Sunday, 27 March 2011

Another year older.

Thankfully the weather has begun to improve this week, we have had some really sunny days, in fact two really warm unseasonal days. On Tuesday I visited my old friends C&C, and we caught up on all the news. Daughter could not come with me as she was in St Albans, having taken her car for its MOT. She had mislaid the certificate so returned to the garage where she had the last one done.She decided to go to a ladies' open house in St Albans at their church. She rang me from the bus coming back asking if she could come here, as I was to take her to pick her car up. So I didn't get much work done, but had some fun with Grandson.  We had a struggle to fit the baby seat in my 2 door car, but I knew it was possible, as I had taken someone home with one from Parent and toddlers. I got back after husband had got home.
On Wednesday morning I went to get some milk out of the small fridge, and discovered that 2 bottles in the door were frozen solid, with an inch or two of ice poking out of the top and the lids sitting on top.We often saw this when brought in the milk from the doorstep when  we had harsh winters years ago. I've been meaning to defrost that fridge for ages, the ice box was thick with ice. I checked the thermostat control and discovered that it had been moved, probably accidentally to no 7, the maximum. I cut a couple of slices of milk for my second cup, then emptied the fridge and set about defrosting it. It took all day, despite keeping a bowl of hot water in there.
That done, I managed to get out earlier to Sainsbury's and had time to call in on Daughter to return a changing bag which she had left behind. She was preparing to go to Milton Keynes to buy a new baby car seat. Theirs was on loan, and the lenders are expecting another baby, so will need it back.
I had swapped with someone at parent and toddlers, so could not go with her, as I was doing refreshments. There were not as many there as the previous week, so it was not quite as chaotic. I still felt tired when I got home though.
On Thursday, we had a book/bible study at women's hour. I agreed to give a lift home to our German lady, and went to collect my car. As I approached it. I could see something edged in black and yellow attached to the car. It was a penalty notice. I had paid for 2 hours, but somehow my ticket had flipped over. I was really cross. I took our friend home, and then went straight back into town to the parking office, ironically having to spend another 70 pence to park.
By the time I got there I had steam coming out of my ears. The young man who dealt with me was quite calm, and said as it was so recent they did not have the photographic 'evidence'. I was allowed to fill in an appeal from, but if my appeal fails I will have to pay £25, and if I don't pay within the stated time £50. There is nothing sticky on the tickets to stick them anywhere, so in future I am going to keep a bit of blutack in the car.
One thing that has pleased me this week, is that I have discovered that despite putting a few pounds on, I can still get into last year's summer cotton trousers.
Friday was my Birthday. I had lots of cards, some cheques, some chocolate, a folding shopping bag, and lots of  Facebook greetings.
I went to the physio for what turned out to be my final visit. We are not making much progress, so she is to write to my GP, and suggest a referral to a shoulder specialist for a proper diagnosis. I will have to try to find the details of the private scheme that husband gets through work, just in case the waiting time is long. I panicked a bit as I realised that I had no cheque book, but remembered I had cash as Daughter and I were going out. Phew! Then I had to go to a cash machine again.
