Tuesday, 30 November 2021

December memories

 December is full of memories for me, not good ones for the most part.  It's my beloved Aunt Sylvia's birthday on the 4th, she would have been 75, she died 2.5 years ago.  And the 6th is the day my lovely friend Toni-anne died last year.  Then of course it's the 2nd anniversary of my Mum's death on Christmas Eve, and my Nanna died on Boxing Day many, many years ago.  Nanna I visited in hospital on Christmas Day, the day before she died, I was 14 at the time; I saw Sylvia in hospital the day she died (she was comatose); I got to the hospital on Christmas Eve 10 minutes after my lovely Mum died.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see my friend Toni (Covid restrictions and she was too weak to receive visitors anyway) but was able to speak to her on the phone 3 or 4 weeks before she died.

The best way I can deal with this is to think of a happy memory of all of them.  So here goes.....

I'm the eldest grandchild and had a very close and special relationship with my Nanna.  My Grandad did the football pools for years and years, almost never winning anything.  A few months before Nanna died, she too started doing the pools, her health had gone downhill and she was no longer able to go out regularly to the village hall to play bingo.  Well, amazingly, Nanna won quite often, much to Grandad's surprise and annoyance - he used to spend ages agonising over who he thought would win the football games, whereas Nanna gave it no thought at all, just marking her coupons completely haphazardly.  She only won pennies and the odd couple of bob (yes it's that long ago!), but she always shared her winnings with me, calling it 'our little secret'.

Sylvia had MS (multiple has my sister).  She never let it stand in her way, even though sometimes she was quite debilitated by it - her balance was affected terribly and she could hardly walk when she was having an attack.  Sylvia loved bingo (she was her mother's daughter), she went to the Mecca bingo hall at least twice a week, even when she wasn't well.  I started going with her when she was in the throes of an MS attack - she still insisted on going, and I wanted to make sure she actually got there safely.  One Sunday we were on our way to the bus stop for her regular Sunday after lunch game of bingo, Sylvia was having a particularly bad attack and was very unsteady on her feet.  All of a sudden she tripped and fell over, she rolled gently off the kerb and into the road.....fortunately, as it was a Sunday afternoon years ago, there was hardly any traffic about.....unfortunately, it happened literally right outside the open doorway of the local pub.  The pair of us were in fits of giggles, absolutely helpless with laughter (Sylvia was unhurt), with me spluttering at her 'get up you daft moo, everyone will think you're drunk!'.  Sylvia was the funniest person I knew, we were always laughing.  I spent a lot of time with her, living with her for weeks at a time.

Toni-anne was artistic and stylish, and very individual.  She was extremely well read, knowledgeable and fiercely exacting about correct spelling and grammar - poor grammar or spelling, particularly in print, was a real bugbear of hers, and she wouldn't hesitate to pull people up on it - in a nice way, not telling them off.  She sounds forbidding, but she wasn't at all - she was quiet, but with a wicked very dry sense of humour.  I said she was artistic - she took lovely photographs, especially close ups of flowers or insects.  The thing that stands out in my mind though is the very first time we went to visit her at home - she lived in an upstairs flat, the stairs rising from her front door up to a small hallway leading to her lounge.  The balustrade at the top, around 6ft in length, was completely covered with colourful scarves tied around it, making it an art feature, it was a glorious view as you climbed the stairs.  She said she'd done it because it was easy to pick out a scarf to go with her outfit of the day - she was being typically modest, a lot of thought had obviously gone into it.  She loved colour.

My Mum - well, where to start?  Mum was known for having a wacky sense of humour, she would laugh until tears rolled down her face at the stupidest of things on TV.....the comedy programme Some Mothers do 'ave 'em, starring Michael Crawford and Michele Dotrice, was always one of her very favourite programmes, even repeats she'd seen umpteen times would have her crying with laughter (I never thought it was that funny!).  Us siblings all have a photo of Mum sitting at the dining table with a tea cosy on her was a long time ago and none of us can remember why!  Some silly game, I expect.  Mum was never afraid to say what she thought, even more so as she got older, it could be embarrassing at times.  I remember being in town with her one day, I was accompanying her to a hospital appointment.  The road we had to walk down had very narrow pavements and there was a builder's van parked up ahead of us, partly on the pavement, which Mum tutted over.  As we got alongside it, having to squeeze past, Mum noticed a man in the driver's seat - she lifted her walking stick and rapped on the passenger side window, the man lowered the window and probably wished he hadn't as Mum proceeded to give him a right tongue lashing for being so inconsiderate.  He just looked at her in open-mouthed astonishment, clearly thinking 'how is that coming out of that sweet little old lady's mouth?!' (she didn't actually swear, but really told him off).  "Well, that told him, Mum!" I said.

Thank you for the suggestions of decorating my Christmas tree in Mum's memory.....I did have to smile at the irony of that.  Mum was a very staunch Jehovah's Witness and as such never celebrated Christmas, the idea of me decorating and dedicating my tree to her would have her turning in her grave (if she had been buried).  Whilst she never ever put up any decorations herself, she wouldn't have been disapproving of my doing it, she would merely have given me a 'look' and a little smile and said something like 'well, it's on your conscience, not mine, love'.

Monday, 29 November 2021


 Thankfully, I feel back to normal today, the overwhelming tiredness has gone (just my normal everyday tiredness left!).  Which is good, as I have lots to do this week, loads of little jobs I want to get done.

I'm trying to keep occupied at the moment.  For some reason, I'm finding it very hard being without my Mum right now, she's in my thoughts a lot and I so miss having her to talk to on the end of the phone.  I don't know why this year is harder than last (she died on Christmas Eve the year before last), but it is.  I'm not looking forward to Christmas at all really, I'm now even feeling ambivalent about decorating the new Christmas tree.  My Mum was a no-nonsense, plain speaking woman.....she could sometimes make my eyebrows rise at some of the things she said (she had no filter, especially as she got older), but she was very good at dispensing advice when I needed it, she was very wise and often knew just the right thing to say.  I miss her so much.

Right now it feels like everyone I looked up to and turned to for advice and just a listening ear and strong pair of arms, is disappearing from my life.

Right, must get on, lots to do.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Bone-achingly tired

 After having the booster jab on Friday morning, I didn't think I had any after effects.  However, yesterday afternoon I suddenly came over so tired, I just had to go to bed.  And I mean actually get undressed and get in bed, with curtains and door shut, I slept for about 1.5 hours.  I got up, ate some of our dinner (thank goodness I'd made the burgers and coleslaw in the morning, I wouldn't have had the energy later on) - couldn't finish dinner as I was simply too tired to eat.  Watched Strictly, then went straight to bed.  Despite being totally shattered, I didn't sleep very well - think I woke up every hour, although I didn't wake up early this morning, it was 7 am, practically unheard of for me.  So I was in bed for 11 hours last night - not including the afternoon nap.  This morning I've done next to nothing and still feel so tired I'm sure if I shut my eyes, I'd go straight to sleep again.  I don't feel ill, just so tired.

Although I'm frequently tired, as a result of never sleeping well, it is unusual for me to be THIS bone-achingly, brain-dead type of tired.  So I'm assuming it is a side effect of the booster.  I'm not complaining though - any after effect is preferable to not having the jabs and getting Covid, in my opinion.

