Monday, 29 February 2016

Thrifty February? Ha Ha Ha!

Did I say somewhere that I intended not to spend much money in February? Who was I kidding! Of course I hadn't allowed for the small fact that we move house in less than 2 weeks time........ February has been very spendy.
I've picked out the few thrifty things I can think of from the last few weeks............and the small bits of  income.
  • We were gifted 2 pheasants which fed 3 for roast, 2 for curry and the cat for a couple of meals too
  • Col has lost weight so found a pair of jeans for him one size smaller from charity shop £4.50 (will look out for more)
  • £6.50 Tesco loyalty voucher used 
  • Used cheaper powdered milk for me as much as possible.
  • Free heat and hot water using wood
  • £46 income for selling 2 out of the 5 items we took to the auction rooms on the first Monday sale day
  • £23 income for selling 2 more out of the 5 things on the second Monday sale day
  • £40 into the paypal account for selling the old caravan chassis
  • £40 back rent owed to us for boat storage
  • £30 income for some bits of metal sold to a neighbour
  • Reading free library books
  • Avoided buying any snacks/drinks at hospital.
  • Craft Creations are stopping their quarterly magazine and as it was the only one I subscribed to, it will save me £12 a year but I will miss all the readers gallery of card ideas.
  • Home made bread.........until I packed my bread tins and baking stuff. 
  • Avoided buying any Stuff so the only non necessary spending was £1 on a bunch of daffodils and £2 on a bunch of tulips and 2 "necessary" books at £1 each
  • Council tax refund - already- from the District Council for the part of March after we move.
  • Home grown cooking apples from store, apricots from the freezer and leeks from the garden.

On the other hand still no news on benefit money for Col and the car cost us nearly £600 for cam belt, parts and servicing ( which normally Colin would do) plus of course I had to buy a new cooker for the bungalow = A Lot of money!  Then £40 to the Post Office for mail redirection. £25 extra on car insurance because we will be in town.Extra diesel for all the journeys to and fro and buying some different food to try and find tasty things for Col.

March will be even more expensive. Carpets, removal company, estate agent and solicitors fees and probably loads of other things we will find we need.  Oh dear.

News Flash.........News Flash.............
Possible worst case scenario on horizon - delay with exchange and completion due to our buyers bringing date forward but then not being able to organise the small mortgage they need for the date they said, so heavens know what happens now. Our removal company need a definite date which we can't give until exchange. Have already set up phone, mail redirection, electric, family help etc etc for the date agreed.
Oh heck, nervous breakdown imminent!!

Back Soon

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Eurovision winner.......I think not and other stuff

 I watched the rugby - Wales v France - on TV Friday night then turned over at half time to see how things were going in the 'choosing a song for Eurovision' programme. Just in time to hear which song had won. Oh My Goodness! If that was the best of the six then I can't imagine how bad the other 5 performers were! I've been watching Eurovision (overseas readers can see the history of this song contest here) forever, as it's just a year younger than me, but over the last few years it's turned into a hopeless cause and this year I think will be just as hopeless.

Sometimes getting out of hospital can be as difficult as getting in!
Col phoned Saturday morning to tell me I could pick him up about half past one but because the doctor who saw him in the morning forgot to order his medications and forgot to sign a  form, we thought we were going to be stuck there all afternoon, as it was we broke free at quarter past 3 thanks to the senior nurse who bent some rules and took his meds from the ward, I hope she doesn't get into trouble.
We got home in time to watch the England v Ireland game after stopping to get Col a KFC which was the only thing he fancied eating - weird - chemo really affects taste buds and appetite. I wonder what other things he'll have gone off this time. He tried some tinned mandarins and said they tasted like slimy mustard!!

This morning I've rustled up some scones and sausage rolls as Col's Dad and brother have decided they will come over and see us. I've un-packed some plates so we can offer them a Sunday tea as it's a bit of a trek for just a cuppa! We will see much more of relatives when we get into Ipswich (the hermit side of me is  not sure if this is good or bad!). Apart from Col's dad being able to call in on his way back from hospital visits with whoever has taken him, we will be only be 9 miles from Col's sister, and my sister has also seen the light and is moving from Norfolk back into Suffolk in a few weeks time and will only be about 18 miles away instead of 30+. (She is actually moving into the next village to Col's Dad and brother.) We will be nearer our son in Woolpit too. So it will just be our youngest daughter who will be further away from us and still the same long distance to our eldest and soon-to-be-grandchild in Surrey.

