Sunday, 31 March 2019

Cardmaking and the Aldi die cutter

I've now made 6 cards which were needed immediately, or within the next couple of weeks, I'm getting better with each one and hugely enjoying the experience.

Some of you suggested keeping cards we get sent, to use parts of them in future card making.  That reminded me that I had a box somewhere full of cards I'd kept.  After searching a while, we finally found it at the back of a's the size of a large shoe/boot box and is absolutely full of birthday, anniversary, Christmas, thank you, get well cards, obviously collected for several years.  I said I was a hoarder!  And thank goodness for that - there's masses of potential there for bits to cut out and use as embellishments on my cards.  I'm so pleased.

I'm now going to start making general birthday, anniversary, etc, cards, so I have a stock of them.  I also have an engagement card to make, husband's grandson got engaged yesterday.

I've also started watching a couple of the craft shopping channels on TV when they're doing cardcraft supplies - yes they're pushing people to buy their stuff, but I'm not going to, not even remotely tempted actually.  But it is giving me plenty of ideas.

Went out and bought the Aldi mini die cutter this morning.  I've never used one before, never even seen one before now actually, so my experience with them is nil.  However, I've tried it out and it seems absolutely fine.  It comes with one flowery embossing plate and 3 small die cuts - 1 medium and 1 small flower and a little leaf.  There's also an instruction leaflet....useful, as I honestly wasn't sure how to use the machine!

They have lots of yarn and fat quarters in the Aldi specialbuys today (one lady bought literally a trolleyful of the yarn!  How greedy is that?!), if anybody's interested.  If you're looking to start cardmaking, then I reckon the die cutter is a good cheap buy.

Friday, 29 March 2019

No fillings! And a minor card incident....

The dentists was ok, no fillings again.  I suppose I'm very lucky to get to my advanced age and have no fillings at dentist says that my teeth are absolutely fine, it's just a pity I have gum disease!  At least I don't have to go again for several months.

I'm very tired, I keep waking up around 03.30 - 04.00 and find it impossible to get back to sleep.  Since reading (well, I've read half of it) that Sleep book, I no longer worry about not sleeping, I don't lie there fretting about it and actively trying to get back to sleep.  I just lie quietly for a while, letting my thoughts drift along, then get up after about half an hour - no point in just lying there if I can't sleep, I'd rather be up.  Consequently, though, I'm shattered now - even after a lifetime of being used to insomnia, I still need sleep.  It gets to the point where it's an effort to drag myself through the day, then I get a couple of reasonable nights of sleep, simply because my body is just so exhausted.  

I think I'll spend the day in the kitchen doing some batch cooking of meals to freeze, then have a weekend of doing nothing much.  Other than going shopping Sunday morning, we've got nothing planned.  I dare say husband will be out in the garden preparing more beds for seeds and plants, I'll get on with some more card making I think.  It's quite addictive!

The second card I made yesterday was going ok, I was trying out some stamping designs.  Then a bit of a disaster - the stamp I was using stuck to the ink pad and in pulling it off I accidentally flipped the pad over....on top of the card, so ink splattered on it - not a lot, but enough to ruin the card.  Duh!  Oh well, these things happen, I'm bound to have the odd disaster.  I did briefly wonder whether I could make a feature out of the splatters, or cover them up, but not really an option.  Think I need to buy a rubber and some correction fluid/stuff.  Some blotting paper would be useful too, I reckon.  Anyway, despite one ruined card, I'm really enjoying my new hobby and learning as I go along.

I completed 2 cards successfully, but forgot to photograph them before posting them.

I now have 2 shoe boxes of card making stuff, along with the pretty floral box my sister gave me.  A couple of you, Sue and Eleanor, mentioned I might need a whole room for my supplies....we do have 2 spare bedrooms, but I doubt husband would be very happy at me taking over one of them!  He thinks my 8-drawer Ikea unit full of yarn on the landing is more than enough stuff!

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Kind friends and the dentist

Lots of thank yous today - firstly to Marlene and Cherie (I think it's Cherie, you didn't include your name) for sending me lots of lovely card making bits and pieces - greetings, toppers, shapes, all sorts.  Very kind friends - you're not just bloggers, you're all really kind and thoughtful internet friends.  And that also goes to all of you who have sent lovely sentiments about my Mum, both via comments and emails, they're so uplifting.

Also thanks for the kind comments about my first effort at cardmaking.  It's not perfect by any means, but the design came out just as I'd anticipated and I was pleased with it, as I'm sure Mum will be.  As Mum's eyesight is poor, she won't notice the faults on it anyhow!  I'm making a few more today, that first one took me an hour, hopefully I'll speed up the more I make.

As for my urine test results...I've been ringing the surgery every couple of days, they tell me each time that these particular tests are quite involved and do take time.  I googled, just out of interest, and it seems they're right, 3 weeks isn't uncommon, one person even had to wait 6 weeks for theirs.  I guess a lot depends on how busy and backed up the path lab is in your area.  I'll just have to be patient.  Been spoilt, I suppose, with the speedy results for blood tests here - we get results for those the very next day.

A dear friend sent me a link yesterday to a die cutter being sold by Aldi in their Specialbuys this coming Sunday (thanks TA x).  It's a mini one for beginners, comes with some supplies and an instruction manual (good!) and costs just £19.99.  I shall probably get it - I don't suppose it's perfect, but for a beginner's one I can't really go wrong at that price.

