Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Another problem

 Something else to add to my stress levels this morning......Betty's split claw that we took her to the vets about last week, has now split completely open from top to bottom, totally exposing the quick.  It's bothering her even more now, understandably.  We've rung and got an appointment for 3.45 this afternoon, I've also asked for the vet to ring us back asap for some advice prior to bringing her in.  She's very anxious about going to the vets, she really doesn't like it at all (probably because nearly every time we take her she has something horrible done to her, so it's a bit like going to the dentist for us!) and thus isn't very co-operative, whines and strains at the lead to try and get out.  I'm wondering if there's something we can do or give her, or they can give her as soon as we arrive, in order to reduce her anxiety (ironically, I've got plenty of anti-anxiety pills - which I shall be taking by the handful today!! - but obviously they're for humans, not dogs).  She's not very happy at all this morning, and was extremely restless during the night, keeping me awake, so she's clearly suffering.  I hate to see her in pain or under the weather, bless her, it really makes my stomach churn.

I've managed to book a haircut with my lovely hairdresser neighbour for Friday afternoon, so that's something positive.

I've done washing this morning, although it won't be going out on the line - it's misty, damp and cold so it won't dry outside, it'll have to go on the airers upstairs.  I've also made 2 pizzas - well, put toppings on 2 bought pizza is for dinner tonight, the other will be frozen, or possibly eaten cold for lunch tomorrow.  I also used up some sun dried tomatoes in oil, some walnuts, finely grated mature Cheddar, garlic puree and dried basil to make a kind of red pesto - just blitzed everything up in my mini processor and added some seasoning.  We'll have it stirred through a pack of fresh spinach and ricotta filled pasta for tomorrow's dinner, with stir fried courgettes and mushrooms.

Apparently there's going to be a big shortage of fresh turkeys this December, because of the bird flu.  Just as well we're not buying one - not that we ever do anyway, and especially not at this time of year, far too expensive.  

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Successful birthday lunch, and some answers

 The meal we went out for on my birthday was pretty much a disaster, for one reason or another, and husband had done nothing in the way of getting me anything, not even any flowers.  So I decided this morning we were going out for lunch....and then he had the cheek to say "well ok, if you've got the money"!!  Honestly, he leaves me gobsmacked sometimes - I did point out he was paying, since he'd made no effort to buy me a present, nor had he booked us in anywhere for lunch on the day (it was my last minute choice to go for the meal on my birthday, since he'd made no plans).  And this despite him taking his best mate to town 2 days before my birthday to have their regular brunch!  I can't remember the last time he took me out for a meal, prior to the rubbish birthday lunch.  With all the stressful stuff I've got coming up, with arrangements for appointments, horrendous forms to fill in, and things to organise for when husband is unable to drive for a week following his angiogram, I wanted a little bit of something nice.....the calm before the storm, if you like.

I chose to go to our other favourite garden centre, Sanders World.  It was taken over earlier this year and now focuses much more on home things and gifts, it's a huge place.  The restaurant, which was nice anyway, is now even better - as well as tables and chairs, it has lots of comfy sofas and armchairs and bookshelves everywhere filled with books old and new - some to buy (big coffee table type books) and lots to just browse through whilst you're eating and drinking.  In previous years the store has had nice Christmas displays, so I wanted to see what this year's was going to be like, given the change of ownership - not that I was intending to buy any decorations, but it's nice to look at them all.

The lunch was delicious, happily - I had a bacon, brie & cranberry toasted panini (well I did say the other day it was my favourite sandwich filling!) with nice salad, and a really lovely huge cup of frothy coffee.  Husband had a coronation chicken sandwich (his favourite) with salad.  And the restaurant wasn't very busy, thank goodness.  We had a look round afterwards, the Christmas display is massive, certainly bigger than it used to be, it was interesting looking at all the displays and gift things - and no I didn't buy anything.  However, I did get a new pair of slippers (reduced in a sale) and some nice birthday cards - I haven't really got time - or even the brain capacity - right now to make any, and there are 3 birthdays in December.  So my sort-of delayed birthday lunch treat was very nice.

To answer some recent comments.....HH, our garden's not really big enough for Betty to charge around - too many flower and veg beds and not enough grass.  But what I shall do is take her in the field behind our house - that way, I can let her off the lead as soon as we get in there and she can run around to her heart's content.  She'll get muddy though, but that's a small price to pay.  And yes HH and Joy, the AA form is horrendous!  One good thing though, it's recommended that you attach any medical correspondence in support of your application, and husband has today had a letter from his cardiologist following their appointment a couple of weeks ago, which gives precise details of his heart conditions and current problems, so that'll be a really useful attachment.  Sue, I had considered finding a professional dog walker but discounted it in the end - if anything should happen, eg Betty getting away from them and getting lost, or something else, I'd never forgive myself.  There was a report on FB a little while ago about a so-called professional dog walker who supposedly 'lost' 2 dogs in her care - they allegedly got spooked by something and ran off into the woods, never to be seen again.  The implication was that the person may have sold the dogs - which were pedigrees.  I'm sure true professionals are in the majority, but I'm not taking any chances with my beautiful baby.

Joy, you wondered whether husband might subconsciously be putting up obstacles so that I give in and do the jobs, I don't think so.  I'm sure it's just that he's so bloody disorganised and extremely forgetful - everything I tell him he forgets practically instantly.  I thought it was a side effect of some of his heart meds, which are notorious for causing brain fog, forgetfulness and tiredness, and I said as much to his doctor.  The doctor agreed, but said there was also another explanation - as his heart isn't working at full capacity, it may also be a case of the heart not pumping enough blood and oxygen to his brain.  Which was something I hadn't considered.  So now, when I have to repeat something I've already told him 6 times, I just try to take a deep breath and calmly tell him yet again.  It's downright bloody frustrating though, if I had a pound for every time I have to repeat something to him, every single day, numerous times a day, I'd be a millionaire in no time.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Frazzled brain and sleepless nights coming up

 The mornings are when I have most energy, so I try to get as much as possible done then.  This morning I got the washing out on the line first thing, then made the chicken meatloaf and prepped all the veggies for our one-day-late Sunday dinner.  I did double quantities of all the veggies, so the excess only needs reheating for another day, along with some of the meatloaf.  There's enough of the meatloaf to have reheated for another dinner, plus enough to have cold for sandwiches a couple of days this week.  We then got the Christmas tree out of the box, all the branches spread out, the lights checked and the tree put in position.  I'd bought a new tree, the one I got last year was a bit too small and, after a bit of searching around indoors and in his garage, husband remembered we'd actually given it to a charity shop after last Christmas.  I'm not decorating it until next Sunday, the 4th - that was my Aunt Sylvia's birthday so I'm decorating the tree every December on that date, in her memory.

I gave husband a couple of small jobs to do, which he did.....the trouble is though, everything I ask him to do he can't seem to do by himself without asking me a dozen questions, so I have to waste time explaining to him where things go, how I want the job done, which way up, how things fit, etc etc.  Which is why in the past I've always just done it all myself, it's easier and quicker!  But I can't do everything myself now, so he's got to help whether he (or I!!) like it or not.