Daughter, baby and I set off for Brent Cross. We had a wander around the shops, trying  on a couple of dresses each, but buying none. We marvelled at the number of people prepared to queue for the latest Apple gizmo which was not being released till 5 pm. By lunchtime the queue stretched halfway down the mall. We  were unimpressed by the John Lewis lunch menu, so decided to go to Fenwicks. Baby sat in a high chair and daintily ate   played around with half a cheese sandwich. Needless to say most of it went on the floor. He also sucked on a bit of chicken from my salad, which also went South, and sucked on a slice of strawberry from my fruit salad. that actually disappeared from view, so we reckon he liked strawberry. However when we went into the Ladies room the noise of the dryers terrified him, he cried and shook, so Daughter had to wait outside for me.
Footsore, we decided to head for Brent Park and Lakeland, which was the main reason for me choosing Brent Cross. I needed new inkpads for my HIdeID. We were quite restrained there, very sad to see that their cafe has closed. All that remains now is for me to find out where I have put the HideID, however you spell it.
We also went into Mamas and Papas for a look round.
Dinner for husband and me was a selection of ready to cook stuff, with chocolate bombes for dessert. I served raspberries with these but they could have done with a touch of cream or ice cream. I was so tired that all I could do towards Saturday's preparation was make pastry and put it in the fridge overnight.
I started work early yesterday, and by lunchtime had produced a nice golden topped lemon meringue pie, walked to Sainsbury's  and done some shopping, and made a large plate of salmon sandwiches.
I did a jacket potato lunch, glanced at the paper, then closed my eyes for about 25 minutes, not really dozing off, then we got changed, packed the food and went off to one of our church fellowship days. The afternoon meeting was on Salvation, which was good as a large number of the non church family Sunday School children were there, and so was one mother. Dr Arthur Fraser was the speaker, he is Scottish
We then went through for tea, as usual with church teas the tables were groaning. Sadly there were not many people there from other churches, but we had a good time chatting over tea. There were some lovely desserts including. pavlova. I got almost the last bit of that. Someone had made profiteroles, they were huge, but I was so full I couldn't manage one.
The evening talk was on 'Rabbi' John Duncan, so named because of his evangelism to the Jews. He was bit scatterbrained, and on his wedding day, when  he did not reappear after going upstairs to dress, was found asleep in bed with a Hebrew book. There were quite a few amusing anecdotes.
The same chap is preaching today. Our pastor is elsewhere, and we had a good morning sermon on Romans 8. We look forward to more this evening.
We remembered the clocks, and I woke at first at 7am, but then rolled over and went back to sleep, finally surfacing at,which yesterday would have been 7.25. I always take a while to adjust. Now all we have to do is remember to fill in the census. I have copies of the census forms my Grandfather filled in. They are only 1 page, not 32. I never knew Dad's Dad, he died long before I was born so it's fascinating to find him on the  internet. Nearly time for a cuppa, so had better sign off.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