Got the dentist this afternoon - it's only a check up but I'm hating the thought of going, with my gum disease I'm always worried she's going to say she can't save my teeth and they'll all have to come out!

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Mum's decision made

Mum's decided not to have the op, with the proviso that if she starts getting symptoms or feels differently, she can change her mind.  We all think she's made the right decision, we think having a major op at her age and state of health will be too much for her, assuming she even survives it.  She said the Macmillan nurse was lovely and had some really useful things to say.  The consultant said that if it was his 83 y.o. mother, he would be in two minds as to what course of action to recommend for her.

Brother is trying to organise his diary so he can go up to see mum, he'll pick me up on the way.

Here's the card I made for Mum, it's going in the post today:-

Considering it's my first ever effort, and I'm not very artistic at all, I'm pleased with it.  A few things became apparent whilst I was doing it - gluing is messy (it's a glue pen) and double sided tape would be much easier, I need a fine craft knife for cutting, and also some fine tipped tweezers.  We've got loads of old tablemats which I've kept for some unknown reason....just as well as the cork underside of them makes an excellent cutting mat.  I also remembered I've got lots of small ribbons - you know the ribbons manufacturers put inside the shoulders of new garments, to hang over the hooks of hangers, to stop them sliding off?  I've always cut them off as they're a nuisance, they always seem to stick out of the neckline, but I saved them as they come in pretty colours, always thought they'd come in useful for something or other one day....well now they will, as adornments for my cards.  Fancy that, my hoarding of old stuff has proven to be a good thing!

I know it's early, but I actually slept solidly for 6 hours, which is a minor miracle.  If I hadn't needed to get up for a wee, I think I'd have slept a bit longer.  Guess it's the relief of Mum deciding not to have the op.  Now all I need is for my wee results to come back - negative or positive, I just want to know!  Still not in yesterday afternoon, that's a fortnight now.  

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

D-day for Mum and distracting myself

Thank you for the comments yesterday.  Gemma's P, garage or yard sales are a bit of a rarity over here, car boot sales are much more popular, hugely popular in fact.  The sellers' cars line up in what is usually a farmer's field, all their unwanted stuff for sale is piled either on portable fold up tables (usually decorators pasting tables) or on a blanket on the ground.  Some people price their goods, others don't, a lot of haggling goes on.  The bigger boot sales (yes car boot = trunk) have a lot of 'professional' sellers - people with vans who make a living out of buying (or acquiring) a lot of what is usually junk or cheap crap and going to boot sales every week to sell it at inflated prices - we avoid them like the plague.  There are also people who sell plants or garden produce or craft things they've made - personally I don't think a boot sale is the best place to sell homemade craft stuff though as you'll never get a fair price for your handmade goods - at a boot sale people expect to pay next to nothing.  Smaller village boot sales are much better - fewer professional traders and more genuine people selling their unwanted goods.  And more chance of getting a much better class of junk at a very good price!

I'm going to have a go at making my first couple of cards today, I have some ideas in mind for simple designs - well, I think they're simple, we'll see how they turn out!  It'll take my mind off of mum and sis seeing the kidney cancer consultant today.  Spoke to mum yesterday, she said she's nervous but is 80% decided she won't have the op, but is keen to hear what the Macmillan nurse has to say first, before she sees the consultant and gives him her decision.  Sis will keep me informed throughout the day.

I'm really hoping my wee test results will be in, it's now 2 weeks I've been waiting, the surgery originally said the results should take about a week, so I don't know what's taking so long.  I hate waiting.

Thank you for yet more good suggestions for card making, I like the idea of using glittery nail polish.  I've also ordered some gold and silver metallic fine point pens from ebay.  They were cheap enough, but I can see how easy it would be to spend loads of money on supplies!

My sister gave me a lovely heavy card box last year, a very pretty flowered one, I've been wondering what to do with it - well now it holds my card making supplies, it's the perfect size.

The sun's up, there's a lovely rosy pink and baby blue sky, looks like it's going to be another nice day.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Thanks and car boot scrum

Thank you everyone for the really helpful comments yesterday, the suggestions for things like double sided tape, sticky pads, youtube videos and picking supplies up cheaply from car boot sales are all things I hadn't thought of.  And thanks so much for the offers to send me some supplies, so kind of you all.  I think I'm really going to enjoy card making.  The first card I make is going to be for my Mum, it'll have to be bold and colourful as her eyesight is poor.

Speaking of Mum, she's seeing the consultant tomorrow afternoon to give him her decision, she's been very undecided the past week or so, she's fluctuating between having the kidney out or doing nothing.  She and sis are seeing the Macmillan nurse tomorrow morning, so hopefully that will help her decide.  The consultant should also give her the results of her kidney function test last week - she was injected with something or other that apparently made her radioactive, she had to stay in the hospital for several hours following the injection, under strict orders to keep away from pregnant women and children and was only allowed to use one particular toilet!

The car boot sale yesterday was enormous, and absolutely packed, the sun obviously brought everyone out.  It wasn't very pleasant actually, it was like a giant scrum at the start (they didn't let anyone in until 10.00 on the dot) with masses of people crowding around the entrance, I felt quite closed in and claustrophobic.  Then when the organisers took down the ropes across the entrance way, everyone was pushing and shoving to get in, quite scary really.  And the whole thing was disappointing, at least half of the many sellers were professional traders, selling what was basically rubbish.  Both husband and I said we wouldn't go to that one again.  We couldn't even get near some of the sellers as there were so many people.  So if there were cardmaking supplies there, I didn't actually get to see any!  We'll stick to smaller village ones in future, hardly any professional traders and nicer things for sale.

