Monday, 25 November 2013

Fat Balls

No, I'm not being rude. I bought these from Lidl last week. There were 4 in a pack and they cost 79p.

Yesterday I finally got around to threading some wool through the netting and hanging them in the garden. I also crumbled one up in a dish on the table.
Within an hour we had a tiny bird pecking at them, (I think it was a blue tit although I'm not too sure as I'm not really a bird person and my eyesight also leaves a lot to be desired). Then joy of joys Mr Robin came to visit us. We are very lucky here at Number 38, we have a robin visit us every year. It's not a brilliant photo, it was taken through the kitchen window and Mr Robin was most unco-operative and wouldn't keep still for his photo shoot.
We also have a squirrel who buries his nuts in our flower tubs. But squirrels terrify me. They move too quickly for my liking and rather than finding them cute I think they have an evil look about them. Sorry all squirrel lovers.

The garden is in need of a tidy up before Winter truly sets in. It doesn't seem 2 minutes since my pots looked like this.
And now here we are in November with all the colour long gone. 
Never mind, if Mr Robin visits every day, his splash of colour will make up for such a drab garden.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Catch Up

There's been very little time lately to post anything, let alone take photos to accompany my wafflings. But I've found myself with a spare hour tonight and flicking through my pics I realised I never posted our Bonfire Night.

I love looking back over my blog to see what we've done. The photos are the best bit as I can instantly transport myself back to what we were doing as though it were only yesterday. 

Like every Bonfire Night ours started with fireworks.
We had some fizz, a little bit of whoosh and plenty of smoke.
The fire pit was a great success. It kept us lovely and warm.
There was some Father & Son bonding
Lots of marshmallow toasting

And a fair bit of  'Man Make Fire' moments
We ate hotdogs & baked potatoes with cheese & beans
Followed by toffee apples
There  were sparklers
And Amy & Thomas cast plenty of Harry Potter spells on each other

I can't believe it's only 18 days since we did this. So much has happened since then.

I've missed posting what we've all been up to, so I'm going to make a concerted effort to post a bit more often purely because amidst all the drama going on at the moment, there are basic daily things happening that I want to be able to look back on and remember with a smile.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

All at once ......

Oh my goodness, why does everything happen at once? 

Mum is still with us and the daily visits from the district nurse will continue for weeks to come. They are lovely with her but she is getting fed up of the whole thing now which is understandable. The other thing is that until they've been I'm stuck in the house. We have a morning slot which means that I can be sat here waiting for them any time up to 1pm. Hopefully, as Mum gets better she'll be able to cope with them on her own but for the time being she wants me here with her while they do their 'job'. So I'm feeling a bit stuck.

Last week Aunty Edith was taken into hospital. She had a bad chest infection, water infection and they weren't sure if there was something going on with her heart. She's back home now and being well looked after by her lovely son, but seems to have gone very frail overnight - even though she is 90.

Mark's mum has dementia and can hardly walk. His dad had a heart bypass 3 years ago and is her main carer. They are both in their 80's, proud and stubborn (a very bad combination). Dad has recently let slip that Mum hasn't been downstairs for 3-4 weeks as she can no longer manage to get back up. So we've spent a week trying to sort out people to come in and help them. The 'District Nurse Matron' is on the case and has suggested a stair lift, walking frame and somebody to come in every day to give Mum a wash and freshen up. Because of her dementia she agrees to this one minute then changes her mind the next. The look on the Matron's face was quite funny when within a one hour visit she changed her mind about 20 times. I have no idea why they ask anybody with dementia any serious questions. She doesn't even know what number house she lives at.

And finally this week, Mark's Uncle Billy died, so there's a funeral to attend next week.

I'll be glad to see the back of 2013, although I have a sneaky suspicion most of these troubles will follow us into next year.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

It's been a week since .....

....... Mum came home from hospital and she's still far from being on the mend.

The district nurse comes every day to pack and dress the wound from the bowel operation. Without going into too much detail for those with delicate constitutions she looks as though she has another belly button at the bottom of her scar where the skin hasn't knitted together properly. It's nothing the nurses haven't seen before but I was told on the quiet this morning that we're looking at weeks not days for this to heal.

Mum is spending most of the day in bed sleeping, which appears to be quite normal after 2 major operations, but just to make sure she isn't anaemic she had blood taken today.

The GP visited this afternoon to make sure she didn't need re-admitting to hospital and thankfully was quite happy with how she was and the care she was getting, so Mum can stay put for the time being.

Meanwhile, life goes on around her. The novelty of her being here soon wore off for Amy and Thomas and they now carry on regardless, occasionally 'visiting' her when she is awake. 

