Thursday 30 September 2021

My English September Garden

There hasn't been a lot of work done in the garden this month, lawns mowed but apart from that we've been using the garden to just relax in. Peter has been making a headboard and we've been eating outside where and when possible as our dining room is full of boxes that won't be unpacked until the new kitchen and extension is complete. 

We've had the odd few wet days, but I can take my tea and my phone and sit in the shed to get some fresh air, even better now there's a light in there.

Winter seeds in.

I did this last year in November before returning to Dubai and in January I had a knotted mess of sweet peas, beans and peas. As I'm not going away this winter, I've sown some cornflour, cauliflower, cabbage and other flower seeds that I've collected from plants out and about.

Cat and dog loving the September sun.

If I'm outside, they're never far away.

Contemplating getting chickens.

We used to keep chickens hence my social media name - Chickenruby. I'd love to get some more, but with the cat and the dog, I'm not sure it would be a good idea for now.

Greenhouse closed for the first night, Bay and Olive trees will be fleece wrapped soon.

I'm having to remember to open/close and water inside the green house, cloche and cold frame now.

Scaffolding planks ready for making the base for the new shed.

Vulnerable plants in the cold frame.

Gathered all the pots together where they're sheltered from the winter weather.

Bargain buy cloche for £5 from Wilko.

Relocated the tomatoes to the sun.

Pinched out the leaves and reducing the watering.

Pumpkins grown from last years shop bought one. I was late sowing them but hopeful for something.

Breakfast in the garden.

Finally got a light fitted in the shed.

A day out at RHS Malvern Show.

Bright blue skies.

Working in the garden.


Garden visitor. 

I've repurposed the cats old flight box in case it wants to make a home in it.

Octobers plans:
Move all plants and hope for the best to make way for new shed, everything will be planted into the front garden and then moved again in the spring.
No idea if it'll work, we'll just have to try it and see, wish me luck.

How's your garden been this month?

Sunday 26 September 2021

Week 38 One Daily Positive and Project 365

Making the most of the weather and being outdoors, eating breakfast and BBQ'ing. Lots of family time this week, lots of small jobs done around the house.

Blogs views and comments have dropped off, I've done nothing different other than rejoin this group, but at least my DA score hasn't altered (yet).

My chronic pain has flared up again but I'm putting it down to the driving done this week, thankfully no migraines as I'm managing a strict diet which seems to be helping.

261 Off to Edgbaston to the cricket for a mornings work then over to see our grandchild for their 2nd birthday with child 2 and his wife's family and a BBQ. 4 generations. Grandchild, son, MIL, hubby.

262 A lazy morning, an overseas call from a friend and video call with our grandchild. A food shop, roast lunch, dog walk and TV. Screen shot of our grandchild with the play kitchen hubby made.

263 Hubby went to buy wood £190 to make a headboard. We took the car down with the dog, had a coffee together, then Bob and I walked home. Afternoon spent making Christmas cards.

264 I caught the train into Worcester while hubby stayed home to await his order from Amazon. I didn't realise just how many Tudor buildings there were in Worcester.

265 Off to Gloucester to visit child 1 and take her out for the day to see MIL, niece and Great Nephew. We covered the front seat with her jumper to stop her scratching at the material.

266 Dog walk to the GP to collect proof of vaccination letter, confirmed colour of kitchen doors and home to blog, watch TV and do the washing.

267 Spent the day with a friends in the Forest of Dean and Monmouth. Got conned into going on the trampoline with the twins.

On the blog this week:

The importance of wearing your socks correctly with a disability

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Friday 24 September 2021

Post Comment Love 24th -26th September 2021

Welcome back to another week of #pocolo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. Lovely to see new faces amongst the regulars.

I think we're going to have to make a few tweaks to our kitchen plans. The quote has come in at £14,000 (sale price) and that's before we buy any appliances, pay for fitting, electrics and plumbing. As well as new lighting, flooring and redecorating.

In the 10 years since we've been away we've really noticed the cost of things has increased greatly. Although we've rented this house out and had repairs done as well as buying a flat in that time. I think covid and Brexit has made the biggest price increase though. Hubby bought wood this week to make a headboard. It cost him £190.

Car parking is my biggest concern, how do people afford it? It can easily add £10 to a day out for people. We haven't had to pay for parking outside the UK and keep getting caught out with no change, machines not taking card payments and we can't pay by phone as we are on PAYG with data/call packages. 

We're off to the RHS Malvern Show this weekend, hoping to pick up some end of season bargains.

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Thursday 23 September 2021

The importance of wearing socks correctly with a disability

How do you wear yours?

