Saturday, December 19, 2009

We bought a house

Been a long time since I posted here. We finally bought a house, purchase was completed on 11 December and we've been trying to get various stuff sorted out ever since.

Front of house

The garden is quite large for a semi round here, and has some lovely shrubs - quince in the front garden, magnolia, camellia, azaleas in the back.

Quince flowers

Quince Flowers

We've been tackling the brambles in the back garden, and also the buddleias. I chopped down most of a buddleia yesterday - or at least pruned it severely, and began trying to prune some of the roses. Here's a picture of the garden from the back bedroom, taken a while ago, and before we began work on the pruning etc.

Garden from bedroom 2

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Have my favourite visitor here again!

Here's Brodie!

Brodie likes the sheepskin rug on one of our chairs

We're going through some interesting times right now, as we offered on a 2 bedroom bungalow yesterday (subject to survey) and heard soon after 5pm that our offer has been accepted.

I am feeling fairly mixed up about it all, it will be hard to leave this house, say goodbye to our mini-Eden in the back yard...

But I have a friendly visitor staying with me. And he keeps me sane in times that feel a bit insane to me!

Friday, June 26, 2009


I went to the Dental Hygienist today. I was lectured about what a mess my teeth were because I hadn't really flossed them at all in the last 3 months. I did mention that I was finding it hard to even clean my teeth, let alone floss them due to the cap on one of my upper front teeth being loose and wobbly - Dentist (seen just before we went to the caravan in May) said she thinks the root has split. So can't be cured, that tooth must go. At least I've got nice clean teeth for a day after scale and polish! ;-)

Not sure what to do, but cannot face another denture - the bottom one is useless and I have to take it out to eat as a couple of times I've nearly swallowed the beastly thing and I'm scared of choking on it! So guess it's bridge or implant time. Hygienist says implants best but costly... I need to see the Head Dentist to find out what's possible. It depends on jaw bones and stuff like that I think. Next appointment in September, could organise something sooner, but I think I'll just have to put up with eating slush and only chewing on the right side of my mouth as would prefer to be gardening at the caravan!

I keep thinking of that Pam Ayre's poem - "I wish I'd looked after me teeth"!

After dental adventures we went to "Mr T's" (that supermarket whose name must not be mentioned!) for me to get a photo done for new Blue Badge. As usual ghastly, and not suitable for a passport as my ears are not showing (cost £4). Then back home to pick up the paperwork and go to the nearest Liverpool Direct place where I produced several thousand proofs of identity ;-) and came away with the new Badge (cost £2). Total cost for new badge £6. While I am very grateful for the freedom the Badge gives me, the ability to park in some places where other motorists aren't allowed, and free onstreet parking, I guess that the £6 could be very hard for some disabled folks to find even though it's only every 3 years.

Yesterday we did a HUGE shopping trip - both Aldi and Lidl! Took nearly 4 hours I think. Bought a digital camera for John (Aldi) - I think he's going to have a lot of fun with it. Next step is for him to open a Flickr account - will post it when he does. Plus we got lots of maple syrup and some waffles. I feel a waffley breakfast coming on - make a nice change from poached or scrambled eggs on toast! Also a microwave for the caraven at Lidl, with a palm plant for me, and a mini-pond though I'm not sure if the plants for it are still alive. John added some water to the bags they were packed in last night, in an attempt to keep them going till we can plant them. It's been chucking it down since we got home from Liverpool Direct, so can't plant tonight.

Anyway, all of the above is why I'm now sitting in bed with a hot water bottle on my back (despite the heat and humidity this evening) rather than watching Glastonbury downstairs on the HD TV. At least we've got a TV in the bedroom, so not totally deprived!

Still haven't managed to earth up the potatoes - been meaning to do it all week. Maybe tomorrow!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nature red in tooth and claw

We seem to have had several rather gruesome days at the caravan!

A couple of days ago I looked across the field to see a large gull tucking into what I thought looked like the remains of a young rabbit. It was quite a big and elegant bird with a black back, a gull that I don't recall seeing in the field here before (we usually have herring gulls), our neighbour from across the field reckons it was a Great black-back gull. He was sufficiently intrigued to take some video of it (eek!) and told us it actually stood on the rabbit and then tore off strips of meat. Two herring gulls were standing by looking hopeful, but they didn't stand a chance!

