Tuesday 23 April 2024

A stroke of pure genius . . .


 This rose support has blown over a couple of times when we've had strong winds - not doing my poor rose any good.  I have used vine eyes and 12" camping pegs, but no go.  I had a stroke of intelligent thought today, and hauled across the two cast iron spud (?) or coal weights we'd had kicking around for years, and tied one on each side with parachute cord (Keith never wasted anything!)  THAT is going nowhere now!

I have had a busy day - Llandod for groceries this morning; then as I arrived back the District Nurse arrived, and between 2 and 3 p.m. it was the turn of the OTs.  I now have to turn the whole room upside down again to make room for the standing aid Keith needs and the, arriving later, supportive wheelchair.  They are also suggesting to Social Services that they visit to look at turning the en suite shower and toilet into a wet room.  That would mean Keith being moved into there.  All this would have been SO simple at Ynyswen, but here it is a huge juggling act!  At least I know why Carers aren't darkening our door - they are not allowed to lift. 

Danny is back tonight, and we will be back to normal - until he and Emma are away this weekend.  Then I will be struggling on my own.  Again, something booked before they thought of moving here, to celebrate his birthday.  Tam is coming on Saturday with Rosie, so I will at least have moral support, but she is NOT lifting a finger!

Sunday 21 April 2024

A wander around Cors y Llyn nature reserve

 Cors y Llyn is only about 6 miles from us by road (less as the crow flies.)  I've not been there this early in the year before, and it was good to see it in spring.  It was a perfect walk for little "I"'s short legs and she enjoyed herself.  She recognized the Dragonflies picture on the reserve plan/information board, but of course it is too early for them to be about, although we did see lots of St Mark's flies as we returned to the car - perhaps very newly hatched as they hadn't been there on the outward journey.  They are black, with dangling legs.


Last year's Bullrushes looking a bit the worse for wear.


The stunted pine trees with their toes in the bog.


Lots of different mosses too.


Birch Boletus.


With all the rain we've been having, water levels were high.


Yesterday was a gardening afternoon, and I have more seeds started, including a gorgeous Cranberry Cosmos, and Emma and "I" sowed Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds.  I did some weeding along the west side of the house, where the old mansion wall is.  Grass and Dandelions everywhere.

Would you believe this time the patchwork is going really well - I am literally just making it up as I go along and the two block panel is looking amazing now I have started on the borders and joined the two blocks with a long row of 5" strips.  Finished photo later, but here was the state of play yesterday morning before I began adding the short strips border.  It has tied the purple and lilac strips in well.



Friday 19 April 2024

An afternoon out

 A very kind local friend suggested she took me out for tea and cake locally.  Emma covered for me, and off I went and C and I talked the hind leg off a donkey at a little cafe by the River Wye.  We watched wild birds at the feeders (which needed topping up).  3 Siskins, a Nuthatch, a Great Tit, a Goldfinch, a Blackbird and a couple of Robins.  They were a joy to watch.  We hadn't seen one another for a while (I seem to have been poorly/busy for nearly two months now) so had a good catch up.  I came home relaxed and feeling like I had had a real treat.  We even came home the back road route, and it was lovely to see the countryside coming to life in the spring sunshine.


I came home to find that "I" had been inventive in my absence, and that Pippi was dressed up to go to the Ball!  Emma had cooked tea for me too, and I enjoyed a Pepper and Mascarpone bake, with peas and chips.  Tastes all the better when you haven't had to cook it!

Of course, I couldn't sleep in the night, for worrying about whether Danny negotiated the country roads and then the busy motorway to Bristol safely, and was awake 3 hours as per usual, so I came down and worked on the curtain blocks and had a good idea after laying them out on the old curtain - two really big ones would cover a window, with a border, so I have added two more strips on all sides.  They are looking colourful and no-one is really going to look at them.  They are for privacy.

Emma and I have managed better than we thought without Danny, though of course we aren't taking Keith to the bathroom or trying to give him a shower.  He did however, manage to walk his usual length of the hall rails this morning, and has been out of bed a couple of times.  

We will get a walk in tomorrow.  Hope it's sunny again, and then I can get on out in the garden too.  Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Sewing patchwork curtains

 These are for the summerhouse.  The two small curtains are finished and up and I decided to use huge 16" blocks to make up curtains for the two bigger windows. I sewed the first two late afternoon.