Sending special wishes to Joy, who's having a worrying time with her parents at the moment.  Hope things are settled soon, Joy x

Sunday, 24 March 2019

A new hobby

I'm beginning to think I'll never have a full night in bed again.  I don't worry about it anymore, I just get up and come downstairs, no point in lying there if I can't sleep, my mind just goes into overdrive if I do.  Better to come down, put the laptop on and read the papers and a few blogs.  Welcome to a new reader, Christina - I hope you managed to ease your pain and get some more sleep.

I need a new hobby, something that will distract me and keep both my hands and mind occupied.  I just can't get motivated with crochet at the moment, for whatever reason it just doesn't appeal.  After thinking about it for a few days, prompted by having to buy a card for someone and thinking how expensive a decent card is, I've decided to have a go at cardmaking.  I'm late to the party with this, everyone else seems to make their own.  So yesterday afternoon we went to The Range, which has a vast supply of art and craft materials.  I was hoping for a basic cardmaking starter kit, but there didn't seem to be one - kits for everything else though!  There were masses and masses of bits to buy - for cardmaking and scrapbooking, whatever that is, I was a bit bemused by it all.  I settled on a pack of 50 blank cards and envelopes - very nice ones, cream linen finish - they were on a reduced price shelf with a sticker at £4.49, but at the till they came out as 44p!  What a fantastic bargain.  I also got a pack of different colours and designs of backing paper, and a pack of coloured card, my idea being to cut out shapes from the coloured card and stick them onto one of the backing papers, on the front of the cards.  Three packs of stickers (greetings, numbers and letters), plus some glue and a pair of sharp scissors also picked up, and I thought that would do for the time being.  The lot came to just over £14, enough stuff to make 50 cards - blimey!

To be honest, there was just so much 'stuff' there, I found it very confusing and almost impossible to work out what I wanted.  You could certainly spend a ton of money though, if you felt like it.  It's my sister's 35th wedding anniversary this year and I'd like to make a special card for them, I have the glimmer of an idea for it.

If any of you experienced cardmakers think there's anything else essential I should have, or any good ideas for how to go about beginning cardmaking, I'd be pleased to hear them.

We're going to our first car boot sale of the season this morning, the weather is forecast to be decent and we're going to a large one that we know is always there, it's been going for years.  Will have to dose myself up with tablets before we go, my back and hip are still killing me and walking in a lumpy field won't help.  Although looking round at everything will at least take my mind off the pain for a while.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

We're definitely falling apart bit by bit

Husband got the results of his blood tests yesterday (funny how we get blood test results the next day, yet my wee test results are still not back after 10 days, huh).  Only one thing of note...seems he's pre-diabetic - which is a bit odd, as we've been eating a very healthy Mediterranean type diet for the past few weeks.  Although he does eat quite a bit of bread, he has toast for breakfast most days, albeit wholemeal seeded or grain bread.  And he's always snacking between meals, he's definitely a grazer - but even then it's usually nuts he snacks on, or fruit.  Of course, fruit is high in sugar, even if it's natural.   The only bread I eat is my homemade sourdough, and that's not every day.  I rarely eat fruit, partly because of the sugar content, partly as I have a mild citrus allergy, and also because I've never really been a big fruit eater anyway.   He's now saying he wants to cut out everything he shouldn't be long that'll last remains to be seen!  He's also saying he'll go on longer dog walks - as will I, once the weather improves (I'm definitely a fair weather walker).

Funnily enough, yesterday (before he got his results) husband said he fancied fish and chips for dinner tonight - the mobile fish n chip van is in the village on Saturday evenings, and they do lovely battered cod.  However, for the first time probably ever, I actually thought 'hmm, I don't really fancy fish and chips!'.  What?!?!  The thought of it actually wasn't appealing at all.  So we've decided we won't have it - husband has gone all evangelical and said it's not good for us, so I'm going to make moussaka instead, using extra lean beef mince and a topping of an egg mixed with cottage cheese and crumbled feta, rather than loads of grated Cheddar.  I'm sure it'll taste just as good (she says, hopefully).

Friday, 22 March 2019

One solved

The washing machine repairman turned up at 07.45, whilst I was in the shower and husband was out dog walking...luckily he saw him turning into our road and came back home.  The repairman went to the wrong house first and woke our neighbours they weren't pleased, they're not early risers!

Machine fixed (he replaced the circuit board), so at least that's one irritation out of the way.

Just irritable

Husband had to go to the surgery for blood tests yesterday, so he asked if my wee results were in.  Still no, they said it would probably be early next week now.  I don't know why it's taking so long, but it's doing my head in.  

Mum goes for her kidney function tests today, to find out whether it would be possible for her to live with just one kidney.  She's hopefully seeing a Macmillan nurse whilst at the hospital, she'll be there most of the day having these tests.  She'll be shattered when she gets home, poor thing.  Sis will be with her.

