Not here yet

i have lost track of how long I have been home from hospital. I still don’t feel like I am back in the he here and now yet.

Not only do I still lack energy but mentally I don’t feel as though I am back yet. There is so much I want to do but I don’t feel that my brain is in gear. I can read or knit or watch TV. I can cook simple meals and do a bit of cleaning. Anything that takes brain power just isn’t happening.

I have been having more than my usual amount of down days. I know that I will get through this. After all I am a weeble. You can knock me down but I will get right back up. It’s just that these days it seems to be taking longer to get back to my sunny disposition.

Maybe that’s because I’m getting older but maybe it’s because I feel like the knocks are becoming more frequent. I don’t know and I don’t like it.

Election day

Today has been election day. We had more votes to cast than usual. The elections that should have happened in May last year were postponed. Today where we live we are voting for local council elections. County elections and Police and Crime Commissioners. That’s one vote for local council, 2 votes for the county and two for PCC.

Usually votes are counted overnight. I did take part in the counting once (many years ago). The hall would be full of long tables. There are a lot of people doing the counting then there are others over seeing the counting plus all the election officials not to mention the candidates and their supporters. That is a lot of people in one room. Obviously in the current climate they can’t do it the same way as usual. Although I am not ultra political I am interested in the process and the results. Therefore whenever I could (work permitting) I would stay up at least for part of the night watching everything on TV. Seeing the predictions the results and the swings of power. This time I don’t believe there will be any result programs on until tomorrow. Social distancing means that counting will take longer.

All my adult life I have mostly voted for the same party. Today I have spread my votes across 3 parties. I am not one to just blindly vote for one particular party just because they are the party of my choice. I always check who the candidates are and see what they stand for. It just so happens that I tend to vote for the same party because the are closer aligned with my own beliefs. Today two of my five votes went to different parties. It is not the party but the candidate that I voted for.

I know that my local area will not change overnight but maybe some of the seats will change hands or at the very least become a closer contest. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens.

If you are in the UK have you voted today?

Elbow bumps, why?

On and off since March 2020 I have wondered about this. Why do they do it? I understand that the advice is not to shake hands in greetings. What I don’t understand and it’s often politicians that I see on TV doing this, is why the elbow bumps? For a start they have to get much closer together in order to do this.

Wouldn’t it be better to not have physical contact. After all we are meant to be keeping space between us. If they can’t bear to forego physical contact then for heaven’s sake wear gloves and have a handshake. No skin on skin contact and not such close proximity.

Insisting on this elbow bumping ( often looking awkward) is not clever. It doesn’t protect them from catching covid-19. I know that it is considered polite in the civil world to shake hands but couldn’t do that for the past year. Considering the social distancing, face coverings we have all become accustomed to is it not possible that these politicians and other business people/ celebrities could just not do anything.

If elbow bumps are permitted then why is hugging not?

Please could someone explain to me why I can’t hug my family but these people can bump elbows.

We are gradually coming out of lockdown here in UK. Will this habit continue or will handshakes resume?

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.

Is resistance possible?

I am doing my best to resist. On days like this I feel my residence slipping. I took myself out into the fresh air and sunshine to do some deliveries. That helped to lift my spirits.

This morning I swear that we were having a competition to see which of us could be the grumpier.

My life seems to have been one long struggle from beginning until now. My struggles have been many and varied but through it all I have tried to stay optimistic. I try to be cheerful and bring a smile whenever I can. This is why I must resist the temptation to become a grumpy old woman.

I have always loved my mother very much, we have always been very close. Since moving in with her 3 years ago I have found that she is fast becoming a grumpy woman. I can understand that she is unhappy. Not only is she aging faster than she would like. Although it is over 30 years since she was diagnosed with MS for most of those years most people wouldn’t know she had it. In recent years her condition has deteriorated. In the last two years she has had to give up driving. She is angry that her condition has taken away her independence.

I do my best to overlook her grumpiness. Recently she said she has nothing to laugh about these days. I reminded her that I’m here and she can laugh at me.

It is a fine line knowing when to let her struggle to do things and when to take over. Most of the time I just want to say “let me do it!” I usually let her try to do whatever it is then after a while ask if she wants help. She is a very proud, stubborn woman.

Most of her grumpiness is not aimed at me but at the tv. I think this is what gets me down the most. It is just constant. What people wear, their hair, what they say. Bad grammar annoys me but it annoys her more and she is constantly saying so. The worst is adverts. It doesn’t matter how many times she says it, the advert isn’t going to change.

