Monday, 27 July 2015

At Peace

This morning Tom passed away peacefully in hospital with Mark holding his hand.

Mark was called to go to the home early Saturday morning and when he arrived was advised to phone relatives which he did. 

From then on Tom had a lovely weekend surrounded by all his family. He watched Brassed Off, listened to music, travelled down memory lane, chatted, had a few laughs, drank some Boddingtons bitter and had a dabble at a whisky and coke. 

This morning he was transferred to hospital where within a few minutes of arriving he passed away.

He was 84 years old and I was thinking before that I've known him only 2 years less than I knew my Dad. 

He will leave a massive gap in our lives not only emotionally but physically as we've spent so much time with him over the last year.

Tomorrow we will start the funeral process but today has just been about talking, remembering, tears and laughter. 


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Back 'Home'

A little bit of good news. Tom is out of hospital and back at the home. His morphine has been upped and he seems to be a bit more comfortable plus the general atmosphere is much better than it was in hospital. 

The down side is that whatever he eats and drinks is going into his lungs and we've been warned he might end up back in hospital with pneumonia which none of us want. 

When he went into hospital 11 days ago he weighed just over 11 stones. Today he weighs 9 stones 1 lb so the weight loss has been quite drastic over the past fortnight.

He's awake quite a lot but drifts in and out of lucidness. He's a bugger though and always has a job or two for us to do, today's tasks being to take him his walking stick so he can go for a walk and his razor so he can have a shave. Considering he's been in bed for nearly 2 weeks I'm not sure that will be happening just yet.  

He told us last night that even though he has a sleeping tablet it doesn't work because in the night he's keeps jumping up and down on the bed and disturbing people. Bless him. 

Anyway, other snippets of news from Number 38.....

The diet has gone to pot, not that much headway has been made for a few weeks anyway. The best I'm doing at the moment is trying to eat healthily but to be honest not much thought is going into food. Mum bought me these peaches though which smell and taste delicious.
Amy went to Bulgaria on Monday with adopted daughter and family. She face times me every day so the 'missing Amy' pangs are being kept at bay. She was a little over on baggage allowance at the last minute so she ditched one pair of flips flops, 2 books, a huge bottle of perfume, a skirt and a big black jumper?! 
Me, Mum and Thomas will be on our way to my brother's wedding on Friday. It's just a quick one night stop over but I'm really looking forward to catching up with the family and I think a little break will do me good, even if I say so myself. 
Because Tom has been in hospital and we've been mostly keeping to visiting hours rather than spending all day with him, we've been able to do a couple of jobs. We've chosen a bathroom suite and found ourselves a plumber and the job starts next week. We've probably got more than enough on our plate but the bathroom is in dire need and at least Amy won't be here which as anybody who has a teenage daughter knows, is a definite bonus. I can't possibly show you the whole bathroom as much as I know you'd all probably like to see my grimy corners, but here's a flavour of how desperate we are for a new one. I can't complain too much though as it's served us well over the past 17 years. 
To kill a bit of time while waiting for visiting hours, we've also been looking at caravans. Here's Thomas sat in the cafe eating his packed lunch while Mark was discussing the benefits of inflatable awnings with the salesman.
And Tom asked us to order this for him just before he went into hospital. He likes brass bands and I think Pete Postlethwaite was a brilliant actor so if he feels up to it I'll sit with him one afternoon and watch it with him.

And that, I think is all that's really happened over the last few days.

If you are on your summer hols I hope you're enjoying yourselves. If not, then I hope at least the sun is shining where you are.


Friday, 17 July 2015

A quick catch up

Firstly, thank you for all your comments about Tom they really are very much appreciated.  

He's still in hospital and after having a chest x-ray and an echo scan he now has a drain in to take the fluid off his lungs and around his heart. The drain was put in yesterday afternoon and when we visited last night 2700 mls of fluid had already drained off. There is talk that if this makes him feel better he may be allowed back to the nursing home sometime next week. 

As far as we're concerned the sooner he gets back there the better. It means that we can visit him whenever we want and I'll try not to focus too much on the fact that since being in hospital they didn't give him his oramorph for 2 days, they've mixed up his other tablets, they've got his address as a flat in Rusholme (he's never lived in the place), and they've put a name tag on his wrist that should have gone on the bloke in the bed opposite him.

