Monday 31 May 2021

Grounds for divorce!

 Well, Bank Holiday weekend and it's been hot and sunny.....what a novelty!  Saturday we went to the car boot sale.....wore our masks as it got quite busy there (not surprising, it's a popular one anyway, it's by the sea, it was a sunny day and it's half term holiday).  Lots of others were wearing masks too, although plenty weren't - I'd say probably 50/50.  Still, I didn't kiss or cuddle (or even stand talking to) anyone there so I reckon I'm safe 😉.  We bought another oil filled radiator for the caravan, excellent nearly new condition, for £7.

Yesterday late morning we went to my best friend's house, sat in their garden with cold drinks for a while, their daughter came over with her lovely little spaniel - we've not seen their daughter for over a year so it was nice to catch up.  

We spent the afternoon putting up our new gazebo - we've had gazebos before, our last one had had it hence the new one.  I'd chosen a different one - well, I reckon I must have picked the most complicated one ever.  It took us - well, husband mainly - about 2 hours to put it up, it was more complicated than a caravan awning (those of you with touring caravans will understand why putting up an awning is justification for a divorce 😂😂).  We did it in the end, but not without a lot of swearing and extreme patience and teeth gritting on my part! 😒  Husband being a man, he doesn't look at the instructions, although, to be fair, the instruction sheets that come with just about anything always seem to be translated from a foreign language - very badly and by someone who doesn't actually have any knowledge of English.  So, I was having to decipher the instructions, then try to identify which poles go where, using which nuts etc (turns out they were all the same nuts), then help husband put the bits together, some of which just didn't want to fit without him using mole grips or a hammer, and trying to avoid getting my fingers trapped (by him) or having a pole dropped on my head (both of which were a frequent occurrence when putting up caravan awnings).

A couple of times, when I went indoors to get us cold drinks (well, really just to have a calming break!!), I came back out to find husband had fitted a wrong bit, or was doing something completely arse about face - honestly, can't leave him alone for 2 minutes 😖.  By the time it was finished, I was too tired, hot and stressed to sit under it.

We're going shopping in a minute, want to get it done before the holidaying hordes go in there to empty the shelves for their bbqs/picnics.  As it's another hot one and Bank Holiday Monday, we shan't be going anywhere.....might even sit under our new gazebo 😁

Saturday 29 May 2021

Caravan stuff

 I did some batch cooking yesterday - 5 sort of cottage pies, one for dinner last night, the other 4 for the freezer.  Instead of mash, I did macaroni cheese for the topping, for a change (had an open packet of macaroni that needed using up).  It was lovely.

A few of you have asked about caravan news.....well, there's not actually much to report right now.  We were supposed to be going to view the 2 empty vans on Monday, but the site owner has asked if we can postpone it to Wednesday instead, in view of Monday being Bank Holiday and the site being busy.  That's ok with us, if a little frustrating - more delay!  Never mind, it's only 2 days extra to wait.  Having had another informative chat with him, we now know a bit more about the two vans and are almost sure we'll have one of them - most likely the one that's already on the pitch we prefer with the fenced in garden.  

The van is apparently a good make, well equipped and better quality than the other one, although it does need a thorough deep clean, decorating and some updating.  No problem, we'll enjoy doing it.  The site owner knows a mobile carpet and upholstery cleaner in the nearby village, so we'll probably get him to come and clean the carpets/furnishings.  I've found a company online selling a big range of replacement loose covers for the sofas.  We'll probably have new curtains - if I can get them in appropriate sizes off the peg, so much the better - if not, we'll look at buying material and having them made.  I know there are seamstresses in the village here, I've seen them mentioned on our local FB pages.  

A contractor will have to come in to test and service the utilities/appliances and issue the appropriate certificates - the site owner will take care of that.  We'll do the decorating ourselves - I've chosen paint colours and wallpaper for a feature wall already, I have a clear idea of how I want everything to look.  Husband is leaving the choosing of that side of things to me, he knows I have a good eye for colour and what goes with what.

I have 5 of the big plastic storage boxes with lids, all full of kitchen and bathroom stuff, cleaning materials and decorating brushes etc, and a holdall full of towels and bedding, everything is under the beds or stacked on the bedroom floor at the moment.  So we're actually more or less ready to go, as soon as the contract is signed.

We're off to a car boot sale this afternoon, to see if we can pick up a few last bits we need.  

Friday 28 May 2021

Lovely day with lovely friends

 The pub we met our friends at was lovely, it had a huge garden which was full of beautifully tended flower beds, with plants climbing up pergolas, interesting statues (including one of a gorilla sat on a tree trunk), life size wicker deer, and an enclosed fully equipped play area for children (there were only 2 kids yesterday).  And being on the bank of the River Exe, it had really pretty views too.  I didn't take many photos, I tend to forget!  But here's a couple:-

There were good Covid precautions in place and the tables were well spaced apart.  Inside the pub was just as lovely - we only went in to use the loos though.  We sat outside to eat as it was such a lovely day, and Betty is happier in more open spaces.  The bar staff were all so nice, really friendly and cheerful.

