Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Quiet as the grave

 Yesterday the only other static resident went home, leaving just us here out of 36 statics 😲.  Oh, apart from the site manager who lives on site in a static, there was also 1 seasonal tourer occupied (they seem to pretty much live here permanently during summer) and 1 holiday tourer, which left this morning.  So it's as quiet as a cemetery!  The occupants of another static on the lower half have just turned up though.

As I've said before, it never ceases to amaze me how few static owners are here at any one time, and how rarely some of them come.  Even more surprising considering probably at least half to two-thirds of owners live around the Birmingham area, which is a very easy journey away.  And probably 2/3 of the owners are retired, only a handful are younger working couples with families.  I know that a few of the older owners are in ill health, which explains why they don't come, but you'd think they'd either pass the vans on to family or friends, or sell up - what's the point in keeping on something you're not likely to use anymore?  And every owner still has to pay the annual site fees, whether they use the van or not.  This is a lovely, quiet park situated in a good area within easy reach of beaches, lakes, woods, lovely little towns and villages, theme parks for those who want them, countryside walks, plenty of shopping areas only a short drive away.  Beats me why more people don't come.  But then I'd probably not like it as much if EVERYBODY came!😂😂  

So the site owner and site manager (who are both very nice) are earning money from the site fees and have next to nothing to do!  Except a quick clean of the toilet/shower block - which is open to everybody but mainly used just by the touring vans, and an occasional bit of lawn cutting on the ride-on mower and strimming - not that there's been much need for lawn cutting this season, it's been so dry the grass has hardly grown.  Oh well, I'm not complaining, just curious.  I'm just glad we found this site, we are extremely happy here.

We've had more showers today and whilst it's not overbearingly hot anymore, it is a bit muggy and humid.  The kind of weather that makes you sticky without you even doing anything.  We're not doing anything or going anywhere today, tomorrow though we're going out to do a little bit of shopping.  Thursday we might go to a local car boot sale, it's not far away so we'll probably leave Betty here in the van (with all of the windows open) - we'll only be gone an hour and she's not keen on walking amongst crowds, she gets quite anxious - she likes wide open spaces.  The temp is forecast to be 21 deg with sunny and cloudy spells, so it won't be too hot for her.  When we go shopping we take her with us, husband opens the tailgate and sits with Betty in the car watching the world go by whilst I go in the store.  Suits us all.

Monday, 15 August 2022

Cooler at last

 We arrived here at the van around 6.30 pm yesterday, we had the air con on in the car to keep Betty comfortable and, although it's only a short journey, we stopped halfway to give her a bowl of water and check she was ok (she was).  The temperature inside the van was 37 when we arrived....having opened all windows and both doors and closed all the curtains, the temp slowly dropped throughout the evening.  Outside (we sat outside all evening) it was much cooler and fresher, as there was a bit of a breeze.  By the time we went to bed, the indoor temp had dropped to 29.  I dropped off to sleep almost immediately and slept for 5 hours straight, waking up when Betty, who was in the lounge, had a very loud dream.  She seemed quite unsettled afterwards, so I sat up with her for a while.  I was relieved to note that the temperature had dropped considerably, it actually felt quite cool - blissful.  Went back to bed and slept for another couple of hours.  When I got up around 6.30, the air had that lovely 'just rained' smell, although it wasn't raining but there was a bit of dampness on the grass.  The temp in the van now is 25, just right.  There are showers and even thunderstorms forecast for the next couple of days, but apparently they're going to be hit and miss so it's anybody's guess whether we actually get any.

Husband is off home for another nurse check on his toes, and needs to get something to mend the van kitchen tap, which is coming loose.  So I have a couple of hours here on my own with Betty this morning.  It's exceptionally quiet here, I reckon there are only 2 other statics occupied, 2 of the seasonal tourers, and one holidaying couple in a tourer.  Perfect peace and quiet, other than the rumble of the traffic in the distance, which I hardly notice anymore (one of the advantages of having 25% hearing loss!).  I'll be quite glad when husband goes, as he's already got the TV on doing the man thing of flicking through all the channels, watching a couple of minutes of some god-awful crap here and there 😠

Never mind, soon I'll have a couple of hours of peace!

