Sunday, 31 May 2015

Birthday Girl

So, as of around 12.30am ish, I am now 48 years old, (Mum can't remember the exact time, she says it was a bad labour and she's tried to erase it from her memory). My age doesn't bother me at all now, getting older is a bonus. Life is what it is and it only moves forwards.

What I find a little bit scary is how fast time passes. Me and Mark can be talking about something that we can remember as clearly as though it were yesterday, and then we realise it was 20 years ago. 

I've had some lovely presents. Thomas has obviously picked up on the gardening theme this year and he chose these lovely garden candles, gardening gloves and a butterfly for me.
And his card made me smile with his 'yours sincerely'.
Amy and 'adopted daughter' made me a lovely basket full of smellies. They arranged and wrapped it themselves and I've got bubble bath, lotion, gel, shampoo, bath bombs, candles etc. I think a luxurious soak in the bath might be on the agenda this week.
From Mark I got a bottle of my favourite perfume. I once had a body like this but we're talking many moons ago.
And my brother and sister-in-law came down for a brew and gave me this lovely teapot which is right up my street. 
I couldn't wait to start the jigsaw and as I don't have a board big enough it will be a puzzle of 3 pieces which I'll join up at the end.
I made Sunday lunch as usual then Mark, Amy and Thomas made afternoon tea. It was hard choosing which cake to have but after a lot of deliberation I went for the strawberry tart. Delicious!
The only disappointment of the day is that Home Fires isn't on but apart from that it's been a lovely birthday. 


Saturday, 30 May 2015

Birthday Secrets and A&E

My 'birthday jigsaw' from Mum arrived today. I can't wait to get started on this but first I need to find something it will fit on. I've also been given some money so I'll be having a browse on Amazon this weekend and a look around Bury on Wednesday.
Obligatory sticks of rock brought back from holiday. Matching ones for 'adopted daughter' and her boyfriend - they can argue over the silliest things - and one for Grandma Joan. 

There's been lots of whispering and secret wrapping going on at Number 38 today. Could it be something to do with my birthday tomorrow? These presents appeared on the fireplace while I was upstairs putting the ironing away.
And these cake boxes were found in the kitchen. 

Mark has been sat in A&E for 3 hours with Tom this afternoon. He was supposed to be visiting Joan but when Mark saw him he was struggling to sit down and in a lot of pain. When he said he wanted to go to A&E we knew it must be bad. The upshot is he's been prescribed cream and senokot for the physical problem and anti-depressants and sleeping tablets to try and help him cope a bit better mentally. We did notice on holiday that he doesn't want to go to bed, (we think he's frightened of going to sleep and not waking up), and when he does nod off it's only for a couple of hours at a time. The cancer is obviously on his mind all the time and it must be wearing him out.

Tonight we are going to relax with a film a Chinese and a bottle of wine - well that's the plan, but who knows!


Friday, 29 May 2015

Back in one piece

We are back at Number 38 after an enjoyable few days away. The only major incident was on our final night when Mark choked on a piece of sweetcorn. 

I attempted a valiant effort at the Heimlich manoeuvre and 2 coach drivers, who were First Aid trained, were on their feet about to intervene, when the offending sweetcorn managed to dislodge itself. 

Mark says he'd have been most upset to be taken out by something so trivial and has always hoped for a much more dynamic death.  We've laughed about it since but it's pretty horrific watching somebody choke, it seems to go on forever. 

All of this took place in a busy dining room and Amy was mortified by the whole thing. Meanwhile, amidst all the commotion, Tom continued to eat his meal then got up and went to the dessert table to help himself to gateaux!

All in all though it's been a good week and I think Tom has enjoyed it, although it's hard to tell as he has the most expressionless face I've ever seen. The only minor irritation he has caused is when he's been in his wheelchair. He loses all ability to communicate with us or other people and only seems capable of raising his hand to point to what he wants or where he wants to go. Honestly, we're not violent people but after pushing him around for 4 days we've both said, "if he points that bloody finger one more time, we'll chop it off".


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Evening Walk and A Funny Spa Treatment

Big Tom likes a walk out after his evening meal, although as Little Tom, (who's not keen on walking), has pointed out "it's OK for Grandad, he doesn't walk, he gets pushed in the wheelchair". It's blooming cold and windy here at Lytham at 8.30pm but we've braved the elements and we've walked down the promenade and back through the gardens.

Every time we come to Lytham there seems to be something new and this time it's this row of beach huts. You can rent them out for £65 a day or if you're feeling flush you can buy one for £30,000. 

Not bad I suppose, considering you get a view like this.
Walking down to the beach huts we pass the boating lake. There are pedal boats, canoes and also those big 'hamster balls' that you get in and 'walk the water'. 
Coming back we go through the gardens, up and down little winding paths 

To the waterfall
Then over some stepping stones
And under a little bridge
Lytham is known for it's golf so it's no surprise to find a mini putting green in the gardens as well.