With no verbal communication or the ability to express their needs other than crying, laughing, dropping to the ground, which can all mean happy, sad, angry, hungry, fed up, it is important that our eldest child wears their socks inside out.

It's often considered to be a control issue from the parents of a child in care, often it is the only area of control they have when their child moves into a care facility.

As a parent and as a carer, I've seen and been on both sides.

I used to work in a Residential home for children who were severely affected with their autism. One set of parents would inspect their child's wardrobe on each visit and complain about the staining on clothing and odd and missing socks.

It would upset the staff who all did their best to keep up with the cleaning, personal hygiene, laundry, cooking, education and just life in general with someone who would lash out, bite staff, run away, sit naked in the car park. Just keeping their child, others and themselves self was a full time job.

But I understand where the parents were coming from. They spent a fortune of good quality clothing that their daughter liked. You've no idea how many times we had to return to places often after our shift to collect items that had been 'posted'

Their 16 year old daughter was in care because they could no longer manage these things by themselves, the only area they had control over any more was the clothes they bought her.

We've been battling with our eldest's care staff for years over their socks. We don't care if the socks are odd or if they get lost, if they're dirty at the end of the day, all we care about is that they are put on inside out.

It's not a difficult request, it is on their care plan and we have explained the reasons why, numerous times.

So why?

With mobility issues and having been born with talipes, it is essential their feet are looked after, not having walked until the age of 8, mobility is the only aspect of their life they have any control over.

There used to be special boots made, but we were able to source supportive boots on the high street, which support the ankle and the arch, enabling them to walk, in comfort, without feet getting sweaty and more importantly no rubbing to cause blisters.

Wearing socks the right way can cause blisters, where the cotton and the pattern can rub the foot and as explained above, finding out what is wrong when their reaction ranges from crying through to laughter regardless of the issue, is a process of elimination, starting with drink, food, pad change, temperature, injured, in pain and if so, where?

Usually if the feet are hurting they just stop walking, they can't tell us, can't just fiddle with their footwear themselves or point or lift their foot up to indicate something is wrong.

It's the only request we make of the staff, we appreciate all they do, we make the request not only for our eldest's benefit to maintain their mobility, but for the staffs benefit so they can attend activities, go for walks, visit places easier with a mobile adult, rather than having to push a wheel chair or have to lift from seat to car etc.

Sunday 19 September 2021

Week 37 One Daily Positive Project 365

The week planned changed and we ended up in Lyme Regis for a few days in a Yurt, it was nice to have a change of scenery and nothing makes me happier than being outdoors and by the sea.

Having decided to stay put and update our family home, our dream house came up on the market. it needs far more than the 'full refurbishment' including some structural work that even I could see, so we're going back with a builder to get a professional opinion of the potential costs before we go any further. We might not even go for the house regardless of costs, we just need to have the full information before we make any decisions.

I mistakingly purchased normal bread instead of Gluten Free and can now pinpoint the cause of my migraines.

254 An early morning walk to the retail park and some shopping. Bacon butty and rest of day spent in front of the TV.

255 Out early to get Sunday papers, sat and read for a while, a bit of gardening, a nap, more gardening while hubby took the dog to the pub and an evening in front of the TV. A poor harvest but home grown.

256 Hubby out for the day helping a mate clear a storage unit. I walked into town, then spent the rest of the day in the attic sorting through some of my late fathers things. Malvern Priory.

257 Off to choose our new kitchen, then view a house on our street that's just come up for sale. Kitchen put on hold. Off to Lyme Regis for a couple of days with Peter and the dog. We had our own toilet and shower block.

258 Peter off fishing for the day, Bob and I just chilling out and exploring places. Bob and I played crazy golf, paddled in the sea and had ice cream. 

259 Home to one very happy cat. Hubby cooked the fish he'd caught on Wednesday.

260 Walked into town to the post office, had coffee and a lazy afternoon. The first photo I've missed in 7 years, but I did have a screen shot of a request for a refund from our house rental of almost £1000.

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Friday 17 September 2021

Post Comment Love 17th-19th September 2021

Welcome back to #pocolo with Stephanie and I. Thank you to all of you who linked up last week and if you're new here, don't be shy, do join in, we'd love to 'meet you'

It was going to be a quiet week. Hubby walked the dog to the pub on Sunday while I watched Harry Potter and on Monday he spent the day with a friend helping him clean out a storage unit. I've just been pottering around and sending emails, some complaints, some job seeking, most just tidying up lose ends. Then on Tuesday we went to view (our potential) dream home on the same street where we are now, then we headed off to Lyme Regis with the dog for a couple of days.