Landlord's builder came in yesterday to look at our roof.  Next door's roof needs extensive repairs, ours apparently is nowhere near as bad but the builder said it will need remedial work sooner or later, so it would make sense to do it at the same time as he's doing next door's roof.  He said that'll mean scaffolding front and back, most of the roof tiles off and some of the woodwork, new felt and some wood, then everything put back and scaffolding down, a week's worth of work, if not more.  Just the thought of all that upheaval, mess and noise brings me out in a cold sweat, and Betty will be beside herself too, she'll be barking her head off.  We'll have to go out every day, I don't think I could stand being here.

Haven't had a decent night's sleep in ages, I'm up every night.  I gave up on the Sleep book, it seems to be all about mindfulness, which I have a hard time with.  I have a headache that comes and goes all the time, it's a bit weird really, I used to have headaches that lasted for hours, this one only lasts for a few minutes at a time but is very painful all the same.  My anxiety levels are high right now, that's probably the cause of the headaches.  My back is killing me again too, it just feels like I'm falling apart!

Washing machine repairman coming today, I hope he fixes the machine, the washing is building up.

We had chicken biryani last night....lovely, but the house stinks of curry this morning, I must throw all the windows open.  

Wednesday, 20 March 2019


An up today on the rollercoaster of our life....the money is in the bank.  And the washing machine repairman is rebooked for Friday.   No wee results yet, ho hum.  I suppose no news is good news.

Our landlord is sending a builder round to us tomorrow afternoon.  Each time someone moves out of one of these 4 rented houses (two pairs of semis) owned by the farm, the landlord gets any work done that needs doing...the house next door (the other half of our semi) is virtually unmodernised, so needs a lot doing to it - new kitchen and bathroom (ours have already been done), new electrics (ours was made safe before we moved in, although not actually updated) and apparently needs some repairs to the roof.  As our roof is a continuation of theirs, it's being checked to see whether ours needs doing too....we've already had a new chimney a couple of years ago - not that the chimney is used, it isn't, but it was in danger of collapsing.  I hope it doesn't mean tons of upheaval, don't think my nerves could stand it at the moment.  Although it's nice that it's being checked without us having to ask.

Had a morning out in Weston-Super-Mare this morning, it was nice to get out and blow the cobwebs away.  The tide was out - and it goes out a very long way there - so no sight of the sea today.  Had a coffee and a little mooch round the shops, bought some dog food that Betty really likes at a price a lot cheaper than we normally pay, and a pair of leather slider sandals for husband.  He'll need them for when he has his foot operated on and comes home in either a thick bandage or even a plaster cast (I don't know which it will be). 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Back to our 'normal' normal :(

My washing machine, having reset itself over the weekend and successfully managing a spin and a wash, is now not working again - and we've not even had another power cut.  And we cancelled the scheduled repair yesterday.  Rats.  I googled and watched a couple of YouTube videos and followed instructions.....didn't work.  So it's back to calling out a repairman again.  

The refund money from the car repair warranty didn't go into our bank account yesterday as promised, nor today.  Husband rang them, only to be told "oh no, it'll take up to 7 working days!".  Huh, that's not what he was told last Friday, he was assured it would go in the bank yesterday.  Why can't businesses just get it right?!

It's been a week since my 24-hour wee test, I rang the surgery to ask if they've got the results.....nope, nothing yet.  I hate just waiting, I don't do patience very well.  I want to know everything - now.  

And I'm still not sleeping at all well....we have dinner and then I'm counting the hours (minutes!) until I can go to bed, I'm just so knackered.  And my back is killing me again, and I keep getting short but sharp headaches.  Grump, grump.

On the plus side, husband continues to feel so much better than he did last week, I was quite worried about him over the weekend.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Life getting back to normal....normal for us!

I want to say a big Thank You to everyone for your really helpful suggestions and comments, both with regard to the washing machine troubles and mum's renal cancer.

Having used the machine a couple of times, it seems perfectly fine, back to normal (thank goodness).  I'll know what to do next time it happens, we do have power cuts quite often here.

Mum seems happier in herself, now the initial panic has worn off and she's taking control by arming herself with information.  As I said, it's entirely her decision whether she has the op or not, but I don't really think it's a good idea for her to have a major op at her age and frail state of health.  I just hope that any future pain she gets (she doesn't have any at the moment...well, not from the kidney cancer) can be managed effectively, we'd hate to think of her being in pain.

So the next thing on the agenda is hopefully getting the results of my wee test this week, and then what happens next in the event of it being positive.  And husband is waiting on a date for his foot op....the hospital said the wait time is around 4 months, but he's opted for a cancellation at short notice if one comes up.  He's feeling much better today, his chest pains and breathlessness have eased up a lot.  He's off to help an elderly neighbour with a bit of gardening this morning, under strict instructions from me to take it easy and I will be sneaking along to check up on him.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Pros and cons

Mum has been speaking to various people about her cancer options - her GP, her minister, one or two friends who've been through similar things.  She was thinking initially that she wanted to have the kidney out - I don't think she'd considered the ramifications of it, it was more of a knee-jerk reaction to having cancer and wanting it cut out.  Now she's got more information, she's leaning towards not having it out, as she's more concerned with her recovery afterwards.  Her GP also told her that as mum has a heart problem and has had a mini stroke in the past, that puts her at risk of not surviving the general anaesthetic.  The surgeon was all for her having the kidney out - but that's what surgeons do isn't it, they do surgery, it's their job.  