Thank you for lots of comments on the last post and to Dc at Frugal in Norfolk who gave me the link to block unwanted followers. Oana, who is new to commenting, told me the Sara Donati book is the 3rd in a series of 6 and she really enjoyed them.

Back in a day or two

Friday, 26 February 2016

Chemo number 3 of 6....... delayed by a day and whisper it quietly.......2 more books!

One of the things we have discovered on this coping with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma "Journey" (sorry, hate that word used in this context but couldn't think of another) is that things rarely go to plan and they get changed at short notice.

Colin rang yesterday morning to check they had a bed for his 3rd Chemo session, -  they hadn't, but we had to trek to hospital anyway for  9am appointment for his scan in the frighteningly named Nuclear Medicine Centre! (They weren't able to do this Wednesday so we could have organised some more help with packing after all - Bother) He popped into the ward just to check they hadn't suddenly found a bed for him - No. The consultant was on the ward so Col asked him about the X Ray results from the other day, all was OK but they are concerned at his lack of energy and shortness of breath. They really need him to have the Rituximab which helps the other chemotherapys to work but that was the one he had a bad reaction to and they had to stop it quickly. They plan to try it again with this 3rd session. The nurses on the ward said ring at 7pm and if they had a bed he could come in. So he did and they had and another trip to Ipswich. Two 50 mile round trips in one day and my driving is improving all the time!
 All these changes play havoc with meal planning - will there be 2 people here for dinner or just me? Do I need to get more bread out of the freezer on not? Do I need to buy milk or will I be on my own for a few days and not use it? The only thing to do is just to go with the flow.

As I write, this afternoon, he has had the first lot of chemo and has just texted to say the nasty stuff has been going for 20 minutes and all is OK this time............Phew!. I won't go up today but hopefully will be able to pick him up tomorrow. 

I went down to Leiston this morning....... paying a bill, a few bits from Co-op, picking up tablets from the doctors and taking the last bag of unwanted items to the charity shop. Of course while in the charity shop I Had to look at the books and spotted the book on the left "Letters from an Airfield"
Subtitled - The True story of a GI Bride of The Mighty Eighth. It was the mention of The 8th Air force which made me look again as of course our son- the archaeologist - is working on documenting the buildings of the 8th USAF, and I wondered if it had any information that might be useful for him. When I got home and had a look it turns out to be even more interesting as it's about a girl from Knodishall! What the connection is between Jack Rosenthal - well known playwright who died a few years ago, and a girl from Knodishall I shall have to read and find out.
Then I noticed the second book " Lake in the Clouds"  by Sara Donati. It is set in the newly independent American States and has over 600 pages and a huge list of characters - according to the first pages- a bit daunting. It might be a good read day. I forked out £1 each for these two.

Now, in reply to lots of lovely comments from the last two posts............

My friend Mary in Bath reminded me that our Penny Pincher Paper Penfriend group has also been writing letters for 15 years. We take it in turns so only one letter every few months and I really look forward to receiving and writing. Our numbers started at 7 dropped to 6, went back to 7 then 8 but now the two newest people aren't writing so we may be back to 6 again, I have to admit that I'm not keen on sending letters to people who don't take a turn to write.

Vintage Singer at Mendingmakingcrafting said that I always sound so calm with all that's going on at the moment and do I ever go "arghhh!". I think I'm past the stage of getting in a panic! I like to think I'm quite organised - helped by all the years of being a Cub Scout leader when being un-organised meant 30 boys in  a Scout hut running riot!

Gill asked if my penfriend W from the windy Scottish island and I have ever met up, and no not yet.

Hello and thank you to Donna who said she is enjoying reading the blog

That's my lot for today except there is a new follower BUT when I clicked to see who it was a warning came up that the blog contained Adult Content - Oh dear, not the sort of follower I wanted to attract at all! how can I get rid of this person? any ideas?

Back Soon

Thursday, 25 February 2016

4 Things

Sooze at Her Indoors,Him Outdoors had this on her blog a while back, she saw it on Facebook first, so now I've borrowed the idea for a quick post

Books and Reading
Being by the sea
Sitting in the sun
Getting on with things 

4 THINGS I HATE ( hate is a too strong word - I prefer DON'T LIKE)
People who swear continuously
People who sniff all the time
Rice and similar milk puddings

A library and another library
A mobile library
The smallholding
Election Poll clerk

Sandown- Isle of Wight
All round the Cornish coast
West Wales

Countdown and quizzes
Six nations Rugby
Police crime stories like Shetland and Vera 
Strictly Come Dancing

Scones with jam 
Chinese food
Home made tomato soup

Sit in the sun
Bake bread
Craft cards

Frothy Coffee with chocolate powder on top
Really cold water
Tonic water with ice and lemon
Drinking Chocolate

Colin's health
The weather in Wales so we could go and live there
The food in hospitals
The huge amount of traffic on the roads 

Reading and sitting in the sun seems to feature a lot!

