Saturday, 31 December 2022

Decorations down, thinking about savings

 29th/30th/31st - So on Thursday we took the Christmas decs down and put them away.  I was surprised to find I had quite a few surplus decorations, mainly hanging ones for the tree or windows, and some lengths of tinsel.  None of them have any sentimental value as I'd bought them mainly from charity shops last year or the year before.  As I didn't use them this year and can't see me using them again, I've bagged them up for the charity shop - my first bit of decluttering for the new year.  The house looks so bare without the decorations, even though there weren't that many.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to start photographing and listing things for sale on the local social media selling pages.  For a start, I have a winter coat that I've had for I think 3 years - it's unworn and still with the tags attached.  It's a really thick padded one and, although I like it, it makes me look like the Michelin Man, so I've never worn it.  What a shame I didn't return it at the time and get my money back - or even that I didn't try it on in the shop and decide there and then not to buy it!  Oh well, someone else will hopefully get some use out of it and it'll be some money in the house removals fund.  With food prices rising every week, I'll be trying hard to reduce our shopping bill, I'll start by eating out of the fridge, larder and freezer for January and only shopping for fresh veg and dairy.  A couple of days ago we went to the supermarket and managed to get a whole side of salmon, an Aberdeen Angus beef joint and a gammon, all reduced to half price, they should do us for several weeks of meals with some creative recipes.  I won't eat the beef, but will of course eat the salmon and some of the gammon occasionally.

Husband went to the GP again on Thurs morning (I'm so glad we have no trouble at all getting to see our GPs) as he's been getting dizzy spells and losing his balance even more lately.  The GP checked him over again and took BP readings, both sitting and standing.  He said that although it's partly due to his faulty heart not pumping enough oxygen to his brain, which we knew already, the increased loss of balance lately is due to the extra heart meds he's been put on which are reducing his (already on the low side) blood pressure.  The GP said it's difficult to get a good balance - on the one hand husband needs all the heart meds....on the other, they do contribute to his loss of balance and dizziness.  He advised him to ensure he stands up slowly when he's been sitting down, and to sit on the side of the bed for a few seconds before he gets up.  If I didn't grab hold of him sometimes, he would fall over, his balance is affected that much at times.

I'm happy to say I'm feeling so much better now, thank goodness, that blimmin virus was a pain in the arse (well, throat, chest and head).  Both of us still have the cough, though.

The roses and lilies that husband got me a couple of days before Christmas lasted quite well - roses quite often fade and droop quickly don't they.  I'd thrown out a couple of dying stems Thurs afternoon, the rest I shall probably put in the compost bin tomorrow.

We went to our neighbours for their little get-together last night, we enjoyed some nibbles and chat.  I took along some choc chip shortbread I made yesterday morning.  We only stayed a couple of hours though.....although I'm feeling better, I do still feel a bit rough and very tired indeed in the evenings and have to go to bed early.  So I doubt I'll be seeing the new year in tonight.

One of our neighbours, an elderly widow, lives alone - she has 2 sons with families but they don't live nearby.  We keep an eye on her, do a few odd jobs for her, go to her house for coffee and cake regularly, pick up the odd bit of shopping if we're going and she needs something.  She shows her thanks every year (not that she needs to, we're happy to do it all, she's a lovely lady) by giving us an extremely generous garden centre voucher for Christmas.  So next week, once people are back at work, kids back to school and less crowds around, we'll go to the garden centre and have a look in their sales.  Last year we got some bits for the caravan with the voucher - I've got nothing in mind this year, we'll just see what they've got.

I would like to wish all of my wonderful readers a very Happy New Year, may it be a good one for you.

Wednesday, 28 December 2022


 26th/27th/28th - Well, on Day 12 of the lurgy, I can finally say I'm now beginning to feel better, during the day at least, other than the hacking cough still, but at least it's not making my head explode each time now.  However, come the evenings I do still feel rough.  I think husband probably caught this bug during his day in hospital, and then passed it on to me a few days later.  As I said though, oddly enough his version of it was milder and shorter lived than mine.....just as well, I suppose, as it could have had more serious consequences for him.  It's certainly the most unwell I've felt for many a year - though why it should have made me quite so ill I don't know, I can only assume it's because I've been very rundown for a while.  Oh and I have less contact with people (neighbours mostly) than husband does, he's always nipping outside for a chat with neighbours and talks to anybody and everybody when we're out and about, he's very sociable.  Whereas I'm not - I more or less gave up years ago trying to get a word in edgeways when he's chatting to anyone, as he totally dominates the conversation.  So perhaps my immune system has suffered from not being exposed to bugs etc, whereas his hasn't so much.

Normally, when I'm unwell for whatever reason, I don't let it stop me getting on with housework, washing, cooking, washing up etc - well, someone's got to do it!  However, this time, and partly because I really did feel very ill indeed, I didn't carry on as normal - I mostly stayed upstairs in my bedroom, in bed or my recliner chair.  Part of it was me thinking 'sod it, I'm buggered if I'm dragging myself downstairs to get food for him - if he's hungry he can bloody well get it himself!'.  His appetite didn't drop whilst he was unwell - I think he'd have to be dying before he lost his appetite!  Whereas mine did - a few meals I skipped altogether, meals I did eat were very small.  So if husband wanted to eat, he had to make the effort to get something himself, he did ask me if I wanted anything and got food for me if or when I wanted it.  He also fed the dog.  I also asked him to keep me supplied with hot honey and lemon, which he did.  No clothes washing got done for several days - he doesn't know how to programme the machine and there's no point in me showing him....I have done so several times but he forgets instantly, so I would have to show him again every single time.  No point in writing it down either, because of his dyslexia.  Halfway through my illness I did put a wash on, asking him to get it out of the machine when it was finished and put it on the airer.....he forgot until the next day.  A couple of times I came downstairs to find the washing up bowl and worktops full of dirty dishes, but I just ignored it all and he did it (when he was running out of clean plates and mugs, I expect).  So I think that me downing tools and doing nothing for several days did show him and make him realise just how much I do for him, which can only be a good thing.

