Tuesday 26 December 2023

Chocolate Roulade for Breakfast is Obligatory

 . . . for me anyway.  A day late this year as the girls were busy in the kitchen on Christmas Day and told me to rest up, so I did. Then there were restless mutterings about the lack of Roulade yesterday so I set to and made it.  Only at Christmas is it made, and is a family tradition.  

I also made some soup yesterday - a sort of Scotch  Broth, but without the Pearl Barley which I discovered was 4 years out of date!  I substituted Red Lentils and as I was blitzing it anyway (so Keith might have some) they just gave it a nice golden colour and thickened it up nicely.  It called for grated carrots, which I happened to have in the freezer for future Carrot Cakes.

Christmas Day was very enjoyable.  Tam arrived Christmas Eve, Gabby Christmas morning, then Jon yesterday.  We all ate a little too much, drank sensibly (though a glass of wine with the meal made me drowsy) and had some nice thoughtful gifts.  Jon's to Keith was a Medieval Flail, which pleased him no end as I had stopped him buying one at Malvern Flea last year!  When you are 83, socks and tops get a bit boring!!

The greenhouse now has the rain barrel in it which Gabs gave me for Christmas, ready for me to assemble feeder parts, an empty planter trough which is going to have Garlic planted in it, possibly today if it stops hammering down with rain, and the plastics recycling box so I won't have to pour water out of it before putting it in the car to take it up the track.  Which reminds me, I must check and see when they might arrive this week as it would normally have been yesterday.  

Sadly, Keith's mobility has deteriorated quite a bit and he's really struggling with the stairs now.  I think no dairy was a move too far, so he's gone back on that pronto, and it looked like we needed to trial the new meds again too, but they really don't seem to suit at the moment.  We will have to get his armchair upstairs into the bedroom to turn it into a bedsit for him, as once I'm on my own here I won't be able to get him upstairs. Hoping  It's a difficult thing for him to face as we can't kid each other along that he will soon be going to Fairs again.  Just writing  that has made me cry.  I have done my best - beyond my strength and endurance - to keep him mobile but now we have to accept that it is no longer practical.  (Update: Keith is much better this morning - not exactly sprinting, but balance better and so as long as T&J here and he goes up earlier, whilst meds still working, we can plod on.

So today will be furniture moving day, and I'll get my sewing bits off the top of the pine sideboard in there, so his favourite weapons can be displayed there instead.  We hung the carved green man up yesterday.  His best "present" was putting the Firestick (now a bit ancient so we have ordered one in the Boxing Day sales) in the tv and getting it going so he can watch tv in bed.  He was delighted by that!  

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable time with family and friends, or just doing your own thing.  Now we can look forward to more daylight and the birds know the wheel has turned and are becoming more vocal.  

Christmas Mark II arrives this weekend when Danny, Emma and the little one are here.

Sunday 24 December 2023

Merry Christmas

 The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

Our family start arriving soon, so I shall sign off for a couple of days and enjoy the time together.  Thank you all for your support throughout the year, and for putting up with my moans. No White Christmas here - just the expected grey skies and rain.

I make no apologies for putting up one of my favourite Thomas Hardy poems, as I do every year.

Friday 22 December 2023

A Holey Greenhouse

Just to start the day off well, I looked out of the window and FIVE sheep wandered across our yard.  Remember we had trouble with a mama sheep and her lamb one year, and then another lamb the next.  Well, this is several generations of the blardy things so now I need to put a nail in the overgrown-by-holly original ancient gatepost and chain it shut to keep the blasted things out . . .  Finding nails in Keith's workshop should be fun, as he never labelled his tins of screws, tacks and nails so it is a case of opening each one to find what I need.  He of course, knew where to put his hands on everything . . .

Sadly, when the glass was unpacked for my greenhouse, one box was badly broken.  I was meant to have checked to see everything had arrived undamaged within two weeks of delivery, but of course a) I had Covid and was totally exhausted - couldn't have cared if everything was smashed back then and b) a pack of glass is very heavy to lift and I couldn't have moved them about easily.  I phoned the supplying company (who sell them to the shop I got the greenhouse from) and they were very prompt BUT have said that the delivery people are responsible and given them a bill for £130 + VAT worth of glass . . .  I will phone today and see what is happening - hope I don't get landed with that bill.  Already putting up the greenhouse is the same cost as the actual basic greenhouse itself and it's not finished yet!  I've told Keith, just as well we're only doing it the once!  So I now have a greenhouse, but with some gaping holes, and I still can't use it . . .  I wasn't going to pay him to put up the staging either so will slowly do that myself when I have time.  A trip to the Tip is called for today though, to get rid of the broken glass and the soggy cardboard boxes and cement/mixer bags.  