We had a series of appointment letters in the post and a phone call today, they all came at once for the same couple of days......typical.  Husband now has appointments for an echocardiogram, and a urinary flow test (for his prostate problems), both Tuesday of next week, one in the morning and one after lunch.  Both in Taunton but in different places, he should if everything goes according to plan be able to do both.  I had an appointment for my diabetes review come in, for Friday of next week.  However, husband also had a phone call this afternoon to say the hospital have a cancellation appointment for him to have his angiogram.....also Friday next week.  So I'll have to rearrange my diabetes review, which is fine.

And on top of that, the Attendance Allowance forms also arrived in the post today, which was quick.  I've had a brief look, it's another 30-page form, just having a quick glance through it gave me a headache, I'm so glad the Age UK advisor said she'd come and help, I'd dread having to do it by myself.

Whilst I'm glad everything is happening quickly, and before Christmas, the sheer logistics of having to organise everything and all in a short space of time will leave me frazzled, and give me a few more sleepless nights before then, I can feel the stress building already.  Neighbour J has said she'll take husband to hospital, but I might need to arrange for someone to pick him up later.  I'll have to do the dog walking too, husband won't be able to for the week following his angiogram as he won't be able to hold Betty's lead (the angiogram is done via an incision in his wrist) - the last time he had it done his arm was heavily bruised and sore for a week.  I hope my hips are ok for then, as it'll be difficult to hold the lead and a walking stick.  Betty's a strong dog, she's fine on the lead until she sees something, a pheasant or rabbit eg, when she wants to be off chasing it.  

Luckily, there's only one thing on the calendar for the week after husband's angiogram (when he'll be unable to drive for a week)'s a Christmas fair I was hoping to go to.  It's possible though that I might be able to cadge a lift with a neighbour, who I am sure will also want to go to it.  Oh, and I also need a haircut!!

A free week so lots can get done

 Yesterday I ended up feeling absolutely shattered, as a result of all that's been going on recently I think.  I was going to make a minced chicken and stuffing meatloaf with lots of roast veggies for dinner, but was just too tired, so we ended up having jacket spuds with beans and cheese.  I slept fairly well last night and feel much better today, so we'll have our Sunday dinner today.

For once, we have a whole week with nothing on the calendar.....unless there are any appointments that husband has forgotten to tell me about or write on the calendar, which wouldn't surprise me one bit.  So it'll be a good week for getting stuck in to more decluttering and tip/charity shop trips.  Which will please husband.....not.  He's beginning to get back to his usual routine of doing nothing unless I prod him - I said this morning that it would be nice if he got up in the morning and asked "What needs doing today?" rather than coming down, putting the damn telly on and just sitting watching that, or playing chess or looking at cars on his computer all day.  I can (and do) always find something to do, so this week I'm going to get him doing a few jobs every day.  He doesn't have to do them all at once, I've told him repeatedly to do a bit and then stop for a rest.  Which is exactly what I do, although when I sit down I'm generally writing a menu or shopping list, or list of jobs that need doing, or doing a bit of banking.

According to the weather forecast, the incessant rain should be letting up this week, it looks fairly settled, albeit cold, for the week so I should be able to get washing out on the line.  Hopefully, we'll also be able to take Betty to Dunster beach one day, we all need a breath of fresh air and she's in desperate need of a good run about.  I'll have to use my walking stick, my hips and balance have been terrible lately and I'm liable to fall over walking on sand or uneven ground.  When I saw my GP to get the results of my hip xrays a few weeks back, I asked him if they showed up any osteoporosis - he said no, other than a DEXA scan the only way to find out if I have osteoporosis is if I fall over and break my try not to fall over!  His exact words!  I'll take a flask of coffee and a sandwich for us and some water and treats for Betty, which we'll have in the car overlooking the beach.  Must check the tide times before we go.

Not heard from the Council yet as to whether our housing application was successful, still, it's only been 2 weeks and I'm sure they're behind on work - everyone else is.  I'm hoping the Attendance Allowance forms arrive soon, the lady on the phone said to allow up to 2 weeks for them to come, although it should be quicker than that.....there are the postal strikes to take into consideration though.

I had to laugh at the Chancellor telling people they could save pennies by turning down their heating a notch (that's assuming people can afford to have it on in the first place), turning off radiators in unused rooms, taking shorter showers etc.....I bet he doesn't have to do any of that!  And doesn't he think most of us ordinary non-millionaires already do all that?!

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Still veggie-ish

 So how is my vegetarian diet going?  I can't really call myself vegetarian actually - I eat fish around twice a week (so pescatarian) but was having mainly homemade veggie dishes the rest of the time.  However, I began to worry that I wasn't getting enough protein - I've stopped eating lots of veggie pulse dishes....pulses are a bit of a 'meh' thing for me, I'm not really keen on the earthy mealy texture or taste.  I'd gone off eggs a bit too, just eaten too many recently I think.  So I now eat chicken once or twice a week as well as the fish.  And about once every 3 weeks, I do have a bacon sandwich for a Sunday breakfast - well, who can resist the smell of bacon?  I'm having one today actually, bacon, brie and cranberry sauce, one of my absolute favourite combinations.  But on the whole I do eat mainly vegetarian things, which I generally make myself.  I've tried a few ready-made veggie things and am mainly not keen.....I do quite like Linda McC's rosemary and red onion sausages, although I prefer Heck chicken sausages.  And there's a brand (I forget which one) of veggie duck spring rolls - no duck but jackfruit instead - which are absolutely delicious, and you really can't tell that they're not duck.  I do like some of the vegetable burger things - I mean vegetables in breadcrumbs, not mock meat burgers made with some weird fake meat thing.  I don't buy the veggie burgers very often, as it's easy to make my own....just a bit more time consuming, so I generally have a packet of bought ones in the freezer for a quick meal when time is short or I don't have the energy to make my own and have run out of frozen homemade ones.

I don't miss eating red meat at all - which is quite surprising to me as previously lamb was my favourite meat, closely followed by roast gammon.  I used to like medium rare steak years ago, but wouldn't touch it now, nor roast beef or a beef casserole, it just doesn't appeal to me anymore.  Nor would I now eat liver or kidney, although before I really liked both.  Minced beef, in a cottage pie or bolognese, eg, I did used to like but for some reason it always gave me indigestion.  I don't know why, minced chicken doesn't.

So I'm very happy with the way I eat now and can't see myself ever going back to eating red meat.  Husband continues to eat it, I'm sure he won't ever give up red meat.  I still cook it for him, I'm not squeamish about handling it, I just don't want to eat it myself.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

A minimal Christmas

 Thanks for the comments, as usual.  Re hospital transport - I looked up the transport section on our hospital website, it says that it's for patients who need support such as oxygen on the journey, or for people who cannot walk.  As neither of these apply to husband (he won't be unable to walk after his procedure), I'm guessing he won't be eligible for hospital transport.  There is a helpline number, so I might get him to ring during the week.  There is a community transport thing in the next village, run by volunteers (a neighbour used to volunteer), it's not free though (not that that matters) but you have to have a bus pass to be able to use it (I don't know why).  Husband hasn't got a bus pass, never bothered applying for one as there are no buses nearby!  It depends really on the time and date of his procedure - if it's a morning one, then he should be able to come home mid afternoon, providing there are no complications, so neighbour J may be able to bring him home as well - she said she will if I go with her and we can't get anyone else.  And there are other people we can ask.

