Tidy Me

This week we have finally managed to empty out everything from the tall metal cabinet in our home office that for so long has been stuffed to the gills with, well, *stuff*

The dining room table has been buried all week under piles of paper, slowly being sorted into keep, shred, burn, and take-to-recycling piles.

Everything in the keep pile has now been tidied up and put into boxes, labelled and placed neatly back on the shelves.

We now have three huge piles of paper left which need to be shredded or incinerated.

P is burning out the motor of our shredder whilst I am feeding our fire with old chequebooks, bank statements and even ancient, faded photographs that we don't really want to keep.

Plenty to keep us warm until 2030 at this rate.

Last One Ever

A word of warning.  This post is about a certain female screening check so people of a squeamish nature should look away now.

I recently  received an invitation to attend my local well-woman clinic for my regular five-yearly *female* screening test. Something which I think most women most definitely do not enjoy.

The appointment was this afternoon and I was dreading it all day long .

The first thing the nurse said as I sat down was "You will be pleased to know that this is your last test".  As I have reached the giddy heights of age 63 and the tests are every 5 years up until age 65, I will no longer have to endure the discomfort and - for me - the pain.

It was surprisingly reasonably pain free this time and I felt a great sense of elation that I need not undergo this ever again.

An extra glass of Sauvignon Blanc tonight to celebrate!

Bad Choice

I finally got around to spending my Christmas gift vouchers and ordered some new cushions and throw for our sofa.

The sofa is charcoal grey and I thought that the new adornments in subtle shades of light and mid grey with a herringbone pattern would go well.

Unfortunately,  after using them for several days I have decided that the colour of the throw is just too pale and P has already made his mark  ( he can be a bit messy at times).

He wasn't too keen on them when I ordered them and I hate to  give him the opportunity to say I told you so.

I suppose I shall get used to them eventually. 



No Snow

Yesterday's weather forecast foretold snow, sleet, hail and ice here overnight and into this morning.

However, we awoke to a lawn devoid of the white stuff and a grey sky with little bursts of weak sun poking through. No reports on the radio of road closures due to the weather conditions so it was off to Douglas for the food shopping.

A couple of detours on the way - to the builders' yard to buy a replacement for a broken loo seat then to M&S to collect a parcel - meant that we arrived at Tesco later than usual. The place was heaving with other wrinklies who must have had a lie in this morning. 

I admit to getting frustrated by the little knots of ditherers huddled around the food aisles, blocking the way and making it difficult to reach what I need. Rather than push my way through I tend to just forego some items and hope to get them somewhere else later.

We are not likely to starve so it is not that important.  I have to practice being more patient .




Where Did The Days Go?

Somehow Sunday passed me by.

I was quite late waking up after a very pleasant Saturday night spent with friends, eating, drinking, chatting and laughing.

Spent a wet and windy Sunday sitting around in my dressing gown browsing for flights and hotels for Christmas 2020.  No point in hanging about.  may as well arrange it all now before everything is booked up.  After several failed attempts with the credit card, due I think to some sort of cookies setting on my browser, I eventually managed it, using a different browser.

Read a few blogs but forgot to post anything myself.  Oh well, nothing much to report anyway.

Today, Monday, was another lazy day. The only highlight being our appointment at the local branch of the Isle of Man Bank to open a new account, followed by a quick visit to the little library around the corner to buy some of their second hand paperbacks to take on holiday with us.  20p each. A bargain.

Tomorrow is the dreaded weekly Tesco visit.  Although, by the sound of the weather forecast this may be snowed off. Yay!!




Thinking About Another Trip

I have been thinking about going away again for the Christmas period this year as we have enjoyed our last 3 trips for the festivities in foreign climes.

Not a *bucket and spade* destination this time as the airport experience this past trip was not an experience I want to repeat.

The main contender is Cadiz, with a side trip to Seville and the train to/from Madrid.

We shall see.

A Meaty Thursday

Thursday turned out to be a bad day for my low-cholesterol diet.