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Monday 13 September 2021

How do you deal with a NIMBY? (not in my backyard)

We've had some horrendous neighbours over the years, from the woman who built a brick wall on my land blocking access to my parking when we were selling the house (it was empty, we'd already moved) and the drug dealer over the road with domestic abuse, police raids and parking a bus in the cul de sac, to the half way housing over the road from us with fights and late night parties to the inconsiderate drunk and his mates breaking a door down at 2am in a communal block of flats where we own an apartment we bought when we were visiting the UK.

I'm sure with 5 kids we've caused upset to the neighbours with shouting, fights and kicking footballs and I know we've upset our neighbours with two sets of 'tenants from hell' over the past 10 years while we were living abroad.

But this post is about recent events with our daughters neighbours.

Our eldest child is 32, she is profoundly disabled and lives in a group home in Gloucester. She's been there 12 years, living with another resident and a 3rd on and off. It's a bungalow on a street, just like anywhere else and for the purposes of this, it's in a large cul de sac and the garden backs onto the M5.

We've had words with a neighbour opposite in the past about parking in front of their drive. Their definition of 'in front of their drive is opposite and half on the road, half on our daughters drive. They have a large, gated drive, for which they can turn around in, one car and we rarely see visitors when we go there. The road is more than wide enough to allow cars past if one is parked on the street.

But recently a 3rd resident has moved in, so more staff, more family visits, more cars. But the neighbours have decided to have a go over recent months and it's not been pleasant.

The staff and management informed us they've received letters through the door, neighbours calling round to complain about taxi's making the street look untidy and the noise from 2 of the residents, squealing and spoiling their ability to sit peacefully in their gardens. I'll remind you again that the gardens back onto the M5, you can hear the noise of the motorway through closed windows most days.

Life is hard enough with a disabled child. It's also NOT an easy decision to find 24/7 care for your disabled relative.

'how can you put a child in care?'

'just giving your child away'

'I'd never do that if it was mine'

Well until you walk in our shoes, you shouldn't judge and mostly these comments have come from people who actually have a disabled relative. We don't judge their reasons for keeping their adult child at home, often at the expense of other family members, for going a full nights sleep for the past 30 years, or holidays, or days out, or spending a day without being hit, or having curtains still hanging over the windows. Add to that physical age of parents of an adult child, the personal care needed. Even getting in and out of a car is a struggle for me alone and I know for a fact I would not be able to get her in the bath unaided.

We go to the supermarket, she spits, she grabs at others, she yells out, she will pull hair if you're too close, she'll try and sit on your lap if she's tired. We take her out together or with a friend or one of the other adult kids. We do our very best to minimise any disruption to other people. We avoid busy cafes, pubs, shops, tourist areas. We stick to supermarkets with level floors, good lighting, large cafes, decent toilets, we avoid getting in and out the car. We don't stop in the middle of the aisle to piss you off, we don't yell out for no reason.

As parents we have to try and work out what the problem is, she could be in pain, hungry, need her pad changing, just randomly happy. The floor colour could've changed and we've failed to notice and for her it could be a small step or a 1000ft drop. We just don't know.

We've had people tut loudly, ask us to 'do something about it' and once had a woman ram her with a trolley to try and shake her off holding on while I was unloading at the till.

In general though people are pleasant and helpful when asked, cafe staff will bring trays of food to us as queuing for her is difficult and she will grab at the food in a the blink of an eye. People will hold doors, help with steps if she's in her wheelchair. Kids will come over and ask questions and we tell the parents it's ok to ask. Occasionally someone will tell us, in a nice way that their neighbour/friend/family has one like this at home and they understand and tell us not to worry about the noise (we don't worry)

Mostly we get asked 'did we know before she was born?' my response is always whilst I'm not her birth mother, I've been 'mum' for 21 years and known her since she was 8, I often wonder if what people mean is 'if it was known she'd be like this, do you think she'd be here now?' I think I'll ask that in return next time.

Anyway, like I said 'life is hard enough' without the current situation at her home.

I firmly informed the neighbour who had a go about parking that she lacked compassion and was a throughly unpleasant woman and I hoped she never found herself in this situation with people like her as neighbours and if she wanted to complain further, I strongly suggest she complains to the council about the disabled people living in her street, who make a bit of noise now and then when they're enjoying their own garden that also backs onto the M5 on the few weeks the sun shines and whose staff members (on the minimum wage) use a taxi rather than walking home at 9.30pm as suggested by another neighbour or at least get their taxi ordered to the next street, so theirs doesn't look untidy.

