Friday, 30 August 2019

Clearly a pariah

My saying that I find it too upsetting to see my mother as she becomes more and more unwell is having severe consequences.  One family member sent me a loving message saying that, whilst my decision wouldn't be hers, she totally understands.  Another close relation, however, is totally blanking me, I can almost feel the disapproval coming off them in waves, and that I find really hard.  I know another close relative, whilst they haven't said anything yet, will most likely have plenty to say in due course, and none of it will be good - and they do it on social media, unfortunately.  

As I said before, it's my decision to make and I have to live with that for the rest of my life.  We all cope with hard things in different ways.

Spending the morning at the hospital supporting husband - he's having urine flow tests today and will need to be there for a couple of hours.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

The consequences

Thank you for all your comments on my wish to remember my Mum as she was in happier, healthier times, and not as she is now, which I find just too distressing.  Just thinking about the photo sis sent me reduces me to tears, I don't even have to look at it.  I know I won't be able to hold back the tears if I actually see Mum, and that's not going to help either of us.  Some of my family and friends don't agree with my decision, but it is mine to make and I have to live with the consequences of that.

I've decided I'm going to make and send her cards a couple of times a week, with brief chatty messages about what we've been doing.  Mum's eyesight is very poor so sis or younger bro will have to read the cards out to her, but I'll make them bright and colourful so she'll be able to just about see the front of the cards.  Ringing Mum is getting to be more and more problematical - sometimes she's fairly lucid, other times not, increasingly so, cards seem to be a better alternative.  Wish I'd thought of it before.

Just about everything I eat seems to be upsetting my stomach at the mo, all my muscles and joints are aching, my sleep (lack of) is back to the worst, and I have palpitations and tension headaches - I know it's all to do with Mum and a couple of other stressful things.  It'll all sort itself out the meantime, I'm being extremely careful about what I eat.  

It's my 60th birthday in a couple of's been a standing joke in my family for years and years that I'm 39 every birthday as I refuse to accept that my body is getting that old whilst my mind and outlook remain young.  However, I must say I do feel my age at the moment.

Monday, 26 August 2019

My poor Mum

Thanks for the comments re the BT resolution, it's just a pity that I had to go to those lengths and suffer so much stress to get it resolved.  It wore me out, frankly.  I'm happy it's dealt with, but will never be fully confident that the problems won't recur.  At least though, if they do, I can ring the exec assistant direct, as per her instructions, and she'll get it resolved.

My better sleep was just a one-off, I had a terrible night last night.  Yesterday, my sister managed to take Mum to her church meeting, for the first time in months....Mum had been saying she really missed the meeting and all her friends.  It took a lot of organisation for sis, and they only stayed for a short while as she knew it would take it out of Mum.  Sis sent me a photo she took of Mum and her best friend, Rose, sitting beside each other in their wheelchairs after the service.  Oh it made me cry - Rose, who's as unwell as Mum and has had as many hospital admissions, looks hale and hearty.  Mum looks utterly dreadful, she's lost loads of weight (sis did tell me she's just skin and bone now), she has a deathly pallor, her hair is extremely thin and wispy, she's gaunt and haggard and just looks like a corpse, the contrast between the two of them is startling.  Mum's gone downhill so much in the 2 months since sis last sent me a photo of her, she's practically unrecognisable as the same person.  The only saving grace is that Mum has a smile on her face and actually looks happy.  The photo haunted me all night, I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I know I should go and see Mum, before it's too late, to be blunt.  I don't want to ask husband to take me up there, it's too long a journey for him now.  Both times recently when he's had to do longish journeys (to Aunt's funeral and nephew's wedding, both in nearby towns and the journeys thus taking similar times) he's been totally worn out when we've got home, he says he hates driving any distance now as he finds it too much of a strain both physically and mentally.  And those journeys took about 2's about 3.5 hours up to see Mum.  I know I could go with my brother....except that he's very busy with work at the moment (he's self employed in a tourist based business).  But the real reason is that I don't really want to go - I don't want my last visual memories of my Mum to be as a wizened haggard thin very ill old lady with dementia.  And coming so soon after seeing my beloved Aunt's final terrible illness and death in hospital, it's just too upsetting.

I know it's selfish of me and I do feel extremely guilty about it, but I just can't do it.  I'm very tearful today.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

A happy BT resolution

The BT exec assistant rang me as promised on Friday, and we've come to a satisfactory conclusion regarding compensation.  They've given us £25 for each of the 2 missed engineer appointments, a month and a bit refund on monthly line rental, half price line rental for 18 months, plus £2 a month discount on our calling plan.  Oh, and 5 mins later she rang back, asking what home hub we'd been sent a fortnight ago....when I told her it was a Hub 4, she said she'd send a brand new latest model Smart Hub 6 - it arrived yesterday.  When the Hub 4 arrived, I thought at the time what a cheek, I knew it wasn't the most up to date model and thought they clearly just send out the next version up of whatever model the customer currently has, rather than giving them the newest version.  And the fact that the exec assistant stressed that this Hub 6 is a brand new one, makes me think that the Hub 4 we were sent wasn't even a new one but probably a reconditioned one!  Anyway, it's all fine now, we're happy, the speed is much improved and the signal hasn't dropped out for several days.  The compensation is welcome, but that was never an issue, we just wanted an adequate service and signal and that's what we've now got.  Laura also thanked me for bringing all the customer service faults to her attention, she said it was very helpful and measures will be put in place for better training, and people spoken to as necessary.

