Friday, 31 March 2023

Our first night away!

 Amazingly, the weather for Sunday and Monday actually looks reasonable, with little if any rain (hooray!!).  So we're going to the caravan Sunday morning and staying till Monday afternoon, our first night spent in it this season.  As it's the weekend before Easter and schools break up today (I think), there may be a few more owners there....families and grandparents with grandkids.  We'll see.  We won't be staying longer than the one night, as I have a few things to do during next week and husband has his memory tests next Thursday.

So today and tomorrow I'll be packing things for the caravan.....fortunately not too much as we've already taken quite a bit of stuff back over there on our day trips (we bring most things home for the winter).  I don't need to buy any food as we've got everything we need here in the way of fresh food ready to take, and some tinned stuff and tea/coffee already in the van.  I'll be making some sausage rolls tomorrow and possibly a fruit cake.  I've got a couple of books to take, and a half-finished crochet blanket project....which I started last year for the caravan!  I won't finish it during our one night, but will leave it there for the next time, which will hopefully be a longer stay in mid-April when the weather should be better.

Husband had a strange phone call yesterday, and it's a good example of why he needs me as his carer.  He answered the phone whilst I was busy upstairs, it was a nurse from our GP surgery.  Instead of calling me down and putting the phone on loudspeaker, as I've asked him to do whenever he has some kind of health phone call, it didn't even occur to him and he decided to deal with it himself.  The nurse apparently said that as he's diabetic, they'd like him to start taking statins.....or at least that's what he thought she said, he couldn't actually remember all the details when he came off the phone (a fine example of his terrible short term memory loss).  He declined, saying he already takes enough pills thank you very much.  

The thing is.....he's only borderline diabetic, I've seen his latest diabetes bloods results and they are absolutely fine, no cause for concern at all, as confirmed by the nurse when he went to the surgery a few weeks ago for his annual review - he doesn't even need to take any diabetes meds.  His cholesterol isn't even high, it's normal.  And he already takes a statin anyway - has done since he was diagnosed with heart failure in 2018 - after we both discussed it with his cardiologist at the time of diagnosis, it was decided that a statin was a necessary evil in view of his heart failure.  He wasn't at all sure of exactly what the nurse had said on the phone, he'd forgotten just minutes later, so what all that was about I don't know, possibly some kind of new initiative but sounding like the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing.  We'll ask the GP next time we speak to him (which is quite regularly).

I don't know where this week has gone, yesterday I kept thinking it was Tuesday.  I feel like the week has just disappeared without me noticing, it's not even as if I've done very much.

Thursday, 30 March 2023

Depressing but needed stuff

 So sad to hear about the death of Paul O'Grady yesterday, he was a lovely man, so kind hearted and friendly, and of course he loved dogs.  And he was so funny.  A great loss, I feel really sad about it.

What a horrible, miserable, rainy, windy few days we're having.....feels cold too, although the temperature says not but the wind makes it feel cold.  It was certainly nasty in town yesterday.  We went to the bank, which was a waste of time - you can't just go in and see someone now, you have to make an appointment!  The reception lady said it wouldn't be this week as they were rammed - it was empty when we got there, just one customer and 4 members of staff!  2 of whom were just standing around waiting to greet customers 😒  Don't think much of their interpretation of rammed 😂  And what's the point of having staff with badges saying 'Can I help you?' when they can't?!  Hey ho.

Thank you everyone for your input and advice, it's all very helpful.  Having read up some more, I think it may be prudent to take out a PoA, and asap.  Incidentally, it seems the Enduring Power of Attorney has been replaced by a Lasting Power of...., although existing EPA's still count if they were taken out before things changed.  Interestingly, I've discovered that a PoA doesn't mean I can take money out of any sole account husband has, when he's died, as the PoA ceases on death, it's only in force during the life of the person.  However, with joint accounts it seems the account doesn't get frozen and the surviving partner can still access the account, although some banks have certain exceptions (which, it seems, probably don't apply in our case).  It's all a bit of a minefield actually, although less so if we are each other's sole beneficiaries (which we are) and our affairs are straightforward with no vast sums involved - which there aren't! (if only 😂).

It's all a bit depressing dealing with all this, but got to be done, and better now than after the event.

Meanwhile, the weather doesn't look like improving very much until mid-April, which means we probably won't be staying overnight at the caravan until then - we'll still go for day trips there when it looks like being a reasonably nice few hours.  Fellow owners won't be coming to stay until the weather improves, so it'll be very quiet indeed there until they do.  Peace and quiet is fine as far as I'm concerned, but husband gets bored with no friends to talk to.  Also, the park grass is getting quite long - the site owner's ride-on mower has broken down yet again and he's having trouble finding somewhere to repair it....apparently 2 or 3 local mower repair outlets have closed down.

We're eating mainly out of the freezer this week, and it's freeing up space nicely.  When there's a couple more drawers empty, I want to stock up on bread and milk to freeze, they're two of the things we get through quite a lot of, especially husband with bread, and he drinks numerous cups of tea a day.  I don't eat bread every day, and I only eat sourdough - a particular brand (Jasons's) sold in Sainsbury's, it's a proper sourdough with very few ingredients and no yeast.  As it's expensive I buy it when it's on special offer or yellow-stickered, getting 2 or 3 loaves at a time, which would last me about a month (they're smaller than a standard size loaf).  Today we're having fish pie, the cooked fish pie mix is one I made double quantities of a couple of weeks ago and froze, the topping will be cheesy cauliflower mash, also frozen, so 2 items out of the freezer today.

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

A sense of humour helps

 Thanks for all your comments and suggestions.  I've looked into PoA's, they cost £82 to set up and can take up to 20 weeks to action, according to the Government website.  As some of you said, it may well be simpler (and free) just to put all of our current and savings accounts into our joint names, I've set things in motion to do just that, emailing one bank who don't have a branch in our town, we'll visit the other bank this morning.  Our main bank account, from which the majority of our direct debits are paid, is already in joint names, but both of us have our own current and savings accounts in our sole names.  It's me, however, who deals with all of our finances, I have done for a long time.

I got everything on my list of jobs done yesterday, husband did a couple of jobs I gave him too.  He was having a clumsy day yesterday, kept dropping things - some days are worse than others.  He dropped the can containing the salmon bones, skin and oil (from the can of salmon I used to make the fishcakes) on the kitchen floor spilling it everywhere, I was saving it for the dog.  He also left a hard plastic jug balanced on the edge of the bath and it promptly fell off, breaking the handle off.  He mended it with superglue, dropped the jug and the handle broke off again....I had to laugh, laughing is better than crying!  😁  I rarely get annoyed if he drops things - he doesn't do it on purpose, he's been like it for years so I'm pretty much used to it, although it has got worse lately.  I was a bit upset once when he smashed an expensive Spode fruit bowl that was a favourite thing (he dropped a can of beans on it) some time ago, but again, it was an accident.  He did try looking on ebay for a replacement, but couldn't find one.  No matter, it's only a 'thing', it wasn't my head or foot!  He does generally clear up his breakages/spillages, rather than leaving me to do it.  Some days though it does seem like he's a disaster waiting to happen 😒 and I feel like saying to him "Just sit down, don't move and don't touch anything" 😂😂

We're popping into town this morning to pick up a few things, go into husband's bank to action the joint names on his account, and take a few more unwanted possessions into a charity shop. Intermittent rain forecast again so we'll have to dodge the showers, at least the wind has died down a bit - still windy, but not as strong.  

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Inside jobs

 Horrible wet and windy day, at least it's not cold so we don't need the heating on.  It's forecast to be very unsettled, showery, windy etc all week, so not good washing drying weather.  I've done a wash load of dog towels and blankets this morning, so they'll have to go on the airers - washing still has to be done, regardless of the weather.  

So an inside day - fortunately I have plenty to do.  A freezer inventory for a start and then a meal plan, I've got quite a few home cooked meals in the freezer, either whole meals or leftovers to be made into something else, so I want to get all those incorporated into a meal plan for the next couple of weeks.  Then I've got some banking to do, a new budget to include the new Council tax and electricity monthly payment rises now the Government handout has ended.  And moving money around into different accounts, I have several savings accounts for different things.  I need to check on husband's online account too, he had some trouble signing into it the other day, so I might have to manage it for him in future.

