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Thursday, 28 October 2021

Agony

 My back is absolutely killing me this morning, worst pain I've had for a while, and balance is totally off - I can hardly stand without holding onto something for fear of falling over.  I don't feel able to even have a shower, as our shower is in the bath and there's no way I'll be able to get in and out of the bath.  I'm sitting in my armchair with a hot water bottle behind my back, hopefully the pain will ease in a bit and I'll be able to get on with things (like having a wash and getting dressed!!).  Just sitting around doesn't do any good, I need to get moving, but right now the pain is defeating me.  At least I can use the time to get a few lists (menus for the next week, things to do) written, and a few Christmas cards drawn.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Some minor Christmas preparations

 Popped to the caravan this morning, husband wanted to collect some tools he'd left there that he decided he needed at home.  All was well inside, outside some of the Spring bulbs I planted in pots are just beginning to poke through the soil, can't wait to see them all in flower next March!

This morning, husband had his NHS text telling him he could now book his Covid booster - all done, he's having it on 9 November.  It's being done at the rugby club in town, so not far to go, certainly nearer than his and my first 2 jabs.  Mine won't be for another month or so yet, I wasn't eligible for mine until about a month after husband had his.  Booking it for husband online today was a doddle.

We've just had an early lunch of a bought quiche....as my back's so painful and stiff, I'm not doing much in the way of cooking, thank goodness I've got lots of home cooked and ready made meals in the freezer.  Well, the quiche was completely tasteless - husband asked what flavour it was supposed to be (cheese & onion) as it tasted of nothing, if we were blindfolded we wouldn't have guessed what we were eating.  Shan't be buying those again!

At the weekend I made sausagemeat, sage & onion stuffing.....we had some with the roast chicken on Sunday, the rest I froze for Christmas.  Tomorrow I'm going to make sausage rolls - quick and easy using chipolata sausages and ready rolled bought puff pastry, so it won't involve much standing around in the kitchen.  They'll be frozen for Christmas too.  I usually make my own mincemeat for mince pies, but think I might just buy the mincemeat....or even ready made mince pies(!!) this year.  Effortless convenience is winning out right now.  I quite like mince pies (husband loves them) but I'm not very keen on common or garden shop bought boxed ones - the pastry especially is too sweet and soft for my liking.  Husband will eat any, shop or homemade, so I might just as well buy them and save myself a job, I can happily live without most sweet things, I prefer savoury things.  I made a large rich fruit cake a couple of weeks ago and froze half, so that'll come out at Christmas too - luckily, I won't have to marzipan and ice it as husband hates both, he just likes plain fruit cake.

I've got a design in mind for friends and family Christmas cards, so I might go up to my craft room and have a go at drawing it this afternoon.  Got a couple of birthdays and an anniversary coming up, so need to make cards for those also.  Or I might just sit in my recliner armchair in the bedroom and read (or snooze!).

Oh, and I've wound the lights round the Christmas tree......😁  I switched them on to check how it looks, of course, but won't be having them on again until December (says she, tongue in cheek 😂).


Tuesday, 26 October 2021

A step or 2 forward, at last

 Finally had a phone consultation with my GP today.  He's had the hospital report and MRI results back and is in agreement with the consultant's findings.....that the numbness in my big toe, pains in both my legs and my lower back are all caused by the prolapsed disc.  He also agreed that the extra vertebrae in my lumbar spine is responsible for the unusual L3/L4 damage, rather than L5, which would be the normal position for these symptoms.  He apparently specialises in sports and orthopaedic injuries, so does know what he's talking about.  What a good job it was him I saw! (he's a locum I think, not one of our surgery's permanent doctors).  It was lucky that he recognised that the problem wasn't just about my numb big toe, but was a symptom, in conjunction with my various other leg and back pains, of disc and nerve damage in my lumbar spine.

He's prescribed amitriptyline (I've had it before, it does help me sleep, as well as helping to alleviate the nerve pain) and said he will refer me to the orthopaedic department, and try and get me seen quickly (I won't hold my breath!).  He asked that I ring him in a fortnight to let him know how I'm getting on with the medication, he said there's plenty of scope for it to be increased, or another medication added, if it's not doing much.

He's in agreement with me going to see an osteopath (my appointment is in just under 2 weeks), but said the NHS physiotherapy would do just as well.......to which I replied well it might if I actually got to see them and they hadn't discharged me without even telling me!  He was dumbfounded at that, but suggested I try again (it's now self referral apparently) - I declined and said I'll see how I get on with the osteo.

I now feel like there's a glimmer of light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel.

My lovely Betty is 5 today, seems impossible that we've had her for nearly 5 years, she was such a cute wrinkly squeaky little thing when we first got her at 8 weeks old.


She's grown into (most) of her wrinkles now!



Monday, 25 October 2021

Rising prices and not being bullied

 Everything is going up in price, we all know that - partly to do with the cost of oil/gas, partly Brexit, partly pandemic related I guess.  To be honest, I don't know enough (well, nothing actually) about politics, finance or world affairs to make informed comments, it doesn't interest me and my view is that it matters not to the powers that be what I think anyway, they're not going to take any notice of the likes of little old me.  But I think there comes a point where you have to stand up and say NO.

