Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Counting down to Christmas

View from up the hill

Frosted rose buds

Frosted leaves

Goodness me, is it really so long since I blogged? What have I been up to? I can't remember half of it! I did go shopping in Watford for a present for Mum in law, then one Saturday we went to Berkhamsted to look for things for husband to put in my stocking, he usually likes a hint or two. We did our usual lunch in Waitrose, husband had had a sight test that morning, so I shopped whilst he had that done. then we did our usual tour of the shops, ending up back at Waitrose for a bit of shopping. A fortnight ago I was back at the private hospital at 6pm on a Tuesday, for an ultrasound on my shoulder. This picked up a tear in the tendon. When I had the other shoulder done I had an MRI scan which didn't reveal a tear, so the upshot is that I have to have another operation. I saw the consultant on a Saturday morning to talk about that. The waiting room was surprisingly busy and I had to wait; unusual in a private hospital.
I've been trying to get cards written, our newsletter written, and a sheet of pictures of our year. I made a hash of some labels, and had to walk to Staples to buy more. I have also spent time artistically arranging silver 'flowers', putting baubles in bowls, and doing generally naff things like that. I also dragged last years tree in out of the garden, complete with woodlouse, and decorated it, and fiddled about with lights. Sadly, the blue set which I bought last time we spent Christmas in St Ives, has a bulb which no longer lights and the bulbs are not replaceable. They go round the panel at the side of the front door.
For more than a week we had temperatures below zero, but suddenly it went warmer and the rain came back

I have bought quite a few items online, I have also got around to contacting the cooker manufacturer,as the main oven has refused to light for several days. Fortunately I have a combination microwave, which does joints quite well, I just don't fancy trying to shoehorn a turkey in. The mince pies for the carol service went in the top oven, which doesn't get very hot.
The engineer comes tomorrow, so does the chap to service the boiler, I'm praying they don't arrive together, as both are in the kitchen.
I finished  posting the cards yesterday, and posted the last parcel today.
I am feeling a bit ropey as I have slight cold. It is a nuisance as I can be fine then my nose suddenly decides to drip. It is quite embarrassing. I spent a fortune at Sainsbury's last week, but nothing today  I used most of my nectar points, in fact I produced a voucher a bit late, but the assistant ended up giving me money, that's the way to do it!!
 My weight went up, then down, and I  am at my lightest weight for 10 years, still a way to go yet. One lady who came to our class today has lost around 9 stone!, that's a whole person! I've had couple of mince pies, but have mostly been eating soups for lunch, though I did make a huge batch of roasted veg which made 3 lunches with feta cheese.
Last week I made it to women's hour, we had a lovely Christmas talk on peace, from the wife of a minister from a nearby town. We also had the last parent and toddler's of the term last week. we are missing our pastor, but one of the elders did the carol service last Sunday, and he did very well.
My friend C has a broken ankle, and was in hospital, so I visited her last week, I must try to find out if she is home yet. Everything has been a bit of a blur, i haven't seen the childrenas much as I would like, but did babysit last week for about an hour. I'm still trying to get a photo of them both together, but Nat isn't very cooperative at present.
Last Saturday evening we went to see 'An unexpected journey', and enjoyed it, despite what some grumpy critics said. I wasn't brave enough to see it in 3D, as even the faster frame format left me a bit cross eyed at times. All in all it was good, P J has done it again. We are both hooked on the song of the dwarves. Howard Shore's score is superb. I'll never forget watching him conduct the Lord of the Rings symphony at the Royal Albert hall.
Well I'd better close and go and tidy my kitchen, will try and upload some pics. Lydia has learned to smile, what a cutie! Oh yes and my shoulder surgery is fixed for Jan 31st.

my advent candle

mini tree

sliver baubles and cones

Lights by front door

here comes the smile

Nathaniel not cooperating

interesting reflections in the TV screen

Add caption
Lydia in her snuggle suit

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Funeral, friends and family

Oh dear, chasing my tail again, hence the lack of blogging. The funeral I went to on 22nd went quite well. I got there early,managed to find a free parking space, and sat and ate a sandwich in the car, then walked up to the church where we were members for 12 years in St Albans. I was  amongst the first to arrive. The church gradually filled up, then the coffin was carried in. It was a very pretty coffin, decorated with pictures of bluebells. The service wasn't all miserable, her twin brother and older sister spoke about her, and from some of the tales her brother told it's a wonder she lived to the age that she did. The service was also full of hope as Chris knew Jesus as her Saviour and we are sure that she is now in heaven.
The family left for a private burial, in St Albans, and we went into the hall for refreshments. I just had a cup of tea, as I know how tempting these buffets can be, especially when one has had to wait till abut 2pm to eat. That is why I had the sandwich in the car. I caught up with friends, both from the St Albans church ,and the church we attended when we first came here.  The family returned from the burial, but there were so many people wishing to talk to them that I wasn't able to. Thankfully it was a dry day, but very blustery, as I discovered when I tried to walk across the park. Scared that I might get blown over, I decided to walk along the street instead. The following day was dull, and quite frankly unworthy of comment
 On the Saturday I again overslept, still sleeping badly. It was raining again, so we took the car into town. On the Sunday the family came for lunch because Son In Law had been unwell, and been ordered to rest.
Lydia at 5 weeks