His bed sore is really painful and when I asked the Sister last night if he could get up and sit in the chair she looked at me and said "but he can't walk, he's bed bound". So since he's been in hospital they've all been under the impression he can't move!

Anyway, in a bid to de-focus from all we've been dealing with this week I have taken the odd picture here and there of things that have made me feel a bit more cheerful.

When I went to pick up a bottle of vimto for Tom, I saw these and just had to have them. I've never bought sunflowers before and when I picked them up I was surprised how heavy they are.
Thomas and Amy have finished school for the summer holidays. Thomas took presents and thank you cards in for his teachers. He's had another good year and seems to be coming on in leaps and bounds in all areas.
No Bury with Tom, but he wanted an apple pie from the market so we dutifully went and bought him one and Mark treated me to this book. It's not without its controversy but my biggest feeling at the moment is one of shock and I've only read to the end of the first chapter. I won't say why in case anybody is thinking of buying it.

We've had the new windows installed in the bathroom and Amy and Thomas' rooms. I've come to the conclusion that I'm definitely ageist. I always breathe a sigh of relief when any workman that turns up at Number 38 is over 50. The brickie who did this was about 60 and has done a great job. 
I will be back next week with more of what's happening, it's nice to have people to 'talk to' at the moment.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.


Monday, 13 July 2015


That's how I feel at the moment. 

I'm just popping by to say I'm taking a break from blogging for a few days.

Tom was admitted to hospital on Saturday with fluid on his lungs/heart failure and although he seems to have rallied we are spending a lot of time with him as well as trying to get things sorted out.

To be honest if I was giving out badges for Village Idiot I'd have handed out a bucketful in the past 48 hours. 

It comes to something when an 84 year old man dying of cancer has to mess around with his mobile at 11.30pm to ring us to tell us the staff won't give him his oramorph.

No matter how many times we've told the nursing staff over the weekend that the consultant didn't prescribe it for pain but to control his coughing, when he asks for it they will insist on asking him if he's in pain. When he truthfully answers no they won't give him any. So the poor bloke has gone 2 days with no oramorph which means that as well as dealing with what he's dealing with he's probably had to cope with going cold turkey.

Anyway, Mark got on the phone to the ward at midnight last night and made it quite plain what he thought and Tom got what he needed.

God help those who can't speak up for themselves or who have no family to help them out.

For his own good I'm hoping Thomas will be back in the home sooner rather than later and hopefully I'll be back to my usual routine of reporting what's happening at Number 38. 

Thanks for listening :)


Friday, 10 July 2015

This and That

Realised I didn't do a weigh in on Wednesday so did one this morning which is on my weight loss page.

Today I bought cherries from Iceland which taste delicious. I ate my way through half of them within 10 minutes of getting home. I also bought a pack of tissue paper and tags for teacher's thank you presents. Can't believe there are only 4 days of school remaining for Thomas and Amy. 
I have a new flower in the garden. Can't for the life of me remember what it's called but I love the colour of it. It's been very sneaky and bloomed sometime this week without me noticing.
There has been a tiny bit of colouring taking place at Number 38, but not much. The days seem to be full of dealing with Tom lately.
But I did make time for the Murray vs. Federer game. No idea what's happened in this photo but I like the outcome.
And of course you have to have a glass of Pimms because after all what better combination than it being Friday and Wimbledon could you ask for in order to have a glass of something alcoholic. The strawberry is from the garden. The others aren't quite ready but I actually think I might be able to 'harvest' a bowlful for the final on Sunday.
After the match I wandered outside and lit a candle. It was supposed to be just me and my thoughts for a while. I got 5 minutes before I was followed by two dogs, Thomas and Mark.
Then Amy, adopted daughter and AD's boyfriend turned up. So much for peace and quiet. But look what AD's boyfriend brought for me to do. It's only 500 pieces but I think it might take twice as long as my usual 1000 project. Father Christmas brought it for him but he hasn't got around to doing it so he's given it to me. How sweet is that. 