I'm going to make salmon fishcakes for dinner, and some scones or mini fruitcakes for husband to have with his afternoon cuppa.  Did anyone see Jamie Oliver's programme last night?  He made spaghetti with a cauliflower cheese sauce, using frozen cauli and a (fresh) leek which he then added a bechamel sauce to and whizzed it up with a stick blender to create a sauce for the spaghetti.  He finely chopped a slice of bread and some bits of leek and fried them in garlic butter until crisp, to use as a garnish for the spaghetti, the whole meal was a brilliant idea and one I'm definitely going to do, I've got 2 or 3 bags of frozen cauli and we still have leeks from last year in the garden.

Husband isn't giving up meat but is happy to eat less meat and have veggie days, eating the veggie or fishy things I make for myself.

Betty came home from the groomers yesterday looking all fluffy, feeling silky smooth and smelling won't be long though until she's smelling like a wet dog again!  Just as well I love her 😁

Monday, 27 March 2023

Further to.....

 To explain a bit further about my reluctance to move to that 'perfect' bungalow, should we be offered it (we haven't been offered it yet, and may not be at all as there are still several people with greater eligibility in front of us in the queue of bidders).  Oh, and Kim - here we are allowed 3 bids per week - if we are offered any property and then turn them down, three times in a row, then we are temporarily suspended from making any more bids, for a period of a few weeks (I'd have to check the actual period, I think it's fairly short though).  We aren't removed from the list and don't have to reapply. 

A few of you have said you moved to completely different areas where you knew no-one.  Well, so did we, 13 years ago we moved down here from the Midlands where the majority of our family and friends are.  None of our family live nearby (the closest being my brother in Cornwall, nearly 2 hours drive away), and we only knew 1 set of friends who live here in Somerset, and even they lived 40 mins drive away at the time.  But - and here's the thing - we were both in good health then.  We're not now.  If husband IS diagnosed with some form of dementia (there are apparently around a dozen different kinds), then sooner or later we are both going to need a lot of support.  And most likely we will then eventually both be housebound (as I'll be looking after him).  It's looking increasingly likely that he may well have dementia, as the other options for his memory loss (and other related problems) are being discounted, one by one - he doesn't have a UTI, or Vit B12 deficiency, nor is his memory stuff medication related - the GP has ruled that out, having made several tweaks to his meds over the past few weeks.

Here, we know everyone in our little community and have several friends and neighbours who offer help and support.  I know we'll make new friends wherever we move to, but a lot depends on what husband is diagnosed with (if anything) and how quickly it will advance or deteriorate.  It would be difficult for our current friends to help out in an emergency, say, if we were living over an hour away.

But if we do get offered this bungalow, we will definitely go and view it, and make a decision then, after weighing up all the pros and cons.


 We had a lovely time at the caravan on Saturday, the weather was dry and sunny, albeit with a strong cold wind.  None of our friends there, although there were a few more owners.  The park, as I think I've mentioned before, is divided into 2 halves - the upper level (where our van is) and the lower level, they're bisected by the site drive.  There were no fellow owners on our upper level, but around half a dozen owners on the lower level.  It's not a case of ne'er the twain shall meet, but we do tend to mix mainly in our respective 'levels''s more a purely geographical thing really, the vans on the upper level are all closer geographically to each other, and vice versa for the lower level.  We know nearly everyone on the upper level by name, but the ones on the lower level we mostly only know by sight, just passing the time of day when we pass them on site.  So we had a peaceful relaxing time - I read my book pretty much all day, other than heating up the pasties for lunch in the air fryer and making a few coffees.  Husband cut the grass around our van, took Betty for a walk and then relaxed watching TV.  I had a couple of brief chats with one of the lower level owners, and the site owner.  We picked up a takeaway from KFC on the way home (a rarity, can't remember the last time we had one) so I didn't even have to cook anything when we got home.....not that I actually cook much on a Saturday evening anyway, it's usually something out of the freezer heated up in the AF.

Sunday seemed to speed by.  I got up an hour later than usual, but seeing as the clocks went forward it was actually the same time as usual really.....just before 0700, but 0600 if the bloody clock hadn't had to go forward.  Husband said he'd change the clocks Saturday night.....I should have known better than to let him do it, he put most of them back an hour instead of forwards.  Although, somehow, he managed to put his own bedroom clock forward!  He also tried to alter the clock in the car but failed dismally.  Later on, he buggered up the TV by fiddling with it, trying to alter something or other on it and only succeeded in somehow switching it off and it refused to turn back on for several minutes.  This happened just as a programme I actually wanted to watch, the new David Attenborough wildlife thing, was coming on.  Sigh.  I missed the first 10 minutes of it, but no matter.

We went to our friends for a coffee and catch up late Sunday morning, it was lovely to see them again, it's been a while.

Betty's going to the groomers this morning, thankfully - she smells like she's rolled in something.  I do miss her whilst she's there, the house seems too quiet without my little shadow - she follows me everywhere around the house.  Nothing much on this week, so I may do some more sorting.  

I've been giving the whole new house thing some more thought.....that bungalow that we liked the look of so much and which ticks all our requirements boxes so I put in a bid for it, is probably going to be a No, if we do actually get offered it.  It is possible that we might yet be - several people have been offered it so far and all have apparently declined, a few others have dropped off the list so our eligibility ranking for it has moved up quite a bit.  However, the fact that it's so far away from here where we know everyone and have plenty of support if necessary, and we'd be moving into uncharted waters knowing no-one if we did move to the new place, has been causing me some worry.  It may be perfect in terms of the actual bungalow and facilities in the village, but moving so far away does scare me a bit.  Well, a lot actually.  If our name does get to the top of the list though, I think we will still go and have a look inside the place, just out of sheer curiosity!

Thankfully husband's memory assessment tests are getting nearer - it's next week.  I've got butterflies in my stomach (as has husband, I know), the thought of what the outcome might be is potentially terrifying, but at least we'll know.  And once we know, we can start to deal with it.  I just hope the appointment doesn't get cancelled and pushed back, like several of our medical appointments have recently, it seems to be a common thing now.

Saturday, 25 March 2023

One of those days already

 It's one of those days and it isn't even 9 am yet.  We're going to the van for the day, it's set to be a sunny, if extremely windy, day with no rain forecast until this evening, so we have to take advantage of that.  Husband wanted to go, just for the day.  As it's a nice day, it's possible there may be more people there.

I was up early as usual, getting a few things ready to take with treats (she has her main meal in the morning, with a few treats later on), 2 pasties I took out of the freezer last night, some fruit, fresh milk, a coolbag to pack them in.  A book I'm halfway through.  Betty's collar and lead (husband forgot the lead last time we went).  I'd put on washing to do overnight on the economy rate, so got that out of the machine.  I pegged some of it out on the line - some bedding, using plenty of extra pegs as it's so windy.  The rest of the washing I took upstairs to hang on the airer, Betty followed me up.  Unfortunately, she was in a very lively (naughty) mood and whilst I was putting the washing on the airer in the spare bedroom, she jumped on my bed and grabbed one of my pillows, shaking it around as if it was a rat she was killing, then throwing it on the floor and humping it.  I'm sorry to say I shouted at her, and then burst into tears, it was kind of the last straw.

I've really been feeling the strain the last couple of weeks (I'm sure husband is too).  Having to cope with his total short term memory loss and his mood swings, along with managing appointments (his and mine), making all the decisions about absolutely everything, helping him out when he's inadvertently messed up his phone and computer (both of those happen on a regular basis), as well as all the normal cooking and housework things, and lack of a decent night's sleep, is leaving me permanently tired - no, exhausted.

Friday, 24 March 2023

Just working through the days

 Sorry for the absence, I just didn't feel like writing anything.  You know we're both worried about the upcoming memory assessment and possible diagnosis, there's only so many times I can write about that.  Husband has been exhibiting some other behaviour traits for the past few weeks which are unusual for him, he's become quite argumentative, almost spoiling for a fight sometimes - I don't engage with that.  He's also been downright rude on a few occasions, mostly to me but also to a neighbour, who I then had to go and see and smooth things over with.   He's been shouting at poor Betty a few times lately, he seems to have lost patience and won't play with her and gets annoyed when she wants to play. This might all be down to him being worried, or it might be a further symptom of some kind of dementia.  So it's been even harder to cope lately, and sometimes I just have to walk away, go upstairs with Betty and shut myself in my bedroom.  The assessment and tests can't come soon enough, at least we'll know then what's going on - not knowing and having all sorts of scenarios and thoughts running through our heads isn't doing either of us any good.