Back with a normal post soon

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A letter from the past and recent diary entries

A few weeks back I had a letter from my penfriend who lives on a windy Scottish island, in the letter she wondered how long we had been writing to each other (although I'm a bad penfriend who doesn't write as often as I ought!). I hadn't had a chance to sort through the drawer where I keep old letters to see if I could find out, when another letter arrived and with it W had included my very first letter written to her in May 2001 and typically it starts by me apologising for being slow to reply to her first letter! She said it would probably be sad to read as back then we had milking goats and we bred sheep, Col was still working for the County Council and our eldest was at uni, our son was taking a gap year between high school and uni and our youngest was just 13.
 It was a bit sad to read but also  interesting and I'm so glad she kept the letter. I know she will read this so Thank you W for that little window into what things were like and I will write to you with our new address very soon and I'll probably still be apologising for taking such an age to write!

Sunday, and  the bloke who had bought the old caravan chassis came to collect it at just the same moment that the man who's been storing a boat here for the last 3 years came to take it away. He owed us £40 so another little bit of money into the kitty.
We Think we have sorted phone connections/un-connections  and abandoning Talk Talk - if it works properly. Sunday seemed a good day to ring. The broad band connection speed is 10 times quicker in Ipswich  than here, which should make loading photos easier.

On Monday I zoomed to Woodbridge to take our signed contracts back to the solicitors, hopefully it shouldn't be too long now before exchange. My sister and brother in law came over to help Col burn some rubbish and load the horsebox trailer with all the stuff that we don't need at the bungalow. Then we took it to a friend who is storing it for us until we need it at a house with bigger garden or to sell it at the auction rooms one day.
That just leaves the things - for garden and workshop - that we will take to the bungalow, to be loaded onto the flat trailer.Then all that will be left in the shed are a few bits waiting for our youngest to collect and smallholding stuff left for the new owners.

Today, Tuesday and a bit more tidying, sorting and packing in the morning.  The most difficult thing to pack?..........a roll of Christmas wrapping paper!  - Too long for any boxes, I've been wondering where to put it for weeks, in the end gave up and chucked it into a cupboard in the caravan.
Found out today that the price of postage stamps is going up again at the end of March. I shall stock up because there will be lots of change of address cards to be posted out soon. Last March, pre last years price rise I bought £20 worth which lasted me right through to Christmas.
This afternoon another trek to hospital for Cols pre-chemo blood test and to see the consultant who decided to send him for an XRay  and then back tomorrow for a scan. Thought I would share the view from the 6th floor of the maternity block where the oncology and blood clinics are being held while they build a new specialist wing.

 Exciting view of part of the hospital car park, the Australia Estate ( so called because the roads are named after Australian cities) and  across Rushmere heath golf course with Foxhall Heath over on the right. The small white dot on the horizon is  BT telecommunications  research centre which looks like this when you get closer.

Welcome to Penny, a new follower in the Google pictures and thank you for lots of comments.

Back Soon

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Ipswich - here we come

Col phoned Friday evening to say I could pick him up Saturday morning as soon as the consultant had done his rounds. So off  to Ipswich again calling at an electrical place on the way to buy a cooker ready for delivering to the bungalow.
 For the first time in 30+ years I shall have to use an electric hob - I'm going to hate it! Although the heating in the bungalow is gas, the cooker that was there was electric. We don't want to go to the expense of having new gas connections and we've been advised not to have a gas cooker in a house that will be rented out (which is the plan for when Col is well again, plan A?). Therefore electric it must be and I'll just have to get used to it I guess. Cookers do seem to be more expensive than a few years ago and freestanding are more than built-in. We don't want to change the kitchen units at the bungalow as they are fairly new and in good condition. I wonder why the elderly lady who lived there had a new kitchen but not a built in oven?

Thank you to Sadie at a life in the English rain  ( another proper Suffolk gal only much younger than me!) for telling me that the library I shall be near in Ipswich has a craft group and other stuff going on - Great excitement. I shall be asking Sadie for all sorts of info about things going on in town because although most of Ipswich is as familiar to me as our little local towns, actually living there will be a whole new experience.

