Sunday, 29 May 2022

It was all going so well....

 ....and now it's not.  Had an accident this morning and flooded the bathroom (makes a change for me to do something stupid and not husband) - not a good thing to do or to clean up in a tiny caravan bathroom.  Been in floods of tears.  Nothing seems to go right for very long.

Just shows how fragile my mental state is.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

The cloud has lifted

 For the first time in weeks and weeks, I woke up this morning feeling almost like my normal self, I feel like the big black cloud that's been hanging over me for so long has lifted and moved on.  There are still worries and stresses in the back of my mind, but that's the thing - they're in the back of my mind now, not slap bang in the front and centre, pressing down on me.  Quite why this is the case, I don't know - nothing's happened, we haven't suddenly got rid of our troubles (such as they are), nor have we suddenly come into a great fortune.  Well, other than the Chancellor's sudden outbreak of generosity - I'm not getting all political but am thankful for it, every little helps.  Whatever the reason for my black cloud lifting, I'm feeling so much happier right now and am very thankful for that.

We arrived back here at the caravan early yesterday, 10.15 am, greeted by our lovely van neighbours C & J.  Got unpacked and settled and spent a good hour catching up with their news.  It was a beautiful sunny day, I've caught the sun already (must remember to put some sun cream on today, it's already bright blue sky and sunshine).  Husband planted the plants we'd brought from home, the foxgloves and that tall yellow-flowered plant that some of you identified for me the other day, whose name I've forgotten already, whilst I watered all our pots and did a bit of pruning.  Husband and Charlie then did a couple of small DIY jobs together, whilst Jean and I did some more chatting with the neighbours on the other side of them, another lovely couple.  Then we all had coffee and some of the banana cake I'd made.

We've put our bunting up on the front of the van and all along the fence, it looks very cheerful.  One or 2 others have flags up, the park owner has put bunting on the entrance gates and around the shower block.  With a few owners arriving last night, and no doubt more this morning as it's now school holidays, I'm sure more will be decorating their vans for the Jubilee.  I'll put photos on when we get back home and I can upload them to my computer.

The M&S Dine in for 2 offer was for a main course and a side dish, with either a starter or dessert, all serving 2.  We're not big dessert eaters, so I chose a starter of prawn cocktail.  Out of the choices for the main course, I fancied a lamb dish or duck legs in orange sauce, they didn't have the lamb and husband didn't want the duck, he wanted fish and chips with crushed peas.  Wouldn't have been my first choice for an anniversary meal, but hey ho.  The haddock was nice, as was the minted pea puree, I didn't like the chips (huge great fat things that were too stodgy).  As that was such a big meal, we actually had the prawn cocktail for lunch with salad, it was delicious, big fat king prawns.  The side dish I chose was potato dauphinoise, obviously we didn't need it with the fish and chips, we're having it with our Sunday lunch tomorrow (gammon) the Dine in for 2 offer at £12 has actually covered three meals.

No idea what we're going to do today, we'll just go with the flow.

Friday, 27 May 2022

I'm done

 Off to the van this morning, until after the Jubilee.  As it's our wedding anniversary today (39 years, where does the time go), I've been to M&S Food hall and got food from their special dine in for 2 range.  Nice food, and already prepared, so I just have to bung it in the oven.

The scaffolders came Wednesday and took down all the scaffolding, in two trips.  They've taken most of it away, but there are still a dozen or more poles and various fixings left here on the lawn - along with more discarded screws, nails and dog ends (they all seemed to have fags permanently stuck in their mouths), and lots more holes and cracks in the lawn where they just dropped or threw poles and fixings down from a great height.  I presume they'll be back for the rest of their poles today, seeing as they didn't come yesterday....frankly I shall just be glad to see the back of them and am done with worrying about it.  I'm done with a lot of things, actually.

My sister is recovering well, she's finally beginning to feel more like herself, although is covered in bruises and very sore, she's also coping well with the zimmer frame and has managed to get outside and sit in her garden - she loves her garden as much as I do mine.

Husband went to the local hospital to see the podiatrist yesterday, she said he has a few ingrowing toenails not just one, and has possibly some diabetic problems with his feet as well - to do with nerve damage.  She's arranging for him to have ops to deal with his ingrowing toenails - he could have had a cancellation at a hospital a fair distance away next Monday, but has declined.....partly because we'll be away in the van and he won't be able to get to the hospital (he can't drive himself on the day).  So he's said he would rather wait to have the procedures done in our local hospital.

I've been so low and really struggled with anxiety and stress lately, I really cannot wait to get away to the van and our lovely friends.  I doubt I'll be doing much blogging.  I feel like I'm absolutely wrung out.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Ticks, and changing things

 Bloody things.  Where we are, both here at home and at the caravan park, there seems to be a population explosion of ticks right now, what's it like where you are?  We've found several on Betty, fortunately they haven't latched onto her skin, they've just been crawling on her fur, so are easy to catch and dispose of.  She's been on Nexgard flea and tick tabs from the vet ever since she was a pup, it's expensive and I'm aware there have been concerns about safety to animals.  However, my view is that, although there are no doubt some animals who react badly to it (just as some humans suffer side effects from some medications), Betty's had no such problems with it and I don't think our vet would prescribe it if it wasn't basically safe.  We did stop giving it to her for a few months the year before last, on a cost basis, and gave her a herbal remedy instead - during those few months she had several ticks actually attached to her skin, she'd never had them before.  So back on the Nexgard she went, and hasn't had a tick latched on to her since.  She's also never had fleas in all the time we've had her (5 years), so we think the cost of the tab is worth it.

Since I had the talk with husband about his constant TV viewing (or rather, constantly having it on regardless of the fact that he can't actually watch it with his eyes closed!), he's been switching it off after he's finished watching something, so it's not now on constantly all bloody day.  I did look at loads of headphones online - goodness me, there's a huge range of different prices and specs, quite bewildering actually.  It occurred to me that I might actually get more benefit than husband out of a pair of headphones - noise cancelling ones, that is.  Then husband can have the TV on and I won't have to hear it....although of course I'd still see it if I was in the same room.  I'll have a think about it.  However, as I said before, I would much rather he only had the TV on for the things he really wants to watch, rather than having it on ALL the time and watching the same old daytime rubbish every single bloody day.

