Monday, 29 April 2019

Just tired

This is going to come across as very self indulgent and whiny, I know that.  So feel free to not read!

As most of you know, we've had one problem after another for the past year, starting in February last year with husband's angina diagnosis, followed rapidly by numerous other health-related issues.  Mostly his, culminating in his heart failure revelation, but also my mother's, sister's and my own health stuff.  And we had quite serious financial issues too, the fallout from which is ongoing and, frankly, is getting me down.  

Well, now husband has what is hopefully the urine infection....I say hopefully, because our GP didn't think it was showing up as a typical infection and is concerned it might be something else, possibly to do with his kidneys.  I'm not even allowing myself to think about that, although I am worried, of course.  As is he.  We have just got to wait for the results of the urine test, and then any other tests he may have to go to hospital for, according to the GP.  

I know he's not well - he started off this morning feeling much better, but is back to feeling unwell this evening.  But oh boy is he bad tempered, he's really been taking it out on both me and the dog, which especially annoys me as she's not done anything wrong, other than being a normal exuberant young dog, and won't learn anything when he persists in shouting at her and doing the opposite of what I do with her.

Family members have been so wrapped up with their own problems lately that we're largely being ignored.  I know they've got problems too, I do make a point of checking with them regularly that they're doing ok.  But we don't get the same in return - well, they do quite often ask how husband is, but not me.  In fact one of them actually laughed at me a month or so ago when I mentioned about my lack of sleep and painful back/hip, the attitude was 'Is that all?!'.  Husband's family almost never get in touch - he comes from a big family, 9 siblings (8 still alive) and only ever hears, and that's sporadically, from 2 of them.  

Our neighbours are mostly lovely - but they always ask how husband is, never me.  

I've had insomnia my entire life - literally, my mum took me to the doctor when I was about 7 or 8 because she was worried about me not sleeping much, he said I just had an overactive mind and would grow out of it.  I'm still waiting for that!  People seem to think that just because I've always suffered with it, that it's ok and doesn't bother me.  Crap!  I need sleep just as much as anyone else and just lately it's affecting me more than ever before.  What with all our problems and my painful back and hip, I'm sleeping less than ever and am permanently exhausted.  I've got bags under my eyes, dull dry skin, limp hair (which is shedding like mad) and look and feel about 75.  Our holiday seems like a distant memory.  I feel like I could do with an entire fortnight in bed, doing absolutely nothing.  Either that or running away.  But I can't, of course - I have a poorly husband and a dog to feed and take care of, washing to do, the house to keep tidy and reasonably clean (although most of the housework has gone out the window, I just can't be bothered and haven't got the energy).  Husband can and does cook occasionally - if I ask him to - but he would be content to live on beans or egg on toast or sandwiches.  We're supposed to be eating healthily, on medical advice, but it's me who has to plan for that, check what we have in, meal plan and do shopping lists etc, as well as the cooking, husband wouldn't know where to start.

Several times recently I've said things to various people, but have been ignored or had very little reaction.  I ask people to do things and am met with rolling eyes or sighs of exasperation.  I increasingly feel like I'm invisible and mute....or I may as well be.  I'm just so tired of everything, and tired of the fact that I have to shout and scream to make myself heard.

So not man flu then....

Husband's 'man flu' has turned out to be something more than that.   Although he didn't feel ill, apart from feeling chilly and feverish on and off, had no pain and didn't look yellow, he started getting other symptoms over the weekend.  He kept needing to go for a wee urgently and his pee started to look discoloured - brown and muddy looking at first, then by yesterday it was obvious there was blood in it.  I was debating ringing 111 (for overseas readers, that's our National Health Service advice line), but knew they'd probably say he should go to A&E....husband insisted he didn't want to go to hospital and could wait for the GP.  

We got an emergency appointment for him this morning and took along a urine sample, which the GP tested there and then and confirmed there was blood in it, as well as white blood cells, indicating an infection of some kind.  After asking husband lots of questions (good job I was there too as a) he couldn't answer some of them whereas I could, and b) I found out a few things he hadn't told me before, like the fact that he was getting pain/stinging sensation when peeing), the GP said it did sound like a urine, or possibly kidney infection.  She's sending the sample off to the lab for further testing and has given husband antibiotics in the meantime, and said to ring her straight away if any other symptoms develop before the lab test results come back.  Husband has to take in another urine sample in a few days, to check whether the antibiotics are stopping the blood.  

He actually feels fine today, not so shivery and his wee doesn't have as much blood in it as yesterday.

Did Storm Hannah affect you much?  We had very strong winds but hardly any rain to speak of, just the odd short sharp shower.  This morning the wind has vanished, more or less, it's dull and very overcast and has rained a bit overnight.  The sun is trying to come out though, so it might get better.

