Friday 30 October 2020

30th October - 1st November 202 - Post Comment Love

Welcome back to this weeks Post Comment Love #pocolo with Stephanie from Life at 139a and I. 

It doesn't seem like 5 mins ago when I said 'how is it October already?' 

It was our 18th wedding anniversary on Monday, that only seems like 5 mins ago also.

It's been a wet week, but Bob and I have still been making the most of being outdoors, walking with friends and getting the garden ready for winter.

I also met up with our house sitters this week, they'll be looking after Bob and Pushkins while I travel back to Dubai for the winter. Haven't booked my flights yet as I'm waiting for my container to arrive, any time after the 7th November, up till a week later. Now been informed it's likely to be mid December due to covid and I'm likely to incur customs storage charges up to £350 per week.

I've decorated the house and carved a pumpkin for Halloween. I do this every year, usually I sit on the door step in Dubai and hand out home baked cakes and sweets even though my last child left home in 2014, I just won't be handing out any goodies or answering the door, if anyone should decide to still trick or treat.

It's time now to kick my butt into gear and finish those last bits of painting so when I return in February, all I've got to do is unpack and find homes for all our belongings. In the mean time, other than furniture, all the boxes will be stored in the attic bedrooms.

Time now to link up, Stephanie and I are looking forward to reading what ever you've been blogging about this week.

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Tuesday 27 October 2020

Visiting a relative in care during Covid

Our 13 month old grandchild smiles when they see us, says 'who that?' to people they recognise and responds to their granddads voice on video calls, interacts, shows him things when asked, blows kisses and waves goodbye at the end of the call.

Our 32 year old child who is in care does none of that.

They rarely make eye contact, don't respond to our voices, are unable to follow any instruction and shows no interest even in their reflection in a mirror or on a screen.

Keeping in touch with them is almost impossible. For the past 9+ years we've been living abroad and although I write and send gifts, it is mainly for the benefit of the staff to show them we are still here and interested in our child's life.

However the response is sparse. The staff aren't permitted to whatsapp us with updates on how they are doing or send photos, so we make expensive phone calls to be told, 'yeah they're ok'

There are many other issues in regards to communication like not being informed of medical appointments, but that's for another today.

Prior to moving abroad we visited weekly, had monthly over night stays in our own home, took them shopping, out for lunch, long walks and visited other family members.

Since moving abroad we've still been able to do that when we've been in the UK for visits, although due to the levels of disability and as we get older, there have been no over night stays. Sadly apart from the youngest child who is now 21, no other family members visit or phone to see how they are and rely on updates from us when we're in the UK.

Covid has been a strange time for us in regards to seeing our oldest child, we just haven't been able to, despite me having been in the UK since March and only 20 miles away.

I did a door step drop off visit in June and thankfully they'd just got back from a drive so I was able to say hello from a distance outside. They have poor eye sight and I although we can't confirm if they recognise our voice or not as there is no physical reaction, no turn of the head, no smile.

My husband was over in August and by then, after 2 weeks isolation, we were allowed a garden visit. But no touching, so we couldn't do anything other than walk round the garden and we left after half an hour. We couldn't bounce on the trampoline, take their arm and go for a walk, give a cuddle, anything that might prompt a response.

I made another drop off in September and was told I was allowed in, that was an easier visit, but wearing gloves and a mask and not touching anything meant again I only stayed a few minutes and left.

The government advice is no indoor visits and to communicate via video and telephone calls wherever possible. As this isn't possible I was informed I could have another house visit yesterday before I return to Dubai next month until February.

I'm not comfortable with indoor visits as it exposes me to risk from the virus with the care staff and the other resident. I've explained to management it's not just about me protecting them, so I arranged to go for a walk and asked if a member of staff could accompany me. They could assist our adult child physically and we could spend more time together. However the 2nd member of staff called in sick, so they were wrapped up, sat in their wheelchair and wearing gloves and a mask I just pushed them around the local neighbourhood for 30 mins.

No interaction, no face to face time, no benefit to them as it was cold and they were stuck in their wheelchair.