There are things I like to watch - I've enjoyed the coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show the past couple of evenings, and I do like a good drama series, such as Line of Duty or Call the Midwife.  What I don't enjoy is daytime rubbish, endless repeats of things like antiques programmes, Top Gear and other car shows, noisy car racing, and superhero films - all of which husband will cheerfully watch over and over, ad infinitum.  He will also happily watch the news at breakfast time, lunchtime and then again at 6 pm - why for goodness sake?  It's not as if there are many new major news stories in the few hours in between each showing, it's just rehashing the same things.  And when the news is so gloomy (Boris's parties and lies, yet another mad gunman shooting kids indiscriminately in the USA, Ukraine, energy prices going up massively again in a few months), it's just piling on the depression having it constantly repeated on the TV.

I think I've been too passive up till now with regard to husband's TV watching and his habit of doing very little (which he has allowed to become very much a bad habit over the past year or so) round the house and garden.  It's not good for my stress levels, and it's certainly not good for him - he's put on a stone in weight over the winter and is always moaning about it, yet does nothing to get it off.  And the extra weight is certainly not good for his heart failure, putting more pressure on his heart and making him more breathless.  Whilst he's being fairly co-operative at the moment with regard to the TV, that probably won't last.  But I'm not going to go through the same cycle over and over again, so things are going to change around here from now on.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Cheap & easy meal, back to my haven sooner than expected

 I had a brainwave yesterday for a cheap and easy flan for lunches and/or dinners, which could be portioned up and frozen.   I'd got a pack of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry in the fridge which was about to go out of date, half a bag of carrots that were going soft, half a pot of double cream, and plenty of cheese and eggs.  So I used the pastry to line a deep baking tray, then grated the carrots and cheese and mixed them together, adding 6 beaten eggs, the cream and lots of herbs and seasoning, it filled the pastry case.  Baked for half an hour, along with a trayload of jacket potatoes that I'd partly microwave cooked first, to use up the other oven shelf.  I cut the flan into 6 large portions, we had one each for lunch with some salad, the rest I've frozen.  It'll be lovely with chips or a jacket spud and coleslaw, or even just on it's own for a quick lunch.  Considering it's got minimal ingredients, it really is very nice, we had it at room temperature for our lunch yesterday.

The scaffolders didn't turn up yesterday either, goodness knows when they're planning on coming back.

Husband's got the dentist today, he thinks he's having a tooth out, so I'll have to do something soft for dinner that he doesn't have to chew.  Maybe cottage pie, I've got some homemade ones in the freezer.

Our lovely van neighbours C & J texted yesterday to say they're going to their van today instead of Saturday.  We were planning on going Saturday morning, but will go earlier now, maybe tomorrow, more likely Friday.  I've got plenty of homecooked ready meals in the freezer, so again I won't have to do much in the way of cooking whilst in the van.  Weather is forecast to be nice next week.  So husband will most likely spend plenty of time outside, chinwagging with his mate Charlie, rather than indoors falling asleep in front of the TV.

I can't wait to go back to the van.  I really don't know what I'd do without it - have a nervous breakdown, probably.  Stressed up to the eyeballs and very tearful again.  Seeing our lovely van neighbours will be good for me, we do get on so very well with them.

It's our wedding anniversary on Friday, somewhat shamefully I'd forgotten about it until today.

Bundle of anxiety

 I know the problems here are nothing in the great scheme of things, and with the roof done and the new windows being installed in August, the house will be much warmer and cosier.  Which hopefully means we can have the heating on a bit less, or lower at least, thus saving a few pennies.

But I love my garden, it brings me a lot of pleasure.  Seeing it in such a mess is hard for me - yes I know things will regrow, the lawn will recover, and the house martins and sparrows will start making new nests.  The disruption and all the clanging/banging/hammering/drilling noise, and having lots of strange men tramping round the garden and on the roof, all shouting and laughing is a huge problem for me, the noise (oh, the noise!), mess and invasion of my privacy REALLY grates on me and totally upsets my equilibrium.  Betty doesn't like it one bit either, she's a bundle of anxiety, just like me.  I just want a quiet life.  The scaffolders didn't come yesterday to remove the rest of the scaffolding, despite saying they would, so I'm assuming they'll come today.  I hope they do, they're disrupting my plans.

My sister was sent home yesterday afternoon, with a zimmer frame and strict instructions not to put weight on her broken foot.  The tests revealed she'd had a severe UTI (she said she'd been feeling feverish for a couple of days prior to passing out), so the hospital have put it down to that, and possibly low blood pressure having just got out of bed.  She's had intravenous antibiotics in hospital and has been given more in tablet form.  Her husband is disabled so won't be able to be of any help, but she does have lots of willing friends and a helpful daughter, and she lives in a bungalow, thankfully.  She and I come from the same mould, we get on with things ourselves rather than asking or waiting for others to help - well I've told her she must accept all help offered right now and not try to do everything herself.

I made a fruit cake yesterday and froze it when cooled, much to husband's disgust.  I've run out of cake tin liners and am nearly out of muffin cases, so need to get some before I can make any more cakes for our Jubilee weekend at the van.

I love these light mornings, I get so much done by getting up even earlier than usual (5.30 the last couple of mornings).  This morning I've taken last night's washing out of the machine and put on another load as the economy rate overnight electricity lasts until 8 am.  I also emptied the dish rack and put away all the dishes husband had washed up last night, took a couple of ready baked jacket spuds out of the freezer for tonight's dinner, and got all the veggies ready to chop for the ratatouille to go with the spuds.  I've checked what's on my to do list for today, and added a couple of things to tomorrow's list.