Yesterday it rained from around 5am, very hard, and with a strong south-easterly wind, blowing hard on the side of the caravan. John was making lunch when he began cursing - water was dropping down on him from one of the spotlights in the kitchen! Not a lot to do at the time, as it was raining too hard to investigate. So we called our landlord, who said he'd get in touch with Gwilym to come and take a look. We suspect the vent/skylight over the shower is the weak point, especially since we were getting water coming into the shower.

Despite the rain we had some rather bedraggled goldfinches feeding on the niger seed and the sunflower hearts for most of the morning. The rain cleared soon after mid day, though it still looked rather nasty over the mainland. We watched a kestrel hovering over the fields by the farm, and then over our field, and it stooped over the next door field further over to us.

Goldfinches feeding

Meanwhile we had about seven goldfinches trying to feed from the niger seed, and it only has four perches. Two of the goldfinches got into a kerfuffle, flying up into the air with an explosion of wings, circling each other and making a racket. Suddenly a brown bomb descended from the sky, a flurry of brown wings flying away, with a small body dangling from its feet. So we think that the kestrel had missed its prey before, and taken a goldfinch instead.

This morning there was a similar altercation between a couple of the goldfinches. For a while nothing happened, but then there was another avian explosion. I missed the hunt, but John saw a large bird dive and chase a small one into the hedge. Suddenly it was there, sitting on a post just outside the caravan window. Bright yellow eye, yellow tallons, but nothing in beak or tallons - we think the little bird got away this time! I managed to take a photo, and from that we think it was a male sparrowhawk this time.

Tallonous bird

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Amazing clouds

These clouds are really amazing!

Not doing very well at the mo, just more of the same old...

House is a complete mess with all my folks stuff here. Well, we've got rid of a lot, but it all just takes so much time! Plus we still have to keep a whole load of paperwork "just in case".

We've been planting courgettes and tomatoes this week (and gazenias and lobelia), but I reckon my carefully germinated peas at the caravan will have had it over the last week as it's been pretty hot. The back yard is looking really lush. :-) Guess we'll do a bit more work in it this weekend if we don't get the heavy rain that's forecast!

Intended to go to the caravan this weekend, but have felt too ill to pack and then travel. Plan was to stay on alone while John came home to work his 3 days. Maybe next week instead!

It's very muggy here today, and I think that kind of weather is very enervating, even for healthy folks. Plus there's been thunder near (not that I've heard, was on the weather news), I find that I seem to feel kind of agitated when there's thunder around. On edge.

I don't know if it's the electricity or the air pressure, but something makes me feel very uncomfortable. And I only realise why when the storm has broken and I suddenly feel much better.

Wish we could be using our new table and chairs on the deck this weekend, but I know we'll have time to enjoy them later in the year.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Silver Sufferers

Blogging for ME/CFS Awareness

Way back in 1955 there was an outbreak of M.E. at the Royal Free Hospital. It mainly affected nurses and doctors, they would have been young people back then. Now they will be pensioners, and I wonder how well they are doing now. Hopefully some will have made a recovery, but how many of them went on to become some of the 25% group who are housebound and/or bedbound?

Recent campaigns by M.E. Charities have concentrated their efforts on young people with M.E. This is a good thing, as it is a very difficult thing to live with M.E., and it is sad to see young people suffering, losing their teenage (or even younger) years to this horrible illness. It impacts on their education as well as their social life. So even those who recover have lost a part of their lives, and will have difficulty catching up on qualifications they need for the careers they wish to pursue.

But I begin to feel that older people with M.E. are being forgotten.

Even in "the prime of life" (whatever that is!) M.E. is a difficult illness to live with. It is hard to meet friends; let's face it, it's hard just to make a cuppa tea or coffee!

Last year I turned 60. I now receive my Old Age Pension. At least I will never have to fill in another IB50 form, sweat over it for weeks, and worry that I will lose my Incapacity Benefit.

In the previous few years I saw my parents becoming more and more frail, and eventually dying after some months in nursing homes. I was not able to help them in the last years they remained in their own home.

My Mother pleaded with me to go and stay with her after she had a fall, was in pain, and couldn't manage at home. I couldn't. The next day she was admitted to hospital, descended very quickly into dementia, and after a few weeks in a nursing home she died.