The men both had cod and chips - absolutely huge pieces of fish, and they both said the fish was really moist and tasty, with gorgeous batter.  My friend had scampi, which she enjoyed, I had Hunters Chicken which was delicious - moist chicken (sometimes it can be a bit dry and overcooked, not so here) with lots of bacon and cheese, and a really tasty bbq sauce.  We all had mounds of chips and salad, I don't think any of us finished the large portions.  Betty did have a couple of my chips, and a piece of chicken wiped clean of sauce, which she wolfed down.

Afterwards, we went for a walk - it's a very picturesque area, with a big hill in the distance (which we all quickly agreed we weren't going to attempt to walk up after a big lunch!).  Betty had a good run around in a buttercup covered field, whilst us 4 adults slowly strolled around the edge, watching ducks on the river and the fly fishermen by a lake just beyond the river.  It was warm and sunny, with next to no breeze, and we had a lovely natter catching up on all our news.  And we all had a cuddle! (it's been around 18 months since we last saw them).  We've known C & D for 13 or 14 years, we originally met through a caravanning forum (we both had touring caravans at the time) hit it off straight away, and went on lots of caravan hols with them, until we both sold our vans around the same time a few years ago.  They live by the Kent coast, the other side of the country to us, but come down here on holidays once or twice every year (not last year though!), so we see them every time they come down.  It's a pity we don't live nearer each other, we'd see a lot of them if we did, they're a lovely couple and we get on really well, we have the same interests and sense of humour and are all Londoners....although we're from west London, C & D from the east London area.

We went back to the pub after our walk, for more coffees and drinks (lovely coffee), before finally parting ways late in the afternoon.  It was a wonderful day, and I'm sunburnt!  Not too bad, it's not really painful, thankfully.  

Thursday 27 May 2021

Happy anniversary to husband

 It's our 38th wedding anniversary, it's a bright sunny day, and we're off to meet up with good friends for lunch in a lovely pub on a river bank.  Taking Betty and we'll have a stroll along the river afterwards to walk off the lunch!  Had some beautiful cards and presents, including a Happy Anniversary cream coloured rose bush.

Really looking forward to the day.  Husband has his first physio session on his foot at 08.30 though, hoping he won't be in pain after.  He's dropping me off in town on his way to the hospital so I can do a quick bit of shopping (well, more browsing than shopping) by myself - a rare treat.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Disappointment (and secret relief)

 Firstly, thank you so much for the comments on my previous post concerning the caravan - I'm relieved that the site owner seems to have come round.  Can't wait to go and actually inspect both caravans.  HH - so glad you've had a few days (finally!) with your family, how lovely.  And Scarlet, nice to see you again, hope you're all keeping well.  Thanks everyone also for the kind comments on my drawings.

Yesterday we were supposed to go and meet up with our lovely friends from Kent, who are down here on holiday, for a pub lunch.  However, Monday night I came down with some sort of diarrhoea and sickness bug, was up most of the night....well, I'll spare you the details.  Suffice it to say there was no way we could go, so had to postpone it, we're now planning on meeting up with them tomorrow.  I also had to cancel my dentist appointment for this morning - I'm actually feeling more or less alright now, but not really wise to go so soon after a bug (and I don't really feel up to there's quite a big element of not actually wanting to go anyway!  Hence the secret relief).  It's postponed for a couple of weeks.

By early afternoon yesterday, I was feeling like I could eat something, so husband did me a bowl of tomato soup and a slice of spelt bread.  I enjoyed it, but within half an hour had griping gut pains again, so maybe it was too early to eat.  Come the evening, I had an omelette and felt ok afterwards, so whatever the bug was, it was only a shortlived thing.  I do feel much better now, having slept well.... although up early.

Yesterday afternoon I did a couple more drawings:-

I'm planning on doing some more pencil drawings like the dandelion one, probably of more flowers and trees, but colouring in one element of each - so they're monochrome drawings but with a splash of a single colour in them.

Sunday 23 May 2021

That's more like it!

 Putting my foot down and telling the caravan site owner that we're not prepared to play games or get into some sort of bidding war with a (possibly fictional, although I didn't say that to him) second customer seems to have worked.  He's sent another communication saying the owner of both vans is coming down next weekend to finish clearing them out, and we can go to view the two vans on Bank Holiday Monday.  He said if we choose to have one, he'll offer the other to the second customer.....yet in his previous communication, he was trying to say that this person had precedence over us.

Whatever, at least things are moving in the right direction now.  It's not exactly been the best of starts, but we do really like the site and I guess the site owner is in business after all, so he was probably pushing it a bit to see if we'd bite.  Well, I'm not a pushover and I think he knows that now.