Husband is being his usual Grinch self about Christmas, but I shall ignore him and do what I want.  After initially feeling ambivalent about it, I've now decided I do want the tree up, with different decorations to last year - I want it just simple with lights and green, red and gold baubles.  I've checked the lights from last year, they're fine, so I just need to get some red and gold baubles, I already have green ones.  I'll also have my little glittery metal ready decorated tree (bought that way) and my lovely Christmas gonks on the hall windowsill.  That'll be it, I'm not putting up any other decorations.  When I was a teenager, I spent every Christmas with my lovely Aunt Sylvia, she absolutely adored Christmas and put up so many decorations in her lounge and front garden that it was like a Winter Wonderland, she went all out.  She used to say she knew it looked tacky but she loved it anyway!  She would also play all the cheesy Christmas songs really loudly all through December.  Which is probably where I get my love of Christmas songs from.  And I shall watch my favourite Christmas films, Love Actually and Elf, much to husband's disgust - well he doesn't have to watch, but he always does!

For Christmas lunch husband will have beef, I've ordered him a small joint in the Christmas shop which is being delivered the week before Xmas.  I'll have a salmon and king prawn pie, I'll make it myself with puff pastry (I don't make the pastry!), the salmon, prawns and pastry are in the freezer already.  We managed to find a yellow-stickered side of salmon the other day, reduced to under £5 which was a bargain, we cut it up and froze it straight away.

Friday, 25 November 2022


 Thank you everyone for your lovely comments, and helpful tips.  Good idea to send the forms by recorded delivery, I'll do that, thanks.

I know we haven't got it yet so am not counting my chickens, but I feel so much better already after the lovely Age UK advisor said she thought we would almost certainly get Attendance Allowance.  And when (if!) we get that, I should apply for Carers Allowance as I'm probably entitled to that as well......the forms for which she will also come and help me fill in.  It just seems incredible that all the stuff I've been doing for husband for months and months (such as reminding him every day to take his meds, carrying cups of tea for him as he's likely to spill them, grabbing his arm to steady him when he staggers because of balance problems, and dozens of other things) are things that mean we're eligible for benefits and could have been claiming them ages ago.  I just didn't know about it, I thought that to be eligible, husband would have to be unable to walk more than 100 yards, or be unable to wash or dress himself (although his dress sense leaves a lot to be desired!).

It takes a lot of worry off my shoulders (or it will do if we do get the benefits), as the windfall lump sum pension payment husband got 2 years ago is fast dwindling away.  We'd hoped that it would tide us over until I receive my State Pension, but as that's still 3 years away and with the cost of living constant rises, it certainly won't last that long, we'll be lucky if it lasts another year.

Husband had his telephone pre-op assessment yesterday, he put the phone on loudspeaker so I could hear and contribute, as he was unable to answer some of the nurse's questions.  She didn't have a date for his procedure, but said it should be within 4-6 weeks, so hopefully just before Christmas, she said.  She also asked if he was willing to accept a cancellation or very short notice appointment, he said yes.  Just as well I've done the Christmas shop online already, as he won't be allowed to drive for a week after the op.  A neighbour has already offered to take him to hospital on the day, and will collect him if we can't get anyone else to - it'll probably be dark by the time he's allowed home and she doesn't like driving in the dark.  Understandable, the hospital is about 45 mins drive away and not a direct route.  I'm sure we'll find someone else to help.

I used my big slow cooker to bake some potatoes yesterday, I managed to fit 7 in, on a piece of baking parchment so they didn't stick.  I did them for 5 hours on High, and they were cooked perfectly, even had crispy skins, although not as crispy as if done in the oven.  I've kept 2 out for today's lunch, the rest I've frozen, to be zapped in the microwave when we have them.

We've got the plumber arriving at 9 am to fit a new part to the central heating, then we're going shopping.  I'll make sure I stock up on things like coffee, tea, milk, dog food etc, so I've got enough in for when husband can't drive.  I need to rearrange the freezer and make a bit more space to put the extra milk and stuff in, so that's my first job.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

At last some help

 Well, my meeting with the Age UK advisor was very productive.....Angela was a really lovely, kind and extremely helpful lady who bent over backwards to try and help.  She said my social housing application was fine, and then we moved onto financial matters.  In her opinion, husband will almost certainly be eligible for Attendance Allowance, which could then open the door for further benefits.  She gave me lots of tips for filling in the AA forms, such as ring the helpline and ask for a form to be sent out rather than filling it out online.....the reason being, if you fill out a paper form and send it off straight away, it is date stamped upon receipt and any successful claim will be backdated to that date.  Whereas if you do it online, the form will hang about for weeks and weeks before it gets passed to the right department and will only be dated from the date it actually reaches that department, not from when you submitted it!  And delays are currently around 4-8 weeks....meaning if you're successful, you will lose out on several weeks of payments.  She also said to give Age UK a ring when I receive the form, and she or one of her colleagues will come out to our home and help me fill it in.  She said it's important to fill out all sections as if it were husband's worst day, but she said not to worry, she or whoever comes will help with that.  She had lots of other useful tips and information, she couldn't have been more helpful.  I feel much more positive now I'm finally getting some help and support.  

The session was held in a local village hall where they also have a drop in coffee and cake morning for everyone who has memory problems, for whatever health reason, and their carers, with plenty of helpers to discuss things with, it was being held whilst I was seeing the advisor.  Whilst I could go to it if I wanted (husband most certainly wouldn't), and everyone working or volunteering there seemed incredibly nice (e.g. I was welcomed and offered a cuppa and slice of cake as soon as I walked in), it's not really my thing.  The room was full of mostly old people (aged 75+), around 2 dozen women with a couple of men, with a very few younger women, perhaps 3 or 4, who were clearly daughters, or possibly carers.  So really it was like a seniors social club.  As old as I am (63), I don't actually consider myself old yet!  One of the organisers was trying to give a talk and some important information about an upcoming event, but kept getting interrupted by the 2 old men, cracking 'jokes' and making stupid comments......why is it always men who do that?  And why do they feel the need to prove they're hilariously funny and smart?  (They're not).  So it's not something I'll be attending.

Today husband has his telephone pre-op assessment, postponed from last week because the nurse was off sick.  He's not been given a date for the angiogram yet, perhaps they'll tell him today on the phone.  I wish they'd hurry up about it, I need to make arrangements for someone to take him to the hospital and pick him up again when he's ready to come home.  I shall also need to make sure I've got enough shopping in, or do it online or get a neighbour to take me, and rearrange any appointments either of us have around that time, as husband won't be able to drive for a long for depends on what he has done.

I've had my diabetes review results online, all seems fine, not much change from last year, but I still have to go see the nurse next week to discuss it all.  I also have another problem which I need to discuss with her, it may or may not be diabetes related - my fingers and thumbs, from the first or second joint, keep going completely white, bloodless, freezing cold and painful, which makes it a bit difficult to do anything using my hands until it wears off.  I had a work colleague who had this, it was Raynauds Syndrome in her case and I think was related to her rheumatoid arthritis.  It's not a major problem (just another one to add to the ever-growing list!!), more of an annoyance really.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Cooking to keep me occupied and sane

 Thank you all so much for the support, it's so welcome.  I wish I had the same kind of support in real life....or any support, come to that.

