Thursday, 31 December 2015

So that was 2015

It's been a bit of a mixed year.  Low points all to do with the health of loved ones - my mother's continuing ill health, the probable cancer diagnosis of another much loved family member....still to be confirmed via a biopsy and further scan.  OH and I have both had (relatively minor but painful and ongoing) medical conditions.  And then there was MiL's death after a short illness, and the subsequent nastiness and problems caused by a member of OH's family - that family member we've cut ties with for good.

But there have been loads more good things this year.  We had a wonderful holiday following MiL's funeral, a lovely place and great weather, it really recharged our batteries.  We've managed to acquire and cross off lots of items on our wish list of furniture and furnishings for our house, all second hand good quality things that will last us (hopefully) a lifetime.  We've decorated the hall, stairs and landing, and our bedroom - I just love our bedroom, it's definitely my most favourite d├ęcor ever.  We've bought paint for the next 2 rooms we'll be decorating (kitchen/diner and 2nd bedroom), got it in sales, so we're all ready to go in the Spring.  After a slow start, we had pretty good results growing produce, especially soft fruit which we were inundated with. 

We acquired extra storage and began stockpiling dry food goods and toiletries, getting ready for when OH starts cutting down his working days in the run up to retirement.  We've formulated plans for how we're going to cope with reduced income.  We're making plans for days out and things to do when we have more time when husband reduces his hours.

So on balance, it's been a pretty good year, and we're hopeful that next year will be even better, despite the ongoing health problems. 

I'm glad the new year is almost here, I'm looking forward to it a lot. 

Wishing you all a fabulous 2016, I hope it's everything you want it to be.  Thanks so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot to me.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Being ruthless

Ha - we'll see how long that lasts!  What I'm referring to is decluttering.

One of the things I really want to focus on next year is decluttering our house.  It's odd really.....when I worked as a secretary, I was quite scarily organised - my desktop was completely uncluttered, the drawers, desk trays, in/out boxes, even stationary pot and tray were ruthlessly tidy.  Everything was organised and in its rightful place.  Files were in strict order, even the contents of the files were neat and in proper order.  I was quite OCD about it all actually.

But I'm not like that at home.  I AM organised.....sort of - but it's a kind of organised chaos.  If we need to lay our hands on a particular piece of paper, e.g., I generally know where it can be found....but it'll be in a pile of other paperwork in a certain section of the desk/filing cabinet, which means I have to spend half an hour sorting through the pile before I can get hold of the relevant thing.

It's the same with clothes, cook books (I have a bit of a thing for those), kitchen equipment and other stuff.  I guess the trouble is, when we acquire something new, we don't automatically throw out the old, or at least put it away somewhere else, like the loft or the shed.

I do have a bit of a declutter every few weeks, but have hoarder tendencies (inherited from my mother, I think.....although she's far worse).  Well, I need to curb that, before it gets any worse - I'd hate to think that relatives would have a nightmare house crammed with stuff to sort through and get rid of when we pop our clogs. 

So I want to be quite ruthless in decluttering, and train myself to practise the 'one thing in, one thing out' philosophy.  Wish me luck!!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Hurry up!

28th.....my word, seems like we're absolutely crawling on hands and knees towards the end of December, will it never end?!  I'm SO eager for the new year to start - yes I know it seems like I'm wishing my life away, but I just want to get this year over and done with and the new one started.

I've got so many ideas buzzing round my head, plans for next year, the remaining things we want to buy for the house, things we want to get done, places we want to go, different things I want to do.  I must start writing them down or I'll just forget!  We're going away in a couple of weeks (OH's 65th birthday treat), the idea was that we'd sit whilst we're away with a couple of notebooks and formulate our plans for the year, but I think I'll have to make a rough draft before then, just to keep the ideas fresh in my mind and start the ball rolling.