I've been thinking about a focus for next year - the last 2 years it's been our beloved caravan (which incidentally I'm trying not to think about too much, I don't want to fill my head with worries about possible burst pipes or leaks, although I think the site owner keeps a general eye on things and would no doubt let us know if there was a serious problem).  We haven't yet heard if our housing application has been approved (the website still says awaiting approval, they're behind by about 4-6 weeks apparently), but I'm going to assume that we will get approval.  Of course, even if we are accepted onto the list, there's no telling when we'll be able to find a suitable property, put in a bid for it, get accepted and move - according to the Council website, it can take up to 5 years to be offered a bungalow, which is the type of property we want.  But as far as I'm concerned, the longer the wait, the more time we will have to save up for removal costs.  So my focus is going to be downsizing and clearing out clutter, and serious saving towards this end I've opened up another savings account, purely for removal savings.  Any surplus stuff (such as furniture, electrical goods, etc) which is saleable, we'll sell via the local social media selling pages and the money will go into the savings account.  Husband will no doubt do a car boot sale when they start up again next year, he can sell his surplus tools and things he's recently acquired from neighbours, such as a couple of unwanted lawnmowers (he said he was going to stop taking in yet more junk from neighbours!  So much for promises....).  And if husband does get the Attendance Allowance, it'll be backdated which means a lump sum initially, that will go straight into the account, along with any other money I can transfer over regularly.

We're invited to neighbours this Friday for nibbles and chat - postponed from last Friday as I was so unwell.  Let's hope I'm well enough this time!  I shall pack away the tree and the few other decorations this weekend.....I would have done it already if I was feeling at full strength, I'm not keen on the decorations hanging around after Boxing Day, none of this 12th night stuff for me.  It's very nearly 2023 and I'm looking forward to it, I feel quite positive about the upcoming year, for a change.

I hope you've all recovered from your Christmases, and those of you who are unwell are beginning to feel better.  Back in a few days x

Monday, 26 December 2022

The week to Boxing Day

 Did you all have a nice Christmas?  Ours was very low key, the Friday before Xmas we were supposed to be going to neighbours for festive nibbles and chat, but I just wasn't well enough.  Christmas Day itself was very quiet, we had Eggs Benedict for breakfast, I made Hollandaise sauce for the first time ever, it was ok but a bit too lemony, I'll use less next time.  Husband had his beef roast dinner, I was going to make a fresh salmon and king prawn Wellington for myself, but didn't fancy the pastry so just did the salmon and prawns in a parsley sauce, however come time for lunch I was feeling poorly again so only ate a little.  I made a citrus trifle for afters, which I didn't have until later....after watching the King's speech I went back upstairs to doze in my armchair.  We had a sort of mini ploughmans in the evening - some cheese, a couple of crackers with cranberry relish for me, with the addition of a couple of leftover pigs in blankets and slice of beef for husband, followed by some mince pies for him and a little bowl of trifle for me.  He's got enough beef left for his sandwiches for a couple of days afterwards.  It being the 3rd anniversary of my Mum's death on Christmas Eve didn't affect me as much as last year....I thought about her, of course, but without any tears or sadness, only good memories.  The thing I miss about her the most is how wise she was - I could ring her with any problem and she'd always have good advice.

Last Wednesday evening was the worst I'd ever felt - if the ambulances hadn't been on strike I think I would have asked husband to ring for one.  My chest was so tight I was having difficulty breathing, I had what felt like a deep pool of mucus in the back of my throat which felt like it was choking me, and every time I coughed (which was often) my head exploded with pain.  I was having honey & lemon in hot water and cocodamol and soluble aspirin alternately (in recommended doses, I didn't overdose!), but they just weren't touching the pain in my head and chest.  I was using so much Olbas oil and Vicks to help my breathing that the dog kept coming up and sniffing me all the time, which would have been funny if I was in any state to laugh.  I spent several hours sitting up in my recliner armchair, until my breathing finally got easier in the early hours and I was able to lie down.  I wouldn't wish this bloody virus/bug on my worst enemy, it's awful.  As fast as I start to feel better, so then I'm hit with the terrible cough, exploding head and tight chest again.  I feel a bit better generally, but nowhere near well yet, even after 10 days.  Strange - husband's the one with heart and lung problems (he has asbestos plaques on his lungs), yet his bug lasted just a week and it's me who's been the most unwell with this virus.  I guess I'm just really run down.  On a positive note, I've discovered lemon and honey in hot water tastes even better with a slosh of ginger wine in it!