I'm trying to build up the motivation to do a big spring clean and declutter over the entire house, it's long overdue.  And it might take my mind off my increasingly sore hip and back....although right now that's one of the things stopping me from getting on and doing it.  Vicious circle!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Man flu

Thank you for comments.  I can't find my phone to laptop cable so can't upload my photos until I do.  Having looked through the photos on my phone, they're not all that brilliant (or even interesting) anyway, but I will put some on if and when the cable reappears.

Neighbour's funeral went off ok, the crematorium was absolutely packed, D was a well known and well respected businessman and ex-local councillor, who knew and was liked by everyone.  The crem seats about 80, I think, all seats were filled and there were lots of people standing all around the sides and back, plus more people outside listening on a monitor thingy.  I felt the service was a bit stiff and formal, although it was very personal.  The one really nice thing was that they had a local choir there (D's wife sings in the choir, although she had to give it up in recent times in order to stay home and look after him).  They sang a hymn first, followed by Goodnight Sweetheart, a favourite of D's - not a dry eye in the house.  

One bit of unexpected drama - a man who looked to be in his 60s collapsed during the service - he was ok it turned out, think he was just suffering from the heat, it was very warm on the day.  I shan't make any jokes about collapsing in a crematorium...even though the thought did run through my mind (very bad taste!!).

The food (catered) at the wake afterwards was absolutely delicious, not a sausage roll or cheese & pineapple stick in sight.  Dainty sandwiches made with good bread and a choice of lovely fillings - smoked salmon, lemon flavoured cream cheese and fresh dill (yum), smoked ham with grainy mustard and Swiss cheese, curried egg and watercress.  Mini quiches - salmon with roasted tomatoes, or goats cheese and red onion.  Mini Yorkshire puddings filled with really delicious rare roast beef and horseradish - what a brilliant idea.  Tiny scone halves topped with clotted cream and fresh sliced strawberries.  And two lovely ladies serving unlimited freshly made tea and coffee, or drinks from the bar if people wanted alcohol.  D had a very good send off.  We've seen his wife J since and she's fine, although her sons, who've been staying with her for the past month, are both going home this weekend.  We will be checking she's ok, and her stepdaughter lives just around the corner and her choir friends visit regularly, so I think she'll be alright, I hope so anyway.

Husband is not very well, nothing drastic, he's either coming down with a cold or has some sort of virus.  He's making a right fuss about it though.  I have noticed that since his heart failure diagnosis, he's a bit obsessive about his health - I know, not surprising at all, we have another relative who is exactly the same following a cancer scare (successfully operated on and given the all clear) a couple of years ago, but who now goes to the GP with every little thing.  I'm not being disparaging, having a life threatening diagnosis is very scary so it's no wonder people become extremely cautious afterwards.  But husband has always been a bit of a wimp when it comes to illness, and at the moment he's acting like a 4 year old who's teething and whiny.  

Yesterday afternoon he said he was freezing cold - he turned the heating up high and sat in his armchair wrapped in a blanket and with my microwave hottie bottle thing on his lap.  Meanwhile, I was sweating like a pig (do pigs even sweat? Where does that expression come from?).  I suggested he go to bed, he said, manfully, that he'd be alright in the chair watching TV (he falls asleep within seconds, so he rarely actually watches anything for very long!).  I suggested rather more forcefully that he'd be a lot better off in bed, plus it meant I could then turn the heating down as I was beginning to feel like I had heat stroke....he went to bed.  After about half an hour, he banged on the floor - I quickly (well, as quickly as my bad back and hip will allow) went upstairs to see what was wrong.  He asked, weakly, if I would check his blood pressure and pulse, as he felt feverish (really?!  Nothing to do with the 2 thick blankets he'd put on top of the duvet then?) and he thought his pulse was racing.  So I trundled back downstairs to get the monitor, then back up again and put it on his arm....his BP and pulse were fine, completely normal in fact, which is more than can be said for mine!

I asked if he felt up to eating some dinner (he'd had no problem eating breakfast or lunch), he said he thought he could manage something.  He got up and came downstairs for it, he ate all of his dinner and finished off mine, which I couldn't eat all of.  He then had an apple and a handful of nuts.  Nothing wrong with his appetite then!

I think he's just got a 24-hour virus thing - he's just not a very good patient (he likes a lot of attention and brow mopping), and I'm not a very sympathetic nurse.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Back early

Hello all, I hope you're all well.

We decided, on the spur of the moment early this morning, to come home today instead of Saturday.  Several reasons - we'd have to be out of the caravan by 10.00 am Saturday morning anyway, and I'm not too keen on rushing around like a mad thing to be out by the deadline, I'd much rather do it all leisurely.  The weather has been brilliant really, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were all beautifully sunny and warm, yesterday it rained on and off throughout the morning but had stopped by lunchtime and was sunny most of the afternoon, albeit with a pretty cold wind.  However, last night we had some really heavy rain, which kept me awake, it continued as heavy showers throughout the morning, and the rest of this week is forecast to be showery, very windy and cold.  

If you've stayed in a caravan before, you'll know that heavy rain is very noisy inside the van, and it always seems to be draughty and cold when it rains too, even with central heating.  And trying to get a muddy dog cleaned up in a caravan is a bit of a nightmare.  So we decided to come home. 

