Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Do you ever have one of those weeks?

Every now and again we have a week which turns out to be far from what we had planned. The week beginning Nov 16th was one of them. On the Monday, it was my friend's husband's birthday, I thought at first I wasn't going to be on time for it, but then realised that my calendar was one of those that starts the week with Monday, not Sunday, so I nipped down to Sainsbo's, picked up the paper and a birthday card and a box of sweets, and later drove over to their home. I half expected them not to be in, but the husband answered the door. I wished him a happy Birthday, he thanked me and invited me in,and I said, 'I half expected you to be off out somewhere'.
This was greeted by the wife, with something about an operation, so I asked 'Who, you?', and she said 'No him'. this was the lady I had last seen in hospital. We had spoken a few times on the phone, but every time I had wanted to call it was inconvenient, as she had appointments etc. I complimented her on the fact that she looks and sounds much better, and then heard the story of how her husband had had an emergency operation for a hernia the week before. I'd had no idea. Fortunately the wife has carers in, and they took over, and the family helped as well. We chatted for a while, and I checked that they have enough shopping, and help with shopping, and people for their church were providing meals, so they seemed to be coping, but he cannot drive for 6 weeks.
When I got home looking forward to a nice bowl of soup, husband greeted me with the news that he'd had a phone call from our Daughter's husband to say that she had fallen down some stairs and had injured her ankle, so about turn, pick up the key to her home,and we both got in the car and husband drove up there. I let us in and shouted 'It's the cavalry'. She was lying on the floor, and managed a smile, but was in a lot of pain. She had been rushing to answer the phone over what she thought was a work related problem, and had jumped down the last 2 steps.
Lydia was upstairs having had a nap. We helped Daughter onto the sofa, and I got their first aid kit out and put a crepe bandage over her tights. Hopefully that would give the ankle some support. After a short discussion, it was decided tat I should be the one to take her to our local 'Urgent care' centre, which replaced our A&E. Granddad would look after Lydia and collect Nathaniel from school, as he knew where to go. I helped Daughter to the car, and when I got to the hospital, parked so I could help her in, then re-parked safely.
It was about 1.30 pm when we arrived. I booked her in, no one offered her a wheelchair, so we sat on the fixed seats. Fortunately we found plenty to chat about. There were lots of people waiting. There was a small vending machine, and feeling a bit peckish, I got a packet of crisps. Daughter wanted a Cola and a Kitkat. Later I also bought a longish Tunnocks wafer. At 3.35 pm I approached the desk and asked how long we had to wait for her to be seen, as she hadn't been triaged. I was told she wasn't to be triaged, they only seemed to be triaging the children. There were also 4 people ahead of her. I'm sure that people who arrived after us were seen quicker.  I tried to get a hot drink from the vending machine, but all combinations of coins dropped straight through, so I had to settle for a cold drink. Eventually her name was called, and I helped her hobble into the doctor's room. As he removed the bandage, and she removed her tights, the ankle visibly swelled. The Doctor examined her said he thought there was no break, and sent her for an x ray. He told me where I could get a wheelchair, but we found an abandoned one, and I had to pull her rather than push. That didn't do much for my poor back. We waited a while for an x ray, than back to the waiting area to wait for the Doctor.
after a phone call to husband, he was instructed to feed the children pizza from their freezer, and I believe he had the leftovers for a late lunch.
The Doctor pronounced that nothing was broken, just a bad sprain, and then sent us to wait for a tubigrip and some crutches. Whilst waiting we and another family were talking to a chap who had arrived with a very deep cut on his knee. He told us he hadn't noticed it at first, he is a tree feller.  He had hit himself with the axe at about 1.30, but hadn't been able to leave the woods for ages as their brand new truck refused to start. The other lady get him some paper towels as he was bleeding through the pad they had given him. Fortunately they took him straight into the treatment room, but we never got to hear how he got rescued from the woods.
Daughter was called in again,and came out with tubigrip,and wielding a pair of crutches. I had to move the car to get her in but we were soon on our way to her home. It must have been around 6 pm when we arrived. We waited for her husband to arrive home, then came home ourselves. The next day her husband had arranged to work from home.
Husband spent part of the morning fixing a new saddle to his bike. He had found the original one too uncomfortable. He had also got me a bike lock but the one he chose was too heavy and bulky,and too expensive. Whilst he was working on the bike, I got mine out, put my helmet on, and rode backwards and forwards between the 2 garages, and round the garage areas. then I walked up the hill, and cycled along the cul de sac. It was easy coming down the hill. My bike has Sturmey Archer gears, I cannot cope with the Shimano, but it took me a while to remember which is the highest and the lowest and when to use them.
On the Wednesday morning I was up early, as daughter wanted to go into work,as she had a course to attend. I drove her over to her workplace, a few miles away, then took Lydia to Sainsbury's with me. Daughter's husband was working from home again, so had taken Nathaniel to school. Husband collected Nathaniel later, and brought him to our home then I drove to pick up Daughter, then back home to collect the children and take them home.
On the Thursday morning we arrived at their home to a bit of chaos. Daughter was suffering pain from being in the office, Lydia was clingy and running a temperature, and Nathaniel had got hold of the calpol bottle, and was busy helping himself when Son in Law found him. Lots had been spilt on the floor, but it was impossible for anyone to work out how much he had taken, so he had to go to the A&E at Watford and be checked. They decided they could manage without us, so we came home and I caught up on some housework.
Later, we drove up to the cycle place up the road and I got a refund on the lock. Then we drove over to the other side of our town where there is a smaller Sainsbury's. I wanted to buy some of the chocolate which is connected to the Christmas advert. Our local Sainsbury's kept selling out. I had found some in the smaller Sainsbury's, which I wanted for gifts, but also wanted some to try. Eureka, they still had some. At first over all over the stores they were selling 5,000 bars an hour, as all of the profit goes to the British legion, it's a worthwhile cause. We bought a couple more things there too.We sampled the chocolate later and it is very nice.