I never used to feel the cold....years of hot flushes and night sweats meant I was almost always hot, never cold.  I've noticed over the past few months though that I feel the cold so much more now, and really hate being outside when it's cold, especially if there's a chilly wind.  I've been having my electric heated pad on my back every time I sit down in the lounge.....ostensibly because it helps my back, but really because I just like to feel warm!  I always have a fleece blanket on my bed, for Betty to lie on.....last night though I had my lovely faux fur blanket on top of the bed, it was so nice to feel warm and snuggly.  Betty was clearly too hot though, she jumped off the bed after an hour or so and went downstairs to sleep in her own bed.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Windy (the weather, not me lol)

 Not much sleep again last night, the howling wind kept all of us, Betty included, awake - she was up and down like a yoyo, jumping off my bed and running downstairs every time there was a noise.  We apparently had 50mph winds, so not as fierce as some areas.  There's no real damage in our garden, pots and small things blown around (hence the noises Betty kept hearing) and some of husband's veg supports blown over, but that's it by the looks of things.  In previous storms we've had tiles blown off the roof of our utility room, 2 or 3 times, but not this time.  Next door's small polytunnel has been trashed, and their giant trampoline was lifting.....they've anchored it down now.  Husband's been out with Betty and said there are lots of small bits of wood blown off trees, and rubbish blown around (it was dustbin day yesterday, a couple of our neighbours are a bit lax with putting out/taking in their bins).  The wind is gradually starting to ease off, thankfully.  

Well, I haven't become a zombie yet (still time though, Sue in Suffolk 😂) following my booster yesterday, although my upper arm does feel a bit like a lump of hot lead.  No other after effects noted.

It's definitely a day for staying home in the warm, I'm going to get on with some crocheting this afternoon, it'll be nice to have a lapful of warm wool!  Making burgers this morning for us to have for dinner - with salad, although I might change that to chips or a jacket spud, as it's the weekend! (we relax our low carb regime a bit at weekends, and it's not really salad weather....well, that's my reasoning lol).

I really need to get on with family and friends Christmas cards, I've done all the 'ordinary' ones, although not written in them yet.  I've designed a couple in my head already, just need to get the ideas down on paper....erm,

I am actually looking forward to starting to decorate my little tree - it's the 1st December on Wednesday, so I've given myself permission to make a start then (it's all your fault, Cherie and Joy!! 😂😂).

Friday, 26 November 2021

Jabbed, and looking forward to a quiet weekend

 Had my booster jab this morning....all ok, so far no after effects at all.  I'm glad husband and I have both had ours now (he had his a couple of weeks ago), it's reassuring, especially now there's yet another variant appearing.  As the shops are getting busier now, busier still in the next few weeks, I'm keeping away from them - too many people not wearing masks nowadays.  We have full freezers and cupboards, including all the food we want for Christmas, there's nothing we need apart from top ups of fresh veg and dairy every other week or so.  When I do need to go, it'll be early in the morning when it's quieter.

Gusty winds and rain lashing the windows kept waking me up last night, so I'll be going to bed early tonight I expect.  Bit of squally rain and very gusty today (next door's small polytunnel has been trashed), but it's nowhere near as bad as other, more northern parts of the country.  Hope everyone is safe and warm.  Don't need to go anywhere over the weekend, husband will be clearing our present car out ready for exchanging for the new one, I'm going to be rearranging the big freezer (still not got around to doing it yet), cardmaking and possibly doing a bit of baking.

Black Friday purchases - none! (nothing we want or need).

That's it, nothing else interesting to say, sorry!  No dramas, not done anything worthy of mention, nothing happening.....must try harder 😂😂

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Caravan planning for next year

 It's a lovely sunshiney day but with a very strong bitterly cold wind.  I've got washing on the line but whether it'll dry remains to be seen....the last few times I've put washing out, it's not dried fully, it's been far too cold.  Which means I've had to finish it off in the tumbler, bit of a nuisance when we're trying not to use too much electricity.  On the subject of which, we've just had our leccy bill for the caravan - we're now £76 in credit, and that will continue roughly the same until March when we go back to the van, as the amount we pay on direct debit is about equal to the amount of the standing charge.  

I've just microwaved some sweet potatoes for the dog, she likes that, I mix it in with her homemade food.  I'm making a veg and cheese tart for our dinner, diced and roasted squash, courgettes and mushrooms, low carb veggies to offset the higher carb wholemeal pastry (it's an open tart, so bottom crust only), we'll have it with green veg, there'll be half the tart left to have for lunch tomorrow.

We've decided we're definitely going to take out the fixed sofa in the caravan next year.  We took off all the sofa cushions and had a good look at the fixtures behind the sofa before we left the van in October, we'll leave most of the wooden structure that's fixed to the walls in place, for stability.  We'll paint it all, but most of it will be hidden by any new furniture anyway.  And yes we do know that whatever furniture we buy has to fit through the caravan doors.....we weren't born yesterday 😂😁.  I belong to a static caravan forum and replacement of fixed caravan furniture is discussed literally every day - thousands of people have done it already in their vans, so it is doable, you just have to be a bit savvy about it and use your common sense.  Coincidentally, our lovely caravan neighbours are also going to do the same thing, so we'll all be able to help each other with the work involved.  95 days to go till we can go back - according to the countdown timer on my laptop 😁.

I've decided I'm going to keep the caravan curtains and just buy thicker linings for them - I was debating whether to buy thicker curtains, but I do like the ones we have, and it seems a shame to change them after I put so much work into shortening them all.

We're thinking of having a gazebo for the caravan garden next year - the garden is a real sun trap and gets very hot indeed when the sun's out - too hot for Betty and I to sit out in full sun, although husband loves it.  For this year we had a big sun umbrella, but a gazebo with removable sides would give a lot more sun protection.  It's fun thinking of caravan stuff for next year, keeps me going.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

I'm not that industrious!

 Several of you have commented on how industrious I've been recently.  Well, yes, partly - it's been so long since I was able to do stuff, for a long time (weeks and weeks) I did barely anything, other than the absolutely necessary such as preparing dinner and putting washing on, because I was in so much pain.  Even now, whilst I am able to get so much more done, it's only in the mornings I do it all.....come the afternoon, I'm cream crackered (knackered, or really tired for my overseas readers).  So the afternoons are generally spent relaxing in my recliner chair upstairs, crocheting or reading, or even having a snooze.  And when I've done a lot these past few days, I do feel it the next morning, my back, hips and legs do ache and feel a bit wobbly for a while.  

I'm feeling like that today, so am taking things easy and not intending to do anything much today.  The freezer sort out can wait for another day.

The energy company we're with for both home and caravan, Bulb, has just been put into 'special administration'.  Whilst I'm not worried, as such, as it's been reported (and by Martin Lewis too - I don't like the man but he does know what he's talking about) that supply, accounts, payments etc will continue as normal and any credit balances will be protected, it is a bit concerning, of course.  We currently have a credit balance on our home account of about £100, and around £45 on our caravan account, so I don't want those to disappear - I'm reasonably confident that they won't.  Apparently, everyone's energy bills will go up next April when Ofgem or the Government (I'm not sure which) re-set the price cap.  It must be such a huge worry for people on lower incomes - I'm pretty sure that my Mother was in the 'heat or eat' dilemma years ago when I was a child and she was a single mother of 4.  How my Mum coped all those years (my father buggered off when my youngest sibling was only a year old) I really don't know, but cope she did and we never went hungry.

The carrot and courgette cake didn't rise very much, certainly not as much as a normal cake, but it tastes bloody scrumptious, we had a small piece each with coffee this morning.  It's lovely and moist (due to the carrots and courgettes I guess, it was quite a wet mixture when it went in the oven) and quite sweet tasting, despite me cutting the amount of sugar in half.  I'll certainly make it again - and try to remember to put the walnuts in it next time 😂.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Lots of little jobs done

 Woke up with no pain this morning, so that was a good start.  Cold and frosty out, glad I didn't have to go out anywhere.  Husband was out in the garden all morning, he was well wrapped up and doesn't mind the cold when he's busy.  He's been cutting back the very overgrown hedging and clearing out his polytunnel - it's quite a big one and now we don't grow so much, he doesn't make the best use of it, it's become a dumping area - he's such a hoarder and a messy one at that.  Neighbour's father wants the polytunnel, he's got a bigger garden and is a keen gardener, once husband's finished clearing it out, Dave will come over to collect it - hopefully will help dismantling the frame.