Nathaniel has a snack

Unfortunately things went a bit awry when I tried to turn the oven up to do roasties and it went out and refused to relight. Fortunately I have a combination microwave so was able to put the oil covered potatoes in that. Then in the general mayhem I forgot to put water in the pressure cooker, realising in time before the veg burned. I also forgot to rearrange the potatoes,and some ended up extremely crunchy. However it was all edible, and enjoyed. Daughter had brought a dessert - treacle tart!! Not exactly WW friendly, so I had a small slice.
On the Monday it was wet again, and I caught up on the ironing. My sister was saying that she had always fancied living in one of the flats by the river in St Asaph, but I think she has now been cured of that desire.
The next day was a horrible dull miserable day, but I did have a delivery of some cutlery which I had tried to match up. I had found the pattern online, but in one set the knives were too long, however I can thoroughly recommend Cutlery Search if you need to replace or add to your cutlery.
I had a very busy day on Wednesday, I had lost a pound at weight watchers, then had to dash from there over to the private hospital, as my consultant wanted to do a12 month check on my mended shoulder. he was pleased with that one, but when I said the other was getting more painful, he sent me down to xray, then showed me the quite clear picture of the bone spur. So I now face another operation.
On the way back I stopped in the nearby town, grabbed a sandwich in the M&S Simply food, sat and ate it in the car, then zoomed off  to get to parent and toddlers. I arrived before the leader, and as I waited for her to come and unlock the door, realised just how much the temperature had dropped. We had a good attendance despite the cold. the afterwards I went to do the weekly shop in Sainsbury's. I was quite tired in the evening, just about managing to watch an episode of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip on iplayer. We were sad to hear of the death of David Barby in the Summer.
On Thursday I was busy moving stuff from the guest bedroom to the back bedroom, as husband hasn't made much inroads into his sorting. We have had one charity shop bag so far. Then I vacuumed, put the guest bed together, and made it up. I missed Women's hour as I was waiting for a delivery, which Amazon had somehow confused, then another delivery, this time a  mattress topper, not foam, as I cannot get used to the new bed. I am now sleeping better, and no longer ache all over in the morning.
 On Friday our Son and his wife arrived in the afternoon, followed by Daughter and Son in Law. they were off to London to see the lights, but were leaving Tom and Nathaniel with us, as neither would have enjoyed traipsing around London. Husband had been to Bristol, and was back very early so he helped me supervise one excited dog, and one over excited toddler. I had to put a stop to the ball games when I got hit in the eye.
Nathaniel had his evening meal with us, which he thoroughly enjoyed,  then I took him home, got him ready for bed, and he was asleep very quickly. I do envy him! I then settled down to wait for the wanderers to return.
On the Saturday, we walked into town with Son and Daughter in law as they wanted to buy new wellies for dog walking. We treated them to lunch in M&S, then we got the bus back up after a bit of M&S shopping, but they walked up the hill. Later we all went up to Ashridge park to walk Tom, or rather we ambled and he chased the ball. When we got back he had to have his undercarriage showered as he was filthy, the frost had not penetrated the trees and the ground was very boggy.
On Sunday, it was our pastor's last day, so there was much sadness. All the family came for lunch, but Son and Daughter in law had to leave soon afterwards. The others stayed, but much later Nat fell asleep on the carpet, so we had to go to church and leave them there. Daughter didn't have her keys as she thought, so they were still there when we got back, Nathaniel was wide awake, They gathered their stuff together and went home. All in all a good weekend, no major culinary disasters.Will upload some pics.
Tom shows his agility


Tom with his owners

Sunset through the trees

The monument

Nathaniel gets affectionate

His pose is the same as Mummy's!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Rain, rain, go away

