Thursday, 22 May 2014

May musings

Life goes on, busy, but unremarkable, although Nathaniel has not been his usual sunny self all the time and has been prone to throwing wobblies. We did wonder whether he was sickening for something, as there is chickenpox about. However it could just be that his routine has been interrupted and changed so much lately, or it could just be that he is feeling his feet as they say. Who is to know?
We are gradually getting used to different childminding hours, although, as we no longer have them on a Friday, I tend to keep thinking that Friday is Saturday, and end up all confused. I have much less time on a Wednesday, as we have to go up to their home at 11.30 am, so it's a quick visit to WW just to be weighed then off to do the weekly shopping, then a quick unpacking and off out again. Although last week I arrived at the community centre for WW, and couldn't park there or at the nearby shops,so had to go straight to Sainsbo's
Husband missed church for a second week as he was coughing so much. My cough has been replaced by a more 'dry' cough, which usually comes on just as I am about to fall asleep at night, or about to doze on the sofa. Husband has been working at raising the fruit bed at the bottom of the garden, and he has now placed the compost bins on paving stones to try and stop rats burrowing their way in.We have had a couple of visits to garden centres, and I tidied up one bed, and planted some bedding plants. Last Friday we went to the one on the St Albans bypass. I'd had my hair cut that morning, husband came into town with me, then I went over to the material and wool shop, and bought a new pattern. Then we got the bus back up, got the car and drove to the garden centre, had lunch there, and did some browsing and buying.
I had been forbidden to plant anything in one bed till it has been dug over, the daff leaves need to die back, the lily of the valley needs to be culled as it has been taking over. The fruit is coming quite well, the big ceanothus is in full bloom,and had had to be tied back so that the milkman and postie can get down the path.
I decided it was time to stop procrastinating, and get on and use my sewing machine. I have made 2 skirts, and almost finished a dress, one sleeve left to put in, and a hem to do. I bought another pattern in a slightly different style to try, as I found some lovely material when we went to Eastbourne in February.
Add caption

And another

The weather has been pretty pleasant lately, quite hot in fact, but we are supposed to be getting rain soon. I was pleased to bump into H, who had the twins,and used to come to our toddler group at church. The twins must be 2 now, H still does childminding too, she is as bright and bubbly as ever.
Last Saturday, we ventured up to the forest at Ashridge, the aim was to take some family photographs, more about that later, but when the family arrived Nat had fallen asleep after a busy morning at a Birthday party, so we had a drink at the cafe, then tried again. It was very difficult to get a picture with everyone smiling, or the children not moving or in Lydia's case sticking her fingers in her mouth, then the children got hungry, so bits of sandwich got into the picture, and we all thought that professional child photographers really earn their money.

Mum and Dad give a helping hand
Nat waits for his drink

Lydie pinches dad's ice cream
Nathaniel has his own

Over the past 2 days or so, I have been redoing my pots, we had to go for more compost, but they are now done. I am in the doghouse a bit because I have managed to mislay a trowel. I also went for a coffee with a church friend on  Tuesday to catch up, as I'm still not able to get to women's hour, and feel so out of the loop.
Just to make a change, I broke my glasses. I dropped them, then stepped on them, Aaaaaargh! the new frames, broken! I had been told that I am now entitled to a free yearly eye test, so rang the opticians to check. They couldn't fit me in with my usual chap for more than a week, so I opted for an appointment with the chap husband sees. When I mentioned that I still get double vision at times, he got very interested, and gave me some goggles to wear, red one side, green the other, very fetching. He carried out a number of tests with me wearing the goggles, then studied my eyes very carefully. He then said he would refer me to my G P, as there is a possibility that I may have thyroid eye disease, and I may need to see a specialist. So perhaps it is a blessing that I stepped on my glasses. I have to have a pair made for driving and the cinema, with a prism in, so no more shutting one eye at acute junctions so that I only see one of each car, and hopefully when I go to see the third instalment of the Hobbit, the dwarves will have only one nose each in close up.
On a sad note, an ex work colleague who lives in America rang me last week, lovely to hear from her, but sad to hear that a mutual old friend died recently, another sufferer from Pancreatic cancer, we do seem to be hearing a lot about this dreadful disease lately. The rain actually came today, well overnight first, then as husband set off for town this afternoon, it rained, thundered, and then there was a terrific downpour. It's starting again as I write this. I needn't worry about watering the new plants.
I got rather cross today, I walked into town whilst Lydia was napping, got the bus back up, and the driver went a different way. The first stop left me with about a mile walk home. The reason I got the bus is because my back is bad. When I asked the driver why he had come that way, he blamed roadworks,and said if I had said where I was going, he would have told me not to get on the bus. To add insult to injury, as I hobbled down the hill, the same number bus passed me going down, so they are obviously not forbidden to use the route.
Nat had a good long sleep this afternoon, so I only had Lydia to look after. I was doing something in the kitchen, and she was being very quiet. I turned around and she was using a hand brush to spread washing powder over the floor! I must make sure the clip on the container has clicked into place. Happy Days!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

April abbreviated.