On the way back we called in on Daughter, they were all home, Nathaniel had had a blood test which showed his blood level was not toxic, he was happier, and everyone seemed to be ok. I gave Daughter a bar of the chocolate to cheer her up.
We were nor summoned on the Friday at all, Daughter's husband got up mega early, drove her to work, deposited Nat at school, Lydia at nursery,and worked from home again to try and meet his deadline. At some time during that week I planted yet more bulbs, and someone must have heard me digging, as he turned up looking for worms.

Mr cheeky

Friday, 28 November 2014

November notes

On the Saturday of our visit to Mum in Law, we did our usual walk into the village, husband went in the junk/charity shop, whilst I collected the Telegraph, then we wandered around the village and looked around the hardware shop. I love hardware shops, but unfortunately they  didn't have what husband was looking for.

The sea front a few miles form Mum in law's home

Later we took Mum in Law into Eastbourne and our first stop was C&H fabrics cafe for lunch. I had my usual goat's cheese and red onion tart, and the others had jacket potatoes. Then husband went to do his round of the charity shops, and we had a look in the materials section. Nothing really caught my eye, which is just as well as I haven't finished what I was making. I got discouraged when the zip wouldn't go in straight on the third try, and started what seemed a complicated method shown in the sewing machine manual, but still haven't got round to finishing it. Not going to get time to make many Christmas cards this year too.
Afterwards we went to Boots so I could print off a couple more photos for Mum in Law, then we went into M&S. I found some rather nice trousers and bought two pairs, my polyester ones were past their best, not terribly warm and quite old, so they have been consigned to a charity shop. Mum in law bought herself a couple of ready meals, for when she doesn't feel like cooking, and I found husband's favourite biscuits, so bought 2 tubs.
Next we went to Lakeland I wanted an icing tube, as mine had gone rusty. I do have icing bags, but find that they discolour so easily when I use coloured icing. I'm reluctant to use them for white piping in case the colour bleeds in, although the bags have been washed. Last year my cake was totally white. I also looked at the electric airers which they sell. They are supposed to use far less heat than a tumble drier,and dry quicker than an ordinary airer. I dislike the smell of clothes dried indoors,and am allergic to the smell of most fabric softeners. I get headaches and sneeze. Some of them can be so strong that I sneeze if the neighbour 2 doors away has used them.
I bought a couple of things, then decided we had done enough shopping  for one day, Mum in law walks slowly, holding my arm, so I can't rush around like I used to in Eastbourne.
I rang husband and we met up at the lifts for the car park, then we drove back to the bungalow via Pevensey Bay.
We had the beef casserole I had brought, then watched the festival of remembrance from the Royal Albert hall. It's not something we usually see, and with it being the 100 year anniversary of the start of WW1, there was an added poignancy. I was glad that they still give thanks to God, and sing some hymns.
Next day Mum in Law wasn't up as early as she had intended, but I pointed out she still had plenty of time to get to her service at the Anglican church. She was back before we set off for the local independent church, but this time said she wouldn't come, as she was tired. It wasn't a pleasant day, wet and windy, and we arrived early for the 2 minutes silence. It wasn't the usual minister, he was preaching elsewhere, but we still had a warm welcome. The service wasn't too long, so we went back and collected Mum in Law. It wasn't raining then, but we took the car to the local pub Restaurant, for the Sunday carvery. It was busier that day as there had  been a remembrance service at the war memorial, which is in the middle of a roundabout, just yards from the pub.The road through the village had been closed, but reopened in time for us to drive there.
Husband and I had the beef, Mum in Law turkey. She didn't want a dessert, just drank her J2o. We had black forest gateau, but it seemed to lack cherries. The young chap in the carvery was working very hard, but some of the girls were gossiping behind the bar instead of replenishing the roasties, stuffing, yorkshires etc. They looked like school girls who perhaps work there just at weekends. It was a pity really, as the place is good and was very busy.
We had coffee back at the bungalow, then spent the rest of the afternoon resting reading or dozing. After tea, Mum in Law watched one of her favourites on the God channel, then we naughtily watched Downton live. It was the last in the series and not a very happy episode. Some of the plot lines are repeated, but I don't want to give away too much to those who haven't seen it yet. there is to be a Christmas special,and even a series 6, so I hope it cheers up a bit.
The next morning we packed, checked that there were no jobs needing a man's hand, then left just before lunchtime. We had a good run to the services, where we had lunch, then quite a good run home, arriving at around 3.30 pm. I quickly turned the heating back on, and the hot water, and later I cooked a half shoulder of lamb with roasties.
I spent some time that week replanting some of the daffodil bulbs which I had taken from the pots last spring. I forgot to mention that I made it to the Women's hour bookstall the previous Thursday.
I took Lydia in the buggy, but by the time I got there she was fast asleep. I had a coffee, but no cake, I bought some Christmas cards, books for me to read to the children and a couple of small items for Mum in law's stocking. I must get around to asking her if there is anything she needs for Christmas. She probably is the hardest one to buy for, she doesn't use perfume, can't see well enough to read a book, it may well have to be vouchers again.
We minded the children that week again, relaxing on the Friday. The Saturday was one of our church fellowship days, the speaker was quite well known, and spoke about how his church grew in the 1970s. I think that there was quite a lot of growth in churches in the 1970s, perhaps not as much as he saw, but certainly more than we seem to be seeing today. He spoke on the needs such as prayer, commitment, unity and outreach. It is not a magic formula, but it was quite challenging. We had the usual lovely tea between meetings,and the usual mountains of washing up after.  He preached again on the Sunday morning, but not the evening as he had along journey home.
I haven't taken so many photos lately, but will try and find some to the blog isn't totally boring.
Ethan's breakfast, (see previous blog)
My new bike