        We had the confirming letter from the Consultant about the change of medication yesterday and it said instead of the ones he'd been taking 3 times a day - this is a slow-release dopamine and a higher dose of blood pressure pills and this seems to have helped him.  He got upstairs no trouble yesterday and even got up to go to the bathroom in the night.  He is definitely MORE mobile.

        I'm now waiting for the District Nurse to come.  She said she'd be here between 8 a.m. and 8.30.  I had to set the alarm.  Then of course I woke (3.15 is an old friend) and was still awake two hours later when I heard Keith about.  I had to wait until I could help him back into bed - 6 a.m. then and at 7.30 the alarm went off when I was in a really deep sleep . . .  District Nurse still not here and it's 9.15 . . .Update - she just phoned, and after answering her questions, she doesn't need to come out. . . .

        Today I have prepping and freezing the sprouts to look forward to, and another head of broccoli, and the Braised Red Cabbage.

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Breaking point and mini update . . .

 The Universe has decided it will test me to breaking point.  Keith had a bad day yesterday because he was awake for 3 hours in the night.  He struggled first thing - his legs weren't co-operating.  Then after breakfast he managed to walk up and down the kitchen with his 3 wheeled stroller - determined to try to keep mobile.  He's not been able to do this since Covid.     Then he sat too long and had his teatime medication late (my fault as I was so busy and we tried to keep it away from the meal a little but it took him an hour to eat his meal and pudding).

If I'd had my way he would have gone up to bed early as I could see he was struggling so, but he wanted to watch the end of a series he'd been watching in the day about Pirates.  To cut a long story short, we crept up the stairs SO slowly and then on the last three steps, with me leaning behind him to keep him from falling back, his legs gave way and he sat down.  He might only be 9 stone but he is a dead weight and not one muscle the least bit co-operative.  I managed to haul him a little way using the "ladder" (you pull against it to sit up, and it's fastened to the bed end) off his bed and tried to get him onto a chair but the legs were doing nothing thank you very much.  I dragged him along the hall - it took all my strength - and got him to the side of the bed but we still couldn't get him onto the bed, even at its lowest height.  The poor man has a carpet burn now but what else could I do?

I had two options - call an ambulance so the crew could help get him in bed, or call our neighbour (he of the parcels).  Bless him, the neighbour  came straight away and helped Keith into bed.  We were SO grateful.

I don't know what today will bring but I will suggest he stays in bed until the District Nurse has been.  Obviously I have phone calls to make this morning to try and get emergency carers in on a temporary basis.  

This is my worst nightmare come to pass.  Now of course, it's the middle of the night and I am up fretting.  The cats know and I have had Ghengis sat on my mouse-hand, and then the computer - he couldn't get any closer!, whilst Pippi sat on my shoulder for ages.  (This is after she was attention-seeking and climbing the white kitchen dresser from which she had to be removed, protesting her innocence).

I'll go and try and read a bit now, but needless to say, all this has totally taken the gloss off the fact that the greenhouse frame is up and will have the glass in this morning.  I am just beyond caring.

Mini update - no emergency care available.  Fancy that.  Danette - brilliant idea about blanket.  Also have a giant bean bag so could somehow get him onto that at a pinch to sleep on.  Hopefully he will be better tonight though.  

Just to really cheer me up a whole pack of the glass is broken and of course the suppliers are away for Christmas already by the sound of things - I could only email or leave a recorded message.  So I still won't have a usable greenhouse.

Please Miss, can I sit down now?

 What a busy morning - I made a rod for my own back by clearing a space in the freezer for blanched Christmas vegetables, and removing blackberries and elderberries which I then had to MAKE something from.  Blackberry and Elderberry Jam it was and I made that this morning, but lots of standing and then lots of washing up.  It made 5 jars.  Here's the recipe:

Thank you Miss F McIntyre, now long pushing up daisies I should imagine as the book, Farmhouse Fare was published in the 1970s and these recipes go back to Farmers Weekly magazines for a generation before.  A nice no-nonsense recipe, the sort I like.  It will have set well as it was doing so in the pan!

"Rugged up"! and ready to go - Chocolate and Pear Jam.

Cheese & Mustard Scones

Tamzin's neat printing and my awful photo.  Hope you get to make it anyway.  It's scrummy.

