Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter has come and gone..................

...........................without us noticing!

Colin had hospital appointments on Saturday and Easter Monday as they needed him to have blood tests to check platelet levels. Both times he had platelet infusions in the ward day-room because the clinics were shut for Easter, of course there are no extra staff for the extra cancer patients going to the ward for checks over Bank Holidays so the poor nurses were all rushed of their feet.

I ventured out on my bike on Saturday morning to take a few things to the charity shop and go to the post office and found a pathway through from one road to the next which means Aldi, 2 charity shops, the post office,newsagent,Co-op and chemist (and dubious take-aways!) can be got to by bike in 10 minutes.Yay! but because I still hadn't shaken off the cold/croaky throat - the first I've had several years - I didn't feel like dallying.

On Sunday Col's brother came over to lend a bit of muscle power for shifting boxes and now 16 boxes of books are under a bed and 6 more piled in the corner of the room. There still seems an awful lot of  other boxes in the summer house/shed and garage but at least the books are safe from damp. Andrew also brought a pair of secateurs (ours are on the trailer still in a shed on a friends farm along with other garden bits) to cut down some bamboo so we could haul out a compost bin I spotted in the corner of the garden and get it in use as our compost bin is also on the trailer.

Then of course we had Weather with a capital W as storm Katie blew in early Monday morning and by golly she was cold, wet and windy! I went out to the garage to investigate another box but it was just too cold for working. Instead we swapped some of the curtains left here for ones we had brought with us and Col (who is feeling not too bad) fixed up my little shelves to hold the herbs and spices - no room in a cupboard anywhere.
Herbs and spices sorted
Below the shelves we have a hatch - they were big in the sixties............ saves all of 10 steps from kitchen to table in the living room, I doubt it will be used.


Polly has settled in nicely, we went outside with her a couple of times during the week, then on Sunday she didn't want to be caught to come in again, climbed a Buddliea, jumped on the fence and onto the shed roof of the house behind and vanished  - Ooops we thought, but 15 minutes later there she was appearing from between our garage and the garage next door. Phew! At least we know she can find her way home again, now we just need to sort a cat flap.

That was the weekend gone - no trips out, no car-boot sales, no visits to stately homes or the sea-side but never mind, we are getting settled and that's the main thing.

Many Thanks for all your comments, sorry I'm not getting around to replying or leaving comments on any other blogs at the moment and welcome to gingerliz and L Efting.

Back in a day or 3
Sue

Friday, 25 March 2016

Wednesday to Friday in the County Town

Here I am again, still unpacking and trying to sort things out.

 On the whole we are quite pleased with choosing this small bungalow (for now!), there is just about room to live, the road is quiet and 15 minutes from hospital is better than 40 minutes especially as Col will have to go for blood tests 3 times a week from now on, and I was very excited to be able to pop to B & Q to buy a new telephone and a bin for the kitchen- took me 10 minutes and half that was queueing at the traffic lights. A new telephone would have needed a much longer journey just a week ago - I'm so easily excited! I can't wait to get out on my bike but I've gone down with a bit of a cold and a gyppy tummy - I put it down to the different water in town!!

Col came home from hospital after the 4th round of chemo on Thursday afternoon. I had to wait in for the cooker delivery so he got his old boss to give him a lift. It was strange saying "welcome to your new home" but lovely to have him back again. Once again he is feeling very tired and with no appetite and another bunch of tablets, injections and eye-drops. This type of cancer is very nasty but its incredible at how many medications have been developed to help things along.
 I had told him how much stuff we couldn't fit in but he was still surprised at how the bungalow had shrunk since we looked at it and his idea of unloading all his workshop stuff into the garage may have to be delayed.

Early this morning I popped to Asda....... something I've never been able to say before, I'll be able to bike there for top-up shopping when I'm feeling better. With the lack of space in the kitchen, top-up shopping will be all I'll be able to do which is the opposite of the last 30+ years when it's been mainly a monthly big shop. We do have a wooden cupboard with shelves which I plan to have in the garage for tins and bottles as soon as I've found space for the things it's currently full of.

