Thursday, 27 March 2014

Marching onward.

Since the weekend away, at the beginning of March we have kept busy. I had another appointment with the Osteopath, he thinks I need one more treatment. We also saw the dentist, and I needed a couple of small fillings. We have minded the Grandchildren almost as normal, we went to the garden centre, husband bought some stuff to perk up the lawn and gave it its first cut.
Husband has also done more tidying in the garden, power washed the paving between the terrace and the house, and tidied and cleaned the patio.
I dug out some material I had bought ages ago, and tried to pin the pattern on to it. Unfortunately, there was not enough material, so I had to buy another pattern, and have now cut out a skirt.
We had a few very warm sunny days, but it has now gone cold again, and we are back to having rainy days too. However everything in the garden is doing well, we have shoots on fuchsias which don't usually appear till much later, and it's good to see the trees coming into leaf and the local magnolias blooming.
My back has been much better, I've just got to be sensible with it, my knee still plays up, so I have to be careful how I come downstairs, trying not to twist on the turn in the staircase. Although I did lose some weight a while back, the weekend away undid the good work, so I'm a bit intermittent with weightwatchers at present.
I bought some lined walking trousers online, and one company duplicated the order, the lady was quite surprised by my honesty, but my conscience would not let me keep something I hadn't paid for.
The opticians had one frame left the same as mine, so I ordered a new pair. Boots Buxton left a message saying a pair of glasses had been found, so I sent our Son a text asking if he fancied a trip to Buxton.
Very efficiently, he rang the shop, and ascertained that they were not my specs as they were bifocals. I was partly glad as I'd just forked out for the new pair, although if they had been mine spares are always handy for me.
For world book day, the nursery class had to dress up as characters from an Eric Carle book. Nathaniel's Mum, clever girl, made him a costume. I'll leave you to guess who he was.

Mum in Law had written to her consultant about her shoulder as she has been in pain ever since her op. She blames it on the rotator cuff tear, but I still have one tear, and don't get pain. She wouldn't take pain killers as she was under the impression that they would affect her eye drops. Her eye consultant has told her not to worry about that, and now the shoulder consultant has said she must try pain relief, and if that doesn't work, he will do a shoulder replacement, which also might not be successful. At coming up to 90, I am surprised surgery is on offer.
I'm still sleeping better on the new mattress, it's great fun when we have to turn it, but it won't have to be done so regularly after the first 12 weeks. We still haven't done anything about the Dunlopillo one, but I'm thinking of phoning a local charity, Emmaus, to ask them to take it.
Somebody likes our prunus

garden pictures

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Weekend away part 2

Oh dear I am so far behind again. The Sunday of our weekend was a bit of a washout, in more ways than one. Prior to booking the hotel, I had checked up on evangelical churches in Buxton, and found that there was a reasonable sounding Anglican church.
However, on the actual Sunday morning, I had slept badly and didn't wake till 8.15 am. I made a cup of tea, then another, and decided perhaps I should check the time of the service. It was 10.00am. We were not even showered, but then we realised we should get showered quickly, and go down to breakfast. The dining room was very busy, we had forgotten that breakfast times on Sunday are different, and we were almost, but not quite the last people down. Although dressed for church,we realised that we were very unlikely to make the service, as we were not even sure of the location of the church.
Eventually, breakfast over, we had to decide what to do with the day. I was still concerned about my missing specs, and asked husband if we could maybe pop into Boots to check if they had found them. On parking in the town centre, we soon found that Boots was in fact closed. We did have to buy some lunch, and I popped into a couple of the outdoor shops, and retraced my steps in the hope of finding my specs. One shop took my phone number, but no one seemed to have found them. We walked back to the car, and drove off to our destination. We were heading for Stanage edge, with the idea of having a walk, and me doing a Keira Knightley, aka Lizzy Benett, although my garments  would probably not have flowed in the same way.
We reached the car park,  just in front of the edge, but decided, as it was drizzling we would eat our sandwiches, and see how the weather went, then husband said that we couldn't walk immediately after lunch, so we would sit and see how the weather went. Husband dozed off, and I sat and watched bedraggled walkers coming back to their cars.
I decided to walk to the toilets 200m down the road, but as I reached the edge of the car park, realised there was a machine and we should have paid. I went back to the car to tell husband, and we decided to move on. I got my camera out to take some pictures, and found that it was very muddy, and I almost slipped over, so was glad we had not attempted the walk.