But I've done my bit, taken photos to show the family they are ok, had a video call with my husband so he can see our child and my visit has been noted and recorded in official records, so future carers will know there is family around even if they can't visit often.

Sunday 25 October 2020

The origins of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C S Lewis

This is door at Malvern Priory where the choir boys would exit after the service and return to Malvern College.

C S Lewis was a choir boy and a pupil at Malvern College, this is the gas lamp outside the door that he saw when leaving the Priory and it is alleged that this was his inspiration for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Saturday 24 October 2020

Week 43 - One Daily Positive. Autumn walks

Started on Beta Blockers this week to help ease my migraines, anything is worth a go now. They are also supposed to help with anxiety, which has been getting worse as I get closer to thinking about returning to Dubai next month. I've also been having some problems with chest pain on the right hand side and although the iron infusion is starting to help with the lethargy, I still can't seem to take a full breath in my right lung. I'm starting to question if I have pneumonia again. It's something I've had several times over recent years. I'll contact the Doctor next week, if it doesn't improve or gets worse.

Container due in on the 7th November, no word from the UK side and I don't even have a copy of my insurance, the container seal number or any booking info. Yes, I'm stressed, but also Inshallah, basically it's God's will. I shall be asking hubby to call the UAE side and ask them to 'do the needful'. Honestly!!!!

House/pet sitters confirmed and visiting next week so I can meet them and they can see where they're living for the next 3 months. There's a few things I need to do in the house before they come. The bed needs taking apart and reassembling in the spare room, the 2nd half of the curtains need to be hung in the conservatory and decorating the last two bedrooms.

292 Sunday I took Bob for a walk up the Malvern Hills and a take away coffee in town. I collected conkers, acorns, twigs and leaves, why? why not? I raked leaves off the lawn and made a leaf composting basket. My friend phoned and asked if I wanted to join her for a dog walk, so in the afternoon we set off for a 3 hour ramble to explore a new route she's been wanting to try. The views were amazing.

293 Monday The migraine has now settled in the left hand side of my neck and I'm back to NOT sleeping again. I mowed the lawns and spent the afternoon with Bob at Croome.

294 Tuesday I booked a ticket to visit Country Pumpkins for Bob and I. I picked 3pm as I figured there would be less kids as it would be pick up time. Kids aren't a problem but they all want to pet Bob and he gets a bit over whelmed plus the parents come to close to me without masks. 

295 Wednesday Walked up the Malvern Hills, through the woods and back through town. Started a new jigsaw and baked a date and walnut cake and some dog biscuits.

296 Thursday I had a full day and got home at 9.30pm absolutely shattered. Door step dropped some jam jars with an old school friend, called in at a friends, unannounced who has been having a tough time recently, a quick cup of tea and natter. Bob escaped from her garden and some random guy walked him up from the village towards the voices yelling 'Bob' Garden visit and cuppa with another friend, then on to collect a crochet gift from Hooks and Dragon then to visit grandchild and Daughter in Law for a walk in the woods and dinner. 

297 Friday Popped to a local charity shop to buy a toy pram and a vacuum cleaner for grandchild, into town for Novembers Gardening magazine and a Costa. Home to finally hang the curtains, but ran out of curtain hooks, ran the cleaner round, did some jobs in the garden and my friend visited with chips. Put together some quick Halloween decorations.

298 Saturday Off to Worcester in the final saga of the Wickes door return. Walked along the canal and the town, stopping for a starbucks, home, walked Bob in the pouring rain, spent the afternoon on the sofa watching TV.

On the blog this week:

#SP Socially distanced wine and cheese hamper in the garden

My Sunday Photo - Uptown Dubai

A visit to a Pumpkin Patch with Bob the dog

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Friday 23 October 2020

23rd-25th October 2020 Post Comment Love

Welcome back to Post Comment Love. A weekly linky hosted by Stephanie at Lifeat139a and I. We love reading about what people have been up to each week, whether it's fashion, crafts, gardening, pets or just life in general.

It's been a mixed week weather wise, but it hasn't stopped Bob and I spending as much time as possible outdoors. 

