Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Continuing Normal

I registered uncle's death today.  We're doing that 'tell us once' to make sure his identity isn't stolen.  When you register a death you are given a reference number and you can log in online or call and cancel things like passports and driving licences.

I also broke the iron.  It gave up with just the half of one front of DH's shirt left to go.  I am not actually surprised as it is quite old and I dropped it a lot.  Fortunately I had one stashed from a few years ago when there was an amazing deal.  I am not planning on getting a new reserve iron, or at least not until next Amazon Prime Day next year when I shall do research and see if there are deals worth having.  Otherwise I may hang on until Black Friday 2018, though not all the Black Friday deals are all they are made out to be so I shall need to look at what prices are before the sale, and before they could be artificially inflated to be in the sale.

I was hoping that I would be able to hang on until Black Friday 2017 for a new freezer.  I have been muttering about that freezer for some time.  However today I pulled out a bag of curly fries that I had used yesterday.  There was a thin layer of frost over it.  I don't think things have defrosted, I just think that air is getting in through the worn out seal.  I shall start researching and seeing what I can salvage.

We have lost a grave.  When my late mother was buried, we got a double plot and the idea was that eventually uncle would join her, so no headstone yet.  We hoped it would be longer between burials.  However the vicar explained that there had been a slight issue with burials and record keeping at the time and he couldn't be absolutely certain which grave needed to be opened.  He had an idea as there was a grave between two graves with headstones with the right dates on - one earlier and one later than mother's passing, but was concerned that uncle would be interred and then some family would turn up asking indignantly why a strange man was put on top of their Grandma.  It is the sort of thing that uncle would have found absolutely hilarious and I am sure he is chuckling at our bewilderment. I keep finding myself laughing as who would think you could lose a grave?  If all else fails then we will have another plot and it will be fine.  The vicar has been pretty amazing as he has sorted out the order of service with me over the phone, has been very kind and has only been in the parish a few months.  It can't be easy telling a potentially volatile lady who is in the middle of grief that they have managed to misplace the burial plot.

File:Graveyard of Christ Church, Rossett - geograph.org.uk - 1469774.jpg
This is the Church yard in question, photo taken by John S Turner and used under the Creative Commons Agreement

File:Churchyard of Christ Church, Rossett - geograph.org.uk - 1469672.jpg
This is the old part of the churchyard, where my great grandparents are buried, also taken by John S Turner and used under the Creative Commons Agreement.  They made a quiet space for people to think in the place where the graves were so old that most were untended

Monday, 24 July 2017

Lull

Bear is now into Harry Potter.  I was a little worried that the later books would be too dark for him, but he's been fine so I've left him to it.  He's just about devoured the books and I think has a crush on Hermione.  He definitely identifies with Ravenclaw.

There are two more days of school, one of which needs special kit.

I have to pick up the death certificate tomorrow, the funeral is next week.  I think the poem I wrote before father's funeral still applies.

I just found an ant in the living room.

I am doing a stall at the church fair on Saturday and I'm not sure how much I need to do beforehand.

I am knitting in a random way.  I have no idea what I'll end up with.  I'm just interested to see what the house looks like when the shock wears off.  All bets are off.

For uncle, I think one of the best descriptions of his character comes in Luke 10:33-35, which we hope to use for a reading.  He would come out with all sorts of completely, outrageously, non PC and inappropriate comments - but would give the coat off his back to anyone, regardless of colour or creed.  He was a man out for all he could give.

Thank you for the kind comments.  They are much appreciated and have given me much comfort.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Sad News

Uncle passed away this afternoon.  I had spent a few hours sitting next to him and knitting.  This isn't as random as it sounds as his mother, my late grandmother, used to be obsessed with knitting and knitted about a sweater a week.  I hoped that it would seem soothing to him.  I don't know if he ever noticed as he was out of it all yesterday and today.  He passed around twenty minutes after I left him.