getting better by degrees.

This last week has been slightly better for me, as after Saturday night the night time coughing lessened. Whether it was due to two spoonsful of Meltus, I am not sure, but I felt better for it. Nevertheless I still kept falling asleep in the daytime, if I wasn't going somewhere. My voice also gradually returned. We made it to parent and toddler's on Wednesday, they had the musical instruments out, and it was quite noisy. Even Nathaniel joined in with some bells which he kept on dropping. I didn't attempt the singing.
Thankfully, we have had some sunny days this week. The constant greyness is beginning to really get me down. It is quite uplifting to see the daffs in the garden, and to see a female blackbird taking dead stuff from our garden to line her nest. I don't know what happened to the lovely blackbird who used to sing on next door's shed last year, it would be lovely if he came back.
I made it to the women's hour on Thursday, the pastor was speaking on Esther. I did attempt the singing, much to the amusement of the lady sitting next to me, as my voice wasn't quite up to it. I went into town afterwards to transfer some money into a savings account, then wandered round the town centre.Some of the empty shops are filling up, one annoyingly a Tesco Express. that is the 4th Tesco Express in this town, not to mention the huge one on the dual carriageway, for which they have been trying to get permission to expand. We already had 3 food shops in the town centre.
Another thing that has proliferated  is the pound shops. Still St Albans is quite a 'posh' city, and I noticed last week that even St Albans has its share of el cheapo shops. In our town two bookshops have gone, one a chain which overstretched it self, the other a Waterstones. I reckon that they were waiting for the lease to run out before transferring all business to the other, newer shop. It is a shame, because it has been there for years, it wasn't originally a Waterstones, but there have been so many takeovers in  bookshops, I can't remember what it started out as.
Friday was a busy morning for me, I went to the physio at 10.30, she does not seem very hopeful, and keeps saying I should decide what to do next, whether to have an injection at the GP, or see a shoulder specialist, who would give a correct diagnosis, and perhaps a shoulder injection. I really do not know which to say. If  I see a specialist I may have to wait months, unless it is covered by the insurance that husband pays through work  It would be nice to get it sorted  before September, when I should be starting looking after Nathaniel whilst his mum works. Lifting him aggravates the shoulder, as he is so heavy, and it is all Daughter's own work, (with the exception of the occasional bottle of formula). I digress, the physio was running late, and I had to rush to get husband's car to Ford's for its MOT at 11. I wasn't too pleased when someone in front of me started pootling along at 20 mph. However I got there in time but was unable to find a parking space, so gave up and parked in front of the MOT area. They didn't mind. I sat and read my way through 2 newspapers, and was well into the Sudoku, when the chap said the car was done. Exactly one hour as promised .It had passed, which is just as well considering the amount we spent on it for the service. Soon the tyres will have to be replaced, but we go elsewhere for that.
Later that day I called round to see Daughter, I was feeling a bit low, tiredness, grey skies, worry about my Mum in law etc. We couldn't get hold of Mum in law Monday evening, which was a worry, but she was there on Tuesday and explained she had been to a Lent talk by the local Bishop. I keep asking her when she is coming up, as she didn't come at Christmas, and we have been waiting for her to decide ever since. Maybe we should go down there, but if she does come here she can see the Baby as well. We must pray for wisdom. I have said one of us could collect her. Her sight seems to have deteriorated since the pressure release 'op', but she still can't get a date for a cataract 'op'. It was all so much simpler when they were just 12 miles away.
Yesterday evening Daughter and Son in law went to to an engagement party in London, all old uni friends. Baby was fractious when we arrived, he has just cut his first tooth. However he soon settled down and showed us how much he loves his bath. I got him to sleep with no trouble, and cooked our M&S ready meal, We then settled down, me with the papers and husband playing with his new toy trying out his new phone. He also flicked through iplayer, but rejected one programme after about 15 minutes.He had settled into Billy the Kid, (Black and white), when there was shout from upstairs. Baby had  rolled over and got himself stuck. I quickly turned him, but he didn't want to go to sleep, so I brought him downstairs and gave him some formula. He was still wide awake and grizzly, so I gave him a small dose of Calpol in case it was his teeth. He would not settle, but was happiest chewing on a bit of kitchen roll that I had used to wipe Calpol from his chin. He was still up when the wanderers returned at 11.30pm
Who, me?
whaddya mean?
Hooray bathtime
I'm zonked out
We left them to it, came home and fell into bed. A good Sunday so far, a third sermon on Psalm 33 this morning, the home to roast chicken. This time next week the clocks will have gone forward , so we will all be out of kilter again. Oh well must go nearly time for the evening service.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Just bobbing along