Stanage Edge

Back on the road, now in pouring rain, we headed for Castleton, where I knew there were some Blue John caves. After finding the loos there, we parked near the Speedwell cavern. I knew I had been in one of the caves many years ago with some friends from my first church. It involved going through in a boat, and there were quite spectacular stalactites/gmites,and a large 'bottomless' cavern. We went in the shop, and had a browse and decided to brave the cave.
Someone from a previous party had been unable to go down. We waited a while, then a bell rang, which indicated it was time to go down. what I hadn't realised was that we had to descend 106 steps. Our guide made it sound like 160, and after donning hard hats, (I'm sure we didn't last time), he told us to take our time, and set off at a great rate. My husband is not good on stairs, the ceiling was low and seemed to be closing in on me, and at about the 20th step, I got a familiar feeling. That rush of adrenaline, which makes the heartbeat just that little bit louder, and faster, and often precludes ectopic heart beats, harmless but distressing. Suddenly my mind raced, suppose I have a full blown panic attack, if I'm ill down there how do they get me out, I have 100+ plus steps to climb, how will that affect me? I called after the young man, 'Sorry, I can't do this'. He raced back up, said 'that's ok'. husband looked relieved, and we climbed back up and relinquished our helmets, then back into the shop. Apparently, I was the 4th person to bottle out that day, the other 3 all considerably younger than me. They had photos in the shop of the coronation Street cast going there in the 1960s, how on earth did Annie Walker get down in those stilettos?
Fortunately they give refunds, and I was still apologising as we left the shop. We decided that Winnat's pass looked spectacular, so drove through there, and eventually back to the hotel, where we had a cuppa, then read and tried to doze before going down to dinner.
Winnat's pass

beautiful countryside

The restaurant was not so full and we were able to have a window table. The starter I had planned on having had run out, husband had scallops again, and I opted for the panna cotta again. Our mains were beef and ale pie and mash for him, and a crown of lamb for me which actually was 2 large chops from a beautifully cooked crown, with a sauce potatoes and veg. Then we both had a chocolate dessert, which was a sort of melting middle pudding, served with Pistachio ice cream. Coffee and mints followed, and we teased the waiter about his fondness for 1960s music, mostly Roger Whittaker.
We started our packing, then watched some TV news, then retired for our last night. Next morning we had our final breakfast at the same window table the evening before, completed our packing, and loaded the car before checking out. A quick visit to Boots revealed that no specs had turned up, but they took my details, just in case. The we set the satnav for Son's home and sent Daughter in law a text to give her our ETA. It was a lovely day, breathtaking views over the peaks, and a pleasant drive.
We knew our son would be at work, but his wife's parents were staying, so we saw them for the first time since the wedding, and had a catch up session. I also got a cuddle from baby Ethan, although it's not much of a cuddle these days, more of an opportunity for him to bounce up and down in my lap, with a huge grin on his face. At 6 months he has started on 'real food', and seems to be enjoying it.
We declined lunch, being still full of brekkie, and we set off again for home, stopping at Corley, for a drink and a snack. I was pleased to be home for a decent night's sleep.

The Grandparents

Monday, 17 March 2014

Weekend in Derbyshire, part 1

The last week in February, we had a slight variation in our week. Daughter was due a training day so we were to have the children on the Tuesday. The training day was changed at the last moment, but she still went in on the Tuesday. We had them again on the Thursday as arranged, then on the Friday we packed, took the child seats out of the car, packed up the car and set off for Derbyshire. The traffic was really slow, due to congestion, the satnav sent us off the M1just before Derby, by which time it was rush hour, then we seemed to crawl along for ever through a series of small towns, then onto open twisting roads. We arrived at our hotel at Buxton at around 6 pm.
Our room was on the first floor, but there was a lift, so we used that for luggage. We had a pleasant room overlooking the front garden of the hotel, and the nearby park, with peaks in the background. Dinner was served in the Conservatory, which all looked very pretty, with fairy lights, but once again we were disappointed to see diners in jeans, and looking scruffy, doesn't anyone dress for dinner these days.? We were in smart clothes, I have couple of skirts and blouses I always keep for special occasions. perhaps I'm just old fashioned.