He will be sadly missed.  He had a heart the size of Wales and was out for all he could give.  He was kind.  He utterly adored bear and was responsible for the four foot high panda that bear insists on keeping.  He utterly adored evil cat and it was mutual.  I don't miss the shell that lived at the care home that was all that was left after dementia got hold.  I do miss the old him that drove me to distraction.

Rest in Peace, uncle.

Thank you for all the kind comments.  They have meant a lot this afternoon.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate them.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Uncle is Very Poorly

My brother got a quick call from the nursing home this morning to say that uncle had a chest infection and the hospital was checking it out.  He texted me.  I waited until the rush of booking him into hospital and lunch was out of the way before ringing the hospital.  Apparently they had been trying to ring someone connected to uncle all morning.  The care home said that they only had my brother's number.  My brother was in meetings all morning.  I have watched the home write my number in the file on three separate occasions and they've called me in before when uncle was ill.  So when I got through to the ward I got a 'please come down at the earliest possible moment.'  I did.

I had the 'well, he may surprise us but we need to prepare for the worst' with three different doctors this afternoon.  He is not very well at all.  He may indeed surprise us.  I am preparing myself for the worst.  It is almost exactly two years since my father died.  The talks are almost exactly the same.  I am sort of hopeful for uncle, though, as he has always been so strong.

Thank goodness I could rely on some good friends as bear was dumped at out of school club then DH's cousin who is beyond amazing picked him up while we were getting the third lot of carefully worded warnings from the doctor.  DH was also beyond a star, sorting out all sorts of things that I couldn't while he was slammed busy at work.  I feel like I have been carried this afternoon.

The hospital have confirmed repeatedly that they can ring me at any time, even in the early hours of the morning.  I am taking it as a warning and getting an early night.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Candles Have Arrived

They've actually landed at DH's workplace, as someone is always in there and I try and pop out now and again.  He has taken a large shipment of candles in his stride.  It's not nearly as bad as the time 90 ties turned up, or 108 toilet rolls.  He puts up with a lot.  Mind you, we've never run out of toilet paper.  We've never really run out of anything.  I'm not sure that bear understands that running out of things is a possibility.

I do like my candles.  I like either Woodwick or Prices, for the candles that are in my price range.  Lynda posted a comment recommending Homesense, and I agree.  I have scored some incredibly inexpensive Woodwick candles from there and some others that were incredibly good, but not usually available in my price range.  Unfortunately Homesense doesn't deliver and I am back to having trouble getting out of the house again.  I find so many excuses why I shouldn't cross the threshold.  It isn't good for me.  I'm getting a little worried, because it is coming up to the six weeks summer holiday and I won't get many chances to go out anyway, as bear doesn't approve of anything that's beyond the end of the street.

It's been a month of bargains.  First there was the offer from Morrisons of 11,000 points if I spent more than £220 in a month (we needed the new duvets and they were on offer, so that's easily attainable).  Then Sainsburys chipped in.  I had reluctantly gone back to Sainsburys as a more or less one off but DH really likes their lemon and lime flavoured water.  Some of their drivers are awesome, like the one this weekend, but the one the previous weekend was a Creepy McCreepface.  I nearly sent bear to go and get next door's husband for support.  However, I got a coupon that got me £9 off if I spent £60.  It is very easy to spend £60, especially as bear decided that his reward for his report was a nerf gun costing £20 that Sainsburys carried.  I get the same coupon for the next two weeks and then £12 off a £60 shop, and if I use all four coupons I get 500 Nectar Points (which isn't too important to me, but I'll take it if it's offered).  Over that time there's a barbecue we're attending and taking some meat, so there's a lump of the bill, and I nearly bought some of those vacuum space savers to store blankets in the Amazon sale and they are less expensive and a top up to the order at Sainsburys, so I will pick up a couple which will also top up the spend.  They also included a coupon for £10 off a £50 shop which can't be used with other coupons so I may switch it over.

