Wednesday 29 November 2023

I really didn't want to get up this morning


. . . However, the day has improved.  As usual, I was awake a couple of hours in the night again, and ended up writing down everything that was going through my mind.  I had a phone call from the Hospital yesterday, to say they had had a further cancellation and we could have the appt with the Consultant bought forward to tomorrow.  Still 10 a.m. which is a push for us living 45 miles away and Keith isn't too mobile first thing.  We'll manage - we have to.  

One of the things which hit me in the night was the fact we had upped Keith's  dairy intake to try and get weight back on him.  Yesterday Keith had cheese on toast for breakfast, and later we tried the whey protein which Tam had left us at the weekend, mixed  with full cream milk.  Keith had a small glass at teatime, but then later on we really struggled to get him up to bed as his balance was so bad.  He had some cheese biscuits in the evening too and that really increased saliva production.  I have read that too much dairy prevents the Parkinsons medication from working efficiently and I think that we need to cut right back and see if it makes a difference.  Today he's only had a little milk in his tea and I did him the fluffiest omelette for his breakfast.  

The District Nurse has just called, and will be back later.  We were chatting outside and I mentioned the LPAs and blimey, she can help with that.  Then she asked about carers and of course I told her I was a one man show, which really surprised her.  She is going to sort that out too and get in touch with Social Services.,  It does seem to me, if you are a professional, you can make things happen - get the attention of Social Services etc - in a way that I as an individual can't.  I had left a couple of phone messages but then decided Danny & Emma would be here in January, so I just had to slog on till then.

I am just sat down watching Bargain Hunt with Keith, and we are doing our usual "DON'T buy that" and "HOW much?!!"  or "I wouldn't buy that".  I will get back to he cake I began mixing earlier (Chocolate Apple Cake to use up some stewed blackberry and apple I had in the fridge and needs using.)  I have apples to stew up as well, after being given that huge bag last week. Oh and I have mandarin oranges to use up too from a tin opened and put in a cup, and those will be a Mandarin Orange Cake.  

I even made progress with a brick wall  for my Adams Family in Plymouth - Non-Conformists are always wriggly worms - and now it looks like they came from Cornwall.  I shall do some more research later - I have been looking up all the Adams names in the censuses and will be mapping out different families/occupations/areas of Plymouth area in a "Spider" later.  The ones I need most are the Carpenters with Plymstock and Charles the Martyr Plymouth and have found what may be a brother now, of my g.g. grandfather.

So, we shall see what transpires with today's developments.

Monday 27 November 2023

Rant! Update and how to order a £2.50 digital birth or death certificate for Debbie

 It's 5.30 a.m.  I can't sleep.  I shall do some family history I think, and find out what g. granny Brown and her grand-daughter Rosina died from (the latter only 17).  Get right through to payments for the first death certificate and then for the heady sum of £2.50, all of a sudden I have to put the payment through my card reader.  This involves:  going upstairs to get card from handbag, plus mobile phone, finding said card reader, turning phone on and going upstairs to bedroom to get a signal, waiting about 5 minutes for said signal and the appropriate code and then putting that in so I can have the HUGE payment verified.  You know - I can't be bothered.  It can wait until daylight.  Update: with my brain engaged, I found I just had to find the card reader and put in the number they had supplied online.  Doh.  Found that my g.g. grandmother whose husband had up-sticks from London and taken them to the Welsh Valleys died from a) hemiplegia - brain damage/spinal cord injury - probably a stroke, and b) myocarditis - heart inflammation.  Her grandaughter, just 17, died from Acute Broncho-Pneumonia TB... She was taken ill when staying with the rest of the family in Hampshire, and went home to die.

        Debbie - GRO £2.50 birth or death certificates. Go to the GRO site, and - having checked the GRO Index Reference number from Free BMD or similar site, click on the  "start now."  I am registered with them so just have to log in.  Then a page comes up with various options - chose the Order a Digital Image and then follow the instructions.  Hope this helps

        I did 22 trips up and downstairs yesterday - is it any wonder my legs get tired?!  I'd just got to the bathroom yesterday for the loo and I heard a knock on the door.  Plans abandoned,  up and leg it to front door - it's a delivery van, looking for blardy Orchard Cottage again.  If that happens once, it happens a dozen times, or else they just dump their parcels here to avoid going up the dog-leg steep driveway.  Our postie uses the catflap or rings bell and pops parcel through the door.  Other parcel deliverers pretty considerate too.

        If I have to spend today waiting around for people to phone me back I shall not be pleased.   There's nothing worse - I can't be far from the phone because it only rings 6 times before going to answerphone.  If I'm upstairs I can't even hear it ring. 

        I am hoping it won't be too cold today so I can get back to planting my bulbs in pots and planters. I made a good start in October and then Covid struck and it's rained daily since!  Right, back to bed in the hope I can sleep but I'll have to set the alarm so I don't sleep on like I did on Sunday, as Keith can't be in bed too long or he can barely move at all.