I got husband to dig up some plants yesterday, foxgloves that have self seeded everywhere and a strange large thing with leaves that look like a cross between irises and gladioli, it has pale yellow very small but pretty flowers on it which are clearly neither iris nor glad, no idea what it is or where it came from, I didn't plant it.  He's put them all in pots temporarily, we're going to plant them in the bed at the rear of the caravan.  We'll be popping to the van within the next day or 2, just to plant those things, water the pots and take the washed bedding and towels back.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Poor sister, and poor birds

 The scaffolder boss was as good as his word and did the 2 small outstanding jobs the roofers had left, nice man.  They took half of the scaffolding away with them, coming back for the rest today.  We need to pop into town, so will go when they're here, taking Betty with us (husband will wait in the car with her whilst I do the necessary in town), so we all have a break from the noise.  Husband has picked up loads of nails and screws from the garden, so at least he's got some supplies out of the mess left!

My sister is in hospital after a fall at home Saturday night - she went to the loo in the middle of the night, passed out and fell, hitting her head on the basin, fracturing her foot and chipping her front teeth.  No idea why she passed out, the hospital have done lots of tests.....she has MS, so could be something to do with that, or possibly low blood pressure.  They're keeping her in for a couple of days anyway, thankfully.  I'm quite worried about her, she's had a few strange ailments lately.  Her daughter sent me a photo of her mum yesterday, she's got a massive lump on her forehead where she hit the basin, and the entire side of her face is bruised.  The problematic family member has gone into self-absorbed panic mode - he makes a drama out of everything, and makes it all about him.  I'm ignoring him.

Ali from Less Equals More blog made sheet pan pancakes a few weeks ago - as it's baked on a tray in one big piece in the oven, it's far simpler than standing over the hob frying a few (American style) pancakes at a time - I'm all for simplicity and labour saving recipes.  I made mine blueberry and lemon and cooked it when the oven was on for dinner yesterday, once cooled I cut it into 8 squares and froze them, we'll have them for breakfasts reheated in the microwave, with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt.  I used wholemeal flour and less sugar in mine.  Thank you Ali.

I'm going to be making some cakes this week, to freeze and take with us to the caravan for Jubilee week, to share with our fellow vanners.

I'm all over the place emotionally right now, I don't know why, not sleeping well at all so that obviously isn't helping.  The messy state of my garden is getting me down, I can't wait for the rest of the scaffolding to go.  The lawn is not in a good state, all churned up by the roofers and scaffolders, dead patches where things have been stood on it, strange holes and tears everywhere.  And the roofers had to remove all the birds nests, to put up new guttering and fascias - house martin nests just under the eaves attached to the walls in the corners of the windows and sparrow nests in the gutters and just beneath the edge of the roof tiles.  The roofers said there weren't any baby birds in them - not sure I believe them about the sparrows, but the house martins had only just started rebuilding their nests from last year so they wouldn't have young yet.  The adult birds are all still flying around, obviously distressed, and that upsets me too.  Hopefully they'll be able to make new nests once the scaffolders have gone and the birds' confidence has returned.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Choosing my battles - amended

 The roof appeared to be finished when we arrived home yesterday, and a superficial glance seemed to show that the workmen had cleaned up.....husband did say that the garden was a lot tidier than it was when he came home briefly during the week.  However, once we actually went outside and had a closer look, it's still a mess and there are a couple of jobs the workmen didn't do on the roof.  They only replaced one of the two cage things that go on the chimney pots to stop birds nesting in the chimneys - the other one they just popped on top of the first one!  They had to take off the phone cable fixing to put the new fascia boards in place, but haven't reattached the fixing, so the phone cable is just dangling in mid air.  

The lawn is smothered with dozens and dozens of small bits of broken tile, which will have to be removed before mowing else they'll wreck the mower.  There are broken bits of wood, tiles, lumps of cement, sawn off bits of new guttering, nails and fixings scattered everywhere, some hanging off plants and in my planted pots.  There was a foot-long piece of wood with a large nail in it pointing upwards left on the back lawn, it was half hidden in long grass, any of us (most likely to be husband or Betty) could have trodden on it.  I have no idea whether the men are coming back tomorrow, I would think not as the roof appears to be substantially finished and the 2 outstanding small jobs I assume are an oversight.  Husband is going to ring the landlord first thing tomorrow though, to insist they come back.  I'm not getting involved in that, nor stressing over it all, I'm leaving it up to husband to sort out.  No idea when the scaffolders will be back to take down the scaffolding - soon, I hope, and then the garden will get back to normal in due course.

We went shopping yesterday afternoon - every time we go, husband exclaims over the cost, even though I keep telling him food prices are rising on a weekly basis.  Even I had raised eyebrows yesterday though, the shopping cost substantially more than the last time.  Admittedly, it was a big shop and I did get extra of a few things that I know will be going up in cost even more over the next few weeks.....such as flour, seeing as grain supplies are stuck in Ukraine.  I bought 8 bags of flour, most of which I'll keep in the freezer.  I also bought extra tinned goods.  The one thing I didn't buy loads of is meat, it's just getting too expensive and we're going to cut down on our meat consumption even more.  I'm going to write a list of budget-conscious meals using more veg (preferably home grown), more pulses and grains, with meat as a flavouring if you like, rather than a main ingredient.  We'll also have more meat-free days, although we'll never go fully vegetarian as we both enjoy meat and fish very much.

It is a worry trying to budget, although I think I do it quite well.  We're on fixed incomes (State pension and 3 small private pensions for husband, 1 fairly small private pension for myself) with no prospect of earning money - no job opportunities round here, and not with our health problems anyway.  I don't get my state pension for another 3.5 years yet, and that's assuming the Government doesn't move the goal posts yet again before then.  I'm determined to try and keep paying the caravan site fees (currently £1200 a year, which is cheap as caravan parks go) for as long as I can, as the caravan really is our lifeline.  Husband hasn't got a lot left of his windfall pension lump sum and he's got to hang onto that for car expenses, whether it be ongoing repair costs for this present car, or to buy a different one.