Before we moved I mentioned unpacking a craft box to find a peel-off label for 'Sister' to stick on her card. Today is her birthday and guess where the card is............Still Here - forgot to give it to her Tuesday and  forgot to post twice! DUH! So  Happy 57th little Sister!

Our living room window faces south-west so the sun was streaming in on Friday for a while and Col filled the bird feeder, swivelled his recliner round and waited to see what- if anything - would arrive. Two collared doves sat on the garage roof and looked and a blue tit popped in to check it out. Then he saw a wren on the ground and 3 blackbirds having an argument in the shrubs, so there is bird life in Ipswich! Here is our garden from the living room window, small compared to our previous 5 acres! but larger than a lot of gardens on the newer estates.
We brought the birdbath and birdtable with us! Thanks to Brother in law and his van
 The awful crazy paving/weedy bit is definitely going and probably be replaced by a conservatory, which will add space and value without too much expense and hassle.
I took Polly out for a bit of a sniff around, can't let her out on her own yet and we need a way to put a cat flap in a double glazed door - I suppose it must be possible for a glazier to do.
This very strange concrete thingy was left in the garden and the lady who lived here must have been very houseproud as there are doormats - on the right - at the garage and shed doors!

There were so many lovely comments on the last post - Thank you everyone, Col was amazed to find that more than 50 people had wished us well.
 Lynda said "didn't we have 2 cats?" and yes we did, but one disappeared for 6 months after we got them 2 years ago and although she did re-appear and eventually came into the house she fought with Polly and was never really friendly or settled. We decided that the best thing was for her to return to Cats Protection where they could re-home her somewhere without other cats because she was almost bound to disappear again after this house move. Had we have known then what we know now we wouldn't have taken on a cat - hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Welcome to more new followers - Jules, Jane, Curvywitch and Christina. Hope you enjoy reading about our new life in the Suffolk county town.

Now I must get back to sorting out our possessions - fitting a gallon into a pint pot springs to mind!

Back in a day or two
Sue

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Ipswich

Moved!
Thanks to my sister for lots of hoovering, dusting and unpacking and Brother in law who did all the the fixing and connecting things, our son sorted stuff, visited his dad and fetched us food and our youngest and her bloke helped with shifting bits and got me connected. I couldn't have done it without them.

I made tea and coffee!

The estate agents gave me 2 boxes of chocolates so Col could have some in hospital - a kind thought.
The three young removal boys were lovely and so was the carpet fitter who worked part of Saturday and Sunday to get the 3 carpets done.

I have no idea how the gas boiler works but never mind - we have heat and hot water.

The house is too small for my craft stuff, and there are 1000 books that will have to stay in boxes and the shed and garage are piled high.Other than that everything is fine!

The cat is puzzled

I'm knackered

 Back when I'm sorted
Sue
PS thanks for all your lovely supportive comments last time

Friday, 18 March 2016

Catching up on the week's happenings

Goodness me, more new followers, and they've arrived when there's not much to post about too. Welcome Annette and Carol - I used to be more interesting - Honest!!

We've had some really cold weather this week because a biting east wind has been coming straight in off the sea. I know further west in the country there has been sunshine and warmth but the first half of the week was mainly grey and any excursion outside was teeth-numbingly cold.  Amy at Love Made My Home had a walk with her camera and found many signs of spring, so when the sun came out on Thursday I went up and down the road and round the field to see the signs of spring here on the East coast...........Almost Nothing! We have daffodils that have been in bud for weeks without opening and  no buds or leaves anywhere except for the apricot trees. Just shows what a difference it makes living un-sheltered from the East winds and it's back to really grey and damp again today.

The only sign of blossom - I shall miss the apricot trees even though we only got apricots 3 times in 10 years.
Up at the top of the field we've left the green man to watch over everything, he's been there many years now, I wonder if the new owners will find him.