Green Darkness

Part of the stunning borders at Powis Castle this summer.

 I first read this book when it was published back in the 1970s and have read it a couple of times since. When we were moving I hardened my heart and gave it with the boxes and boxes of books to the charity in Carmarthen who were still taking books.  It's written by Anya Seton and the review of it here may tempt you to seek out a copy, if historical timeslips are your thing.  It is a book I can lose myself in anyway, and right now, is about the best way to get respite without leaving the house.  

        I decided my blog was becoming a "poor me" moan, and of no interest to anyone, but unable to get out anywhere for weeks to have much "me time" it was inevitable, and everything has been grinding me down.  There have been further health problems et al and further challenges over the weekend, and I spent all morning on the phone, which I find wearing at the best of times.  Hoping the LPA problem has been solved but that requires an answer to a phone message I left this morning, so fingers crossed. 

        Keith and I were just watching the firework display on the Showground - it's the Welsh Winter Fair being held there and queues of traffic on the lane to go over the bridge across the Wye.  Fortunately I was able to go up the inside lane, and up the road past the Strand and Eco Chic AND get parked - a minor miracle.  I had to go out again this afternoon for another prescription for Keith, and not only was there a parking space, I managed to reverse into it.  If there is a long queue of traffic waiting for me to do so I tend to get flustered.

        I knew this was going to be a tiring day - I'd been up and downstairs 10 times before 10.30. Now that's got to 21 an the day's not over yet.  Hoping I will sleep well tonight.

        Sorry, not much to report.  Tam was here for just a couple of hours on Saturday morning, as she was meeting up with her best friend (who's settled in Sheffield now) at the Elan Valley.  The winter weather brought us a beautiful hoar frost and I went out for a walk and took photos in the afternoon, but the computer has filed them somewhere random again.  I couldn't face trying to sort it out today.  Gabby has been making phone calls on my behalf again too, so that lightens the load.

        I don't know how often I will get a post together but if I go quiet, don't worry, life has gotten in the way again.

Friday 24 November 2023

Having a little break

 Sorry good friends.  Life is really being sh***y right now.  This hasn't been a good day on several different levels.  I will have a break from posting as there is nothing positive to write.  Oh tell a lie, I chased up his appt with the Consultant and managed to get a cancellation so we will see her 2nd week of December.  We'll stress the need for Botox injections for his neck as that is what is causing so many problems, including the eating.  I made Keith get on the scales this morning and he has lost over a stone in recent weeks - I knew he had as he's clearly getting so thin and he was never fat to start with.  9st 2lbs now.  Not been that slim since he was a teenager.  He says he is too tired to eat. I have tried my best to get him to eat more, but no . . . I forced a good piece of salmon down at lunchtime with some fried potatoes, and a banana, and some yoghurt.  That is a BIG meal for him.  

Just going shopping for high protein, easily eaten food.  And wine.  I need something to take the edge off my anxiety levels, but I promise, a glass won't be poured till nearly bed-time.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Another of those days - the Universe is sticking its oar in again

Perhaps positively this time.  We shall see.  A medical issue and we will be told in a week how permanent it is likely to be.  A possible emergency trip to A&E may have been on the cards, but difficult to tell.  I won't give details, but it was a bit of a shock, and the speed of it all happening too didn't give us time to take it in fully.

    Today I have had my first "walk" - i.e. one that didn't involve smooth flat supermarket floors! when I went up the lane to see our neighbour's new Whippet puppy, who is adorable but has needle-sharp teefs!  It was lovely to catch-up and have horsey cuddles with her two boys.  I came home laden with about 12 lbs of apples (cookers and eaters) which slowed me down up the last hill rather.  But I have proved I can do a few slopes and less challenging hills again so need to build up my stamina once more.

    This afternoon I will have to get back to making my Hedgerow Jelly, which had to be abandoned yesterday.  I may try bottling some of the apples I was given, but that will have to wait until the weekend.

    No rain so far today - yet!!

    Another g.g. gran death certificate and sadly she died from TB - as did her youngest son just a couple of years before.  The other certificate which appeared at the outside to be another g.g. gran was her 15 week old grand-daughter who died from Enteritis.  Whatever problems the NHS had, we should be glad that treatments are available for things which killed our ancestors not that long ago.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

FINALLY - 6 weeks on . . .


. . . from testing positive for Covid, I feel back to normal today.  We both slept better, my brain is clearer, I have energy and what's more I have purpose.  I WANT to do things again, and have some wild foraged fruits out of the freezer to make Hedgerow Jelly with tomorrow along with a kilo of Crab Apples which were being given away in the PO.   All the time I've been ill I haven't given a sh*t about anything, and everything has just been SUCH an effort. Even going up and down stairs has made me feel like I've just run a marathon (mind you, I counted the times one day last week and it was 19 trips up and down the stairs!!)  