Husband asked me a question the other day....he'd obviously been thinking about how I'd filled in the Attendance Allowance form and asked me if I thought he was dependent on me.  I said well the few days last week where I was too unwell to do anything except essential stuff, and he did virtually nothing at all because I wasn't around to chivvy him up and get him doing jobs, more or less proved that he is!  He sat in his lounger chair and watched TV - all day - even after he was feeling better, until I was feeling well enough to be up and about downstairs and getting on with the housework, washing, cooking, making dog food, putting the shopping away, etc etc. and could get him doing things.  He still does nothing unless I ask him to, I even have to remind him every time to do the couple of jobs that are 'his' - vacuuming and emptying the bins.  I don't get annoyed about it now, but I do tell him occasionally just how irritating it is to have to keep asking him, rather than him getting on and doing it without me constantly having to remind him it needs doing.  E.g., the kitchen and bathroom bins can be overflowing, yet it still doesn't occur to him to empty them without being asked.  Go figure!  I don't think he's going to change and suddenly become a model husband after 40 years, do you?!  So I just have to suck it up and get on with life.

Having said that, last Friday early morning he went to town to pick up a few last minute bits I'd forgotten in the delivered shopping.  He got them all and came back with a new chewy for Betty, and a beautiful bouquet of roses and lilies from M&S for me.....he said me telling him I felt unappreciated and taken for granted had pricked his conscience (must remember to tell him more often!).

I haven't set foot outside the house since the start of this illness and am now feeling a bit stir crazy, so as soon as I feel well enough (hopefully in the next couple of days) we're going to venture out somewhere, even if only for a drive.  I'd love some fresh air and a change of scenery.

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Bloody virus, and a catch up

 Thank you for all the lovely messages, I really appreciate them.

Although I wasn't up to posting, I did keep some diary entries about a few notable, or even mundane and frankly boring, events and days.  So here are some brief snippets of life during the past couple of weeks:-

Monday 12/12 - I finally finished the bloody awful AA form.....that's 5 or 6 hours of my life I'll never get back.  Husband took it to the Post Office to send it 1st Class Signed For - given the postal strikes, he was told they couldn't guarantee next day delivery but would do their best.  But at least we know it'll be signed for on delivery, so provides proof of receipt.

Tues 13/12 - A baking for the freezer day.  I made sausage rolls, a salmon pie (pastry base and herby crumble topping) and salmon fishcakes.  Also prepped a trayful of pigs in blankets and froze them uncooked.  Husband had a cold (just a normal cold, thankfully nothing worse) and felt unwell, so spent all morning in bed, leaving me free to get on in peace.  I finished writing all the hand-delivery cards and wrapped presents.

Weds/Thurs 14/15th - Did nothing much, other than washing and microwave cooking homemade meals out of the freezer.  I managed to avoid catching husband's cold, but he was feeling quite poorly with it and spent a lot of time in bed.  The cold weather was really affecting my hips and knees, I was in agony, and not sleeping much because of the pain.  Think both of us are run down, so a couple of days resting should do us both good.

Fri 16th - Husband said he was starting to feel better - still very obviously full of cold but he looked better.  I've not caught it yet, fighting it off by swallowing handfuls of Vit C and zinc tabs, and having plenty of hot drinks.  We've had the heating on virtually all the time....well, we don't have it on husband was feeling the cold, especially as he wasn't moving around much.  I'd slept well and felt revived.  Did some washing and tidying up, made a smoked haddock and king prawn chowder for dinner.  Got out a half-finished crochet shawl I'd been making for my friend a couple of years ago...sadly she died before I could finish it and I just didn't have the heart to carry on.  I do like the colours though so I'll finish it for myself.

Sat 17th - I finally succumbed to the lurgy - hardly surprising when husband is totally indiscriminate about where and how he coughs and sneezes 🤬.  Normally I don't give in to colds etc - well someone (me) has to get on with everything!  But this time I thought sod it, I'm going back to bed.  So I did....but then got back up after an hour, staying in bed is just not me.  Didn't do a lot though, only what was necessary.  

Sun/Mon 18/19 - pretty much a repeat of Saturday, except I felt worse, very sore throat, blinding headache exacerbated by coughing, and no energy so I didn't even get dressed.  Husband is feeling better, although has a terrible hacking cough.  One thing is apparent - if I'm not around, nothing gets done.  I spent most of the time upstairs in my recliner armchair reading, crocheting or dozing, husband apparently did nothing.  He does do stuff nowadays if I ask him to, and generally without complaining, but if I don't actually ask him, he won't do anything of his own accord.  One good thing - Mon morning had a text to say Attendance Allowance form received and we will get a decision within 8 weeks.  I sincerely hope it's positive, I really need some good news.  It's been a very hard few months and I've never felt so low for so long before.  It's soul-destroying to keep feeling like I'm banging my head against a brick wall all the time.  I'm so worn out with struggling.

Tues 20th - Spent half the night sitting in my recliner chair - when lying down in bed I couldn't breathe, at least I could be propped up but still comfortable in the recliner.  Despite that, I did feel a bit better this morning, apart from a tight chest and headache due to all the coughing.  However, come the evening I felt really rough again and had an early night.  Had our pet insurance renewal in - it's gone up a staggering 25% on last year, and we haven't even made a claim!  So I got some comparison quotes and found a policy with very similar benefits, lower excess and it's just over half the cost of our present insurance - prior to the renewal increase.  So I've taken that one out and cancelled the greedy present one.  Means Betty's ongoing ear infections won't be covered, but we never claimed on the insurance for them anyway, as the cost generally came to less than the excess.

Weds 21st - It's the Winter Solstice today, which makes me happy - the shortest day and from now on, albeit slowly, the days get a bit longer.  It signals the gradual approach of Spring for me, my favourite season of the year.  I'm feeling even rougher today so have gone back to bed.  Bloody virus.