This hasn't been a very good week for me one way and another. The sinus problem continued to take hold, and it became a full blown infection. On Monday and Tuesday just walking to Sainsbury's exhausted me, and I fell asleep after lunch. I was not sleeping well at night, coughing for hours before sleep came. I has a slightly raised temperature and a 'cotton wool filled head'. To add to the problems we received yet another set of credit cards, which bore the number of the blocked cards, so I had to ring MBNA and struggle to maker myself understood. My voice was very croaky and prone to disappear mid-sentence.
On Wednesday I felt slightly better, so did the Sainsbury's run, then ventured to parent and toddler's where I was to do craft. I was greeted with 'Should you be here?' To which I mumbled 'well I feel better than I did, and I don't think that I am infectious' 'No, we meant should you be here for your sake?' I must have looked a lot worse than I felt. They explained the craft to me, which was so complicated I joked 'I think I will go home'.
The lady who planned it was not there, so after a short discussion we  took a committee decision to simplify it.
Daughter wasn't there, I had rung her and she sounded almost as bad as me.
I left before the singing, as all I could do was croak. Due to being away part of last week and being unwell, my ironing pile had grown again, so I bundled several shirts, pyjamas and bed linen into a bag and took them to the ironer's. He was pleased to see me as trade has dropped off due to the recession. He promised they would be ready for the next day. I rang Daughter to see if there was anything she needed, and she said 'No, but come round'
She had a sinus headache and was lying on the sofa, whilst Baby sat on the carpet and played. He seems less frustrated now that he can sit and play, and now he can roll over and pivot on his stomach so he can reach things. He shows the same determination as his mother did at that age, not very interested in cuddles, more interested in reaching whatever has caught his eye. He has a delightful laugh, and is just full of the joy of simply being alive. Oh what it is not to have a care in the world.
Thursday was pretty routine. I am still trying to get rid of the Spanish bluebells in the back garden, so did some pulling up and weeding. Facebook friends will remember the picture I posted recently of the bee in the crocus. He/she seemed to have woken to soon and was too drunk or sluggish to move. We fashioned a shelter from a plastic tray, to keep off the rain, and every day checked on it. It was still valiantly holding on.
On Thursday it was lovely and sunny, so I moved the plastic tray and placed the basket in the sun. The bee was fluttering its wings in a feeble way. I got some manuka honey, put a bit on my finger and held it near the bee's face.I think it ate some, so I did it again. When I left, it was wobbling its way along a crocus leaf. Later when I checked, it had. flown away. We must look after our bees they help us by pollinating.
Unfortunately, after lunch I fell asleep, waking at 1.50pm, too late to get to the Women's hour anniversary. I went out later to collect my ironing, then called in on Daughter again. She was feeling a lot better.
Friday was physio, an earlier appointment, but parking was easier. The treatment was slightly different, but I'm not sure how much progress we are making. I have to think about whether I would prefer an injection, or to see a shoulder specialist.
I managed to get a Doctor's appointment for Friday afternoon, and now have an antibiotic. I collected Daughter's prescription too and popped round with it. They were getting ready to go to her in-laws for the weekend for  a family Birthday. Baby had been weighed and is now 20lb 11 oz, having gone from the 70th percentile at birth, to the 91st, in just over 28 weeks. When he gets more active he will gain less. By the way he is behaving crawling will not be too far off.
Yesterday we went to the big garden centre, had lunch and bought a few things, then went into St Albans for a look round and a trip to M&S food dept. Husband's supply of YumYums had run low. I also got fruit and veg in the market there. My coughing was so bad last night that husband came downstairs to sleep.
We were pleased to hear that someone whom we know who is with OMF in Japan is safe along with his family. There certainly seems to be a lot going on in this old world of ours at present. Japan has certainly knocked Gaddaffi off the front page.
It was good to be back in church this morning even though I can't sing. Well I'd better close as my shoulder is beginning to ache. I may try and upload a few pictures.

flowering of our prunus

Some of the tulips I planted

some well established polyanthus

Sunday, 6 March 2011

March meanderings

Well this week certainly began differently from a normal week. Husband had taken 2 days leave for our anniversary, and we left home just before lunchtime on Monday. We drove along the A41 through Aylesbury and then towards Bicester. Feeling peckish we decided to stop at the Bicester shopping village for lunch. It was quite cold wet and windy, but we soon found ourselves in Pret a Manger tucking into sandwiches, and a yoghurt for me, and a croissant for husband. Afterwards, he thought we should at least look around the place, but I found it quite disappointing. Mostly designer labels, and as I am neither young nor svelte, nothing appealed to me. There is a Le Creuset shop, with plenty of coloured pans, but I didn't even venture in. Even the shoe shop, usually a magnet for me in my quest for comfort failed to impress. Husband did however buy a pair of shoes.
We went on our way, and the satnav directed us via country lanes to our destination -Woodstock. I had looked at hotels in the Cotswolds, but needed an attraction for the next day. However this is on the edge of the Cotswolds, so would do. We drove through some very 'Midsomer' villages, all thatched cottages, village greens and ponds.
Soon we had booked in to the Bear Hotel and were shown to our room, which overlooked the churchyard. Husband commented that there would be no problems with the neighbours. It was actually a courtyard room, presumably an old stables or Coach house. The bed was enormous and dominated the room. We decided to go out for walk, and wandered round the streets. There were a few antique shops, but we did not venture in. We wandered around gift shops, and I found a nice Anniversary card that was not too soppy, or indeed expensive. I also bought one to post for my sister whose anniversary is the day after ours. She however has many more years under her belt, as unlike me she married quite young
Bear Hotel