The GP rang to say that he thinks he's done all he can with the little adjustments to husband's various meds, based on the latest bloods results and his BP seeming to have stabilised now, his dizzy spells and balance problems have lessened considerably with the latest tweaks to his meds.  So that's one good thing.  

I've not been idle the past few days, I've sorted out the storage unit on the landing (it's an Ikea 8-cube shelf unit with storage boxes, and a further 2 lidded boxes on the top).  Got rid of some accumulated junk in the boxes and rearranged everything, so there were 5 empty boxes.  Cleared out my craft stuff and packed most of it away into cardboard boxes, so the small spare bedroom/craft room is now ready for guests.  Took another car load of stuff to the tip and the charity shop, more clutter gone.  Whilst cleaning out the craft/bedroom, I found another boxful of old paperwork (thankfully a small box) under the bed - I thought I'd done all the paperwork, I swear it breeds!  I couldn't face sorting it out yesterday, but am doing it today, it's first on my list.

Has anyone been watching Jamie Oliver's £1 Wonders on Channel 4?  I do like JO, although his boundless enthusiasm, laddishness and daft expressions do get on my nerves sometimes.  He has good ideas though and his recipes are all easy but inventive, using normal things that we all generally have in our fridges/larders.  He doesn't use expensive ingredients - well not in this series anyway - unlike some chefs (I'm looking at you James Martin, using half a pound of butter in one recipe!).  And he makes good use of things that we might normally throw away - like taking the skins off chicken thighs and frying the skins until crispy, then chopping them finely to use as a garnish.  After each programme he gets lots of derogatory comments on social media, about his recipes not being as cheap as he makes out - well the series was filmed in January and we all know prices are going up every week for a start - and using things like herbs and oil that he hasn't included in his costings.  He does state on his website that he makes the assumption that a lot of us have things like that already.  People seem to be missing the point though - at least he's making the effort to help, by making meals using things normal people have already.  Alright, so there are people who have nothing in their cupboards and have to rely on foodbanks and community fridges, but there are others (Jack Monroe eg) who help with that.  I think he's doing a good job and am trying some of his recipes, I've downloaded all of them from his website.  I made the Squash and Paneer bhajis the other day, featured on the last programme - I used halloumi as I didn't have any paneer (never tried it actually), and tomato puree instead of curry paste.  They were delicious, but a bit of a faff to make and took longer to cook through than the 16 mins he said....more like 30 mins.

Tuesday, 21 March 2023


 I'm taking a break from blogging for a few days.  Back soon I expect x

Monday, 20 March 2023

Lots to think about

 We had a nice day out yesterday, visiting an area we're not familiar with....we've decided we're going to visit places a bit further afield where we've not necessarily been before, especially if there's been a home advertised for rent in a place we don't know well.  The idea being, we can check out local facilities and the area in general, to get an idea of whether we'd like to live there, should a suitable place come up for rent.  The place where we went yesterday was very nice, it's a village with a population of around 1,500 people, a mixture of very old and quite new houses, with 2 shops and a GP surgery within walking distance.  Larger supermarkets and retail area about 5 miles away, hospital around 10 miles.  And there's a bus service at the edge of the village, also within walking distance.  Fields surround the village, with dog walking opportunities.  So that area gets a tick for meeting our requirements.  The only thing is that it's quite a way from here and thus we'd be moving away from all our friends we've made here.....we could and would make new friends, of course.

That's something we will have to take into consideration, in view of our, well particularly husband's, health, and especially if the outcome of his upcoming memory tests isn't favourable.  Do I really want to move a fair distance away from people we know well if husband's health might be deteriorating significantly in the foreseeable future?  I'll have to have a think about that and weigh things up.

The outing was spoilt somewhat yesterday by the bloody car playing up again on the way home.  The worst thing about this particular problem with the car is the totally random nature of it - we have no idea when or if it will happen or what triggers it.  A warning light comes on and the steering immediately loses power, meaning husband really struggles to turn the wheel, so we have to pull over and switch the engine off, which resets it.  We've had the car looked at by a mobile mechanic, 2 or 3 different garages and the AA, all of whom have different ideas of what it might be.  So we're no nearer getting it fixed.  That's the trouble with buying second hand cars, you never know what problems they might have.  It's another stress to add to the list.  I bloody hate cars, they seem to be nothing but trouble....well, the ones we have do.  At least we've got a warranty with the car, so that's one good thing.  Although, as it's a problem that nobody seems to agree on the cause of, it might soon be time to think about getting rid of it - I can't be doing with random car worries.

My life always seems to be one extreme to the other - either things are going really well, as they were a couple of weeks back, or problems pile up.  And it's never just one little thing, more a pile of fairly big things.

I am stressed right now, there's no denying it, but amazingly I do seem to be coping quite well with it all this time around.

Sunday, 19 March 2023

Mothers Day

 It's Mothering Sunday here in the UK, obviously I think about my Mum a lot, but she's on my mind very much today.  I miss chatting to her on the phone, she was so wise and funny.....unintentionally funny a lot of the time.

I've never had children - by choice, I don't have a maternal bone in my body - husband has 3 grown up children from his first marriage.  Husband comes from a very big family - 10 children altogether, the youngest one being adopted! (but then when you already have so many kids I guess another one doesn't make a lot of difference) - when I first met husband's parents, one of the first things my future FiL asked was if husband (future husband!) was going to have his vasectomy reversed?!  (Husband had the snip after his 3rd child was born).  NO, I said firmly, much to FiL's surprise, several of husband's siblings also have large families.  We had (briefly) discussed having children - after I said I didn't want any, husband said he was relieved as he didn't think he'd like to go through all that again at his age (30!  But he had his children when he was very young, 17 when the first was born).  We only have contact with his youngest child (no, I have no intention of going into that), but she and I have a very good relationship, she calls me by my first name, at my request, as I said right from the start that I didn't intend to be a second mother, as they already had a perfectly good one.

So Mothers Day doesn't really apply to me, other than being a reminder of the loss of my Mother just over 3 years ago (3 years and almost 3 months, to be precise, having lost her on Christmas Eve 2019), husband's mother died about 7 years ago.  But I am feeling a bit melancholy and missing Mum today, so as it's a lovely sunny day, we're going out for a drive, taking Betty with us of course. 

Happy Mothers Day to all you wonderful Mums out there, and sending wishes for happy memories to those who have lost their Mums (Joy in particular x).

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Getting on

 Just minutes after we got home from the caravan yesterday afternoon, husband had a phone call from the memory assessment clinic.  A clinician is coming to our home to assess him and do a series of tests on the 6 April, so just under 3 weeks from now.  She asked that I be there too, to give my perspective and fill in any blanks, which of course I will be.  So at least we have an appointment date now.  Coincidentally, on that same date I was supposed to have a physio appointment, which was subsequently cancelled by them - if it had still been on I would have cancelled it anyway, husband's appointment is more important.

We had a lovely restful few hours at the caravan.  Still not many more flowers coming out, although I did notice the roses in pots are all showing lots of leaf growth now.  There was nobody else there, apart from the same guy in his touring van down the bottom end of the site - he appears to live in his touring van on site for the whole of the open season.  I checked back - this exact time last year we stayed over for our first long weekend of the season, and the weather was beautiful apparently.  There were also a lot more flowers out, so clearly early Spring was much warmer last year.  I think we're unlikely to stay there overnight until the end of the month/early April, looking at the unsettled weather forecast.  At least it wasn't so cold in the van as it was on the 1st March - we put the electric fire on for half an hour when we first got there, just to take any chill off, but it was absolutely fine after that.

I've lost focus a bit recently (things on my mind), but am going to change that.  From Monday we're going to start decluttering/packing again properly.....I'm going to spend this weekend planning what needs doing and making lists, I'll get husband involved too.  I'm also going to knuckle down to some serious saving, I want to add as much to our new home moving fund as possible.  The two Sues (A smaller and simpler life and Sue in Suffolk) have inspired me to make the most of the foodstuffs we already have (and we have a lot, especially in the larder cupboards) and to cut down on shopping, only getting fresh stuff when we really need it.  I'm going to make more use of frozen (or even tinned) veg, rather than going out to buy fresh veg a couple of times a week.

I've been feeling a bit lost in recent weeks and getting overwhelmed again - when all decisions, choices and actions are all down to me, it is hard - well, I find it so.  I sometimes feel like there's just too much going on and only me to cope with it all.  I feel close to a breakdown sometimes, but the knowledge that I can't have one - because we'd be in big trouble if I did as husband couldn't cope - weighs heavily on me at times, it's a big responsibility.  But I just have to put on my big girl's pants and get on with things.

