Thursday, 31 March 2022

Oh bugger it!

 Went to town first thing this morning to do a small top up shop of milk and fresh veg, and some soup for lunch as it's now gone freezing cold again.  I forgot to put my knee brace on and my knee collapsed 3 times in the shop - it's a good job I was pushing a trolley or I'd have fallen over.  I always use a trolley when supermarket shopping, regardless of how little I'm getting - it's something to hold onto.

And on the way back, the 'check engine' warning lights came on again, as predicted by our cheerful mechanic friend-of-a-friend.  This car, and what to do with it/how to get rid of it, is now a real problem.  We might have to bite the bullet and flog it via that website that Philip Schofield advertises, who will buy ANY car regardless of condition.  Which means we'll get next to nothing for it.  But we can't sell it (by any means) until we find and buy another car.  I bloody well hate bloody cars, they're nothing but money pits and problems.  Well, the ones we can afford to buy are.  Husband's windfall pension is disappearing fast, and that's a huge problem for the (fairly near) future, as it will run out before I get my State pension.

Both of us are suffering from lack of sleep, through worry and assorted aches and pains.  And just to add to the list of problems, my phone is on the way out - has been for a while actually, the wallet case is falling to bits as well but I've not bothered to replace it as there's little point when the phone is knackered.  

Oh, and our landlord informed us the other day that it appears we need a new roof, so he's arranging for that to be done.  The very thought of all the upheaval, noise, scaffolding all over my lovely garden just when plants are coming to life, is giving me a headache already, so we've decided that when it happens we'll decamp to the caravan.  Thank goodness we've got it.  I don't know when it'll happen, landlord does tend to take ages to arrange things.

Problem relative is being a pain in the neck again, I've tried blocking him again but to no avail - whether it's user error on my part (possible) or simply due to to my problematic phone I've no idea.  So I just have to ignore the texts and delete them as they happen.

So, nothing good to report at the moment, sorry about that.  I'm not getting despondent though, I just plough on regardless.  Nothing is bad forever.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022


 Husband's phone consultation didn't take very long - the surgeon merely said that in view of the fact that it's been over 2.5 years since he had the last round of prostate tests, and the machine was broken when he went for one of the repeat tests last week, he'll need to have all of them done again, and of course he couldn't say how long that would take to arrange.  So husband is unfortunately another casualty of the pandemic situation.

I rang the surgery, again, to see if my xray results were back.....still no, the receptionist said it appears the delay is because the hospital have so many staff off sick with covid.  So both husband and I can do nothing but wait.  Frustrating, but there you go.

So yesterday I made 4 single portion lasagnes and 3 double portions of chilli.  I also made a dozen chocolate, banana and walnut muffins.  Everything now frozen.  I delegated the bathroom cleaning and bedroom hoovering to husband - he had nothing else to do after his phone call and then waiting for the mechanic to arrive late in the afternoon.  I did washing and tumble dried half of it, the rest I put on the airer upstairs, then sorted out another load to go in the machine and be done overnight.  I'd bought a big block of Cheddar in the freezer store on Monday (it was cheaper than buying ready grated), so I grated all of that and froze it - I use a lot of grated cheese.

Had a WhatsApp chat with my sister - her daughter, who has fibromyalgia, is just getting over covid, she's been quite poorly with it.  All our neighbours who had it seem to have recovered well, no new cases so far here....well, not that I've heard.  I did notice on Monday when we were in the freezer shop that hardly anyone else was wearing a mask - I don't understand people, infections are rising rapidly again here in Somerset and both major hospitals are telling people not to attend if they don't have to, as covid is rife in both of them and they're so short handed with staff off sick with it.  Frankly, husband and I are both surprised that we haven't caught it.....Yet!

The mobile mechanic (who is fast becoming a good friend!) is a bit baffled as to what's going on with the car warning lights.  He said what he thinks is the problem (it all went over my head so I'm not even going to attempt to explain) and is of the opinion that the warning lights may well keep coming on....even though he's fairly sure there's not actually a problem with the new switch he fitted.  We've to ring him again the next time it happens and he'll come and have another check.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Bit of a boring routine day

 Today I'm doing a big pot of mince - half of it will then be made into lasagnes, the other half I'll add chilli spices and kidney beans to, then freeze all of it.  Well, apart from one portion of chilli for tonight's dinner.  Nigel Slater had a recipe in the Mail paper the other day for banana and choc chip muffins, they sounded nice and there's a couple of bananas going brown (husband seems to have gone off them lately) so I might make those as well.

Husband's got his phone consultation with the prostate surgeon this morning, and the mobile mechanic is coming back this afternoon to have another look at the car.  I'm cleaning the bathroom and hoovering the bedrooms, in between the batch cooking.  No idea what Betty's plans are for the day.....sleeping probably 😂

That's all I have to say today, nothing much happening at the moment.

Monday, 28 March 2022

Food prices and so-called 'humour'

 The bloody car is causing problems again, same as last time.  That's all I'm saying, leaving it up to husband to deal with as it irritates the life out of me (him too I expect).

We've just been shopping to the big freezer shop to stock up, it's been several months since we last went there and it's getting harder and harder to keep the food shopping under budget.  In the time since we last stocked up with frozen stuff (I suspect it's about 6 months, without checking back), prices have risen a lot - 20% or more on several things.  E.g. things we bought last time that cost £5, now cost £6 or even £6.25.  And I noticed in several cases the pack sizes are smaller too....e.g. the grated cheese was 500g for a long time, then it went down to 450g last year, now it's 430g - for a higher price too.

But at least there's food in the shops for us to buy - Ukrainians don't even have shops left standing in some cities, or homes, let alone food or even water to be able to obtain.  So I shall stop moaning about the cost and count my lucky stars that we don't have a war here.

So Will Smith slapped some third rate minor comedy actor live on stage at the Oscars yesterday - in retaliation for said comedy actor making a very tasteless joke about Will Smith's wife's lack of hair - which is due to a medical condition, not a fashion choice.  Jada Pinkett Smith was clearly very unimpressed by the so-called joke and being publicly humiliated, going by the expression on her face, so no wonder her husband made a very public act of defending her.  I don't condone violence (it wasn't a fisted punch, but he certainly gave the bloke a good slap), but admire him for standing up for his wife and showing it's no laughing matter.  Too many people think it's ok to make 'jokes' for cheap laughs at the expense of's only a joke if everyone thinks it's funny, the victims, the ones on the receiving end of such cheap humour, rarely do.  Why can't people just be NICE?!

Today I'm going to be doing planning for batch cooking, which I'll be undertaking tomorrow.  I've rearranged the big freezer and deliberately left some space to freeze meals.....I'll be making dog food as well, and there'll be a spare drawer in the dog food freezer I can put some of our meals in, if I run out of space in the big freezer.  Off the top of my head I'm thinking chilli, lasagnes, chicken curry and fish pies.  I'll be doing minced turkey and butternut squash for the dog, husband's just cooked up a panful of sliced liver for her as well.  The liver gets mixed with some commercial tinned food, both to pad it out and to encourage her to eat the tinned food......we bought a caseful of it, she liked it initially but then decided she didn't!  She will wolf it down when it's mixed with fresh liver though.

Looking at the weather forecast, we won't be going to the caravan for at least 10 days.  How funny - as in odd - our weather is, lovely warm almost early-summer-like weather for several days, and then truly back to winter for another week or 2 - there's even snow (just a bit, I expect) in the forecast for one day!  The only thing that's consistent about our weather here in the UK is the total changeableness of it.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

A lovely time

 Home now, I've unpacked and got the washing in the machine ready to do overnight.  We've had a really lovely few days, doing virtually nothing except catching up with old friends and making new ones, reading and crocheting (me) and TV watching (him).  And sitting in the sun.  I've done minimal cooking, which has been really nice.....I'm going to be doing more (well, less!) of that.  I've decided to have a batch cooking day regularly, making meals to be frozen, so I can just reheat and serve them up with salad or fresh (or even frozen) veg, rather than cooking a meal from scratch every day.....frankly, I'm fed up with doing that.  And I most certainly don't want to be doing it in the caravan - it gets too hot inside for that, and I want to relax whilst I'm there.  We've got a barbeque here at home so will be taking that to the van, and we'll be eating a lot more salads or cold stuff.  Two meals I particularly enjoyed whilst there.....a tuna and feta couscous salad, made using a lemon & coriander flavoured packet couscous with a tin of tuna and some crumbled feta, chopped cucumber and tomatoes, served on a bed of little gem lettuce.  And today's lunch....husband asked if I was doing a roast - what, in this heat, in the caravan!!!  Erm no, I said, go to the supermarket and buy a roasted chicken off the hot counter, and a crusty sourdough loaf.  So he did, and that's what we had - just that, spit roasted chicken and lovely buttered sourdough.  With a squirt of mayo.  Delicious.