Well I haven't blogged for a while, truth to tell there is not much happening. I'm afraid November is descending into typical November style, grey skies, lots of rain and having to put the light on at about 3.30 pm, today it was even earlier.
I noted down that Monday of last week was wet, and I went out wearing joggers. Now I don't like joggers that flap around my ankles, but when I got back from my walk I had to change, as the joggers had wicked up water, and were flapping very wetly round my legs.
I had a phone call from an old friend whom I had left a message for about the funeral later this week. We didn't chat for long, but said that they are in the process of packing up to move to Northumbria! They are both retired. I'm tempted to move to a cheaper area  when my husband retires, but not that far away from family.
Tuesday of last week I had a slow start, I'm still having trouble sleeping at times, seem to be taking ages to get used to the new bed. I phoned my friend C, but her husband said she was asleep, so I proceeded to take the kitchen net curtain down. I was halfway through washing it when C rang me back, so we had a little natter. Later when I came to put something in the washing a machine, I discovered 2 odd socks, both dyed navy!  Then my eldest sister phoned, she had been put on a new weight loss plan, and had lost 4lb.
After a soup lunch, I took off for Watford, I didn't buy much, but the shopping centre is looking very festive with the decorations up. Then I drove round to Hobby craft, which is having a makeover, they didn't seem to have a lot in stock for making Christmas cards, so I bought a few bits, and probably will only make a few.
On Wednesday. I had actually put weight on, despite being good Monday and Tuesday. I'll have to blame it on the food I ate on the weekend away.
I still seem to be spending a lot at Sainsbury's, although my trolley didn't contain that much. I managed to get the Christmas cake made last week, left the fruit soaking in brandy overnight to plump it up, then mixed everything else in. I had to do most of it by hand, as my mixer decided to pack up as it was introduced to the mixture. It was whirring like crazy, but the beaters just wouldn't turn. Daughter had an even worse week, as her fridge/freezer packed up, and I had no room in mine to help out, so they lost quite a lot of food. That's in addition to her kettle and toaster which also died recently.
I think that the cake cooked ok, it's the first one I have done in this cooker. I'm still having problems with the cooker, the other day the oven went out and just would not relight. Still we cheered our evenings up by watching Downton, which was mostly entertaining.  Although husband refused to watch one episode.We do crack up at some of the one liners though, is it meant to be a comedy?
On Thursday we were writing Christmas cards at Women's hour, for missionaries and absent friends.We chat as we do that and it's a pleasant time of fellowship, although a couple of us found ourselves signing the same card twice. When that happens we know that it is time to stop. I called in on Daughter on the way home, she is still quite tired, Lydia keeps them up a bit at night. Fortunately Nathaniel still takes a nap, but like his Mum did, he sometimes gets up to mischief whilst she is feeding Lydia.

Lydia fast asleep

Nathaniel, takes after his Dad, Grandad and Uncle, a techie at 2!
I can't remember much about Friday, but Saturday I overslept again to after a bad night, so we were chasing out tails all day. Husband wanted to go to the garden centre for more bark, so we went over there and ate our lunch on their car park.We bought a couple more things, then when we got home husband got stuck into some sorting of stuff, as when we had the bed delivered  I had to move stuff into the guest bedroom. I'm hoping he will chuck some stuff out, he has already started a charity shop bag.
Sunday was a normal Sunday, except that there was dedication service for a baby. We are making the most of hearing our pastor at present, if you remember a while ago I spoke of having had some bad news, well it was that the pastor is leaving. We have enjoyed his ministry so much, we were quite devastated by the news. I tried to phone Mum in Law but could not get through, so abandoned the attempt.
Next morning I tried again with my mobile, and got through. She had had so many well wishers phoning her. She was going for her cataract op on  Monday afternoon,and phoned us later in the evening to say she was ok, but couldn't judge if it had worked as sh'e d had so many drops in it. I had called on daughter to take some meals to try and compensate for what she had lost, but I'd had difficulty as when I opened the oven to put the second one in, the oven must have gone out and it wouldn't relight, so everything got finished off in the pressure cooker .Someone had provided Mum in law with meal.
Yesterday wasn't very exciting, tried to phone C to visit her, and couldn't get through , only to find later that she had spent most of the morning alone. Today I had a slight weight loss, then went to Sainsbury's again. I must get stuck into buying stuff for Christmas, but as usual am struggling with motivation.Oh well, only a month till the shortest day, then the evenings will begin to get lighter. I have started using my lightbox, hope it works soon. Another funeral/thanksgivng service tomorrow, for the friend killed in the car accident, so I'm trying to get to bed earlier.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Your friendly pharmacist

I forgot to mention that on Friday we were well along the M25 when I let out a shriek as I realised I had forgotten to pack my meds. We had come too far to turn back, so I decided that I would have to go into the village to the pharmacy after breakfast on Saturday. My meds are the thing which I usually pack first.
Husband dropped me off at the pharmacy, and I explained my predicament. They couldn't sell me just enough for the weekend, but were able to supply a pack of each for a fee. I normally get mine free, have done for years because thyroxine is considered essential.
I had to give my home details, my Doctor's name and address, then had a 20 minute wait during which I strolled round the village. There is a lovely hardware store in the village and they had exactly the right shade of polyanthus which I had been unable to find locally to go in the centre of one of my planters.
I picked one up, then strolled around the shop. Some of the joggers that I wear for warmth in the winter had been looking sad and faded, so I had given them a new lease of life by dying them in the same shade. I had also bought some with a white stripe down the side, I wasn't keen on the stripe. Anyway, I bought yet more navy dye in the hardware store. So my trip into the village was profitable.
I can thoroughly reccomend talking to your local pharmacist, they are very highly trained, and most helpful.
I also paid less for the private prescription than I would have if I paid the NHS rate!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Potting, preserving and 'Pension' - (hotel really)