Off to deliver a present to a friend now.  Enjoy your day.  Nearly at the shortest one, thank heavens.

Tuesday 19 December 2023

A Day of Necessary Evils . . .

 Well, yesterday soon got swallowed up by said Necessary Evils.  The first was sorting out Keith's Levothyroxine prescription - the last one appears to have been a box sort of one strength and the other strength was half the amount we needed as it had been issued under an edict (take one every other day) which lasted 4 days with Keith before it was obvious that it wouldn't work - just too small a dose.  This was from 6 mths back and for some reason the GP never noted that she had increased his dose, so we were still on the smaller amount.  Anyway, we were virtually out of both.  Boots unco-operative (nothing new there) and insisted they had given the full script.  I went home and double checked the cupboard and then it was back to the GP and explain the situation there. The Most Helpful Receptionist was on (thank heavens) and with another GP's help, got it sorted and a script issued there and then, AND an appt. for a blood test for Keith today to see if he can drop back down.  Yeesh.   Anyway, I got some special chocs for her and a jar of my Hedgerow Jelly as a Christmas Thanks for all her help during the year and dropped that off today.  

Panel of the 12 Days of Christmas I hand-quilted (the TINIEST stitches too) a few years ago.  It comes out every year.

THEN it was the Christmas food shop, before Tesco's descends into absolute heaving mayhem and chaos (Aldi ditto, worse as it's a smaller shop).  I was amazed - a busy Tesco car park but the shop half empty.  Suited me fine, fewer germs (though I had my mask on).  I bought a double lot of seasonal veg (only 15p each in Tesco for large heads Broccoli, Parsnip, Carrots and Sprouts) and I must make the Braised Red Cabbage and freeze that in advance.  Ditto blanching a big head of Broccoli, Sprouts and a bag of Parsnips.  To make room for those in the freezer, Elderberries and Blackberries have come out and I will make some more jam with those tomorrow.

Anyway, the highlight of yesterday was making sure I had a walk around the Lake at Llandod.  Hadn't been able to do this for months, because of Covid, and it was an absolute joy.  Identifying the ducks and wild birds on the lake took my concentration and for 15 minutes I forgot to worry  about Keith and it really raised my spirits.  The walk along the lane with a neighbour's card and gift today was good for blood pressure but because I know it so well, not so lifting to the spirits.  Yesterday's birds - Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Mallard Ducks, the same pair of Muscovy Ducks who live there all year round and some wonderfully wild Mergansers who took off the moment they spotted me.  Plus the usual birds of woodland edge and a couple of big Carrion Crows who strutted about like they owned the place.   I have been amazed to hear birdsong in the mornings this week and yesterday what I can only describe as the familiar evening chorus.  A Thrush was singing its heart out just across the lane too - such a mixture of avian phrases that I had to use my Merlin app to check what was serenading me.  I haven't fed the birds this winter because Pippi is such a little hunter and I feel I would be luring them to their deaths.  They are managing well so far as it's been pretty mild, but if it snows/freezes hard, Pips will have to stay in so I can feed them.

Lulu played silly B's with me this morning - I was desperately trying not to be late for Keith's blood test.  Got Pippi in and thought Lulu was still out.  Went inside for something and Lulu was already there but fled past me and then played let's hide under the concrete cover . . .

As you can see, this is pretty Jennie-proof and the perfect den for naughty kittens!  In the end I thought I would just ignore her and then she came out, looking so innocent - little ratbag!  I didn't dare leave her out whilst we were away as she is wont to explore along the track and I didn't want her disappearing and I wouldn't know which way she'd gone.

I did at least try out a new recipe yesterday, for Chocolate and Pear Jam.  I was worried it would set as the pears cook up pretty slack, so I added some of my home made Crab Apple Pectin.  It did set and it occurred to me today it has probably set too hard to even get out with a knife and might need to be chiselled onto a plate and softened in the microwave!  It is specifically to go with Croissants or similar, but nice with Scones or crumpets too.

Tomorrow is return of the Handyman . . .  The greenhouse will go up.  Or at least, I hope it will!  I have seeds I would love to get started and I will be like a dog with two tails :)

Meanwhile, to cheer me up I have done some Family History research into my 3 x G. Grandfather Robert Adams, he of the non-Conformist persuasion,  and whose birth in 1791 has so far avoided detection.  Was it Plymstock?  Records don't seem to go back to 1791.  Were his folk from just over the river on the edge of Cornwall - possible.  Anyway, he married for a second time in his 70s and I have sent for his marriage certificate, so that should name his father.  