I did buy an icing tube and an airer, but I bought them online. The airer is ok, obviously nowhere near as quick
as the tumble dryer, takes abut 6-8 hours depending on the fabric. I don't ,eave it on overnight, for safety reasons. We will have to wait for the electricity bill to see if it has gone down.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Realising what we remember

On the Sunday morning I was up fairly early, and  soon Ethan made on appearance with his Mum. he was given a brioche roll for his breakfast, and seemed to enjoy it very much. I was sitting in the living room when Son came down, and he presented Ethan with a brioche, I commented, 'He's already had one of those'. Son shrugged and said, ' He normally eats 2'. Later as he saw his Grandad slicing a banana onto  a brioche, he made complaining noises till he was offered a banana. What a little pickle he is!
Lunch all prepared we set off for church,and Son borrowed my keys to lock up,as they were going to the 11.15 service in St Albans. It was the first Sunday in the month, so we should have stayed for communion, but the preacher overran a bit, so we didn't stay. I'm always aware that our family have to travel back home. We had roast pork, same as last time they were here. It just worked out that way. I had bought a red velvet cake from Sainsbo's, a new line, so we had some for dessert, and all enjoyed it, especially Ethan. Not long after lunch they packed up the car and were off, Tom eager to go, even if he does love us. We both fell asleep, but quite a bit later than usual.
On the Monday morning, we met up with our Daughter at the main station. She had taken Nathaniel to school. We bought one day travel cards, and boarded the train for Euston. Then we waited for a bus, which seemed to go around half of London, I'm not sure where we alighted, but we had quite a walk to our destination, which was the Tower of London. We were there to see the poppy artwork, 'Blood swept lands and seas of red'. We walked in a clockwise direction around the tower, but didn't go down into the gardens. there were hordes of people there, but a lovely atmosphere, people giving way to others, being friendly, and pointing out gaps in the crowds for photo opportunities. Sadly when we reached the North side again, we missed the 'weeping window', but we got some pretty good photos, and the sheer scale of the poppies makes one realise, the scale of the loss of life.

My Grandfather, Mum's Dad, and his Brother, both fought at the Somme, and both returned. My Dad's Brothers all served, and all came home, but one had shrapnel injuries, and complications from those eventually caused him to die fairly young.
We decided to go to a Pret a Manger for lunch. I was cold; (I usually overdress for London and complain I'm hot,) so I chose a soup as well as a roll. The soup was so filling, it was mushroom and rice, very tasty and warming. We managed to find stools to perch on, Lydia wasn't terribly hungry, she ate a little whilst seated in my lightweight buggy. Afterwards, we set off for the underground, suddenly I gave a yell, 'Ouch'. I felt as if I had stepped on a drawing pin, but as I took my shoe off, felt something tear my foot. There was a sharp object sticking through the bottom of my shoe. Husband managed to pull it out, it looked like a piece of wire. He threw it away where it could do no further harm, and I limped along.
Soon we reached the underground, and husband helped lift the buggy down the steps. We got off the train at Euston Square, as we left, the heavens opened, once again I was minus waterproof, and got yet another drenching. I got a paper and a magazine, then we boarded the train. It was a train which only stopped twice before our town, so a fairly quick journey. By the time we reached our stop, the rain had soaked through my fleece, and I felt really cold.
The heating hasn't been on much, as it's been so mild, but when we got home, I put it on, got changed, put a warm sweatshirt on, and stayed snug the rest of the day.
On the Tuesday I decided to dismantle the spare bed on my own, big mistake! I suffered with pain in my back afterwards, which made looking after the children a little bit more difficult, but I managed to take Lydia for a walk in the buggy on the Thursday, she fell asleep eating her lunch, so Husband took her up for her nap. So I had a rest and a bit of a doze too.
There was nothing remarkable about the next day's childminding, and on the Friday we were busy tidying, packing,and traveling to see Mum in Law on the South Coast. we stopped at the usual services for lunch. I threw the staff into confusion at the Costa, by asking if their chicken was halal. they really didn't know, so I chose cheese. Husband had a bacon toastie.
We arrived at the bungalow just after 3 pm. Mum in Law was pleased to see us and never complains about the amount of stuff we take. She was thrilled to get more pictures of her Great grandchildren, and especially the school photo of Nathaniel. comparing it to the Nursery picture from last year, we can see how much he has changed.
Unsure what to take for dinner, I had bought a couple of lasagnes from Sainsbo's,  so we had that with salad. I saw later that there was to be a 'Lewis', in ITV, so asked if I could watch it. It was a two part episode, but it got husband interested enough to want to watch the second half.
When we went to bed, I took something to help me sleep,as I find the bed uncomfortable, but there was thunder and lightning to keep me awake. Oh well, I did get some sleep. Enough to get me through the next day.

