Thursday, 22 October 2020

Decluttering, heads down and carrying on carrying on!

 Still decluttering. Surely every home has a box of mystery keys for who knows where? Or what about a box of shoe polishes which include unusual colours for shoes which were thrown out years ago? And what about multiple copies of the exact same photo, or blurred photos with the person's head chopped off? We are slowly working our way through such horrors. 

Today's joyful decluttering escapade was old paint tins, each containing a tiny amount of left over paint. We took advice from the local recycling /waste disposal centre about how to safely throw them away. So two grown ups (allegedly) stood mixing soil into the paint dregs to make a thick paste which apparently is then safe to chuck it into the recycling skips at the tip. As I stirred the paint/soil gunk I pondered upon how the 7 year old Lynn would have loved this, and how the 57 year old Lynn was also enjoying the mess.

All in all, it has been a tough week. We are both in pain; Steve has bursitis, mine is the usual Parkinsons stuff and we are both tired. My blood has been too thick so I have had to inject anti coagulants. 

The washing machine has been broken for 3 weeks so I had  to use the local laundrette again. The engineer mended it on Wednesday but didn't install the seal properly but I managed to get that right -  took me half an hour and a lot of naughty words. 

The house survey was done, a bit stressy with the surveyor wandering through the house jumping up and down on floorboards, knocking walls, whilst making notes. At one point I looked out of the window to find him up a ladder inspecting the conservatory roof. We both jumped in surprise.

On Friday we spent the afternoon in a freezing  cold  storage office going through paperwork from Steve's business ... keep, chuck, file, store, repeat. Saturday we delivered my mother's shopping.

It all seems a bit relentless, to be honest. But we tell ourselves it will all be worth it. The irony of it all is that we are moving to be near family. But they are all in local lockdown and likely to remain so for a while, so we will move and still not be able to see them!

So let's find some happy from this week.....

On Saturday evening Strictly Come Dancing returned on TV. It would appear that the nation's hoarding tendencies remain focused upon toilet paper and pasta. Sequins and fake tan supplies still seem good to go, each celebrity sporting an orange glow and sparkling bright! I love Strictly, though I do find the first programme of the series when they meet their dancing partner all a bit OTT and cringey. But it will be good escape viewing. 

7:30pm each evening we have entered the happy world of Bob Ross.

I don't care what he paints I just love listening to his gentle chatter and wise words. We have a bet how many minutes into the show he'll say one of his catchphrases like  "happy little tree".

With cooler weather, I've made soups. This was carrot and parsnip.

Today I made roast red pepper soup served with walnut bread and cheese.  Delicious but I have made a rod for my own back here as I don't think I could enjoy a shop bought soup ever again. Even those posh soups in the refrigerator; they taste gloopy and synthetic compared to homemade. 

Autumn colour and light has been so lovely. So much so that I felt encouraged to go walking. Just round the block, the first time in months. I staggered home exhausted but happy. I hope to try again at the weekend.

The garden is a mix of Summer meets Autumn.

Pelargoniums, marigolds and salvia sit side by side with Winter pansies, holly berries, and cyclamen,  each seemingly competing for attention.

The pattern of my days is declutter, cook something tasty, take note of the changing seasons, sleep, repeat. 
But all is good. 
But in these Covid times I feel nervous/guilty saying this.


Monday, 12 October 2020

A month has whizzed by.......

...... and what a month it has been; busy, busy.

Have you noticed that people say a young person "fell over" whilst an older person "had a fall"? Well I had neither but I did trip myself up going upstairs. The hand I used to save myself was very swollen and bruised to the extent that 2 days later I gave in and visited the local hospital's minor injuries department. No bones broken, thank goodness. But pain stopped play and knitting and sewing have stayed in their respective baskets. I need colour and crafts. I can't wait to get back to these projects.

Grandson Albie turned 3. We couldn't see him on his birthday but dropped his present off a few days early as we were spending a weekend up there looking at houses. He loved the policeman's outfit and walkie talkie we bought him. Grandad lifted him up to see himself in the mirror in his police uniform  -  the look of utter joy on Albie's face was priceless.

 It was good to see another son, his wife and baby girl. 

House hunting did not go well. I walk with a stick. One house had several awkward steps. I am often housebound, the house was dark. I knew I would feel depressed spending time in such a dark house. The next house was also very dark. It had not been clear from the map that at the bottom of the garden was a dual carriageway. I have looked again but no it was not on the estate agent's map, unsurprisingly I suppose. The traffic noise was off putting and I could smell the petrol fumes and would be concerned about my grandchildren playing in the garden. My asthma was also complaining - sigh. 

