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