How have I come to this?

This afternoon I need to drive to the other side of Southampton for a covid test. I haven’t been that way for years. I know the way to where I need to be. It is only 20 miles each way.

There are roadworks most of the way from here to there. Those who think they know best are turning our motorway into a “smart motorway”. The rest of us think it’s a waste of time energy and money not to mention unsafe. I am going to give myself an hour to get there just in case of delays.

Even just a few years ago I would have thought nothing of doing this journey. I enjoyed driving and often made journeys of several hundred miles. Now I am feeling anxious about it.

When did I change. Has my joy of driving stopped suddenly or has it crept up on me slowly?

Since having this new car I have only stayed local. Maybe going a bit further today will help. I have been driving automatic cars for a few years but this one is manual. I had forgotten how often you have to change gear when driving around town. Perhaps driving along the motorway will help. Either way it isn’t going to stop me going to other places when required, it just might need more mental preparation.

What a shock

I have had my new car for a few days now. I am enjoying driving it around. I am happy that so far I have not yet stalled the engine. I was worried about swapping my automatic for manual transmission after my last three cars being automatic. However what I don’t like is getting out and getting an electric shock each time I close the door. I am learning to use my sleeve. I’m gradually finding my way around the various functions on the screen etc. I have even managed to pair my phone. This will help when I’m out and my mother tries to phone me to see when I’m coming home.

In the last few days I have done a bit of gardening. The sweet peas are in as are the nasturtium seeds. Solar lamps are hanging in the crab apple tree and another tree that I don’t know the identity of. Solar powered garden tea lights are along the edge of the patio at the end of the lawn.

Oddly we didn’t have very much wild life in the garden. There were no Pigeons, no Doves, only one Robin a couple of times later in the day. Only one squirrel came for a visit and that wasn’t until tea time. We have no idea what was going on. I am happy to say that we have seen a robin several times and a collared dove but also the dunnock and some sparrows. We don’t often have sparrows in the back garden although they can be seen in the lilac tree at the front of the house.

Today is perfect weather for drying the washing. Unfortunately I am waiting for someone tall and strong to put our new washing line. However I have managed to hang my washing on an airer set up in the middle of the lawn.

I have been out to pick up some of my Avon brochures. I have another £80 in orders to add to my tally for April. I have more to collect on Wednesday when I shall also be putting more out for next week.

I had my second Pfizer jab on Saturday evening. I am pleased to report that apart from a slightly sore arm I have no other side effects. I’m not planning to be out partying any time soon but now that we have both had both our jabs we are a little more confident about seeing anyone else.

I have been knitting in yellow the last few days. an yellow and green striped jumper and a yellow pixie hat.

Peace at last

I have had great enjoyment out of the last few days with family visiting. Apparently both my grandchildren have been chattering away to their parents about seeing Granny and the things they did and saw. Teddy was convinced he was going to the beach with Granny and Gampa again today.

When I woke this morning I was thinking how quiet and peaceful it will be today. I know that my mother has loved seeing the family but she does get very tired. I am sure she is thinking Peace at Last which reminds me of a favourite book when my boys were little.

Today I am working on my Avon. I have been adding to and improving my Elliesdeals blog. This afternoon I shall be preparing brochures and deliveries. Both of which I have neglected so far this week.

I haven’t been out in my new car again yet but I have looked at it several times.

Earlier when I was checking the stats for this blog I noticed that someone had been looking at an old post from 2014. I have noticed this quite a few times recently. I can only assume that whoever has been looking is probably disappointed when they see what the post is actually about. It called little tits. I also see that the most popular page is Petrol Head.

I know that I have at least one petrol head who reads this blog regularly. I keep meaning to mention for him that on the day I went to look at my new car in the garage forecourt I followed a grey right hand drive mustang along the motorway. (I even missed my off slip). Then last weekend I passed a bright yellow mustang going the other way. I might not be with my petrol head husband any longer but I just can’t help noticing American cars when I’m out and about. I guess it has become a habit.

Just typical

Today was to be the last day of seeing my grandson Teddy for now. I knew that they were planning to meet Grandpa at the beach before coming here to see us again. Having seen some photos of how lovely it looked yesterday I decided to join them too.

On my way I saw a little boy in a yellow coat sat on his daddy’s shoulders walking towards the airfield. I didn’t think there was much point in going to the beach if they were not there.

Next stop the beach. Lots of shells for little boys to collect.

