Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Counting the days to Christmas

Well I'm afraid that this is Highlights again, husband's cough dragged on and on, in the end I packed him off to the Doctor, and he was given an antibiotic. He felt quite ropey whilst taking it, but since he has finished is feeling better at last. He felt better some days than others, fortunately, on one of those good days we had booked to go to Waddesdon manor, for their Christmas display.
On arrival we were asked if we would like to join the National Trust, and as we have hesitated for a while, decided that we would. So we got our entrance money refunded. Our first concern was lunch, but the manor restaurant is bookings only, so we had to make our way down to the stables cafe, there was a queue, and we had to ask the lady supervisor if she thought we would be able to eat and get back up the hill in time. So we had a jacket potato each, then a peep in the room where you could, write letters to father Christmas, and have a photo with a sleigh and reindeer; then hot footed up the zig zag path, to the manor. It was all very pretty, only in the East wing and the Bachelor's wing.
After the tour, we went outside and had a little look around the grounds. All of the statues have been covered over for the winter, presumably to  prevent frost damage, so as the sun began to fade they looked bit eerie. Everyone had said that we must see the light display, but it was better after dark. It was one of the coldest days we have had so far, so we went into one of the under canvas cover areas, and sat on sheepskins, with rugs tucked around us and drank hot chocolate with mince pies.
It was still fairly light, so we didn't know what else to do, so found the light display, very modern arty, and as it was still only dusk, not as bright as it might have been. The best bit was the 'river of light'.
My legs and back were aching, so we decided to get the little hopper bus back down to the car park, and as we passed the 'river of light' at the bottom, the driver helpfully dimmed the bus lights, so we could see it better.
Amongst the occasional babysitting and weekly childminding, there has been another little highlight. Daughter managed to get us tickets for the dress rehearsal for the foundation stage Christmas play, nursery and reception. Nathaniel played a sheep, and as it was grandparents only, they got lots of applause.
I had one trip to Watford, Christmas shopping, came home almost empty handed, and one to Berkhamsted, alone because husband wasn't up to it. I bought a few stocking fillers, and climbed 4 flights of stairs to the Attic cafe for lunch. Husband hates the stairs, so I have to go when he's not with me.
On the plus side I have started losing weight again, why can't I in the summer? Perhaps I'm more active with the childminding. An old friend from our St Albans church days has moved to our town, and has joined me in the class, so that's an incentive to keep going. Our class is on a Wednesday so none for 2 weeks, unless we find another class that is open.
I have done a lot of Christmas shopping online again, got rather bogged down with the cards and annual newsletter that we do, and husband eventually felt well enough to do a photo montage. As I vacuumed yesterday, I came across 2 cards that had slipped off the pile, so if you are expecting a card from me and haven't got one yet, don't give up!
Lydia thought it great fun to sweep all the cards and lists around, so I put the wooden box I keep them in in front of the tree, She has a habit of stripping her Mum's tree of baubles, whilst grinning with delight. Nathaniel, who 2 years ago was guilty of a similar misdemeanour, regarding a small wooden elf, now patiently gathers up the baubles and puts them back on the tree. The positioning of the wooden box and the 'No touch Nanna's tree' has so far worked, but she has yet to discover that if she climbs on the sofa, as she has learned to do, she has an easy route to the coveted baubles.
Another highlight was the visit of our Son and his wife, and baby Ethan and Tom, they were down for a wedding, so decided to combine it with their annual trip to London for the Christmas lights. His sister and husband also went, they took 2 buggies between them, but Nathaniel walked for miles.
It was Ethan's first visit here, so the travel cot was utilised, Lydia uses it for naps.
I will say that Ethan has a good pair of lungs, every time he was passed to me for a cuddle, he seemed to have wind and ended up screaming. However when he is happy he has a gorgeous little smile.
I had some sort of virus whilst they were here felt very cold, very sick, then very hot. It didn't help that whilst feeling cold I stepped in the dog's bowl of water, and my slipper, my sock and my pyjama leg got very wet, so I had to change before I went to bed. I'd also managed during the week to trip over the leg of the high chair and landed on my right side, my disc seems to have popped again, so I'm having trouble getting comfy in bed.
Well I now have most of the Christmas food bought, just perishables like salads and cream to buy. Sainsbo's had sold out of Mum in laws favourite dairy free ice cream, so I may not be able to get it. She has Koko milk which is easier to buy. Husband made the journey down to fetch her on Saturday in record time, and they arrived back just as I was contemplating the tidying up in the sitting room. I still haven't hung the cards, but my latest record for that is Boxing day.
Well I wish all my readers a Joyful Christmas, and would like to ask what are you doing with the Saviour who was born over 2,000 years ago? Have you left him in the manger, a helpless baby? Or is He risen from the dead and powerful to change lives of those who are weary of sin and sorrow? There was no room at the inn for him to be born, but is there any room in your life for Jesus?