My sister doesn't really want mum to have the op, both brothers haven't really passed an opinion, I haven't formed an opinion yet as I don't feel I have enough information on the pros and cons.  But whatever any of us thinks is not really important, it's mum who has to make the choice, and we'll all respect her wishes.  Mum's going back to the hospital this week for a kidney function test, to see whether it's feasible for her to survive with one kidney.  She then has to see the surgeon again the following week, to give him her decision.  In the meantime, she's being referred for contact with a Macmillan nurse, as they're the best people to talk to - they're specialists and have no agenda, they can give mum all the information and advice she needs, impartially.

We were hoping to go up to see mum before she sees the surgeon again, we would have had to find somewhere to stay as husband can't do a 3 1/2 hour drive each way in one day, it would wear him out.  However, he's not been very well for a few days, in fact he booked himself an emergency GP appointment last Friday, that shows how unwell he was feeling.  He had chest pains and was very breathless.  The GP gave him an ECG, which was fine.  GP came to the conclusion that the pains were muscular in origin, as husband had probably been overdoing things when working in the garden last week.  Personally, I think it's a combination of the muscular stuff (husband does overdo it, unless I'm standing over him!) and a result of the stress we've been under recently, giving him a tight-chested breathless feeling.  He's been given medication and has to go back this week for blood tests, and another ECG if the doctor feels it necessary.  We've decided that under the circumstances, it's not wise for husband to drive a long distance, so unfortunately we won't be able to go up to see mum.  I'll speak to my brother in Cornwall and find out if he's able to go soon (depends on his work commitments), if he can then I'll cadge a lift with him.

Finally, today, the wind has dropped quite a lot - thank goodness, it was beginning to feel like it had become a permanent fixture and yesterday was particularly blastingly cold and windy, even Betty didn't want to go out.  I didn't sleep very well last night, again - so much on my mind that it's inevitable right now, I'm not even worrying about it.  It'll get to a point where I'm so knackered I WILL sleep.  Quite a lot of blue sky now, so we may go out to a garden centre, I want to look for a climbing rose for my front garden.  And then this afternoon, after I've got dinner in the oven (roast pork), I'll sit and watch a film.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Smiling today

I said I wouldn't write again until I had something good to say.  Well, two nice things have happened - amazingly.  

Our washing machine is quite a techie one - apparently I could even operate it via an app on my phone....not that I have, wouldn't know how (nor would I have any need to).  All I'm interested in is 2 or 3 different wash cycles, including a short one, and the fact that it has a timer.  I usually load the machine and set the timer for it to come on overnight, to utilise the cheap night rate electricity.  Well, this week I'd loaded and set it twice, both times it didn't work...the first morning I just reset it manually and it was fine, the second time (yesterday morning) it wouldn't work, the electronic display just kept switching between programmes all the time and finally went dead.  I switched it off and on again 2 or 3 times, but it was still dead.  

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, this morning husband switched it on to test it and it seemed I put in the wet washing I did in the bath yesterday and spun it off - it worked perfectly.  I'm doing another short wash now as a test and it still seems to be working fine.  Hooray!  

We often have power cuts here (one of the downsides to living in the country) and during the past week we've had several, at least half a dozen, caused no doubt by the gale force winds that have been a permanent feature recently.  So we're wondering whether the power outages buggered up (oops, I used that word again!! 😂 ) the electronics, and leaving the machine unplugged from the mains for over 24 hours allowed it to reset itself.  We had an engineer booked for Monday afternoon, provided the machine does this current wash ok then we'll cancel him.  No point in paying a call out charge if we don't need to!

You may remember that towards the end of last year, our car broke down twice in the space of a month, costing us just over £1000 in repairs (and nearly bankrupting us in the process).  We do have (pay for) a parts and labour warranty with one of the big two auto rescue companies, but they refused to pay out either claim, basically on stupid technicalities.  Get out clauses, more like.  Well, ever since then we've been battling with them, me via email, husband on the phone, to get them to change their mind.  Our argument was what's the point of paying for a warranty if said warranty won't pay out in the event of a claim - any claim, it seems? (The garage where the car was the rescue firm....said they're so fed up with the rescue firm refusing to pay claims, and then the garage having to deal with disgruntled customers, that they are now refusing to take on any warranty work from them!  That says it all doesn't it).  We felt that the rescue firm are taking money under false pretences if they continue to refuse to pay out.  

Finally, yesterday afternoon husband had a phone call from the rescue company...they've agreed to cover one of the claims and will transfer the money into our bank account on Monday.  They still insist the other doesn't qualify under their Ts&Cs - I can sort of see their point, but they are being very petty and unreasonable about it.  However, we're just very glad that slightly over half the amount we've paid out in repairs will be reimbursed, I can't tell you how relieved we are.

And I just want to say this - when you're having one problem after another, all of which are combining to make you very anxious, stressed and depressed, you do find out who your real friends are.  Not that I had any doubts really.  So to TA (you know who you are) I just want to say a huge thank you for your kindness, from both S and I (((hugs))).

And to all you lovely blog readers who have left such kind comments, and sent me such lovely emails....thank you all.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Real life!

Somebody (anonymous, of course - aren't they always?!) has left a comment on my blog this morning, telling me off for the language I sometimes use.  My response to which is....BUGGER OFF IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT!  Nobody's forcing you to read.

