Saturday, 30 April 2022

Hair cut and a quiet afternoon

 It's warmed up a bit but still feeling chilly.....perhaps it's just me.  Tomorrow it's going to be raining, apparently, well the garden needs it.  Everything in the front garden is really springing into life, lots of new plant shoots appearing in the beds, I can't even remember what some of them are (can't remember much of anything right now).  The roses are putting on tons of new growth and buds, especially the climbing rose in the corner's supposed to be a compact climber, it has clusters of small pale pink flowers, but is putting out tons of growth, I'll have to prune some of it off as it's threatening to swamp everything else.

I'm having my hair cut this morning, think I'll have it a bit shorter than usual - it's short anyway but seems to grow quite fast in spring/summer, it's getting quite wispy and fluffy looking at the ends, even though I use conditioner.  As we're intending to spend quite a lot of time at the caravan this season, I won't be around much to have my regular lovely hairdresser neighbour only cuts hair on Saturdays now, so having it shorter today and on subsequent visits will reduce the times I need it cut hopefully.  It needs colouring again too (I do that myself, always have), will do it tomorrow morning, I'm still not ready to embrace the grey (it's alarmingly grey now, haven't coloured it in a while).

Husband is going out to do a car boot sale this afternoon, I'm staying home with Betty to have a much needed quiet afternoon (without the ever present telly on!).  He's just dropped a drill bit in the hallway (he drops things every day....and I do mean EVERY day) and now can't find it.  I expect it's gone underneath the sideboard.  He's taking things out to load in the car and is in and out, in and out, every 5 minutes, talking all the time.  As well as having the TV on all the time (I've just switched it off seeing as he's busy outside), he also talks non stop.....the peace and quiet when he goes out is amazing.

I feel like doing some drawing, I've not done any artwork or even made any cards for months, so perhaps I might do that this afternoon.  Or the urge might have worn off by then!  And I might just read or even have a snooze....laid awake for hours again last night, I gave up on trying to sleep in the early hours of this morning, put the light on and read my book instead.  Betty jumped off the bed and went downstairs, she clearly wasn't amused by my putting the light on.

I was going to do battered cod, oven chips and peas for dinner tonight (I rarely do any 'real' cooking on Saturday evenings) but don't fancy that, too carby and stodgy.  I fancy something light, so might do salmon pan fried in butter and lemon, with new potatoes and salad.....that sounds much better.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Salmon, house martins and cows

 It's gone back to being freezing cold, my hands and feet are like blocks of ice and I've just put my lovely thick winter slipper boots and a cardigan on.

Husband was in and out in no time for his x-ray yesterday, hopefully he'll not have to wait too long for the results, or for the podiatrist appointment and the fungal infection test.

I went with him so he could drop me off at the supermarket to pick up a few things I'd forgotten in my shop the other day.....even though I write a list, I still forget things, my brain is still on vacation.  I had a quick look in the reduced cabinet and found a whole side of salmon, yellow stickered to half price, salmon is my favourite fish and it's gone up in price (like everything) quite a lot lately, it had been reduced to £8.01.  Husband has cut it into 12 good size portions, so 66p per portion, great value.

There are now loads of house martins and swallows flying around, I can see them from the lounge window, and a heron has just flown across too.  So over the next week or 2, the house martins will start renewing their nests up in our eaves, there's one in the corner of my bedroom window that is occupied every year.

We might go to the caravan for a few nights, we might not - at the moment I'm not making any firm plans, I just see what I feel like when I get up each morning and go with the flow.  If we do go, we have to be back home for the middle of next week, there are 2 or 3 appointments on the calendar.

The cows have been put back in the front field - they're kept inside barns over winter.  Some of them look very fat so I expect they'll be calving soon.  I like watching the calves, they're funnier than lambs - they act just like lambs do, running around chasing each other and jumping about, it just looks funnier being bigger animals.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Getting rid of stresses

 Husband was still moaning constantly about his big toe hurting.  I lost my rag yesterday and told him if he doesn't ring the GP and get an appointment about it ASAP, then I will ring the doctors myself and book an appointment for him, because I'd just about had enough of listening to him moaning, yet not doing anything about it.  He rang at 8 this morning, and got an appointment for 9.  The GP says there are 3 possible things going on with his toe - 1) Yes it may well be broken.  2)  Possible infection under the nail which may need lancing and draining, or even the nail removing.  3)  The nail is very ingrown.

You may remember me saying he dropped something on his toe about a month ago (it was a small chest of drawers he was moving), he's done nothing but complain about it ever since, the nail is black (although it looks to me like the discolouration is under the nail, rather than the nail itself being discoloured).  He's going for an x-ray this afternoon, managed to get a cancellation appointment for 4 pm.  He also has to take some nail clippings and take them back to the surgery so they can be tested for a fungal infection (don't know why the GP couldn't have done that himself).  The GP is referring him to the podiatrist for the ingrown toenail.  I've been telling husband for literally months that the nail is ingrown and he needs to get it seen to!

Yesterday I walked round the back (veg and fruit) garden with husband and we discussed plans for where the various veg plants should go.  Now, each year I make a planting plan for him, trying to take crop rotation into account.....each year he either forgets to look at the plan, or disregards it for his own reasons - he's very much a 'oh look there's a space there, I'll stick this plant in there' kind of guy.  In other words, he's totally disorganised.  I pointed out one of the raised beds that will be ideal for our courgette plants to go in, he agreed.  This morning when looking out of the window whilst I was washing up, I noticed he's now put some strawberry plants in there that he'd moved from somewhere else (why he moved them, I have no idea).  So I've told him I'm giving up making planting plans for him, he can carry on in his own random disorganised way and do whatever the hell he likes.  I'll just concentrate on my flowers in my front garden.