Today, Amy visited the hotel spa for a facial which she really enjoyed. While the mask was working its magic the beautician gave her a foot massage. Amy can't stand people touching her feet and couldn't stop laughing, I couldn't stop laughing at her laughing and the beauty therapist couldn't stop laughing at us. 
Unfortunately, after lunch it started to rain and hasn't let up since so we didn't make it to the windmill and Lowther Gardens. Instead we've spent time in the hotel playing cards, chatting, swimming and of course, updating blogs.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Snippets from Lytham

Arrived safe and sound. Hotel is lovely. Weather is warm and dry but very windy.
After a lunch of fish and chips we checked in. The room is great. It has a double bed and 2 singles and there is still room to move.

We also have a sea view. To our right is the pier that was opened in 1885 and to our left we have views of the gardens and a lake. Thomas isn't sure about the sea view and we've had a few questions about the possibility of a tsunami.

The only problem with the hotel is its choice of art. Thomas refuses to walk upstairs without somebody with him as he find the pictures freaky. Personally, I think the lighting is worse. Reminds me of Nora Batty.

The lounge and bar area makes up for lack of artistic taste though.

And a few pints and the odd G&T have already been consumed.
Today we have played crazy golf on the pier - well me and Thomas have. The others weren't brave enough to face the windy conditions.

And spent some time in the arcade. The pennies didn't last long....

But then Big Tom was helping Little Tom to work his way through them.
We bought a kite which ripped after 5 minutes because it was so windy, so we moved on to the donkey rides. Thomas' donkey, Dino, was on a go slow and all but staged a sit in.

We had lunch on the promenade at Carriages, an old train converted into a cafe.

Then we stopped at the ice-cream kiosk...

Where my choice was toffee crunch ice-cream. 

Back at the hotel Mark took Little Tom swimming. Last night Thomas wouldn't settle until he'd been for a splash, so at 9.30pm I found myself bobbing around the pool with him. The only plus side of swimming at such a ridiculous time was we had it all to ourselves. 

Tomorrow we are heading further down the front to the windmill and Lowther Gardens. Hope the weather stays fine for that.


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Getting ready

No Sunday lunch today. Instead Mark made us all brunch and very nice it was too. He even made sure the bacon was crispy for me. Then he did some ironing - I must look like I need the help today. 
Another job has been crossed off 'the list'. We put the lights up on the summer house. When Thomas saw them he asked, "is it nearly Christmas again?"
Our cases are packed and a bottle of sun lotion has optimistically been slipped in as well. That's the trouble with packing for this country, you have to cover every weather eventuality. We've emptied the jar that all our 1p's and 2p's get thrown into, so that should keep Thomas quiet for a while in the arcade on the pier and Grandma has given him a pot of money as well.
I've read a couple of chapters of Jambusters and can't decide whether I'm enjoying it or not. I thought it would be more like a diary but it's mainly the history of the WI and their input in WW2, interspersed with excerpts taken from member's letters and diaries. This means I can't 'connect' with anybody, unlike the Nella Last books.

It can be a bit heavy going in some places with lots of names and dates and it also goes into the nitty gritty of government rules and regulations which I find a bit tedious. Generally though, it's an interesting read but it's not beating Home Fires. 


Friday, 22 May 2015

Time Out

It's that time of year at school where trip money and summer fair contributions are wanted. Amy is going to Blackpool and Thomas is going to a local water sports club to do canoeing, kayaking and raft building. He loves anything water orientated and is really looking forward to it. It's non-uniform today so he's gone in his 'civvies' with his 'fine' of a bar of chocolate. We've already done the bring a bottle day and after the hols it's cakes. Then we get to go to the fair to try to win it all back again!
I've been writing lists of what needs organising and what we need to take with us next week. We'll have to be more 'packing savvy' as we have an extra person and a wheelchair to fit in this time. Amy is also having her own room so I need to remember to double up on the toiletries. We've always had family rooms in the past but she's getting too big to be in with us now. Plus she spends far too much time in the bathroom.
Today I did a quick tidy round, hoovered, made the beds, swished the bathroom, put a load of washing in and did some ironing, all of which probably took an hour. Then I took a bit, (OK a lot) of 'time out' and did nothing apart from my jigsaw, which is probably why I've managed to finish it. I don't feel in the least bit guilty though, I'll have lots to do this weekend, what with all the usual jobs plus getting ready to go away.
I've already put a request in for another one from Mum for my birthday. This time I'm going for 1000 pieces. I just need to check it will fit onto my cutting mat, which is ideal to use as it's easy to slip under the sofa out of the way when we need the table. 


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Police, Camera, Action!

I was rudely awakened this morning by police sirens and a helicopter hovering over the house. The rest of the family were already up and had seen all the excitement of a car chase that ended abruptly a couple of doors down from us. Silly criminal didn't do his homework and drove into a dead end. Thomas got all excited when we saw the driver get handcuffed and put in the police van. I was more impressed at the passenger's getaway skills. He jumped into the drivers seat and reversed in a perfectly straight line all the way back up our street. Amy left for school, but texted on the way to say that the pursuit was still going on. 
I don't know what they'd done but the car didn't look like it was worth stealing and the blokes must have been in their 40's. We've lived here for 20 years and apart from an ambulance hurtling down the street towards Number 38 in my hour of need, I think it's the most exciting thing that's ever happened around here. 