    Keith too has been better - speech clearer, he has walked briskly up and down the kitchen twice with his stroller, and we've been doing his Pitcherwits puzzle together - his writing was the first thing to go with this horrid disease - it just got smaller and smaller and his whole right hand side was affected with slowness. Only on a very good day can he manage some shaky capitals, so he tells me the answers and I write them in.   

    I had the energy to go up to our neighbour's again and this time he was in and came back with me straight away to change the noisy smoke alarm battery.  I have done the one in the kitchen and think we need a new one entirely for the yellow bedroom as when I tried to get the cover off it started falling off the ceiling!  I will have to get either Danny or Jon to fix that though.  

    Keith and I watched Escape to the Country and then Antiques Road Trip together (Carmarthenshire & Swansea, so some shops and countryside we knew well) and I've done some family history too.  I want to apply for the death certificates of my g. grandmother Harriet Wootton and her mother Mary Ann Fosdick.  They died age 36 and 42 respectively, but it's possible that Harriet died from childbirth complications as she had her final child within 3 months of giving birth.  Until I get the certificate I won't know how close to parturition. You can still get digital copies of the certificates for just £2.50 - I got those of my Bolt G. grandparents that way - but today it's been very slow. 

 *DEBBIE (Country Ways and Cottage Days) - it's the GRO (General Register Office).  You will need to research the death details (Free BMD will be fine) and get the Name, Place, year, which quarter of the year and that will give you a reference  (1A 7 for instance).  When you are typing up the details on the GRO site, ignore the prices for posted certificates and there will be an online option in one of the boxes where you put your person's details.  Then you go on to pay, and THEN you click I'm not a robot and have to jump through all sorts of loops if you can't include every bit of car, motorbike, bus, traffic light etc in photos . . .  Yeesh!  I would say unless you have superfast broadband, wait until the daytime tomorrow when less people online.

    FINALLY I now know - Acute Rheumatism Pericarditis. A rare form of heart failure and due to, I believe, auto-immune problems. Treatable now but of course, not then. Her poor baby was only a month old when she died and my gran was only 3. G. Grandad quickly remarried of course, just 8 months later - he had to with 6 children under the age of 10.  Not much in the way of prophylactics available THEN!  

    Her mother was young too.  Still waiting for things to load on the site before I can share her story. If I've identified cars or motorbikes or zebra crossings or traffic lights once, I've done them 20 times, and then the broadband fades out!  I shall report back later.


Monday 20 November 2023

Insomnia . . . and another day of phone calls

. . . I've had four - or is it 5? - nights of it.  BIG chunks of sleep, as in 4 hours awake each night, worrying and fretting.  Had one of those fall asleep for ten minutes and then still awake at 3 a.m. nights.  Hate those. Still trying to sort out the IPA. I read online that a Social Worker can do it so I phoned them this morning.  They've just phoned back and suggested alternatives.   If they were our only choice we could be waiting months for an appointment and that won't do.  They have suggested the Parkinsons nurse - who I thought of but discounted as she was part of the Surgery team and they told me the Surgery don't do LPAs.   I spoke to them this morning asking whether Keith's appt. or medication we asked for (to slow down saliva production) could be brought forward and explained why.  Fingers x'd now - she's not in until tomorrow. I've now left a message about the LPA for her too.

    Some positive news anyway, as Tam and Jon have got the keys to their new home.  Just a little modest ex Council property in a small close of houses, but in a quiet spot near fabulous walks and they won't know themselves after being at the mercy of the vagaries of the renting market for so long.  Plus she will have her first GARDEN all of her own, so she'll be over the moon about that.  They'll be able to decorate it as they want, hang up paintings and make it their own. 

    Now I need to go and post a New Home card and her birthday card and can't wait for them to send some photos of how it's looking.  I'm not sure if Keith is up to the 3 hour return trip to go and see it, but we'll see.  He's just taking the CBD oil at night now as it makes him quite drowsy, but it's early days yet.

    I saw a tortoiseshell and white cat out in the paddock this morning, with Pippi beside her.  I called Pippi and they both disappeared through the bushes into next door's garden.  Then Pippi rushed up from a different direction, so it looks like a mum and well-grown kitten. This must have been the one that Danny saw a month ago when he went out to investigate a cat fight.  He said he saw Alfie (or L. Whale?) and other cat sat side by side, so obviously it had been noticed it was a girl, and no threat.  I do NOT need two more cats to feed, let alone two cats and a possible new litter . . .


Friday 17 November 2023

Fresh air and freedom in the Elan Valley

This morning the weather was absolutely beautiful - clear blue skies and I was determined to get out for a bit.  Unfortunately all the jobs that needed doing, and Keith's lunch, meant I didn't get away until gone 1.30, by which time clouds were starting to appear.

I headed for the Elan Valley, because I felt a need for fresh air and autumn colours, for beauty and freedom.  For the first time since we've been visiting the Elan Valley, the dams were full and water spilling over the top.  It was quite something.  

You can imagine the noise too.

I loved the scarlet of the Hawthorn haws against the snow white of the rushing water.

