Wednesday 30 June 2021


 Good morning.   It is just getting light here nd I am wide awake ridiculously early.  My sleep patterns are all over the place and have been for the past week or so.  Only to be expected, I suppose, and I'm not fighting it, I'm working with it until it stabilises again.

I got quite a lot of small things done yesterday.  Most of the ironing, including some very outstanding ironing (bedding!!) got done and put away and there's just a bit to finish off today.  Some old glasses ended up in the recycling bin and the new-to-me glasses put away in their place.  I wrote and posted a sort of letter authorising John to act on my behalf in executor issues, something advised by the solicitors.  I planned some healthy eating menus and made a shopping list.

And I picked a cucumber.  Yes, they are ready.  They are not huge long cucumbers, they're around six to eight inches long and the one I picked yesterday is lovely and not at all bitter.  I had some with my salad and some to decorate my dinner salmon. Like this. 


After talking about using best china yesterday, I thought of a little collection I have in my cupboard that isn't exactly 'best' but - well, ages ago I was wandering around Debenhams (which is now closed, sadly) and saw a very pretty set, nothing posh but I thought it very attractive.  I treated myself to a cup, saucer, tea plate, teapot and milk jug, just for afternoon tea sort of thing.
Since then, I bought extra bits on eBay and now have a very uneven number of different bits.  Lots of tea plates, a few dinner plates - that sort of thing.  
It's about time I used it properly although not all the time as I don't like to put it in the dishwasher.
Here's yesterday's late afternoon cuppa . . .

(The owls in the background are new-to-me from Mum and Dad's home)

I was very pleased to hear back from Real Care Solutions, the company that provided carers for Mum in the past and for Dad until he went into hospital.  They have a charity they support and they took all of Mum's clothes that I didn't have myself (so most of them).  I contacted them on Sunday and they got back to me saying they would love to take Dad's clothes.
So that's the main job for Sunday - putting them all in black bags and leaving them in the car port for RCS people to pick up on Monday.
Something ticked off the very long list!

Once I'm washed and dressed, the first thing today is to get that shopping done.  I've decided to go across town to M&S and then Aldi like I often did in lockdown.  M&S fruit and veg is such good quality and doesn't seem to go off as quickly as that from other shops.

Then I will potter, make some bread perhaps, sort out, tidy up, etc, until Chris comes round, hopefully, for a chat.  When that is over, I'm off to Lindsey's for some massage, some advice and a good old chat.

And that's today.  Nice, gentle and not too demanding.  One day at a time is the way to go and I am sure the sleep patterns will sort out if I don't stress about them.

Have a really good day, whatever you have planned and remember to keep happy, safe and content.  xx

Tuesday 29 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  I'm home, looking out over my own garden (what I can see of it from here), and feeling thankful.  It's very dull and the forecast is for light rain but it looks to be getting a bit better over the next little while.

Thank you for all your comments yesterday.  They have helped so much through this tricky time.

John and I are joint executors of Dad's will.  My other brother, Dave, lives in the USA.  John has worked closely with Dad to get the estate into perfect order so we are hoping that the necessary paperwork and stuff won't get too complicated.  Added to that, John has an accountant friend who has come onboard to advise and liaise so we're in a good position.

I've been contacting friends and associations Dad was involved in to let them know the news and next Friday I intend running through his online 'address book' so I don't miss anyone out.  

Everything just has to run down the pre-determined tracks and we feed into that journey when needed.  There will be times when John and I both have to sign things together but generally he is doing an amazing job, much better than I could ever do.  I think the balance is about right.  I've done most of the 'work' (if it can be called that) of supporting my Mum and Dad while they were alive, as you know, and now John is taking the lead instead.

Yesterday I went to the Church Mum and Dad attended for an hour.  Hazel had opened it up to anyone who wanted; there were some printouts, some candles burning and people spoke as and when they wanted.  I found it incredibly emotional.  Dad had put his heart and soul into that little church and they will miss him terribly.

Then I had a chat with Ann next door before setting off home.  It was a very easy journey, thankfully.  I got home, unpacked, etc, all the stuff one does when coming home, before opening a bit of mail and got a pleasant surprise.
If you remember, last year I finally got round to cashing in a small-ish pension thing, deciding to take the whole lot as cash because the monthly income it was predicted to give was pretty small.  Dave worked out that the tax they charged on the 75% came to a bit higher than it should have but it wasn't enough to protest about and, as we both said, it would even up over time anyway.
Well, it has.  I had a letter from IR telling me I had overpaid tax and would be getting a very useful sum back from them.

Later on, Beth and Alex came round and we shared a take-away Chinese.  Beth brought some beautiful flowers with her - so very kind.  We had a good old chat, sharing memories and talking about the last weeks.  We're a pretty close knit family in some ways and my two and Alex had a very close relationship with my parents.

Today, I plan to rest and potter.  The calves continue to improve but resting them from time to time really helps.  I have some washing and ironing, a bit of weeding,. etc, and a cupboard or to to rearrange now I have brought some things here from Mum and Dad's.

I mentioned the best china yesterday; I took a couple of photos to show Beth when asking her if she'd like it and here's one of them.  Lighting isn't great but you get the idea - the is just part of it so you can see it's a very complete collection.  Definitely eight of everything and more of some things.

Well, I had better get going.  I'd like to get the old, molto cheapo Matalan glasses into the recycling and the nice, Wine Society glasses stored in their place, move the photos and start up the little cottages arrangement with the smaller ones I brought home.  The bigger ones are still at Dad's and I will bring them home very carefully.  I'll take a photo once I have them all as I want them.

Have a great day and I hope your weather is better than it looks like being here.  Take care and stay safe.  xx

Monday 28 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It isn't a very pleasant morning; it's been raining overnight and looks as if it's going to rain again very soon.  What's the betting that in a few weeks we will be moaning about a heat wave and wishing for more rain though!  That's just how it always seems to go.
Ideally, I'd love sunny days and rainy nights.  That's what I'd order from the weather catalogue!  Great for the fruit and veg.