In order to cut down on my stress, I'm now just letting go of the stressful stuff, like the back garden plans.  We've been invited to a family summer wedding reception up in the Midlands, most of husband's family will be there.  But it's so stressful nowadays trying to arrange trips up there, seeing as husband finds the driving tiring and difficult, finding accommodation that will take Betty is difficult, Betty is anxious about being in a different place, and I find it all hugely stressful having to try and arrange literally everything.  So we're not going, it's just not worth the stress for one evening, which in itself will be stressful as there will be so many people there (husband has a huge family).

I've gone through my FB 'friends' list (family and friends, I don't have loads on there, only those who I actually genuinely know) and unfriended a few who post nothing but drama (including family), and unfollowed others....ones I've kept as 'friends' but have opted out of receiving any of their updates, unless I choose to look at them.  I almost never post anything on there, but keep it as it's a way of keeping up with what friends and family in distant areas are doing....well now I'll only get updates from the non-dramatic ones.  If it wasn't for these distant F&Fs, I'd ditch FB altogether, it's far too full of adverts for my liking.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Down again

 My mood has plummeted again.  No particular reason, nothing's happened to set it off, it just is what it is.  Sometimes I can have a fairly good day, or maybe just a few hours.....other times the black mood descends and I can't shake it off.  I'm finding that some people just don't understand this.  They seem to think that I can choose what sort of mood to be in and how to cope with anything/everything, maybe that I'm even snappy and/or tearful on purpose.  Why?  Why would I (or anyone) be like that purposely?  It simply doesn't make sense to choose to be miserable or snappy or distracted, or even unreasonable or irrational.  I do know I am sometimes unreasonable, irrational or moody - it's a symptom of the depression, it's not a deliberate act!

The best way I can cope with this (and this is what works for me, it won't work for everyone) is to kind of insulate myself and almost go into my own little world.  Others don't walk in my shoes (nor me in theirs), so they can't judge me or think they know best or I should be doing this or not doing that.  I'm just doing things that I can cope with, and at my own pace.  My concentration wanders sometimes, so I don't necessarily get everything done at once, but that's ok.  I am just taking life one day at a time.

So today I've done a freezer inventory, and wrote a list of possible dinners for the next month or so - no set days (i.e. no 'Spag bol Monday, Fish Pie Tuesday and so on), just a list of meals.....who knows what I'll feel like eating or even whether I feel like cooking on a particular day?  At least I now know I have the makings of and a list of possible meals for the next few weeks.

And having done that, husband is going to drive into town and collect KFC for our dinner today - his choice, and I'm not arguing, I don't have to cook!

More on the heir hunters thing

 Having now found out further information, it seems the dead relative was a male cousin of my mother's.  She never mentioned him, to my knowledge, although did mention his father, her uncle - however, at the time I was unsure who he actually was (I was a child and only met the uncle once, I think, this was about 50 years ago!).  This cousin was apparently unmarried and had no children - or certainly no surviving children anyway.  My elder bro and I have been doing a bit of research and have discovered that our maternal grandmother actually had 3 siblings, we think - the dead cousin is the only descendant of those siblings we have found any mention of, however.  The heir hunter firm say they have not managed to trace any other living relatives, other than myself, my siblings and our 6 cousins and one uncle (we're a relatively small family).  My mother had 2 sisters and one brother - all the sisters are now dead, Uncle H being the sole survivor of his family.  As such, and from what I've read, he is actually the main descendant, and therefore priority beneficiary, of the dead relative.  So it's quite likely he is the one who will inherit whatever estate the dead relative left.  

Unfortunately, Uncle H is in his mid-eighties and has advanced Parkinson's disease, however, he does have a limited memory of his dead cousin, he says they didn't have much face to face contact but mostly exchanged Christmas cards.  He reckons the cousin didn't even own his house, as far as he can remember, so unless the cousin was a miser who sat on his money and never spent anything, there won't be much of an estate to distribute anyway.

So none of us cousins are expecting to become millionaires, or even receive any money whatsoever actually, as we're not the primary beneficiaries.  It's been interesting finding out some family history we knew nothing about, though.

It was tricky enough finding out information about our relatively small family - how husband could ever manage (if he was so inclined, which he's not really) to trace all his family history I don't know, his family is huge.  E.g. I have just 6 cousins and 4 nieces/nephews, whereas husband has around 40 nieces and nephews, and countless cousins, some of whom he's never met.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Beginning to lift

 We had a really nice time at the caravan yesterday, weather was perfect.  More neighbours, 2 vans away from us, were back for the first time this year, they're another couple we get on really well with so it was nice to catch up with them.  Husband did the outstanding jobs from last time, so I think that's pretty much everything done now, other than keeping up with the gardening stuff.  I did a bit more weeding and deadheading, tied in more shoots of the clematis and climbing rose, both of which are really putting growth spurts on, then watered all the pots.  Betty wandered in and out of the van - lying in the sun for 10 minutes, then going inside to cool off and have a drink, then back out again.  As I anticipated, all of the holidaymakers and all the families with children had gone home, so there were only a handful of regular static owners left - back to lovely peace and quiet, just how I like it.

Came home in the afternoon, got a few things to do this week and the early part of next, so I doubt we'll be going back until the middle of next week.

We've sorted a few things out so my depression and stress are beginning to lift.  I was adamant I didn't want to go down the antidepressant route again, unless it was absolutely necessary.  My knee isn't so much of a problem now either - it's not back to normal by any means, but isn't continually painful and it's not collapsing nearly as much.

Jayne, you asked if I drive - no I don't.  Obviously our life will have to change when the time comes when husband can't drive anymore, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  His heart failure is well controlled with meds, he just gets tired very quickly and can't do as much physical work as he used to.

