Thursday 31 July 2014

Still Spotty

I've looked at my recent posts, and I find them unbelievable.  I promise I am not making anything up - I've left bits out!

My biggest war at the moment is getting bear to change his socks.  As he has a batch of boring black socks at his request it is hard to spot straight off when he's had a sock change fail.  I've started counting the socks I retrieve from his room.  He is currently looking splendid in clean socks pulled right up to the knee and baggy long shorts.  He looks like an Edwardian gentleman in plus twos.

Last night I watched the Lego Movie.  If you haven't seen it already, I really recommend it.  I'm going to watch it with father as soon as he gets home.

Obviously I can't visit father but I call and it seems his speech is improving.  That is a step nearer to getting him eating and drinking properly and once that is in place then with father the sky is the limit.

Wednesday 30 July 2014

I Have Chickenpox - Again

I have lost count of the number of times I have had chickenpox.  I'm not sure if it is three or four times now.  I also have a problem with my leg, which is a bit icky.  I have antibiotics for my leg and a suggestion that I get some chamomile cream from the chemist for the chicken pox.  My hands are covered in tiny blisters - all stress related, really.  I think I need to seriously address my stress levels.

It means I can't visit father until I'm less crusty.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Pootling on

Some random thoughts...

Bear was so exhausted by martial arts holiday club that he was asleep by 8pm.

After dropping bear off, on the way home I noticed a man stretched out flat on a pavement at 9am.  I was on an unfamiliar bus, and while I know the area a bit I don't know the names of streets.  The area is such that it could be drink, drugs, stabbed, shot or beaten.  I couldn't even dial 101 because I couldn't describe where I saw him.  Still a bit worried, but I know that there are a lot of good people around so hopefully he is fine.  

On the second bus home I passed a house with tin foil on the windows.  As the house faces north east I am guessing it is not to ward off heat but to either ward off beams from aliens or lizard men or that they are growing cannabis.  

Father is doing okay and is getting lots of visitors.  I don't know how long he will be in there as he can't move his right arm still.  He needs to be able to manage a little bit of stairs before he comes home.  The ambulance men couldn't get the sort of chair thing they use on stairs to fit on ours.  I'm going to look at stair lifts but I am not optimistic.

I boiled the kettle and realised it was the first time in over a week.  I've emptied it and emptied the one in father's room.  Isn't it odd finding these things?  I am looking forward to father getting better - but probably not as much as he is!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Weather Continues

The weather isn't agreeing with me.  The knack of our house to hold heat which I gloat about during frost is not helpful.  However it will be no time at all before I am complaining of feeling too cold.

I've been thinking about the kidney beans and all the advice and gone for the smaller tins this time, but I'm holding the ideas of freezing etc in reserve for later.  With father in hospital and likely to be there for some time, our diet is going to be different.  I naturally cook what we all like, which is actually only toast but I do my best to include stuff that people don't mind so much.

DH is being a hero.  He took bear to an adventure playground this morning and bear reached the top of a very scary climbing frame.  I don't go there as I am a bag of nerves when bear climbs.  I have explained to bear that the problem is me and not him, but I can't watch.

I am waiting to find out if father has a chest infection.  He couldn't move his right arm at all yesterday.  The nurses are really good.

Friday 25 July 2014

Far Too Warm

Thank you for the suggestions about the beans.  I was considering freezing them, but my track record on using things from the freezer isn't good unless they are bought.  I am still considering the matter.

I am not really enjoying the weather.  I don't do well in the heat and it is 29C on our landing. I know that this is not a huge number for some parts of the world but it is pretty high here.  The weather is supposed to cool down over the next few days, but our house holds the heat.  This is lovely in January, but less lovely now.

Bear is bored, not enjoying anything much, far too hot and far too tired.  I have booked piano lessons for bear to start again in September.  Last time was an abject failure because bear loathes travel.  This time the teacher comes to us.  The man sounds lovely but I am not sure he knows what he is in for.  Regardless it is a good excuse for bear to work through his old work books and see what he can bring to the table with the new teacher.

My feet were too swollen to get shoes on today so couldn't visit but I have been in touch with the hospital and father seems to be doing well.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Same old sums

I am weighing up the totals - again!