Yesterday was a very strange day.  It seemed to go on for ever.  I did some sorting out and clearing, somewhat limited by the fact the the relevant bin is full!  John looked up paperwork in order to take it in to the registrar (or whoever) this morning.  We contacted the minister who advised us on who does what, I sent out what felt like endless emails (thank goodness for the Internet) and replied to several.

One thing I was very happy about.  Mum and Dad had some beautiful 'best' china, Wedgwood, expensive at the time but not actually fetching all that much nowadays.  To my delight, Beth loves it and is very happy to take it.  My parents would be so very pleased.

It's awful, throwing things away.  It's like you are throwing the person away.  Yesterday I ditched copious amounts of pants and socks (why so many??  I don't know) as they can't be sold on.  I am hopeful that the charity shop will take the rest of Dad's clothing after I have weeded out any really tatty stuff - it's good quality and well looked after.

Enough of all that!
This morning, the church that Dad attended is opening its doors for an hour and I will be going along for a short time.  That's going to be hard, I think, especially if people cry.  He was such a big presence at church that they will miss him terribly.

Then I have to do a few tasks such as stopping the paper and paying the final bill, returning some slippers to Hotter that he never got to wear and sorting things out in the fridge.
Then I'm going home.  I need some time at home now, in my happy place.  A few days at home feels wonderful.  Beth's coming over this evening after a work and staying for a meal - something simple.

John is staying here to deal with all the official stuff.  I am very grateful to him for doing all of that as we are joint executors.  I may have to come back if joint signatures are required but, if not, I will come back on Friday for the weekend.

I've been planning resuming my normal life again after a month (more or less) out.  I have contacted my students' families.  The eleven plussers found another tutor as I suggested, thank goodness, as time is so short but the other two are happy for tuition to resume next Monday.  I'm going to Lindsey on Wednesday to talk and for some massage on my still uncomfortable calves (although they are slowly improving)  And resuming Slimming World on Friday morning.  Jen has started a new daytime group which suits me much better than evening groups so I'll be there, hammering on the door, to start losing the well-over-a-stone I have put on by comfort eating and drinking over the last month.  

So, the plan is to be at Dad's from Friday to Monday morning and live my own life Monday to Friday lunchtime.  Fingers crossed.

Your messages/comments over the last few days have been just wonderful.  I can't thank you all enough for such kindness.  They have really helped and you are all lovely.  A heartfelt thank you to you all.  xx

Sunday 27 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.

Sadly, my lovely Dad passed away early yesterday afternoon in hospital.  John was there and he said it was quiet, peaceful and gentle.  Just slower, shallower breaths and a final exhale.

I didn't get to the hospital in time but that's OK.  I had a 'feeling' about it and said goodbye to him in my heart as well as out loud on Thursday when he was settled in the ward.  He was so glad that I had stayed with him through that day and I was so glad to have been able to.

I'm feeling numb at the moment with sadness around the edges.  I've been through his mailbox, letting people know and answering queries.

John goes back to the hospital for all the paperwork on Monday.  I will probably be coming home.  The next few months will be shared between time at home and time here at Dad's, getting the place sorted out.  It will be a while before it can be put on the market now so there's time.

He was lovely, my Dad was; brave, kind, generous and a truly gentle man.  He had a fantastic life.  He had great experiences, work that he loved, time to indulge in his passions of aeroplanes (at second hand, not actually in the air) and gardening.  He found his soulmate in Mum and, when she passed, he carried on courageously but the spark had somehow gone.  He only survived her for just over two years.

And he was my best mate.

Saturday 26 June 2021


 Good morning everyone.
Once again, I am so grateful for your love, care, prayers and thoughts.  I know that a number of you have or are going through similar concerns about loved ones and this makes your comments even more precious.  Thank you all.

There is no change.  Dad is drifting in and out and ward staff are making him as comfortable as they can.  John visited yesterday and will go again today.  I'm not sure at which point Covid rules stop applying but I am fairly sure they will let me resume visits when John has to go home, even though the rules say only one person.
I've had no messages overnight so, presumably, things remain the same.

I came home yesterday.  Dad's washing machine sometimes trips the electrics and I had a load to do.  Yes, a long way to do a load of washing but Ann next door was on holiday (back today, I think) and next door is empty.  Also, I needed to come home.  Does that make sense?

Anyway, I have done the washing, Dave and Anna came round in the afternoon and Beth in the evening so I was able to fill in the gaps for them.  They are all very fond of their grampy.  

I haven't taken photos but the garden is looking fruitful.  The clematis is just amazing; you can hardly see the leaves for flowers.  The geranium looks to be taking over the whole bed and has smothered several other plants so I will have to thin that after the flowering season.  It would look good in a medium-large pot so I must look out for one at some point.

I picked some strawberries and ate them pretty much straight away.  The blueberries are actually starting to turn a gentle shade of blue now and I'm glad I netted them.  It looks a bit Professor Branestawm-ish but is doing the trick.

There are millions (well, maybe a little fewer) cucumbers around five or six inches in length, looking very fit and healthy and should be good to pick in around ten days or so.  As for the tomatoes - they haven't lengthened quite as much as last week but there are loads of flowers and more baby tomatoes, not to mention side shoots (which got their come-uppance yesterday).  

The new autumn fruiting raspberry is - er - fruiting!  Ooops.  Maybe it's just because it is the first year and next year it will revert to autumn.  I must look at the ones I put in the allotment and see what they are doing.

And talking of allotment, I will, of course, take a look, tie up anything that needs tying up, pick strawberries and, I hope, broad beans and take them back to Dad's to share with John for dinner.

And that's it really.  I hope you are all well and, once again, a really heartfelt thank you.  xx

Friday 25 June 2021


 Sorry about yesterday.  Dad is back in hospital and very poorly.  I will post again when I can.

Stay safe and enjoy your life.  xx

Wednesday 23 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's a beautiful start to the day.  Not that warm but lovely and sunny and the forecast is good for the whole day too.  Yet again, thank you all so much for your helpful and supportive comments yesterday.  They do make a world of difference.

Things are not great here but 'keep plodding on' is the name of the game.  I didn't do any sorting out yesterday but I did name clothes, rested my legs and visited Dad for the first time.  I was really tired by the evening, went to bed at half seven, asleep by eight and I didn't wake until half five this morning so I must have needed it!

