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.

Thursday 28 March 2024

Ideas about Keith coming home

 Apparently the choice is down to Keith, and if he wants to come home rather than go to Llandod, he can do so.  Of course, he wants to come home.  Now I have to discuss this with the ward sister and get a plan in place.  His bed is upstairs and the would be mayhem if we had to bring it down to the living room - nowhere for the sofa to go and nowhere for contents of Library to go if he were to be put in there.  It is crammed with furniture, books and stock, plus K's Windsor chairs and two armchairs. . .  Like Scarlett O'Hara, I will think about that tomorrow. The sooner he is home, the better.

Hay Bluff yesterday (above) and today with a bit more snow (below).

It rained very heavily nearly all the way home today and there was a lot of surface water.

Tam and Jon still getting used to being a family of 3, and Tam is still struggling with the problems of Carpel Tunnel which surfaced during her pregnancy.  She is frightened of dropping her precious little one.  Her feet and ankles are very swollen too, which is common.  

Sorry I've not had a chance to answer your comments, or do a proper post on the church at Vowchurch, but not enough hours in the day and I have been awake 3 hours every night since Monday.  I hope I can sleep better tonight.

Patchwork fabric now ironed.  I need to find some suitable curtains for the double door into the summerhouse, as of course, the ones I had which would have been perfect went to the Charity Shop last summer. . .

Have an enjoyable Easter all.

Wednesday 27 March 2024

We're ok , but even wearier

 More noises about K going to the community hospital for recuperation.  Hopefully Llandod, as that is just 10 miles away and you don't need to watch out for dozens of potholes.  Tam home from hospital.  I spoke to her on the phone tonight and she had a truly dreadful, almost life-threatening, time of things.  Horrendous.  I'm going to see her on Saturday and Danny is going to do the Hereford visit to Keith, if he's still there.  If he's in Llandod, life will be easier.

I washed all the fabrics for the Summerhouse patchwork curtains tonight - just as well as lots of red and it bled a little. Lots of ironing of said fabrics tomorrow.

There was snow on Hay Bluff as I drove to Hereford today, and coming out of the city, there was a thunderstorm with huge flashes of lightening and then torrential sleet/hail and you couldn't see the potholes for the road being awash.

Going to rest with In Memoriam now - a brilliant book and I can truly recommend it.  Amazing for a first novel too.

Just a quick line

St Bartholomew's, Vowchurch - the tower is set in to the roofline - most unusual.

 I am so weary here, after a fortnight of going to Hereford daily.  Keith better yesterday until he was sat out for too long (I kept asking for him to be put back in bed but they were busy).  Then his heart rate was up - on lower oxygen and perhaps because he was fretting at being sat out so long, when he desperately needed to sleep - so they were giving an ECG when I left.  I was out of the house from 9.20 until 4.45 - a long day. BUT the physios were talking about him going home/going to community hospital, and I think I have persuaded Keith that the latter option is the best.  Llandod is nearest - 10 miles away and I could bring him palatable food to try and build him up again and the physios there can get him more mobile. 

Tam and baby (no name yet - she could never make her mind up) are probably going home today.  I don't know when I/we will meet her.  Other granny lives on the doorstep so will see her more often I'm guessing.  We are 1 1/2 hours away.  Tam sent some lovely photos last night, but they are family ones only and I can't share.

No time to do the church post right now - I am sleeping badly so not getting up 5.30 or 6 as usual, which is when I can spend a bit of time doing a post.  Thank you for all your kind comments.

Monday 25 March 2024

She's here!

Here's that precious little one who's now joined our family.  I just wanted to share my joy with you all.  She's gorgeous - looks a bit like Jon and lots of dark hair, like him and Tam.  Tam will have to be careful for a few weeks now whilst she heals,  Guess Jon is on housework duty for a bit!  Right, I shall sleep better tonight knowing that they are both OK.  Keith will be thrilled in the morning.

Thank you all for being such caring friends.  

Things are happening II - and update

 Tam went in to the hospital today, in early labour, but they induced her anyway to speed things up.  Had a message via Gabby from Jon that Tam is in strong labour now, so baby should be born today.  She's doing well with her breathing exercises.  I am on tenterhooks now.  Update: She's about to have a C-section . . . Hope to goodness they get the pain relief appropriate, given her track record - tooth removed with no pain relief as amount given didn't work for her and another occasion for an operation too.  It's on her records, but a worrying time . ..  Poor lass, this is everything she DIDN'T want to happen.

Not very clear - sorry.  Hope you get the idea.

I am absolutely exhausted today - Keith not very bright, but still improving.  His oxygen levels are 28, and the norm is 22 or 23, so getting there.  The physios (who are brilliant) listened to his chest and said it was almost clear of crackles, so got him out in a chair which can be moved into reclining position etc and he was sat out for an hour and a half, but by then I could see he was very tired.  I was feeding him, reading bits from the paper for him, cleaned his teefs (this never gets done), helping him drink etc.  Saw the dietitian again too, and between us we persuaded him that even if he didn't like the high-protein milk shakes, he had to drink them anyway as he was on half the calories he should be on.  He wasn't best-pleased that I'd joined ranks with the Dietitian, but it is essential for his recovery.

