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!