Monthly Archives: January 2015

Z has warm feet

I’m afraid I’ve turned on registration again.  I’m sorry, but there were nearly 70 spam comments in three days, all held in the spam folder but I really find it annoying.

The temperature hasn’t been much above freezing all day, though it doesn’t feel that cold to me.  I think my metabolism is running a bit higher than usual, I don’t seem to feel the cold and often wake up too hot in the night, which is quite odd as I’ve always been chilly and needed lots of cuddling in the past before I could go to sleep.  Just as well that isn’t necessary any more, of course.

I’ve been making appointments and various arrangements, so I trust it won’t be too long before I can apply for probate.  That will free me to decide what to do about various things.  Actually, that’s not right, is it?  I can decide now, I will be able to do it once I have probate.  However,there are so very many decisions to take, it’s not a cheering prospect.

Various depressing things have happened this evening – not to me, news about friends who aren’t well, so I will cheer myself before I go to bed with some good things.

1 I found two more things that I’ve been looking for, in Russell’s stuff.

2 Making those appointments is certainly a Good Thing.

3  I have all the chickens in now and they aren’t going to be let out until their wanderlust is curbed.

4 I had a particularly nice dinner tonight, having made some game soup and bought mussels.

5 In celebration, I opened a bottle of Prosecco.  And drank some of it, obv.



Z has twinges

At this time five years ago, I was getting ready to go into hospital for a hip replacement operation.  I went back a year later to have it checked and it was fine, but the x-ray confirmed what I suspected, that my other hip was starting to develop arthritis too.  At the time, when asked how long I thought it would be before I needed a second operation, I reckoned maybe three to five years.  Four years on, it’s still doing pretty well but has been hurting a bit recently and I’m wondering how long I’ve got.  I’m due another check up, so I should get some sort of idea then – really, until recently, I’ve been still using the ‘three to five years’ line, but I’ve now got a suspicion it’s more likely to be one to three.  Still, can’t fuss about it, though it might alter the timing of some of my plans.  And of course, even an x-ray doesn’t necessarily give much of a prognosis.

I trust that I will be able to book directly with my surgeon, or rather with his secretary, because I don’t know who my GP is at present, or even if I’ve been assigned to one.  Russell died in the week that our doctor was moving away and he apologised that it meant he would not be able to see me, as normally he would offer to.  Since then, another doctor has left and a third has gone on maternity leave.  There is one extra doctor on the books, who used to fill in as a locum, but they don’t seem to have filled the vacancies and there’s still an apology up on the website that they are very overstretched.  This has never happened before, it’s always been an excellent practice where you could get an appointment when you wanted one.  I know they’re all working extremely hard and fitting in emergencies at the end of their usual surgeries, but I wonder what’s going to happen, as that surely can’t carry on for too much longer.

I’m pretty lucky normally and rarely have to see the doctor.  I’ve had various routine check-ups with nurses but otherwise, the last time I saw my GP was to ask for a referral to the orthopaedic consultant.  So I trust I won’t have to bother them any time soon.

It’ll be fun!

Well, since several of the most important people have said they are free, then that’s settled.  Saturday, 30th May, noon or so and let us know if you would like to stay over, because you would be very welcome.

I spent the day with Weeza and co – actually, the intention was to go early to accompany Zerlina to her riding lesson (I can’t remember if I said, but my Christmas present to her is riding lessons) but I got as far as Norwich when my phone rang.  I happened to be stopped at a red light and saw it was from Weeza, so pulled in and answered.  The lesson was cancelled because the ground was frozen, but I was half way there, so I carried on and Weeza and I turned out their big sitting room instead.  And then she cooked roast chicken for lunch and it was delicious.  I’ve had crumpets for tea, with halloumi cheese and tomato on the side, I didn’t want a proper meal.  Or I haven’t so far, it’s only 8 o’clock and I may be hungry again later.

I’m sorry to say, but have to admit that living on my own is easier than I expected, from a practical point of view.  Fetching fuel, clearing the grate, lighting the fire, emptying the bins, feeding the chickens, add half an hour to the day’s work perhaps and as much as that is saved in other ways.  Weeza and I agreed that we can’t really feel the Sage’s presence right now, it feels far more than five months since he died.  I hold on to good flashes of memory and one is from early June last year, a fortnight before the blog party, when we were starting to appreciate that something might be badly wrong.  I offered to postpone or cancel and he said no.  “I enjoy our blog parties, I’m looking forward to it,” he said.  He dearly loved a party, as do I and, with you lovely people here, it’ll be fun as always.  Well, I have fun, anyway.

May party?

Fewer chickens have come back each evening recently – whereas, a few weeks ago, they all followed me back when I went to shut up the run, now they have to be rounded up and some of them amble off to the shrubbery and don’t come back at all.  I’ve been planning how to get them back by not leaving food out in the run in the afternoon, because they come in to feed and go out again, but I arrived home a little later than intended yesterday, after 4 o’clock, and they’d already gone to roost.  So I felt rather sorry for those that had slept out. There were eight of them waiting outside when I went to feed them this morning, which made a full house altogether.