We have had a lovely time though and feel very relaxed.  The caravan was a brand spanking new model for this year, we're only the 2nd or 3rd guests to stay in it so all the furniture/furnishings were lovely and comfortable.   It was much roomier than the van it replaced (we've stayed at this park in the same number caravan several times now, we always ask for this particular pitch as we like the spot), the bathroom especially was much more spacious.  However, it was very badly designed, clearly by someone (most likely a man!) sitting at a computer just pressing a few features buttons.  For example, although the room was very spacious, the toilet was far too close to the side wall, despite there being loads of floor space on the other side.  The toilet roll holder was set way back behind your shoulder on the same side wall, making it very awkward to get to when sitting on the loo.   The towel holder was also on this side wall, right beside/above the toilet, so whilst sitting on the loo you had the towel draped all over your face and shoulder - how idiotic!  Especially since there was a large expanse of bare wall the other side of the loo, right outside the shower - surely the most logical and ideal place for the towel rail.  More hooks and shelves were needed too, there are never enough - only 1 small hook provided, and no shelves in the shower for your shower gel/shampoo etc.  On the plus side, there was a very large mirrored bathroom cabinet with lots of room for all your stuff above the basin, and the shower was huge - big enough for two, which is very rare in a static caravan.

Out of the 5 nights we were there, I slept very well indeed for 2 of them, had 1 average night and only 2 bad ones, so have caught up on some sleep.  Taking all our evening meals ready cooked from home was good, it meant I had very little cooking to do.  Husband did us a cooked breakfast a couple of times, and we had mainly salads for lunches.  

Betty's a bit of a problem in a caravan though, partly because of the lack of space for her to run around, and the fact that she's allowed on the furniture at home, which of course means that she thinks she's allowed on it in the van - she's not.  She persists in trying it on though, being the stubborn little madam she is, so we did spend quite a lot of time telling her No.  Also, she likes being outside, at home we have the door open a lot and she spends most of the day going in and out of the garden as she pleases.  Well, caravans on holiday parks don't usually have enclosed gardens, so we couldn't have the door open, which meant she was frequently running to the door and asking to be let out.  It did mean she got lots of walks though, they have several large dedicated dog walking areas.  And she liked watching the ponies, donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits.  One of the ponies snorted practically in her face, making her leap back in astonishment.  Very funny.

I did take a few photos - not loads, mainly because I forgot most of the time.  Haven't looked at them yet, I'll put some on in my next post.

We did come home on Tuesday for neighbour D's funeral, I'll post about that next time too.

Back to reality - there are workmen in next door, but whatever they're doing, it's not too noisy at the moment....other than the fact that they're in and out all the time to their van and keep slamming the front door!

Saturday, 20 April 2019

At last!!

The day's finally here, we're off on our hols.  And it's going to be really good weather too, at least for the first few days, which pleases husband.  I'm pleased too, of course, but really couldn't be bothered much what the weather was like, as we don't plan on doing a lot of gadding about, it's more of a 'lie back and relax' type of holiday.  We've been to this area (and caravan park) several times before, so have visited most places nearby anyhow.  

And of course it's Easter weekend, which means that it'll probably be busy if we did decide to go anywhere, especially the beach - I loathe crowded beaches so we won't be doing that.  Hopefully, though, a lot of people will go home on Monday, as lots of the schools re-open on Tuesday, Easter's been so late this year.

I was up again with the awful palpitations in the early hours of this morning - no idea why, it's not as if I'm particularly anxious about anything in particular right now, we've had a fairly quiet and undramatic week (for a change).  GP assures me there's nothing wrong with my heart and the palpitations are just the result of anxiety, and I've no reason to disbelieve her.  Anyway, I came down and took another pill and they wore off.  It's not nice though, it feels like my body is beating the crap out of me from inside me, if you know what I mean - like my heart is punching the inside of my chest.  Bit scary really, which makes it worse, of course.  Thankfully, the pills sort it out fairly quickly.

As I mentioned before, I'm not taking my laptop.  The park only has paid wifi - £17.50 p.w., I'm certainly not paying that, it's a rip-off!  Especially since the signal is very hit and miss, people complain about it in the park reviews.  I do have wifi on my phone, but that's dependent on signal too.  I can read blogs and stuff on my phone, but for some unknown reason I can't make comments on blogs from my phone - well, I can type them, but they don't appear on the blogs, no idea why.  So please accept my apologies for not commenting on your blogs for a week, although I will be reading them.

Have a nice Easter, everyone.  Back in a week x

Thursday, 18 April 2019

another bad night

Having a very disturbed night....went to bed around 9 pm as I was just so knackered, but lay there for an hour tossing and turning before I got off to sleep, I didn't feel husband come up and get into bed. 

