Monday, 30 May 2011

A May miscellany

Sorry, I am late again with my blog. Last week I kept fairly busy; when I was in Chester, I bought a salad spinner from Lakeland, but when I unpacked it realised it was far too big. There are only two of us at home these days, and I am the main salad eater. As we have recently had a Lakeland opened in Watford, I went over there late on Monday afternoon, after posting mum-in Law's card and present.
Going away a week later than normal to North Wales has completely thrown me out. We were unable to visit Mum in Law for her Birthday this year, but some very old friends of hers contacted us to say they would go if we couldn't, so she was not alone for her 87th. Anyway, Daughter had rung me to ask my opinion on a gift, and she said she was in Watford. On my way I spotted her and grandson at a cafe which is outside John Lewis. I comveyed that I would join her, and after finding no small salad spinners in Lakeland, and resisting all attempts to order me one, I got my refund, and hastened to the escalator downwards. As I queued for my tea I saw that Daughter was looking really harassed. When I joined her, she said she had been trying to feed baby with some 'mush', he would not co-operate, and he now needed a change. So Gandma to the rescue, I looked after all her things whilst she carted him off to be changed. On his return I sat him on my knee to try and take over the feeding. With not much success, he tried to grab everything on the table, drank water out of a plastic cup, and managed to dribble some of the food into the water.
There were no high chairs, and it was getting precarious as he grabbed the spoon, and the pot  of  food, plus the plastic cup. I was worried he would topple to the floor. We gave up eventually, and Daughter gathered her things and took him off to Smith's to post her parcel, whilst I went into John Lewis. Daughter met me in the basement, and I managed to find and buy a smaller salad spinner.
On Tuesday I was babysitting whilst Daughter was at the dentist, and I was giving him lunch. More 'mush'. He was so slow, not showing much interest, so I decided to tell him, if he didn't hurry up I would take the food away.. Suddenly he decided he was hungry after all, and ate the lot. As he had been good and eaten it, I gave him a yoghurt, as soon as he saw the yoghurt he got really excited and I had no trouble feeding him with that. The meal had taken an hour!
Daughter arrived home feeling sorry for herself with a 'frozen' mouth, and as she needed to go shopping I volunteered to mind baby whilst she went, or go with her. She chose the latter. Baby was not in a co-operative mood in the trolley, leaning to one side and biting one of the bars. As I approached the checkout he was still in a similar position, but making a loud noise and going red in the face. An elderly lady came up to me and asked 'Is that baby choking?' I said 'No he's fine' She said 'but the position he is in he looks as if his clothes are caught, and he is being strangled' I replied, 'No, he is just being horrible', and sat him upright to prove he was ok. Honestly! Did she really think I would not notice if a child was strangling himself in my trolley. The truth is that little Nathaniel was bored;  he soon livened up and tried to grab things off the conveyor belt. We got back to Daughter's, and I helped her indoors with stuff, then came home.
Wednesday was Sainsbury's and I managed to get there earlier, as I had parent and toddlers to go to. I was doing craft. There were only 3 of us helpers, but we coped, we also tidied everything up afterwards, as the chap who normally comes to help had other things to do. A very sweet lady who has been coming to our church took the vacuum cleaner from me, and did a good job of getting the squashed biscuits off the carpet. I helped drag the chairs in place for the bible study, couldn't lift properly. 'cos of my shoulder.
Thursday was Val's funeral. I had met someone who had told me that she had died from motor neurone disease, but it was atypical in that her brain was affected first, so by the time she was diagnosed, she hadn't long left. She had had some sad things in her life including a divorce from the father of her 5 children, but despite depression, had compared her troubles to the grit in an oyster which produces the pearl. She also said that had her life turned out differently, she might well have been less dependent on God. Her 5 children (all grown up) all took part in the service which included some lovely hymns. I left after the service, the family had gone off to the cemetery, and I did not want to stay for the refreshments. As I drove home, the rain absolutely pelted down, just at the time of the burial too. I hope I don't have to go to any more funerals just yet. Both of the recent ones were younger than me. I thank God that they were both committed followers of the Lord.
 On Friday, I'd had a terrible night and slept till late o clock  I felt I was 'chasing my tail' all morning, Daughter rang me up to invite me on a trip to Berkhamsted, as she had to visit the jewellers there. so we went after lunch. I looked after baby whilst she chatted to the jeweller, and then we had a wander round the other shops. When I arrived at Daughter's baby had very red cheeks, redder than I have ever seen them, which prompted me to wonder out loud if he had 'slapped cheek' disease.  He also had a cough and runny nose. Having been unable to access the internet, we went to the medical books in Smith's to check the symptoms.This entailed going down in the lift. However this is no normal lift, it is a shaft with a floor that goes up and down. It really freaked me.
Baby certainly had some of the symptoms, and after tea in Waitrose, we headed off back to Daughter's where she tried NHS Direct. She did not get too far with that, was waiting for a call when I left. Later that evening, she said that the red rash on his cheeks which he had had for 3 days was beginning to fade. so we are still non the wiser. Saturday we were all behind again and took the car into town. later I caught up with some planting and husband did some more out at the front. I managed to get out for a walk on Sunday between the services, despite having had another bad night, I could not doze after lunch. Today has been a Bank Holiday, we went back to the garden centre, and loaded up a trolley with bark, more slabs and plants. Husband had just finished getting the slabs in place, and I had just finished a bit more potting, when it came on to rain, It was quite heavy, so we had to abandon our plans for gardening, and I tackled some of the ironing pile. Very frustrating, but we do need rain, even on Bank Holidays, when the year has been drier than usual. Oh well off to bed now I suppose, no more Bank Holidays till August. If it rains tomorrow I might just garden in the rain!
 I have swapped my pillows around and slept better last night.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Hellos, goodbyes, and friendships renewed.

