Sunday, 27 May 2012

Here comes summer

On Monday of this week I pulled out a strip of my thyroxine tablets and realised that there were not as many as I thought. So my walk went via the surgery, then to Dunelm Mill, as I had cards to make, then to Sainsbury's and Homebase. The weather was still cold and very dull. Later I made an appointment to have my hair cut, then went off to a more local garden centre, and bought yet more plants. There seemed to be a dearth of blue, but I managed to find some in the Homebase garden centre. This gardening hobby costs a fortune, but it does make the place look brighter. I continued to redo all my front pots with patriotic colours, scattered some slug pellets around, and they are looking quite good.

I had several plants left over, but not much time to plant them. As I was taking the above pictures, a young woman passed the house, she had Auburn hair, but worn down, and a distinctive tattoo on her left arm. I was tempted to snap her, but at that moment she looked towards me. I would have liked to compare the tattoo to that which we have on the copy of the Birthday present thief. She must live locally. The hair colour was slightly deeper, but it is obviously recently touched up.
As I walked to the hairdresser near to town, I felt chilly, despite my light weight jacket, the cold wind was still around then, but the forecast was for heat. Afterwards I went into town to withdraw some money as I needed a £20 note. Would you believe that every cash machine I tried had only 10s? I drew money from 3 different accounts too! As I wandered through town, the sky cleared, the sun began to beat down, and I removed my jacket. I got the bus home, and went straight upstairs and changed into a skirt and t shirt. I put tights on as I wanted to look decent for my physio visit. 
 The village where the physio is had their bunting out, it all looked bright and festive. It's the sort of place where I often think I might like to live, but finding a property in our price range could be difficult. After my session she decided I didn't need to come any more, but she will leave my file open in case I have a flare up. Apparently this sort of thing lingers a bit in the late stages. I haven't had too many problems, and it will be nice to have Tuesday afternoons completely free. Then I was off to the big garden centre for yet another small water butt, I bought a few plants too, including a Winston Churchill fuchsia, as mine didn't survive winter. I also met a friend from the church we used to go to and had a long chat with her.
When I got home off came the tights, it was far too sticky. I worked a bit more on the pots, and had a look to see how much work there needs to be done on the back garden beds;-lots of weeding. The honeysuckle is doing well, as is the big ceanothus in the front. There were no aphids on the honeysuckle, but yesterday some had appeared on the lower growth. Will have to keep an eye on it as they wreak havoc if not sprayed
it's looking even better now

I'd had a phone call from Daughter on Tuesday evening, a call to babysit whilst she went to the dentist, so my Wednesday was turned around a bit. At WW I hadn't lost or gained, but I stayed to the meeting where we discussed tracking. My tracking has been a bit haphazard lately. I had lost both bible notes and tracker, but have now located both.
Straight to Daughter's to babysit, then afterwards off home for a quick lunch, I got a bit side tracked trying to get some order in my card making box, had been trying to make cards and watch antiques road trip on Tuesday evening. Then I arrived a bit late at parent and toddler's almost demolishing the gatepost as I reversed into the parking area; there are workmen's vans all around, alterations being done to the old manse. The were not so many children there this week, and afterwards I headed off for Sainsbury's. I did the shopping and realised I had forgotten to collect my prescription. Off home via the surgery, then downstairs to the pharmacy. They didn't have one of my drugs, and I was alarmed when they said they would take some out of  someone else's made up prescription, to give to me. I was bit slow, I should have said I wasn't short of that drug, but I'd had a busy day and wasn't thinking straight. I would still have to return to collect the rest! I did rather veg out that evening.
On Thursday I collected Nathaniel, and he insisted on bringing 'baby'. Baby is a doll dressed in blue to get Nathaniel used to the idea of treating babies gently, because God willing, Nathaniel will have a baby brother or sister at the end of October.  However I'm not sure how much he understands 'gentle', as 'baby'; frequently ends up on the wrong side of  the safety gate in my doorway, and has been thrown a few times. Most of the time though he holds 'baby'; correctly and gives him a 'cuggle'. On our way to Sainsbury's to get some Oatso Simple for husband, which I had forgotten the previous day, I noticed he had his head right down. He was wearing a hat, but the sun was bothering him, so I found a pair of sunglasses which fasten with velcro, and he actually kept them on. We went to the small playground near where his parents used to live, and he spent some time on the swings and slide. 
He didn't protest too much when I put him back in the buggy for home, he ate a very good lunch, apart from the bits of salad, then off for a very long nap, which I appreciated. Whilst out I briefly phoned Mum In Law who was 88 that day. Afterwards he played happily till home time, I forgot the key to Daughter's, and when I arrived back here husband was just parking my car, so he came back up with me.
Baby cool
We enjoyed watching Nat's antics in the garden, whilst we chatted to Daughter, then home for some quiche, salad and jersey potatoes, followed by Strawberries and ice cream. Friday followed a similar pattern, but I remembered that I needed to collect the rest of my prescription, so went out via the pharmacy again. Nathaniel was wearing his new sandals, and there was a nice cool breeze to offset the hot sun.
 Yesterday husband and I walked to town for the first time in weeks. I had a sun hat on, but a sudden gust of wind took it right off my head. We got the bus back up, laden with shopping, then had a bit of a rest. It was getting quite late when I went out into the garden, I weeded a bit, then planted a bit, then had a tea break, eventually I had got a lot of plants in, so gave up for the evening. I rang both sisters, and Mum in law, as Daughter had decided last minute to go down for the day. That has really bucked Mum in Law up, she was thrilled to see Nat, and was taken out to lunch for her birthday.
Today being Whit Sunday, our pastor concentrated on preaching on the Holy Spirit. Our two new young ladies came again, and a few of us chatted to them after the service, they seem to feel at home, their friend who only came once, is quite poorly with a chest infection, so I promised to pray for her. I've had a busy week, but it's been productive, especially the pile of ironing I did when Nat took a nap on Friday. I must go, I need an early night. have a good week all.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Old father Thames keeps rolling along