Another lovely thing - I've seen a few swallows and house martins flying around, just a few at the moment, but obviously lots more will be on their way over the next week or two.  I've a feeling they're a bit later arriving than last year, will have to look back to see when it was, I think I probably mentioned it in a blog post last year.

Right, having had a quick look back, the swallows actually arrived in early May last year (which was a bit later than usual), the house martins a couple of weeks later.  So the few I've seen so far are actually earlier this year.  It's good to keep a record of things like this.

Got a little top up shop to do today, just a bit of dairy and fresh veg, then housework and meal planning, washing is ready to go out on the line.  Husband's got a few jobs to do in the garden.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Time out

 Things have been incredibly stressful lately, so we're going to the caravan today.  Just for the day - we'll do a couple of jobs that should have been done the last time we were there, but couldn't (mainly to do with husband).  A bit of time out at our relaxing place should help, the jobs won't take long to do and then we can relax for a couple of hours.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted a holiday place not far from our home - the main reason being husband can't drive long distances anymore without getting extremely tired and stressed, as a result of his heart failure and advancing age.  The other reason being we can just up and go at the drop of a hat, as it only takes 40 mins to get there....35 with very little traffic at the weekend.  Although the caravan is here in Somerset, it feels like a completely different environment to home.

All the holidaymakers and children will have gone home, so I imagine there'll just be a handful of other owners (childless ones!) there.

This week we'll try and pin landlord down to give us a date for the replacement windows and roof works to be done - anything to do with the landlord and work on our house is a bit of a nightmare to arrange, he prevaricates and blusters and puts things off.

My roses here in the front garden have put on masses of new growth and have lots of small buds on, so they'll soon be flowering, something to look forward to - they're all lovely strong scented ones and one, a birthday present from my best friend, has the most gorgeous double large deep pink flowers.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Filling up the oven

 I had a baking day yesterday.  I made 2 very large pasties, using minced beef, diced carrots, potato and onion, and crumbled Stilton.  Each pasty is 4 servings, so we had half of one for dinner last night with roasted veg, the other half we'll have for lunch today with salad.  The second one was frozen.

I try to only have the main oven on now when I can fill it up, to save on electric.  So as well as the pasties yesterday, I also made a banana and walnut loaf cake (using up 2 brown bananas), and did a large tray of roasted root veggies - carrots, swede and parsnips.  We had a third of the tray last night with the pasty, the rest of the roasted veg has been frozen.  There were a few carrots and half a swede left (I couldn't fit all the veg into the tray for roasting) so I boiled and mashed them together and then froze that too, to have with sausages or pork chops next week.

So the good things for yesterday were all that baking, and husband has planted potatoes and sown beetroot and carrot seeds, he's going to sow a row of carrots and beetroot every couple of weeks.  We have tomato, leeks and courgette plants currently in the utility room, waiting to go outside when the danger of frost has passed.  He's also going to sow salad leaves and radishes next week, he'll do successional sowings of those, and we'll be sowing pots of them at the caravan too.  

Oh, and the new telly arrived yesterday, along with the books I'd ordered, so sanity restored!

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

A day in the life

 This is an example of daily life with my darling husband, who does my head in every day (bless him!!).  This is what's gone on today.

He needed to make a phone call this morning, but couldn't work out how to get the numbers up on his mobile phone.....he'd gone into pretty much every setting but the right one.  I had to show him how to do it, despite having shown him numerous times before - I'm certainly not tech savvy, but he makes me look like an IT technician!  He's only got a pretty basic mobile, yet is always saying he wants a smart one - erm I don't think so, he can't even work the simple one he's got.  His phone bleeped with a couple of texts, and both times he asked "Is that my phone or yours?" - despite my phone sounds being totally different from his, he never recognises his own phone texts or rings!

We needed to replace the blind on the landing window.  Now, this window is in the most ridiculous position, high up above the stairs, whoever the architect was should have been shot.  It cannot be reached except by balancing a couple of step ladders on the stairs, with a board spread between them.  This in itself is a major worry, as husband is the clumsiest person on the planet, known for being accident-prone.  However, needs must so he got the step ladders and board in place.....I told him that before he did that, he should make sure he had all the necessary tools, blind, etc, up on the landing - I asked him twice if he had, he assured me he did.  I said I didn't want to be up and down the stairs constantly getting things for him, when my job was to stand and hold the bottom step ladder and watch where he was putting his feet, so he didn't fall off.  Well of course he hadn't got all the right tools (or indeed the new blind!) - 3 times I had to go and collect the things he didn't have.  Then he broke a piece off the old blind, which hit my arm as it fell.  He then dropped a drill bit, which hit my finger so hard that I yelped in pain.  As things come in threes, I decided I was leaving him to it before he dropped something heavy and killed me.  Besides which, I had the lunchtime dishes to wash up, tomorrow's washing to put in the machine and dinner to prep (Hunters Chicken, if anyone's interested).

5 minutes after I came downstairs and went into the kitchen, there was a load of banging noises as he dropped something else which bounced heavily down the stairs and threw itself under the hall sideboard - no idea what it was, I didn't ask, I just thought thank goodness I wasn't still standing there.

What should have been a relatively straightforward job, simply swapping one blind for another, turned out to be anything but and took 3 times as long as it should have.  He's put the ladders away and SOME of his tools.....other bits and pieces are scattered around the house.  I've had to take an extra anxiety tablet.


 Thanks for all the positive suggestions and comments.....Sue (or rather Lady Sue!) you actually made me laugh!  Jayne, it's a brilliant idea to put something on the gate, we'll definitely look at doing that.

I'm going to try and write some positive things every day, well not necessarily every day (don't want to put that much pressure on myself) but as often as I can, in an effort to stop focusing on the negative stuff.  So here goes.....