I had nearly forgotten the Amazon Prime Day.  I saved around £60 with that.  I could have saved a lot more and bought less as some of the items were definitely treats, such as the tray of lychee juice drinks (£7.69 instead of £12) which were an indulgence for bear and DH.  I also got a Lion Brand 'Shawl in a Ball' yarn, which was half price and I had been coveting for a while (the shawl is coming on nicely, actually).  I had never touched Lion Brand yarn.  I know it's a big brand in North America (and they have some great free patterns on their site) but it's very much a speciality here so I got quite giddy.

Overall, since the start of this month, I think I've saved well over £100 (nearly £130 just on the candles), and by the end of the month I will probably have not only saved around another £50 or so but garnered up a lot of points on various reward cards to put towards Christmas.  I'm trying to be careful to buy only the things we will actually use or that we really need and that are good value, but I have spent money getting that saving.  I think I shall try and ignore special offers in August.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Not Safe On Amazon

I like the Woodwick candles.  There's the crackling of the wick, of course, but the scents are really good.  I feel that Yankee Candles have got very limp over the last few years and Woodwick really do scent the room and it lingers in a good way.  I've got birthdays coming up and I was checking out teachers' gifts and I saw them.

I think it was a pricing error.  Woodwick Candles are not inexpensive.  Here is a link to one on eBay (my friend).  They cost £16.49 on that listing.  Other sellers are available.  The Amazon listing was for a herb scented one, burn time 60 hrs - for £2.25, or around a sixth of the normal selling price.  There are always deals, and I take advantage of those, but this is the first time I found such an awesome pricing error for something I really, really want.  I bought ten.  It's sorted out teacher's gifts for some time plus they can be used in the home.

I hope I like the scent.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Interested Bystander

Bear's tummy continues bad.  This is why I missed most of the gossip and wasn't able to offer reasonable sympathy to next door but one when she came back home to find herself burgled.

I was spending time with bear in the bathroom while two policemen checked through our CCTV for information useful for their enquiries.  Our CCTV is legal, so only covers our house, garden and footpath next to us but it's something.  There is footage showing someone checking our house out.  I found that particularly unnerving.  However I didn't get to see most of it as bear is feeling very sorry for himself and needs a cuddle.  I was quite glad, actually, as the place is a complete mess and I felt mortified.

There is currently a lull in bathroom occupation so I am airing my thoughts here.  Also updating a delivery order that is due tomorrow to take into account DH's preference for a recipe for Chicken Biryani with leftovers to be made into Coronation chicken.  It's not very authentic, but it will do.

I'm feeling off balance myself.  I had lots of plans that I can't keep up to as I'm listening out for bear, so I'm going to start a new knitting project to cheer myself up, though I am confident that poor Next Door But One is the one who actually needs cheering up.  It's quite bad.

Also, the little jack russell that lives there was in while the burglary took place and poor thing is barking at everything that moves, including his own shadow.  He must still be traumatised.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

More about Bear

Bear seems to have quite a starring role in this blog at the moment.  Today was the last of his Sports Days (they do a lot of sport at the school) and he did okay.  He didn't do well in the 'dribble the football race' and came last, but he came second in the hurdles.  I am particularly impressed by that because three hours later school sent him home as he was poorly.

I don't actually think that there's much wrong with him.  I think he is just tired.  Unfortunately bear's body has two 'go to' reactions to feeling under stress - his stomach gets seriously upset and he runs a temperature.  Both of these make teachers nervous, although they come under 'normal for bear'.   Poor lad, when he came home he couldn't face his favourite treats.

This afternoon wasn't without some learning, though.  Bear was doing his best (not very best because he really is not well) to convince me he needed nerf guns as a reward for the report, so I taught him how to send me a link.  I may regret that.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Not Harmless Fun?

File:CropCircleSwirl.jpg

According to the BBC, police issued a warning against causing criminal damage by making crop circles.  Apparently Wiltshire, the home of Stonehenge, suffers greatly from crop circles.  