Waddesdon manor

Sheepskinsfor sitting on

Some of the many Christmas trees

Decorated rooms
smoking room

Modern Chandelier

Sun getting low

Light sculpture

Setting sun

River of light

leaving the manor

Monday, 2 December 2013

Bits and bobs

I've got so far behind that I really just need to do highlights. The first week in November was a bit busy, on the Monday we went out and bought another car seat. The chap in Halfords was quite helpful, said he used the one which we chose, and apparently it should last sizewise for years,as it converts into a booster seat. He was a long time collecting it for us, but when he returned explained that he'd had to go outside, and someone had shut him out!
Tuesday was bonfire night, so I baby sat for Lydia, whilst the parents took Nathaniel to a fireworks display at the school to which his nursery is attached. He was full of excitement when they got back, describing the sights and sounds, and the hot dog he had eaten.
On the Wednesday, I was in Sainsbo's and I got a phone call asking for help, Daughter's husband had gone off to work with the car keys in his pocket, and she had to get Nat to His gym class, could we help? I explained that husband was in the midst of fitting both car seats, and it largely depended on whether he had finished. When I got home, she had phoned him, and he was going up there as he would have to adjust the straps to fit. I had to put my cold stuff away, but when I had, went up there in my car. That way we could swap cars and I could go and take them to the gym lesson.
So that is what happened, I wasn't allowed to take pictures of him doing gym, and I found it all a bit slow. He certainly seems to be the youngest in his group.
I was glad to get home and have some lunch, I'd grabbed something to fill a gap, but it wasn't enough.
I tried to get to bed early on the Wednesday evening, but was unable to sleep. Thursday morning we were up early, and arrived at daughter's before 8 am. Her husband goes in to work later in this job,so there is a bit of an overlap. Husband decided to walk Nat to nursery, then walk home. I took Lydia home in our car. When we first got indoors she cried, but soon settled down. Husband came home and later I took Lydia for a walk in the buggy, thinking she might drop off, no chance! She isn't used to a front facing buggy, so was busy looking around and making little exclamations at what she saw.
Husband collected Nat whilst I gave Lydia her lunch,and she took a nap in the afternoon.
That weekend husband felt unwell, a slightly upset tummy, bloating and dizziness, so no church for him on Sunday. He refused a roast dinner! that was the Sunday I had forgotten to defrost a chicken, so did it in the microwave. It had to stand for an hour before roasting, so I had to leave instructions on when it should go in the oven.
He did manage to eat some old crunchy roast potatoes later though. He was poorly for about a week, not eating much. Totally off coffee, and on the Friday morning, when we walked into town, with Lydia in the buggy, he said he felt like getting the bus back up straight away. Whilst I did the things I had to do, he bought some Thomas DVDs, second hand to help entertain Nat. He's also been buying him some second hand toys more suited to his age. I could tell he still wasn't right when he walked past the pasty shop without a second glance. We got the bus back up, and he was so tired that I collected Nat.
Husband came to church last Sunday, but by about Tuesday evening was complaining of a sore throat. He managed a trip into town on Wednesday, and came back with a pasty, so he must be feeling better in the digestive department, but the sore throat has progressed to a cold and a horrible hacking cough like he had in Cornwall, when he felt so ill.
On Monday afternoon I walked down to the hospital for my repeat blood tests, and phoned for the results Friday. I am pleased to report that they are within the normal limits.
We are coping with the childminding, despite my lack of sleep. There is no set pattern, the second Friday Daughter had to collect them as they both fell asleep within seconds of each other on the sitting room carpet. Lydia's naps vary, and Nat is mostly good with using his potty, but occasionally forgets. I now have a step in the bathroom, so he can reach the wash basin to wash his hands. We spent part of one afternoon watching Muppet clips on our computers, Nat's favourite was Mnah Mnah, which he insisted on watching 3 times!!
Yesterday I had to do the weekend shopping alone, as husband wasn't well enough. I took the car, didn't spend as much, and didn't met anyone I knew to get distracted.  In the last couple of weeks I have had 2 walks which took me over the other side of the railway, and the second slightlyy longer into the grounds of the local manor house. As I returned from the second, I passed the local parish church, and their Christmas fayre was one, so I popped in for a natter with our son's old primary school teacher. I was able to show her pics of the grandchildren from my camera.
On a good note my mammagram was ok.
Saturday walk near the manor