I'm just totally pissed off with everything at the moment, it's all really getting me down.  So yesterday I did what I love doing and keeps me occupied - I spent ages cooking.  I had a block of pastry to use up (took it out of the freezer 2 or 3 days ago, got sidetracked and didn't use it).  I needed to have the oven on yesterday to cook battered cod steaks for dinner, which we were having with new potatoes, coleslaw and salad, but didn't want to put the oven on just for the cod.  I knew there were 2 very small smoked haddock fillets in the freezer, and a bag of king prawns.  I also had loads of eggs - one of our neighbours keeps hens and has tons of eggs (I thought they stopped laying in winter?) so keeps giving us a dozen at a time - very welcome.  So I made a smoked haddock and prawn quiche, with sweetcorn and Cheddar, it's cut into 6 portions, 2 for tonight's dinner and the rest frozen.  There was a little pastry left, along with a portion of cooked apple in the fridge, so I used it to make a little crumble-topped apple & sultana tart, which will do husband for pudding for 2 days.  I also baked some potatoes, so every bit of space on both oven shelves was used.

I only use my oven 2 or 3 times a week now - before the energy price rises, it used to be nearly every day - the other days I use the CleverChef or microwave, or both.  I read somewhere the other day that someone had made bread in their slow cooker, so thought I'd give that a go.  They'd tried using both their biggest slow cooker with the bread in a bread tin, and just putting the dough in the slow cooker itself (lined with a silicone liner, I think).  Both ways worked well.....just remembered, it was Thrifty Lesley who has her own blog and runs a couple of budget cooking pages on Facebook, she does come up with some really interesting frugal recipes.  I thought I'd give it a go - I have 3 slow cookers - small, medium and large, I used the biggest one which my bread tin fits into, luckily.  She makes the dough (just a normal white bread recipe) and puts it in the slow cooker overnight, then switches it on in the morning when she gets up.  Which is what I did, although I used half white/half wholemeal flour and a handful of mixed seeds - it worked really well, although next time I think I'll extend the cooking time by another 20 mins or so.  The bread had a lovely flavour (from the long overnight proving) and a nice open crumb.  I'll definitely be doing it again, it's a great idea to be able to cook bread in the economical slow cooker rather than the expensive oven.  Sorry, I didn't think to take a photo, I'll try to remember next time.

Tomorrow it's the Age UK advice session in the village hall in a nearby village.  I've had dealings with Age UK before and they are really kind and helpful, so I'm hoping to get some good answers.  Husband will have to take me as it's not in walking distance (I can't walk far anyway) but he's not coming in with me - I need to talk to them alone without him butting in all the time, he can't keep silent to save his life.

I don't know if this is a taste of things to come, but we had several power cuts yesterday evening - each one lasting just a minute or two, the power coming back on for 10 mins or so and then going off again.  Once it was back on, the lights kept flickering too.  We frequently get power cuts here anyway, but usually only one at a time, not several.  Well, at least it gave us a chance to test out our new battery lights we bought a few weeks ago, for just this sort of occurrence.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Straight talking

 Thank you for all the lovely supportive comments lately, the ones on my most recent post aren't being published as I deleted that post.  And I've had some really nice emails too, thanks for those and my apologies for not replying individually.

However, over the past few months I've also had a few not so nice comments (mostly anonymous, of course!) and even emails, including one or two comments and emails from fellow well-known bloggers who I've always followed and respected.  None of the 'not nice' comments get published (after all, that is my prerogative) and I don't even mention them.  

What I want to say to people who read my blog is that my life and what happens is just that - MY life.  It's not yours, and nor do I respond to things in my life the same way that everyone else does - none of us do!  If you've had a very long and happy life and marriage - well that's lovely.....unfortunately not everyone is blessed the same way.  And we certainly don't all cope with things the same way - what a boring life it would be if we were all clones, sort of Stepford Wives.  So please don't judge me based on YOUR experiences, nor TELL me how I should respond or what I should/shouldn't be doing!

I have few friends nearby (mainly because of where we live, and my lifelong trust issues) - the relationship with my 'best' friend is dead and I'm desperately sad at how it ended.  My family don't live near me and, in any case, has been fraught with difficulties lately.  As I've said before, I get no support at all and I often feel like I'm drowning.  I am at my lowest ebb ever at the moment.  But I've struggled to get through difficulties my entire life - I'm a fighter and a strong independent woman (although it doesn't feel like it right now) and I WILL get through this and carry on.

I write this blog partly because I like to have a record of things - such as caravan stuff - but also to get the bad stuff and things that are worrying me off my chest, seeing as I now have nobody close enough to me to actually talk to.  However, I'm not going to be documenting every bad or irritating thing that happens now, because I no longer feel able to - even though it's my blog and it's entirely up to me what I write.  In fact, I won't be writing much at all.

There's blue sky and the sun is trying to come out, although showers are forecast on and off all day, so I don't think I'll chance putting my washing out.

Friday, 18 November 2022

Big (ish) news

 Betty's foot seems better today, she's not limping anymore and isn't licking it as obsessively as she was yesterday.  The medication is helping, I guess.  I hate to think of her in pain or being unwell.

We got a lot done yesterday, took 2 old computers and a bag of rags (husband's old clothes!) to the tip, and 2 more bags of clothes and shoes and another full of books to the charity shop.  Did a small top-up shop as well - honestly, the prices never stop rising do they?  The price of this little top-up haul was about as much as we used to pay for a full week's shopping.  Husband was pleased to hear in the Chancellor's mini budget that his pension will be going up by 10.1% next April, a decent rise on the previous year, but I always think well every little helps anyway, regardless of the amount.  Of course, there's the Council tax going up, as well as everything else, so we may not see much of the rise.

The big news is......I've submitted the housing application forms, along with uploading the required documentation to prove our identities and address.  I checked through the forms again carefully, making a further couple of amendments, and decided that I'm happy with what I've put so may as well submit them, rather than waiting another week before I see the Age UK advisor.  It's going to be a long process anyway, the Council housing website states that there are many more applicants than there are properties available, so unless we have urgent requirements for housing (such as homelessness or urgent medical need), we could be waiting up to 5 years!  So I thought the sooner I submit the application, the better.  So I very much doubt we'll be moving anytime soon (I would prefer not to move in the winter anyway), but that's fine with me - it gives us more time to declutter and downsize all our belongings, and to save up for the moving costs.

I'm still going to see the Age Uk advisor next week, I'll take a copy of the housing application to see what they think (I can amend it online anytime), and perhaps find out some information about benefits.  We currently claim no benefits whatsoever as I don't think we're entitled - as far as I can see, we don't fit the criteria, but I can't say I understand the rules very well and a trained advisor may think differently, or know of some benefits that we may be eligible for.

Husband didn't have his telephone pre-op assessment yesterday, he had a call in the morning to say the person doing it was off sick, so it's been rearranged for next week.