Pictures and plans

 Betty was as good as gold last night on my bed, she took a little while to settle initially, but after that she slept with hardly a stir (and no snoring!!).  She woke up when I did at 6 and we had a little cuddle - she's not actually a very cuddly dog, she's a bit aloof most of the time (that's the SharPei half of her).  I think she's missing her dad (I can't say that I am 😂😂 - it's certainly much quieter without him), she's been a bit subdued.  She's been eating well though, so can't be missing him that much lol.  He'll be back home late this afternoon, he's had a good time by the sound of things.

Here's a couple of drawings I've done:-

I don't like the watercolour background, it was an experiment and I shan't be doing it again.

I did both of these on canvas, using pencils on canvas is very different to drawing with pencils on art paper.  I think canvas is much more suitable for paints, I definitely prefer using pencils on art paper.  I'm fairly happy with these birch trees though, I like the splash of colour from the leaves.

And here's a quick preliminary sketch of a dandelion:-

I like the way it looks, I'll do a bigger and slightly different version later.  For a first go I'm quite pleased with it.

I am liking doing just pencil drawings - at the moment, I've only got one type of pencil, not even sure what type/grade of lead it is, just a cheap pack of pencils from Smiths!  Must get some different ones to try out.  Will get husband to drop me off in town tomorrow when he goes to the dentist.  

Busy week coming up....husband has the dentist tomorrow as mentioned, to replace a cap that fell out.  Tuesday we're going to meet up with our lovely friends from Kent who are down here on holiday, we're having lunch out in a pub - a first for over a year!  Wednesday I have the dentist - I'm having a tooth out and some gum treatment, which I'm dreading - last time I had the gum treatment, my mouth was terribly sore for several days, and parts of my face and nose were numb for days also - it seems to take ages for the anaesthetic to wear off.  So I'll be eating sloppy meals for a while...*note to self, make some cottage and fish pies for the freezer.

Thursday husband has to go for his first physiotherapy session on his foot, and it's our wedding anniversary - 38 years!  I think we're more or less the longest married couple we know! 😲😁 (other than my uncle and aunt, who've been married since the year dot).  It's a good job we're going out for lunch Tuesday, as I wouldn't be able to on Thursday, with my mouth potentially being so sore.

Saturday 22 May 2021

Lovely first day

 Husband arrived at his daughter's at midday yesterday, he had an uneventful journey and only stopped once.  He's having a good time.  Apparently he's going out with his grandson today.  

I had an unexpected visit from my best friend yesterday afternoon, which was totally lovely.  I've been a bit stressed with caravan stuff the past few days, so seeing my friend cheered me up no end.

On the subject of caravan stuff.....I finally heard back from the site owner yesterday morning, and wasn't particularly pleased with what he said.  He's suddenly come up with another potential customer, who he says had expressed an interest in the pitch we're interested in before we came on the scene.  Funnily enough, he's not mentioned this person before....that's if they even exist.  He also said that prices of second hand vans are increasing rapidly.  Basically, I reckon he's using the fact that he knows we're very keen and is just trying to get more money out of us, and playing us off against this, possibly fictional, other interested party.  Well, I'm not playing that game - yes we'd dearly love a caravan there, but I'm not being drawn into paying out more than we can comfortably afford, and certainly not entering into some sort of competition with someone else who may not even exist!  I was very short with him and simply stated that we had agreed a maximum price, the cash is here waiting, we have all the caravan equipment we need and we're ready to go.  The rest is up to him.

Betty slept on my bed last night and was no trouble at all, other than waking me up with pins and needles in my feet during the night, as she was laying on them.  Oh, and she leapt off the bed and raced downstairs woofing not long after 4 am, she must have heard a noise (I didn't hear anything).  She soon came back up to bed though, and in fact is still up there now.  

I did 2 drawings yesterday, both need a bit of finishing off today, and I have an idea for my next drawing too.  I'll put the photos on when they're finished.

I had a lovely Ploughman's for my lunch yesterday.....goats cheese, sun blush tomatoes, rocket and gherkins with some sourdough bread - husband's not keen on sourdough.  For dinner I had posh (bought) fishcakes - salmon and smoked cod with a melting cheese middle, had them with salad.  Lunch today will probably be cheese on sourdough toast, dinner will be chorizo, potato and cheese frittata (husband doesn't like chorizo either) with chips and salad.

Thank goodness the gale force wind has dropped today, I got blown along the lane when taking Betty out yesterday - even she didn't want to stay out long and turned to go back home way before our normal end point.

Friday 21 May 2021

Our respective weekends have started

 Well, I've just waved husband off, with a promise from him to take it easy, to stop whenever he feels tired and to ring me each time.  I know he'll be cautious and take good care - after all, he does know what he's doing, he was a lorry driver for 30+ years, driving all over the country.