The best view of all was from the back of the Visitor centre, where I had stopped to buy several birthday cards and a special Christmas card for my dear friend Rosie in NZ.

I followed the lane along past Garreg Ddu Dam, where the sun was just slipping behind the hills (about 2.30 ish then).

The lane behind me, such a wonderful combination of colours from acidy green to amber to russet, with some deep fir green thrown in for good measure.


Looking above the reservoir through the young trees this side, to the established oak forests the other.

Huge rocky hillsides behind me.

I stopped at our favourite waterfall - Danny would have got pretty wet had he decided to climb this in autumn, rather than scramble up it almost dry-footed in the summer. It was comforting to think that we have put down memories in the short time we have been here (it will be three years in January).

Looking back down Garreg Ddu, I just stopped with flashers on and took a photo out of the car window.

Those rocky hillsides are quite something and tower a few hundred feet above your head.

  One last photo of the sun lowering over Caban Coch Dam.

Well, the handyman phoned last night and apologised for being away for a few days so he had only just got my messages.  I bit my tongue and didn't say what I thought - you booked me in for 15th and then went on holiday . . . Revised timing - probably nearly Christmas!  For heavens' sake!  I found myself politely saying, "Ah well, I've only waited all my married life for this greenhouse, I guess a few more weeks won't matter . . ."  Actually, I was longing to have my greenhouse to bring tender plants inside, start off seeds which will then grow on well from autumn-sowing, and generally be able to have some respite without going far from the house . . .  and actually, I was hoping he would be here so he could fix the doorbell (needs a new battery and I can't get the cover off) and he could have replaced all three smoke alarm batteries for me too.  I will go and see our neighbour who changes my water filter for me, as he won't mind being roped in. I'll reward him with a pot of jam.

Then I had to also phone the solicitor today, to say that the GP wasn't playing ball, and did he have an alternative suggestion.  Of course he does, but it's going to be more money - judging by our research, another £350 . . .

But hey, on the upside I've had a lovely afternoon out and taken good photos to remember it by and share, feel greatly refreshed, got some lovely cards, remembered to buy replacement batteries and it's nearly the weekend. Have a good one.

Thursday 16 November 2023

Today is going to be One of Those Days - and Update

 Started off just as exhausted as I went to bed and have been awake since 5 a.m.

Battery alarm is going off every minute on the smoke alarm at the top of the stairs - right outside the bedroom door.  Dangerous for me to be on a step ladder there but it will have to be done or I will get no sleep.

Still no answer from the Handyman about putting up the greenhouse.  Goes straight to answerphone.

The Receptionist at the surgery has just phoned to say that the GP said I can either have the Fostair 100 OR the Fostair 200 inhaler, and not both.  Oooh, that made my blood boil.  I told her I had been on that high dose for about 6 years, and that the Consultant at Glangwili Hospital put me on that.  That their Asthma Nurse had spoken to the Asthma Clinician at Abergwili about it when I first moved to the practice, and it was established that, high though it was, I needed it.  I have tried dropping back to the 200 alone, but really struggle with my breathing.  Why should I have my health compromised because some GP is trying to save money or comply with NICE guidelines?

8.40 and Keith has been in the bathroom this last hour, so I sense today is not going to be a good day.

Anything positive - NOPE!


The day has just got worse, as the letter we put in to Keith's GP asking her to confirm his mental capacity for his Lasting Power of Attorney is apparently not something GPs do at our surgery any more.  We have to get a private Psychiatric Assessment instead . . .  For heavens' sake!  Tam has shown me now the relevant page in the LPA advice and although I put down what I "thought" the solicitor had told me to write - it was very simple - I have clearly worded it wrongly.  Anyway, turns out that a friend who has known Keith for 2 years or more can sign it.  I will ask Carmarthenshire friends of long standing to do it for us.  

We definitely had chip shop fish and chips for tea tonight! 

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Today I'm sitting down with . . .

 Well, a day of mixed parts.  Good news: the heating oil I ordered on Monday has been delivered and we got in at 70p/litre.  Bad news - no sign of handyman to start on the greenhouse (foundations first) and I had to leave a message on his answerphone at home.  I will call again tonight when he's home.  He seemed reliable, and I would have appreciated the heads up that he wouldn't be here today.

My monthly magazine was in when I went to get the paper in Conti's.  So I have sat down and enjoyed some of the Christmassy articles, although there is normally a proper Christmas mag at the end of November.  Some nice antiques in there and lovely room settings.

This lovely magazine was a "care package" sent by my lovely Dorset friend Gay - we go back 50 years, first as penpals, then lifelong friends.  She knows what is guaranteed to cheer me up. Some lovely baking recipes in here and when I am feeling up to standing in the kitchen for longer, I will try some out.  By the time I had changed Keith's bed this morning and put the linen on to wash, I had to have a rest.  Then I went to collect my prescription from the Surgery, and found out they had given me the wrong inhaler despite my saying it was the Fostair 200 I needed, which was taken in combination with the 100. So I have to go back again in the morning.