Do I buy a half sized tin of kidney beans for 40p or do I buy a full sized value tin of kidney beans for 30p and throw half away?

I am morally against throwing food out just because it's convenient, and I know that I won't use the second half up in any time soon.  On the other hand, ten pence is ten pence.  Of course then there is the issue of landfill (we do not have a composter) and the energy and resources for the different sized tins.  It is currently looking likely I will get the smaller one, but I am wavering.  I know you need to read the labels but sometimes I wonder if it is worth all the mental energy.

Father is unchanged.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Far too Warm

I don't do well in the heat, so I am making the best of it until I can start complaining about how cold I am.

Thank you for all good wishes and great advice.  I am very grateful.

Father coughed up his feeding tube.  He can't talk, can't swallow and can't write notes.  I took bear to see him today and bear was in pieces.  To be honest, so was I.

DH is being a hero.  My neighbours are also being stars.

Approved Food delivered just as I was on the toilet and as I rushed downstairs bear knocked water over where the computer is plugged into the socket.  There was no harm done but I don't think the delivery man was impressed.  It wasn't my usual one, so hasn't learned that there are hazards delivering here.

Tesco are delivering tomorrow as I am abusing the delivery saver.  I am just glad to get a delivery.

Morrisons are doing the 'spend £40 per week for a month and get some money back' deal - and it is ridiculously easy to do that.  It is also available on deliveries.  However I am not going to be reaching £40 per delivery, I am much more comfortable with the £25, and hope to struggle to get that sometimes.  Which reminds me I had better get off and add onions to the list.

Approved Food order contained some little Goblin steak and kidney pies that I ordered for father's lunches.  I hope he can eat them soon.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Normal for here

Father is still in hospital and looking worse, though I think he will soon start getting better.

Bear is being bear and decided that after a bad night what I really needed was to get up early.

I put laundry liquid into the fabric conditioner drawer.  I'm not really focusing.

Things could be a lot worse.

Monday 21 July 2014

Pretending Things are Normal

Thank you for the good wishes.  Father on a drip but okay.

So, shopping.  I've weighed up deliveries for over the summer and shuddered.  There are large numbers of kids wandering in and out at weekends and I don't suppose the summer will be much different.

I looked at the different sites.  In the end I came down to Tesco.  Their delivery saver is £6 per month for a minimum of six months but I can get a maximum of one delivery per day at any time for that.  It means that I don't have to hold out for Tuesday lunchtimes and the £1 delivery slots.  I have booked a slot on the Sunday morning the day before bear's martial arts camp for packed lunch and that delivery slot would have normally cost £6 in itself.

I will still be getting the occasional deliveries from other stores, depending on the sale of things like Famous Grouse.  That is, if father can still drink.  DH likes a whisky now and again, so it will still be worth looking out for.  On balance I think that the lack of variety in offers will offset the convenience of regular deliveries and I really need to make sure I remember to cancel it as it auto renews and it is on the card, not a proper direct debit so it is like the way payday loans operate.

The other downside is that the minimum order needs to be £25.  I suspect that I will have problems reaching that on some deliveries so I plan to stock up on things like toilet paper when I need a lot of deliveries during the holidays and use up the excess over the winter months when hopefully I need fewer deliveries.

I am looking forward to the ease of the deliveries though, especially if father is poorly and I can't get out at all.

Bear is poorly and slumped down watching Ben 10 videos.  For 'hit things until the problem is solved' type cartoons it isn't too bad.  A neighbour should be able to watch him when I go to see father.

So I am pottering about with shopping and bits and things and not thinking about much.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Father has had a Stroke

He was planning on going to the GP's surgery tomorrow when I found him.  I explained that he needed to get medical attention a little bit before that.  He is currently in hospital, barely able to stand and struggling.  He is nil by mouth as it looks like his swallowing has been affected.  It has been an issue for some time, hopefully it will now be sorted so he can eat soon.

Bear has D&V.  I also suspect tonsilitis but he is a lot brighter today.  However it means I can't take him to school tomorrow.  If I take him in and spread D&V on the last day of term, the other mums would rightly hunt me down.

It also means I can't take him to an acute ward.  I really understand this.  I think that one of the neighbours will be able to keep him when I nip into see father at the hospital.