The only fly in the ointment about the last few days was my hayfever - it started the day we arrived at the van.....I guess because of lots of trees and things starting to bloom, and because I was outside a lot of the time (I always get hayfever very early in the season).  So when my eyes and nose were streaming and itching too much, I had to keep going inside the van.  I did have a packet of antihistamines there, thankfully, although they didn't seem to be very effective!  Possibly because they were last year's (and maybe even out of date 😂). Never mind, my hayfever doesn't last all summer, thank goodness.

Looking at the weather forecast, which is practically back to winter for the latter half of this week, we won't be going back to the van until probably the middle of next week, if not later.  Husband's got a phone appointment with his prostate consultant on Tuesday, Betty's going to the groomer on Wednesday.  I'm hoping my x-ray results will be in this week, it would be nice to know exactly what's going on with my knee, it's been particularly painful the last day or 2.

Happy Mother's Day to the mums out there, and a hug for those of you (like me) who wish their mum was here for a chat and a hug today.  Especially Joy, must be a bittersweet day indeed for you xx

There are some people very dear to me who I've been missing a lot lately.  It doesn't get any easier.

Friday, 25 March 2022

Busy doing nothing

 It's been a glorious day, warm and sunny.  We went to The Range this morning to get a few things we needed for the van.  After lunch we both sat in the garden.....I read a book and crocheted, husband dozed, Betty alternated her naps between the garden and inside on my bed.  We had a few chats with other van neighbours (there's a few more here now).  And that's it.  We've not even started on the weeding, just had a very restful day, which is just what we both needed.  It'll probably be more of the same tomorrow!

Yes Sue you're right, it is a completely different atmosphere here at the caravan park.  At home I almost feel guilty for sitting down, there's always some job that needs doing.  Here I just don't feel the same sense of needing to do something or other, especially now the van and garden upgrading is almost all done.  We were chatting to the newest van owners, 5 or 6 vans away from us, they're doing a bit of upgrading in the van they've taken over.  They said they're in no rush (their van is much newer and needs less work than ours did, what they're doing is largely cosmetic) and will just take their they have all the time in the world.  Which is just how we feel.

I didn't even switch my laptop on until about 6 pm, to send a couple of emails, do the daily Wordle game (keeps my brain active!) and have a quick read of the paper.  The mifi signal is temperamental anyway, so I don't really feel inclined to be on the laptop much.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Set for a lovely weekend

 Gorgeous day yesterday, warm and sunny all day.  I did more weeding, pruning and tidying up in the front garden, husband strimmed and pottered in the back garden.  Washing dried quickly in the sunshine.  I rejigged the menu for the next few days as we'll be in the caravan.....I really don't want to spend ages cooking there.  Prepped and roasted a trayful of Mediterranean veggies, whilst the oven was on for yesterday's dinner (plaice roasted in a foil parcel, with cauli cheese, peas and broccoli).  The Med veggies are for today's dinner in the caravan, reheated with some diced chicken breast and pesto sauce.  We're going after lunch today.

Whilst the days are forecast to be sunny and warm again (18 deg), the nights are still on the chilly side.  Which is ok, we stay warm enough with the electric fire and oil filled rads, and there are plenty of fleece blankets in the van.  We're going to be tackling the dreaded Cuckoo Pint weed, wearing gloves of course, and bagging it up to drop it off at the tip on the way home.  Other than that, we have nothing special we need to do - how lovely to be able to say that!  

The weather forecast isn't very good for the latter half of next week, the temperature will be dropping a few degrees and there'll be showers, so I doubt we'll be going next week.

Had a sneaky peek on the scales (I'm not due to weigh until Saturday, but we won't be here) and I've lost 4lbs.....all water of course, I've been peeing bucketloads.  Still pleasing though.  We will be eating 1 or 2 more carby things over the weekend, but on the whole staying with the new plan.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Busy before the next relaxation

 A steadily busy day yesterday, got a few jobs done.  Washing out on the line, another lot loaded into the machine and done last night on the Economy 7, ready to peg out this morning.  I tidied up all the pots in the front garden, pruning and deadheading, pulling out weeds - it's amazing how many weeds have got into the pots over the winter.  I also tidied up the 2 climbing roses on the trellis either side of the front door, deadheading (they were still flowering, albeit weakly, through the winter) and a bit of light pruning.  Weeded one little flower bed, another long one to do today.

The mechanic came to see to the car.....everything's done, he ran another diagnostic and found no faults showing up, he reckons it's all ok now (until the next time! 😐).  

I rang the surgery for my x-ray results.....not back yet.  Oh well.  

No other neighbours have come down with covid - well, not that we've heard.  Out of the ones who've had it recently (9 people in 6 households), they've all had very minor cold symptoms, except one lady who's immunosuppressed who was very poorly for a couple of days.  We're still being very careful, not getting too close to any neighbours, including one who works in a local school where she says that both staff and pupils are dropping like flies with covid, and she's the only one who still wears a mask at work!  I know we're all well and truly fed up with wearing masks and all the other precautions, but it seems only sensible to carry on with them if you don't actually want to catch covid and it's on the rise again.

Today I'll be putting the washing on the line, finishing the weeding in the front garden, then packing stuff to take to the caravan.

The low carbing is going very well, but I've had a headache last night and early this morning, I suspect it's a carb/glucose withdrawal thing.  It'll go soon I expect, it's already wearing off.

Oh, we got our copy of the caravan park's annual newsletter, we were welcomed in it (along with a couple of other new owners).  The park owner said about all the work we'd done in the van and garden and called it an amazing transformation.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Off with their heads! (The Lords & Ladies that is)

 Re the weed.....I'd not heard of Lords & Ladies, but as soon as some of you mentioned Cuckoo Pint I thought yes that's it, you see great swathes of it in woodland (there's great swathes of it at the caravan park) and it has those spikes of red berries in the autumn.  I didn't actually know that all parts of it are poisonous, although I'd assumed the berries probably were....although it's interesting that birds can and do eat the berries and they're not affected by the poison.  Having read that it's very difficult to eradicate completely, as it's virtually impossible to remove all of the root rhizomes and if any are cut through, they'll simply regenerate and grow again, we've pondered on how to deal with it.  Husband is all for spraying with weedkiller, but a) I don't like using chemicals in the garden in case they're damaging to wildlife or the environment.  And b) he's very indiscriminate when he sprays anything, and would most likely kill off all the other plants we want to keep!  I don't think we'll attempt to dig it all up, I think we might just cut it all off at the base (wearing gloves), put it in bin bags and drop it off at the tip on our way home, as apparently it's not a good idea to put it in your compost bin (we have a compost bin behind the van).  I know it'll keep regrowing, but if we keep cutting it off then we'll keep on top of it and it might eventually weaken it.  I certainly don't want Betty eating it, she does eat grass from time to time but I can't say I've seen her eating anything else.  So a big THANK YOU everyone for your input.

We've found out that another couple of neighbours have tested positive, so that's 6 households out of our little hamlet of around 20 or so houses.  It is worrying and we're well and truly keeping our distance, and testing every few days - negative thankfully so far.  I see they're starting to do 4th jabs now, we'll have ours when the time comes.