It's a strange feeling knowing I'm home alone until Sunday evening - I don't mind being on my own, even overnight (husband worked all sorts of long shift hours, including overnight, most of his working life).  But, apart from a couple of times when he had brief spells in hospital, we've never spent days and nights apart before.  Although I'm not totally alone, of course, I have Betty (who's currently sulking up on the bed, missing her dad already).  It's a good test though, as we both intend to do this more often - husband to go up to stay with his daughter, me to go visit my brother and SiL in Cornwall, which I'm planning on doing in the coming weeks.  When I go to see my sister, my bro will take me, as he has done in the past.  One thing the enforced months of lockdown has taught us is that it will be good to each have time apart, doing our own things, then we'll enjoy our time together even more.

It's bin day today, well, the recycling boxes.  I'm not putting it out this week though - it's so terribly windy all the stuff will end up being blown all down the lane, and the dustmen never pick it up!  And a couple of the neighbours take days to retrieve their bins and boxes, even when they get blown down the lane.

Off upstairs now to my craft room, with a big mug of frothy coffee.

Thursday 20 May 2021

Looking forward to a peaceful and self indulgent weekend

 It's been a busy, but bitty day - bits of all sorts of things to do, nothing flowing seamlessly, and some frustrating stuff - along with the terrible weather.  Did washing this morning which had to be tumble dried, no chance of putting it on the line.  Then had to go and do a bit of shopping, whilst husband filled up the car with fuel, prior to his trip up to the Midlands tomorrow to stay with his daughter.  I went in M&S - couple of foodie things I particularly wanted in there, along with some flowers for husband's daughter.  I chose a bouquet wrapped in cellophane with a reservoir of water, packed in a paper bag, then went to join the queue at the tills.....only one cashier (a lady a bit older than me), and 2 people in front of me both with trolleyfuls of shopping (how anyone can afford to do a full week's shop there I don't know, although I do like their food, I only ever get a few bits).  They do of course have self-service tills, but something always seems to go wrong every time I use one (either user error, or the till just sees me coming 😂), so I prefer not to use them.  The elderly lady in front of me took absolute ages to unload her shopping onto the till, then pack it all - and she refused help from the cashier.  And then she couldn't find her purse, and had a bit of a panic, before finding it at the bottom of one of her many bags.  I try to always be patient with elderly people - I used to go with my Mum to help her with her shopping when we lived up in the Midlands, and am always keenly aware that one day it'll be me holding everyone up!  Eventually she was done, and it was my turn - but the cashier's till roll had run out and she didn't have a spare underneath her till and had to ring for someone to come and find one for her, so more waiting.

Finally, she was ready.....and then, for some inexplicable reason, upon picking up the flowers first, she promptly turned them upside down! (perhaps she thought the bar code was on the bottom of the bag - it wasn't, it was on the side!) - the water poured out and she completely flooded her till, rendering it useless.  She attempted to mop it all up with yards of paper towel, apologising profusely, then when the till still wouldn't work, we had to move to another till.  Sigh....I really wished I hadn't gone in there.

Have got husband's bag etc sorted and packed.....checked his phone for credit and battery - it needed charging, he almost never remembers to charge it.  Sent his daughter a text asking her to make sure he takes all his meds, as he often forgets (I'll pack all his meds in the morning before he goes).  I'll also make him a flask of coffee to take with him....the journey, if done in one go, should take about 3-3.5 hours, but that's too much for him to cope with so he'll be stopping for a break a couple of times, he'll have a coffee and ring me each time he stops.

I've done the necessary housework, so can please myself what I do over the weekend.....I intend to do some more drawing.  I'll probably watch a couple of DVDs that I really like but husband doesn't....Mamma Mia 2 and Brokeback Mountain spring to mind.  And I'll eat when I feel like it, which will be a novelty - husband likes 3 meals a day, at set times.....I'm not much of a breakfast eater, and prefer to eat when I feel hungry.

Oh, and if I want Betty sleeping on my bed......I will do!  Although she'll probably keep me awake, she's a right fidget bum.  And she snores, and dreams a lot where she's clearly chasing things 😂😒

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Fed up

I'm getting a bit fed up with the inaction around here, both to do with the caravan and husband's lack of enthusiasm for doing anything at all.  

Regarding the caravan - anyone would think the site owner really isn't bothered about having empty vans on site (and presumably no cash coming in).  And of course when he actually sells a van, he puts a mark up on it so earns a good amount from the sale, probably more than the van owner gets! (caravans depreciate a lot.....and I do mean a lot).  So why isn't he prompting the van owner to get back and empty the van out?  He was supposed to come and finish emptying it last weekend, but didn't turn up, the site owner doesn't know why.  I emailed to ask if it was really necessary for the van to be emptied before we looked at it - after all, the first one we looked at on his site still had the owner's possessions in it.  No reply as yet - he takes several days to reply to emails.  I've rung him today - answer phone on (as usual!) so left a message.  Wonder how long it'll take him to get back to me?!