Just before midnight Betty woke me up, she was woofing like mad in her sleep.  It went on for ages and seemed to be getting more frantic, so I got up and went downstairs to check on her, which woke her.  She seemed quite disorientated and fidgety, got out of her bed and straight in again a couple of times, then finally laid back down after pushing her face into my leg and nuzzling me (I was crouching down in front of her), she seemed to want a bit of comfort - I know how she feels!  I stroked her until she was calm and settled.  Husband slept through it, of course.  

I went back up to bed and got back to sleep fairly quickly, but then woke up again (02.10) with a pounding headache and palpitations so bad my heart feels like it's thudding right out of my chest.  Taken another pill (god how I hate all these bloody pills) and just waiting for the palpitations to subside.

I would give anything to have just one night of uninterrupted sleep of 8 or 9 hours.  

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Taking a break

Thank you for all the comments on my last post.  Husband, who's seen plenty of bodies (he used to be a hospital porter) said neighbour D looked peaceful, D's wife and sons coped very well.

As a result of recent events, not all of which I've blogged about, my chronic ongoing lack of sleep and back/hip problems, and some recent unwise food choices (I always eat the wrong foods when things aren't going well), I'm feeling very unwell indeed, both physically and mentally.  So I'm taking time out from technology and everything except the necessities of housework, for the rest of this week.  I shall be making and eating healthy food and just getting ready for our holiday.

I don't know if I'll blog again before we go away.  I certainly won't be blogging whilst away, I'm not taking my laptop - there is wifi but you have to pay for it, and I'm not going to.  I do get wifi on my phone, but it's dependent on signal.

Thank you all for your lovely support, take care everyone and I'll be back in due course.  


Friday, 12 April 2019

Viewing the body?

Thank you for comments on my last post.  The last 2 nights I've slept reasonably well, for about 6 hours - not enough, as I still feel knackered, but didn't have to get out of bed until about 04.45.  My back and hip continue to be a problem, I'm sat here in the armchair with my hottie heat pad on my back, it's helping a bit.  I'm going to do the Leslie Sansone Walk a Mile at home thing at least every other day from now on, I've done it twice so far.  I'm also trying out doing some yoga stretches (standing up ones, no way I could get up off the floor!) first thing in the morning, they seem to help ease the pain and awful stiffness I have on first getting up.

We've been invited to go along with neighbour J and her family to visit D's body at the funeral home today.  It's very kind of them to include us, husband will be going but I won't, however - I just can't face viewing dead bodies.  I didn't even go to see my inlaws, I much prefer to remember loved ones as they were in life, I don't want my last memory of them to be as a cold stiff body.  How do you feel about it?  

J and her children are putting together a photographic display for the wake, favourite photos of D throughout the years.  Apparently it will include several of husband helping D with the gardening - husband didn't even know D's wife J had taken the photos.  D did love his garden, in the last few months when he couldn't do any gardening himself, husband would take him out in his wheelchair and position him so that he could watch (and supervise!) as husband mowed, weeded and put new plants in for him.  Husband really enjoyed helping D, he'll miss him.  He will continue to help J as they have quite a large garden and she won't be able to manage it all on her own.  I'm making a cake for her today, she's having quite a lot of visitors each day and cake is always welcome.

As the oven will be on for the cake, I'm also going to make a meatloaf and some pasties to take away on our holiday.  I've told Betty we're going on hols, she doesn't seem too impressed though!  She does like it there, we've been a few times before, it's a lovely park with several big dog walking areas and plenty of animals for her to watch - donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs.  Only just over a week to go now.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Good, if exhausting, day with Mum

What a lovely morning it is....clear azure blue sky with lots of sunshine.  Cold at the moment though, following a very frosty night.  Not much wind, which is nice.  The roofers have just turned up next door, so the peace will shortly be shattered....however, they're nearly finished, apparently they got on very well yesterday and should hopefully be done by the end of today.  No idea how long it will be before the next lot of builders turn up, for all the inside work on tearing out and refitting new kitchen and bathroom, the electrical works, laying new flooring and full redecoration.  

Funnily enough, now I know we have our week's holiday to look forward to in 9 days time, I don't feel so bad about all the work and noise going on - I can put up with it knowing we can escape it all for a week very soon.

We had a good day with Mum yesterday, she's very frail but seemed and looked a lot better than the last time we went up a couple of months ago, when she was too weak to get out of bed and actually looked like a corpse.  She wanted to get some new garden furniture (a good sign that she's feeling a bit better), so we took her to a big garden centre, pushing her around in her wheelchair so she could have a good look at everything.  She picked out what she wanted, then we all went in the restaurant for lunch.  As I expected, the effort involved in the excursion really took it out of Mum, she felt very unwell when we got her home and had to go straight to bed for an hour or 2.  No matter, it gave brothers, sister and I a good chance to talk about things.  Mum was able to get up and have a cuppa with us before brother and I left to come home.