2 months ago Col filled in all the forms to claim benefit because of the cancer and they were sent off  but nothing has gone into the bank yet. So he rang to find out what was happening and got told "yes we have your details, don't know why you've not had anything, ring this number" So he rang the new number only to be told "No we have no details of you, you need to ring this number" (The number he had first rung!) Seems he has been lost in the system - Oh bother now we have to start all over again - with the added complication of change of address. Thank Goodness we are not counting on this money to live on. Thank Goodness we saved all the money we made from car boots, my pension and  yard sale etc last year. Thank Goodness the bungalow we have bought was less than half the price of the smallholding.

 We went up Tuesday for Col's pre-chemo blood test and  check with the consultant and all was well, they were pleased with progress. He was due in for the 4th session  yesterday- Thursday but they had no bed for him, so he rang again today - No, still full up but he needed a blood test so we trekked up to Ipswich anyway, again all OK. He has been told to call Sunday morning in the hope that they can get him in Sunday night ready for an early start Monday which means he will be stuck in hospital when we move because...................... ............................................................................................Contracts were exchanged at 4.30pm on Tuesday with completion confirmed for next Tuesday 22nd so I've been doing more tidying and packing but also un-packing boxes - yes - UN-packing to find things we wouldn't have needed if we'd moved on the 9th or 16th! Very annoying it is too. I undid two labelled "craft stuff"  to find the 'Sister'  and 'Son in Law ' peel off stickers for up-coming birthdays and one of the kitchen boxes to find the coffee. Thankfully I have plenty of helpers signed up for Tuesday so everything will be fine - fingers crossed. I just hope the carpet fitters will be able to get the carpets laid before Tuesday - that could be a nightmare if they can't.

I  spent most of Wednesday morning on the phone to various utility companies trying to get everything organised - that was no fun at all, you need the patience of a saint just to get through. Then the estate agent through which we are buying rang to offer me chocolates or wine as a 'welcome to your new home' gift  which rather cheered me up! ( Chocs ........ obviously!)

We had some unexpected exciting news last weekend - our youngest will be producing a grandchild for us in the autumn You wait 26 years for a new addition to the family (that's the age of our youngest niece) and then 2 come along at once. I shall have to make two "Babies First Christmas" cards It's Extra special news in a way as she had only half the chance of getting pregnant compared to other girls because of the ovarian cancer when she was 18. Eldest daughter due June so the cousins will be 4 months apart (but many counties - sadly) and I've started a new column in the accounts book - Grandchildren I refuse to be like my mum who rarely bought anything for the children unless it was their birthday or Christmas, she wasn't mean but it just wasn't done. I'm planning to haunt charity shops and car-boot sales for clothes, toys and books as soon as we move.
Talking of Christmas, I'm now worried.................there is no way we can fit all the expanding family into the teeny Ipswich bungalow, so we might have to move again sooner than we thought!!! Jolly Good Fun?? At least we wouldn't be selling as we are intending to stick to our original plan to keep the bungalow and rent it out for an income, the only difference is that instead of travelling round the country for the summer we will be stuck with hospital visits! Hey Ho - such is life.

Back after moving
Sue





 

Monday, 14 March 2016

So are we moving this Wednesday?.................

NO!

Honestly, this whole business has been very silly .................BIG Understatement!
Our buyers late application for a mortgage from Barclays has caused all the problems, and Barclays being exceedingly s...l...o...w   to sort it out.  The new date is March 22nd, although I'm not holding my breath.  Had to ring 5 removal companies before I could find someone to shift us and they are costing £200 more than the ones we had booked for the 16th. Then of course because we still haven't actually exchanged contracts this can't be a definite booking either. It was getting me down but there seemed to be no point in fretting so I'm now just going with the flow and doing a Gallic shrug " whatever".

I shall ring to change the delivery date of the cooker and the mail re-direction. I've given up phoning about water and phone so maybe the new owners are paying for what we use this week. Tough!

I've just finished reading Bill Bryson's latest book - The Road to Little Dribbling. I read Notes from a Small Island years ago and this is a sort of update, a new look at the quirkyness of  Great Britain. I smiled a lot through this book, just as I did through 'Notes', but why does he need to use the F word quite so much? It's usually when he is imagining what he would say to some idiot he has come across on his travels, so he isn't actually saying it, just thinking it, so why write it? That makes me sound like a prudish old person which I now know I am!