I've done lots of little jobs today.  Emptied out my underwear drawers (ooh, a pun 😂) and sorted through them - my knickers and bras must have been breeding, as there seemed to be loads more than I remembered buying!  Even had some new ones that didn't fit or were unsuitable for some reason, I should have taken them back at the time of course, but didn't.  So they've gone in a bag for the charity shop, others that are a bit past it have been binned.  So now I can actually open and close the drawers with ease, rather than having to squash everything down in order to shut the drawers.

Sorted out a big pile of books for the neighbour I exchange books with - she said she's got a bagful for me when she gets round to sorting hers out.....which is good as I'm down to my last 2 unread books.  I give them back to her when I've read them and she passes them on to her mother's care home.  I don't do a great deal of reading now, not like I used to years ago, but I do like to read for an hour in bed before I go to sleep.  If I wake up and get up in the night, I read for a short while then as well.

I rearranged my larder cupboard shelves....things had got moved around or put in the wrong places (not by me!) - I like to have everything in order so I can easily find things, and it's easy to see when I'm getting low on something and need to buy replacements.

The cupboard under the sink where all the cleaning supplies are kept needs clearing out, cleaning and reorganising - that's a job I'll get husband to do though, as I know for a fact (having seen them!) that 8-legged things live in the back of the cupboard.  No way am I pulling everything out of there!

I intended to sort through the big freezer and reorganise that - I normally like to have everything separated - meat in one drawer, fish in another, veg in the big deep drawer, ready meals in another, etc etc.  However, when we did a big freezer restock shop, and since then bought a couple of meat bargains, and with all the ready meals, sausage rolls etc I've made recently, things were tending to get shoved into any available space and now I have trouble finding anything.  I did make a start, but with the freezer being so full up, and it being very cold in the (unheated) utility room, I soon stopped.  I'll have a go again tomorrow, will get husband to get the big oil filled electric radiator out of the garage and plug that in so I'm warm enough.  We actually bought that second hand to go in the caravan, but it's a bit too big and, in any case, the electric fire we bought is brilliant and heats the caravan lounge up very well.

I've also made a healthy cake, found a recipe in one of my books for a carrot and courgette cake, sort of like a passion cake, which uses only a relatively small amount of flour - half self raising flour (I used wholemeal) and half almond flour.  I halved the amount of sugar stated (and I used dark brown sugar for a sweeter, treacly taste) and put a handful of chopped dates and some broken walnuts in it, along with the grated carrot and courgette.  It's in the oven now and smells good, I think we might try having a slice of it for breakfast.....well, it's got fruit, nuts, eggs and veggies in it, so really it's just like having healthy cereal (the fruit, nuts and wholemeal flour), or an omelette with veggies in it (the eggs, carrots & courgettes) isn't it?! 😉😁

Having just cleared up the kitchen and put everything away, I've just found the unopened bag of obviously they haven't gone in the cake, duh!! 😒

Thank you again for comments, Sue and HH, I hope your booster jabs go well and you have no after effects of any consequence (and anyway, I agree, much rather those than not having the jabs and getting Covid!).  Yes we're very pleased about the car and looking forward to it being here next week.  And Rambler, yes you're right, I should get a different chair for my craft room.  Trouble is, both the desk and the room are very small, so it'll have to be a chair that's not too big for the available space, preferably one that fits under the desk as there's not enough room for it to be stuck in the middle of the floor.  I'll have a look online soon and see what I can find.

It being fish day, we're having smoked salmon risotto for dinner.  I'm only going to use half the amount of brown basmati rice I'd normally use, as we're low-carbing at the moment.  Using loads of chopped veggies instead to bulk it out - leek, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms and sweetcorn.

Monday, 22 November 2021

A bit of pain but didn't last

 Thank you for all the comments, I know I don't answer them all individually, but I do read and appreciate every single one.  I have a great bunch of readers (beats me why you stay! 😂), you're all lovely, thank you.

This morning, for the first time in several days, I woke up in a bit of pain with the sciatica down the back of my left leg and twinges in my lower back - probably because I was on my feet in the kitchen for a couple of hours yesterday, then sitting in my craft room....the chair is only a spare dining chair with a cushion to support my back, so it's not really comfortable for long periods.  Thankfully, the pain didn't last too long and I've been a bit more careful and 'aware' of my back today.

I've not done too much today, just a bit of kitchen stuff, googling for some information, little bit of shopping for fresh veg, collected our prescriptions.  Oh, and we went to have a look at and test drive a new car....well, new to us.  Our little Fiat MPV, which we've had for less than a year, is a nice enough car, it's comfortable, cheap to run and looks good.  But it's gutless, really struggles going up hills - there's a long, not particularly steep, hill on the way to the caravan and the car struggles so much going up there that I often feel like I need to get out and push.  And the boot is quite small - Betty's travel cage doesn't fit in it which I'm not very happy about, and even with the back seats down we can't get a lot of stuff in the back - even less with Betty in the car.

This car we looked at is still a Fiat but quite a bit bigger - bigger engine, much bigger boot, it will easily fit Betty's cage in.  And with the back seats folded there's tons of room, which will come in very handy with a couple of projects we've got in mind for next year.  It's also quite high up, unlike a normal saloon car, so is easy to get in and out of.  It drives like a dream - well, husband drove it and liked it, and it seemed a very comfortable and easy ride to me, it certainly has a lot more 'oomph' to it.  It's got very strong roof bars fitted, which will also be useful.....husband will need to stand on a stool to put anything on the roof though!  So we've bought it, the garage is taking our present car in part exchange.  The new one is having a service and new MOT and they're delivering it to us next week.

I've got my covid booster jab this week, Friday, I'm glad about that.  I didn't really have any problems with the first two....I think I felt a bit under the weather for a day or 2 after the first, but had no reaction whatsoever to the 2nd, not even a sore arm.  Hopefully, the booster won't give me any problems either.  Husband had his a couple of weeks ago and just felt a bit more tired than usual for the first day or so.  

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Good and busy day

 It's been a busy day, lots of jobs done.  Firstly, washing put out on the line as it's been sunny, albeit with a very cold breeze.  The temperature has dropped noticeably, we've had several unseasonably warm days over the past few weeks and now it's gone down to what it should be for this time of the year.  For the first time in ages, I was actually a bit cold in bed last night, so have changed from the summer duvet to the autumn one, 7.5 tog instead of the 4.5 one.  So changed the bed linen at the same time.

Prepped the duck for dinner today.....well, husband prepped it following my directions.  I prepared all the veggies - cabbage, sprouts, tenderstem broccoli, and potatoes and carrots to roast - loads of veg purposely as I want some leftovers for veggie day tomorrow.  I also made an orange sauce to serve with the duck - simple one, just zest and juice of a large orange, 2 tbsp marmalade and a splash of balsamic vinegar, boiled then simmered until reduced and thickened.  Poured off most of the duck fat to freeze for roast spuds over Christmas, leaving a little to make gravy with.

Made a few changes to the menu plan for this week.  Then went up to my craft room and drew/made a birthday card for a friend, and added some embellishments to some Christmas cards.

I used the puff pastry yesterday to make apple, raisin and cinnamon Danish pastries - froze most of them (in the duck sized space in the freezer, haha) but kept a couple out for husband.