Sunday, 14 August 2022

What to do?

 The heat really got to me yesterday and I felt just plain ill.  Went to bed around 8pm.  I sleep on top of the duvet, haven't slept under it for weeks, Betty slept on the floor beside my bed, she seemed to find it cooler there.  I went to sleep virtually straight away (sheer exhaustion I think), woke up after about 3.5 hours and slept fitfully after that.  Feel a bit better this morning (as in not quite so ill) and it's cooler at the moment, although it's forecast to be 30-31 deg again.  Thankfully though, today is the last of the high temperatures.  We're back off to the caravan early this evening.

We've been thinking about what to do with the back garden next year, seeing as we've pretty much decided we won't be growing veg next year - well, hardly any.  Husband has lost his enthusiasm for veg gardening, and if the climate change hot summers trend continues, then it's hardly worth growing anything much, our harvest this year (apart from the dreaded courgettes, and even they're dying off now) has been dire, most things just haven't survived the heat and the fact that we're not at home half the time.

I think part of the problem for husband's (and my) lack of enthusiasm is the weird layout of our house and garden.  I suspect that when the houses were first built, in the early 1950s, there were no back gardens, the houses down our little lane all back onto the fields belonging to our landlords.  Consequently, we don't have back doors - I think the back gardens, and a little service road leading to the back gardens, were created later.  What is effectively our back door, the door leading out of the utility room (the utility rooms on each of our houses were added at a later date too, we think) open into the front gardens.  Therefore, to go into our back garden, we have to go out of the side gate in the front garden, down the little service road and into the back garden through the back gate.  So our back garden is almost detached, as it were, from the house, there's no direct access into the back garden from the house.  Why the builders/architects didn't put the door from the utility room at the BACK rather than the front, I don't know!  Unless the utility rooms were added before the back gardens were created from part of the fields, perhaps?

Anyway.....I went off at a bit of a tangent there.  If we don't grow veg next year, then there's the problem of what to do with the back garden, I don't want it left to become a jungle.  It's partly lawned with several (8 or 9) fairly large raised beds, and compost bins/storage areas down the bottom.  2 of the beds contain fruit trees, but with plenty of space underneath them.  I've been thinking about putting flowering shrubs that pretty much look after themselves out there, we could perhaps have a different theme for each raised bed - perhaps roses in one, flowering shrubs in one colour only in another, mixed colours in another, that sort of thing.  Something that will look nice from the windows at the back of the house, but won't need a lot of maintenance, perhaps just pruning once or twice a year.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Limp rag

 It got up to 30 deg in our lounge yesterday, even with the fan on and curtains closed.  Upstairs in bed last night, it just seemed to get hotter and hotter, Betty had already gone back downstairs about an hour after we went to bed, and I ended up following her, it was just too stifling upstairs.  I dozed, woke up, dozed again on the sofa for a couple of hours, then went back up to bed finally around 3.30 this morning.  Couldn't get any decent sleep though, it was still too warm, so I just lay there and read my book.  I'm really feeling the effects of little sleep and being too hot already this morning, think I might have to take a couple of showers throughout the day and try to have a snooze later.  Betty finds all the coolest places in the house, like under the stairs in her cage - perhaps I should get in there with her!  Thank goodness the temperature is forecast to drop quite a lot from Monday, and we should have some rain.  I don't think I could stand much more of this heat.  Being blonde (well, out of a bottle nowadays!), fair skinned and freckly, and prone to burning in the sun, I'm really not equipped for dealing with heat, it makes me feel quite ill.

Husband had a phone call yesterday from the hospital podiatrist - that was much sooner than anticipated, he'd been told it probably wouldn't be until next week.  The podiatrist asked him loads of questions and then said that the symptoms he's experiencing, i.e. the swollen toes and weeping, sound perfectly normal and that it's likely his toes will take another 3 to 5 weeks to heal properly.  He told him to keep his toes covered with light dressings.....the GP practice nurse husband has been seeing each week had said to start leaving them uncovered - a difference of opinion!  However, I'm sure the podiatrist knows best - he said whilst they're still weeping then infection could get in if they're not covered.  He also said to keep an eye on the swelling and redness - if it goes further up the toe, past the knuckle, then it's likely an infection and he should see his GP for antibiotics.  So husband just has to be patient a while longer.