It was a very long day, we left the house at 08.00 am and I didn't get home until 9.30 pm, even longer for brother as he lives 1.5 hours from here.  I did sleep much better last night - sheer exhaustion, I think.  Today I'm totally worn out and my back, hips and shoulders are really painful - the result of sitting in brother's car for so many hours, although his car is a big 4x4 and very comfortable.  So today I'm not doing anything much, other than a quick freezer inventory, meal planning for the next 9 days and also for our holiday - we'll be taking most of our meals home cooked and frozen with us, so I can have a week off cooking.

Husband had a good day doing some gentle work in the garden, 'helped' by Betty - she was extremely pleased to see me when I got in yesterday, she was all over me with excitement.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Getting away from the noise

The builders (roofers) arrived yesterday morning about 08.45 the banging noise was so loud even husband said it was like they were in OUR loft, not next door's.  Having the TV turned right up made no difference - and I'm partially deaf and have tinnitus.  It wasn't just the noise either, it was making our windows vibrate, and Betty was on high alert, anxious and whining.  

Husband said 'shall we go out?' and I didn't need asking twice.  I grabbed a couple of pieces of homemade Greek cheese pie out of the freezer and put them in the microwave on defrost, made a flask of coffee, gathered up some snacks and a bottle of water for Betty, and off we went to Minehead.  

We drove to our usual spot there, at the far end of the beach away from the town and the Butlins crowd - tourists don't go to that end as there's no shops, arcades or loos, so it's relatively quiet, with just local dog walkers.  Not really a dog walking day though, it was very overcast with a bitterly cold wind - not that Betty minds being out in it but we do!  But it was nice just sitting in the car with Betty, watching the sea - there were some pretty big waves crashing up on the beach.  Husband braved the cold wind for long enough to give Betty a quick run on the beach - I did the cowardly thing and watched from the comfort of the car.  We stayed there about an hour, then drove to a supermarket to pick up a couple of things I'd forgotten the other day, then on to Dunster beach a couple of miles down the road.  Spent another hour or 2 there, had our lunch and coffee, Betty had another run and then her snacks.  Watched all the other dogs and owners braving the windy beach.  

By the time we got home, early afternoon, the roofers had gone - heavy rain forecast for the afternoon so I guess they can't be up on a roof during that.  Although the heavy rain didn't materialise, it did rain but was more showery in nature.  

Today the forecast is for much better weather, so the workmen will probably be back - but I'm off to Mum's for the day, I'll be leaving well before they arrive and won't be back until late this evening, so that's another day I won't have to put up with them.  Husband has a couple of things planned so he and Betty won't be spending all day indoors.

It's 02.30 and obviously I'm awake now, but did sleep soundly for about 3 hours, which is already more sleep than I had the previous night.  I've taken another anxiety pill and had some warm milk and will go back to bed soon.  I'm so relieved we've booked that holiday and it's only 10 days to wait, it's something to look forward to.  Unfortunately, the neighbour's funeral is during the week we'll be away, but as where we're staying is only an hour's drive away, I suggested to husband that we come back here for the funeral on the day - we shall bring Betty (obviously, we wouldn't leave her in the caravan by herself).  We'll come home and get changed, leave Betty here and go off to the funeral, then come back to change back into holiday clothes, collect Betty and return to the caravan.  We'll just treat it as a day out, albeit a bit of a sad one.

Right, I'm back off to bed now, hopefully I'll be able to get back to sleep.  I can always doze off in the car on the way up to Mum's though, my brother's a safe enough driver for me to do that.  

Thank you so much for all your kind and supportive comments, they are so appreciated and mean a lot to me.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Anxiety through the roof

Last night I had an absolutely awful night, even by my standards, I probably only had 2 hours sleep in total.  My anxiety levels are through the roof right now.  I know my feelings are irrational, but there's nothing I can do about that, it's not like I do it deliberately or have any control over it.  I know also that others have far worse things to cope with and my problems are nothing really, I'm aware that at least one person of my acquaintance definitely thinks I have nothing to worry about.  I've now doubled my anxiety meds - previously I wasn't taking the maximum amount my GP said I could take, now I am.  Hopefully that will help.

We've managed to get a last minute special offer deal on a week at our favourite caravan park in Devon, starting Easter weekend.  It'll mean keeping a tight rein on our budget and cutting down on things for the next few weeks/months, but if we don't get away soon, i.e. this month, then there's no telling when we'll be able to go, what with husband's and mum's health stuff.  And I don't think my nerves can stand staying around with all the building works going on indefinitely.

I might not post much for a while....nobody wants to listen to me moaning all the time anyway!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Big moan alert

Now, I know this is because I'm feeling under par at the moment, there's a lot going on in our lives, I can't remember the last time I had a half decent night's sleep, and this morning started badly and hasn't got any better.  So my apologies for having a rant.

A couple of hours ago, a builder's merchant lorry turned up with supplies for next door....a lot of long lengths of wood for the roof and a pallet load of cement and stuff.  The vehicle couldn't get round the back as it was too big, and couldn't use the grabber crane thing (sorry, don't know the correct name for it!) to hoist everything over the front hedge into their garden because of the low overhead cables.  So they've left it all in our parking space.  We can still park our car, just about, but there won't be any room for any visitors, should we have any.  After several attempts to contact the landlord, he finally rang just now to say can it be left till tomorrow when the builders arrive, and they'll move it.  Which means our car will have to be moved out of the way, yet again.

