Tuesday, 28 September 2021

The Sky Spells Rain.

 Sometimes I think it would be better not to look at or listen to the weather forecast.   Today - darkest blue in places - meaning heavy rain - is said to be drifting over from the West.  The sky keeps looking angry and the wind gets up a bit - then it dies down again and a smidgin of blue sky pokes through.

Twice I have thought of setting off with Priscilla, getting half way down the drive and then coming back.   Luckily I did once because my new microwave, promised for next Monday, came this morning.

I have been unwell for a couple of days - upset tummy basically - but I am almost better today, but maybe not quite up to walking round the block.

My old microwave, an old one when I inherited it, it now well past its best and has begun to go rusty inside  so this sparkling new Daewoo should smarten the kitchen up a bit.   And as my carer very kindly provides me with meals each day I need a reliable way to heat them up.

Any more news for you today?   Sorry but there really is nothing at all to report.   I will be back tomorrow with any snippets I manage to glean between now and then.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Brrr!

No doubt about it, there is now a distinct nip in the air  this Sunday morning - September going into October- the sky is blue and a rather watery sun is out, but I notice people going past with their dogs have almost all got a jacket on.  And so the seasons roll by - we can't hold on to them and every one has its beauty.

I needed to pay the milkman so Priscilla and I walked down to put his money through the door.   Then we had to decide whether to walk right round or walk back the way we had gone.    We chose to go on.   It was a mistake.   It is almost a week since we walked right round, too many things have taken precedence.   It was too far and I found it a real struggle to get home.   I have been very tired ever since, so it was a pleasure this afternoon to welcome friend H from next door round for a cup of tea.   It is her birthday today and her family helped her to celebrate it yesterday.

Last night I watched the new Strictly Come Dancing.   Last year I found it so boring that half  way through I decided not to watch it any more.   I switched on last evening expecting to feel the same but the standard of dancing was absolutely stunning and if it carries on in this vein I shall definitely continue.  But I hear on the News this evening that already one couple have to miss next week after testing positive for Covid.   It hasn't gone away has it?

See you tomorrow when, hopefully, there will be something more exciting to report. (well the toilet is blocked and they are coming in the morning to unblock it if you call that exciting!) 

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Medal

 I am awarding myself a medal today - alright, so it is big-headed but I think I deserve one!

My computer skills plus my ever-worsening shaking hands mean that by no stretch of the imagination would you call me 'computer literate'.   Yesterday, with the help of friends S and T I also bought a new'run of the mill 'mobile phone.  So far so good.

After breakfast, when my carer had gone, I thought I would have an hour trying to get to grips with my new phone.   It reminded me very much of when Windows 10 in their wisdom decide to change for instance the format of e mails.  They often give you a choice and say you can stick with the old way if you like but then - reading the minds of the people who have changed it - you know that in about a month you will have to do it anyway, so you might as well do it now.   For two or three days it is absolute murder sending an e mail because you keep forgetting the new format, then suddenly - without warning - you have got it and have completely forgotten how it used to be.   Well that is how my mind works anyway.

And so it was with my phone.   I am struggling.   I sent S a text and accidentally sent it in three parts because I kept somehow pressing a 'send' button.   When she finally rang me it was to say had I sent her some gobbledegook (well she was tactful enough not to say that, but it was, I assure you) I had sent it to her landline anyway.   And as she was gardening I don't expect she was jumping for joy.

I persevered and sent one to my carer half an hour later - she confirmed it had arrived .   Step one completed.   Then I decided to empty my old texts (well over a hundred) - had a few attempts which failed but finally found the right button and it is now completely empty.   Then I went through my list of people I wished to have listed in my phone book - cleared it out nicely.   Jobs done.

Then I went over to my computer where my Grandson sent me a resume of 'American Gods' by Neil Garman, which is our Book Group book.  (not for the faint hearted).  It is his favourite book and he is doing some sort of higher degree in English at University.   I wanted to print it off to read at our meeting.   Could I remember how to copy an e mail and print it off?   It is ages since I did it.   I struggled, rang my son and he kindly talked me through the process without losing his cool - heaven knows how as he had to keep repeating himself.   Eventually I did it, thanked him, rang off and went to my printer (also quite new).   I started the process and on the little screen it told me that the paper was jammed.   Could have been the last straw but no, I persevered and finally have done it.

Medal awarded for perseverance - off now to reward myself with beans on toast with plenty of brown sauce.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Friday

 Friday, the end of a rather busy week and it has certainly ended with a bang rather than a whimper because it has been such a hectic but enjoyable day.