Well this has been quite a busy week, not much out of the ordinary on Monday, but pretty full otherwise. On Tuesday morning, I got a call quite out of the blue to say that a surveyor would be with me 'in the next 45 minutes', to assess the moving of the gas meter. I rushed to tidy the kitchen, and about 20 minutes later, saw two men get out of a van, and start striding around our front garden. Eventually they 'knocked' at the door. Why don't people use my bell? Husband has replaced the remote bell, but it's surprising how many people think that rattling my letterbox is a better way of getting my attention. However I digress.
I let them in and one of them demanded that I show him the location of the meter. As I began to pull out the contents of the cupboard, he complained that it wasn't in a very good place, and wouldn't be easy to turn off  in an emergency. I felt like saying, 'Look mate, I didn't build this house, I am not responsible for the stupid siting of the meter', but I kept quiet, then he said 'how does the meter reader read it?' 'He gets down on his knees and uses a torch' I replied. I was the told in no uncertain terms that it would be a really big job to move the meter, that my (fitted) kitchen cupboards would have to be pulled out, it would need more that the 2 metres of pipe that I had been told it would need, then he changed tack and said 'We could put the box outside, but then you would have to contact your gas safe engineer and get him to reroute the pipe to the boiler and cooker' I said 'Well if the cupboards have to come out then it is too much hassle. I cannot move those cupboards, it is best left till the kitchen is refitted. You had better cancel the job'. The other chap hadn't said much, but had looked sympathetic, when I said it would be impossible to pull out cupboards, especially as the working surfaces were linked to those round the sink So they left, then it was up to me to ring and cancel the job.
The young woman who took the call  tried to hide behind the data protection act, because the account is in my husband's name. I said, 'Look, I just want the job cancelled and a refund'. She said that the refund would take up to 20 days. It didn't take them 20 days to charge me for a job that might not be done for weeks.
Needless to say, I was quite upset by the whole thing, but have been online and located a small cooker with a double oven. The meter reader will just have to put up with me being out., or kneeling to read the meter.
Tuesday afternoon was slightly better, a visit to the physio, the ultrasound does tend to stir up the pain, she gave me another exercise to do, and says I will probably need 2 more sessions.
On Wednesday morning I went up to Weight watchers, got weighed, not good, up a tad, that's being away last week, but those chunky chips I had with my wrap in Llangollen were good. Then I bought the newspapers and rushed home. I needn't have  bothered rushing as husband had just cooked himself bacon and scrambled eggs. Eventually he was ready, and about an hour later than my schedule. We drove to the railway station, and parked. the car. We used the main station, as there are more trains from there.I bought the tickets, but was asked what time we intended to return. If it was after 7pm, we could have the cheaper all day travel cards, but if there was a chance that we might return in the rush hour, then it was £23.50, each!
Husband said to pay the full amount so we could be free to travel when we liked
We eventually arrived at Euston., bought M&S sandwiches in the shop there, and wandered down the road to a small park to eat them, then we headed for the British Museum. Just after we arrived, husband's bottle of water split the flimsy M&S bag, so I had to go into the museum shop to buy a small bag to carry our soft drink bottles.
We wandered around the Egyptian section, marvelled at the carvings on sarcophagi, which must have taken years to do, looked at stone gods, and commented that  our Living God was far more useful; looked at some marble statues, then decide to head off for Covent Garden. It was very busy, and we strolled around looking at stalls. We had soon had enough of the crowds, and moved on. I decided that as my hip was aching I was in need of a coffee. All that there was was a Starbucks, and as we are boycotting them, we found a nearby railway station, and found somewhere for a coffee. Sitting was bliss. It seems that the hip doesn't mind walking, but dislikes strolling!
Then we left and went to the Embankment pier, we were very early, but we went ahead into the Bateaux London reception, and exchanged our gift voucher for a boarding pass. A sudden jerk, and we realised that the reception area was also afloat. At 3.15 we boarded and were shown to our table. As we cast off we had the safety talk, then a few minutes later had our tea order taken. We were probably just a bit further on from the  London Eye when the boat turned, and we set off in the other direction. We were brought our own pots of tea, then a small tray of sandwiches. There was pianist in the upper deck, which was open to the lower, and he kept us entertained. The water was bit choppy, but everything stayed in place. There was one scone each, sadly only strawberry jam, which I dislike, then 3 cakes and 2 minitarts each.. Only one eclair between two of us, so we cut it in half. The boat had turned close to Canary Wharf, so on the way back we could see the other side of the riverbank. There are hundreds of flats built along there, they must be so expensive. All too soon we were back at Embankment, applauding the pianist's selection from 'Oliver' and getting ready to disembark.


