Tuesday 31 July 2018

Anyone need a bed? (Or whatever happened to manners?)

I believe that recycling is important.  I try to do my bit.  I have a compost bin, our council collects paper, plastic bottles and cans from the house.  Glass can be deposited in bins quite close by and there are collection points not too far away where I can deposit various other things such as batteries.

As I've got older I've become more conscious of the fact that we are becoming a very disposable society.  Things don't seem to last the same way either.

Consequently I'm glad of recycling websites for passing on furniture, homeware and all sorts of strange things.  I've got rid of quite a few things that we've no longer needed this way.  We once got rid of a cabin bed (a high bed with desk and wardrobe underneath) including the mattress to a guy who collected the whole thing in a VW Golf.  He crammed as much as he could inside and the mattress and other pieces were just piled on the roof, secured with bungee straps.  I was relieved to learn he got home safely!

Oops I'm waffling.

Right now I have a double bed to give away.  I posted it on a website recently and a young Mum responded.  We arranged a pick up time which had to be rearranged as she had no-one to look after her disabled son.  On the second day I got a message to say she was running late.  Then nothing!

No contact whatsoever.  She just didn't turn up.

Now I know that an emergency could have happened but surely after the event a message could have been sent to explain her no show.  Although of course as has been pointed out to me she could just have changed her mind or decided it was just too much bother to collect.  But why not just tell me?

Everyone has the right to change their mind.  "Sorry I've decided I don't want the bed that you are kindly giving away for free anymore.  Hope I haven't inconvenienced you."  Or just "changed my mind.  Not coming now."  would have been sufficient.

But nothing?  Really?  How rude!  Especially in this age of technology when it's so easy to send a message.

And now I find myself in the same situation again.  I relisted the bed and had several enquiries.  I had arranged with someone for them to collect the bed this evening after 6.30pm.  It's now gone 9.30 pm so I don't think they are coming. 

Once again I'm back to square one although I do have other people interested.  Hopefully one of them will actually turn up.

Rant over.

Monday 30 July 2018

Oops - I've mentioned the B word!

Yesterday I said I wouldn’t talk about politics but it’s hard not to get involved in some sort of dialogue when your country is going through such a time of change.  Yes I’m daring to mention the B word. (Brexit)
Cartoon of the Day: Enough Already! - Brexit cartoon 06.23.2016
Cartoon from Hedgeye

Firstly let me say I voted to remain.  I believed that we would be better remaining part of the EU and being able to influence its decisions.  The alternative, being on the outside of a large group of countries who would not be impressed by our decision to leave, (and I think this is becoming more evident as talks go on) was never going to be a pretty picture and to believe that we could just demand our terms and have them met, especially when we seem to want our cake and eat it (e.g control of our borders but oh wait a minute no physical border with Ireland)  just seems to reinforce the belief that Brits think they are better than everyone else.  Not a good starting point for negotiations.

Of course the biggest mistake made was the original decision to make it a straight Remain/Leave referendum question.   At the very least it should have required a set percentage of Leave votes for it to be carried.  A result of 51.89% voting Leave against 48.11% voting Remain is hardly conclusive.  Surely there should have been an agreed margin between the two outcomes.  After all, in tied votes on a committee where the Chairman has the casting vote, it’s usual to keep the status quo as there is no clear majority for change.

However, what’s done is done.  Now we have to get on with it.  All these constant suggestions that we should have another vote are not helping.  We are a democracy and the vote was taken in a democratic way.  Besides, do people really believe that if we had a second vote and the decision was to remain, countries like France would just allow us to stay in without any penalties? (Especially since they’ve recently won the Football World Cup.)  Of course not.  If we went back with our tail between our legs and asked to stay our position would probably be worse than if we get no exit deal.

As the date for completing the exit nears (11pm local time on 29 March 2019) there’s plenty of scaremongering beginning which is not particularly helpful.  The latest being the suggestion that the Government is stockpiling certain items, including healthcare essentials such as insulin in case no deal is in place on the 29th March.  It feels like the Millennium bug saga all over again.   Will we still be able to buy European wine?  That’s the question!

I hope that we do get some sort of deal and I think we will.  Surely it can’t be in Europe’s best interest to have no certainty over what happens when the clock strikes 11pm next March? (Why 11pm?  Can’t agree a deal but we can decide on a time?  Why not midnight?)