I still think we're very fortunate though - we have 2 homes (or the equivalent of), both of which are in nice quiet areas, plenty of food, running water and electricity, a car (even if it is occasionally problematical), internet/phones to keep us in contact with family and friends, and although we both have health problems, neither of us is disabled (Yet!).  So I never lose sight of the fact that we're well off in comparison to the Ukrainians, e.g.

My depression, stress and anxiety are still there, but I'm managing to keep it all under control at the moment, apart from the odd day here and there when nothing goes right or I can't see a solution to certain problems and I'm in floods of tears in the privacy of my bedroom at night, or tearing my hair out and just feeling like I'm banging my head on a brick wall because my nearest and dearest just don't seem willing or able to understand.  I WILL get better eventually, but know it will be under my own steam and through my own efforts, the one thing that this bout of depression has taught me is that I'm on my own, I can't expect anyone else to help.

*An added complication - the scaffolders have just turned up to start taking the scaffolding down....on a Sunday!  But they need it for another job, apparently.  The gang boss has kindly agreed to see if he can put the bird cage thing on the chimney pot, and reattach the phone cable to the fascia, despite it not being his job.  Nice of him.  So it's very noisy here again today, my head will be banging by this afternoon and nerves frazzled again.  Husband doesn't want us to go out in case the scaffolders decide not to do the 2 small roof jobs whilst we're not here, so I'll just have to grit my teeth and keep busy until they're gone.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Progress and a chip butty on the beach

 Thank you for all the suggestions.  I don't know much about headphones, but am assuming the wireless ones connect to the TV via Bluetooth.  That would be fine for home (once husband, or probably me, works out how to connect them....hopefully it would do it by itself), but I'm guessing not for the caravan.  The reason being, the TV in the caravan doesn't have Bluetooth capability, as far as I'm aware.  Husband could of course have wired headphones, but as some of you remembered, that would be a very bad idea - if he (or indeed Betty) didn't trip over the wire, then he would probably forget he'd got them on and get up and walk away....dragging the TV off the cupboard.  (Well, if he broke it, problem solved!! 😂).

The point is, though - I'd rather he didn't have the TV on at all.  Well, not for hours at a time anyway, I don't mind it being on for a specific programme, just not all bloody day!  And he does the man thing, flicking through the channels constantly, even whilst he's actually watching a programme - god forbid he should miss something more interesting on another channel!!  And as I've said before, because of his heart failure and the cocktail of medications he's on, he falls asleep within minutes of putting the TV on - and because he's always got the remote control clutched in his hand, I can't even turn it off.

Anyway, since we had the talk he's been switching the thing off after watching something (it does go back on again a short while later, but it's a start).  And he's agreed that he needs something else to do in wet weather, he quite likes the idea of jigsaw puzzles so we'll go and look for some during the week.  The big cancer charity shop in the retail park by the supermarket back home always has puzzles, cards and games, so he should be able to find a few things.  The next time we come back here, our lovely van next door neighbours will be here, so he'll have Charlie to chat to, that'll be good.

I'm packing up this morning and giving the van a good clean, we'll go home late morning when I'm done.  We'll come back midweek just for the day, to bring back the towels and bedding, toiletries that need replacing etc, and I want to dig up some foxgloves from my home garden, they've self seeded everywhere.  We'll put them in the bank bed at the back of the van, to fill up a few spaces.

We had a nice time yesterday - it rained all morning but stopped just before lunch, so I buttered some bread and filled a bottle with water and we went to Berrow's a big long sandy beach with loads of space and parking right on the beach.  We stopped off at a chippy on the way, so had chip butties for lunch, with a sausage and a few chips for Betty, washed down with the water, then Betty had a lovely time charging around on the beach.  Because it had been raining all morning, there was hardly anyone about, so we more or less had the beach to ourselves for a while.  Betty absolutely loves the beach, she runs around like a mad thing, then stops to dig a hole in the soft sand, then throws herself into it and rolls around on her back, it's so funny to watch.  And I just love seeing her enjoying herself so much with complete abandon.  She slept all afternoon when we got back to the van.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Get a hobby for goodness sake!!

 In some ways it's worse for me being here in the van than it is at home - on rainy days, certainly.  When it's raining, as it is now, nobody sits outside (obviously, they'd have to be nutters if they did).  Which means husband has no one to talk to (not that there's many people here at the moment - just 2 other statics occupied and 1 seasonal tourer).  So he has the telly on.....and being a small space (our van is 30' x 10') I can't get away from it....even in my bedroom I can hear it clearly, caravan inner walls being made more or less of cardboard (well they might as well be).  I have plenty of books, my craft supplies and notepads for lists, crochet hooks and yarn, my laptop for limited internet (the signal is variable) so plenty to keep me occupied.  Husband has nothing.  He has no hobbies whatsoever, his entire life (other than TV and napping) revolves around being outside, which he can't do when it's peeing down.

I have this morning had a discussion with him about finding himself a hobby, or at least something he can do to avoid just constantly having the damn TV on.  Last year or the year before, I bought him some wood carving tools, he's never done any woodcarving before but I thought it was something he could get interested in, being the practical sort.  Well, instead of doing some practising first, learning how to do it (I even found him some YouTube videos) and getting used to using the tools, he launched straight in to trying to carve a house nameplate sign.  He cocked it up (as he didn't really know how to use the tools properly or any techniques), which then immediately put him off and he's not touched the tools since.  He doesn't read, obviously, due to his dyslexia.  I did previously get him some audiobooks, but he just goes to sleep within minutes!  I've suggested he brings a pack of cards next time, or gets some jigsaw puzzles, or has a look in charity shops for games.....whatever, just find something to do!

He has borrowed my laptop a few times to look at cars, but I'm not really keen on letting him do that too often - he has a habit of clicking on all sorts of adverts and links on pages with no thought for security or scams (I do have an AV programme of course), his own desktop computer at home is frequently clogged up with rubbish as a consequence.  Or he presses the wrong key or clicks on something he shouldn't and buggers it up (he's not computer savvy at all) and then I get called to try and sort it out for him.  Which is like the blind leading the blind!