Today, I will definitely clear a few spaces and I have another visit booked.  I've done the lateral flow test - they will do it at the care home but you have to wait half an hour for the results and will accept the mobile notification text as evidence.  It just makes more sense to do it at home.
I was very happy not to take even one turning wrong yesterday.  There's a country run that avoids having to go right through the centre of Hitchin.  It may be a bit further, I don't know, but it is easier and it's what the SatNav recommended anyway.

I'm thinking ahead to the weekend.  As there is no visiting at weekends, I may very well go home and spend a couple of nights in my own bed.  Weather permitting, I can work down the allotment which will be good for the plants (apart from the weeds) and good for me too.  We will see.  

Well, better report the test results so I do have today's evidence on my phone and then I have some other stuff to do on the laptop.  Have a great day, everyone, and stay safe.  xx

Tuesday 22 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Wasn't it cold yesterday?  It was here anyway, so much so that I turned up the heating.  The longest day of the year and the heating was on - ridiculous - or maybe I mean riddikulus!  It doesn't feel so cold this morning, thankfully.

Before driving back, I did manage to stop off at the allotment (in the rain!) to take a look.  I was in quite a low frame of mind so I felt a bit heartbroken (OK, exaggeration for effect) with what I saw but, on reflection, it wasn't so bad really.

Something (cat? badger?) has dug up some of the baby corn so there's a great big gap but there's still plenty of others left and they are growing, despite the cold.
The tomatoes are not as well grown as the garden ones but they are fine.  I pinched out plenty of side shoots and tied up the main stem.
One year, I will not pinch out the side shoots on one plant and see what difference it makes.  Anyone know??
There are plenty of broad bean pods, hooray, but they need to fill out so no picking yesterday.  Maybe by the weekend, fingers crossed.
This year the runner beans are coming up beautifully.  I honestly think that last year's must have been a faulty batch of seeds.

To the left you can see very prolific raspberry canes and to the right you can just see that the potatoes are doing great, starting to flower now.

The rhubarb is fine, the sweet peas are doing well, the strawberries are there for the picking so I've let Beth know and the fruit trees are doing the usual! 

That was all good and thinking about it, I'm not sure why I felt so unhappy yesterday - just one of those things, I guess, a reaction to what's going on, sadness that the allotment is being neglected after all the hard work earlier in the year and, maybe, just missing being there and working with the fruits and vegetables..  Never mind, things will pick up, we will get a harvest, one reason why things are going so well is all that earlier hard work, the weeds won't have it all their own way . . .

On the minus side, there's too many weeds (just look at that huge one in front of the runners in the last photo), the yellow courgettes are no more and as for the mange tout that had started growing so merrily - Beth forgot to net them and the pigeons have stripped all the shoots right down to the ground.  Ah well, it was Beth who wanted the mange tout more than I!  Poetic justice.

When I get the time, I will do what I did last year and plant some dwarf French beans - the canes are already there and I know they will do well (thank you to Diane for mentioning them last year). 
Beth has yellow courgettes in her little garden and they are fine so she can share with me.
The grass is a disaster again but it's too wet to cut right now and, again, it will get its come-uppance.

On the drive over to Dad's, I was more than a bit teary (what a snowflake!!) but I gave myself a good telling off which helped and in the afternoon a friend of Dad's came round for a chat and that made all the difference.  She's in charge of pastoral care in the local circuit and she's a very good listener.

Today I am allowed to visit Dad.  I've just done the lateral flow test (negative) and need to report it so all I have to do is show the results on my phone before they let me in.  So I'd better go and do that, before I have my bath, get dressed, go to Tescos for some vitamin stuff for the cramps - stopping them, I mean - and some needles and thread so I can sew the name labels onto things like socks.  I got some iron ons but then realised they don't stick on everything!!

A busy day but, hopefully, a lovely one too.  Take care and stay warm  xx

Monday 21 June 2021

Monday and garden update

 Good morning, everyone.  It's another dull morning; not actually raining - yet - but light rain is forcast for all day

I'm back off to Dad's in a short while so no opportunity to see my GP but, truly, I don't think it is necessary.  The bruising is coming out now, the cramping has stopped and things should improve.  I will bear it in mind though, thank you for the advice.

When I got home, the very first thing I did was open the French window and view the estate!  I think when one is there all the time, one doesn't really realise how speedily things can grow at this time of year.  The first thing I did was cut some string and tie up the tomatoes and cucumbers up, pinching out the tomato side shoots as I did so.  Then I took photos.

The ooh la la is now smothered with the most amazing, bright pink flowers.  It was a very dull day and they shone.  In the sunshine they must be stunning.
Ditto for the geranium.  Really lovely.

The cucumbers have more than doubled in size in the week and those leaves are huge!
Spot the babies.  A few out of a surprising number, given that last Saturday there were only male flowers.  
I can see four - and a marauding snail whose time is up, pesky thing.  
They are proper cucumbers, not gherkins, so it will be a while before they are ready to cut.  
Let's hope all the neighbours like cucumber!

The tomatoes, some of which have . . .
. . . babies!
My life is complete!

The new little apple tree is doing OK too.

Because of the rain, everything looks so lush and green.  It was nice to wander around.  It's a small space but looking good.

Yesterday evening, Dave and Anna came over, cooked me dinner and stayed for the evening.  It was great.

Before I set off back to Dad's, I will detour to the allotment.  The 'grass' will be an embarrassment but everything else should be doing nicely, I hope.  It's quite frustrating not to be able to spend the time needed there right now but there's always next year.

I can't visit Dad until tomorrow but he has requested various bits and bobs so I can get them all together before time.  Then, this afternoon, a friend of Dad's is coming over for a cuppa and a chat which is really kind.

Time to have another coffee so I will say 'goodbye' for now.  Stay dry and be safe!  xx

Sunday 20 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Firstly, I'd love to give all of you who have commented recently a very grateful thank you and a virtual (((hug))).  I know I haven't been as on top of replying as I usually am but I know you understand.  They have been very helpful and heart-warming so, again, thank you so much.