We visited Croome on Monday,  a Pumpkin Patch Tuesday, took a walk up the hills and through the woods on Wednesday, rambled in the Forest of Dean on Thursday and today we'll be walking to the retail park for a take out coffee. We average 3-4 miles each walk, some days up to 8 miles. Most of our walks start from the front door, within 45 mins we can reach the top to the Malvern Hills, woodland, lakes and streams and open fields. Quite a lot of our walks are just around the streets, exploring alleyways and discovering shortcuts.

Stephanie and I would love to read about what you've been writing about this week.

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Thursday 22 October 2020

Photo opportunity at the Pumpkin Patch - Day out with my dog

Who needs kids to visit a Pumpkin Patch?

I took the dog.

A couple took their two reluctant older teens who refused to put boots on and insisted their pristine white designer trainers were fine....for a farm.

A young woman, dragged her boyfriend there.

There was one couple with a toddler, who was whipped up into a frenzy by the parents for the perfect insta moment.

Me? Dog off lead, Up Bob, sit, take photos, walk around Pumpkin Patch, came home.

Normally I'd buy a pumpkin and carve it, but as Halloween is during Half term, I don't see much point going to the cost and hassle for no one to see it and I won't be answering my door to trick or treaters due to covid this year anyway.

Monday 19 October 2020

Join me for wine and cheese - socially distanced of course

This product was gifted to me for review purposes, content and photos as usual are my own.

Once we were allowed to have people round to sit in the garden, my friend came round every Friday evening for wine and a natter. And then to our great delight the chip shop opened up and that became our new 'norm'

Yep, a bottle of wine each and a bag of chips, eaten from the bag off our laps in the garden.

We dine in style.

When Prestige Hampers approached me and asked me to review a wine and cheese hamper, having first checked I was able to review alcohol, meats and cheeses, I couldn't refuse. Cheese and biscuits has been my go to snack to offer family and friends when they've been round for a garden visit.

Any day time opportunity that is rain free sees me outside as much as possible. My Friday night friend works during the week and anyone else visiting or me visiting them involves driving so I decided to spoil myself and take advantage of the dry weather and tuck into the hamper on my own. I did add a packet of Gluten Free biscuits for me to eat with the cheese as I'm wheat free, but that did not spoil the hamper for me.

I ended up with (un)expected guests.

The chutney was substituted for a pickle which was very nice and there were two Farm House Cheddars rather than 1 as a substitute for the Double Gloucester Chives and Spring Onion, which if I'm honest I prefer anyway. At the point of ordering there is a note on substitutions. 

The Merlot is lovely but is a half bottle, which does allow for 2 glasses to be poured if you do decide to share the hamper, rather than dine alone.

I'll be taking the blue stilton and the biscuits to a friend, next time I visit as I know she will love them.

The parcel arrived and I knew straight away what it was even though I didn't open it till the following day and just popped it in the fridge to keep it fresh.

The contents are presented in a wire basket and it was well packaged. I'm now using the basket to store half opened packets of cheese biscuits in the cupboard.

This is a gift I will probably end up ordering for a friend for Christmas as I'll be back in Dubai and I can arrange delivery direct to their house.

Sunday 18 October 2020

Week 42 - One Daily Positive A trip to A&E and an iron infusion

This post contains links to sponsored posts.

I've been scrap booking my garden plans for the year as and when I've been doing things and been sanding down the dolls house and making minor repairs before I can paint it. I think I may have to wait for my Dremel to arrive in the container to be able to finish it. I also moved some furniture around, ready for my house sitters arrival and so there is space in the dining room to store the fridge/freezer, oven and boxes I won't have time to unpack before I leave for Dubai, mid November.

I've also been doing quite a few sponsored posts this week and last, I had to change my Instagram account to a business one and do a bit of research into the legal requirements and the differences between a paid post and a gifted one. Fingers crossed I've got it right. I had one post that required instagram, gifted items to review and a paid blog post and another where I was sent a voucher for a craft shop to compliment a post that required me making a halloween display for my front door, technically gifted, but also paid for on top. It's all so very complicated, but given me something to do while I've been struggling with my migraine.

