Monday, 30 June 2014

Super Stairlift

The stairlift company originally had it booked in for installation on Wednesday, but then they rang and offered us a £50 discount if they were able to install it today, so of course I said, "Yes!"  Rather have £50 in our pocket than theirs....We have had a busy day, but since the EFG is at home, we could manage it.

The FH had his INR checked, and then we saw the doctor, who said that our visit made his day because he confessed that he wasn't entirely sure that the FH would get through the collapse the other week.....nothing like being honest, is there?!  Anyway, the doctor is a lovely chap and we had a good chat.

This afternoon, whilst the stairlift was still under construction, a salesman from a bathroom company came to talk about a low-entry shower.  He's likely to keep talking - the flipping quotation was over £6K.  I could do a lot of bed baths for £6K so I think we will keep looking at that in the meantime.

Tonight the FH and I are off to our "country retreat" [UJ's house] to be ready for our early start at Papworth in the morning, and UJ is probably on his way over here right now, so I shall have to go and pack our bag.

Hope you are enjoying the gloriously sunny day we have had today, and I'll see you all tomorrow xx

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Solid Sunday

I've done loads today, and I know I will need to find time for a nap sometime this week - rather like the 2 hours I had on a heap of quilts on the sitting room floor on Saturday afternoon!  Now that there is no sofa, I just laid down, and snoozed....

The EFG and the FH went with UJ to see Uncle P this afternoon, and then UJ stayed for tea with us when they got back.

The YFG accompanied me to take a service in the north of the circuit, but she declined coming in to the worship and sat in the car in the car park at the rear of the chapel, reading her book.  There were several downpours and she says it was a wee bit chilly out there, so when I went out to her after the service, she was wrapped up in my hoodie.  It was lovely to share worship here again as this is a particularly lively chapel.  We had a chap on drums, one on euphonium and two ladies - one playing the organ and one on the piano, playing perfectly in sync!

After that, the YFG and I went to Aldi to spend the required £45 in order to redeem the £5 voucher from the Mirror this week - hope you got one if you needed one this week!  I have stocked up on lots of toiletries and tinned goods this time as some of the stocks were running a bit low in those areas.

We spent the afternoon doing an extra gymnastics session with some girls who are entering a competition soon, and then we came home to make lasagne for tea.  We had time for a cup of tea and a wee break to relax before we got all the shopping put away and sorted out before the others returned home.

And tonight - a big sorting out of this month's receipts and spending records....washing, washing up, and some tidying.  Off to bed now - the YFG starts her work experience tomorrow for two weeks and I am the taxi to get her there each day, so I have to be up and at it, ready to go out at 8.30am each morning.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill and hills are a particular problem here - stairs in this case.  There aren't a lot of actual hills in the Fens, although I have heard of a village in a particularly flat area which has a Mountain Rescue team - I think it is an excuse to get together in the pub on a regular basis......

The second stairlift man came yesterday, and gave us a bit of a ridiculous price for a contraption.  Honestly, paying three times what I paid for my car for a seat on a rail to go upstairs seems really harsh to me.  However, the FH had another wee episode after climbing the stairs on Wednesday evening, when I wasn't at home, and the EFG thinks he blacked out for a moment or two, so we can't wait on this any longer.  We are having a stairlift fitted next Wednesday - for £900 less than yesterday's quote because a) the chap has offered us a lift with a motor that has had three month's use, and b) because I negotiated a little more off that what he was at first prepared to offer.

I had some good advice from ladies at the Craft Club this morning, who recommended that we go to the Citizen's Advice about what we might be entitled to as far as help goes in this and other things.  I will look into that next week.

I had the lady here today who is my tutor for the Faith & Worship course, and we are still hoping to get the third big section done by the end of September, but we are both realistic and know that this depends on how things pan out.  Kindly, she recognised that sorting things like stairlifts and baths out for the FH is taking up a lot of my time at present, and that needs to be the priority.  She is a very good sort.