I'm back to using my walking stick when we go out anywhere, hips are hurting so much and I'm so unsteady on my feet.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Poor Betty

 We couldn't get started with the decluttering and sorting yesterday morning, as we had to take Betty to the vet.  Whilst out with husband on her morning walk, she'd managed to break one of her back claws quite badly, it was obviously bothering her as she was limping on that leg and kept licking her foot obsessively.  One of her dew claws was also broken, not sure if that happened at the same time, although she did lick it occasionally, it didn't seem to be hurting her as much as the back claw and didn't look as bad.  The vet trimmed up her broken claws as best he could, and trimmed some of the others as well.  He said some of her claws are splitting or flaky (I'd noticed that as well), so as well as an antibiotic injection and drops, he's also given us some capsules to strengthen her claws.  He also said she's put on a bit of weight, which is most likely caused by not enough exercise lately.....what with husband's breathlessness and my mobility issues, Betty's been having shorter walks.  So he said if we can't walk her more, then we should cut down her food a bit to compensate.  Applies to me and husband too!  Vet bill was nearly £100, we do have pet insurance but the excess is £100 so didn't cover us.  Still, she's a beloved member of our family so we pay what we have to.

One of the things I want to get rid of is our collection of old defunct computers - one desktop and two laptops.  They obviously don't work and are old and probably obsolete now, so I don't know why we've kept them really.  I think I wiped everything off one of them, but don't remember doing the others.  So just to be on the safe side, I got husband to take the backs off them, take out the hard drives and smash them up in the garden, so we can dispose of all the bits at the tip without fear of someone making use of our personal details.  We've got a top up shop to do this morning, along with the first of many trips to the tip and dropping off some stuff at the charity shop.  I'll continue with sorting out the small bedroom/craft room, husband has his pre-op assessment by phone this afternoon.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

First step of the moving planning

 Husband actually got on and sorted out his clothes yesterday, without any prompting.  He's filled 2 bin bags - one for the charity shop, and the other full of ancient, tatty, worn out stuff for the tip.  He also did some vacuuming, again without being prodded (only the lounge, but still).

In view of the fact that if and when we do move house, we'll be downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to (hopefully) a 2 bedroom bungalow, we will need to get rid of some of our furniture and belongings.  Husband, weirdly, said we'll have to put the excess in storage.......I don't think he'd thought it through, if we can't fit the stuff into a smaller place, then why would we need to keep it?  And pay for storage costs!  He did agree though when I said we should get rid of the stuff we don't need, not store it indefinitely at probably some extortionate cost.  So starting from today, we will be going through all rooms and thinning stuff out - donating some things and possibly selling others.  I think we'll be making lots of trips to the tip over the next few weeks, especially for all the junk husband's got in his garage and 2 sheds.  A good declutter and minimising our possessions is just what we need, I think - we should take tips from Sue of A Smaller and Simpler Life!  It'll certainly give us plenty to do over the winter, when we can't get outside and whilst we can't go to the caravan.

I think we'll start the sort out in the single bedroom aka my craft room and general dumping ground - it's certainly overdue a good clear out.  And once cleared of clutter, it might encourage me to get on and make this year's Christmas cards, I've only done 2 so far.  I'm going to open another savings account which will be for moving expenses - we'll try selling excess furniture, crockery, bedding, etc, on the local online selling pages and any money we make can be put into that account.  We've always done our own removals when moving house before, husband has hired a 7.5 ton lorry and we've moved with the help of friends and family.  In view of our ages and health issues now though, we'll have to get a removal firm in to do it.

Husband had a phone call yesterday to say he's having a pre-op assessment by phone on Thursday, prior to going to hospital for his angiogram.  So it looks like the op will be happening sooner than the possibly 3 months we were told by his cardiologist last week.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Bone idle

 I've told husband that today he's going to sort out his wardrobe and chest of drawers, both of which are stuffed to the gills, I've been asking him for weeks to do it (I did mine weeks ago).  He hardly even looks in them anymore (probably because a) he can't be bothered to put his clean clothes away after I leave them on his bed, and b) half of them don't fit him now), he just wears the same clothes - the ones I've washed and put on his bed (I don't do ironing) - all the time.  And they're tatty, with holes in and only fit for a scarecrow.....he has no interest in clothes, never has.  He's got some nice clothes in his wardrobe, he just never wears them!  He does change into something presentable if we're going out, as I've told him I'm not leaving the house with him looking like a tramp.  He grumbled and gave me a filthy look when I told him what he's doing today - but then I pointed out that yesterday he did virtually nothing except lounge in his chair and watch bloody TV.....ALL DAY.  He protested and said he'd done lunch.....erm, we had cheese & crackers, not some culinary masterpiece!  Oh, and he washed up once - well, half washed up, the rest he left in the bowl "to soak".  He said he'd been meaning to go in the garden to do a bit more clearing of beds but didn't as he thought it was going to rain - it didn't rain at all yesterday, despite looking grey and dismal, although the sun did come out late afternoon.  I said well he didn't have to sit there WAITING for it to rain, he could go out there and do a bit until (if) it did start raining.

Honestly, I cannot believe just how bone idle he is sometimes.  It's a good job we're not both like it!  He hasn't always been like this, he did used to be quite industrious, although did need prompting occasionally - he would always prefer standing around having a chat to actually doing any work.  He's gone downhill in the last couple of years - he's not depressed and his health isn't that bad.  He has occasionally said that he thinks he's worked hard enough throughout his life.  Well, haven't we all?!  I do wonder what would happen if I downed tools and did bugger all as has been suggested to me, but I wouldn't as it's just not in my nature to do that - if a job needs doing, then I do it, it won't do itself!

Several of you have suggested writing a list of jobs - that wouldn't really work.  For a start, as he's quite severely dyslexic he would have trouble reading the list and would have to keep asking me what it says.  And in any case, he would just end up ignoring the list and doing nothing again.  I just have to resign myself to asking (or even telling) him to do what I want him to do, when it needs doing.  And keep nagging him until he does it.  It's just so bloody annoying though, and it's making me really hard and unsympathetic.

Monday, 14 November 2022

This and that

 It's a grey dismal day, misty and the temperature has dropped.  Well, it is November after all.  Not looking hopeful for getting washing on the line this week.

I've decided to hold off submitting the housing application forms until after I've seen the Age UK advisor next week - one more week isn't going to make any difference, and they might have some ideas for how best to answer some of the questions.

I've got my annual diabetes review tests tomorrow morning, I'm expecting everything to be ok as usual.  I should think they'll be pleased that my weight has gone down a bit.

I went into my spam email folder yesterday, I was expecting an email which hadn't shown up in my inbox so thought it might have gone into spam (it had).  My spam folder is set up to automatically delete emails after a month, I do occasionally check it to see if there are any emails that aren't actually spam, sometimes there are the odd 1 or 2.  But I was astonished to see loads of emails (must have been nearly 100) purporting to be from Joe Biden or Kamala Harris or a few other American politicians - all, according to the subject line (I didn't read any of the emails) either asking for a donation or my vote.  Now, I don't suppose for one minute that these emails were all genuinely from these politicians - especially the ones asking for money, most likely scams.  But since I'm not American and don't live in the USA, it beats me why I've even had all these emails.  Who is sending them, and what do they hope to gain from them, when I'm not an American citizen?

I'm undecided as to whether I'll be putting up the tree or any decorations this year - husband couldn't care two hoots (he's a right Grinch when it comes to Christmas) and I'm not really feeling it right now.  I've always been a bit ambivalent about Christmas anyway - my beloved Nanna died on Boxing Day many years ago, and of course my lovely Mum died on Christmas Eve 3 years ago, so it's a bit of a sad time for me.  I don't know, I'll just go with the flow and see how I feel later on.