Photo from Mikesbus pages internet

 I've been going to Ipswich for shopping since I was a small child and can just remember these trolley buses which ran in the town centre until 1963. We would catch the 204 big red bus which ran every two hours all the way from Bury St Edmunds to Ipswich. If you look at my header and follow the road from Bury to Ipswich you will see the dotted line which was then the boundary between East and West Suffolk (until Local government reorganisation in 1973 when Suffolk became one county). We lived just into East Suffolk on the main road which was at that time the A45.
Each school holiday mum would take us on the bus to Ipswich and we'd have lunch in a small fish and chip  restaurant right near the bus station. It was always jam packed full because that was before coffee shops and restaurant popped up everywhere. My favourite shop was Cowells
!960s/70s buttermarket Ipswich found on google photos from EADT
because down in the basement was a fantastic toy shop with big trays of farm animals that you could buy one by one and loads of other pocket money toys. (It's strange to see cars in this road in this photo because the town centre is now all pedestrianised).

I'll be sharing lots more old and new photos of Ipswich over the coming months.

We've just spent a "happy" hour trying to contact BT and sort out phone lines for the bungalow. Still have to try and get through to Talk Talk - Oh what fun!

Back Soon

Friday, 19 February 2016

My very last visit to the library van and other 'lasts'

Today was my last visit to the library van. When I take my books back it will be to a bricks and mortar  library and I'll enjoy sharing pictures of it with you as it's in a very odd 1930s (?) building. I know where it is and what it looks like but have never been in there. With the novelty of having a library within a mile - for the first time since 1980- I  maybe there quite often.

Anyway, here is what came home with me today, when on earth I'll get time to read them is good question, just look at the size of the Robert Galbraith ( aka J K Rowling) and A Notable Woman - Diaries written between 1925 and 1986. Edited by Simon Garfield. Those two alone should keep me busy for a while.

Click to enlarge

 Today I also cooked the last of the beetroot from the polytunnel and made the last lot of bread I shall bake in this house.
In between I've been packing boxes and beginning to run out of things to pack - and running out of boxes too. Col is still stuck in hospital suffering from low blood platelets, a possible infection, lack of sleep and grotty food. They need to get him really well ready for the next lot of chemo. I went to see him yesterday but won't go today as he has two other visitors "booked up".
Forms arrived from our solicitor this morning that need signing, both for selling and buying so things are moving along.

Welcome to D Voorhees - a new follower. Many thanks for comments about cars and good English.

Back soon

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The pretty blue car

So there I was, all by myself, driving a strange car between Ipswich and Knodishall at 11.30pm on Monday night

Why? I hear you ask

Well, it was all due to..................
Our car being in the garage for a new cam belt and the garage lending us a car so Col could get to hospital for his blood test.
Col being in hospital unexpectedly early because he had a nose bleed that wouldn't stop (Yuck - sorry but you did ask!)
A & E being jam-packed full of sick, injured and strange people each being accompanied by anything up to 5 - YES 5 people and Col having to wait for blood test results.

And finally it was decided that he should stay in hospital while I drove the neat snazzy bells and whistles pretty little blue car - no idea what make- home again.

Then yesterday afternoon I drove the same neat little car all the way back to Ipswich to take him all the stuff we forgot on Monday night, meet an estate agent boy at the bungalow so I could check measurements for carpets and cooker, arrange with huge complications how the carpet men would fit the carpets on the Friday before we move in (we have to sign an Undertaking?! collect key, return key and promise not to knock down any walls!). Finally driving home in the car which by now was no longer strange.

This morning I hope to take the pretty little blue car back to the garage and pick up our much bigger dark blue car.
Shame really, I shall miss its flashy bits like the green arrow telling me when to change gear and the mpg display that seem to go up and down at random.

Col is still stuck in hospital - it's all due to platelets apparently - or rather lack of same.

Ho Hum

Welcome to Lynn and Catrina who are new to following. Thank you for comments and I'm quite happy for people not to comment on the health things because I don't really like going on and on about them but without mentioning something I would be hard pressed to find anything to blog about.
Oh and apologies to English teachers who will cringe at my starting a post with 'so'!

Back Soon

Monday, 15 February 2016

Monday - catching up on all sorts

Thank you for the continuing support through lovely comments. As Marlene said in one of the comments - we do feel like we are on a merry go round, trying to hang on as it goes round and round between hospital and home! 
Welcome to 2 new people in the followers pictures - Chars and Edwina. I apologise in advance as you've started following just as my blog seems to have got stuck on just two subjects - Moving House and Cols Non Hodgkins Lymphoma! At the beginning it was full of self-sufficiency, frugal living and campsite news but our world has changed considerably since April 2013. Follower numbers are now back to where they were before Google started chucking out non google followers, although having said that things will probably go peculiar again.