I trust you will excuse me if I have a little rant about plumbing, or maybe water. the bungalow in which we stayed had been done up fairly recently. I showed a picture of the strange 'taps' on my last post. There was also a square toilet, not at all comfortable to sit on, but fashions come and go in what is termed sanitaryware, who can forget the awful coloured bathroom suites of the seventies? We managed to get rid of our turquoise suite about 10 years ago, it came with the house. Apologies to anyone who has strange taps or a coloured bathroom suite.
The real bugbear for me was the boiler. We still have a boiler which heats the water, and the water is then stored in the hot water tank. But with these modern boilers which only fire when you turn on the tap, the hot water takes ages to come through, so there is a lot of water wasted. Not very good for the environment. There! Rant over.
Life hasn't been over exciting since we returned. Someone passed on a tummy bug to our Daughter and Daughter in law, whilst they were away, so they both had quite an unpleasant week. Daughter and family had to stay at home for Easter, as Lydia then got it. They had been hoping to visit Mum In Law, but fortunately hadn't actually arranged it.
One morning I was planning my day, and husband called out that he had seen a mouse in the back porch. So he started taking everything out of one side, then he checked the other side, but couldn't find evidence of a mouse. Whilst everything was out of one side, garden chairs, workmate, walking boots etc, I decided it needed a lick of paint, so dug out a big tin of paint and painted one side of the porch; I also gave the floor tiles a good clean. We sorted some stuff for the bin and for the dump, and piled a lot of foodstuff onto the bird table. We had a trip to the dump, and  took some stuff to the charity shop. I don't quite know when the other half will get painted, but husband has said we must tidy the other side. What is it they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? That mouse certainly changed my plans.
The daffodils are over, but we still have some colour from the many polyanthus we have planted over the years. I am reluctant to plant anything else yet as there is still foliage to die back from the daffs. Both of my non hardy fuchsias have survived with their original foliage, this has happened with a few of our fuchsias. Our ceanothus are coming out in the front, and a peony which hasn't flowered before has a bud on it.
On Easter Monday, I told husband I was planning to do a walk I had done in the Autumn. He said he would like to come with me, but would like to take me further across part of a walk we used to do when the children were small.So we put on our walking boots and set off. As we approached the field which used to be scrubland, but is now covered in small trees and bushes, we felt a few drops of rain. Later there was an almighty clap of thunder, but no more rain. We returned along the canal bank, and when we got home our front paved area was quite wet, so we obviously missed the worst.
This fellow was on the local river

Early bluebells

Trees are budding

approaching a lock

Expensive flats being built behind the trees

Later that week, I couldn't get to sleep one night, as I coughed so much. It was gone 4 before I slept. We looked after the children, Son In Law started his new job on that Thursday. I managed to walk to town on the Saturday, but on the Sunday my throat was sore and I struggled to sing the lovely hymns.
Daughter started her new hours last week, but as she had a course on the Monday, we ended up having them for 2 and a half days. In future it will be a day and a half, Lydia will go to a local nursery, Nat will stay for an afternoon session, then someone will collect him from the other nursery, and their Mum will pick them up from there. This will be just one day. Hopefully we will have a bit more spare time.

Lydia empties the toybox and climbs in

Unfortunately husband has caught my bug, so we have coughing competitions. We were a little bit like zombies looking after the children.With me, it seems to have attacked my sinuses. Husband alternately snores and coughs at night. We didn't make it to church today, both feeling tired and ropey, and not wishing to spoil the sermon for others by coughing. My short shopping list the other day was Disprin for husband, Olbas oil, mentholyptus sweets, and nasal irrigation stuff for me. Happy Days! Hopefully it will pass soon.Another Bank Holiday tomorrow, but I doubt we will manage a walk.
A lady I know from Sainsbury's lost her husband, quite suddenly a couple of weeks ago, he was only 61. It was discovered that he had had pneumonia, her Son is due to get married this week, and her Daughter later this year, all very sad.
 The lady who told me said we should be thankful for the husbands we have, even if they be Meldrews, at least they are there for us.
Our Son has started some more staff training which he enjoys, long may it continue, and pray for his safety on the roads. Ethan has started to crawl and pull himself up, keeping his Mum on her toes. He is now eight months old.
During the last couple of weeks I managed to wreck the screen of my laptop. Fortunately, husband had a spare screen which he hooked up, but I lived in fear of it being knocked over by the children. However the replacement screen which I ordered arrived fairly quickly, and husband managed to fit it, wearing his magnifying goggles, as the screw holes were tiny. What would I do without him?
We watched Jamaica Inn on iplayer. Apart from being irritated by the changes to the story, we were at a loss trying to understand Joss Merlyn's speech, well at least I have read the book. Perhaps they should have called it 'Jamumble Inn'. Hinterland was quite gorey and spooky, but we loved the scenery. We know Aber fairly well. Well methinks I am up to date, for a while anyway.