I find myself constantly in the kitchen trying to rustle up something appetising for her to eat, organising her medication, and walking up the stairs more times than I care to think about. (The plus side is I've lost 2lb since she arrived!)

Mark has been a star and done loads of trips to the chemist, surgery and disability store (we need a couple of things to make moving around easier for her).

I receive texts from the family on a daily basis and my brother, sis-in-law and 2 children visit nearly every evening.

There are times on the day when it all gets a bit manic and I have to remind myself to take it slowly.

But each day gets a little better and knowing Mum will eventually recover makes it easier to bear, and for that I can only be thankful.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Happy Birthday

A quick post today to wish my lovely little boy a 'Very Happy 8th Birthday'

The banners and balloons went up last night.
And this morning he was up extra early to open cards and presents. 
He was a bit bemused by this card. Hello Kitty with a Pink Glittery Number 7! Who could that be from? Well, it was lovely Aunty Edith who is 90 and can be forgiven for not getting it quite right!
After school his older brother and cousins dropped by with more presents and cards. And we all sang Happy Birthday to him. 
He's invited 3 friends to the cinema, McDonalds then back here to play for a couple of hours tomorrow. I spent the morning making this cake for when we sing Happy Birthday again. It's a simple victoria sponge with jam and ready roll icing, with lego men and bricks stuck on for decoration.
Mum came home Wednesday evening. We've had a couple of fraught days trying to sort medication, dressings, district nurses and getting her temporarily registered with my GP. None of it has been straightforward but I think we're there now. She's shattered, still has an infected wound and needs lots of looking after and TLC.

But she's where she wants to be and although physically I think they've let her home a couple of days too early, I can see how they had to balance the physical side of things against how it was all beginning to affect her mentally. 

Anyway, she's with us and seems happy and settled so that can only be good for her recovery process.

Hope you all have a lovely, relaxing weekend.


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Things are improving

I haven't been able to get to hospital to see my Mum today, but I've had some really 'good news' texts from her.

First was to say the tube up her nose going into her stomach has been removed and she is now eating and drinking with no problems.

Second one was that the potassium drip had been taken out and she was now taking tablets instead.  

The third was to tell me that hopefully the antibiotic drip will be out tomorrow and she will be able to take tablets.

She saved the best one for last. The consultant said she could probably go home Friday or Saturday as long as she wasn't going to be on her own.

My Dad died 20 years ago, so to make sure she can come home as soon as possible we've decided she will come and stay with us.

Our house isn't massive but we will accommodate her as best we can for however long it takes her to get back on her feet. The consultant told her that if she'd been working she wouldn't be returning for at least 3 months. I doubt very much Mum will be here for 3 months but if she is then so be it.

So tomorrow there will be some changes in the house. First will be a good clean and clear out of of the small lounge we have. This is so that she has somewhere quiet to retreat to when she wants her own space. There is a sofa, TV and internet in there so she will be set up to do what she mostly does at home. 

Then we are moving Thomas into our bedroom. He'll sleep on his mattress on the floor next to our bed (he's really excited about camping in our room). 

I'll need to buy a new mattress for Thomas' bed which we've been needing to do for a while anyway, and some new single bedding for her. I'll have to make some space in the wardrobe and sort out the drawers in the bedside cabinet. There's nothing I can do about his decor but I'm sure Grandma won't mind blue paint and footballs while she's here.

Amy & Thomas are really excited that she's coming to 'live' with us. And when I told Mark she could only go home if there was somebody to look after her, without hesitation he quite simply said, "she can come here". He really couldn't have made it any easier for me and I'm very lucky to have such an understanding husband.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Melon Dreams & Wales

Before we head down the Welsh coast I just want to tell you all that today my Mum was allowed to drink some diluted pineapple juice and eat half a bowl of soup for her supper. I can't begin to tell you how positive that news is for us all. It's been 2 weeks exactly since she last ate anything and several days during this time she's also been nil by mouth. She tells me every day I visit that she dreams about eating juicy melon, so hopefully if things start to improve it won't be long before her dreams come true.

Right, our final day in Wales. 

Thursday started with a downpour but after half an hour the skies were blue again. We'd decided today we would drive along the coast road.

Our journey took us through Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Rhos-on-Sea, Llandudno and Conwy.  

First stop was Colwyn Bay where we had a walk along the front and a look at the fishing boats. Thomas isn't happy in this photo because he wanted to go on a fishing trip. But it was freezing and the trips were 2 hours long.
A little further down is Rhos-on-Sea where we stopped for a coffee. We sat in a lovely cafe overlooking the sea, listening to Mark moaning about the price of a full english breakfast, which to be fair was a valid moan. At £7.50 for a small breakfast, it was £4 more than he's used to paying for a whopping fry up so he decided to go hungry instead. 