Still no pain in my back or hips, although I'm still a bit sore and quite stiff today.  My legs are definitely getting stronger, I feel like I stand better.  It continues to amaze me how the osteopathy is having such a positive change to my muscles, stance and pain reduction.....I honestly didn't believe that I could ever be pain free.  I've got so used to being in pain constantly, 24/7, and that affected my mood a lot, especially since I wasn't sleeping at all well, the pain waking me up every time I turned over.  Now I feel so much better, physically and therefore mentally.  Had a long chat with my bestie yesterday too, that always cheers me up.

Just sat down now, I won't be doing anything else for the rest of the day....well, other than serving up the dinner.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Osteo and the Christmas fair

 My osteo session yesterday was great, it amazes me that her gentle movements of her fingers can have such a positive effect - I can feel my muscles relaxing as she's doing it.  And when she finishes and I stand up, my whole body feels so much looser, as if all the tenseness has gone.  I slept really well last night, woke up about 05.30 (my usual time), but instead of getting up straight away I thought oh I'll get up in a minute.....the next thing I knew it was 06.36.  Again, I feel sore this morning, I have soreness and aches in places where I don't normally - like my upper back - but it's not unbearable, and there's no pain, just the soreness/achiness.  My back and hips aren't so stiff either, which is fantastic.  

I've got an exercise bike, which I stopped using ages ago as it hurt my back too much.  Felicity suggested trying it again, putting a folded towel or small cushion on the saddle, adjusting the handlebars a bit so I don't lean forward so much (I don't know if the handlebars do adjust actually, will have to have a look) and using it initially for just 5 mins at a time.  She also suggested that I keep to the time length of my walks (15 mins), but to try walking a bit faster.  She said it might be a good idea to get a pair of those walking poles, they'd help to steady me and having one in each hand will be better than just using one stick.  I'll have a look and see if I can get some second hand.

Last time, the stiffness returned with a vengeance after just a few days, I wonder if it will this time.  If it does, I'll have a chat with Felicity next time (going again in a fortnight) and see what she suggests.

Husband didn't have time to go to the supermarket whilst I was at the osteo yesterday, he went to a country store to get some dog food first and was in there longer than he anticipated.  So we had to go to the supermarket when he picked me up, luckily it wasn't crowded and we didn't need a lot so it was more or less in and out in 20 minutes.  And then after lunch, we went to the Christmas fair at Hestercombe.  It was lovely, lots of artisan craft stalls selling beautiful handmade things - a lot of Christmas tree decorations, cards and jewellery, I'd have preferred to see more general crafts, but it was a Christmas fair after all.  I bought some tree decorations and a couple of gifts for friends.  It was well organised, ticketed timed arrivals so not too crowded, a one way system in operation, masks recommended (although not everyone was wearing one - we were, of course).  However, by the time we left, my legs and back had had enough walking and I was feeling wobbly again.

Husband always exclaims at the cost of everything, but I said to him if he'd spent time making something with love and skill, he wouldn't want to sell it for peanuts would he?  Yes, handmade crafts do cost a lot of money, but why not when they're beautifully made and not mass-produced and they take a lot of time to do?

I shan't be sitting down all day doing nothing today, but will take it a bit easy.  I'll have a go on the bike and see how it feels.  I might do a bit of baking......there's a pack of puff pastry in the fridge that needs using within the next day or two, so will do something with that.  We're having roast duck tomorrow, so there's a duck-sized space in the freezer where any baking can go.

Friday, 19 November 2021


 Throughout our entire married life (38 years), Christmas has always been a bit of a non-event in our house, for a few reasons.  For a start, husband is Mr Grinch when it comes to Christmas, he hates everything about it, when we were first together he told me he didn't want Christmas presents from me as he thought it was a waste of money.  He's not changed at all since - he doesn't want me to buy him a present, nor does he get one for me.  Over the years, I've insisted on buying something for the house, for both of us - a microwave one year, new set of good quality saucepans, his choice of a new TV.  This year there's not really anything we want or need.  About the only thing husband does like about Christmas is a big roast dinner - he's not fussed about which meat to have - followed by cold cuts and a sort of Ploughmans with the leftovers the following few days.  He also likes to have a few food treats, things we wouldn't normally have on a regular basis throughout the year - snacky things like crisps, nuts, mince pies.  Oh, and he likes to have a bottle of whisky - neither of us is a big drinker, in fact I almost never drink alcohol anymore.  I've found as I've got older, I just don't really like the taste of alcohol anymore, and it only takes a couple of drinks to make me feel tiddly now.  Since I'm diabetic and alcohol contains a lot of calories and I have a mild liver disease, I'm not really supposed to drink anyway.  Can't say as I miss it.

My Nanna, who I was really attached to, died on Boxing Day a long time ago - I'm the eldest grandchild and Nanna and I had a very special relationship, she used to cuddle me and whisper in my ear that I was her favourite.....although she might well have said the same thing to my siblings and cousins!  And then my lovely Mum died on Christmas Eve the year before last, so it's a sad time for me.

Growing up at home, we didn't do anything for Christmas - my Mum was a devout Jehovah's Witness (our father left us when I was a child).  Before anybody says anything.....there are several religions and many people who don't celebrate Christmas for whatever reason, we had a good childhood and Mum looked after us very well indeed on an extremely limited income, so we never felt deprived.  I'm not and never have been a follower of Mum's (or any) religion, but have never attached any importance to Christmas as a festive season.

The things I like about Christmas are Christmas lights and decorations, I love to see them on the front of houses and in gardens.  I adore Christmas carols and all the old Christmas pop songs, I play my CDs of them throughout December.  And there's always plenty of good things to watch on TV - new special episodes, good films, old classic films and repeats of comedy classic sitcoms.  I do like to watch Love Actually, it's my absolute favourite Christmas film.  And I always like to watch the Queen's Speech.  I like the happy atmosphere at Christmas, we've often been away on holiday and gone for a walk on the beach on Christmas day if the weather's good - there have usually been plenty of people doing the same thing and they're all happy and smiling (probably full of sherry!) and everyone wishes each other a Happy Christmas.  We've often been invited to my best friend's house for Christmas day, it's lovely to be included in their family celebrations.  We were due to go the year before last - understandably, as Mum had just died I didn't really feel like friend persuaded us to though and promised to look after us.  They did, I felt wrapped up in a warm embrace.

It's only over the last 3 or 4 years that I've started to put up a few (very few!) decorations, much to husband's disgust, but he tolerates it.  I've never had a tree before though, this year I just felt like I really wanted one.  It's only a small one, 4ft - it's on a small side table in the lounge, had to be up off the floor or Betty would take far too much interest in it, and I don't want her knocking it over.  With hindsight, I reckon a 5ft one would be better, I'll get that next year.  The new tree is up in place (it's an artificial one obviously, I mentioned it a few blogs back) but I've resisted the urge to decorate it so far!  I'll start on the 1 December.  I really like traditional, tasteful, old fashioned tree decorations, wooden or tin plate metal ones, and have bought quite a few (probably too many for such a small tree!).....I'm hoping to find a few more at the big Christmas craft fair this afternoon.

Off to my osteopathy in a few minutes, it's a lovely sunny day again.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

The haggis cottage pie verdict

 The haggis cottage pie was nice, the carrots, leeks & lentils I added to the haggis mix toned down the strong taste.  Having read the list of ingredients on the pack, which I hadn't done the last time we had it, I almost wished I hadn't - it certainly doesn't sound very appetising at all (does anyone fancy minced sheep's lung?!).  We were given the haggis by lovely neighbours, so I wasn't going to be churlish and refuse it, or waste it, but it's not really something I would be choosing to buy myself and we probably won't have it again - well, after we've eaten the one I froze!  We are never going to be vegetarian, but we do eat a lot less meat now and are much more choosy about the type of meat we buy.