Col is feeling well after the blood transfusion, it seems strange to think he gave 50 pints of blood between the ages of 18 and 55 and is now getting some back (not his own obviously!). He started giving blood when he worked for a builder in the village where he lived and the men would all go together - what a good idea that was. When he changed to working for the County Council he had to go in the evenings, I went once but felt very faint afterwards then of course I was pregnant, we moved out of town, had the children and it would have been complicated for us both to go. He got a lovely pen as a gift for his 50th pint, I came across  it when sorting and thought it might as well be used rather than sitting in a box in a drawer.

More things got cleared out this weekend as our son and future daughter in law came and collected a settee and also moved a single bed frame and mattress downstairs for us. We didn't think we could take it to the auction sale but I was reading through their on-line catalogue to check our stuff was listed and saw they had a pine bed and mattress on the list so maybe we will take it over there for next week. They have nearly 800 lots for sale today so I think we will be lucky if we get £10 each for our few bits of modern pine. We also delivered a few items of gardening stuff to our youngest as they now have an allotment in Leiston and they came and sorted which of their stuff that has been here since last May can be chucked. Col has organised a friend to come and collect the last lot of scrap during the first week of March and taken a photo of an old caravan chassis to list it on eBay. So little by little the list is getting ticked off.

Some good Rugby on TV over the weekend - England v Italy and some not so good - France v Ireland and did they say it was the 10th time in a row that Wales have beaten Scotland? We also watched the Snooker Shoot Out competition where they got 10 minutes to see how many balls they can pot. Just one chance to go through to the next round. It was interesting to see lots of new faces.

Two books have been added to Books Read 2016 over the couple of weeks. A new-to-me-author writing crime fiction = G. M. Malliet - Pagan Spring. Unfortunately I found it's number 3 of a series but there are two newer ones so they've been ordered. This is another author from the States writing books set in England, a fact given away by the spelling of 'gray' and the mention of 'scallions'! but a good read nevertheless. The other book was Angela Thirkell - The Brandons. One of her Barsetshire series first published in 1939. I love the look at Country Life of the period, where the gentry and the servants Knew Their Place, full of genteel snobbish people but looked at with gentle irony and flashes of humour that make you smile. Her books are gradually being reprinted by Virago Modern Classics, with 6 more due this year.

This morning I popped to Saxmundham  for bits of shopping - still trying to find things Col fancies eating, he has gone off muesli, our usual teabags and home made bread after this last chemo session, it may be different next time - makes shopping quite complicated!  Picked up a mail re-direction form from the post office too.

That's our news up to date

Back in a day or two

Saturday, 13 February 2016

This week

Sunday - Collected Col from hospital after Chemo
Wednesday - Driving Col  for long morning out to and from hospital for his blood test and waiting for results
Friday -  Ditto except for even longer out because they were in total chaos!
Today - Col has taken himself to hospital for blood transfusion because of yesterdays results.

In between packing boxes and shifting things

How wonderful it will be to be within a few miles of the hospital!

Back in a day or two

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Bun cases are smaller than they used to be - Discuss

I was rustling up a batch of sultana buns this morning and decided that since the invention of cup-cakes and the move to muffins, good old fashioned bun cases are smaller than they once were.

Another box packed, another cupboard sorted and 5 small bits of unwanted furniture over to Campsey Ashe ready for Mondays auction.

I don't know if it's the same where you've been but we've had a beautiful day here today. There was a bit of  spring in the air and a little warmth in the sun, providing you were indoors!
Outside the red catkins on the red hazel are all showing and the primroses under the quince trees are spreading.

Thanks for comments yesterday
Back in a day or two

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wednesday - A List

Thank you for all the interesting comments about so called artisan foods. I'm going to be searching the shelves for them from now on.......not to buy them.......but just to see what silly prices are charged!

We've been to hospital again this morning for what will be regular twice weekly blood tests for Col. Each test involves waiting for results and then any other treatment needed. We hope if he feels OK he will go on his own as I need to crack on with packing. We are still waiting for confirmation that solicitors will be able to manage a 9th March completion.
As well as packing there are all the other things to do
  • Taking some unwanted furniture to the auction market
  • Try and organise a carpet for the bungalow between exchange and completion
  • Taking the car in to get the Cam belt done (they are being so kind and loaning us a car for free while they do it, in case they can't get it done in one day)
  • Getting our youngest to sort out the stuff we have of theirs still in the shed after 10 months!
  • Finish loading the flat trailer with the garden and workshops things we will need
  • Finish loading the horsebox trailer with the garden and workshop things that we don't need
  • Baking
  • Breadmaking
  • Working out how to get a settee to our sons house
  • Notifying seemingly 1001 places of the new address
  • Organising final meter readings
  • Arranging redirection of post at the Post Office
  • Getting some photos done for new driving licenses
Oh heck, now I've written this down it looks even worse than I thought. It's 23 years since we moved and I'm sure it's got more complicated.