Wishing every one of you a very Happy Christmas, whatever you're doing - I hope it's everything you want it to be.  I'll be back sometime after Christmas.

Monday, 12 December 2022

Bye for now

 I'm taking a break for a couple of weeks, I'm just so tired.  I'll be back in the new year.  Have a lovely Christmas, however you plan to mark it.

Thank you all so much for the support and kindness you've all shown me, both on here and in emails, you'll never know just how much it means to me. 

Take care of yourselves xx

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Treat things

 Husband is fully recovered from the procedure, he's slept well and feels fine this morning.  He took the dressing off his wrist and it looks absolutely fine.  Hardly any bruising yet, in either arm (he had a cannula in the other arm) but it might come out over the next few days.....last time he had stents fitted he was bruised quite heavily.  But of course he's not had stents this time.  His heart meds make him bruise easily though.  

He's allowed to drive from today, there's a Christmas fair on locally this morning so we'll go to that, it's only a couple of miles away.  Then tomorrow or Tuesday, we'll go to town and get some Christmas goodies - we have most food, toiletries and dog food already, fresh food is coming in my Sainsbury's delivery next week.  We want to get some treats though.....husband has asked for a bottle of ginger wine (neither of us drinks alcohol really - I almost never do, husband only rarely, but he does like a little glass of ginger wine or a bottle of stout once in a blue moon).  We'll get a few bags of nuts, some crisps and a box of Lindor chocolates - I'm not a chocoholic but I do like those.  Some mince pies as well - I always used to make my own, using homemade mincemeat, but I don't bother nowadays....I hardly eat any, perhaps 2 or 3 over the festive season, but husband does like a few and he's not fussy about where they come from.  No Christmas cake or pudding though, we're not keen on either.  I'll get some treats, including a big chewy bone, for Betty as well.  She's not really fussed about toys much, she rips them to shreds within minutes anyway, it's cheaper to just give her a washed-out plastic milk carton with a few treat biscuits inside it, that keeps her amused for 15 minutes.  But she does like a chewy bone - not a real bone, one of those that look like plastic or rubber and are impregnated with some meat flavouring, or a deer antler.  Oh and I'll also get a TV mag, to check if there's anything worth watching over the festive period.  I wonder what King Charles will say in his first Christmas speech?  That's if he's doing one.....I assume he'll want to carry on his mother's tradition.

It's been freezing cold the past few days, with frost and ice in the morning, the last couple of days the ice has stuck around all day as the temperature even during the day hasn't risen much above freezing.  No sign of any snow though, and I hope we don't get it - although Betty does love playing in the snow, so perhaps we could have it just for one morning and then it should go away, please! 😁  Since we've had the new windows and roof, the house is definitely much warmer than before, I put the heating on when I get up around 6 am, it's on for a couple of hours and then we turn it off.  We have it on again during the evening, of course, and we do put it on for an hour or so during the day if we get cold - we're not stupid.  In any case, we're well in credit (almost £400) with our electricity bill so I'm not worried about it.  We have fleece blankets if we get a bit chilly, and I have a lovely fur throw upstairs for when I'm sitting reading in my recliner chair in the bedroom.  We also have hot water bottles with fleece covers but haven't needed them yet.

The cards that needed posting got put in the box at the end of the road yesterday, just the neighbours' ones to write and deliver now.

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Bit of an anticlimax, waste of a worry lol

I looked at the local weather app on my phone before I got out of bed and it said -4 and heavy snow.....oh please no, I thought, I've got to get up and take the dog out.  Got up and looked out of the snow at all that I could see in the dim light of next door's fairy lights on their garage, thank goodness, it's certainly bloody cold though. 

I wasn't allowed inside the ward to collect husband yesterday, had to wait outside in the corridor - different from last time, when relatives could go in and sit beside the patient.  But that was pre-covid!  Husband wasn't given any discharge notes or a letter, only a post-procedure leaflet.  It appears the angiogram showed his arteries aren't blocked, however, some of the smaller blood vessels may be.  These are too small for stents, but extra medication will sort those out, so the consultant told husband.  He's to carry on with his current meds and ring his GP next week, who will have been told to prescribe the extra meds.  He'll certainly be rattling when he walks, he's on about 10 meds already, never mind the extra ones next week.

He seems fine, the sedative had worn off by the time we got home and he's not got much pain or bleeding, although he said the wound did bleed a bit in the hospital after the procedure.  Not as much as last time he had it done though, when it bled a lot and the nurse he called over laughed and said "oh we've got a right bleeder here!" 😂

I'm glad we've not got any snow, as I'm taking the dog out by myself for a few days and I really don't feel safe walking in snow.  Although it's cold, it's been gloriously sunny for the past couple of days, which thankfully clears away the overnight frost.

As husband didn't have any stents fitted, he was told he can start driving again from tomorrow, although he's not to lift anything heavy for a few days (an excuse to get out of doing any washing up or hoovering, no doubt 😁).

I've woken up this morning with awful aching pains in my neck and shoulders - I don't feel at all ill, just these aches, I reckon it's tension, I expect I was even more anxious than I thought yesterday.

Just realised it's only a fortnight tomorrow till Christmas day, and I've STILL not got all my cards written out, never mind posted.  If I don't post them this morning (fortunately, there's a little postbox in the wall of the house just round the corner) then it won't be worth posting them, what with all the strikes going on.  I've never been this late with cards before.  Just got no oomph this time.