I may have neglected to mention my visit to the Garden centre the previous week. I spent some time last week repotting my containers out at the front. I had bought some more daff bulbs, and I wanted  to plant those, and put winter flowering pansies on top, to give a bit of colour during the winter months. So one by one I emptied the pots and then replanted them. The container of compost which we keep on the patio was soon empty, but I found another in the garage. I could never have lifted it, but tried to use a collapsible trolley, sadly the trolley kept collapsing, but one of the wheels had twisted and couldn't be straightened, so I dragged it round to the garden. Our garage is in a block at the rear of the houses, so it was a hard task. I didn't do myself any injuries, but late that day I managed to twist around awkwardly, and did pull a muscle.Typical.
Last week was quite productive in that I also managed to iron a backlog of shirts.
On Wednesday I had lost half a  pound, so I am creeping slowly in the right direction. After Sainsbury's, I went to B&Q, and found the ronseal which I needed. We had some dry days so hopefully I would get some more of the fence done.
Thursday was a bright day, so I got stuck in with the sprayer. I read the instructions, but the sprayer didn't seem to fill up too well. I sprayed the parts of the fence which I hadn't been able to reach before, then I started the second coat. It was easy to push the trigger accidentally, so there may be things in the garden which I sprayed unintentionally. As it wouldn't fill completely, I kept on having to refill it. Once, I hadn't released the pressure properly, and the handle came out sending a spray of ronseal all over me and everything nearby. Talk about a spray tan! I also gave myself an unintentional light brown streak in the grey hair. So much for not breathing in the fumes! I did wear a mask, and I hoped it would stop me inahaling particles. Unfortunately I had removed the mask when it sprayed everywhere.
It took almost as long as the paint brush had done, but at least I had reached the bits behind our shed and our neighbour's shed.
I had an early lunch, then changed and put a dab of perfume on to try and mask the smell. then I set off to walk down to our church. Women's hour was hosting a bookshop again from 11 am till 3.30 pm. I called in at the hairdresser's on the way down and managed to book a haircut for 4pm. I had a coffee when I got to the church, and allowed myself a little cake as I had walked down. I chatted to the other ladies there, then browsed the books and bought some books for Nathaniel, 2 for me to read, and some cards.  I then said my goodbyes, and walked back into town to get the  bus back up.  I quickly washed my hair, then finished off the pots out at the front, then went and got my car to drive to the hairdresser's. She got rather carried away, and my hair ended up shorter than it has for ages  Everyone seems to think it's ok though
One of the late afternoons , as I did the pots  I noticed a lovely sky.

