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melting but not down

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

back on the treadmill

Mum is a lot better and is probably going to be discharged today. I have asked the hospital to send someone from the care team to see her this morning, can't remember the proper name, in the hope that it won't all be down to me to make sure she eats/drinks/takes her tablets once she's back home. I'm exhausted. I still have a cough and the thought of several days sitting around at mum's listening to all the old gripes fills me with despair.

I know its a dreadful thing to say, but when mum looked at her worst before going into hospital this time, I hoped it was the beginning of the end. For selfish reasons, yes, but also for mum - she has constantly said she wished the stroke last year had finished her off, she doesn't enjoy being confined to the house with only my four visits a week to break the tedium, she does nothing to distract herself and is bored and lonely and doesn't want the responsibility of running a home but is adamant she won't go into a care home. She can't live with us - couldn't manage the stairs to the loo and doesn't want to be around my husband, to mention just a few reasons. She says she wishes she'd had a bigger family. Me too. Me too.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

the post with no name

because I'm too shattered to think one up. Went back to bed at 9.30 this morning. Didn't wake up until 4pm. Greeted by "I thought I'd been abandoned" when daughter and I visited mum tonight. She wasn't hooked up to the drip but was a bit confused - kept asking where different items were, as though she were at home, not in hospital. Still coughing but not as badly, I think. Still poor appetite and not drinking much (deliberately, so she doesn't have to ask the nurse to take her to the toilet). No indication yet of when she'll be going home. Dreadfully boring visit as mum not that chatty but felt we had to stay anyway. She expects me to take time off work to look after her when she's home. Goodness only knows how this is going to pan out. I am not looking forward to 2009. Bah humbug.

Thanks to all who have sent their good wishes. Much appreciated x

the longest day

And to think, I used to dread Saturdays for the tedium of a paltry few hours traipsing round Morrisons. Yesterday morning I returned to mum's. She was still in bed and looking pale and exhausted. She wouldn't eat and could only sip at cups of tea or a glass of Sprite. Trying to get her to take her usual medication (5 tablets) and an antibiotic was out of the question. My son and daughter arrived to add their support but not even that had the expected effect - mum no longer seemed to have the strength or inclination to chat, she just slumped into her pillows and dozed between coughing bouts.

I phoned the NHS helpline at 2.30pm. At 4.30pm an on-call doctor arrived and after examining mum, he called an ambulance to take her to hospital and receive treatment for her chest infection. The ambulance came about an hour later. Mum hated the idea of hospital but thought they were going to give her some magic medicine and send her home. The hours rolled by, interspersed by various members of hospital staff asking the same questions and jabbing needles in mum. Lovely daughter came for a while (beloved son had had to return to Nottingham to work a night shift) and mum had a chest x-ray and was attached to a saline drip. She coughed and complained incessantly. I didn't blame her. I was pretty cheesed off myself. We had to wait until after midnight to see a doctor - apparently two had phoned in sick and there were only three doctors covering A & E and all the medical wards! New antibiotics were prescribed and administered through the drip and a thoroughly fed-up mum was told she could not go home yet but would probably have to stay in hospital for a couple of days.

I finally said goodnight at 12.35 am. The taxi that took me to mum's to collect my car did not have a working seat belt in the front passenger seat. I was beyond caring. Home, where abandoned husband was waiting up for me, ah bless. Bed. Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep. And here we are again.

Saturday, 27 December 2008


i have diecided fdi shwalll t

Where is that damn scribbler? Ah good. Sit here and type what I dictate, keyboards aren't made to cope with talons.

The woman is too weary to update her miserable little online ramblings and I doubt she would give me full credit for the torments I have heaped upon her this Michaelmas so I have decided to do the job myself, again.

My first act of genius was to dash her hopes of an 'all the family round the table' Christmas dinner. With one tap of my life sapping finger, I sucked the strength from the mother and cast her into her cot, resisting all persuasion to attend the festivities. However, the woman was not sufficiently cast down by this; she made her mother comfortable in a warm bed, gave her life preserving tablets and made her drink soup before joining her husband and offspring for an enjoyable meal. She then returned with the grandson to cheer up the mother. Insolent wretch.

I upped my game. During the night I blew a rank stream of bile-laden breath into the mother's nostrils, it wound it's putrid way through the tunnels and caverns of her weak little body, destroying her appetite and loosening her bowels. The woman now has her hands full, attending the sick bed three times a day, dealing with dirty laundry, trying but miserably failing to persuade the mother to eat, all the time keeping up a cheerful appearance to mask the despondency beneath. See how the woman's heavy eyelids droop, how her chest heaves with each paroxysm of coughing.

The woman thought she could outwit me with a plan to make her mother feel better. Knowing the old lady could not stand under the shower but badly needed a thorough wash, she ran her a warm bath. I let her believe all was well until the old dear was in the water. Then I filled her thoughts with trepidation and made the smooth, hard floor of the bath press unmercifully into her bony bottom. The mother would not loosen her hold on the bath handles so could not wash herself and all the time bewailed her discomfort. The woman had the devil of a time ha ha ha! yes, you can leave that in, getting the mother out of the bath, she almost slipped through her soapy grasp at one point, who knew such a tiny body could weigh so heavy?

I could see I had a powerful adversary - the mother was looking a little better after the bath, refreshed, clean hair, warm and weary. While the woman returned home and the mother slept, I whispered in her ear 'you have no appetite, you will not rise' and so it has been. The woman prepares to return again to the sick bed. I shall relax now, and admire my handiwork.

That will do secretary. Fetch me a pitchfork and a sinner or two, I am in need of distraction.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me...

You're slipping, my spiteful little sprite. She has overcome her feelings of filial guilt and slumbers in the warmth of her marital bed.
So sorry Master. I will attend to it at once .... see, she wheezes and coughs and is driven from her bed in the early hours to escape her mate's stentorian snoring. She seeks solace on the sofa downstairs, wrapped in a nylon quilt.

Your plan has backfired, my poisonous little prankster. She finds comfort in the cosiness of the quilt and the cradling of the couch against her back. She may yet sleep.
Fear not Master, I have a plan. I shall wake the hound and fill it's mind with urgent need. She will have to rise to let it out and wait until it's return.

Very good, my little mischief maker. But she is now settling down again and I no longer hear wheezing like the breeze across a thousand rusty violin strings. You seem to be losing your touch. Perhaps I should find a less challenging subject for you, the fishmonger's cat, for example.
No Master, please, I beg you! Give me one more chance to prove myself.
Very well then, but I warn you, failure is not an option.

You will be so pleased with me Master. See how she sweats beneath the nylon quilt and rails against the torment of a thousand fire ants, see how she scratches until sore and applies unguents to no avail. She paces the floor, pale of face and bleary of eye. Soon it will be dawn!
You have done well, my malicious little mosquito. But tell me, what does she now?
She has taken an 'anti-histamine' tablet Master, and is making a cup of tea. See how wide awake she is!

Dim-witted demon! Incompetant imp! Does she cough or wheeze? Does she scratch or roam the house?
No Master.
And why do we not see these manifestations of my will?
She has turned on the computer Master.
Concentration on blogging and the tablet beginning to work is taking her mind off her travails, Master. But she has had only moments of sleep in the last 3 hours! Be merciful Master - I shall try harder!

It is too late. She will soon be weary enough to sleep. You have failed miserably. Make your way to Billingsgate.
Master, please!

(sigh) I suppose I shall have to see to this one myself. I'll let her dwell a while in a false sense of security until, in a few hours' time, she has to play the dutiful daughter again.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha


t'was the night before Christmas....

....and the plan was:

  1. hit the ground running Wednesday morning
  2. wrap Christmas presents
  3. visit mum, get her to eat some lunch
  4. go home and clean up the little bedroom for beloved son
  5. hoover and tidy right through
  6. go round to a friend's to celebrate her birthday
  7. back to mum's, shower and wash her hair ready for Christmas Day dinner tomorrow
  8. return home to greet beloved son's arrival
  9. chill

....and the reality was:

  1. gave up trying to sleep through wheezing and coughing and got up at daft o'clock
  2. Christmassy paper, sellotape, nowt fancy
  3. mum in bed, wouldn't eat but had a cup of tea. Opened and liked (!) her Christmas presents (a large bottle of Tia Maria, a box of Thornton's chocolates and a National Geographic calendar - she didn't like the wildlife one I got her last year, too many ugly animals)
  4. made a start on spare room but didn't get to
  5. or
  6. because mum phoned to say she was coughing blood. Phoned the NHS helpline before leaping into the car and gave as much info as I could but they wanted me at mum's to answer more questions. Christmas Eve traffic aargh!
  7. gave mum's symptoms and medical history and was advised I should take her to A&E as it could be either a chest infection or, much more seriously, a pulmonary embolism. Didn't mention the last bit to mum, I could hardly pronounce it anyway. Got mum dressed, drove to hospital and after interminable waits between booking in, seeing a nurse, seeing a doctor, getting an x-ray and seeing the doctor for the results, we were told that there didn't appear to be anything obviously wrong with her lungs. Antibiotics were handed over and back we went to mum's with the instruction to contact her GP to make an outpatient's appointment at the hospital for further investigation. Did I mention that she told me she had coughed up blood clots just this afternoon but admitted to the doctor that it had been going on for two days??!! She hates hospitals - she spent a long and horrid time in a few during the war undergoing primitive treatment for TB and her local hospital, the one we never seem to be away from, is the same hospital in which dad died. She dreads having to be admitted again. Its only a year since she was last in for a month, after a stroke. Long story short, she seemed brighter once home again. I have promised to go round tomorrow morning to help her shower and wash her hair before we join the rest of the family for Christmas Day dinner.
  8. Now this is a good one. As if all the above weren't enough stress for one day, beloved son phones on the morning to say he's getting a lift home from a friend and will arrive around 7pm. Then he phones to say that at short notice, his employer wants him on call for Boxing Day, ie a two and a half hour drive away, even though he had long since arranged to do a 48 hour shift over New Year so that he could have Christmas at home with us. Then he phones to say he will have to stay in Nottingham as the whole thing is just impossible. He is angry and tearful. I try to find comforting things to say. Then he phones to say that his boss has sorted things out and he can come home and stay until the 27th! He still gets his lift back but with all the stress, forgets to bring his Christmas presents with him. lol. bless.
  9. Have sort of chilled now. Tomorrow the madness starts again.