Father was in good spirits and while he is struggling with words, he is still with it.  He is a bit worried, but I know he will be well looked after.

Saturday 19 July 2014

Bearly at the End

We have two days left of term.  Bear has very red tonsils.  He is currently putting on a major performance that should at least get him nominated for a minor acting award if not the Oscars, but I have a sneaking suspicion that, despite the drama, bear isn't very well.  There is lots and lots of actual drama.  His performance of going up stairs while at death's door is amazing and one day I will film it and put it on YouTube (okay, just threaten to) and he has been pitiful.  He has also been too poorly to bother with chocolate.  He genuinely does seem to have no appetite, though, and as I also suspect he is in the middle of a growth spurt this is a bit alarming.

I mentioned to DH that I had been thinking about going out for the day by myself on Monday as it would be my last chance before the summer break.  However it is now looking unlikely.  DH suggested that I stop planning to go out as every time I did so bear was poorly, I am obviously making him sick.  Sigh.  I am having quite a bit of trouble getting out of the house at the moment anyway, so it is badly timed but I don't blame bear.

Bear also does a really amazing performance of desperately needing just a small sip of cool water.

Welcome to the summer holidays

Friday 18 July 2014

Very Sorry

Sorry about the gap.  I am feeling a bit sorry for myself but will snap out of it soon.  I am actually a bit ashamed of feeling so sorry for myself.  Normal service will be resumed shortly.

The time since the last post has been, I suppose, normal for me.  Highlights are as follows.

I set the cooker on fire but DH saved it with amazing swiftness.  It still works so I am holding off buying a new mini oven.

Father has been using his sickle and is exhausted very quickly.  The church have persuaded my octogenarian father with his iffy knees, dodgy blood pressure and general lack of stability that he really shouldn't be the one replacing the drainpipes.  I have threatened to hide his trousers if I find him up a ladder after he volunteered to clean high coving at the church.  This offer was politely rejected by the lovely people at the church.  However father is still overseeing the fabric of the church and I am a little unimpressed.

Bear had a truly stupendously brilliant report and his SATS for the end of Year 2 were excellent.  He was treated to a visit to the York Chocolate Museum.  The museum is amazing but the toilets are horrific.  They were very clean but so narrow that even my skinny bear struggled to get in and out and if you breathe in too deeply you set off the hand dryer.

Nice Mr Next Door is still on iffy ground with the cars on the street and there may be bad happenings.  Someone official with a clipboard and hi vis vest was around again today.

Bear has been under the weather and has had a nasty cough.  He sleeps through his nocturnal coughing fits but I don't.  I'm on my knees.  He was off school today, and while I hate him missing the fun stuff at the end of turn, poor bear was just laying around half asleep.  His tonsils are looking lovely and red.  I got told off by the doctor last time for missing them.  They are not yet that bad, but I think the first week of the holiday may be looking a bit bad for bear.

Father has started getting very drunk very quickly.  I am a little worried as normally he could drink most people under the table.  This talent seems to have faded.

Bear has been watching maths programmes on YouTube.  You would not believe how grateful I am that he hasn't asked me to explain anything.  One of the programmes is Dara O'Briain's School of Hard Sums.  I'm not sure exactly how much bear understood and I suspect very little, but he seemed happy enough.

Father had a fall in town when he was checking train times for trips out.  He glossed over it very quickly and mentioned it only as an aside.  I am a bit concerned that other falls have happened when I haven't been looking and have not been mentioned.

So things continue very normally.  Sorry to have let this lapse from self indulgence and I am sure I will be wittering on regularly soon.

Now off to try and sleep through the outdoor party next door.  It's not that bad, and it is nice to be outside in this weather, so I don't want to complain.  However what with one thing and another I just hope I can get off okay.

Sunday 6 July 2014

Sunday Lunch Again

When will I learn?  I bought a pancake maker.  It is a little pan that is supposedly non-stick and you pour pancake batter into it and then turn the pan.  Having bought that I added some packets of pancake batter onto the Approved Food order as my batter is almost as bad as my pastry and you can tile a roof with my pastry.

Epic Fail.