I can't quite believe the weather forecast for this week, and into next.....warm sunshine all the way.  It's finally gardening weather!  I shall be in the front garden, pruning and weeding today.  Husband has cut both front and back lawns, and he'll start on clearing some more of the raised veg beds.  We nipped to a garden centre yesterday and bought some veg plants - 2 cherry toms for the van, 2 ordinary toms for home, 2 strips of leeks and a yellow courgette - we wanted 2 courgettes, 1 each yellow and green, oddly they had no green (sold out I expect).  I also got some seed packets of cut & come again salad leaves, for both home and van garden.  We've already got carrot and beetroot seeds.  Husband cleared his space in the utility room for the veg plants.

The mobile mechanic friend-of-a-friend is coming today to change the defective StopStart switch on the car, also the electric window switch (a couple of the windows suddenly stopped working).  He'll also do another full diagnostic thing, although the limp mode problem has completely disappeared now (fingers firmly crossed!).  We are of the definite opinion that it was a dirty fuel problem which has now resolved, having used up the likely dirty fuel and refilled since then.

We are having a very low carb week (I'll even continue it at the caravan, although not quite so strictly), as both of us have put on weight and are feeling sluggish which, in my case certainly, is due to eating far too much carby stuff.  I do feel 'fat' at the moment but when I weighed myself yesterday morning, with one eye closed expecting to be horrified, I was actually pleasantly surprised to see I've not put on as much as I thought....still not good though.  Going very low carb does get rid of quite a few pounds for me very quickly, carbs make me so bloated that when I stop eating them, I pee for England, which I certainly did - twice - early this morning.  So we're not having ANY bread, potatoes or other root veg, pasta, rice, cereal or baked goods this week, what few carbs we have will be coming from fruit and veg.  Husband isn't overjoyed about it, but is prepared to do it for a week.  He's aware he needs to get some of his weight off, as he's been getting a lot more breathless upon exertion (or even bending over to put his shoes on) lately.  And that's not good for his heart failure.  The extra weight certainly isn't good for my knee either.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Photo heavy post, and request for weed/plant identification?

 Cloudy today with the possibility of an odd shower or two, so I'm not doing any washing today, the rest of the week looks lovely and sunny so I shall get the laundry basket emptied and all the washing out on the line this week.  We'll go to a garden centre sometime during the week to see what veg plants they have in and get any seeds we need.  Although the next 10 days or so are set to be sunny and warm, the nights are still quite chilly, so if we do get any veg plants they won't be going outside just yet.  Which means husband has to clear away his tools and general clutter in his part of the utility room (there's very little clutter in my half!) to create space for the little plants to go.

So, caravan pics.

Aconites and anemones looking very pretty.

What Betty did inside and out most of the weekend!  It's a dog's life......

Husband relaying some of the stepping stones laid by the previous owner.

View from our van over the lower part of the park....look at that sky!

And another view of the lower half....

The upper half, taken from outside our lovely neighbours' van next to ours

And looking up to the top part of our 'half', taken from the front of our van

My new Balinese-esque pot, containing very realistic artificial succulents....I love it!  Also 2 packs of Union flag bunting ready for the Queen's Jubilee weekend!

Does anyone know what this plant is?  I'm sure it's a weed, no idea if it flowers, it's very prolific though, it's everywhere on site.

The bank bed at the back, between ours and our lovely neighbours' van, we both maintain this.  It's smothered in the above weed, if indeed it is a weed.  If so, we'll dig it out when we go this weekend.  It certainly needs thinning out at least, it's smothering everything else.  Good ground cover, if you're not too bothered about having anything else!

Sunday, 20 March 2022

A lovely chilled weekend

 I was overcome with tiredness by mid evening yesterday and went to bed early (all this lazing around is very tiring! 😂).  Slept like a log and didn't wake up until just after 5 this morning, when Betty decided to jump on me......she laid half across my legs and went to sleep immediately.  I soon had to turf her off, as I was getting pins and needles in my legs, she weighs a ton, and by then I needed a wee and my first big frothy coffee of the day.  Bright sunshine from the get go this morning, although there was a stiff chilly breeze.  Betty was full of the joys of Spring and was running around the garden with her new rope ball (already half destroyed, she is a chewer) having a lovely game of wearing Daddy out.....I had to remind them both to keep the noise down as it was before 8.30 on a Sunday morning and normal people have a lie in - not that there were many people around to hear them!  Still hardly anybody here, only 4 of the other statics occupied, out of 36 or so.  And only 1 of the 8 or 10 seasonal touring caravans had people staying.  Beats me why more people don't come and make use of their vans more often, especially when the weather's so nice - they still have to pay their annual site fees whether they use the vans or not.  Last year, there were never more than half the vans occupied, if that, when we were there - I know people come at all different times, and most live further away than we do.  Each to their own, I suppose.

The park is divided roughly into two halves, bisected by the access drive.  The lower half contains around half of the statics, plus the permanent touring vans right down the bottom (and the few holiday tourers/campers during the main summer season), the upper half is just statics, with around half a dozen holiday touring pitches which are only used in summer.  The bottom half is nearer the road (which is a main road and quite busy, therefore has traffic noise) and is more level, the upper half is further away from the road, thus a bit quieter, and has the best views, although it's hillier and quite steep in places.  We're in the upper half, which I'm glad about, we don't notice the road noise nearly so much......although my best friend always complains about the traffic noise when he comes to visit (I suspect tongue firmly in cheek!).  In fact, we don't actually notice the traffic noise at all now.....other than when there's a motorbike rally on somewhere near, the bikes use the main road as an access road to the rallies.  This weekend, it's only been us in the upper half, the few other owners here for the weekend were all in the lower half.  So it's been really peaceful.

We've had a lovely time, I've done nothing except read (I read a complete book by an author I've not read before, although she's written loads of books - Stolen by Lesley Pearse, I enjoyed it).  Well, I did do the cooking, which only involved heating up meals I'd brought from home and serving with salad, and the washing up.  Husband swept up the leaves and twigs off the fake grass in the garden, and mowed the grass around the van - the park owner mows the bulk of the site with his ride-on mower, but each van owner is responsible for cutting the grass around their own vans.  I had a few chats with the park owner's partner, we get on well and both love our dogs - she has a lovely fluffy white Labradoodle.  Husband chatted with the other owners, and watched the rugby.  We both feel really chilled and relaxed, Betty's had a lovely time in and out of the garden.....she lies in the sun for 10 minutes at a time, then comes in when she gets too warm.

I don't know why husband couldn't get the boiler to light on Friday, but he lit it no problem Saturday morning, so we had hot water.  He had a bit of trouble with the TV too, a lot of pixellating on some channels....doesn't bother me, I'm not really interested in telly watching, but at least he got to watch all the rugby matches with no problems.

We've got a few things on this week, hence why we came home today, but will be back to the van next weekend, as the weather forecast is good again, warmer even than this weekend.  How lovely.

I'll leave you with one photo - Betty lying in the sun this morning:-

More tomorrow when I've uploaded them all.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Just a quickie.... say we're having a lovely time, thanks for all the good wishes.  It was a gloriously sunny day yesterday, we got everything set up and put away etc by early afternoon.  No problems other than the boiler won't light, just means we have to boil the kettle for hot water so it's only a minor inconvenience.  I can't have a shower (not a fan of showering in cold water!! 😂) so strip washes with kettle boiled water instead.  I could go over and use the site showers, of course, if I really wanted! (I don't).

Hardly anyone here, surprisingly, so it was very quiet yesterday and last night, I expect a few more will turn up today.  It was frosty last night but we still slept well, my face was cold the few times I woke up, but the rest of me was toasty warm and I soon went back to sleep.  Cold when I got up, but the electric fire warmed up the lounge quickly and the sun is already streaming in the windows, so have turned the fire off.  No plans for today, we'll just go with the flow and see what we feel like doing....if anything.

My internet connection (via a mifi thing) is a bit hit and miss here, but it's no problem as I don't plan on being on the computer much....resting in my new recliner chair in the caravan, or the garden recliners if it's warm enough, reading a book is much more appealing.


Husband tried the boiler again this morning and got it lit first time.

