Sunday, 22 June 2014

June Jottings

So way back on the next Monday, June 2nd, I went to the hospital for my thyroid blood test. As I'd had quite a long walk in the morning, I took the car. On the Wednesday, I just about managed to get weighed at WW and go to Sainsburys' before rushing to collect the children, Nathaniel hadn't been to Nursery, because of the chickenpox. he was feeling quite lot better, but still wasn't allowed contact with others.
On the Thursday, we had them both all day, but couldn't really take them out. I did think of the park,as most children were at school, but as I passed, there was a lone Mum with a pre school child. Lydia obligingly had her morning nap,so things were not too bad.
There wasn't much special about the Friday, apart from me ringing for the blood test results,and being told it was all fine. the weekend was spent shopping, gardening and church. It was rather sticky in church,and my cardigan stuck to the pew back. During the service I suddenly whispered to husband that I had forgotten to collect some ironing, just bedlinen and shirts.
On the Monday our Daughter was working,as she had a meeting to go to, so we had the children, Nat was fit to go back to nursery. I remembered to collect the ironing, and also collected my prescription, leaving a request for some cream, as I was getting signs of an old problem, which affects me in hot weather. The previous stuff had gone out of date.
On the Tuesday, husband had dug over part of the right hand flower bed, but decided it was too hot to continue, so I thought I would just plant out the end he had done. We went to a different garden centre, I bought 2 Osteospermum, some more petunias and some verbena. I also bought 2 more solar crackle lights,as some of last years are no longer working.This garden centre is the same group as one of the others we go to, but it has a cafe, so husband decided it was teatime, so we had a drink and he had some cake.
Wednesday was very busy, a quick weigh in, Sainsbo's, picked up Nat and Lydia, gave them lunch, then took Nat to his new school for a taster session. he was very quiet when I collected him,and when I asked who he had played with, he replied that his best friend wasn't there. I had to explain that his friend was staying at the school where the nursery is. It must be hard for a 3 year old to understand why there is no room for him at that school, unless about 4 other children don't take up their places, or move house.We took them straight home,as Mummy was finishing early, then had a quick dash to pick up the second prescription form, and off to the garden centre to get one of the lights replaced as the battery cover was broken.
We had swapped Thursday's childcare for Monday, but our Daughter wanted to attend her friends' baby's funeral, so we minded the children whilst she went there. It was a very sad occasion, but she said that the church was packed, and the parents were bearing up well, due to the prayers of all who know them.
I decided to try and finish the rest of my ironing, and Friday was spent catching up by giving the house a thorough clean.
small crackle light, the only one working his year

large garden light

frint garden springs into life

planted pots

New RHS trough

close up of top

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Coming back down to earth with a bit of a bump

