Spanner in the works

I had it all planned out. Books out for collection Friday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday that takes me almost to the end of the month. I was late getting started this week. Then other things got in the way so there are no books out for me to collect today.

Because of my low energy levels I’m only putting out around a dozen books each time. So now I need to do a few more each time to get round to all of my customers.

I found out this morning that I am having an endoscopy next Thursday. Which means a covid test on Monday. Then self isolate from Monday to Thursday. I am likely to be feeling rough on Friday.

I am now going to attempt to get all my books out for pick up this Friday and Monday. I won’t be able to do a pick up next Wednesday so no point putting any out for then.

I did know that I would be having an endoscopy within the next two weeks but hadn’t considered that I would still have to isolate after all have had both jabs and putting out and picking up books doesn’t really involve seeing anyone.

Rainy Sunday

I’m afraid to say that I’m in danger. Only a teensy bit of danger but it’s there. I have never been a particularly domestic woman. I do what I need to. I don’t enjoy cooking or cleaning.

Today I dodged the showers to pot up some of my plants. I managed to get 3 pots done before the heavy rain started again.

When i went into the kitchen to get myself some lunch I did something that is very rare for me. I made a Victoria sponge cake. Which we both had a slice of with our late afternoon cup of tea. It must be over a year since I last made a cake. Certainly not since my hospital stay last August, or even the weeks leading up to that as I was too poorly.

I have also occupied my time today reading and knitting. I’m making the sleeves for a cat face jumper. This will be my third one. I have made two for my granddaughter. One with a cream background and one grey. This one is white and has been commissioned by my daughter in law for her niece.

During the afternoon while I was knitting we watched two episodes of a Danish crime serial. I generally listen to the TV more than watch but with the foreign programs that mother likes I really have to keep up with the sub titles if I want to follow the plot.

This afternoon seems to have flown by but then I realised that I fell asleep for about half an hour.

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.

Sunny and cold

The last few days have been full of blue sky and sunshine. There has been warmth but also a chill wind or should I say breeze. The summer before last mother had a new decking installed outside the patio doors. This raised the level outside the door so that she could go outside without having to manage a step down.

Last summer she only went out a few times for no more than 20 minutes. On the really hot days it was too hot for her. The heat affects her MS. Mostly though it was too cold. I noticed over time that we only got the sun on the decking for an hour to an hour and a half mid morning ( before the temperature had become comfortable for sitting out). I would sit out but have to move my chair around with the sun. The sun moves around our garden giving patches of sunshine for an hour or two. The bottom of the garden where there is a sizable patio gets even less sun than the decking. The trees have grown up to such an extent that the garden is shrouded in shade. Our friendly tree surgeon did his best to create more light without cutting back too far.

In January we had a new fence erected between us and the adjoining house which at the time was empty. The new fence is a foot higher than the one it replaced. It doesn’t look that much higher but obviously is. I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t a conservatory next door. Now I realise that the sun we were getting on the decking was actually coming through the windows of the conservatory. My dilemma now is that The lady who moved in a couple of months ago has put up curtains which are permanently closed. I have moved all but two of my flowerpots off the decking as they were in constant shade. Do I just put up with the lack of sunshine or do I ask her to leave her curtains open? The garden on that side of the fence has pretty much full sun most of the day so it probably doesn’t occur to our neighbours that we don’t get much in ours.

This morning I was updating my Elliesdeal blog dedicated to my Avon business. I decided to add the link to the blog to my twitter account. I only created this account a few months ago. I’m not really up to speed with twitter. I am following a few people but don’t have any followers of my own so anything I post (or should I say tweet) is never seen by anyone else. Much to my surprise this morning I discovered that I do have a a couple of followers. It looks like a grand total of 4 people have liked or retweeted my posts recently. Let me know if you would like to follow me on twitter and I will give you the name on my account.