Friday, 21 November 2014

From childminding to dog minding

On the following Monday I awoke early with palpitations, I dealt with those, and decided that as I was up, I would stay up. We had a trip to the dentist, no, I tell a lie, we had 2 trips to the dentist. I was convince that our appointments were 10.00 and 10.30, but when we got there, we were told that it was 11.30,and 11.55. so we came home and did something else, then went back for our fillings. I wasn't told not to eat anything, but my mouth stayed frozen for quite a while,and I ended up biting the inside of my cheek. I have to go back for another filling, and husband for a filling and a crown prep.
That evening, our Son and his wife arrived, and stayed for about an hour. Their childminder was taking a week off, for half term, so they had taken time off they were heading for Lille in France.
Out Daughter and her family had been hesitating about booking a holiday, but when our Son heard he said, 'Come to Lille with us'. Daughter had been able to book the same apartment hotel, but they had gone on the Sunday evening.
Tom was left with us and the family departed for their overnight stop before catching the ferry the next morning. They all successfully met up, and had a good week.
The next day husband took Tom for a long walk, I had a shorter walk, but was so tired that I spent most of the afternoon asleep, due to my early start the previous day. Wednesday was not such a good day, but Tom got 2 walks as I took him around the big block early in the evening. he is still as soppy as ever,  and constantly comes and rests his head on me, if I have the laptop out, it's all I can do to keep it on my lap.
On the Thursday, we both needed to go into town, so we took him with us, each taking it in turns to have him whilst the other went into shops. One lady fell totally in love with him, even bending down to kiss him, I kept a tight hold on his lead as I thought she might waltz off with him she was so smitten.
Eventually husband and I met up again, and he walked Tom back up the hill whilst I hopped on a bus. During the week I had phoned a couple of bike shops and discovered that the first one we had attempted to visit in Watford did stock the bike normally, but he offered to order one for me. When I said I was unsure which colour, he said he would order both; what a helpful man!
On the Friday it was a beautiful day, so we took Tom out. We went in the car to the World's End garden centre, husband went in the cafe, and chose what he wanted, then stayed outside with Tom, whilst I ordered. It was a really hot day, we ate our lunch, I picked up a few plants, and advent candles, then we drove up to nearby Coombe Hill. Later we realised that we had been there exactly 12 months before, only we did it in reverse last time. There were lots more people there this time too, it was more like a summer's day than the last day in October. Tom spent lots of time chasing the ball, we spent some time gazing at the hazy view from the monument, then more ball throwing, and back to the car where Tom had a well earned drink.

The next day we went  for our flu jabs, at a designated time, much better than queuing round the car park, then I did the weekend shopping, whilst husband took Tom for a walk, then later we went over to Watford. Suddenly we  noticed the hordes, and wondering if it had been a good idea, as Watford were playing at home. We managed to find our way round the one way system to the shop, and they had just almost finished assembling one of the bikes. The young assistant was sent to start assembling the other one. We went outside into the street,and the chap had a little ride to check all was assembled correctly, then brought it back for me to try for leg length, saddle height, etc.
The young lad brought another bike through but he had assembled the wrong one, they let me see the colour of the other one,and said that they would assemble it, but I said 'no, it's ok', I'll take the green and white. The other was silver and blue. Then I chose a helmet, and when I came to pay, was told there was 10% off the recommended price. So I got bike and helmet for less than the retail price.
We wheeled it round to where the car was parked. We had taken out the child seats, and with the back seat laid flat, the shop owner and husband just about managed to wiggle the bike into the available space. Not so easy to take out at the other end, but once out, I had a wobbly little ride around the garage area, I thought the seat was a bit high, and it seemed along way to the ground, but hey ho! I'll get used to it. We locked the bike in my rented garage, and husband promised to fit the basket at some time.
Son and his wife and Ethan arrived back at about 3.40 pm. I had made up the bed for them during the week, as they were to stay overnight. We had spag bol, which Ethan ate with his left hand whilst holding his fork aloft in his right hand. He then polished off a yoghurt, and complained till he got a banana. What an appetite! They all 3 went to bed quite early, I suspect they were tired after their journey daughter an her family caught a later ferry, and got home quite late as the M25 was very busy.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A Birthday and a bike hunt.

The Sunday after we came home was Lydia's second Birthday. We went to our Daughter's after the morning service at church, and we gave Lydia her present, she opened it, and it was a hit! It's a Fisher Price happy house and can be quite noisy. We had a lovely lunch,  then after a while most of us dozed off.  Eventually our Son in Law took the children to the park, then we had tea. Lydia was quite excited by her hedgehog cake. After tea the children went to get ready for bed as it was late, so we came home.
unwrapping the gift