I will confess to another trip to Doughty's to look for deep red patchwork material to edge or make new curtains in the Summerhouse.  I bought 4 fat quarters I liked, then found a clearance bag of half a dozen (no, 8) suitable reds for £5 at the counter, so they came home with me too.

I'm off for a lie down now.  D & "I" have gone swimming.  I need a nap.

Sunday 24 March 2024

Things are happening

 Just spoken to Tam and her waters broke yesterday, so she will hopefully be in labour soon.  If not, she has to go in to be induced tomorrow morning, and that is just what she DIDN'T want.  As I told her you can have made all the best plans in the world but the baby can change all that at a whim! SO, very exciting times and it will cheer Keith up no end to hear we're finally grandparents.  I have decided I didn't want to be version two of "Granny C" as per Keith's mum.  I have opted for the Devon dialect word for grandmother, which is "Grammer".  May shorten it to Gram!  So there.

One of the many beautiful Magnolias in bloom at the moment.  This one is at St Bartholomew's Church at Vowchurch, where I stopped on the way home.  Post in the morning.

Keith now off anti-biotics, and on slightly less oxygen, but the scan revealed a blood clot (forgot to ask where, but imagine it's in a lung?) and so he has to be on blood thinners for 6 mths.  He can't come home just yet, but I am hopeful for the end of the week, fingers x'd.   I phoned the hospital and asked that Keith be told that Tamzin's waters had broken so baby would soon be here.  That should cheer him up no end. The first thing he asked me this morning, was had the baby put in an appearance yet.

Back in the morning.

Saturday 23 March 2024

I'm tired tonight

 Even though I was a passenger, as Danny drove us to visit Keith today, I am still tired.  I think the worry over Keith and knowing he just wants to come home a.s.a.p. wears me down.  I have still not shaken off my productive cough and had the last a-b today, so Monday may see me down the Dr's first thing, before I go to Hereford.  Gabby phoned, and was croaking and barely able to speak.  I do hope she wasn't brewing this when we saw her on Wednesday as it's the last thing Keith needs.

He has had a chest X-Ray and Scan - the latter to check for blood clots.  I hadn't even given them a thought because he has been having daily injections which I thought guarded against that happening. The physio said the X-ray was ok.  We don't know about the scan yet.

He ate all his cottage pie today - a few days back he left it after just a half teaspoonful.  He says he has more appetite now and this, as food, looked reasonably palatable.

We were watching the racing together this afternoon.  I missed the Lincoln as we left just before it was run, but I've checked on his racehorse (he is part of a syndicate and probably owns about 2 hairs of its tail!), Grand Albert, who was running at Bangor today, and he won, which is great news and will have cheered Keith up no end.  He has syndicate shares in 4 or 5 horses, which we gave him as Christmas presents, and it gives him a real interest.  

I am now sewing the binding on the crawler quilt and screwed up the first corner already (always my nemesis).  At least I am being consistent with the entire thing!  No baby news yet.  She is due tomorrow, but may well be late . . .  I will keep you posted.

Friday 22 March 2024

"I'm feeling stronger"

 This is what Keith told me today.  I am so pleased about that.  That is despite NOT having his breakfast of porridge two days running because the nurse on night duty didn't check his notes to see that he needs help to eat.  I was NOT amused and when the Dietician came in, made sure it wouldn't happen again.  A lovely nurse came in later and I told her the same, and she will make sure that the night nurse doesn't do it again.  She gave Keith the rice pudding with apple I took in yesterday.  I bought another instant porridge pot for him today and she will make that up if it ever happens again.

Isn't this spectacular?  A pure white cherry tree has now gone to the top of my wanted list.  Photographed today at Sugwas, after I took a lane off the main road so I could park up and take some Ibuprofen.  Boy did I need them - when I left the hospital and walked back to Morrisons, where I was parked, my legs felt like chewed string again and my breathing not as good as I'd like it to be.

My Magnolia stellata.

Anyway, Keith still has the wet oxygen mask on, so conversation was hard - mainly as I couldn't hear a damn thing over the noise of it.  Then a lovely young man came in to check Keith's vitals and I could barely understand a word he was saying as he had an accent, a mask, the tv was on and the oxygen hissing! AND my good ear is still suffering from sinus blocking.  The only bit I understood was Keith was to have a chest X-ray this afternoon to make sure he hadn't inhaled any food or drink.

Since getting back, we have all been out in the garden.  I took a mattock to the bank and dug a space for my new Paeony to go in, removing some wild Willow saplings at the same time.  D & E finished the first coat of green on the summerhouse and it's looking splendid.  Inside is going to be painted a deep claret colour, as deep colours are apparently soothing when you are having massage treatments.  I am going to prettify the plain white rolled up curtains in there with some patchwork material.  In fact, I may just go into Doughty's tomorrow and get a metre of something that will tie in well, for a border or to make simple blocks with a creamy-white print.