I attended a farewell lunch event for the chairman of the local charity where I volunteer.  It was held at a nearby Farm Shop Cafe which has a reputation for excellent food, and so it proved.  I managed to restrain myself as much as possible but with so much delicious charcuterie (produced in-house) and other locally produced mouthwatering products laid out (none of which were low fat!) I couldn't help myself.

For supper I cooked some rather tasty meatballs, supplied to our local shop by Edwards of Conwy, (a Welsh supplier who does a good range of high quality meat products). I grilled them until crisp, to try to reduce the overall fat content, and then gently bathed them in a herby tomato sauce.  I think they appreciated it.




Foggy

This is the scene from the window right now.


Cannot see past our neighbour's shed.

My brain feels like that too today.

Positively Tropical

The garden thermometer is showing it has crept up to 8C this morning.

P has switched off the heating as he reckons he is too warm indoors.

Someone pass me the hot water bottle!

Banking

As promised, our bank has now closed our local branch so if we need any face to face interactions with them we have to travel around 30 minutes into either Douglas or Ramsey.

Most of our transactions are online but there are still a few occasions where we need to visit a branch. 

We decided to open a basic current account at the Isle of Man Bank which has a handy branch just 5 minutes away., for our few over the counter transactions.  We popped in there today, armed with a folder full of various forms of ID expecting to fill in a form and get started.

It seems that, since the recent closure of our current bank branch they have been inundated with requests to open new accounts with them and they were too busy to see us today.

We have an appointment to see them next week.

A Good Day

Woke up this morning to a gorgeous sunny day. Still cold and frosty but blue skies and hardly any clouds.

As I was feeling unusually energised, despite having a couple of glasses of cheap fizz last night, we decided to go for a long walk.

We left home just after 9:30 and walked along the back lanes  into Peel, which took about an hour.  I didn't take any photos of this part of the walk as the sun was shining right in my face the whole way.

A brief stop at the Coffee Station in the museum for an americano with a dash of hot milk and one finger of a dark chocolate Kit Kat, then a walk back along the promenade and up along the headlands, pausing to watch three paddle boarders out in the bay.





The final leg home is always a bit of a struggle for me as it is a continuous steep rise up to the end of our lane but I made it back eventually.

Two and a half hours and I was tired but managed to cook an indulgent lunch - two rashers of crispy grilled bacon with grilled mushrooms and a poached egg on a slice of toasted granary bread.

Such decadence.

Unfollowing

I am still fairly new to Blogland, only joining in the conversations around this time last year so forgive me if I am still not quite up to speed with the normal conventions.

I have enjoyed following many varied blogs during this time, reading about other people's lives and listening in to, and very occasionally joining in with, various discussions on a wide range of topics.

For the first time yesterday I felt the need to *unfollow* a blog. It has hitherto appeared to be a fairly innocuous blog about a person's daily life and habits.  Yesterday,  however,  I felt that a particular comment there was quite condescending and unnecessarily judgemental on aspects of  a certain lifestyle choice for many of us *ordinary*  folk.

Although I do not always agree with some opinions voiced on various blogs, I am rarely offended by them, until now.

I suppose that this is an advantage of having *virtual* relationships.  You can just switch someone off if you no longer want to engage with them.

Comfort Food

Thursday's rain and wind made me long for something warm and comforting for supper.

Luckily, we had bought a couple of Manx pork chops, reduced in the Co-Op as they were just on their sell by date.

I cooked them for 15 minutes in the pressure cooker with chopped red and yellow sweet peppers,  celery, herb infused stock and added a chopped apple and potato to thicken the stock into a broth. Served with sweet potato  and leek mash it was very comforting.

Sleepy

I am still feeling sleepy all the time these days.

Although I am getting around 7 hours sleep, off and on,  during the night (thanks to the earplugs) I find it difficult to wake up and P has to almost drag me out of bed for breakfast.

I did my 4 hour volunteering shift at Hospice yesterday and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting to stay awake.