As you know, I love sunsets.
Friday I spent generally tidying up, more ironing and packing. I walked up to Daughter's home collecting the papers on the way. Our Son and his wife were coming to visit, on their way to spend a weekend visiting Grandma, whom they hadn't seen for months. We had discovered that we wanted to visit the same weekend as them, so as Grandma should have had her operation, so she wouldn't have to be put out by our visit, I had booked us all into a hotel, and offered to pay for the younger ones too. The hotel was dog friendly so they could bring Tom too.We would take Grandma for dinner and Sunday lunch at the hotel.
As I sat cuddling Lydia, who for once had her eyes wide open and was responding with puzzled looks, they arrived. I had some minor last minute details to iron out with them, and some photos of Tom to give them. Daughter in Law declined to cuddle Lydia, as she had a fresh cold and didn't want to spread it. I left as they sat down to lunch, and walked back across the field, on the way back across the field I saw what could have been the remains of the ball which Tom lost in the summer, obviously destroyed by the council mower.
 When husband arrived home, we sorted the things to take with us, packed the car and set off for the South coast. Husband didn't take his usual pre trip nap, but managed all of the driving. We stopped at our usual place for a snack meal, and for once the filling in my panini was hot.
 We  arrived at the hotel just before 10 pm, and booked in. Son and his wife had left their car at the hotel and walked up to Grandma's, then they walked back in the dark, but Tom got some exercise. We arranged to breakfast together at 8.30 am. The hotel was clean, warm, (a bit too warm) and comfortable with Tempur mattresses. We didn't sleep all night, as with most memory foam mattresses, we had difficulty turning over.
However we were up early and down in time for breakfast. We discovered that our room had a rooftop view with the sea beyond it. Breakfast was plentiful, and afterwards we all went up to Mum in laws. Later, we went into Eastbourne, it was raining, and the world and his wife seemed to be heading for Eastbourne. No chance of  eating on the seafront, so once we had found on street parking, we headed for the usual cafe. Grandma insisted on paying for our lunch. Later the young people contacted us to say they had found some cheap swimwear and were going back to use the hotel pool. We didn't buy much in Eastbourne, and decided to head back.
 Tom was glad to see us, and he spent part of his time waiting near the front door for his owners to return. Sadly as we went back to the hotel he had to go back in the conservatory. Husband and I went back slightly early to change for dinner, the other 2 had not brought much in the way of dress clothes, but fortunately there was no dress code. It was fairly dim in the restaurant, and Daughter in  Law had to help Grandma read the menu. We had a lovely 3 course meal, followed by coffee, then back to the bungalow for a while before returning for the night to the hotel.
Next morning we were down earlier for breakfast, as E&P had promised to take Grandma to her 9.30 am service. We went to the service at  our usual place, so we were able to spend time with Tom whilst they were out and they arrived back just before we left. The traffic in the road was pretty bad, there is a Catholic church nearby, and what with that and the parade, cars were parked on both sides. We had the 2 minutes silence at St Paul's, but after the service certain roads were closed because of events on the promenade. We went back to the bungalow and all went down to the hotel in our Son's car. Sunday lunch there is a carvery, so we knew it was generous, and only had 2 courses. Even so the meat was a bit generous, so some was wrapped in paper napkins to take home to Tom. He thoroughly appreciated it.
I took 2 pictures of the young people with Grandma and Tom, but he refused to face the camera.
Grandma was totally captivated by Tom
They took him for a short walk, then set off  home as they had further to go than us. We left at around sunset as it had been a beautiful day, and husband did not want to travel west with the sun in his eyes. We had quite a good run, stopping at the new services at Cobham, which we decided were too large and too noisy. We arrived home at about 7.30, tired but happy with the weekend and especially not having had to cook or wash up. We had a quiet evening catching up on newspapers we hadn't found time to read. The young people got home safely too, so we thank the Lord for our safety.

For what is your life?

Well I thought I would try and blog  last week's news before I forget most of it. On the Sunday we had invited the family round again for lunch. Out pastor was back from a trip to India, and told us briefly of how God is working there, we also had communion. We dashed home afterwards, and I got stuck into the preparations. The family arrived and as we chatted daughter told me of the shocking news that someone whom we had known for over 30 years had lost her life in a car accident. We had been fairly close when our children were younger, we met the family through church, one of their younger boys was about 7 months younger than our Daughter.the other younger than our Son. They had two older children, both of whom husband had taught in Sunday School and bible class, I had taught one of the younger boys in Sunday School  too.
Later a few years after we had moved to a church 7 miles away, they also came to that church and we were in the same area fellowship group. Although we later moved back to worship in our own town, there is a lady in our church who had made friends with C, and she came along to a couple of craft evenings we had mainly for mums and toddler's parents, and she came to an evening carol service. I still saw her around town, and we kept up with family news. She had 2 grandchildren older than mine. I sent a text to our Son, and he must have done an internet search, and discovered the most likely accident. It seems that she had been returning from a visit to her parents in Oxford, and somehow had hit a breakdown truck head on. She died at the scene.
Although this is shocking news for her family and all that knew her, we do have the consolation that she knew Jesus as her Saviour, and we have the assurance that she will have gone straight to be with God in heaven. Not everyone has this assurance, and none of us know when the hour of our death will be. Are you prepared to meet God? Life can be so unpredictable, we go about our business thinking all is well and we will go on for years in the same old way, James chapter 4 verses 13, 14 and 15 are very sobering to read.
After lunch I spent some time phoning and emailing people who would have known C in the past. She was a lovely lady, very vibrant, adored her family, was very artistic, and loved flowers and gardening, in recent years she had trained as a florist.
I didn't neglect the family completely, it was lovely to have Nathaniel with us, and  Grandad had his first cuddle from baby Lydia

 At the evening service we had a visiting speaker who is in Christian work in Zambia. I had been running on adrenaline since hearing the news about C, and did wonder whether I would sleep, but did manage to.
 On Monday, I thought of more people whom I should phone, but got answering machines, so left messages.
I popped into Sainsbury's, and along with the papers and a couple of other items, I picked up the DVD of the latest series of Downton Abbey, so that is my viewing sorted for a few days.
Mum in law rang to say that her cataract operation scheduled for that day had been postponed , because the surgeon was ill. When he had seen her, he had said he wanted to perform the 'op' in days rather then weeks, now it has been put back  by 2 weeks, so I fear that her sight may deteriorate. She is not an assertive person, I would have demanded they kept me informed of cancellations, but it is difficult for me to intervene.
Later I went toHomebase and bought a sprayer, but they did not have any more of the ronseal in the shade I needed. I called in on Daughter on the way back.
Hm, I think I may have to break this blog into more than one post, back later.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Hints and tips, and goodbye to a friend