I've not entered a popularity contest, this isn't a blog manufactured to show off sweet pretty things.  This is real life - my real life.  And it's not all roses and cupcakes and cute little kittens.

It's pissing in a jug for a urine test, it's cancer, it's heart disease, it's having no money but making the best of things anyway as best we can.  It's having to turn down a meal out with friends because we can't afford it, but staying home instead and having a nice homemade burger and a favourite video we've seen loads of times but love to watch again.  It's washing clothes in the bath because the washing machine's buggered.  That's what real life is, and it makes me swear sometimes!

There are worse things than a buggered washing machine!

I don't seriously think that someone somewhere is sticking pins in a voodoo doll of me, we're just going through a run of bad luck, I'm sure the tide will turn eventually.  In the light of what's happened this morning in New Zealand, a broken down washing machine is nothing.  When I was a child at home, we had a twin tub...when that broke down, mum used to wash clothes in the kitchen sink and bedding in the bath, until she could afford to get it repaired.  My washing is in the bath right now.  It's an inconvenience, and getting it wrung out will be the worst thing, but that's all it is, just an inconvenience.  Paying to get the machine repaired will be challenging, but we'll do it somehow.

You've all been very kind with your lovely warm comments, but I'm sure you must all be fed up with reading about our troubles, and having to commiserate.  So I'm not going to say anything else, until there's something upbeat, positive and happy to talk about.

Mum is considering her options and we're arranging for her to talk to a Macmillan nurse.  

That's all for now, thank you everyone xx

Wednesday, 13 March 2019


My mother has just been told she's got renal cancer, the tumour is 6cm long.  The surgeon said if she was younger and fitter, he would recommend removing her kidney straight away.  He's giving her a fortnight to decide whether she wants it removed, or to do nothing.  She's nearly 83 and in poor health.  She's shell shocked.  

I've been in tears since sister told me, it's just one thing after another.  But it does put my stuff into perspective.

Wee'd out

Well, the wee test is finished with...thank goodness.  It's bad enough having to get up once in the night, I can just about manage to stumble half asleep to the loo in the dark.  But last night, just to annoy me even more, I had to get up 3 times to pee....and go through all the blimmin' palaver of collecting it and transferring it to the container...I'll spare you the yucky details.  I was awake half the night anyway, worrying about things and stuff churning around in my mind, so am knackered this morning.  

Out of curiosity, I googled to see how much urine it's normal for an adult to produce in a 24-hour period....between 800 and 2000 mls, apparently.  I did about 2200 mls (there were measurements on the side of the container) - what the significance, if any, of that is I have no idea.  I would say I drank around the same amount as always, and probably peed about the same number of times (other than 3 night time trips rather than the usual 1), so it could just be normal for me.

The container's been delivered back to the surgery, it'll take about a week for results.  

The test is to see if I have high cortisol levels, which is what the A&E doc strongly suspected.  It can be caused by a number of conditions, the most usual of which is either taking steroids for a long time (I don't, haven't ever as far as I know) or Cushing's disease, which is a tumour on the pituitary gland, usually benign.  It can also be caused by other things, to do with the adrenal glands, eg.  I'm not going to speculate on what it could be, will just wait for the results.  I hope it's negative, of course, but if it is positive, it would explain why I have certain problems and then treatment can be started.  If it is Cushing's, it's not life threatening but it is life changing.  Well, at least I'll know, one way or the other, in a week or so.

Very windy again today, although not much rain forecast - well, until tonight when there's another gale due.  More of the same tomorrow, then apparently the wind will start to die down.  About time, I should think we're all sick of it by now.  Yes, I know March folklore is for wind, but I think they must have got the memo twice, with the amount of wind we've had every day for what seems like forever.  As I type this I'm watching a crow in the sky, wings flapping like mad but not going anywhere, the wind is just making it hover in one place.  I put a load of bread crumbled into small bits out for the birds yesterday and the wind blew it all right off the bird table.

Roll on Spring!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Wishing I was a bloke! (temporarily)

Sorry I've been absent for a few things have taken over and blogging has taken a back seat.

Today I've begun the initial test suggested by the doctor - a 24-hour urine collection.  It's not easy or pleasant (men have it so blimmin' easy!) doing a wee collection when you're a woman, is it - especially when you have to do a lot of it!  But if this test is positive, then the next steps will be a lot more unpleasant, so this is nothing really.

I've had it easy up till now, healthwise - I had a cyst removed from my arm as an outpatient when I was a child, then an overnight stay in hospital for observation in my early 20s after an electric shock at work.  At 40 I had a TCRE - modern equivalent of the old D&C, laser treatment to burn off the womb lining, done as day surgery.  And then 4 or 5 years ago I had my umbilical hernia surgically repaired - again, day surgery.  And that's it.  Never been pregnant, never had any other operations or stays in hospital.  So at my advanced age(!) I consider myself very fortunate to have had relatively good health.

But now it's kind of feeling like my body is just falling apart, all at once.  If this is a precursor to getting old....well I don't like it and it should just bloody well stop, right now!

And if this damn horribly windy weather that seems to be neverending and squally showers don't bugger off and Spring arrive sharpish, I shall 'scweam and scweam until i'm thick' (a la lispy Violet Elizabeth Bott in Just William, anyone remember that?).

Thank you for the lovely comments and for the concerned emails I've had, it's so nice of you all.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

And the next thing...