It was sunny and not too cold during our time there. We all enjoyed both being together and being at the beach.

I couldn’t believe it when I got back to my car which was parked at the side of the road. Someone had hit my car. Obviously driving too close. They had hit the wing mirror. Why today? The day I was changing cars. At least it was the old car not the new one.

Teddy and his mummy and daddy came back to the house for a last chat and warming cup of tea. Teddy had a last exploration of the garden. Still getting excited each time a train went by.

I quickly cleared out my car. It didn’t take long. 10 minutes later I saw someone in an orange hi viz jacket outside. I went to the door to discove that workmen were digging up the pavement behind my car. I was due to be leaving shortly to pick up the new car.

I was told they would only be 20 minutes to half an hour. Not too long. I phoned the garage to say that I would be late. It’s just typical that they couldn’t have done this while was out either in the morning or afternoon.

I eventually got to the garage about an hour after the original time. Once all the paperwork was sorted the salesman handed me the keys (in a bag having been sanitized). We chatted briefly about the workings of the car like how to move the seat and how to put the gear into reverse.

As I entered the car the salesman went back inside to his desk. I got the engine started but couldn’t release the hand brake. ( I haven’t used a hand brake for a few years as I have been driving automatic cars). Why oh why do guys have to put the handbrake on so high. This is not the first time I have come across this. I was about to give up and go to find a man to release it for me but I managed it with two hands.

I managed to drive home without incident. It will probably take me a day or two to get used to driving a manual car again. I wonder how many times I will forget I have a red car now not blue when I look for it in a car park.

Thursday

I think it’s Thursday today. My phone says that it is. I hope it’s not Friday otherwise I’ve missed my telephone appointment with the doctor.

I had a surprise this morning as I gazed down the garden. I was looking for bluetits visiting the bird feeder hanging from the crab apple tree. I couldn’t see the bird feeder at all so I wondered down to have a look

Those naughty squirrels had taken it away just leaving the top of it hanging there. This is what it should look like.

The contract has been signed. Next week I am hopeful of taking ownership of the new ( to us) car. We are getting a three year old deep red ford c-max

I have an appointment to have my second jab on Saturday 17th April. Mother gas hers on 10th April.

Happy Easter

It’s Easter Sunday. There is a small amount of chocolate in the house. Mother got me a pouch of maltesers and I got her a chocolate rabbit.

This morning I had a video call with my grandson who actually managed to talk to me. Usually I talk to his daddy whilst he plays with his toys or watches his cartoons. Hopefully if nothing changes we should get a chance to see them in person next week. I have his birthday present here ready to be wrapped. He will be three in a few weeks time.

I also tried to video call my granddaughter. Hopefully later I shall get through. I think her daddy must have been driving when I was calling. I have seen a photo of her and her cousin at the beach with their parents.

I have done more gardening. Planting seeds in pots. They are the sun at the moment in the hope of giving them some warmth. I shall bring them inside later as temperatures are due to plummet.

Yesterday I went to the car sales where my potential new car is. Due to covid restrictions I wasn’t able to examine it but I could look through the windows. We have arranged to talk to the sales man on Wednesday to go ahead with the deal.

It didn’t take long

I was only out for an hour. When I got home mother told me there had been naughtiness afoot. Firstly one the squirrels has been digging in the pots with my seedlings in.

Secondly mother herself has done something naughty.

For the last couple of months on and off I have been looking for a new car. This morning I found one that I think will be suitable for our needs. Although it will mostly just be me in the car I need something that I can easily get a wheelchair in. Plus the passenger seat can’t be too low or too high for mother to get in.

She has arranged for me to go and have a look at it. Apparently the salesman can’t come out to show it to me and I can only look at the outside of it.

If I decide that I do want it the paperwork will be emailed over to us. This car could very well be my birthday present.

I’ll let you know more when or if I do decide it’s the one.

A cold lunch

Monday morning brought flurries of snow. By the time I set of to get my car fixed it had been snowing constantly for at least 3.5 hours. Not that it was doing anything much. It was settling but it was such tiny granules that it didn’t look much more than a layer of frost.

Driving to the garage you wouldn’t have known there was any snow. The roads were completely clear. Arriving at my destination, an industrial estate I drove around and around for 20 minutes looking for the garage. In the end I had to pull over and phone them. Ha ha I was behind the units I needed to find. literally just yards (or meters) away.

I parked up went into the unit and hander over a set of keys. The young man said he would phone me when it was ready, (about an hour).