PS Am I a horrid person for not stopping with mum tonight? I feel guilty now. Seems like I'm always piggy in the middle...

mum<--------m_e__e___e____e-------->husband, son & daughter

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Rumours of my demise have been slightly exaggerated

I have spent the last couple of days doing my best zombie impression. Mustn't grumble - not eating and sweating glowing means I've lost two pounds! Phoned in sick to work this morning and finally got out of bed just before lunchtime. After a much needed shower went over to mum's to check she was still in the land of living. Lovely daughter stepped into the breach yesterday - mum had phoned to say she was ill (she has caught my flu) but I felt far too poorly to drive over. LD went in my place and made mum comfortable, what a star - and on her birthday too! (27 - where do the years go?) Mum was in bed when I arrived today but she didn't seem too bad, she was quite cheerful and I managed to persuade her to drink some tea and eat some toast. I bought her some Vick for her chest and back (we're both coughing like chain smokers) and a Gazette which she kept picking up and reading - good sign, I think. I put an extra quilt on the bed and turned the heating on so I think she'll be ok until I go round again tomorrow.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

I opened the window and in flew ensa

How can something so pretty make me feel so rough? And I wish now I hadn't spent a couple of hours this morning trailing round trying to finish my Christmas shopping. I did try, really I did, but no-one wanted to sell me what I wanted or at least they wouldn't let me take the one in the shop away. They wanted me to order one and wait for delivery some time in January. Surely a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush in the current credit crunch? Oh well, guess Mr Universe will have to put up with the coffee table for a bit longer.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Once more into the surgery, dear friends...

Huband's chest x-ray results disclosed yesterday - nothing wrong with his heart or lungs! He says he can't believe it, they must have mixed him up with someone else. He is, however, officially a fat bastard, having a 20" neck and weighing over 18 stones. He couldn't believe that either!

I described husband's poor sleep pattern to the doctor who agreed it was a strong indicator of sleep apnoea, so now that's two of us with appointments at the sleep clinic! The doctor brought to our attention the government guidelines released to GPs yesterday that patients suffering from sleep apnoea and who may have experienced falling asleep at the wheel (both of us!) are required to tell the DVLA and stop driving until their condition is under control. Gulp. It only affects me on long journeys so I think I'll pass on that one, especially as my boss has said I can take the train for distant meetings. Husband is going to start working locally in January so I think he should be ok too.

Cough, cough. I think I have a chest infection, just in time for Christmas. To quote Mr C. Hell, esquire, bah feckin humbug!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Bits and pieces

Went round to look at the fire surround this morning. Dark wood with a turned rail and adjustable width. It was a little too wide at it's smallest so the donor is going to ask her husband to take about 3" off it for me. When its done, I plan on painting the fireplace tiles silver with a black mantelpiece and the hearth surround black. Trust me, it will be fine, lol. So far the ....Freecyclers I've met have been really friendly, interesting people. Restores your faith in humankind!

Mum was in a jolly mood tonight (thud) and has decided she does want to have Christmas dinner with us after all. Well thank goodness for that. I have resigned myself to cooking dinner next Christmas - I'll try to get a drop-leaf table from Freecycle for the back room and hopefully by next year, I'll have redecorated the kitchen.

I forgot to mention that of course the whole point of local Freecycle groups is to save perfectly good stuff from going into landfill and to reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing duplicate goods with all the associated transport pollution. I offered a rusty set of fire irons today and four people want them!

what happens when you follow googled advice....

....on choosing a reputable acupuncturist (ie check their qualifications, ask how long they've been practising and whether they specialise in any treatments for particular complaints, ie arthritis.)

Me: Hello, I found you on the net. I'd like to arrange some sessions with an acupuncturist for my husband, its Mary isn't it?
Clinic: Mary's not with us any more, she retired. Anne has joined us now.
Me: Oh, has she been doing it a while, is she experienced? thinks - "that didn't sound right".
Clinic: laughing Well she isn't as old as Mary but she's a good acupuncturist.
Me: Does she specialise in anything? thinks - "OMG, that's even worse!"

In a desperate bid to regain a modicum of respectability I explain that my husband has osteo-arthritis of the spine so I was wondering whether Anne had dealt with that problem before. I decided against mentioning that the sessions were to be my Christmas present to him. That would have just added to the whole 'I'd like to rent a professional woman for my husband' wink-wink-nudge-nudge scenario.

Anne wasn't at work today. I said I'd phone her tomorrow. I'm not sure if I dare!

Monday, 15 December 2008



Its 17:41 and I'm still waiting for the carpet fitters to arrive. Wish I hadn't taken the day off work now. I've been assured that they are coming and will be arriving in half an hour. I just hope they aren't too shattered to make a good job of laying my carpet. Ah well, I have had time to do this to the front room ----->
(Must buy a good digital camera, the mobile just doesn't rise to the challenge.)
18:22 - still no sign.
18:30 - at last, four of them.
Now its bang, bang behind me and bark, bark in front - have shut the dog in the kitchen to keep her out of harm's way.
20:00 - sigh, stairs just about done, hall still to go. I made them all tea. Bang, bang. Bang, bang. Oh, and they didn't bring enough different types of metal joining strip thingies. So now I have one (old) silver one under daughter's door and gold ones everywhere else. And now its all gone quiet. I think they're all outside, 'avin a faaag. And I'm not the last on their list so some poor sod is still waiting for their carpet.
21:15 - they departed for their next job about half an hour ago and I've just finished hoovering up all the bits. Mum has given me special dispensation not to go round tonight so I might just get the avant garde Xmas tree and the banister garland and lights up tonight. Need a breather though. Watch this space (or probably the one above it).

should I be worried?

Just received another appointment for the sleep clinic. I was expecting the surgery to phone me and tell me to see my doctor for the results of the oximeter test but the hospital has called me back. Perhaps they were concerned by the leaps in my pulse rate in the first half hour ... I was reading Tractors and every so often had to reach for something on the bedside table/go to the loo/rearrange the pillows - I noticed that the pulse reading leapt whenever I did something even mildly strenuous! Hope the hospital doesn't think I was up to anything, ahem, stimulating.

lady (?!) in waiting...

...for the person who saw my cotton cones on Freecycle to call and collect them, any minute now, and for the carpet fitters to bring my new carpet and transform my hall, stairs and landing. I've turned off the TV so I don't miss the knock at the door (can't rely on deaf dog any more) and reckoned the quietest thing I could do would be to blog. lol. I've just offered a huge bag of mosaic tiles on Freecycle, they've been sitting all forlorn in the shed for years, victims of my fickle intention to rejuvanate an old table top which has long since gone to the tip.

I have lots to do today - put the Christmas decorations up once the carpet is down (the back room tree will look better in the hall, I've decided); make a flower garland for in front of the back room hearth to disguise its tattiness (until, hopefully, it can be replaced by the *Freecycle hearth surround*); clean up the kitchen and, if all goes well, go and look at the *...* before I have to go to mum's.

A lovely couple have just been for the cotton cones and took away the mosaic tiles! I am loving this caring, sharing community thing!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

I spit in the eye of rampant capitalist consumerism, I spit in it!

Do it! Its wonderful! The ultimate in green bargain hunting! I've just joined Freecycle - yesterday I offered 6 large cones of cotton thread that I'll never use and already somebody wants them! AND I found someone with a hearth surround that, if it fits, will disguise the tatty tile-free edges of my hearth! AND I've just put up a 'wanted' post of my own for a coat stand! I can see that some time soon I shall be in danger of thinking charity shops too expensive. (Only joking - will still enjoy rummaging and contributing to good causes.) There are Freecycle groups all over the world so you've no excuse. Sign up today and start de-cluttering!

mountains out of molehills

One of the many great things about my daughter is that she may be quick to take offence but she doesn't bear a grudge. She's too sunny to sulk. We had a laugh about the pudding incident this morning and balance has been restored.