I do realise that BT are helping themselves as much as us, they're not being completely selfless....they are in effect tying us to another 18 months with them.  Well, seeing as there's no real viable alternative where we live, we would have stayed with them anyway, we know of a couple of neighbours who have tried TalkTalk and Sky and pronounced them no better.  Our new neighbours say they're going to try EE as BT is so rubbish....I wonder how they'll get on with that, our mobile phone signal with EE is very hit and miss.

I didn't feel very well at all last night, it was a combination of things physical and emotional, so went to bed early and, amazingly, went to sleep immediately.  Which meant I was awake and downstairs by 02.30 am, for an hour or 2, then went back to bed, went to sleep again (a surprise) and woke up at 7 am...another surprise.  Can't remember the last time I slept in that late.  I feel much better for it today.  Am in a contemplative mood today, going to have a quiet morning in the kitchen - husband has just brought in a boxful of veg from the garden which will all need prepping and freezing.

This afternoon we're going to the village hall (in the next, larger, village - there's no hall in our hamlet) with our neighbour friends, there's a cream tea event going on in support of church funds.  

Friday, 23 August 2019

Nice catch up and the weekend

Morning all, thanks for the comments about the duct tape - how odd for such a thing to work!  I'll be giving it a try I think, once husband's looked for the tape in his shed (and cleaned it off!).  I used to get verrucas quite often at school but never had one since, until now.  It's only very small, but as it's under my heel and I'm standing on it all the time, it's quite painful.

Yesterday turned out to be quite a good day, I helped husband get a trailer load of gravel in (he tells me it's not's oh I forget the name, stone for mixing in with cement!)....whatever it's called, it's blooming heavy and dusty.  I made a couple of cards....can't show photos yet as the recipients sometimes read my blog.  Played with the dog for a while - she's such a delight, makes me laugh every single day.  Then my best friend came round late afternoon for a coffee and quick catch up, which was lovely and a mood booster.  We don't get nearly enough time together though.

I slept better last night, but was still up very early.  I don't really mind that though, I like early mornings.  Unfortunately though, husband got up shortly after....he puts the TV on straight away and talks at me all the time - I like peace and quiet to wake up slowly!  Although I get up early, I'm not a morning person....I'm quite grumpy until I've had my bucket of coffee and perused the papers/blogs online.

Got to help husband again this morning, another trailer load (sand this time) to empty....he reckons that's the last of it. He's still concreting parts of the front garden, doing it a bit at a time, seems to be taking forever.  But he's doing it at his own pace and having regard for his health, which is good, I'll just be glad when it's finished and I can get my front garden looking nice looks like a building site at the mo.  Then he's off out this afternoon, leaving me in peace with the dog for 3 hours.  I might do some baking, or I might just lie on the bed with the dog and read!

No idea what we're going to do this weekend, it's forecast to be hot and sunny, we're not going anywhere touristy though as it'll be too busy.  Neighbour friends mentioned about us all going to the village hall on Sunday, they're doing a cream tea in aid of church funds, I think, so we'll probably do that.  

Thursday, 22 August 2019

A minor irritation to add to the majors

Fingers crossed, our broadband seems to be working just fine now, it's still speedy (for here) and seems to have stopped dropping out all the time.  And it's only taken 7 years to get put right πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜’.  The engineer lady Sarah said that she'd heard BT plan to have superfast fibre installed everywhere by 2025....I still won't believe that until/if it happens.  Still, we're happy with what we've now got, so long as it lasts.

My sleeping patterns had improved somewhat over the past few weeks, but have gone downhill again since the weekend - as bad as it's ever been.  Last night I don't think I got more than 2 hours sleep in total.  Things are preying on my mind again....husband's UTI and prostate problems, which are ongoing, Mum's continuing poor physical health and advancing dementia, and other things that are also worrying me.  And I've now got a verruca on the sole of my left foot - a silly little unimportant thing, but it's blimmin' painful.  I showed it to our practice nurse the other day, when I'd accompanied husband to his latest appointment - she confirmed it's a verruca but said the NHS don't offer treatment now, as the treatments available largely don't work anyway and it's just a case of waiting for it to go.  Oh well.