To put you in the picture....we live down a very narrow lane, one vehicle's width, with a farm at the end which has a lot of traffic - tractors and other farm vehicles, plus all their deliveries and livestock movement vehicles.  We all have to be courteous and patient when coming or going, as there's no room for vehicles to pass side by side.  We live halfway down the lane, along with 3 other houses, all owned by (another) farm.  We are the first of these 4 houses, the only one which has a front parking space (beside our garden and in front of our garage), the others all have rear parking spaces and garages, which are accessed via an extremely narrow service road running at a bit of an awkward angle beside our parking space.  Our car is frequently blocked in by delivery vehicles, or visitors to the other houses who don't know about the service road or who can't get round.  But it's just a fact of life living here and something we put up with for the loveliness of the area.

However, all these blooming workmen and builders and building equipment suppliers who keep turning up for next door, all arrive in vehicles which are too big to get round the back, don't know (aren't told!) anything about the lie of the land, and have zero consideration for others, i.e. us.  Ok, so they've got a job to do, they just want to get it done and get away to the next job.  But it's driving me nuts!  And the main body of the work hasn't even started yet.  My anxiety levels are rising by the second.

It would have been nice for the landlord to come and see us and explain about the works, give a possible time frame, and even offer an apology in advance for the noise and inconvenience.  But no, obviously too much to expect, how silly of me!  After all, he owns our house and so we should just be grateful for him allowing us to live in it (the fact that we're not guests, we actually pay the going rate for the privilege of living here is neither here nor there).  

I just wish we could go away for a week or two whilst the work is being done.  Not possible though, we can't afford it, especially not during the Easter holidays.  I think I'll be taking my anti-anxiety meds by the bucketful.

This getting older lark is no fun

A slow start this morning.  I didn't get up until just after 6 am - very late for me, the first time I've got up that late for weeks and weeks.  I woke up several times during the night as usual, had to go to the loo twice (knew I shouldn't have had that warm milk before bed!  So much for it helping me to sleep....just makes me need a wee).  However, I did manage to go back to sleep fairly soon after each time of waking, I was determined to actually stay in bed for once.  Trouble is, I feel all fuzzy headed and idle now, no inclination to do anything.  Well, that won't help anything, I'll get up off my fat behind and find something to do after this.  

I'm in agony with backache and hip ache at the moment, my right hip is becoming more and more of a problem, and the backache seems to have become a permanent fixture.  I think it's because my hip is hurting so much and affecting the way I stand or walk, which in turn is affecting my posture and making my back hurt all the time.  I know I should go to the GP about my hip really, but am sure she'll just say 'well lose some weight you fat cow!'.  Ok, I know she won't put it quite like that, she's far too polite, but she'll mention my weight for sure and it will be what she means.  And she'll be right, of course.  

The trouble is, it's a vicious circle.  For a start, I'm finding the older I get, the harder it is to lose weight, my body seems to want to hang on to every pound of fat.  Being more mobile, exercising or even walking more would surely help to lose a bit of weight and loosen up my stiff joints.  But everything hurts so much, I don't feel inclined to do any exercise, and when I do walk anywhere, like out with the dog, my hip and back hurt so much I just want to collapse in a chair when I get home.  And then I don't want to do anything the next day.  And so it's a neverending circle problem.  We have an exercise bike on the landing, right outside our bedroom door, even that I hardly ever use.  I tried it over the weekend - had to stop after just a couple of minutes, it really exacerbated the pain in my hip.

I suppose I could try warming up my hip first with my 'hottie' (hot water bottle shaped soft corded material filled with some kind of pellets, you heat it up in the microwave) - I'd have to find it first, I just seem to forget about it.  That might help.  

I do need to do something, and quick - if/when husband has to have this foot operation and is out of action for 8 weeks, I'll have to do all the dog walking then, as I mentioned before.  So that's an incentive!

Blast!  I wrote this post on the wrong blog....should be on my other blog, not this food one!  Duh - said I was fuzzy headed this morning didn't I?!

I've reposted this here in the proper place and deleted it off my food blog....sorry about that.

And PS - I now realise I can't transfer the comments I've received from Pam and Briony on this post on the wrong blog - sorry about that, ladies.  Perhaps I should just go back to bed and start again!  

Sunday, 7 April 2019


Thanks for the lovely comments, as always.  I woke up as usual in the early hours of the morning, couldn't get back to sleep so came downstairs....and ended up in floods of tears, thinking about our neighbour.  We've not even known them that long, only a couple of years really since husband retired from work and we've had the time (and the dog) to be out and about more and so seeing more of our neighbours.  Plus of course husband has been helping them with their garden since he retired, it gives him an extra purpose as he didn't want to sit around just watching TV.  But the neighbour was such a kind and lovely man and we will miss him a lot.