London eye

Houses of Parliament

Millennium Bridge

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

Canary Wharf



We dived into the underground for the Northern Line, then at Euston I had to  have a 'comfort stop' after 4 cups of tea! We hot footed it right to the end of the station,where there was a train which only stopped once before our station. We felt a bit tired, and had a pretty quiet evening.
On Thursday I took Nathaniel shopping to Sainsbury's. he was quite good in the trolley, and even charmed the lady at the checkout by saying 'bye bye', and waving. He seems to be using many new words, purple, nap and 'cuggle'. being 3 of them. He went up quite obediently for his nap, and slept for three and a half hours, mind you, he had been up since about 4.45 am. He has a new favourite book, the Highway Rat, and both I and Grandad had to read it to him. I know that not grammatically correct, but I read it first, then when Grandad arrived he demanded it again! It has definite shades of Alfred Noyes.
On Friday I took him into town as I had some banking to do. He fell asleep in the buggy, but suddenly awoke with a start. It was getting close to lunch time, and as he loves the cheese and ham toasties so much I took him in M&S, he seemed a bit strained at first but was soon looking for ladies to flirt with. I let him walk to the baby changing room, where I checked his nappy. It is also a disabled loo, and has a low washbasin, with an automatic tap. He watched me use it, fascinated and soon worked out where to put his hands to tripe the sensor. I could have ended up with a very wet toddler. He walked to the bus stop, then back int the buggy for the bus ride home. After a nappy change I suggested his nap hadn't been long enough and he led the way upstairs. He seemed reluctant at first but then settled down to listen to the music on the baby alarm. I felt shattered, still not sleeping too well, and I dozed off. Shortly after I awoke I heard him chattering away, and went up to find that he had somehow purloined some things Grandad was storing in a plastic box.  They were piled up in the travel cot. I haven't a clue how he reached them . I discovered later he had also thrown a computer mouse across the room.
Saturday morning I awoke at 4.45 am feeling dizzy. When I tried to get back to sleep I began to cough, so got up and made some tea. We went into town to do the shopping, then drove over to the big Garden centre where we had lunch, then I chose some bedding plants for my pots at the front. I decide to be patriotic and do them in red, white and blue.  I also had to but another pepper plant, as slugs had eaten the one I bought a few weeks ago, and I got someone a gardening voucher. We came home and got busy, I did 3 pots at the front.. When I phoned Sister later, she had also bought red white and blue plants.
Today we had  a good day at church, our pastor is back, and we were delighted to see two young ladies in the evening who had come last week. apparently they suddenly decided they should come to church, but the first time got no further than the front steps! One was the girl from the market stall, but sadly she was busy serving someone else yesterday. they've heard 2 really good gospel sermons, we are praying that the Lord keeps them coming. Despite a long nap this afternoon, I am still in need of an earlier night. Have a good week all.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Wishing wet and windy Wales was warmer!