We're off out in a bit, I'm being taken to Hobbycraft (it's a trip out, as the nearest one is about 25 miles away from us).  I've got an idea about starting a different craft, it's about time I did something other than crochet, so want to look in there for ideas and possible supplies.  Also, there's a big charity shop nearby which sells furniture as well as bric a brac, which we've just been told about, so may have a look in there too.....if it's open today.  I may have a look at a couple of sales, but not intending to actually buy anything.....unless it's something we use and is an amazing bargain!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy day all

Trifle made, veggies all prepped, gammon in the oven.  Rain has just about stopped and it's brightening up outside, so we're off out for our walk on the beach.  We've had a lovely quiet calm couple of days, just what we hoped for.

Hope you're all having a lovely time and just the kind of day you hoped for too.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The calm after the storm!

The past few weeks haven't been the best for us, and to cap it all I lost my temper and had 'words' with our landlord yesterday, over a problem that's been ongoing, without any resolution whatsoever, for the past 3 months and which finally pushed me over the limit.  And I did it in front of witnesses - 2 clerks in his office, bet that went down a storm after we'd left.  Funnily enough, 30 mins after we returned home he rang to say he'd (finally) set the ball rolling to get the problem resolved.  Why do I have to get to the point of boiling up and exploding just to get someone to do what I've asked, repeatedly and politely, for weeks and weeks?  I am so fed up with being walked over and ignored, and not only by him.  Seems it doesn't pay to be nice anymore, you only get results if you're a bitch.

Anyway, we are determined to put everything behind us for the 2 days that OH is off work, and just relax, listen to cheesy Christmas songs, watch feel good rubbish on the TV, and eat and drink the yummy things I've made (and no turkey!!!  don't like it so not having it).

I wish everyone what I (very selfishly, which is how I think i'm going to be from now on) wish for myself and OH - a peaceful, calm, contented and healthy time for you and yours.  Happy Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Isn't it here yet?

New year, that is.  I can't wait for all this madness to be over and for the new year to arrive.  We want to spend an hour or two sitting with a couple of notebooks, looking back at our Big Master Plan for this year and redoing it for next year.  Some of it we won't be able to make firm plans for until April, when OH starts cutting back his working shifts, but we should be able to get a general plan in place.  There are certainly things we want to get done before April - before OH's wage drops due to him dropping a shift. 

The dreadful wind has calmed down today.....we've had so much wind this year, it's frequently windy here (I guess because the Bristol channel is only a couple of miles away as the crow flies, and it's flat open fields between there and here), but this year seems to have been our windiest yet.  Still, we've suffered virtually no damage because of it, and have had no flooding, unlike some poor people.  The local lanes are very muddy, but that's normal when you live in very rural farming country, and is the reason why we have a (dirty!) 4x4.....not much point in washing the car when it gets plastered in mud again the minute you go out in it. 

We like to go for a walk on the beach on Christmas day, it's sort of a tradition of ours.....one of the few Christmas traditions we have, being the pair of bah humbug heathens we are! (said winking and with tongue in cheek).  We didn't think we'd be able to do it this year though, the weather forecast didn't look very promising, but I've just checked it again and reckon we might be able to in the morning, before the rain arrives and the wind picks up again in the afternoon.  Looking forward to that.....we generally see quite a few people on the beach on Xmas day, and everyone's very jolly and cheerful (probably full of mince pies and sherry).

I must say, reading some blogs and the vast amount of prep some people put into getting everything done in these few days prior to Xmas, I'm quite glad we don't go in for it in the way that so many people do.....it gives me a stress headache just reading about it!  But each to their own, and I hope everyone enjoys Christmas in whatever way they want to.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The dreaded shopping trip, and a couple of photos

Firstly, thank you all for the lovely comments on my previous post, I do appreciate them and your kind thoughts.  I was over the moon with the gifts from the talented Angie and Pam.

We went supermarket shopping this morning, it wasn't very nice at all (as if food shopping ever is!).  The shop was absolutely heaving, loads of kids there as well - to be expected of course.  I should have got myself organised to do it online, but didn't....I will make sure I do next year though.  OH's shifts are all over the place for the next 3 weeks, his firm change them all around at this time of year for 'operational reasons'.....sigh.  It just means basically that I don't know whether I'm coming or going, and have to keep consulting the calendar where I've written all his shifts down, before I can make any decisions about when we can go shopping or to town or doctor etc - or even when I have to shift myself to cook him a lunch before he goes to work (when he's working we have a cooked meal at lunchtime, when he's off we have it in the evening).  It's all a great big pain in the bum at the mo....thank goodness it's only for 3 weeks.  Although, having said that, management are having a shift reorganisation sometime in the new year, apparently.  Grrr.

