Sunday 28 January 2024

Fuckety Fuck



Saturday 27 January 2024

Spring and Bins

Spring must be in the air today.   

I've found myself doing some fairly detailed cleaning, despite my backache.     It's taken me half a day to clean one side of the kitchen, and I've had to restrain myself from going the whole hog.   I've been at it pretty much non stop, just having a rest now,  and I've no idea where this compulsion comes from.  It's the same every year.  The first time my body smells spring,    I get an irrational urge to clean.

I'm trying to contain it to a manageable area, and it's working.   The fact that I'm sitting down now suggests that the steam is running out of my engine.

 I've rearranged various appliances, and I imagine DH will find it a bit unsettling next time he reaches for the air fryer or the pressure cooker.

I've got to complete the breakfast bar, and then I can stop.

I bought a new bin (I live life in the fast lane!) which arrived yesterday.   There was nothing wrong with the existing bin, and I wouldn't have bought this one if it hadn't been on sale at a bargain price.  It's ore or less the same bin as I have now, really, except it has a butterfly lid (instead of one lid) and it opens from the short side rather than the long side. And the compartments are equally split, instead of 1/3rd : 2/3rd.  I suspect that, I may miss that 2/3rd bit,

Anyway, the existing bin has now gone on holiday to the summerhouse, where it's dual inners will be very useful. Much better than the single chamber bin that was there before.  The ex-summerhouse bin has now gone to the utility room to store the sunflower seeds and corn,  and that bin has gone into MyShed where I will attempt to replace one of the ancient plastic Addis bins   I got as far as putting the bin in MyShed and then I just closed the shed door.   Every metal bin that has ever gone into MyShed has been to replace one of the ancient Addis plastic bins.  

But the ancient Addis plastic bins are still there. One is a vile tan colour, the other a lurid greeny bluey turquoisey colour. They are from the days when Addis bins were usually grey or white  or some other colourless colour.  They also represent a time when I'd change colours chemes in my home on a whim and without a second thought.

I know I should just.... dispose..... of them, but I can't bring myself to do it. 

Sometimes, the pull of the Come In Handy gene is strong in me, despite my efforts to overcome it.  

Or maybe it's just nostalgia.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Bergamot and Jigsaw

I made bergamot marmalade.

It didn't set well (my fault), and I wasn't sure about the taste.    However, I ghad some on toast this morning, and it was most acceptable.  Just as well, as I have a lot of it (despite throwing a lot away).

i also did a jigsaw. I saved the edge pieces for DH to do, and I finished it this morning.

It was a really enjoyable one. Lots of variety, and I really liked the subject. It was a Gibson  "Memories of the 1970s", and was an array of groceries from that time.  

I was a small child then, and I vividly remember most of the  items. I don't remember "Quaker Natural Cereal" (top left), nor the"Prewetts Wholeweheat Flakes  next door to it, nor the Magic Roundabout  Nabisco whatever they weres.  I also don't remember the "Brancrisp" half way down, right hand side). I do remember the Energen though.   

i do remember everything else.  

I smiled when I saw the brick of Walls Raspberry Ripple ice cream (bottom),  that was my favourite ice cream as a child.  Its still one of my favourites now,

I remember the Kellog's Country Store jingle (well, the last but where the singer sang the name);   iI remember the Ariel before everything bccame automatic and then biological powders and the Ariel logo turned green.  I remember the Daz challenge.   "Kellog's Rise and Shine orange juice powder was a treat; we tried to make Alpen in a lesson at school when I was about 6 or 7;  My Nan always had lemon barley water; we had Treetop orange squash

It was a joy to do, and I've got a confectionery puzzle in a similar vein in the to do pile

Such a lovely trip down memory lane.

Ear Ear

I had my appointment today with the paramedic.

Its likely ,y Eustachian tube is blocked.   He said to buy an Otovent and to use Beconase.  If the Otovent hadn't worked in 2 weeks, phone for a phone consult and to get a referral to ENT.

The Otovent is a balloon and a piece of plastic with a ball shaped end. When I saw it, I thought I had to put the ball end in my nostril.  Fortunately, it's not the case.   I have to blow up  the balloon with each notstril in turn,  holding the other nostril closed. Then I have to swallow several times.   I have to do this 3 times a day for the first week, and then more often for the second week.

It's easy enough, and less awful than it looked on the picture.

I wish  I'd just gone to the pharmacist, as I'd be a week into this already by now.

The deafness is cvausing some issues.

On the plus side, my eardrum etc is OK, so that's good news.




Sunday 21 January 2024

Sorry Odie

I managed to leave Odie, one of the young Araucana, shut out last night.

This morning DH went to let the Girls out, and was a long time. I looked ut of the bedroom window, and saw him counting hens before opening the door to the run.   i counted, and there were 2 missing, both araucanas,

And then I saw Odie walk in to the paddock from DH's workshop.  I realised she'd been shut out.