Friday, 9 December 2022

Done already

 Just had a phone call from husband to say he's been done (he was first on the list) and can come home around 12 noon.  He hasn't had another stent fitted, he's not too clear on the details as to why (he had a sedative so is a bit woozy), but I expect all will be explained in the discharge paperwork, he says the consultant is about to write a letter.  So he'll be home several hours earlier than expected.

He said there are only 3 out of 5 patients there this just didn't turn up (how terrible is that?!), and another was sent straight home after the staff found out he'd driven himself there and was planning on driving home afterwards!  All of the patients are specifically told they cannot drive themselves, they aren't allowed to drive for a week after the procedure.  The patient claimed he had no other way of getting to and from the hospital.  Apart from anything else, if they did drive during the week following the procedure and were unfortunate enough to have an accident, their insurance would be invalid.  Not to mention that they may still have drugs from the procedure in their system, and the angiogram is done through an incision into a large artery, so if any pressure is put on it until it heals properly, it might reopen and they'll bleed to death! 😒😲

Just found out our next door neighbours have all got Covid again, the 2nd time this year, so we'll be avoiding them, not that we have close contact anyway, just chats over the garden fence.

The big day, and an added bit

 So it's the day of husband's angiogram, I'm sure it'll go fine.....well, I hope it will.  It's going to be a long day (also a quiet one!!) - I'd set my alarm for 05.30 as that's when husband wanted to get up, although I'm almost always awake by then anyway, but it would be sod's law that on this occasion I didn't wake up early if I didn't set it.  As it happens, I woke up about 04.20 bursting for a wee (shouldn't have had Horlicks yesterday evening), got back in bed but knew I wouldn't go back to sleep, so read the paper on my phone whilst snuggled up in my warm bed with a warm dog lying alongside me.  Husband says he slept pretty well, he's not worried about the angiogram and stent fitting as he's had them done twice before so knows the procedure.

As I mentioned before, I'm going to have another go at the Attendance Allowance forms, it'll be good to do them whilst husband isn't here, there'll be no noise!  Betty's no trouble at all when it's just her and me, she's quiet as a mouse.

I've not yet heard back from the Housing Department regarding our social housing application, submitted online nearly 4 weeks ago, so I think I'll chase them up as well.  I know these things take forever, especially post-Covid.

Speaking of Covid....both of us did lateral flow tests yesterday morning (at the request of the hospital) and both were negative - not that either of us have any symptoms or feel unwell, we don't.  I just hope husband doesn't catch it, or any other nasty bug, whilst he's in the hospital - it seems to be quite common to catch something in hospital, ironically.

And I really must get my Christmas cards written and sent - I've finished making them, and with all the postal strikes going on (think there's one today) I'd best get them in the post asap.  


I'm not really interested in what Harry and Meghan have to say, they're determined to be 'victims' and wash their dirty linen in public, and we don't have Netflix anyway.  But I did see a clip this morning, shown in the paper, showing the two of them sitting on a sofa and Meghan acting out how she 'curtsied' to the Queen on first meeting her, and laughing about it (although I thought Harry looked decidedly uncomfortable).  I just thought, how utterly disrespectful to the Queen that was of Meghan.  As for her tears and general behaviour......once an actress, always an actress.  Well, that's my opinion anyway, for what it's worth.

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Working to be less stressed

 I didn't have a restful day yesterday after all, lots to do and organise prior to husband going into hospital for his angiogram on Friday, but I did do it all at my own pace.  Quite a bit of it involved writing lists and form filling, so at least I was sitting down a lot of the time.  I was beginning to feel very stressed when I got up in the morning.....I need to know that I'm organised and everything is done or ready, else my mind can't settle.  I have to be organised, even more so as I get older, or it really stresses me out.  I did get husband involved in doing things, although that's not without its problems - e.g. I got him to make the dog food, but I have to tell him what to do (and more than once as he instantly forgets a lot of the time) every step of the way.  Which is frustrating.

I got the washing out and hung up first thing, then made a simple veg soup for lunch - using a couple of types of frozen mixed veg cooked in veg stock in the Multichef, with a splash of milk, some grated cheese and a shake of dehydrated potato mash to thicken towards the end.  After we'd eaten it, I put the rest in a plastic tub in the fridge, then re-used the Multichef pot to make a chicken and tomato-based stew with sage dumplings for dinner....I used the last of our homegrown tomatoes which I'd cooked to a sauce with onions and garlic a few weeks ago.  So easy lunch and dinner which I could just bung in the pot and cook away without any further involvement from me.

Then I finished off my shopping list for next week, we're going first thing this morning.  I was supposed to have a nurse appointment at the surgery at 9 am today, but they texted yesterday afternoon to cancel it, due to 'unforeseen circumstances'.  I did think about getting the shopping delivered next week, but sometimes things are out of stock and they don't provide an alternative, or the alternatives they send aren't what I would choose.  For example, I have lactose-free milk due to a lactose intolerance.....the supermarket once sent me that expensive Cravendale milk as a substitute - erm, that's not lactose-free, they'd have done better to send soya, oat or nut milk.  And 2 or 3 times the eggs they've sent have had a cracked one in the box, or I've been sent things with a very short shelf life left.  

I also made a start on the ghastly Attendance Allowance form, filling in all the easy bits.  Honestly, the form is really designed to trip you up, make things as difficult as possible to answer or confuse the hell out of you, they clearly don't want to actually grant any allowances.  Some of the questions are remarkably similar, I read them and thought 'haven't you just asked that already?' - they just use slightly different's almost like they're deliberately trying to get you to contradict yourself.  I'm still waiting for Age UK to get back to me with an appointment for an advisor to come and help me with the rest of the form.....I've both emailed and left a message on their answerphone.  I guess they must be really busy.  I've got until 4 Jan to send the form back (it's stated on the form) but what with all the postal strikes going on, I need to get it done asap.  I'll be sending it recorded delivery, as one of you advised, thank you.