Oh dear late blogging again! Last week was a funny week, I spent quite some time looking for things. The previous week I had bought some books online. They were a set which we had when I was a child, but my mother had given away. These I bought are in beautiful condition, but must have been stored somewhere damp as they have a very musty smell. I needed to find something to get rid of the stink.
An online search came up with cat litter! I bought cat litter and 2 large plastic boxes, but was unable to find plastic boxes to take the books, as they are not supposed to come into contact with the litter.  I tried homebase, but they didn't have any big enough. I did buy some stuff for preserving fences ,as it is 3 years since our fence was put up,and we were told it would not need treating for 3  years.
Eventually I went online and bought some plastic boxes, these were also not quite big enough. but I managed to sit the books in the boxes, on top of the litter, then seal the outer boxes. They are now sitting in the back bedroom with the rest of the junk, where they have to stay for a month. I'll let you know if it works.
Then I had to wait for 2 consecutive dry days, one for the fence to dry off, and one to apply the gunk to the fence and pray that it would dry before the rain came. It's surprising how often the weather forecast changes overnight. I managed to lose weight last week, so at last am going in the right direction.
On Thursday I fully intended to go to Women's hour, but had been unable to get to sleep before 4 am, so I wasn't feeling up to much, then I got  soaked by an unexpected downpour. By the time I had lunch I felt so wretched and was running late, so I didn't go. On Friday I had a funeral to go to. for 3 years we attended a church which met in a local community centre. One of the members was a very old lady, she had died recently, a few weeks short of her102nd Birthday. So on Friday I dug out my dark clothing and put a few underlayers on, then went up to our local cemetery. I was glad of the underlayers,as it was quite windy up at the cemetery. Thankfully it didn't rain though. People who I knew were already there when I arrived, so I didn't have to wait in solitude, rather was able to catch up with people's news. Soon the hearse arrived, then a few minutes later the pastor. The undertaker suggested we took our cars round to the other side of the cemetery, where the burial would take place, but most of us preferred to walk, including a lady in her late 90s who was from the blind club which Ivy attended. It was interesting to see that the cemetery is fairly rule free, there were  photos on gravestones, wind chimes, which I find creepy at the best of times, and lanterns on sticks.
The service was scheduled for an hour after the burial, so I had time to nip home for my glasses, which I had forgotten, I also nipped up to the bathroom, and had a drop of hot coffee to warm me up.
The thanksgiving service was at the community centre, and again old friends were there to be greeted. The service went on for about an hour and a half, the sermon was a bit long, and one row of people left, which must have been disconcerting for the preacher.
Afterwards I said my goodbyes, I didn't want the temptation of refreshments as I'd had lunch, so nipped around the corner to daughter's, to see them and the children; my second visit of the week.
Saturday the weather was dry enough for me to put one coat on the fence, it didn't take too long, then we walked into town, which we hadn't done for a while. As we were running late, we bought stuff in town for lunch to take home. The rain held off, so the fence dried, there had been bits behind our shed and next door's shed that I couldn't reach, so decided to look for a sprayer. I felt I'd had plenty of exercise that day, so was only too happy to flop with the papers,till it was time to make a casserole and phone my sister, a proftable day all round.
Nathaniel, newly shorn plays with his Duplo train