Wales was not wet, but very windy

Oh dear lagging behind again, on the Sunday of our week away, we went to the little chapel in Rhuddlan in the morning. there were a few extra visitors there, they are always pleased to see us and make us very welcome; then back to the bungalow for a steak lunch. I hadn't found the bed very comfortable, the base was just a piece of wood in a frame, but the mattress was memory foam, so perhaps that helped. or maybe I was just too tired. I felt stiff every morning
strange taps in bathroom

We usually go up to see my sister in May, but we have found that has been too close to our Summer holiday, which is usually in June or early July. However the family were all going to Word Alive, so we though it would be easier rather than swapping dates for child care, if we were all away together. They had been unable to get on site accommodation, so had booked a cottage just outside a village called Llanefydd, on a farm in the middle of nowhere. On Sunday afternoon, I loaded the car with goodies I had bought, we collected my sister, and set off to visit the family. My sister hadn't seen Lydia at all, she had seen Nathaniel at 7 weeks, and Ethan at 8 weeks. When we arrived Nat was playing in the lane on his scooter, it was very sunny but the wind came across the fields,and was quite bitter. There was a small play area with swings, and we spent some time out of doors, but it was hard to get out of the wind, and the cosy lounge had  a woodburner. Unfortunately Nat tripped and tried to steady himself on it, and burned his hand so they let the fire die down. The cottage was lovey and spacious, a downstairs bathroom, upstairs shower room, utlity, huge kitchen diner, and  3 bedrooms. The farmer/owner called in to see if everything was ok, a very pleasant chap with a lovely Welsh name.
play area


My Sister stands in front of the field with the horses in it
the view
Log burner made it cozy
Lenticular cloud


We had a buffet style tea, table groaning, and chatted, and sister and I reminisced, I watched Ethan's bath time, then we took my sister home and went back to the bungalow. The family had been to Kinmel Bay evangelical church, but they had not been overly impressed with the sermon, although the church had been quite full.
On the Monday we drove down into Rhyl, and parked on the promenade near the cinema. Husband headed straight off to the barber's and sent a text to say he was getting his hair cut there and then. It was still  very cold although quite sunny. I headed off down a side street,and was thinking about lunch. I was so cold that even fish and chips sounded a good idea. However, the fish and chip shop/cafe I remember appears to have closed. I headed off for the shopping centre, which I thought a least would be warm, and went into one of the cheap shops there and bought  a pair of gloves, only £2. I met up with a newly shorn husband, and we went off to Liffy's in Russell Road for lunch. I can't quite remember what I had, probably a jacket potato, but it was a hot meal. Husband had cottage pie. It is all home made stuff. Last time they had run out of mash, so husband had the cottage pie mixture with chips! We were also temped by hot puds with custard, and afterwards felt fortified enough to go for wander around the shops. The departure of M&S has affected Rhyl, their shop unit has been taken by Poundland. Next has also moved to a new unit in Prestatyn, so it's not as good looking round as it used to be.
Tuesday,we headed for Llandudno, parked in our usual place, then I went into David Roberts and tried on at least 10 pairs of shoes, but none were right. My problem is narrow feet and even narrower heels; everything slipped at the heels,and I tried one pair which were a wide fitting with a bar strap, but they slipped at the heels too.
 I was going to try somewhere different for lunch but we ended up at the Cottage Loaf. I had a wrap with chicken and chilli, husband had a sausage bap, which was stuffed with sausage. There was also salad and a small portion of chips. Again we were temped by desserts, I had a creme brulee, and husband had something with custard, which came in a sweet little milk churn. I later discovered these little churns in the lovely kitchen shop, but didn't buy as I lack storage space.
I did my usual tour of the shops, not buying, but I did get something for Nat in M&S. as I'd spotted a lovely dress for Lydia in the Rhyl Sainsbury's, when I popped in for some odds and ends. It was very reasonable, so I had bought it.
My back was feeling uneasy, so I rang husband and said I'd had enough, so we met up at the car and drove back via Deganwy. We spent the evening, as we had previously with my sister.
Wednesday morning, we decided to have a look around the shops in Abergele, one was an antique/junk shop. I also stocked up on milk, and fund a large pack of heat pads in the local pharmacy. They were keeping my back going. Then we thought we would have trip over to Prestatyn, as we haven't been there for ages. We contacted the family,and were told that our Daughter and Daughter in law were going to try and get haircuts. We rang again from Costa, and they said they had all decided to walk into Prestatyn we had just finished lunch, my panini was actually hot for once, when our Son in law appeared in the doorway. They had buggies so we joined them sitting outside, Nat had brought his scooter. They weren't going to an afternoon session, so we sat and chatted whilst they had drinks, then later, I looked after Ethan whilst Son and a friend popped into Tesco for some supplies.