Yesterday things plodded on.  They got Dad's laptop connected up for him and he started ending out messages, which was a relief.  Silence can be unnerving and, while we knew we would be informed of problems, it was good to start getting messages again.

I did some more sorting out.  There's such a lot to do and I have to balance getting rid of 'junk' with leaving things so that the house looks lived in and more attractive.  There's plenty to take to charity shops but in dribs and drabs, not in one fell swoop! 

What has really slowed me up is the problem with my calves/ankles.  On Wednesday I waffled about how I seemed to have damaged my calves, here.
Well, the problem has continued with rather a lot of cramping and other painful stuff that has slowed me up considerably as I can only hobble.  A real nuisance in several ways.  Today I noticed that there's quite a lot of bruising coming out all round my ankles and lower calves so, hopefully, it's going to start feeling better soon.

As I can't start visiting Dad until Tuesday, I'm going home today and overnight and coming back tomorrow.  I want to check that things are OK at home, open post, etc, and see the garden.  I have wrapped and packed several items that Beth and Dave would like to have and still need to sort out a few more things to take for myself.  Let's hope the A120 is open; I'd rather not have to go the long way round if I don't have to, although now the tyres have been replaced, I feel happier.

I'd better stop this collection of random thoughts and wish you a very good day.  Back tomorrow.  xx

Saturday 19 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  Did you have an awful lot or rain yesterday - we certainty did.  All day it absolutely poured and, while there is no danger of flooding here, where Dad's home is, as we drove over to Foxholes, we drove through a fair amount of flooding including a really bad part where the road was closed soon afterwards.  Fortunately, we decided to go back a different way anyway..

It took longer than expected to get Dad out of hospital.  He was due to be discharged at eleven but the covid swab test was late coming back and so he just had to wait - and wait - and wait . . .  As mentioned, John and I took his things over and we were able to unpack everything before he arrived so the room looked kind of homey.

John got a text from Dad saying he'd arrived but we've heard nothing since.  Hopefully, they will connect up his laptop quickly so he can get in contact.

I've been sorting things out in dribs and drabs.  Dad's bins are full and, thanks to lovely neighbours, so are the bins of the homes either side.  Thank goodness there is no rush so I don't feel pressured.

As I can't visit Dad until Tuesday, I'm going home tomorrow and coming back Monday morning.  I doubt I will get the chance to mow at the allotment (too wet) but there is stuff that needs sorting out and it would be lovely to see my two and Alex again.

Well, better stop and get on with all the other stuff and I must go to Tesco and get the car petrolled up.  Have a good day, stay dry and be happy.  xx

Friday 18 June 2021


 Good morning!  
It's been a right fortnight, all upsy downsy and full of stress and worry but things seem to have settled a bit - for a fortnight anyway

As I mentioned before, Dad isn't having any kind of medical intervention apart from, probably, some changes in his medication and we heard yesterday that he has a two week 'respite' at the care home where he would like to live.  It wasn't a dead cert and they (or he) could still say 'no' after that fortnight but a fortnight of relative calm and stability sounds blissful.

John is still here and doing sterling service on the financial front.  He has to go home on Sunday but will be coming back next weekend.  I'm staying here until the end of the month anyway and fingers are crossed.  Changes are never easy and when you are very elderly and have lived a regular and steady life, they are even less so but Dad can compromise when he has to so the chances of his settling are good.

It's pouring again here - and back home too.  Great for the allotment but I'm worried about the grass there.  I may come home just overnight, once this weekend is done and dusted and assuming the rain stops.  

Take care, stay dry and be safe.  xx

Thursday 17 June 2021


 No ramble until later - but I should be back then.  xx

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Wednesday - long waffle!

 Good morning, everyone.  The sun finally emerged yesterday and it was a very pleasant summer day, quite warm and I blessed the air conditioning in the living room in the evening.

Yesterday was quite a day!  I started off by getting the six large supermarket bags of paperbacks to the book shop and came back with five and a half bags.  They only wanted a few but gave me a fiver for them which has started off the 'donations to the Garden City Hospice' fund nicely.  I will dispose of the rest; they are not in good condition and, quite frankly, I don't have the time to faff around with them.
However, it took six journeys from car to shop and back with very heavy bags and, somehow, I managed to hurt both calf muscles, low down close to the ankles.  Lord only knows how and it's not something that's ever happened before so really weird but the rest of the day I was hobbling like a very old person, no springiness in the ankles whatsoever.  Thank goodness for pain killers.  This morning it's still aching but it is a more normal ache so that's a relief.

I didn't use Quick Fit in the end because the nearest garage was Hitchin.  I found a place called Ecotyres quite close by so went down there and I think I struck gold.  A very capable and hard working young man said yes, he could repair what turned out to be a puncture and replace the tyres which he agreed were near the end of their life and better still (consulting his diary), he could do it straight away.  Still legal but . . .
So under two hours later I drove away and, boy, I could really notice the difference.  Driving is now worry free again as changing the tyres was on my Things To Do in June list and now it's done.
A plus was that it cost less than I had feared so no need to move money over.  Phew.

In the afternoon I hobbled in to Dad's ward and, after a heart to heart with Dad, we both had a long talk to one of the consultants who took us through everything very carefully.
What is happening now is that Dad is going to move into a good local care home with as much nursing care as he needs as soon as he possibly can.  There will be no operations; the expected outcomes do not warrant it.  It is what Dad wants and the medics think too.
I can't give any more details, obviously.

So - today starts with a bit more clearing out, as much as possible.  I'm tackling some of the kitchen stuff - there's an awful lot of things like plastic pots, etc, no use to anyone.  Then I will have my hour long visit to Dad and I expect that he will be looking forward to getting out of hospital and into somewhere more comfortable.  It could be as soon as tomorrow because . . .

. . . brother John is coming down from Scotland today and together we can sort things out.  There's legal stuff to do anyway and all the local care homes have plenty of spaces due to Covid 19 (which is not good, but good for this situation) so there will be no difficulties.

So - I'd better get today's lateral flow test done (I have to do one every two days as part of the visiting rules) and then start the day off.  
Have a good one yourselves; stay safe and positive.  xx

Tuesday 15 June 2021


 Good morning!

