Sunday, 26 May 2013

Wales was windy but only wet at night

Did I mention that our neighbours have sold their house? It was on the market for well over a year, then they took it off as it hadn't sold. Late last year they had a new fence put up at the back, then recently their front porch was replaced. Within a few days there was a sign up, and it had sold in under a month.
They only have one child, a boy, and he has got into St Albans school, so they are looking at properties there. They are being pressed to move by the middle of next month, but have not yet found a property in St Albans. The wife was saying how expensive property there is, I sympathised, we went to church there for 12 years, and could never afford to move there. It will be interesting to see who moves in. We had the same neighbours for about 25 years, then they took off for a Spanish retirement. This will be the third change since.
We have been on our twice yearly trip to North Wales to visit family. Normally we would go during the Bank Holiday week, so that Husband didn't use up too much annual leave, but this is no longer necessary, and the bungalow rent was cheaper. We had a pretty straightforward journey up, stopping at Corley for lunch, then Sainsbury's at Chester to buy food for the weekend.
I popped round to see my sister, whilst husband recovered from driving. On Sunday morning we slept a bit late, so went to the church at Rhuddlan, as we didn't have enough time to drive over to Chester. We were made very welcome as usual, it was good to hear that they have a larger congregation in the evenings these days, their young pastor is very good.
After a steak meal we did crash out for a bit, then later drove over to see my sister. Only her Daughter was there, my great nephew was on a 'dig', I never knew that archaeologists worked on Sundays. We took our tea with us, and spent the evening chatting and relaxing.
The weather was cold and windy, lots of cloud about, but we still decided to walk into Rhyl on the Monday. Husband wanted to do the usual tour of the junk shops, but I left him to it. We had discovered that the towels supplied were not very absorbent, so I was on the hunt for something better. Sadly M&S has closed, as has Next. A new shopping complex has opened in Prestatyn, one of those sites which Tesco bought and held onto for 9 years before doing anything with it. In their wisdom, M&S decide that they no longer needed the store in Rhyl, so closed it. The shopping centre has so many closed units it is pitiful to see. Rhyl has always been a fairly deprived area, but now is classed as the most deprived.
I couldn't find any decent towels, nor something else I wanted to buy, so we caught the bus back, then later drove to the local Asda for milk and something for an evening meal.
On Tuesday we decided to go to Llandudno. It was still very windy and cold, but there was bright sunshine. We arrived at about lunchtime, so headed for the Cottage Loaf for a meal. I had a beef salad with chilli sauce, but was tempted buy a 'side' of chips. We did our usual separate tour of the shops, I found bath towels in M&S, they have 2 shops there, I even stopped for an ice cream. I popped into Edinburgh Woollen Mill and bought a jumper, as I hadn't packed enough, not knowing it would be so cold. There is no washing machine at the bungalow. I also got a Birthday gift for Mum in Law, as it is her Birthday this week. As we'd had a fairly substantial lunch, I bought a quiche, which we had with salad for our evening meal.
unusual houses on side of Great Orme
Wednesday we went down to Bettws y Coed, and wandered around there. We left in brilliant  sunshine and drove down the Conwy Valley into increasing cloud cover. There were lots of people around, it is a tourist hotspot. One year we saw a lot of young people splashing around in the river, diving off the rocks, but the weather was much hotter then. We wandered around the gift shops, had lunch, the later went into the ice cream parlour for a treat, and a coffee. We drove back via Pentrefoelas and across the Denbigh Moors. The old shooting lodge has all but disappeared, when I first saw it it many years ago, it looked rather menacing and haunted, but now very little is left standing.
Clock near station