I shan't be doing much today just coz I'm so knackered - got an idea for a new card design so I'll work on that, maybe do a bit of pruning in the front garden, and keep husband supplied with drinks whilst he's doing some cementing and gravelling....and make sure he takes appropriate breaks.  Must ring the groomers as well....Betty is booked in for next week, but husband has just had an appointment in for his urine flow test, and of course it's the same day - isn't it always the way?!  His need is greater than Betty's so her appointment will have to be rescheduled.  I should also get in touch with our old electricity supplier - the transfer to the new one is complete and was done easily, however, the old supplier is dragging their heels about giving us a refund of the amount we'd overpaid.  As it's about £70, I'm not letting it go.  Why is everything such a battle these days? 😑

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

New blog

Just to say my new cardmaking blog is now live, the address is

Success (she says guardedly)

The BT engineer, a young lady called Sarah, arrived at 08.45!  She was here for 3 hours, first checking and testing everything, then replacing things.  Oh, I had an email from BT saying she would be arrived when she'd already been here a couple of hours - but then the broadband had been off most of the morning.

She replaced the cable from the telegraph pole to the house.  Incidentally, the other 3 houses in our row have all had their cables renewed, ours is the only one that hadn't been.  Presumably, this is because the other 3 houses have all had new tenants in (several changes of tenants, actually) and BT engineers have come out to do things every time a new tenant moves in and becomes a new customer.  We've been here 7 years, we didn't have a new cable connected when we moved in and haven't since, despite having engineers out on several occasions in the past because of problems.  Sarah said she couldn't understand why the cable hadn't been renewed previously, as it was clearly very old - in fact it actually fractured and disintegrated in her hands when she took it down!  I can only assume she'd been told from high up (the CEO's executive assistant) that this is a special case and to do everything properly.

She also fitted a new junction box - we've had a new one fitted before, but she said this one is the latest updated version.  She renewed wiring, inside and out, and fitted a filter thing (I have no idea what any of this stuff is, by the way!).

She said the system, which was working fine by this time, will take up to a week to settle will apparently drop in and out during this time whilst it sorts itself out.  She told us to phone the helpline and ask them to do an SNR reset (not a clue!) about an hour after she'd gone (some kind of signal boost thing on new equipment, apparently) - we've done that, although I found it a bit odd that we were asked to, shouldn't that be part of their job?

Sarah also said when she was leaving that if we have any further problems after the week is up, to ring her on her mobile (number given in the email) and she will try to sort it out.  Hmm, BT seem to be showering us with direct phone numbers now!

The signal has dropped out a few times, for just a few seconds at a time, but certainly seems much speedier.  

And then in the afternoon Laura, the executive assistant from the CEO's office, rang me to ask how everything went.  When I told her what the engineer had done, and said it all seemed fine now, she wanted to sign off the complaint as resolved.....I wouldn't let her though.  I said I don't want it marked as resolved until after the settling down period is over and we're satisfied that it is in fact all fixed and to keep it as an 'open' fault until then.  She said that's ok and will ring me again in a week, at which time compensation will also be discussed.  If we have any further problems, I must ring her direct and not go through the helpline or anyone else.

I'm happy with how things have gone so far.  Let's hope it stays that way!

Monday, 19 August 2019

Thanks and waiting for BT - again

Thanks for all the comments.  

I don't normally ask husband for his opinion on what I'm wearing, nor does he normally venture one.  I guess I was hoping for (and needed) a bit of reassurance because, although I love the dress, I did feel kind of odd wearing it simply because it's so alien to me.  I needed a bit of a confidence boost, instead of which he slaughtered it.  And to think I'd told him he looked good and scrubbed up well! 😑

I'm over it now, but admit to feeling reluctant to wear the dress again, should a 'dressing up' occasion arise.

A BT engineer is supposed to be coming this morning....I'll believe it when (if) I see one.  Even though the appointment has been arranged by the CEO's executive assistant, the fact that an engineer has supposedly been booked to come twice before, and didn't turn up either time as it turned out they hadn't actually made the booking with Openreach, I have absolutely no faith in anything they tell me anymore.  Laura (from the CEO's office) is allegedly going to ring me this afternoon.  I hope she does.

The broadband currently is the worst it's ever was off altogether for 3 or 4 periods of between 1 and 2.5 hours over the weekend, and the speed (ha!) is so ridiculously slow that it renders the internet virtually unusable.....I could go in the kitchen and make a cup of tea whilst I'm waiting for a page to load.  And trying to do any banking, eg, is impossible - by the time pages load, the bank website has logged me out.  The signal is dropping out again constantly whilst I'm typing this, so it may not even get published today.  

I left a very disgruntled message on Laura's answerphone over the weekend, indicating just how fed up we are with this.  This is the 21st century for goodness sake, it's like being in the Dark Ages.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Men are from Mars.....

I've debated whether or not to post this entry, as it's quite a personal one, and is something that upset me a lot.

I'd bought a dress a couple of months ago, specifically for the wedding.  As I've mentioned before, I don't wear dresses - I didn't even possess one and haven't done for years and years.  I almost never wear skirts either, I only have 2 skirts, which I keep for weddings and funerals!  I live in jeans, jeggings, leggings and capri pants all the time and have done ever since I stopped working in an office environment about 10 or 11 years ago.  I'm definitely a casual dresser, even more so now that we live in the country and I haven't been out to work since 2010.  