Just some of the many Primroses in my garden - these are top o'bank.

It was lovely to be out in the fresh air, and I think the little one will sleep well tonight as she's been running round like a Whippet!  I am going to wash my hair and settle down to watch something on tv whilst I quilt round the last few blocks on the Crawler Quilt.  No news from Tam and Jon yet about a new arrival. . .

Thursday 21 March 2024

Quick update

 Tonight I'm the one not feeling too clever.  All the driving has got to me and it's quite a strain being there for Keith whilst I'm sat with him.  I'm normally there 2 1/2hrs or so, and give him little sips of drink, feed him, chat etc etc.  He couldn't chat today because he had the full oxygen mask on to give him moistened oxygen to try and get rid of the last phlegm in his chest, which had become thick and sticky and stuck in his throat.  I couldn't understand what he was saying because of the noise of the tv and the oxygen, and he had to spell out a few words for me.  Anyway, he ate quite well an enjoyed his cheesy jacket potato at lunchtime, though it was a really big one and he couldn't eat all of it.  He is down to less thick water now (just one scoop thickener) which has cheered him up, but been told his next swallow test is Monday - not so cheering.

Before setting off today I had a 45 minute walk along the valley, seeing what flowers were starting to put out leaves and flowers and just listening to the bird song.  No Chiff Chaffs yet but they should be here any day (or perhaps they were just miming this morning!)  Talking of birds, there are some White Egrets in the water meadows beside the Wye on the lane between Llyswen and Glasbury.   I was hoping to take a photo today as there were half a dozen of them, but on the way back they had shifted further up the valley and I saw them out of the side window and had driven on as it registered - no-where to park there.

Anyway, here is a photo of the first Stitchwort in flower this morning.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Slow progress . . .

 . . . but Keith wishes it were all in turbo-drive as he just wants home - he'd settle for being allowed to drink water instead of thick disgusting gloop.  I gave him a few teaspoonfuls of plain water as his mouth was so dry, and he was ok with that.  He sees the SALT lady tomorrow so I hope he can at least get down to one teaspoonful of thickener, as he is eating well and managing to swallow no problems there.

    He sat out for a little while today but the chair back was too upright and he was put back in after 15 mins or so and a chair with a supportive neck area will be supplied instead.  Sitting upright certainly helped him to cough more - in bed he is nothing like as upright of course.  I took him in scrambled egg in a Contigo mug and he enjoyed that.  He had two tubs of ice cream at lunch but before that just the tiniest taster of the meal on offer and he said no more!  Tiny bits of ham in a white sauce with GREEN BITS in.  Can't have GREEN BITS!  Gabby visited today too and gave him some of the cherry-topped yoghurt, and apple rice pudding she'd bought, and he enjoyed those. Obviously he needs more meals rather than just desserts but anything to keep him going right now will have to do.

    I always hate to leave him but after 2 or 3 hours he gets very tired.  The physio girls were very pleased with him today, so again, a step in the right direction.

    Spring has certainly arrived and every day shows the trees and hedgerows starting to green up - mostly Hawthorn yet - but there are signs of other early-flowering trees setting out their wares, masses of daffodils and many beautiful Magnolias and Forsythia bushes along the way.  That brings a smile to my face.

    I had a lovely chat with Little Lin today (we're friends from 2ndary school).  Putting the world to rights, and just two words (wiper-blade) - Danny needs to replace one - brought back a memory from our 20s, instantly, for both of us!

    One negative today - I came home to find that there had been a cat fight - Shadow had come down and ventured as far as the front hall, whereupon he was attacked by Lulu, Pippi AND Alfie.  What rotters they are.  A pile of black and white hair by the front door and a very disgruntled Shadow who has retired back upstairs, where it's safer.  

    Praying that tomorrow brings more improvements for Keith. Thank you all for your kind comments.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

A definite step forward

 Keith was rested when the Physio girls got to him today and they got him standing up, using the support they have which has "leaves" which go behind the bottom and supports for knees as well as a bar to hold onto.  He did really well, but still had thick gunk in his throat which they had to suck out with a tube.  That said he's been coughing better and is a lot more determined now.  They mentioned he could possibly go to Llandod hospital or similar to recuperate, so that physio could continue, but equally home was possible in the not too distant future.  (Dare I hope this weekend?) Needless to say, K wants HOME and not hospital recuperation.

He ate the enriched rice pudding I took in, plus half of the Chicken "Pie" - topped with mash not pastry.  Said it wasn't too bad to eat.  Progress.   I took in a tub of instant porridge in case he didn't fancy any of the meals, and they would make that up for him (as it just needs hot water). 