Houses we had admired online are now sold. Our buyer needs to move quickly. So we have decided to move and rent. We may buy a brand new home due for completion next Autumn. Life mid house move, mid Covid could be very stressful but thus far we remain calm and hopeful.

Last week we had a break and spent a few days away with our son and his wife and children. 

Albie enjoyed the local steam train. His first train journey.

He is very smiley and enormous fun. He is also at that, age when he says funny things. One lunch time I made him a picnic. As I gave him the food, he  beamed, "Thank you, Nanny Darling!"

Another mealtime as I cut up his food, he said, "You're very helpful Nanny!"

Like many toddlers he constantly asks why, which can be a wee bit tiresome on the hundredth occasion of asking. So I once replied, "And why not, indeedy deedy?" Well that caused much hilarity and he went around saying, "Why and why not indeedy deedy?" chuckling to himself.

Albie and I searched for 
shells and threw pebbles in the sea. We paddled in the water. We flew a kite.

And there were lots of cuddles with Nyla. Such a happy baby.

It was so lovely to spend time outside.

And now we are back home, decluttering like mad and trying to find somewhere to rent. No pressure!

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Selling a house

My house for sale proverb: "She who puts her house on the market 10 days before pandemic lockdown is in for the long haul." Just saying.

Deciding to sell our house was a big decision, it is for everyone. There were many reasons why living here was no longer easy and we felt we did not have years to ponder the whys and wherefores. Once the decision was made, Steve went ahead with selling his business. This in itself has taken two years!

So hurrah, the "For Sale" sign was finally hammered into the front garden and along comes Covid. The sign remained there mocking me all through lockdown. We live at the end of a small cul de sac and as lockdown eased a steady procession of cars took an awful long time reversing at our dead end whilst the passenger craned their neck to have a good look!

Steve hated the viewings. An Englishman's home is his castle and all that. Whilst he readily welcomes friends and family, he does not relish strangers wandering through, making judgements upon said castle. Neither do I really and some of these strangers were indeed a little strange. But I found their quirks and conversations fascinating. 

There was the man who came ready prepared with huge metallic tape measure and asked if he could  measure the ceilings! He also asked to see the fuse board in readyness for connecting his hot tub. His line of questioning was sublime ....  "And what kind of sinks do you have? (stainles steel or porcelain, depending upon location) and where are they?" (in the kitchen or bathroom, I'm boring that way) . 

Mind you,  we did once view a house ourselves which had  an avocado colour  bathroom sink in the middle of the living room with a shelf over which they grandly called "the bar area" but that, as they say, is another story!

One couple told me all about their recent surgical operations, a bit off-putting, just before lunch.

One lady wistfully told me she didn't really want to leave Australia but she had come home to take care of elderly relatives, one of whom has Parkinson's which depressed me somewhat. I am not moving to become a burden to my kids. But then who knows?

One gauche young woman came in and exclaimed how wonderful, she loved doing up houses! Her partner added hastily and tactfully that this house would not need much doing to it. In the garden she found the gazebo and shouted across the lawn, "How cute, we could get married in the garden!" He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I  continued the tour savouring each awkward outburst. She went on to admire all my houseplants which I have propagated myself and told me I should go into business as they would sell like hot cakes. Steve by this time had lost the will to live.

There was the young man who gave me his life story right back to his childhood spent living in a house just round the corner. He said he wanted to come back to his roots. I didn't think his wife looked so keen. I wasn't sure he had noticed her concern. On leaving, he said he wanted to buy the house, she smiled weakly but her steely eyes said, "Not a chance, mate." I felt more counsellor than house vendor. 

There were the  efficient "charge-rounders"; in and out like a flash. And the "blimey, will I ever get rid of them?"  lingerers. 

But chatty or succinct, quick or slow, young or old their reasons for moving seemed very similar; the need to be near family. Many said lockdown had made them re-evaluate priorities.

We all wore masks and I wonder if the need for masks perhaps made people feel more vulnerable: naturally quiet people became quieter, chatty people became chattier? Maybe. 

I enjoyed meeting them; all of them. I enjoyed hearing their stories.  I learned what not to say when it is my turn to be the viewing potential buyer!

And as each left I wished them good luck and safe journey.  

We were losing all hope of a sale. I had a quiet two hours pondering alone on Saturday trying to work out if we are doing the right thing. I prayed a lot; not for a sale but for guidance and reassurance. 

On Tuesday our elusive buyer appeared. Whilst others had considered the house "too large, too small, too far from town, not far enough, too much work, not enough work, not quite right," our very own Goldilocks considered it to be just right. 

So we are now searching for our new home.