So, this dress.....a very nice wrapover style, just below knee length, ruffled edges, in pale bluey green with large flowers on it.  It fits me very well, I do like it a lot, although feel quite uncomfortable in it, purely because I just don't wear dresses or dress up!  Going out wear for me is a smart pair of black jeans with a nice top and smartish cardi, and some jewellery or a scarf, normally.

So anyway, we got dressed on the morning of the wedding, husband in a smart pair of navy trousers, white shirt, mid blue jacket, and a matching navy flowered tie and handkerchief for his top pocket, he also wore a grey V-necked jumper as he feels the cold nowadays because of his heart failure.  I put on my dress, new lovely white short cardi with ruffled sleeves and hem, new white sandals and white lace clutch bag.  'What do you think?' I asked husband.....he gave me a quick glance and replied 'It'd look nice if you lost a few pounds'.  And just like that, my confidence and self esteem hit the floor and I felt tears welling up.  'Thanks a lot' I muttered and he, belatedly realising he'd put his foot in it, said sorry and what he meant was....I told him to shut up before he dug a deeper hole.

I had to go upstairs and shut myself in the bathroom for a few minutes.  I thought well if I let this get to me, it's going to ruin the whole day for me, a day I've been looking forward to for months.  So I pulled myself together, put it out of my mind and got on with the day.

But I've been thinking about it ever since, and it really has upset me.  It's not the first time husband has made a tactless or even downright rude comment about or to me - don't get me wrong, he doesn't do it all the time, in fact it's fairly uncommon, but when he does it's always fairly spectacularly rude.  I know he loves me, he's just bloody thoughtless!

I know I need to lose weight, I don't think he said it deliberately to have a dig about my weight, even as a misguided attempt to get me to try and lose some.  I just think he blurted it out unintentionally, he didn't engage his brain before putting his mouth in gear.  

I have another male friend who is a huge joker, but some of his so-called jokes can be just plain hurtful too.  

I know there's the whole 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' thing....but are they really just so tactless, or are women (or me specifically) too sensitive?

Lovely day

The wedding was beautiful, marred slightly by the heavy freezing rain and strong wind....everything had to be held in the Orangery, whereas we should have been eating the lovely food outside, and the photos were meant to be done in the gorgeous grounds (the photographer did drag us outside during brief lulls in the downpours).  But it didn't take away from the fabulous day, and the couple looked beautiful together and were so happy.

Betty had a good time with our friends, I think....and they said she behaved herself!  (I'm sure she didn't have much option 😁).  M did send me a couple of photos during the afternoon, of Betty asleep on her bed, so that put my mind at rest.

I noticed in one of the photos I took of husband yesterday afternoon, he looks very tired and a bit gaunt - he says he feels his latest UTI is not really responding to the new meds.  He also finds any significant distance driving nowadays very hard (the journey there through holiday traffic took 2.5 hours, just 1.5 hours on the return home).  So we'll be having an easy quiet day.  I'll try and put some photos on next time.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Something nice for a change

We have a family wedding this afternoon, we're really looking forward to it....a chance to catch up with relatives we haven't seen for a while, on a very happy occasion, rather than the sad one last week.  It's my nephew and his fiancΓ©e, a lovely couple.  It's being held at what used to be an old abbey, in private ownership now and converted to a wedding and conference centre and with beautiful grounds, open to the public.  Sadly, the forecast is for heavy rain and winds all afternoon - the ceremony (and the following reception with a hog roast...yum) is being held indoors, thankfully, in the orangery.  However, they were going to be holding a scavenger hunt in the grounds after the ceremony.....don't think we'll be doing that!  Although I suppose the young people (big group of Uni friends) might, they're probably hardier and more adventurous than us oldies!  Anyway, I'm wearing a dress, bought new for the occasion - case of having to as I don't do dresses, living in jeans and jeggings all the time - so I don't fancy getting all bedraggled when I've gone to the trouble of dressing up for once!  

The dress is a wrapover style - probably not ideal for a windy day!  There's a bit of a walk apparently from the car park to the venue, and no chance for husband to drop me off, only for the immediate wedding party, it seems.  Will have to take a rain mac, wellies, umbrella and a plastic bag to put it all in then πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜œ

I've made a lovely wedding card (think I mentioned it before, it's my favourite one yet, will show a pic on my new card blog when I've got round to setting it up properly) and a gold organza bag to hold the card, seeing as it's a 3D one with a bunch of tissue paper flowers on the front, which wouldn't fit in an envelope.  The couple have asked for no gifts (they live together already), saying that if people want to, they can make donations to a couple of their favourite charities - how nice is that?  We've done that, but have also bought a small gift, which I've wrapped in a matching style to the card, again I'll put a pic on soon.