Our lovely front garden looks like a bomb's hit it at the moment, husband and friend (another lovely neighbour) are out there laying a patio, which means there are plant pots, garden furniture, tools and general 'stuff' scattered everywhere.  But it's going to look really nice when it's finished, and will cut down a lot on mowing, which is why we're (well, he's) doing it.  I'm keeping them supplied with tea and homemade ginger biscuits.  Betty is desperate to be right in the centre of the action, 'helping' - husband has temporarily fenced off a bit of garden so she can be out there watching but out of the way.

I'm really looking forward to going up to Mum's, I just wish it wasn't such a long journey - 3 hours plus each way, even longer for my brother who's coming from Cornwall, around 4.5 hours each way for him.  It wears me out, and I'm only the passenger!  I hope Mum is well enough to go out for lunch, how she feels changes on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis.  Even if she's well enough, just the effort of getting ready and going out will wear her out and she'll have to have a sleep in the afternoon.  Still, that will give siblings and I a chance to chat again.

It's very grey and dull today, and not particularly warm either, but at least it's not raining.  The forecast for the next couple of days isn't very good though.  

Briony, I can't imagine how you coped with all that amount of work for such a long time - it must indeed have been hell.  We've got a few appointments this coming week, and of course I'll be out all day Wednesday, so at least that's a few times when I won't have to put up with the noise from next door.

I've finished off a card I started yesterday and made another one this morning, it gets easier and quicker with every one and is even more enjoyable.  Made the biscuits for the boys, played with Betty for a bit, sorted some washing out to go on overnight, now I'm about to make a start on preparing the cottage pie for dinner later.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Sad news and good things

Our elderly neighbour died yesterday, very peacefully and with all his family around him.  We are saddened, but it was a blessing for him as he was previously a vital, active man who loved his garden and enjoyed days out and life in general, but his last few months when his health stopped him doing everything he loved were so awful for him, he hated it.  It must be a release/relief for his wife, who hated seeing him suffering and whose life over the past months revolved solely around him and his needs, she had no life of her own and had to give up all the things she did previously to care for him, which she did willingly.

To counter that, the good things are that my wee test results are (finally) back...the test is clear/normal, so that's a relief.  I read it online this morning, no doubt the GP will confirm it on Monday.

And I'm going up to the Midlands to see my Mum on Wednesday, my brother will be picking me up and taking me.  Mum has said she'd like to go out for lunch, if she feels well enough on the day, which will be nice.

Thank you for all the suggestions for coping with the workmen's noise - I think I shall play my music as loudly as I like!  Hazel, you asked if it would be an idea for me to go and stay with my mum or sister - sadly, it's not possible.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Nerves frazzled already

Thank you, yes I am really enjoying my new hobby and think I will be doing a lot of it over the next few weeks, to try and keep my mind occupied (if not my ears!  More of which later).  Good point about the lines on the green cutting mats aiding measuring and cutting in straight lines - next time we go to town I'll have a look in The Works for one.  At the moment I'm using a plastic stencil plate which has a ruler on both edges, and I use a bit of blue tack to keep the paper/card from slipping about on the glass mat when I'm cutting.  It does leave a slight mark sometimes though.  This morning I made a very simple birthday card, it took me just 10 minutes:-

The hardest thing was picking up 2 of the little crystal gems I inadvertently knocked on the floor with my sleeve, duh!

Another couple made in the last few days:-

Apologies for the quality of the photos, taken on my phone.

I've mentioned before that our next door neighbours (and their 3 noisy dogs) moved out a few weeks ago, the house, the other half of our semi and also owned by our landlord, has been empty since then.  The house needs a lot of work doing before the next tenants can move in - old kitchen and bathroom ripped out and new fitted, electrical works, a lot of remedial work to the roof which will involve most of the tiles and framework taken off and renewed, total redecoration indoors and new carpets/flooring fitted throughout.  Scaffolders have arrived this morning and started fitting all the scaffold poles for the roof works, and already my nerves are on edge with all the noise, plus the fact that the workmen have rested some of their scaffold poles on our fairly newly erected fence (which we paid for), blooming cheek.  And all this noise and mess and coming and going will be taking place for the next several weeks - I'll be bald from tearing my hair out way before then!

I know it's got to be done and there's nothing the landlord can do about the noise, etc, but he's not even been in touch to say it's going to be done and apologising in advance, which would have been nice.  We only know about the works by husband asking the various workmen who've been turning up to have a look at what needs doing.  People have no consideration for others nowadays.  We can't afford, nor do we have the time, to go out all day every day until the work is completed, so I guess we're just going to have to put up with it.  It's affecting Betty too, she's been beside herself with excitement and anxiety this morning, partly excited about the thought of potential new playmates, and partly getting her hackles up because she's thinking she has to protect us from invaders!

The landlord has decided, after his roofer workman came to inspect our roof, that no work is necessary for us, which is something I suppose, I wasn't looking forward to that at all.