There was nowhere for me to wait. I walked down the road to a small takaway food unit. Joining the queue I awaited my turn to enter the premises to get something hot to eat. I watched the occasional wagtail flitting around. Never staying long enough for me to remove my gloves to take a photo. I like to take photos of wildlife.

Once I had purchased my hot pastry I walked a little further along the road, having spotted a picnic table. I settled onto the bench to wait out the time. With flakes of snow swirling around I warmed my fingers eating my hot pastry. It didn’t take very long before my fingers were hurting even with woolen gloves.

After about 40 minutes I couldn’t sit there any longer. I made my way slowly back to the unit containing my car. It was too early so I continued further on. Because I can’t walk very far I came back slowly. I did think of sinking down onto a kerb but knew that I wouldn’t be able to get back up easily. Then I spotted my car in one of the parking spaces. I hurried, if you can call my hobble hurried to find out the verdict. Apparently it wasn’t fixed. I wasn’t charged because they were unable to put it right. He gave a recommendation of where to take it next though.

If you can believe it I the had trouble getting into my car. The driver’s door refused to open. I had to get into the passenger side and climb over. Not easy.

Now I begin the search for another newer car.

Stepping back

Right now I feel as though I have stepped back two years to when I was ill for 4 months. I have very little appetite, it is an effort to eat even a slice of bread. Consequently my energy levels have plummeted. I find myself feeling cold particularly my upper body and spend hours in bed sleeping fully dressed with the duvet tucked under my chin.

Not so long ago I was prescribed some tablets from the hospital to help with my bladder problems. I didn’t know if it was a coincidence but at the same time that I started taking them I started getting the painful shivery flu like symptoms that I used to get when I had  kidney infections. After a few days I stopped taking the tablets to see if that helped.

I went to see the Dr, she confirmed that no infection was present. I was advised to wait until I felt better then start taking the tablets again. At this point I had also been struggling to eat properly for maybe a month or so. Some days have been better than others.

On Sunday 31st March I took one of the tablets again as I was feeling better just a little on the weak side. By the evening I was feeling not right, by about 9pm I was having the painful shivery symptoms again. Luckily I wasn’t working on Monday but felt so bad that I again spent most of the day in bed. By Tuesday it had worn off a little. I went to work as usual (Tuesday is normally the quietest day of the week). I loaded up my car then went home or an hour to rest before doing the first part of my round. After an hour I had to go home again for a break. What I would do in 2 hours took me 4.

On Wednesday I went off to do my work knowing that I would have to keep going home as I had done the previous day. Because of my feeble state I left about 18 parcels behind I knew I didn’t have the energy levels needed. Again I went home had a rest before setting out again. After an hour I went home. I repeated this pattern, apart from my sorry state my car decided to play up. Each time I tried to restart the engine it was getting harder and harder until it decided not to start at all. I still had an hour’s worth of parcels to deliver. I phoned RAC and was told it could be upto 3 hours as the rush hour was about to start shortly. After waiting about half an hour I tried the engine again and it did start although reluctantly. I managed to limp my car home. I wasn’t going to risk it stopping.

I thought it only fair to let my field manager know what was going on. I wasn’t due to work the following day, plus my car was booked in to the garage for a safety recall. Funny how in the days leading up to going into the garage my car had started playing up, overheating light flashing, If I turned the heater up I was suddenly plunged into fog.

Anyway I decided that I needed to take Friday and Saturday off so that would give me Thursday through to Tuesday to build up my strength again. The stress this gave me in trying to find someone, anyone to cover my round for a couple of days was more than I needed. I told my field manager that because of my health I had decided to give up my round. We had a chat later in the day and I will not be doing any more parcels until I feel fit enough. When I feel up to it I can go back and do one or two days when I want to. For now my priority is to get better.

In this past week I have done nothing for my Avon business I am a week behind with putting out my books and I have a few boxes that I have yet to unpack and sort for my customers. Now that I am not doing the parcels for the moment, I am determined to catch up with my Avon.

I think that when I was ill 2 years ago I just let myself get swallowed up in it. This time I am adamant that I will fight it and get my strength back sooner rather than later. I have to be strong enough to make the journey to see my son and grandson next weekend and again on 27th for his first birthday.