I try to ignore it but I’m finding its starting to make me grumpy too. I don’t like that my mum is becoming so grumpy and I don’t like that it is making me feel grumpy too.

I must do everything I can to resist becoming a grumpy old woman before my time.

Talented? who me?

I received a card today. It wasn’t a late mothers day card it was a thank you card.

My daughter in law had sent me the card to thank me for the knitwear I had sent for my granddaughter. I am happy to do it. What startled me was that she praised my talent. I’m not talented. I knit clothes for my granddaughter and her cousin who I consider to be my great niece. I do the best I can but they are not perfect. Not that the little ones would know that.

Now my daughter in law, she is a different story. She is talented. Since she has been at home with my granddaughter she has taken her hobby to a whole new level. She makes jewellery (necklaces and earings) from sea glass that she has collected from beaches in UK, France and Greece. During her maternity leave she began to turn this hobby into a business. She has begun selling her jewellery both online and through a select few small outlets and craft markets.

Her talents don’t stop there. She presents her unique pieces beautifully too. In the 16 years since I have known her I have received many bespoke gifts from her all beautifully wrapped. I would never be able to do the things she does. She has an artistic eye in everything she does including the way she decorates and organises their home.

I wouldn’t be surprised if out little ray of sunshine grows up to be artistic as both her parents are good at art and her father is also a musician.

I do what I do but I’m not talented they are.

The shoes still fit but won’t do

Just like many women around the world I adore my shoes, the higher the heel the better. Not so much now! I’m not quite Imelda Marcos. I am a mere but perfect 5′ 0″ or 152cm therefore wearing heels makes me feel as though I have a fighting chance of being on a semi level par with other women.

In my teenage years I found that wearing flat shoes didn’t suit me very well. I had frequent falls. I discovered (when I was eventually allowed to wear them) that I was able to wear high heels more successfully. My poor knees were no longer getting such a battering. When my children were young I went back to wearing flatter shoes ie trainers. I often suffered scraped knees and hands again.

I am one of those people who walks looking down most of the time. I have very small feet, UK size 3.5 European 36 US size 5. It doesn’t take much to make me fall down. It could be something as simple as a stone or a break in the ground surface. My small feet also limited the height of the heels I could wear due to the part of my foot on the ground is smaller than for those with bigger feet.

In my late teens when I left school and joined the working masses I had great trouble finding suitable shoes in my size. I remember one time I had a new pair of shoes and the heel broke the first time I wore them. I took them back to the shop but couldn’t get a replacement as they had very few shoes in my size other than childrens shoes. At that time I was wearing size 2 – 2.5 shoes. It was good that if I was buying trainers I could buy them from the childrens department and pay less than for adult shoes. However for my heels I was very restricted in choice available.

As my children got older and I was working in an office again I was able to again wear heels. For quite some time I was known as the lady of colours. I like to co-ordinate not only my clothes but also my shoes, jewellery and make up. I liked to have shoes that were in black, brown, beige, pink, red, yellow and so on. I don’t think I ever had Blue heels as I rarely wore blue. Because I wear a half size it wasn’t easy to buy these in the shops. (not the one I could afford to buy from anyway). I discovered that the best place for me to buy my shoes was ebay. Yes there were times when the fit wasn’t great but I got some great bargains. Designer shoes at a price I could afford. My collection of heels of many colours grew considerably over a few years. I never paid more than £10 for a pair of shoes.

By the time I left my last office job almost 4 years ago. (4 years! where did that go?) I was finding that heels were no longer so comfortable. When I moved here I threw out quite a few pairs knowing that I wouldn’t wear them again. Every morning I walk past my shoe holder with more pairs of heels than flats. I say flats but I mean nearly flat not completely flat. I know I won’t wear those shoes anymore. They range from 1.5″ to 3″ heels. I just can’t bring myself to let them go. They are taking up space that I know could be better used but I want to keep them. I guess in a way they are a reminder of my more glamorous days. Days when I could appear to be taller than I am.

What three words?

Recently I bit the bullet and joined twitter. I’ve found a few people to follow. I don’t really interact on there. I’ve left a couple of comments. My posts on here are automatically posted on there. I currently have zero followers but that’s no surprise. I doubt anyone even knows I’m there.

Browsing earlier I saw a tweet from someone I knew a few years ago.

What three words are you looking forward to saying when the pandemic is over.

For me it will be when I see my family and can say…

Let us hug

Girls are doing it for themselves

This is a topic that I am passionate about but I am really in two minds about this item that was on the news this morning.