I popped into the patchwork shop afterwards to get quilting needles and some more rotary blades so I don't ever run out again.  This morning I had an hour or so to spare and finally got back to the Crawler quilt.  I was unpicking another block when I had a sudden sod-it moment and decided to ditch that whole row entirely and just make it narrower.  So there.  So now it's pinned together with a lovely soft cotton batting and the Beatrix Potter pattern backing and I've started hand-quilting it.  My favourite bit.

Thank you all for your support.  Going out in the garden now.

Monday 18 March 2024

Two steps forward - one back


Recovery from serious illness is rarely totally linear.  Last night Keith didn't sleep very well and that is bad news when you have Parkinsons.  He saw the SALT lady today, but unfortunately his swallowing isn't up to scratch yet, and when she gave him a drink with only one measure of thickener, he coughed a lot afterwards which apparently shows that his swallow reflex is still weak.  Not surprising, since he has hardly been swallowing anything due to the wallpaper paste drinks and he's back on a drip again too to build his fluids up.  He said that the Dr this morning was an arrogant barsteward too, so that wasn't a good start to the day.

Anyway, a positive with the food after the SALT lady suggested he tried eating a banana - we had some small ones I'd bought in.  He ate one with no problems and a good swallow reflex, so is now off the hideous pureed meals (think stiffer wallpaper paste, with colours and shapes) and allowed to eat soft food again.  Hopefully he can have scrambled eggs regularly to help sustain him.  I ordered him a jacket potato with cheese for his tea - it was the least offensive (to him!) of what was on offer as no way would he eat Spag. Bol. or Curry!

These are just shaped in a mould - probably made from reconstituted powder too. . .

I stayed 3 1/2 hrs but wanted to stay there to comfort him till teatime but he desperately needed to sleep.  I hope he will be better tomorrow.  He wanted to hear he could go home soon so is very disappointed that he can't.

Sunday 17 March 2024

Nearer the door out

My family are home - Danny is modelling a cushion . . .  The new Mushroom look!

    Keith went in a private room today, near the exit.  Not a moment too soon as the flasher opposite has now been put in quarantine - e.g. they pulled the curtains round him! - after 24 hours without  . . .  Gabby bought K some more tv credits or else he would be sat there looking at a brick wall as that is the view from his new room. . .  I am glad that I decided to go first thing this morning, as he said a couple of times how pleased he was I had turned up.  I spoke to Dr and she said until SALT had seen him tomorrow to check his swallow reflex, he had to have the thickened water etc.  A nurse came in and took the let down gloop away (he'd had some though, before she came) and made it up with two spoonfuls of thickener so it was like wallpaper paste again.  Poor Keith, I really feel for him.  Gabby and I both got yoghurts down him and I will take him manderin jellies tomorrow as those are nicely set and have water in.  He's on minimal oxygen now, and had the cannula in one arm taken out, so progress.

    Keith did really well for the physio (lovely girl who grew up in Singapore) and moved his legs over the bed, and helped himself sit at the edge and then even stood up, a tiny bit wobbly, for a while.  His chest is much better, so let's hope there's no relapse.

Hay Bluff below (photographed today).

On the way home, I went to the Farm Shop (V. expensive) - e.g. £3.99 for a cauliflower! I bought a gigantic sausage roll, but I couldn't eat it all, it was SO full of meat, and allowed myself a wander round their garden centre.  Fatal.  I resisted a Pulmonaria Sissinghurst (white Lungwort) at £8.99 - thought I would get seeds instead - but bought 4 more young perennials for £10 the 4.  Photos tomorrow, promise.

I have had an hour pottering in the greenhouse for the first time, starting off Purple French Beans, Cucumber Tanya, Tomato Green Zebra, and some sweet peppers (California Wonder).  They're in the propogators on the south facing windowsill.  The French Beans required heat this time of year, but I will start more off just in the greenhouse. Just wanted an early picking.

I also got two Bellis perrenis this week, so put them in on the steps today, along with a Campanula and another white Saxifrage.  Looks good already and has cheered me up.

I've got a good-looking loaf of bread in the bottom steam oven and am looking forward to some when it has cooled sufficiently.  Tea will be something from the freezer.  Hope the car doesn't play me up tomorrow - two days running it has declined to start in the hospital car park . . . Will get the garage to check the battery terminal connections in the morning.

Night-time thoughts

 Of course, I always wake in the night for the loo, and find it hard to get back to sleep.  I decided I would go in today and be the early shift, and leave when Gabby gets there.  I also want to speak to the Dr about their "query inhalation" and putting him on gloop.  Especially since when he had waited 8 hrs in A&E back in November for his X-ray they found him ok.  He HADN'T inhaled food- the noise the ambulance crew found on his lungs was the remains of his Covid chest infection.  I am going to insist on him having plain unadulterated water to drink as he was getting dehydrated yesterday.  Yes - they measure everything going in and out of him - but no-one came near to top up his water whilst we were there.  

I feel slightly better today but am annoyed to find I have put on a pound in weight so 10 1/2 stone is not as close. I am 10st 10 now.  That's what comes of eating crisps of an evening when I'd run out of bread yesterday.  I was going to bake first thing but will do it when I come back.