If I don't post everyday you will know why!

Back when I can

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Moving news and last nights TV

 from google images

We've been puzzling about moving dates because the original plan was March 16th which would be when Col should be due for a blood test  on the day before his next 3 day stay in hospital for chemo. We didn't see how we could ask to move it to an earlier date because our buyers were waiting to get some of the money they needed and moving later would clash with Easter. So it was a lovely surprise this morning when the Estate Agent phoned to ask if we would like to do completion on the 9th as our buyers had been able to arrange for the money earlier. That will make life so much easier as Col would be feeling well for a week in the new home to help me get things sorted before disappearing off to hospital. The removal company can do the 9th so as long as both lots of solicitors can organise everything that should be the day.

 Did you see last nights episode of  Supershoppers? They were looking at some of the so called "artisan products" available. Packed in rustic brown paper packages with labels that look home produced but they turn out to be made by some of the biggest companies, Dorset Cereals were one example. They are packed in small boxes with a 'country look' packaging. BUT they are owned ABF - Associated British Foods who also make Jordans cereal, dozens of other products and own Primark. Another product they featured were Teapigs - which I hadn't heard of but they are very posh teabags and come in small packs looking as if they were made in someones kitchen. BUT they are owned by Tata - one of the biggest companies in the world (they also produce steel and cars). The presenters put some Heinz baked beans into dinky kilner-type storage jars, tied them up with string and a paper label and took them out on the streets to see what people would be willing to pay for "artisan beans".............the answer?...........anything up to £5!
I suppose you pay you money and you take your choice but a lot of people are paying much more  just because of the packaging or because they assume they are buying from a small local company.

Last week they were talking about Gluten Free Foods. They found that many products labeled as GF and  found on the "Free From" shelves at a high price are often exactly the same as the ordinary product on the normal shelves which are gluten free anyway.

Once upon a time shopping was simple!

Back Tomorrow

Monday, 8 February 2016

Empty shelves, full boxes

My lovely bookshelves are looking very empty, almost all the 1000+  have been packed in boxes and sealed up. Left undone are a box for Col - in case he runs short of library books, a box of reference books and a box of cookery books. Still to pack are books I might want to read if I run out of library books - which seems unlikely! All the books will have to stay packed until we can replace the awful living room carpet and get some new book shelves for the bungalow

 After the days of driving backwards and forwards to Ipswich it was time for me to stay in and do some bread baking and I also made a blackberry and apple crumble for Col's dessert. Whether he will fancy eating it later is a different matter - although he says the nasty taste in his mouth is not too bad this time. He thought he might like a bacon, onion and tomato sauce with pasta for dinner so that's been rustled up.

I hope blogging friends over in Wales and the South of England are keeping safe during this windy weather, it's pretty rough here but nothing like what I saw of Aberystwyth and the South coast on the 1 O'clock news. From where Col was sitting at lunch time he could see out 6ft front fence swaying backwards and forwards in the wind. Somehow between us we managed to prop it up and Col hammered in some nails to hold the props tight against the trees on the sheltered side of the fence. I didn't want him to be doing stuff like this but he said if we hadn't the whole lot might have come down. By the time he'd finished he was shattered and had to lay down for several hours - Men!

The cat was pleased to see Col home again yesterday too.
 Back Tomorrow

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday sentences

I was well chuffed to find that link to Hoots Mon worked yesterday, I wonder how I did it? This is a constant discussion here when I struggle to work something out on t'internet and then have no idea how to do the same thing again! "But you just did it" he says.

Had a text message to say I could pick Col up at 10 this morning so he is now safely home, fast asleep and will be able to have a good nights rest after 4  broken nights. 

Good rugby games yesterday, Dylan Hartley managed his first game as captain without getting himself into trouble - thank goodness.

I heard we have storm Imogen on the way, over the south of the country this time, I'm glad Northern England and Scotland are having a break from storms.

Welcome to Wendywu and Pamela  who are new followers

Thank you to everyone for the kind comments, Col will read them all when he wakes up

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 6 February 2016

There's a moose, loose aboot this hoose.