Just next to the cafe  was this playground. You're never too old for a roundabout....
... or a see-saw
or it would appear, too young for a flat cap!
We then drove through Llandudno and paid a £2.50 toll to drive up the Great Orme.
The road is one way only and there were no cars on it at all, so we let the children do something very dangerous. We drove slowly up the road and let them poke their heads out of the sunroof.
We can be very irresponsible parents at times! but I bet Amy & Thomas will always remember doing this and sometimes danger needs to be embraced.
The views at the top were amazing with sheer rock face on one side of us and the bluest sea on the other.
And once again it was very very windy. And very very cold.
This cafe is called 'Rest & Be Thankful' and I think if we'd walked up we would have certainly been thankful to spot this. As it is we never need much encouragement to take a refreshment break.
So had no trouble ordering cups of tea and a portion of apple pie to share between Father and Daughter. Funny how sharing a piece of pie can be so much fun. There was lots of 'fork fighting' and laughing from both of them while they ate this.
Next stop was Conwy Castle. It cost us £18 for entry and was worth every penny.
There were steps to climb right up to the top of the turrets.
Fireplaces on which you could easily cook a fully grown small boy.
Lots of places to hang over and scare your Mum

And dungeons and cellars to explore
And the view from on top of the castle walls was perfect.
Of course no castle is complete without a knight or two.
To have your photo taken with.
The day ended with a little shopping spree. A sword and shield for Thomas and a mood ring for Amy. Neither of them every worry about how much the other's gift costs. They choose what they want and the monetary value is never a factor in their choices. Shown by the fact the sword and shield cost £9 and Amy's mood ring cost £2.25. They were both equally happy with what they'd chosen and we got big hugs and thank yous from both of them.

Back at the caravan we did a little bit of packing then had a family vote of where to go for supper - fish & chips walking up the lane in the dark was the clear favourite.

We finished our holiday with a final visit to the arcade where Thomas won even more tickets.
Considering what we were dealing with behind the scenes with my Mum I'd say this was one of the best trips to Wales we've had.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Wales: Wednesday & My Poor Mum

We woke up on Wednesday to glorious sunshine so decided after breakfast we would head for the beach.
This is what I call a proper beach. Absolutely full of golden soft sand! We were heading for the lighthouse in the distance.
On our way I decided to try a bit of camera trickery and tried to get Amy to hold the lighthouse in her hand.
Thomas wanted to collect more shells to put in his box at home. This was a long sharp one but he didn't like it so he threw it away. 
And this is us having a rare photo together.
 To prove we got there it I took a photo of Amy & Thomas on the steps.
Then I left them to clamber about on the rocks...
While I took some photos of the landscape. You either love these windmills or hate them. I  really like them.
I absolutely love this photo and it's probably one of the best I've ever snapped. Legend has it that the lighthouse is haunted (obviously), with sightings of a lighthouse keeper holding a lantern.
We finally made our way back to pick up some pasties and the biggest cookies I've ever seen from the bakers for our lunch. And on the way Amy wrote this in the sand which I thought was really sweet.
That afternoon I'd booked me, Amy & Thomas in for a horse ride at a stables just round the corner from where we were staying. 

Amy used to have riding lessons and she was up and mounted on 'Llando' before you could say Jack Flash. I think she'd have preferred a more advanced lesson than just an amble down the country lanes, but we all wanted to stay together.
Thomas has never been on a horse before and only a couple of years ago threw a wobbly when we popped him on a donkey at Heaton Park, so I wasn't sure how he'd react. But he took to it like a duck to water, complaining in the car on the way home, that 'Honeysuckle'  didn't jump over any fences! 
I've only ever been on a horse half a dozen times in my life. I'm always quite nervous to begin with but actually enjoy it when I get going, as long as we only walk!

I'm well past the age of hoisting myself into a saddle so they very kindly let me use the mounting steps.
However, when James  let go of the reins 'Gypsy' decided she'd go for a stroll around the yard looking for food. I have to admit I did let out a squeal at this point.
But we had a lovely walk down the lanes and now of course Amy & Thomas want riding lessons. Me? I'm not too bothered!
After a cup of tea and a rest we got ourselves ready and went to the club restaurant for our evening meal. Then I took Thomas into the entertainment lounge to watch the children's talent show for half an hour, while Mark & Amy had a drink in the bar. 

All that fresh air on the beach and horse riding must have worn us out because that night we were all in bed for 10pm.

Tomorrow we're going for a drive along the coast line from Prestatyn to Conwy. 


PS. My mum is still very poorly. Both her hysterectomy wound and bowel operation wound are now infected. She is really fed up and seems to be in a mental decline which the staff have also commented on. Every time we visit there's something else to worry about. She just doesn't seem to be able to turn that corner on the road to recovery.