I'm feeling brighter too. I hadn't realised how low I'd been over the last few years until I found myself getting quite enthused about decorating the house for Christmas - hall, front AND back room! I could never be bothered before and quite happily let others get on with it. This year I've turned into the Yuletide fascist and know exactly how I want it done and woe betide anyone who interferes. The hall carpet gets laid tomorrow and that will inspire me to start putting up the trees and garlands. I'll post pictures when finished.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly falalala-lah, falal-lal-lah!

I forgot to mention my latest charity shop bargains, snaffled yesterday. For less than £8, I bought:
- one gorgeous cut glass basket shaped vase, complete with glass stem holder
- a fully functioning wall-mountable telephone (to replace the existing broken one in the kitchen)
- a pretty little glass jar with a brass rim and handle, ideal for the front room with a tea-light inside
- a sweet little white pot of silk pink roses and leaves that go brilliantly with the chintz curtains in the back room

Saturday, 13 December 2008

ok. So I'm a crap daughter, a crap wife and now a crap mother

My lovely thoughtful daughter made the tea for us tonight and said she'd bought Xmas pudding and brandy sauce just for me and her dad. After the main meal I went to the fridge and found the pudding next to the brandy sauce. It was toffee pudding - I assumed (yes, I know) she had mistaken the packaging for Xmas pud. I nuked it, doused it and served it.

Daughter quite rightly outraged. The Xmas puds - 2 small ones - were on a different shelf in the fridge. She doesn't like Xmas pudding. The toffee pudding was for her. It must have felt like such a slap in the face and there was nothing I could do about it but apologise. It wasn't accepted which made me feel cross as well as guilty. (I have re-apologised and I think we're friends again. Phew.)

Do you ever have days when you can do nothing right? Sometimes life feels like such hard work and more and more I am thinking what a relief it would be to be out of it. Its ok, I'm hanging in there, but I can't help wondering whether I would ever get so low that I'd be beyond caring how it would affect others.

sinking feeling

For the last few years we've gone out for Christmas dinner. I find it a liberating alternative to getting up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day and planning the dinner like a military operation (most stressful - I'm not a natural cook) and bringing mum over to ours (even more stressful - I always anticipate disapproval and its awkward working out when to broach her going home). Mum always says she hates Christmas, can't wait for it to be over and wishes we wouldn't invite her to the dinner because she can't eat much and its a waste of money. The year before last I got so fed up with her claiming she'd rather stay at home on her own because ....

she had an embarrassing cough

such a tiny appetite

nothing to wear

her hair was a mess

(She later let slip to my son that the real reason was she didn't like my husband)

....that I called her bluff and let her get on with it, taking the kids to visit after we'd had our meal. The guilt ruined my enjoyment of mine though. Last year we brought her out of hospital (she had a stroke at the beginning of December 2007) to join us for Christmas Day. We didn't order a separate meal for her but asked for a plate and each contributed what she fancied. I'd planned on doing the same this year, despite her usual protestations.

Last night my husband declared that this was the last time he would go out for Christmas Day dinner. He just wants to be able to lie in and relax instead of having to get up and get ready to go to the pub.

Great. So next year its a choice between:
  • Feeling guilty because I've left my husband at home on Christmas Day so that I can have a relatively stress-free dinner with my mum (and son/daughter who will also have to make a difficult decision about which meal they'll attend) or
  • Feeling super stressed because of the whole cooking/mum at my house thing (and goodness knows where we're going to eat - there's only the kitchen which is cold in the winter and needs redecorating) AND resentful because him indoors will be in the land of nod while I'm rushing about like a blue-arsed fly

They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you. (Philip Larkin)

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

going down

Still shattered and my eyes feel as though I left them out in the Sahara overnight. I have lots of time-limited stuff to complete today and I'm working until 8pm. I don't know how I'm going to get through the day without grinding to a halt. Tomorrow I have to drive to Leeds and back for a meeting. If I don't post any more, you'll know I fell asleep at the wheel.

PS The Leeds meeting has been cancelled, but not before I spent all morning writing the report I was going to submit in lieu of my absence. I'm so tired today that I asked my boss to excuse my dicing with death on the motorway tomorrow. I have special dispensation in future to use trains and taxis, wahey! Did I mention how knackered I feel? I decided I couldn't face working late and left at 4.30pm today, unprecedented for me - I'm usually the last to leave. My knees are feeling the strain too, climbing stairs is slow torture and I just twisted my right knee sitting down - felt like a chinese burn.

I went to the shops at lunchtime for some fresh air and food. I ended up joining the RSPB. No, I don't know either.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

don't know why I'm even bothering to post this

Tired, tired, tired.
Usual mix of okay and aaargh round at mum's. Escaped before she got into full martyr flow.
Ever tried a banana, fig and BACON sandwich?
Supervision for two hours this afternoon, I yawned a lot.
Delivered oxygen thingy back to hospital, wonder when I'll get the results?
Am going to put the kettle on, watch a bit of TV and have an early night tonight.
Yes I am.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Busy day

09:00 - Respiratory Unit at my local hospital. Filled in a questionnaire about falling asleep in different circumstances and was given this----->
to wear while asleep tonight. Because of course, I will have no trouble at all nodding off with a clothes peg on my hand. Hmph. Apparently this contraption measures the levels of oxygen in my blood during the night and can tell if I'm breathing properly or not.
Presumably if it comes off while I'm asleep, the computer will think I've died.

10:30 - paid the balance on the hall/stairs/landing carpet that will be delivered next Monday!!! (I tried to find a sample on the web but couldn't..its black with pale grey flecky bits.)
10:45 - mooched around B&Q looking for a tasteful stained glass window transfer/shoe cupboard/Xmas decoration for the back room....failed miserably.
11:00 - tried two blouses and a black leather skirt on in a charity shop (why are their changing rooms so awful? Mine was like a cupboard full of junk with barely fastenable louvre doors. Most disconcerting.) Verdict - too small, too dingy and oh dear me no.

11:30 - home for lunch and a bit of blogging.

13:00 - back to the shops and nearly had a coronary lugging a 7' Xmas tree from one end of the high street to a charity shop in the middle, stopping every 15 yards or so to lean it up against anything handy while I got my breath back. Not one person offered to help. Bastards. Anyhoo, deposited tree and a bag of surplus clothing at the shop and while there, bought Eric Sykes' autobiography as I thought mum might find it interesting. From other shops also bought some Mother Pucker lipsticks for daughter's birthday and a light fitting thingy for the one that got lost when the hall was decorated.

14:00 - had my hair cut! Bit startling, like Louise Brooks ---->
only with a lighter and slightly longer fringe.
15:00 - one last mooch then home again, washed some pots, generally faffed about, putting off the evil moment....
17:00 - went to mum's. Can't fault the good mood, could have done without the in-laws-from-hell stories, again. Its bizarre, most of these stories are at least 50 years old yet she tells them as though they all happened last week and she's still hopping mad. She curled her lip at the Eric Sykes book but I had a cunning plan. I showed her some of the photos and read a few funny extracts out. I could tell she was warming to it, especially when she saw the photo of him in his RAF uniform (mum was in the WAAF during the war). She decided it might not be so bad and was happily flicking through it when I made my hour-earlier-than- usual escape, pleading tiredness.
20:00 arrived home. Will stop computering soon, eyes tired. Think I'll have a cup of tea, put the mouse trap on my finger, go to bed and read a few chapters of Tractors.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

tail end rant

..and mum is not that keen about most of her own family. She's particularly scathing about her younger sister and her father, in fact I was an adult before I discovered that he had lived 5 miles away from us for the first 9 years of my life - I'd grown up with the impression that he had died before I was born. She did like her brother, my late uncle J - a great character. He was in poor health but always positive and full of fun and over the last few years I've grown very fond of his son, my lovely cousin D ------>
its been like finding the brother I'd always wanted. However, mum has decided she doesn't like him either, having chosen to believe that he lied about having the flu last Christmas as an excuse not to visit her in hospital. This has meant I haven't felt able to visit him and his family on my own, again because mum would take umbrage. Instead we keep in touch by text and e-mail.

You think I'm exaggerating/paranoid? A week ago D treated my husband and I to front row seats for a stage show of 'Allo Allo' in which he played Le Clerc (very good he was too). Foolishly I told my mum about this, after the fact. She was most put out, asking accusingly had I been going round to D's house without her and why wasn't she invited to the play? I could have said 'because you don't like him or my husband and would probably have whinged all night'. Instead I explained that she wouldn't have been able to hear what was going on or sit in an uncomfortable seat for 2 hours (let alone hang out in the bar for another hour afterwards. The Thornton's chocoalte bar decorated with 'Le Clerc' in white icing that D wanted her to have, is still untouched in her pantry, as is the apple from our tree I gave her 3 weeks ago.) I'm sure she still thinks I'm sneaking about behind her back, but then she's never really trusted me. Don't get me started on adolescence onwards!

I'll tell you this, when my mum has gone to the great bungalow in the sky, I shall get back in touch with my relatives and introduce them to my son and daughter (who have also been denied an extended family). I hope it won't be too late.

Speaking of 'too late', its 04:17... think I'd better go back to bed!