285 Sunday In bed till midday with migraine, managed to walk Bob to the local shop. Hung the curtains I'd made in the conservatory to check on spacing, gathering and where they need joining, did some sewing, generally took the day slowly and spent a lot of time on the sofa in front of the TV. Been taking every opportunity to be outside, even if it is just to drink my coffee.

286 Monday Took Bob for a walk into town, thought I heard a helicopter landing on the common. Finished sewing and put everything away, can't hang the curtains till I get new hooks. Sat on the sofa cutting out lettering for a sponsored blog post and adding to my gardening book.

287 Tuesday It's Thing 1's birthday this week, usually I bring party food for their birthdays, but due to social distancing, I picked them up a Burger King, which I handed over the wall after a brief hello and a coffee to mum who was babysitting and we sat outside. Took Bob for a long walk, Thing 3 wanted to come with me, but his mum wasn't around to ask, so we just did a short walk around the houses. I called in at my friend, mum of twins for dinner. I dropped off Christmas and Birthday gifts up till the end of January as I'll be in Dubai from the middle of November.

288 Wednesday I'm honestly exhausted, the migraine is still going strong, week 3 now. I slept from midnight till 8am and again from 9am till midday. I received delivery of two blogging items and finally gave in and called the Doctor for advice on what to do. I can't walk up the stairs without struggling for breath now. I spent the day colouring in and cutting out letters and getting photobombed for a review product, which I had for my lunch.

289 Thursday Second day of waiting all day for the Doctor to phone. At 6.30pm I headed off to Worcester Royal Hospital, I just need some stronger meds than the ones I have which obviously aren't working. After 3 hours I was offered 2 paracetamol, at 4 hours I was injected with something via a cannula of which I have no idea what it was, something to do with anti sickness, there was mention of oxygen therapy, but I didn't understand, was still in pain and I demanded to be discharged and got home after 5 hours.

I was surprised to see more sunflowers waiting to bloom.

290 Friday Woke to a migraine. Dr finally phoned, had to go out to collect medication so picked up some shopping for the week. Afternoon spent in bed, making a scrap book for the garden with all the jobs for each month/season. My friend came round for chips and wine, I drank coke.

291 Saturday Back to Worcester Royal Hospital for the 2nd part of the iron infusion, it went really well. Spent the rest of the day making a cold frame to winter my plants and seedlings in, walked Bob, made dinner and watched TV.

If they'd sat me in a chair like this on Thursday night, without people and trollies going past all the time when I sought treatment for my migraine, I wouldn't have left half way through.

My migraine has died off to a dull ache in the base of my skull, resting makes no difference in fact when I sit in silence any noise and light gets amplified and makes the thumping worse. The one thing I can do with a migraine is sleep and up to 10 hours.

On the blog this week:

Capability Brown - Reflections on the lake, Croome Court

#sp Being comfortable in your own skin

A weekend at Brean Sands with Bob the Dog

#sp Halloween Door Decorations

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Friday 16 October 2020

16th - 18th October 2020 - Post Comment Love

Welcome back to this weeks Post Comment Love or #pocolo run by Stephanie and I from Life at 139a.

Each week we ask bloggers to link up with a post they've written this week on any subject of their choosing. It's been a great way for me to meet new bloggers and read a variety of posts from fashion, crafts, beauty routines to life with a new puppy. 

Stephanie and I share the commenting on everyone who links up and all we ask is you comment on a post or two that catches your eye. We'll also share your posts on twitter and send you a weekly reminder.

I'm on countdown here for my container to arrive in the UK on November 7th, it'll then be delivered a day or two later. I won't be unpacking anything other than the furniture, sofas, TV unit and bedside tables. The rest will go into the spare bedrooms and the dining room until I return from Dubai in the new year. I have house/pet sitters lined up while I'm away.

Autumn is here now fully, the leaves are changing colour, the heating has gone on, but at least for the time being it's not raining and the sun is shining and Bob and I are enjoying our daily walks.

I've linked up this week with mine and Bobs visit to the seaside. He's a well travelled dog, starting life in South Africa and paddling on the beaches in Durban to dipping his paw in the Arabian Gulf. this beach trip was the Bristol Channel, no where near as glamorous but still a whole new experience for me and him.