Ethan went through his separation anxiety screaming act, I cuddled him, then put him in the buggy as it was warmer, rocked him a bit then tickled him, he settled nicely, but when Dad reappeared took one look at him and started to cry. He is so like his Dad was.
I popped int M&s for a quick look and use of their ladies' room, then we moved over the railway bridge, to an open space. The ramp up and over the railway was a long uphill walk, and pushing the buggy all that way made me realise I'm fitter than I thought. In the open space, we sat or stood rocking the buggy, I nipped along to a card making shop nearby. The Girls both eventually returned, shiny haired and relaxed from a couple of child free hours. Nathaniel had hared around the paths on his scooter, but then everyone decided it was time to be off to prepare their evening meal, so we hiked up the High Street past closing shops to the free car park we had found.
Thursday we went to Chester. As we drove along the A55, the blue skies gave way to clouds, and then rain. Oh dear, not a day for eating by the river. We used the Wrexham Road park and ride for a change. When we got int town, Husband and I went to a camera shop to buy me a spare battery for my E450. One of my spares had died altogether. They were not as helpful as they might have been, till husband decided to spend his birthday money, and a bit more on a small Canon, to replace his small HP; sale agreed the chap suddenly decided he could check the compatibility of the battery online!
We split up and husband went off in search of a pasty. There are 2 pasty shops in Chester. I was tempted by the smell from a shop which sold roast meats in sandwiches, they also did roast meats and roast potatoes. However I decided I would go to M&S. They have closed one of their stores, the old Littlewoods  store, and have shoehorned everything into the other. The cafe is now at the front, overlooking Foregate St. I had a wrap, and an iced bun. Unfortunately they overfilled my coffee cup, so that by the time I reached my table the saucer was awash. I had a browse afterwards and found a little shorts set for  Ethan for the summer. None of their ladies' clothes appealed to me.
Afterwards I went into BHS for a look, and bumped into a MANWEB ex colleague, Doreen. She is the only person I ever seem to meet from the old days. We had a good natter. Apparently, as I suspected, she didn't get our Christmas letter. I got a bit muddled with my pages of my list,and wasn't sure I'd sent to a few people. I didn't like to redo cards for those people as I thought they might end up with 2 and think I had finally flipped.
Afterwards I toured round the Grosvenor precinct, Debenhams, not a patch on the old Brown's with its squeaky floorboards. There are still quite a few empty shops. I wandered down Watergate Street, then to Lakeland,  the market, there are not as many material stalls as there used to be, so I couldn't even buy material. I met husband outside, he fancied some chips from the shop in the, market square, he offered to share them, but I could only manage one. I headed back to the M&S food dept, then met him at the bus stop.
Street entertainers

Old Custom house

 I've never got the energy to visit friends after an afternoon in Chester.
That evening husband felt under the weather, so didn't come to  my Sister's. Friday morning was very warm and sunny. I headed off to the cemetery to take flowers, husband decided to walk down to Pensarn beach and try out his new camera. There was only one key to the bungalow, so I had to go and collect him. After lunch, we decided on a trip to Colwyn Bay, but this was not too successful, as half of the promenade was inaccessible, due to the sea defences being improved. Back at the bungalow we commenced our packing, and I did some cleaning and mopping. At bedtime I set my alarm on my phone to make sure we woke early.

bank of primroses Colwyn Bay
Pier, sad and derelict


New building on promenade, Old Colwyn end

Next morning, we finished the packing, loaded the car, tidied the bungalow, and left at about 9.40 am.
We use the A55, A41, and A5, so that we could use the toll road if necessary. I needed a comfort stop, so husband suggested a Dobbie's garden centre. They had a cafe, and it looked so much nicer than motorway services, so we had lunch there. After a browse in the garden centre, we headed off home, not using the M6 toll, stopping at almost the last services before our junction on the M1.
We were home before 4, and unloaded the car before I headed off to the supermarket to stock up for the weekend.