It was just a little shop at Lidl today as we're going away. I didn't even bother to buy any flowers. The roses I bought last week have died but the alstroemeria I bought 2 weeks ago are still going strong and only cost £2.
I've made a start on the jigsaw. Thankfully, it's not too taxing on the old brain and I've had a little bit of 'help' from Thomas. After trying to do it properly and getting nowhere, he decided to just randomly stick pieces wherever he felt like. Amy is a complete hopeless case where jigsaws are concerned. She has no patience for them and just doesn't get the concept of turning a piece around to see if it will fit.
Mark has a new phone so I've been upgraded to his old one. Which means I had to listen to him explaining about internet, e-mails, and iCloud. After 10 minutes of him talking and me drifting off to another planet called 'what shall I make for tea', he asked me a question and I had to confess that I hadn't actually heard a word he'd said. My theory is as long as I can make a call and text somebody I'll be fine. Honestly, when all this internet malarkey comes crashing down around our ears I'm sure I'll be one of the very few people on the planet who can still function quite happily.

We've had our shed roof re-felted today which means another job crossed off the list. We got the bloke's number from a local magazine and when he came round he was telling us he'd been made redundant last year. When he went to the job centre they suggested starting his own business so he decided he'd do odd jobs. I was a little concerned as this information only came out after we'd given him the job. He can't even afford a van yet so he walks from job to job with a little trolley that he carries his things on. We had a minor problem in that the nails he wanted to use were too long so Mark had to run him to the shop to buy some more, but apart from that the job is a very good one. I have to say my heart melted a little bit when he unwrapped his new tool belt to wear. 


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Jigsaw and Judgement

It's Wednesday, which means it's weigh in day and an updated weight loss page.

It also means it's Bury day. My days have become very predictable over the months and I'm looking forward to the change of a holiday next week. Monday is housework. Tuesday is reading at school. Wednesday is Bury. Thursday is shopping. Friday is nothing much at all. Then it all starts again the following week. 

Anyway, Wednesday it is, so off to Bury we went. Tom is using a wheelchair now so we can get around much quicker than we used to. Not that we're in a rush, it just means we can go to more shops and we can take more time over our breakfast. In the past we've set off at 9.30am and not got back until 1pm with only a chicken leg and a black pudding to show for it!

I had a little splurge today and bought a book from WHS. I'm really enjoying the TV programme Home Fires and I'm hoping this will be along the lines of the Nella Last books which I read last year. 
I still made my weekly pilgrimage to The Works and in the spirit of our Typical British Seaside Holiday next week I bought this jigsaw. I used to do loads of jigsaws when I was younger and there was usually one on my Christmas list. The last one I did was when I came home from hospital after my heart attack. Mum and my sister-in-law chose it for me and it was perfect. A 1950's village scene. When I was lay awake worrying at night, I would come down and spend half an hour on it to try and take my mind off things. 
I also 'nipped' into Poundworld and managed to spend £19 although Amy had a few requests this week.
And I bought breakfast supplies for Thomas while we're away. It's surprising how many different types of muesli are on offer in a hotel but coco pops can be very hard to come by. And yes, I confess, I am one of those terrible mothers who lets their children eat chocolate cereal and in Thomas' case quite often 2 bowlfuls, along with his 2 slices of toast. 
I have very broad shoulders though, (hopefully not for much longer!), so feel free to judge. 


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Back Tracking on Offers

The optimist in me thinks there's still a chance these might grow big enough to produce strawberries this year.
The realist knows it's highly unlikely, so I bought these.
Still on the hunt for elderflower I took Thomas for a walk on the golf course to see if we could find any. The perimeter of the course is a public walkway so we weren't breaking any rules! I've not been for a walk on here for ages and I'm always a bit wary of stray golf balls flying around.
Tom and Joan's house backs onto the course and this is the view they have. Their garden gate is literally feet away from the green and in his younger days Mark used to sneak on and play a few holes, quickly running back in if he saw the greenkeeper. The course used to be set out differently and broken shed windows and irate householders were the norm, but they changed it a few years ago and peace seems to have reigned since.

Tom spent his first day at the hospice today. He got picked up at 9am and dropped off at 3.30pm, had his breakfast and a 3 course lunch, was offered a foot massage, (which he declined), saw a Doctor, was allocated his own nurse and had a general chit chat and change of scenery. All in all a good day which he seems to have enjoyed.

There's been some argy bargy over Joan's new room. After offering it to her, the Manager then back tracked. It's definitely one of the nicer rooms and the Manager all but said to Mark it would be wasted on her as she'll only use it for sleeping in. The fact that he'd implied Joan wasn't worthy made Mark even more determined to hold him to his word and she moved in yesterday. It's a shame neither Joan nor Tom can see or appreciate just how much effort Mark puts into fighting their corners for them. 

Just need to get him interested in my elderflower mission now.