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.

Surprise

When I went to bed last night I had no idea.

This morning we had visitors. My eldest brought his little girl to visit. He had been planning to visit in the next week or two but because I have to isolate next week prior to my hospital treatment, decided to come today.

It was a shame it was just the two of them. Mummy had to work. Our little lady is almost 20 months. She chatters non stop, not that we know what she’s saying most of the time. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any words yet. She most certainly does and can be very clear when she wants to be.

There is a large framed picture on the wall showing a group of ducks. She was very certain that they are ducks (my grandson thinks they are geese). Ducks say quack she tells us. Drawing was the main activity of the visit. Both with my coloured pencils and the crayons that daddy brought with them.

Before they left (before the rain) we had a spell in the garden. Looking at the plants and the ceramic duck. We found a ball that belongs to the dog that visits. So we had “kick” the ball which also involved throwing it “goal kick”.

I was a bit surprised when she took my hand and started running down the garden, with daddy saying” not too fast Granny can’t run”. He is sort of right but I could keep up with her thank you very much.

It was so lovely to see them both. I think my highlight was when she kept coming to stand next to me and resting her head against me.

When it was time for them to go she clearly said “stay”. I’m happy that she enjoyed her visit as much as we did.

Oh and I got a big hug from my son. I am so glad that we are allowed now. (He did get a test before he came, which I thought was very good of him.)

That’s how you say cheese

Besotted granny

One of my friends has joined the besotted granny brigade. Her granddaughter is 4 months old and she is so in love with her.

For years I said I wasn’t ready to become a granny. I hadn’t finished being a mother. Then a few years ago I started to worry about my health etc, that was when it hit me that if my sons didn’t hurry up and start having children I would be to old/ill to enjoy them.

Three years ago I became a granny for the first time. I instantly fell in love with my grandson. Teddy is three now. I was afraid that he wouldn’t know who I am what with covid restrictions and them living in London. Video calls were me watching him play whilst I chatted to his daddy. The other week when lockdown rules were eased I got to spend time with him in the garden (very cold). Then last week on his birthday we had a video call where he actually talked to me. He showed me his toys and books. Today we had another video call with him interacting with me. He knows that I am granny. I love this new stage in our relationship.

19 months ago my eldest son provided me with a granddaughter. After 4 sons and a grandson I was delighted to finally have a girl in the family. She has always been used to video calling with her other family and with me so she has always been interactive. When she visited our garden the other week she would take gammy by the hand to look at things or fill her little watering can.

We also had a video call today. She tells me lots of things that I don’t always understand but her speech is coming along well.

This granny is besotted with both my grandchildren.

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?

Reaching the Summit

Yesterday we had a visit from a specialist nurse. She came to assess how mother manages in the house and see what help she could give. Another grab rail will soon be installed.

Mother has been shown better ways of getting in and out of bed and her armchair. She has been forbidden from using the riser function of her chair. If she can do the exercises she has been given she will have more strength in her legs. This will make her less dependent on me which will be good for both of us.

Today I was out of the house for much longer than on any day since my surgery in August. I attended a mini socially distanced online training summit. It was a big occasion for me. Partly by managing to be away from home for more than just one or two hours at a time. Also for socially distanced spending time with friends that I haven’t seen for almost 18 months.

Whilst there I took a phone call from a ‘private number’ which turned out to be one of the drs at our surgery. She had the results of the blood test I had on Wednesday. Apparently I am anaemic again which explains my low energy levels recently. She has read the letter I had sent a few weeks ago. I was then grilled about my bowel problems. She is recommending that I am seen by a gastroenterologist urgently.

I am glad that my problems are being dealt with. However I am trying not to think about what this entails.

Mother survived her day at home alone. I made her lunch before I went out. She tells me that she has done her exercises. Perhaps in the not too distant future we will both be physically better off.

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.

Cold reunion

Today was the day I have been looking forward to for weeks if not months. The day that I got to see my family again. All except #3 son. He couldn’t make it. The train schedule was against him.

Late morning my granddaughter and her parents arrived. At 18 months she enjoyed exploring the garden. The little red watering can I had got for her came into use. Between watering the garden and wanting to “kick” her ball. She found time to do some drawing with my coloured pencils. She even saw some Choo Choo go past. I loved that she wanted to take my hand and lead me around the garden. She can’t quite say Granny yet so I am “Gan”.

After a picnic in the garden we went off to find the rest of the family at the play park next to the river. Even in my big coat it was cold. The two cousins warily eyed each other up but were soon playing on the slide. While the uncles and aunties caught up on the news.

I had gone prepared with my folding chair and picnic rug but it was far too cold to sit around. It became apparent that my granddaughter was ready for her nap so her parents decided to let her sleep in the car. We all left at the same time. The rest of us returned to the house for a hot cup of tea. Teddy was excited to see the trains again. In between playing hide and seek with auntie A and kicking a ball with Uncle J he still had to run and tell Granny each time he saw a train.

Now that everyone has left it is super quiet but I am glad to be able to warm up again after all that cold fresh air.