While my Father was in a nursing home I hardly managed to visit, as most of our energy went on trying to continue to help my Mother, and then visit her in hospital.

As an only child I felt stretched between them, unable to help either.

I am one of the lucky ones. My husband continues to care for me, to do nearly all the shopping and cooking (we gave up on the other housework other than the most basic cleaning!). Our daughters help when they can. And because of the help that I get from my family I am lucky enough to be able to enjoy the little energy I have, to take some photos, to do a bit of gardening, and currently to be staying at our caravan in Abersoch - John has left me with a large pan of delicious stew, and plenty of other easy to prepare food.

But what happens to those M.E. patients who live alone? After many years of struggling with the most basic of life's chores, as they age, how will they manage? I don't see that Social Services will be of much use - already I hear stories of how "carers" provided by them are refusing to do things that in the past they might have done, such as shopping and cooking.

We all are getting older, we read in the papers that the aging population is a time bomb, there won't be the money to look after us baby boomers. But how much worse is it for those who for years have had this damned disease? No job, so no comfortable pension, no circle of friends, no supportive partner or family for many. And as we age, those of us whose parents have looked after them may see their only support become too incapacitated themselves to help any more. So who will help them then?

Perhaps it's time for the M.E. Charities to begin to campaign for us old age pensioners with M.E.?

May 12 2009 Sunset

Sunset at Bwlchtocyn

Friday, March 13, 2009

Red Nose Day

We made it to the caravan yesterday, so are celebrating Red Nose Day in Bwlchtocyn.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Poem from 1989

I'm sure daughter won't be terribly pleased that I've posted this here... But I want to keep it somewhere it I can find it, and not lose it merely because the tatty piece of paper it's written on disintegrates. I think it's a great poem for an eight year old. Proud Mum!

After all these years am still a proud Mum of both my wonderful daughters.

25th April 1989

The Snail

Mrs Snail went out for a slither one day
And the sun was shining bright and gay
But Mrs Snail gave a silent wail
For a small thin bird was out for a glide
And of course Mrs Snail didn't want to be spied
So she quickly went to hide.
The hungry bird flew out of sight
And Mrs Snail felt Joy and light.

(It must be fairly obvious that I wasn't a gardener back then!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More at the flat

We went back to the Flat again today. John washed the bathroom floor, and I did more hoovering. It really was hoovering, as was using Mum's Hoover. But between all of that I sat and watched the sky some of the time.


We packed up yet more stuff and have brought it home. We need to do some decluttering as a matter of urgency!

John picked up some Chinese meals from Morrison's as on special offer for Chinese New Year. Spring rolls for starters, which I am eating now, but they're a bit on the hot side, so am only nibbling till they cool a little more.

We've cleared most of the stuff from the flat now, last few bits need help to shift - eg bookcase still there is too heavy for John to manage on his own. Helen may be able to help on Thurday - last day before Completion of sale.

John had fun watching a boat practising sailing skills.

Sailing on the Marine Lake

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Still clearing the flat

Went over to the parental flat again today after John took the Band to catch their train back to Cambridge and did the shopping.

I washed the fridge really thoroughly - it wasn't that dirty, but now I would happily put food in it. Before my feelings were it was a bit iffy.

Cleaned bath and basin. Hope we can wash bathroom floor before Completion on 30th.

We brought more stuff back. We have more stuff to bring back still. Prob 2 car trips still.

I am shattered! Sorry no photos - while it was sunny and still when we arrived, wind got up and clouds came over while I was cleaning the fridge. Fortunately the wind abated before we left - was beginning to worry about negotiating the wind tunnel outside the front door to the building!

We may go back tomorrow, depends if I can move at all after today's exertions.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rather Late New Year Resolution

From the bedroom window

I made the Resolution at New Year, but power cuts at the caravan prevented me trying to blog about it at the time. And then the car breakdown left me knackered and then other stuff happened too! Sometimes Life doesn't enable good resolutions!

This year's Resolution is to have more fun. The last few years have been very difficult, and we both seem to have lost the concept of fun.

So, will be reading the backlog of books that I bought 1-2 years ago that haven't had time enough to look at yet.