I was sitting eating my morning porridge when friend S rang to ask whether I would like to go out for the morning - first to go to Tesco to look at a new mobile phone for me and then on to  The Green Frog, a Garden Centre, where they wanted to buy a plant as a present.

I was very grateful for friend S's input in the buying of a new phone - not an iphone but just an update on the phone I already had.   It didn't take all that long to choose the right model for me - the salesman transferred my SIM card and we were away.

At The Green Frog T and S went off round the plants - all beautifully arranged and looked-after while I went into their gift shop as I wanted a small gift for a friend and also a selection of cards for forthcoming birthdays. All done we went into their very nice cafe for lunch (scampi, chips and salad for me; lasagne with chips and salad for T and what turned out to be a delicious vegan cashew nut loaf with salad for S).   And so it was home for coffee at my bungalow - a really lovely outing so many thanks to T and S.

I had been home but a short time when friend M pressed the doorbell.   She is shortly moving house - only a short way from here to across the road and into a bungalow.   Like me she lives alone and the whole operation is a little daunting but she has a very supportive family and I am sure everything will be alright.

And now - six o'clock and time for tea which will be the lunch my dear carer left for me - a cheese and onion pie.  Certainly no shortage of calories today!

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Sun has arrived again.

 Yes, just as I arrived in my taxi at the Bank the sun came out and it was so pleasant - bit windy in our Market Square though (notorious on really windy days for blowing over aged people).   The taxi dropped me literally at the door of the Bank and said he would wait as long as he could and if he went, to wait  exactly there (I had Priscilla with me so I could sit down).

There were ten people  in front of me in the Bank queue -all masked and all spaced covidly around the edge of the bank.   I was a good half hour and when I came out - no taxi - so we sat and watched the world go by.   Haven't done that for a long time.

My how dress has changed.   There were people wearing absolutely anything passing.   Hardly anyone was what I would called 'dressed up'.   Most folk were in jeans and a top - often with bare midriff, hardly any woman had short hair = almost all had long, straight hair.

Now I am home and have lunched.   There is something wrong with the toilet flush in the bathroom  so now I have to wait in for the plumber to call (he lives just down the road so may call in on his way home.)

I watched the tribute to Prince Phillip last evening - somehow I found it vaguely disappointing but there were some lovely tributes to him.   I suppose it was inevitable that The Queen wouldn't contribute but I did wish she had done because I do believe they had a very happy life together.   I found Prince Charles so very sad - it came over so clearly that he felt he had never lived up to his father's expectations.    And yet I felt that in spite of that they were very close.

Relationships are interesting aren't they?   The programme set me thinking about my family relationships.  Thinking seriously I would say that I loved my parents equally, had a very happy childhood, but now there is no doubt I think of my father every single day - the talks we had about nature, the walks we shared birds nesting, mushrooming, looking for and identifying wild flowers.   He left discipline entirely to my mother and he never, in all my days at Grammar School, came to a speech day or parents' evening - he always left it to my mother.   I do think of my mother - usually in relation to recipes, cooking, that kind of thing.

Looking back on the programme on the Royal Family, it was lovely to see both the Queen and Prince Phillip playing with their children, rowing on the water,barbecuing, just having fun.   They can never be like the rest of us but at least they tried to be as 'normal' as possible.   And quite obviously loving being parents.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Another hectic day

 You wouldn't think I could have hectic days when I walk so slowly with either a frame or Priscilla but I can assure you it is all too easy when I get to my desk, sit down and get out my writing pad,to find there is no pen anywhere near so I have to get up and go into the kitchen pot to fetch oneAnd this  is followed by many similar incidents.

My hair appointment was a day early so, of course, I have now been thinking all day that tomorrow will be Friday when it is really only Thursday.  (If I ever said 'tomorrow will be Friday' when I lived with my Mum and Dad he would always retort 'and we've caught no fish today' - something to do with fishing boats not setting sail on a Friday I believe (I shall look it up when I have finished this post.)

I returned to a pile of post, all of which needed dealing with - either a written answer to be posted or a phone call.   As so often I was pleased that I lived directly opposite a post box.

Afternoon involved chatting to a builder who is coming to repair and renew an outside sink - unfortunately it is the one where my gardener put in a new pipe for me last week and to work on the sink the builder has to remove the pipe.   So that was another phone call to apologise to the gardener before he returned to work in the garden only to find his pipe work messed about with.