The trouble is, I'm very conscious of weeks rushing by - we're in the 2nd half of May already!  And WHEN we buy a van, of necessity it's going to be fairly old, so will need doing up, which will take some time, depending on the amount of work we have to do to it.  And the site closes at the end of unless we get a van very soon, by the time we've decorated and done it up to our satisfaction, we're not going to have a lot of time left to actually relax and enjoy the van this year!

I know we're all different, some people are very laid back, others (me!) like to get things done.  And not everyone is full of enthusiasm or feels things the way I do (yes M I'm looking at you!!).  My view is that, generally speaking, nice things rarely just happen - well, rarely to us - you have to MAKE things happen.  Especially if it's something you really want.  

As for husband.....after the GP gave him a good going over last week and confirmed his heart is no worse, and it's not fluid he's retaining around his middle but good old fashioned fat(!!), the GP's conclusion was that husband needs to get up off his backside and start being more active, as well as eating a bit less.  But getting husband motivated to do anything at all is an uphill struggle - since he had the foot op last October, he's put on a stone and become downright lazy.  The back garden (his domain) is an overgrown jungle since he's not growing much in the way of veg this year.  He's got 6 or 8 compost bins he's acquired over the past couple of years (from neighbours who didn't want them anymore), well he's clearly not using them for anything (including the kitchen veg peelings) as they're almost enveloped by the overgrown hedging.  The raised beds are overrun with weeds, the leeks remaining from last year have mostly gone to seed.  The garden looks a tip.  We've had a discussion today and I've tried to encourage him to turn the bloody TV off before I rip the thing off the wall and chuck it out of the window, and get on and do something.  He says he's going to do things - but then doesn't do them, it takes him weeks to get round to it (and weeks of nagging by me).  I bloody hate being referred to as a nag - after all, what is nagging?  It's having to constantly and repeatedly ask for something to be done, when it should have been done the first time of asking!!

And before anyone suggests it - he's not depressed, he's perfectly happy having a chat and laugh with neighbours, postmen, delivery drivers etc.  He's just got into a rut since he had to be inactive for a while following his foot op, and can't seem to drag himself out of it - or doesn't feel the need to.

Right now, I'm fed up with everything being on my shoulders - nothing gets done or organised or even thought about, unless I do it.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

On tenterhooks

 I'm itching to go and view the 2 caravans the site owner told us about, but we've not heard back from him yet.  It seems to be a case of Somerset time - that's 'sometime when', meaning it'll happen when it happens, equivalent to the Cornish 'dreckly'.  There's clearly no urgency for him, even though it's not very economically sound for him to have 2 empty plots/vans, but as far as I'm concerned, the longer it takes before we take up ownership of a van there, the shorter length of time we will have to do it up to our liking and enjoy it this year (the site closes at the end of October for the winter period).  I don't do patience very well!  Oh well, not much we can do, he knows we're keen to get going.  In the meantime, we're continuing to acquire things we'll need to furnish the new van, I bought a few bits yesterday in a big Dunelm (love that shop, nice stuff and very reasonably priced).  By the time we do finally get to own a van, we'll have practically everything we need, which is good.  I just want it to be soon!

Husband saw his foot consultant yesterday, she says there's nothing more she can do for him and the pain he's still experiencing is simply nerve pain, which she says will settle down with time (it's been almost 7 months already!).  She's discharged him, but said he can contact her again if necessary.  In the meantime, he's going to have physiotherapy, actual face to face and not over the phone!  His first appointment is next week, hopefully that'll help him.

Nice weather at the mo, but there's a thunderstorm forecast for midday, so we won't be doing much outside.  Some nice weather for a sustained period would be good, it's all so unpredictable and changeable right now.  It's mid-summer next month, I wish early summer would actually arrive!  So many of my front garden flowering plants are behind schedule, although my roses are just starting to come into bloom.

Good friends of ours who live in Kent, the other side of the country to us, are coming down on holiday next week, so we're arranging to meet up with them for a day.  We generally see them a couple of times a year, they're a lovely couple and we get on like a house on fire.  Really looking forward to seeing them - and having a hug!  Have you hugged anybody yet?

Sunday 16 May 2021

Decor and artwork for the (as yet non existent!) caravan

 Thanks everyone for the lovely comments on our static caravan plans, I can hardly wait to go and have a look.  A lot depends on the internal condition and style of the caravan, but I already have a colour scheme and general 'look' in mind, having spent some time looking at ideas, Pinterest boards and makeover pictures from people who've done up their vans.  It's all really exciting, I'm so looking forward to actually having our own caravan and doing it up, on a budget.  Once we get going, I'll take lots of pictures and document our progress.

Joy, you asked if we could 'unofficially' let our van (once we get one!) to friends.  No, I don't think that's an option.....I asked for and was given a printed copy of the site Ts&Cs, in which it states that no subletting is allowed, the site owner also told us verbally, so I reckon it's a no.  I will ask him though if friends are allowed to stay in our absence, as I know a couple of our friends would be very interested - in fact, they've already asked if they can come and stay!