I was home alone last night as Emma is on a climbing course up in North Wales and Danny went up to stay with her/go out for a meal.  Originally they were all going, but obviously Keith being in hospital made Danny decide to stay here.  "I" is with her father.  

Stalemate with cats, although Pippi and Shadow had a barney last night and as I came in they were tussling on the floor - I shouted - and he fled up the stairs with Pippi in hot pursuit.  These wee kittens are brave as lions - he's twice their size!

Thank you for all your support.  Back later.

Saturday 16 March 2024

Quick update

 The Physio came round when Danny and I were there today.  He listened to Keith's chest, pummelled his back and then heard him cough, listened to his lungs again and said they were sounding pretty clear - just a little faint crackle towards the bottom.  They also changed from an oxygen mask to a nasal canula. That's the positives.  The negative is the food and trying to get him to drink water the thickness of glue.  He is so thirsty but struggles with the wallpaper paste they call water.  I spoke to the nurse and told her again that his pneumonia was down to a chest  infection because we'd all had a nasty cold.  They still had "query food inhalation" on his notes because he had choked on food back in November and had to go in for an X-Ray (which showed it hadn't happened).  Anyway, I let down the "glue" with some fresh water and Keith was able to slake his thirst.  Dinner today was equally hideous - carrot-shaped carrot puree, mash and three strange triangular objects which Keith told me were turkey!  He couldn't eat it because it had arrived at the same time as the physio, and congealed as he was worked on.  He enjoyed the Muller cherry Bliss I took in and Gabby is going tomorrow with more and some protein drinks and some chicken soup.  She is ready to take up the baton . . .

The flasher opposite had a blanket tied round his waist today so clearly the nurses had got fed up with his shenanigans!

Today I was the one who was poorly.  Dan and I were up early and away around 8 a.m. and went to have a look round the shops - I needed new walking trainers.  It was lovely - and quiet - in the Cathedral, but when we came out I felt really chilled and unwell.  I walked over to the rack of warm quilted jackets in the sale and promptly got one, coat length, reduced from £81 to £32!!  I wore it straight away and it was like having a centrally-heated hug.  I got Keith 3 new t-shirts which are about to go in the wash, and then chose a pair of walking trainers, trotted round in them, and that was job done.  I've been on the sofa asleep under a heated blanket since we got back with Alfie on my feet for added heat.  Now it's an instant Tesco prawn curry, which is calling loudly!

Hope your weekend is going well.  I am still praying we can get Keith home soon and he doesn't get another infection.

Friday 15 March 2024

If I see that patient's wedding tackle again . . .

 or his bare b*m . . . I shall tell Matron!!  A new patient opposite Keith who is a somewhat large man and is wearing a hospital gown that doesn't quite fit, and he kept hitching it up over his knees when he was sitting down - having a deliberate flash I reckon.  Believe me mate, I wouldn't bother, it wasn't a very impressive sight!!!

Have to have a bit of a smile, to ease the tension.  I think Keith is feeling better as he has been so grumpy all the time I was there today.  He appears to be on minimum oxygen now and a lower dose of antibiotics.  I set off early (about 9 a.m.) hoping the parking would be easier, but no chance.  I ended up getting 2 1/2 hours for £2 in Morrisons.  I took some scrambled egg for Keith, but he wasn't allowed it as he is meant to just be eating pureed food from now on.  Now, this is because they have concluded his pneumonia is from aspiration of food or drink - though this has not happened.  He has been on soft foods here since November and no choking episodes.  The meal they gave him at lunchtime was what Keith would describe as "gopping".  The pureed baked beans were turned out of silicon moulds which made them look a bit like pea-shaped beans on the top, the pureed spud had been piped but tasted yuk, and the "cheese omelette" - omg, it looked like a circular vanilla blancmange.  I wouldn't have eaten any of it, and though Keith tried, he couldn't face it.  He did eat his pureed apple crumble for pudding though.  Even his water has to be thickened, as if he were a stroke patient as I remember mum having a cup of "tea" you could nearly stand the spoon up in.

He desperately wants to come home - there are three of us here to do the caring - so I hope that he can soon be off oxygen and mending properly.

I went to Doughty's (patchwork) shop today to cheer myself up, and bought some fabrics and pretty variegated pinks thread, then went tothe garden centre to buy a heated propogator.  They only had a choice of ONE - reduced from £99 to £64 but I wasn't planning spending that sort of dosh, so got a standard one with lid and will use that instead and I also got a bag of good seed compost.  I got a few cheap plants too, and will put up photos tomorrow.

Let's hope that Keith can come home soon.  Tam is talking about going to see him on Sunday or Monday but she is so near her due date (next week!) I really don't think that 6 hours travelling is a great idea.

Keep the positive thoughts et all coming our way, and thank you for being such lovely on-line friends.