Now early evening and  all loose ends sorted out.   Nothing feels better than when everything on your list for the day is crossed off.   All that is left to do now is to washing up my tea things  (I no longer use my dishwasher unless visitors come - I feel it is too extravagant).  Then I shall sit down with a cup of tea and have another stab at the Times crossword and wait for the 9pm programme where all the Royal Family reminisce about their memories of Prince Phillip - it promises to be a really interesting hour.

I have just watched the programme and am on my way to bed (my computer room and my bedroom are one and the same).   It was an interesting programme but somehow I found it a bit disappointing - not sure why.   Did any of you watch it?

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tuesday

 It is not as pleaant as it was yesterday (a perfect September day) - the sun is hazy and there is quite a strong breeze.   Had we not had yesterday for a comparison I would have said it was a lovely day today.   It is the day for managing without a carer and I have just finished doing what takes her an hour (I rose at 7.30 and it is now 11.18) but everything is done and I am happy with how it looks everywhere.

And there is Chelsea to look at.   I love looking at other peoples' ideas for gardens.   Many years ago, maybe around 1983, a very dear friend who was a superb gardener - she spent all day in her large garden and had a huge collection of rhodendrons, was unable to go to Chelsea and gave me her ticket to go on Members' Day.   I lived in Wolverhampton at the time and caught a very early train up to London and went along - I was there when it opened.  It was an experience I wouldn't have missed but by two in the afternoon I was absolutely  exhausted and caught an early train home (and fell asleep on the journey).

It was wonderful and the individual gardens were so very interesting but you could only look at them from behind a barrier, whereas when you get a preview on television the presenter is often wandering round looking at what is planted and you get a close-up.   So I decided television was much better - for me at any rate.   How lucky we are to have television aren't we?   How my Dad would have loved Chelsea from his armchair.

Monday, 20 September 2021

A Day and a half

 Today started quietly but as the day went on, so it got busier until by now - just after tea - I am again alone and once this post is done all I have to do is get my brain resharpened ready for University Challenge.

But one thing it has shown to me is that I should be very grateful to so many people for what they do for me.   Without them all I would find life very hard.   So I shall list them and tell you just how much I am helped along my handicapped way.

1.   First of all there is J, my carer.   She comes for an hour in the morning - never stops working but manages to chat along as she works so that she always leaves me in a cheerful frame of mind.   What does she do?   Gets my breakfast (porridge and a banana), sees to the commode and makes my bed and tidies away any clothes which I have changed.   Twice a week she puts on the washing machine so that I can empty it and put the clothes in the tumble drier.   Any which need ironing she takes home to iron.    She brings a lunch every day and unless it is a salad leaves it in the microwave or by the Remoska if it is chips.   Showers or strip washes me and helps me dress.   All this in an hour.

2. T and S, my dear, always cheerful friends who do so much for me.   They call in often just for a cheerful chat and a coffee.   They  keep my laptop and my printer in working order and sort me out if I get in a mess.   They do untold little jobs and errands all the time and I can never thank them enough.

3.  L, who lives just down the road, who keeps me topped up with fruit and bread and coffee between visits from Mobile Tesco.

4.   D, my gardener, who as well as keeping my garden in order does all sorts of little jobs.   This week he noticed that the drain pipe from my dishwasher to the outside sink had a hole in it.   He came, measured it, replaced it all and had almost finished before I noticed he had done it.   Another always cheerful man who I can rely on.   His health is not good and I worry about him but he soldiers on.

5.   My immediate neighbours H and M both of whom are cheerful and chatty and we pass the time of day almost every day.   It is lovely to have good friends so near.

6.   My son.   Although D only lives a mile away, since Covid I rarely see him.   His wife is an invalid and understandably he worries about her catching Covid so he is very careful.   But what he does is lend an ear.   I am a worrier, always have been and not likely to change now.   If something is on my mind I ring him, talk it over with him and together we sort it out.   Without his help there are times when I would feel about to go under.

These people make my life what it is now.   I find walking hard and can only go slowly.   But between them they jolly me along.

I just heard a noise and went to see what it was.   Through the door was a parcel from Amazon Prime with two books I had discussed with my son and said I would rather like to read.   He had sent them to me post haste - we were only speaking of them yesterday.

So here, publicly, a sincere thank you to them all.   Acts of kindness I can never repay but which make my life complete.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Growing old (dis)gracefully.