These lilac colours were amongst the red strips I bought (black and dark blue ones too).  If they can't be merged near a blue square I'll turn them into a cushion cover.  The colourway out there is predominantly red but these were too pretty not to use.



Current downstairs reading.  I can recommend her novels.

Keith has been eating better, but needs to improve his water drinking . . .   I waited beside the phone all day today, as Assist were meant to be phoning me to tell me about Carers. I phoned twice. Keith passed their Panel discussions, but guess what, the Brokerage Team don't seem to have found anyone to come and do the Caring.  This was fairly vital as Danny is away tonight, and not returning until Tuesday night, as he's going to Spain where a friend is having his Stag do.  Emma and I will have to manage as best we can, but Danny's strength will be much missed and Keith won't be able to have a shower etc.  OT are coming out on Tuesday, but by then he won't have done any walking for 4 days and so they won't be able to assess him.  It is beginning to look that the Council can no longer provide the Carers they say they will pay towards . . .

Off to bed now, but sleep will be at a premium as I will be worried about Danny driving through the night to firstly Carmarthen, to pick up friends, and then to Bristol Airport.  A different set of worries for the wee small hours.


Wednesday 17 April 2024

Out of the mouths of babes . . .

 I was weary yesterday, trying to juggle half a dozen jobs at once after yet another poor night's sleep, and continuing worry over Keith.  "Jennifer's tired", I announced, weary.  "I" looked at me and remarked, "Jennifer's ALWAYS tired!"  Hmmm.  Wisdom at 4 years old . . .  I'd waited all day for the District Nurse(s) to come and check Keith's pressure sores, which he had been complaining about.  They came late afternoon and put some soft covers over the area, saying that the sore was healing.  Keith was in discomfort though - he WILL persist sitting at just the same angle all the time and can't get comfortable when we put him on his side.  Today I had to take the dressing off as a fresh area was reddening and I had to get cream on it.  He isn't drinking anything like enough and has dropped a pint straight away as he has given up on tea as he can't manage hot drinks any more.  He is getting fussier and fussier about what he will eat and I tried him with four different meals earlier in the week - and each mealtime can take up to an hour . . .  Needless to say, he needs to eat MORE (and drink more).  I got him Complan this week - just waiting for him to wave that away too.


A little sewing help from Lulu today . . .  This is a quick(ish!) strippy curtain for the Summerhouse.  I have the strips of another sewn up but need to do the border and back.  I struggled no end with the tab top - thinking I had it placed correctly but then bodged the corners of the tab and ended unpicking it all (my stitch ripper is always red hot!) and hand sewing it instead. Worry does not a good curtain make . . .


This was the book I was tempted by.  I haven't had much chance to dip into it yet, but can say what I've read so far is just up my street.  She has written two others, so I may treat myself to those in the future.

 Odd childhood memories have been coming into my mind randomly today.  Like when I was riding a pony called Snowy in Cricket Camp woods, went under a low branch, bending low on his neck, and snagging my nearly-brand-new blue woollen jumper.  My mum was NOT pleased.  A house where the old Queen of the Gypsies lived, opposite us, a creosoted cabin gloomily sat under a planting of tall fir trees.  Going scrumping in the abandoned orchards down in the valley.  A time when we knew the name of every pony for miles around - even if they were names we gave them ourselves!  The footings of a windmill near Windhover Roundabout - a windmill which has now been restored.  I guess the oldest memories are the safest ones . . .



Sunday 14 April 2024

Time is in short supply

 


Emma and I went  to visit Tam and Rosie yesterday, and we all had a lovely walk together in the spring sunshine.  Tam is lucky to have a network of footpaths and bridleways literally on her doorstep.  I am envious as it's much flatter than round here!  We could see a pair of Ravens flying round this hill and the field below.




Long valley views and an inviting path leading into the distance.

Emma and I both had long baby-cuddles whilst she slept and Tam was able to finally get the shower she'd been trying to get for days! If she's allowed to drive, she will visit us next weekend.