I took my car out for a run to try to clear the fuel blockage. It was really noisy today, I was just starting to think about pulling into a layby. Just then the oil light came on. followed quickly by a clunk, there was a cloud of smoke and the car cut out just as I reached a slip road. (my first and only piece of luck). It took an hour and a half for my rescuer to arrive with his RAC van. It took him less than a minute to decide it was the Cam belt. So my car was towed home. He wasn’t able to get it near our home so he left it in a car park further up the road. This looks like it will be an expensive problem. By the time I had staggered home from where my car now is I was as white as a sheet according to my Mum. The poor RAC man had to put up with me retching all the way back.

Update

As it turned out I was too ill to leave the house for 2 weeks. My car was towed to a local garage where the damage was assessed. It was going to cost almost as much as I had paid for the car to get it running again. In my state of ill health I couldn’t think about it so made the decision to have my car scrapped.  I now have another car, one that has 5 seats instead of the 7 my previous car had but the boot is big enough to accommodate my mother’s pink wheelchair. I have not gone back to delivering parcels. I am doing Avon but barely have the strength to be out for an hour at a time. I sleep a lot too.

I am frustrated that I have not been able to step back into the life I had before falling ill in the spring. I am now in a routine of quiet companionship with my mother. I am now officially her carer. This was not something either of us could have envisioned a year ago. It would be easy for me to say that I am not going to carry on doing my Avon, I’m just too tired but I am continuing because it gets me out of the house, meeting people, getting some exercise and fresh air as well as a small income. I am gradually increasing my business, I’m definitely a tortoise not a hare. It allows me to pay for my own fuel, phone bill and buy gifts for my family without having to ask for a hand out from my mother.

Just the ticket

Today I needed to collect something from Chichester, Owl was busy so I was going on my own. I am learning but I still don’t know my way around. I can find my way to some places but still need directions to others. We had gone into Chichester on Friday (being Black Friday) the roads were crammed. Parking was a nightmare.In the end Owl dropped me off whilst he drove off to find that elusive parking space.

I thought about where I would park today, and how to get there. I had a look on google maps, that was when it hit me. The rail station was at the end of the road I needed to get to. A plan was forming in my head. I didn’t bother to tell Owl as he was already concentrating on his own plans for the day. My biggest worry as I set off was that the station car park might be full. Luckily there were a fair few spaces, however my problems were only just about to begin. I had always thought that there was only the one pay and display machine at the entrance, now though I could see another machine not far from where I had parked.

Now when did they change these machines? I know I am not a frequent user but really!

I could use my card in the machine or I could download an app or I could call the number on the board. I inserted my bank card but couldn’t make it go to the off peak charge of £2.00 it would only charge me for the day  £6.50. I tried several times but still couldn’t get the machine to do what I wanted. So I changed to another method. I rang the number advertised, the automated voice gave instructions including asking for the number plate, make and colour of my car. Then it wanted to know if I wanted to pay for x amount of days or a month? Noooo I only wanted a few hours. I decided to walk over to the entrance to see if that machine still accepted coins, it didn’t. I paid for a whole day by card via the machine. Having gone back to my car I placed the ticket on the dashboard.

A brief stop on the way into the station to purchase my ticket, this was a little easier as I have done this before. I only had 10 minutes to wait for my train. Luckily I hadn’t pre booked as I had seen three trains going by in the time I was messing around with ticket machines. The journey into Chichester was uneventful and fast as there were no stops ( well there were but we didn’t stop).

Once at my destination, I did a spot of Christmas shopping, not much left to do now! Before making my collection. By then I was feeling thirsty so stopped at a small cafe for a cup of tea and toasted tea cake.IMG_2196

Catching the train home I had 15 minutes to wait but the time went fairly quickly as I indulged in a spot of people watching. It was now the time of day that the local senior schools had finished for the day, so there were several teens in school uniform on both platforms.

The train arrived and I stood with others waiting to board. I noticed among the others a hunched up old man. He followed me onto the train, I sat on the right of the carriage and the old man sat on the left opposite a young girl in uniform. At first I had thought the man was a down and out, but a glance sideways I changed my mind and figured that he was in fact just an old man hunched down into his coat against the cold wind. A few moments into the journey I noticed him fumble with the zip of his backpack. I though he was retrieving his phone as I could hear a muffled ringing. To my surprise he took out a bottle of jagermeister. He proceeded to take a swig from the bottle replacing in back into his bag. The young girl caught my eye but neither of us said anything. I half expected her to say something once he had left the train a couple of stops later. She didn’t, so I kept quiet also.

It wasn’t long before I was walking back to my car, I was ready for home.