DH also saw her, but he was still looking, and I realised Ollie was missing as well.   I came downstairs and went outside, and found DH looking in the nestboxes of all the coops.    Thankfully, he found her sitting in one, possibly trying to lay an egg,

Poor Odie.  It was a horrible night to be stuck out.  At least it wasn't freezing, but there had been a lot of wind and rain. She looked OK, so I guess she'd found somewhere sheltered to roost.

I'm so lucky we didn't have a fox visit.

Friday 19 January 2024

Bergamot Curd

I made bergamot curd today. 

I used the quantities suggested in Catherine Phipps excellent Citrus book, but made it in my Magimix CookExpert.

The Bergamots didn't really smell very ...well.. bergamotty; and then  I started to zest them.  The scent was lovely, although still not quite reminiscent of Earl Grey tea,.   When i'd juiced the ones I needed,  I ate a little bit of the pulp. 

It wasn't sharp like lemon, and it wasn't sweet like clementine.     It reminded me more of grapefruit

I even remembered to sieve it as I poured it into hot jars. I'd prepperd 4 jars, but only needed two.   The eggs I bought were Medium, and I probably should have bought large,  but it would only have made a small difference to the end volume.

I'm looking forward to eating some of the curd when it's cooled.

One of bergamots was needed just for its juice, not the zest.  Thinking I'd store some for later use,  I peeled some of the zest off using a potato peeler. It still extracted some of the pith, which means I'll have to clean it up if I'm going to use it in marmalade.

Then I thought I'd try the long, thin, woodworker-tool-like, microplane zester.  That did a fab job of removing small, thin, shards of zest without pith.  It's now all in a tub to add to marmalade (if I can keep motivated and do it),

I don't think I'm ready to make marmalade today, maybe tomorrow.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Bit of a turn

I went to get some honey from a lady in a nearby village.  DH has been getting through loads of it, trying to alleviate the symptoms of his cough/cold.

I decided to pop in to Sainsburys, a bit further on, while I was out and about;  I could get eggs, unsalted butter,  and preserving sugar to do something with the bergamots,  stock up on Lemsip and Bronco Stop, and get some vegetables for the freezer.

Part way round the supermarket, I had a fairly urgent need to go to the toilet.  I went to the customer toilets, but they were blocked off.  I went and asked an assistant where the toilets where.  They are blocked, it's been reported, there aren't any toilets for customer use.

I could feel panic setting in.

I tried to work out where the nearest toilet would be, and decided it was probably Tescos down the road a way.   I realised I didn't have time to get my trolley through the checkout, so I abandoned it and left the shop.

I managed to get to the Tesco toilets without a mishap.   I decided I might as well do my shopping there, while I was there.    Here, I had to put a poind in the trolley, so I had to go back to the car to find a £1 coin.  And then the shopping was a fail.... they didn't have any form of jam sugar or preserving sugar,  theur eggs were rubbish,  they didn't have dishwasher salt (another thing on my list), they were sold out of BirdsEye Petits Pois.

It was a funny shop.   It was very echoey, and the deafness in my ear was playing tricks on me.   I found myself trying to do calming things,  and I was very close to abandoning that trolley as well.

In the end, I bought the shopping in Tescos, unloaded it in the car, took the trolley back to get my money back,   Then  I sat in the car for a bit, trying to regain a sense of calm.  When I eventually started the engine,  the display on the dashboard went doolally.  God knows how much this is going to cost to fix.  I probably won't bother, i can see the speedo, the temperature, and the fuel gauge.

I drove back to Sainsbury, retrieved my abandoned trolley, and bought that stuff too.   I still managed to forget a few items.

It had all taken a loooong time, and I was so glad to get home.


Tuesday 16 January 2024

Can't settle

I'm having trouble getting motivated to do anything.

I did have a go at making something out of an old towel.  I managed to break both needles on my Overlocker, 4 times.  At one point I began to wonder if I'd knackered the overlocker, but it's OK on other fabric.

I've got a long list of things I supposedly want to make, I just can't get up any enthusiasm to actual do anything.

I cleared the kitchen table last week, in an attempt to unblock my creative juices.  It didn't work, andit now has a crate of clementines and a tray of bergamots on it. Plus a jigsaw puzzle, a tray of tools which DH needs to sort an dput away, and a load more besides.   The jigsaw puzzle was one I bought lastyear, and I decided a few weks ago that I'd like to make it and then sell it on,

It spent several weeks on the dining room table.  It was joined by another (preloved purchase) puzzle last week.  I moved it to the kitchen today, thinking it might spur me on. It didn't.