 Well of course one has little choice when it comes to it does one - grow old or don't grow old.   And even whether one does it disgracefully or otherwise is down to a few things - physical condition being  I suppose one of the main ones.   After lunch Priscilla and I will do our perambulate - how we could make it in any way disgraceful it is hard to see.   I suppose I could decorate her or perhaps wear a purple hat a la Jenny Joseph.   In perfect health (is anybody at 88?) maybe I could make a bit more effort.   As it is just the sheer effort of getting all the way round the circuit and arriving back home is enough.

A friend is 89 next weekend - five weeks before me, so I can always joke that I am not as old as she is - at least for those five weeks.   I do try to keep young in my head by keeping up to date with the news and things like that, and I do the Mind Games in the Times daily in an effort to keep brain gremlins at bay.   But when all is said and done one's life span and the way one approaches death is in the lap of the gods.   But one thing is for sure - I have had a much longer life than what I now have left.   So best to soldier on and live each day as it comes.

There is a lovely old lady, W, in our town who is 100.  She carries no excess weight and is reasonably  nimble on her feet.   Until Covid I used to collect her every  Sunday and four of us would lunch at the same restaurant.   I met her at the doctor's surgery last Monday.   Sadly she didn't recognise me but she said she recognised my voice.   Her mind is getting a little forgetful but she still lives alone but surrounded by her family.   She is totally content, which is lovely to see.

In yesterday's Times there is a photo of an old lady of 101 who has   been trapping lobsters since 1929.   Three mornings a week between May and November, she gets up at 3am and gets on her boat with her son, who is himself 78.   Her son sees to the boat and hauls in the traps, she measures the lobsters and throws back the small ones and then ties the claws of the ones they are keeping.   A few years ago a crab cut her finger and she had to have stitches.   The doctor was interested in why an old lady of her age was still doing such a job and when he asked her, her answer was "because I want to"!

Perhaps that is one of the secrets of a long and happy life.   Don't sit around waiting for death to arrive - "do precisely what you want to!"   It will arrive anyway when it wants to.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Perfect Autumn Day

Just to keep reminding me of the fact, the garden opposite has a large bunch of Autumn crocus in the middle of the front lawn and I always forget them every year until the day when suddenly they are in full flower - and they cheer up my day.   Somehow there is a feel of Autumn in the air in spite of the temperature being around twenty, the sky being clear blue and the sun fully out.   But the street light opposite went on at  8pm and by then all the blinds were drawn.   And there was suddenly a chill in the air   Bu I have bought myself a new cardigan - very large and 'cuddly'.   It came yesterday, since when I have lived in it.   I am in love with it.   I am thinking of sending for another one in another colour - after all I can't wear the same one every day through winter can I??

What to report today?    Well my 'jaunt' into town yesterday seems to have done me no good at all because today I am very tired.   I struggled round my usual walk and since then apart from eating my lunch the only other thing I have done is order a new battery for my Bosch vaccuum cleaner.   Then the cleaner has to go into the shop where I bought it for the battery to be fitted.  As someone (sorry but I can't remember who it was, so apologies) pointed  out - if the cleaner had been a Dyson I could have fitted the battery myself but as it is a Bosch it has to go back to the shop for them to fit it.   So now I await the arrival of the new battery.

The only other domestic incident to report that yesterday I complained I had marked the wall in the hall with a pencil in order to get the photograph frame level and then could not get the marks  off.  Well my carer this morning removed them all in two minutes maximum - don't ask me how - something to do with a spray I had under the sink and a damp cloth.   They have magically disappeared.

I think I shall stop now and take Priscilla round to the garden at the back of the bungalow to see how it is doing.   The sun is still out and it is a week since I was out there.   Hopefully I will be back later. 

Back in the evening and looking forward - as I am sure Rachel is too - to the very last round in the Celebrity Baking Competition.   I have really enjoyed watching it - although as usually happens in these programmes I rarely know any of the so-called 'celebrities'.   Maybe it is because I don't watch all that much television.

It really has been a lovely Autumn day - I always savour every one this time of the year.   The silver birch leaves are really seriously falling now; they always seem the first to go round here. The hollyhocks which I pass every day on my walk round the estate are still full of bees, as is the salvia bush much nearer to home.   Another fine day is forecast for tomorrow and then rain is set to arrive.   My son has just rung to say that they have arrived home after their week up near Lindisfarne - they seem to have particularly enjoyed the bird life.

See you tomrrow.