The view from the kitchen window of the beautiful beech trees changing colour.  They look fabulous with the sun on them.  I stood and looked at them whilst weighing ingredients for the first home-made loaf I've felt up to baking since getting Covid.   It will be a Wheatgerm and Honey loaf (with oatbran substituted for the wheatgerm.)  It's meant to be sprinkled with Sesame seeds, but having looked at the jar of Sesame seeds in the storecupboard, with no use by date on it, I am inclined to think it will have a sprinkling of oats instead and the Sesame seeds will be on the compost heap in the morning. Executive decision for my evening meal - it will be Cajun Dirty Rice - that will do me two meals at least.  Keith will be wanting fish again.

Keith's CBD oil arrived today and he had his first tiny dose.  It made him sleepy but he said his tremors feel better.  We shall see how we go on.

My brain feels like it needs to do battles with the documents on Ancestry again, for the first time since late summer, so I am going to indulge myself.  Hoping everyone is well and thank you for your comments, as ever.  I shall get Nicola White Tideline Art up on Keith's new Amazon Fire Tablet.  We both really enjoy her videos and would love to be mudlarks a) if we lived in London and b) if we were younger!!  I will find him some other interesting bits on Youtube - infact, just realized we have Youtube on our smart tv, so we can both enjoy them together.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Big Girls' Knickers Day


Sisterly cuddles when it's wet and miserable outside.

The trees in our copse are dropping their leaves - there was a lovely light here when I took these but it didn't show well in the photos.

This is a strange rusty-coloured sport from the deep reddy Nasturtium I planted in the spring.  I will save seed from it and see what colours I get next year.  It has spread along the bottom of the house for about 6 feet so far.

The new big planter and Gypsy Boy rose happily planted in it.  I've since popped in a dark blue/purple Violet to keep it company over the winter.

Lulu: "here's one Pippi caught earlier . . ."

Looking over the fence towards the woodland to the South-East of us.

Well, this has been Solicitor day so I've had to don my Big Girls' Knickers (actually slightly smaller BGK's as the 6 lb I lost has stayed off).  Gabby came up as joint attorney. He talked us through the LPA's in regard of Keith's future care and financial decisions and is a lovely chap - really knows his stuff AND he likes cats!  I went straight down to the GP's surgery with a letter requesting K's Dr write to the Solicitors confirming that he is still of sound mind regarding the LPA's.  So that and our revised Wills are with the Solicitors.   Next thing, the Bill!

Tomorrow should be Start Putting Up the Greenhouse day.  He's not phoned, but he is a very organized man and I expect him here first thing.  That is something nice to look forward to anyway, as since Keith's health has started to deteriorate, there has been precious little to look forward to, and as an Aries, we need these little pleasures in life to keep us going.  Keith has even less of course, being virtually housebound now, but he was always happy to be a home bird, as long as he could potter around in his workshop.  Sadly, that ceased almost the moment we arrived here.  

Still having to rest a good bit of the day, but hoping there will be an improvement soon.  Tam said she was the same when she had Covid, but she had the luxury of being able to rest up in bed all day long.  

I wonder how soon there will be a volcanic eruption in Iceland?  I hope everyone has been moved to safety.  Debbie, I imagine you will be watching the news, having lived there.

Sunday 12 November 2023

A hard day's night

 Last night was the night I had been dreading - the car rally was coming through between 3 and 5 a.m.  We used to have these regularly at Ynyswen too - only they seemed noisier as we were on a Z-bend with a rock "canyon" wall on one side, which held the noise in of frantic gear changes and revving. Last night's was quieter and I was able to nod off again after the initial fast cars came through.  Of course, the cats had to be kept in an Little Whale was NOT amused.  He likes to go out until he chooses to come in (normally on the dot of 9 o'clock once late autumn is here) but sometimes he will be out until the wee small hours but has a nice warm bed in the Utility when he has finished hunting.

        Keith was up before me this morning and in the shower by the time I padded, bleary-eyed, to the bathroom.  Good to see him greatly improved upon yesterday and clearly shaking off the Covid hangover.  Wish I could say the same.  Mine is a slower recovery.  I did half an hour's gardening yesterday, emptying the smaller planters of summer plantings - the Gladiolis in the bigger ones fought back and by evening my right shoulder needed a painkiller to calm it down. 6 pots are emptied though and ready to have bulbs planted in them - if it ever stops raining!   Tomorrow I believe we have another storm coming through - Debi - which is mainly going to hit Ireland, but Wales may get it along the coastal regions.  Hoping it won't be here too.

View through the gate at Hay Castle.

I had a visit from my friend this week.  She brought me some apples  (fallers from a tree on a dog walk she does). We chatted, and it always cheers Keith up to have someone other than me to chat to.  My late ma-in-law had a very pertinent saying though - you can't cut my throat and put a sticking plaster on it!  Very apt in this case.  