1.  Had a visit from my best friend yesterday, first time we've seen each other in a while.  It was lovely.

2.  We've had 2 meals of our first asparagus for this year, I do like asparagus.

3.  Found an online secondhand books firm (MusicMagpie) that had lots of books by one of my favourite authors, Val McDermid.  I've ordered 5 of her books for £10.

4.  Had a nice WhatsApp chat with my siblings.

There, that's a good start.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

No social awareness

 We came home early Sunday afternoon, at least it's peaceful here with no screaming kids.  

The woman who Betty nipped is our next door van neighbour, not the lovely Jean but the other side of us, the one who initially was very 'off' with us because we'd bought the van that she originally wanted but was told no by the site owner.  She fairly quickly calmed down, after all it wasn't our fault that the site owner decided to sell to us instead.  He's a businessman, presumably he saw something in us that he didn't see in her, I really don't know what his reasons were.  Other than the fact that I was so passionate about our ability to do up the badly run down caravan and garden, maybe that gave us the edge.

She's pleasant enough now, if somewhat annoying at times.  She's married but her husband is disabled, he does nothing except sit in their van and watch TV, we literally almost never see him.  She's always asking to borrow tools (the reason why she suddenly appeared in our van doorway the other day), and quite often asks husband and other blokes on site to help her out with some jobs.  She does take advantage a bit - I don't think she's deliberately annoying, she's just oblivious to things.  E.g.  last year we'd been out one day, when we got back we discovered she'd tied both of her dogs to our TV aerial pole - not her own, but ours.  Because ours was in the shade and it was too hot on her side, she told us, laughing (she's got a parasol for shade).  Twice she allowed her dog/s to crap behind our van, on our patio at the rear, both times husband had to ask her to come and clean it up, which she did, apologising and saying she didn't know they'd done it (she opens her van door first thing in the morning and lets her dogs out loose to do their business, something which is against the site rules).  Husband's blocked up the access now so her dogs can't get in.  The other day husband heard a little bang on the caravan wall outside, he looked out of the window and saw that she'd just folded up their garden recliner chairs and leant them up against our van - again, not her own van but ours.  I know they're only little things but I wouldn't dream of doing any of those things she does, that's what I mean about her being oblivious, it's like she's got no social awareness or politeness chip.  (To be fair, I haven't at the moment either).

I don't want to fall out with her, we are neighbours after all.  Fortunately, they aren't often there at the same time we are - they live in Birmingham and the husband has lots of medical appointments so they need to be at home a lot.  I find it best, for my sanity, to mainly ignore her - I pass the time of day with her if I see her outside, but that's it.

I needed to do a little bit of shopping, we went early yesterday morning to avoid crowds, I did forget a couple of things as my brain is on holiday, I'll just do without.  Other than that, I had no real plans.  Had a terrible night again, so didn't feel like doing anything.  I do need to spend some time looking online for a new mobile phone, mine has virtually had it, it won't hold a charge (it's already had 2 new batteries), it freezes up sometimes (I know how it feels) and I constantly get messages telling me the memory is almost full, I've already had to delete loads of photos etc and can't download any more apps.  The trouble is, techie stuff bores me rigid, plus I don't understand all the tech specifications for phones, so 2 minutes of looking and I've had enough.  My computer is also on a go-slow, well it's the wifi not my computer, it's slow at the best of times and I guess even slower at the moment because of more people being at home during the Easter holidays.

And now the TV is on the way out too.....picture has gone all blue, apparently it's a known fault and means it will soon 'blow'.  Husband's ordering a new TV, he can't be without one.  Nor can I, the thought of him having no TV to watch, meaning he'd be moping around all day every day with nothing to do, is more than I can bear at the moment.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you all so much for your comments - you do all get it!

Sunday, 17 April 2022

What is depression?

 Here's what depression isn't:-

It's not just feeling a bit down, or miserable, or sad, or unhappy.  It isn't a temporary thing that lasts just a few hours or days.

You can't just 'pull yourself together', or 'snap out of it'.  You can't just switch yourself on and off - there isn't a switch.

Things won't 'look better in the morning, when you've had a good sleep' (sleep is often impossible when you're depressed).  Nor will watching a funny film or doing something you like or someone telling you a joke make you feel better (you have no feelings when you're depressed, and humour or even sarcasm go right over your head).

And what depression is:-

Knowing that people around you simply do not understand, especially if they've never suffered with depression themselves.

Feeling emotionless, frozen even.

Not caring about anything, even yourself.  

Getting through the day and doing the normal everyday things that need to be done, by a sort of robotic action - just doing it, without really even thinking about it.  And then finding at some point that you've done something like getting a bag of peas out of the freezer for dinner, and put them back in the fridge instead of the freezer, and having no memory of doing that.  Or gone to check your bank balance online, only for your mind to go totally blank and you simply cannot remember your log in details.  Or go to take your BP tablet which you forgot to take earlier, only to find that you've already taken today's but forgot to take yesterday's (it's a calendar pack so I know).

Having someone talk to you, then realise that they've stopped talking and are looking at you expectantly saying "well, what do you think?" and you realise they've just asked you a question and you have absolutely no idea what they've been talking about, you haven't heard a word they said.

Being unable to raise any interest in anything, and not even care that you can't.  Also being unable to make a decision, even a simple one like whether you want a coffee or tea.

Not wanting to do anything or go anywhere and when someone asks you why, you just shrug and reply "I can't be bothered" or "I don't want to" - just a bald statement that you can't be arsed to pretty up or explain.

I WILL get through this, it WILL pass, I know that.  But until it does pass, I'm just going with the flow.  And others will just have to accept that.

Going home

 The stress isn't melting away like it normally does when we're here at the van - in fact it seems to be adding to it.  It's quite busy here for a start, certainly far busier than any time last year (although we weren't here last Easter, to be fair, we only bought the van at the beginning of June) - lots of the statics are occupied and there are several motorhomes and touring caravans, and quite a few children.  Not that I've got anything against kids, I haven't, but they are noisy when they're all out in the sun playing.