It’s definitely a right fine mess the Conservative Party has gotten us into.  And now they’re making a bigger mess in trying to sort it out.  Unfortunately I don’t think the Labour Party would do any better.
Hopefully the World Wide Web will continue to work on 30th March.  Otherwise it’s been nice knowing you!

Sunday 29 July 2018

Get the facts

Like most people, I'm sure, I have a love/hate relationship with social media.  I love that I keep in touch with family, especially Grandson Noah who's that bit further away.  (Apologies to Rory's long distance Grandparents but it's all relevant.)  I can't just pop round to see him like I can with the other two.

I love being able to see what the extended family are up to as well although keeping track can be tricky.  There are Whatsapp messages to reply to, Facebook posts to like oh and now there is Instagram too and some of it is just duplicated.  How many Likes do we all need?  (As many as possible because we all want to be popular don't we?)

What I hate though is some of the nastiness that creeps in on public posts.  Of course it's fine to have your own opinion but there are ways to express it.  I (mostly) tend to keep away from any really heated debates, life is too short.  However I do hate it when people post things and haven't even got their facts straight.

One subject that particularly annoys me, probably because it usually veers towards rascism, well actually it's definitely rascist, is "foreigners abusing our NHS system".  Many people are very vocal about their belief that people come to this county (UK) to take advantage of our free health service.

Well I can categorically state it's not free to everyone.  Posters on display in the A & E department I was in on Friday make it clear that if you are not a UK citizen or have the right to be settled here you may have to pay for your treatment.

A recent letter I received for a dermatology appointment also contained a questionnaire I had to complete requesting details that would establish whether I was entitled to free healthcare (such as passport details).

My American DIL who forgot to take the necessary information with her when booking in for her antenatal care received an invoice for over £8000. (Fortunately this was cancelled when she provided her details - she's legally entitled to use the NHS.)

It may not always have been this way, and I have no idea how good they are at following up on billing and collecting fees but it's wrong to say "foreigners come here to benefit from our NHS"

I'm also sure that if someone arrives by ambulance needed resuscitation/blood transfusions or other urgent treatment that they're treated first and status established later and would hope that any ongoing treatment would be billed as necessary.

I did find this useful link that sets out facts and figures when searching for an image for anyone who wants figures.

There, piece said.  Don't worry, I'll leave politics for another day!


I seem to have lost my mojo when it comes to blogging lately.  I've just about managed to keep up with the Hodgepodge and Friday's Fave Fives most weeks and a few book reviews here and there but not much else.

Now that Joyce is taking a well earned break from the Hodgepodge until at least September I know that I need to be more proactive about posting.  After all it's not as if I don't have time.  But I'm discovering that time is elusive.  It just seems to disappear.

I can't even blame it on rushing around.  I don't rush anywhere if I can help it, certainly not in this hot weather.  They are promising thunder storms tomorrow - I can't wait!  Well of course I can wait as time is my own.

Well it seems that time is not always my own.  I started this post on Thursday and it is now Sunday.  I intended coming back to it on Friday but I was feeling very unwell.  Turns out (after a visit to A & E late Friday evening) that I have a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and nothing more sinister.  I still have my appendix and thanks to an infusion of potassium, anti-nausea medication and antibiotics I'm beginning to feel better.

I have been taking it easy and wasting time playing games on my iPad.  As I said time is my own.  But I do still kick myself sometimes when I'm wasting it.

Of course spending time with the Grandchildren is never a waste of time.  The beauty of that is also that I can enjoy the time with them because there's usually nothing more important that needs doing.  That's the difference from being a parent to a Grandparent.  As a parent it was always:
  • It's time to take the older child(ren) to school
  • It's time to collect them from school
  • It's time to do the shopping, cleaning, ironing........
  • It's time to get the dinner on
I'm sure you get my meaning.  There was hardly ever time to just be:
  • Reading the same book over and over because it was a favourite
  • Building the stacking cups up, again, because knocking them down is still fun
  • Singing nursery rhymes until you're getting hoarse because it makes them laugh
  • Cuddling and sitting quietly just because you can
But as a Grandparent I can (usually) do all of the above and more at Nathan's pace.  I can be led by him because when I'm there to look after him that's what I focus on.   

And I'm loving it!  