Thursday 14 March 2024


 Keith was a little improved today.  Awake enough to say how rough he felt, and tell us about being pummelled by the two physios and spending the night with a tube up his nose draining off the fluid in his lungs.  Not much of the rest and recuperation, but you can't fault the treatment.  Everyone is so caring and doing their best for Keith (and the other patients of course).  

Jon dropped Tam off here and we met Gabby there.  I got Keith some treat and he enjoyed the enriched rice pudding I got.  He's on less oxygen now so that is a positive.  We saw the Dr twice, who said that today's bloods showed that the infection level had risen, so more anti-biotics needed to try and get it on the run.  They are doing all they can.  I just want him safely home again.  I dread the possibility of a hospital-acquired infection taking him when he is so weak and cannot fight it off.

We paid for 3 days' tv for him so he can watch the last day of the Cheltenham meeting tomorrow (today's races spoilt by having physios arrive to pummel him again).  £25 for 3 days!  Someone is benefitting hugely from this.   I will take his Tablet in tomorrow with the charger, so once the tv's run out, he has some entertainment.

I will visit daily although Monday and Tuesday I will have to go in for just an hour and leave "I" with Danny. If only it were nearer, but it's a 90 mile round trip.  "I" is with her father this weekend.  Emma and Danny have gone to the cinema tonight, so I am "home alone".  It feels very strange.  I am watching Lorna Doone and Carver Doone is about to disappear beneath the bog.  It's one of my favourite films (well, a BBC drama) and I've seen it several times and never tire of it.  I first read the book as a child and bought Tam a Ladybird version I think it was.

So, keep those positive thoughts coming and thank you for all your kind comments.  I truly hope he has turned a corner tomorrow.  Off to bed now as I need to heal too.

Wednesday 13 March 2024


 Thankyou for all your kind thoughts and I'm sure you'll know I can't reply to them individually.  I have been all day at the Hospital with Keith whilst he was assessed etc. 9 hours in all.   He's had an X-ray which showed Pneumonia.  I have had to be by him all day as he struggled for breath, all the fluid in his lungs bubbling up into his throat, his chest heaving. I was trying not to cry and of course, my nose was streaming instead and I soon ran out of hankies.

Anyway, they put him on a nebuliser, which did seem to help a bit as he was breathing slightly more easily and looked a better colour and more alert when we left.  They were going to try and remove some of the gunk from his chest too so I hope that works.  We're all going in tomorrow to see him.  

The nice Dr took me to one side for one of "those" conversations, so I am under no illusions.  It could go either way.  

BTW, the Diazapam was Keith asking for it (from his arsenal of medications from the past).  It was the only thing which calmed the Parkinsons.  NOT ideal, but he was desperate and clearly scared because the thrashing around was making his breathing even worse.

I will keep you all posted.

Tuesday 12 March 2024

A Day from Hell

 4.30 a.m.  Sat here worried sick about Keith who may well have pneumonia.  I got him anti-biotics to go with the decongestants yesterday but they will take a while to kick in.  I am on antibiotics too and they have helped my chest and I slept better.  

"I" no trouble yesterday, but I was dashing about with her between the GP's and the pharmacy, morning and afternoon.  Up and downstairs to Keith, who was eating fine but his breathing sounded awful.  Like when he had Covid.  We had a Parkinsons crisis around 6 p.m. with him shaking so badly, and crying out in pain and thrashing around. (His meds don't work when there is a virus or similar in system).   He managed to get it out that he wanted a Diazapam which he had beside our old bed.  He refused to let me check if this would be ok with his other meds and insisted, as best he could.  He was in such a state that it was worth the risk.  It relaxed him but he fell asleep with his warm top on and when the other two came back we had to strip him off as he was melting, poor man.  We've been up to him every two hours - he's cool now but his breathing is awful and I will be calling the GP at 8.15 for a home visit as I think it's Pneumonia.  Danny had set his alarm for when I woke up for the loo, and we got lots of water down Keith, and another antibiotic

I tried to get emergency carers but once again got passed from pillar to post - the GP can authorise them, but wouldn't and the last I got told was to contact his social worker. I will try again today and give someone hell - it is a struggle to be superwoman on ALL fronts.

My evening meal last night was a bowl of dry cornflakes.  I shall soon be at 10 1/2 stone now.  Just a couple of pounds away now.  

So, Reiki, prayers, good wishes - whatever you can summon, it will be welcome.

Update: he is sounding much worse this morning and we are going to call an ambulance.  What I'm coughing up is the colour of the green paint on the shed, and I imagine he has similar.  He's got very much worse overnight.  I think it's Pneumonia.  I hope he can go to the cottage hospital at Llandod.

Monday 11 March 2024

Can't stop coughing, and a challenging day ahead

 Danny is out all day today - has to work in the office and then wait for Emma to finish her massages before heading back.  Won't be here till 9 ish.  I have little " I" to care for and put to bed.  I also have the rubbish to put out (it didn't get done last week because I was prostrate on the sofa all day) and I have to go into town to pick up Keith's prescriptions, so will have "I" in tow.