We're going home tomorrow, for a week or so (unless they haven't finished the roof, in which case we'll be back here on Monday).  During next week whilst I'm catching up with washing, housework, cooking and freezing a few more meals and preparing for our next longish stay here, he can go out to a few shops and see what he can find in the way of things to keep him occupied.  Otherwise, I can see we're going to come to blows (verbal ones), if he doesn't find something else to do other than have the bloody telly on all the time.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Time to myself

I had a full afternoon to myself here at the van yesterday - no TV or computer on, it was lovely.  Husband keeps asking to use my laptop to look at cars, and then reads them all out to me, despite knowing it bores the pants off me, so at least I had a break from that.  He took Betty to the vets, her ear infection has cleared up following the antibiotic drops she had last time, so that's good.  He then went home to collect the post and a few other things (I'd given him a list), water the plants and check on the roof.  He said the roofers are about halfway through, apparently they found one area was very rotten so that needed extra work.  He said both front and back gardens are a terrible mess, broken roof tiles, bits of wood and concrete everywhere......I'm trying not to think about that and just hope they'll have cleared it all up by the time we go home at the weekend.

Weather has been very changeable the past few days....a fair bit of sunshine, but quite a lot of showers too, some heavy (it rained heavily a few times last night, which kept me awake).  The forecast is good for today, so we'll take Betty for a walk round Cheddar Reservoir.

More owners turned up a couple of days ago, ones we get on well with, so I had a nice time catching up with them yesterday.  Our lovely van next door neighbours texted yesterday to say they'll be here in just over a week, so that'll be nice, I shall enjoy them being here, they're such a lovely couple and we have a really good time with them.

The site owner has no particular plans for the Jubilee weekend, I discovered yesterday (I asked his partner) but said he might put some bunting up.  He apparently was thinking his daughter, who also lives here on site and helps him with the running of the place, might do some organising, but he'd forgotten she's away on holiday then!

Next year marks 90 years since the site was opened (it's been in the same family all that time, the site owner is the 3rd generation) and he's planning a big celebration then with games, bunting, etc, the family are still working on ideas for it.  That should be good, although it will be a busy weekend in summer so might prove a bit difficult for me, I don't cope well with noisy crowds.  I can always retreat to my van though, for a respite, and watch from a distance.  

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

An Idiot's Guide?

 Apparently, it was Mental Health Awareness Week last week, it had more or less passed me by, I just happened to see a reference to it on FB a day or 2 ago (when it was already over!).  I know various celebs occasionally mention in some interview or other that we should all be more mindful of the fact that lots of people suffer with mental health problems....depression, stress, anxiety, OCD, agoraphobia, bipolar, social phobia, and so on - but how does that help, in a practical sense?  Does anybody who hasn't actually suffered any of these problems themselves, or had a close friend or family member who does, know how to help - or even cope with - someone who does suffer?  I think most people who haven't had experience (directly or indirectly) of mental health problems have very little idea - and I think men in particular are clueless about it.  Certainly in my experience anyway.  Because they're not as in touch with their emotions as women, they feel embarrassed about any 'emotional' stuff, they'd rather run a mile than get involved in any touchy, feely, weepy, angry or awkward stuff, I'm guessing.

Perhaps there ought to be one of those 'An Idiot's Guide to.....' help manuals about mental health stuff - what to say or do (or not, as the case may be!) in order to help someone who's suffering.  Or even just how to cope with or act around them!

A few people in my life could certainly do with such a book.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Staying longer

 Had a text from the landlord this morning.....the roof's not now being started until tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on the weather.  We'd guessed as much, as the forecast is for possible thunderstorms today (had a heavy rain shower here at the park hour ago, no thunder though).  Makes no difference, we'll just stay here in the van until the roof is done.  I'm so relieved we have this place to stay whilst the work is being done.  I really dislike loud noise, it's one of my stress triggers. 

It's not cold at all, humid if anything due to the rain, but the weather is so changeable at the moment, it's hard to make any plans to go anywhere.  I don't want to go out somewhere and then be caught in a sudden downpour.  Unfortunately the forecast is changeable for pretty much the next week, so we'll just play it by ear.

It's back to being very peaceful here, most of the weekenders have gone home, I think there are only 3 or 4 other owners still here.  At the garden centre yesterday, I bought some geraniums (or rather, pelargoniums), cosmos and more petunias, I want a big colourful display of bedding plants this year.  In between showers yesterday, we planted some in the little front bed and the rest in pots....have to try and ensure they're not all eaten by slugs and snails in this damp weather.

Is anyone doing anything for the Queen's Jubilee weekend?  We're expecting to be here at the park, as no doubt will lots of other owners be.  I've not yet asked the park owner if he's planning anything special for that I said previously, knowing him I'm sure he'd say "No, but what a good idea, you can be in charge of that Sue!".  No way, I'm not being roped into that.  I've got bunting to put up on the van and our garden fence (I love a bit of patriotism and am a fan of the Royals) and I expect I'll make some cakes to share with our van neighbours.....that'll be the extent of my involvement though.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Going with the flow

 Having had several bad nights in a row last week, last night I slept really well.  It rained heavily a few times during the night, waking me up (rain is very noisy in a caravan), but I went back to sleep quickly each time, consequently I feel refreshed and calm this morning.  Cloudy but with blue sky showing in patches, we're forecast possibly a few light showers with a bit of sunshine today.  We'll go to the garden centre in a nearby village this morning, they grow all their own plants, are reasonably priced, and there definitely won't be a massive scrum of people there like yesterday at the plant sale.  Hopefully I'll be able to get the plants in this afternoon.  Other than that, we have no firm plans for the next few days, we'll just go with the flow - and the weather!