And, by the by, I've finished an OCC hat this morning, so I am off now to have a cup of tea and at least cast on the next one whilst the FH is watching Mock the Week.  I'll tell you all about the bedsticks another time - I should think a few of you know what a bedstick is, but some of you might be as bemused as I was!!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Days like these

These are what we are striving for: sunny days, with plenty of time to do the things we want to enjoy, such as sitting in the sun by the back door with a cup of tea, picking raspberries straight from the garden and eating them, the FH pottering off to the lunch club with UJ, and then the YFG coming home from school and telling us about her day.  The EFG is at home and pootled off on the bike down the village this morning for a haircut, and then came with me this afternoon when I went to deliver the FH's car to the garage for the MOT which was going to be done last Tuesday and got postponed.  UJ followed us into town to bring us home - he is a really good support to me these days.

This used to be a bit of a moneysaving or frugal blog, recording our attempts to stay debt free and to get some coins in the coffers for potentially difficult times ahead - I haven't forgotten that those are my roots here, but I am working through some big changes in perspective at the moment, and hope you will stick with us here in the Fens whilst we come to terms with what's going on in our lives at the moment.  If you've stuck with us this long, I applaud you, and thank you for your kindness xx

Monday, 23 June 2014

Learning to pace ourselves

I seem to get here less often these days but I know you will be understanding.  Our lives have become a bit smaller and less outward looking these past couple of weeks - we seem to be hunkering down and drawing ourselves in a little more than we were.  It feels like we are pulling together and spending more time in each other's company whilst we can - we are acutely aware that the EFG's time with us at home is limited now and she will be in Aberdeen in just 11 short weeks.

We are making changes in all sorts of ways.  The old three piece suite which we have sat upon daily for about 17 years is outside tonight, having been rained upon already, and is waiting for the council to come and pick it up tomorrow.  It has to be "kerbside" by 7am so we got it outside whilst we had help here yesterday and then the girls and I have moved it to the front driveway this evening.  I didn't fancy having to go out in the early morning to sort it out tomorrow.  It does look a little like Steptoe's yard out there tonight but it will be gone tomorrow.  The sitting room now looks a little like a bowling alley, as it has just two armchairs and a variety of odd other pieces of furniture left.  Today the FH and I went with the EFG to a local furniture shop and chose a couple of new armchairs.  I have paid a deposit and have about 6 weeks to gather together the remainder of the cash if I want to manage to buy them without damaging the savings balance........sounds like a wee challenge for me.  We felt that we had had our money's worth out of the old suite and it was just plain worn out - there are ways of rejuvenating furniture like re-covering it and buying new cushions, but I looked into that a few years ago and the 8 new cushions [4 places each with a seat and back cushion] were going to cost a small fortune, and the recovering was not going to be economical either - and I took offence when I did have a rep here from a well-known recovering company [sounds like a stone fruit] and he said he thought that a certain kind of covers I was enquiring about were "out of my price bracket" off his own bat - that would be my decision to make, not his!!

The stairlift man was here last Thursday and yes, you were all right, and we can have one on our stairs.  He gave me his quotation, and then told me to get a couple more because the company has a price match guarantee which means that if I can get a cheaper quote, we can benefit from the lower price but still get a really good quality stairlift.  His company is backed by AgeUK, and used by a lot of local authorities, so it seems good.  We're still mulling that one over...

The FH is pretty tired tonight because we have had a busy day - the wheelchair was delivered this morning and what with a ride around Sainsbury's and around the furniture shop, he's worn out with the heat we have endured here today.  It has been just that little bit TOO hot!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Real life

Real life - kind of precious these days, so we have been spending some time together, sitting in the sun with our feet up and resting!  Just what the doctors have ordered, and what's good for the gander can't be bad for the goose, so I joined him for an hour.  Then we came in and watched the posh frocks at Ascot as well!

Tomorrow I have to take a service in the village chapel, and we are hoping that the FH's cousin is coming over in the afternoon........more chatting :)

Hope you are all having a good weekend, and I plan to get around to having a mooch around your blogs tomorrow evening sometime so I can catch up.  Now, sleep is on the plan xxx

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Better news indeed

He's home at last!  I know he was only away for two nights but it feels like so much longer......Back tomorrow - thank you for all your support xx

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Good news

Delighted to report that the FH is looking better this evening.  Our prayers are helping - the doctors have revised their opinion and although the troponin is in the blood, indicating damage to the heart, they don't now think that he has had a heart attack!  Thank goodness - I can't tell you how relieved we all are about that. The current thought is that one of his medications has caused this so it has been discontinued with immediate effect - and now he has got a monitor to wear for 24 hours in the hospital.  If that shows that his heart rate and blood pressure remain stable, there is a chance that he will come home tomorrow.