I don't think this will be the end of it, another neighbour who was weeding by his front door, blatantly came out the front and was half heartedly weeding the drive when we arrived back and the neighbour opposite had enlisted support from someone else and they'd set up table and chairs in their driveway to stare at us on our return.

Have you ever experienced something like this? I'd love to hear from you if you have.

Sunday 12 September 2021

Week 36 One Daily Positive Project 365

Any idea where this lovely weather came from? I'm not complaining other than having to dig my summer sandals back out. Then it absolutely chucked it down by the end of the week. 

I woke up on Sunday morning in a right mood, nothing in-particular and nothing out of the ordinary planned. Within an hour I had the start of a migraine which I was able to stop dead in it's tracks with medication, but I know I'll have to let it out at some point. I'm not sure whether the anxiety is an aura or a trigger. It's something I need to keep an eye on as they are becoming more frequent as in weekly at the moment. I have stopped the beta blockers as I don't want to rely on medication the rest of my life and I'm making diet and lifestyle changes. I've been able to do this before but then I become complacent about it.

I've been checking up on my teaching qualifications to see if they're up to date (which they are) and looking for volunteering roles just to ease myself back into it after 5 years away from the classroom. I can't complete my OU course as it's too long ago now and would have to start from scratch. When I started it in 2007 it was around £600 per unit. now it's £3600 for each one. There's no advantage to continuing with the OU, I may as well go to Uni and have actual classes. It's on hold for now, we'll see how the job hunting goes first.

247 A quick fresh food shop, a most unpleasant coffee and the rest of the day doing some gardening, washing, tidying, blogging, letter writing, general pottering.

248 Off to the Forest of Dean with Bob, met up with child 2 and grandchild, then off to visit a friend.

249 Off to Birmingham on the train for a specialist food shop in China Town and a wander round. I had a bit of a meltdown over food, no idea why, we ended up going home earlier than planned.

250 LFT testing at a school in Droitwich and afternoon in the pub.

251 Met a friend for breakfast in Gloucester and some shopping, she was my former neighbour from 20 years ago, we've kept in touch over the years and it's nice to have more regular catch ups. I had a tonic water (no gin) in the evening and my head started thumping. It appears that's another food/drink item to add to the growing list. Will buy some lemonade tomorrow, I seriously don't think it's the alcohol.

252 Food shop and dog walk in Ledbury then spent the rest of the day in the attic and craft room, looking through all my dad's stuff from his professional football days. Thing 1 has started playing in goal now and wants to know everything about his Great Grandad. These two weren't happy with it raining.

253 Boiler service due back in February, re scheduled for June but we were in hotel quarantine, then again after we got pinged. Another situation where a company try to make out that they're doing me a favour, when in reality I'm actually paying them to do the job. Back up in the attic for the day. 

The cat was in a good mood all day.

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Friday 10 September 2021

10th - 12th September 2021 - Post Comment Love

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie and I, where you can link up with any blog post, on any subject, you've written this week, we'll share and comment and we'd love to hear back from you on one or two other posts.

So lovely to see so many linked up last week, I really do enjoy reading such a variety of posts.

It was feeling cooler here and it's getting darker earlier, but I'm still outside as much as possible and enjoying going out and about a bit further now the kids are all back in school, as it's quieter, but still avoiding weekends and tourist attractions at peak times. The sun reappeared for most of this week and I had to dig out my sandals from the back of the cupboard, back to rain and dreary weather again.

I'm enjoying life back in the UK, hubby is back playing golf, visiting friends and I've had some paid work and been getting out with friends also. We do an awful lot together as well and spend most of our time at home and just enjoying this new slower pace of life.

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Monday 6 September 2021

Feeling calm and patient

Yes, I've been feeling much calmer over the past few months and my tolerance is improving, but so would yours be with no kids at home and finances to worry about, no work, no stresses, no international moves or hotel quarantines and delayed containers, just peace and calm, dog walks, coffee and chocolate.

A few years ago, child 3 exclaimed that 'mum is calmer these days' My husband and him failed to recognise it was because there were no longer 5 kids at home, pulling me in several directions, no ex's causing us crap and 1000's of miles away from everyone else.

Last month, my husband also exclaimed that I was much more tolerant these days towards him, patient and calmer, but he failed to recognise, he is no longer going out to work, leaving a trail of glory behind in in the form of washing up, wet floors in the bathroom and not leaving me on my own for long periods of time while he travelled with work.

I've never been able to just go out the door since I had my first child. I worked up until 2016, managing 5 kids, pack lunches, school runs, activities, fights, arguments. I would get so wound up with piles of washing up and coming through the door with a food shop and not being able to just put it all away.