Friday, 17 March 2023

An unexploded bomb

 I do wish they'd hurry up and give husband this memory assessment and brain scan appointment, I know they said it would be within 6 weeks and it's only been 10 days so far, but when you're waiting to see if your world is going to be shattered, it's a bloody agony waiting.  And yes I know (we both do) that it could be something fairly innocuous, but it's human nature to worry.  We've only told a very small handful of family and friends about the memory problems and referral so far, so as not to worry anyone else unnecessarily, but it does feel like we're sitting on an unexploded bomb.  Thank you all so much for your support, I do appreciate it enormously.  I need a great big hug and reassurance right now, very disturbed sleep is making me feel very anxious.  And of course night time thoughts are the worst.

We're off to the caravan for the day, there's some sun forecast in between the showers.  If we wait for a good sunny, warm, rain-free day, we'll be waiting forever.  Hopefully, some more of the Spring bulbs I planted last year should be flowering, and there might be a few more owners there, which would be good.  It would be nice if the site owner had managed to cut the grass, but I won't be surprised if he hasn't.  Speaking of which, our home lawn needs its first cut too, it's quite high in places and looks decidedly scruffy.  When it hasn't been raining it's been too cold for husband to do it (very cold weather makes him breathless and hurts his chest), and when it's warmer (like now) it's either raining or has been and the grass is too wet.  Using the mower hurts my back and hip and thoroughly wears me out, but I may have to bite the bullet and do it if husband can't.

I didn't make meatballs with the chicken mince yesterday, there were a couple of red peppers in the fridge that needed using.  I lightly fried the mince with chopped onion, mixed it with a pack of brown and wild rice, a splash of cream and some grated cheese, sage and paprika and used that to stuff the peppers, which I'd cut in half as they were large ones.  I air fried two halves, they cooked beautifully, we had them with green veggies.  The other two halves we'll have tonight with the leftover veggies, saves me having to cook when we get in from the caravan.  There was enough of the chicken and rice mixture left to freeze as well for another meal.

I really fancy a bit of chocolate right now, sure sign that I'm feeling stressed, I'm not a chocoholic at all, preferring savoury things.

Thursday, 16 March 2023

This blimmin weather.... getting me down.  The weather forecast for the next couple of weeks at least is very depressing - rainy and cloudy most days with little in the way of sunshine, quite windy too.  The only good thing about it is that the temperatures will be a few degrees higher.  So we've decided to go to the caravan tomorrow, just for the day, we won't be staying overnight yet, if we wait for good weather we'll be waiting weeks.  Hopefully there might be a few more people there, we'll see.  I'm fairly sure we'd stayed over a few nights in March last year, I'll have to look back at my posts then.  One thing that can be guaranteed with British weather is the complete uncertainty and changeableness of it!

The latest homes for rent list came out yesterday, there are 3 bungalows, one of which is really nice and would be eminently suitable for all our requirements, so I've put in a bid for it - my first ever.  It's doubtful, very doubtful actually, that we'll get anywhere with it, it's bound to be popular - there were already 29 people with more eligibility ahead of us by yesterday evening.  But nothing ventured.....and all that.

My hips, having been much better lately, were so stiff and painful this morning when I got out of bed that I could hardly walk and getting down the stairs for my coffee and then back up again to shower and dress was agonising.  It's eased up a bit now though, both the pain and the stiffness.  I didn't take any paracetamol when I went to bed last night, so perhaps that's why.  It would be nice to have a place with no stairs - it would benefit both of us.  My guts seem a lot more settled this morning, so that's good.  Several days going very low carb and smaller portions seem to have done the trick.  I'm going to make meatballs today with chicken mince (chicken or turkey mince is the only meat I eat now), we'll have them with a homemade tomato sauce and green veggies.

Having put the decluttering and packing of things we don't need immediately on hold for a while, I think we'll get going on it again next week.  I want to completely sort out my craft room-cum-spare bedroom, I'm going to pack away all my craft stuff for the time being.  I have a little stock of cards both homemade and bought ready for birthdays, anniversaries etc, so won't need to make any for ages yet, and I haven't done any drawing or crocheting for weeks and weeks....I've been reading a lot instead.  As my sister and her friend will be coming down to stay for a holiday in a few weeks, I need the spare room to go back to being a bedroom and not a workroom.  We're due for another tip trip too, we've got a couple of bags or boxes full already, and there'll be more next week, we may as well fill the car up before we go.  Incidentally, speaking of the car, it seems to be behaving again....fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

It's all 'oh bugger'.....'oh ok'

 We wanted to go to the caravan yesterday (it was forecast to be a bright sunny, albeit windy and not very warm, day, and so it was), but with the car problems we decided it was best not to.  Husband finally managed to get through to the AA yesterday morning - he couldn't get through at all the previous day on the journey home from Taunton, they just weren't answering the phone - just a recorded message saying they were having problems!!!  Oh really?!?!  What did they think we were having?!  😒😡.  Anyway, the AA man turned up at home (thank goodness for home start) fairly quickly yesterday morning.  He thought he'd identified the problem and told husband to take the car to the garage and give them the work sheet he provided, he said the garage could claim for the work direct from the AA (we have a warranty with them, as well as roadside and home assistance).  So hopefully that'll get sorted soonish.  However, he said the car should be fine in the meantime.

My bank card problems appear to have been resolved - I tried using the card again yesterday and this time it worked perfectly on idea why it wouldn't work on either contactless or PIN before, although it let me get cash out of a hole in the wall - go figure!  Anyway, it works now and that's all that matters, one less thing to worry about.

The problem relative was at it again yesterday, virtually as soon as I unblocked him, so he promptly got blocked again.  I know he's got mental problems and to a large extent he can't help it, but his so-called problems that he goes on and on about in massive amounts of detail, and for hours, are so completely and utterly trivial in nature, they can't even be classed as problems.  And he's so totally self-absorbed, he's oblivious to other people's real problems.  He won't listen to anyone and the longer he goes on and on, the more abusive he gets.  He had both a mental health worker and a social worker, but was eventually really rude to both of them and ordered them to take him off their books and not to contact him anymore.  If he refuses all professional help, then I'm afraid he's on his own.

We've got quite a lot of Spring bulbs flowering in the garden now.....some of them got beaten down by the snow last week but they've all bounced back.  I've got a pot of pink hyacinths in full bloom on the kitchen windowsill and they smell wonderful.  Lots of trees around are in full blossom now, I do love the blossom.  And there are little newborn lambs everywhere we go.  Spring is truly my favourite season, it's full of new things, promise and hope.

It's back to being frosty and very cold this morning.  That's preferable to rain or snow!

Thank you again for all the comments.  I'm holding myself together at the mo, my sanity is (just about!), I don't know 😂

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

One problem sorted, another starts/restarts

 We got to the town to go to the EE phone shop yesterday, only to find that it had closed 3 months ago and transferred to Taunton, a half hour drive away.  Anyway we went and husband's sim problem was sorted out quickly - turned out that his sim card was the wrong size for his new phone, which I suspected was the case.  All done now.  Whilst there, I was offered a new deal on my monthly mobile usage, some kind of sim only thing (I forget the details) which works out a couple of quid cheaper per month than what I was paying, and with unlimited calls, texts and a decent internet amount, so I was happy to take that.  Every little helps.  Husband was offered the same thing but as he only uses about £10 of credit every 6 months or so, there was little point!  Cheaper for him to stick to his PAYG top up.

On the way home, the bloody powered steering warning light came on again in the car and the steering lost power - the steering wheel goes totally stiff when that happens.  So we had to stop in a layby and turn the engine off for a few minutes, that seems to fix the problem, albeit temporarily, it happened twice on the way home.  So husband is having to try and get that sorted out again.

It does feel like whatever can go wrong, is, at the moment....although I know there are plenty of good things happening too.  I am aware that husband is worrying, just like I am, and his memory problems aren't his fault, he's not doing it deliberately and can't help it.  However, I've noticed just in the past couple of weeks he's become quite argumentative with me - he wasn't before.  If I say something I know to be right, he'll contradict me and argue about it, and I'm having to bite my tongue as I don't want us to be having a major fallout.  I hope it's just a symptom of his worrying and not anything more serious.