We took a few photos of the marine lake railway, I even managed to get one of the train driver, through the railings

We browsed some junk/antique shops, but most of the stuff is piled up higgledy piggledy, so it was difficult to spot anything worth having. We continued on into town, browsed more shops, had lunch. wandered round a bit more, then got a bus back. It cost £5 for a journey of about a mile and a half, for 2 of us! We'd had a few spots of rain but nothing to stop us, it rained later though, and probably overnight too. Tuesday was dry, but cloudy and cold. we headed for Llandudno, and did our usual browsing, meeting up for lunch, we tried somewhere new this time, the Cottage Loaf. I had half a jacket with lobster, and a crayfish salad. Mmmmm! Husband had lasagne. we were both tempted by dessert too. I hardly bought anything that day, tried a dress on, but it was really too short. I seem to find more suitable stuff shopping online. I still have some Christmas and Birthday money to spend
Wednesday morning was quite nice and browsing through some brochures, I decide we could go to Llangollen. We went via the Horseshoe Pass, but by that time it was pelting down.  I felt a bit icky from winding roads. We parked, had a look at some of the shops, then headed for the station. A train was just pulling out. We chatted at length to one of the workers on the merits of driving to the other end to get that train back, or have lunch, and move the car, to extend the parking time, then get the 3 o'clock. In the end we decided on the latter and recrossed the bridge to find lunch, there was a good place just by the river.
The Dee was one of those rivers mentioned as in danger of drying up a few weeks ago, not much danger now!

We had a good lunch, then browsed more shops including expensive antiques shops. I spotted a Clarice Cliff cake dish, but there was no price on it, I didn't dare ask the price. Llangollen is very much a tourist town, so they charge high prices, and despite what we have seen on Antiques Road Trip, we'd be too scared to haggle!
 We swapped the car to a different car park as our time would run out before we got back, paid another £1.then headed for the station. We had a steam haul, a pannier tank engine, very similar to the one we had on the Ffestiniog railway years ago. We had a cuppa at the other end, but were glad we hadn't gone there for lunch as it all looked a bit B R fare, plastic wrapped plastic looking baps. There were some lovely views, pity about the rain.
Chain Bridge hotel, we had a meal here on our honeymoon, I was ill the next day, a coincidence I think

road bridge seen from the train

Welcoming waiting room fire at Carrog

Authentic B R toilet

Carrog station

'purple headed mountain' through train window

Our engine

Thursday we went to Chester, I found a pair of comfy summer shoes to buy, we browsed more shops, then went to visit my old friend R, who used to open her home to all the students, and me, for Sunday lunch and tea. She is nearly 92, in sheltered accommodation, and sadly now has to have carers in, as her legs give way, she has severe lymphoedema. However she is very bright, and has all her marbles as the saying goes.
We packed up and left on Friday afternoon, I had been to the cemetery to place flowers on Mum and Dad's grave, but the cemetery was like a bog,and it was pouring. Our Son had his in laws visiting for the weekend and wouldn't have had room for us to stay over, so we came straight home. Just as well as Saturday we shopped, then early evening I babysat, as Daughter and husband were going to a wedding reception. It was nice to see Nathaniel after a week away, he was quite good, a little cold at first I think, but no trouble except when about an hour and a half after bedtime he cried and I went up to find his sleeping bag on the floor and his sleepsuit in the corner of the cot! His parents were home before 11 which was good.
Today we had a visiting speaker, a lovely Welshman who preached 2 excellent sermons. We had some young ladies visiting the evening service, one of whom serves me at the market. That's an opening for me, I must make sure she serves me next week.