Our good friends are having Betty for the day - I hope they all get on alright!  Betty knows them well and loves them (although friend M isn't as tolerant with her as I am...but then it is his house she'll be staying in for the day!  I have asked him not to tell her off ALL day πŸ˜‚πŸ˜).  She'll be fine with them, I know....I'm just a bit nervous about it as I've never left her with anyone else before, certainly not for so many hours.  I shall be asking them for photo updates during the day.....I'm only half joking hehe.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Another BT update - good and bad

Following on from my email to the CEO of BT yesterday, this morning I had a phone call from a nice lady called Laura, from his Executive Customer Resolutions Team.  She said she would be taking personal charge of our complaint and would be seeing it through to a satisfactory resolution.  She'd looked at the recent history on our account and agreed that it was awful.  She said that as an engineer was booked for this morning, she would await his report by the end of the day and would give me a ring at 9 am tomorrow morning to discuss the next steps.  In the meantime, she said that the compensation amount of £25 for the engineer not turning up on Tuesday, which we'd been told would go in our bank account but has in fact been credited to our BT phone account, would now be going into our bank account, she's authorised it herself.  She said she would text me her direct phone line number and email address and I can get in touch with her directly at any time.  She texted immediately after her phone call with the promised details - good start.

About 20 minutes later, I had a further phone call from her.  She'd decided to check that the engineer was in fact definitely coming today....only to find that he wasn't!  Same thing as Tuesday, the phone operator husband spoke to booked the appointment, but omitted to send the details over to Openreach!  What on earth is wrong with them?  At the very least, they need proper training!  So once again we've been sitting in waiting for an engineer who wasn't even booked to come....unbelievable.  Laura was very apologetic indeed and said she would be having words with the offending operators, to find out why they hadn't done the job properly and make sure it didn't happen again.  She's booked us another appointment for Monday morning and promised that an engineer will definitely come, as she's handling the appointment booking herself.  We shall see!  She's going to ring me again on Monday afternoon.

She mentioned compensation again, and said that they will be looking to give us an extra goodwill payment on top of the compensation....I told her that we're not accepting anything until the complaint is resolved to our satisfaction (a friend advised that - thank you M x).

I told her that our No. 1 complaint is that the broadband signal drops out constantly - we're not that bothered about the slow speed, as we don't do gaming or anything that needs really fast speeds, but we do want and need a consistent service.  I then said our second most important and irritating complaint is that they lie to us - every single time we have the misfortune to have to speak to them.  I said we're paying them for a service that they are simply not providing, and that their customer 'service' to date has been rubbish.  She agreed.  

So....they're buggers once again for being so bloody inefficient and making us wait in for an engineer they haven't actually booked....but someone at the top has actually taken notice of my email and is endeavouring to put things right.  

I bloody hope the engineer DOES turn up on Monday, or Laura is going to be in for a rough ride in the afternoon!  I should give her the benefit of the doubt, but can't help being sceptical because they've been so inefficient at best, and downright dishonest at worst, thus far.

Diverting away from the dreaded BT stuff

BT sent us an email late yesterday afternoon, stating they are looking into our complaint.  Whether that's down to husband's phone call on Tuesday, or me emailing the CEO yesterday, I don't know.  The engineer is supposed to come this morning, I make no other comment.

All this stress is doing my guts and sleep patterns no good at all.  So today I shall leave husband to deal with the engineer (if he comes) and I'll retreat upstairs to do some cardmaking.  

I'm in the process of creating another blog, purely to do with cardmaking.  I enjoy it so much and am learning new things all the time, so want to document it all on a dedicated blog.  I'll give the blog link once it's up and running.

In the meantime, has anyone heard of - or use - something called Flower Soft?  It's a method of making little flower sprays from a pot of coloured sprinkles, for use in cardmaking or crafts.  I happened upon it by accident and am very interested in it.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Update on BT

Just a quick update....thank you Annabeth and TA for the Chief Exec info, I have just emailed him with some further information and a copy of my blog post.  We'll see if this produces any results!

BT - Liars once again!

I am so annoyed with BT - REALLY annoyed.  

The arrangement made between husband and BT last Friday was that an engineer would come yesterday, Tuesday, between 08.00 and 13.00, and husband was told that the engineer would ring us 30 mins before he came.  I was sceptical, to say the least, because of their previous track record.  

At 11.45 husband rang BT to ask whether the engineer was definitely coming....he was told yes.  Husband pointed out that our broadband was off, and had been for around 2 hours, coming on briefly for a few minutes (during which time I managed to post yesterday's blog) and then going off again.  The BT operative on the phone told husband that the engineer most likely was working on our line in the exchange, hence our broadband being off.  What?!?!  Husband said it would have been nice to be informed of what was going on, rather than arbitrarily switching us off with no notice.  The man on the phone apologised.  

By 13.10 the engineer hadn't appeared, and we'd had no phone call from him.  And our broadband was still off, although it had again come back on a couple of times, for just a few minutes at a time.  And so husband rang again.....and there began a comedy farce of lies.

My husband expressed his displeasure that the engineer hadn't appeared, or phoned.  After being put on hold for a while, the man (a different one to earlier) apologised and said due to an oversight on the part of the person who took husband's call last week, a fault report didn't get sent and the engineer from Openreach hadn't actually been we'd been waiting in all morning for an engineer who was never going to come!  Husband was understandably annoyed and said so, at which point the BT man said....wait for it....that the fault had actually been repaired by Openreach the day before, on the Monday!!  Oh really?!  (said my husband)....So are they clairvoyant then?  I mean, how could they repair a fault they didn't know was there as they hadn't actually been sent a fault report?!  