View from room

Front of hotel

There was a reasonable choice, but some things such as pie and mash, fish and chips just didn't ring my bell. If I'm paying for a dinner then I like it to be special.  I had a goats cheese panna cotta for starters, husband had a ham terrine, then we both had sea bass, on a pearl barley risotto. The risotto was a tad bland. Then for dessert I had a creme brulee, which was delicious, again I can't remember what husband had. I did write it all down, but have lost the piece of paper. Coffee and mints followed, and we retired to our room. Not much on TV, so we read, I couldn't get online, as the hotel wifi must have been very busy.
Unfortunately, after having got used to our new mattress at home, and, whisper it softly, I'd actually been sleeping, for most of the night. Suddenly there was a seemingly rock hard bed and rock hard pillows to match. The curtains were real blackout curtains, couldn't see a thing. I tossed turned, coughed, kicked off the duvet, too hot, then at around 3.30am decide a visit to the ensuite was in order. Not wishing to disturb husband,  I didn't put on a bedside lamp, but shuffled slowly across the floor, hands outstretched to feel obstacles. He told me next morning he had been awake and had been amused by my efforts not to disturb him!
Back in bed, I did manage eventually to drop off, and awoke feeling tired and stiff. The over bath shower was good although the bath so high off the ground that my legs only just made it over the side. I peered at the free shampoo label, but couldn't read it so decided to risk it. The bathroom was over hot, having both a radiator ad a heated towel rail.
At breakfast there was a good choice, several fruit juices, dried fruits, fruit salad yoghurt, croissants, cereals etc, all help yourself, they came and took our cooked breakfast and coffee order, mine did not vary, poached egg, grilled bacon, mushroom tomato and black pudding, but husband added sausage and even fried bread at least once. We were not offered toast, but husband had noticed baskets of bread, and 2 4 slice toasters, with dishes of jam, marmalade, honey and sachets of matrmite and Nutella.
DIY toast, so much more civilised than having it served in a rack at the same time as brekkie, and it going cold and hard.
Breakfast over, we planned the day.  I put our anniversary cards on display, husband had forgotten to bring mine, my fault, I should have reminded him, but didn't want to seem to be dropping hints. First I needed to pop into the town centre, I needed heat pads, as the journey had disturbed my back, indigestion tablets, just in case, and something for an itchy bite I had. I was juggling reading glasses and various other items in Boots. I found husband in a charity shop, where else would he be? We popped into a few outdoor shops, then I took some 'touristy' pictures, then we drove over to Hardwick Hall. I had wanted to 'do' Haddon hall,where Jane Eyre was filmed, but it doesn't open till April. Chatsworth doesn't open till later in March, and Hardwick is NT, so no entry fee. I had taken one of my 'super' pain relievers, which contain both aspirin and caffeine, so I rarely take them.

Victorian Urn

Old spa baths

tearoom where we had lunch last time
Free Buxton water

On arrival we got our NT stickers, and looked in the shops before going into the stables restaurant for lunch, leek and potato soup for husband, ham sandwich with the loveliest piccalilli I have ever tasted, for me, then a sneaky brownie with our coffe I hadn't been able to find my reading glasses, to read the menu, but digging deep into my bag I found the spare pair.  Afterwards,we then set off for the hall, walked what seemed to be miles, up stairs round corridors, in and out of rooms, where we gawped, stared, and wondered at the value of the priceless furniture and artefacts. My education on Bess of Hardwick had been sadly lacking, but now my knowledge is somewhat increased, did you know she was married 4 times, first husband was 13, and he died soon after? That she bought Chatsworth, knocked it down and rebuilt it in its present form, that she even had designs on one of her heirs taking the throne? Quite a formidable woman for an Elizabethan. We didn't see all of the gardens, or the old hall, worn out, I just managed to pop into the shop for a jar of that piccalilli.
We drove back to the hotel, me wishing there was an opportunity to stop and photograph the twisted spire in Chesterfield, and had a short rest before changing for dinner. Despite searching the car, my bag and anything else,  I could not find the missing reading glasses.
That evening the restaurant was full and pretty busy. We both had scallops, a slight surcharge, but nowhere near as expensive as in Cornwall, and there were more, I had a chicken breast with a savoury sauce, and 'pastry ball', which contained stuffing, there was mashed potato,and we shared side of veg again. Husband persuaded me to have a glass of wine, although I wasn't overstruck, but I agreed, as it was our anniversary. Husband can't recall what he had, for dessert  I had assiette d'orange, lemon curd, a small warm orange sponge pudding, a lemon mousse type thing, and orange flavoured mini shortbreads, all very yummy. Unfortunately the staff forgot to offer us coffee, we think they may have been winding down after a busy evening, so we went back up, and used our hospitality tray, and I used my own decaff which I had brought with me.
I think I had better pause here and include some pictures.
stable yard