Bluebells in somene's garden



Reservoir Denbigh moors

Snowdon in the background
The road goes ever on and on

Thursday, we were off to Chester. It was a more pleasant day, and when we got there husband wanted to go off in search of a pasty for lunch. So I went in M&S, had a look at the clothes, didn't buy anything, then went to the food section and bought lunch. I wandered down St John St, marvelling at how Chester has changed since I left, the old telephone exchange is now a trendy restaurant. I crossed over the road, and walked unto the Roman gardens, the last time I went in there was when our Daughter was doing GCSE Latin. They seem to have opened up the gardens now so that there are several levels. I sat and ate my lunch on a stone bench, then wandered down two more levels into the Groves as the area by the Dee is called. It brought back memories of my short stint as a policewoman, when Sunday afternoons in the summer were spent organising the motorists, so that they didn't obstruct, park in the wrong place etc. sometimes in those days people only used their cars at certain times of the year, and I managed to catch someone with an out of date tax disc. I still notice out of date tax discs, how sad is that?
I wandered up into Grosvenor park, where we sometimes used to go tracting on a summer evening before church.The grey squirrels are almost tame, and I happened to have a few cashew nuts left in my pocket from a little pot I bought for lunch. The squirrels were delighted. I fond a dig going on, but it was college students, then I wandered past the old St John's ruins, and into St John's for a quick look. I hadn't been in there for many years.
Roman Gardens


old house in grounds of St John's church

Squirrels in the park

student dig

St John;s church, old and new

Off to the shopping centre I marvelled at how many jewellers there are and how expensive they are. On shop has rings without stones, presumably so that one can chose one's setting and the stone(s). Later husband and I met up and went into the market, where we bought a small selection of cheeses.
Chester tour bus

Then back to the park and ride. The park and ride is now run by stagecoach, so we can no longer use our bus passes. Still, I suppose they have to maintain the car park somehow, and it's quite reasonable. it was about the same price as we had paid from Rhyl to Kinmel Bay. We can't use our passes in Wales either.
Friday morning I went off to buy some stuff including flowers for Dad and Mum's grave, the anniversary of Dad's death is 18th May, which was the next day. The graveyard was wet again, so I had kept clean trousers for travelling, as it is impossible to sort out the flowers without kneeling, and I always end up with a wet patch.
We cleared everything up, finished the packing, I battled with a heavy upright vacuum cleaner, which taxed my shoulder. Then we were off, across country to our Son's home in Cheshire. When we arrived he was fiddling with the car, taking off the expensive bits, such as radio, which he had fitted and replacing them with the originals. His wife arrived home and we all went in the car to a nearby salt trail, Tom ended up in the river a few times, but he loved it. Then back home for a meal and  natter then bed.
In the morning they were off to see some cars in the Bristol area, so they left us a key to lock up. We set off later stopping at Watford gap where we had soup and a sandwich, which was very welcome as it was horribly cold still. We arrived home, and unpacked the car, then later I went out to buy food for the weekend. it was nice to be home,and everything in the garden was thriving because of the rain. I'll add some pics later.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Bobbing along from week to week

Well I didn't start writing things down, and I've forgotten much of what has been going on, but life has been a bit humdrum lately. With a husband at home all of the time, life is so different. I have difficulty knowing what day it is half of the time. He doesn't get in my way too much, has been busy himself, in the garden and sorting paper and things in the house. He keeps on filling the bin up. The washing machine is no longer leaking, thankfully.
A couple of weeks ago I nipped over to Watford on my own, as I've gone back into cotton trousers and I needed more. Our M&S didn't have my size, but when I got to Watford I found my size not only in the colour I wanted, but also a lovely shade of blue. I was very extravagant and bought both. I didn't buy much else though.
We had a couple of visits to the garden centre, as husband wanted to buy concrete edging to try to keep the lawn off the flower bed. He also found a low growing Ceanothus, the first one we planted out didn't do very well, has always been a bit straggly. The other one, which has the potential to grow very big is bursting with buds, and will need cutting back as soon as it has flowered, it's getting a bit difficult to get down the steps past it. The back lawn, which is much reduced since we had the patio laid, had been getting plenty of attention too, hasn't looked so neat in ages.