We were going to do a couple of small jobs whilst here, only we can't get them done as husband has forgotten to bring the appropriate tools.  An electric drill for a start - now I know for a fact he's got at least 4 drills at home, you'd think it would be common sense for him to leave one here at the van!  And the grass around the van needs cutting - he's got a lawnmower here but has forgotten the extension lead (just buy another one FFS!).

We'd brought a plant pot with us, a long trough type one, which I wanted to sow salad leaves and radishes in - husband somehow or other broke it as he was getting it out of the car.  And the 2 vent covers he'd made to stick on the ceiling with double-sided tape (one of them fell off the ceiling in the early hours of the morning last time we were here, scaring me and Betty to death) again fell off, both of them, within an hour or so of putting them up.  At least it was during the day this time.  So now he's got to rethink how to attach them to the ceiling.  I'd suggested Command strips or velcro, both of which he vetoed, insisting that his double sided tape would do the job.  Well, that's been proved wrong.  I have some framed pictures (my artwork) which I stuck on the walls of my bedroom using Command strips way back last year, and they're still up, having not fallen off at all.  But what do I know, I'm only a mere woman.

Another new problem with the car - driver's door now won't open with the key fob, although the passenger side will.  Husband is waiting for the mechanic to come up with a price for yet another part he thinks may be causing the warning light problems.  I neither know nor care what to believe anymore.

And just to top it all off, Betty bit one of our van neighbours yesterday - not badly, just a quick nip of her fingers, although it did break the skin of one finger and draw a little drop of blood.  The silly woman came into our garden and appeared in our open doorway and called out (she was after borrowing a spanner) - we were all in the van at the time, I was reading, husband had the bloody TV on as usual (although was probably asleep) and Betty was snoozing on the floor.  When the woman suddenly appeared in the doorway, Betty jumped up and flew at her, nipping her finger - guarding her territory and us, I guess.  The woman immediately backed off and went outside the gate, she was fine about it and said it was her fault as she'd startled Betty and invaded her personal space.  She's got 2 dogs of her own, who both bark like mad if anyone goes past their van, you'd think she'd have known better than to simply appear in our doorway knowing we have a dog.  She said not to worry, but of course it did worry me, especially since the woman talks nineteen to the dozen and knows absolutely everybody on site.  I just hope she doesn't go around telling everyone our dog bit her.  Because our dog is quite imposing looking (she's very chunky and muscly) and has quite a loud bark, some people already think she's a terror, although the reality is she's a big waggly-tailed softy.

I think we'll go home tomorrow morning, or possibly even this afternoon, I just feel I'd rather be at home right now, it's feeling a bit claustrophobic here, and too many people around.

I know it's all to do with the depression, but I'm feeling more and more that people, even ones who know me very well, just do not understand.  And I'm sick of trying to explain.

Friday, 15 April 2022


 A crap night again, for both of us.  Even husband is admitting to feeling stressed (something he rarely does).  We're going to the caravan as soon as we're ready, which will be around 9 ish I think.  I will take the laptop, but probably won't be online much.  We intend to do a bit of gardening - some weeding, sorting out a few pots, and sowing some seeds of salad leaves and radishes, I've got a pile of books as usual, and husband has loads of DVDs he bought in a charity shop the other day.

There'll be lots more van neighbours there to catch up with, and tomorrow there's an artisan market in the local village, with a couple of stalls I particularly want to visit - an artisan baker, local charcuterie and local cheeses.  Hopefully there'll be a plant stall too.  We'll be spending lots of time in the garden and chatting to friends.  Not sure when we're coming back, no firm plans as yet, nothing in the calendar for next week, although apparently a surveyor will be coming to look at the windows prior to replacement, which I expect he can do from the outside, he won't need us to be there.

We really need a break, I'm feeling absolutely decimated by stress, I'm running on empty, it's been a very long time since I've felt this low.  And it's most unusual for husband to feel so stressed, the car stuff, which is ongoing and we can't see an end to it as yet, has really got to him.  He's also now admitted to having severe problems with his big toe - he dropped something on it a couple of weeks ago and has been in pain with it ever since, the nail has turned black and he said yesterday evening he thought the toe might be broken!  Honestly, why men can't just go to the bloody doctor I don't know.  The doctors are now closed for the Easter break, and he says he doesn't want to go to A&E.  Well, he'll just have to continue putting up with it then, silly man.

Thank you for all the incontinence comments, I had a strong feeling that lots of you would also have experience of this - after all, we're mostly all women of a certain age!  I've coped with it for 2 or 3 years, it does get me down a bit sometimes though.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

One thing after another

 Husband is feeling unwell again, stress is getting to us both.  He's coping by spending hours outside, digging and planting things.  After a few days of not wearing my knee support, my knee gave way again yesterday coming downstairs, I twisted my wrist grabbing hold of the handrail and it's sore as hell today.  So it's back to wearing the support.  And to add to the misery, I wet myself yesterday - I've suffered both stress and urge incontinence for a couple of years now, my shameful little secret.  I was offered medication, which I declined having read the side effects, and kegel training (pelvic floor exercises) over the phone!  Which I also declined.  They offered to send me paperwork instead, several weeks later and I still haven't received it.  So I've looked it up myself online.  Seems nobody wants to offer actual face to face help nowadays.