No sun this morning and the weather is forecast to turn rather nasty by Thursday.  Ah well, that's the way it goes.

I have pretty much sorted out all the paperback books and, oh joy, David's Bookshop will take them.   Just the paperbacks.  I have five large supermarket bags filled with them so need to find somewhere to park as close as I can and just do three journeys from and to the car.  It will be nice to get some things out of the house - at the moment I feel I am just moving things from one place to another.   :-)

I located the dump.  It has a very handy web cam monitoring the entrance and, sadly, every time I checked it showed queues of waiting cars (weekend garden and DIY stuff, maybe) so I will wait and check again Thursday when it is next open.

So today is books, kitchen, weeding and visiting - and tyres.  My warning light came on which is a right nuisance.  They look fine, not flat or anything, but I will go to the Kwik Fit at some point.  Better check to bank balance!

No new news about Dad.  Maybe today . . .

Have a great day.  xx

Monday 14 June 2021


 First of all, just to say to all of you whose blogs I read - I am still reading, just not commenting much at present.  I think my head is too full of 'stuff'!

I'm not sleeping terribly well at the moment.  Thankfully, I can snooze during the day so it will all even out, I am sure.  It's worry, of course.  I always used to get like that before/during stuff like OFSTED or lesson observations or very important meetings.   Just an overactive brain.  The hot weather doesn't help either, not that I am complaining.

Thankfully, I find I am getting into something of a routine here.  I've done washing, ironing, sorted out meals, started sorting out possessions that can be sorted out and generally found plenty of things to do.  It all helps to pass the time and keeps the mind occupied.

After my visit to Dad yesterday, I started sorting out the books.  I know I said kitchen but the books need doing more.  There are loads of them, some good, most frankly tatty and only good for the dump.  They're old books, no bar code or anything like that, so companies like ziffit won't take them, charity shops are overloaded right now, as is David's book shop, an excellent and locally renown second hand book shop who would take the better books in normal circumstances but i not taking anything at the moment.  I think I will dump the rubbish and keep the good books for some weeks in hopes that maybe things will ease and the book shop will start taking books again.

Dave and Anna turned up on their way home from visiting Anna's family in Peterborough.  They didn't stay for a meal but they did help me sort out a few issues and took some books and other bits and bobs.  We did a tour of the garden and Anna went away with a bunch of very fragrant sweet peas.

So today's challenge is to locate the dump.  I know where it is in theory, I just have to find it in practise.   Then I can start dumping stuff including, sadly, those tatty old books that no-one would ever be interested in.   I also have some ironing and all the usual stuff that a fairly big house needs, plus the visit to Dad.

This will be later than usual as he is having some tests in the morning.

Well, that's about it.  Better get on with the next thing on the list.  Take care, everyone, and thank you all for your lovely comments.  They help a lot.  xx

Sunday 13 June 2021

Sunday: garden and allotment update - photo heavy

 Good morning!  It's quiet and peaceful, the sun is shining, it's going to be a beautiful summer day today.  I'm looking out over a lovely garden - not mine, but lovely all the same - having taken over the dining room as my 'office', i.e. laptop room!

I'm keeping up with the lateral flow testing.  It makes me laugh, the way you report your lateral rest result to the NHS and then they tell you exactly what you have told them - twice.  Once to your mobile and one to your mailbox.  I'd say what a waste of space except that I'm not sure what 'space' is being wasted and it's au auto thing so it's not wasting anyone's time or money!  Except mine, maybe.

It was nice to spend one evening/night back at home.  I can fit it in between hospital visits so must make sure I do this now and again.  I spoke to my plants (you know what I mean), inspected the allotment, sorted out my fridge and generally got stuff done.  I brought back food (it would go off otherwise) and more clothes.

And I took photos on my phone!  Sorry . . .

The garden:

The cucumber is coming on very nicely.  There are some flowers emerging but they all look male, as is the case at first.  The females aren't so prolific but pretty much all turn into fruit.

The ooh la la clematis is gorgeous, absolutely fab.  You can see how many more buds there are too, it is smothered with them.

The tomatoes are all looking happy.

So is the bamboo - both of them are, in fact.  I'm really glad I splashed out and got them.

Very pretty.

This is the herb and foliage bed looking very happy.  I think having the rosemary out was good although there is a space at the right back now.  I'm not sure what to put there.  Something with a bit of height but not much width - any ideas?

My sunbathing space.  I haven't even cleaned down the seat yet, shame on me.   I will get benefit from this - I won't be at Dad's all summer.

What I call the productive area - raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, chillies and blueberries.  It is amazing what you can pack into a small space, isn't it?

Loads and loads of blueberries.  I'm absolutely amazed.  Last year I had about five, seriously, and was that far from having the thing out and chucked away.  Sue said just wait and see so I did and wow!  Thanks, Sue.

It is now netted.  Not terribly well and it was a right pain as the berried kept getting caught in the netting but it should stop the birds from getting some.  I need to make (or get someone to make) a cage so I can fasten netting on (or even chicken wire mesh stuff) and just lift it into place when it is needed.  I know someone I can ask . . .

And down the allotment - where the grass seriously needs mowing again.  I must fit in a time to go home and get that done.  Beth would, but the mower is in my garage and her car is too small to transport it.

The potatoes are coming along so well.  They're Charlottes and so tasty.

Very tasty.  Beth will get most of these so I was quite happy to grab and scoff a few.

The runner beans (and the mange touts) are coming up a treat.  Yay - my favourite summer vegetable, fresh picked and cooked.  Delicious!

The broadies are doing amazingly although they are smothered with black fly, as always happens.  I have Done Something About It!!

I think all the baby corn has survived the move - I know they don't look amazing but they always look like that and then, suddenly, they take off and there's no stopping them.  They're definitely growing.

I'm afraid this is not a good place for the tomatoes - it's too shady for much of the day and it shows.  They're growing, they look happy, but not as well as the ones at home.  Never mind, lesson learned and anyway, next year that's the potato patch.

It's all coming on very nicely.