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have developed a home smear DIY kit for cervical cancer tests. The kit allows women to take a vaginal swab or urine sample at home and send it into a lab, where it will be tested for chemical changes. The NHS aims to get around 80% of women tested, but last year only 70% of people attended their cervical cancer smear tests last year.

If successful the kits will be available in three years time.

I have been very passionate over the years

You may or may not be aware that in early 2001 I was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer. I was very conscientious about always having a smear/pap test whenever I was called for it. In those days in UK that would be every 5 years. It was also routine to have a smear test during a 6 week post natal check up. My youngest son was born in December 1995. I had my post natal examination in January 1996. I was then due for my next test in January 2001. In April 2000 I began to have bladder leakage. I was reluctant to go to the doctor about this. After several months of this (I blame Tena Lady adverts for the idea that it is normal for women to develope leakage). Finally in late 2000 I had an appointment with our doctor who referred me to see a Urologist at our local hospital.

I had my appointment but was told that he couldn’t examine me properly as there was a blockage. A week later I saw a Gynaecologist who also attempted to examine me. He attempted to perform a smear test. This didn’t work as I was bleeding to much. Next I attended day surgery for a biopsy. Weeks later (9th March 2001) I never forget that date. I was given the news that I had a tumour the size of an orange. I later discovered that it was 7cm x 8cm x7cm. I was too large to be removed by surgery.

The next few weeks were take up with a variety of tests and measurements and 3 tattoo dots on my back ( for radiotherapy purposes). The treatment I received over the following months did the trick. The tumour dissolved and in September 2001 I was given the all clear. The treatment I received saved my life. I am very grateful that I went through it but it is not something I would want anyone to go through if it could be avoided. I know without a doubt that if I didn’t have treatment when I did I wouldn’t have made it to the end of 2001. For me now every day, month and year are a bonus.

If at that time smear tests had been performed more frequently, it’s probable that my cancer would have been picked up sooner and treatment less invasive.

Over the years I have come across or heard of women who don’t go for their smear test. It’s free! It takes a couple of minutes. It’s a life saver. It’s a no brainer. I get very cross when women say they don’t go, it might be a question of dignity or vanity. It might be because they are scared. It could be the thought that it was uncomfortable or even hurt. Let me tell you that whichever the reason, its a darn sight worse to go through the treatment for cancer.

Back to the news segment this morning. It is being proposed that it in a few years time if trials are successful women will be able to do the tests themselves. On the one hand if this will encourage more women to go through the process that has to be a good thing. On the other hand are these kits going to be fool proof. I know that nurses and doctors are not always 100% able to get the right samples. Yes I do understand that these kits are to be more about getting a swab rather than gathering cells but is it going to be accurate enough and not give a false sense of security.

I’m not like them

I have often been told that I come from a long line of strong women. I am told that I am a strong woman too. I have memories of my Great Grandmother Alice but only as a very old woman. I have memories of my paternal Great Gran (mostly of having to stay with her and being fed undercooked eggs for breakfast). I understand that both these women were strong willed women in their day.

I obviously have memories of both my Granny and my Grandmother. My Granny was one of my favourite people in the world. I can’t in all honesty say that I knew a great deal about her life but I loved her dearly. She was taken away from us far too soon, She had a massive heart attack in the night when she was just 67. My Grandmother was a lady who I wasn’t so close to when I was growing up. I grew closer to her in her later years. How many women in their 90s complete a degree with the Open University.

My own mother has always been strong. My father wasn’t inclined/able to support us properly so my mother trained (whilst bringing up 3 teenagers) to become a Lawyer. Life wasn’t easy for my mother when we were small. She did what she could to make a better life for all of us.

During my adult life I have been reminded by my mother that we are strong women. I have been told by others that I am so strong. I struggled to bring up 4 boys whilst being married to an alcoholic. I survived stage 3 cancer in my late 30s. I fought to get through a nasty divorce. I managed to keep myself and 4 boys going through financial struggles following my divorce. Then I remarried and found myself hitched to another alcoholic who was also a narcissist. I managed to get out of that situation.

All my life I have been reminded that I am strong and come from a line of strong women. I’m not though. I have never felt strong. I have done what I had to do for my boys. I have always felt that I have to get through everything because I come from a line of strong women. I can’t let the side down and be the first non strong woman.

I want to be allowed not to be strong. I want to not have the responsibility of keeping up with my strong women.

WHY do I have to always be strong?