 When I speak to selling agents I am daring myself to use as many over used, tv property show, cliches as possible....... "I want somewhere light and airy. It must be characterful, modern with clean lines and a good flow. The surrounding area must be quiet and peaceful but with opportunities for me to engage in lots of social activities. It must feel right, be big enough to host Christmas for the Waltons whilst being intimate and cosy for just the two of us for the rest of the year. I want to bring the outside in and the inside out.The garden must be well manicured with a riot of colour but must be low maintenance. The house must reflect our characters but I want to put my own stamp on it with a pop of colour."  Have I forgotten anything? 🤣🤣🤣



Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Contentment in hard times.

 First of all, thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post. I have had my usual mix of good and bad nights; more good than bad this week!

My middle of the night time reading has been this book .

I think I am already a contented person. I've always remembered Paul writing that he had learnt to be content in all circumstances and I aspire to this.  I wanted to read this as the author talks about finding contentment in middle age when children have flown the nest, you may lose health, loved ones, jobs etc and must follow a new path. She talks calmly. It is like talking with a friend. I found myself highlighting sections. I am about half way through and am finding it to be a very soothing read. It's very much "what shall I do next with my life ?" The author chooses a  yoga teacher training  course which I have enjoyed reading about too. Maybe I have enjoyed it because I am reading in the dead of the night when a soothing account is much appreciated. 
My most favourite books are slow, calm reads. I may be shallow but I only read calm, happy stuff. Thrillers, suspense, drama, mysteries, blood and guts reading genres just aren't me!

So August faded gently into September.  The morning and evening air is fresher and the days shorter. The evening skies have been beautiful. I have been using an astronomy app which explains the night sky you are looking at. Last night, apparently the bright cluster of lights were planets,  Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto ...l amazing!

 Even the early evening glimpses of the moon delight me. 

Sky watching teaches me how small I am within the universe and thus how small my worries and concerns are too. It helps!

With shorter days comes cooler starts and ends to the days. The heating has been on some days and we had our first log fire.

We also had our first porridge breakfast. I added a swirl of lemon curd and blueberries. Comfort food. Excuse the stirring spoon plonked in the  bowl! 

We have had a lot of rain so my gardening has been indoors.

I rooted basil cuttings from a supermarket plant. Each time I used some leaves in cooking I cut the stem and put it in an old jar filled with water on the window ledge. 

A large top heavy kalanchoe toppled over breaking six branches off. I placed them in a jug of water hoping they might develop roots. 

They are now all potted up together with the promise of flowers budding up nicely.

This jade plant was shedding its leaves and dying off. I read that it likes a sunny position. I had it in a gloomy spot. Now I have moved it it has grown 3 inches in just a few weeks and one of its fallen leaves has rooted!

My sanseveira cuttings are now growing well and are ready to be potted on.

I like propogating plants.  You get happy gardening results with little physical strength required,  no need of a spade and you can do it sitting down too!

Unusually for me, I have felt really bad tempered lately. I put it down to all the Covid stuff; people arguing about wearing masks, jobs being lost, people meeting at huge events leading to fears of virus spikes.etc. There seems to be a lack of empathy and thought for others. It just all got to me. I think I was even a bit snappy with Steve. As we climbed into bed one evening, I said wearily to him, "Do you know, you're the only person I've actually liked today." He grinned, "Well, that's good to know!" 

My best friend and I decided yesterday that a safety-managed meet up should now be ok. She is a retired nurse and I respect her views that we should be ok.. So she came round for a socially distanced  cup of tea and a chat. We bought each other flowers! We put the Covid world to rights!

And now September is here and my equilibrium is happily returning. I realise that I am constantly learning; this week  about planets, plants and people. I feel calm again and contented with life. I think Covid will not only continue through Autumn but escalate too. But I must follow advised precautions and then just carry on carrying on, happily and contentedly. 

Much love,

Monday, 24 August 2020

Dear Diary in the dark

 4 am

Parkinsons insomnia has returned full force tonight and I have already been awake for  several  hours. I've drunk my water, plumped pillows and read. I am grateful yet again for the gentle Kindle glow which allows me to read without disturbing my bedfellow.

 I read to distract my worrisome thoughts and silent wittering. 

My physical pain may be bad but mental pain seems far worse in the wee small hours. I push away the fears that surround me, reminding myself that they will not feel so powerful when dawn breaks. The light will sap their strength, their overpowering force will diminish. I will sip tea, watch the birds in the garden and plan my day with a lighter heart.  It was ever thus. 

As my eyelids become heavy and sleep seems possible after all, I close Kindle down. Its glow is suddenly gone and my eyes adjust to the black depths of the bedroom. Gentle night noises reassure me; my husband's steady breathing,  the hum of the boiler warming the water for my morning bath, and the distant rumble of the night train. 