Today it's a veggie day, so for lunch we're having grated cheese & carrot in mayo - husband will have a sandwich, I'm having it on crispbreads (for anyone who likes crispbreads and may not have tried them....the Ryvita black pepper rye ones are scrumptious).  For dinner I'm making a veggie lasagne - I've just roasted a chopped up acorn squash, sprinkled with olive oil and smoked paprika.  I'll mix it with tinned chopped tomatoes, sliced mushrooms and crumbled feta, then layer it up with the lasagne sheets and top with cheese sauce.  We'll have it with a green veg on the side.

Tomorrow, we might get something to eat at the Christmas fair, depending on what (if any) food stalls they've got there.  If not, we'll most likely get a takeaway on the way's fish day so fish or scampi and chips I expect.

So far (touch wood) I haven't had any pain today, just the usual stiffness and wobbly legs.  I've been busy though, only just sat down, so not really had time to notice any pain.  Dried the first load of washing in the tumbler (it was spitting with rain earlier), folded and put that away and then got the next lot out on the line, since the rain has stopped and the sun has come out.  Grated the carrots and cheese for lunch, prepped the lasagne for dinner.  Had a quick glance in the freezers and cupboards, wrote a menu plan for next week and am now about to write a short shopping list for husband tomorrow.  Whilst I'm having my osteo in the morning, he can go do the shopping.

Got a birthday card, and the few remaining Christmas cards (the special ones for friends and family) to do this afternoon.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Beach, haggis and caravan plans

 Sorry for the absence, not had anything I wanted to write about.

Life goes on much as usual.  I'm not in quite so much pain - well, not continual anyway.  I'm still incredibly stiff though, and very wobbly on my feet, I have to use my stick when going out, if only to give me a bit of confidence that it'll stop me from falling over.  I've not regained any further feeling in my big toe, it's still semi-numb.  Got my 2nd osteo session Friday morning, I'm hoping for a bit more improvement.  The amitriptyline aren't making me sleep so well anymore, I'm waking up with pain through the night again.  The GP put me on the lowest dose to start with so I guess they need increasing....he did say they probably would.

We're going to a big Christmas craft fair at Hestercombe House (it's a big stately home near Taunton) on Friday afternoon.  I had to book tickets in advance, it's a ticket only event to control the numbers attending, and you can't buy tickets on the door.  Our timed admission is 3pm, so I hope I can still walk having had osteo in the morning!

Went to Dunster beach this morning with Betty, she enjoyed herself hugely as usual.  I remembered to take my stick and managed to not fall over - I did the last time we went there, although as I fell on sand it was at least a soft landing.  A few people around, and quite a few dogs - it was sunny, albeit with a very cold brisk breeze.

I've just made dinner for this evening - haggis cottage pie.  We were given a haggis by neighbours who'd just come back from a Scottish holiday and I was wondering what to do with it - we have had haggis before, in the traditional way, like spicy mince with mash and veg.  From what I remember, it was ok, if a bit strong tasting.  I reckoned it would make a nice cottage pie, with a few additions.  I chopped a couple of carrots and a leek fairly small in my mini processor, then cooked them with a handful of red lentils in a pan of beef stock, until all the liquid had been absorbed.  I chopped up the haggis and microwaved it until soft and crumbly, then mixed it with the carrot/lentil mix, topping it with buttery mashed potato.  It's made one large (4 portion) and one small (2 portion) dishfuls, so we'll have the small one tonight with a green veg and the bigger one will be frozen.

I've been thinking about a few changes for the caravan for next year......having stayed in it quite a lot this year, we now know what works well and what could do with improvement or adjusting.  I'll write about it more in due course, when we've decided for definite.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

A morning to soothe my soul

 We took Betty to the vet yesterday - not only to check that her anal glands had been emptied completely (they had, just a pity it was mostly on my bed, albeit on a thick blanket), but also to get her checked out, as she had been off her food and a bit off colour for a day or 2.  We also needed a new supply of her flea & tick meds.  The vet said she did have a bit of inflammation around her glands, so he gave her an antibiotic injection.  She slept most of the day and night and seems much happier and back to her usual self today.  She's also got her appetite back.

I haven't been in a good place recently and knew I needed to get out for some fresh air today, near the sea.  So we went to Watchet first, walked up onto the harbour wall and stood looking out to sea, it's one of my favourite places, there are good views on a clear day across the Bristol channel to South Wales.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any photos there, but did a bit later.  After a stroll around the small town and a look in some shop windows, we then got back in the car and drove to Doniford Farm Park, a farm and animal visitor centre on the way home.  It's a nice place, more geared towards tourists now than farming, they have lots of friendly animals - donkeys, goats, alpacas, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs.  Also a play barn (no we didn't go in there!  Lots of children in there having great fun, judging by the shrieks and giggles), some collectibles and gift shops, and a large visitor centre shop with a restaurant and lots of outside tables.  It's free entry, which is unusual for a tourist attraction, although they do have donation boxes around.  Some animal photos:-

Free ranging chickens in the car park

Cute scruffy guinea pigs and bunnies

Donkeys, ponies and alpacas in the distance

Another free ranging chicken (called Monty, so the waitress said), who was hoping to share our cake and coffee

And the views from the seating area at the bottom end of the park, beyond the animal fields.  We stayed here for ages, just watching the sea, as you can see it's been a gorgeous bright sunny morning, with just a slightly chilly breeze.  The absolute best thing for soothing my soul is watching the sea, I just love watching and listening to the waves rolling in gently or crashing onto the rocks.  

We are so lucky to live here in this beautiful county, and such a short distance from the coastline.  Ok, it's not Devon or Cornwall, we don't have the huge golden sands that they do, and the sea generally looks muddy (because it is!) rather than the clear blue of Cornish coastlines, but it's still beautiful.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Not a good start

 This morning Betty decided to empty her anal glands.....firstly on my bed 😱 - thankfully, I have a thick blanket on the bed for her to sleep on, so it was contained on there, but it still made the whole room stink.  Then, wherever she sat in the lounge - on the floor, or on the sofas (we also have blankets on the sofas - Betty's very good, she knows the blankets on the sofas and bed are for her), she left a horrible stink.  So I have a mound of washing to do this morning, my bed linen is being washed as well as the blankets, the first lot is already in the machine.

For those without a dog.....some dogs empty their glands naturally (hopefully outside!), others need them emptied 'manually' - by the vet or the owner, if you're brave enough and have a strong stomach!!  And it stinks to high heaven, it's much, much worse than poo.  At 8 o'clock we shall be ringing the vets and hopefully taking Betty there pretty much straight away, to make sure she's emptied out, they're very good there and usually try to get us in.  

Also, husband helpfully 😒 decided to make my Earl Grey this morning - I'd told him yesterday I would do it myself every day.  It's supposed to be left to brew for a few minutes, then stirred gently before removing the teabag, without squeezing.  Well, husband likes strong tea, he doesn't leave it alone to brew but stirs it vigorously, mashing and squeezing the bag, until the liquid is dark brown.  He did the same to my Earl Grey, which tasted revolting as a consequence.  So, as I was a bit frazzled anyway because of the smelly Betty situation, I poured it down the sink and had my normal frothy coffee.