old hall

approaching hall
Fireplace in entrance

some of the many wall hangings

Ornate chest

One of the bedrooms


Thursday, 6 March 2014

February flies by

Ever since we came back from holiday last Summer, I have suffered on and off from a sore scalp, only in one place, and reminiscent of the pain I felt when, as a15 year old, I  poured water from a kettle, into a jug, then was distracted, and without diluting it with cold, poured it over my head. Fortunately, my Mum came in through the back door, realised what had happened and quickly shoved my head under the cold tap. I had a few blisters, but due to my Mum's quick thinking, no lasting damage such as hair loss.
During the recent periods of soreness, I have examined my scalp, nothing to see, no redness etc, so I decided to look up sore scalp on line. There were a couple of scary things such as arteritis, but I think it was too localised for that. Something else which I read I found quite interesting. Apparently. most shampoos, and bath and shower lotions contain something called either sodium lauryl sulphate, or sodium laureth sulphate. This apparently, is a substance used to clean oil from garage floors, and is used to create bubbles. Time to check the bathroom cupboard! Every item I had contained it.
I checked all the labels on my next trip to Sainsbo's, everything there seemed to contain it.
So I went to the local health food shop, and looked at their organic range. No sodium laureth sulphate, but they were a bit pricey. I bought both shampoo, and shower gel, then later found a bath liquid, and something called dead sea salts, for use in the bath. Later still I  found a tea tree oil shampoo.
Since using these products I have not had a sore scalp. Coincidence? perhaps, but if I get a sore scalp again, I just might get it checked out by the G P.
We have been minding the children again, it's lovely to watch Nathaniel in creative play, he chats away to himself. Husband managed to find a whole load of wooden track, possibly big jigs, trains, shed, turntable etc in a charity shop. Apparently they have moved the trains to a different room at nursery, as N would play with nothing else. Lydia doesn't give all her attention to toys, but she is always after my glasses, phone, nail scissors, knitting needles, in short anything which she shouldn't have.
It has continued to rain, a lot, but temperatures are so mild that all the crocuses are out, our tiny prunus has blossom, and my first daff came out yesterday. Today it is a lovely sunny day, but still that nip in the air. I should be out in the garden pulling up those wretched Spanish bluebells, but every time I do so, my back seems to get worse. Last week was half term, Daughter was having some time off, so we took off for the South Coast on the Monday to visit Mum in Law. I took 3 main meals with me. I was a bit nervous about sitting in the car for so long, but coped. The services are being refurbished, so I had a M&S wrap, and husband a pasty. The small Costa was open, so we had coffee too, we had to eat sitting in the car. We arrived at the bungalow at around 2.15 pm, and later did our customary tour of the village. There was one notable change, a shop which had been 'pile it high and sell it cheap' is now an estate agents. Talking of which, house prices in our town have escalated to ridiculous levels, and I am told estate agents are asking for sealed bids! A sure recipe for a bubble. There is still a fair bit of building going on, but they are all ridiculous prices, and the size is such that one could not swing the proverbial.
I digress! Mum in law was pleased to say she has a further appointment with the shoulder specialist who did her decompression last year, she wrote to him as she has been in considerable pain, and cannot raise her arm very high. She thinks it is from the tear, but I have a tear in the left shoulder rotator cuff tendon, and don't get pain. I wonder if she perhaps didn't get enough physio, as she said she only had 2 or 3 sessions, but after my first op I was seeing the physio from July to November. Hopefully the consultant will be able to sort out the problem. They tend not to repair tears after the age of about 75, as it doesn't have a high success rate. I dread to think how she would manage in a sling for 6 weeks. The shepherds pie I had hastily made from the left over joint went down very well at dinner, we were not late going to bed, but as usual, I had difficulty sleeping.