We haven’t seen much of the pigeons recently (we have a couple of magpies nesting in the tree instead. The doves come and go. We sometimes see a young one with an adult. The blue birds have been absent for a short while but I am used to them being around a lot then not for a while then returning again. At last after 3 years of living here I am seeing sparrows in the garden. Yesterday there were 3 of them in the buddleia bush, hanging feeder on the crab apple and even on the decking for a few minutes. Today I saw a great tit on the decking, it hung around for a while. We hadn’t seen any for ages. Usually they are only around when the bluetits are here.

Yesterday I had cut up an apple for the blackbirds. I saw one of the squirrels (Roger I believe) sat on the fence nibbling away at a chunk of apple. The dunnock has recently been venturing out of the undergrowth to feed on the meal worms that I put out on the lawn for the ground feeders.

I went out a little earlier than usual to pick up my Avon books today. That takes my orders for April over £500 with more books to collect tomorrow and Wednesday. I also had another order through my digital shop today.

I’m feeling at peace with my world today.

There’s no helping some people

I have been talking to mother about care/nursing homes. She was saying that when my grandfather went into a care home and then a nursing home she didn’t give him any choice of where to go. She chose for him. Both homes were friendly and suited his needs and ours. I particularly liked visiting him in the care home although it was an hour drive for us.

When it was time for him to move to a nursing home we found one closer to us here. I was able to visit on my way home from work. I’m not going to say that he was happy there. I’m not sure he was happy. He was comfortable and well cared for. Unlike many of the other residents he still had his mind in full working order. He missed having anyone to talk to properly.

Mother has made a mental list of things she wants to take with her when/if she needs to go into a care home. She knows which paintings, books and music she wants and if possible her laptop if the home has WiFi. I have suggested several times in the last couple of years that maybe she should consider which homes would suit her otherwise she will be going where ever I find.

Talking of having WiFi reminded me of when my husband sold our marital home. He was 64 and having difficulty looking after himself and our home. I found a flat in sheltered accommodation for him. He checked it out and decided to buy one of the flats there. Not the one I found but another one.

The plan was that he would move straight from the house to the flat. Obviously he would have to sell/store most of the furniture. About two weeks before the planned move he had a meeting with the warden of the flats. This did not go well. Apparently they don’t have facilities for broadband which he needed for his graphic design work. They were also not happy that he wanted to work. (He hadn’t worked during our marriage).

I found him bed and breakfast accommodation to move into until he found somewhere permanent. Instead of a few weeks as originally planned he was there for 9 months. Finally finding a top floor studio flat. (Not ideal for someone who has frequent falls). He has now been in that flat for 2 years. The last time I spoke to him he still didn’t have any internet service connection. His ability to use technology is zero.

I don’t know if it is still the case but at the start of the year he had been having someone check on him weekly and meals delivered daily. He could have avoided so much hassle and be in a much nicer flat than the studio flat he now has if he had bought the original place where he would have had a warden checking on him.

Considering that he can’t use his computer. He can’t even get his TV working and he certainly doesn’t work. It would have been ideal for him. In a much nicer area and close to the town.

Even after leaving him I still did what I could to help him. I’ve stopped now.

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.

Writing

In my family it would seem that the women are/were writers. Both my grandmothers wrote. I have always known that my maternal grandmother wrote short stories. I have a copy of one that she wrote. I believe that she wrote stories for WI but also sent some to magazines. My mother told me years ago that her mother had earnt money from doing this. It was only in recent years that I discovered that my paternal grandmother had a whole file of poetry that she had written. I have never read any of it.

When I was young I liked to write short stories (mostly for children) I never did anything with them. It was just a hobby during the quiet periods at work. When I was 21 my maternal Granny died of a heart attack. After her death I couldn’t bring myself to write any more stories. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up a paper and pen. I thought that was the end of my writing. In truth I carried on writing but not in the same way. Over the years when I was troubled I would write down my feelings. If someone had hurt me, whether in my romantic life or in life generally, I would write them a letter. I never gave /sent the letters but it helped me to put my thoughts together.

I have always known that my mother liked to write. we were talking about it yesterday. She has a file of poetry that she has written throughout her life. I can’t say that poetry is my thing but there have been a few scribblings in the past. Writing must be in my blood. Both my husbands have been good at art (second husband was a graphic designer). My eldest son and his fiancee are both artistic. I can’t draw a straight line let alone anything else but my artistic side comes out in my writing and recently my knitting.