Here's a pic of the gorgeous sunrise we had a couple of mornings ago:-


Beautiful isn't it?

And this was this morning:-


A huge great full rainbow (we often get partial ones) in dazzling sunshine, followed by a downpour - still in dazzling sunshine!  It did turn cloudy quite quickly, though, and then it was a mixture of sunshine and showers all day.

And finally (didn't they used to say that on the news?!), here's my version of a Christmas jumper:-


Tee hee  ;-)





Friday, 18 December 2015

Gifts

Thank you for all the lovely comments, things are a little better, no news yet on the biopsy and scan which probably won't now be until after Xmas.  I have managed to sleep a little better the last couple of nights, so feel a bit more human and more able to cope with things.

This week I have received 2 gorgeous gifts through the post, from absolutely lovely blogging buddies.  Angie of Pensive Pensioner had a draw recently for a set of gorgeous suedette covered notebooks, and I was lucky enough to win them, here they are:-


They were accompanied by a stunning handmade Christmas card, it is beautiful.  Handmade cards knock spots off mass produced commercial ones, thank you so much Angie, you're very talented.

I'd mentioned on here a few weeks ago that I'd been looking for a patchwork craft bag to keep my current crochet project and yarn in.....the lovely Pam of A New Life in Wales offered to make me one.  I was happy to pay her but she suggested a craft swap, so that's what we will be doing.  This is what she made:-


Isn't it lovely?  As I mainly make throws, it's a good roomy size for holding a throw-sized project and yarn.  But that's not all, have a look at the back, and the pocket she made to hold my scissors and hook:-



She made a sewing machine patch.....how clever is that?! 

And yet another thing, which was a complete surprise as I hadn't asked for it:-


Pam made me a storage bag for all my hooks, it's lovely and so welcome as I'd previously been keeping them in a plastic bag.

Sorry for the usual poor quality photos, the colours aren't particularly good and the detail doesn't show up very well, I expect you can see better if you enlarge them. 

These beautiful gifts from Angie and Pam have come at just the right time and have really lifted my spirits this week.  I've only been blogging for a few months and never cease to be amazed and pleased at the kindness, helpfulness and ingenuity of fellow bloggers.  Thank you all, with special thanks to Angie and Pam.





Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Taking a break

Everything seems to be one difficulty or upset after another at the moment - a family member is unwell and facing the likelihood of cancer, my first acupuncture session for today has been cancelled as the therapist is ill (she didn't let me know until gone 6 pm last night, and says she can't reschedule until 5 January).  I am averaging about 3 or 4 hours sleep a night and am so tired I can barely function.  Our broadband signal is playing up and I just haven't got the energy or will to ring up and have a frustrating battle with someone from India who is working from a script.  I woke up with such bloody painfully strong pins & needles in my hand in the early hours of this morning that I could have cried.  My laptop is playing silly buggers, I don't know what's wrong with it and can't be arsed to find out (I suspect its something to do with Windows 10 and the latest update).

So i'm just bowing out for a while.  Sorry about that.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Health stuff

My damaged nerve problems are driving me absolutely crackers, it's actually painful now, I'm having pain in a different area up my forearm which I think might be due to me overcompensating for the lack of feeling and grip in the affected fingers and using/placing more strain on my fore- and middle fingers and thumb.  The pain and pins & needles are bad at night and keep waking me up, and I am constantly dropping things and having trouble opening jars etc.  The thought that this could go on for months and months, even years as my GP suggested, fills me with horror.  And this is a minor thing really - how people with serious illnesses and serious amounts of pain cope I do not know.