Good start to the day.....not! 😒

Friday, 12 November 2021

Changing my diet

 I woke up in the early hours with my back really killing me again.  Since I couldn't get into a comfortable position lying any which way, I got up and sat in my recliner's firm and supportive, not a squishy one.  We've got into the habit of eating too many carbs lately (bread, potatoes, rice and pasta, mainly) and I know carbs don't do me any good, I'm sure they make my joints ache more - they certainly make me feel sluggish.  So I googled anti-inflammatory foods (may as well make use of my sleeplessness!) - basically, the Mediterranean diet....more veg, some fruits (berries mainly), pulses, wholegrain foods, nuts & seeds, oily fish, chicken and olive oil.  So for a couple of weeks at least (as long as I can maintain it, basically), I'm going to give it a try.  No bread at all, wholegrain pasta or brown basmati rice perhaps once a week, no potatoes, no breakfast cereals....not that I'm much of a breakfast eater, but I do occasionally have cereal.  I've also got into the habit of drinking more coffee - I have those sachets of frothy coffee, decaff unsweetened Nescafe Gold cappuccino being my favourite.  I used to have 1 or 2 a day, now it's more likely to be 3 or 4.  Whilst they're supposedly unsweetened, they do contain glucose, milk and carbs, so aren't particularly low in calories, carbs or fat.

So now I'm going to change things.  On the occasions when I feel like breakfast, I'll have overnight oats with soya milk, nuts and seeds and some berries....obviously that means I have to prepare it the night before - if I don't actually feel like eating it the next morning, then it'll keep in the fridge till the next day.  If I don't want breakfast, then I'll have a glass of soya milk or half-and-half apple juice and water.  Oh, and instead of my early morning first cup of cappuccino, I'm going to have a cup of Earl Grey with clementines (thanks Joy, I got some yesterday and had it this morning, lovely).  I shall also try only having 1 cappuccino per day, drinking the Earl Grey or water instead - I do drink lots of water anyway.

Lunches will be eggs or fish, either fresh smoked mackerel, or tinned mackerel, tuna or sardines, with salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.  Or homemade soup - lentil, split pea or vegetable.

For dinners we'll stick to our usual regime - 3 days meat, 2 days fish, 2 days vegetarian.....but with no potatoes, plenty of green veg and only wholegrain pasta or rice once a week.

Hopefully, this will help me lose a bit of weight, along with reducing the inflammation in my joints.  I'll try and keep up the short gentle walks daily, or if it's raining will try using my exercise bike again - I'd stopped because it was hurting my back.

Husband is happy to go along with my preferred meals, although he'll get his own breakfasts - toast or cereal, most likely.  He'll probably also have bread or wraps with his lunch.  Although he could do with losing weight (he often complains about his weight, but does nothing about it, he's got a big appetite), he doesn't suffer with inflamed joints like I do.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Jelly legs, and a surprise offer

 This morning we went to Street (it's a town near Glastonbury), to go to Clarks village, a big discount designer shopping centre, mostly full of the type of posh designer shops we never normally go in.  There are other, more mainstream shops there - M&S, Next, Cotton Traders, card shops, kitchenware shops, a chocolate shop (Cadburys), etc etc.  They're all discount shops, they sell last year's stock, end of lines, surplus stock, stuff like that.  We've got quite a few bargains there in the past, we're not remotely bothered about things being 'SO last year'!!  I particularly like the M&S outlet, it's just as big as a normal M&S but their prices are considerably cheaper.  A few years ago I bought some saucepans and a brilliant kitchen knife in one of the kitchen shops, half the price of stock in a normal shop, they're still in regular use.  It's worth going for a look, although you have to be a bit flexible about what you want and not go with a fixed idea.

We had a walk down the high street first, there was a market on with lots of artisan stalls.....nice things but nothing I wanted.  We then went back into the outlet centre, straight to M&S as that's where I particularly wanted to look....I bought a couple of tops and a fleece jacket.  Wanted some knickers too but they didn't have the ones I like - that's the drawback, you can never rely on getting exactly what you want.  By this time, my legs had turned to jelly and I was having difficulty walking - I'd forgotten my cane again, honestly, I think I need it tied to my wrist!  Although I think subconsciously I don't really want to use it so possibly 'deliberately' forget it!  Anyway, I told husband I needed to go back to the car, as I really felt like I was going to fall over.  So our trip was cut short (saves money anyway lol).

Ever since Monday when I had the osteo, my legs have felt like I said before, I assume it's because Felicity has loosened up all my muscles, but I'm going to mention it to her and see what she says when I go again next week.

Our landlord today sprang a surprise on us - he's offered us another property to move into, if we want.  It's a 4 bedroom chalet style bungalow - 2 bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs, with a bigger kitchen and lounge than ours, another 2 bedrooms but NO bathroom upstairs.  It's detached, in a good sized garden and has a large garage, bigger than ours (which is pretty much useless anyway as the roof leaks like a sieve).  Whilst we don't need 4 bedrooms, the thought of a bedroom and bathroom downstairs is very tempting - I already have trouble getting upstairs (although hopefully not so much when my back and hips improve) and neither of us is getting any younger.  The only drawback is financial, the rent is higher than we currently pay, and the Council tax is considerably more.  We are tempted though, it's a lovely place in an even quieter area than here, and with lovely views over (landlord's) farm.  But I have to say, the thought of packing everything up here and moving, and then having to unpack over there....well it's not a pleasant thought.  We'll go and have a look (landlord said we can as soon as present tenant moves out, in a month or so) and have a good think about it in the meantime.

It's getting dark so early now, I really don't like the winter.  Thank goodness things change as from the 22nd December (is it that date?), still winter I know but at least the days start lengthening by a couple of minutes each week from then on.  And I have all my Spring bulbs to look forward to, both here and at the caravan.  And each day that passes means another day nearer being able to go back to our lovely caravan (109 days....and yes I am counting 😂😂).

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Covid booster, and my big toe

 Husband had his covid booster yesterday.  Unbeknown to us beforehand, the vaccination centre where he had his booked jab is also a walk-in centre, anyone eligible can just go there without an appointment.  He rang me (I was sitting in the car) to say I could go and have mine too, if I wanted - but there was a long queue for walk-ins (people with appointments got seen straight away).  I didn't feel up to standing for x amount of time, so declined.  I'll wait for my booked appointment, it's only a couple of weeks away anyhow.

Husband's had no side effects at all, not even a sore arm.....although he did sleep right through last night without waking up at all, he said it was the best night's sleep he's had in ages.  If that's a side effect - bring it on!!

I'm not quite so sore today, other than a few twinges of sharp pain in a rather odd place, right in the middle of my back - I've not had pain there before, it's always been lower down.  I am still extremely stiff though, especially when getting out of bed or up off the sofa.  I went for a shortish walk with husband and dog yesterday, as my osteo advised.  Didn't take my stick (I forgot it) - should have done though as I did start to feel very wobbly on my feet on the way back and had to cling onto husband's arm.  Will try and remember in future.  

We've just been to the supermarket to get some fresh veggies and more cheese.  Since starting to have fewer meat days, we do seem to be getting through a lot of cheese.  The shop was stuffed full of Christmas foods....although why anyone wants to buy mince pies etc this early with dates on them that won't last till Christmas, except if you freeze them, I don't know.  Despite saying I didn't need to buy any meat for ages, having stocked up the freezer, we did buy a large pork loin joint (got the butcher to cut it in half) - it was on special offer, too good an offer to pass up.  I've just had to do a bit of rearranging in the big freezer in order to fit the 2 pork joints in.  I'm counting walking round the supermarket as my walk for today....not feeling too well so I really don't feel like going out again.

Something surprising - I'm getting some feeling coming back into my big toe, along with pins and needles which I guess means that even more feeling is returning.  It's been completely numb for a couple of months now, I'm assuming the numbness starting to wear off is down to the osteopathy.