I am starting to feel like I've got a concrete paving slab on top of my head, pressing me down, and every irritation or problem feels like another slab being added on top.  But I'm not buckling under the strain.....yet!  Although lack of sleep might change that - last night was another night of having the light on reading for 2 or 3 hours in the middle of the night, so consequently I feel like a zombie today.

It's funny how when I write about something irritating or stressful happening, I get loads more page views than when normal everyday things are going on.  Human nature, I suppose!  I do tend to swear and throw my weight around (or throw my toys out of my pram, as a friend often says, very condescendingly! 😒) when stressed, which I guess can be entertaining to some....more so than me going on about my caravan, e.g.  I'm not having a go at anyone, you readers are all very supportive and I'm very grateful for that.

Monday, 13 March 2023

Some irritations still, some thumbs ups

 Having had a really good (for me anyway) sleep last night, despite the howling wind, I do feel a bit better today.  Decent sleeps have been a bit thin on the ground the past few nights, which is no surprise given the worries about husband's forthcoming tests.

We have to go to town today to get husband's new basic phone sorted out - for some reason, despite the phone being very basic, it's refusing to recognise husband's sim card, so he can't use the phone.  Blimmin annoying, and yet another thing to be sorted.  Another problem is that I've recently had a new contactless debit card to replace the expired one, and it's refused to work twice.  It wouldn't let me pay for the shopping in the supermarket last week (luckily I could use a card from a different account).  Yet when I tested the card in the cash machine outside, taking out a tenner as an experiment, it worked perfectly.  I used the card - or rather, tried to - to buy something online yesterday and again the transaction was refused.  It's not a lack of funds problem, there's plenty of money in the account.  So I'll have to get in touch with the bank, I suppose.  These things are sent to try us.

I can't see us staying overnight at the caravan anytime soon, the weather forecast isn't good at all for the next few weeks....plenty of rain showers, strong winds, low overnight temperatures.  Which all means that very few other owners will be there at the park - we live the nearest so can go for day trips anytime, whereas almost all the other owners live a lot further away, too far for day trips so they'd have to stay over, and not many will want to until the weather gets significantly better.  Whilst we love staying at the van, part of the pleasure is seeing and catching up with our fellow owners, so if there's no-one else there, it gets a bit lonely!

Had a message from my sister to say that she and her friend can't now come down to us for their week's holiday until mid May, her friend couldn't get the time off work for April.  Well, at least the weather will be much warmer by then.  Sister's friend (we've known her for years and years) is lovely, but is one of the most ditsy, scatterbrained and disorganised people I know.  She apparently kept forgetting to ask for holiday, or got the dates wrong when she did, which is typical of her, bless her.

We had our monthly electricity bill over the weekend - I would say our leccy use has been pretty much the same for the past 2 or 3 months.  However, this bill is £20 less than the last two - now I have only used the oven twice I think in the 3 or 4 weeks since I've had the air fryer, instead of nearly every day before, so I'd say that's a convincing victory for the AF.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

It's all irritation these past few days

 Husband's new phone that he's had for 3 weeks now isn't working out very well at all.  It's a smart phone, albeit a fairly basic one - it's the first time he's had a smart phone and just isn't getting on with it.....I had my doubts that he would.  He simply cannot understand how to use it, even to look at texts - despite me showing him numerous times already.  I know he's never going to grasp it - even without any possible dementia stuff, he just isn't tech savvy when it comes to phones and computers.  So we've been out and bought him a very basic phone that just has call and texting capabilities, and is able to take basic photos - no internet stuff.  That's all he needs and he's agreed he's completely baffled by the smart phone.  The new phone is currently being charged and then I'll set it up for him with his family/friends numbers.  The smart phone we'll keep, it'll be a useful back up if my phone ever goes least I know how to work it!

I had a letter yesterday from physio to say that my next appointment with them has been cancelled and rearranged - that's 3 appointments they've cancelled, including the new exercise class, and each rearranged appointment is getting further and further away.  In view of the fact that I've only seen the physio twice, the second time for only 10 minutes, and all she does is give me exercises to do at home, I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that it's all a waste of time - my next appointment is now 5 weeks away and has been made a phone appointment instead of a face to face one....what's the point of that?  It's all very well simply being given exercises to do at home, but remembering to do them all the time, especially when my mind is otherwise occupied, isn't always easy.  I'm even doubting that the proposed new exercise class will take place, seeing as they couldn't get any other patients to show any interest in it and the first class has been postponed for 6 weeks away.  I'm seriously considering calling it a dead loss and going back to my osteopath instead - at least I can get appointments with her pretty easily, she doesn't cancel and, most importantly, her treatments work.  Admittedly I have to pay for it - the reason I stopped going before - but now I have the extra money coming in (the carers allowance) I can justify the expense.  

I'm falling out of love with cooking lately - obviously I do cook every day, but just don't have the enthusiasm for it anymore that I used to have.  And I'm looking more and more for ways to ease the time I actually spend cooking....such as using tinned potatoes instead of fresh ones - we don't eat a lot of potatoes so they tend to be sprouting by the time I get round to using them.  Coincidentally, Sue in Suffolk put on a foodie post today, featuring tinned potatoes, and got a couple of very sniffy (downright rude actually) comments about them!  Honestly, they're spuds, conveniently prepped, what's so terrible about that?  Tinned potatoes are actually very nice roasted, we've had them often, and now I airfry them - even quicker and still delicious.  I don't know why some people are so up themselves about tinned foods, they're very convenient, good value and STILL just as good for you nutritionally!

The problematic relative was in full flow the past couple of days, droning on and on over WhatsApp and on FB about something that had upset him.  It turned out to be nothing really - he got a 'like' for something he'd put on FB - purporting to be from a famous comedian.  Only it wasn't really from him, it was clearly a scam of some sort (it was claiming he'd won a prize, in a competition he hadn't even entered, so it was obvious it wasn't real).  Relative was getting his knickers in a twist about it....I just thought oh get a real problem for goodness sake!  And temporarily blocked him again.  I can't be doing with trivialities right now.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Trying not to worry.....

 ...Try telling my stomach that though!

By 9.00 am when husband was ready to go out yesterday, I did feel a bit better (having been up since before 6 am) so I went with him and got dropped off at Sainsburys.  Had a really nice latte in a lovely big mug in the cafe, which was nearly empty so relatively quiet.  Nothing to eat, I didn't want to risk upsetting my still delicate stomach with any of their yummy-looking muffins etc.  Had a leisurely stroll round the supermarket and got the few bits I needed.  Husband said he really enjoyed his big breakfast with his mate.  He didn't tell his mate about his memory assessment, he said his mate had problems of his own and wanted to offload, so husband let him talk.  We keep seeing adverts and snippets of news items on TV which are about Alzheimers and other forms of dementia, which is a bit disconcerting, it's making both of us feel a bit uncomfortable at the moment.

Back home, I had a slice of toast with cottage cheese on it for a light lunch, husband just had a piece of fruit as he was full up from his big breakfast with his mate.  Even the toast and cottage cheese gave me a gurgly stomach.  It had settled down by teatime, so I had Morrisons posh fishcakes (they're not battered or crumbed, just lightly dusted) and some peas, husband had fish and chips and peas.  Gurgly stomach again afterwards, so my guts are definitely upset right now.  It'll wear off in a day or two.  Anxiety always gives me gut problems.

I am worried about the possibility of husband having some form of dementia, there's no doubting it, but am deliberately trying not to dwell on it.....we'll know soon enough, once he's had all the tests.  I wish the Memory Assessment team would get their fingers out and get his appointment organised quickly though.  Apparently, they will aim to see him within 6 weeks of referral.  

As I type this it's sleeting outside....more rain-like than snow, thankfully, and it's not settling.  The coming week looks to be a right mixture of sun, rain, cloud, warmer days and cold ones.  

I accidentally deleted instead of publishing a few comments on yesterday's post, my apologies if yours was one of them.  Not thinking straight right now.  Must try harder!

Friday, 10 March 2023

No B12 deficiency

 The GP rang yesterday, he confirmed that B12 was one of the tests in husband's recent batch of bloods.  He's not deficient in B12, his levels of that are fine.  I was kind of hoping it would turn out to be a B12 deficiency causing his memory problems, as it would be fairly easily rectified with regular injections (apparently, B12 deficiency is quite common in heart failure).  Oh well, it was a thought.  The GP was surprised that husband had heard so quickly from the Memory Assessment team - he had to refer husband to them because it's they who arrange the brain scan.  He said in his opinion the brain scan should come first, and then memory tests depending on the results, but it's up to the memory team how they organise things.