We're off to the caravan tomorrow for a complete break, we'd go today but have things to do.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

A bit of intrigue to pique my interest

 Had an intriguing surprise the other day.....sister messaged to ask if any of us siblings had had a letter from a firm of 'heir hunters' - she'd had one that day.  She had no idea if they were genuine, or whether it was some sort of scam.  Turned out my elder bro had also had the same letter, although younger bro and I hadn't.  After a bit of googling, it seems the company are genuine heir researchers.  We've all now spoken to them (apparently they didn't have mine or younger bro's current addresses), they've said that a relative of our maternal grandmother had died intestate last year, with no immediate family.  They knew all sorts of family details, and my elder brother and nephew researched this firm thoroughly, so we're satisfied that they are genuine.

The surprise is that I wasn't aware that my grandmother actually had any relatives - they were certainly never spoken maternal grandfather, on the other hand, had several siblings, nieces and nephews, some of whom I'd met.  I've no idea why Nan's relatives were never mentioned.....perhaps she'd fallen out with them.  Or perhaps they were black sheep.....or maybe Nan was the black sheep!!  Elder bro had done some research on our family tree a few years ago, he found lots of info about our maternal grandfather's family, but hardly anything about our grandmother's.  All a bit of a mystery.  I did a bit of googling myself and found the name of the relative who died (the heir hunter firm don't tell you the name until they've verified your identity) - it was easy enough to find out, there's a website listing the names of everyone who's died intestate.  The surname, place and date of death all match up so it's almost certainly the right one......however, we have no idea who the person actually was, or what relation they were to my Nan.  They were born 25 years after my Nan, so it's unlikely to be a sibling, although not unheard of for there to be such a large gap between siblings.

Mum never mentioned her mother's family, only her dad's, so we're guessing Mum never met them - we can't of course now ask her!  And the only family member still alive who might possibly have any information is very old and suffering with advanced Parkinson's disease, so unable to be of any help.

None of us are holding out any hopes of suddenly coming into a bagful of money, we're not about to book a cruise on the strength of it (a cruise has never appealed to me anyway).  We're just going to forget about it and wait and see if anything comes of it....apparently the process can take around 12 months to settle in any case.

It's been a little bit of something out of the ordinary that has sparked a bit of interest for me, at a time when nothing else has.  Thank you all again for your really kind comments.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022


 Thank you so much for all the comments and emails, it helps more than you know.

If we could just get the car situation sorted, we'd both feel so much better.  At the moment we're getting nowhere.  And that's all I'm saying about it.

We're off to the caravan again on Friday, no firm plans for when we'll come back.  I know several other van neighbours are planning on being there, so it'll be quite a reunion I should think.  And the weather is forecast to be much better.

On a good note, my knee is (fingers crossed and touch wood) not so painful now, I've not worn the support brace thing for 2 days and the knee hasn't collapsed once.  So maybe it was ligament, tendon or muscle damage and is now hopefully getting better.

I'm spending a couple of days doing some more batch cooking and baking before we go to the caravan, yesterday I made 3 fish pies, all now frozen.  Also got dog food to do today.

Physically I'm fine, albeit suffering greatly from lack of sleep, but I do feel very flat and emotionless right now, as if I'm operating on autopilot.  I'm sure I'll pick up once we're back at the caravan.  Thank you all once again, it's so nice to have people get in touch who actually care.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Feel like shit

 Following on from my earlier post.....I'm just finding life and everything to be really hard at the moment.  And before anyone says it, I do know that there are thousands far far worse off than me.  A few minutes ago, husband asked 2 questions, 2 perfectly innocent normal questions - "When do you want to go shopping?" and "What's for lunch today?".  And I couldn't think of an answer to either question......all I could think was oh shit not again, I just can't be bothered to even think.  Everything, and I do mean everything, is such a huge bloody effort at the moment.

This is in no way an excuse, it's just background info by way of a bit of an explanation - I've not had a particularly good early life, especially in my late childhood/teens - sexual abuse, family break up, serious mental health problems to contend with (not mine), witnessing violence by close family members, poverty, self harming.  Some of these things have carried on throughout my life, even to the present day.  

I've had periods of clinical depression, for which I had medication, and I recognise that I'm teetering on the edge of it again.  I don't want to go down the route of antidepressants again, they do help but have horrendous side effects and it takes so bloody long to come off them when you're well again.  Nor am I keen on counselling - I had several weeks of it in the past and didn't find it particularly helpful.

I guess I'm just saying I feel like shit at the moment, no doubt it will pass, but apologies for the constant moany rubbish I've been posting lately.  

Down in the dumps (yes again)

 Had another terrible night with things going round and round in my mind.  I feel quite despondent over the 'no arthritis' verdict on my x-ray.....and the GP had put a note on saying if pain continues, come and see me in a few weeks.  Well, excuse me, but I've had the pain and problems with knee collapsing for several months now, how much longer am I expected to put up with it?  I don't actually WANT arthritis, but at least if it were, it would be a diagnosis!  Whereas as things stand, I have no idea what's causing the problems, or how long they're likely to last.  I will speak to or see the GP on Monday, I'm just feeling almost brushed off right now.  Jayne, I googled the ligament thing - it could be that, yes, but I'm not a doctor.

I guess I'm just feeling a bit sorry for myself (there's other things going on in my life too, which add to it) - it always seems like my health problems get pushed aside all the time and I'm simply left to cope with things on my own, or make arrangements to be seen and treated privately.  Which I can't afford to keep doing.  But yes I do know that others have far worse things happening (before someone tells me that).  But this is happening to me, and nobody helps me with it.

And I woke up this morning with a searing pain in my left shoulder and left side of my neck and it hurts to raise my arm or turn my head.  Must have slept funny (as my dear old Mum used to say), I dare say it'll wear off.

Have just been informed by our Landlord that we'll be having new windows as well as a new roof.  So more upheaval, although of course it will be nice to have new windows and door - the present ones are double glazed, but fit poorly and are draughty, and one upstairs window has never worked since we moved in nearly 10 years ago - if we open it, it practically falls out.  So we don't!  The front door is single glazed and very draughty indeed.  No idea when it will all be done (workmen will come to have a look after Easter apparently), I just hope it will be soonish and not left till winter when we can't decamp to the caravan!