Thursday, 9 July 2015

Builders Butties

Matthew turned up today to replace the piece of wood on the decking that my foot went through. I'd made chicken curry for tea which I had to be eke out carefully as he arrived just as we were about to eat and I couldn't leave him out. Plus Amy had also asked at the last minute if adopted daughter could stay for tea. The nan bread and poppadoms went some way to padding the meal out, but Matthew has a good appetite and ended up making curry and rice butties! It reminded me of the days when Mark would eat a huge roast dinner with a pile of bread and butter on the side.
I've done some colouring and am quite surprised at how long it takes. Amy very kindly donated a nearly new pack of staedtler colour pencils for my new hobby which are lovely to use. The pink parasol is my favourite.
Tom wasn't having such a good day today. He was still in his PJ's and on his oxygen when we popped up for half an hour this afternoon. He's also getting angry about the situation which is understandable. The nurse told Mark they tried to put him to bed last night but he went into a panic so once again he's spent most of the night in his chair.

Friday is 'coffee and a bit of shopping in Middleton' day, so we'll see whether he feels up to coming out or not tomorrow. 


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

On the up

Well, Tom has done a complete turnaround since yesterday and seems to be on the up again. He rang at 9.15 this morning to say he was dressed and ready to go to Bury. He's getting a bit muddled up with times and days and what's happened when, but apart from that he seemed fine. Mark wheeled him around in his chair while he did a bit of shopping then we met up in our usual cafe where he ordered a full English with a coffee. It would be nice now if he had a few good days before the next dip.

I bought a new top from BHS for my brother's wedding. I had my lemon handbag in mind when I went shopping and thought this would match nicely. In my late teens I once bought an entire outfit including shoes to match a pair of brightly coloured plastic earrings off the market, so matching an outfit to a bag isn't so bad really! 
And I also bought one of these. Colouring books are obviously very much in vogue as there were loads in The Works and WHS. This is from the latter. It's quite small, about the size of a facecloth folded into quarters but it's got some lovely patterns inside and will be perfect for popping in my bag should any more bedside duties arise. 
Thomas has been to Hollingworth Lake today for his school trip. They did canoeing, kayaking and raft building. He was really excited about going this morning but I don't think he had that good a time. He slipped in the lake, fell and banged his knee on a rock. It does look a little bit swollen but I think his pride is hurt more than anything else. He also cut his finger on the canoe and he was cold. This is an old photo but the look pretty much sums up how he felt about the day. 

He's not known for his athleticism, although his thumbs are in pretty good shape from all the Xbox playing he does, so Lord knows how he'll get on when he goes away on his adventure weekend. We'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it or maybe in Thomas' case fall off it.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Bumble bees!

We went to see Tom again mid-morning and found him still in bed which is very unusual for him. But, on the plus side he looked a lot better than he did yesterday and a little bit of his old feisty self shone through a couple of times. The Doctor has put him on oxygen as his levels are low and they're crushing his tablets now so he can get them down easier.

I know it sounds awful but he's making us laugh with the random things he's started to come out with. Today we were having a perfectly normal conversation when he suddenly tranced off for a couple of minutes then said, "the trouble is they all look like bumble bees in Middleton". I'd love to know what train of thought he was on there.

It was Thomas' awards evening tonight. We had a little chat about smiling when he went on stage and he stepped up to the bar and performed well!
In honour of the occasion and to do something nice for myself I painted my toenails. I needn't have bothered as it poured down and I had to wear boots.
And today, 10 years on from that terrible day in London, I've been reminded that no matter how rubbish things are at the moment there are families who lost loved ones before they should have done for no reason at all.
  Image result for 7/7 memorial london

Monday, 6 July 2015

Bedside duty

I went out at 9.30am this morning and didn't get in until 4.30pm. The plan was to take Tom out for a coffee and a bit of fresh air for an hour then come home and get on with what we both needed to do. We'd only just ordered the coffee when he went into what I can only describe as a mental decline.

I suggested we take him back to the home and said that I would stay with him for the day to see if he slept any better with somebody with him. Very surprisingly he agreed to this. 

So, for most of the day I've sat in Tom's room. We've watched tennis, read the papers and had a chat. He's dozed in the chair and tried to sleep in the bed but can't get comfy. His ankles are like puddings, his bedsore is giving him jip and not being able to get a proper breath is driving his mad. And watching the whole thing just makes you feel so helpless.

He eventually went into a 'proper' sleep in the chair about 3pm and had a good hour, only to jerk awake that violently that he somehow slipped/fell off the chair and ended up sprawled out on the floor.