I managed to get out in the garden today, and potted up a couple more plants and sowed red Spring Onion seeds, and also a couple of packets of Verbascum and some home-grown Hollyhock seeds.  About 40 of those went in a tray and probably 40 more sprinkled along the herbaceous border. It was good to potter.  I pulled out spent strawberry plants from last year - 3 yrs old now so time for fresh ones which I ordered from Ebay last week.

I also had a books offer come up in my email.  I went to check out one title and of course bought it.  Ann Hayward's "Where the Saints Came From - on Pilgrimage in Wales and Beyond."  Thought it had my name on it.  

Just off to bed now.  



Friday 12 April 2024

One Swallow does not make a summer . . .


 ... but it certainly cheers me up.  One of our stable Swallows has returned home.  I saw a 2nd yesterday morning, but it was just Passing Through.  Hope more of our Swallows soon arrive.  Yesterday's sunshine and delightful warmth cheered me up no end.  I pottered about in the greenhouse, and transplanted the other cucumber plants, and have sown some runner beans (Scarlet Emporor) and a packet of Sarah Raven's seeds - Rose Campion.  I bunged the Iris, Lychnis Strachis, and Paeony which I bought in Hereford Garden Centre in pots as I need to dig over where they are to live and remove grass and old house debris.  A job for tomorrow.

In between watching the racing from Aintree with Keith, I went out and finished painting two walls in the summerhouse for Emma, who was away in Carmarthen for the day.  I listened to Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (Diana Gabaldon) and it was an absolute joy to listen to the story as I worked.

I did some weeding on the left hand side of the bank, where grass was threatening to overwhelm my plantings.  I will have to get some membrane and mulch down. 

I have found a little time to do Family History research (it's wonderfully distracting to escape into the past) and have gotten back further with Keith's Isle of Man ancestors.  Back to 1602 with his main line now. Manx records are brilliant and there is so much on line.

Today Emma and I are going to see Tam, Jon and Rosie.  I am going to tidy her back garden for her and will pot up a few Aquilegia from here (seeds from Ynyswen) so she has a nice link to our old home in her new one.  



Enjoy your weekend all.  I will try and find time to answer your comments. 


Thursday 11 April 2024

A day to sleep

 

I didn't have a good start to the day yesterday, as I cleaned my teefs too enthusiastically and the peppermint taste hit the back of my mouth and then made me sick.  I don't know why it is but me and peppermint don't get along.  

I still didn't feel right - this "little bit of a cold" and worries, kept me awake half the night and then after seeing to Keith, I had to lie down on the sofa where I fell into a really deep sleep for an hour.  Same after lunch too.  By teatime I had rallied a bit.  I didn't need to cook as Emma did us a stir fry which was gorgeous and MUCH better than my stir-fries (different sauce for starters, and she cooked the chicken breast in a tasty different sauce).  Then when Keith was all tucked up (following a visit from the D. Nurse to attend to his needs), we sat and shared a bottle of wine and watched Pride and Prejudice which was just what the Dr ordered, and I slept really well after that.

This morning we need to set up the Sky Q box so Keith can get Sky on his tv and then we can watch the racing from the Aintree meeting over the next few days.  

It is currently NOT raining (though skies threaten more) so I may even get an hour or so out in the garden and greenhouse today.  I have SO many seeds to get started off, mainly flowers.  

That little wretch Pippi has just come back in the house with a dieing just-fledged Thrush.  I am very cross with her and she is housebound now for quite a while.,  Don't mind her catching meeces and voles, but bird are out of bounds.

Right, I need to go and sort Keith out as he wants a shower.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

I've had better days

 



. . . this year's birthday was a rather damp squib.  Unable to go anywhere because of caring for Keith (it being a working day for both D&E), and with Gabby due for lunch, I just went to Llandod for groceries, and on to Midway Plants for some compost, and I may have succumbed to a half price blue Cut-leaf Geranium (Johnson's Blue colouring but another name) and a very pretty Vinca minor "Atropurpurea". They'll go on the next stretch of the bank.

Keith hasn't been very bright, has no appetite and only wants jelly as his mouth his dry (he's on diuretics, and that is a common side-effect.) So, that's a worry.  

Danny was going to print something off, and discovered that the printer was sitting in a pool of printer ink - which has completely ruined the top of the antique Elm Box it was sat on.  I have removed the ink cartridge, and spent ages patting a bicarb of soda paste onto the ink, letting it sit 10 or 15 mins, and then rubbing it over the ink stain.  Ink is still coming off but it's a slow old business and it will never be the same again.  Fairly gutted over this. The printer has NEVER leaked before and where it was before it wouldn't have mattered if it did.