Sunday 17 December 2023

And THEN I couldn't find the blardy decorations for the tree!

Powis Castle grounds, which is about as far as I've managed to get this year.

The day has not started well (see below).  It then got suddenly worse when I couldn't find the box of decorations for the Christmas tree - I hadn't put them away in the attic, but asked Danny to do it for me . . .  The first foray drew a blank but I found stock for Fairs I had long forgotten about and really must give an outing to next year.  I also need to get ruthless and take a load of stuff to the charity shop.  That will be a job well done.  Anyway, a phone call to Tam, some laughter, and I girded my loins and went up again and found the right box this time.  So far the kittens have looked at the tree and are clearly thinking, WHY has she bought that into the house?  But not climbed into it yet, which has to be a positive.  Right, tree dressing to some Christmas music (Maddy Prior's Christmas Carols, since you asked) and then I am going to make some Pear and Chocolate Jam for Christmas presents.

I have always wanted to travel the world.  I would settle for America and visiting my childhood friend Rosie in NZ if I could ever have two faraway holidays but I'm not holding my breath.  Now my horizons are set at half an hour in any given direction, and there is absolutely nothing to look forward to doing - just the weekly grocery shop - my urge to explore has had to be totally quashed.  I've just read about one of my cousin's children and family jetting off to Lapland.  Another cousin is going to see her daughter in NZ and stopping off in Singapore, Thailand etc on the way.  A further cousin has just been to Amsterdam for a friend's wedding.  I am not a jealous sort, but oh how I envy them their travel.  I can't even make it to Ludlow, an hour away.

I had a fright overnight as I thought that Keith's catheter had become blocked.  Now he is downstairs it would appear he just drank pitifully little yesterday ("I drink plenty") despite my encouragement.  I was up 3 times in the night for the bathroom, and checked on him each time, then lost sleep worrying, so feel very sorry for myself this morning.  The Pea and Hemp protein I got him has proved a total waste of money.  If you use the full amount, any drink turns to sludge and of course, it turns the medium you add it to green which Keith doesn't find very appetising.  I bought some ready-made Mango and Passionfruit smoothie today for him, to make sure he likes it before I start making my own.  His food intake is not good and what he can manage is getting more and more limited, which is such a worry.  Forget the brown rice, beans, pulses, most things green apart from broccoli and peas, anything nutritious - he has thought them "muck" all his life, and he's not going to change now.

To keep dairy-free, I bought GRO plant-based vegan yoghurt yesterday for him, and some Swedish glace ice cream.  He really enjoyed them both  and asked for 2nds, then his saliva production went into overdrive, but I cannot see that there is any ingredient in either which should cause this reaction, unless it is the sugar ingredients of the ice cream interfering with his medication but that shouldn't be the case.  We'll have to isolate which is the culprit.

At least I have dressing the tree to look forward to although I have to go up the steep attic stairs to retrieve the box of decorations.  I got a lovely tree on Friday from the estate of the Big House just above the Showground.  I chose a Noble Fir and asked Pam to come and help me put it up as you need more than one person to manhandle it into the holder.  She doesn't bother with a tree or decorations and had never had a "proper" tree and seemed surprised that it wasn't the regular form of the plastic variety . . .  Then I read up about Christmas trees and kitten-cats and although one site said the Noble Fir wasn't poisonous to cats, another highlighted about a dozen dire possibilities should a cat lick, nibble, climb into any Christmas tree and so they all got shut in the kitchen last night or I wouldn't have slept for worry.

I am trying to get myself geared up to make some jam for Christmas presents but the spirit is definitely lacking today.  Sorry to moan.  

Thursday 14 December 2023

Starting the day in overdrive

 It turned out to be one of those days where it was foot to the floor with the gas pedal from the moment I got up as I woke to hear Keith coughing, so he was clearly awake.  He would have got himself to the bathroom, were he not tethered with the overnight bag for the catheter.  He has it reviewed next week and a trial period without it.  There was washing to do, dry things to fold before the new load could be hung up (that is always a trial for my slightly arthritic neck) and the usual morning chores here involving puss-cats.  

The Sloe Gin turned out very well and filled 3 bottles exactly.  In front is the big Cheese Scone roundel which I made for when our friends Pam and Duncan came to visit on Tuesday.  I had a slice (it makes 8) and got them to take the rest home with them, along with the Lemon Drizzle cake I made (their favourite).