If I could hibernate somewhere cool and dark for the next couple of days, I would.  I feel like a limp wrung out rag.  

Friday, 12 August 2022

Holidaying at home

 I'm so glad we came home yesterday evening.  I've just been outside to look at the garden thermometer - it's already 39 deg C in our front garden and will get even hotter this afternoon.  We have all the curtains closed, the windows shut at the front (south facing) side of the house and open at the back, where it stays cooler, being north facing.  The large upright fan is going and it's comfortably cool indoors at the moment.  The caravan would have been unbearable in this heat.  We're all in holiday mode and not planning on doing anything much today or over the weekend, just as if we'd been at the caravan still.  I've got quite a few homecooked ready meals in the freezer, so have no cooking to do - just microwaving and serving with salad.  Betty is happily snoozing in a cool spot indoors and seems very comfortable.

Our neighbours, a young couple, slept last night in their summer house in the garden (oh to be young and adventurous again! 😂), they thought it would be cooler than sleeping indoors.  Well, apparently they had to get up and go back indoors around 03.30 this morning as it was still too hot!

Aren't all the wildfires going on frightening?  The one in southern France in particular, apparently they've had to call in firefighters from 6 other countries to try and get it under control.  We're surrounded by fields and farmland here, the farmers must be worried sick, there have been several reported instances of local field fires and even farm machinery (combine harvesters etc) catching alight.  Crops are failing, so that'll mean shortages both for us and for animal feed during the winter, leading to ever higher prices.  All we can do is prepare as much as possible by getting in good store cupboard supplies.  I'm sure we'll be fine, we're fortunate, but many are not.

Husband's big toes aren't getting better as well as he'd hoped.....the nurse said this week that his toes are swollen and they're still weeping, despite it being almost 6 weeks since he had them done.  He's been in touch with the hospital to see if he can go back and see what the podiatrist thinks, they'll be ringing him early next week, hopefully.  He says they're a bit sore, but not exactly painful.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Change of plan again

We're going home this evening once rush hour has died down, it's just too hot in the van for Betty, despite having 3 fans going.  Ironically, it's much cooler outside now, but is like an oven inside.  And it's going to be just as hot for the next 3 days.  Betty is our priority of course, so we think it's safer to be at home in the heatwave, lots of cool spaces at home.  We'll come back Sunday evening.  No worries, I'll be happier knowing Betty is safer at home.


And relax.....

 We're here at the van, easy journey with no holdups, I've already unpacked and am now relaxing.  It's quiet as husband's not yet put the TV on but has instead gone for a snooze!  We've got 2 fans going (we have a 3rd if necessary), all the windows open and curtains shut, and 2 sunshades up in the garden for shade....for once, miraculously, Betty is actually lying in the shade.  She drinks copious amounts of water when it's hot, sensible girl.  The fridge is full of frozen ready meals, cold drinks, large bottle of water and icecubes.  I have half a dozen new books to read, 2 or 3 puzzle books, pack of cards and several DVDs.  I forgot to bring my art supplies but never mind, I can always get a few pens/pencils and a drawing pad locally if I feel the need.  There was a time years ago when I would always buy a few magazines to read on holiday - not anymore, the price of magazines is horrendous, and not something I would waste money on now.

It's exceptionally quiet here at the park, hardly anyone about.  One of the nearby vans is occupied, although they've gone out for the day.  Our lovely neighbours C&J texted me yesterday to say they're arriving next week.  We know one or two other neighbours will be here next week as well.  We've arranged for our van gas boiler to have its annual service whilst we're here, they will also be doing 2 or 3 others at the same time - we all have the same gas man, a nice friendly young man called Jake.

Annabeth - thank you, I'll give the hand held scanner a go the next time I go to Sainsburys.  I've seen the board with them all on in our store, although, as it's about to have a major refurb, perhaps it might not have them for much longer!