And to cap it all, I had a terrible night after falling out with my best friend yet again yesterday.  They've let me down before and have been less than helpful or supportive (well, no support at all) over the past few months, but I was reluctant to let them go because of our history.  I'm just so upset, what they said yesterday was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Well, that's that, I must put it all (and them) firmly behind me.  Which will be hard.  

Well, back to the card making.  The irony is, I'd made my friend a lovely one, but they won't be getting it now.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

A thought in the night!

I've had a lovely time this morning making a couple of cards...the idea for the designs came to me during the night, just like recipes do sometimes.  There are occasionally benefits to being unable to sleep!

I've taken photos but won't publish them just yet, in case the recipients see them.

This afternoon I'm going to spend some time cutting out bits and pieces from the mountain of received cards we found in a box the other day.  Some I'll use as card toppers or embellishments, others will be useful as templates for shapes.  I was going to buy a cutting board, but then husband remembered we have a large glass chopping board we don't use, it was in a cupboard in the utility room.  I didn't like it as a chopping board, the screeching noise made by the knives when I was cutting or chopping something put my teeth on edge, but it's fine for use with a craft knife.  It's also good for glueing, as I can wipe the glue off easily.  So that's saved some money - those self healing cutting boards aren't cheap are they?!

Mum's a bit depressed recently, I think the reality of the renal cancer diagnosis is finally hitting home.  She's also worrying about her weight loss - oddly, as she's not lost any more weight recently, and the significant amount of weight she did lose a few months ago was found to be due to the diverticulitis and a gut infection she had.  Apparently, she's been reading the cancer booklet the hospital gave her, and one of the things mentioned in it was unexplained weight loss.  Well, her weight loss wasn't anything to do with her renal cancer, but Mum tends to get a bit confused about things, even though sis and I have explained.

Our elderly neighbour is still hanging on, which is hard for his wife and family - obviously they don't really want him to die, but at the same time, it's hard watching him linger on when they know he's not going to recover.  Life is a bitch sometimes.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

For Hazel

Hazel c uk has sent me loads of cardmaking stamps, I am astounded at the quantity and variety.  Thank you so very much Hazel, it's so extremely kind of you, as I know they can be expensive.  Bloggers are so generous and thoughtful and kind, I am overwhelmed.  I don't know any of you personally, it's unlikely that most of us will ever meet as we're all scattered around the country - and world!  But I consider you all to be my good friends and am so thankful to know you all, and for the support and generosity you all show me.

Thank you again Hazel, and to all who left such kind messages yesterday on the post about our dying neighbour.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Sunshine and sadness

Thanks for all the comments about where to get cheap dies from.  I'm not intending to buy any just yet, think I've got enough stuff to keep me going for quite a while yet!  Unless of course I see some going cheap when I'm out and about....

The cards I've made and sent so far have been received with pleasure, everyone has seemed delighted with them regardless of my mistakes!

Bit of a sad time at the moment....we have elderly neighbours 3 doors down, a really lovely couple, husband helps them out with gardening and odd jobs now and then, as they both have health problems, I've been making them a soda bread loaf every week as the husband can't have yeasted bread.  The husband is in his 80s (his wife is around 12 years younger) and has been very unwell with a variety of problems for over a year, he's had several stays in hospital.  Recently he decided he didn't want to go to hospital anymore, he was adamant he was staying at home regardless.  He's deteriorated over the past few weeks and has been bedridden for about a month.  Sadly, he took a turn for the worse last week, he's not eating and is barely conscious, the doctor says it's just a matter of time now.  He has nurses in twice a day and is comfortable and relatively pain free with meds.  His family are there, in fact one of the sons was supposed to go on holiday to Barbados today but has cancelled it.  We've been in to basically say our goodbyes, he just about knew we were there.  I don't expect we shall see him again.  Very sad.

As it's such a lovely day, we've been out to the beach with Betty.  Somerset, although on the coast, isn't exactly blessed with beautiful beaches, it's no Cornwall or Devon.  However, there are one or two areas that are quite pretty, Dunster beach being one of them.  It has the added bonus of a tea hut and toilets, a large beach which is sandy once you get past the big pebbles from the car park, and a paved footpath at the back of the beach, going to Minehead one way and Blue Anchor Bay the other.  Steam trains run past during holiday times, and you can see Wales in the distance across the Bristol channel on a clear day.  

We took a picnic and treats and water for the dog.  How times have changed - previously we would have taken sandwiches or a pasty and crisps - today we took a Greek salad and a pot of chopped up fruit.  And it was lovely!  We had a mug of tea from the tea hut, along with a sneaky piece of Victoria sandwich cake between us.  They'd made it themselves and it was moist and delicious, I couldn't have made it better myself.  There was a bit of a cold breeze on the beach, but when it dropped it was very warm, warm enough to be without a jacket.

It was nice to have a few hours out in the sunshine, to take our minds off things and get away from it all for a while.