I've been terrible at replying to comments recently, and commenting on your blogs, sorry about that.  Jessica, yes good idea to 'half diet' - when I'm very depressed or stressed, healthy eating is the last thing on my mind.  However, I am trying to eat more healthily (less carbs and more veg) on days where I'm feeling better....well, less stressed or depressed.  HH, yes I should think the lily, whilst being killed off for this year, will come back next year.  Thank you all so much for all your comments, emails and continuing support, I appreciate it very much indeed.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Stressful and then good stuff

 Huh, turns out the scaffolders weren't as careful as I thought.....they'd trampled on one of my lilies which had lots of buds on, squashing it flat and breaking the stems.  An adjacent gorgeous deep pink rose bush which is just coming into bloom, a 60th birthday present from my best friend, also had one stem snapped and some leaves and shoots bruised and bent.  I've cut the broken bits off the rose, it'll survive, the lily won't though.  We left yesterday morning before the men arrived, otherwise I'd have had words with them.

The garden here at the van is beginning to look really nice, it'll be absolutely lovely in a few more weeks when there's lots more in bloom.  The salad leaves and radish seeds I sowed last weekend have already started to come through, we'll be eating fresh salad from the van garden in no time.  I'll be doing successional sowing so we'll have salads throughout the summer.  The 2 tomato plants we brought with us last weekend are also doing ok.

Went to the plant sale in the village this morning, got there about 20 mins before it opened, I stood in the already quite long queue (it's very popular) whilst husband went off to the post office.  Don't you just dislike old women (and it is always old women!) who come up behind you, then start sneakily sidling up beside you and then worm their way in front of you?  Yes there was one of those.....I'd rather they just came straight out with it and asked if I mind if they go in front?  The plant sale I felt was very disorganised - it's held on an empty car sales forecourt and, as I said, is very popular.  It was extremely busy this morning and all the stalls were packed out, I think the organisers (RNLI volunteers) should have just let in a dozen or so people at a time, rather than all at once.  The number of times I got kneed in the leg, bashed in the back with bags and elbowed - again, mostly by old women who clearly thought I should give way to them, being younger (marginally!) than them - meant I quickly got to the stage where I'd had enough.  I only managed to buy 1 tray (6 plants) of petunias - not labelled so no clue as to colour or whether they were trailing or not, and not even priced up, the volunteer guessed at the price.  She didn't even know that they were petunias! (luckily I did).  There was no chance of looking at any other plants - unless I did what everyone else was doing and elbowed my way in - and anyway it was far too crowded for my liking, so we left.  Husband did manage to get a couple of courgette plants (for home) from a different stall, after shoving his way in (he's not as polite as me).  I was glad to get back to the van.....even if husband did immediately put the TV on.

And then.....hooray, a phone call from Landlord saying the roofers will be making a start on Monday.  So it'll be all over and done with whilst we're here at the van out of the way, just as I wanted.

It's such a nice day, we went out for a drive.  Took a picnic for us and Betty, and stopped off at Chew Valley Lake to eat it, enjoying the view.  Didn't stay out too long, as it was very warm in the car, too warm for Betty (she's now flaked out under the garden parasol) and I want to get some pots planted up for summer flowers.

Friday, 13 May 2022


 The scaffolders turned up just before 9 am yesterday, 3 of them.  Betty did a fair bit of woofing initially, but surprisingly soon settled down, just sending anxious glances out of the window occasionally.  After 3 hours of poles clanging, the poles being fixed together with a heavy duty electric drill thing, and the 3 blokes all shouting and laughing loudly, my nerves and head were on fire.  Whenever we've had workmen in (when there's more than one of them) for whatever reason, it always seems to be the same - they're all quite jolly and laugh/talk a lot, but they don't actually talk - they shout.  Loudly.  Presumably because the work is always so noisy, so they get used to shouting to be heard above the noise.  At least these guys didn't have a huge great ghetto blaster radio blaring out, which often seems to be the case with workmen.  Husband was out (lucky him) away from the noise, mowing lawns for 2 neighbours, but did come back to check Betty and I were coping.  Once we'd had lunch we went out, all 3 of us.  Nipped into town to get a couple of things from Wilko and some cash out (I almost never use cash nowadays, but will need some for the RNLI plant sale on tomorrow) and then stopped off at the nature reserve on the way home, to give Betty a walk and all of us some welcome peace.

Got home mid afternoon to find they'd gone but hadn't finished.  They came back about 3.30, having gone to collect more supplies, so then another hour or so of banging and shouting.  One thing I will say in the workmen's favour - they were very careful not to trample on my flowerbeds, thankfully.

By dinnertime when they'd finally gone, I had a banging headache and felt totally frazzled, resulting in another bad night.  Thank goodness we're off to the van again today as I assume they'll be back this morning to finish off, and I really hope the roof gets done next week whilst we're at the van.  If not, well we will simply go to the van again for a few days whenever the roofers turn up, at least we can up and go with very little notice or preparation.  There are a couple of appointments on the calendar for next week and the week after, but fortunately husband will still be able to go to them from the caravan park.

I'd decided to start dieting again, but with my nerves stretched almost to breaking point with all sorts of things right now, that ain't happening.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Sometime when

Yesterday the scaffolding (for the new roof to be done) was going up, the men were supposed to arrive early, around 8 am.  We'd decided to go shopping, taking Betty with us (she'd be doing her guard dog duty, running around the house and barking at the men outside in the garden if we left her at home).  Husband of course stayed with her in the car (he sits in the boot with the door open, Betty likes watching the world go by) whilst I did the shopping by myself - which I prefer to do.  Well, they didn't come, and no phone call to inform us either.  I guess the rain in the morning put them off, although it had stopped by lunchtime.

The window man came as arranged though, to measure up for the new windows which are to be fitted in August.  Although we're not paying for the windows (the Landlord is), I was pleasantly surprised to find that we did have some choices - types of window openings, style of front door (the other 3 houses owned by our Landlord have all had/are having full glazed front door, whereas I wanted a half glazed).  We could also choose the pattern for the obscure glass in the bathroom and front door.