I would say that life for us is like a roller coaster, but it seems as though there are more downs than ups over the past few months.  It does feel a bit like someone's got it in for us....I know that's rubbish, it's just what it feels like.

The lovely lady doctor I saw in A&E a couple of weeks ago, as well as recommending the Sleep book to me, also picked up on something completely unrelated to my teeth.  The reason she picked it up was because she just happened to have been to a conference last year on this very condition.  She said I should mention it to my GP with a view to having tests, as it wasn't something that would be checked in a routine blood test, or even thought about.  So I did.  The GP has taken it seriously enough to arrange for me to have an initial test.  If it comes back positive, then I will have to have further tests, most likely as an inpatient in hospital.  If they're positive too, then it means an operation, further treatment and probable medication for life.

If it is positive....well, sod's law says it'll probably all happen around the same time that husband is due to have his foot operated on.  In which case, I'll postpone my stuff - husband's in pain and needs his foot op, my condition, if indeed there is one, doesn't really impact on my daily life (as yet) and if that A&E doctor hadn't picked up on it, I would in fact have remained in blissful ignorance.

But let's not get ahead of may turn out to be nothing.

I'm being (well, trying to be) positive about it all, but I do wish that something nice would happen for a change.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

It'll be alright....hopefully

Thank you all for your very kind comments...and to AKM Evans, thank you so much for the offer, amazingly kind considering we are strangers.  There are some lovely people in Blogland and I'm so grateful to be a part of it.

I think yesterday's diagnosis was a bit of a shock to us both - we were expecting him to be told it was arthritis and that it could be managed with medication, we weren't expecting an operation (well, two) and weeks out of action.  Having slept on it (well, laid awake thinking about it) and talked a lot, we do feel more positive about it now, although there are still concerns.  

To answer a few of your queries....taxis, dog walking and dog obedience classes all cost money that we don't have, we can't pay if we haven't got it.  Having looked at a few dog walking services in the area, the going rate seems to be around £12 an hour - well, dogs need walking every day so that's out of the question, although I may well consider having her professionally walked once a week.  Betty's been to 1-2-1 training classes regularly, when she was a puppy we took her for a 6 week course (we found an absolutely delightful trainer), and since then we've taken her for the odd refresher session every 4 or 5 months.  Betty is very wilful and stubborn, as well as being very strong - she understands all commands, she just chooses whether or not to obey them.  As she gets older, she is becoming more and more obedient, we (and her trainer) fully expect her to settle down into a lovely obedient dog in due course - although I'm sure she will always retain her spirit and liveliness, and I hope she does.  She still has a lot of growing up to do...after all, she's only 2 years 4 months and is in a 'teenage' phase right now.  Incidentally, the training classes are about 25 mins drive away, so not an option during husband's convalescence.

Although we have some nice neighbours, there is no one nearby who could walk Betty, even though a couple have offered - she's just too strong and wilful for them.

Husband's initial reaction was to pronounce that he won't be able to walk or do anything for the 8 week period - well of course he will, he'll just be on crutches.  And shopping won't be a I said, I can have it delivered, and between now and the op date I will make sure we're stocked up with everything.  The consultant said the waiting time is around 4 months, so we have plenty of time to prepare.

And our lovely neighbours will give us lifts if/when we need them.  There's just a bit of reluctance on our part to have to ask, nobody likes having to rely on other people or inconvenience them do they?

As for not being able to go out - I dare say we'll both be feeling quite stir-crazy after a few weeks, but it'll be summer and there'll be plenty to do in the garden...although husband will be a bit restricted in what he can do.

Monday, 4 March 2019

The next spanner in the works

Well, life just keeps throwing us curveballs.

This morning husband had a hospital appointment to do with his feet - he's been having pains in his feet, one more so than the other, for a few years now, mainly in his toes and front part of his feet.  None of his footwear (and he has a lot....trainers, Skecher type slip ons, lace up shoes, work boots, walking boots) is comfortable, he's constantly having to change his footwear because it's hurting him.  The GP thought at first it might be ingrowing toenails (it wasn't), or infection under his toenails (not that either) and finally possibly arthritis.  

He had several x-rays this morning, then saw the consultant.  To cut a long story short, he has something called Morton's neuroma - it's damage and pain to the tendons and nerves in his feet, basically.  It's caused by wearing tight constricting footwear (in his case, steel toecapped boots) for many years....can also be caused by high heeled shoes.  He's worn those type of boots virtually all his working life.  

He has to have an operation, following which he'll be on crutches, not allowed to put weight on his foot or to drive for 8 weeks.  When he's recovered from the first foot op, he'll have the other one done.  So we won't be able to go out (as I don't drive), I'll have to do all the dog walking, and do all the shopping online, for a total of 16 weeks.  We'll have to ask friends for lifts to the GP/hospital appointments.  More of a  bloody nuisance.

An added complication is that the consultant said the op is normally done under general anaesthetic, as it's complicated and can be quite long.  However, due to his heart condition, he may not be able to have general anaesthetic...the consultant said she'll have to liaise with his heart consultant for further advice.  I guess local anaesthetic will be less of a worry and he won't have the side effects and tiredness a general anaesthetic can give, so that's something.