They've put a call in to his GP again and somebody is coming out to see him tomorrow. The nurse who's dealt with him today isn't in now for 3 days and has asked if we can be there tomorrow afternoon when the Doctor comes so we can go through everything with him.

So, that's what I've got planned for tomorrow.

Sorry about the lack of photos, there's not much opportunity for picture taking in a poorly man's bedroom. Hopefully normality will resume tomorrow. 


Sunday, 5 July 2015

This weekend...

...We've spent quite a bit of time with Tom. He's still not so good, refuses to get into his bed and has taken to sleeping in his chair. I think he's frightened of going to sleep and not waking up again. They called the Doctor out Saturday afternoon as his breathing went a bit funny and after the visit decided to move him downstairs to the nursing section in case he needed oxygen. Then this morning they called out the Macmillan nurse to check him over. It's certainly been a week of dips where he's concerned, just hoping he's reached a plateau now for a couple of weeks.

...I took Thomas strawberry picking.... in the back garden. We managed to get 14 juicy red strawberries and there's probably about the same again yet to ripen.
...I was stood on the decking minding my own business when it just gave way and my foot went through it. I scraped my ankle and got mud on my shoes but it could have been worse I suppose.
...Mark had a boxset binge Friday night and I had a bit of a jigsaw-athon. The Titanic is now completed.
...I decided to cut some flowers for my little vases. These came from the pots that are stood on the much safer patio area.
...We went to look at caravans. We used to own one when Thomas was a baby and had some fantastic times touring around the UK. It's not everyones cup of tea but I really enjoyed it and I'm trying to persuade Mark that it would be a good idea to get another one. 
Not sure how successful I'll be but considering Thomas point blank refuses to go abroad in case there are terrorists it might be the only way we get another holiday!


Friday, 3 July 2015

It's hard knowing what to say

It was the 'green to be seen' fundraiser at Thomas' school today. I got a text inviting me to assembly this afternoon because he'd won a class award. It was for his pyramid project. Go Mum! He hates it when he has to go up on stage which is why he's not smiling, bless him. 

He also brought home a letter saying he's one of six children from his class who have been invited to the end of year awards ceremony next Tuesday. Every teacher has to choose 6 children and the ceremony is held in the evening and is by invitation only. It's a big event for the pupils and we're really looking forward to it. Might have to do a few smiling lessons before we go.
Amy has finished her work experience week at the cats home. She's really enjoyed it and thankfully seems able to separate business from pleasure; I'm pleased to report there are no new additions to Number 38's household.

I've managed to make some jigsaw people over the past couple of days. I'm going to have to get a bigger board as I'm finding it hard to work in different pieces. I spent ages looking for a piece only to realise I'd already used it in a part I've already done.
And I know I've already done a strawberry shot this week but just look how these have come on in the past couple of days. I'm going to get Thomas to pick them for me tomorrow. 
We went to see Tom this morning. He's not been too good over the past couple of days. He was awake all Tuesday night coughing up blood and told me he thought he was on his way out. It's really hard knowing what to say to that. Trying to balance understanding of how frightened he must feel with a 'there's plenty of life left in you yet' positiveness can be tough. Anyway, the blood thing seems to have stopped but he's struggling with his breathing. He usually comes out with us in the week but apart from going to the dining room hasn't moved from his room since his party last Saturday. 

I will say this, the care he's getting is absolutely brilliant. He really couldn't be in a better place. I'm just praying that over the coming months any side effects of the cancer don't become too traumatic for him. 