Good point, the BT man quickly said, stating he was simply reading Openreach's report on his screen! (making things up as he went along, more like).  And, said my husband, in any case, it's not been repaired as the damn broadband is actually OFF at the moment and has been all morning!

The upshot of this was that the BT man said we would be given £25 compensation for the engineer not turning up, he said it would be refunded direct to our bank account.  Husband asked what about the £8 per day compensation they'd previously told us we'd be getting?  The man ummed and ahhed and eventually said we would get it.....backdated to last Friday.  Erm no, said my husband, we were told previously it would be from the date we first reported the fault, which was the 26 July to the best of our knowledge.  The Scottish guy husband spoke to on that day did a few things then pronounced our broadband fixed - which it clearly wasn't as it went exceedingly slow and kept dropping out even more almost immediately after.  

We then rang again on Weds 31 July and spoke to a very nice lady, she couldn't have been nicer, more apologetic or more helpful on the phone, she said she'd send us a new Hub which would arrive the following day (it did, amazingly), we'd get a text from the carrier before delivery (we didn't, not that it mattered as the Hub did arrive when she'd said it would), and that she herself would give us a courtesy call on Friday 2 August to check that everything was ok.  She said to give the Hub a week or so to settle down, but that if things were no better, to ring them back and arrange for an engineer.  She also said she would raise a complaint for us as the problem hadn't been fixed as the previous man had said it was, and it was she who told us we'd get compensation of £8 per day backdated to the first reporting of the fault.

Well, guess what - she didn't call back much for me thinking she was so nice!  And we've heard nothing about the so-called complaint she said she'd raise.  

Yesterday's BT man (we did actually get his full name, although he was somewhat reluctant to give his surname.....Daniel Fellowes) said that we weren't entitled to compensation backdated to the first complaint, as....again, wait for it....the fact that they'd sent us a new Home Hub did away with the need for that!!!  Again, WHAT?!?!  But the new Hub HASN'T CURED THE PROBLEM!

By this time I was almost incandescent with rage, the BT man heard me shouting.  Husband had opted to speak to them rather than me, as he does remain fairly calm, whereas I don't.  

The current state of play is that another engineer has been booked to come on Thursday morning, and a BT Customer Service manager will be ringing to speak to us on Saturday.  Quite frankly, I don't believe a word they say, as they LIE ALL THE TIME!  Oh, and another thing.....astonishingly, we got an email from BT within half an hour of husband speaking to them, it said that, as discussed, £25 has been refunded to us.  I checked - it our BT phone account, not to our bank account as Daniel Fellowes said.  And no sign of the £8 per day compensation, backdated to any date!

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Hooray for good doctors

The GP phoned yesterday (at least they do what they say they will!) - in fact he rang twice.  The first time to confirm that husband does indeed have another UTI - well, it's the same one all the time, it just doesn't go away fully.  The GP said he's not keen on giving husband yet more antibiotics as, in his words, he's had every one known to man as it is!  He said the danger is that husband will become antibiotic resistant.  I said (husband was out at the time) I understood, but that the infection will never go away if it's not treated, so what's the alternative?  GP said he didn't know, but would phone the consultant and get advice (hooray!).  I'm so glad he did....he rang back 20 mins later to say the consultant (a locum one, husband's one is on holiday for 3 weeks) told him to try another type of drug, an antibacterial, husband is to be on it for an initial period of 1 month.  In the meantime, the consultant said he would arrange for husband to have a flow test, to check exactly how much urine is being left behind when he pees (which is apparently, in the absence of any other firm diagnosis, what could be causing the repeated UTIs).  All we know for definite so far is that husband's prostate is grossly enlarged - twice the size it should be - and it's squashing his bladder and urethra.  The consultant said that having this test will push things along whilst the regular consultant is away - hooray for a GP who's not afraid to ask for advice, and a consultant who is proactive and understands the distress caused by husband having these repeated UTIs for months and still no relief or proper diagnosis.

I've had a stomach upset since the funeral last week, it seems to be ongoing.  I don't feel unwell, just need to stay near a loo!  In fact, I've felt distinctly under par for weeks, I guess it's all the stress.

Still no plumber.  Just hope the BT engineer turns up this morning.  They said he will phone 30 mins before the appointment - seeing as BT told me the last time I spoke to them that we'd get both a courtesy phone call and a text, neither of which happened, I'll believe it when (if) it happens.  BT just lie all the time.

Meanwhile, since we've had the new hub, our broadband speed over the past few days has actually improved a lot, speed tests show it now averages around 1 or even 1.1 mbps.  Wow!  Yes I know it's still ridiculously slow, but it's the highest we've ever had in the 7 years we've been living here.  However, the signal is dropping out more than ever - several times an hour, it's dropped out 4 times whilst writing this post**, hence I now know to save my text every few sentences.  It's very annoying when it happens whilst I'm trying to type an email, or comment on a blog (they just disappear) or, worse, when doing some online banking.  This is the 21st century, why can't they just fix it and provide a decent service for goodness sake!