The handyman was here around 10.30 to start on the concreting.  I contacted Danny to say was it still all right for this afternoon (to go to Carmarthen and pick up their Christmas gifts and some of their lighter belongings to bring home.)  Then I found out he had a meeting this afternoon so I had to get down there pronto.  It was into overdrive then . . .

I went to Charlies before meeting him and gave myself longer in there, forgoing the planned trip round TK-Maxx.  A couple of gifts came out with me, and some very small glass jars to fill with fresh spices as Christmas stocking fillers for the kids.  I got one of the last parking spaces at Wilko's and paid £1.80 (for 2 hrs parking) but only ended up staying 15 mins!  Then it was a quick shop in Tesco - the layout of which didn't seem to have changed much since we shopped there regularly so I knew where to look for things.  

I blew the dust off my sewing machine this week and set to and made Keith a neck support for mealtimes, to stop his head tipping forward if he is tired.  It is nice and soft and not a strangling device - honest!! The one requested by SALT from Physio was not forthcoming - I seem to remember them saying they didn't issue them any more.

Anyway, when I got back home, the Handyman had made good progress BUT, oh my goodness, had had to summon an ambulance as he had had chest pains, broken out in a sweat and thought he was having a heart attack.  They said he seemed to be ok, but strongly advised him to go home and rest.  Well, stubborn man, he just rested here for a couple of hours and then carried on!  He finished the job and was here until gone 6 p.m.  I kept going out to check he was still standing, and goodness, am very thankful I didn't come home to a stiffening corpse!

So, a busy day and I am looking forward to resting a bit now.  Keith sat too long whilst I was out, and ate late, and I know it will be a very slow journey upstairs to bed in a little while.  My bed will be very welcome too and hopefully I will have a day tomorrow where I can rest up a bit.  All week there have been visitors, as friends and medical providers, planned and "are you in today?" but all for the best.

Monday 11 December 2023

Dresser Top Shelf

 Sue in Suffolk said she'd like to see what treasures (as yet still in one piece) are on my dresser(s), so here is the top shelf of the white dresser in the kitchen.

One of the pictures which I found at Malvern and which appealed to me. I don't know where it is but it is nicely depicted.  I think it cost me £8 or £10.  I use it as a backdrop to stock on one of my china stands.  Well well - thank you to those who suggested Baddesley Clinton or Ightham Mote.  I have looked up both and Ightham Mote it is.  Guess who is reading Anya Seaton's (50 yr old now!) book Green Darkness which is set at Ightham Mote?  Strange coincidence.

This only gets lit up at Christmas but looks so pretty with the lights shining against the mirror, that I should do it more often.

This is a little Gaudy Welsh jug early 19th C, with a Hydra-head handle.

A later Gaudy Welsh jug.  These were all potted and painted in the Staffordshire potteries.

A cute little Hornsea jug with another pretty bunbun sitting on it.

My mum (in the middle) with her two sisters.

A Past Times mirror in need of dusting!

One of a handful of photos of my horse Fahly at Pony Club Camp one year, Gabby in the saddle.

A lovely Lemon & Crute (Devon pottery) bowl that Pam spotted at Malvern when we went together and which I couldn't resist.

Now this is something very special.  I bought it for £28 from my friend Simon. It is a piece of WWI trench art.  I had to buy it as when I picked it up, I suddenly burst into tears.  Whoever had made it for his mum, sweetheart or whoever, had not come home and that piece had been held and loved and cried over for a generation or more.  Look at how the pattern along the bottom has been worn from years of handling.  What I felt didn't surprize me - I am an empath and can easily feel emotions and feelings at a deep level.  This connecting with an item is called Clairtangency and I've had it a few times, but never as strongly as this.  I won't mention the other occasions as you are probably already raising your eyebrows and shaking your heads, but they have happened, unbidden.

Right, I took myself by the scruff today and baked a Lemon Drizzle cake as we have friends coming to visit tomorrow, and I have polished the kitchen table with Briwax, so that's nice and shiny again. I want to get all the other furniture polished before Christmas as it's not been done since we moved, and yet I used to do it regularly at Ynyswen.

Whilst I had the table top cleared, I wrapped the rest of the presents.

I have also worked out a system of tieing the brakes in place on the upstairs wheelchair - my hands and wrists have started getting painful because of me having to hold the brakes on (they don't fix like the other wheelchair).  So a couple of cable ties have been brought into use and you can just slide them off when you release the brakes.  Hope it stops me getting Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

The delivery of the stuff for my concrete greenhouse base took place this morning.  If the weather is OK on Wednesday, a start will be made.  Progress.