Lydia, oblivious to the fact that her brother shares his toys

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Coming back down to earth

Well after all of the excitement of the last two weeks, this week has been fairly dull. The family came round for lunch on Sunday, Nat had been to church with Daddy, but had fallen asleep in the car. They tried to transfer him to the travel cot upstairs, but he woke up and was in one of those moods when he didn't know what he wanted, and ended up in full 'terrible twos'  mode.
Eventually, he was persuaded back downstairs, but didn't eat much apart from a few mouthfuls of roast beef. He asked for a yoghurt, but I explained I only had big boys' yoghurts. He wanted to try one, and scoffed a whole pot of  Activia raspberry. Then as we had ice cream for dessert, he wanted some too, and ate all of it. Toddlers!
After lunch, he played quite happily, and was read to, and was a perfectly happy little boy. His sister spent most of her time asleep, except for when she was feeding, she first woke whilst we were eating, I'll swear she smelt the beef! We told them they could stay here as long as they wanted, but we were going to the evening service, as it was a preacher whom we particularly like, our own pastor still being away. They decided to go home, as it would be late when we got back.
The two young ladies who came earlier in the year were just in front of us going into church. One of them at least, had had a Sunday evening job, but has given it up as she is studying for A levels. The visiting speaker gave real gospel sermon, but the girls left before communion, so no one had much chance to speak to them.
Monday was my usual, boring housework day, I did go for a walk to fetch the papers, but didn't see anyone I knew. The previous week I had bumped into an old neighbour, and we caught up on our news. He has had some health problems, but they are not as bad as his GP thought. I was asking abut their boys, and he told me that his elder son has sadly split up with his fiance. They had been together for 6 years, living together for 3, but had only become officially engaged earlier this year. It just goes to show that living together is no guarantee of the success of a relationship. The reasons seemed to be that they had been drifting apart, and she had got cold feet. Poor girl she is from a broken home herself, and had had problems with step parents. So they have lost a whole load of wedding deposits, and had finances and bank accounts to unentangle. Call me old fashioned, but life has taught me that the old ways of courtship and marriage are the best. Too many people confuse lust with love, relationships are not built on friendship as well as love and when the passion fades there is nothing left.
I spent part of Monday afternoon making the remains of the beef into two cottage pies, then later took one up to Daughter, with a jug of gravy. I sneaked a bit of a cuddle with Lydia, who slumbered quite contently. On Tuesday I overslept again, and woke up feeling a bit groggy. I had a quiet day, I felt snuffly, did go out for my usual walk, but otherwise didn't do much. I wasn't sure if it was a cold coming, or the result of getting used to the central heating again. I usually end up with snuffles and sinus problems when the weather gets cold enough to put the heating on.
This week I had lost another pound, so am making slow progress in the right direction, after a summer of ups and downs. I am back on the soups and stir fries. Off to Sainsbury's, didn't spend as much, but didn't buy a joint, as the sell by dates were all to early; then parent and toddlers. I don't usually do 2 weeks in a row, but had swapped, with someone for the week I was away. It was hectic and noisy,and I made 12 teas, and 3 coffees  that meant there were 12 parents, as the leaders need refreshments too. I'm not sure how many toddlers there were, at least 2 people brought 2 and one person had 3. It's good to know we are still providing a popular service  after about 5 years.
On Thursday the other grandparents were coming up by train from Maidstone to meet baby Lydia. I said that I would call in,and decided to get my papers from the nearby shops. I walked there, got the papers, then as I walked to daughter's house realised that the car wasn't there. In fact no one was in. A couple of phone calls later, I discovered they had gone into town as Son in Law was in need of a haircut,and they needed to do a bit of shopping.
At last the trees are turning

I glanced through one of the papers whilst waiting, and when they arrived, I took Nat out of his car seat and  indoors, he started looking for 'Daddad', as he calls him, but I explained that Grandad was at work. Son in Law got a call to collect the other grandparents from the station, and Nathaniel was already as high as a kite charging around. He was even worse when the other grandparents and their middle Son arrived. I took a few pictures, chatted for bit then left to walk home, thankfully down hill all the way. fat chance of Nat wanting a nap that day!

Almost a week old

Grandma gets a cuddle
Nathaniel is gentle
 On Friday I did a bit of tidying in a corner that occasionally gets out of hand, breaking off to wash a net curtain the colour of which had me ashamed. That involved moving plant pots,and other paraphernalia from the windowsill, then I cleaned the window inside and out. sadly my window cleaner found another job and neglected to inform us. My neighbour found out when she rang him. I made a bolognese sauce in the afternoon,and took some up to the family. I forgot to mention that the midwife called back and was very pleased with everyone. Daughter has had an ear infection, for which she has drops.
I overslept on Saturday morning, and ran late again, so we took the car into town again. Husband got his flu jab done at Boots, he has to pay for his, whereas I've always had mine free because of asthma. Now the clocks have gone back, and the evenings are darker, roll on the shortest day!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Our new arrival