I realised that I could probably zest and juice the bergamots and freeze everything, and I'll keep that as a fall back position if I don't snap myself out of this funk.

I did manage to take a birthday card (with some penguin earrings and a wad of cash) round to Miss Teen on her birthday. And I ordered a specific Moonpig birthday card for the youngest DGD , in good time.  She'll have money as well, but I'll transfer direct into her bank account.

It's my SIL's birthday on Friday,  and I have a card for her.   I've got two other January birthdays to plan for,  but I can't quite think that far ahead.

I've got a Physio appointment on Friday, and I really need it.  I've been back and forth to Wales, and I've been ill, and I haven't had an appointment since just after Christmas.

Deaf Bergamots

Deafness continues.

I phoned the GP surgery yesterday when the lines opened at 8am. I was number 18 in the queue.  My call was answered at 8.45 (thank goodness for having a speaker option on my phone), and I'm booked in to see someone..... on the 23rd January.

DH now has a vile cough, rather like the one I had.  It's not the same, however, as he has cold symptoms and itchy eyes, which I did not.  It does sound like the same cough though,  and it's almost constant, like mine was.   He's lost his voice (which I did),  and now it's becoming a problem because he can't speak up and I'm deaf.

Meanwhile,  my next Crowdfarming deliveries arrived.  The first was another box of clementines, which I'd ordered long before I knew I was going to be away so much.   They taste good.

The second box to arrive was a small box of bergamots.   There are 15 of them in the box, which makes them quite expensive.   They weigh pretty much exactly 3kg, which is the weight I paid for, so I can't complain.  

 On the plus side, it should be possible to use them all fairly quickly, My ideas list is:

- Bergamot curd
- Bergamot jelly
- Bergamot drizzle cake
- Bergamot Turkish Delight
- Bergamot marmalade
- Bergamot slices frozen for spring drinks

I just need to get into making mode.  And get some more eggs so I can make curd. And a cake.

Saturday 13 January 2024

Night Dad

My Dad died on Thursday afternoon.

He waited until we got back from the funeral of DH's best friend.

I made a card for my Mum.

Wednesday 10 January 2024


What a horrible couple of weeks!

On the evening of Tuesday (2nd),  my left ear bunged up.   It was like being underwater, the sort of deafness that can be fixed by nose holding and pushing the pressure from the inside to the out.  Except it didn't.

My DB and I left early on Wednesday  morning to visit my parents.  My Dad was in hospital, and it wasn't looking great.  Our other brother declined the option of coming along.

I wore a very high quality mask from the moment I got to my brother until moment I got home.

We had a meeting with one of the Doctors on Wednesday afternoon,  and then a meeting with the senior consultant on Thursday morning.    The news wasn't great,  Dad was going to be moved to palliative care,   Dad would be fast tracked so that he could be moved home, and a team would come in 4 times a day to look after him.  The prognosis was 4-6 weeks. There was to be a multi disciplinary team meeting the following day to confirm this.   

We decided to wait until after the meeting before letting everyone know what was happening, so that we could give them accurate information. 

DB and I were driving home late Friday afternoon when the call came through to say that the situation had changed somewhat.  Dad wouldn't be going home, there wasn't time.  It was now likely to be days to a week now.

With Mum's agreement, I contacted the various family members to let them know the news.  We couldn't get hold of our brother.   We guessed that he was probably screening his calls, and that he'd phone back when he saw that he had so many missed calls (and messages asking him to phone). 

I'd phoned all my Uncles to let them know of the situation and dissuaded them from trying to visit.  Repeating the same thing so many times was hard work,  but the retelling made it easier to get the words out.   The hardest was telling my Dad's youngest brother (who is not much older than my husband)  They were very close; almost every time I've phoned him in the last few years has been to tell him that someone is in hospital, or has died.  They all live too far away from my parents to come and see Dad in hospital - and, to be frank, my Mum preferred that they didn't visit. She wanted them to remember my Dad as he was when they last saw him.   I wanted to take away any guilt they might feel about not making the journey.     

We agreed with Mum that we would go back on Tuesday (9th). This would give me time to see a doctor about my cough, sore throat and deafness on Monday.  My cough had got even worse (which was a shock, as it had been improving). I  think wearing a mask for 3 days hadn't really done me much good.


I spent Saturday morning in bed, trying to recover.   Then Mum phoned on Saturday to say that things had declined, and the ward sister said we needed to be there on Sunday.  DB went round to check other brother was OK (he lives alone),  and to update him.

The local (to us, not to my parents) Uncle wanted  to come along. I think he wanted to do this for his dying brother, and to do it for the brothers who couldn't be there.    He'd visited Dad with us in December, so he already knew what Dad looked like, so it wouldn't be quite such a shock to him.