Having had a good look through the form though, and bearing in mind the things the Age UK advisor I saw told me, I think I could probably fill it all in myself, if they don't get back to me in time.  So I might do that tomorrow, it'll occupy my mind whilst husband is in hospital.  I think - well, I am - more worried about husband's procedure than he is, he's just assuming it'll all go exactly like it did the last time (he's had 3 stents fitted, on 2 separate occasions, before).  All well and good, if it does turn out to be a case of narrowed arteries again, but his cardiologist did say he won't know for sure until he does the angiogram.

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

That's those out of the way

 Husband's 2 medical appointments went off without a hitch, thankfully, we got to both in plenty of time.  The first one, the echocardiogram which was in an NHS building on an industrial estate, was done quite quickly, leaving us more than enough time to get across Taunton (which is extremely busy with traffic) to the hospital.  Husband drank his pint of water in the car park and then we made our way to the urology testing department, which is the other end of the hospital to the car park - it's a huge general hospital with very long corridors and loads of departments and wards.  My hips were protesting by the time we reached where we had to go.  As husband's tests were going to take up to 2 hours, I opted to sit in the hospital M&S cafe which is near where he was going, rather than the corridor outside the test place.

The cafe was busy with loads of people, staff and patients, coming and going all the time.  I'd taken a book with me and thought I'd be happy to sit with a large latte and read or people watch.  Well, it was the noisiest place I'd been in a long time - as well as the constant chatter from everyone in the cafe, and people's phones going off all the time, there were the catering sounds from the cafe staff, and quite loud piano music.  I thought it was being played from a sound system, but it turned out to be an actual pianist, sitting partly hidden behind a screen.  But the noisiest thing of all was the constant back and forth of hospital staff pushing noisy rattling trolleys, equipment and patients along the corridors (the cafe is in a big open [indoors] space with a wide corridor alongside, you go inside the cafe to get your drinks and food and then come back out to the tables and chairs in the open concourse bit).  It was just one big cacophony of very loud sound - and I'm partially deaf!  By the time husband was finished and came to meet me, 1.5 hours later, I felt like my ears had been assaulted and my head was ears were still ringing hours later.  Mind you, poor husband had worse stuff going on, having to drink an extra 2 jugs(!!) of water - with a break in between - and have his bladder scanned whilst full, and then pee it out, have the amount measured and then his bladder scanned again once empty.  Twice.  On the way home, he said he felt like he didn't want another drink for 2 or 3 days 😂

Betty was so pleased to see us when we got home, we'd been out for nearly 6 hours, we don't normally leave her home alone for more than 4 hours.  She's absolutely fine left home alone, I always leave the radio on for her, she sleeps most of the time (I've asked our next door neighbour if she hears her at all and she always says nope).  I left her some food for her lunch, she'd eaten that.  And of course she has a bowl of fresh water all the time.

Both husband and I felt really tired by early evening, so we both had an early night.  I did attempt to read for a while, as I always do when I go to bed, but gave up after only a short while when my book fell off the bed and woke me (and Betty) up.

We're all having a quiet day today.  I think I'll put a veggie stew and dumplings in the slow cooker, I have washing to do and dog food to make, and my shopping list to finish.  Then this afternoon I'll go upstairs and make the last of the Christmas cards and write out those that need posting.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Leftovers pie and busy day today

 Yesterday I made a Sunday roast leftovers pie - leftover chicken, roast veggies and gravy in puff pastry.  Last night we had half of it with extra veg on the side, tonight the other half will be with chips.  We'll be out most of the day with husband's 2 separate hospital appointments, so I needed something quick and easy to just more or less bung in the oven when we get home.  I'm taking ham (for husband) and cheese (for me) rolls with us for lunch, plus a large bottle of water - husband has to drink a full pint after he comes out of his echocardiogram, to fill his bladder in readiness for the urinary flow tests for his prostate problems.  So by the time we get from one side of Taunton to the other, he'll be bursting for a pee, but will have to hold on until he's in the testing room at the hospital.  Rather him than me.  I suppose he could wait until we arrive at the hospital, and then down the water in one go.

It's turned really cold now and is set to get even colder apparently.....well, it is winter.  I hate being cold nowadays, following years of hot flushes and night sweats during the menopause.  Although I think on balance I'd rather be cold - at least I can put a thicker jumper on, or wrap up in a fleece blanket.  Having that horrible heat rise up your body into your face, dripping with sweat and feeling like you were permanently in a sauna wasn't fun!  And to think I used to laugh at my poor Mum and her best friend Doreen who were both always fanning themselves and sitting by open windows, we never think of those kind of things happening to us when we get older do we?  In fact, when we were teenagers we never really considered ever getting 'old'.....old to us was anyone over 30, wasn't it?!

I've sent an email to Age UK asking for a visit to help me with the AA form, sometime next week would be ideal, seeing as I'll be home all week whilst husband can't drive.

I made a few more Christmas cards yesterday, must get those that need to be posted sent off within the next couple of days.  We had our first Christmas card at the beginning of last was from my friend in Kent who sent it in the same envelope as my birthday card, to save on postage.  Good idea!