        I had a delivery of two big parcels for our neighbour the other side of the Big House (this happens regularly - so many people with the same postcode in our area) and his wife said she'd send him round to change my water filter for me - she knows this is something I always need help with.  That was a couple of days ago and it's already full of mud again!  

        I've just baked two big Cardiganshire Boiled Pineapple Fruit Cakes (like giant Bara Brith) - one is a thank you for the neighbour of P's who has given me a long loan on his brush strimmer so I need not worry about the orchard or the paddock in future - Glyn (gardener) can deal with them.  That's how it works in the country - someone does you a favour, and you do one in return.  I guess if you are a townie this is all a foreign language.  Like thanking other drivers who slow down or pull over or reverse for you. You can always tell the townie holidaymakers.   They are also the ones who walk in a row across the road from the holiday chalets going down into town . . . all wearing dark clothing so they don't show up beneath the trees.

Here's one I made earlier.  Remembering Eira, our nearest neighbour at Ynyswen, who gave everyone this recipe.  Always think of her whenever I make it.

        I have just been tempted by Audible's 60% off offer.  I will write on the calendar when the 3 months is up, but a £2.99 credit has just bought me a compendium of 10 Charles Dickens books, so those should see me through the ironing mountains for the next year or so!

        All our children have been so helpful in the past few weeks - Gabby has organized for the Solicitor to come to the house to sort out the signings of the LPA for Keith.  She will be here too to do her signing part and then we take it down to the GP for them to sign it.  Not long now until Tam and Jon move into their first house together.  When she was here last week she tidied up all the bits and bobs she needed storing until after their move so her bedroom is accessible again.  Danny & Emma bought me a lovely baking book "Bake Me a Cat" which has some lovely ideas to make with little "I".  I have had fun buying sprinkles, pink food colouring and some fine icing decorators in rainbow colours.  We will be having fun.

        Right, I've let my fingers wander on the keys for long enough.  Nothing exciting, but this acts as a sort of diary for me, and I've been nowhere to write about for weeks now.  Hope you have enjoyed your weekend.  

P.S.  Thelma - it seems I am no longer invited to view your blog. When I click on the link I can't get through.  Thankyou for your friendship down the years and hope that you will still drop in here sometimes.

Friday 10 November 2023

Finally some Malvern treasures

Wednesday has taken its toll on Keith, and he needed to be ferried about in a wheelchair from the moment he struggled out of bed today.  He will need to rest up and hopefully get some energy/mobility back.  

This wonderful dog painting came home with me - who could resist?  There is an old label on the back, where someone thinks it might have been painted by Landseer's daughter, Emma C Mackenzie as she became.  However, this is dated 1899 and she died in 1895. Wish I were able to attribute it, but it's a smashing piece all the same and someone will fall in love with it.   Dog pictures always sell well.


I could not RESIST this lovely little whimsical gypsy vardo nightlight, with roses round the door.  Probably dates from 1970s, and unsigned.  It was an absolute give-away price and everyone who's seen it (apart from Tam!) loves it.

Folk art now, but this horse twitch (for control) was beautifully carved with a snake, which lifts it out of the ordinary.  Another at a give-away price.

Captain Birdseye!!  Or at least an old mariner in his So'wester.  Lots of character.

Uncle Tom Cobbley off to the fair c.1921.  Think I put this one up earlier?  Anyway, you've got it again.

A beautiful Studio Pottery cider flagon, made in Exeter by Laurel Keeley, clearly stamped, and as she has been a potter for 40 years, possibly one of her earlier pieces - it's not in her Gallery. Her more modern pieces command 3 figure prices.  Another piece I can enjoy for a few months.

This is a fabulous Mughal Warrior's saddle, predating 1858 when the British Empire took control in India.  The wooden saddle frame is embellished with intricately engraved brass plates, whilst the front "pommel" is covered in (low grade) silver, also embellished.  A rare piece and I just HAD to have it for a while.  It will go to Builth next year.

Part of half a dozen bits of kitchenalia I bought.  I have never seen a round bun tray like this one.  I alo got an American 50s lemon squeezer, another baking tray, an old pastry crimper, a metal sieve with very fine holes punched in it (size of fine needles) and a hand-made one-ended rolling pin 1920ish.

I've not included photos of the lovely marble pestle and mortar or the fabulous Indian painted table/storage, but they were good buys too. 

I've settled Keith in the living room and now have to buzz off to Llandod with stuff for the charity shop and another bag of compost to fill that huge planter!  What's the betting I can't park anywhere near the charity shop?!

Glad there's no cooking today - all cooked, veg included.  I just need to bung the beef in the Onepot on pressure cooker, so I will rest this afternoon.  I am feeling a bit better now - legs not so chewed string and I have a bit of energy returning, thank heavens.

Thanks for all your support.  

Thursday 9 November 2023

Time to relax

A slightly blurry photo of a recent walk (up by the lake).