Briony and Sue, you both mentioned statins.  Yes, husband is on a statin, he was put on it when his heart failure was first diagnosed in 2018 - he wasn't keen, but we discussed it with both the GP and the cardiologist and came to the conclusion that this statin was a necessary evil with his heart failure.  I have it on my patient notes that I refuse to have a statin, so they no longer offer them to me (as they previously kept doing every time I saw them for whatever reason).  So as husband has been on the statin for nearly 5 years, I think it's unlikely to be that causing his memory problems, which only really started towards the end of last year.

This morning husband is going out with his best mate for their monthly brunch.  It'll do him good, he can have a chat with his mate who has long-term health problems of his own.  I could have got husband to drop me off at the supermarket coffee shop, so I could have my own solo coffee break, followed by a small top up shop.  However, I had a terrible night and my guts are really playing up (subconscious worry I expect), so I'll just have a quiet morning here at home with just Betty for company - and no TV on all the time.

No idea what Betty was dreaming about Wednesday night, but she actually howled in her sleep instead of her usual woofing - that's new, she's never howled before.  It woke me up of course, seeing as she was right next to me with her back pressed up against my side.  I just put my hand out and stroked her, telling her it was alright, and she stopped.  Perhaps it was intuition about her going to the vets yesterday - she hates going there.  She only went for a check up though, following her latest ear infection, everything was fine, it's cleared up.

All our snow has gone now, it's raining and very windy (funny how it's often really windy on dustbin and recycling day, so the rubbish gets blown up the road!).  The forecast is for very unsettled weather with quite a bit of rain and strong gusty winds for the next week or so.  This feels like a very long winter.

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Getting to grips with it all

 Husband and I are gradually getting our heads around everything - things like that are always a shock at first, particularly when something you just weren't expecting is thrown at you.  I've got a phone consultation booked with our GP this morning, so hopefully I'll know a bit more after that.  Husband is mostly staying very quiet and keeping his thoughts to himself  (he always internalises things), but occasionally will ask me a question which shows the situation is on his mind.

Last week, there were no bungalows at all on the housing list for that week.....this week there's one.  It's a brand new one, on a largish new build estate on the edge of a small town, with bus routes and services (shops, doctor, dentist, vet) all in walking distance in the town.  Sadly, it's not anywhere near here, it's an hour's journey away, but looks to be a really nice area and a pretty town.  The bungalow itself (they only show the plans, as it's not even completed yet) looks to be very nice indeed, with a decent sized garden, and overlooks a purpose-built village green, small woodland and community orchard, so good dog walking area.  

Unfortunately, we wouldn't stand a chance of getting it - for a start, we are currently No. 77(!!) in the queue of eligible people, and the housing association say priority will be given to people who are already resident in the local area.  But it's nice to know that there are such nice places around, and if nobody local wants it then they will consider people from further away.  We might go for a drive out there in the next few days, just to see the area for ourselves as it's not somewhere we're familiar with.  I've checked, and it's roughly the same distance from there to the caravan as it would be from here to the new bungalow, so still perfectly doable.  So it's possibly somewhere we might consider moving to, although we would prefer to stay fairly local.

We ended up with quite a lot of snow yesterday, but it's already melting away today as it's raining on and off and the temperature has risen a bit.  At least Betty had her fun in the snow it can go away please and don't come back!  All my flowering Spring bulbs are looking sorry for themselves, they've all drooped in the snow, but they'll come back.

Husband's asked for a fish finger sandwich for lunch today, and bangers, mash, peas and onion gravy for dinner.  I'll probably have something fishy with my mash and peas, but no onion gravy with it!

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

A sledgehammer to crack a nut

 Well we have snow, surprisingly, about an inch at the moment and it is still snowing, albeit not fast or big flakes.  Betty's already been out and had a run round the garden, she's like a lawnmower in the snow, she has her nose right in it and charges round like she's hoovering the snow up!  The sky looks full of it, so we obviously have more to come.  I just hope it doesn't hang around - well, the temperature is due to rise from tomorrow and more rain forecast, so that'll get rid of it.

Thank you all for the kind and supportive comments.  I didn't sleep well, understandably, after yesterday's revelations....husband seems ok, he didn't sleep too badly.  He did suggest, however, not going for the tests - because he too is worrying about being told he might have his licence taken away.  I will make sure he goes though - we need to know what's causing his terrible short term memory loss, whatever the outcome may be.  It just feels like we've had the rug pulled out from under our feet right now.  Having only been told by the GP that he'd arrange for husband to have a brain scan and take it from there, we only expected for husband to go and have an MRI or CT scan.  We had absolutely no idea that he'd be having all these memory and mental health tests imminently, and to be told straight away that he might lose his driving licence was such a shock - like frightening the life out of us before he's even diagnosed.  It's like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.  If they routinely tell people that straight away up front, my feeling is that it may well put people off having the tests - like it did husband.

There's no doubt that if husband does lose his licence, it will adversely affect every single aspect of our lives.  We'd have to give up the caravan for a start, to my great disappointment, it would be difficult to get Betty to the vet (we don't go to the nearest vet [even the nearest isn't near us], we go to one over half an hour away, as they are without a doubt the best vets in the area.  Similarly, my dentist is over 30 mins away, although husband goes to one in town.  Both hospitals - the small cottage-type one and the big general one - are a fair distance away, the small one the other side of Bridgwater, the big one 40+ mins drive away in Taunton.  Every single facility, service and shopping area we use needs a car to get there - no public transport here as you know.

I know if the worst happens and husband is diagnosed with some form of dementia and has to lose his licence, it may well bump up our housing needs ranking.  But even then, it won't happen overnight, that will take time, the housing dept will require further written evidence and may want to get in touch with the doctors.  And even then it might take a while - several weeks or months even - to be offered a new home.  And, the worst thing, we may then be forced to accept a home that, whilst it may be deemed to meet our requirements, it may be a type of property and an area that we don't really want.  We would hate to have to move to a flat (no garden) in the centre of a very built up area - we really don't want to be forced to live somewhere that we'll both hate.

Right now, I feel like we are both being forced to confront something major head on that might turn out to be nothing.....if it's just meds related.  As for husband's driving - I'm with him in the car for most journeys, and I don't feel scared stiff!  If I thought there was a big problem with his driving, then I'd say so.  He feels, as do I, that the fact that he was a professional driver of lorries, and buses/coaches before that, for nearly all his working life, right up until he retired in 2017, and all the intensive driving training he went through, stands him in good stead and his driving skills are deeply ingrained in him.  Obviously, though, if he is diagnosed with dementia of some sort, then he will eventually have to give up driving - I've looked on the Dementia UK website and it's not necessarily going to happen straight away, he may be able to continue driving for a while.

I just feel the woman from the Memory Assessment team put the fear of God into us right from the start yesterday, completely unnecessarily and prematurely, and I will be mentioning that to them when we both go for these tests (they've said I should accompany husband so I can give my insights into his problems).

I just knew this run of good stuff happening in our lives wouldn't last!! 😂😂😒

One positive thing to come out of yesterday was that in the afternoon I had a good long video chat with my sister, who is a fulltime carer to her husband, who has numerous medical problems, he is immobile and housebound.  So she at least can empathise 100% with everything I'm feeling at the moment.  I said that, notwithstanding our 'in sickness and in health' marriage vows, we both feel that we didn't sign up for this!!  And we both had tears streaming down our faces whilst laughing our heads off.

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Bloody scary

 We had a phone call this morning that was, frankly, quite scary and overwhelming and has certainly made us both think in terms of 'Wow, didn't see that coming!'.

It turned out to be a lady from the NHS Memory Assessment Service, part of the Elderly Mental Health team.  She said she'd had a referral for husband from his GP for a full memory and mental health assessment to be organised for him, she asked straight away if husband drives and said that depending on what the result of the assessment is, they may have to send a report to the DVLA.  Presumably with a view to him being told he can't drive.  Now that's bloody scary, and what a thing to start off with! 😲  

All the GP said to us was that he'd refer husband for a brain scan - nothing was mentioned about this full assessment.  I'm not saying it's not a good idea - it is, of course.  The thought of husband possibly suffering from dementia or Alzheimers has definitely crossed my mind, but this assessment thing does seem a huge first step considering his memory problems etc may possibly turn out to be medication-related, or even as some of you have suggested, a B12 deficiency.  It scares the shit out of me, to put it bluntly.  And if he does have the start of some form of dementia and has to give up driving, it is going to have a huge impact on our lives, every aspect of our lives in fact.  The prospect of that is terrifying.  I know everyone will say there's no point worrying until there's actually something to worry about - easy to say, not so easy to do.