Friday, 18 March 2022

Waste of time/fuel

 Well, husband's trip to the hospital for his prostate/bladder tests was a waste of time and fuel (as if anyone can afford to waste fuel at the mo)....the machine they use wasn't working, so they couldn't do the full tests!  Pity they couldn't have rung and told him before he left....this hospital he's now been transferred to is a 50 minute journey each way.  Unless it only broke down when he got there, I guess.

One of our neighbours round the corner has got Covid, after going out for a curry with a group of her friends last Friday, several of whom have also now tested positive.  We rang her yesterday to find out if she needed anything, she didn't, she said she feels quite rough though.  She's my age, fully vaxxed, but had breast cancer 2 years ago, I hope she doesn't get too ill.  She's the 3rd person we know who's tested positive in the past week or two, we've tested and are negative, thankfully.  I'm glad we're off to the caravan, although we'll no doubt be chatting to other owners, at least it'll be outside in the fresh air (and I won't be hugging any of them!).  It's quite worrying that it's on the increase again, but isn't surprising with the total relaxation of precautions.

The bright sunshine and warmth is bringing out all the house eeeeks....we had another 2 humungous ones in the hallway yesterday, fortunately before husband went out, so he was here to dispose of them.  I wouldn't mind so much if they weren't so massive, why do they all have to be so HUGE?!?!

I might not be posting much over the weekend (depends on signal, which is a bit hit and miss at the caravan), but will be back Monday with photographs!

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Prepping today, and some good news on TV

 Lovely sunshine, a beautiful blue sky, and some good news for once......the mother being released from the Iranian prison after 6 years, along with the engineer chap (who I'd not even heard of before, shows how much notice I usually take of the news).  And the Ukrainian mayor being released after having been taken hostage, and the Russian journalist woman who paraded a poster live on Russian TV - I wouldn't have been at all surprised if both of them had permanently 'disappeared'.  She's incredibly brave to want to stay in Russia though, especially when even she says she's terrified for her life.

My knee is not so persistently painful now, I wonder whether it's because of the knee brace, or because I've been taking cocodamol when I go to bed (I won't take any more than 1 dose per day, because of the constipation side effects).  Or it could possibly be because I've been taking a glucosamine and chondroitin capsule every day for about 3 weeks.  Whatever, it's certainly bothering me less.

Today I'm packing stuff to take to the caravan, and prepping food to take with us.  I'll chop/grate the veggies for coleslaw and put in a lidded box, but obviously won't put the dressing on until we're in the caravan, it tends to go watery otherwise.  We're having a cheesy pasta and mince dish for tomorrow's evening meal.....just savoury beef mince (already cooked and frozen) mixed with cooked pasta and cheese sauce, I'll prepare that this afternoon so tomorrow it'll just need heating through in the van, we'll have it with garlic bread and salad.  Saturday's supper will be bacon, brie and cranberry sourdough baguettes (thanks Sue from A Smaller and Simpler Life, I found the baguettes in Aldi) with salad.  Lunches will be something on toast or cheese and crackers.  Breakfasts (husband always has breakfast, I sometimes do) will be cereal or crumpets, although I'll probably do a cooked breakfast on Sunday.

As it's going to be a lovely sunny long weekend, there's bound to be more fellow owners at the park, so it'll be good to catch up with whoever's there.  Not our lovely van neighbours Jean & Charlie though, they're not coming until the start of April.  I'm taking a pile of books for me, and some DVDs for husband - although during the day he'll be outside chatting, I expect.  We'll be tidying up the garden as well, doing some pruning and weeding and sweeping up the twigs and leaves on the fake grass (which I still don't like, but it means husband doesn't have to mow it).

Husband's off to hospital for some more prostate tests today, so I'll have the afternoon to myself to get on with everything.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Covid rising

 Re the eeks.....thank you for all the comments, especially Rambler, I've got some peppermint essential oil so I'll try that, great thanks 👍  I do know it's an irrational fear, as are most phobias (I know someone who has a phobia about buttons, e.g.!  Go figure!).  But rationale doesn't come into it with a phobia, does it?  I am sure 'they' are just as scared of me as I am of them, but it makes no difference to my feelings.  An extended family member who has the same phobia, actually paid to go on an aversion therapy course many years ago, to try and cure her (it didn't).  And when she told me about the course and what they were expected to do, I was completely horrified, I wouldn't even entertain the idea.  I know exactly why I have this phobia, I can trace it back to a particular incident in my childhood, all the details of which are indelibly fixed in my mind.  I think I'm unlikely to change after all these years.  

The mooch around town and the charity shops was ok, being quite early (9 am) the town was nearly empty, thank goodness as at least half of the people I saw (customers and shop staff) weren't wearing masks.  And yet Covid cases here in Somerset have risen by something like 63% in the past week!  Covid hasn't gone away, it's just been pushed into the background and overshadowed by the Ukraine war.  Well we are both still wearing masks when we go into shops, and we still don't go to any crowded events.  When we've been out for a coffee somewhere, we sit outside, unless it's raining and then we just don't go.

Oh I went off on a tangent there.....anyway, I found nothing of any interest at all in the charity shops.  I did buy the few things I needed for the van, at pretty reasonable prices (I don't buy anything unless it's a reasonable price that I'm willing to pay anyway).  My knee didn't like me walking all around town (I was wearing my brace) and was pretty painful for the rest of the day, it's ok this morning though, just the normal low level of pain.

We had our electricity statement for this past month, and I'm pleased to note that our little energy-saving things seem to be working......our bill is now £12 lower than last month's, and £27 lower than 4 months ago.  It'll be even lower naturally when we're spending more time at the caravan.  Obviously we use electricity there, but not so much - we use the oven a lot less, eat more salads or things on toast, and spend a lot of time outside.  And anyway, we have a large credit balance on our caravan leccy account.

I shall spend today getting things ready for going to the van on Friday, it's forecast to be full sun all weekend, how lovely.

Joy, I hope you're beginning to feel better xx

Take care everyone.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

EEEEK!! (times two)

 We were getting on well with everything at the caravan, until I went to make my bed.  I'd covered it with a fleece blanket over winter, having taken all the bedding home.  There was a dustbin bag on the bed, containing some cushions.  I picked up the bag....only to see a large 8-legged thing underneath it.  On. My. Bed.  😱  Long time readers will know I have a deep-seated longstanding phobia about them, I can't even say the word, we call them eeks.  So obviously I shrieked and ran out of the room, husband went in and removed it.  After a coffee to calm down, I went back in and lifted up the fleece cover - well bugger me if there wasn't ANOTHER big one under that! 😱😱  Cue more shrieks and a rapid exit, husband did his hero bit again (thank goodness he was there).

Now, it's an old caravan, I know there are going to be 'inhabitants' other than ourselves, especially after we've left it empty for a while.  But why do they have to be ON MY BED?!?!  I can just about cope with them (I hoover them up) if they're on the floor.....but on my bed?!  For goodness sake, I may never set foot in that room again 😂😂  I'm only half joking, when we go to stay over husband will have to thoroughly inspect everything in my bedroom first.

Anyway, it's more or less ready for us to have our first sleepover of the season.  I just hope my nerves can take it.....!!

Apparently, so a neighbour (here at home) told us yesterday, some people on our local social media pages have been saying they've had some diesel in their cars recently which has been contaminated with water, causing some engine problems.  So we're wondering whether that may have happened to our car, causing the limp mode thing.  It does seem coincidental that the limp mode only happened several times over a period of about 3 weeks just after husband had filled up, and hasn't happened at all since he filled up again a couple of weeks ago.  Another friend said it could have been because the fuel station where husband filled up was running short on fuel and their bulk tank was almost down to empty, leaving a lot of sludge at the bottom, so the fuel husband got had, unfortunately, a higher amount of this sludge in.  Because of the panic buying of fuel recently due to people trying to beat ever more price rises, fuel stations round here have been running out of fuel.  So perhaps that was indeed the reason, although what we can do about that I really don't know.