Keith has also improved since giving dairy up - especially excess saliva which is a thing of the past now.  He is even managing to turn so much better (believe me he was finding it almost impossible last thing at night) so long may it continue, touch wood . . .

Sunday 10 December 2023

The day improved with keeping

 I've been feeling very down the last couple of days, especially so this morning.  After Keith had had breakfast, I sat down with the Archers Omnibus in the background and wrote out a few Christmas cards.  They had been nagging me for too long.  Some had a brief note in.  I wrapped Emma's gifts.  Just have half a dozen to do for family - we have kept it a very low-key Christmas.  Some things I have bought locally from the individual traders in Builth, helping the local economy.

I secured the box of books going to my dear friend G in Dorset, and then spent a frustrating 15 minutes of so trying to purchase Royal Mail postage (that I could afford!) and to get it picked up from the house tomorrow as I don't want to use the car unless I have to.  So many alternative choices of sending it, prices etc, but I prefer not to use Evri and the like if I can help it.  I printed my own label in the end - you can chose for Royal Mail to bring a label for no extra fee.  I will be glad to get it on its way anyway.

As I was wrapping a gift, I heard a "can-you-spot-me - look up HIGH?" miaow from behind me and turned to find Pippi doing a headstand by my favourite bits of  china on the top shelf of the dresser! How to give your human a heart attack!!!  This his her having abandoned the headstand and thinking about coming down as I'd told her to!  The little pictures you can see usually adorn the back of one of my display stands when I'm at a Fair.  They are good-amateur scenes (the buildings) and a scenery one from a 1960s calendar. The white ceramic horse is a Unicorn with a lock of my horse Fahly's mane by him (not cracks on him!)

This afternoon, here she is - butter wouldn't melt in her mouth would it?

Anyway, then I spent ages preparing and cooking our main meal of the day in what turned out to be the only dry spell, and by the time we'd eaten, it was chucking it down again.  Another storm (Fergus?) coming through tonight.  Glad we don't live near a river or on the Somerset levels.  By the time I'd done a huge pile of washing up, I was happy to relinquish the idea of a walk anyway and instead Keith and I watched an old Ealing comedy - The Titfield Thunderbolt, which really cheered me up and made us both laugh.  Made in 1953 and filmed just outside Bath.  

I had a phone call from "Little" Lin which also cheered me up no end.  We go back a long way (senior school days) and she reminded me of the first time she came to see the ponies (Trish, Rosie and I had young New Forest ponies) at Mr Stark's.  She was grooming a pony, still very much learning as she went along, and it stood on her foot.  She reminded me that when she said, so-and-so is standing on my foot, I just told her, never mind, he'll move in a little while!!  Wasn't I cruel?!

I've just send for another death certificate, this time for Herbert V. who was a first cousin of mine (two generations ago anyway).  He died young, only 38, of Kidney disease - Nephritis euraemia - in the Workhouse Infirmary.  Makes a change from the TB which too so many in the family trees of Keith and I.  His "wife" seems to have carried on without him at the end of his life, as she had two babies when he was clearly very ill - and they were her boyfriend's (who she eventually married, 14 years later, having had all her babies out of wedlock but with the benefit of a sham wedding ring).

Tomorrow morning I am up early to take delivery of the sand and cement for my greenhouse base.  Then, weather permitting, it will be put in place on Wednesday, and the greenhouse get erected once it has set.  Progress.

Saturday 9 December 2023

I hope it's not something expensive . . .


Pippi doing her mountaineering practice this morning.

Once again, a plan to Get Out of the House (albeit briefly) has failed.  I was going to Danny in Carmarthen tomorrow to collect Christmas presents and some of his "stuff" but the car chucked out a red warning light yesterday for an oil filter. The garage did a diagnostic test which came out something to do with the spark plugs?! He said it would be OK to drive, but I - finally finding the warning signal in the handbook - see the warning light means it's due for change - but surely that would be orange rather than red?  So, having to stay put as I don't want to push my luck.  Can't be marooned in Carm. and Keith with no-one here to help him.  Now, if it IS the filter, that should have been changed when we had the oil changed back in the summer.  I hope it's not something expensive.

All those expensive Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland yearbooks (I am a lapsed member).  I should list them on Ebay and if they don't sell I will see if Lampeter Uni wants them.  I spent many hours poring over the back issues they had when I was researching my dissertation.

I woke up to see the middle stable door pushed open and parcels inside.  But not for me - nope, once again I have had an Orchard Cottage delivery, which I then have to deliver.  Not much fun because their drive is very steep and at the wrong angle for the road approach (which is probably why I end up with their parcels).