We were pleased to be back in church a week last Sunday, although our pastor is away at present. We had a visiting speaker, who preached a fairly short sermon, so we were home early for our Roast chicken lunch. We both crashed out in the afternoon after our travelling, and  strange beds.
Monday was spent mainly in washing as usual I seemed to have loads, that is the worst of holidays washing and ironing to get ready, then more when we return. I was contemplating starting dinner, when pouffe! out went the lights and there was an electronic 'sigh' as everything shut down. the only light came from my laptop, as it has a battery. Another power cut, I groped around and husband wound up his torch, and between us we found matches, and candles. Soon I had enough light to see to cook dinner using the top of the stove. I had to use matches to light the hobs, and then we had a candlelit dinner. Not so romantic when it is forced on you. Husband brought down the oil lamps,but was worried we might not have enough oil, there's a parable in that somewhere!
We lit the lamps, and after dinner once again I read the Telegraph by torchlight. Everything started up again after about 50 minutes, so we watched some iplayer .On Tuesday I still had loads I could be doing, but as I like when I can to have Tuesday as my  'Do as I please day', so I went to see C&C, and hopefully cheered the wife up, the husband went out to take a neighbour to the Dr, then did some work in the garden. I came home had a soup lunch, then pootled off to Watford, I  had seen something in M&S and dithered over it, but of course, he who hesitates is lost, and it was no longer in stock. I went into the market to the card stall, and bought a few bits, I also got some new winter clothes for Nat. I called on the way home to take them, they were pleased to see me. Daughter still rather large, and finding the last month the longest, as normally happens. She still had 11 days to go according to the midwives.
At Weight watchers I was half a pound down, but I reckon I had gained 2lb whilst away, so my 'special effort' of Monday and Tuesday had paid off. I didn't stay for the talk, as I had a busy day. Off to Sainsbury's for a big shop ,then a quick lunch, and off to parent and toddlers. It was very busy, we seem to have a whole lot of 'new' Mums this term. H came with her twins, they are still quite small, but they were born early. I held one for while. but then had to get on with the refreshments. I actually managed to make the right number of teas and coffees this time. It's difficult making a list when people are constantly moving about.
The lady who does the singing wasn't there so as I have aloud voice I was asked to help. Old Mcdonald's farm, row row row your boat, and  the wheels on the bus being the favourites. Then home for a bit of a rest before husband arrived home.
I overslept on Thursday, ran late all morning, but managed to get to Women's hour. It was book reviews again, and as I hadn't read any lately couldn't possibly comment. There were plenty reviewed though, quite diverse really. On the way home I called on Daughter, she was complaining of feeling grumpy and having backache,and was quite glad to see me.
I was late to bed that night, I kept telling myself to get to bed earlier, so that if I had to look after Nat I would be less likely to need nap myself. On Friday morning husband brought in my tea and said that Son in law had phoned to say the midwives had been, she was 2cm, and they would be back later. Son in law would be staying home that day. That spurred me out of bed and into action. So I was ready when the phone call came. Husband had actually neglected to say I should phone them, but I picked Nat up and brought him here. He was quite happy playing and having a snack. Later I took him into town in the buggy, and after we had been in a couple of shops, I treated him to lunch in M&S. I let him choose a book in Waterstones, then I chose another. We came home on the bus, and Nat was wide awake
He still didn't seem to want a nap, then my eldest sister phoned, she was laughing at the noise she could hear, then my mobile rang. I asked my sister to hold on. It was my daughter to say that the baby had been born at 12.58 pm, a girl weighing 6lb 6oz. I asked when she wanted me to take Nat back, and she was a bit vague. I told Nat that he had a baby sister, and he went back to playing. I asked him if he wanted a nap, and he said 'no'. I would have had to put the cot back up, but each time I asked he said 'no'. Eventually I asked did he want to go and meet his sister. 'Yeah' was the reply, so I gathered up his stuff, got him into the car seat, and off we went. All the way up the hill he was practising, 'Hello sister'. When we got there we had to wait a bit whilst they cleared up, then we went in and Nathaniel met his sister, but forgot what he had been practising. He was fascinated, and very gentle with her. The house was like an oven, it had to be for baby's sake. The birthing pool was being drained in the kitchen, glug glug, it hadn't been used as much as hoped as there was bit of difficulty, with baby being 'back to back', or facing upwards.

Nathaniel was presented with the books for being a good boy for Nanna, we sat and waited for husband to arrive. Son in Law was so tired, he'd been awake most of the night, and at one point he was sitting bolt upright, but fast asleep. As they were both in need of a good rest, we offered to take Nat off their hands overnight, and he was quite happy to come. He didn't get to bed very early, but slept till 6.30 am. I took him home at about,to find his parents a bit more rested. later we drove into town,and in addition to the usual shopping I ordered congratulatory flowers, bought a card, balloons and a sweet little outfit.
Later I blew up the balloons, tied them together with silver ribbon and took them round with the card and gift. Perhaps the silver ribbon was a bad choice, as one balloon was determined to escape. I
eventually traced it to my daughter's neighbour's garden. Nat seized on the balloons and began to drag them around the house. They have named the baby Lydia Rose Grace, she is tiny but perfectly formed, Nat has been happy to share his toys with her and presented her with the monkey which husband bought his Mum. As for us we thank God for out beautiful grandchildren

Monday, 22 October 2012


Ok, so I admit it, I've had a couple of senior moments lately. When we were away, on the Tuesday, I realised there would be a good sunset. So I set off, camera in hand to photograph it, leaving husband as I thought, dozing off. When I got to the seafront, I took the first pic, only to be told by my camera that there was no card in it. I had taken the card out to see if I could view the pictures on my computer.
I was contemplating going back, but then would probably have missed the sunset altogether, then I spotted husband, he hadn't dozed off, and decided to join me with his camera. I explained my dilemma, and he said 'go into Asda and buy a card ' When I said 'I haven't any cash', he felt in his pocket and produced a tenner. Lovely man!
So I got my card and my sunset pics, and of course that card was in there when I took the family pics. DOH!

When shall we three meet again
great nephew, sister and 2 cousins

Soppy dog
a cat in the garden

I sneaked onto her lap
Son and daughter in law