Anyway, a lovely friend of mine suggested I try looking at alternative therapies.  So I spent some time googling this morning....surprisingly, there are lots of osteopaths, chiropractors, reflexologists, holistic therapy practitioners in our area....who knew?!  The upshot of this is that I've booked my first ever session of acupuncture for next week....the lady practitioner sounded lovely on the phone and was sure she could help me.  I can't wait, I'm actually quite excited and looking forward to it.  OH has had acupuncture a few times in the past and found it helpful, I don't know why it didn't occur to me before.

Thanks for the comments on my post yesterday.  To answer Irene more fully here than a short comment would allow....I do use spelt flour a lot, some months ago we bought a sack of wholemeal spelt flour from a local flour mill, I decanted it into a food grade bin and have generally used it half and half with ordinary flour.  However, as ordinary wheat flour was giving me more and more problems, I no longer use that at all.  I have been convinced for some considerable time that our health nowadays is affected quite a lot by the amount of chemicals and drugs that farmers/food producers use - it stands to reason, in my opinion, that chemical sprays, growth accelerator drugs and antibiotics, artificial flavourings and preservatives and all the other chemical stuff they put into manufactured foods nowadays is going to affect us all eventually.  It's just not natural, is it? 

Re carbs.....I'm not saying they're all bad, of course they're not.  But I know, from my own personal experience, that carbs (and I'm talking especially about simple carbs like potatoes, white pasta and rice and bread and cakes) not only bloat me and give me bowel problems, but also make my joints ache and make me feel generally sluggish.  So that's why we have chosen to cut back on carbs quite drastically, and we are both feeling much better for it....the bloating has largely disappeared, as have the bowel problems, and my joints aren't nearly so achey.  Oh, and every single time I've cut down on carbs, I've lost about half a stone within the first week, practically effortlessly.  Plenty of good reasons to carry on doing it.

Other than my hand and arm problems and subsequent lack of sleep, I am actually feeling better than I have done in months and months.  I'm hoping the acupuncture will help with that too.



Not a lot....

Sorry, not much to write about at the moment.  Having trouble sleeping lately, hence why I'm writing this at some unearthly hour.  Been doing a lot of crochet, made a few bits for my sister to let her know I'm thinking of her and posted them off yesterday, have now started on another throw.

Had to go to town yesterday for a few things....it was crazily busy, shan't be going again until all the madness is over.  Supermarket shopping afterwards, which was strangely quiet (clearly everyone was in town buying all the Christmas stuff).  We've managed to reduce our shopping bill by £10 or £15 a week for the last few weeks, simply by menu planning using what we already have and then buying only what's necessary.  If only I'd done that years ago, we could be millionaires by now.....hahaha.  Ok, so not millionaires, but you get the idea.

OH has been moaning about the lack of cake....I haven't made any cake or bread for weeks since we've been eating low carb/gluten free.  So, since there were a couple of manky bananas, I made him a banana, walnut and choc chip cake, at his request. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Lovely weather!

2 December.....it's a gloriously bright sunny morning and no need for the heating to go on - how great is that?!  We certainly can't complain about our weather, we've had a few days recently of strong winds and a bit of rain, but nothing drastic.  And days like this (in December!!!) make up for the off days anyhow.  And it's only 19 days until the shortest day....and then I know that Spring will soon be here (once the madness of December is over).

I'm cracking on with my sofa throw, it's looking lovely and I can't wait to finish it.  It does make my hand and fingers a lot worse, but I find that if I just stop for a couple of minutes every so often, shake my arm to get some feeling back into the hand and hang my arm down straight over the side of the armchair, it enables me to carry on crocheting for a while.

I've got ideas for another 2 throws.....a ripple one also for the sofa (haven't done ripple for years) with a couple of contrasting colours as well as the matching red, navy and cream of the current one, followed by a throw made up of random stripes of the oddments I have left from previous projects....a stashbuster.  It will be taken with us on holidays, or used as a picnic blanket on days out.

Have decided I must must must make sure I go on my exercise bike every day, it's so easy to put weight on over winter without even noticing it.  The bike is on the landing and I just walk past it several times a day, I don't even see it!  Perhaps I ought to hang a big sign saying RIDE ME!!! on it, with some battery operated flashing Christmas lights attached.