We had a good visit with him tonight and he shared that he had just enjoyed a good beef stew with dumplings - which made us all feel hungry then!  I have a chap coming at 11am in the morning to advise us whether our stairs are suitable for a stairlift, which will help us decide the next steps here.  I suspect myself that they are not suitable, but I am willing to be wrong, because I know nothing about stairlifts!

This episode has been particularly worrying, with all the potential scenarios that the doctors were talking me through yesterday.  The physio that has seen him today has told him to pace himself and live for each day at a time, rather than worrying about tomorrow - good advice for us all, I think!  I shall phone the hospice and try to re-arrange the appointment there for whenever we can get back in the queue to see the consultant there, and perhaps it will be convenient to meet with our blogging friends too, although they have a move on the cards, so maybe we'll have to wait.  I am determined to meet them sometime soon!!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Change of plan

Plans can change in the twinkling of an eye, and things certainly changed here today - we were looking forward to our trip to Stamford, and our meeting with our blogging friends, and the weather was looking promising too.  We were almost ready to start off when it all went pear-shaped and the FH collapsed rather suddenly on the driveway, up against the garage.  I managed to get him into the house, called the doctor and an ambulance, and the short story is that he is back in Peterborough City Hospital, on the cardiac ward.  The diagnosis at the moment tonight, according to blood tests, is that he has had a heart attack.  They are going to do more tests tomorrow when the cardiology team take charge of him.  We left him there this evening, in an ensuite single room, sitting up in bed, eating chicken curry, on oxygen and a drip, but looking a good deal more pink than he did this morning.

He was disappointed not to get to the appointment and to meet A & E afterwards, but hopefully we will be able to do that another time.  For now he is in the best place, and I am off to the best place for me tonight - bed!  Toodle pip, and thanks for being there, all of you xx

Monday, 16 June 2014

Helping out a friend

I'm 8 miles from home, in a friend's sitting room with her dog, and her three girls are asleep upstairs.  I have been called out tonight to house, dog and daughter-sit whilst she takes her mum off to hospital with a suspected broken wrist after a fall in the kitchen.  How could I refuse?!  This is one of my closest friends, and I haven't got many, who came with me to the hospital last month when the YFG had severe abdominal pains.  She could be a while yet, so I have come prepared with typing to do for school [done], my knitting and a book to read.  I have left my family together, happy that I have come out to help a friend, and they are all OK.  I have left the FH's pills ready, and he was showered and tucked up in bed watching tv when I left.

The EFG has had a horrendous Mechanics exam today, and she is facing Chemistry tomorrow afternoon.  She's still working hard, and looking forward to Friday and the light at the end of the tunnel!  The YFG has also had a Maths exam today and has another one tomorrow, as well as some Science ones later in the week.  She's beginning to worry a little about them now...

Tomorrow we are off to meet the palliative care doctor - and have a bit of a day out in to the bargain!  I am hoping for good weather so that we have a decent run through the countryside, and make the most of the diesel to get there.  We are also looking forward to meeting A & E afterwards.  The FH might do a little bit of the driving tomorrow, as it looks as if I am in for a late night here.  I'll let you know how we get on tomorrow x

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Away but not forgotten

Just popping in tonight to say thank you for the comments and good wishes that keep coming our way!  I haven't published all the comments, as requested, as some are more personal, but every one of them has been very much appreciated.  Your love and support means a great deal to us here.  This weekend has been good, and we have had family here visiting this afternoon.  The EFG has had her head down revising hard for her last week of exams, and then I think I might need to take her out to lunch or something next Friday when she finishes........I'll think of something.  We have a trip out this week when we are going to Stamford to see the hospice doctor, and we are combining it with a meeting with another lovely blogger, so we are really looking forward to that.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Five things for which to be thankful tonight

I'm not up to long posts at the moment, so forgive me.