That's it really, nothing else to say, nothing going on and I'm feeling quite flat at the moment.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Housing and being overwhelmed

 Thank you once again for all the comments and emails, very helpful.  

I've amended the medical sections on the housing application and almost finished the whole form - it's around 30 pages long, incredibly.  Some of the medical questions were quite sneaky really - they're worded in such a way as to put you off of answering them, giving the impression that if one answers truthfully, then you may well have your application turned down as you might not fit the criteria.  But then after reading all of your comments and giving it some more thought, I realised I'm simply stating the facts on the form - we do have these health conditions, I'm not lying about it and all the evidence is documented on our medical records, particularly recently as we've both had several appointments and tests.  The form makes a point of saying that all health information must be backed up with evidence - well, it's all there on our records.  I guess what was putting me off is that, although we both have several health problems, some more severe than others, neither of us is actually disabled - we're not registered disabled, nor do we get any kind of disability benefit, attendance allowance or carers allowance.  So I was kind of thinking that we might not be eligible as we're not ill enough!  Which I know is daft.  The CAB advice session I was going to go to next week in a neighbouring village, I have since found out is specifically for employment matters.  However, the charity Age UK are holding an advice session for benefits and housing matters in a local village hall the week after next, I will definitely go to that.

The social housing system here works by designating the applicant a bronze, silver or gold status, based on health, social and family needs and whether you are, or about to be, homeless.  It's based on a bidding system - homes are advertised each week and the applicant can 'bid' for (declare your interest in, no money is involved) whichever homes you like and are eligible for - you can't ask for a 3 or 4 bedroom house if there are only 2 of you, e.g., nor can you bid for a sheltered or assisted housing scheme or an over-55s place if you don't meet the criteria.  If you are offered one of the properties you show interest in, but turn down 3 properties in a row, then you are automatically suspended from the housing register.  I've had a look at the current properties on offer (obviously we can't bid for any until the Council accepts our application and puts us on the Register) and was pleasantly surprised to see that the rents for social housing are considerably cheaper than we pay for our private rent here - even though the rent for our current house is much cheaper than we'd pay for private rental in a town.  Heating bills will most likely be higher though - our heating, electricity and water bills here (private sewerage, not mains connected) are extremely reasonable.  So it's swings and roundabouts.

One of the things the cardiologist said the other day did concern me a bit - I don't think husband picked up on it as he was busy putting his jumper and jacket back on.  The doctor said that if the angiogram doesn't show the expected narrowing of the arteries, then it may indicate a somewhat more serious heart problem, which may require a pacemaker or ICD device to be fitted.  If that's the case (and I hope it isn't for husband's sake), then he will be suspended from driving for a varying amount of time - weeks or months - depending on the device fitted and the reason for it.  That of course will make our lives here in such a rural area a lot more difficult.  But if it comes to that, then that will make our social housing need greater and thus increase our chances of getting somewhere sooner.  As things stand, a move to social housing isn't going to happen anytime soon - the waiting time can be up to 5 years, unless you have a particular need.

All this form filling I find more and more difficult the older I get - it fries my brain to the point where I feel like I can't even think straight anymore, and gives me a headache.  I've done some washing and housework and a bit of cooking and meal prep for tonight, now I'm going upstairs and reading for a while.  Husband has been in the garden doing a bit more clearing, and we shifted some furniture around in the lounge.  That's enough for today.

I'm feeling quite overwhelmed with everything right now, I think I need a day of doing nothing, not even thinking, tomorrow.

Friday, 11 November 2022

More talking, and heart stuff

 Thank you everyone for all the lovely and helpful comments (even the few I haven't published for one reason or another), they mean such a lot.  Some of the recent comments even made me laugh - Rachel and Sue, I'm looking at you!  Husband and I have talked again, which has been productive.  He has seen recently how much trouble I have getting up and down stairs, how I'm crippled with backache and hip pain when I've been standing doing a lot of food prep and washing up, even loading and unloading the washing machine and pegging the washing out is difficult.  And he sees just how exhausted I am after a busy day, compounded by the overwhelming tiredness due to lack of sleep, and the gut problems I frequently have.  I've reminded him that my health isn't good, and that we really need to help each other - it's not a one-way thing and I'm not his official (unpaid) carer.  He's agreed with everything, and said he will try to do more and, more importantly, to keep it going.

Yesterday we went to the big general hospital in Taunton for husband's cardiology appointment - he had an echocardiogram and other checks, and then both of us saw the cardiology registrar, a really nice man.  He says things strongly point to husband having narrowed arteries again, and probably needing new stents, he's to have another MRI scan and then another angiogram....if that shows further narrowing, as expected, then he'll have one or more extra stents fitted there and then.  He couldn't say how long he'll have to wait (there is a waiting list, of course) but it could be up to 3 months.  I guess the wait time could be impacted by winter flu and Covid, Christmas breaks and the nurses' strikes, we'll just have to wait and see.  The registrar has given husband yet another tablet, to be taken alongside all the other heart meds (including the interim one the GP gave him) - he will certainly rattle even more when he moves, he's on about a dozen different meds now.  The doctor did suggest that husband seriously tries to lose some weight, cutting down on his portion sizes more now as he's less active (he does have a big appetite and likes snacking), and especially reducing carbs.  He said plenty of protein and dairy (the fat content of dairy is nothing to be worried about, he said, in line with up to date scientific studies, husband's cholesterol level is good and fat/protein fill you up) and obviously lots of green veggies.  So, much less in the way of potatoes, pasta, rice, bread and cereals.  Which is what I personally have been doing for myself anyway, hence why I've lost 10lbs in the last month.

As an aside, the cardiology department of the big hospital is on the 2nd floor (that's the 3rd floor I'm guessing for USA readers) and almost at the end of the long corridor, just about as far away from the car park as is possible.  The first lift wasn't working, husband opted to go up the stairs.....there's no way my hips could cope with climbing 6 flights of stairs so I limped to the other end of the corridor to use the 2nd lift.  So the cardiology department, for heart patients who are breathless and have chest pains, is in just about the most inappropriate place - husband said he was gasping by the time he got to the top of the stairs, had to stop and catch his breath, and was asked by a passing nurse if he was ok.  Perhaps they're hoping to kill off a few of their patients to reduce the waiting list!

In the light of both husband's and my recent medical investigations, I'm altering the medical parts of the Council housing application forms - you never know, it might help.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Back to square one

 After a flurry of activity, doing a few jobs and helping me out with things around the house for the past few weeks, husband is now back to doing what he does best - lazing around, TV on, falling asleep and playing games on his computer.  Although why I should call it 'helping me out around the house' I don't know - we both live here, make things dirty, eat, etc, so why the hell should it just be me who does everything?  I'm not a servant or au pair, even though it feels like it.  But then I guess that's my fault for doing (practically) everything and letting him get away with it for years.

Before anyone says well he has got heart failure......yes, but he's not at death's door, he's not sprawled in an armchair clutching his chest and gasping for breath all the time, he doesn't even look ill.  The heart meds he's been on for 6 years, plus the new medication his GP put him on a month ago, are doing their job of keeping him pretty well, the angina pains have gone completely, the breathlessness has eased off considerably.  He only gets breathless upon a fair bit of exertion, and then it eases off quickly, within minutes.  So I'm not being unreasonable and forcing an ill man into jobs he's not capable of.  I don't force him into anything actually.  And I do tell him to pace himself, that he doesn't have to do everything all at once, and to take regular breaks.....a brief sit down every 30 mins or after one job, eg.  After all, that's what I do myself.