Sorry, I haven't written on here for over a week, pressing on, on the Tuesday we took Mum in law into Eastbourne. Husband wasn't going to have lunch with us, but changed his mind, and we went in C&H fabrics again. I had my usual goat's cheese and red onion marmalade tart, the other 2 had jacket potatoes. We had a look upstairs, and I found some gorgeous summery material, so bought a dress length. I really must get sewing. We went to a few more shops, but Mum in Law tires very easily these days. She wanted a few bits from Sainsbury's, including her dairy free ice cream,and so I rang husband and he met us there. Mum in law has now decided she is also allergic to rice, as she had eaten some rice cereal, and started itching again.
Back at the bungalow, I read my book which I had taken with me, It's taken me ages to get through it, The tenant of Wildfell Hall. Then we decided which of the frozen casseroles I had taken was most defrosted. Later, as I read the paper, I discovered that Death in Paradise was on, so we watched that. Mum in Law didn't seem to enjoy it, but we find it quite entertaining, it's sort of Midsomer in the Carribean.
On the Wednesday we went into Bexhill. First though, husband did a small job in the garden, then we dismantled Mum in Law's upright 'sit under' hair dryer, to fit it into the car, then we took it to the dump. Then we found somewhere to park on Bexhill sea front, which was quite expensive. As I was at the machine,  I was asked 'have you got any change to spare love', by a man, and said, 'I don't have enough for what I want.' Back at the car we had a pooling of cash, and I managed to buy a ticket. So as we left the car park, I was a bit annoyed to be accosted by the same chap. I said 'Sorry, but I've already told you that I didn't have enough.'
Mum in law and I walked down one of the side streets, as she wanted to buy a card, husband went off for his usual tour of charity shops. We met up for lunch, somewhere we have been before, husband and I had ciabatta, with bacon and a soft cheese, can't remember which, and Mum in Law had a sandwich. I discovered that the ladies room was up 2 flights of stairs, so advised Mum in Law to wait till we left the cafe, as the loos near the station are on the level. Then we walked, as it were, round 2 sides of a square, calling in at the Christian book stall run by the church we go to if we visit at weekend. As I was about to go into a shop in the side street, the same beggar cut straight in front of me, and rather aggressively asked another passer by for any spare change. He was beginning to be a bit of a nuisance. Our need for chocolate satisfied, we had a short stroll across the promenade to see what damage the recent storms and high winds had done. There is a row of houses, which we think are for the elderly, some had storm gates across their gardens,but the main 'damage' seemed to be just piles and piles of shingle  thrown up from the beach. We walked back to the car, then drove the scenic route to the bungalow.
Later after eating the other casserole, we managed to rig up my laptop to the TV so that we could watch the previous Sunday's Call the Midwife on iplayer. Mum in  Law seemed to enjoy it, but she usually watches the God channel on a Sunday evening when midwife is on, and doesn't have a 'smart' TV, and wouldn't understand the technology involved for iplayer.
On the Thursday we got our packing done, collected up our stuff, and set off for home. It was half term week so there was no nursery, and Daughter was at home with the children. After unloading the car, unpacking, and phoning those who needed to know we were home, we started sorting and tidying in our bedroom, and moving stuff out so that the delivery men could get our new mattress up the stairs on the Friday.
Friday morning, we took the bed apart, husband moved the mattress into the spare room, I vacuumed thoroughly in the space where the bed goes, especially behind the headboard, then the bed base was put back together. We had been told any time between 1 and 9 pm, and they arrived at about 4 pm.
It takes a while to get used to any new mattress, and the first night I didn't sleep too well, but it has been getting better.