I'm assuming the scaffolders will be coming today, fine weather is forecast so they can't use the weather as an excuse.  If they do arrive, then I'd thought we could go out again with Betty.  I need a few things from a garden centre anyway, and we could sit outside with Betty for a coffee, and then take her for a walk.  Only it appears husband has now made plans to go and mow the lawns for 2 of the neighbours 😒  

As to when the new roof is actually being done....we don't know, all the Landlord could say was 'within the next few days'.  Typical Somerset.....'sometime when' being a familiar phrase here.  I'm hoping they'll do the roof next week when we're at the van - neither Betty nor I would cope very well with the noise.

Husband has a GP appointment this afternoon, I'll be packing again for the caravan, we're off there again tomorrow.  Not too much to pack, as we both have clothes there and I left plenty of food in the cupboards and fridge, as we knew we'd be back there again this week.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

A blessing

 We're home again for a few days, journey this morning took us twice as long as normal due to traffic jams everywhere.

It's been so nice at the caravan, hardly anyone there, just 4 or 5 others, and none of those around us so very peaceful.  Spending time at the van is healing me, I'm not fixed yet but better than I was.  There are some issues that are still unresolved and which are really upsetting me and holding me back....I was hoping it could be cleared up, but no such luck.  I realise this won't make much sense to most people reading this, sorry but it's one of those things that I won't be giving details of on here....although my blog is often warts and all, there are some things that I don't share with the whole world.

We had such lovely weather at the van, lots of time spent outside doing a few jobs in the garden, sowing some seeds (salad leaves and radishes) and potting on a couple of tomato plants, tying in new shoots on the clematis and climbing rose which both seem to almost be growing inches before our very eyes.  Did some weeding, dead heading (all the Spring bulbs have now finished flowering) and tidying up pots.  Planning what to put in next - I want the caravan garden filled with colour for this Jubilee year (our Queen's Platinum Jubilee, for overseas readers), so I shall be putting in lots of colourful bedding plants this coming weekend.  There's a plant sale in aid of RNLI (Lifeboats) in the village just down the road from the van park this coming Saturday (we'll be back at the caravan then), so I'll be picking up a few packs of plants.  The weather is forecast to be even warmer from next weekend, the van is quite sheltered where it's situated so it should be fine to put the plants in.

We've come home as we now have several appointments we need to be home for over the next few days.  Someone is coming to measure up for the new windows and he needs to do it inside as well as outside, the mechanic is coming to do another thing to the car, and husband has a GP appointment.  Oh, and the scaffolding is now being put up tomorrow for the new roof to be done, so all my pots have to be moved away from the house.  We'll be going back to the van on Friday though - unless something else comes up....I hope it doesn't as I'm already feeling stressed again with all that's being done this week.

Having the van is truly one of the best things ever - the peacefulness, lovely new friends and beautiful surroundings help to soothe my soul.  The fact that it's not far away from home means that we can just come and go between home and the van at the drop of a hat.  Yet despite being just 35-40 mins away, it feels like we're on holiday in our very own holiday home.  There are few responsibilities at the van, very minimal 'housework' and cooking, I can, and often do, switch off my phone and laptop so 'real (and often problematical) life' doesn't force its way into my consciousness like it does at home.  We're so very fortunate to have the van, I don't know what I'd do without it, it really is a blessing.

Thank you all so much for your lovely caring comments, I really appreciate them.

Friday, 6 May 2022

A bad week

 We're at the caravan now.

It's been a really difficult week, probably the worst one in this period of depression.  I've been terribly low mentally, crying a lot behind closed doors.  I've had stomach upsets all week, awful tension headaches making my head feel like it's got an anvil sitting on top of it and the back of my neck feeling like it's being squeezed in a vice.  Eczema has flared up, and a cold sore.  Sleep has been even worse than usual, which means I feel like a zombie.  All this is stress and anxiety related, I know.  Don't think I've eaten a full meal this week, most days my appetite has disappeared halfway through whatever meal I've served up.  Cannot think straight at all, twice when using my debit card in shops this week I tapped in the wrong pin number, husband had to pay as I couldn't remember the correct number so ran the risk of my card being locked.  I've dropped things, misplaced things, overcooked several things as I simply forgot how long they'd been cooking - all of this is just so unlike me.  I've felt like I had no purpose in life, that nobody would even notice, let alone care, if I wasn't around.  Sometimes it just feels like people don't take any notice of me or really listen to what I say, it's what they want that's important, not what I want or need.

Hopefully, being here at the van will help....I'm sure it will.  All the holiday crowds have gone, there's hardly anyone here and it's so peaceful.  We'll be here for at least a week, probably longer.  Husband has a hospital appointment tomorrow and will be gone for several hours, he's also going home a couple of times during the week to water the veg in the garden and collect post (I'm expecting some important stuff), so I'll have some quiet time on my own.  He'll be taking Betty with him so she can have a good run around in the field behind our house - there's not really anywhere close to the caravan park where she can safely be let off the lead.

Already I can feel the tension in the back of my neck easing off.  It's going to be nice weather for the coming week, I've got loads of books here in the van and I've brought my art and craft supplies with me.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Bloody hell!!

 Today is really turning out to be one of those days......I've been feeling increasingly stressed and anxious since the weekend, but today has finished me off.  

Betty has just emptied her anal sacs on my bed again (she did it for the first time last year sometime).  I know she can't help it, bless her, it's not her fault, and if I choose to allow her on my bed then it's a risk I have to take.  But obviously it's meant that I've had to strip my bed off completely and put it all in the if I haven't got enough to do today, or the next few days.  Right now I'm abandoning everything I have to do.....sod it, it'll all still be there tomorrow, I'll get an early start in the morning.

Nothing gets done in my house or garden unless I do it myself, or I organise all of it, or I specifically ask (several times usually) for it to be done.  

And just lately my nearest and dearest have been less than sympathetic or helpful or understanding of my depression - it's almost like they don't believe me or take in what I say when I try to explain how I'm feeling and how it affects my life and my reactions.  Funny that, when they bend over backwards to help others.  And when they're family/friends who KNOW me intimately and have done for many years!