After the end of my first marriage I joined the world of blogging. Years of living in a coercive controlling environment for many years my confidence was at rock bottom. Blogging helped me to grow my confidence. I became part of an online community. I received feedback from everything I wrote. I was getting the affirmation I hadn’t had before. I started writing posts about my life. I also began to write short stories which I shared with my friends. A few years down the line I was writing less and less. I was running out of inspiration. I was also working full time again as well as running a home and family as a single mother. I was tired.

I had been married to my second husband for about 9 months when a friend inspired me to start this blog. Over the years I have had problems with finding things to write about. I didn’t want to constantly write about my marriage. I didn’t want to write about people in my life. I have written the occasional piece for several years. It is just recently that I have begun to write more regularly again. I am never going to write a best selling novel. I might eventually get back to writing short stories again but for now I am happy just putting words together for my blog. Each day is something different. That in itself is amazing in this current life of not going anywhere or doing anything.

A question of wind still

Back in 2009 I wrote this piece , reading through it makes me realise how long I have had these thoughts and still do. The issues have become more urgent.

A question of wind

I find it incredible in this day and age that this is even an issue.
We all know that our natural sources of power as in fossil fuels are running out. We all know that as humans we need to reduce our carbon footprint if our world is to survive. We should all want to create a better, healthier life for our children and their children and all the other generations to follow.
For centuries we have harnessed water and wind to make life easier. we are used to seeing traditional windmills although these days there are fewer and fewer still in working conditions. I did see a fair few on my holiday in Norfolk.

Now though there are a new kind of windmill …..the Wind turbine there are wind turbine farms, usually situated in remote locations. During the summer there were protests against one such wind farm being set up on the Isle of Wight not far from my home near the Hampshire coast. Local residents on the island were very much against this happening near them. At the same time there were other protests on the island involving a sit in by employees of a company that was about to close which would mean job losses for 600 people on the island. The company produce components for wind turbines. The closure of the company was due to a lack of demand for wind turbines in Northern Europe.
Now maybe I am the only one who can see the irony of this. However the Islanders are not the only people who do not want these great white structures blotting their landscape. As the months have marched slowly by in recent years I have heard of a fair few protests by residents refusing to allow a wind farm to be built near them. Maybe if the Islanders and others like them were not standing in the way of progress, then there would have been no need for the company to close and those 600 people would still have jobs (something to hold onto in this current climate).
Personally I think they should be considering the bigger picture and what these turbines mean to our future as oppossed to what future our children and grandchildren will have without them.
Whilst in Norfolk not only did we see far more of the traditional windmills than we normally see these days but there were also clusters of turbines in remote fields plus others dotted around standing alone. It was quite an unexpected view on our boat trip to see two traditional windmills seemingly next to each other although actually on opposite banks of the broad, then in the distance a solitary turbine appearing to stand between the two older structures.
The place where we were staying has a wind turbine farm just a little way out to sea. Far from being put off by the sight of these majestic towers I found them fascinating. I do not understand what all the protests are about. There are far worse things we can live near such as the electricity pylons that stretch across our countryside buzzing away day and night. If we went back in history to the days when windmills were first constructed we would probably find that they were considered to be unsightly and unwanted. Now we find them quaintly magical. Perhaps in years to come we will forget how ugly some people find the turbines. My son has just returned from his 28 days travelling across US and he tells me that these Wind Farms can be see all over the place.

I would like to say that if such a farm were to be situated near to my home I wouldn’t bat an eyelid but somehow I doubt that would be true …….perhaps the novelty would wear thin after a while but I think I would be fascinated by them for quite some time.

If such a wind farm were proposed in your local area would you welcome or reject it. If this has already happened did you protest or welcome the progress for our future?

My Decision

This is a piece I wrote back in 2008

It has been a couple of years now and I don’t have any regrets. Some time ago, I think it was the middle of last summer my mother asked the question.

‘If you had known how hard it was going to be would you still have done it?’