**Edit - the 4th time the broadband outage lasted 1.5 hours, it's just come back on.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Still plodding on

Got a busy-ish week, 2 engineers to come and repair things....the BT one coming tomorrow, a plumber to sort out our hot water pump which keeps running on even when switched off.  No idea when he's coming, he just turns up when he's in the area!  He's employed (and paid) by the landlord and is a nice bloke, it's just a bit inconvenient sometimes not knowing when he's coming, but that's the way they seem to work.

Got a small bit of shopping to do, and some food and a new bed to get for Betty, and then I need to have a morning making her some food to freeze.  Husband has a couple of jobs to do for neighbours, I have some cards to make.  And we have a family wedding on Friday, which I'm really looking forward to.

Husband's expecting a phone call from the GP today, with his latest wee test results from the lab.  He took a sample in last week (he does most weeks), a quick dip test there and then showed the infection is still present.  All the antibiotics he's been taking for months now don't seem to clear it up completely, they just keep it subdued.  At least he's not getting the pain on peeing now, although it's still tingling and he still has the frequency issues.  His CT scan results were a bit inconclusive, no 'nasties' visible (in the consultant's words), but he admitted that parts of his bladder and urethra are still not visible because of the grossly enlarged prostate, so it's impossible to be 100% certain.  He said husband will probably need some treatment for his prostate, but didn't say what!  The consultant (who husband has still yet to see) is going to discuss husband's problems with his colleagues at their next joint fortnightly meeting.  We are both so totally fed up with all this uncertainty, we just wish that they would discover and tell us exactly what's wrong, it's so bloody frustrating not knowing and therefore not having a solution to husband's ongoing UTIs.

Nothing much changes for me, I'm still knackered from lack of sleep and putting up with back and hip pain, they're all constants now.  Just keep plodding on!  (or limping on).

Friday, 9 August 2019

For Ann


Ann of 'An Ordinary Devonshire Life' has sent me a beautifully wrapped parcel of cardmaking goodies, lots of lovely and very useful toppers and stamps, along with a gorgeous handmade card.  Thank you so much.   If our internet wasn't so rubbish (even more so than usual) at the moment, I'd show some photos.

On the subject of our rubbish internet, husband has again spoken to BT, who are sending out an engineer next week.  They've said if a fault is found which is theirs, they will give us compensation to the tune of £8 per day, backdated to the day we first reported the fault (I said in that case, they should backdate it years, as we've been complaining to them about the rubbish broadband for pretty much the entire almost 7 years we've lived here).  If the fault is found to be with our equipment or inside our house, then we have to pay them £85.  At the moment, on the quick virtual tests they do, they're saying they can't find a fault, which is what they always say.  Well, if there's no fault, then why doesn't the damn thing work properly?!  Why hasn't it EVER worked properly?!

Thank you again Ann, I shall take your advice and lose myself in card making, especially whilst we have this horrible weather going on - galeforce winds and squally rain.  Been up since just after 03.00, a thunderstorm woke me up so I came downstairs to keep Betty company, she was wide awake and a bit anxious but soon settled down once she knew I was staying down with her.  I dozed off in the armchair and woke about 05.30 with a stiff neck.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019


Well, the funeral's done and dusted.  I'd been dreading it but in the event it was fine, the celebrant lady (non-religious speaker) delivered a lovely warm and personal eulogy that had me in floods of tears, particularly when she mentioned me and some special memories Sylvia and I shared.  I have my (temporary) pink highlights, my own personal tribute to Sylvia, and several people commented on my likeness to her, which was nice.  One of the pictures of her on the Order of Service was one where she had the same highlights, it was taken (by my husband actually) on her 60th birthday, so I'm very nearly the same age as she was in that photo.

I'm glad it's over, but am having great difficulty taking in the fact that I will never see my aunt again.  Despite the fact that I saw her in hospital just a couple of hours before she died, somehow it still doesn't seem real.

Monday, 5 August 2019

No change

Thank you for comments, husband's UTI is no better at present, but he's soldiering on.  Still no letter giving scan results, he did try ringing this morning, it was an answerphone, he's left a message.

TA, yes BT is our only option here....a couple of neighbours out of sheer frustration with BT did try TalkTalk and Sky - worse if anything (if that's possible!).  We knew when we moved here that internet wouldn't be great....I wouldn't mind so much, but it's actually deteriorated quite a lot from what it was when we moved in, and yet BT (who are ALWAYS working on poles and cabinets in the area) claim there's no fault.  The new hub is still dropping out, 4 days after installation (they said to give it 3 days), and is still exceptionally slow.....and signal has already disappeared twice in the few minutes I've been typing this.  Dc, thank you for the info re BT wifi-with-FON - no better, the signal is just as bad.  I think the trouble is, this is a very small community here and there just aren't enough customers to make it worth BT's (or anybody else's) while to provide a better service.  We all went to a meeting in the village hall a couple of years ago, to a presentation provided by a new communications company who were promising all sorts of fantastic speeds - even they admitted, when questioned, that it would cost them too much to provide a service here to this tiny hamlet.  They were only really interested in the larger neighbouring parish, which is full of big posh houses and well-off residents.