Prozac comes to the rescue

If it weren't for the magic pills I think I would have spontaneously combusted on Saturday. Lulled into a false sense of security by mum's good mood on Thursday I wasn't expecting the 4' 7" of fury that greated me on my arrival. She'd received her gas bill and was outraged at the amount due. *What had happened was that after several estimated bills (the meter reader tends to knock and run), I rang in the correct reading which was considerably higher than expected, which meant that the direct debit hadn't paid as much off the total as usual.* Mum was convinced that a) I'd read the meter incorrectly so it was my fault, b) the gas company was trying to fleece her and c) they were going to help themselves to the outstanding amount (about £180) from her bank account, none of which were true. Even with her hearing aid in, I couldn't get it through to her that a) I was perfectly capable of reading four numbers off a display and passing them on, b) her gas provider was not trying to diddle her - the bill was the result of *--* and c) the direct debits would continue as usual to chip away at the amount owed. There was much muttering of how her (now deceased) saintly neighbour (a man of course) would have sorted it out and a lot of 'everything happens to poor unlucky me' diatribe. I managed not to lose my cool but resigned myself to a miserable day.

What do you know - no sooner had we set off for Morrisons, than Mrs Hyde was replaced by Doctor Jekyll. Smiles and jokes and pleasant chat! I was used to riding out mum's moods but usually it took a lot longer than this, I was hoping it was a new development that would be the norm from now on. I relaxed. Fatal. Back at the ranch all was going swimmingly until the telephone rang. Expecting the usual nuisance cold call, I was pleasantly surprised to find my Auntie B on the other end of the phone. I haven't spoken to her since my dad's funeral in 1999. I haven't spoken to any of his relatives since the funeral. And not for decades before that. The reason? Mum can't stand them. When I was still a child, she stopped going with dad and me to nana and granddad's every weekend to meet up with the aunts, uncles and cousins. This meant that I stopped too, fearing her displeasure for choosing to spend time with them instead of her. Consequently I have been denied the pleasure and support of an extended family for most of my life. Anyway to get back to Auntie B. She was writing her Xmas cards and wanted to check mum was still at her address as she knew she had been in hospital this time last year. We had a pleasant chat and I went to put mum on the phone as she was hovering close by. When I said (shouted) that it was B and handed her the phone, she pulled a 'nasty taste' face and refused to say anything. I told Auntie B mum didn't have her hearing aid in (fib). Of course this brief contact from the other side started mum off on her usual rant against B and all the slights she imagines she's endured from her over the years. There was no appeasing her so I did the sensible thing and took my leave. I indulged in some calming retail therapy then went home and was in bed by 7.30pm, exhausted.

Wide awake again at 12.30 am, I've sorted laundry out, had a cup of tea and will eventually go back to bed when I'm all blogged out. Ah well, good day ahead - birthday Sunday lunch with about 20 friends, should be fun!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

portents of doom....

  1. My dog woke me up at 3am and 5am and I have two formal meetings today in which I have to sit in front of a judge and stay awake while others drone on for hours
  2. I still have loads of work to get through today
  3. Heavy snow is forecast
  4. My mother is expecting me tonight

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

snow go

I was going to take the car into the garage today, to find out why reverse and first gears have been sticking since October (!) but it snowed last night. That means I'd have to stand around in the cold waiting for a bus to work.

And I should get the car to the garage by 08:30 at the latest but its 08:04 now and I'm still unshowered and undressed. Not completely of course. Couldn't inflict that upon the dog.

My eyes are tired and sticky. I wish I could just go back to bed. I'd seriously consider retiring if I didn't think mum would expect me round every day, all day. Oh great, and now a hot flush. This is not going to be a good day.

Monday, 1 December 2008

putting a brave face on it

Its not that I'm depressed, the Prozac keeps me from falling into the slough of despond, I'm just not quite right. Hence the short posts, the wee small hours blogging, the finding it preferable to read the paper and watch TV at a gathering of friends yesterday which, telling in itself, I attended sans maquillage. For someone as vain as I, that has got to be a significant indicator of loosening grip. I'm also not enjoying work as much at the moment, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. Maybe its just the cumulative effect of too many broken nights' sleep. Have my first appointment with the sleep clinic in a week's time, perhaps that will sort me out.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

random Thursday thoughts

I drove to Nottingham and back again today for a meeting in the city and I didn't even get to see beloved son as he was stuck at work. Thank goodness for Sat Nav or I'd never have found the office. I was tired driving back even though I stopped for something to eat and drink, but I did discover a way to prevent nodding off at the wheel....buttock boogie! Just find a lively tune with a solid beat and get those buns dancing in rhythm! I even managed to fit in a sort of belly-dance ripple. A few more journeys like that and I can forget about going to the gym; oh ok, thinking about going to the gym.

Don't you just hate it when leaving a warm, stuffy building you go outside and take a deep breath of cool, fresh air only it isn't - instead you breathe in the toxic cigarette smoke of the addicts huddled in the doorway. There's this weird double-think about smoking - a practice recognised as harmful to smokers', bystanders' and unborn children's health, possibly fatal and linked to all sorts of maladies that put a drain on the Health Service BUT sanctioned by employers who turn a blind eye to smokers taking regular breaks from work to chat together outside while the rest of us get on with the work. Can you imagine employers' reaction if non-smokers downed tools every hour and stood around in groups gossiping or if employees requested special treatment for other addictions ... "of course, Fred, by all means use the staff room to snort coke/inject heroin/down a few double whiskies. You'll find razor blades/mirrors/needles etc in the cupboard next to the day bed." I think not.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The stuff of nightmares....

How creepy is this?!


Woolworth's is set to go into administration, tens of thousands of jobs at 815 stores are under threat.
Sad news, even though I haven't shopped at Woollies for years (so I suppose I have contributed to its decline). I saved my pocket money up and bought my first records there, 7" 45 rpm vinyl singles like Helen Shapiro's Walking Back to Happiness, Frank Ifield's I Remember You (there's a great joke in there but its too rude to print), Peter and Gordon's A World Without Love, Cilla Black's Anyone Who Had a Heart, the Animals' House of the Rising Sun. Anyone else have fond memories?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

is it a full moon?

On the way home from mum's tonight, a young lad drove his(?) car straight across my path when he should have given me right of way; good job I wasn't going as fast as he was.

A few minutes later, another callow youth was travelling on foot heading towards me on my side of the road, mouthing away and doing a strange marching and arm flinging dance. I drove around him.

I wonder whether both arrived home safely.

Monday, 24 November 2008

when I'm old, I won't say....

  • I don't have a life, its just an existence
  • Well, they'll be old themselves one day (or substitute 'you' for 'they' etc.)
  • Don't book me in for Christmas dinner, I'll be alright on my own on Christmas Day
  • Its true what they say, laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone

I hate Mondays.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

burning the candle at both ends

Its just after 6pm on Sunday evening and I'm ready for bed. It has been a hectic weekend:

Friday afternoon - accompanied husband to the doctor's for his blood test results - apparently there's nothing seriously wrong with him! (Big relief as he was fearing prostate cancer - I'm just gobsmacked his liver's A-OK).
Friday night - straight to the pub after the doctor's to celebrate with friends. Picked beloved son up from Darlington station and brought him back to the pub - he'd made the journey from Nottingham to be with his dad as it was his (dad's) birthday on Thursday and he (son) had been worrying about the test results.
Saturday morning - early start with mum as I'd booked a hairdresser's appointment for her. Surprised her by picking up son at the end of the road and after the hairdresser's we three went for a meal before dropping son off at a friend's as they were going to the Boro match (they lost 3 - 1).
Saturday afternoon - Meanwhile...took mum to Morrisons (sigh) then went home, quick kip before....
Saturday night - Joining daughter, son and husband and thousands (well about 30) friends in the pub to remember an old friend who died a year ago at this time. We then took over a restaurant (apart from one table - poor things!) for a very noisy Indian meal. Home to bed.
Sunday morning - up at 5.30am to drive son back to Nottingham as there were no trains that would get him there in time to start work. After a hellish 2 and a half hour journey in hail, sleet and rain, struggling to stay awake, we arrived. Straight back on the motorway to head back for home; not even chewing toffees and swigging coca cola could keep me from dozing off at the wheel several times, don't know how I managed to get back in one piece - scary.
Sunday lunchtime - short nap then off out for lunch at the pub we'll be going to on Christmas Day.
Sunday tea-time - in bed by 6.30pm.
Sunday evening - back up again a few hours later, leaving snoring husband behind, and joined daughter in the back room. Which brings us up to now - 11.30 pm.

Sputter, sputter, fzzt.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Don't you just hate....

  • people who dawdle in front of you in the shop when you're on your lunch break
  • clothes that keep falling off the hangers while you're looking through the rack
  • people who say 'bare with me' before they keep you waiting on the phone
  • trying to look professional in meetings while trying to fan away a hot flush
  • the way bra straps always slip off your shoulders
  • the relentless march of time

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

I have another blog you might like to check out.....

.... or not, its up to you, I won't be offended, well I might be a teensy weensy bit disappointed, I may have to sulk for a day or two, but I will get over it, eventually.......

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sorry Gina!

You left me the same comment twice and when I tried to delete one before accepting the other, they both disappeared! Please comment again, I didn't have time to link to your blog.