I have no idea if this link above will work so sorry if it doesn't. Adding a youtube video may be beyond me!

I spent the first 10 minutes of watching Shetland last night trying to catch a mouse that Polly had brought in. It vanished somewhere even though she had it cornered for a second so I expect to be surprised by it dashing across the floor again tonight. This is when I miss our dog Lucy, she was a Collie cross and would never give up on catching a mouse even if it meant laying with her nose under a cupboard for hours.

Antimacassar - Now there's a word that I never thought I would hear in this house. 
According to the dictionary:-

    The definition of antimacassar is a protective cover for the arms and/or backs of upholstered furniture.
One of the annoying side effects of Col's cancer is a sweaty head! Sounds weird I know, but there you go.
It's particularly bad when he is asleep and he has had a towel on his pillow for weeks  Then we moved a leather recliner into the living room so he could lean back for a snooze and he needed a towel over the back of that too. But it kept falling off or slipping down so today I'm going to stitch a couple of  hand towels together on 3 sides so they can fit over the back of the recliner. Should keep me occupied while watching the rugby.

I went up to see him this morning and found him in the day room with two other men from his bay. They had had a really bad night as a poor man had had a bad reaction to his chemo which involved him shouting, swearing, thrashing about and threatening the nurses. Eventually the nurses managed to sedate him. Col said the man was quite OK until this weird episode in the night. So not a lot of sleep had by anyone last night.

Thank you for comments yesterday
Back Tomorrow - probably

Friday, 5 February 2016

Cheering up Friday

Phew, everything is back on track with Col's chemo. He rang me to say they had sorted him out and he should need picking up either Sunday night or Monday morning. They need to keep him in for a while after the two day treatment to make sure he is OK. I have to admit to being a bit worried and sleepless overnight and as he has 2 visitors lined up for today thought it best to stay at home rather than doing the 50 mile round trip again. I'll go early tomorrow and take the things he needs for his extra days.

When we went for the hospital blood test on Tuesday Col 'hovered' on the car park while I dashed along to Lakeland, which seems to be the only place to buy the tins of cheats marmalade nowadays. Got home and found I hadn't got enough sugar so called in to get some yesterday and made up the two batches of  marmalade this morning - one lemon and one orange and now all the preserving equipment can be packed into a box.

While in Tesco a bunch of their £1 daffodils flew into my trolley. I cut some of the variegated shrub we have - the one that's related to holly but without the prickles - and shoved them in the blue and white jug.
They really cheer up a grey day, and it's been dismal here today - grey and drizzley, cold and windy.

As it's Friday have I any frugal-type things to mention this week?
Just a few
  • Mended a hole in a pair of my leggings
  • Home made bread all week
  • Burning free wood all week
  • Avoided buying anything from charity shops etc
  • Free hair cuts for both of us
  • Got the hospital parking voucher for cancer patients so we can park 10 times for £3 instead of £1 an hour. 
  • Filled in forms to claim any benefits he will be entitled to
  • Made a very (and I mean Very!) small chicken stretch to make 4 + 2 + 2 soup meals.
More of Dickensian and Shetland tonight and 6 Nations Rugby starts tomorrow - look forward to watching, it doesn't seem a year since I said that.

Welcome to toni1nana, a new follower and thanks for so many comments yesterday.


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Would you believe it

Col had 2ml of the chemo and promptly had an acute allergic reaction - they had to turn it off quick. Now all the specialists will have to confer tomorrow to see what they can give him. He'll be in hospital all weekend, maybe more.
Ho Hum!

Back soon

Stage 2

" Ring at 8.30am Thursday morning " they said, to check there is a bed available. Then  at 3pm Wednesday afternoon  we get a phone call to say " can you come in at 7pm tonight?" "Oh bother" we said as everything was ready for cooking  for youngest and her OH to come round to a roast chicken dinner! The hospital didn't actually do anything Wednesday night but just got him in early to make sure he had the bed.
Perhaps it's best not to make too many plans around the chemo dates. This time the chemotherapy treatment is 4 lots spread over 2 days, which is why he has to stay in hospital. He may be home late Friday night or sometime Saturday - hopefully in time to watch the start of the Six Nations Rugby.

To make up for their missed meal, this morning I delivered some chicken and bread sauce ( our youngest Loves bread sauce)  and the lemon meringue pie I'd made for dessert, to the opticians where she works. Which she and the others there found very funny! While I was out delivering I popped down to Aldeburgh to see the sea and peruse the charity shops, no photos - it was too cold to hang around and threatening rain too.