Husband's car fuel costs rise every time he puts fuel in, he's always exclaiming about the price whenever he fills up (at least the fuel crisis seems to have disappeared, well here at least) - the only thing we can do about that is not make so many journeys, save up journeys until we have several things to do at once.  The fact of not going to the caravan for 4 months will save a bit of fuel.  

The price of our food/household supermarket shop has, I estimate, risen by about a third on this time last year.  And it always seems to be the cheaper version of products that are missing off the shelves, meaning we have to buy a more expensive product, or go without.  Cutting back on meat is one way I'm trying to get our food bill down a bit, but the price of fish and even vegetables is also going up and up, so it's still difficult.  We had thought of not growing any produce at all next year, as we'll be spending lots of time at the caravan and won't be home to do regular watering of the produce.  We're now thinking, though, of investigating which veg crops can or will survive with little watering or looking after, as it seems sensible to grow food if we can.  We might also grow a few things in pots at the caravan, things like cherry tomatoes and salad leaves.  As an aside, I've noticed that because of the carbon dioxide shortage, bags of salad leaves, eg, don't last 5 minutes now once they're opened.  So it would be better to grow our own.

Our electricity price has gone up about 3 times in the past year - not much we can do about that, as the finance guru Martin Lewis (I can't stand him personally but he does know what he's talking about) is telling everyone not to change suppliers.  I did resist our supplier's latest attempt to get me to increase the direct debit or make a one-off payment though - we're in credit so why should I give them more money?  So I said NO.

And the other day we received a letter from our oil supplier (we have no gas here in the village so oil it is for our central heating and water) saying they're planning on increasing our monthly direct debit by £40, more than double!  Now, we had a new boiler and associated pipework installed a couple of years ago, and it's incredibly efficient and cheap to run - we only need a delivery of oil every 18 months to 2 years.  We had the tank filled about a month ago and it's still showing as full up, the needle hasn't moved at all.  This refill will last us probably until 2023.  So, although we have a relatively small debit balance on the account right now, it'll be back in credit within 4 or 5 months - so by the time we need to order another refill, we'll be well and truly in credit.  So we've rung them and told them we are not prepared to put the direct debit up by that amount, we feel it's utterly ridiculous even taking into account how much oil prices are rising.  Once again we've said NO!

Everybody wants more money off us, be it supermarkets (and their suppliers/producers), garages, domestic utilities, insurance, everything.  Well, our pensions (husband's state and my private) haven't gone up by £40 a month (the domestic oil increase, never mind all the others), they've only increased by a few pounds in husband's case, and just over £1 on my private pension.  So where do all these companies think we're going to get the extra money from to pay all these increases?  

I know everyone wants more money to survive, but sometimes you just have to put your foot down and say NO!

  

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Nothing happening, sorry

 I feel like I've got nothing to write about at the moment - nothing's happening, life is just plodding along, husband is still waiting for his hospital operation date, I'm waiting for my next GP consultation (postponed till tomorrow) and my first osteopathy session (8 November).  We're not going anywhere (Covid cases are rising so I don't feel inclined to go anywhere there may be crowds), we're stocked up so don't need shopping for a few weeks, we've got nothing planned.  Husband wanted to take me to the pictures to see the Bond film for my birthday, but I really don't fancy the idea of sitting in a cinema for 3 hours with a load of strangers who may or may not be wearing masks.  I've noticed over the past few weeks whenever I've gone shopping that more and more people are not now wearing masks.  We always wear ours.

We did go to the craft fair yesterday, we got there early to avoid the crowds - right thing to do, other than the stallholders, there weren't many buyers at all, although there were quite a few people arriving as we left.  There were rather a lot of jewellery stalls, which I wasn't really interested in, but I did get a couple of small pretty fused glass Christmas tree decorations and a Christmas present for a friend.

I didn't plant up the pots with bulbs the other day.....I had every intention of doing it, but it was so cold and windy outside I thought 'not blimmin likely' and came back indoors, wimp that I am!  I'm really feeling the cold nowadays, highly unusual for me.  I might get husband to put the picnic table up in the utility room and pot up the bulbs in there today - it's unheated, but at least it's indoors and therefore not so cold and windy.

Husband says he's left some tools at the caravan that he'd really like to have here (typical of him), so we may pop back there one day this week.....it'll give me a chance to check I've remembered to do everything during the close up we did last week.  The site closes for winter in exactly a week's time, the gates are locked so we won't be able to go after that.  I don't feel sad about it anymore, I'm just looking forward to next Spring.

Well, I've managed to fill a few paragraphs writing about nothing in particular, so better stop before I bore you readers to death! 😂

Friday, 22 October 2021

One job at a time...

 ....then a little rest, then another job, I think that's the way to go from now on.