Yes, it was just 1 cup, 1 bowl, 1 child who made a sandwich, but it would all pile up in the kitchen, then when space was full in and around the sink, it would just be dumped somewhere else.

This was a bit of washing up from the night before, a couple of glasses and tea/coffee cups from the morning. I was cooking the blackberries and thought I'd wash up in one go. Peter wanted his breakfast and I told him just to leave everything on the side and I'd take care of it as I went along.

However, I finished the blackberries, made myself a cup of tea and left all this till lunch time. And that's all there was.

No crumbs swiped onto the floor, no knocked over glass, broken in the sink and no one saying anything. Nothing balanced on the sauce pan and it wasn't filled with water to splash all over me and the floor.

There are only 2 loads of washing each week, that can be washed, dried, ironed and back in the cupboard on the same day, even when it's raining out as I can put the clothes horse up in the dining room without it 'accidentally' falling down as the boys pushed past to fight for the best seat.

I can also leave stuff on the dining room table and not have it swept to one side for a board game, homework or just because.

Housework is done as and when it is needed, instead of on a Saturday morning by one of us while the other attempted a food shop with 2/3 kids and then ran the other 2 around for football matches.

We eat what we want, when we want, no preparing 3-4 different meals at different times.

There's also money in my purse, fuel in my car, chocolate and sweets in the cupboard and drink in the fridge.

Do I miss it? No, not really. Would I do it again? No way, I'm 50 now, with one grandchild and another on the way. Would I do it differently? Of course I would, but I have no idea how I would've implemented it with 5 kids, other than.....
  • less after school activities
  • no involvement with PTA, Scouts, etc
  • caterers for parties and shop bought cake
  • more money
  • bigger house
How about you?

Saturday 4 September 2021

Week 35 One Daily Positive and Project 365. A photo a day, every year since 2015

I've restarted my weekly blog posts that I stopped in June when we reached the UK. There was just too much stuff to deal with, it was hectic trying to leave Dubai. Our rent was up, there were no routes to the UK as Dubai was now on the red list, we had to organise our furniture to be shipped, find temporary accommodation, checking several times a day for flights, finally flying via Amsterdam on June 3rd and booking a 10 day mandatory hotel stay.

We then had to go to Northern Ireland to collect the dog and then deal with the container arrival debacle (I'm getting constant emails asking me for feedback)

Furniture in and unpacked. Cat and dog settled. Lots of family and friend visits.

We're still avoiding indoor spaces as much as possible and wearing a mask and social distancing around family and friends. I did get hugged without warning the other week as I came out of a village shop, still wearing my mask, when a woman from the kids old primary school that I hadn't seen for 15+ years, just  hugged me.

The weather is getting cooler now and we're noticing how much earlier it gets dark. We've had equal sunrise and sunset for the past 10 years as well as 24 hour sun, that at most times has been unbearable to be out in, so we're outside as much as possible, with blankets and/or sat in the shed if it's raining.

240 Saturday Up at 4am, just couldn't sleep. I spent the day cooking and baking, getting ready for next week.

241 Sunday Child 2, his wife and our grandchild arrived for a roast lunch, we ate in the garden and were outside most of the day. The neighbour popped round early evening with her 18 month old. Everything from our grandchild at the moment is 'Granny/Grandad' so I ended up putting them to bed. DIL was most impressed I was out the room in 20 mins and child fast asleep.

242 Monday A lazy morning, waffles and pancakes for breakfast then into Worcester for coffee, some shopping and playing in the water fountains by the river. We had a BBQ when we got home and they left around 8pm. Peter and I just collapsed on the sofa.

We keep a constant eye on the dog around our grandchild, we will allow NO exceptions.

243 Tuesday 20 min memory time that the kitchen fitter was arriving and I was dressed and tidied the house. We then took the dog for a walk and Peter sorted through his golf gear ready for tomorrow whilst I watched the soaps, blogged and ate sweets. In the afternoon I rearranged the attic/storage space.

The cat was unaware I'd spotted her stalking me.

244 Wednesday Peter off to play golf, he dropped me and the dog in town, had coffee and walked home. Afternoon spent helping child 4 with obtaining his deeds and I wrote letters, blogged and watched TV.

245 Thursday Spent the day with Here to Help at a local secondary school as a volunteer processing LFT's as part of the Return to School. I've got another day booked in Droitwich next week. I've also been offered some paid work. 

246 Friday Off to Gloucester to visit child 1, we did some shopping and had coffee and cake out.

There's an issue with her neighbours about parking and noise, they've made numerous complaints and written letters. Our daughter has been in her home for 12 years, so why now? We had an encounter with an extremely unpleasant neighbour. I'll be writing more in a post.

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