Prozac - 18 weeks

I've been giving some thought lately to how I'm feeling and if you'd asked me yesterday, I would have said "just like the old me, before the anxiety and panic crept in". But am I? Here I am, doing what I've been doing every morning for goodness knows how long - its as though I can't get on with the day until I've checked my blog for comments, read other people's, followed interesting links, maybe even posted something myself. I could probably get to work an hour earlier on a morning if I didn't switch the computer on. Have I become stuck in an obsessive compulsive blogging rut? Or is it something to do with connecting to other people with similar problems in their lives? Lol, yeah ok, both.

Right, this is silly, its 08:14 and I'm still in my dressing gown. I WILL get ready for work. Any minute now.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

How long does it take to choose a meal?

If you're my mum, 30 tummy-rumbling, cruet-fiddling, clock-watching, letter-spotting, tune-humming, exasperated-texting MINUTES!

And in the end, she left most of her (starter-sized) cheese and salsa filled potato skins (2) with salad.


I suppose this is mean of me. Feel free to chastise.

how beautiful are these?

I found this very clever lady while rooting around on ebay

and sometimes surprisingly sweet

You were right, clippy mat!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Friday, 14 November 2008

and reeeeeeeeeeeeee-lax

Passed the tenancy check with flying colours. In fact the HA rep was so impressed, we may be getting some improvements we asked for....watch this space.

And still on the subject of good news, that Fenn Wright Manson 2-piece... I had another look at it ...its not devore, its PURE SILK!!!!!!!! The fabric is semi-sheer except where the flower petals are woven thicker and look like satin. I am sooooooo lucky.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

I came home at lunchtime to.....

  1. Have something to eat - done, the remains of yesterday's quiche
  2. De-poop the garden - it's pissing down, what do you think?
  3. Hoover the front room and upstairs - well they don't look THAT bad
  4. Wash 2 (or is it 3?) days' worth of pots - hello......I'm blogging.......

The housing association rep comes tomorrow to do a tenancy check. Aaargh. S'gonna be a long night tonight.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

I'm not a boxing fan but......

....this one's a cracker! (The commentary has its moments too)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Links mended to BBC Quotes of the Day post

Thanks Corny, for bringing my ineptitude to my attention! Actually it was a good thing because I went onto Blogger's help site and found a much easier way to insert links than the hit and miss method I'd been using. Cheers m'dear!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Prozac - 17 weeks - the story so far

Well, the fact that I haven't reported on my weekly Prozac progress for quite a while speaks volumes, I suppose! Nothing much has changed. Generally I'm coping ok with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune although have felt a little stressed at work lately because we're going through a hectic patch where everything is priority and needed doing yesterday. I manage ok though, just tell myself that it will all get done sooner or later and ITS ONLY A JOB lol.

I'm getting quite good at adopting the gallic shrug. Like when our beautiful newly decorated hall, on closer inspection, needed touching up where the black paint on the banister had dripped onto the white paint below and the paint on the wall stopped a little short of the door frame, revealing the terracotta underneath. Not to worry - spent quite a pleasant, although fumey, Sunday putting it all to rights. Its going to look gorgeous when finished off with a new carpet. At the risk of boring you, the colour scheme is white paintwork on all the wood except for the black banister and rails and 'Egyptian Cotton' on the (newly skimmed) walls - a lovely, warm, very light grey. I'm thinking a black carpet with lots of flecky bits in it. Should disguise the dog hairs and bits of fluff/crumbs/dead leaves etc!

I think I'm starting to sleep better, perhaps because I've had a few sensible bedtimes - I've even been dreaming - yippee! AND I've found some brilliant charity shop bargains over the last few weeks:
  • one deep rose pink long sleeved top, perfect for 'wear pink to work' day a couple of Fridays ago (a few quid)
  • one M&S black and white tweedy flirty skirt suit (£8!)
  • one 'little black dress' - elegant sleeveless, cowl neck, cut on the bias, black slip dress covered by black chiffon over dress about 4" longer than the slip. Wore it with a lacey coral pink shrug to a 60th birthday party last Saturday and felt the bees knees! (less than a tenner, I think)
  • one beautiful Fenn Wright Manson devore top and skirt in shades of grey and pink. Gorgeous bias cut skirt with handkerchief points, I feel like a flapper in it especially with my new hairdo! (£20)
  • the most spectacular Precis Petite evening dress and matching stole - I have never owned anything as glam as this - pleated light grey chiffon covered in silver bugle beads, empire line and the hem dipping down into points at the side. The sort of dress you would wear when standing at the prow of a ship with your arms stretched out and a baby-faced 'actor' copping a feel from behind. Definitely a New Year's Eve dress (if I can still fit into it by then.) (£25)

I've probably forgotten a few things but those were the highlights.

Its a quarter to eleven. Goodnight folks!

More of the BBC's wonderful 'Quotes of the Day'

"Right on! " said I about this.... Bendy-buses with the slogan "There's probably no God" could soon be running on the streets of London

and oh how I laughed at this (looks like I'll be getting that telegram from the Queen after all.... 105-year-old virgin says no sex the key to long life

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Oh dear, I shouldn't laugh....

One of the Quotes of the Week from the BBC website:

'"I don't mind taking my clothes off for a room full of screaming women - just so long as no one suddenly shouts too loud" - Stripper Andy Latham, who suffers from a rare condition that means a loud noise makes his whole body stiffen.
Andy is one of only a small number of people in Britain to suffer from Hyperekplexia, a genetic disorder that causes an exaggerated startle reflex. And he is also a member of an equally select group - disabled dance act The Crippendales

Am I a terrible person for finding the above funny on more than one level? Oh OK, I'll go and put the hair shirt on. Again.

Oh crikey, have just re-read the post and realised how offensive some readers might find it. Just to clarify - one of the things that made me laugh was not the concept of a disabled dance act - splendid idea, it was the pun on the Chippendales. Please don't stop dropping by!

Lol, have just had another thought - what if the backing music is too loud - will poor old Andy be the statue the others dance around?

reality check

If you think you're not looking too bad for your age, do not, I repeat DO NOT, under any circumstances, look down at your face reflected in a mirror on your lap. It's horrific.

Should you accidentally catch sight of your face detaching itself from it's bone structure and heading for the floor, before you reach for the booze and pills, reverse the trauma by looking up to the ceiling and holding the mirror above your face. Instant face lift. Works for me.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A long day but a good one

The day started at 5am, when I moved my car so that my husband could get his van out to go to work. After putting away all the clothes I'd discarded in a heap on the bedroom chair during the week and drinking the cup of tea he made me, I went back to sleep. Up again at 6.45 for the usual morning ablutions, including a 'bit' of blogging that resulted in my not getting to work until 10! (Good job I've plenty of lieu time to use up.) Just me in the office today and I was kept really busy dealing with queries as well as reports, had quite a few laughs with colleagues and resolved several problems , including coming up with an innovative solution to a system that isn't working well at the moment. Hopefully it will be implemented and everyone will say 'for she's a jolly good fellow'!

At lunchtime I nipped home to wrap mum's present and write her card (she's 89 today) and to let the dog out but she didn't want to go. She didn't want to go again at tea-time, in fact she's only now gone out for the first time since this morning - wish my bladder were that robust! Off to mum's, arriving about 6.30. Lovely daughter already there. She had bought mum a card too and a box of Thornton's chocolates as a present from her and her brother (who phoned mum today to wish her happy birthday - he phoned yesterday too but being deaf, she couldn't hear him, thought he was a nuisance call and hung up !). The book about Middleton St George airfield was a big success (phew!) as was the meal we went out for. Mum ate more than usual but still managed to leave a piece of cajun chicken which she gave to me for our dog. Back at mum's, our lovely friend S came round and finished some electrical work on her fire. Tea was drunk, chocolates were eaten and now I'm back home again, determined to be in bed by 11 as I need to clear my hall out again tomorrow morning - its getting painted!!!!!!!!!!!

Blown away

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I have just watched Barack Obama's victory speech. What a guy! I hope America realises what a jewel they have in their new president. I don't think of myself as a political person, in that I'm not really interested in the endless cut and thrust of politics, but I do care about natural justice and striving for peace. This man speaks from the heart, I believe him, I trust him, I fear for him. I hadn't followed the election at all and was only elated by the triumph of hope over prejudice. Now I see that Obama is the leader we have all been waiting for. The world may just have been saved.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Bonfire Night 2008

It was a lovely bonfire night. The light drizzle stopped just as the huge bonfire really got going, warming the whole of the green. Crowds of people turned up and didn't mind the mud which was pretty boggy in parts. Jacket potatoes were being handed round and the fireworks were spectacular. I took a few (hundred) photos on my mobile phone, some of which make up the picture above. I really must get a good digital camera!

How absolutely bloody marvellous!!!!

And how heartening to know that all those doom and gloomers who warned that people were only saying they would vote for him to be seen to be non-racist but in reality would rather have their eyes poked out with a sharp stick, WERE WRONG!!!!!!!!

For the eddyfication of our friends across the pond..