However, I’ve been thinking again and it doesn’t really matter if they decide to sleep out after all.  So I’m going to let them be.  I don’t want them to go to sleep hungry and they need plenty of food at this time of the year.  They laid four eggs yesterday, which is the most for weeks, so I’m very kindly disposed to them anyway.  And I’m not the argumentative sort and don’t feel I have to impose my will on them without good reason.  If we get snow, I daresay they’ll be back in quickly enough anyway.

Those who have replied to yesterday’s post have suggested not after mid-June and not early June, so it looks as if the end of May might be a possibility?  That would be Saturday 30th – or the Sunday, of course.  I could come forward another week to the bank holiday weekend, if everyone is free then – the first blog party was held on a Bank Holiday Monday, I remember.  I’m free any weekend anyway, at present.

Checking the diary – Z’s blog party 2015

You are warmly invited to my next bloggers’ party this summer and, since I know that diaries can fill up quickly, I’d like to start to consult on the date.

I haven’t got many weekend events this summer yet, so almost any weekend will be fine for me.  It’s the village festival on 27th June, otherwise I’ve got a free diary – it might fill up a bit, depending on what’s on at the Aldeburgh Festival during the second half of the month, but I’d rather see you than go there, if it comes to a choice.

The Spring Bank Holiday weekend is a week earlier than I thought, as the holiday Monday is the 25th May, so we can go from the last weekend in the month.

If you would like to come, please let me know when is or particularly isn’t convenient.

Saturdays and Sundays

30 – 31 May

6 – 7 June

13 – 14 June

20 – 21 June

4 – 5 July

11 – 12 July

As ever, an open invitation to come and stay.  If the house overflows, I’m sure that Roses will offer her sofa bed, but I’ve got four spare rooms and the odd sofa myself.

I’ve turned off the need to be registered to be able to comment – if I start to get spam, I’ll turn on moderation but at present it’s open house!  Well, I think it is.

The blog party and a tortoise named Jesus…

I’ll look in my diary soon and come up with a choice of dates.  In the meantime, if there are any days when you are not free (and assuming you’d like to come) then please let me know –, or the comments, of course.

The chickens are being quite naughty and choosing to sleep out.  Yesterday, I left the hen run open until after dark and then shut them in, but there were about ten who roosted in the shrubbery.  I’d rather they came home, so I will shut them out of the run until the afternoon so that, when they want to eat corn, they have to wait for me to open up and let them in.  There are seven out tonight, I know where they are but I wasn’t dressed to go in and wrangle chooks.

I read, on another website, about someone who heard his vicar carefully enunciating “the prayer that Jesus. taught. us.”  Which caught his attention enough to realise why.  I’m so sorry if you find me blasphemous, darlings, but I think that’s very funny and I really want another tortoise now, so I can call him Jesus.  Although in another way, three tortoises are three too many.  I really don’t know if I want to have tortoises for the rest of my life, though I am rather fond of them.

Another little meltdown tonight, I went round shouting rude words.  I’m ok again now.  I’m not angry with anyone or anything, just an unaimed anger that is better expressed to the walls around me than to any poor, lovely individual who crosses my path.  Indeed, I was perfectly polite, if dismissive, to the cold caller who rang this evening.


It seems that piecing myself together again adds strength, or determination at any rate.  Yesterday, having dealt with the forms, I got in the car and drove over to Norwich to deliver them.  The post would have done just as well and only taken an extra day, but it seemed terribly important to tick the job off by having done it personally.  Then last night, I emailed the valuer and asked for an appointment, which we have made for next week.  That’s for the house contents.  It’s a beastly thing and I deeply resent it – it’s nothing to do with Russell’s death but only about mine.  Because of the amount his estate is likely to come to, they want to be sure of what furniture etc we have, so that they can come to my children when I die and demand the inheritance tax.  I knew to expect it from the start, but it still stings and, however sensitive and helpful the valuer will be, he’s still eyeing up my belongings and it feels like an intrusion.  It’s taken me this long to be able to make the appointment.

However, it’s all progress, in more than one sense.  Addressing these matters will make me free in the end and help me to regain good memories.

I’m still keen to create new ones too so, before long, I’ll start looking at dates for a possible blog party.  This year’s or next’s will be the last one in this house, so I hope it’ll be a good one.

In 2,3,4, hold, 2,3,4,5,6,7,out,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 – and Z doesn’t relax

Yesterday, I devoted the whole evening to preparation for sleep.  No television, little time spent at the computer, lovely music, warm bath, light but sustaining food and so on.  I went to bed early and read the papers, but nothing upsetting.  I drank herbal tea.

I did go to sleep quite quickly, but woke around midnight for three hours.  After a while, having listened to another episode of War and Peace (the first hour or so was spent in silent darkness), I gave in and looked at my phone.  On Facebook, someone had ‘liked’ a post about getting to sleep – I didn’t mark it myself and now I can’t find it again, but it was about breathing.  The idea is to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds and then breathe out for 8 seconds.  According to the person who wrote it – clearly an individual, it wasn’t an advertisement – this worked like magic for her, she is usually asleep before she finishes the first exhalation.  I’m really bad at the meditation sort of thing, which both bores and irritates me to the point I have to stop, but this seemed simple and worth a try.