Looking over to ski slope

the trees are so slow at dropping their leaves this year

Above the church

Approaching the golf course

Looking over to the girls' school

Crossing the golf course

The station husband travelled from for many years

church Chritmas fayre
when will they put the clock right?
After a bad summer I have started losing wight again, must be the soups and the extra exercise.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The second half of October

Pressing on from Lydia's Birthday, on the Sunday, having coughed for most of the night, and not wishing to cough through someone's sermon, I stayed at home. I felt quite unwell, but managed to make dinner. I tried an afternoon nap, but kept coughing, husband went off to the evening service, and I phoned both sisters, although I was fairly hoarse through having to use my Qvar inhaler more. I completely forgot to phone Mum in Law, but doubt if my voice would have lasted the hour anyway.
On the Monday I ventured out for the newspaper, but spent most of the day knitting and coughing.On the Tuesday I went out again for the newspaper,and to drop off a prescription request, then came back through the 'village' and along the canal bank. Despite the path being relaid a couple of times there are still mucky patches along there. We'd had a fair amount of rain, but there were still men out fishing. I had another bad night on Tuesday. It all seemed to be coming form my sinuses, so I reckon it was from the cold which I thought I had beaten.
Up late on Wednesday, I skipped WW, and just did the Sainsbury run. I felt like cheering myself up, so asked husband if we could go to the big garden centre on the bypass, have lunch the look for some things I needed. I couldn't get hold of daughter to ask her to join us, but I had totally forgotten Nat's gym class, which is early Wednesday afternoon. We drove over there, and had lunch, and found that a friend from church was also there. I bought a few more plants for my pots, a new orchid and some bulb fibre for my hyacinth bulbs, husband bought a couple of things as well. Their Christmas shop is open, and we admired lots of stuff, but didn't buy anything apart from an advent candle for husband to use. We took everything home, then I nipped up to see daughter and the children.
Thursday was just a walk, calling in at Homebase with husband, they had more Christmas stuff. I made it to Women's hour, but had no book to review as I'd spent so much time knitting. On the Friday, I had plans, but they came to nought as I was knitting frantically, to get the third baby jacket finished. eventually it was done, and I took it up to Daughter's along with a snow suit I had seen in M&S, which I just could not resist. They were going up to see the new baby, but were staying in a Travelodge.
Saturday was flu jabs, Daughter always claimed that she went late and didn't have to queue. So we went late. Ha, the queue snaked down the stairs, out of the door, up the hill and round the car park. What made it worse was that when we eventually got upstairs, people who came up in the lift managed somehow to sidle into the queue ahead of those of us who had patiently queued.
Later we shopped in town, and I found a chap selling two bunches of flowers for a fiver. I bought some, and they lasted as long as the supermarket ones do.
The following Monday I wanted to go to Watford, but we had a parcel to collect, stuff for the dump, and ironing to collect, so first we collected the parcel then off to the dump, then the ironing, then over to Watford. I wanted a medium casserole, having broken the lid of mine, (why can't they sell separate lids?), some pressure cooker seals, and a third item which for now escapes me.
I couldn't find the first 2 items in J L, or Lakeland, eventually found a casserole in Cargo, but when I got home it was the wrong size. I manged to order pressure cooker seals online, but when they arrived they were the wrong sort, so I reordered from elsewhere.
Nothing much exciting happened apart from my routine mammagram,  till the Thursday. I had been rabbiting on about taking some Autumn pics, so husband decided we would go to Coombe Hill for a walk. The leaves are taking their time in falling this year, in fact many hadn't even changed. The promised hurricane had hardly affected us. Coombe hill was always a day out for us when we were young, and the kids were small, and we had no money.
Having walked to the monument, taken lots of pics, and admired the (misty) view, we then drove down to the nearby garden centre, where we had lunch, and bought some new blackcurrant bushes, an advent candle like I had last year, and a couple of small things. Then we drove back to our town and husband dropped me off outside the hairdressers for a much needed cut. asusual we had no trick or treaters. I dislike Halloween.
Friday was spent finishing my pots with bulbs planted underneath pansies, cyclamen and polyanthus.  Hopefully I now need not bother with them till spring. I also walked into town. we did the same on Saturday, having lunch at the pasty shop. It was mild enough to sit outside.
Must pause for a bit but will upload some pics.

looking down


An entmoot?