There's nothing much I need to do today - soup (bought ones) for lunch, dinner is lamb stew out of the freezer, just the washing to get in off the line later, and possibly put in the tumbler for 10 mins to finish it off.  Husband did the hoovering yesterday.  Just got to go out later this afternoon to the chiropodist.  So I think I'll just sit and read today, or maybe do a bit more on my crocheted blanket.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

For Joy

 Joy, re your comment about my cheats 'tartiflette'.  No, it's not like a Spanish tortilla as it contains no eggs.  I guess a more accurate description of it would be a sort of potato dauphinoise - actually, that probably describes it better than a tartiflette.

A proper tartiflette, which I have made in the past, is sliced potatoes, sometimes with thinly sliced onion or leeks, garlic, bacon lardons, with diced or crumbled cheese and herbs, all mixed together with double cream poured over then baked.  I didn't use bacon in mine as it was a meal for our vegetarian day.

A dauphinoise, which I've also made lots of times before, is sliced potatoes with half and half milk and cream poured over and mixed to ensure all the potatoes get coated.  A melty grated cheese scattered over and then baked.

My quick version, which is more or less a combination of both of the above, uses a cheese sauce partly because I didn't have any cream, and partly because I just like the cheesiness!


 Everything is sore today.....Felicity warned that it might be.  I've had enough osteo, physio and chiro over the years to know that it often feels worse before it starts getting better, so I'm not worried.  

Monday, 8 November 2021

An improvement already

 My osteopath, Felicity, is lovely, so kind, knowledgeable and put me at ease straight away.  She firstly asked lots of questions - exactly the same sort of questions that both my GP and the hospital doctor asked, giving me confidence that she knew just what she was talking about.  She then had me standing in front of her, with my back towards her, gently feeling all along my spine from my neck downwards, across my pelvis to my hips each side, then down the outside of my thighs and up across my shoulders.  She got me doing some gentle bending, forwards and backwards, side to side, whilst she stood back and watched.  She said my pelvis area and lower back were incredibly tight and said that's the reason why I'm so unsteady on my feet, the muscles and ligaments are so tightly knotted in my lower back area that I'm not grounding myself in my feet, almost as if my feet weren't even connecting with the floor.  I didn't really understand at the time what she actually meant - after the treatment, however, I did understand, it became quite obvious!

I then had to lie on the treatment couch - on my back....I'd assumed it would be on my front so she could work on my back.  I had a pillow under my knees, a couple of pillows under my head, and she asked me to place both hands on my abdomen.  She slid both her hands underneath me, which she said was easy to do as my back was arched upwards, leaving a big space - she said that was another indication of how tightly clenched my muscles were, as I would have been lying flatter had my muscles been relaxed.

She spent about 30 minutes doing a series of tiny, very gentle movements of her fingers and hands - some I could barely feel, others made me yelp when she pressed on a particularly sensitive or painful spot (she seemed to know exactly where all the painful bits were!).  After a few minutes, I could actually feel my legs and back relaxing, as could she - before even I knew I was doing it.  She worked a bit on my feet too, small but firm squeezes.  

At the end of it, she asked me to raise my knees and gently rock from side to side - she said this would help to open out my pelvis and prepare me for standing up......she did have to help me up off the couch.  When I stood up, however, I could feel an immediate difference - everything felt looser.  When I was explaining it to husband in the car on the way home, I said it felt like a giant had taken hold of my shoulders, lifted me up off the ground and shaken me as if he were shaking out a towel - it felt as if all of my muscles had been loosened up.  I even felt like I was standing firmly on the ground, as if all my weight had gone down my legs to my feet - I knew instantly what she'd meant when she said previously that I hadn't been grounding myself in my feet.  How very clever of her to accomplish all that, in just one session and with such small gentle movements!

Felicity said I may well feel a bit sore tonight or tomorrow morning, even though I felt so much better there and then - she said not to rush into spring cleaning the entire house because I felt better (AS IF!!! 😂😂, no danger of that!!).  She said to lie on my back with my knees raised and do the side to side gentle rocking movement in the mornings just before getting up, to prepare my back.

She also recommended I go for a short gentle walk, just 15 mins or so, every day, to start building up my leg muscles again - she said it was quite obvious that I've lost muscle strength in my legs over the past few weeks when I've not been doing much walking, because of the pain.

It was a great experience, most enlightening, and I was pleasantly surprised to feel such a positive difference after just one session.  I'm going again towards the end of next week.

Osteo day

 Got my first osteopathy session this morning and I am SO ready for it, the past couple of days my hip has been a pain (literally).  My back doesn't hurt so much, but it's so stiff, I can barely move first thing in the morning, or when I've been sitting for a while.  And today I've woken up with the sciatica in my left leg really being a problem too, it feels like someone is stabbing me right in the middle of my left bum cheek and then the pain travels down the back of my leg right down to my lower calf.  In a way, I'm glad everything is hurting and stiff, as it makes it easier to explain it all to the osteopathist, Felicity.  I can't forget anything when all of it is hurting to remind me!

I'm anticipating feeling sore, or at least uncomfortable, after my session today - you never know, I might actually feel some relief, but not banking on it, not after just one session.  In anticipation of that, yesterday I got veggies prepped ready for today's dinner, so I won't have to stand in the kitchen doing it all today.  We're having a sort of cheat's tartiflette - thinly sliced potatoes (Charlottes so they don't break up) and leeks in a cheesy herby sauce, no bacon as it's a vegetarian day today.  The potatoes and leeks are ready, part cooked, in a bowl of water, they just need to be drained and mixed with the sauce before being baked.  Will serve it with green veg, husband can do the veg.  Fish day tomorrow, fish pie already made in the freezer for that, then lamb stew also out of the freezer for meat day on Wednesday, so I've got easy ready made meals for the next few days.  Thursday is vegetarian day again, it'll be pasta with some chopped green veggies and pesto sauce.  Friday is fish day, we might go for a fish and chip lunch in a local pub, they've been advertising on our local FB page and the pictures (and rave reviews) look a damn sight more appetising than the disappointing fish meal we had last week (in a chain pub).

Looks as though it'll be a reasonable week weather wise, so should be able to get my washing dried outside.  Still got a bit of the front garden left to tidy up for winter.  I've got a few roses blooming on the arch over our front door, they're smaller and not quite as fragrant as in the summer, but it's lovely to see them in November!  What a strange year it's been for the weather.

Husband's having his covid booster jab tomorrow - as they're now saying eligible people can get their booster after just 5 months instead of 6, mine should hopefully be due very soon.  Then I've got the chiropodist on Wednesday, so will have lovely feet - she always finishes off my feet with a massage using peppermint scented cream, so they smell and feel really nice.

EDIT - I've just been on the NHS covid booking service and booked my booster jab for 26th Nov.  Am happy about that.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Lovely birthday

 Thank you for all the birthday wishes, and special thanks to Joy and Marlene for your lovely cards, really nice of you both, thank you so much.