First of all the 'nifty dispenser' did not 'nifty dispense'.  Instead batter overflowed the pan that it was designed to niftily dispense' into and overflowed all over the stove.  Then the alleged non-stick stuck and it all went horribly wrong when I tried to turn it over.  I had an overdose of batter clinging on to the 'non-stick' part of the pan and gently smoking in the over heating oil on the other side.

I got out my flat griddle.  I had a bit of a fail then as I was looking at the timings of the pancake pan which apparently is a bit of a delicate flower and can't take high heat.  A griddle is designed for heat.  All I really can say is that the smoke alarm definitely works.  DH got us burgers from MacDonalds.

Now all I need to worry about is the pork steaks that I am currently defrosting.  They are not defrosting very quickly, and I can't bung them in the fridge for tomorrow as tomorrow is fish n chips after bear's martial arts lesson on the other side of town.  I may try microwave defrosting it just before I start cooking but I always feel a little nervous about that as it is pork.  There isn't even an 'r' in the month.  However at least I have some nice tinned ham in reserve with plenty of veggies fresh and ready to go, so hopefully that is safe.

Now off to clean the cooker.

Saturday 5 July 2014

Washing Machine

There are lots of good places to get a washing machine.  There are places like Gumtree and Freecycle, there are stalls on markets and some shabby looking shops.  There are small ads and cards in windows - all of them very inexpensive.

I admit that I prefer to buy anything electrical new from somewhere vaguely reputable.  If I can scrape the money together then I think it is safer going through channels that are less likely to be positive if there is a problem.  Fortunately I think I can scrape some money together to buy a washing machine.

I have been browsing my favourite places to shop - ebay, amazon, Topcashback - and seeing what was around.  I have just picked up the last bits of bear's uniform from Debenhams' shop on ebay, and I saw the perfect washing machine for me in a similar sort of outlet shop.  It is a Beko, it has an okay energy rating of A+, and most importantly it has variable temperature.  I was told that the most expensive bit of running a washing machine was heating the water, and UK washing machines usually fill with cold water and heat the water in the machine.  All the decent washing powder brands will wash okay at low temperatures and despite bear's best efforts none of our clothes are that dirty so I like to do a longer wash at a lower temperature.  I had a look around at the same model on different sites and it looks a good deal - at least fifty pounds cheaper than elsewhere.

It's from Argos.  I have bought a washer from Argos before.  I was threatening to take them to the small claims court at one point.  It was not a happy transaction.

Regretfully, I'll keep on looking.  I would rather save that amount of anguish and mental strife than the money.

Friday 4 July 2014

Father has bought a sickle

Father has expended just under seventeen pounds on a folding sickle.  A sickle of all things.  Some American cars are bigger than our front yard, we have no room to swing a small knife let alone a sickle.

Father is nearly eighty three and not getting more robust.  On the other hand he seems to have got a new lease of life since he decided to help out the local church with maintenance.  He is getting frailer and frailer and he is committing to doing the church grounds.  If they were much larger than a bedspread I would be playing war.  He is also muttering about the electrics.  It is true that he was in the Royal Engineers and re-wired our kitchen when I was a child.  That was in 1969.  There are a few differences these days.

He also told me tomorrow was February.  And he joked about crossing the road near the undertakers at the end of the street carrying said sickle.  Most people can't tell the difference between a sickle and a scythe - anyway it looks like a short scythe to me.

I dread to think what will turn up next.

Being Mum

Bear thought it important for me to see what he had done on the toilet at seven thirty this morning.  I don't think I appreciated it the way he thought I should, I was still half asleep.

I'm off to prune some brambles in the street that are becoming a serious hazard on the school run.  Tonight I should get bear's report.  It should be good.  I am very, very nervous.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Very, very, very minor problem

I follow blogs and lots of people out there are having real problems and troubles and I am so aware that my trouble of today was minor.  I feel a bit ashamed of being fed up.  On the other hand I shut the cutlery drawer with more emphasis than normal and the front fell off.  I was too fed up to even swear, I just looked at it and carried on.

There's no hope of fixing it back on, the thin plastic thingy that held it on has snapped completely.  To be fair the kitchen is not only older than bear, I would put some money at being nearly my age.  It is certainly over twenty years old and I think it was as much age as temper.  