I consider this carefully before replying. I am not sure why as I knew the answer, there was never any doubt in my mind.

‘Yes most definitely, it was the best thing I could have done.’

Indeed it was the only thing I could have done. I had given it my best shot. 19 years of my life I had given to that man. But the day had come when I realised that enough was enough. He couldn’t understand it when I told him I didn’t want to continue living with him. He couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. We had a good marriage didn’t we, we never argued did we?

He was right in a way, as until the last few months we had very rarely had a row. Firstly he was never around to have a row with as he was always either at work, pub or asleep. (the perfect marriage in some ways).

Secondly we never rowed because, when he was around he made me feel so useless and weak that I never dared to argue with him and on the occasions when I tried to vent my anger on him he would turn it around to be my fault. Like the many Saturday mornings when he came home from shopping. (I wasn’t allowed to shop I spent too much, whereas he always bought bargains – you know the deals where if you buy this you get that free or the end of date things). We had a freezer full of things we would never use and a fridge full of things that had to be eaten in one day but nothing for the rest of the week.

He often came in with a mood on, this would make me grumpy, (no one likes to be moaned at for no reason). Because I was now grumpy he would complain about my mood and stomp off to the pub.

During all these years he would tell me that I was

‘fat, ugly, useless with a brain like a sieve’

Now after so many years of being told this it becomes hard to believe otherwise. I believe that if you get married you should try to make the marriage work. I was not going to give up easily. I had to try to make it work. Besides I had nowhere to go and 4 children to consider. Because I had done such a good job of trying to make our marriage work he had no idea that it wasn’t working. The end of our marriage came as a big shock to him. For me it never really was a marriage. I had never been in love with him. We had never courted as such, just fell into a relationship as when we met we were both getting over broken hearts and needed someone to turn to. If I hadn’t got pregnant the marriage would never have happened.

Now, though we are divorced and I have never been happier. Financially we were never really solvent as a couple. Does anyone know a solvent alcoholic? But we did have two wages coming in, his full time wage and my part time wage (part time!! I worked longer hours than he did for half the money).

Now it is just me and the boys, I am the only one bringing any money into the home. It has been a struggle and there are days when we have to keep our coats on because it’s too darn cold and I don’t have any spare cash to buy gas. (Yes I have had to get a key meter for both the gas and electricity). There are days when we have just 2 slices of bread and no milk. But we manage, I have not killed any of them off yet.

Are we better off now? Financially no we are worse off but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn’t going to be like this forever and now that I have a full time job that I enjoy things can only get better.

However we as a family unit are much happier. Gone are the days of dreading the door opening, wondering if he is in one of his soppy drunk moods or in a nasty bad tempered mood that has everyone either cowering behind a cushion or hiding away in the bedrooms. Gone are the days where everyone had to be silent or risk his bellow of

‘Stop that noise’ or ‘be quiet’

In the past two years there has very rarely been a cross word spoken between any of the five of us. It took me a few months to realise that he was never going to be here again chastising me for staying up late or reading when I should be doing something else. I can have friends here if I choose. (visitors were forbidden when he was here).

Our house rings with the sound of music (not always to my taste, teenagers!!) and laughter where before there was only silence broken by shouts of ‘silence’.

There is an air of confidence about us all that was not there before. I have learnt that I am worth so much more than I ever knew. I am happy, I laugh, I joke, I feel sexy, I feel worthy, I have finally come to love the person I am.

Being tactical

It’s 10 days to go before the election. On the radio they are discussing people who don’t vote and the many reasons why. One of the reasons being ‘my vote won’t make a difference’.

Where I live we know that no matter which party you vote for the same party will win. The same party has won for decades. It is what is known as a safe seat. There are four candidates standing in this constituency. I know which party I shall be voting for. It’s the same party I have supported since I was a young woman. However it doesn’t matter which of the three parties I vote for other than the one that will win. Many people think that there is no point going out to vote when the result will be the same anyway.

I don’t agree. I think we should all vote. No matter which of the three alternative parties you choose. Every vote cast against the leading party will reduce their winning majority. If we can do this each time eventually our votes will begin to make a difference.