I had lots of nice cards (and a very rude one from my eldest brother - he really can't help himself 😂).  Husband bought me a huge bouquet of mixed colour roses, they really are gorgeous, he's surpassed himself:-

The photo doesn't do them justice, they're so lovely, he's certainly earned some husband points today.  He asked this morning (after making me a lovely bacon roll - my choice, I'm not normally much of a breakfast eater) if I wanted to go out anywhere, a beach walk eg or shopping somewhere.  I said no, as my hip is hurting badly and I don't feel very steady on my feet today.  However, come midday I said I wouldn't mind going to the garden centre for a look at the Christmas displays, and perhaps we could go in the cafe.  This garden centre used to be a Wyevale but changed hands last year, we'd only been in once since then (Marlene, you'll know it, it's Sanders near Highbridge).  Well, it's changed considerably, not so much a garden centre now, more of a massive gift shop inside, although there's still a large garden plant area outside.  They've also got a new coffee shop in there, called Kiplings, which is really lovely - nice chunky furniture, deep leather sofas, bookcases filled with a mixture of new and old books, great to browse through whilst having your drinks.  We had a savoury scone and tea - a ginormous Parmesan, Cheddar and Stilton scone and butter with a large china pot of tea and proper china cups and saucers.  Oh it was gorgeous, the scone (I really should have taken a photo of it, it was massive) was better than I could have made (and I'm pretty good at making scones, if I do say so myself).  Afterwards, we looked round the many, varied and colourful Christmas displays - I was very restrained and only bought a pretty solar powered hanging lamp to go in our front porch.  And husband hardly complained at all about having to follow me around the Christmas stuff (in case I fell over, as I'd forgotten my walking stick!) - bless him, he's such a Grinch about Christmas.

Having had too many carbs over the past couple of days - the fish and (one!) big fat chips yesterday, along with a bowl of ice cream after our teatime scrambled egg, the bacon roll for breakfast, a piece of choc chip shortbread (delicious) with coffee mid morning, then the huuuge scone this afternoon, I'm now feeling decidedly bloated and sluggish, so much so that I really can't face the thought of any dinner.  I'll just have a glass of watered down juice and an apple, husband has said he'll be happy to do himself something on toast.

I've got my new electric heat pad on over my hip, will watch Strictly tonight then probably have an early night.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Lunch out, and pretty Betty

 Thank you for all the lovely comments about my cards.....I don't see them as anything special, I just like doing them.  My problem sometimes is when to stop adding more details, or colours, or embellishments - simple is best, quite often.  I'm certainly more into drawing the cards now, rather than making them up with card toppers or added bits.  I just wish my Mum was around to see my drawings, I'm sure she'd be pleased to see I'm following in her footsteps.  Mum was a talented watercolour artist, although we (her 4 kids) didn't know this until just a few years ago - she'd apparently painted in her teens, but then got married and had children and moved around a lot (our father was in the RAF) so gave up painting as she didn't have the time to do it.  She didn't start again until after she'd retired, in her late 60s, when we were all astonished to see just how talented she was.  She liked painting birds, nature and landscape scenes.

Our lunch out was....ok, nothing special.  I had cod, chips and peas - the cod was nice, although the batter was so crisp it literally shattered into 100s of pieces when cut, a bit messy.  The peas were.....peas.  Didn't like the chips much, in fact I only ate one - I like thin, crispy chips, these were huge, fat, soft ones.  Oh well, it was nice to be out and the coffee was ok.  We looked round the shops but I didn't buy anything, nothing took my fancy.  At least I'll enjoy tea - I'm not cooking it for a start, husband is.  We're having scrambled egg (some lovely Burford Brown eggs with deep yellow yolks) and some really nice smoked salmon, on a slice of seeded sourdough toast.

I've got a pile of birthday cards to open tomorrow, and a lovely bunch of flowers arrived today from husband's daughter.  Oh, and a small Amazon box - no idea what's in it as I've not ordered anything, and husband says it's not from him.  I suspect it's probably from my best friend - I'll find out tomorrow!

My hip is really giving me trouble today, although my back's not so bad.  I'm so glad my first osteo session is on Monday, I have high hopes for it giving me some relief.

Betty went to the groomers yesterday and came back smelling lovely, claws clipped, beautiful soft fur and a red chiffon bow tied to her collar, she looked so sweet.  I tried to take a photo but she ran off!  She's always so excited when she comes back from there, she loves going there, they love her and make a big fuss of her.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Another step forward, and Christmas cards

Thank you for the lovely comments, it's so nice to have the pain that I seem to have lived with for months and months, but worse in the past few weeks, now easing up.  It would be nice if the stiffness went as well, and my balance is still not good due to weakness in my legs and hips so I'm always wary of falling over, but less pain is brilliant.

I had a letter yesterday asking me to book an appointment with the Orthopaedic Assessment Service - Dr Joe said he'd refer me to them but didn't know whether they'd accept me - apparently they're for patients who've had physiotherapy which hasn't helped them.  Well, I don't know whether or not physio would have helped, seeing as I never actually got to see anyone!  (I've had several courses of NHS physio over the years, as well as paid-for osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture).  But the doc said he'd try referring me by the back door, so to speak, just to see if they would take me on.  Well, clearly it worked.  Good old Dr Joe (well, he's not old at all actually, probably in his early 30s).

The appointment I was given is 30's an initial telephone appointment, of course - seems to be the norm nowadays!  I'm just pleased that I'm finally getting some help, it's boosted my mood no end.

Here's some of the Christmas cards I've been drawing:-

Sorry about the quality of the photos, as always they're taken on my phone and I'm no photographer.

Oh, and a little bit of good news.....just had an email to say we've won £25 on our premium bonds.  Every little helps!

Wednesday, 3 November 2021


 Well, yesterday I woke up with hardly any pain - which felt very strange as I've been constantly in pain for months and months.  Still loads of stiffness in my back and hips, but I'll take stiffness over pain any day.  I had a couple of pain twinges now and then, just to let me know not to get complacent, but generally it was a relatively pain-free day.  This morning, though, I've had quite a lot of pain since the early hours, although it is now easing off a bit.  To be fair, this is the first time I've actually taken prescribed pain relief tablets consistently, every day - in the past, I've only taken them when I can't stand the pain any longer.  I'm not a fan of taking pain relief medication every day normally, I'm of the opinion that your body just gets used to the medication and builds up a tolerance to it, so you end up having to take more or a higher dose, just to get the same level of relief.  I'll keep taking the tabs for now, certainly until after I've had a couple of sessions of osteopathy, and then review how I'm getting on.  I really don't want to be taking prescribed medication for an indefinite period.

My lovely GP, Dr Joe, rang me yesterday to see how I was getting on - wow, how often do you get doctors doing that nowadays?!  He said to ring him in a couple of weeks to let him know how the osteopathy is doing.

I've not been idle the past few days, I've been doing one biggish job each day - changing the beds (husband helps with that, no way I could lift a mattress and change a big duvet cover on my own) one day, emptying out pots of summer bedding plants and replanting with Spring bulbs another day.  I did a freezer rearrange and tidy up - the contents, I mean - the freezers are full to bursting, we certainly won't need any meat, frozen veg or really any frozen food for weeks and weeks.  I've been trying to use up homemade ready meals every day, just adding veg to them - freeing up a bit of space in the freezers and meaning I don't have to stand in the kitchen every day making a meal from scratch.  There's still probably a couple of weeks' worth of frozen ready meals - some while back I spent a couple of days doing a load of batch cooking and freezing.  Just as well I did, it's been such a help these past few weeks when I've been in so much pain and not felt like cooking.

I've also drawn loads of Christmas cards, some are a work in progress at the moment, I'll put on pics when I've finished.

It's my birthday this coming Saturday, I told husband I'd like a takeaway, he suggested we go out for a pub lunch instead (I suspect it was at least partly because he didn't want to have to drive to town in the evening to collect a takeaway - there's no Deliveroo/Just Eat type deliveries here, we're far too rural!).  Anyway, it's a nice idea, so we'll be going out for lunch on Friday - my choice, less people (and children!) about then.  Haven't decided where yet, but think I'll choose somewhere like a garden centre, or pub in a nice place with shops, so I can combine it with doing a bit of shop browsing....something I don't get the chance to do very often.