Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year.

Here we are again, New Years Eve, the whole year stretching out ahead of us full of promise of excitement and new things to see and do. I am looking forward to the holidays we have planned, an 8 night cruise to the Fjords with our friends Madeline and John, a couple of weeks in Ireland with the family (booked for 5 of us but who knows how many will end up coming along!!) I have Mr Tesco to thank for that one, a two week holiday for 5 has cost us £200 in real money and the rest is covered by Club Card deals!!!
I also hope this year will be one of positive changes in a few areas, things are starting to line up and I am hopeful there will be big changes.
I am continuing with my glassy endeavours and to assist me I am starting a glass working course at Hertfordshire University in January. (At last I can say I have been to Uni!!!)

We went to see Dad yesterday and there has been a marked improvement for him. The blockage seems to have shifted and nature has started to take its course in a rather dramatic and explosive way! He feels a lot better in himself and was looking forward to having a good nights sleep last night. I hope he continues to improve and makes it back home very soon .

So I will continue to hope for good health for everyone and particularly those in my family. I hope that you all continue to make your own good fortune and take time to give thanks for all the good things that have happened in the past year!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Moving On.....

Its been an 'odd' Christmas to say the very least. We have had all the usual good stuff such as the very nice tins of Roses and other sweeties, we have had all the other stuff to deal with as well. 
Because of the situation with Mum and Dad we have been busy and trying to sort things out to everyones satisfaction. Dad has had an op, but this has not worked. They had assumed due to his symptoms and the Xrays that they had taken that he had an issue with a hernia. So the operated to fix that only to be unable to find a hernia or anything else in that area. They have stitched him back up and have to look else where for the blockage. He is still unwell with constant sickness but having eaten nothing since boxing day is getting him down. Last night he was really down in the dumps and upset. That makes it hard to visit him as you are not quite sure what is happening. I spoke to the Doctor who said that today they will do a CT scan and that should help them sort out what the problem is. So when we left he had a nasal gastric tube to help with the sickness and a couple of drains in the operation scar. He is uncomfortable and fed up. I hope when we see him today he  is a bit better and they know what they are dealing with.

Mum is at home and not overly happy. She needs someone to stay with her overnight as she can't get out of bed to the toilet and can't get back in again afterwards, Dad was helping her but he is out of commission. Social services have paid for three nights with a sitter but won't pay any more, preferring for her to go into short term respite care or make private arrangements. We have made arrangements for the next few nights and then they will visit and carry out an assessment on Tuesday morning. I have no idea what will happen then. Its really difficult for everyone involved. I feel really torn between staying overnight there and trying to look after my own family. My house is a tip and I can't seem to get anything under control. I don't know how this is going to go in the long run but I am exhausted with it all. I hope Tuesday brings some sort of decision for Mum and that the hospital sort dad out as soon as possible.

Here's hoping the New Year brings some better vibes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our 'usual' eventful Christmas!!

Christmas started well, we had a great afternoon/evening                                          
on Christmas Eve with our friends Tina, Rod, Emma, Stuart, Dan, Kate and Bobbie. We had dinner and settled down to get the weekend off to a great start with a few drinks and some board games. Bobbie wasn't keen on eating her tea, so she spent a fair bit of time trying to avoid eating. When she went up to bed (in Beth's bed) she revealed the true reason she wasn't keen on eating.......she puked all over the place!!! So Christmas eve saw the washing machine pressed into action again with Bobbie excelling herself by actually hitting every bit of bedding!! (quilt, quilt cover, sheet, under blanket, pillow and pillow case) She then felt soooooo much better that she went off to sleep for the rest of the evening!!

I had been on a few Christmas do's in the week before Christmas. One of my favourite nights out is at the Crooked Chimney with Madeline, Sue and Sandra.

Its a bit of a standing joke we book a table there most years and they are always a bit mean with the decorations, so we bring our own. This year we bought hats, crackers, lights, tinsel and beads, our table was very well dressed!!

Christmas day was a nice family affair, Laura came over and we had a nice lunch followed by a visit to see Mum and Dad. Mum has been home from Hospital since Friday and was settling into being back. Dad looked a bit flushed when we saw him, but didn't say anything was wrong. *am Boxing day morning (a big jinx day for us) we had a call from him and he was in great pain from a reoccurring problem with a hernia and obstructed bowel. We ended up in A and E at the QE2. They were very good and got him re hydrated and sorted out the pain before packing him off to the Lister hospital. Meanwhile Mum was at home and took a turn for the worse and we had to call out the emergency Doctor for her. He came along with the district nurse, they examined her and we ended up going to Tesco to get her more medicines. So there went my boxing day !! I ended up sleeping over last night as Mum can't be left alone. I feel exhausted!! Fingers crossed things get sorted for them soon. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Party Time!!!!

Christmas time, a time for partying and having fun, well I have already started!!!
Yesterday we had our 'works' do, a nice meal followed by a few drinks. This was followed by some of the 'ladies' trying out one of the gifts. We always exchange joke presents, a mixture of home made and shop bought funnies. Well the biggest hit was a double seated space hopper !!! I am not really sure what you would use it for, but it raised a laugh or two!!
I was amazed that fully grown women felt the need to try it out!! They did and the TV, patio doors and glass coffee table were at risk of damage and Tena lady were required!!!