So we've had ANOTHER talk.  I reminded him that I'm not in the best of health myself and find it difficult to do a lot of things.....but I do them, because they need doing!  I asked if he thinks it's fair that I struggle on doing everything whilst he does little or nothing....he said no, of course.  I told him just how soul-destroyingly wearing it is to have to keep reminding him to do a job he's supposed (and has agreed) to be doing, only for him to moan and grumble and say 'Yeah yeah' - and then still not do it until some time later when I lose my temper and say 'Now, please!!'.  So yesterday he did a few things I asked him to do - like hoovering the lounge (the rugs were thick with dog hair), emptying the kitchen bin and putting a new bin liner in, cooking some liver for the dog, he also changed his bed linen.  It'll be alright for another month or so, and then he'll be back to his old bone idle ways.  And so the cycle will start again, and each time it wears me down more.

The birthday meal - well, the less said about that the better, it wasn't really a success.  Then waiting in all morning for a plumber who didn't turn up on Monday, followed by the shopping trip from hell yesterday - lots of empty shelves (including no milk whatsoever, literally none), hardly any staff around, nobody on the bread counter to slice a loaf, lots of shelf edge price labels missing, overcharged on about 4 items at the till (price that came up didn't match the shelf price label).  And then having to go to another shop to get the items missing from the first one.  Think it's time to go back to online shopping, or sending husband on his own.  Which has it's own set of problems.

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Crap week already

 This has been a shit week so far - one of those where you wish you could just bugger off to a desert island, stand there alone and scream your head off.  Or rewind the clock and start all over again, completely wiping out what had gone before.  

I wish you all lived nearby so I could hug you all and say thank you in person.

Saturday, 5 November 2022


 There are a few things that are really getting me down at the moment.  

I don't have a lot of friends - plenty of aquaintances and neighbours, but few close friends.  One of my closest friends, who I've known for many years, lives on the other side of the country, around 250 miles away.  We are on the same wavelength, understand each other completely, and have similar lifestyles.  She often says she wishes we lived closer to each other, as we'd meet up more often - as things stand, we only see them 2 or 3 times a year.  We chat via the internet or text every week, but it's not the same as meeting up in person.  Her OH and mine are also good friends, having similar backgrounds and interests.  We've never had a cross word and I'm sure we never will.

I have another close friend, who I regard as my best friend, again who I've known for a very long time, they live 5 minutes drive away.  Our spouses get on well, we've been on holiday with them several times, gone out for meals etc, stayed overnight at their house, have spent Christmas day with them a lot of times.  However, we do have a very volatile relationship - we both have strong opinions and do argue a lot (unlike with my other friend), although it generally blows over fairly quickly.  This is the friend who let me down badly 3 weeks ago, they know they've hurt me a lot, but for whatever reason are choosing to ignore it - they brushed it off at the time and haven't referred to it since, despite knowing how upset I am.  Our previous fallings out have been fixable - sadly, very sadly, I don't think this is.

My childhood experiences have certainly shaped me and made me the way I am - my father buggered off with another woman when I was 13, leaving my mother in pieces, having a nervous breakdown and being unable to function properly for a year, dosed up to the eyeballs as she was on tranquillisers and sleeping pills.  As I was the oldest of 4 children, my siblings aged 11, 8 and just 18 months, I had to grow up overnight and become the parent, looking after my siblings, the home and my mother - Social Services help was thin on the ground back then and so I had no help, muddling through as best I could.  I missed a lot of school.  Without going into details, I was also being sexually abused at the time, which went on for about a year, which obviously nobody else knew about.  All this means I have always had difficulty trusting people and making close friends, and have learnt to be self sufficient.  Hence why the badly broken situation with my best friend has hurt me so much, particularly when they know about the situation with my home life and family.

My birthday is tomorrow.  Husband has absolutely no imagination and finds it difficult to know what to get me, even after 40+ years, and even after I've guided him towards things.  In recent years I have just got something myself and he has paid for it.  This year I just feel there's nothing really I need or want, so haven't bought anything.  Yesterday husband was in town, having brunch with his best mate and then doing a bit of shopping (going off on a tangent, I'd asked him to get a pack of vine tomatoes.....the pack of 5 he bought looked like they'd been sat on, it had 3 squashed and split ones, which he never noticed!).  During the afternoon at home he casually mentioned that I hadn't told him what I want for my birthday, so he hadn't got me anything.  He hadn't made any plans to take me anywhere either - not even for a meal, his meal out with his mate, which is a regular occurrence, clearly not even jogging his memory.  I've said I would like to go out for Sunday lunch.....simply because it means one meal I don't have to cook!

I guess I'm just feeling very sorry for myself right now, very alone and like nobody cares.  I know you lot care, and I'm grateful for that, truly I am.  It would however be so nice to have someone in my real life who actually shows some care for me.

Friday, 4 November 2022


 I'm having terrible gut problems again, entirely due to stress and anxiety.  So much so that I can't even think about food without feeling sick.  So my meals are small and very plain....last night for dinner husband had a pork stirfry, which he did himself, and I had a very small microwaved jacket potato with some green veg, half of which I left.  I've just prepped a pan of carrot & parsnip soup for lunch, for dinner tonight I'll have a cheese & tomato omelette - husband will have a pork roll (I made bbq pulled pork for him a couple of days ago) with chips and salad.

My hair is the greyest it's ever been, it desperately needs colouring again but right now I just can't be arsed.  I'm sure nobody cares (or even notices) what colour my hair is anyway.

Husband is out this morning, he's gone to have his regular brunch at a pub in town with his best mate, then he's got a few things to do in town.

Yesterday he got his cardiology appointment following referral from our GP - unbelievably, it's for 3 APRIL 2023!  So 5 months away.  Now, the GP told us he wasn't requesting an 'Urgent, to be seen within 2 weeks' appointment, but was expecting the appointment would be within 5 or 6 weeks, having told them husband's current angina and breathlessness symptoms and given the 'Needs further investigation' note on husband's chest x-ray.  Husband needs to see his GP again very soon, so he'll have a word with him about it.

Whilst I know the reasons for my current state of mind, some of the stuff isn't anything I can influence or do anything about.  I know people sometimes say if you can't change what's happening, then no point in worrying about it......yes probably true, but that's easier said than done.  We're not all the same, we're not all able to just dismiss things and carry on regardless.


The hospital have just rung and offered husband a cancellation appointment for Thursday next week - so that's a really good thing (the only good thing to have happened recently).