Waiting for Granddad  to put it all together

Here comes the cake
Nathaniel is impressed

Blowing the candle out 

On the Monday a lot of my time was spent sorting clothes, washing, and stocking up on food, and we had a roast chicken for our evening meal. On the Tuesday I wasn't terribly organised,  I saw the Doctor in the morning for a problem which had worsened whilst we were away. Then collected the newspaper. I wanted to go to Watford. Before we went away I had bought Lydia and outfit for winter, and had forgotten whilst away to look for something for the boys. We didn't go till the afternoon. I found them both an outfit, then we were going to walk to a cycle shop to look at the bikes. As we approached the road where the shop is, we suddenly saw that it was cordoned off as a crime scene. I couldn't work out how to get there by car, so we drove to another shop, couldn't work out where to park, we stopped at a petrol station to fill up, then drove back along the road, spotting the small car park too late to turn into it. I said, 'Let's just go home'. Later I looked up the incident online, and discovered someone had been stabbed, that is why there was a cordon and police  everywhere, in broad daylight too!
We had the children on the Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, on the Wednesday, Lydia was napping when we got there, I had left a pan of soup cooking on a low heat, fortunately it was ok when we got back,and I had a large bowlful. There was plenty for the next day too, it was one of my 'use any old veg from the fridge' soups, Cauliflower and bacon. Nathaniel decided to watch some Thomas,  on the Thursday and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open, in fact I may have dozed a little.
On the Friday, I said I would like to visit a cycle shop in Berkhamsted. So we drove over there after lunch, we had a browse in the garden centre, they have their Christmas decorations on display,all very pretty, but I think I have enough. Then we looked in a couple of shops before finding the cycle shop. It was smaller than I imagined, and they had Raleighs, but mostly for children. I asked and was told ' We could probably order it for you'. I said 'thank you but I'm still undecided which colour, and wanted to see them again.'
We split up and went each to our own favourite shops, meeting up in time to go to the antiques/retro shop together. Then on the way back husband said he wanted to go somewhere else, I ended up I M&S cafe, sent him a text asking if he wanted coffee, then got no reply. Just as I  paying for my tea he arrived. No problem, we ordered him a coffee, and sat with our drinks before doing the weekend shopping in the store.
 On the Saturday morning we put on our walking boots and went for a walk through the local 'village', up towards the hotel. We were surprised at how little building has gone on on the redevelopment field, there are as yet no completed houses. We wondered why the delay. I don't think that the local primary school will cope with a large influx of pupils. The trees were not as spectacular this year, some still haven't turned, others have had their leaves blown off in the high winds which we had. We came along the path through the golf course,over the railway bridge We called in at Sainsbury's for the paper and other oddments, and were home in time for a late lunch.

A rose in the churchyard

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Wales, not terribly wet or windy.

So on Saturday the 11th, we loaded up the car and set off for our 6 monthly visit to see my sister. We had a fairly good run. despite lots of roadworks in Northamptonshire. We stopped at Corley for lunch, by which time I was really hungry, and the sausage and mash sounded appealing. Husband chose fish and chips. The mash was probably dried and reconstituted potato, there was too much of it, and there were 3 sausages, where I only ever eat 2. I left a lot of the mash. Husband's fish and chips left a lot to be desired too. We had quite a lot of rain on the journey.
We decided to use the M6 toll, and sped along.Then we turned off on the  A5, and A41 to Chester. We did some shopping at the Sainsbury's there, and had a cuppa. We arrived at the rented bungalow in Kinmel bay just before 6 pm. I unpacked, then ate my sandwich, then realising I hadn't packed the tights I bought, called in at Sainsbury's to buy some, and something to take away the smell of smoking from the bungalow. It's really strange, the bungalow is non smoking, yet there is always a smell. Perhaps the owner smokes, or maybe it was once for smokers, and the smell lingers, or maybe some have no regard for rules.
I picked up a scented candle, and a couple of diffusers, but one proved so strong, I put it away again after a few days.  I went over to my sister's and caught up on all my sister's news, but as usual struggled to hear all that she said against the TV noise. I guess that as she lives alone apart from her dog, it makes the house less quiet for her.
I left at around 11pm, and drove back. Husband had been relaxing after the journey. I had worn my compression stockings from the hospital as it was such a long journey, and it was a relief to remove them. As usual, in a strange bed, I struggled to sleep, and consequently overslept, so much so that we were running late and didn't make it to the morning service. It starts at 10.30 am, and is at least a 15 minute drive to Rhuddlan.
Later we went for a walk, and blew away the cobwebs. We walked along the sea front towards Towyn, and were passed by lots of cyclists. We stopped at one point, and a lady stopped beside us protesting  that her saddle was too hard, and she had ridden far enough. We got chatting to her and her husband, it turned out they had ridden from Rhos On Sea, around 10 miles. It's ideal for cycling there, mostly flat. After our chat we said goodbye, and walked back, me even more determined to look at bikes. It was so hot that I removed my fleece. Others were walking in T shirts.
We cut through some side roads, and discovered a whole lot of bungalows with not very well made up roads, but huge green areas, where folk had planted flowers, put benches, bird tables, and garden tables and chairs.