View from room

 We walked to the end of the main Street, and turned the corner, and unexpectedly found ourselves right outside Blenheim Park, our destination for the next day. We could not find a tea shop that was not about to close, but returned to the hotel, went into the bar and ordered tea and coffee. It was very pleasant sitting with a roaring fire, listening to the other occupants discussing playing the stock market and losing, and discussing the Civil War. Apparently Cromwell had a house in the town.
On returning to our room we browsed the papers and channel hopped with the enormous TV till dinner time. The meal did not disappoint, although the dining room was a bit chilly. It was modern English, where the food is artistically  arranged on the plate. There doesn't seem much till one comes to eat it. We chose the same starter, a pressed ham, and unusually I had the bread, which was home made and looked so good.
They brought us a sorbet afterwards, then our mains, pork for him and fish for me. I usually go for the fish as I feel it is less calorific. This had a parsnip risotto, and the sole was rolled into a sausage shape. We shared a side of new potatoes and veg. For desert however, I could not resist the chocolate marquise with chocolate jelly, which undid all the good that the fish had done. Husband chose pineapple and chili foam, with apple doughnuts, tiny doughnuts, but he declared the 'Foam' interesting.
After coffee we returned to our room, a bit chilly crossing the Courtyard. As usual there was nothing worth watching on the enormous TV, so we turned it off and turned in.  The bed was quite firm however, and regular readers of this blog know that I prefer a medium bed. I tossed and turned; the church clock struck twelve then one. I may have dozed , but I didn't hear two and three, but was wide awake for four. Needless to say husband slept and was up long before me muttering about 7 am breakfasts. The papers ordered at reception were outside the door, so he had something to keep him occupied whilst I showered and dressed. Breakfast was up to standard, and we booked out later and bought tickets for Blenheim, and a Bear with a sweater advertising the hotel. that is for a certain young man when he stops putting everything in his mouth.
We drove through the gates after showing our tickets, and along the drive past the lake. It was impressive, but would have been better in the sunshine. Once parked we explored part of the lake and the bridge but decided it was too cold to stay outside.
 We discovered that the Duke's apartment was open as he is away, so we handed over some more cash for a half hour tour. It was very interesting.  We saw all the old bells, about 48 of them, and some of the living quarters but not the bedrooms. After lunch in the cafe there we did the downstairs tour. The last time I was there I was 14 and am sure I remember a wooden cradle in the room where  Winston Churchill was born. That is no longer there, but there is a very ornate cradle in another room all gilded. Sadly no indoor photography allowed. We finished the tour, then back in for the upstairs 'hidden history', which was quite interesting. We explored some of the gardens, but as it was so cold decided to go back when the sun is shining, having converted our tickets free of charge to an annual pass.
water garden

main gates

water garden

some of the many statues

We reached Bicester town in time for a Tea stop, and were home in plenty of time for me to defrost sausages for dinner, what a come down!
After parent and toddlers on Wednesday daughter and I went to the surgery, me for the asthma clinic, and she for a repeat prescription. The nurse insisted in taking my BP despite only having it done last week.She pronounced it perfect, so that just proves the white coat syndrome. Due to my lack of sleep on Monday I fell asleep after lunch Thursday and again missed women's hour. Friday I went back to physio, and had more treatment, and was 'taped' for support. however the shoulder began to itch, so yesterday took it off only to discover a blister. This must have been caused by the wheat bag I had been told to use before exercise. Friday evening I babysat, taking a book with me: ' The deafening sound of Silent tears,' which is the story of Caring for Life, a Christian charity set up in Leeds for the homeless. It is quite harrowing in parts, but shows God's provision in wonderful ways when they were about to run out of funds. We know a  young man who works there, he did a voluntary year after uni, but decided to stay on.
After I had finished the book, I started to watch   Question Time on i player. At 10.30 there came a shout form upstairs. It was obvious someone was awake, but he would not settle, so I took him down and gave him some formula, so I got some extra cuddles.
Yesterday evening my sinuses began to play up, I wonder if using Dyson Zorb on the carpet had sparked a reaction?. I  had a bad night with poor breathing but could not get up and get an inhaler, it felt like too much effort. I have been resting today, no church for me, lots of inhaler use and a nasal washout. I hope it doesn't go to my chest as I've seen enough Doctors to last me for a while. I have slept a lot today too, I hope this week is good one.One good thing, after trawling the internet for hours I have at last booked a summer holiday. Roll on Sunshine.