Well, having been told every hour or two hours to phone back in an hour or two hours, we finally had a phone call just after 8 p.m. to say Keith was fine and to come and pick him up.  By then Tam was nearly here from Aberystwyth.  I had put fuel in our car to get to Hereford, but Tam said she had psyched herself up for the trip and knew I didn't enjoy driving at night (I don't but would do anything for Keith) and her car was easier for Keith to get in and out of.  So she drove, and we picked him up and he was blardy glad to see us having been sat in a wheelchair (which kills his neck, and that was already sore and very painful) for 8 hours.  Despite my telling the nurse at reception that he had Parkinsons and HAS to be kept hydrated, he only had some water when he waved his pills at a passing nurse and said he needed a drink to get them down.  I also told another nurse he had no-one to get him any food - oh he would be given food.  Really?  Why lie to me - if I knew he'd been so totally abandoned, I'd have gone there hours earlier.  I will know another time and be beside him as his advocate.  Mind you, Keith is going to refuse point blank if this scenario happens again.

        We got home at about 11.30 p.m. and it was chucking it down with rain - by the time Keith got out of the car, I had to swipe a pool of water from the wheelchair seat and our coats didn't dry out until I hung them over hot radiators this morning.  He had taken extra Sinemet, knowing he would need something to help him with the journey home and getting upstairs to bed.  Those worked and he managed the stairs, but gosh, we were all so relieved to tuck him up in bed.

        It's his birthday today so I've been out for some lovely stewing steak from the butchers, which is already in the slow cooker and we will eat early, so Tam can get away before it's dark, as she has that long journey through the mountains.

        A couple of good things from yesterday - the Dr said Keith had good lungs, because he used to be a runner, and that would stand him in good stead.  He also said that Keith was under-medicated, and also that he should look into taking CBD oil as he thought it would really help with the Parkinsons.  I've done some initial research, and the Parkinsons website says it's just at the experimental stage.  We shall see what else we can find and mention it to the GP etc.  I can already imagine what the PD nurse will say!

        A drive out to the Elan Valley may happen after lunch, but sadly the sunshine we woke up to has been replaced by rain and grey skies.  Thank you for all your support yesterday and apologies for the blow-by-blow account, but it is too stressful to keep it all to myself.

Wednesday 8 November 2023

And then the day got worse . . .

 Keith has had another choking episode.  I had to call 999 and the ambulance was here even quicker this time.  Keith had shifted the food by the time they arrived, but they listened to his chest and thought he had aspirated food.  K and I both think it's the last of his chest infection they can hear.  Anyway, he had to be taken to hospital for an X-Ray and has just arrived at A&E and been booked in.  I guess I am going to be bringing him home this evening - just checked the waiting times and it seems to be around the 2 hour mark.  That we can cope with.  If it's much longer (she said they were busy) and into the night,  with his Parkinsons and him stiffening up, Lord knows how I will get him inside, let alone upstairs to bed.  Is there anything else the Universe wants to throw my way to bring me to my knees?  Praying they don't keep him in . . .

Update:  I have been on the phone to the Hospital every hour or two hours when they said phone back. Phoned 7.15 p.m. - phone back in two hours, they're very busy and he's still not had his X-ray yet.  If I CAN pick him up tonight, we're going to be on the road at midnight.  Tam is on her way here, so I will at least have someone with me to keep me awake. If he's been in a wheelchair for the last 5 hours, then he is going to be in agony with his neck as it had seized up earlier and a wheelchair offers no support whatsoever.    Update again: 8.10 - hospital phoned whilst I was out getting fuel - Keith fine, so we can come and pick him up.  Just waiting for T to get here.

Hitting a brick wall . . .

 . . . health-wise that is.  On Sunday, for just a few hours, I felt back to normal.  I didn't do much - Danny, Emma and "I" were here to help out, and I took them for their train later.  Monday I was back to exhausted again and needing to lie down on the sofa after getting Keith up, showered and dressed, and giving him his breakfast.  I worked out this morning why my legs always feel like chewed string though, because if I went up and downstairs once, I did it 10 or a dozen times.  11.30 and I've done 5,000 steps just around the house and taking out the compost, litter trays etc.

Landscape overlooking Tretower Court.

I had planned an hour's respite yesterday (first time off in over 3 weeks) - a trip to the Old Railway Line garden centre as they always have a brilliant display of Christmas decorations and temptations.  The main reason was I wanted to get my Christmas present from Keith - a large terracotta planter - needed early as I have my Bourbon rose Gypsy Boy still waiting to be planted.  I had a wander round and found that the planters I was interested in were half price.  Goody-goody, £45 for the huge one I wanted (50% off the original price of £89.99!) - and if you think THAT is expensive, they had some really gi-normous ones there for £499.99!!!