A good GP

 We went to see the GP yesterday, to get husband's results of his blood tests and to discuss how things have been since the GP reduced the dosage of one of his meds, to see if it made a difference to some of the problems he's been having (balance issues, short term memory loss).  His balance issues have definitely improved, he's not stumbling or falling into things nearly as much, and hasn't fallen up the stairs in the last week or two.  His blood pressure (he had to take it twice a day for the past fortnight) has mostly gone up - it was very low before, which was clearly exacerbating his balance problems.  However, the GP did say that on odd occasions his BP is still too low, according to his fortnight's measurements.  He's been having spells of angina again, which the GP said might happen with the reduction of the med dosage.  His memory problems haven't resolved at all, his short term memory is still total crap.  So the GP has jiggled some of his meds around again, increasing one, reducing another, and trying a different brand of a third.  Husband is to take the new regime for a week and then do another fortnight of BP readings, and then we go see the GP again.  

With regard to husband's memory problems, the GP said it might be best for husband to have a brain scan (in case it's not meds or heart failure related, but possibly dementia - I do hope not).  So he's arranging that.  I'm determined not to worry, until/unless there's something to worry about (says the Queen of worrying!), and then we'll meet and deal with that if/when it comes.  Once again, I'm so glad we have a really good GP - and surgery staff, the dispenser came out to explain all husband's new meds and dosages to us, so we understood exactly, rather than just handing them over, which was good of her.  It will certainly be a shame if we end up moving away from our GP's catchment area, I know lots of people aren't nearly so fortunate with their GPs.

My resolve to eat less carbs and more salady stuff is going out the window a bit with the return of the bitterly cold weather.....still, it's supposed to get warmer, albeit wet, towards the weekend, although we might possibly have some snow in the next day or two (none as yet).

The long range weather forecast for the rest of this month isn't great, which is disappointing when we want to start spending time at the caravan.  Oh well, the weather will improve soon enough, hopefully.  The forecasters keep saying 'confidence is low' for the next week or two - now I know the weather forecast can never be an exact science, but if the professional forecasters aren't confident, what chance have we got to know what it's going to be like?

Thank you for comments recently, sorry I don't always answer them directly - if you've asked a question and I haven't answered, feel free to shout and remind me!  And welcome to a new reader, Donna - and to anyone else who might have joined recently, sneaking in the back door and blending in!

Monday, 6 March 2023

What happened to them?

 Yesterday I decided to go through my blog list and weed out the few that no longer publish.....well, I was surprised at just how many there were, I didn't count them before deleting, but it must have been a couple of dozen I should think.  One or two had stated their intention to stop blogging, but the majority have just disappeared, with no word.  So that leaves us wondering what happened.  I suppose if something had happened to the blog holder, then it's possible their partner/family either didn't know about their blog or didn't know how to access it - I know my husband wouldn't be able to access mine - even if he did know how to, his dyslexia would prevent him writing anything.

I know I no longer write on my other two blogs - the cardmaking one and the food one - I do still make cards occasionally, and of course I cook!  But writing three blogs was just too much for me to keep up, so I just stick to this one now.  But never say never, I might start writing on them again at some point in the future.  

I don't know what was up with husband yesterday, but he was like a bear with a sore head - snapping at both the dog and me just for breathing.  He insisted he was fine and denied being irritable, so I just left him to it in the end, after requesting that he please stop shouting at Betty as it was making her anxious.  He said he didn't have angina (he rarely tells me if he has, I have to ask when I notice the signs and encourage him to use his GTN spray) and wasn't worrying about anything.....perhaps he was just tired, I don't know.  Hopefully he'll have got out of it today, or else tell me what's wrong.

A quiet week to come - Betty has to go to the vet for a check up on Thursday, following her latest ear infection.  Husband is going out for brunch with his best mate on Friday.....I might get him to drop me off at the supermarket first, so I can have the solo coffee treat I missed out on last week, and then do a bit of shopping.  I so rarely get the opportunity to do any shopping or go for a coffee by myself.

Sunday, 5 March 2023

Slow Sunday

 Not a lot happening here at the moment, so not much to say!  

We were going to go to the caravan again one day this coming week, but are now having second thoughts....The weather forecast is for it to be very cold this coming week, no snow for us (probably), but possibly some sleety rain on Tuesday, and the chance of a few showers during the week.  Looks like it may be warming up a bit at the end of the week.  If it's going to be really cold and possibly showery, then it's unlikely that there'll be many more van owners coming.  Our lovely neighbours aren't coming until it gets a fair bit warmer, the neighbours on the other side of them don't come until May each year.  Even the other owners who arrived last week the same day as us, and who were intending initially to stay for a fortnight, said they might actually go home if it's going to be very cold.  Nice as it is there, seems little point in going there just to put the heating on and sit watching TV, which is pretty much all we'd do if it's too cold to sit outside and there's nobody else around to talk to.  So we might wait until next week.

I've got 5 stone pots at the front of the van, 2 have ferns in, 2 hebes and the large middle one a big lavender.  The ferns and hebes have died, the lavender I think may come back to life, despite it looking quite sorry for itself right now.  I think the excessively hot weather did for the ferns and hebes last year, and not enough watering (when we weren't there to water).  So I'm wondering what to put in the pots this year.  I'll have to do a bit of research, but in the meantime, any suggestions for plants (I'd like flowering ones but they don't have to be) which will tolerate both heat and inconsistent watering?  I know for a start it would be best to mix plenty of water retaining crystals in with the soil.

There were no bungalows at all on the housing list last week - plenty of 2 bed houses and flats, but we don't want those.  It's fine though, we really aren't looking to move anytime soon, we'd like to continue saving and get a good big balance in our house moving account first, moving house is an expensive business.  By this time next year, I think we'll be ready to find somewhere to move to.  I do still look at the housing list every week though, it's interesting to see what's available and in what areas.

Husband's having roast chicken today, a whole one that'll do him for several meals.  I'll be having the usual mix of roast and green veg, with some (packet) sage & onion stuffing and gravy.  I'm putting the oven on today, for the first time in the 3 weeks since I've had the AF.  I've got a 1kg bag of new potatoes which are just starting to sprout, so I want to cook the whole lot....I'll slice them along with onions and some little bits of smoked bacon (for the flavour) and layer them with runny cheese sauce (the potatoes will soak the sauce up better when it's runny) and bake until soft underneath, crispy on the top.  Some long slim young carrots will also be roasted, drizzled with honey and ginger.  And the stuffing to go in the oven as well, of course.  Shredded sweetheart cabbage and peas for the green stuff on the hob.  There'll be plenty of leftovers of everything to freeze.

I enjoyed my cottage cheese salad last night, along with the chopped lettuce, cucumber and tomato I mixed in some sliced radishes, grated carrot, sweetcorn and a segmented and chopped large orange, dressed with a balsamic, lemon and olive oil dressing.  Scrumptious.  Husband enjoyed his bbq pork ribs with his salad.

For not having much to say, I said quite a lot 😂

Have a good day all.

Saturday, 4 March 2023

Feeling sluggish

 So it was Ken Bruce's last ever show on Radio 2 yesterday, we listened to it all.  Very emotional at times, but he was professional to the end, he even said that the BBC, despite a few vagaries(!!) remained the best broadcaster in the world, which was very gracious of him.  I'm sure people wouldn't blame him if he had put kippers inside the hem of the office curtains, as one of his listeners suggested!  That's the last time I listen to Radio 2 on a regular basis - I have no objection to Vernon Kay, who's taking over Ken's show in a few weeks, and do actually like some of the remaining presenters.....Gary Davies e.g. (he's doing Ken's show until VK takes over).  I used to really like Gary Davies actually, when he was on Radio 1 and Top of the Pops years ago, he was so goodlooking and had such a friendly manner.  And I like listening to Michael Ball on Sunday mornings, he's like the boy next door with his gossipy friendly chat, it feels like he's one of your best mates.  But I do feel strongly that the BBC have shot themselves in the foot getting rid of the older presenters, and the way they've forced Ken Bruce out 3 weeks early is deplorable.  So I shall be listening to Greatest Hits radio from now on, and sticking 2 fingers up to Radio 2!!