Crowned at last, and other trivia

Well husband has nipped upstairs for a doze, and I have woken up from a short doze with a stiff neck, so I will start to update my blog. A week last Monday I went to be fitted with my new crown. It is much nicer than the last one, doesn't feel like  a foreign object in my mouth,  I have a sneaking suspicion that the previous dentist may have actually fitted it the wrong way around. It cost over £200 in total, and that was NHS, but HSA, or Simply Health as they now call themselves have met the cost in full. they are also paying most of my physio fees, so it makes it worthwhile to have this type of insurance.
On the Tuesday I had physio in the morning, she was quite pleased with my progress, and thinks it is improving. In the afternoon I got on with the long neglected job of  refitting tiles underneath my cooker. That is now complete, so for the first time in weeks the cooker is back in its usual place and does not protrude. I have also completed the application to have my gas meter moved to outside the house, then I can move a kitchen cupboard and have a bigger cooker , as mine is badly in need of replacement. I do like double ovens, but they are scarce in the size that I already have. The fashion seems to be for range cookers, but I don't see much point for just 2 of us.
I had been very good with tracking my food and had a self imposed 'no snacking', which paid off as I lost 2lb.
I looked after Nathaniel as usual on the Thursday and Friday, and whilst he napped tried to catch up on ironing and housework, mindful of the fact that we were going away. Nathaniel was no trouble, when I took him out he wore his smart splash suit. I let him walk on reins in the town centre on the Friday, and he walked all through the shopping centre and as far as the bank where I needed to transfer some cash.
Who would have thought such a tiny choccy biccy could make so much mess?

Making a bid for freedom after a nappy change!
I spent most of the Friday evening ironing, as we were heading off for Wales the next day. Saturday morning was spent sorting out packing, items to take with us, packing the car and trying to leave the house reasonably clean and tidy.
The traffic on the motorway was heavy, as it was a Bank Holiday weekend, lots of congestion where roadworks are taking place. we stopped at Corley for lunch, I had chicken, but the roast potatoes were piled onto the plate, the peas tasted tinned. I couldn't eat it all, and ended up wishing  I'd bought something from the Waitrose there. Our next stop was Sainsbury's Chester to stock up on food for the weekend. They have changed the traffic roundabout there and it is so confusing. I believe that there was death a few weeks after it had been changed. We had a cuppa in the cafe at Sainsbury's, then set off for the last leg. The property key was in a keysafe, so that was easy.
It was a 3 bedroomed bungalow in Kinmel Bay, which we got at a reduced price as there were only 2 of us. It was very comfy and clean, the main bed had a memory foam mattress, so we didn't need the topper we had lugged down form our spare bedroom. The only drawback was that despite it being listed as a non smoking property, the sitting room reeked of smoke, so my nose blocked up, and I began to wheeze. We opened windows and it gradually improved.
On Sunday we went to the little chapel in Rhuddlan, the new pastor was as good as he was last time, we do feel for them as the congregation is small. Afterwards I chatted to old friends , who told me that another mutual friend is quite poorly, but as we didn't go to their evening service, I couldn't get an update.
We both fell asleep after lunch, and were late getting to my sister's home, and missed some of the family. However my niece and her son came round and we had tea together. The boy graduated last year in Archaeology, he cannot get work all the time, but has some contacts, and was telling us of some of the finds on digs he has been on.
On Monday it was quite dull, but we decide to walk into Rhyl and see what shops were open. it was fairly windy, but the Marine Lake miniature train was running. That brings back childhood memories. The rest of the fair is long gone,but enthusiasts have kept the trains going. Our Friday night treat as children on holiday was a visit to the Marine Lake funfair.
Rhyl Harbour

choppy marine lake
Miniature train
I will continue this update later

Friday, 11 May 2012

Intermission- normal service will be resumed as soon as possible

That is the message which used to appear on TV sets way back in the dark ages. Just to explain my lack of blogging, we returned today from a trip to North Wales to see family and frequent our usual haunts. As on other such occasions, I had to share husband's netbook, and didn't get into Rhyl to use the internet cafe. I hope to update my blog sometime over this weekend.