Thursday, 2 July 2015

It's been a busy day

After dropping Thomas off at school it was straight on to do the weekly shop. When the lady on the till spotted us she said "I've been waiting for you, I've got some vouchers you can have". She then handed me 2 £5 vouchers which meant I got £10 off my shopping. I don't know whether we missed the offer or whether it was a staff thing but as well as being surprised at being given them, I was also surprised she knew that we go in every Thursday morning and that she was watching out for us. It felt a little bit like being regulars at the old fashioned corner shop.
Back home there was just enough time to put everything away before Mum had to be picked up. She's gone to my sisters for a couple of days then on Saturday they're off to Dorset for a week. Before we could take her to the station we had to drop Sparky off for his poodling session. Not before time either. I rang 4 weeks ago and the first available date was today. I won't take him anywhere else because he's very nervous and can also be a bit nippy but the staff at Pets at Home are used to him and vice versa. This time I made sure I booked his next appointment while I was there.
Then it was on to Piccadilly station to make sure Mum got safely on the train for the first leg of her holiday. It's a far cry from Oakworth and even though you can get anything from a newspaper to sushi while you're waiting here, I know which station I prefer.
Back home for a quick bite to eat then out again to pick up Sparky who was now looking much more like a dog than a teddy bear.
Then it was time to pick Thomas up from school. Home for a quick bath, maths homework and a bit of X-box before taking him across the road to his friends 10th birthday party. They had a BBQ and then they played football and basketball on the grass outside. A good old fashioned party - you can't beat them. Here he is all excited and ready to go.
Final and most stressful job of the day was a trip to Bury to do some shopping with Amy for her holiday. She managed to get t-shirts, shorts and dresses and I think she just needs some bikinis now. 
No visit to Mums tonight as she's not here so as I was not on designated driver duties I joined Mark in a glass of his Thursday night vino. And after all the running around today I certainly felt like it was well deserved, along with the takeaway pizza we indulged in.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Raillway Children - Take 2

If anybody read my blog last night you may have spotted the (deliberate) mistake which was quickly changed this morning. It was regarding the train. I'll tell you at the end of this post if you don't already know.

So, Take 2 of The Railway Children took place in Haworth just one mile from Oakworth Station. There are 2 circular walks that take in the filming locations, one is 2 miles long the other 6 miles. Unfortunately, we always have school time constraints at the back of our mind and being caught up in another school visit was a keen reminder of that, so in order to see everything we used the car to hop from one place to another. Well, that's my excuse anyway.
As usual we parked at the top opposite the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. (I shall not ponder too much on the fact that the ticket we bought peeled off the window in the heat and we returned to find a parking ticket on the windscreen. Or the fact that there was a slight altercation between Mark and the car park attendant or that Mark gave the attendant his ticket back in a little bit of a crumpled state). Instead we shall think nice thoughts and continue with our tour.

A little walk from the car park brings you out at the top end of Haworth . One of the first buildings you see is the Tourist Information Centre which was used as the butchers shop in the film.

It was very warm so before we started to wend our merry way around we bought ice-creams from this lovely old fashioned sweet shop.
I know this isn't a Bronte tour but for anybody who has never been I've thrown a couple of sights in for free! This is the old school room.
And the information plaque is pretty self explanatory. Patrick Bronte outlived all 6 of his children and his wife.
And opposite the school room is Haworth Church which hasn't yet moved into British Summer Time. All the Brontes are buried in a vault inside the church apart from Anne who is buried at Scarborough.
From the church the Brontes could walk through the graveyard and through a small gateway to their house. This is now the Bronte Parsonage Museum and getting back to the Railway Children was used as the home of Doctor Forrest.
 Haworth has got to have one of the steepest Streets I've ever come across. Going down is fine.
But you know you've walked up a hill going back. These little shops were the ones the children popped in and out of when they went around asking villagers for presents for Mr Perk's birthday.

This is the Fleece pub near the bottom of the hill and the film crew, production managers etc. based themselves here until filming was completed.

 After a quick bite to eat in a lovely cafe the only thing left that I wanted to see was 'Three Chimneys' the house where the children lived. We had get back in the car and head out towards Oxenhope to find this. It was only a mile or so but we had to ask for directions and thanks to Mark's perseverence we eventually found the lane that led down to the house. I walked down here on my own. Mark wasn't that bothered about seeing it and I think he was secretly seething about the parking ticket.
The lane took me in the back way and at the bottom it became private property. I think if you did the circular walk you would be able to walk across a field at the front and get a better view. But I was happy. I'd seen the house with its 3 chimneys and that was the main thing.

I'd bought a little map from Oakworth Railway Station and next to the house there is marked the stile that Mr Perks got stuck in. This was the only one I could see so I'm assuming this was it. I couldn't get through it though as it was tied up.
 Back up the lane to the car and it was time to head home. I do like days out like this. A drive, a walk, a spot of lunch and a bit of sight-seeing.

And in case you didn't spot the mistake yesterday I typed 'diesel train' What was all that about! Steam train, it should have been steam train!