Five things I am thankful for today:

  • The Head Coach came over with a small rototiller and turned over a patch of land that has been waiting for tilling for some weeks, and I intend to sow seed on it for a small patch of lawn - it will be easier to keep clean and tidy as a lawn than if I try to cultivate it as I realise that I can't manage all the veg beds that we have got now!
  • Some friends came over this evening and we have had a lovely chattery time with them - they used to live next door and we get on really well with them.  
  • The sun has shone on the washing and got it bone dry!  Two loads ready to iron [not sure about being thankful for that bit!]
  • Lots of work done in the garden today - weeds banished and an area cleared to plant tomatoes out.  Got ever so slightly sunburned on the shoulders but still had a good time in the garden.  The FH has been outside nearly all day too - but he had more coverage and a hat on, so he's fine.  
  • Went for a 2 mile bike ride this afternoon to deliver some eggs in the village, so got some exercise in although I haven't had time to get down with Jillian Michaels for a day or two - that's just too sweaty for this weather!  Much better to be getting fresh air on the bike....that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
See you tomorrow xx

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Just hop over here and read, and if you believe, as I do, it will bring some comfort.  And a fantastic Rend Collective song is the theme.......can't be bad!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


Last night we had some incredibly heavy downpours of rain here at about 11.30pm: the rain was hammering down on the verandah roof, the road was awash as the water flowed off the driveways and paths into the gutters, and I really wondered whether my poor courgette plants would make it!  It seemed last night as if Noah's Ark would be needed again today.

But this morning has dawned bright and clear, the sky is just blue all over and the sun is beaming away.  And the roads are clear of water, the paths are dry and it is as if the rains of last night almost didn't happen.  We know that they did, but today is a fresh start.

Seems to me that life is a bit like that for us at the moment: we are having some incredibly thoughtful days where it seems that all is doom and gloom and the only way is downwards, and then other days are bright and clear, just like this morning, and we feel ok about life.  More days like this are definitely required and less of the gloomy ones, but actually, that is what it is like - there are far more sunny days on the horizon just now than there is rain, so I hope that we can get through this season with some joy in our hearts, and just enjoy being.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

She's home!

Shattered and weary, the YFG made it home this afternoon, hobbling slightly and browned by the sun and wind this morning!  I bought her and her friend a BLT sandwich in that supermarket on the way home, and they gobbled them down, so it was a good thing to see them eating and enjoying themselves!  They admit that they haven't exactly enjoyed the weekend but they do feel that they have made a significant achievement, and the teacher leading the whole weekend has been very proud of all of them.

And they haven't failed yet!  They still have to make a presentation to the school assessor but the events of the weekend haven't spoiled their chances, thank goodness.

See you tomorrow - got school uniform to iron now!

Saturday, 7 June 2014


TheYFG's group have been lost this afternoon and laboured into the campsite at 8.30pm after 11 and a half hours in the field!  The assessor felt so sorry for them that he put their tent up for them.......can't help thinking that the group has probably failed the expedition: they didn't have all three pages of their route plan, their map reading obviously isn't up to much, and then they rang me for the teacher's mobile number because they had rung what they thought was her number and got a stranger!  They were about 5 miles from their destination, they thought, at 5pm when they rang, but apparently it took them a further three and a half hours to actually get there - she must be exhausted!  The good news is that they only have to walk for 4 hours tomorrow so I can pick my two {YFG and friend from the village whose mum took them this morning} up earlier than expected.  Oh dear!

Glimpses of good

We have had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at the surgery to help her fill in a referral form for the FH to attend a local Sue Ryder hospice for pain management care.  I have also had a community occupational therapist on the phone to check a referral he has received and ask for a bit more information, so hopefully they will visit soon to advise on the things that the FH is struggling with, like the bath and shower....he had a bath last night and then I heard this little voice [good thing I was sitting on the bed], "I can't get out!" which was heartbreaking to hear.  Luckily, I managed to engage several strategies with towels and chairs to lean on, and we got him out.   He probably won't dare go back in until we have some better arrangements in place...showers all the way for now!

A conversation at gym tonight and a small disagreement over something have triggered an emotional dam breaking down in the YFG and the poor girl has sobbed for nearly an hour tonight over all sorts of struggles that she has got tearing her in all directions, and making her feel overwhelmed.  She is going off on her actual Duke of Edinburgh expedition in the morning and I have to say that I am worried about her emotional strength to get through it.  We were all piled on to our bed tonight, trying to talk with her and reassure her, but it took quite some time before she felt able to stop.  It was hard, and made me cry to think that she had been bottling all these things up inside - we have promised that at least one of the things she is doing can be stopped this term, and we offered her the chance to have a break from her piano lessons, but she wants to carry on with those.