Husband is off to town this morning for his monthly brunch with his mate, so I'm getting him to drop me off so I can have a browse in town on my own, something I rarely get the opportunity to do.  I'll have a mooch around the charity shops, and I need to get a couple of things for the caravan - if I can find them in a charity shop, so much the better.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Lovely Spring day so off to the van

 It's going to be a nice sunny day, so we've decided to go to the caravan again and get all the last remaining jobs done, ready for us to go and stay on Friday.  So we'll be cleaning, making the beds up, putting away the bags of toiletries and dry food goods we'll be taking over.  Husband also has to put away all the tools he's got in his bedroom, which he's been using as an indoor shed since we opened up the van the week before last.  So when we go on Friday, we'll just have our clothes and the fresh food to put away, and then it'll be straight into relaxation mode for a couple of days - we're really looking forward to that.

There's a really nice independent family owned garden centre near the van park, they grow most of their plants themselves rather than buying them in, and they're cheaper than the big nationals.  So we'll go and have a quick look in there whilst we're at the van today.  And on the way home we'll call into Aldi to get a couple of fresh food bits I forgot when we went shopping last week.

I'm almost scared to say it, but the car has been performing very well the past couple of weeks, it's still got a problem for which husband is awaiting the part from Italy (the wrong part was sent before), it should arrive this week.  The car hasn't gone into limp mode at all recently, we still don't know why it kept happening, but it would be nice to think it was just a temporary thing that has since somehow fixed itself.  When the mobile mechanic comes to fit the part, he'll also do another full diagnostic and see if he can work out what the limp mode thing was.  Another good thing is that husband says this car has much better fuel economy than our last one, despite this car being bigger and older.  I know nothing about these things, but husband is pleased with it.  And of course we were able to transport everything we needed the car for - taking away all the many bits of the old built in sofa in 2 trips, taking over the new furniture, removing the old metal framed bed and transporting the new divan one.  We wouldn't have been able to do any of that in the previous little Fiat, we'd have had to hire a man & van a couple of times, which would have cost us £100s.  I still don't like the car, but would be happy to keep it if it's fixed and continues to work well, my dislike is only based on the car's ugliness and is not relevant at all really.  It's a functional vehicle, not a pretty one.  Husband will be chatting to the mechanic about it, to see if he thinks it's worth keeping or getting rid.  The mechanic comes highly recommended (he's a good friend of a good friend) and is totally trustworthy.

We spent time this weekend working out exactly what we want to grow in the way of veg, both here at home and at the van - salady things at the van.  Whatever we grow here at home has to be low maintenance, seeing as we won't be here every day.  Our (loose) plan is to spend around 10 days or so at the van at a time, during which we'll come home perhaps 1 day to collect post and water the garden.  Then we'll come back home for a few days, I'll need to do the washing and some baking/batch cooking.  And then it'll be back to the van again.  We do have a neighbour who will water the garden for us, but he tends to be a bit hit and miss, however, we know our lovely van neighbours will definitely water our van veg, which will be in pots.  We do the same for them, although they don't grow veg, only flowers.

Thank you everyone for your comments on my last post, the Ukraine situation is having a profound effect on all of us I think.  It's certainly given me pause for thought and made me a better person.

Sunday, 13 March 2022

A lovely morning, and being humbled

 When we got up yesterday it was such a lovely sunny morning we decided to go to the caravan - being Saturday there was far less traffic about than there would be on Monday, when we were planning to go.  So having put the washing on the line that had done overnight on the Economy 7 (using extra pegs as it was forecast to be very windy in the afternoon), I got some supplies together and off we went, arriving about 9.30.  It was lovely to see a few more familiar faces there, 3 of the owners near to us were there, having all had their first stayover Friday night.  We caught up with them then got stuck in to what we wanted to do - taking the horrible creaky metal framed bed to the big new hospice charity store in Weston.  We got all the parts in and on top of the car with few problems....other than having to stand on a stool as the roof of the car is so high.  There were staff at the hospice store to help unload it from the car, thankfully.  We then looked for and found a nice second hand divan bed, it's nearly new, very clean and comfortable, has drawers in the base and was a remarkably good price.  That's now installed in the caravan, just needing making up with fresh linen when we go next week.

After having a drink and snack, we then re-packed the car with all the remaining wooden bits of the old sofa, which we'd dumped in the van garden.  One of our neighbours here at home has asked for them for firewood for their multifuel stove, so that has saved us having to take it all to the tip and helps her out.  Oh, I also took a bagful of the tinned and jarred food we'd bought the other day, and put it all away in the cupboards.  A quick hoover round before we left, so there's not too much to do now before we go to stay there towards the end of next week.  We got home about 1.30 pm, pleased with what we'd accomplished in the few hours we were there.

Watching the news about Ukraine every day is gut wrenching, it's having a profound effect on me.  I'm sure we all feel helpless, there's nothing much we personally can do other than making donations (we've done that a couple of times now).  It's making me realise even more just how bloody lucky we are - we have 2 homes (ok, one of them is a holiday caravan) whereas many Ukrainians no longer have a home.  Yes there are gaps on the shelves in shops and lots of missing items - but there's still plenty of food etc around, if we can't buy one thing we can get something else to replace it.  Ukrainians, even if they're still in their homes, or what's left of them, may not have any food left in the shops, that's if the shops are still standing.  Yes, prices of goods and fuel for our cars and homes are skyrocketing, but we can still afford to pay for it, albeit having to economise where we can.  WE ARE SO BLOODY LUCKY.

It's very humbling.  And it's certainly made me realise I have nothing to complain about at all.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

Pink flowers amongst the gloom

 The knee x-ray is done and dusted, I got straight in as there was nobody there waiting.  It was a bit unpleasant, I had to stand (I was expecting to be lying on the couch) and the radiographer was none too gentle as she manhandled my knee into the correct position.  As I'd had to take off my knee brace and my knee is very weak without it, I was a bit wobbly, fortunately it didn't take long.  I've nothing to complain about at all really, when we see on TV all the poor shell-shocked homeless people left with absolutely nothing, not knowing where they'll end up or if they'll ever be able to go back to their country or see neighbours, friends and family again.  I don't like watching the news, but feel I must once a day, it feels like I owe it to the Ukrainians to see what they're going through.  It strikes me that they couldn't wish for a better President - I know nothing about him (other than reading that he used to be an actor or a comedian) but he's just so strong and brave and inspiring - despite knowing that he's Russia's No. 1 target and could be killed at any time.  How must he feel knowing he and his family are being hunted down?

After leaving the hospital, we went to Wilko's where I normally buy most of our toiletries and cleaning supplies.  I was surprised to find lots of big gaps, big price rises (as everywhere) but the thing that surprised me the most was that they seem to be discontinuing a lot of their own brand things and now only had the major brand name (much more expensive) stuff on the (half empty) shelves.  So I won't be going there for supplies again, I'll try Aldi or Lidl, or even B&M.  I did buy the things we needed immediately there, as my knee was protesting so much by this time that I really didn't feel like going anywhere else.  Fortunately, we're well stocked up now and I won't need any further shopping for at least a couple of weeks.

We also stocked up with dog food and then collected our monthly prescriptions from the surgery on the way home, so several jobs involving using the car at once, to save fuel.  Husband commented that the price of diesel has gone up 18p a litre since he last filled up a week or so ago.  How long before people simply cannot afford to fill up with fuel?

It just feels like all doom and gloom at the moment, but as I sit here typing I can see my lovely bright pink double flowered camellia in full bloom in the front garden.....although some of the blooms have been blown off in the recent strong winds.  I know there'll be even more Spring bulbs out in flower when we go back to the caravan next week, so that's something nice to look forward to.

My phone camera photo doesn't really do it justice, sorry about that, it's a much brighter pink in real life.  There's a foxglove that has self seeded in the pot, I must dig it out and put it in the border (when the weather improves!!).

Friday, 11 March 2022

Baking and plans for next week

 We had a couple of bananas going brown, and some wrinkly apples - husband normally eats loads of fruit but hasn't lately, for some reason.  I'm determined not to waste any food, so yesterday I had a baking morning - banana and walnut loaf, and apple & blueberry slump pie - some homemade pastry from the freezer which wasn't enough for a double crust pie, hence the 'slump' - basically an open tart with the sides folded up and over the edge.  Bonus is there's no wasting any pastry and it's easy to make and is supposed to look rustic!  The blueberries were the very last of our home grown ones from last year.  And just to fill up the oven, I also made a batch of cheese scones, they'll be nice for lunches with a slice of cheese and the remaining salad.