When we were away over Christmas I was up early and we went walking every day. I seemed to have much more energy then.

Perhaps it is just the short, dark days here that make me feel so lethargic?

A Long Wait

P has had a persistent, chesty cough since just before Christmas. Probably picked up someone's bug when travelling.

The cough is still hanging around and keeps him (and me!) awake at night.

Yesterday I finally persuaded him to make an appointment at the GP surgery to see if they can sort him out.

Unfortunately, the earliest available appointment is in 3 weeks' time.

He said, "I could be dead by then!".

Hunkering Down

Yet another pesky storm.

This time it's Brendan's turn to huff and puff and blow our trees down

Ferry cancelled. Roads closed. 70 mph gusts and heavy rain.

Pass me the gin.

We Survived

On Friday we had a bit of a clear out and, when sorting through the freezer drawers, I found a pack of lambs' liver dated December 2018.

I put it into the 'fridge to defrost and cooked it last night for supper.  I had also found two slices of our local black pudding which had been there a while so I added that as well. It crumbled down and dissolved into the sauce, making it quite rich and adding a little zing.

We are both still here this mormning with no obvious ill effects so that's a relief.

I hate to waste food.

Having A Clear Out

P was working outside in the garden yesterday morning so I took the opportunity to grab some time on the laptop before he came back in to play his games of Solitaire.

There was a huge pile of bills and assorted paperwork which had been building up in my filing tray and I was anxious to sort it all out in case I had missed anything important.

I sorted everything into subject and date order then ploughed my way through updating my home accounts sofware so that I could balance all the statements.  Some of them went back 3 months and it took me 2 and a half hours to get it all finished.

By then P had come back inside and was muttering about all the junk in the filing cabinet that needed to be sorted out so we then spent the next hour going through the piles of paper in the box files.

Some of it was over 10 years old!

It has now all gone on the shredding and bonfire piles and my desk and filing cabinet are now so neat and tidy I don't recognise the place.

I deserved a drink - except I was having a rare *dry* day yesterday.

Too Good To Be True?

I have suffered from hay fever and various allergies since childhood and have to take an antihistamine every day.

Whenever I have tried to come off the daily dose I inevitably start the sneezing, wheezing and itchy, sore eyes after a few days so have to revert to my one a day habit.

A good friend of mine who is a pharmacist used to sell me the antihistamine Loratadine from her pharmacy at virtually cost price, £1 per packet of 30.  As she has now retired and I am down to my last 2 packets I have started to look around for a replacement supplier for the brand I have been using.

Prices for the same brand that I have used vary widely but seem to be around £3.50 for a month's supply.

Last night I found the same brand available for sale via Amazon at around 50p for one month's supply, sold from a supplier based in the UK.  Various Google searches seem to indicate that the supplier is reliable so I have placed an order.

Fingers crossed that I am not poisoned!

Heaven In A Tin

We were invited to our friends' house for supper at the weekend and M kindly presented us with a tin of home made chocolate and hazelnut biscotti as a shared birthday present (P's birthday is a few days after mine).

She is a great cook, once trained to be a professional chef, and these biscotti are absolutely, sublimely and totally delicious.

As they are made without butter (the only fats coming from the eggs) they are not too bad for my diet either.

Oh, did I mention that I liked them?

Just Another Wednesday

Not much for me to write about today. There is so much happening in the world right now it is becoming quite overwhelming.

I did my regular Wednesday stint at the Hospice. After being away over Christmas and New Year there was plenty to keep me occupied, although it took a while for my brain to kick into gear.

I was going to pop into the swish shopping centre nearby on my way home to see if there are any sale bargains left (it's too expensive for me when full price) but couldn't find a space in the car park.  Oh well. I'll save my Christmas money for later.

P is out for a quick pint with a friend so I have some peace and quiet at home for an hour or so. 

I may have to break open the Croft Particular.

Now I Do feel Old

We have just returned from Douglas to arrange my wrinklies' Bus Pass.