My dad has offered to take the girls away again this summer, but his partner isn't completely in favour of the idea - he rang me up this afternoon and told me about two cruises that he has found on offer in the paper today: one to the Fjords again and another to the Baltic.  Neither are really suitable in my mind because the Fjords is a repeat of the last one, and the Baltic one is for two weeks - and I am totally selfish and don't want the girls to go away for two weeks, not in the last summer that we will be together before the EFG is off.  I offered an alternative which I thought was an ample compromise: renting a house for all 6 of us in Suffolk so that we could spend a week together, but have some flexibility - my dad could keep the FH company if they didn't want to go out so much, and I could take the girls and MB out, or my dad could take the girls and MB out for a meal, etc.  It would also be close to the end of the A14 if I needed to get the FH back in this direction to hospital.......we are looking for suitable holiday cottages as ideally we need it all on the level as my dad's now used to living in a bungalow.  Suffolk would be great as we have never taken the girls to Suffolk, the FH wants to visit Adnam's, and my dad loves Southwold.....

Frugally speaking, I haven't been very focussed on the cash lately, and need to get to grips with it in all seriousness, as we have plans afoot for a downstairs wetroom....

Thursday, 5 June 2014

News update

I've been thinking a lot about what you lovely friends have suggested, and I know that everything you say is wise - thank you.

I have spent time remembering peaceful times in Norfolk when we have been on holiday.

I'm sure that there are other good times ahead, and we will plan some time "away" but close to home this summer.  Actually, a day out here and there will be a treat, because both the FH and I are very glad to sleep in our own bed at night and are always a little unsettled on holidays.

I have had an interview at the Circuit Preachers' meeting this week, last night in fact, and they are pleased with the progress I am making, albeit slow!  They have agreed that I can carry on, thank goodness, because I have already started the next part of the course.  Now I have to have a "trial" service, which is going to happen later this month, at which two preachers and a church steward will assess the service and report back to the meeting.

In other news, I have been getting to grips with Jillian Michaels' way of exercising!  I started easy every other day last week, and moved up to daily repeats of this set of exercises - the level one is about my standard, and I can manage it, so I am happy to continue to build my stamina up - 2 minutes of jumping jacks, jump rope, boxing and butt kicks has the sweat actually dripping off me....I am delighted to report that I have lost 2lb this week, and several inches as well - one each off my waist and hips - so I feel inspired to carry on.  Whether I shall ever progress to level three, we shall see.  It brings me about an hour to myself each morning, including the half hour for the workout and then half an hour to have a shower and dry my hair afterwards - this is a seriously sweaty workout!

And I am knitting......

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A quick thought for tonight

because I should be asleep!

Several people just lately have told me that I am taking good care of the FH, that he is being well looked after, etc and it has made me think about ME, to be honest.  If I am to take the best care of him, I need to look after myself as well, so I am planning some measures to improve my own wellbeing........knitting and chocolate spring to mind, as well as long, hot baths and more sleep!  However, I am not sure that they are the best kinds of regime, and I do think that a bit more exercise might do my backside and my headspace some good, so that is something I will look at, and perhaps work on, this week.  Prioritising is the key, I believe.

All ideas welcome.  What do you do to take care of #1?  I know that several of you are carers too, so I'd be glad to hear from you in particular.  Thank you, as always.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Flowers for you

We went to see UJ on the way home from the hospital on Friday, and I couldn't resist taking these photos of the gorgeous flowers in his garden!  I can't name them all, but they are just stunning, and it looks like a real little patch of cottage garden.

Above - this is the area which I photographed last year and have as my header.

I thought that it would be lovely to share them all with you kind readers.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Thank you

Thank you very much for all the supportive comments on yesterday's news, and thank you for the prayers and the hugs.  Knowing that people all over are thinking of us is amazing, and we are very grateful.

We've had a quiet weekend, as you can imagine, somewhat reflective, and somehow a little bit different, but yet much the same as it ever was.  I've done several hours of digging over the two days, and have found it strangely meditative, a time when I am so involved in what I am doing that I can do it unconsciously enough to let my mind free - and times like those are precious.

I'll get back to normal blogging this week - many things remain the same!  Your thoughts for the EFG and other A level students would be appreciated this week as she begins her exams.  First one tomorrow afternoon...

Much love to everyone - and thank you all once again.