... (with apologies to the BBC website this came from)

'Bonfire Night is celebrated across the UK on 5 November. The date marks the failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament by Guy Fawkes1 along with a group of co-conspirators in London in 1605. The intention was to kill King James I and wipe out everyone in government. The group were Catholic extremists who wanted to return England to the Catholic faith. One of the conspirators had a friend in the Houses of Parliament and sent a letter to him, warning him to stay away from the House on the day the attack was supposed to take place. The letter was intercepted and handed to the king. Meanwhile, Guy Fawkes and friends, having formulated their plan, known as the 'Gunpowder Plot', had rolled 36 barrels of gunpowder into the cellars of the Houses of Parliament, and were waiting for the king to arrive when guards broke in and arrested them. They were tortured and executed.

Nowadays on Bonfire Night people organise their own parties or attend big organised fireworks displays. (Our village builds a huge bonfire in the middle of the village green and residents donate cash to pay for the very excellent firework display.) They stand around the bonfire, set off fireworks and eat lots of nice warming Bonfire Night foods, like sausages and jacket potatoes. (Well we used to, provided by the village committee, until the world and his wife decided to come to our bonfire night (for free) instead of the municipal one in the next town. Interlopers, grrr)...Which sort of suggests that people rather admire the cheek of Guy Fawkes, trying to blow up Parliament, and that's why they celebrate Bonfire night, rather than celebrating the fact that his plot failed and he was caught!

Fireworks that are sent up on Bonfire night have really evocative names like, Roman Candles, Mount Vesuvius and Golden Shower. There are also Catherine Wheels that spin and Sparklers that children write their names in the air with. Children make life-sized effigies of Guy Fawkes which are called Guys, to put onto the bonfires. The English have been burning effigies to mark Guy Fawkes' treason for almost 400 years. The tradition started in 1606, the year after the Gunpowder plot failed. In these first bonfires, called 'bone fires' at the time, it wasn't an effigy of Guy Fawkes that was burned, but one of the Pope. It was not until 1806, two centuries later, that the people started burning effigies of Guy Fawkes instead. Children make a Guy by stuffing some old clothes with newspapers, craft a head out of material, and either draw a face on it or buy a special cardboard Guy Fawkes mask. For a few days beforehand children are pushing guys around in prams, push chairs and go-carts, saying 'A penny for the guy'. Adults then give them money - how much depends on how good the guy is. The money is then spent on sparklers, or at least it would be, if children were still allowed to buy fireworks in the UK, so it is probably spent on sweets instead (or cider or heroin).'

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Running out of steam

Mum's again tonight. She was in a good mood, ie enjoyed a good ole bout of character assassinations again, only this time without the photographic prompts. I think her brain must be mending itself after the stroke, but only in the bit that links memories and stories together. The bit that controls walking and short term memory is still pretty shaky. Drat. I was quite enjoying the break from gleeful bile. Still, she was content, that's the main thing. Its her 89th birthday on Thursday so I'm taking her out for tea. Hope she likes the book I bought her on the history of Middleton-St-George airfield.

I'm tired, think I'll put some washing in the machine (don't have a clean pair of knickers to my name), make a mug of Ovaltine and go to bed. Bonfire night tomorrow - yay!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Funny what you find...

... in your mother's photo collection. While she was busy tonight finding something mean to say about most of the people in the pictures (including my lovely dad) I was revisiting the past, remembered and forgotten. So when mum said I could take any photos of my son and daughter that I wanted (part of her de-cluttering obsession, some would call it a total lack of sentimentality), I managed to slip these three in as well. Each has its own link to a strong memory of bad/good/bewildering times...

The bad - mum insisted on entering me for a beauty parade. I won but that didn't erase the humiliation of hearing one of the judges say about me 'such a pretty face, what a shame about her legs'. I hated summer - short socks and short sleeved dresses meant I couldn't hide the eczema in the folds of my knees and elbows.

The good - this is me with Billy, my beautiful sky blue budgie. He was actually a she but by the time we realised, we couldn't imagine her as a him. Billy could talk - 'shut the door', 'gis kiss', 'who's a pretty boy' and would do a somersault between your feet if you asked him. He always whistled along to the tune from Z Cars. He thought it great fun to land on your head and abseil down your face, hanging onto a clump of hair. With my dad, he would fasten the other claw round the tip of his nose and tap his beak on his glasses. He was very affectionate and would snuggle up against your face all soft and warm but he could also give you a nasty nip in a tender spot. Here I'm wearing my favourite dress, a bright blue tartan in which I won the school Twist competition (the dance) when I was about 11.

The bewildering - I'd forgotten about this momentous day until I saw the photo. I'd gone to a motorcross with mum and dad but my mind was on other things. I felt confused and anxious, uncertain of a journey into uncharted territory, conscious that one part of my life was ending and another beginning. I didn't feel ready. I think I must have been about 16 (I was a late developer!). Have you guessed yet?
Yup, that was the first day I got the decorators in.
I'm not in the photo, by the way.

My zizzle has fizzled

Think it evaporated somewhere between the front door and getting into the car this morning. Oh well, it would have been extinguished by mum tonight anyway, she never misses an opportunity to comment on my weight gain (which is not THAT bad, I mean I'm not morbidly obese or anything). How would she like it if every time I went round I said 'haven't you got skinny and wrinkly and just look at those varicose veins!' Not a lot, I'd wager.

Dutiful daughters look away now.

I am finding this parenting-a-parent thing really difficult at the moment. I feel unappreciated other than for my practical usefulness with shopping etc and really resenting the demands it makes on my time and energy, both physical and emotional. Never having loved my mother Wow I actually typed that! or liked her much for that matter - we are total opposites in most things - I can't fall back on 'I remember mum when we were close, this isn't really her' to help me through the groundhog days. I composed this little ditty on the way home tonight...

I'm sure I'd
Have more fun
If I were
An orfun,
On Mondays,
And Saturdays.

That's as far as I've got. Bit miserable this post, innit. I may yet delete it.

polishing my halo (and my horns)

Yesterday I washed the plaster dust off the hall floor, stairs and landing (its already looking sooooooooo much better now that all the walls and ceilings have been skimmed) AND I cooked (!!!!!) a lovely lean leg of lamb (did you like the tongue work there?) with HOME MADE red wine and rosemary gravy (!!!!!!!!!!) for Sunday dinner. Himself said it was the best meal I'd cooked all year which was something of a backhanded compliment but hey, never look a gift horse in the mouth. Hmm, I suspect I may be edging towards getting a little high today. Is it the Prozac? Is it me? (Long ago, there used to be odd days when I'd wake up feeling 'dangerous', full of life, confidence and superflirtability.) Probably just as well that I'm going on a training course today instead of going into work - best not to unleash the full force of my zizzyness on a captive audience ;-) *snort* Suppose I'd better get dressed now.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Now THIS is what I'm aiming for .....

.....by letting my hair go grey. I already have a very similar cut, all I need is some super-fast silvering!

tired now

That's because I've been up since 4am. I went to bed last night before 9 - it had been a stressful day..mum in a discontented mood, mollified by my washing the kitchen floor. Then stuck in an hour's traffic jam waiting to get into the retail park with an exasperating running commentary from mum, followed by 2 dithering hours in Morrisons to buy half a week's food and another traffic jam to get out. Didn't get home until 7.30pm and by then was too exhausted and flat to feel like going to a friend's Halloween party. Anyway, woken in the early hours by him indoors' sleep apnoea, spent half an hour poking him every couple of minutes to restart his breathing then gave up when the snoring got too noisy. Wide awake by then, downstairs for tea and cake and another go at designing a better life map for the previous post. I'm nearly done but need another break. May go back to bed soon. This is not good, is it?
I didn't go back to bed, it's 10am and I've finally finished the new life map (see below). It's official, I am an idiot.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I am going to bed now, but first....my little life....

This is the new, improved version. I've worked out that most of my life has taken place within an area of about 270 square miles. Interesting to see clearly how over the years I've moved from the town to the country and even more interesting....not so long ago, while I was researching my family tree, I discovered that I've gone back to my roots.....my maternal great-great-grandfather lived a five minute car ride from where I live now! He's probably looking over my shoulder every time I mooch round the charity shops. Aha, maybe he's guiding me to the bargains! Click on the picture to be able to see the detail.

and another early night bites the dust ....

...thanks to Photoscape. It took many hours and umpteen attempts before I managed to convert two very different styles of picture (one yellowing passport photo of lovely daughter and one high definition shot of beloved son with busy background) into these two reasonably well-matched photos which look very well in their gilded cast iron frames. Definitely worth the bug eyes.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Impulsive, moi?

Before getting ready for work, I thought 'I'll just check my e-mails' and there was one from Paypal, promising entry into a £10,000 draw for anyone shopping on one of their featured sites. As one of them was a ticket seller, I had a quick look to see whether there were any for the current tour of one of him indoors' favourite women, Tina Turner. Only 2 at Manchester Arena on OUR 30TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Reader, I bought them.