Although these used to be available at age 60, the age of eligibility is being gradually increased over a period of time.  Luckily I now qualify, following my birthday last week, so we toddled off to the Sea Terminal in Douglas where the Government has a front desk to deal with transport related transactions.

I had already downloaded the application form and filled it all in and brought long my proof of residence and ID. The charming young lady at the desk took a (very unflattering) photo of me with what looked like a tiny handheld webcam and said the pass would be ready in 15 minutes.

There is a Costa Coffee shop in the terminal so we whiled away a frew minutes having coffee and reading the local newspapers before sauntering over to collect my shiny new bus pass, complete with a photograph of someone who looks just like my mother.

Once the weather improves, P and I shall be off on exciting adventures all around the island with our matching Go Silver Bus Passes.  I expect we shall take some sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer.



Not Going Out

We had planned to pop into Peel this morning to run a few errands, however, the local radio weather forecast warns of gale force winds with 60 mph gusts and very heavy rain on its way.

I think I'll just stay here with a large mug of coffee until it all blows over.

Try Again

I weighed myself a few days after arriving home from the Christmas break and was surprised to find that I had only gained one pound. After all that full-fat food and alcohol.  Although the daily walks may have helped.

It is time to get back on track so that the cholesterol level is back to normal by the time I have my next GP review.

Until the next holiday.

Already Planning for 2020

After meeting up briefly with my sister on Tuesday before flying back home, I decided that I needed to see more of her and her family.  We are not getting any younger!

My niece has two young children (aged 6 and 18 months) so we agreed that the most practical solution was to have a girls' (and kids') get-together over Easter at one of the Center Parcs (I hate that spelling!) .  No husbands allowed, not that mine would have wanted to join us anyway.

It is already booked and I am looking forward to spending a week with them, having some fun.

P and I have also booked a trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary in the spring, to find some more sunshine after emerging from our northern winter.

On New Year's Day we received a booking for our B&B annexe. Last year we had very few bookings so perhaps this could be the start of a busier summer.

So, a nice, shiny new decade is already 3 days old.  I wonder what the rest of it will bring?



Night Train to Lisbon....and Crawley

Two for the price of one today.  My blog post is about two unrelated subjects but both have stuck in my mind today and I wanted to write down my thoughts before I lost them.

First, the town of Crawley in Sussex.  We had arrived into Gatwick airport late on Monday evening and were staying overnight in one of the airport hotels prior to our flight home on Tuesday afternoon.  My sister and brother in law drove down to pick us up from our hotel on Tuesday and take us to lunch before dropping us back to the airport later.  We chose to go to Crawley for lunch as it is the closest large town to the airport.  Well, my apologies to anyone who may live there (perhaps we have just been away from the UK for too long) but I found Crawley to be one of the most depressing towns I have visited in a long time.  The town centre was a little down at heel, filled with fast food outlets, charity and pound shops, betting shops and nail bars.  The shopping centre itself was filled with crowds of "yoof" in onesies or baggy tracksuit bottoms, shouting at each other, or rather careworn middle aged men sucking on cigarettes and hauling dogs on pieces of string.  We found an Italian chain restaurant where we had a mediocre but expensive lunch and enjoyed a long awaited catch-up as we hadn't seen each other for over a year.  Although I really wanted to spend more time with my sister I was very glad when they took us back to the airport.

Second, the book Night Train To Lisbon  by Pascal Mercier.  I picked this up in a charity shop to provide some holiday reading during our trip and have just finished it today. I don't know if any of you have read it?  I did enjoy it but I found it a slow read and had to work through it in small "chunks", however  I persevered as I wanted to read it through to its conclusion.  I was surprised to realise part way through that it is set in modern day Bern and Lisbon.  When I started to read it, I somehow imagined it to be set in a much earlier period.  I was slightly disappointed in the ending and wanted more.  I must be a lazy reader.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, now that it has dawned, and a safe and healthy 2020.