A couple of Friday evenings ago Daughter came round to use my new sewing machine. It has a blind hemmer foot, and as she was making her 3rd dress since she stared sewing, she wanted to give that a try. However by the time she had the adjustment right it was quite late and she decided to hem it by hand. Since then I have let down the hems on a pair of curtains which were a tad short. I washed them pressed them well, then used bias binding to re-hem them. they look much better, I'm getting used to the machine now except that I can't always get the automatic needle threader  to work. I have dug out some unfinished garments to finish off, and bought a pattern for a skirt length, which I bought in a sale a while ago. I unearthed that whilst looking out summer nighties and things in the big pine ottoman.
On Thursday of last week I had a long awaited appointment to get my hair cut. It was such a relief. My weight has been up and down a bit, I'm still very tired, didn't sleep for 2 nights a week or so ago. The second night I had actually taken a herbal remedy which I had seen advertised in a magazine. before I took it, I did wonder about it as it had vitamin B and magnesium in it. I know from experience that vit B taken late in the day can cause me to be wide awake, but the dose seemed low.  I went to bed very tired, but exactly 1 hour after taking the herbal remedy, I came wide awake. That continued till about 5 am. I think it was that day when I had my physio appointment. She was still very pleased with me, I was complaining of pain, but she thought it was to do with me starting to use the stronger red exercise band, so she told me no exercise over the weekend, then she worked on some knotty muscles, and gave me ultrasound. She doesn't want to see me again unless I have problems, so it's wait and see. I am also to build up the strength by doing more.
My Mum in law now has her date for her operation to remove a bone spur from her shoulder. This dates back to the fall which she had last year. She has had several cortisone injections, but is still in pain. Yesterday she went for her pre op assessment. It seems she is not having the shoulder 'block', which I had, but a full general anaesthetic. She was quite surprised that I had a general, I don't know if she thought I had been awake when I had mine. No way! It's just that with the 'block' the general anaesthetic is lighter. I would have thought it would have been better in someone of her age to have a 'block', but perhaps her anaesthetist is not trained for it.
I was quite concerned that she said she was hoping that as I'd had no post op pain to speak of that she would be the same. I had to explain that many people find it a very painful op. I don't know why mine was pain free both times, unless I moved suddenly. The op is booked for the day before her 89th Birthday, and as she lives alone, she will be staying overnight.
We had been planning to go to visit for 2 nights before the op date was announced, but now we are not sure what to do. I suppose we could stay overnight at the local hotel, but what if we book and the op is cancelled like her first cataract one was? Decisions, decisions. Oh well, there's always 'late rooms' I suppose.
Recently I noticed a crack in the hall ceiling, and we decided that the bath needed resealing. So I took all of the sealant off plus the beading, and we couldn't shower for a while. I tried one method, which didn't work, we had a trip to B&Q. The car wouldn't start, so husband used his portable charger. The car has gone from being driven 30 miles a day, 5 days a week, to standing most of its time in the garage. It started, so we drove to B&Q. When we came out it wouldn't start again, so we phoned the RAC. It was 4.30 pm, and we were told it could take up to 6.30 pm. husband desperately needed to wash his hands, there are no facilities in our B&Q, so I suggested we went to M&S, used their facilities, then had a cuppa. The RAC chap had my mobile no. We hadn't even reached the dual carriageway crossing when my mobile rang, he was on his way, Heigh ho! About turn and quick march back to B&Q, good exercise. We were back about 5 mins before the RAC arrived. he declared our battery well and truly defunct, and fitted us with a new one which he just happened to have on board, how is that for service?
We've had some beautiful, hot weather,we were eating meals in the garden, and having coffee and tea there too, unfortunately, it has gone back to being wet and windy, with only an occasional glimpse of the sun.
I have been to see Daughter nand the children about 3 times lately, husband came with me once. Nathaniel is sometimes in a funny mood and won't have much to do with me, so I'm trying not to be holding Lydia when he first sees me. He is a typical two year old boy and far more contrary than Mary, but he is still adorable.
Trains on the patio

Still trying to get the hang of crawling

peeping through the French window
Rolling on the playmat