On the subject of pictures.....I want to do some artwork for the van (I have some canvases I bought quite cheaply) so have been doing some drawing this morning.  Here's one:-

I've branched out (sorry! 😂)

I fancied trying something different to the usual flowers I do, so had a go at trees.  I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt.....did it on art paper for a first go, now I'll go ahead and do it on a canvas.

Yuck weather again today, and pretty much the same for the rest of this week apparently.  Oh dear.

Friday 14 May 2021

Can't hold it in any longer!

 Some news I've been holding off from talking about for weeks now, because it's not yet finalised.  It will be soon, though, and I'm bursting to talk about it, as I'm getting more excited every day 😁

Some time ago, we'd considered buying a second hand static caravan, partly for our own use, but mostly to let out to paying customers, for the income.  However, after joining a few caravan forums and getting advice from them, and a lovely knowledgeable fellow blogger (thank you Sue!), and also a couple of friends, one of whom cleans holiday caravans, we've decided against it.  Too many cons - caravan cleaner friend had some real horror stories to tell of the state some holidaymakers leave caravans in (why?  are people really that careless about property that doesn't belong to them?  Obviously they are!).  Increased costs, e.g. extra insurance, having to have all the appliances etc properly tested every year, cleaning and letting admin costs the park charges if you don't do it yourself, repairing/replacing things broken (or stolen!) by paying guests.  And to make any money, the van would have to be on a large park with plenty of amenities, which means much higher site fees.  Plus large parks like that have a strict policy regarding the age limit of vans (I've even heard of some requiring you to change your van every 3 years!).  So that was a no no.

However, we've always liked the idea of having our own holiday place - can't afford a cottage, so a second hand static caravan is the next best thing.  Husband, after a lifetime of driving HGVs for a living, and now having heart failure and being 70, no longer wants to drive long distances, even for a holiday, so the idea of having a caravan on a nice small, quiet park with no clubhouse or pool or playgrounds (and thus no screaming kids), and not far from home, really appeals.  We've spent the last few weeks looking and have found what we think is a lovely park, which suits our needs and wants perfectly - it's only 40 mins drive away, has just 35 static caravans on site, all owner occupied and for personal use only, no letting allowed (although it does have a small area for 20 or so touring caravans).  It has no leisure facilities, but is a lovely peaceful site surrounded by trees and shrubs and with amazing countryside and hill views (near to the Mendip hills), not far from Cheddar Gorge.  Pub that serves food next door, and a small village with a couple of shops just down the road.  Larger shops (and the beach) not far away in Weston super Mare.  The site owner is lovely, the site has been in his family since 1933, started by his grandfather, and his daughter helps to run it now, she will take over in due course.  He refers to the other caravan owners as his extended family and says they all get on like a house on fire.

Anyway, we went to look at a caravan there a few weeks ago.....for one reason or another it wasn't what we wanted, but the site owner thought another couple of vans would be available very soon.  Well, now there are indeed 2 vans that have become available, side by side (owned by a now deceased couple and their son, who no longer wants to keep his van now his parents have died).  One of them is on a plot that would be ideal for us and Betty - it has a readymade mostly paved garden, fully fenced, with lots of plants in pots.  We're going to have a look at both the caravans next week.  The site has no age restrictions, the owner allows vans of any age and for as long as you want, provided you keep the van well maintained - which we would, obviously, as it would be our pride and joy.

Although we've not yet got a caravan, we have been collecting equipment for it over the past few weeks - that's part of the fun!  We've bought a few things brand new (kettle, toaster and lovely little wood-encased DAB radio, e.g.), we had a few things already (towels, bedding, some kitchen equipment) and have bought other things second hand on the local FB market pages, at a car boot sale or in charity shops.  This morning I bought a second hand electric oil filled radiator (caravans, even with central heating, which some older vans don't have, can get very chilly) in a charity shop for the absolute bargain price of.......£5!!  PAT tested and in full working order.

Depending on the state/age of the caravan, should we buy one (and I do have a good feeling about one of the vans in particular), we are expecting to have to do it up a bit and give it some TLC, we may well even paper the interior walls and paint the woodwork, using chalk paint.  I doubt we'll be re-covering the sofas or changing the carpets (because of cost), but will get new throws and rugs.....although we may be able to get carpet or vinyl offcuts, there's a good carpet shop in town that does very reasonably priced offcuts.  Having briefly seen the van from the outside, I think we may need to buy new curtains.  Or they may be salvageable with a good wash but needing new linings, which will be cheap enough to make (even I, with my very limited sewing skills, should be able to manage to cut out and sew straight rectangles 😂 ).

Ooh, it's all very exciting!!