I was tempted by a lovely little (Christmas? really?) decoration of Peter Rabbit to hang from the tree.  No prices on any of the ones on display, so when I got to the counter and got her to scan it, surprise, surprise it was £9.99.  Most people would just buy it, but I said I didn't want it THAT much, they could have it back!  Other than the planter, I bought some more fleece to tuck my roses in pots up if we have more frosts like last year.  I have some bubble wrap I can call into use if it's really cold.  Tess of the D'Urbervilles survived after being cut back to nothing, but it will take that rose another year to recover.  Currently twiggy and about a foot high. 

No peace for the wicked though, as either side of my outing I had things to sort out.   Keith's repeat prescription was wrong again - two items missing.  I had phoned the Dr about his 50mg Levothyroxine as that was one of the missing items.  I was told that it had been on the Prescription.  Boots said it hadn't.  Sorting this all out took an hour of my time, as I had to go back to the Surgery and order this as we had run out.  This also meant going back to the surgery later, after 4.30 p.m. to collect it, then back down the town to Boots to get them to dispense it.  Another 1/2 hr plus.

When I got home from all that, I had to do the evening meal (Keith's was in the slow cooker and a jacket potato had gone into the oven earlier.)  I had planned to have a chicken curry, but my legs were saying they had to sit down, so I had Scampi and Chips from the freezer instead.

Then Keith wanted to go to the bathroom, and I still hadn't sat down apart from eating my meal.  My legs didn't want to do much in a vertical position.  I had just poured myself a cup of tea (the one I didn't have at 3 p.m. as I wasn't here) and only had a mouthful before we had to go upstairs again.  By the time I came down it was luke warm.  I poured myself another, sat down and had a mouthful, and then Keith called me up - he wanted to go to bed.  I finally got to sit down but had gone past the tea and found that Danny had left a little can of Hazy Jane IPA beer in the fridge, and oh my goodness, that hit the spot!  I watched a family history programme I'd recorded and fell into bed at 8.30, but tossed and turned as Keith was snoring loudly and I couldn't relax and was awake 3 hrs, so I'm a bit short of zzzzzz's again.  I have to say, last night I really did hit that brick wall of exhaustion.

Anyway, our friend M from across the river, obliged (when I texted him) with lifting the big planter from the car for me and it is now waiting for me to fill it with good compost and put my new rose in.  I will do that later if it stays dry.  I am going to rest first.  He cheered me up (not) by saying he had Covid when it first hit as the pandemic, and said even 3 years on, he's still not totally right.  I will settle for a bit more energy and a functioning left ear!

Hoping that you are all having an easy week.

Sunday 5 November 2023

ALL CHANGE - and all those "useful things" . . .


Pant-y-Llyn lake

We all have them, stashed away in boxes.  I shouldn't really have THAT much, bearing in mind how much we got rid of when we moved, but guess what, boxes and boxes of "useful things" moved with us.  Because the hospital bed arrives tomorrow, Danny, Emma and I have been moving furniture around, and I knew the tin trunk that I have my bedside lamp on and the contents of, would need to be sorted.  Offout to the stables and to the next Fair if necessary.

Then of course I had to empty the sewing things from another spare painted pine box, which will go on Marketplace or Ebay. It's a nice one, but we are going to have to be practical.  In the New Year, Danny, Emma and "I" will be coming to live with us for a few months so they can save properly for a house of their own.  They have some furniture of their own of course, and a cat, so the latter will properly upset the applecart for a bit! 

I have been going through the storage boxes (big black plastic ones) in the linen cupboard upstairs, and hoiked out a big bin-liner full of fabrics, sewing bits etc that I don't need, to go to the charity shop, along with 2 end-rolls of lovely silk fabric which no-one has shown the least bit of interest at Fairs .  I got them from auction at Wooton - put in by a curtain-making shop in Tetbury - and the fabric was something ridiculous like £150 a metre.  Can't get £10 each for them but I hope that the Charity shop will do well.  I support the Bracken Trust (Cancer charity) in Llandod, so will take this all there on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, I need to put all my Heirloom quilt fabrics in one bag and make space in my pine sewing cupboard upstairs.  Fortunately I have woken up with energy this morning, leastways more energy than I've had this past 3 weeks.  I'm sat down resting now with a cup of Earl Grey but at least I don't need to go and lie down on the sofa today.  For the last 10 days I have got Keith breakfast and then have to crash out on the sofa to sleep and get over the effort!

Photos still playing me up - I put them into a folder "November 2023" but cannot find it anywhere!!                                                                                          

I feel hugely relieved that Danny and Emma will be support for Keith and I for a while.  I may be able to keep the carers at bay for a bit longer.  Little "I" has already been booked in at the school down the road, so will have a chance to make friends.  It's a nice area to bring children up.  Danny will work from home, as he does at the moment.

There is other exciting news to tell you, but that will wait for another day . . .

Oh, and was it Ruta who was looking for a Captain's Chair?  We have several here - we know them as Smoker's Bows.  If that is what you're after, I could sell one of these and replace it with a more practical tuck-under-the-table kitchen chair. I will try and take a photo which I can FIND afterwards, to put up on here.