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Anxiety again, Xmas food shop done

 I'm having a lot of anxiety symptoms at the moment - palpitations or big thumps in my chest, shaking hands, tension headaches, dizziness, hot sweats, being on edge, not being able to concentrate, thoughts crowding my head, forgetfulness.  During the day, I'm nearly always busy so try to ignore it all, but it does all affect my sleep at night, a lot.  And of course lack of sleep makes it worse.  I know it is certainly anxiety, I've had it many times before, and got it all checked out by the GP a few years back, so I'm not worried it might be something else.  And I know why it's happening at the moment (life stuff), so I know it will all wear off in time.  I do take anti-anxiety medication and have upped the dose (I can take up to 3 tablets a day) for the time being, to try and get it under control.  But it is all wearing me out right now, and making it quite difficult to cope with everyday stuff.  When this happens though, I do wish I could be away from home and all the stuff that needs doing, it would be lovely to be in a beautiful peaceful place and have absolutely no responsibilities for a while.

As that's unlikely to happen....moving swiftly on.....I really don't like this time of year when the clocks have gone back and the days seem so short and dark - particularly when it's so cold and rainy and windy out.  It's my birthday soon and that always depresses me too, nobody likes getting older do they.  My birthday is never a cause for celebration.  And December brings several anniversaries - 3 deaths of close family and friends, including my Mum on Christmas Eve, and 2 birthdays of people no longer with us.  The only saving grace, and one I cling to, is that the winter solstice/shortest day is on 21 December and after that the days start getting longer, by a minute or two.

I made a smoked salmon and smoked haddock risotto yesterday, due to my lack of concentration I left it a bit too long on the hob and it got a bit burnt.  Oh well, it still tasted alright, albeit with a bit of a charcoally flavour!

I managed to do the Christmas online shop yesterday, there weren't a lot of slots left but I got one for Tues 20th, which will be fine.  I'm just glad we won't have to go out shopping now that week.  It will be very interesting to see just how much this shop has gone up from yesterday to the 20th December when it's delivered.

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Jamie Oliver, and the 'C' word

 Did anyone watch the Jamie Oliver £1 Wonders cookery programme on Channel 4 a couple of nights ago?  It was a one-off I think, not a series.  I've always liked JO but find his loud cheery laddishness a bit wearing - I mean, he must be nearly 50 now.  He also uses some odd words to describe his meals, repeating them over and over till it gets boring, frankly - e.g., several times he said the things he'd made were 'joyful' - I do quite like cooking, although not so much nowadays, it's more of a necessary chore now, but I certainly wouldn't describe a dish as joyful.  And he kept saying the finished dishes were 'optimistic' - eh?

Despite all that, I did like the look of several of his dishes, he had some good ideas.  I don't think they're quite as cheap as he makes out, and some of the herbs and spices he used he didn't include in the costings, assuming that we'd all have them in our larders.  Well, not everybody will, people on the breadline are unlikely to have well stocked cupboards.  And someone who is a millionaire is going to find it difficult to really understand what normal people are going through nowadays (Rishi Sunak, e.g.!!  As a multi millionaire, I mean, not a normal person!).  BUT.....Jamie is enthusiastic, doesn't talk down to people and he does really try to help, he has good intentions.

Anyway, he made a dish he called Scruffy Veg Lasagne - basically a really quick and easy way of making a veggie lasagne with all the elements of it cooked in the same pan, a shallow wide one.  The dried lasagne sheets he simply broke into large pieces and added them to the veggie sauce, stirring them around and simmering on the hob until they'd softened.  He then liberally sprinkled the top with coarsely cut breadcrumbs (a couple of slices of bread he chopped up) and grated cheese and finished it off in the oven - which he was at great pains to say he'd already got on to cook another dish, a chicken & veg traybake I think.  The idea was you could eat the chicken traybake that day and either freeze or fridge the lasagne, to be portioned up and reheated in the microwave on subsequent days.

I made the lasagne yesterday, I adapted it a bit to use ingredients I had in substitution for things I didn't have.  It was nice, husband enjoyed it as well.  The only thing I would say is that I thought the lasagne sheets, albeit broken up, were just a bit of a gimmick....I will definitely make it again, but will use normal pasta shapes next time.

All the recipes are on his website, or I guess the programme will be on catch-up TV and I assume there will be links to it on the Channel 4 website.

Rambler - yes husband drives me mad, no of course he didn't clean up properly and yes I redid it!

Brenda - yes I do read Weaver's blog and, like you and so many others, am worried that she hasn't posted anything for over a week.  I hope we find out soon.

Now it's November, is anyone feeling Christmassy?  I'm not.....having bought a tree (an artificial one) for the first time ever last year and put up quite a few decorations, this year I won't be bothering - I'm just not feeling it.  At all.  I don't know what husband wants for his Christmas lunch, haven't yet asked won't be turkey though, he might prefer beef I should think.  No idea what I shall have - frankly, cheese on toast would do me!  (I actually love cheese on toast).  I'm going to do an online shop to be delivered the week before Christmas, there's no way I'm battling the hordes in the supermarket, I'll get it done in the next day or 2 before slots get taken.  I can't really think that far in advance what I'll need, but if I just order staples that we generally have, then I can always add to it nearer the time.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Grumbling again - me that is

 Yesterday husband cooked some liver for Betty, I asked him to do it as I was busy and he wasn't doing anything, he got on with it without grumbling.  Later on though, I found bloody smears and fingerprints everywhere - on the fridge door and inside the fridge, on worktops and a clear fingerprint on a cupboard door.  He'd cut up the liver and fried it in a big frying pan - he always does any kind of frying on a high heat, so the entire hob, the worktops either side and the floor in front of the cooker were liberally splattered with fat.  None of which was wiped clean.  He's like this every time he does anything in the kitchen - mess left everywhere.  He'd washed up after lunch - when I was putting the drained dishes away later, I found a (washed up) glass with a lump of food inside it (it was a glass, it was clearly visible!) and bits of food left on cutlery and plates.  His answer is invariably "I didn't have my glasses on, what do you expect?" (- well put your bloody glasses on then!!).  Which was also his answer when I asked him to come and clean up all the mess from frying the liver.  It's not that he does all this deliberately, as a sneaky way of getting out of being asked to do it in the future - he's just so slapdash and genuinely doesn't look properly at what he's doing.

And I guess this is why in the past I've just got on and done everything myself - it's easier and at least I know it gets done properly then!

Family problems are ongoing, I haven't got the strength or will to try and sort things out.  The problematical family member is currently on another spurt of sending literally dozens of stupid irritating texts on his current daily 'problems' - which are nothing of the sort, they're just ridiculous petty nonsense which his OCD and paranoia blows up out of all proportion.  So I've blocked him again.  He's had plenty of professional help offered in the past, which he's declined (very rudely swearing at them) every time, and frequently stops taking his medication, so as far as I'm concerned, his problems are of his own making, if he declines help then he's made his bed, he's got to lie in it.

Betty woke me up in the early hours - it was extremely windy, I expect she could hear things being blown around the garden.  Also, I could hear a dog somewhere nearby, it was barking continually and seemed to be in distress, I suspect it was one of the farm dogs.  There's a pheasant farm down the end of our lane, they have a couple of working spaniels who are kept outside I think, it must have been one of them.  Betty could obviously hear it too, and was running up and downstairs in between the front door and my bed, woofing, the sort of woof she does when she's on 'alert, protect family and territory' mode.  She obviously wanted me to get up, put my dressing gown and slippers on, go downstairs and let her out to check the boundaries for intruders, but I wasn't doing that.  I called her to come and get on the bed, which she reluctantly did, I calmed her down and she eventually went to sleep.....I wish I could get back to sleep as quickly and effortlessly as she does!