Well, I am finding it very hard to find my mojo right now.  I just don't want to do anything. I will force myself out for a short wet and windy walk in a moment but I won't be going far.  I finally ripped out the remains of the Sweet Pea foliage from a tub in the yard and the yellowy-brown Nasturtiums which were very frost-wilted.  I "should" plant the rest of my bulbs, and I "should" make a wreath.  I "should" make some pots of jam to use up frozen summer fruits which I bought for Keith but he can't eat because the blackcurrants are strong and make him choke.  I will need to take myself by the scruff of the neck though.

A parcel of Christmas present books has arrived from my dear friend G in Dorset, but the parcel has a Royal Mail plastic bag over it indicating damage and that I should check the contents.  As I know G didn't have time to put wrapping paper on the books, I will then have Christmas early. Should I?

Thursday 7 December 2023

Thoughts. . .


Gratuitous kitten picture

This morning - 

How busy they are over at the quarry - orange vehicle lights everywhere and yet it's still dark.

I must shave Keith before we see the PD Nurse.  I hope we won't be late for Keith's appointment.  

PD appt - Thank God that's over.  

No interesting junk in Rob's window (as ever).

WHY did it have to really chuck it down just when I've had to park at the far end of the Lidl carpark?

Coming out of Tesco's - nearly dark at 3.30 - thank heavens I don't live in Alaska.

Then, driving home as it was increasingly dimpsey , I noticed how there was the most beautiful soft light across the fields, making the landscape seemingly hug the road and yet the grass of the fields still held its colour. How Carneddau Hill still held the light the valley had lost.   How, despite the leaden clouds, they had trapped a soft golden pink light on the horizon as I drove up the final hill to home.   

        I stepped in the door, laden with groceries and the phone started ringing.  Three calls then in 10 minutes!  I am yet to finish unpacking.  Some positives from the last 24 hours is that my "do you really want the job?" call to the Handyman has brought fruit and he's coming to lay the base next week.  Phew.

        We cut Dairy right out of Keith's menu and it has resulted in saliva production almost back to normal, so that is a positive as it was really getting Keith down, and affecting his speech etc. The PD Nurse thinks the consultant got the medication wrong as Keith had presented so badly having been stuck in the car/wheelchair for 2 hours.  Everything seizes up then.  Plus he'd only had a small drink before we left the house and two bananas for "breakfast" so not hydrated either.

        One of today's phone calls was from the Social Worker who is coming to assess the situation on Saturday.  So, pester power pays off.  Pick that phone up Debbie, every day if necessary!

        Tomorrow I intend to get a walk in, even if it means getting soaked.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Some normal challenges today - but I coped

 Home Insurance.  Goodness, what a nightmare that is.  Our policy had suffered a more than 25% price hike and I was not impressed.  I spent yet more time (did this a couple of days ago too) on comparison websites, but felt that the cheaper quotes (despite being voted best for prices etc) were more for bog-standard properties - some didn't even mention outbuildings, and if they did, would only cover summer houses, garages and greenhouses - not Victorian stable blocks.  Then if something was a STABLE, well that wasn't covered either.  We won't go down the Bridleway route as our house track is a bridleway (which goes on to the farm up the hill). Anyway, having clarified coverage (again, as I a know we did this from the start), I then said I wasn't happy with the price quoted and to come back with their best offer.  This turned out to be £85 less - not much more than last year - so I have stayed put with them.  My poor brain has been fried going from site to site, and reading reviews good and bad.

Poor brain wasn't helped from starting the day, yet again, with chasing up carers.  I got told we hadn't even been allocated a social worker yet (course not, as THEN they would have to do something).  So I got the Duty Social Worker's number and left a message (you don't think there was someone available to pick the phone up do you?) So I have left a message and stressed the urgency.  Really, I cannot carry on much longer as Keith is very doddery come bed time and it is a real challenge to get him from living room to bedroom each night.  Covid really exacted a toll and he has been going downhill steadily ever since.  I will spare you all the details but it is incredibly stressful and only going to get worse, sadly.

Whilst I was having a Phone Morning, I chased up the Handyman about the greenhouse and said I was getting the impression he didn't want the work, so perhaps I had better look elsewhere . . .

District Nurse hasn't turned up yet . . .

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Who could resist?