Keith couldn't walk at all yesterday (Danny had to practically carry him up the stairs on Sunday night).  This virus has stopped his meds working.  He was in bed, and will be in bed all day today too.  I need to get in touch with the District nurses to ask about turning him (on my own).  Of course he wants to be sitting up straight so he can watch tv.   He's eating and drinking ok but I worry about bedsores and have been slathering him in cream.  I am also worried that there may be no comeback from this, he may not be able to walk again.

One positive, we have confirmation of the acceptance for carers twice a day.  Need to phone up today to see when this commences.

Meanwhile, I can't sleep for coughing - it's 3.30 and I've been awake two hours now.  I'm running on about 65% in the daytime - tomorrow with 3 hours less sleep, it will be worse.  What fun . . .

Mother's Day

 I had a nice one.  T&J came over with the riser chair, which works really well for Keith and is a great help.  I had a sit on it last night and have to say, sitting there with your legs up is very relaxing.  I am checking there are no kittens in the works before it moves though!  Danny bought me a pretty Moth Orchid, and cooked a roast and Gabby phoned.  A relaxing day.

Emma is working in Carmarthen for two days now, so I have "I", though she has a Dance Class later on.  We will bake a cake this morning.

On Wednesday I'm going to see Tam now she has given up work to await the arrival of Rosie-posie.  Her feet and ankles have been swelling, and her Carpel Tunnel problems haven't eased much.  She will be glad when the baby has arrived although of course that brings a whole NEW set of challenges!  

I have risen to the Elderberry Bunny challenge and am now half way up her body.  One slight error as I did one too many rows of plain so now she has a garter!  Hopefully it will be hidden by her dress :)  I am hopeless at ripping back on knitting and didn't want to totally mess it up.  Head next.  I have also found much of a teddy that I was given by my friend Annie's daughter after her mum had died.  Annie had knitted the head, and I've done the jacket and then remember making a big boo-boo on the body, so it got abandoned.  Now I have a reason to return to it.

The sticky-out bits with holes are the feet.  You sew up the holes later, the instructions say.

Shadow was downstairs this morning and after a little hissing from Lulu the warrior, he mooched around exploring.  Alfie will be the real challenge but they met at a distance yesterday and I made a fuss of Alfie, handed out Dreamies, and so far so good.

Sarah - you have led me astray - just been over to Ebay to order Mexican Fleabane seeds!!!

Saturday 9 March 2024

An odd weekend

 Trying to catch up with bits and pieces.  At least I FINALLY got the Jumbleberry jam remade today so can take it down to my friend who ordered it.  

Here's what I began recently, to brighten up the steps from yard to garden. Just the most common of Alpines, but they are sat on just a little soil and compost, then rock! I'm hoping they will cope.

I began to add another row to the sashing strip on the wretched crawler quilt  and it's shot - too long.  I have really and truly screwed up with the whole thing and have just been unpicking that offensive row.  Back to it in the morning.  I unpicked and reset two central motifs too as they looked not 100% square.  Mind you, as Danny said today, any slight OCD tendencies I may have developed over the years have brass knobs on nowadays!  Stress I guess. Concentration in my brain seems to have Gone Missing.

E working on the revamp of the Summerhouse.  WHAT a difference it makes to have it that dark green.  The white has only ever been undercoat so that needs rubbing down and having a top coat.

I watched the jumps racing with Keith this afternoon and actually go my head around the Elderberry Bunny increases in the pattern (literally from the get-go).  With little "I" here, prattling on beside me last week, I stood no chance as you have to count stitches for the increases (8 stitches with increase 1, knit 1 in a block etc).  Now I've done the foot and have started on the leg and am enjoying it.  It's for Rosie-Posie, as I call her, hoping she will be Rosina as there are nearly a dozen who went before her.  I will make another for "I" but it won't be in time for Easter as I'm SUCH a slow knitter.  I won't give her this one as she loves pink and this is creamy white with understated ashes-of-roses pink feet (this from two skeins of tapestry wool.  I didn't want baby pink).  I will do a brighter pink for "I" and may even do the whole bunny pink.  Like her mum, it's their favourite colour.

This is just the first coat.

We have a quiet household as "I" went to stay with her father yesterday, and D&E are off to a music gig tonight, staying over with friends.  I am praying Keith and I will have no problems getting him to bed, but I can tell you now, he's going up straight after our evening meal, just in case! T&J arrive tomorrow with a riser-chair so that should be a game-changer for us, as getting him out of his current chair and into the wheelchair at night can be challenging sometimes.

Back to my knitting this evening, and I may have a Brew Dog IPA as it's the weekend, and hopefully I am on the mend now.  Have a good weekend.

Thursday 7 March 2024

Lulu of the Zulus!!