Did anyone watch Jeff Wayne's musical production of War of the Worlds the other evening?  It was on Sky Arts, not a new production, it was put on several years ago I think.  The Narrator was Liam Neeson (equally as good as Richard Burton) and it had several stars in it.....Marti Pellow (much as I liked him in WetWetWet, I have to say his voice wasn't up to much live on stage in this production....but he's got a lovely smile) and Jason Donovan as Parson Nathaniel - he over-acted his heart out, bless him, but he was quite good in spite of that!  Ricky Wilson, the lead singer of Kaiser Chiefs, played the Artilleryman, he was almost unrecognisable with a big bushy beard.  We'd recorded it and watched it Saturday night, seeing as the main Strictly show wasn't on because of the football.  I've always liked the WOTW music, my brother had the album when it first came out in the late 70s and played it to death, so we all got to know all the words!  I thoroughly enjoyed it, it made a nice change from the usual rubbish that's on after the main Strictly show......stupid game shows (I hate game shows) and films that everybody's seen umpteen times.

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Tree done

 So much for there being lots of extra stalls with Christmassy things on them at the artisan craft fair......the whole thing was actually smaller than it was when we last went back in the summer.  Still, I did manage to get a couple of nice handmade things for gifts.  Didn't see Marlene at all, which was a pity - never mind, I'm sure we'll get to meet up sometime.  I also got a calendar from the card shop (another doggy one, similar to this year's one) and did a necessary little bit of shopping whilst we were out.  Actually, I'm quite glad the craft fair was small, coz it was blimmin cold!

Betty's always so pleased to see us when we come back home, even if we've only been out a short while.  She always does the same thing - comes running to the front door with her whole body wagging, then immediately shoves her whole head (if she can get it in) into any bags I'm carrying - looking for food, although husband says she's checking for drugs! 😂😂  She knows she always gets a treat when we get in, so she follows me (actually, she herds me, like a sheepdog, nudging my legs from behind) into the kitchen where she knows the treats are kept.  I know I've said this a zillion times, but she really does make me laugh every day.

I decorated the tree, I'm pleased with it, it's quite minimalist......just baubles and a handful of extra hanging decorations that I had from last year.  It's pre-lit so I didn't have to spend ages twisting the lights round like last year.  My little collection of Christmas gonks standing at the bottom.  The side window has a white twiggy pre-lit little tree, to which I've added some silver and gold tiny baubles.  My pair of Nutcracker soldiers, a penguin and a tobogganing polar bear stand alongside.  And that's it for Christmas decorations this year.  My Aunt Sylvia would be turning in her grave, it's far too unshowy for her taste, every available surface would be decorated with something in her house 😁  Bless her.

December is my least favourite month, for many reasons.  I'm not dwelling on the anniversaries of 3 deaths during this Mum, my lovely friend Toni and my beloved Nanna.....but they are on my mind, obviously, although I'm not feeling as sad about it this year.  Everything is just so frantic and busy during December - and that's without the added stress this week of husband's hospital appointments.  I just don't like all the crowds everywhere we go, and adverts in your face (or your ears) trying to get you to spend loads of money - who's got loads to spend in the current economic climate?  Winter is definitely not my favourite season either, I hate the cold, rain, wind, ice, snow and short days.  I'm just glad that from the 22nd onwards, daylight hours will slowly start getting longer.  It's still a long time till Spring though.

So what's happening today?

 Both Betty and I had another very good night.....Betty woke up and changed positions a few times (she always does a little sort of grumbling sound when she moves to a different spot or changes position on the bed, which always wakes me up as I'm a very light sleeper).  Unlike how it normally is though, I went back to sleep fairly quickly afterwards - Betty of course falls back to sleep instantly.  I put it down to the CBD - for the past 3 nights both of us have had a dose of it.....a small one for Betty.  I used to take CBD regularly for joint pain and insomnia, it worked quite well for a time but eventually got to the stage where it wasn't working so well.....apparently this is quite common, your body gets used to the dosage, just like it does with prescription painkillers, eg,  and it means you need to up the dose.  All very well, but it's expensive stuff and comes in very small bottles, so I wasn't really prepared to keep it up, it would cost too much.  Having had a break from it of several months though, it seems to be working well again, so I'll keep using it again (just me, Betty won't be needing it every night now) for as long as I can.  Hopefully, it'll help with my hip pain as well as helping me sleep.

So today we're off to the town for the monthly artisan craft market, with apparently more Christmas-themed stalls, being December.  It'd be nice if we get to see Marlene (Poppy Patchwork) there.  We'll be getting there around 10-10.30 if you're reading this, Marlene, we park in Angel Place.  Then when we get home, I'll be dressing the Christmas tree and the hall windowsill.....husband keeps muttering under his breath about it, but it just washes over me, he can be a Grinch as much as he likes and I'll do what I want to do.  It'll brighten things up, the weather has been so dull and dreary lately.  But doesn't it make the rooms look bare when the decorations get taken down and put away after Christmas?!

Busy week this week, what with husband's 2 appointments for tests, one for his heart and the other for his bladder on Tuesday, both on the same day and in different places, but at least they're both in Taunton and hopefully we should, if everything goes to plan, be able to get to both without too much trouble.  Fingers crossed!  And then his angiogram on Friday.  And I'll need to do a bit of shopping Weds or Thurs, to ensure we've got enough supplies to keep us going whilst he can't drive the following week.  I must ring the Age UK lady to see if she can come perhaps next week to help me with the AA form - I shall start filling it in this week - well, the easy bits that I can do myself.  I've been putting it off a bit, because it is so daunting.....form filling nowadays does my head in.