I didn't notice my knee pain whilst I was busy in the kitchen (I was wearing the brace) but boy did it let me know all about it in the afternoon.  I hope the x-ray today diagnoses the problem, although I won't get the results for a couple of weeks.

Husband is busy 3 days next week, Tues-Thurs, but so far we have Monday and Friday free.  I'm planning on going to the caravan possibly on Monday, to stock the cupboards, do a clean up and take the creaky metal bed to the big new hospice charity shop.  We're hoping they'll have a suitable divan bed in there to get instead, I'm pretty sure they will, but if not, there's another big furniture charity shop nearby, they have loads of beds in there.  Then it'll be back to the van to install the bed, steam clean it if necessary and leave it for a few days to air.  Then on Friday, depending on the weather, we might go and spend our first night there this year....exciting!

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Saving money

 We've been thinking about ways to save money, as the cost of literally everything is rising to frightening levels, and on an almost daily basis.....and it will clearly get worse before it gets better (if it ever does).

We're trying not to use the car until we have several things we need to do, in an effort to cut down on fuel.  No more nipping into town to get one thing from a shop.  So e.g. this Friday I have to go for my x-ray at the small hospital in town, we'll also go to the country supplies store nearby to get dog food (they generally have some good deals on food in there) and Wilkos in town to get toiletries and cleaning supplies.

When doing our ambient larder stock up shop the other day, we decided to try a few cheaper brands.  Now I'm not a brand snob at all, we generally buy a mixture of brand name and supermarket own labels, with a few of the value range things....not many of those, admittedly.  Basically, we buy the things we like the best, regardless of brand.  As an example, we've always bought Branston baked beans, because we like them the most, but I did notice that the supermarket own brand (not the value brand) were around half the price of Branston.  That meant we could get twice as many cans for the same price, thus keeping our larder stocked for longer.  They're not as flavoursome as the Branston, and probably have a bit more sauce, but I can add a squirt of tomato puree and some spices or herbs to pep up the taste.  We are going to try more of the value range things too - there are things I probably wouldn't buy, such as toilet roll, and husband once tried the value range tea bags and swore never again, he said they tasted of nothing (he likes a full flavour strong tea).  But things like value tinned chopped tomatoes, whilst I probably wouldn't want them on toast for a meal, would be fine added to stews or mince dishes.

And talking of toast, husband says he's happy to have something on toast for lunch, rather than meat or fish salads which we quite often have.  We both really like jacket potatoes, so will have those once or twice a week for dinners with perhaps some leftover bolognaise or curry, or even beans and cheese, rather than our usual mainly meat based cooked dinner with lots of veg.  And we're having more frozen veg now too - just as nutritious as fresh veg but cheaper.

I'm not going to use the oven as much, and only if I can fill the oven with lots of things at once - I won't be putting it on just to heat up a cottage pie.  The other day when I had the oven on to cook chicken pieces and some veg, I also baked a whole trayful of jacket spuds.  They're now in the freezer wrapped individually, I'll take out 1 or 2 to microwave for a meal.  I'm using my Multichef more, especially for slow cooking, and I can also use the steam basket above the stew to steam accompanying veg at the same time.

One of the biggest money savers as far as I'm concerned is.....just don't go shopping!  Well, only when we have to.  And then take a list and stick to it.  I'm a bit of a bugger for seeing things that aren't on my list and thinking 'oh that's a bargain, I'll have 2 of those'....or I should just send husband with a list, as he does stick to it, rigidly (husbands are good for some things 😉😂).

I do most of the washing on the eco short programme now, putting on the timer overnight so it uses the Economy 7 rate (although it can hardly be called Economy now!).  I also try to do it when I know I can get it out on the washing line, rather than having to tumble dry it.  I've hardly used the tumbler at all recently, only a few times on the 10 minute prog to finish off drying after it's been outside.

We weren't planning on growing much veg this year, but are rethinking that - it's certainly cheaper to grow your own veg and fruit.  We'll be growing potatoes, early carrots, beetroot, courgettes, leeks and tomatoes here, and salad leaves and cherry tomatoes at the caravan.  We already have asparagus and lots of fruit - apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries and rhubarb - in the garden.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Books and shopping

 Thanks once again for the comments, we love the new furniture, it's so much more comfortable.  Sam, you asked about books.....there's a long shelf the whole width of the van, over the top of the front windows, you can just see it here in this photo taken when we first bought the van (also showing the original hideous sofa, before we steam cleaned and covered it, and then decided to take it out altogether):-

It's the perfect place to keep books, I've already got plans for it, I regularly buy second hand paperbacks from a couple of local charity shops, and swap books with some neighbours.  I have a bagful waiting to be taken over, along with my 2 lovely dog ornaments to use as book ends.  They're a Shar Pei and an English Bulldog, in honour of Betty's parents, I call them her mum and dad.

Marlene, you're right, I can always think of things to do in the caravan and garden.....our lovely van neighbour Jean also said she doesn't believe I'll ever be finished doing little improvements  😂  And yes I have cardmaking supplies and a bag of yarn and couple of hooks in the van, just to keep me occupied!

We went shopping yesterday, to stock up on tins, jars, packet foods etc, both for home larder and the caravan.  It occurred to me just how fortunate we are to be able to do this, when the people of the Ukraine don't even know if they will still be alive tomorrow or, if they are, whether they will have a home or any kind of food or medical supplies.  So when we got home, I did a bit of googling and found a local lady who is gathering and transporting medical supplies to a friend who lives in Poland near the border with Ukraine, who in turn is distributing the supplies to refugees and medics.  She has a GoFundMe page, so I've made a donation on there.  I'm sure she's genuine, as her story has been featured in the local press.  It's not much, but it's all I can do really.

Husband took it upon himself to help unpack the shopping (my knee was really painful and had given way in the supermarket, for the first time since I've been wearing the knee brace).  Despite having told him, at least twice, that half of the supplies were for the caravan, he packed it all away into the utility room cupboards....which meant I then had to take out half of it and re-pack it into bags to be taken to the van.  Whatever I say to him goes into his ear then instantly disappears into a vast empty void inside his head, I reckon 😒😜😂

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

And it's done

 I think most of us are married to clones of my husband, judging by the comments! 😂

Yesterday though he did really well, taking out the small cupboard/fixed shelving that was in the way.  It came out really quickly and easily, no bother at all.  He then painted the little bit of wall and infilled the gap in the floor with some spare carpet, put the recliner chair in place and job done.  We're so pleased with it.  

Primroses between us and the next van, there's loads scattered around.

It was really cold in the morning at the van, soon warmed up with the electric fire on though, and by lunchtime the sun had come out and we were almost too warm there.....the front of the van is south facing and gets flooded with sunshine.  We came home after lunch as we had things to do at home.  When we go back next week it's just a question of giving everything a good clean and hoover, filling up the cupboards and making up the beds.  Now it's all done, it really will be just relaxing and enjoying our time over there.  I'm looking forward to my sister coming down for a holiday, and so is she.  

Hazel, thank you, yes that blanket was an Attic 24 kit, the Sweet pea pack I think.  I did start off following Lucy's pattern, but went off plan and just chose whatever colours I liked out of the pack after that.  Marlene, I wish I could change the weather to whatever we wanted or needed, wouldn't that be good!  It's sunny with a pink and blue sky this morning, but very cold with quite a strong freezing wind.  My gardens both here and at the caravan need tidying up, but it's far too cold for me to work out there, I'm definitely a fair weather gardener and really feel the cold nowadays.

Today we're going shopping to stock up on tins, packets, jars and toiletries - a store cupboard shop for both the van and home.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Good but frustrating!