This has been a busy week, in some ways, but I haven't spent much time at home doing housework.  The window cleaner paid a return visit on Monday, full of a story about why he had not returned before. I didn't mind, it's just nice to have clean windows and frames without having to hang out of upstairs windows.
Husband has had a badly infected finger since getting a splinter in it at work, and I had advised 'drawing ointment.'  This had worked up to a point, but we both felt he needed an antibiotic, so early Monday  morning was spent dialling and redialling till I got him an evening appointment. He was given a prescription for an antibiotic, and just got into Boots before they closed.
Son and his wife came down for a couple of days as she had a course in Watford. Son brought his mower and hedge trimmer and did some work in Daughter's garden as that is where they stayed. On Tuesday Daughter had to go to the dentist at lunchtime, so I went up there to look after Baby. He is coming on apace with his crawling, going on all fours most of the time, and is toddling around the furniture quite happily. I made him some lunch, and he made quite a mess, so I resorted to feeding him with a spoon. Finger feeding may be ok, but most seems to end up on the floor.
I did help a little bit in the garden, but my shoulder objects so soon that I cannot do much.  I would far rather look after the baby whilst the others do the work. I came home for a while, and then husband and I went back there as we had been invited for dinner. Daughter was a bit harassed, so I took Baby and bathed him and got him ready for bed. He went down quite well, and we got on with the business of eating a very nice chilli with rice, followed by brownies and ice cream. We had to have plates on our laps as they still haven't got around to making a final decision on  their dining table. It has to be a certain shape and size to fit in their fairly narrow dining alcove. After a while Baby awoke and cried, and wouldn't stop, so his Daddy brought him down. I reckon he could hear the grown ups talking and decided  he didn't want to be left out. He was trying to crawl in his sleeping bag, and looked more and more like 'Sweepea' from the old Popeye cartoons.
We didn't stay too late as husband was going to Bristol the next day for a team meeting. He has a new boss since the merger with Orange. The Bristol trip had been postponed twice as his colleague had been unwell.
I was up early, before he left, for once and manged to get to Sainsbury's relatively early too.It was fairly quiet, I must get back into the habit of going there early. I used to drop kids off at school and go straight there, arriving well before 9am .I went home, unpacked all of the shopping, then went and got changed into smarter, more sober clothes. I actually followed the hearse through town and up the hill to the Baptist church where the service was to take place. The first people I saw were a couple whose wedding service I had attended several years ago. The last time I saw her was at the funeral of a young woman we both knew who had died at 27. I asked after H's family and was told her eldest is off to university in September! Where does the time go?
Inside the church I saw that H's parents were there. I have known them for years, but they retired to Norfolk s few years ago. There were other old friends there too. Daughter and Son arrived and gave me baby to hold. I think he was tired, as he clung to me like a limpet. It was quite a short service, as there would be more at the crematorium.
We had known Clive for almost 27 years. Our pastor had just left to go and be a missionary, and someone was coming 'with a view' to take the Wednesday bible study. I remember walking in and seeing two strangers, and immediately decided that one of them was the visiting speaker. However I was wrong, but I wasn't the only person to have made that mistake. Clive had been involved with studying with Jehovah's witnesses, had realised that they said some odd things, so decided to visit us to find out more. He was soon converted and baptised, and became an honorary Uncle to our 2 children and to others in the church. He joined in with rambles readily, and one of my abiding memories is of him pushing our son in his Cindico buggy over very rough terrain somewhere in Buckinghamshire. He suddenly remarked 'I shall be glad when I have had enough of this'. He was a lovely chap, gentle, with a lovely soft Welsh accent.
We left that church  after a few more years, but we still kept in touch, he came to both of our young people's baptisms, and their weddings. I often met him with his bike, or walking on the canal bridge, and we would catch up on the news. Just before we went away recently,  I passed his house, and thought, 'I really should have Clive round for a meal', but now alas that cannot be. He had had some sort of middle ear problem over the last few years, but no one expected him to go so suddenly. I believe he had stroke. Our thoughts and prayers are with his brother and family.
We did not go to the crematorium, and after catching up with some friends I came home for lunch. I found myself comfort eating, so decided to go to Daughter's for a bit of company. Husband was home from Bristol quite early, so that was nice.
On Thursday I was back seeing the consultant whom I saw in January. My problems had flared up again since we came home. I had a very long wait to see him, but he said my endoscopy and scan were all ok, and he reckoned I have IBS, which, causes the other problem. He gave me yet another injection, some advice about what to do in a flare up and wants me to go back in 2 months. As I walked back through town I met Daughter, who was rushing around getting stuff, so I helped out by looking after the buggy and baby whilst she scuttled around shops.  She eventually met up with her friend, and they both went off to baby worship another friend's new baby visit a friend with a new baby. I came home, had lunch  and took myself off to bed as those injections make me feel so rough.
Yesterday we went to the big garden centre and had lunch, then bought Mum in Law's Birthday present and stocked up on plants to redo my pots for the summer. I did two pots, husband put down more bark chippings, and we finished off by giving it all a good watering after dinner.  We had rain this morning on the way to church, and we'd had some overnight. Who needs rain dances?
On Friday evening Daughter had rung to say another lady, about my age, from their church, had died. She was lovely friendly person, and I had many a long chat with her when we attended that church. However Daughter doesn't know what she died from. The last I heard she was suffering from depression. So I may be attending another funeral this week. It's no fun getting  older, I'd love to go to a wedding or two, but sadly have no more offspring! Oh well! nearly time for church. I must put the kettle on.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Goodbye heatwave , hello rain