Join Stephanie and I and let us know what you've been up to recently, we'd love to hear from you.

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Thursday 15 October 2020

Halloween Door Decorations

This post is in partnership with Design Bundles. I was also gifted art supplies and used their free fonts. Contents, photographs and design is all my own work.

I decorate for Halloween despite the fact the last child left home in 2013. The past 9 Halloweens have been spent abroad, it wasn't celebrated in South Africa, however in Dubai it was much bigger than it is in the UK.

This year I'm in the UK for Halloween and all my decorations are in the container which won't arrive until mid November, I still wanted to decorate the house, even though with Covid there will be no trick or treaters.

Design Bundles challenged me to decorate my front door by making signs and decorations using freebies fonts.

Here's what I came up with.

As my husband pointed out 'who is going to see it at the back door?' Well ... the decorations will be moved to the front door for Halloween and won't be put up the 31st. We live next door to a Primary School and I don't want to encourage children coming up the drive to the door as this will be the first year I've done Halloween and not camped out with the dog, dressed up and handing out home made cakes and sweets.
I'm also planning to laminate everything once my craft supplies arrive so I can reuse the decorations next year, whilst there's no rain forecast, it is pretty windy and it's getting damp out in the mornings.

To access the free fonts I used for this design, after creating a free account, I clicked on Script and selected Midnight Show to install on my laptop. I chose to save on printing ink, by creating an outline, then selecting white for my font colour. I lined the door with brown parcel paper and used masking tape to secure everything.

Using the art supplies, I used neon paint for the lettering.

Each letter was cut out and glued to black card and outlined with glow in the dark paint.

Everything had to be left to dry properly and flattened out. I worked too quickly, using glue before the paint was dry. I need to replace a couple of letters

I used a hole punch on the black card and threaded ribbon through the holes to hang like bunting. We just happen to have a sythe in the garden.

I then added a white sheet over a chair, with eyes and a mask, sadly the trick or treat bucket won't be filled this year.

Here's the UK in 2010

and Dubai 2019.

I had fun but it was a very time consuming job and the last time I made a display involving cutting, sticking and painting I was working as a Teacher in FS. Once everything is laminated and my container arrives I'll be able to use the props I have and have a bigger and better display for next year, when our grandchild is big enough to come trick or treating.

Monday 12 October 2020

A weekend on Brean Sands with Bob the dog - Off lead experience

Last month I decided to take Bob away for a weekend to visit the beach before winter kicks in. We stayed at a Travelodge in Burnham on Sea and spent our days on the Brean Sands.

It was quite a difference experience paddling in the Bristol Channel than Bob's first beach trip which was in St Lucia, north of Durban in South Africa, where he paddled in the Indian Ocean and chased monkeys over the sand dunes.

His next beach experience was in Dubai, in the Arabian Gulf, but sadly it wasn't long before dogs were banned from the beaches there.

Bob has had a wonderful life after we adopted him in 2013 and has clocked up some air miles along the way.

His latest beach trip was a world away from South Africa and Dubai, this time it was late September and in the Bristol Channel. He had a wonderful time with miles of empty sand to run off lead and I didn't have to worry about him taking off after a monkey over the dunes in Durban like he did before or have to keep an eye out for crocodiles and hippos.

Now I've discovered we can stay in a Travelodge, it means there will be more beach trips ahead for us. Our tent is on its way over from Dubai in the shipping container so there will be camping next spring also to add to our UK adventures.

Bob's recall has diminished since moving to Dubai as outdoor spaces we have used have been shut down to dog users and the only place he's been able to run off lead for the past 3 years has been at indoor dog parks.

I started off with the short lead to get to open space.

Moved onto the longer lead to let him explore further

Let go of the lead to work on his recall, which he mastered, straight away.

Then let him off lead, knowing I had all day to get him back if necessary.

I always carry a ball and some treats as an incentive to get him to come back.

There were plenty of rest stops.

And food opportunities.

Being a dog owner in the UK is a new experience for us both. Bob hasn't been used to visiting beaches, parks, coffee shops and the sights and the sounds and the smells have taken quite a bit of adjusting to.