Thursday 13 May 2021

Rain! House martins, veggies

 The arm soreness has almost gone and I'm feeling much better today, despite not catching up on much sleep.  When I went up for a nap yesterday afternoon, Betty came with me....she kept fidgeting and changing position, and then leapt off the bed and raced downstairs barking when she heard a delivery van pull up outside - not for us, for next door.  Last night I slept fairly well initially, but was woken up in the early hours by torrential rain hammering against the window, it continued for the rest of the night.  The weather seems to be all extremes now - for weeks we had no rain, lots of sunshine but really strong cold winds, with frosts overnight.  Now it's rain nearly every day - well, it will certainly be ALL day today, according to the forecast.  I'm glad I don't need to go anywhere.  Bed changing day today, but I won't be doing the washing until tomorrow, it's not a day for washing on the line.  I load the machine and set it to come on overnight, as we have the cheap rate overnight electricity.  It's forecast to be sunny tomorrow morning, although back to rain in the afternoon, so I can get the bedding on the line first thing and hopefully it'll dry by lunchtime.

The house martins have finally arrived, several weeks later than usual, there were lots zipping around twittering to each other yesterday, I love seeing them.  Swallows, however, have already been here a couple of weeks.....strange.  There's a house martin nest in the corner of our bedroom window, it's used every year - yesterday though I saw a swallow going in it twice - a squatter!  Will have to watch to see what happens, whether the swallow will take up residence, or the usual house martin repossessing it.  No sign of any of the birds today, I don't know where they go but we don't see them when it's raining all the time.

Thank you all for comments.....HH, yes I have had a tooth out before, I'm just a total coward when it comes to the dentist, a jittery bag of nerves (which probably makes it all worse).  I didn't even have anything done yesterday, other than her prodding my gums with that sharp pointy thing and then putting the putty stuff in my mouth to take impressions - yuck, horrible, and I wasn't even allowed to rinse my mouth out in there (Covid restrictions), so it was just as well I'd taken a bottle of water with me.  I was spitting out lumps of pink plasticine stuff all day.  Even though I had nothing much done, I still felt pretty traumatised.....wimpy I know.  Must remember to take an anti-anxiety pill just before I go to have the tooth out in 2 weeks, I forgot yesterday.

We're getting lots of asparagus this year, husband's cutting enough for a side dish for both of us every other day.  He's just bought some courgette plants, but it's too wet to put them in just yet.  We're still not growing loads of veg this year, but will have first early potatoes, a few tomatoes, courgettes and probably leeks, plus all the fruit (strawberries, blueberries, apples and pears.....maybe a few plums).  It's a pity the asparagus season isn't longer, I do love asparagus.  I might possibly have a wigwam of runner beans in a pot in the front garden, just the one (rather than the several rows husband normally grows in the back garden......he must think there's a small army of people living in this house!  We were inundated with beans last year....).

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Scary thing done....well, delayed

 Had my 2nd jab yesterday.  In awe once again at just how efficient, smiley, friendly and kind everyone in the vax centres is - medical staff and volunteers alike.  They're all doing a wonderful job and I'm so grateful to have had both jabs now.  After the first jab (the Pfizer one), I had a bad headache and felt like I had flu for 2 days.....the flu-type feeling came on quite suddenly late in the afternoon, and went just as suddenly a couple of days later.  My arm was fine, a little sore but nothing to speak of.  Husband had a very sore arm and felt very tired and lightheaded after his first (he had the AstraZeneca), it only lasted a few hours.  

My arm's been very sore indeed since yesterday, it was painful to lie on it in bed (bit awkward, as my right hip is too sore to lie on for more than a couple of minutes, and the soreness in my jabbed - left - arm meant I couldn't lie on that side either).  It's still sore today, however I've had no other symptoms, no headache or flu-ey feelings.  Husband had no side effects at all after his 2nd jab a couple of weeks ago.

I'm glad I didn't feel too bad, as I had the dentist appointment this morning.  It's a new dentist (so something else to worry me!) as my last one left the practice last year, apparently....however, the new one, Laura, turned out to be very nice.  She wanted to take my wobbly tooth out, but I chickened out, just didn't feel up to it today.  Going back in a fortnight for it to be taken out, along with some gum work and x-rays, so I'll have to psyche myself up for that.  She said my gum disease has got a bit worse, but seeing as I'm supposed to go every 6 months for treatment and have missed 2 appointments because they weren't offering them due to Covid, it's hardly surprising.  Covid's got a lot to answer for.

I'm not feeling too good today - hardly any sleep last night what with sore arm and hip and worrying about the dentist, and stress/anxiety (amongst other things) making me feel jittery and tearful, so I might go up to bed for an hour or 2.  Husband can deal with the dinner, it's a cottage pie I made the other day so he's only got to warm it through and prep some green veg to go with it.

Monday 10 May 2021

Good news

 Morning all, thank you for recent comments.  We enjoyed our holiday week, albeit mostly at home, but now it's back to normal life.  First thing this morning we went to the GP for husband's bloods and ECG results.....I went with him as he never remembers a) to tell the doctor everything, and b) what the doctor tells him, so I never get to know anything unless I'm actually there.