Another late blog, but this time I have an excuse, I have been away in Wales. I went to the ladies' meeting on the Thursday before I went, the pastor spoke on Mary Magdalene in our women of the bible series. I also managed to get organised with checking my cover for the shoulder 'op', and ringing up to fix the date. It is booked for July 1st. I am having keyhole surgery, so hopefully will just be in for a day. I have to be there for 7.10 am
On Saturday 7th we set off for Wales, leaving behind the warm sunny days and going into cooler unsettled weather, with lots of showers, wind and some sunshine. We had a terrific hailstorm one day too.The noise on the conservatory roof was horrendous. We stayed at the cottage in Gwaenysgor again, as it was the only one not booked up. We went over to Upton BC on the Sunday morning to catch up with old friends, then after lunch went to visit my sister and some of her family. Monday we went down into Rhyl and had a look around. Husband went for a haircut, and I got caught in a shower, so popped into a cafe for coffee. I rang husband but he didn't want to join me for lunch, so I had lunch there alone; a very nice ham salad. There wasn't much to attract us in Rhyl, so we went back up to the cottage and husband had a snooze, whilst I had a wander around the village, and walked up to the viewpoint.
Golden chain across the path
stormy weather
up at the viewpoint

village pond.

The stairs in the cottage are rather steep, and I always come down them carefully, However, on the Tuesday morning, as I left the last step, my right foot hit the ground and my ankle twisted, I went sideways and fell on my back on the quarry tiles,ouch!; I just managed to stop my head hitting the floor. Undeterred we took ourselves off to Llandudno, where I ate yet another salad in Tiffany's whilst husband had Lasagne, with salad. I then did my usual tour of the shoe shops, trying on about 10 pairs in one shop. Every time I expressed interest in a pair, she brought another 2 out. However they either slipped at the heel or were too tight. In the end I went in Stead and Simpson, who were closing for a refit, and found 2 pairs of Van Dal that fitted, and had £20 off!
On Wednesday, my other sister and her husband were coming up to see us all, so I went to Sainsbury's for some food, made up baps, cooked a cheat's version of smothered chicken. with veg for the two of us, and then cooked a pizza. We put all the food in the car after our meal,and set off for my sister's house.
They all arrived, my other niece and her son were there, and my sister's son popped in later. My eldest sister arrived wearing a striped cotton trouser suit. She was teased unmercifully about pyjamas, mattresses, and deck chairs, and all in all the jokes were flying thick and fast and we had a hilarious time. We haven't all been together for ages. All too soon it was time for tea, I had over catered as usual, but better too much than too little. My eldest sister had brought a cream cake too, which went down well