Crop circles fascinate me, but not in the standard way.  Did you know that Doug Bower and Dave Chorley actually were filmed making a crop circle - and the film of them was decried as a hoax to hide the real activity of aliens.  There's a documentary out there about it and I watched in disbelief as a crop circle specialist vehemently protested the supernatural origin of a crop circle that Bower and Chorley had been filmed making.  It clearly displays the human ability to look at something happening in front of your face and completely deny that it's real.  

Apparently there was also money in organising conferences about crop circles, writing books about crop circles and giving talks about crop circles.  This has, apparently, died down since the hoaxes have become widely known, but it's very human for that to have been exploited. 

It also shows the very human hunger for stories about things that are strange or unexplained.  I sort of want the circles to be the result of fairies dancing, and I'm quite happy to believe that at the same time being aware of the way the circles can be formed by people, wind, random soil conditions, fungus and subsurface archaeology.  There is a story in the Wiki page about wallabies in Tasmania eating opium poppy heads and causing crop circles by jumping in circles while under the influence.

It must cost the farmers a lot of money in lost crops.  I suppose they could charge admission at the gate to see the circle but it's not the same.  It must be heartbreaking to see that much hard work and investment destroyed by some students with a few planks of wood and a bit of string.  

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

So Much For Tuesday

I found a file full of bank statements from 2004.  Legally they should only be kept for six years here, so I should have thrown them out seven years ago.  The shredder keeps overheating.  I still haven't found the passport.

Bear was wearing his new shirt today and he could move freely.  This is why he got cherry juice on it, I guess.  I'm sure it will come off in the wash, I use good washing powder.

I've written and uploaded my CV looking for working at home jobs.  It was hard to think of what I had done with the last ten years.  There have been times full of incident and excitement, but not really that much I can put on a resume.  I kept it brief and stressed that I was up to date with the current version of Microsoft.

Poor bear is exhausted at the moment.  I'm going to have to keep a close eye on him as he isn't even playing out at the moment.  He spent most of his time after school reading.  There are worse things.  He wants me to go to the school sports day, and I'm not sure I'll be able to manage.  My leg is really sore.  I'll just have to see how it goes.

Anonymous - I hear you!  I'll work on it this week!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Bigger Hangers

Bear is growing up, just as he should.  The small hangers that I got a few years ago that were perfect for bear's school shirts are no longer quite big enough.  The shoulders droop off  The wooden hangers that I use for DH are still too big.  Today I picked up the shirts and sweaters I had ordered online and while I was in the queue I noticed some hangers that were just a little bigger than the little hangers but not quite so big as the adult hangers.  They should be perfect for bear's new shirts.

This is, to be honest, a complete self indulgence.  I rarely have all bear's shirts hung up on hangers, but instead they're in the ironing pile to be done last thing at night.  The shirts are not going to be inspected by anyone except bear so any creases from drooping shoulders will not be noticed, and nor would it be noticed if the shirt had to be wrestled onto a too large hanger.

It does keep me a little happier, though, and I can try and fool myself that there is a little corner where housewifery things are as they should be, and the £3 I spent isn't the cost of a coffee and cake, so I consider it money well spent.

I've had a look at Amazon Prime Day.  There are some things I'm sort of interested in if the price is right.  What I think I shall do is save up my money and my 'wants' for the year.  Our dehumidifiers are getting on a little, so next July I shall consider if they will last another twelve months.  The same goes for the iron.  There were dehumidifiers and irons in the sale, and I shall see if the price suits me then.  Otherwise I will hang on until I actually need something.

Interestingly enough, there is a deal on DH's favourite brand of toilet paper.  I'm waiting to see what the price is, and whether it will be worth getting a year's supply.  I couldn't possibly store that much, but the thought of bear's expression at seeing boxes and boxes of toilet paper has made me smile.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Bear is enjoying stories

We still have the bedtime story and DH and I are hanging on to it for as long as we can - by our fingernails if we have to!  We've had all sorts of stories and tonight we read the penultimate chapter of Volcano Adventure by Willard Price.