Thank you for lovely comments yesterday

Back Tomorrow - if there's anything to write about

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


741.6092 is the Dewey Decimal number of the book I've just finished but  it's wrong because 741 is the classification number for drawing and although this book is by a lady who is a fabric designer and illustrator it's actually a memoir of her very strange upbringing in Vermont during the 1970s. I have no idea where I heard about it, perhaps on someones blog? but the library had a copy.
 The author is Heather Ross and it's called 'How to Catch a Frog and other stories of family, love, dysfunction, survival and DIY'. It was an enjoyable read about a two sisters growing up in the country, how their life was shaped by poverty and the mother who couldn't cope, letting them run wild to swim and play. Funny but sad with some craft  and DIY ideas thrown in.Worth a read. But I think it should be in the biographies at 920ROS to make it more accessible.

 Yesterday we went to hospital for Col's pre-chemo blood test which will happen before each session of chemotherapy. We also saw the MacMillan nurse who advises about benefits and she said depending on how poorly Col is as the sessions progress will determine if we can get a benefit called PIP and if he is unwell then I will also be able to claim carers benefit. That's as well as the £73 a week support allowance. None of these are means tested.

I feel really embarrassed  about comments and  bad about making Sheila cry when reading yesterdays post. We are quite matter of fact about the whole cancer thing because of the amount of cancer in both our families, the diagnoses was a relief and not a surprise because it meant treatment would start.And I always have my hair short, so no sacrifice necessary! Regarding our daughter's ovarian cancer at age 18. It was spotted and treated very quickly, we hardly had time to worry, after surgery she had chemo but only as a just-in-case measure. It was an unusual type of cancer and as she was so young  had all the junior doctors in to see her, making notes for their studies. Her case was also written up for a medical journal. Although she lost some hair she was never ill before or after the treatment and had very few days off work. She will be 29 this November and is fit and well.

Many thanks for all the supportive comments

Back tomorrow.........probably

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It's a fact - people having chemotherapy usually have hair loss.
In preparation, last week I cut Col's hair with the number 2 comb and yesterday went all over again with no comb. Just in time, as he found he could grab hold of bits and pull them out.
To keep him company he then cut my hair with the 4 comb - not quite as short but short enough!

Looking at the colour of the hair on the floor you would think we had  been shearing a badger!
Our youngest daughter had ovarian cancer when she was 18. She lost most of her hair and wore a scarf for the duration. When her hair came back it was darker, thicker and curlier than it had been before. If Col's hair comes back thicker and darker he will be well pleased!

Back Tomorrow, I guess

Monday, 1 February 2016

Old Things and Bird Watching

We don't have any antiques in our house, just one or two old things (plus me and him of course!)

This is my favourite
 It's just a small chest of drawers about 7 inches tall that I've had forever. I don't know where it came from but I believe it was made by someone in the family before I was around. All I remember is using it for plastic dolls cutlery when me and my sister played house. Sometime much later I remember buying and fixing the little brass knobs as before that the only way to get the drawers open was to tip them out. The key is even older and it came from the very old wattle and daub cottage we renovated in 1983. The key lives in the drawers along with random foreign and old coins, fuses and picture hooks.It deserves being used for something better.

Here's something much younger. This little fella crashed into the window as I stood here making a cuppa. It clung on - stunned - long enough for me to go and get my camera and take this picture.
I'm surprised we didn't have more crashes because our neighbour is away, her feeders must be empty and all the blue tits in Knodishall are round at our place eating us out of house and home!
Col didn't sit outside to do the RSPB Garden Bird watch as he did in 2015 but watched from 3 different windows and over the hour saw 

Blue tit 30+
Great Tit 30+
Coal Tit 2
Longtail Tit 6
Greenfinch 2
Chaffinch 12
Goldfinch 9
 Redpoll 2
Blackbird 8
Field fare 2
Wren 6
Robin 4
Dunnock 2
Green Woodpecker 1
Greater Spotted woodpecker 3
Collard Dove 2
Pigeon 6
Jay 1
Magpie 2
Kestrel 1
Sparrow hawk 1
Pheasant 1
Jackdaw 2
Rook 2
Carrion Crow 6

Today the garden is much quieter so our neighbour must be home and has re-filled all her feeders.

Welcome to SusanRD and Christine Grant who have pushed the follower numbers up to 336, thank you for comments yesterday and welcome back to Bridget and Julee two favourite bloggers who've been AWOL for months!

Back again ASAP


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