At least it's sunny today and I can get the washing out on the line.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Home again and back to reality

 We're home now, unloaded the car, I've put some things away and loaded the washing machine.  We've had a nice week catching up with our caravan neighbour friends, we'll be seeing them again towards the end of the month.  Actually, we'll probably see them one day next week before they go home for Easter, we're going to have a day at the van on Tuesday or Wednesday, whichever day the weather is good.  It's a pity the weather hasn't been better, it was showery on and off all week, with a freezing cold wind and the occasional (very brief) sunny spell - yesterday the wind was gale force and bitingly cold.  So we haven't gone out much, but on the bright side I've read 1 and a half books and done some more crocheting, and hardly thought about the bloody car at all.  (Since getting home an hour ago, whilst I've been unpacking etc, husband immediately put his computer on and started car searching again....ho hum, we have to get another car sooner or later!  Preferably sooner).

I've just rung the surgery for my x-ray results.....apparently there's no sign of arthritis.  Good, I suppose, but it doesn't answer the question of what the hell is going on with my knee then?  There's got to be a reason for the constant sharp pain and the knee collapsing, which it does every day, several times a day.  The GP wasn't seemingly a lot of GPs nowadays, he only works part time, so I have to wait till Monday to see or speak to him.

It was so easy at the beginning of the week to make a snap decision to gather a few things together and go to the caravan for a few days.  What made it easier is that when we were there last month, we'd taken over all the toiletries etc we needed, spare towels and bedding, some tinned and packet food (including tea and coffee), and a complete change of clothes.  And all the batch cooking I'd done and frozen last month meant that I could just grab a few of the ready meals out of the freezer and throw them in the cool box, along with the fresh veggies, bread and milk I'd bought last weekend.  So we were pretty much ready to go in an hour on Monday morning, we didn't have to go shopping when we got there, and I was done unpacking within half an hour of arriving.  Easy peasy.

Before we left just after lunch, I cleaned the bathroom and kitchen whilst husband was loading the car, then finally I vacuumed through - it's always the last thing I do before leaving.

I shall do some more batch cooking this coming week, I'm going to make sure I always have a good stock of ready cooked meals in the freezer to take with us whenever we decide to go to the van for a few days.  Being able to decide on a whim to go to the van is brilliant, and having not much to pack and knowing we don't have to go shopping for a few days makes it even better.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Mad or brave?

 There's a lady tent camper, who apparently is a regular visitor, who turned up here at the park a couple of days ago - I can't quite decide whether she's totally bonkers or very, very brave and resilient!  She's certainly very friendly.....introduced herself and told us a bit (quite a lot actually!) about herself.  She's around my age I should think, perhaps a few years younger, is alone but has a dog with her.  She's disabled and uses a wheelchair most of the time, but is able to walk a short distance.  She comes from Falmouth (way down in Cornwall) and drives a fair distance before stopping to camp in various places along the way.  She has a car identical to ours which is packed to the gunnels with all her camping equipment, wheelchair, dog etc.  She sets up her tent - yes a tent, in this weather! - entirely by herself, she's clearly well practised at it.  So she's a lady on her own, getting on in years, disabled, with a dog to look after and walk, who loves camping seemingly whatever the weather - it's been blimmin cold and rainy and very windy here, interspersed with brief periods (and I mean just minutes) of fairly warm sunshine, but still with a very cold breeze.  I don't know whether to admire her for her total resilience and spirit, or be filled with horror at her choice of a tent - a tent!! - in a typical British spring that's throwing all kinds of weather at us.  Admiration wins out, I think.  

The weather is supposed to be better today, so we're off out this morning.  We need to get some dog supplies, there's a pet store in an area we're not familiar with not far from here, which has an out of town shopping area with several stores that we don't have near home, so we're going for a look round.  It means I get to look on my own (which is something that doesn't happen very often) as husband will stay in the car with Betty whilst I look, and then we'll swap over and I'll stay with Betty whilst he goes off for a look.  We were thinking of going to the beach but, although it's forecast to be sunny, the wind (which has been present all week) is due to be even stronger today, and I don't much fancy being on a beach getting sand blasted.  We might perhaps go for a walk round Cheddar Reservoir, depending on just how windy it is.

We're going home tomorrow afternoon, as we need to collect our prescriptions from the surgery and apparently my x ray results are in.  Our lovely van neighbours are going home on Saturday, we'll meet up with them again later in the month I expect, they won't be here for Easter as they have a family birthday.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022


 We've been having a lovely catch up with our van neighbours C & J, we're so lucky, we couldn't have chosen better neighbours, they're such a lovely couple.  One of the other van owners, an elderly lady on her own (well, with a labrador) has had a bit of a disaster - it was her first time back here last weekend and she discovered her van had had a really bad roof leak which has caused extensive water damage inside her van....the walls, floor, fitted cupboards and lounge seating are saturated.  Fortunately, she has family members who also have vans here and they were helping her out, taking out the ruined fittings and making (I assume temporary) repairs to the roof.  They've since all gone back home so we don't know what else will happen, or whether her van is even repairable, or if she has insurance (we're all supposed to have insurance, we've got it).  Her van is newer than ours, considering just how old ours is, we really are lucky that it appears (touch wood) to be in such remarkably good structural condition and we've had (as yet!) no real problems with it.  I don't expect that to last forever though, but we will have had our money's worth hopefully by the time we do have problems.

The weather is a bit of a nuisance, it's so blimmin changeable - one minute it's chucking it down with a freezing cold wind, the next it's sunny for 10 minutes.  Obviously, I would rather it stayed sunny, but it would be good if it just stayed in one weather mode for a good while, so that if I nip out to have a chat with someone or take the rubbish over to the recycling point in the sunshine, I don't suddenly get wet when the weather decides to change in the blink of an eye!