Boring, irritating and it didn’t work.  I did it eight times and it was, if anything distracting me and stopping me from relaxing – the idea is, it slows your heart rate, which makes you doze off.  It was rather like a sleep pillow for me, though – the supposedly soporific herbs wake me up.

After catching up on Scrabble games with other wakeful people, I turned the phone off again and finally dozed off, and didn’t wake up until 9.30 this morning.  So I did get a decent amount of sleep overall and, though I woke with the heavy headache that I usually get when I sleep late, I feel rested. However, this is almost as destructive to a normal life as not sleeping and clearly I can’t have my life revolve around preparing to go to bed.

According to my Facebook feed, there are quite a lot of us who can’t sleep.  There must be an answer to this.

Anyway, my pans arrived 36 hours after I’d ordered them and three days before I was told they were due. Considering that this was over the weekend, I can only  be wildly impressed.

By the way, does anyone have any experience of using Flexiseq?

Z keeps calm…ish

Last night, I remembered that I need to buy creosote*.  I have tried to get it locally, but have only been able to track down brown, whereas I need black because that’s what’s on the outbuildings already.  And while I was negotiating my way about eBay, I remembered some other things I’d meant to buy and headed off that way.  I wanted a new wok and found that the one I wanted had free postage if I spent £50.  Fortunately, my larger frying pan is also in need of replacement … to spend the money, I also bought a spatula and, remarkably, the three together came to exactly £50.  And then I notice the sale.  Until today, 20% off and still free postage.  I think I’ve done rather well.  With the money saved, I bought a new carry-on suitcase and some scales to weigh it.

I’m feeling flush, you see, because I don’t need all the money I saved for the taxman.  Also, I found some money I’d forgotten about in an old handbag.  So I’ve made a donation to the village church too, let’s spread the fortune.

Al, Dilly and the children came over to help with sorting out more papers.  They found the log book of the car on the header picture, which is excellent.  Sadly, I don’t know where the papers are for four other cars, but this is the best and oldest car, so finding the original paperwork as well as the modern papers is very good news.

There was another document I needed about my personal pension so that I could fill in a form for the tax man and I had it a few weeks ago and couldn’t find it anywhere and I’m afraid I cried.  Dealing with paperwork is the worst anyway.  I’ve discovered that neither Weeza nor Al can really cope with me when I’m being a spineless girly.  I think it frightens them as they have a picture of me as strong and capable.  I had no idea of this until my mother died, I spent nearly half a century thinking I was a wuss.  Of course, the truth is somewhere in between – anyway, it took Dilly to come and comfort me and assure me she is  sometimes reduced to tears over official papers too.  And later, it occurred to me that I might have passed the paper on to my accountant, so I’ll phone him in the morning and ask him about the rest of the form too, because there are a couple of questions I’m not confident about answering.

Once I’d pulled myself together, I cooked lunch and now at least we’ve finished another job.  I still feel fragile, it does me no good to cry.  So tonight, I’ve had a long soak in a hot bath, scented with some lovely Jo Malone oil that Wink gave me, conditioned my hair to silkiness and my face to softness, eaten the rest of the onion soup with buttered crumpets and Jonni’s lovely unpasteurised cheese and listened to a Radio 3 programme of 2 hours of British classical music.  And drunk two glasses of Pinot Grigio.  I still feel pretty miserable, but I’m fighting back and I’m not going to let it overcome me, because I’ll still have to pull myself up again and the further I fall, the harder that will be.

*Creosote substitute that is, the real thing is banned nowadays.

One, two, three…

I started the day early and was cooking French onion soup by 6.30.  I just made enough for two meals – I’m not bothered about cooking for the freezer and don’t want to eat the same thing day after day either.  So I had half for lunch, with toasted cheese floating on top, and the rest will be supper tomorrow.

When I go away, one of my pleasures is looking in the food shops and markets, especially at the fish and vegetable stalls.  I’ve probably mentioned before, how frustrating it is to have the same old veg at every restaurant, ready-prepared salad, green beans and so on, probably flown in from Chile or Kenya, when there is gorgeous local produce out there which really wouldn’t take much time to prepare.

A while ago, a friend was enthusing about a visit to Vienna, a place he loves, and he said he would most like to rent an apartment and live there for a few months, to feel the rhythm of the city at all times through at least some of the seasons and to explore it to his heart’s content.  I thought that was a jolly good idea – not necessarily Vienna, I don’t know, I only went there once as a child and don’t really remember it, but I want to buy and cook food from the markets.  And explore of course, but it’s the food I really want.   I have rather a hankering for Venice though I don’t suppose I ever will do it, but it’s a nice little pipe dream.  My friend won’t either, apparently his sensible, unromantic wife was po-faced at the suggestion.

But I’m reminded of something my sister told me a while ago.  A friend of a friend lives in Vienna and has for some time, but resolutely refuses to learn a word of German.  One evening, she went to the bar and asked for “dry white wine, please.”  She was very surprised when the barman put three glasses out…