So back to earth, and back to routine. I had to do some shopping on the Tuesday,as I hadn't done any veg shopping at the weekend. It was nice not to have to take the car in for any repairs last week, but there is still a job outstanding. We have become increasingly disenchanted with our local Ford dealers, we had a service, then later an MOT, nothing was recommended, but when we took the car in because the handbrake didn't seem to be holding,they came up a with along list of jobs which needed doing. Last time, they actually broke something, then charged us to fit a replacement! I was furious, but now husband is at home he takes the car and collects it, and he is not always as assertive as I am.
I would have fired off a letter, but with the big celebration coming up, we were focused on that. I think that we can safely say we will not be buying our next car from that particular dealer.  We do save up for car repairs, but there have been so many in the last few weeks that we have had to dip into savings. Our income has been somewhat reduced since Husband retired.
I have had to get used to sleeping in my own bed again, one night I coughed so much, I had to get up at 4 and take some vile tasting catarrh medicine. I went back to bed at around 5 and slept till 9.
When we had got home there was a message to say that my glasses were ready, so I went on Tuesday to pick them up. Husband came with me to town, and went off to do his own thing. He did meet me at the opticians, where I was given a copy of the letter which had been sent to my GP. I have used the distance glasses, they seem to help a lot with the double vision, but if I wear them whilst walking the ground seems a long way off. I think that Tuesday was the day we arranged to meet at the bus stop, having gone our separate ways, as I needed something in M&S. I did bump into a friend, who is getting divorced, not her fault, and she was pleased to be able to tell me she had had an offer accepted on a smaller house. As I walked towards the bus stop I got a message to say that Husband was on the bus, I sent an indignant reply, so he waited for me at the other end, and took my bag of shopping.
I skipped WW on the Wednesday, did the supermarket run, then we picked the children up. We don't have them for long on a Wednesday, if memory serves me right it wasn't a decent afternoon weatherwise anyway.
Thursday was better, and we had both of them all day as it was half term. Lydia went up for her nap at about 10.00 am. Nathaniel was given a choice, to stay with Grandad in the garden, or to come shopping with me. at first he said the former, then changed his mind. We set off walking, and he was very good at holding my hand. He helped me post a letter, then when we got to Sainsbo's, he put the newspaper in my basket for me, and chose 3 nice carrots and a head of broccoli, then a lovely yellow lemon. We had walked along the canal bank for part of the way,and when we came out, he said he wanted to go by the canal again.
There was a boat going through the lock, so I explained how the water has to be level, and the lady has to use a key for the gates, then push the gate open. Funny how it's always the men who steer and the women who do the hard work at the lock gates!
We spent some time in the garden after lunch. Eggybread and beans for Lydia, Eggybread without beans for Nathaniel, followed by yoghurt. We watched a couple of episodes of Thomas the Tank engine, then later got them home in time for them to welcome Mummy home from work.
Lydia finds the washing basket

On Friday morning, I got a text to say Nathaniel had come out in spots, and it looked like Chickenpox. Better to have it young than older like my 2; one was 15, the other 23. His Daddy had taken the day off to look after them, so I called in later with some calamine lotion. Poor mite wasn't feeling too good. The whole family had been going to visit the in laws, but in the end only their Daddy went. Friday morning I also saw my G P, who doesn't think I have thyroid eye disease, so he gave me a form for a thyroid blood test and said to go back in 3 months. So now I am totally confused and still no wiser about the cause of the double vision. he did rule out Myaesthemia Gravis, as that sounds a bit unpleasant, I'm quite pleased.
Friday afternoon we were back at the garden centre, as I needed a few more plants. Husband bought some new gardening gloves, and a fearsome weed burner.
We popped in to see the family on Saturday, after shopping, Daughter was getting  a bit 'cabin fever'ish. Whist we were there she received the shocking news that the much longed for baby of friends at church had died at only six weeks. She was so upset, I sent husband home with the shopping, as there were a couple of items for the fridge, and stayed with her till her husband got home. I saw the children, both had been napping for a while. Nat had been given an antihistamine, which stopped the itching, and helped sleep. He was more spotty than on Friday, and a bit miserable, so it's wait and see with Lydia now
My Winston Churchill Fuchsia survived another winter
we thought the Clematis had died
So we planted a rambling rose
and now they grow together

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Ninety and counting

So the week before last, we were getting ready for a special weekend, on Wednesday, after the grandchildren had gone home, I made a chocolate Victoria sponge, cooled it and left it covered with a cloth. On Thursday afternoon I set about making a chocolate fudge icing. I found a recipe similar to the one I used to use and made up a batch of icing. I have to be careful with Mum in law as she tries to avoid milk, so I couldn't do ganache. When it had cooled, I spooned some on to half of the cake, but as the cake was not flat, I had decided to use the flat bits as top and bottom if you get my meaning. It took a lot to fill the middle of the cake, and it kept oozing out.  It was whilst I was doing that, Lydia had toddled into the kitchen, and was very quiet.
I shrieked, moved her, and Grandad came to confine her in the sitting room. Washing powder cleared up, I set about making a second batch of choc fudge icing. I must make sure the lid on the plastic container of soap powder is properly clipped. As regular readers of this blog will know, at least twice the bottom of a loaded box of Persil had got wet and fallen out, so it is now decanted into a plastic container.
We took the children home, I made dinner, then picked up my car keys, and went to Sainsbo's. The second batch of choc icing had refused to stay put completely on the sides of the cake leaving bald patches, so I grabbed some Betty Crocker fudge icing, some choccy stars,and as time was running out, some ready mixed piping icing. Cake patched up and finished, I heaved a sigh of relief.