Online shopping isn't a problem, I do it that way sometimes.  I'm not so keen on taking Betty out by myself....she's very strong and tends to yank on the lead if she sees a cat or another dog, or a person she knows, or a tractor or farm trailer...all of which we have in abundance round here.  I could always just take her in the field behind us, but in a few weeks the crops will have grown and she loves rootling about in there, gets hidden amongst it so we can't see her and is reluctant to come out.  And I can't get in there to pick up her poo - that's if I could even find it!

Oh well, we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.  Husband needs this op, he's been in a lot of pain.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Thank you for your concern

Thank you for all your supportive and outraged comments, very kind of you.  Just to be clear....these people who have asked for money, they're not con artists - well, not professional ones.  We do know them, they're relatives....unfortunately.  They didn't get in touch via email, they sent private messages via social media....the only social media we use.  And I would never open a suspect email, I always check who an email is really from if it's not someone I'm familiar with.  I may be blonde and a technophobe, but I'm not stupid.

It's the early hours of the morning again, I went to sleep quickly and easily but woke up with a headache, I've had sinus trouble the past few days.  So I've come downstairs, taken some tablets and made some warm (soya) milk and am now going to sit and read my new insomnia book(!) whilst waiting for the meds to work, before going back to bed to practise what I've learnt....😁  

Heavy rain showers and strong winds are forecast, Storm Freya apparently, so it'll be an indoors day - apart from taking Betty out in between showers.  She doesn't like going out in bad weather any more than we do, sensible girl. 

Saturday, 2 March 2019

No, we're not a bank!

As you know by now, we don't have a lot of money.  I'm not complaining, we have a great life - all our bills get paid on time, we have no overdraft, nor do we need one, we eat well, we have a nice warm cosy home and a lovely garden, in which we grow plenty of veg & fruit and lots of lovely flowers.  We have enough for our simple needs, the occasional day out and even a cheap holiday sometimes.

We've been contacted by private message on social media 3 times in the past year, by 3 members of the same family.  These people we have very little contact with, for various reasons, in fact we haven't seen nor spoken to them on the phone for several years, our only sporadic contact with them has been via social media.  So it was surprising to get messages from each of them, within a few months of each other, asking for money.  

The reasons given were the first one having serious rent arrears, the second was about to move house and needed money for a security deposit, and the third, this week, has no car now and can we lend them enough to buy a car!  

I don't know where they all get the idea that we have piles of cash sitting waiting just to give to them...or indeed why they think that we'd even be willing to just hand it over to them.  Especially after things that have gone before and having so little contact for years.

But what has annoyed us even more is that they all clearly think we're stupid - the first one (whom we did actually scrape together £200 for, although we did make a point of telling them that there would be no more forthcoming) posted a pic on social media a week later showing a pair of riding boots they'd just bought (yes they have a horse).  The second had, the week before asking us for the security deposit money, which we didn't give them, posted a ton of photos of the piles of presents, including designer clothes and expensive toys, they'd bought for their 1 y.o. child's birthday.  The third has literally just come home from a fortnight's holiday in a hotel in Egypt with their partner and child - we're not giving them any money either.  Not that we have it to give them.

All of them are the type who post details of every aspect of their shallow materialistic lives on social media, so it's a bit dumb of them to not think that we would see how much cash they all throw about.  

No-one else has ever asked us for money, and these three are all from the same family, I think that says it all.  They must think we're mugs, a soft touch with an open wallet.  Well, they're very wrong.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Insomnia cure?

Morning all, thank you for the comments on our day out post, you're very kind.

When I was at the hospital last weekend, the A&E doctor I saw recommended a book about insomnia to me (she was taking a general health history and one of the questions she asked was if I slept well).  It's written by a doctor who specialises in sleep problems and has been on TV - not that I've seen or heard of him before, Dr Guy Meadows.  The book is called (imaginatively) The Sleep Book, I ordered it from Amazon at a cheap price on Sunday evening and it arrived on Wednesday morning, I took it with me on our day out and started reading it in the car.

It's divided into chapters covering a week at a time, giving various dos and don'ts and suggesting exercises (not star jumps or anything like that!  More mental exercises or things to think about or do or not do) and giving case histories.  I've not read it all yet (I'm still on Week 1) - there's quite a lot to take in and sometimes I've just been too tired to absorb it all and have had to backtrack!

From reading the introduction and having a quick flick through, the general premise seems to be that everything you've been told before and everything you've been trying to do to help you sleep, is wrong and you need to stop all of that.  Not just things like sleeping tablets or a drink or 2 before bed, but even getting up when you can't sleep and having a warm milky drink and listening to music.  He claims that insomnia can be cured in 5 weeks.  Hmm.  Well, I have an open (if knackered) mind and am certainly willing to give it a try.

I have suffered with insomnia literally my entire mother used to drive herself to distraction with worrying about my lack of sleep as a child, she worried about it much more than I did, although I think eventually her anxiety about it rubbed off on me.  I remember her taking me to the doctors when I was about 7, he said it was because I had an overactive imagination and would grow out of it....50 years is a long time to be waiting to grow out of something though!  😕😂😜

I do think that a lot of my health problems could certainly be down to my lack of sleep, or at least would be vastly improved if I did get more, and better quality, sleep.  And scientists have been saying recently that lack of sleep contributes to making people fat.  No wonder I'm the size of a small house then!

If this book works, I'll let you know (in a post written during the day, not, as is my usual practise, in the early hours of the morning 😁 ).