It was written over sixty years ago, so a lot of the science is out of date, and there were a few moments when it showed its age, but it is awesome!  It is an adventure story with the main hero being a seventeen year old lad with his younger brother and they get into all sorts of trouble helping a vulcanologist study eruptions in Japan and the Pacific.  There's lots of outrageous exploits of amazing courage and insight and it is very much in the style of 'Boys Own' comics.  It's tone reminded me a little of the old Flash Gordon series, or the Lone Ranger, all 'Doing the Right Thing' and 'Keeping One's Cool'.  It's also packed with all sorts of facts about the science (mainly out of date now), and details about the areas they visit.  I read a few when I was bear's age, and while they have some outdated ideas the story is definitely the stuff that inspires imagination.

It's been the only sort of adventure today, as it's been hot and bear is overtired.  It's the end of the school year and I suspect he's coming out of a growth spurt.  His trousers definitely don't reach as far down as they did.  He still hasn't come up with a reward he wants for his report.  I'm sure he'll think of something eventually.  We are currently looking at games, at bear's request, but as he has started really devouring books, we may be looking at books as well.

Witch Hazel - you are a source of information and awesome ideas.  We have a basic scanner and I think I'll get started on that tomorrow.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Worse before it Gets Better

I keep thinking that it will all be worse before it gets better.  That it will get better - honestly!

We can't find DH's passport and he needs it to show to work for the latest round of regulations.  It's somewhere in some paperwork folder.  We do not have established paperwork folders.  The folder could be in any of four very cluttered rooms in boxes or on shelves.  I have decided that the paperwork is my next target.

Yesterday I started pulling out all of the folders on the study shelves after moving chairs to get to the bookcases.  Both my knee and back gave way and when bear came in the study looked like someone had picked up a badly organised office and just shook it onto the floor.  It was covered with papers, files and bits of general rubbish, plus a quantity of yarn and half finished projects.

We also had to pull out the tv and cabinet when the CCTV was fitted on Wednesday and took the opportunity to pull out a stack of stuff (mainly Christmas decorations) from behind there.  So this morning I frantically shoved several tonnes of paperwork plus yarn into the living room so that the study looked almost respectable for the piano and maths tutors.  This stuff mixed nicely with the random boxes of Christmas decorations in the living room that need to be stowed just as soon as I can move the sofa to get at the cupboard in the corner to stash the Christmas stuff.  It may be a day or two as the knee is still sore, or I may just go for it and hang the consequences.  It may be disrespectful, but I told DH that it looked like the beach at Dunkirk, covered in flotsam, jetsam and miscellaneous.

Tomorrow I am going to settle down and get on with some knitting projects while bear is around.  Monday I am going to find every scrap of paperwork in the house and get it shredded or filed.  I have several year's worth of bank statements included in the mix so there are going to be lots of shredding.

Bear is not sure what he would like as a treat for a good report.  I think he is angling for the best possible deal, and I don't blame him.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Bear Gets His Report

Bear has his report card for the end of year.  He is awesome.  He got 12 As out of 30 marks and 14 Bs with 4 Cs.  C is working at an age appropriate level, so he's doing very well.  Two of the Cs were for Art, one for PE and one was the effort mark for Writing.  I did feel for bear.  He got an A for attainment and a C for effort.  I can't see why he would want to put more work in if he's getting an A.  In fact, all his marks for attainment were higher or equal to his effort apart from PE.  He's going to get a shock in high school, but at the moment he's doing just fine. So while I am being discretion itself on facebook where the other mums hang out, I'm boasting here.  Bear is doing well.

The best bit of the report was the comments.  According to the teacher, bear is kind and considerate.  All the marks can be pushed and chivvied up, but kind and considerate are something that comes from bear himself.  That's the most important thing and the part of the whole report I'm most proud of!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Probably Ouch

I've done something interesting to my knee, or perhaps undone something to my knee.