I probably won't be posting much here in the near future....too much going on, rubbish internet, and a feeling of being out of control over what's happening in our lives.  I'm not depressed, just stressed as usual.  I will probably try to start posting again (internet dependent) on my food blog, as making food is about the only thing I do actually have control over right now.

Aunt's funeral is on Wednesday and I'm dreading it.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Bloody hell

Internet since we've had the new hub is just as bad, if not worse, and I'm downright bloody fed up with it, it's yet another stress.  It's a pain in the arse trying to do banking or an email when the damn broadband keeps going off halfway through.  Oh, and the nice lady from BT who said she would phone Friday to see how we're getting on....didn't.  Nor did we get the promised text from the delivery company to say when the hub would be delivered...not that it was a problem, the hub came when they said it would.  But BT lied again, as they have done almost every time we've been unfortunate enough to have to speak to them.

Still not had husband's scan results, although his GP managed to partly access them via the hospital records.  The scan showed there is a problem with his urinary tract, and there's lumpiness in the middle of his prostate.  GP said as he's not a specialist, he can't interpret the results.  He's writing to the consultant, asking for an urgent update.  And husband's got a raging infection again and yet more antibiotics.

Normal blog service will be resumed when (if!) the broadband is sorted out.  In the meantime, I'm sorry for not commenting on blogs.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Ho hum, and fingers crossed

I spoke too soon yesterday....the internet with the new hub was fine for the time it took for me to do a bit of banking and post my blog.  I put the laptop down and went off to do other things straight after, and when I came back to the laptop a few hours later, the internet was off again - and remained off for several hours.  Well, it came back on intermittently, for literally just a few minutes at a time before going off again, and was so slow it was almost unusable, as it took so long for a page to load.  Upon reading the little instruction book which came with the new hub (why are these things printed in such tiny letters?  Or is that just me getting old?), it does say that it may take up to 3 days for the thing to reach optimum performance - I know how it feels!  It may reset itself several times during this period, apparently.  So hopefully it will all work out alright in the end.

I've had a stonker of a headache most of the week - a tension headache I think, it feels like a steel band is wrapped around my head and is alternately tightening then loosening a bit, and the back of my neck is very tight and painful.  I've not taken any painkillers so far, other than a couple of paracetamol just to take the edge off when I needed to concentrate on something....when I have a headache like this, painkillers seem to do nothing much except make me feel woolly-headed on top of the pain.  Husband is going to be out this morning, so I think I'll take the opportunity to lie quietly on the bed with the curtains drawn and my meditation app playing, I'm sure that will sort it out.  I don't think it's anything sinister (I've not got a brain tumour, I'm sure!), it's just the result of the constant stresses and worries we've had for weeks, along with anxiety about the results of husband's CT scan, which we've still not yet got.  Husband has a GP appointment this afternoon, for something which we hope is minor, so we'll ask him about the results - they might have had them through electronically already, whilst we have to wait for a paper copy.  Oh, and the oppressive heat we've had for over a week doesn't do me any good, I definitely don't do well in the heat.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Praise for BT (for a change!)

Our broadband has been playing up since last suddenly went very slow, then over the last couple of days was off altogether for several hours at a time.  It's never been fast here anyway - our top speed has only ever been just under 1 - yes, one - mb….living in a very rural area means no superfast or fibre, we're just grateful for having the internet at all.  Even if driving to the library or bank would be faster than trying to renew books or do banking online! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜’

Anyway, husband rang BT a couple of days ago, the Scottish chap did a few quick (unknown) things then said it was fixed.  Was it hell, it lasted a few hours but was back off again yesterday morning.  Rang again and got a very nice lady with a London accent, she spent half an hour on the phone with us trying all sorts of things, she was very helpful and apologetic.  She said she would raise a complaint for us as the previous chap clearly hadn't fixed things (I didn't ask her to, she just offered - what good it will do anyhow, if any, I don't know, but told her to go ahead).  She also said she'd send us a new updated Home Hub (ours was out of the ark).  It arrived this morning!  All set up relatively easily - nothing techie is easy for me, it gives me a corker of a headache and i find it horrendously stressful, but between us we managed to do it.  So far so good, all seems well, and our speed is up to 0.8!  Considering it was just 0.2 for the past few days (when it was working at all), that's fast!

The very nice lady from BT said she will ring us tomorrow to check whether everything is working alright, and would get an engineer out if not.  Fingers crossed it stays as fine as it is at present.

It's a lovely sunny day, very warm, Betty is flaked out on the sofa, husband is laying the final bit of concrete on the's taken him several weeks to do this new patio, as he's just been doing a little bit at a time in between bouts of illness.  I didn't mind how long it took him, I didn't want him doing it if he didn't feel up to it.  I've almost finished the wedding card, I'm so pleased with how it looks, just need some fancy gold ribbon to make a bow and that'll be it.  I'll put a photo on when it's done.