Today I will be doing some clearing at Dad's.  I can start with the kitchen cupboards as it is the easiest room to make decisions over.    I MUST find where the local dump - sorry, Civic Amenities Site - is.  It is difficult making decisions for someone else.

I'll be visiting Dad, as usual and I must book tomorrow's visit; a bit later than usual because he has a couple of 'procedures' (scans, we think) in the morning and I'm not sure how long they will take.

I've unloaded the dishwasher and it is time for a shower so I'm stop rambling and start the day.  Stay well, have a happy day and be safe.  xx

Saturday 12 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  I'm at home temporarily, driving here yesterday afternoon and going back this morning, because there was/is stuff to do here.

One thing was to receive the Hello Fresh box I had ordered and which was too late to cancel on Tuesday.  I will take it all back with me so that's eight very nice meals I can make for myself in the next week. 
I also wanted to check the garden.  Beth and my lovely neighbours are keeping things watered and it is looking good.  Everything is coming on wonderfully; the clematis has too many flowers to count, all the tomatoes have grown and I spend quite a time pinching out those side shoots and tying the stems up to the canes, the baby apples are growing into toddlers and the cucumbers are climbing up the supports.
I'm hoping Beth has been picking and consuming the strawberries as they ripen.  I think she must have as there were only two to pick yesterday.

I'm going to take a look at the allotment before I leave to go back and I expect the tomatoes will need some attention there too.  One sad thing - Beth tells me that the yellow courgettes haven't survived which is a puzzle as they seemed to be doing really well but there you go!  However, to balance that, everything else is doing well and the mange tout and runners are sending up shoots.  She is watering there, bless her.

I don't have any photos (do I hear a sigh of relief???  😀 ) but will try to remember to take some on my phone before I leave.  I've left my camera at Dad's.

I got a message from Dave (son) last night asking did I fancy a bottle, a take away and some company.  I most certainly did so spent the evening with tasty food and good company.  Wasn't that kind?  It did me the world of good and I have slept very soundly.

Thank you all so much for your kind and supportive comments; I have appreciated each and every one of them very much indeed.
I can't say much, obviously, it's not my story, and the picture keeps changing, but it looks as if Dad will need two heart operations and also some investigations into a longer term issue that is complicating matters.  I was incredibly down about it all yesterday but common sense and some sort of positivity have returned, thank goodness.

I've cancelled most of my life here for a while as I can't see Dad being discharged from hospital for a number of weeks.  While he's not happy about that, he knows it is the best place for him right now.

So - I have a Little List of clothes to pack and take back with me, things that I need to do and things to take from cupboard and fridge, such as my spray oil, etc.  I left in such a hurry that I just grabbed at stuff on Tuesday but have had time to think since then.  My notebook has been invaluable and I know Dad appreciates me writing it all down and passing the news on in family updates, etc.
We are all benefitting from the fact that my Dad is and always has been a very organised chap so everything is in apple pie order and it has not been hard to take up the reins, either financially or in other ways, managing his home, etc.

Well, that's about it; I have a lateral flow thingy to do so I'd better get that over and done with while I remember.  Thank you all for walking this road with me, keeping me company and cheering me up with your lovely comments.
I will start putting things together, water the garden, water the allotment and then I am back off to Dad's again, ready for today's visit at one o'clock.
I hope your day goes well and that you can take advantage of the lovely weather.  Take care and stay safe.  xx

Friday 11 June 2021


 Not such great news over yesterday.  I can't say more now.  Back at some point.


Thursday 10 June 2021


 Morning, everyone.  It is so early but my sleep patterns are a bit wonky at the moment.  I'm sleeping really well but going to bed too early and waking too early.  I think I will see if I can have a good kip after visiting this afternoon so I can push bedtime back a bit.

Thank you again for your lovely messages,
That first visit was indeed frustrating in the extreme and, once I had located where Dad was, disappointing that I couldn't see him.  Patient safety is the first priority though so no complaints.
Annabeth, the instructions were very clear and explicit, as you said, and it was easier to do than I expected.  I don't need to do a flow test today but will again tomorrow.  The nice lady at the chemist gave me two packs (fourteen tests) so that should see me through the duration.  It was more complicated reporting the results as I decided to register, seeing as it wasn't just a one off, and that took a bit of time but all done now and the next time will be easier.

I did indeed get to see Dad yesterday although I had to ask the way a few times.  Even better, on the way out, I found a shorter cut through a side entrance which makes it mush simpler for the future.  Phew.

Dad looked better than he has for a while.  I don't know if it was a change of meds or just that he feels 'safe' (or both) but it was good to see.  I had gone shopping to Tescos earlier and bought a nice notebook (I dearly love nice notebooks!) just to make notes regarding this situation and I am so glad I did because it is going to come in useful.  I came home with three pages of notes - things to do, things to bring next time, people to contact, etc.

Dad needs an operation and is remaining in the ACU ward until that is done next week.  They wanted to do it this week but waiting lists . . .  It will be keyhole surgery which is brilliant - far less physical stress and a much faster recovery.  They reckon it should greatly improve his quality of life which makes me very happy.  I've googled (as you do) and the recovery and improvement statistics for elderly patients is extremely good.

So I came home with head a-buzzing and set to.  Firstly round to Fantastic Neighbour to put her in the picture.  She's acting as my hospital contact because of my bad hearing, etc.  She told me about things like bin days, etc . . .
Then on to the laptop which I have set up in the dining room to do a family email to keep everyone informed.
Then my Dave came - he was in Potters Bar for the morning and it's not far up from there.  If things had been different, he was going to stay the night and keep me company but, as it turned out, we had coffee, a good old chat and then he set off so he could get home before the rush hour.

Then I carried on and got quite a lot done.  I contacted a local carpet cleaning company to clean the bedroom carpet (it got some blood on it).  I fired off a whole load more emails and generally organised stuff.  What I didn't do was go into Dad's mailbox to answer anything I could.  That is this morning's job.

I'll be visiting every day as much as possible.  I'm going to go online and book for the rest of the week, I think, then I don't have to worry about it every day.  

So there we are.  As someone said 'constant change is here to stay'  I'm so glad this didn't blow up during lockdown when visiting was totally banned.  At least there's some leeway now.