We arrived back, and I started lunch, the gas pressure was a tad low, I couldn't even see that the hobs were lit, but could feel the heat.We had steak, mushrooms, tomato, broccoli and baby potatoes.
The heating was on in the bungalow, and whilst my catarrh had been bad at home, it was now worse, with the familiar face pain from the sinuses. It was too cold without the heating, so we had to cope.
Later I drove over to collect my sister, and we had tea.  No one else was available for visiting us. Sister wanted to go back before Downton, as she didn't like leaving the dog alone for too long, so I drove her back at about 8.30, and then husband and I watched Downton live for a change.
On the Monday we decided to walk into Rhyl. It was a tad windy, but we walked down past Asda, and along the sea front, then we crossed the new pedestrian and cyclists bridge. At the far end of the bridge we discovered that there was a cycle shop, so we went in for a browse. One of the staff came over and was quite helpful, but we said we couldn't really buy there, as we would have also had to buy a cycle carrier. It does help though to know what is available. There is also a cafe next door to the shop, I don't know how well that will do in the winter months, but there are a lot of cyclists who use the route.
We walked along Wellington Road, and husband made off for one of the junk shops, I didn't want to join him. I did spot a particular clock in another place, which was only £45. We used to have a clock like it  when I was young, but my Mum gave it away. The chap in the shop assured me that it worked, but when I met up with husband later, he reckoned that the price was too cheap, they go for about 4 times that much when they come up on ebay.
He headed off to the barber's, and I continued into town, there was stuff I needed to buy at H&B. The demise of the M&S has affected Rhyl quite badly, more shops have closed since they went, and as the young woman assistant said, it will deter other businesses from moving in. There are still a few shops empty in the shopping centre. The proposed new development where the fairground was has still not started, the company involved are the people who did the development at North bay Scarborough, which is really attractive looking.
We met up again and went to our usual place for lunch. For once they had not sold out of lasagne, so husband had that. My choice of salmon was not available, so I had braised steak, and very nice it was too. Husband continued his tour of the charity shops, and I found the cycle shop which has been there for as long as I can remember, and they had the bikes I like in stock, so now at least I have handled one, tried it for leg length etc. I explained the situation to the manager, he was quite helpful. He is a real enthusiast, has 14 bikes and never owned a car. I met up with husband again, and he came back to the shop with me and bought himself a gel saddle for comfort. We then hopped on a bus back to the bungalow, relaxed and had a light meal before visiting my sister.
On the Tuesday, we went to Llandudno, we had a meal at the Cottage loaf again. This time I chose a pork chop with a sort of black pudding fritter. I've never seen such a huge pork chop. There was mash, and a 'jus', and veg, and the flavours were amazing. It was easily as good as that which we had at the Grand in Eastbourne, and a lot cheaper.Husband had fish and chips, and he said they were so much better than what he had had on Saturday, we decided to skip desserts, then went off to tour the shops. I bought shoes, I found a jacket in EMW, which would go with a skirt I bought recently. I don't think I had anything new last winter; and I bought a pair of warm joggers for the colder weather.
I also got a new pvc shopping bag in the lovely kitchen shop. The only problem with upvc coated bags is that the handles go after a while. I've thought of a way I can replace them, but haven't tried it yet.
We went back to the bungalow and again had alight meal, it saves me having to cook. then we spent the evening with my sister.
On the Wednesday we decided to go and visit Erddig, a NT property. Unfortunately it was a much duller day, it was quite a drive from where we were staying. However we arrived at around lunchtime, and decided to sample the food in the stableyard cafe. Husband had a pork casserole, and I had cottage pie. In NT preoperties the cafes always seem to be in the stableyard. It was very interesting going round the property. The last 2 owners were pretty broke, and didn't even have electricity, the last brother handed the property to the NT in 1976. Of course the Coal Board didn't help, by tunneling under the property from the nearby Bersham colliery, and they had to compensate the brothers as the house was on the verge of collapse. There is a lot there about the servants, and the servants quarters are on show. It's well worth a visit. Afterwards we had a carriage ride, pulled by a beautiful shire horse. Then, mindful of the rush hour, we headed back. We have certainly had our money's worth of NT properties in our first year of membership.

Real candelabra
red drawing room
Portable shower
Servants bedroom

Music room
My carriage awaits

On the Thursday we were not sure what to do. We normally visit Chester, but I'd had my fill of shops in Llandudno, didn't need to buy, so it would have been a visit to explore, and visit my elderly friend.
Before we went away however, I had read on a Chester forum that there were roadworks on both sides of Chester, and that traffic was horrendous, so we decided to give it a miss. We decided instead to go to Betws y Coed. It was a very mild day, we had lunch at the Alpine cafe, eating in the outside covered area. I had a savoury cheesecake, which was interesting, and husband chose welsh rarebit with bacon. Mine came with salad and chips, so I said he would have to share my chips. Unfortunately as he sat down, he misjudged the width of the bench and topple over backwards. he fell into a confined space and had difficulty getting up. Fortunately all he had was bruised  elbows and pride. I must confess to getting a fit of nervous giggles, once I knew he was ok. When someone left, we moved to seats with backs for safety.
After lunch, we did a tour of the nick nack shops,and then made our way up the main road via all the outdoor shops. I skipped a couple of shops as I had to go up to the cash machine, and arrived at the bridge over the river Llugwy before him. I could see folk on the bridge watching something, and when I looked there was a heron on the rocks, so out came my camera. Husband caught up,and he took quite a few shots too.

The waterproof I bought half price in the summer turned out to be quite heavy. Husband said he had found a more lightweight one, half price in a shop. So we went to look, but it was tad loose,I like plenty of room, but it was a bit tent like. They didn't have a smaller size, but we managed to find  a smaller  one a few pounds more, again reduced in price, so I bought that.  A lot of waterproofs seem slim fitting these days, I'm not sure why.
 We decided to head back before the traffic got too heavy, and that evening I cooked pork steaks,and veg. When we arrived at my sister's my niece was there, and after a while there was a knock at the window, which turned out to be my nephew, so we had a time of catching up and chatting with them.
Friday morning was a time for finishing packing, popping to the supermarket, then the cemetery,and putting flowers on Mum and Dad's grave, then sandwiches, packing the car, cleaning up and setting off for our Son's home in Cheshire.
It was our Daughter in law's Birthday, so I took flowers and chocolates. I took a meal for us, as the plan was for them to settle Ethan, and then go out for a meal whilst we babysat. We had our meal, son downloaded New Tricks for us to watch, as my sister doesn't watch it these days. Eventually Ethan did go off so they were able to get a break, and have a meal out. I wish I could babysit for them more often. They came back refreshed, and with a cake they had picked up in a late opening supermarket, which was a substitute Birthday cake. Our Son was working on the Saturday, but we were up early enough to see him. Then we just spent a pleasant morning playing with Ethan, and chatting, leaving after lunch, and stopping at Watford Gap for a drink, and arriving home at around 4.30. We called in at the garage with the M&S for something for the evening meal. I put the heating on, but the weather has continued mild, so the radiators have hardly been on.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Obviously October