Friday morning we packed, tidied the house, as we are always a bit tired after having the children, and it doesn't get done, I mopped the kitchen floor and vacuumed. We left at around lunchtime. The traffic was horrendous around Heathrow, Bank Holiday weekend and half term. As well as pouring rain in parts.
We were quite late having lunch at Pease Pottage, but then had a better run except when we got to the bit where it is single carriageway. As it was getting near to the time when we were to book into the B&B, we rang Mum in law and told her we would book in first, then go to her home. We found the B&B, booked in and then set off t the nearby M&S to stock up on food, and something for dinner. By the time we returned, our Son his wife, baby and Dog had arrived. they were to stay the weekend with Grandma.
Grandma said that she head eaten, but she would have a small portion of lasagne. We had lasagne with salad, followed by ice creams which I had picked up in M&S. There was too much lasagne, so Tom had the leftovers,and he could be heard pushing the dish round the kitchen floor.
Later I watched Ethan's bathtime, he was settled then we chatted until it was time to return to the B&B.
We unpacked,and got ready for bed. the room was well decorated,and had its own bathroom, through 2 doors from the bedroom. the bed was king sized but as we soon found out, comfortable it was not. I took a couple of herbal sleeping tablets and did manage some sleep, but whichever way I lay there were springs which seemed to dig in me with a vengeance. Husband complained too, and he can usually sleep on the proverbial.
Breakfast was good,  no choice of fruit juice, but B&Bs are not hotels, although I seem to remember the last one we stayed in we were given a choice. The cooked breakfast was good, and there was sufficient toast, but not much choice of jam/marmalade. Breakfast over, we collected some stuff and set off for Mum in law's home. I had forgotten my toothbrush of all things, so I walked down into the village with husband, bought some stuff in the pharmacy, then got the paper. I blew up half a dozen balloons when we got back to the bungalow

At about 12.15, we set off for Eastbourne, mindful of the traffic, but we arrived well before 1pm, at the Grand Hotel. Out Daughter's car was already there parked on the road. We tried to park in the car park, but ended up paying and displaying. It was beginning to rain as we reached the hotel entrance where we had the doors opened by men in top hats and tails. They were also opening car doors for people.
It took a while for us all to assemble, as some of the party vanished, exploring, and looking for nappy changing facilities. Soon however, we were all seated, and having a look at the lunch menu. Most of us had melon for starters, Mum in Law took a while to choose her main course. Most of us chose pork with a black pudding fritter and butternut squash puree. At least one had a chicken dish, one had steak and the children spaghetti.
Our plates arrived with domed covers and when they were all in place, we each had a member of staff to whisk off the covers simultaneously. It was all so theatrical, that I got the giggles when I thought about it. There was a good helping of veg each. Mum in law enjoyed her black pudding, and then wondered why it had taken her 90 years to try it.