Anyway, trying to look on the bright side:

1.  Keith managed, holding onto the hall rails, to stagger a few steps today.

2.  It was lovely seeing Gabby, who brought flowers and a lunch which will feed me a couple of days more.  Plus the cake is a nice soft Lemon Drizzle sponge and will be nice for Keith with ice cream.

3.  The ink IS coming off even though it will leave a permanent stain.  The ink on my fingers will slowly wash off . . .

4.  I can have an outing and like our late Queen, have an unofficial birthday when the sun is shining.

5.  I have two new plants.

6.  The kids clubbed together and bought me a new mobile.


Monday 8 April 2024

How to have fun when you're over the hill. . .

. . . when the highlight of the week is an optician's appointment, hastily organized after your reading specs go missing (little "I" likes to hide important things and deny all knowledge . . .) and you are completely lost without them.  Fortunately I managed to get the appt. this afternoon which I had cancelled on Friday (which had been Keith's appt).  I will have my eyes checked (due next month anyway)  and then choose a new pair of specs and hope they are here soonest.  "I" away at her granny's, so I can't find out from her where my current specs may be.  That's going to be £100 plus I hadn't reckoned on this month. . .

We had a lovely day yesterday with Tam, Jon and Rosie visiting.  Danny and Emma did all the cooking of the meal and I hastily rustled up a Manderin Orange Cake to fill the corners until Danny's Chilli was cooked.  Keith was delighted to meet his little grand-daughter and had a cuddle.  As you can see, he lost a lot of weight during his hospital stay.  Tam was quite upset to see him looking so gaunt. 


Happy families.  It was lovely to have a houseful.  We think baby Rosie may have a good few of Keith's genes being passed on as she has a little Elfin ear like Tam, and also a strawberry mark on her neck just where Keith has one.  



This morning Keith has sat out for a little while by the window, and together we looked at the first half of the huge tome of a catalogue for an antiques sale at Chatsworth House in 2010 - the contents of the Attic Auction indeed!  Blimey, I wish I had stuff worth £100,000 in MY attic (it was a beautiful mahogany extending table). He had to sit out on the shower commode with his thick anti-pressure-sore cushion, as we couldn't get the riser chair up the stairs - it's slightly too wide and there is a bit that juts out on the left of the stairs which prevents us getting quite normal sized furniture getting up there, and certainly anything BIG.

I'd like to get out and sow some more seeds in the greenhouse so hopefully late afternoon I'll get the chance.  I need to pot on the two boughten Tomato plants I bought recently too as they have made good growth, as well as the Cucumber seedlings.

Friday 5 April 2024

A lovely spring walk

 E, "I" and I went for a walk to our little local church today.  Due to "I"'s little short legs, I parked nearer, so we just had to walk about 3/4 mile each way.  A wind was troubling the trees, but along a sheltered stretch of trackway, it was quite warm in the sun.  "I" loved running across the fields to St David's church.




It's a Medieval church, revamped  several times down the centuries, and yet again in late Victorian times, like so many.  


"I" playing hide and seek behind the replica sculptured stone.  The original was found built into the wall of an ancient house in Maesmynis.




Winifred Woosnam who sadly died aged just 13.


The fallen of the parish.  Hugh Stanley Hughes never went abroad after signing up in May 1918, and went home to die from TB . . .



A composite chair, as surely there weren't many Minnie's about in 1610!




The font dates to the 14th C.



The pond was very full, and a pair of Canada Geese had taken advantage of what was on offer and nested on the little island.



Keith has been resting today and has been watching a great series on Amazon Freevee - Into the Wild Frontier - and I've watched bits of it with him.  A great series.  We will have to be doing what we can to help get him on his feet again though as Physio said he's on the waiting list - having come home rather than go to the Community Hospital.  Ditto carers I imagine, but I will chase those up on Monday.

Tam, Jon and Rosie are coming over on Sunday, so Keith is really looking forward to meeting the little one.  

Our new neighbour moved in today and I baked him a cake as a welcome gift.  As an architect, it sounds like he will do right by the property, which is a couple of hundred years old.  