we've had some rain

Front pots ready for winter

I forgot to mention that on the Monday of the previous week, we were due at the dentist  for our 6 monthly check up. I was supposed to be going to the osteopath on the Tuesday, but he had to cancel, so I ended up changing my appointment to Monday as well. Our dentist has left the practice, so we now have a new one. We both have a couple of fillings to get sorted, and husband has to have a new crown.
Home for lunch and then later to the osteopath, who was full of his usual jokes. he was quite pleased with me and doesn't need to see me for 6 months. I was pleased about that.
On the Monday of the next week, I had had a bad night, and woke quite late, too late in fact to go and help with the distribution of the harvest which had been on the Sunday. I had a couple of bad nights, coughing, and we hadn't even put the heating on.  Later in the week I found that a teaspoon of Covonia cattarh mixture helped no end, so I felt less zombie like the next day.
On the Tuesday, I had quite a long walk in the morning, down to the hospital to get my blood tests done. It was a fasting test, there were about 30 people ahead of me even though the clinic had only been open for 10 minutes when I arrived. Within half an hour, I was on my way, and I managed to find a cafe serving tea and toast. Fortified, I then walked through town and got the bus up the hill. In the afternoon,I rang our friend to see if I could visit, but they had a visitor, so she moved into the kitchen and chatted to me there. She sounds so bright it is amazing. During our chat, she told me that the Dr had said that when he sent her in hospital he did not expect her to come out, but she told him that a lot of prayers had gone up for her.
Sadly, later in the week, we heard news of a young man, son of old friends, in his twenties, with a wife and baby, had lost his 9 month fight with cancer. Many people had been praying for him too, but the treatments had failed. It is hard at times to accept God's will and plans for people, but He knows everything from the beginning. It's so very difficult for his family too although they are believers, what does one say to comfort someone? Only the promises of God can help at such a time.
Someone recently shared something on facebook about what not to say to the bereaved,and I think that I have been guilty of saying many of then at some time.
 I was very struck once, at a funeral of an elderly chap, when I spoke to his wife and said how sorry I was for her loss,and how she must miss him, she replied, 'Yes but we wouldn't want to bring him back from Glory would we'. I'm not sure that I could respond so well if I lost my other half. Sadly as Gandalf said to Pippin in Lord of the rings, 'Death is not the end, it is just another path that we all must take.' How important it is then to make the choice now to be right with God whilst we can still do it. Anyone can be transported into Eternity in the blink of an eye, and it is a horrible thought to think that many who have never bothered with God in this life will spend eternity separate from Him.
Actually it would be far more embarrassing for them to be forced to spend an eternity in the presence of One whom they had despised and rejected.
Doing good cannot earn us a place in heaven, although the life of a believer should be characterised by good works. Many of them though are done in secret, such as giving of money, so that we do not boast.
If you are a believer please remember that bereaved family in your prayers. Many people will doubtless say, 'what a waste of a life', that one so young should die, but in God's economy a life lived for Him is not wasted. That young man has run his race, he had finished his fight and he has kept his faith in the face of difficulty and illness, there is therefore a crown of righteousness laid up for him, 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 7 and 8.
I hope that what I have written here will not deter you from reading my blog in future, but I feel that it is important to address these matters.
When we called to collect Lydia on Wednesday, she was asleep. That showed us that she can still be unpredictable in her nap times, the previous week she had nodded off during lunch.  She played quite happily after we had taken her to our home and given her lunch. She is getting quite adept at doing little puzzles,
Little miss mischief

On Thursday we arrived at their home to discover that Nat had refused his breakfast becuase it was served in the 'wrong' bowl, he had even thrown it away, Daughter was needing to get off to work,so I supervised his brekky,and then Grandad walked him to school. I took Lydia home, she insisted on bringing Macca Pacca, then later kept going into the hall and saying 'Buggy',  so I got ready to take her out. Macca Pacca came too, till she dropped him, so I popped him into my shopping bag for safety. I had to take my prescription in, I was almost out of thyroxine, when I spoke nicely to the receptionist, she managed to get one printed for me, I was so grateful. When I eventually got home with Lydia,she was almost asleep, so Grandad carefully lifted her out of the buggy, and carried her up to the travel cot for her nap.
She was late waking for her lunch, but ate reasonably well. I think it was that day, when I discovered she can now reach the front door handle, and pull it open, so we now need to keep the handle locked and the key out of her reach. The time seemed to pass relatively quickly, and soon it was time  for Grandad to collect Nathaniel. He and Lydia didn't play quite so well together, Nathaniel wanted the trains out at first, but then played with other things that Lydia decided she wanted, so it got a bit fraught.
However it was soon time for home, and I commented we hadn't watched Thomas for a while. Nathaniel decided to complain about not having watched Thomas, so I reminded him he needed to ask, and ask nicely to be able to watch Thomas. It's not long since he would hear the clock strike and declare, 'Time for Thomas'. I wonder what boys become interested in when the are too big for tank engines? With my son it was Lego and building fantastic models.
On the Friday, I had to go for my asthma check. The nurse said she had to weigh me and measure my height. Having grown last year I now appear to have shrunk again! When she announced my weight it was nearly 2kg lower than when the Dr weighed me last week. I pointed this out and she said, 'Oh one of the scales must be wrong.' So I said, 'or perhaps I could have lost a bit, I need some encouragement', she laughed and said 'of course!'.
I needed a new peak flow meter, and a new aerochamber, then we got so involved in discussing how to treat cattarrh, that she quite forgot to do the prescription. I was back in reception booking our flu jabs, and getting my blood test results, all normal, and cholesterol acceptable, when my phone rang.
I couldn't answer it, but when I was about to cross the road, I found a voicemail, from the nurse,so had to to a smart about turn, and up the stairs to collect it.
 I caught up on some housework, mainly ironing and tidying, for the rest of the day, it was showery, so I was in and out like a fiddler's elbow, with the washing, happy days!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Market, Morris men, minding kids, medical and misunderstanding