Husband has this morning hoovered upstairs (the downstairs needs doing again, but it's not likely that will happen for another few days 😉....anyway, at least he did the upstairs) and cleared off the bed in my craft room.  It had accumulated lots of stuff, mainly his spare pillows (he constantly changes pillows and just dumps whichever ones he's not using on that bed), a couple of overnight bags (which are meant to go on top of his wardrobe, ditto his spare pillows), some of his junk which he's now removed, and a bag of my yarn and an unfinished crochet project...these have gone into my craft drawer set on the landing.  So now I can stack all the caravan stuff we brought home on the spare bed....we're unlikely to be having any visitors staying overnight anytime soon.

I've made pastry this morning, divided into 4 lots and frozen 3 of them.  With the 4th lot I'm going to be making pasties for our dinner tomorrow evening, probably bacon, potato, onion and cheese.

It's currently looking quite cloudy out, hopefully it'll blow over so I can go in the garden and plant up some pots with Spring bulbs, husband will get the fold up table out of the garage and put the pots on it for me, so I don't have to bend, and lift them down when filled.  The remaining half of the front garden needs pruning and weeding, that may or may not get done today.....probably not.  Well, definitely not.

Haven't had my phone consultation with my GP yet following the MRI scan - apparently they're very short staffed at the surgery this week and it's been postponed to Monday.  Well, I've had the pain for so long now, a few more days isn't going to make much difference.

Thank you for all the kind comments and useful information, it's appreciated very much.

Every time I catch sight of my new Christmas tree in the corner of the lounge, it makes me smile 😀  I'm itching to start decorating it, but will resist the temptation - I don't want to peak too early 😂😂

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Knowing my limits, and when to ask for help

 In common with lots of women, I expect, I do most things in the house, always have.  We don't have children (husband has grown up children and grandchildren from his first marriage - I never wanted any myself) and husband always worked far more hours than me, even when I worked full time as a secretary.  So it seemed only fair that I did most of the cooking and housework....even when he retired I carried on doing everything, as he took on lots of gardening and DIY work for neighbours.  He doesn't do as much of the gardening and DIY maintenance jobs as he used to, as it got to the point where he was working more or less full time, taking too much on and wearing himself out, now he does perhaps 1 day a week.  He's still known as the 'go-to' handyman around here for odd small emergency DIY jobs, he also dog walks for neighbours sometimes and puts bins out/feeds cats when neighbours are on holiday.  He's not now doing much in his veg garden, as we've made a mutual decision not to grow much for next year, as we'll spend most of our time at the caravan.  So he's pretty much abandoned the back garden, other than (very gradually) clearing the beds and cutting the lawn.

He does have a couple of jobs indoors - one being emptying the indoor bins and putting the rubbish out on dustbin day, the other doing the vacuuming.  He's always done the bins, the vacuuming he started doing a few months ago as he knows I was struggling to do it as it hurts my back so much.  However, I generally have to ask him to do these jobs, he doesn't seem to notice when bins are full up and the rugs are covered with dog hair 😒😖

I do almost all the cooking, he will occasionally make lunch (more often than not, something on toast or simply serving up something I've made, like a quiche or soup).  He'll also usually do a cooked breakfast if we're having one at the weekend - we don't always though.

Husband will do whatever I ask him to (although it might take several days of asking before it gets done!), but isn't very good at offering to do things, or even noticing when something needs doing.  I guess I'm partly to blame for this - as I've always done everything, he's simply used to me doing it.  And I've carried on doing it, even when my back, hips and legs are killing me and I'm worn out because of pain and not sleeping.  I'm not being a martyr, I'm just like my Mum was - if something needs doing, I generally think it's quicker and easier to do it myself, rather than having to explain to someone who forgets things instantly, how to do it.  I could tell husband what vegetables to serve with dinner, e.g., and by the time he gets to the kitchen he will have forgotten what I said!

Anyway, I sat him down yesterday and said that with my back and legs the way they are at the moment and the amount of pain I'm in, I just cannot carry on doing everything, I need him to help out more.  He said he'd already thought of that, and agreed he would.  I've also realised that I can't push myself to the limit and try to do everything - I've got to be realistic about what I can do.  Doing too much in one day just results in me having even more pain and aches, and then I don't sleep very well at all, meaning I'm fit for nothing the next day.  And when I'm in pain, aching everywhere and worn out, I'm VERY crotchety (as husband and best friend will testify to!).

So I'm taking a step back and only doing what I can manage fairly easily - if a job doesn't get done, well there's always tomorrow, or the next day.  I'm not going to be doing all the cooking from now on, there are plenty of meals that husband can easily manage.  There's loads of home cooked ready meals in the freezer that he's only got to pull out and add veggies to, there are also several bags of various chicken pieces, fish, cubed pork or beef all frozen, jars of cooking sauces, packets of rice and plenty of frozen veggies.  So easy meals to be made.....although I will have to tell him what to do!

On a happy note, this afternoon I took the Christmas tree I bought last week out of the box and put it together.  Considering it's the first one I've ever bought, and (obviously) it's an artificial one, I really like it, it's quite realistic looking......although I wish I'd bought the next size up (it's a 4 foot one, to go on a coffee table in the corner of the lounge, I think a 5' one would have been better).  I know it's still October, but the tree can now stay there in the corner of the room!!  Don't worry, I haven't gone mad, I shan't be decorating it until December 😂😁