Thursday 26 July 2018

Review: Those Who Lie

Those Who Lie Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral. At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death – events which led to her own memory loss – she begins to suspect that her husband’s death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate…

But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily’s physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can’t possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband.

And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous question of all.

Can she really trust herself?

I enjoyed reading this book. It has a good plot although the outcome can be seen coming a little too early in the book. I found the writing a little stilted, particularly towards the end but a good debut.

View all my reviews

Sunday 22 July 2018

Catching up time!

I feel like I've been AWOL for ages!  But it's partly due to this crowd!

This was taken yesterday at our social club's annual Garden Party.  It was the first time we had all 3 grandchildren and their parents together so of course there had to be a family picture.
Nathan is on the left with his Mummies, then Rory with his parents, Hubby, and then Noah and parents and then me.  It was so lovely to have them all together and Noah, Matt and Amy stayed with us last night and he was a really quiet boy.

The start of the month was dominated by Nathan - with a few nights in hospital.  He's fine now and I'm back to my regular 2 days per week looking after him.

From the 8th July we had Rory's other grandparents staying with us for 10 days.  They were so excited to meet him and spent as much time as possible with Rory, Michael and Liz.  I know it was very hard for them to leave but they had sensibly planned a couple of nights in Iceland on their way back to Vermont to distract them.  They're now counting down the days to Thanksgiving when we will visit them with Rory Michael and Liz.  I can't imaging not seeing him for that long.

Preparing for their visit and then hosting them kept me busy and then I had a sewing job to get finished for the garden party.  My SIL who is a committee member, had originally bought material which was cut into table runners but they had never been hemmed properly.  Last year after the party I offered to take all the runners, wash them and then hem them.  Of course I had time!

I'm fortunate to have a sewing machine that is set into a table.  But it's not in the best location.
Currently it's in my bedroom and I've been intending to move it into a room that was a bedroom but I'm now trying to make into a sewing room/office for me.  Except things kept getting in the way.  First there was getting the room redecorated.  Then the kids were storing stuff in there.  Long story short, the sewing machine hadn't been moved, I hadn't sewn the runners.  Soooo on Monday I began the task.  My sewing machine objected.  It needed oiling.  I didn't have any oil.  I had to make a trip to the shopping mall.  With the sewing machine going and fans on all over the house (it's been very hot here) the fuses kept blowing.  Eventually I had to put a new plug on the machine.  That seemed to do the trick.  I was just panicking in case the drive belt went.  (I now have a spare but it didn't arrive until after I'd finished the sewing.)  Anyway the job got done but the moral of the story is of course not to leave everything to the last minute!

The garden party was a huge success and the dry weather continued.  It has been so dry that we have had grass fires.  This picture is of the grassland opposite our house.

It's been 10 years since we had a bad fire like this but I was just surprised it hadn't already happened - the grass is so dry and we've had a really long hot spell with no rain.  It was scary to watch it travel across the space so rapidly and it caused chaos with road closures.  It took days to damp it down enough to prevent it reigniting. More details here

But things are back to normal now and I'm looking forward to a few uneventful weeks before we head off for our big family holiday next month.  And to catching up with your blogs which I've neglected over the past couple of weeks.  It's definitely catching up time! 

18 in 18 - June update

Well this is my June update even though we are so far into July I considered combining the two months.  We've had lots going on so I am totally out of routine with lots of things. 
1.   Bake once per month (bread/cake/biscuits) FAIL
2.   Plant new flower bed and child proof garden  NOT YET
3.   Sort out magazines. Sorted but need to catch up on reading them!
4.   Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal)  We managed an Afternoon Tea and a meal out this month.
5.   Eat at 4 new-to-me restaurants  The meal out was at a new restaurant for me - "Arch Rivals" - will I'd be happy to revisit.  That means I've completed this challenge!
6.   Complete the A – Z  blogging challenge  Done!
7.   Plan a family weekend away for next year NOT YET
8.   Walk at least 3 times per week  I'm still walking but more variety still needed.  I always walk when looking after Nathan so that's 2 out of 3 each week but we do tend to do the same routes.
9.   Visit my brother  NOT YET
10.               Visit my cousin  NOT YET
11.               Visit the beach  COMPLETED
12.               Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)  Still on track.  In June I read:
First Family - David Baldacci
The Summer of Impossible Things - Rowan Coleman
The Sunday Lunch Club - Juliet Ashton
On a Beautiful Day - Lucy Diamond &
Foreign Fruit - Jojo Moyes
Details and Reviews can be found on my Goodreads site.
13.               Keep my bullet journal updated  FAIL
14.               Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes) FAIL
15.               Take more photos Lots of baby pics t.aken!
16.               Update my wardrobe .  Oh yes!  Hubby booked me a session with a personal shopper at a nearby department store for my birthday.  Safe to say I have lots of new clothes.
17.               Do more crafting – update on blog FAIL
18.               Try out a new recipe each week FAIL