We all set off early Sunday.   The people at the place where we stay are lovely, and they were happy to rearrange our dates.    This time I wore an even stonger mask, a proper  FP2 one,  to make sure I didn't spread my lurgy to my Uncle and Brother.  I also took paracetamol every 4 hours, no matter what. 

We  went direct to the hospital.

Dad was in a lot of distress, very agitated.   It wasn't at all what we had expected palliative care to be.   We went off to find a doctor to ask about it all.  Long story short, the palliative care hadn't started and wasn't going to start until Monday.   

Dad was obviously in a lot of pain, so we asked foor his pain relief to be increased, and we asked why the palliative care hadn't been started.  The on call doctor came to see us,  and she then had a conflab by phone with the senior consultant, and they agreed to start the process.

Mum stayed with him, against our advice, on Sunday night.     We'd wanted her to sleep at home so that she was as rested as possible for the next few days.  She was convinced he would die very quickly, so wouldn't leave him.

We went back to our accomm via Mum's to see to their aged dog. 

We got to the hospital, having travelled the long way round so we could stop in and see the dog on the way.    It had been a terrible night for Mum as Dad was so agitated.   It wasn't at all what we had expected palliative care to be.

Mum had worked out that the pain happened when the catheter was used, and we asked the nursing staff to have a look at it.

Mum was shattered.   She agreed to go home and get some rest, so we decided that Uncle and I would stay with Dad while DB took Mum home to get some sleep.    We played music for him, and we chatted to him, and about him, and about stuff and about nothing.

It takes about 45 mins to get from the hospital to Mum's  so DB was gone some time.

Just before he got back to the hospital, Dad had a syringe driver put in, and the agitation eventually stopped.

The accommodation people were lovely, and extended our stay for another night.

We were there all day.  DB set off again at about 5pm to collect Mum, and they got back to the hospital just before 7pm.    

We stayed for  little while, then we left Mum with Dad again.    We called in to Morrisons to get some food,which we took back to Mum,  and then we drove over to Mum's so that we could feed the dog and spend a bit of time with her.

On Tuesday,  we visited the Dog first thing, and then went on to the hospital.     Mum didn't want to go home this time, because we had said we would be leaving at about 2pm to go home. 

Dad was quite peaceful at this stage, it was much more the way we had expected palliative care to be.  Mum was doing OK (as well as she could be expected to, anyway), so we left as planned at 2pm.   Of course we felt awkward at going,  but we had to go sometime.  

 We called in on the way to see the Dog, and to fix a couple of things in the house.    It was a tiring journey home, and I was pleased to sleep in my own bed.


It's now Wednesday 1pm, and Dad is still here.   It makes me feel marginally better about leaving yesterday.

My ear is still blocked, but now I can depressurise it temporarily (which I couldn't do at all  last week) by holding my ears,closing my mouth and "blowing".  My cough is more under control, and I'm having paracetamol first thing, last thing, and maybe once in between.   It's wonderful to not have a mask on.  I also feel better physically than I have done for a few weeks, so that's good.

Both DB and I agreed we need a few nights at our respective homes before we think about going back again.  We're in constant touch with Mum, technology has been such an asset.

 I have a funeral tomorrow, DH's best friend. It's also our local Uncle's birthday.   



Monday 1 January 2024

Cough COugh

The COugh is horrendous.  The sore throat is raging.   My chest and back hurt from the effort of all the coughing.

Yesterday, Sunday, was appalling.   I've been gargling with salt water, which provides relief for a few minutes.    I've been taking paracetamol 4 times a day, and I've been trying to keep up my fluid intake.  Last night was dreafdul.

I continued to use my CPAP. I turned the humidifier down to 1 on Saturday night, as I'd had a problem with water spuddling ("rainout") on Friday night.    The downside of that is that my throat was drier, so I upped it to 3 last night.   That was fine for most of the night, but I woke up at 6 with horrendous "rainout", caused by my tube gettng hooked on the corner of the mattress and being lower than my machine.

I tried to sleep "propped up" yesterday, and it was easier on my throat for a while.  It didn't work too well for my o2 levels though, and I had to give in and lie down part way through the night.    

My scores weren't great.

I choked trying to eat. As soon as something touched my throat, my body rejected it.  It took a long time to eat my breakfast.

I've been gargling with salt water every couple of hours, and trying to stay hydrated all day.

I feel like crap, but I feel slighly less crappier than this time yesterday. 

 I'm hoping it's on its way out.

I spent the day taking decorations down, a bit at a time.  The cats supervised and helped, getting into every box, biffing decorations,  sitting in the tree skirt. Super cute as always.

Everything (almost) is stacked on the landing, waiting to go into the loft.

There's just the wreath left to do, and ideally  I'd like to leave that until tomorrow.  But if I leave it, there's still the box with the wreath making bits to go.

Maybe I'll take it down this evening after all