I had a great assortment of gifts, cider, wine, port a Donny Osmond Calendar, two mugs, Bucks Fizz, a snow globe, a grow your own Christmas tree and a HAND DRUM!!!! How good is that?? I now have a hand drum and a brass horn, what more can a girl ask for??? All I need now is another strike so that I can put it to good use!!

Mum is still due to come home tomorrow, although she is at the mercy of the Ambulance service so we have no idea when that will be. Fingers crossed that will be sooner rather than later to give her time to settle back in. 
Won't be long now until Santa arrives!!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Festive Woof!!!

Where has the weekend gone?? We had a great night around Rick and Dinas, not seen them for a while we got there around 6.30 and before we knew it it was 1.30am!! There was much laughing (mainly at Dina and Hillary who were in combat over the 'rules' of a board game) It was very entertaining. 
The food was lovely and company great. When we left theirs in the early hours we had to content with ice and it was really icy and a lack of street lights, it was very hard to see where to go!! Now I have bought a torch
 to keep in my handbag just in case I am out after midnight again!!!
This week is a busy one, I have lots of nights out plus the arrival of my Tesco shop (I know how to live!!) A spanner in the works is that up until this morning Mum was going to be in hospital, they had said she could come home but there was no transport, without transport we can't get her in so didn't think it would happen. It seems they have done their rounds this morning and have said that she can go home and have a few days at home. The problem with that is that Dad was coming to us for lunch but we won't be able to get Mum in ours, with the step and the lack of downstairs loo, so it looks like Dad will have to cook their own dinner. She will have to go back in afterwards. A bit of a good news bad news thing!!!!
Have a nice week 
PS The picture of Hunny was taken by Beth, our budding photographer!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree....

We have planted the Christmas tree in the living room so its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Tom got the boxes of decorations out of the loft and we were a bit shocked to find that a few things had been nibbled!! So it looks like we may well have a mice up there again. I think that they get up the cavity wall into the loft. We haven't heard anything but there was definite evidence that they were up there. A few years ago I made some lovely baubles for the tree which consisted of dried  kidney beans, lentils, split peas and raffia, I don't remember them on the tree last year but when I found them this year there wasn't much left!!! 
More annoying than that was the fact that we had a string of 500 outdoor lights and the little buggers had eaten right through the wire!!!So now we have treated the little mice to some special 'blue' Christmas dinner. Tom will have to check when we put the tree back that they have eaten it all.

This year I am a bit disjointed with my plans, I 'think' I have most everything I need, but my friends are inconsiderate, I have SIX with birthdays this week, they need to move them away from Christmas!!!
I am going to be brave and go to Stevenage tomorrow morning to pick a few bits I need for next week. 

I have been lucky and secured a Tesco delivery slot so the bulk of my shopping will be delivered, but I still need to organise myself to shop for each day that we have visitors!! 

Mum is still in hospital and they are trying to get the infection under control. All things considered she is in quite high spirits. She is able to settle down and read her book, being in a side room means she can concentrate on TV so its not all bad. I spoke to the Doctor yesterday and he said that the bone was now not growing as well as expected because of the infection. They are holding on for the anti biotics to kick in and once they have reached the best that they can they will operate and take the metal work out and give the whole wound a good wash out. Today things are turning, the wound has not leaked for the past 24 hours, so perhaps things are looking up. Fingers crossed !!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Cards.

I have tried to be organised this year and make my own Christmas cards. I enjoy making them but always seem to run out of time. So this year I took them with me when we went on our cruise in May and made them then!!

I have quite a lot of Christmas paper and last year in the sales I found the toppers, so it was a construction job with a bit of glitter and ink!!

It was quite easy to do on the ship, the big lounges were empty during the day so Tom and Beth would go off and do something and I would make cards in the corner of the lounge. I started a trend as there were other card makers on board who also joined in! One day we ended up in the middle of a quiz game, which started around us!!!

Mum is still in hospital and now they are having trouble getting a line into her for the drugs. she is pretty fed up but seems OK if you see what I mean. Its a god send having the TV in her room, she can keep up with Emmerdale! I am beginning to think she won't be home for Christmas, but we'll have to see. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Portrait.

Every year I like to take a few shots to mark Christmas, usually I try to take them a little earlier so that I can include some of them in relatives Christmas cards. With one thing and another they have been seriously delayed this year so I will just keep them for scrap booking!!

Last night on the way home I popped into Martins and bought a magazine, the guy on the counter was giving away these hats, so it would have been rude not to have taken one!!!

Beth loves posing for the camera and I am very pleased with this batch!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Amsterdam by Night!

This year I have spent quite a while in Amsterdam this year, but this was the first time that I had been there at night! Most people associate Amsterdam with the Red Light District and although we were fairly close to part of that, it wasn't too obtrusive and photographs are positively discouraged in those areas!!
There were still plenty of pretty evening scenes to take in. The photo above was very close to our B and B, its looking over the Singel Canal it looks so pretty at night!

