class and discovered that it was cancelled as the leader J has a bad back. Her son who had the brain tumour is much better. I went to Sainsburys and met a lady whom I have known since our Daughter was at nursery. Then she seemed to have an enviable life. She had a huge house, a husband with a job which involved travelling abroad a lot, and she often went with him. They sent their Daughter to a local private school. I have met M several times since and she has been very up and down. Her husband tried working in England but could not settle. M is Nigerian. He started leaving her at home when he went abroad, understandable perhaps in view of school terms.
'Then he seemed to be drinking a lot. Now  she is getting divorced, he has revealed a new family in Thailand,but the woman wants nothing to do with his Daughter.  He has been a serial adulterer too. The big house will have to be sold.
I have often found that people whose lives I am tempted to envy turn out to be things which turn to ashes. I may have a quiet husband and a small home but there is laughter and love in our home. I thank God for my blessings.
We went to the garden centre yesterday initially for weed killer, but bought snowdrop, aconite, and tulip ready growing bulbs Our snowdrops and aconites had disappeared over the years, and I never have much success with tulips. I also bought bird food. They had childrens' books on offer, so I bought a couple. Later we drove back down the High Street parked and went in the antiques shop. I was armed with a tape measure
and decide that the  globe would fit. However, I need to buy a new chimney as the one I have is shaped and doesn't fit. Oh well Google will help I suppose.
The new folding high chair

Sunday, 6 February 2011

First February folio

daffs on my windowsill
Well February is here, can't say I am sorry that January has gone We have only really seen the sun once this week, most days it is grey and /or windy / drizzly. If I sit opposite the window in the mornings I can vaguely make out a bright shape desperately trying to peer through scudding clouds. Needless to say my lightbox has been much in use, and I am feeling better for it.
On Monday I decided to attack the pile of filing again. I filed, shredded, recycled and when I had finished I had filled the shredder twice,but there still seems to be a whole heap of paper to sort. I still come across the odd bank statement belonging to our offspring, but fortunately UCCF now seem to have realised that son is no longer a student as we haven't received post for him from them for a few months.The afternoon was spent ironing, and I did a huge pile, but soon added to it again as I did more washing.
Tuesday must have been quite unremarkable as I cannot remember what I did. Actually, I remember now having a bit of an upset tummy, reminder to self, don't eat prawns that have been opened for more than a day. Housework and washing probably took up the rest of the time.
I come from rather a complicated family, both parents having been widowed and remarried to each other, so I have a varying selection of half and step relatives as Dad married a widow with 5 children the first time too. He was about 22 years older than Mum  (Come on. Keep up!)  Most of the generation that were the same age as us I have lost touch with and their parents are mostly dead. I do have two half sisters still alive as well as the real sister in North Wales. One is 8 years older than me, the other many years older. We always send cards at Christmas and for the last few years haven't heard from E. The last time I phoned her quite a few years ago she didn't seem too sure who I was, so I have been reluctant to phone. Anyway this week Sister and I both received letters from E's Son. Apparently her husband , also E, died in June 2008,  and she has become a bit of a recluse. She fell in November, and broke a bone in the same place as husband's aunt did almost 2 years ago. She is at present in a respite home, so her Son had opened her post at Christmas, realised we didn't know about his Dad, so sent us a catch up letter.What did amuse us was that his Mum is not socialising very well, she says she 'can't be doing with these oldies'.
Wednesday was spent at Sainsbury's, parent and toddler's, then Daughter's. She hadn't brought Baby as she had been staying in with him hoping to get his cold and cough better so he could have his jabs which had been delayed because of said cold. She was glad I went as she was beginning to get a touch of cabin fever.
On Thursday I made it to ladies' meeting and then gave a lift home to our German lady. Once again she talked non-stop. I think she is very lonely, her son lives at home, but he hardly talks to her and never remembers her Birthday, she gets nothing from him for Christmas either, She asked me in to see her new fridge freezer, and her 'new' 3 piece suite. I have to help her down the steps anyway as she had a mild stroke last year and needs a bit of help. I must have said or done something right as I got a kiss on the cheek.
I did a lot of walking on  Friday, out to Sainsbury's first then into town for my scan. I'd had a bacon and egg sarnie, healthily cooked, for breakfast, as I wasn't allowed to eat for 6 hours. I arrived early, but there is no receptionist on a Friday afternoon. There seemed to be staff there, but by the conversation they were using the internet to look up house prices.
The sonographers soon came out for me and I wasn't required to undress. One was a trainee, so it was a bit slow, but the other did all the difficult bits. They scanned stomach, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, gall bladder and liver, and presumably any bits in between. There is just a slight problem with the liver, but nothing to worry about and probably caused by medication. Soon I was gel free, and setting off to walk to the bus stop at the end of town. I broke my fast with a flapjack from H&B, but regretted it as it was too big.
Not long after husband arrived home we set off  for our Daughter's home and spent some time playing with Baby. His Dad came home and put him to bed and then we had a lovely meal, then spent the evening chatting. all very relaxing. Saturday was a slow start and we took the car to town as I was fed up with being buffeted by the wind. Today has been a fairly normal quiet Sunday, but the state of the roast when we got back from church has convinced me that I really do need to start looking for a new cooker. Cremated pork anyone? It was on a very low setting too. Actually it wasn't too bad inside but the outer bits looked grim.
My shoulder has been pretty bad this week, I carried my card making box downstairs on Monday evening and it is quite heavy. I've been using frozen peas on it and cooling pads, and it didn't hep that I  had to raise my arms above my head for the scan. Even getting dressed is painful, as is tying on an apron. Must pray for wisdom about what to do, resting it seems impossible. Will see how this week goes.