Have a good day and stay safe and well.  xx

Wednesday 9 June 2021


Morning.  What a lovely lot you all are; thank you so much for your kind and supportive comments yesterday.

It looks as if I will have time to write this blog.  Dad's likely to remain in hospital for a few days for tests and so on and I've cancelled pretty much all of the week so I can remain here.  I just have to pop home on Friday for a delivery that I can't cancel but will be back again.  Beth's staying over mine to keep an eye on things, bless her. 

Obviously, I can't discuss Dad too much.  It's not my story and he would hate it.  But I can have a mini rant about getting an unwanted guided tour of his local hospital when I tried to visit.

Thankfully, you can visit.  It's all hedged about with rules and regulations though - one hour a day, pre-booked over the internet, same person each day, a form to fill in each time you visit and they 'strongly encourage' a lateral flow test within the last twenty four hours.  I have the necessary - I stopped off at a chemist yesterday and picked up two boxes, enough fourteen tests.  I know there are clips online about how so I must access one and learn!

So I got there half an hour early, as asked, to find the ward and do the required covid stuff.  Don't start me on the parking; suffice it to say I found a slot eventually.  If that's that it is like when visiting is limited . . .
I sussed out what you have to do to pay and asked a nice, helpful volunteer where to go.  He directed me back out, along the road and in another entrance.  When I got there, dear me, no, I had to go back and  . . . etc.  I followed those instructions and found myself back with the nice, helpful volunteer!  He said he'd come with me so we went through the hospital this time.  Blimey, it's a whoppa of a place and very confusing! Around ten minutes later (no kidding) we arrived at the ACU ward and he left.  I went in but no Dad.  They were very nice, very helpful, sent me somewhere else but no Dad.  This happened about three times until someone thought to look up on the computer and it turned out he was still in A&E.   I was getting a bit stressed by this point.
It took me rather a long time to find my way back to A&E - their signage is not helpful - and yes, there he was.  However, no visiting in A&E!  Anyway, a lovely lady on the desk took the things I had brought (hearing aid batteries, reading glasses, etc) to Dad and we exchanged a few messages, I gave them some important paperwork and that was that.

I exchanged a few texts with Dad later.  He only has an old talk and text type phone so finds them very awkward to use.

I gather he is now in the ACU ward and I have a visit booked for today, before which I will do the lateral flow test.  At least I now know where to go (I think).  I also need to do a bit of food shopping and generally sort some things out.

And that is that!  Funny how quickly things can change, isn't it?  Anyway, have a lovely day and take care, everyone.  xx

Tuesday 8 June 2021


 Just to let my lovely readers know that I may not be posting for a while as my lovely dad is unwell and in hospital.

I'll be back.

Monday 7 June 2021

Monday - photo heavy

 Good morning.  The sun is shining brightly, the windows are open and everything is lovely!  We did have a few spots of rain yesterday and it felt quite oppressive at times but not to worry, today looks much more promising according to the Beeb.

The journey home was longer than usual.  When Beth came over, she warned me that the A414 was closed at Ongar.  I'd been intending to go that way because the A120 was also closed for the weekend.  So I ended up going through Harlow and then heading off to Sawbridgeworth to rejoin my usual route the other side of the bit of the 120 I usually take.  I did um and ah about trying Ongar as I couldn't find anything on the Internet about the 414 being closed there but, as I went through Harlow, my sat nav kept trying to take me other ways which was a big hint that there were issues.  Good old sat nav!

Much as I love it at Dad's, it is always nice to get home again and yesterday was no exception.  Everything has grown tremendously in the garden, much to my delight.  I took some photos yesterday and some more this morning.

The geranium is going to be stunning soon; just look at all those buds!  The one at the front is also looking lovely; it's in its third year - the first year it seemed to die, last year it sent out titchy leaves and nothing else and this year there are flowers too.  It's a paler pink, almost white.

The pinks have started too.  Not as prolific looking as last year and I'll see if maybe it needs replacing at some point.  I dearly love all pinks.

Yes, the ooh la la has flowers!  I took this yesterday and there's one below that I took this morning.  It's lovely!

Yum!  Picked and enjoyed.
(note to self - MUST put slug pellets down)

The above were yesterday's photos while below are today's.

A funny old angle, I know, but I was trying to get all the pots in.  They've all grown well, many have flowers and I've started the daily routine of pinching out side shoots and tying to the canes.  Now I need to look out for the fruit setting as that's when one needs to start feeding.

Plenty more strawberries to come!

And blueberries

And here's the clematis - a good start!

And finally - one of the cucumbers.  Not that big but it's grown a couple of inches while I was away.

Today, the only thing in the diary is a couple of tuition sessions but I want to take a trip to the allotment to do a bit of weeding and watering (perhaps) and to see how things are all getting on generally.  I also might take the mower and try for a shorter cut.

The rest of the day needs to be devoted to housework of various kinds, including washing, drying and ironing.  So very exciting!

Take care, enjoy your day and be safe.  xx

Edited to add that I have tried to catch up with blogs that I follow but haven't necessarily left my usual comment - sorry.

Sunday 6 June 2021


 Morning.  The fine weather is back, the sun is shining and everything looks fresh after Friday's rain.  Beth says it's the same at home and there was no need to water anything.  Excellent.

Yesterday passed pretty quietly.  The trip to the mobility shop was a failure.  We went but it was closed.  All weekend!  What a nuisance.  However, John did manage to arrange a visit to a very pleasant looking care home local to Dad and we (Dad and I) are visiting next Saturday so we're very pleased about that.

Dad now has five ooh la la flowers so I'm really hoping there are a few at home.  I will find out by around midday, I guess.

This is a very quick one today but I'll be back tomorrow.  Have a fabulous day, enjoy the lovely weather (assuming you have some) and stay safe and well.  xx

Saturday 5 June 2021


Morning, everyone.   After a dull but dry start, down came the rain and poor old Incey Wincey didn't stand a chance.  It chucked it down here from around half eleven onward and when I went to bed it was still damp.  Beth said it was the same back home too so yay, no watering needed for a few days.  Just what the new plants needed.  The forecast both here and at home is for sun today; fingers crossed.