I can still use the cupboard underneath and I will.  I will empty the plastic bag rolls and bulldog clips out of one drawer and into a box to keep in a cupboard and I can put the cutlery drawer in that.  It's not a big deal.  I am weighing up the chance of getting a standalone cupboard to go there. 

It will have to wait.  The electric mini oven which has given sterling service for less than £50 is on it's way out.  It isn't cooking properly.  As the gas oven has always been a bit temperamental this has left me relying on the halogen oven, remoska and the microwave, so hardly in a bad place.  It did leave the apple and blackcurrant crumble with a kind gift of blackcurrants sort of scorching in the halogen, but it wasn't too bad.  If I had put more sugar in it would have been better.  

On top of that the washing machine is looking very creaky.  The soap drawer is feeling very peculiar when I open and shut it and I suspect that using white vinegar as softener can corrode a spring.  It is actually a washer dryer and at least five years old which is a bit longer than the three years a washer dryer is supposed to last.  

So next month I can look at it as, 'Great, shopping opportunity for electricals.' or I can look at it as 'Bugger, not much change out of £300 if I'm lucky.'  I can't manage without a washer, and I'm really missing the mini oven.

I am also looking rather tentatively at a pound of under-ripe gooseberries that a really lovely person gave to me.  I'm off to google microwave gooseberry jam.  I'm bound to get a few hits, surely.

Wednesday 2 July 2014


Today I did some weeding.  This was to spare father, who has been doing some work at the church.  At nearly 83 he should realise that he shouldn't be plastering and painting but the penny hasn't dropped yet.  I filled a bucket full of weeds and there are plenty more to cut back yet.

I found this photo on by micromoth

Our garden is covered in it.  We definitely didn't plant it but it seems too pretty to just uproot willynilly.  It's called ivy leaved toadflax and is very pretty but very assertive.  Speaking of assertive, nettle stings can get through disposable vinyl gloves.  I am prickled.

Bear wore his kit in the tournament on Sunday.  I washed it.  He wore it to his lesson on Monday.  I washed it.  He wore it to his lesson last night.  I washed it.  Today he wore it to demonstrate some moves in the Assembly at school.  Apparently he wore all his protective stuff and did a form and a jumping back kick.  I have no idea how it went but as bear came in, got changed, grabbed sweets and squash and has been playing happily outside ever since then I guess he is fine.  The kit is in the wash.

It is really cloudy and gloomy here, but I suspect I will still have to go out and water the plants again.  I don't mind so much if bear gets to play out.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Today was a Good Day

I survived Monday evening.  Bear does not like travelling to anything so getting him across town to his martial arts extra lesson was a challenge.  In fact, it was a miracle that I got him on the bus.  He was being heavily bribed as he had come fourth in the tournament and been in the special book so he was getting a treat from The Entertainer.  He had a huge budget {for us}, because he had kept going in his tournament when it got tough.

First of all we went to the Vegan Cafe which actually does more than vegan food.  Bear had his favourite, cheese on beans on toast.  He goes there most Saturdays with DH and is shamefully indulged by the staff there.  Bear is happy to be indulged, though, and stuffed his face.  Then we went to the Entertainer.  Perhaps it was as well that we went to the cafe first as I am not sure that they would have approved of a stonking great toy rifle looking remarkably like the Winchester 1873 rifle that he picked up next.  It is a weighty, magnificent piece with a serious cocking action and bear thinks it is amazing.  He was so taken with it that I managed to get him onto the bus to the Academy where he was training without too much fuss.

Today bear had his school Sports Day.  Bear was unimpressed that his team didn't win in the first half of the day {he came 4th} but as he won his own race he was quite chirpy.  It was a 'carry a plastic ball on a paper plate' race, but bear was so determined and focused that he will be getting the reward he has asked for {though definitely lesser than the stonking rifle replica}.  Then DH and I went out for a quiet meal.

I am still having issues with the keyboard, so I am struggling to write.  On the bright side I ought to have more time for housework.  However I did end up writing my answer to Light and Shade's Monday's Challenge on my mobile at two in the morning without my glasses.  It needed a bit of translation when I woke up this morning, but I'm pleased enough with it.  If you are interested it is on my other blog and while there is a hint of two in the morning about it, it doesn't quite show that it was written on a mobile.