Birthday girl and her Granddaughter

Lydia likes ice cream
Our Son and Daughter in Law presented Grandma with a beautiful framed picture of themselves with the baby and Tom. Daughter and Son in Law had not found a decent one of the family out of those we had taken in the forest, so had framed 2 with the children on. It's incredibly difficult to get everyone looking at the camera at once, with small children.
I can't remember what all the desserts were, but mine was poached pear with a chocolate cream, very chocolatey, the children both had very generous portions of ice cream. The children had been sitting so long, and the 'player piano'. which seemed to be just a huge CD player as it had no visible strings, was playing the Cole Porter selection for the third time, so we decided to skip coffee and mints and head back to the bungalow, Daughter and family decided to book into their travel lodge, they had spent the Friday night with the in laws in Kent.
Later, some decided they were hungry, so I did a buffet style meal, Grandma blew her candles out we sang Happy Birthday, and we all had some cake to finish off with. I was surprised how much food we had got through, so whizzed back over to the M&s to stock up further,as I realised most of us would still be there for Monday lunch. I also bought choccy mints,as husband was feeling deprived having missed them at the hotel. I watched Ethan's bathtime, then later we headed back for the B&B, for another night of tossing and turning.
one to go
Sunday morning, we had more or less the same breakfast, paid the bill and set off for Mum in law's home. Tom was there and pleased to see us, everyone else had gone to the 9.30 am service at the Anglican church. We had been going to go to the local evangelical independent church, but husband felt unwell, he still had a cough,and the mattress had not been kind to my back, so we decided to stay put. Everyone returned, and then we drove down to the beach hotel for lunch. Mum in Law would never have coped with all of us. It is a carvery,and we all had just 2 courses, I chose beef as last time I found the Turkey too dry.
I followed it with a pear and almond tart, others chose different things. Then afterwards, we booked into the hotel. We had only meant to stay 2 nights, but the rest of the family were staying till the Monday.I had tried to extend our booking at the B&B, but they were fully booked. Just as well really as I had slept so badly. I had managed to book a room at the hotel, ok it was in the annex, and the view was station and car park, but we were not there for the view,and it was only a fiver more than the B&B. The beds there all have Tempur mattresses, so I knew I would sleep.
Back at the bungalow, it was a lovely day, so the children and dog were taken out to the playground. I felt in need of a walk, but my back said otherwise. I sat with the Telegraph Weekend GK crossword, and tried to doze but couldn't. Mum in law fell into a deep sleep, too much excitement I reckon, then Daughter began making noises about the children needing tea, so I filled some mini rolls, got out the left over quiches, pork pie, crisps, ssalad, buttered and quartered some scones and cut yet more birthday cake. Later Daughter and family left for the travel lodge, and later still we drove back to the hotel where we had a better night. I'd had a lovely Suchards hot chocolate, Pity there was only one sachet.
Next morning we had to almost queue for breakfast. The problem was that a party of about 10 had come in, non residents, hoping for breakfast. They were not keen to take 'no' for an answer. When they had finally moved on down the corridor, we were soon seated. A little later the staff asked us if they could move our table slightly, so they could fit someone in. They did so without so  much as disturbing a teaspoon.
they then carried over a table to fit to another, to make room for a party of 5.
It was all a bit hectic, but the staff were coping superbly. I was astonished to see the Mum and Dad at the new table wiping their mushrooms with paper napkins. The mushrooms were not at all greasy. Their daughter ordered porridge, but after it was served to her, she went and got a different cereal. There's nowt so queer as folk.
Breakfast over we cleared our room, and checked out. We drove to Mum in law's, it was a wet day, but I still managed to walk down to the village, between showers, to collect the newspapers. Not many shops were open, but the hardware shop was. Husband did a couple of small jobs for his Mum, but was unable to do much in the garden because of the weather. We had a buffet lunch, using up most of the rest of the food, then Son and his wife packed their car, Tom jumped in, and they were off. We were the next to leave, and  Daughter and family left a bit later. The weather was pretty wet, but that was to our advantage,as people hadn't come down to the coast for the day. We stopped for a cuppa at the services, and got talking to the folk parked next to us. They had been camping, but were leaving 2 days early,as they said they were beginning to be flooded.
We were home before 6, and I put a small chicken in the oven to roast. All in all we had had a pretty good weekend.