I am fading, I am fading......

see the silver, see it shine

I am streaking,

the pigment's leaking,

goodbye brown girl,

it's greying time.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

counting my blessings

  1. being loved by my family
  2. my recovering skin - the discoid eczema has practically disappeared along with the itching. Just a couple of coin-shaped smooth pink patches remain on one shoulder blade and a few fading smaller spots here and there. My doctor has prescribed bucket loads of a wonderful oat-based moisturiser called Aveeno (google it - can't be bothered to put in a link!) which I'm supposed to slather on 5 times a day! Apparently DE is the most difficult eczema to treat and requires this level of preventative treatment. Ah well, I shall have skin like a baby's bum by Christmas, pity husband just won't be able to get a grip.
  3. British summertime (now there's an oxymoron). Nature called at 4am today, went back to bed then up again at 8 which I thought was a respectable time for tea and tinternet. Except it was 7am. More time to blog - whoopee!
  4. it's Sunday so it's Countryfile! Shall wake husband at about 10.40 to give him time to come round before the programme starts. Just love chilling out on the sofas watching C before starting the day in earnest.
  5. hopefully a friend is coming round today to chop some of our trees down to a manageable height (before fallen-from-grace-neighbour decides to poison any more of them). The spare wood can then go down to the village green in readiness for bonfire night on the 5th. Hope I remember to take some pictures for the blog.
  6. I plan on cooking today. Thud. I have promised him indoors venison casserole. Me and my big mouth.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Just a quickie

..cos I've so much to catch up on - we lost our internet connection on Wednesday night and it's been just AWFUL being cut off from all my favourite haunts! Have just got in from shopping with mum (three and a half mind-numbing hours in Morrisons and she still hasn't bought enough feckin food to last the week) and am looking forward to having a good old root round eBay. No doubt (?) you'll be relieved to know that every single one of my blood tests came back fine and my blood pressure is tickety boo (I was rather hoping they'd find something wrong they could fix). In an effort to find out why I'm so bloody knackered all the time, my doctor has come up with the theory that I might be suffering from sleep apnoea and has made me an appointment with the sleep clinic! He arrived at this conclusion by measuring my neck, noting my womanly curves and establishing that I snore. Well yes I do, but NOTHING like the cacophany emanating from himself, especially when he's had a good drink - he snores, grunts, chunters, whistles, forces big noisy jets of air down his nose and sometimes does this HUGE gasp/jerk/yell when he starts breathing again after holding his breath for an age. Anyway, I'm quite looking forward to the sleep clinic experience, all good fun!

Oh yes, a moment of sympathy please, for poor traumatised husband...I finally persuaded him to go to the doctors yesterday for investigation of his many ailments which include a distinct possibility of prostate problems. It's taken me 18 months to get him there and his worst fears were recognised....rubber gloves, gel, knees up to neck...need I say more? (hahahahaha, ahem, sorry, just composing myself) Aren't men babies? They should try putting up with all the indignity that accompanies examinations during and after pregnancy/smear tests/coil fittings/mammograms etc etc.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


You'd think, wouldn't you, that having made great improvements on the eczema front thanks to the steroid tablets and strong ointment double whammy, waking up in the wee small hours would be a thing of the past? Last night I was in bed before midnight and fell asleep quickly but at 4.30am this morning was wide awake again. No, I wasn't itchy, snorry husband was safely tucked up in a bed an hour and a half away and elderly dog was still in slumberland - the problem was wind. Mine.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Things I have learned in the last 8 hours..

  1. Making a couple of affectionate comments about husband's snoring/heavy breathing/whistling/grunting instead of expressing irritation at not being able to get to sleep, will be met with the same level of umbrage. Better to head for the spare bed in silence.
  2. Not ironing daughter's work trousers inside out, unknowingly risking a 'shiny arse', in an effort to save her some time on the morning, will not be construed as being helpful.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Picking up WilloSwitch's tag....

Seven random pieces of information about me:

1. I was born with a caul which apparently is supposed to mean I won't drown, but is that only if you carry it around with you? I think the maternity hospital probably binned mine.
2. In my youth I learned a fire-eating routine and performed it in a skimpy chamois leather costume to 'Reggae Fire' - a song sung by my husband's band.
3. I was part of a local support group that helped out at the women's camps at Greenham Common back in the early 80s.
4. I spent a year trying to run a one-woman business, making uniquely designed shirts for big men (inspired by my lovely large husband) but found it a lonely and unprofitable endeavour.
5. I still have all my own teeth.
6. Ginger is my favourite flavour.
7. There's a half-inch gap in the life line on my left hand, about two thirds of the way down. Gulp.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Blogging etiquette

I know I've been doing this a while (this is my third blog) but there are still a couple of finer points needing clarification, can anyone help?...
  1. Should one always acknowledge every individual's comment on posts?
  2. Is it rude to remove blogs from reading lists if nothing has been posted for a significant period of time, say for example, 3 months? 6? 12?

Gear trouble synchronicity

My car keeps sticking in gear, usually reverse or 1st if I'm moving slowly with the clutch still pressed down. I also am having trouble moving from one gear to another. After last night's interrupted sleep I was so tired today and definitely short on patience, not ideal as mum was having a dithery day. Now I'm back home and trying to de-slump as I'm supposed to be joining my husband and friends for an Indian meal in less than 2 hours. Really, I'd rather just potter about and have an early night. Bah humbug.

I forgot to mention that I managed to keep my cool today while mum ran through the list of things I've bought her over the last year, trying to be helpful, that actually she doesn't like at all...
  • the two pairs of pyjamas I bought and took up for her when she was in hospital after the stroke - they're too 'gaudy' (pink check and light blue check)
  • the 5 pack of white Sloggi pants size 10 as her others are barely fit for dusters - they 'dig in' her (she's at most 4'8" and about 78 pounds)
  • the two warm cardigans with pockets (her preference) - they're too big
  • the two pairs of black elasticated waist trousers that I took up by hand - they're straight leg instead of narrow

I also gave her a smart padded navy jacket from M&S last Christmas as she didn't have a winter coat - she 'forgets' she owns it. Then there's the china budgie I brought back from holiday, beautifully detailed and the spitting image of the budgie we used to have that she loved. It 'fell off the radiator shelf onto the carpet and broke' while dusting, within a week of it's arrival. And guess what, the photo I made for her this week in the red velvet frame...disappeared - she's 'trying to cut down on clutter'. Sigh. Will I never learn?


The meal was lovely, the company very pleasant and I'm glad I made the effort.


This is beginning to feel like the norm, sitting in front of the computer with a cup of tea at daft o'clock in the morning, this time precipitated by a hot flush, husband's snoring and an empty tummy. It's lovely and peaceful here in my back room, with the just the table lamp lit. Husband and daughter are asleep, our sweet little dog has just been out and rather stiffly climbed the stairs back to bed, a little damp from the light rain. The only sounds are the whirr of the hard drive fan and the blood singing in my ears.

I'm feeling quite content. I managed to clear some tasks this afternoon before going to pick beloved son up from Darlington station; so good to see him on top form again after all the stress he's been under recently. All's quiet on the crazy ex-girlfriend front and he's just been promoted at work so is buzzing from the upturn in his fortunes. He has a fun weekend in front of him, richly deserved - paintballing with his sister (the brave organiser!) and pals tomorrow, then over to Manchester for a friend's 30th birthday. It's always a blessing to have him home - living in Nottingham, he can't afford to come up more than a few times a year and I'm afraid we're hopeless at organising trips down to see him.

In a funny way, I'm rather glad about my depression diagnosis. Without it, I wouldn't be on Prozac and feel happier and calmer in myself which I'm sure has helped me relate better to mum, has made me feel cherished by my daughter who always makes sure I'm ok and, just maybe, has had an impact on my relationship with my husband. I feel closer to him than ever before, he's been very gentle with me and probably now realises why he has been married to an occasionally crazy woman over the last few years! After 31 years together, it's easy to take each other for granted, settle into a routine and lose touch with the feelings that brought you together in the first place. I haven't always have been able to say this over the years, but hand on heart, I love him and am glad he's always going to be a part of my life.

Friday, 17 October 2008


Feeling a little light-headed this morning as I've been fasting since 9pm last night in readiness for the blood tests today. This is my third day off work, taken as holiday rather than sick leave - a suggestion made by my boss who understood I wasn't up to going in to work but didn't want me to feel I couldn't carry on with normal daily activities like shopping or walking the dog (lol) without risking someone identifying me as a malingerer. Of course, it also helps the service's sick leave figures! Suits me as I already had five days carried over from last year's leave, I struggle to use it all.

What have I done on my three days off? My memory's terrible. Let's see, Wednesday I went to mum's for lunch, had a nap on her settee afterwards...what the hell did I do after that? No idea. Went home. Yesterday went to mum's again , this time we went out for lunch and then to Guisborough market as it was a lovely sunny day, the sort of bright crisp autumn weather I love. I bought some delicious yoghourt covered ginger and a bag of cranberry/nut/seed mix from the health food shop and a Yorkshire Tea Marmalade cake from a stall that sells the most amazing jams and chutneys. Back at mum's (after another nap) I helped her have a shower and washed and blow dried her hair. Mum has been much easier to get along with lately. Since the stroke, she doesn't go into one of her old lengthy rants on the litany of 'who-done-me-wrong' (dad's relatives featuring prominently) and 'episodes-from-my-miserable-life' (mostly the trials of living with her pig of a father after her mum's death when she was 10) so much; it's as though the stroke has destroyed some of the neural pathways that formed links between each story. She seems a little happier although still likes to have something to worry about, so I try to deal with each concern as it arises.