 The above is me and my two sisters
The Birmingham contingent left at about half past five, and the others soon after. we stayed till just after 8, then went back to the cottage and out in search of a decent sunset, over the fields.

On Thursday we went to Chester, arriving quite late, and I browsed several shops, but only bought stuff in Lakeland. Friday I visited Mum and Dad's grave, and took flowers, then after lunch we packed up the car and set off for Macclesfield. Son cooked us a curry, then we chatted and had an early bedtime. Next morning Son was off to work, so we sat and chatted with his wife, then walked into the town centre, explored the shops, visited Son in his place of work, then had lunch. More browsing, then walked back to their home, badly in need of a rest.
It was getting on for 4 before we set off home, and we drove through more bad weather. After sorting through the post I went out to get some food for the rest of the weekend. Two good sermons today, but the day was somewhat marred by a phone call this evening to say that a friend we had known for about 25 years, slim, fit, had had  a stroke and died they day we went to Wales. He lived alone, was about our age, and we will miss seeing him around, but he has gone to a far better place. I will do my best to get to the funeral on Wednesday. As my Mum in law has said, he won't have to face growing old alone.God is good. Well it's past my bedtime so I must go

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Too many jolly holidays (even for Mary)

Well, I'm really behind with blogging this week,  we didn't do much apart from gardening on Easter Monday. We did have a walk to the supermarket though. On  Tuesday daughter had a dental appointment and I offered to look after Baby. She dropped me off at the home of our friends C&C. Although  Daughter attends the same church the congregation is so big, and parents tend to sit in the balcony, so I decided a personal visit was in order. C, the wife suffers from poor health, but seemed to brighten up no end, as she dandled baby on her knee and sang to him. Daughter appeared soon afterwards to say she was told she hadn't got an appointment, the dentist wasn't even in, and she wasn't the first that day to think she had
Having worked for a dentist when I lived in Wales, I reckon that they had made appointments, then the dentist said he would be off that day, and they forgot to cancel some appointments. We stayed chatting with our friends for a while, then went to Sainsbury's to get some shopping for Daughter. I helped keep baby amused , he doesn't like shopping, but then what male does?
Back to daughter's for lunch, then I collected my car and came home. The ironing had piled up, and I've been trying to get on top of it.  Every time I think I have succeeded, I find another pile of washing to do.
My appointment at the private hospital in Harpenden was at 10.30 on Wednesday. I set off later than I intended, stopped to buy papers, then had an awful job parking. I got in there for 10.30, but had to wait for the receptionists to deal with others who were leaving. I didn't have to wait long, and was soon called. The consultant went through the usual checking my shoulder mobility routine, then sent me for an x ray, he said he also wanted me to have a scan. After the x ray, I was called back in, and he called up my x rays on his computer screen. There is definitely a bit of bone where there shouldn't be, so he said he could give me an injection there and then, but I would be back in 3 months. He suggested an arthroscopy using keyhole surgery, then gave me his secretary's number to ring her and be pencilled in.
I booked my scan, which to my dismay turned out to be an MRI scan. My GP had said it wouldn't be MRI. I then drove into Harpenden to look at shoe shops, as always my quest is for comfortable summer shoes, my old ones are increasingly worn and tatty. No joy in Harpenden, so decided to go to The Galleria in Hatfield. I didn't have enough cash on me for lunch, and their machines charge £1.50 per withdrawal. I did find one pair of shoes, not in a colour I wanted. As usual, they fitted really well in the shop, but when I tried them on at home, they were quite tight. Out came the shoe stretchers. After lunch I printed out my Sainsbury list, and went off to do the shopping. I met someone n there who I don't usually see, because I usually go in the morning.
We were packing shoeboxes for next Christmas at ladies' meeting on Thursday, but not many people were there, we soon got them done though, and gathered round a table for a natter and a cuppa, then a bible reading and prayer.
Friday morning husband was finishing some of the terracing in the front,  he needed to cut a slab, and a colleague had very kindly lent him a cutter. We walked to Sainsbury's at around 11 am. the streets were deserted, and few people were in the store, everyone was watching a wedding, so I am told. At home as I made the salad for lunch, I realise I only had one small tomato, so nipped in the car to the other Supermarket, which was likewise deserted. AS I left however, people were beginning to stream in. I looked at my watch, and decide that the wedding service must be over.