This is the road where we had dinner on the first night at a lovely Dutch restaurant called Seasons. The food was fantastic. I had sweetcorn and morel mushroom soup, followed by  Lamb shank finished with a fantastic Creme Brulee. It was a great night out after what had been a very tiring day.

We found a very up market shopping Mall, we never actually went in, but it had some very spectacular lights outside !

We did walk down the street above, which virtually runs the length of the centre of Amsterdam. We were particularly happy to find all of our favourite shops, Xenos, Hema and Blokker. We also sampled the hot chocolate at several bars on the way back to Boogaards!!!

This is a view of the street with the Magna shopping Mall in the background. There was a supermarket on the left where we bought our supply of wine for the evenings!!!!

We have been in to see Mum, she is still in isolation and is very very down at the moment. Its hard to know what to do to try and help her. The drugs are making her feel rough and are upsetting her stomach, so she doesn't feel like eating. She needs to eat to help her get better. Its quite hard going for the rest of us as well we feel for her but feel helpless. I hope they get this under control and that she can come home soon. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmas Cheer!!!

On the last morning in Amsterdam we called into a department store and went to the Christmas shop. They had a stunning array of decorations in all sorts of colours. I found a couple which I bought as a souvenir of my time away, but I was also a bit cheeky and snuck a few photos with my iPhone!

Although they were beautiful they were also very very expensive. I loved the pink ones above but at 4 euros plus a bauble, that was one step beyond!!!! 

Things had been going quite well but unfortunately Mum is back in hospital, she has an infection in her wound which has broken down again and causing her a lot of pain. Yesterday they diagnosed MRSA which was a shock as she had been tested for that twice a week for the past three weeks. This has meant that she has been moved to an isolation ward and has been put on IV anti-biotics to try and knock it all on the head. We can visit but we have to wear gloves and aprons and we can't touch anything. On the plus side she has her own room and it has a TV so she can keep up with Emmerdale! I have no idea how long she will be there, fingers crossed she gets well soon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


 Strange how time seems to fly and already we are heading towards Christmas! For the past goodness knows how long I have had a pre Christmas trip with three of my girl friends. This tradition started when the children were young and we managed to sneak a weekend away at Centre Parks, but as we have got older the lure of throwing ourselves down water chutes in freezing cold weather has subsided. We have however retained the liking for a winter break. In the past we have been to France, Belgium and New York, this year we went to Amsterdam. We were fairly late booking but managed to get an Easy Jet flight for a bargain price. I decided to look for accommodation by looking at  TripAdvisor.
 TripAdvisor threw up Boogaard's Bed and Breakfast, which was the number two ranked bed and breakfast in Amsterdam, so it had to be good!! All the reviews said about the hospitality of the owner and how comfortable the accommodation was. We just had to give it a go. 

So we headed off at 4.15 am to Luton Airport for our flight to Schiphol Airport. I have never flown Easy Jet and didn't know how that would go, but as it happens the plane was great, very comfortable. The only problem is that we were too cheap to pay for priority boarding so boarding was a bit of a free for all!! We decided to send Sandra on ahead to bag us some seats together. She rushed off and got three on one side of the aisle and one on the other.  We had a lady pilot and the roughest flight that I have ever been on!!! The wind was very strong and we managed to get to Holland in 40 minutes. Once off the plane we took a train into Amsterdam and then a taxi to our B and B. Once we arrived we met Peter, our host who immediately invited us into his delightful warm dining room. We piled our suitcases into the corner and used the toilet facilities!!! once we had sorted ourselves out Peter gave us a map, and umbrellas and explained where to go for a bite to eat. Before we left he also served us all a glass of champagne and orange juice, you can't beat that for a start to the day!!

Once we returned late in the afternoon we were shown to our apartment, there were two bedrooms both en suite and both beautifully furnished with gorgeous soft furnishing, wooden floor boards and lovely rugs. All of the rooms were decorated for Christmas with Santas and red berries.

It was the little touches that made it special, a fridge containing cold meats, cheeses, eggs, soft drinks, wine and beer, plus tea, coffee, cakes, biscuits, three different types of bread. There was also a dishwasher and best of all a computer so I was able to skype the kids!!

The living room/kitchen was between the two bedrooms and that was equip with CD player and around 30 visitors guides to Amsterdam!!! In the above photo you can see the small touches such as Santa cushions  and decorations on the table. It was really a home from home.

Peter has two dogs, Curly and Pepe, they are both very friendly and love all the fuss and attentions that visitors give them. Our host was more than happy to do what ever he could to help us, including making reservations for dinner and calling us a taxi. He was a mine of useful information on all sorts of things. We left late on in the day so he stored our cases and arranged for a taxi to take us directly to the airport (for a very good flat rate) He also gave us all a token of our visit to remind us of wonderful Amsterdam!!!
I would not hesitate to recommend this establishment, check out the web site -