I had a phone call late yesterday afternoon from the hospital physio department....cancelling my first specialist physio exercise class scheduled for next Wednesday.  This is a brand new class being set up, it's specifically designed with exercises for patients with the same GTPS (Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome) hip bursitis that I have.  Unfortunately, this first group class would have been a group of....just one - me!  And as the introductory class was to have been 1.5 hours, it wouldn't be the best use of their resources to have just one person there.  Understandable I suppose.  Apparently, no other GTPS patients who were asked this week if they'd like to join the class said yes, I was the only one who agreed (I jumped at the chance, actually).  They fully expect to have more of an uptake by the time of the next class, next month (having initially been told it would likely be a weekly or fortnightly class, now they're thinking along the lines of monthly 😒).  Ce la vie!

We had fish, chips and mushy peas for dinner last night.....well, husband did, when it came to serving up I really didn't fancy the chips - what with the battered fish and the mushy peas, it was just all too carby for me, so I just had the fish and peas.  I'm now feeling the effects of eating too many carbs lately, feeling sluggish and bloated, and really beginning to crave salads....ironically, when they're not in season and there are some shortages, and really cold weather is forecast for next week!  We're going to the supermarket early this morning (as soon as we're showered and dressed, to avoid the crowds) so I can have a look at what salady things they've got.  Husband's having bbq pork ribs tonight, I fancy cottage cheese with salad and fruit, something really light.

On our local news yesterday, there was a report about some lions being moved from Bristol Zoo to Kent, they showed the lions.  Betty, who was sitting beside me, leapt up and jumped on the sofa, which is nearest to the TV on the wall - barking and growling at the TV.....she hates cats!  I took a couple of photos but unfortunately they came out really blurry - camera shake, as I was laughing so much.  She really is funny sometimes, she makes me laugh every day.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Please hurry up (warmer weather that is)

 Husband wasn't feeling too good yesterday, breathless and some minor chest pains - nothing out of the ordinary, just one of his not so good days.  I had a minor stomach upset - again, nothing to worry about, my guts are often a bit temperamental, it was probably just all the excitement from the day before!  So we had a restful day yesterday, doing not a lot.  I just did the essential bits of housework in the morning, then chopped up all the veggies for dinner (roasted Mediterranean veg done in the AF, with smoked salmon stirred through for me, husband had a pasty with his).  Then I went upstairs and read my book after lunch, with Betty fast asleep on my bed, whilst husband watched a film/dozed downstairs.  After an early night and plenty of sleep, we both feel better today.  I'm certainly sleeping well lately, I can only put it down to being devoid of stress recently.  Husband's taking the car to the garage for another minor job today, I've just got washing and the normal housework jobs to do, then I might start sorting out a few more things in my craft room/spare bedroom, seeing as we'll have a guest sleeping in it for a visit next month.

We've had some lovely bright sunshiny days recently, but it's so blimmin cold.  I do wish it would start warming up a bit, it would be nice not to have the heating on such a lot...I'm just glad we can afford it.  I've not been putting my washing out on the line - it's so cold it just doesn't dry, even after being out for several hours....besides which, I get absolutely frozen standing there pegging it all out on the line.  I really don't like being cold nowadays - I'd almost say bring back my hot flushes!! 😂  I'm so glad Betty sleeps on my bed, it's like having a big furry hot water bottle.  Although she is a bit fidgety....and snores quite a bit....and has lots of woofy dreams where she's obviously chasing a rabbit or pheasant.  Ah well, small price to pay for a warm night!

If it's going to be as cold as 'they' say it is next week, then I doubt we'll be going to the fact we probably won't be going anywhere - I don't do cold weather!  Although, having said that, I have my first physio exercise class next interesting to see if it's cancelled, if there's snow.  I saw a forecast yesterday that said there may be snow in Taunton and Bridgwater (we're in between those 2 towns), but another forecast said there probably won't be any in Somerset.  So it's a case of wait and see.

Cold and frosty - I think, it was still dark when I got up - again this morning, going to be cloudy today apparently.  

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Everything's coming up roses

 All was well at the caravan yesterday, to my great relief.  As a matter of fact, other than the van feeling very cold, it was almost as if we'd left it only last week.  Once we put the heaters on, it soon warmed up though.  Betty was hugely excited, running around sniffing everything and checking out all her toys and chewies left there.  A tree behind and in between ours and the next van down had a large branch broken and hanging off, fortunately it wasn't anywhere near either of our vans.  There were just two other owner couples there - we didn't think there would be many.  One couple we're very friendly with so we caught up with them.....unfortunately both of the couples had minor problems with their vans, the ones we know quite well had a burst/cracked pipe underneath their van, meaning they had no water supply, apparently the other couple, right at the bottom of the park so we don't know them so well, had some problem with their electricity supply.  So we count ourselves fortunate that we appear to have no problems.

The garden was absolutely fine, although not many of the bulbs I planted were flowering......lots more poking through, so they'll be in flower very soon.  The bank bed behind our van has cyclamen in flower, a few bulbs, a camellia in bud, it'll look lovely in the next few weeks.  All the roses in pots have tiny leaf buds on them.

We had a chat with the site owner, who was well and cracking his usual jokes with his deadpan delivery (he has a somewhat strange sense of humour!).  He let us know in a roundabout way that he'll have to put the site fees up this year, although he says not by much and he himself is bearing some of the cost (due to rising electricity and water prices for the park services).  I fully expected the fees to be going up anyway and have already allowed for this, saving a bit extra each month to our caravan account.  By the time we have to pay it in June, we'll have more than enough in the account, so no worries there.

So all in all, we had a lovely few hours there.  We'll be going back one day next week.

Oh, husband forgot to take Betty's lead.....honestly, I have about 283 things to remember and pack, he has just one and forgets that!  Can't be trusted.  Still, he can't help it.  Dogs must be kept on leads whilst walking round the park, fortunately husband had a length of rope in his van toolbox he could use.....luckily he'd remembered to put Betty's collar on.

When we first heard from the Housing Dept that they'd accepted our application for social housing, they said we were only eligible for a 1 bedroom place - we'd applied for 2 bedrooms, I'd explained our need for 2 bedrooms and submitted a letter of support from our GP, explaining our requirement.  So I asked Housing for a review, reiterating our need and pointing out I'd submitted the supporting evidence from our GP, and asking if they'd overlooked this?  I had an email from them yesterday agreeing to our 2 bedroom requirement, which we're very pleased about.  Another small victory - I am truly amazed and immensely pleased that everything seems to be going our way recently.  Long may it last!  I had a shit few months struggling with everything, and I do mean everything, and it nearly finished me off.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

And off we go....the start of another caravan season

 CARAVAN DAY!!!  We'll be heading off when rush hour tails off.  We're expecting it to be very cold in the van at first, but it'll soon warm up with the electric fire and a couple of the oil filled elec radiators switched on.  I'll try to remember to take some pics of the garden, I'm hoping some of the Spring bulbs I'd planted back in October are flowering.  The car got packed yesterday with most of the van essentials, we're taking lunch with us and will be spending a few hours there.

My physio yesterday went well, the therapist has given me another exercise to do standing on the stairs which is specifically designed to help strengthen my hip, as I mentioned that my hip feels very weak when going up the stairs.  It's in conjunction with the other 2 exercises she gave me previously, both of which I do lying on the bed, she's advised me to do 10 reps of each, with a couple of minutes break and then repeat each set twice more.  She said to do them every other day, giving time for my hip to settle down in between, as she said increasing the amount of sets may inflame my hip without sufficient rest/recovery time.  She's also booked me in for a weekly exercise class, a new one that's starting up at the hospital soon which is specially for people with the same problem as mine, that'll be helpful I should think.

We've decided that we're not going to be dieting just yet after all - with this albeit sunny but very cold weather we're having at the moment, we are both finding we want carby meals.  I'm all for listening to my body and doing what it wants, so it feels right to me to carry on eating carby foods just now.  Once the weather gets warmer, then we'll start cutting down on the carbs, and hopefully getting out for walks more.  I'm not overdoing the carbs, but if I feel like having mashed potato, chips or toast a few times a week, then I do.  I'm trying to balance it by having at least one low carb meal a day.

I've told Betty we're off to the caravan today.....she was staring up at me, looking as if she was listening intently but probably thinking 'Mum, I don't speak human, just give me a biscuit' 😂😂.  She can tell something is going on though, she's been following me around this morning (I was up very early, unsurprisingly) watching me carefully.