Sometime before Christmas I woke in the night with the impression that I had managed to bend my knee the wrong way.  The following few weeks I found it impossible to get up, sit down, do stairs etc etc but I got on with it because I didn't have much option and I was getting the skin graft at the time.  Eventually, a month or two ago, I went to the doctor.  I said that the knee caps felt different shapes, I mentioned how many bits of me I had dislocated and sprained and asked the very nice doctor (who is awesome with bear) if there was anything I could do.  She said I had arthritis.

Last night I was sound asleep (drink had been taken), turned over and my knee made an almighty CLUNK and now I don't have arthritis.  My knee is very sore so the long walk in the woodlands I had sort of planned for tomorrow is probably out, but it isn't feeling like it is always ready to give way on me and it feels like the ache will go away.

We had CCTV installed today.  I need to move the pot plants back into place, but I'll wait until my knee calms down first.  It feels quite impressive, but it's only a little system for a very small garden.  I've warned the neighbours and fingers crossed it will never, ever be needed.

Edited to add - Witch Hazel - You know some awesome stuff, thank you!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Supermarket Deals

The question is - is it really a deal?  Because not all supermarket deals are actually money saving.

Yesterday I got an advertising email from Morrisons.  If I clicked this button I would get 11,000 points if I spent more than £220 in July.  It didn't ask me to enter any passwords, so I clicked the button.  It is very easy to spend more than £220 on groceries in a five week month, especially as I am not always as frugal as I should be and bear does get a lot of treats bought for him.  

11,000 points are quite a lot as 5000 points gets you a £5 voucher and I plan to save mine for Christmas.  If I'm going to spend the grocery money anyway then I may as well.  Besides, we all need new duvets.  Mine are affected by my extremely bad eczema so there are stains and they are due to be replaced.  Bear's duvet is barely thicker than a sheet and DH's are not much better.  Coincidentally, there is an offer on duvets at the moment.  It isn't much of an offer, but it saves a few pennies.  I had planned to wait until August or September, but I may as well pick them up now.  I feel a small glow of victory.  I may have got a better deal on the duvets, but looking around, it wouldn't have been that much better and at least this way I can still shop around in a few other stores as well this month.  I'm going to keep an eye on things to make sure the points are added but if they aren't, I'm not buying things I wouldn't anyway.

I shall definitely be keeping an eye on the price of Lynx.  The bathroom smelled like some sort of dreadful chemical accident this morning.  Bear seemed to think that he wasn't getting the full effect.  I told him to trust me that he really was.

Helen - I remember Brut.  You must have needed oxygen after some classes.  I have the greatest respect for you - teaching thirty hormonal teenagers while surrounded by severe fumes.  Do you remember Hi Karate?  I used to have a boyfriend back in the day who used Hi Karate and I loved it on him.  Looking back, I must have been mad.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Another Milestone for Bear

Bear asked for Lynx.  For those not from the UK it's the bodyspray/deodorant of choice for teenage boys with no sense of restraint.  I got him some, very begrudgingly, and he's going to have to come with me to the supermarket and try some cheaper knock offs because that stuff is expensive!  I mean, it was £2 on offer!

I nipped to the toilet while DH sprayed a little on the back of his hand to see if bear liked it.  When I came back in the room I started coughing.  Walking into a class of fourteen year olds filled with Lynx fumes must be like being maced.  One small spray and my eyes were watering.  Bear is quite ambivalent.  There is no way he needs bodyspray/deodorant yet, but a few of the lads in his class use it (who equally don't need it) and I'm okay with giving in on this, on the understanding that there is no way on this planet he is getting a smart phone yet, I don't care what the other kids have.

I should add, I have a healthy scepticism about what the other kids in his class actually have but the weird demographic around here means that, yes, some 10 year olds have smartphones.  There seems to be a huge push for kids to grow up younger and younger.  I worry so much.

Yesterday, while I was at the bus stop, a man walking past offered the woman next to me a bag of cocaine in exchange for her bottle of lemonade.  She refused politely.  I felt very old and also naive.  The closest I'd come to cocaine before this was watching Scarface.  I hope bear never gets closer than this either.