Apart rom a lot of talking, we really didn't get very much done yesterday, partly because of the rain and partly because Dad was having a very sleepy day.  Perhaps today will be  more active.

Beth plans to drive over this afternoon, just for a few hours and dinner, before driving home again.  It will be nice to see her.

Have a good day; may you get lovely sunshine again today.  xx

Friday 4 June 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's nice and early, the window in my bedroom at Dad's is wide open and the cool, fresh air is flooding in.  It's lovely.  It looks as if the sun will show his face at some point and the forecast here is for a dry and dull day.  Back home, they're supposed to get a bit of rain this afternoon - obviously we are a bit too far west to catch any here.
Even a bit of rain would be good; it's not been warm and dry for long enough to parch the soil and a few inches down it is still nice and damp so light rain would be great.

I've just taken a view from the window down the garden.  It's a lovely space although too much for Dad to manage now.  He has help from a gardener, Colin.

I'm slightly miffed to see that Dad's clematis ooh la la is three flowers (two and a half, really) ahead of mine - but mine has the more buds!   < grin >

It felt quite hot and a bit humid yesterday but, all the same, it was a good day.   Chris came over at ten bearing gifts - not five, but six, tomato plants.  They are all of the one type, golden crown, and I looked it up to discover that it is considered an excellent tomato, sweet, juice and delicious.  Good oh!  There wasn't room down the allotment for even one of them so they are not in the garden and I have my full complement of tomatoes for this year.  What with what's in the bed and what's in pots there are twenty plants at home and eight down the allotment so, fingers crossed, we won't go short.  Also, they seem to be a nice mix of colours, shapes and sizes.
I took a photo of the new plants but it's on my desktop and I'm on my laptop for a few day's of course.  Or no, hang on - I posted it to Chris on Facebook.  Maybe I can copy it from there . . .

Yes, I can!  I always plant four in this pot and I know they look a bit crowded but it doesn't seem to matter all that much.  I gave the soil a good scattering of water retaining crystals and slow release granules, plus a new topping of compost so, fingers crossed, they should be happy and reward me with lots of yellow deliciousness.
Anyway, thanks, Chris - very generous!

After lunch, I sorted things out, remembered to empty the bins and so on, and set out, taking in the allotment on the way for a watering.  Yesterday's newly planted tomatoes looked very happy and so they should!  However, of the three courgettes we planted out last weekend, two look reasonably happy with a bit of new, green growth, but the third looked distinctly on the fading out side of life.  It's supposed to be quite a bit cooler today so fingers crossed that it helps.  Everything else is looking pretty good really, although there's no sign of runners or mange touts yet and nor should there be.

After a very easy journey cross Essex and through Herts, I arrived at Dad's just five minutes before John which was great timing.  We had a good evening talking ways and means and today we all plan to go down to the mobility shop in town to look at various items that might help.

Before then, I'm off to Tesco to get stuff in for the weekend meals so I'd better get on with the rest of my social mediating fairly pronto!
Enjoy the day, whatever it brings.  xx

Thursday 3 June 2021


 Good morning!  We have more sun, rather hazier than yesterday but still - it shines!  I'm loving it!

Yesterday ended up very busy indeed.  It started with a trip to the most local garden centre which is also very good.  No fusses and fancies, just honest, well brought up plants, thousands and thousands of them!  £1.20 each or five for a fiver for veg and herbs which seems extremely good value seeing as they are such good quality.

After failing miserably with the home sowed tomatoes and cucumbers, I'm not going to try growing them from seed again.  I know it is better value but this way you can choose from a wide range of different kinds.  I got tomatoes, cucumbers, three more strawberry plants because they looked so very good and two chilli peppers, apache which I have grown before and liked.  I also got a codling moth trap for the garden (must protect those baby apples), some wire rings, some canes and some slow release granules.

Then it was a case of knuckling down and getting them all sorted.  They're all in now and none has wilted or started looking unhappy so fingers crossed.  Here's some photos of the kind I show year after year . . .

Cucumbers - perhaps they are a bit crowded but three seems to suit that container and they always do well.
Six of the tomatoes, all different, I think - no, there's two sungolds but the others are all different.  The remaining plants are in pots along the fence as last year and my lovely neighbour, Chris, is giving me her five left over plants so I'm well stocked.  I dearly love fresh tomatoes, picked and eaten, and want to make sure I have enough to share with Beth, Alex and Dad.

Just to the left of the tomatoes you can see the little chilli plants - they're not quite as close to the tomatoes as the photo seems to show.
Spot the ripening strawberry.  This isn't from one of the new plants and about time too!  :-)
I freshened up the mints earlier in the year, took out most of the roots and discarded them, replanted the rest with fresh soil and it was well worth it - must start making my mint tea again.
From left to right; chocolate mint, mint sauce mint and apple mint.
I dearly love baby apples!  Now I have my codling moth trap out, that's the best I can do for them so now it's just fingers crossed and talk nicely to them.

Then I went down to the allotment with eight of the tomato plants, the mower and the strimmer and lots of good intentions!
It now looks as an allotment plot should look.  Almost every bit of available soil has something there, whether you can see it yet or not, the grass is as neat and tidy as it will ever look and it's all very satisfying.

Tomatoes - eight different kinds.  Yum.
A general view.
More baby apples - redloves this time.

By the time I got home, I needed to change for personal training.  Dear Lindsey had offered me a slot later in the afternoon as it would be a bit cooler by then.  This worked extremely well for the whole day as it meant I could do all the gardening in one go rather than splitting it in half.

I also got some washing done and line dried and, generally, it was an extremely satisfying day.

And now my back hurts!!

Today is another busy day.
I need to bustle around and get the house in good nick.  Then Chris is coming round for a garden chat after which I must plant out the tomatoes she is so generously giving me, bless her.  
Then it is packing, etc, because this afternoon I am back off to Dad's.  My brother is also coming down from Scotland this afternoon so we can have a long weekend - I haven't seen John for about a year and a half, not since Christmas 2019.

Have a great day, everyone.  Enjoy the fine weather while it lasts.   :-)