Back soon
Sue


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Review of a Very Large Book + A.N Other

Because of our extra long and frustrating wait to move house, and with most of my possessions packed in boxes I've had plenty of time for reading, both at home and when sitting around in the hospital waiting for Col.

This is the biggest book I've read for a while - 712 pages!

Simon Garfield first came across Jean Lucey Pratt via the Mass Observation Archives He used her MO diaries for his books We Are at War, Private Battles and Our Hidden Lives with her name being changed to Maggie Joy Blunt. Through this he heard of her niece who had a collection of Jean's diaries written between 1925 and 1986. Eventually he was able to use them for this book.
Product Details
712 pages
Born in 1909, Jean's mother died when she was 13 and from that time she longed for love. The book is the very frank writings of a single woman who is never really happy, searching for fulfillment, living at a time when life for a spinster is difficult.She begins qualification as an architect, works in the office of  an aluminium manufacturing factory during the war but really wants to write and does indeed eventually have one book published. She wants companionship but longs to be on her own. As other reviewers on Amazon say - you want to give her a shake, get really cross with her but also sympathise, and you just have to keep reading. The men she falls for are always married/ rotten, her friends seem to drag her down. She laments the fact that she is among the surplus woman due to so many men being killed during the two wars. Her brother is abroad for most of the years of the diary but she does become a school holiday guardian for her niece although I wasn't really sure that she enjoyed this. Wee Cottage is the home she rents  in Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire  where she cares for cats, gardens and writes. Needing an income she starts to run a small bookshop and specialises in books about cats becoming the leading expert on this subject. One thing I discovered from this book is that artificial "e" cigarettes are nothing new. They were around in the 50s under a trade name when Jean tried desperately to give up her expensive smoking addiction. They didn't work for her and it was only many years later when ill health forced her to give up her 30 a day habit.
I would have liked to go back to Garfield's books listed above to re-read which parts of her diary he used, especially the wartime entries which are much shortened for this new book. Unfortunately they are all packed in boxes so that will have to wait, but I will add this book to my wish list because it's one to keep and read again.
By coincidence the next book I picked to read from my library haul was "Superfluous Women" by Carola Dunn. This is the 22nd in her series of historical crime mysteries featuring The Hon. Daisy Dalrymple. In this book the superfluous women of the title are 3 single friends -one a friend of Daisy,- who move into a house and find a dead body in the locked cellar (as you do!) Like Jean the women are on their own because of the men/women in-balance after WW1. These books are light crime fiction, they don't take long to read but seem to be well researched. At the back of the book the author acknowledges and thanks Virginia Nicholson for the information she gleaned from her book "Singled Out -  the story of the 2 million women who never became wives".
Another book for me to order from the library.

I see there are 2 new followers, so welcome  to 'Elsie May and Bertha' and 'Kenneth and Kaye'.


I will be back soon with moving/not moving news
Sue

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Quick update

Thank you to everyone for kind wishes on my last post.
We are still here and STILL waiting for exchange and a completion date!
All due to our buyers and their late application for a mortgage. IF poss. moving should be next Wednesday, if not I have no idea what will happen.
We have a removal company for the 16th but if it's later I shall be ringing every removal company in the county to find someone.
We have almost everything packed and waiting.
Wish we had done what we originally planned and rented for 6 months, even if it meant moving twice in a year it would still have been less stressful than what we are going through at the moment,
Colin was very poorly after his 3rd chemo session but  is feeling a bit better now after 12 days. He is next due in on 17th. We are still backwards and forwards to hospital 2 or 3 times a week for blood tests, X ray and a CT scan.

Back in a week or so I hope
Sue

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Life in limbo

How exciting it is to find £1 on the driveway near the garage......................only to realise that it must be mine anyway...........the one I keep for trolleys, which disappeared from my coat pocket the other day!

We are still in limbo with moving although we know it won't be on the 9th after all.

I think I will return to posting once we have moved and settled, all I'm doing at the moment is reading this huge book and waiting, cooking meals and waiting, labeling boxes and waiting, lighting fires and waiting and waiting..........................
Cover


Back in a couple of weeks or so
Sue