Well, I'm not explaining anymore. in fact I'm not going to interact with anyone, apart from what's necessary.  I could do with some time alone, but that's not possible right now.....husband has a hospital appointment for tests on Thursday, which will be uncomfortable for him, and again on Saturday at a different hospital for more tests which he's had before and he'll be in quite a lot of discomfort for a few days after, so he'll need me to take care of him.  We'll be away at the caravan, he'll be going to hospital on his own (hospital rules), so at least I'll have a few hours by myself - well, with Betty.  And now her anal sacs are empty she'll be no trouble!

I'm turning off comments for this's just to get things off my chest, that's all.  I know you're all lovely kind people, and I thank you, but I don't really want any comments just now (and to those of you who think I'm just a whining old moaner who should stop being so self absorbed and pull herself together and get on with life - bog off!  I didn't ask for your opinion, and you don't walk in my shoes).

Sorry if I don't post for a while, I expect things will simmer down sooner or later.

Busy to keep anxiety at bay

 Our meals for the past couple of weeks have been mostly functional rather than proper imaginative cooking, because I just haven't felt like it.  And my appetite has waned too, several times I just haven't finished my dinner.  We've eaten quite a few ready-cooked meals from the freezer (another good reason to cook extra and freeze meals, so I don't have to cook from scratch all the time), with the addition of some fresh veg if we have it, or frozen.  So my stock of frozen ready-cooked meals has depleted.  So today and tomorrow, I shall be making a few more, as we're off to the caravan for a week or so from Friday.

Today I'm doing meatballs.....not homemade, they're frozen readymade ones, but I'll be making double or treble quantity of a tomato and veg sauce to go with them, freezing the rest (there are plenty of these bought meatballs in the freezer).  We have packet noodles here and in the caravan to accompany them.  Tomorrow I'll do another big batch of savoury mince, we all know how versatile that is, it can be turned into any number of meals.  I'll make some cookies and cheese biscuits as well - I must set the timer though, because my mind and memory have been AWOL recently.  I made a batch of flapjacks last week and totally forgot they were in the oven, so it came out like a brown solid brick, inedible and thrown away, what a waste of ingredients.

Our fridge in the van is a slightly smaller than normal sized under the counter one, with an icebox - I particularly wanted an icebox so we could keep frozen meals from home, small packets of peas and chips, and ice cubes of course.  The icebox does cut down on the space in the main part of the fridge though, which means we do have to go food shopping during longer stays in the van.  So we've bought one of those little table top 'beer' fridges, we can keep the butter, cheese, husband's beer and my juice in it, freeing up more space in the main fridge.

Landlord has now told us that we'll be having the new roof in about 3 weeks, the windows will be done in August, so at least now we know so can arrange to stay at the van then.  The roof should take 2 or 3 days, the windows 1 or 2 days.  I just hope the workmen won't trample all over my flower beds when they're putting the scaffolding up.  I have lots of pots by the house walls, I'll have to move them all back out of the way.

Have just noticed there's a big patch of lemon balm in the front corner flower bed - it's so intrusive and fast growing, every year I pull it up and each year it comes back again.  It does smell nice (and obviously can be used in cooking) but it's such a rampant thug, it smothers everything, so that's got to come out today.

Anxiety and stress is swamping me again, so I need to keep busy.

Sunday, 1 May 2022


 Discovered I didn't have any new potatoes left, must have used them up during the week and forgot.  I did have a bagful of jacket potatoes though, so I baked the whole lot, 10 in all.  We had a small one each with our salmon (as the oven was on I foil wrapped it and roasted it instead of frying) and lots of salad - I thinned some mayo down with lemon juice to dress the salad, it was lovely.  The rest of the jacket spuds I've wrapped individually and frozen, they take just a couple of minutes to heat through in the microwave, or a few minutes in the oven if it's on for something else.

Husband did pretty well selling at the boot sale, he brought back just 5 things, he was happy with the amount he made, a bit over £150 I think.  I read my book for a couple of hours.  Husband had put Betty's travel cage in the garden, as he needed the space in the car for all his junk - Betty got in her cage and snoozed all afternoon in the garden.

It's drizzling today, the garden is just drinking it up.  Pity it's blanket cloud cover though, makes it look so gloomy and grey.  We're going to my best friend's this afternoon for Sunday lunch, that'll be nice, plus it means I get a day off of cooking.

Just done a Covid test each, to be on the safe of our neighbours has just tested positive again, for the 2nd time in 3 or 4 months.  So many of our little hamlet have had Covid now, it still amazes me that we haven't caught it.  I did read in the news a few weeks back that scientists are trying to discover why some people have Covid more than once, yet others don't catch it at all.  For us, I think it's because we don't socialise much, hardly ever go into anyone's houses, don't go out for meals with anyone, and when we do go out for the very occasional coffee, we always sit outside.  We haven't been to the cinema or any big events since before the pandemic, and when we go shopping or anywhere there are lots of people, we still wear masks.  My brother had Covid the week before last, for 2 days in the middle of it he felt very poorly and stayed in bed, the rest of the time he said it was just a cold really.  He seems to have recovered fairly quickly.....his wife didn't get infected, strangely, despite not sleeping in another room - she said she was hoping to catch it and get it over with, but it didn't happen.

I'm feeling ready to go back to the caravan again, think we'll stay a bit longer this time.  We can't go until Friday though.  Husband has to do 3 days of record keeping from tomorrow - recording the quantity he wees and how many times he goes, along with everything he drinks....for the prostate and bladder tests he has to go and have on Thursday.  And Betty is going to the groomers for her bath and nail clipping on Wednesday.  I was due to go to the chiropodist on Wednesday too but have cancelled it - she's put her prices up 3 times in the 3 years I've been going to her.  I don't begrudge her putting her fees up, everyone has to make a living and she's had to buy so much protective stuff for Covid.  However, in view of food, fuel and energy prices rising so dramatically, we have to make savings somewhere, so the chiropodist is a luxury I can no longer afford.  The caravan is hugely important to me, well to both of us, and the site fees are a big I've mentioned before, I have the fees for the next year up until 2 June 2023 saved up already, but will definitely find it harder to save after that, if the economy carries on as it is.  So we have to prioritise where our money goes.