Add caption
Inscription on monument

vale of Aylesbury

Monument to the Boer war

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A first Birthday

So far behind with this blog. The week after we came back I had lots of washing and stuff to do, I had an appointment at the asthma clinic on the Monday morning, so walked down there . My peak flow wasn't too bad, almost hit the preferred figure. We visited the local garden centre, I needed to redo my pots for the winter, so lots of winter flowering pansies, some cyclamen, a few bulbs, and husband bought some stuff too.  I made use of the garden club vouchers I had received. It's strange really, when I was much younger I never saw myself as a gardener, but I do love flowers, and like the garden to look pretty.  I made it to WW, had stayed the same, which is great considering what I had eaten whilst away.
I had a trip to Argos to buy a Birthday present for a special little lady. We visited the grandchildren, lovely to see them after a week away. When we got home on the Saturday, I opened the letter from the GP which requested that I made a routine appointment to discuss my blood test results, When I rang there were no routine appointments, so I had to ring early in the morning for a same day appointment. What it boils down to is that my white cell count is up again, not too high, not sinister, but the Doctor wants to keep an eye on it. It could have been from the cold I'd had, but  have to repeat the test mid November. The thyroid bit was ok, so I'll have to find something else to blame for my current inability to loose weight, and my constantly breaking nails.
By the Saturday, I was feeling a bit unwell, thinking it down to Nathaniel coughing over me. We drove up to see them, and gave Lydia her presents, and gave Nat some fire trucks so he didn't feel left out. Daughter had been busy and made a lovely peter Rabbit cake. Despite taking her first steps at 10 and a half months, Lydia had shown little interest in walking, but that week she had really taken off.
We had bought her a Fisher Price buggy and doll to help her walking confidence, but she was walking well without them.  A whole year since Lydia was born, now where did that go?
We left to do our shopping. As it was a wet day, Daughter and husband took the children to a garden centre which has a cafe, they had a nice lunch, then the children played in the soft play area.
We went back to their home at about 5.30 for a lovely Birthday tea. Daughter had over catered, but it was all delicious, and so was the cake. It was the same recipe as her husband had used to make hers.
Opening the present

Peter rabbit cake

Buggy from Nanna and Grandad

teatime with daddy

Chocolate cake

chocolate face

What's next?
We didn't stay too late, as I was feeling increasingly rough, was coughing, and showing symptoms of sinusitis. I began to wonder if the Vick's first Defence had in fact driven the cold into my sinuses.  I coughed and coughed during the night, didn't get to sleep till after 3 am.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Not very wet or windy in Wales

On the Sunday of our week away, we drove over to Chester in the morning to go to the church where I was converted, although it moved several years ago to a different location. After the service we caught up with old friends, and then drove back to the bungalow where we had steak, and then a doze. We went over to my sister's later, and took our tea. My niece was there and her son, and we spent time chatting, eating and later watched Downton Abbey live. There was a particularly upsetting scene, which made me wonder, do I really want to go on watching this?
On the Monday we walked into Rhyl, I had to slow down at one point, as walking briskly does upset my disc. I wandered around the shops, husband got his hair cut, we went to our old favourite for lunch, then not long afterwards I decided I'd had enough, my back was complaining and my hip. I would have liked to have walked along the promenade for a while, but decided to get the bus back, husband wanted more time to look around and said he would walk back.