The GP (he's a new one, I've seen him once before, he's a really nice man) gave husband a thorough examination.  There's nothing concerning about his bloods, the BNP part of the test (which is specifically for heart failure) came back as relatively normal.  His ECG was fine too.  Doctor checked his abdomen and ankles and listened to his lungs and heart for fluid retention - nothing of concern.  So he's come to the conclusion that husband's recent breathlessness and angina type chest pains are down to the fact that he's put about a stone on and been quite inactive since his foot operation last October.  So the prescription is....get up off his backside and do more/longer walks.  (We both need to do that, actually).  It's a huge relief, for both of us, that husband's heart failure doesn't appear to be worse.

It's all medical things this week.....this afternoon husband has a chiropodist appointment.  Tomorrow morning I have my 2nd jab (hooray!), then Wednesday morning my dentist appointment (boo!).  I've been waiting a long time for that, it was January when I rang the dentist because I had a wobbly tooth that was quite painful, only to be told it wasn't an emergency (they were only seeing emergencies), they'd put me on a waiting list, and to rinse with salt water in the meantime.  Fortunately, the tooth hasn't fallen out and is no longer painful.  The last time I went to the dentist was February of last year, not long before Covid buggered everything up.

Apparently, Boris is going to say (or has already said, I didn't see the news yesterday) that overnight stays with family/friends will be allowed from next Monday - fabulous!!  Husband is already planning to go and stay with his daughter up in the Midlands for a long weekend....I'll be staying here with Betty.  His daughter has a dog, a Staffy called Milo, he's a lovely dog but he and Betty don't see eye to eye, so best not to have the 2 of them under the same roof, don't want to stress either of them out.  Husband's not seen his daughter or grandchildren for around 18 months, so he's really looking forward to it.  I'll enjoy a few days to myself here with Betty (might even let her sleep on my bed, but don't tell husband!!).

Thursday 6 May 2021

Continuing our holiday at home

 Yesterday we went to Wells.  It's been so long since we last went that I'd forgotten Wednesday is market day there, so it was a bit busier than I'd have liked.  No problems though, most people were wearing masks (including us), even outdoors.  We really wanted to have lunch outside one of the cafes there (they all now have outside seating), but there was a strong freezing cold wind, even though it was sunny, so we decided against it - I just didn't want to sit there shivering and trying to stop my lunch blowing away!  Never mind, we enjoyed having a mooch around the shops and I did get a few things I wanted.  One advantage of having to wear a mask is that it keeps your face warm when it's cold!

It was cloudy with a couple of showers this morning, but cleared up by lunchtime when the sun came out (the forecasters are doing a very good job lately).  So off we went to our lovely Dunster beach after lunch, much to Betty's delight, she was charging around on the sand like a mad thing.  There was a lovely clear blue sky and plenty of sunshine, but boy was it cold - that blimmin freezing wind still.  No wonder there was hardly anyone there, sensible people probably stayed at home in the warm.  We didn't walk right to the end of the site like we usually do, it was just too cold and the wind was blowing right in our faces.  At least it was behind us on the way back to the car park.  Betty doesn't care about the wind and cold though, she had a lovely time.

We're thinking we might possibly go to Exeter tomorrow, it's supposed to be another sunny day, hopefully not with such a cold wind though.

Husband's consultant (for his foot) said he'd benefit from having physiotherapy, his foot is being very slow to heal and is still causing him a lot of pain.  He got the appointment letter through today......for a course of phone appointments.  What good is that going to do him?  He's disgusted and says he's going to see what his consultant says about it, he's due to see her again (an actual face to face appointment) the week after next.

I have my 2nd jab next week, husband had his last week.  He had no side effects at all, although with the first one he had a headache and felt very shivery and feverish for 12 hours.  I'm hoping I'll have no ill effects either, as I have the dentist the day after.

Tuesday 4 May 2021


 For various reasons, we've come home early from our holiday today - we were due back this coming Saturday.  It's not been bad, Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning were all mostly sunny and we did get out and about a few times.  It helped a lot being away, in that it consolidated our thoughts about our future plans and we gained some useful information.  And we're not just getting back into our normal routine now we're home, we're treating the rest of the week as if we're still on holiday.  So we're planning a couple of days out - a trip to Wells tomorrow, one of my favourite towns, a Dunster beach long walk with Betty on Thursday, and another trip out somewhere on Friday, yet to be decided.

The forecast storm yesterday afternoon and evening wasn't as bad as expected - quite windy and a few heavyish showers, but nothing drastic.  Looks as though it was worse here at home, several things blown around in the garden, both our polytunnel and next door's have taken a battering, the covers are ripped.  Well, never mind, we'd already decided we're not growing too much in the way of veg this year.

Betty is so pleased to be home, she's been charging round the house, up and down the stairs, in and out of the garden, clearly enjoying the space.  We stayed in a static caravan - very nice, but not very spacious for an energetic (and clumsy!) dog.