Hoping to get back to drawing more regularly, once a week if I can't manage once a day.

Having re-joined Ancestry when my initial subscription expired, I haven't done anymore work on my Family Tree. I was enjoying this, the hunting aspect is great when you find somebody new! So now the newly released 1911 Census may get me further in that, and maybe a jolt to continue my research.

When I first joined Fotolog, I tried to take a photo every day. Since then I mostly use Flickr, but it would be good to get back to trying to take more photos. Both sites have put me in touch with like minded people, but I haven't kept up with them over the last few years - I want to try and re-connect.

All of these things are fun to me, it will take some time to get back into better habits, but if I can manage one of them each day I will be having a lot more fun!

Edit: PS hope to blog more too!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A rather different New Year

John was able to get most of New Year's Eve off work - just had an hour to do in the morning. He had a part day of holiday left since he began working only 3 days a week. So we headed off to the caravan around 2pm. Bit of a grey day until we got past Conway, when the sky brightened, and by the time we reached Pwllheli we were in glorious sunshine... But bitterly cold! I was very glad of the heated seat in the car!

We arrived at the caravan while it was still fairly light, John got the central heating going (and lit the gas fire as well!) and unpacked the car. I was very tired after the journey, so climbed into a nest of duck down quilt and slept for a while.

I woke up in time to see most of Jools Holland's Hootenanny, and we saw the New Year in together. John was pretty tired by then so went to bed, I began to watch the Kath and Kim Christmas Special. Suddenly around 3am the lights went out, everything went off (including the central heating- urgh!) and everywhere was pitch black. Drew back the curtains, but only starlight. In other words, very dark!

I couldn't remember where the candles were (note to self, in future put ready when arrive in caravan!), so shouted for John, but he was really fast asleep. Eventually he woke, and between us we found the night lights and got one lit. We could see the lights were on in Abersoch, but none by us in Bwlchtocyn, so we both went back to bed. I lay and looked at the stars through the front windows, and eventually fell asleep.

Woke early to a beautiful dawn.

Dawn new years day">

Power back on, but only on low voltage. Enough for lights, and to boil the kettle (though that took ages!), but not enough for the central heating pump or the television. Lovely morning though, just awful cold! We were both really glad that we had the gas fire, just wish it was easier to get lit and turned up to full. But we got there in the end.

Early morning view New Years Day">

Power came back on fully around 3pm, after another total outage - presumably for final work on the system. We were really glad to get the heating back on, made the bathroom much more bearable!

John got in a couple of walks, but since he started his own blog I'll let him write about them.

We enjoyed looking at the new decking - Tim has done a fantastic job.

Looking across the field

I just did one gardening job - pruned the oregano. I cut it back really hard, we really hope that it will grow back as it did last year, as an almost perfect part sphere... until the wind changed its shape and it became more wild.

Gardener off to prune the oregano

We had intended to come home on Sunday, and had packed the car ready to come home. Had a variety of error messages come up, and car wouldn't start. Called RAC Motability number, and they could arrange transport. But by then I was so knackered was almost asleep.

So we deferred travel till Monday.

With one thing and another (mainly the freezing weather so lots of accidents happening) we didn't get our tow till about 2pm. Our rescuer, Jasper, told us that it was incredibly snowy in Beddgelert and around, he'd had some scary rescues to do with folks sliding on the ice as well.

Snow on Snowdon

Took some time to load the car onto the trailer.

Loading car onto trailer

Our driver was Jasper, and he had lots of interesting stories to tell us - he knows the area well, and many local people and places. He came from the North Wales Recovery service who I highly recommend as being friendly and helpful.

We got towed on the loader to Conway. At the office there we were offered a very welcome cuppa tea, and then were then given a courtesy car to drive home. We got home about 7pm, unloaded the car, and I went to bed while John headed for Tesco to get some food in.

Today I've handed back the courtesy car (collected by a very cheerful chap), and taken delivery of a hire care (delivered by another very cheerful chap) from Motability. I have this for 2 days, if repairs on Big Blue 2 take longer than that we must contact them to extend the hire. While the whole business has been a nuisance, it has been mitigated by the helpfulness and cheerfulness of everyone I've been involved with.

Am so glad I went for another Motability car - wonder if the care and service we have been so fortunate to have would have been so good otherwise.