Controversial new cycle/pedestrian bridge over harbour

the leaning tower of Rhyl, Town Hall is built on sand, but it's been shored up

Tuesday, we went over to Llandudno, ate at the Cottage Loaf and browsed the shops, I didn't buy any shoes, in fact all I bought was some stuff for card making. It was a dry day, not at all cold or unpleasant. I bought 2 individual quiches for our evening meal.
We have a friend, who when he retired, became a tour guide in Chester. Husband had found out that he was on duty on a Wednesday, so we decided to go to Chester that day. I bought a sandwich from Marks, husband had a pasty. It had rained, and all the benches were wet, so we went up onto Bridge Street Row, and perched on a platform there to eat. A group of school children were there doing the same thing, but obviously in the middle of a historic tour. We didn't meet our friend, but I did watch the Chester Town Crier, with some crowd participation, which ended with an Australian lady sitting in the stocks and being told she had to stay there till after the shops had closed; all good fun.
miniature ponies being used for charity collection

Town  crier

I made my way back to M&S, and bought a few things in there including a new winter jacket. My old one had been annoying me, as the pockets are not deep, and it is so easy for my house keys to slip out. I try to keep my house keys in my pocket, as if my bag is lost or stolen, the at least I can get in the house.
Many of the winter jackets are in drab colours, but I managed to find one in deep turquoise with deep pockets and a fastener on the pocket, the  only drawback is that there is no cord to adjust the hood, and the hood is too big. Not every woman has 'big hair'! Husband and I met up again for a drink, a cafe over a bakery on Northgate Row. We were tempted by cakes, I had a vanilla slice and husband coffee cake. Afterwards we browsed the market,  only bought one piece of cheese, and then headed back to the park and ride, then to the bungalow, where we had a ready meal I had bought.
Thursday was windy, we set off for Conwy, and arrived at lunchtime. I was looking for a cafe we sometimes go to, and ended up climbing one of the towers to the town walls, and walking along a stretch of the wall. As I climbed inside the tower, I thought, why on earth am I doing this? However, at the next tower, where I was able to descend, I spotted the Press Room, so was able to ring husband and direct him there.
After lunch we wandered down to the harbour, It was very windy. husband decided to go back into the town centre as he was cold, but I walked on, through the gap in the wall, then up through the park and round Bodlondeb woods. I used a path which skirted the edge of the woods, as I was a bit nervous that branches might come down in the wind. The trees were not very spectacular, not changed much yet, and there wasn't a squirrel in sight. I hurried back along the river side, then up the hill to a different wall gate. Husband was just down the road. We browsed the shops together, I found a small melamine colander, not as big as the one I got in Whitby, which cracked when it hit the floor, but the lady gave me the name of the company, it is Zeal, if anyone is interested in a brightly coloured colander. Since we have been home I have been online and had one delivered.
you've got to build your castle on a rock

view from walkway

Edward II who built the castle

tree in Bodlondeb

Thursday night I hardly slept, not sure why. We were having visitors on the Friday, so maybe my mind was running ahead. I was up early, out early, buying flowers and food, and off to the cemetery, where I placed the flowers on Mum and Dad's grave. Back at the bungalow, I was contemplating a tidy up, when the back door opened and in walked our Son. They had come over for a visit. Dogs are not allowed in the bungalow, so I directed Son to the beach, where he let Tom have a good run. Tom then stayed in the car whilst we ate a Lasagne I had bought, and a trifle. It was lovely to see the baby again, and have cuddles. Then we drove round to my sister's home, where a very nervous Penny, (Jack Russell) allowed Tom, a big Border Collie, into her territory, We managed to keep them apart, Tom is just soppy and curious, but Penny only snapped once, and my sister sat wielding a cane, just in case. We stayed for about two and half hours, then back to the bungalow for ham rolls and cookies. Poor Tom was relegated to the boot of their estate again.
Daughter in law and baby

They left around 5.30, we thought they mightn't do well in the rush hour, that can be a nightmare journey on a Friday evening. We promised that if we had time we would call in the next day to collect some stuff. That evening, I cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor, then packed my case.  I always feel I am playing beat the clock when we stay in rented property, but we managed to get the pace cleaned, everything in the car, the  key deposited,and were driving off a good 10 minutes before the 10.00am deadline.
We arrived at P&E's at around 11.30, they had had a trip to Costco on the way home and were a bit disorganised, as they'd had a disturbed night, However we had a coffee and a chat and a cuddle from Baby, then left with our stuff. We stopped at Norton canes for lunch as we decided to use the M6 Toll road. We were home before 4 pm,unloaded the car, then I had to got out to stock up a bit for the weekend. we put the heating on for an hour as the house seemed cold, but haven't used it since. There was a pile of post, including the letter I had been told about during the week, when I had phoned the Doctor, saying I needed to make an appointment to discuss the results of my blood test. It was good to be back in our own bed that night