Right, back to bed as it's 3 a.m. now.  I hate it when I wake and can't get back to sleep.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Shattered


 Well, Keith is home, safely settled in bed and had a bowl of beef casserole at 9 p.m. last night - had to pass on the sirloin steak he'd have liked as chewing too difficult!  Anyway, I am the one with jet lag as I was awake 3 hours in the night, and was fast asleep when the alarm went off at 7.  Someone at the hospital was muttering about a care package and 7.30 last night.  Keith told me we wouldn't have carers for two weeks yet, but I set the alarm just in case.  I had been having nightmares about being in America, and I had taken the kittens - Pippi had disappeared and Lulu swallowed a syringe!  Not a restful night's sleep.

I am trying to get my head around the new medications regime, as he has three new pills - one's a diuretic, and there's a heart pill (he has AF) and a blood thinner.  Yeesh.

I will have to rest today as I am shattered.  District Nurse coming later to change catheter.  We know how to have fun!



Tuesday 2 April 2024

Keith's coming home tomorrow!!

 Yippee!  Lots of straight talking and string pulling today.  At one point Keith spelt out Solicitors on his alphabet sheet! and he was definitely not going to be deterred from getting home, any way he could.  I put it across that Keith's next move would be digging an escape tunnel, to try and lighten the discussion.  Anyway, a very helpful OT lady came and asked questions and said she saw no reason why Keith shouldn't come home and have bed rest until everything else was in place.  I have been told that the Hospital have applied for carers for Keith, so that is in place too.  The relief is a bit overwhelming.  Just waiting for Danny & Co to get home and then I will start relaxing.

Anyway, here are a couple of photos of the finished quilt - with no close-ups to show the endless mistakes!



I hope we all sleep better tonight, knowing Keith will soon be home.

Monday 1 April 2024

Malvern roundup



 I was so shattered yesterday, having woken so early (thanks for changing the clocks, Govt.  Just give it up as it is just a bad habit).  The car park was nearly full when I arrived - I got in two rows from the end, but fortunately on the tarmacced bit so no worries about being a stick-in-the-mud later. It just meant a long way to go when going back to the car with goodies.  Due to the weather (one assumes) there weren't as many stalls as usual and they had put everyone up towards the North Gate, parked in squares around the pathways, which made it very confusing, trying to remember when I returned from the car, which bits I'd been to. 

I didn't take the camping trolley on the first outing, as if I had to drag it across muddy grass, it is very tiring.  I went back later with it, having found we had the tarmacced paths to walk on. Even so, I avoided anything large/heavy/furniture shaped though in fact the only thing I would have liked in the furniture department was a lovely William Morris Sussex Chair - but at £595 that wasn't coming home with me! I stuck to a couple of pieces from an Indian lady's stall (she had stuff imported) - two little metal cooking pots, and a branch hollowed out and used for storage.  It had a natural curve in the wood which gave it character.  I got a little French jug of the sort which are only glazed around the top (neck) as they are buried neck-deep in the soil to keep food cool.  It had a pretty greeny glaze with cream speckles.  I got several pieces of studio pottery ceramics in blue colourways, two heavy horse cockades which someone had revamped using natural colour horse-hair.  Normally they are dyed but hey, these were cheap and appealed to me.  One plant came home with me - a large flowered Campanula.  Oh, and I found a stand selling the lovely rusty metal swallow-on-a-stick garden decorations - it was only £12.  The ones I saw before were £25, so this was a bargain and looks lovely where I have stuck it in the garden.

For Keith, I bought two illustrated auction catalogues, one for a house contents sale of a country house somewhere (£2), and the other cost me £10 as it was a doorstop of a catalogue for the Chatsworth Attic Sale. That will take him a while to get through.  They had some fabulous things in their attics, I can tell you!  Very grand.  We had fun looking at them together.  K was feeling more positive after a good night's sleep, and asked for a glass of milk, which didn't need to be thickened, and he enjoyed - some extra calories in that anyway.  He is off all breathing aids now, and had his last canula removed yesterday, so it is literally a waiting game.  First thing this morning, I phone the Council about his care package.