 Thank you for all the nice comments.  Incidentally, I wasn't really complaining about husband, merely stating the facts.  It's very frustrating watching someone do something in what seems to be a very arse-about-face way, when it could be made so much easier.....not that he listens to my opinion nor does he allow me to help very often - he likes to do things his way!  Even if that way is very long winded and complicated, and he's smearing blood from a cut finger over everything 😒😂 Bless him.

Yes he is a good handyman, although finds things more difficult nowadays with age.  As for him getting on and doing things.....well yes, eventually - sometimes!  Other times it takes weeks or months before he'll get round to doing even a simple job (e.g., the curtain rail in the hallway is hanging off the wall at one end where he broke it last summer, having knocked it off when carrying something downstairs.  I suppose it will get fixed or a new one bought sometime this year!).

Betty is only a medium sized dog, about the height of a spaniel, she is very chunky though (inherited from her Bulldog father).  She does normally curl up in a ball when sleeping on the sofa, here at home or in the caravan, but when neither of us is sitting there she sometimes stretches out, taking up virtually the whole sofa.  Or if one of us is sitting on the sofa, she might stretch out a bit and rest her head on our lap.  At the moment whilst I'm typing this, she's got her head on the armrest and her back feet digging into my thigh.

We're off to the van again shortly, hopefully the last bit of work will be completed today.  The forecast isn't very good for the rest of this week, so we probably won't be going back until next week.  I've got 2 appointments this week anyway, chiropodist on Wednesday and my knee x-ray on Friday.  We'll go and do some shopping during the week, getting supplies for the caravan kitchen cupboards and bathroom, for when we do start staying there again.

Sunday, 6 March 2022

.....and then not so well - Edited

 Yesterday didn't go as disasters, just frustrating really, but it'll all get sorted during the coming week.

Part of the trouble is husband's constant overthinking and making things more complicated than they need to be, and his total disorganisation - honestly, after 40 years you'd think I'd be used to it.  I know he can't help it, it's a lot to do with his dyslexia and dyspraxic tendencies - his mind works totally differently to mine, and he's so blimmin clumsy he could trip over a leaf, and gathers cuts and bruises galore from bashing his fingers or head or knocking into things.  As I was a secretary for most of my working life, I'm supremely organised, total opposite of him.

When I want to do some baking, for example, I gather everything I need together first of all - as would most of us, no doubt.  It would be sensible for husband to do the same prior to doing a DIY job - only he doesn't, he constantly walks backwards and forwards to wherever he keeps his tools, picking up one thing at a time as he needs it.  When he's finished using a particular tool, he puts it down (beside him usually) and instantly forgets where he's put it - I've always said his hands are completely disconnected from his brain.  So then he spends (wastes) more time wandering around looking for it, or asking "Have you seen my Phillips screwdriver / hammer / hacksaw?" - normally right beside his knee, foot or hand 😒

If only he were more organised and less forgetful, and didn't waste so much time collecting or looking for tools, jobs would take literally half the time.  And he spent an hour wittering on and trying to work out how to take off an odd bit of wood that he insisted shouldn't be there and needed to come off (the screws were rusted in place) whereas I said he should just leave it as it would be hidden behind the sofa and nobody would see it.  He got it off in the end, there's an hour we'll never get back!

Anyway, he's now boarded out the wall behind the new sofa and laid the extra piece of carpet, and we put the sofa and recliner chair in place.  Although they do fit (we'd made sure to measure up beforehand), it is a bit of a tight fit and feels a bit cramped.  So having stood looking at it all and thinking about it, we've decided to take out part of a cupboard and shelf area beside the chair, this will give an extra 8" or so of space which will make all the difference, and we'll be much happier.  So that's a job for next week.

Here's Betty testing out the new sofa:-


This is my blog, I will say what I like on here.  If you don't like things I say, you don't have to read.  I make no apology for not publishing comments that have a go at me, from people who don't know me and don't live with me!  You only know what I choose to publish on here, which isn't everything.  

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Getting on really well

 Our surgery has a new system, apparently.  We can now choose whether we want a phone or face to face consultation, and if we ring first thing in the morning we'll be seen that day.  However, we cannot book routine appointments with the GP in advance, all appointments are now on the day.  This seems a bit daft to me - so a routine appointment could have the same attention, i.e. an appointment on that day, as an urgent one?  What happens if someone needs an urgent appointment, but they've rung a bit later in the morning and all appointments are already taken up with possibly non-urgent things?   Oh, I guess they'll have one doctor doing just urgent appointments....I assume.  Masks are still compulsory at the surgery, which is absolutely fine in my opinion.  

Jayne, you explained perfectly, thank you.  I usually sleep on my side, occasionally on my back - I can't lie on my back anymore though, as I can't straighten my left leg, so the weight of the quilt on my foot wouldn't affect me.   It might be worth trying it with a rolled up towel under my knee though, as a couple of you mentioned.  My osteopath puts a small sausage shaped cushion under my knees when I'm on my back on her couch.

Yesterday was a lovely Spring day - mostly sunny and warm.  There were a few more people at the caravan park, including one couple who'd actually stayed overnight, and a pair of new owners.  Husband has now taken out all the relevant parts of the fixed seating, leaving behind the strengthening battens.  Here he is doing the work:-

After we'd taken it all outside and cleared a space in the lounge, we put together the new sofa, to give us an idea of how it and the new recliner (which we're taking over today) will fit in.  With a little bit of juggling, it'll be absolutely fine.  Betty likes the new sofa, as soon as I put her fleece blanket on it she jumped straight up and lay down for a nap.  Sorry, I didn't get a picture!

Today we're going to be doing some painting underneath the windows, fitting an extra bit of battening along the front, then laying the carpet remnant we bought - it matches the lounge carpet we bought last year, and will cover the area below the old sofa which only has lino on it.  Then the sofa and recliner can be put in place, along with a nice little coffee table we're taking from home (it's part of a nest of 3 tables).  It's all come together a lot quicker and easier than we dared hope.

Then it's just a question of giving everything a good clean (amazing how much dust, bits of fluff and sawdust it created).  Next week we'll be sorting out the bedrooms, taking over the bed linen, towels, etc that we brought home, making the beds up and restocking the cupboards with toiletries, tinned and packet foods and dog food.  And then it'll be ready for whenever we want to start staying over 😁

The perennial plants in pots and the garden bank at the back of the van all need pruning and weeding, we'll do that when we stay over.  A couple of photos of the garden:-

Taken on Wednesday when it was quite dull.  Not much to see at present, it'll be lovely in a few weeks, hopefully.

Friday, 4 March 2022

A face to face appointment!

 I rang the surgery first thing yesterday, expecting them to say the GP would call me back (that's been the usual way during the pandemic).  You could have knocked me down with a feather when I was given an actual face to face appointment for 11 am.  The GP doesn't think it's a cartilage or ligament problem, he reckons it's arthritis and is sending me for an x-ray on Friday of next week.  He thinks the support I'm using is a good idea as it helps my knee to stop giving way, but cautioned against having it too tight (and said don't wear it overnight, which I don't anyway).  He's advised painkillers (sigh) and said to alternate between my electric heat pad and a freeze pack.  He said physio may help (I just laughed, seeing as they're months behind with referrals), and possibly a steroid injection if all else fails.  Once I've had the x-ray results and hopefully a firm diagnosis, I might start going to Felicity the osteopath again, to see if she can help.  Anyway, now I know things are in hand, I can try to put it to the back of my mind, grit my teeth and try to ignore the pain.  It's really affecting my sleep though.      

Went shopping, lots of empty shelves again but I got enough (with some substitutions) to keep us going for a couple of weeks.  We're off to the van again today, taking some of the new furniture which will temporarily go in the larger bedroom, now the bed's been dismantled.  We'll be taking apart the old sofa framework today, hopefully doing some painting tomorrow.  According to the weather forecast, there may be some snow on Sunday at the park!  Not forecast to last though.  We won't be going that day.