Later in the afternoon I popped up to see Daughter they have been trying to straighten out their garden. Baby was a bit miserable, he still has a cough. Whilst I was there, there was a sudden really heavy shower. Daughter was very tired and fell asleep. I helped give baby some food, then came home. After husband had gone to bed I did watch some highlights of the wedding on iplayer, everyone seemed to look very nice, but no way could I have been in that crowd, although one family from church had travelled up in the middle of the night.
On Saturday we went to get some new tyres fitted. Husband opted for 2 all weather tyres, which we have to get swapped in October to the front. Hopefully they will be of help if we have another bad winter.
We then went into town for the shopping, bought an M&S meal for 2 for £10,and came home for lunch .We've had some very windy days, not good for eating out of doors, but it has mostly been sunny.
On Sunday we had the family around for lunch, but later Daughter went to visit a friend who had a 30th Birthday. Baby fell asleep on me for one and a half hours, and by the time I had woken him, and given him something to eat, it was a bit late for church, husband had woken up groggy from a nap, so no one made it to the evening service. I believe it was a good sermon on the wedding invitation, must get the CD at some time.
I had realised that my scan appointment clashed with my parent and toddler duty, so was frantically trying to arrange a swap. Everyone said not to cancel the scan, but in the end I had to hand over the problem to the session leader, as so many people were away or otherwise occupied. Monday was another Bank Holiday, more gardening for husband, more ironing for me. We did however get to the garden centre, for bark chippings and a couple of plants. The bark chippings were on offer, not suprising as they really pong.
Back to work for husband yesterday, a trip to Watford for me, mostly just browsing, but I found a cardigan I had dithered about in M&S, and then it had sold out in our branch. Ialso went to the card stall in the market and found some new toppers, there is another family Birthday next week, the young lady concerned will be 25. her brother was 21 on Sunday, where have the years gone?
Today was my scan day. I went to Sainsbury's this morning, got off quite light for once, then home, unpack shopping, quick scan through the papers, (pardon the pun) salad lunch, then a quick coffee. I set off in plenty of time arrived 25 minutes early, found a parking space under a tree, got an encouraging message from husband and then went in.I was sent from one reception to the other, then settled down with the Telegraph, but hadn't read far when my name was called. I put on my gown, locked my changing room and waited, all too soon I was called and positioned, and as I entered the oh, so narrow tube, eyes tight shut, finger on emergency buzzer, I felt the ectopic heart beats begin. Oh no, not so soon, but it must have been an adrenaline rush, because after about 5 minutes I actually managed to relax and was no longer aware of my heartbeat, I could hardly hear my chosen CD, just the horrible clanking and drill like noises. Then it goes quiet, then starts up again making you jump. It's like being put in a drainpipe and lying in the middle of roadworks. I lay praying, and just as I was thinking I could stand no more it was all over. Had I really coped with 20 minutes to half an hour? According to my watch when I dressed I had. I wonder actually how they fit the truly obese people in those machines, I'm over weight I know, and I seem to be a tight fit.
I decided to call in on Daughter on the way home for some sympathy, but her husband answered the door. She was out with Baby, and he was working from home. Fair enough, I made a pot of Assam, indulged in a slice of gooey cake, and took it into the garden to top up my vitamin D levels.. Oh and finished the Telegaph too.That was my comfort after my ordeal.
I forgot to mention earlier, our neighbours have had their house on the market for about a year, It hasn't sold, so at the weekend they had their patched up tatty wall demolished, and a new one built. The builders however came and built it on Sunday! is nothing sacred any more? They got it up pretty quick, but some of the bricks don't look straight. I wonder how long it will take the neighbours to realise that they also need to trim their overgrown shrubs, spray weedkiller on their paving blocks and clean the pvc frames of their upstairs windows. It is all very well having an immaculate interior, but first impressions count a lot. There was a viewing on Monday, but no sold sign yet. Oh well past my bedtime, must be off.