Saturday, 3 December 2022


 Betty is totally back to normal now (being her usual naughty self!), I'm glad to say.  Her toe only bothers her occasionally, she's not licking it all the time.  I guess the antibiotics and pain meds are working.

No fog this morning, which is was beginning to feel like the fog was permanent.  I've got washing to get out of the machine but debating whether or not to put it on the rain forecast but it's very cold and cloudy, I'm doubtful that it will dry on the line.  I might have to freeze the carrot cake I made for our neighbour with the birthday today, it seems she may have gone away for the weekend.  Good job I haven't yet iced it - I made the frosting last night but put it in the fridge rather than coating the cake then.  Oh, and using full fat branded soft cheese and proper block butter seems to have worked, the frosting isn't runny at all, just the right consistency.  The frosting will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Sue of A Smaller and Simpler Life has put on a link to a Christmas short film on her blog today......oh my word, it's a right tear jerker but so beautiful, do go and have a look (make sure you have a box of tissues handy).

Had my hair cut yesterday and it feels so much better.  I need to colour it at some point, I'm still not ready to embrace the grey fully.  It was odd watching Strictly last night, which means the results show is on tonight (bloody football throwing the schedules out), I must try not to forget!  I've got a little ulcer in my mouth which is stinging, think I've got some Bonjela.  And talking of not forgetting, I must remember to ring the Age UK lady to come and help me with the forms.  

This blog post is a mishmash of inconsequential little bits.....sorry, my mind is jumping around today and there's not much newsworthy stuff to talk about!

Friday, 2 December 2022

She's better

 Thanks for your comments, Betty had a much better afternoon yesterday, although she wouldn't eat any of her dinner......which was a bit unfortunate as we'd put her medication in it.  As she's supposed to have the antibiotics twice a day, I put another tablet inside a rolled up piece of ham - she ate that!  She slept very well last night, which meant I did too - we'd both had a dose of CBD oil.  She's not obsessively licking her foot anymore either.

This morning I'm making a carrot cake for a neighbour's birthday - I'd made one last month, we have a coffee and cake morning with this neighbour about once a month and she really enjoyed the cake (she asked to keep the remaining half of it!) so thought I'd do a whole one for her.  Her son, DiL and baby granddaughter are coming for the weekend so it'll be for all of them.  I'll try to do better with the cream cheese frosting though.....last time it was too runny and slid off the cake (not that it affected the taste, just the appearance) - I think it was because the cream cheese was a half fat one, and the butter was one of the spreadable ones in a tub, so had oil blended with it instead of being pure butter.  This time I'm using full fat cheese and pure butter.  I'll have to think of something else to put in the oven along with the cake, I can't just have it on for one thing.  Maybe some sausage rolls or little savoury tarts, I've got 2 or 3 packs of pastry in the freezer.  Or some shortbread for Christmas.....

Having my hair cut this afternoon - whilst longer hair which covers my ears and neck is a good thing now the weather's got so much colder, when it's too long it's just flat and boring - my hair is so fine it's got no body so needs a lot of product to give it any height - I like it spiky on top.  I'll just have to wear a scarf when we go out.....not a hardship, I've got loads.

It's been foggy here for several days now, and it lingers all day - just opened the curtains as it's just starting to get light and it's foggy again.  I really don't like winter 😕

There's the monthly craft market in the town on Sunday, as it's December they're going to have more Christmassy stalls so we'll go and have a look at that.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Poor Betty - edited

 The vet prescribed a sedative tablet for Betty, husband had to go and collect it as it had to be given an hour before the appointment.  I would say it only just took the edge off her anxiety - although on the way home she slept all the way, so perhaps she should have had it a little earlier!

He had to cut all of her claw away, as it was completely disengaged from the quick - I was holding her tightly as she was wriggling like mad.  She yelped and her toe bled all over the vet's table, he dressed it and bandaged it up with a bright orange bandage.  He gave her some antibiotics and said to continue with the painkilling medication (still got half the bottle left) and the nail strengthening tablets.  

Once home she took a while to settle and wasn't at all happy with the bandaged foot, kept holding it up and trying to bite the bandage off.  Luckily we had a bottle of a doggy calming spray and squirted that on her foot, which seemed to do the trick.  She ate her dinner with her meds and then slept with her head on my lap for an hour.

She did sleep through most of the night, the after effects of the sedative and painkilling meds no doubt.  However, this morning she is frantic with anxiety, obsessively licking at her foot continually.  She started pulling the bandage off early this morning, we took it off (the vet said it could be taken off this morning).  Husband was telling her off, trying to get her to stop licking the foot, I said he needs to calm down and not shout at her as it's just making her worse (yes you're right, Gemma's Person, she is picking up on his anxiety).  I've been trying to distract her, which works for a short while.  I can see us having to go back to the vet for some more anti-anxiety stuff though, we can't keep on like this indefinitely, none of us can.


As she was stuck in an obsessive licking and biting her paw cycle, I thought I'd try giving her some of my CBD oil - after first checking with the vet!  He said he has no personal experience of it, but knows of plenty of people who give it to their pets for calming anxiety and easing arthritis pain.  I gave her a few squirts and she is now lying peacefully on the sofa, dozing - and this despite a terrible drilling noise coming from next door, sounds like they're trying to drill several spy holes into our connecting wall 😡.  I hope they won't be doing it all day!