   Far too many "FAILS" or "NOT YET" on that list. But we did have a fun month visiting babies, eating out, buying new clothes etc as well as the usual routines of looking after Nathan.

Friday 20 July 2018

Review: The President Is Missing

The President Is Missing The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

President Bill Clinton and bestselling novelist James Patterson have written a spellbinding thriller, The President is Missing.

As the novel opens, a threat looms. Enemies are planning an attack of unprecedented scale on America. Uncertainty and fear grip Washington. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the cabinet. The President himself becomes a suspect, and then goes missing...

Set in real time, over the course of three days, The President Is Missing is one of the most dramatic thrillers in decades. And it could all really happen. The President Is Missing is Bill Clinton and James Patterson's totally authentic and spellbinding thriller.

This feels very much like a Patterson thriller but with so much detail on presidential matters it's easy to see how it's co-authored with Bill Clinton. The concept of the book, given the code word "Dark Ages" is quite a scary one and it's made to feel reasonably realistic. There were enough twists and turns to keep me turning the pages although I'm not sure that a President could really go "missing" without more concern.

View all my reviews

Friday 6 July 2018

Friday's Fave Five - 6/7/18

Friday is the day for looking back over the week to remember things to be grateful for.  It's hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story.  Pop over there to find other participants and all the guidelines for posting.

Here are mine for this week:

1)  Hot weather!  Well ok it's a little too hot for my liking but we are definitely enjoying summer.  And that's how it should be given that we're now into July.  (Where did June go?)  Thankfully I don't have to rush off to work so I can sit back and enjoy it except....

2)  Our NHS.  It celebrated its 70th birthday this week and once again we were so grateful for it.  Poor Nathan was hit with another chest infection that required 3 nights in hospital, steroids, nebulizers, breathing assistance and antibiotics.  Scary for a bit but, as is often the way with kids, he has bounced back and is now continuing to recover at home and is much more himself.  

This was Monday: 
Happier to sit with Nanny and not clinging to his Mummies.

And this was today:

This is the second time this has happened so now he'll be followed up at the respiratory clinic to check out if it's just bad luck with the infections or if it's complicated by asthma.  Hopefully it's just bad reactions to cold viruses and he will cope better as he gets older. 

3)  Public transport and being able to use it.  Driving in London is a nightmare but there was a time when I could not cope with using public transport.  Fortunately I've managed to get over that which was good this week in particular as I was backwards and forwards to the hospital.

4)  Being flexible when driving.  I've been driving since I was 17 so I'm pretty confident about it.  I'm also happy to just get in another car and drive which I had to do this week as Becca had driven Nathan to the hospital late on Sunday so on Monday I had to drive their car back to their house.  Not a long drive but the SATNAV took me down some narrow streets and their car isn't little.  I know that some drivers wouldn't be comfortable doing that but I'm ok doing it.

5)  Time with Noah and Rory.  


Hmm a bit of competition going on there!  I think it was one of their Great Aunts who bought them identical onesies.  But Nanny doesn't have favourites and I don't think you can beat a white babygro at that age:

We spent Sunday with Noah.  I was desparate to see him as it had been a few weeks and they grow so fast at his age.  He's a little wriggler.  But doing well.  On Wednesday afternoon I caught up with Rory.  He's also growing fast.  He's going to get a lot of attention over the next couple of weeks as his Grandparents from Vermont will be flying over to meet him for the first time.  Exciting times!

It's going to be a busy weekend - they arrive first thing Sunday morning and I'm going with my son to collect them from the airport so tomorrow will be spent shopping and making sure everything is ready as they are staying with us for their visit although I'm sure they will be out most of the time spending time with Rory!

Hope all the American bloggers had a good July 4th and have a good weekend all.