Had a rude awakening early this morning.  Husband had made a wood framed net cover for the ceiling vent in the kitchen, which he stuck on using (tiny!) pieces of double sided tape......I voiced my doubts that it would stay up, he assured me it would be alright.  Well, of course it wasn't - it fell off the ceiling with an almighty great clatter in the early hours, before it got light, giving both me and Betty a heart attack, Betty leapt off my bed and I followed her.  Husband didn't even stir (probably felt it safest to stay in bed and pretend to be asleep) 😡

And a little bit of good news....had an email to say we've won another £25 on our premium bonds.  Every little helps.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Something nice

 Well something nice after all.....had a text from our lovely caravan neighbours Charlie & Jean to say they're at the park for a week or more.  So we're going tomorrow to stay the week and have a good old catch up with them.  It'll do us both good to have a computer free week, with no stressing about the car or husband endlessly scouring car ads.  I'll hopefully be able to sleep better too, I'm certainly not sleeping well here at home.

And it will be just lovely to catch up with friends, something I'm sorely missing right now.  Especially my best friend who I haven't seen much of at all for ages (too busy!).

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Laying low

 I'm taking a break for a few days, hopefully I'll have something nice to talk about when I post again.  The stress is all getting too much lately.  Thank you everyone for your kind comments and emails, I really appreciate it.  Take care everyone. xx

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Back to square one

 I can't fault our GP surgery, they're now back to doing face to face appointments, we can choose whether we want a face to face or a phone appointment.  So husband saw the GP yesterday (a different one) who said it's almost certainly a muscular problem, she's given him different tablets to take as well as the ones he's already got, she said it's ok to take both together.  He takes numerous tablets as it is for all his heart and prostate/bladder problems, the joys of getting old.

Still no xray results for me though, that's over 3 weeks now.  But that's not the fault of the surgery.  One of you mentioned physio for husband - there's such a huge waiting list here it would be months before he got an appointment - and they're doing the appointments over the phone!  How the hell can you be properly assessed and then do physio over the phone?  I think husband would benefit from seeing my osteopath, but he's reluctant to go right now, he says he'd rather save his money for the car.  I think he ought to consider going to Felicity, but it's his decision.

The friendly mechanic asked us to check whether the reversing lights flicker when reversing, as he thought they may be shorting somewhere, causing the warning lights.....well they don't, so that's not the problem.  Back to square one then.

I asked husband if we could have a day off of anything to do with the car, or any new car, as I'm absolutely fed up to the back teeth with it all, and he's driving himself crazy trying to locate another car and work out the best thing to do.  So that's what we did, car stuff banned for yesterday.

It's no wonder we've both got thumping heads, as well as our normal everyday aches and for sleep, what's that?

We're not going back to the caravan just yet, we need to get the bloody car situation sorted first.  In any case, husband can't turn his head very much at the moment, so he's not really safe to drive, certainly not any great distance.

Friday, 1 April 2022

First world problems

 Well, one thing went right yesterday!  As it was so cold and we were both feeling downhearted, I decided to make comfort food for dinner - toad in the hole.  You know what, it was blimmin gorgeous - the batter rose beautifully, it was crunchy at the edges and pillow soft in the middle and tasted lovely, as did the sausages - plain pork which I wrapped in streaky bacon.  Husband said it was the best batter I'd ever made - I have no idea why it went so well, I did everything the same as normal.  Perhaps the oven felt sorry for me 😂

Husband's ringing the GP again today, he has a terribly painful neck which he's already been given pills for, but they're not doing anything for the pain, if anything it's getting worse.  GP said he thinks it's arthritis combined with muscle or nerve pain and should wear off....well it hasn't.  Husband also has a permanent headache, I guess partly due to the muscle pain in his neck and holding his head in a fixed position (he's unable to turn his head without pain) and partly due to tension about the car, I expect.  It's unusual for him, he rarely, if ever, gets headaches.

I was awake ridiculously early again this morning  (the car situation is affecting both of us) but instead of getting up a couple of hours before dawn, I lay in bed reading until 6 am when it was getting light.  It's nice to hear the birds singing early in the mornings.  We haven't had snow (I'd have been surprised if we did) but it's certainly got really cold again.

There is a glimmer of light about the car problems.....we'd noticed that the warning lights come on with a particular manoeuvre, husband discussed it with the mechanic who said that's good to know and gives him something to work on, he's come up with a new idea.  We're still probably going to get rid of the car though (somehow!!), enough is enough, we don't want to be constantly worrying about warning lights and throwing money at it.  The car's fulfilled the purpose that we bought it for, ferrying furniture old and new to and from the caravan, so at least it's done the job required.

We're both really fed up, the car problems have just worn us both down so much, and getting another car is simply not easy - certainly not with the amount we can afford to pay.  We just don't want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire, but unfortunately there are no guarantees that any second hand car will not be problem free.  And, quite frankly, looking for cars online and even going to see them for a good look and a test drive, absolutely bores the pants off me, as I have no interest in cars whatsoever - it's just a vehicle to transport us from A to B as far as I'm concerned.  I'd happily leave all of it up to husband, but the fact is he needs my help and input too, so that's not an option.

I think we both need a day off going out somewhere for a nice day out (with Betty of course), totally forgetting about the car problems.  I'm not keen on going out in freezing cold weather though, and there's fuel cost to consider, and the car behaving itself too of course.....with the warning lights flashing on and beeping all the time, it's not easy to forget about it!

I know it's all first world problems and we're bloody lucky to have a car, house and holiday home, plenty of food, etc.  But sometimes I'd give anything for an easy problem and pain free life for a while.  We both feel like we're sinking at the moment.