 Both the cold, and work on the quilt are lingering. . .   The quilt has been up here since last Friday . . .  I can just about function now as long as I have Ibuprofen every 4 hours.  Not ideal, but necessary at the moment. I had legs like chewed string this morning but I needed to get some pudding rice from the Health Food Shop in Llandod (only place I can buy it locally) and wool (for the knitted Elderberry Bunnies) and so went to Tescopolis too and topped up.  Now  it's an afternoon of Drew Prichard antiques programmes and rest.  "I" is on the sofa with us in here, watching a cartoon on her ipad.  Not ideal, we try and limit screen time but Emma isn't well and is upstairs struggling to keep on top of  her accounts.

Below is Shadow, Emma and "I"'s cat.  He wants to make friends to the four down here now but he's had a run in with Lulu, who - feeling adventurous - went upstairs and met him and he chased her down.  Now it's War and we should call her Lulu the Zulu Warrior as she is SO brave - he is twice her size but she sits down here and swears at him.  Today they nearly had a set-to when I was upstairs but apparently Pippi rushed to her sister's aid and they saw him off!  He nearly got leapt on by Alfie recently (who was on the table, so Shadow hadn't spotted him).  I had to grab Alfie darn quick as he'd have marmalized him. Alfie needs to go back on the Happy Pills I think.  

He looks quite like Little Whale and Ghengis may have thought that he was as he didn't look twice and walked past him, and once sniffed noses with him before walking away.

Lulu en garde . . .

On our recent walk - in the sleet/snow - on the day Ghengis left us.  The rose bush arrived today so I will get it unwrapped and having a drink.  We will plant it by Ghengis' grave at the weekend.

Perhaps I will now have a look at the Elderberry Bunnies pattern.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Feeling half dead

 It started with a tickly cough.  Caught from Danny, who had had a cold last week.  Then yesterday my nose streamed non-stop and I went deaf in one ear and that same ear was very painful and I felt rough.  I went to bed early and Danny dealt with Keith. I didn't sleep at all before 5 a.m. and then when I did finally drop off, I was awake every half hour with what felt like a UTI - I had cystitis and bladder pain and a temperature.

Today I  can do NOTHING.  I have been asleep on the sofa all morning ("I" playing on her own and watching things on her i-pad.)  I have been first shivering and now boiling hot, I probably have  a chest infection as I coughed up  brown gunk (sorry if tmi).  I can barely walk and have no appetite.  I'm rather hoping it isn't another round of Covid.  If someone offered to take me out and shoot me, I am inclined to think I might agree right now!

Hoping you are all well anyway.

Sunday 3 March 2024

I am related to Churchill . . . apparently

 This is what Family Search tell me, but I am somewhat suspicious of their research. In fact, downright sceptical!  View the tree HERE.  It is a nice thought, to be his 11th cousin.  The name Clotworthy Skeffington is wonderful . . .

Lulu finally in possession of the Amazon bag

Well, progress has been made on the quilt and in the garden.  Yesterday, I finally sewed the first bit of sashing in and I have to say, the inaccuracies have backed off now and aren't so visible (except to my eagle eye!) Hoping to make more progress today but it's childcare day today and tomorrow, so I'm not holding my breath.  I have promised baking and sowing some seeds.  I  need to make another super-calorie rice pudding and Potato Dauphinoise too.  

Emma and Danny put the staging together yesterday, so I'm ready to go in the greenhouse (though I fear not much progress will take place for a while as it's currently minus 3 C . . .)  They also got cracking with the Summerhouse and Danny put some easing oil onto the screws and managed to get the jammed door off, and then sanded it top and bottom where the winter damp had swelled the wood. We managed to get Emma's heavy massage table up the steps and not fall in the pond with it :)  So things are taking shape and they will start decorating it next weekend, inside and out.  They cleared away leaves from the pond and we had a tidy up that end of the garden.  They bought two packs of wildflower seeds from Tesco to strew in the bottom paddock, so that should look pretty this summer.  It was sunny all day, and warmish despite there being a covering of snow on the hills round about here.  All in all we got plenty of fresh air, and little "I" had great fun outside.

I managed to force myself to make jam on Saturday, but the strawberry had to be boiled up again - did it in the microwave as a small amount, and then of course, it exploded, so ended up an even smaller amount in jars.  I also did Jumbleberry jam (had an order) and that hasn't set as I had a conflict with it being apparently ready for the jars, and Keith's lunchtime. So I will need to boil that up again today.

Keith is looking forward to warmer weather and has asked Danny to wheel him out to his workshop for half an hour or so when the weather is warmer and it's dry.  I have been grateful for Danny's help as sometimes it's a struggle getting Keith out of his chair (hoping that Jon will be able to manhandle into the car the riser chair we are buying from his mum - delivery on Saturday if so). Mealtimes are taking longer and longer and I always end up feeding him at some point.  We have a phone call from the Dietition on Wednesday afternoon. We've also had an NHS letter which says we note you are waiting for an appt., in Geriatrics, please let us know if you still need it . . . What use is that, no details of what the appt. might be for!

Right, onwards and upwards.  Hope everyone has some welcome sunshine.