 I was in desperate need of some down time today and having settled Keith for the afternoon, took myself off up to Three Cocks to Visit the Old Railway Line Garden Centre again.  They just have the most amazing Christmas decorations and everything Christmassy, along with the garden centre, the small deli and the gifts, homeware, clothing, toys and games.  I went a few weeks ago but was very parsimonious.  Today I decided I would treat myself to a Christmas swag for the living room fireplace . . .  (The pink link will take you to the Old Railway Line shop photos.)

I even blew the dust off the little Elastoplast tin that mum kept her card pegs, and tacks for hanging things up at Christmas and the hammer and I tapped some in to hold this in place.  The cones have been sprayed red and glittery, and I just love it.

I just couldn't resist these for the tree.  The robin and watering can reminded me of Beatrix Potter and so did the little squirrel, who was dearer than I realized - I thought I was pushing the boat out at £5.99 but he was actually £7.99 - didn't have my glasses with me . . .

Cheap Stocking fillers.

No room at the inn for ME on the sofa . . .  Lulu, Pippi, Ghengis and Alfie.

I even made bread today - first time since I got Covid - and cooked up a big pan of Chilli which is my lunch today/tomorrow and a double portion for the freezer too.  Keith is coughing and sneezing and I think he has a cold but he says not.  Will settle down to watch a "Vera" I recorded shortly.  Warmer weather from the South this weekend - hope it feels warmer too.

Monday 4 December 2023

I'm glad this afternoon is over


The kittens are well over a year old now and last week I got a card from the vet to say that they were due their booster jabs.  I booked them in for this afternoon but was dreading it, remembering a past occasion when a vet stabbed poor Pippi an inch deep and in agony she sank her teeth in my finger nearly to the bone.  Anyway, it was the nice cat-vet today and they were quickly and painlessly innoculated and weighed and even Lulu - who really didn't want to go in the cat basket and had to be dragged out - was OK when she realized no-one was going to chop her head off! Pippi didn't want to come out either, but was OK and neither of them felt the injection.  SO glad that is over and done with as I felt a horrid "mum" for getting them scared.  My anxiety levels are already high and weren't improved by this.  I need to have a Respite afternoon as I've only had one since we had Covid.  I will have to settle for a walk tomorrow.  

The weather is back to rain today, which is a relief.  Keith, the cats and I are glad to be warm indoors - three pussums are cwtched up beside me on the sofa - Lulu (who has only just discovered the upper levels of the sofa, though she still prefers the kitten hammock below it), Ghengis and Alfie.  They are all fast asleep.  

Keith has got a series called Brassic on and I have to say, it's making us both chuckle. Probably not to everyone's taste, but laughter is a positive thing.  

I'm finally getting on top of Christmas and sent some gifts off today and have ordered the last couple of gifts.  We're having a low-key Christmas this year - it's about family and having fun not huge piles of presents.  Four nearly-Christmas birthdays covered too, and I can't wait to see little "I" open her gifts.  Christmas will be staggered too with Danny & co here either a week before or a week later, but that means we get double the pleasure.

Sunday 3 December 2023

Frost, snow and now rain

 Well, winter has decided to put on a show and we have had stunning hoar frosts (and fortunately dry lanes).  Last night it snowed a bit (so little it's not worth photographing) and now it is raining, which will make the roads a bit slick, especially if it freezes again.  A good day to stay put and tackle the ironing mountain (nearly all king size bedding!) The weather unfortunately put paid to a visit from Danny & Co as I couldn't guarantee either getting to them or getting them to the station today, as the weather forecast showed wet weather coming in, which when it met up with the very cold weather here (minus 7 yesterday) may well fall as snow.  We didn't go to the Antiques Fair for the same reason and Keith wasn't feeling up to it anyway.

Sorry for the power lines but you get the general idea.

        Keith is struggling as he had his medication upped when we saw the Consultant, and it made him barely able to move yesterday - NOT a good situation.  The PD nurse had phoned up on Friday to say how much was he on? REALLY? She clearly didn't believe me and phoned the Consultant. Even the Pharmacist phoned the Consultant to query the timings so we have dropped back to the old dose until we see the PD nurse this week. 

Finally I got the labels on the Hedgerow Jelly I made last week . . .

Another of Pippi's hunting successes - never seen one before - it is a Water Shrew, though apparently they are often found a long way from water.

My friend D in Dorset has just bought herself this book (only a nicer copy, in hardback).  She was saying about Herman Lea's photographs taken for this book - which was Thomas  Hardy's idea.  The photographs made £24,000 at auction.  History under the hammer.

For many years, I had a little colour picture of that very view in Puddletown on my office wall.  I think it got tidied away in the move and I will try and find it again.