One other annoying thing (besides the 4-wheeled thing we're not mentioning) is that the problematic family member is being incredibly annoying again.  I can't be doing with that, so have had to block them again.  The trouble is, they're so self absorbed with really ridiculous trivialities that only matter to them, they have absolutely no concept of real problems affecting others.  At least I recognise that my problems, whilst being decidedly irritating, painful or downright inconvenient, are nothing compared to what's going on in the Ukraine.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

So good to be back

 I was a bit anxious about what we might find when we got to the caravan yesterday - well there was no need to worry at all, everything was absolutely fine.  The only casualty was ONE flowerpot blown over, and quite a lot of small twigs and leaves etc covering the garden, blown off the trees behind the van.  Inside the van, no problems at all, everything was dry as a bone, no leaks or damp or condensation, the tubs containing the moisture absorbing granules didn't even contain a single drop of water and no clumping.  No cobwebs or dust either, in fact it pretty much looked like we'd only just left the week before, and everything smelt fresh as a result of the washing machine scent beads I'd mixed in with the moisture granules.  I was so relieved.

We were the only static owners there, there was someone else parked down by the touring caravans on permanent pitches.  I suppose there might be a few more owners there at the weekend, most of them live a lot further away than us.  We saw the park owners and had a nice chat with them, they confirmed there had been no storm damage at all on site, as far as they were aware, although a couple of trees had come down on the driveway approach to the site.  Those trees were on the neighbouring property though, a large pub, so it was their responsibility to clear them, which they'd done last week.

Most of the Spring bulbs are still in their pots, a very few had been disturbed by the squirrels but not many.  A few of the bulbs in flower, not many as yet, although lots pushing through and in bud.  Still a nice welcome for us though.

We put the electric on and had a coffee first thing, it was so nice to be sitting having a drink (and a piece of flapjack) in our lovely van again, looking out of the windows.  Betty was running around everywhere, having a good sniff.  We then set to uncovering everything (I'd used fleeces and tea towels as dust sheets), unloaded the car, then dismantled husband's bed and leaned it up against a wall, to make space to store the new furniture when we take it over there.

All the old sofa cushions were loaded into the car, a few new kitchen things unpacked and put in place and packaging put in the car (we disposed of everything at the tip on the way home).  We then had a good look at the structure and woodwork of the built in sofa, working out which bits to leave (the framework along the walls of the van), and which we can safely remove without affecting the structural integrity.  We'll start tackling that the next time we go back, which will be Friday (it's forecast to rain pretty much all day today).

I'm ringing the GP this morning, as my knee pain has got considerably worse over the past couple of days and is now swollen.  Just when I can do without any further medical problems - I don't have time for this right now, more important (caravanny) things to do! 😁

It's a domestic day today, I made bread dough yesterday evening, it's been on a slow rise all night and looks ready to bake very soon.  And we need to go shopping, fresh stuff is fast running out and even the freezer has lots of spaces.  Oh, and it seems people are panic buying fuel again - we needed fuel on the way home and stopped at our usual supermarket garage - no diesel.  Big queues at the next one.  We finally got fuel in the 3rd garage we tried - considerably more expensive than our usual garage though.  Our friend filled up after us at the same place we'd got fuel and said he'd also tried another (different) garage to us - no diesel there.  The garage we both used then told him that they only had an hour's worth of diesel left.  I guess people are panicking about the fuel prices going up and up seemingly every day, and what that madman Putin might do with the fuel.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Caravan Day!!

 Well, the car didn't get partly fixed yesterday.....because the part (some kind of sensor switch) that husband had ordered from Fiat turned out to be the wrong part 😒.  Not husband's fault, he went on what a mechanic had told him he needed, and gave the relevant information, all the car's details including registration, to the man from Fiat in Exeter (where the car was originally sold).  The guy said he knew what was needed and said they'd have to source the part direct from the factory (in Italy, presumably) as they didn't have any in stock.  Anyway, for whatever reason, the part delivered wasn't the part required when the garage took the car apart to fit it.  So we're no further forward.  Husband has been in touch with the same Fiat guy, who is on the case and is supposedly going to ring back this morning.

But we're GOING TO THE CARAVAN anyway!  Well, attempting to - the garage yesterday said the car is still drivable.  We're all ready to pack the car up with all the bits we're taking over today, we know it's likely the car will go into limp mode 'x' amount of times on the journey, so we'll have to stop, switch off and then on again (just like a computer, seems to be the standard answer for everything 😂).  We'll set off about 10 am, after the early morning rush is over, so that the roads are slightly less busy and we don't annoy too many motorists behind us 😜.  Ironically, husband said the car behaved itself and drove absolutely fine on the way home from the garage yesterday, not going into limp at all.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason for when it suddenly goes limp, just when it feels like it, seemingly.

Anyway, enough of that boring stuff.  In fact, I don't think I'm going to mention the car stuff again as I'm fed up to the back teeth with it - until or unless it's finally fixed and/or we get rid of it.

Today we're taking over a chest of drawers, 3 rugs, the fleece blanket which will be used as curtain linings (I've cut out one already to use as a template).  Some new kitchen equipment.  A fleece blanket to go on my bed so Betty can nap on there whilst we're doing any noisy work - she doesn't like banging noises or drills etc.  The Vax cleaner (I'm expecting a few cobwebs!!  And there'll be plenty of dust).  Some tools that husband needs, he has some in the caravan but can't remember what, luckily he's got plenty of extras here.  A few other small bits and pieces, including lunch and snacks for both us and Betty!  Oh I cannot wait to see the caravan again, and the garden which should be full of Spring bulbs - that's if the squirrels haven't dug them all up!  And yes I will take LOTS of photos 😁

So, once we've had a good look round (and kissed/stroked everything 😂😂) and unloaded the car, I'll be vaxxing all the dust and cobwebs away first.  Then we'll be taking apart husband's metal bed and standing it upright against the bedroom wall - we'll need the space in that bedroom to put all the new furniture when we take it over in a day or 2.  All the cushions off the old sofa will be loaded in the car to take to the tip.  We'll assess the wooden framework of the sofa to see what parts we can take out and which bits at the back need to be left to maintain the structural integrity.  I think that'll probably be enough for today - I dare say we'll also be having a catch up with the park owners and any other van neighbours who might be around.  Our lovely neighbours Charlie and Jean aren't coming until the end of the month, when hopefully the weather will be a bit nicer (it's currently raining yet again, but is forecast to stop around 10 am).

Can you tell I'm a wee bit excited?! 😁😍

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Last few jobs before Caravan day

 The car's in the garage today, hopefully sorting out one of the problems.  Thanks for all your suggestions of things we could possibly try instead - we've considered them all and discounted them all for one reason or another.  We're taking our chances with the car to transport everything this week.  If it doesn't work out - well, we will have tried and will have to do something else.....wait until we trade it in and get another vehicle I guess.  All this is very annoying, but we'll get there in the might just have to be later rather than sooner.

Blimmin awful weather yesterday, I don't mind it, I had plenty to do as usual, but on rainy miserable days husband just mooches around doing nothing, other than take Betty out for a couple of short walks (she's not keen on going out in wet windy weather either, can't say I blame her).  I had the last lot of washing to put on, made a couple of pies, made some flapjacks at husband's request - he loves flapjack but I don't make it very often, far too much sugary stuff.  I did cut it into fairly small pieces, it's now also in the freezer.  Did a meal plan for the coming week.  Did the end of month banking - February wasn't as low spend a month as I'd hoped, but still within budget and I have managed to transfer some cash to the savings account.

For dinner yesterday we had the remains of Sunday's belly pork, stir fried with lots of veggies and some brown rice, and a bit of leftover bbq sauce that had been lurking at the back of the fridge.  Today we're having one of the pies I made yesterday (sausage, stuffing, chestnuts and pepper sauce) with green veggies - if we're having pastry I try to stick to green veg with it, rather than carby root veg.

I bought a 2.5 kg bag of new potatoes that had been reduced to 45p the other day.  This morning I'm going to slice a load of them, along with a couple of onions and part cook them in the microwave.  I'll make up a herby white sauce to cover them and then freeze in tubs.  Another couple of kitchen jobs to do after that, then this afternoon I'm just going to sit and relax with my crochet....yet another throw for the caravan, using up some remnants in my stash.