I may have forgotten to mention that the day before we had Sunday lunch in the garden, we went into town. I had a few bad nights, so overslept on that Saturday morning, and we ran late all day. As we were so late that we drove into town, plus the fact that I wanted to go up into the old High Street later. We parked at the shopping centre, and as we came out through the doors into what is now the market area, there were emergency vehicles in the pedestrianised area, about four people dressed in red jumpsuits, helmets and carrying various bags came striding through. I heard someone say, 'Oh here come the air ambulance crew.' Thinking back I had seen what looked like an air ambulance flying over as we drove down. Being the nosey person that I am, I asked someone at a stall what was going on, and he said he had heard that someone had had a heart attack.  Oh dear, poor person, but at least everything possible was being done.
I carried on to where I was going, at the same time wondering where the air ambulance could have landed. As I walked along,  could hear what sounded like Morris dancing, and sure enough, as I peeked into the old market square, there was a side performing. A few minutes later, a few more Morris dancers were mingling with the crowd, publicising what they were doing. I felt a bit  sad that there were so few people watching them, but there didn't seem to have been much advance publicity about the event. As I walked back to the market, there seemed to be more interest in what was going on behind a tarpaulin  pulled over one of the market stalls. One of the stallholders was trying to clear everyone away, so that they could take someone into a waiting ambulance. I steered well clear, and met up with husband to finish our shopping.
We drove up to the Old High Street, and as we passed the place where the events venue used to be, I saw the air ambulance on the patch of grass there. The old High Street has been revamped,and made one way, and we had difficulty at first knowing where to park.  Having parked we headed for the cycle shop, We saw there were more Morris dancers in the square there, and as we walked along saw the air ambulance taking off.
The bike shop seemed to be full of racing bikes. I suppose that since the Olympics there has been renewed interest in racing. Downstairs, there were 2 old fashioned ladies' bikes, but on enquiring the price, was told one was £450, the other £550! We left the shop, and headed for the square, where another Morris side were performing. I spotted a former neighbour of ours, who used to do a lot of Morris, but he has put on weight, and age hasn't been kind to his knees, so he now plays the squeezebox.
During a lull, I went over and renewed our acquaintance. He just about remembered us, he now lives in Snowdonia, and was just down for the festival. I seem to remember that about 10 years ago he was the Town crier in a nearby City, He has a very strong Yorkshire voice, and announced in town crier tones that there would be a final session, back in the town centre market square, with all 8 Morris sides dancing.

Whilst in the old town we went into one of the antique shops for a browse, but didn't buy. Just as well as I'm still trying to declutter. We looked at some other shops, but it some were closed, so we got in the car and drove home.
We had a visiting preacher on the Sunday. We were talking about a member of the congregation, after the service, who unbeknown to us had been in hospital during that week. That reminded me of the previous day's incident in town. I asked someone if they knew about it and was told she had heard it was a stallholder who had collapsed, but despite everything, had not survived, very sad.
The weather was still extremely warm, so husband uncovered the garden table, and we ate our roast on the patio.
The following Tuesday, I tried ringing my old friend who had been in hospital, but got no reply. after lunch we went to our local garden centre, which now has a coffee shop. My pots on the outside wall were looking straggly, so I bought 50 small daffs, as the tall ones just don't stand up, I also bought cyclamen and Winter flowering pansies, to plant on top of the bulbs. I replace a wooden trough which is falling apart, and probably wouldn't last the winter. Thankfully I had gardening club vouchers to spend, so that reduced the bill. Husband bought some other stuff, he seems to begetting into pot growing as well, ( as in terracotta pots, not 'weed'). I must see that he doesn't encroach my space. We also tried their new coffee shop. The decaff was very flavoursome, sometimes it's like stewed cardboard. we also tried their cookies, mmmmm!
We had the children again on the  Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday. It is still difficult to know how Nathaniel is settling at school, he does regress at times in his behaviour, and seems to need lots of cuddles. Mostly he is his own sweet self, amazing us with what he talks about. I feel I'm getting to know Lydia better as I now have more one to one. She did change her nap times to afternoon, but even that varies. she still charms everyone she meets with her sweet little smile, but is still every bit as determined as her brother, and definitely has selective hearing.
My friend eventually rang me, sounding much better than she has for months, it was their wedding anniversary when I tried to ring, and they had been out for lunch, then for a drive, her first outing in a while.
I had tried to make an appointment for my annual meds review, but the 'in advance' appointments were booked up. The receptionist told me how I could book an appointment, online, the evening prior to when I wanted, and I managed to get an early afternoon slot. The Doctor accepted my early morning and late evening B P readings, weighed me, slightly up, then discussed exercise and whether it would be good for me to take up cycling again. Prescription unchanged, I left clutching my blood test forms. She wasn't going to have the thyroid checked as it was done in June, as part of the investigation into my occasional double vision. The prism in the driving glasses does help, but I'm still tempted to shut one eye, as I've been doing it so long.
I thought I had found the bike I wanted in St Albans, but when we drove over there, was told I had misread the site and the stock is only sold online. I'd rather not buy without seeing it and trying it out for leg length etc. Disgruntled, I couldn't be bothered to try any other cycle shops and we drove home, and I made fish pie, lovely comfort food, we had peas, and I had ketchup on the side, much to husband's disgust. But as I explained, it is good for you as it contains cooked tomatoes, and lycopene. Sadly, readers, he remains unconvinced. The weather took a turn for the worst that week, with the temperatures plunging, sadly no more al fresco eating