Outside torrential rain is gushing through the  gullies and drains. The tricky bit of guttering outside the bedroom window which rebuffs all attempts at repair is doing its worst again and the rain splashes,  overflowing triumphantly. 

The  breeze ripples through the open windows, cool and fresh.

I thank God for the beauty that surrounds me in this pitch black place.

And I patiently wait for sleep or the morning light to break the spell. 

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Another week whizzes by.....

 I would have thought that, with the restricted life we are living right now, time would drag but here we are, another week has whizzed by.

On Thursday we went to visit/help our daughter in law. With an energetic 2 year old and a newborn, she is busy!  The motorway traffic was a bit better this time, though I still find the travelling exhausting. 

That day our son started work at 3pm so we were able to spend an hour or so with him before he left. Then we visited a nearby farm. We offered to take Albie (aged 2) to give our daughter in law a rest whilst baby Nyla slept but she was happy to come with us, which was great. We met our other daughter in law and grand daughter, Georgina,  there. 

It was a lovely afternoon out. Three grandchildren aged 7 weeks, 9 months and 2 years enjoying an afternoon out in their own way; dozing, babbling and feeding the animals respectively. Social distancing etc was well organised and Albie fed the animals via a non contact shute contraption. I do feel very anxious when I am out and about but I doubt I am the only one and we must just soldier on. We enjoyed ice cream and I counted my blessings once again!

We had taken our evening meal with us to quickly re heat; sausage, beans and mash with a leek and sage gravy. "Ooh sausages," Albie sighed with pleasure as he climbed onto his chair at the table. But his rapture soon turned to dismay as he saw the finely chopped sage. "Oh no, I don't like pips in my sausage," he explained. "Don't worry, they're not pips," his mom reassured him so he tucked in. "Mmmm Nanny I do like pips in sausage!" He beamed, as he ate everything on his plate! Pudding was strawberries and jelly. I was politely informed that nanny can bring jelly again next time, lots of jelly! His mommy said they can put it on their shopping list, Albie is in charge of "writing" the shopping list and ticking off the items in the supermarket!

We helped with bath time and bed time; a glorious concoction of bubbles, splashes (I got a bit wet!) milk and story. Albie loves books and can recite his favourites as you read them. But his present favourite is a baby weaning cookbook his mom had got out to share a recipe with Georgina's mom a few weeks ago. He loves it, looking at the pictures of the recipe ingredients and the babies eating them. So Grandad and Albie read a cookery book at bedtime!

Three days later I am still sleeping away the after effects of a day spent with a 2 year old!

The garden has been battered by recent storms. Steve dug up the now horizontal sunflowers and popped the flowers in a vase. 

I love sunflowers, every August I proclaim them to be my absolute favourite flower. But in reality I have an absolute favourite flower every month; snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, forget me nots, daisies, roses, sweet peas, sunflowers the list is endless. 

And so a new week starts. I am having my B12 injection tomorrow so hopefully  this exhaustion will lift. 

Happy new week everyone. x

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Blow out the candles, make a wish!


Last week it was my birthday. Fifty seven, how did that happen? Another Government  mix up, as we all know I am only 39 and my middle name is Peter Pan!

My youngest son, Alex, came home for a week. This is just the second time we have seen him since Christmas. When lockdown eased we met him in the grounds of a National Trust property for a picnic. We speak every week on the phone for an hour or so but seeing each other in person was marvellous. He managed lockdown alone, working from home, I think he is amazing.

We travelled to see our other sons and their families. This was the first birthday in more than 10 years that I saw all my sons together on my birthday.  Work commitments and living more than 100 miles apart means I tend to see them separately throughout the birthday week. We were able to meet together for 3 whole days! The weather was glorious so we spent the days outdoors in either of my son's gardens; catching up, chatting, quizzing and playing with our grandchildren aged nearly three, 9 months and 6 weeks. It was my best birthday ever! 

We had all been previously self isolating so hopefully we were as virus safe as possible.

Unsurprisingly, I am now exhausted and have spent a lot of time in bed, fast asleep!

For my birthday present from Stephen I had wanted a bee keeper's experience day. I have no intention of keeping my own hive but I wanted to learn more and actually handle the bees. Steve was going to come too. This will have to wait now due to the chaos that is Covid. 

Covid 19 much of life has changed, but I am so grateful we remain safe thus far. I think that, like a lot of people, I now live with the constant niggle of low level fear for the future. Will we get the virus? Will we lose our jobs in the impending recession? Can we really come through this unscathed? Those who have had the virus or lost loved ones are constantly on my mind. I pray daily for the strength to remain a cheerful support for my family, so far so good. I keep smiling. 

My birthday wish as I blew out the candles must remain secret or else it won't come true!! But it was a heartfelt mother's wish, no doubt wished by many through the ages and across the world.