Yesterday was a good day for problem solving - I've arranged for a friend to look at mum's fire - it needs the firelight bulb holders fixing, I made her a list of useful telephone numbers and stuck it on the fridge so she no longer has to go rooting through umpteen old diaries and scraps of paper and I took her a photo of her and dad and my son and daughter together in their garden. I'm quite proud of it as its a composite of two photos taken on the same day, probably a few months before dad died, nine years ago. One was of mum, daughter, son and his ex-girlfriend, the other had dad replacing daughter. I chose to work on the former as mum and son were smiling into the camera on that one, cut and pasted dad from the other and stuck him over the ex, then spent ages in bitmap changing pixels to hide the joins. The only problem is that dad seems to be standing on mum's left foot, but it doesn't matter as in the photo frame, that bit is chopped off. I used the frame I bought from eBay - the red velvet and satin roses.

Yikes! As I finished the last sentence I glanced at the time and it was 8.44 - my blood test appointment was at 9.10 and there I was, in pyjamas, unwashed! I'm afraid I didn't have time for a shower so had a quick freshen up, cleaned my teeth, didn't bother with make-up (well, I may as well look poorly) threw on jeans, t-shirt and a warm cardigan and shot off to the surgery. The nurse was very gentle and efficient. She took three phials of blood and explained that the doctor had asked for the works - tests for liver and kidney functions, thryoid, anaemia, diabetes, vitamins and goodness knows what else. If they don't find something amiss among that lot, there's no hope for me!

Well, am now munching my way through breakfast - an apple chopped up with the cranberry mix and date, fig and seeds yoghourt. *Will then have to clean up before husband arrives home around lunchtime and then the weekend begins!
*Actually I went back to bed instead :-)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Sod's law

I did all the right things guaranteed to send me off to sleep. A little, well alright - a lot, of messing about on the computer combined with watching 2 films (LiL and Honeymoon in Las Vegas - similarly underwhelming), a warm drink, off to bed around 11.30pm feeling tired, took a superantihistamine, read the last bit of a book about Hannah Hauxwell and then.....WIDE A-BLOODY-WAKE!*&*!!* and HUNGRY!!!*!!!!*!

Well at least I'm off tomorrow and can have a lie-in but what's the betting I wake up early?

2.20 am and I think I'm ready to go back to bed. Say a little prayer for me, my baby.....

...and here we are, wide awake again at 6.30. You have to larf.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Be careful what you wish for

I've just finished watching Ladies in Lavender.

It was alright.


The best laid plans....

  • Never got round to watching Ladies in Lavender, thanks to the computer's siren call, but was disciplined enough to go to bed at 10pm. Was woken up somewhere between 1 and 2am by persistent itching so I applied moisturiser and made myself a cup of tea. I had intended watching LiL but when I turned on the TV there was a subtitled Spanish film on, 'The Sea Inside', which turned out to be mesmerising. (I love foreign films but can't abide dubbed versions. I much prefer to hear the original actors' voices, even if I can't understand everything they're saying.) The actors gave moving performances of the true story of a fisherman who was paralysed from the neck down in a diving accident and who, after spending years dependent on others to take care of him, decided to fight for the right to die. His legal challenge failed but he ended his life by taking cyanide. I went back to bed when the film finished at 3.20.

  • Up itchy again at 6.30, determined to tell my doctor I wanted to come off Prozac because of the side effects. He kindly but firmly advised me against it, explaining that such a course of action could take me right back and possibly to worse than I had been in the past. He was certain that my itchiness and skin problems were not indicative of a drug-related rash but the discoid eczema flaring up again (linked to stress/depression) and has given me another short course of steroid tablets and some heavy duty steroid cream. He has booked me in for a fasting blood test on Friday to check whether there's anything else going on that could cause my tiredness, eg underactive thyroid or anaemia. I rather hope the tests find something that can be treated and cured.

Called in at work on my way home this morning and relayed above to my lovely sympathetic boss who saw beyond my I'm-ok-just-a-bit-flat facade - I had to admit I did feel quite low. I have decided to take the rest of the week off as I'm too dull-brained and tired to cope with work. LSB has offered to arrange independent counselling for me, I'm tempted.... what do you think? I'm nervous of sharing intimate secrets with a stranger.

Lol, I've just re-read the last bit and realised that's exactly what I've been doing in this blog! Of course, there are some some sensitive issues I don't write about and I suppose those are the things I'm wary of bringing to a counsellor; I've never been keen on worms, in or out of the can.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Putting the training into practice ;-)

Well, on my own cycle of change I guess I've motivated myself to move from the contemplative stage (I'm feeling physically worse as time goes on and it seems to be linked to the medication), to the decision making stage (can't allow this to go on any longer, must do something about it), to the action stage (made an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow). The galvanising factor was how exhausted I felt today. I'm walking at a snail's pace everywhere, could fall asleep at the drop of a hat (where does that expression come from?) and felt quite light-headed this morning. I waited until after the free lunch to make my apologies (I may be poorly but I'm not daft!) and went home to bed, dropping in on mum on the way to take her a loaf of bread and some milk.

Mum seems very concerned by my wilting flower impression. The cynic in me says it's due to self-interest - a while back when I had a breast cancer scare that turned out to be something completely different, she said "I'm glad you're ok .... I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you" and today has been listing the tasks she has lined up for me. However, I have to say she does seem genuinely caring and has twice offered to come and look after me, ahh bless. (I used to quite like being ill as a child, confined to bed with lucozade, dad's home-made jigsaws and plenty of books and comics to read.) I haven't told her about the depression - she wouldn't understand and she would probably find it hurtful, that I believed looking after her is probably the major causal factor.

Right then, having had a good sleep this afternoon, I'm going to have a relaxing evening and hopefully a good night's sleep. Lovely daughter has bought me a magazine and licorice and I plan on finally watching Ladies in Lavender. Fingers crossed the doctor can sort me out tomorrow.

Prozac - unlucky 13 weeks?

Things are definitely getting worse on the tiredness, eczema and itching front, it's really getting me down. At least my distressed skin was hidden under clothing before, but now the rough patches are spreading, including onto the back of my hands. I can't bear the thought that it might spread to my face - I know, I'm vain. I've checked the extensive side-effects list for Prozac and it includes lethargy, rash, itching and dry mouth (frequent thirstiness is also something new for me that I've noticed recently). I have to go to the surgery this morning to collect my repeat prescription so I'm going to try to book an appointment with a doctor asap to discuss changing to a different anti-depressant.

Monday, 13 October 2008


Today and tomorrow I have to attend mandatory training in Motivational Interviewing. MOTIVATIONAL interviewing. The more I think about it, the dafter it becomes. As if without this training, I would employ UNmotivational interviewing techniques, despite the fact that a major part of my job is all about encouraging people to make positive changes in their lives. I've been doing just that for fifteen years but because I've somehow managed to miss attending previous MI training, I have to do it now. Ticks on lists. Ridiculous. I have loads of work I could be getting on with, including that report for my boss. I just know I'll be like a sulky schoolgirl in detention for the next two days. The lunches had better be good :-(

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Tempus fugit...

...when you're trying to sort out a lifetime's photo collection. I started around midday and have just stopped, realising I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. And I'm still not finished!

Here we go again

Woke up itchy in the early hours so got up, applied cream, put washing in the machine, made a cup of tea and let the dog out. She's now busy taking her biscuit for a walk round the house which entails my opening and closing doors and her tap dancing up and down the uncarpeted stairs (still haven't got the hall etc decorated). Currently debating whether to mess around on the computer for a while or watch Ladies in Lavender. What do you think, both?

Well, it's 5 am and the washing machine finished its cycle a few minutes ago, just as I completed work on creating a new ID photograph for work. Never got to watch the film, lol. Think I'll go back to bed now!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

In memoriam

My dad died on 11 October 1999. I was at mum's today for the usual Saturday shopping challenge; she was oblivious to the significance of the date. I didn't remind her, I couldn't face the inevitable conspiracy theories directed against the doctors/hospital - she's convinced that if he hadn't had his triple bypass operation, he would be alive today. He wouldn't, he had a heart attack the day before he was hospitalised and another the morning of his operation. It was heart disease and arterial sclerosis that killed him but mum's convinced it was the kidney infection that saw him off or that the bypass operation was botched. I miss him. Hope he thinks I'm being a good (enough) daughter.

Still weary 50% of the time, to the extent that I sent my boss an e-mail on Friday, apologising for not having got round to writing a report she needed for next week. Must mention it to my GP as I think it may be a side-effect of the Prozac. Alternatively, maybe the medication has just taken me back to how I was generally before things became really difficult, like the time a phone call from mum after I'd just returned home from her place tipped me over the edge and had me on my knees, screaming and pounding the wall. (I had a sexy, husky voice for 3 days afterwards!) Lovely daughter to the rescue - she went off to mum's, leaving strict instructions that I soak in the perfumed bath she'd run me. It must have been scary for her, seeing me in such a state.