I didn't take any photos as I was walking round, as I was a bit down, and very tired but I did stop at my favourite viewing point on the Upton turning, and took some of the views.  I'll take some photos of what I bought later on.  I was awake early this morning (having slept the sleep of the damned last night, due to taking Magnesium two days running) so I am going to try and knock up the first of the smaller curtains for the Summerhouse.  

I was on my own last night, as D&E in Carmarthen (and little "I" with her father for Easter).  I couldn't get the tv to work though (Danny had used his Playstation to watch a video the previous night).  Then it wouldn't turn on at all, so I just sat and read my book, but was in bed at 8.45.  Changing the batteries didn't help, so think a new remote is called for - this has been dodgy about turning on for some time now.

I hope you all had an enjoyable Easter.

Sunday 31 March 2024

Off to Malvern




 . . . shortly.  Just having a cuppa and waiting for my hair to dry a bit more (too shattered to wash it last night).  Keith needs to come home. The food is dire at times and he isn't eating anything like enough. They even put him back on a pureed meal yesterday so I spoke to the dinner lady and she will make sure he doesn't have that again.  They've put him back on a 4 bed ward again now and one of the blokes was awake and noisy all the previous night and kept everyone else awake too - poor Keith was exhausted yesterday.  He can barely speak so I am his only advocate and it is such a worry.  I spoke to the Assistant Ward Sister yesterday - we have to wait until a care package is in place and Powys is apparently very slow at this - and the other chaps in the ward are all Powys, but only Keith ready to come home.  If necessary, he will just discharge himself and we will get him home under our own steam.  

Baby Rosie is still having midnight feasts and 2 a.m. feasts and 3 a.m. feasts and T&J are shattered.  I desperately want to get over there again but can't abandon Keith.  

Deep joy - pitch black and pouring with rain out there.  I hate it when they change the clocks - such a pointless exercise - and driving in the dark is no fun.  Oh, and my tummy has decided it's not happy with me this morning, so have had to dose up with Immodium.  NOT what you want when you are going to be driving for over an hour and a half and then walking miles round a wet field. So, walking boots are the order of the day, and comfy shoes to drive in, and a spare jacket too . . .  If it is pouring there (forecasts for here and Malvern don't mention this sort of rain) I shan't be long out on the fields.

Thank you for your kind comments.  Will try and stay awake long enough to reply later. It is a bittersweet time here, and I am unable to enjoy the baby's arrival properly because of worrying about Keith.

Saturday 30 March 2024

Quick Proud Granny moment

 


My first snuggle with Rosie-Posie :) Isn't she gorgeous?  I'll leave it at this for tonight as I didn't get back till late, then wanted a walk in the Groe before my meal, so now I'm ready to rest.

Friday 29 March 2024

St Bartholomew's church, Vowchurch

 Keith will be home in a few days, as soon as the care package is in place.  We are both counting the days.  Once he's home, Danny and Emma will hold the fort here whilst I go regularly to help Tam out, as baby (now FINALLY named Rosie) hasn't been sleeping at all well - she didn't settle until 6 a.m. this morning and both Jon and Tam are absolutely exhausted already.  She will go to sleep laying ON them, but not in her crib.  Of course, they daren't go to sleep with her on them. I'm just about to do some meals for them to last a few days, and a cake as well.  



Finally, the photos taken at Vowchurch.  Well worth a visit if you are in the area.


A lovely half-timbered house the far side of the churchyard.


The simple Norman font.  The church was consecrated in 1348.


Beneath the Bell Tower.


Looking down the nave towards the altar. Note the roof beams which have queen posts, tie-beams and collar-beams.




Restoration period wall art dated 1664.


A fragment of  the Monument to John Bourne who died in 1625.  I hope you can read the tribute to him below.



A fragment of glass from a large window in the nave, subsequently replaced and possibly an early fragment as quite yellowed, which was signed by the Rev. Morgan Jones, Curate-in-Charge, 1822 - 1834.




I thought these were pears, but one has a mouth! so perhaps fish . . .


Just love the caryatids -Adam and Eve one assumes - and some fish? above them, and the two Hippocampuses? on the rood screen (dated 1613).  HERE is a link to the fascinating history of the Welsh water horse (hippocampus), especially one that lived not that far from Brecon, in the River Honddu. It was apparently a bit of a pest!




I would assume these lovely carved wooden benches, are celebrating marriages.