Old Photos

Several bloggers that I follow have recently posted historical family photos - blasts from the past - and this inspired me to dig out some photos of my family.

I don't have many as my mother took most of them with her when she walked out on us back in the 1970s, however, this one is of my great grand mother and some of her children. 

She had a pretty tough time of it back then, living in London's East End and losing her first husband early in life.  I admire her strength of character and I seem to remember her as a fierce person, although this may not have been the case as I was very young when she died.

I think my grandmother may be the girl at the far right.


Wintry Showers

As promised by the weather man we have sleety showers driven on a stiff breeze this morning.

My walk down into Peel from the car park up the hill was not a pleasant one but I am volunteering at the Wildlife Trust shop today so wrapped up in a thick, padded coat, hood up and gloves and boots. I'm glad that I no longer need to wear glasses as I would have needed windscreen wipers.

I think the rain is easing off now. This is the view from the shop  doorway.

Not looking forward to the walk back up the hill later.

Boom Ting

As I seem to be suffering short term memory loss on a more regular basis these days, I thought that perhaps I should take up some new activities to help to stimulate my brain.

Learning a new language is always recommended to help stave off dementia so I thought I would try this to see if it helps.

I have settled on Yoof Speak as it seems to be everywhere at the moment and is a language that I really don't understand too well (which is its purpose I gather - they don't want us wrinklies knowing what they are talking about).

So, I was like well gassed goin' wiv my bae up to Ramsey this morning.  We got us a flat white then some dench towels for the kitchen. But, like, oh em gee, we had the Five-O behind the whip back to da crib so, like, well slowed down.

Hmmm. I think it needs a little more work...innit?

A Proper Winter's Day

Yesterday we had gale force winds - again - accompanied by several sleet and hail showers. Slippery, icy roads everywhere.

I wasn't feeling too good anyway. Generally tired and a couple of dizzy spells, so I had already decided to let Hospice know that I wouldn't be going in this week.

So now I have another Wednesday off.

The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the wind has dropped. 

I have just taken this photo from the back patio.

Shame the neighbours' "Stalag 13 style" collection of sheds spoil our view of the castle though.

Don't Know Why I Bother

Last night's supper was met with sighs and resignation.

Oh, another "healthy" meal?

I had been too tired to cook anything  elaborate so we had a spicy tuna and bean stew with couscous.

Tonight I made pesto chicken and baked potato, which I thought would be regarded as "real food".

Alas, no.

More sighing and protests that there was too much on the plate.

After scraping some of it onto my plate to finish off I was left to work my way through it to avoid any waste.

I retreated to the laptop to catch up with messages from family.

When I popped into the sitting room I found him indoors enjoying a plate of cheese and crackers.

Oh, not too full then?

Quiet Time

Sunday afternoon already.  The rest of the weekend was just a blur.

Yesterday I didn't feel that great. Nothing I could put my finger on, just not quite right, and I kept nodding off.

The ferry didn't sail yesterday because of the gale force winds so there were no Saturday newspapers and no crossword to keep me awake.

We had 6 friends round for supper last night but I didn't feel up to spending hours in the kitchen so I made a very simple meal. Quick, easy and enough to fill them up.  A fish chowder which we had with wild rice and chunks of artisan rye bread. Followed by a platter of various cheeses then a dessert which was incredibly easy and took around 5 minutes to prepare (berry crumble sundae).
It was a good evening and they left around midnight.  Luckily I had already put one load of dishes into the dishwasher while we were having coffee so I finished off the rest of the washing up this morning.

P went into Peel this morning to collect Saturday's delayed newspaper but the car wouldn't start so he had to use the old van he keeps for trips to the tip and the builder's yard.  He used the jump leads on his return and managed to get the car going again. He has just gone out to give it a run around and make sure it is OK.

I shall now sit down quietly with the crossword and see how long it takes for me to fall asleep.

An Omnibus

I have always liked that word for some strange reason. I know not why. 

It seems to apply to today's post .

As yesterday (Thursday) was forecast to be the only day this week without heavy rain we decided to take the bus into Douglas.  There were a couple of errands to run  and I wanted to have a mooch around the shops. 

Although it sounds counter intuitive,  we drove the 5 minutes to our nearest village to catch the bus. The timetables mean that the buses are more frequent from there, every half hour, but only passing the end of our lane every hour or so. There is ample parking right beside the village bus stop in each direction so easy peasy.

I scanned my shiny new Silver Go bus pass and enjoyed the 30 minute cruise into town. For some reason the lyrics from Paul Simon's "America"  popped into my head and became an ear worm for the rest of the day.   It even kept me awake half the night.

We arrived at the Sea Terminal at morning coffee time so popped into Costa for a refreshment stop before walking into town.

As expected, P became bored very quickly once the items on his list had been ticked off and I could feel waves of "Get a b****y move on"  coming at me each time I stopped to browse.

I gave up at midday so we had a very quick lunch and rushed back to the bus interchange to catch the 12:37 back.

Yesterday evening was the annual dinner for the Wildlife Trust Shop volunteers. This year it was held at the local golf club so only a five minute drive away.

Two courses for £16.50, which was very reasonable.  The chairman very generously provided all the wine and drinks as his farewell contribution after retiring from the Trust due to health reasons. We shall miss him. He is a very kind man, a gentleman in the true meaning of the word.

Today, Friday, is going to be a cleaning and tidying up day as we have 6 friends coming to supper tomorrow.  I expect most of tomorrow will be spent in the kitchen.

Wednesday Day Off

I received an email earlier letting me know that there would not be a desk available for me at Hospice so I need not go in this week to volunteer.

I am quite pleased actually as it means that I get to lie in later and don't have to venture out in this  rain and wind.

On Tuesday afternoon I met with a charming lady who is looking for some help with her Girl Guiding computer admin  as I already help out with Girl Guiding database admin on a voluntary basis.  I am going to add this one now to my list of things to do each month to stop my brain from seizing up. It is not too onerous and I can do it at home, fitting in the tasks to suit my available time.

If the rain holds off on Thursday we may use our bus passes and go for a trip into Douglas for coffee and a browse in the shops.

Such an exciting life we lead.



Returns

P finally got around to spending his Christmas gift vouchers at M&S and bought some new underwear.

I am very disappointed and will have to send them back.

When he tried them on he looked nothing like the photo on the pack.


How Was It For You?

The storm, that is.

After all the dire warnings it was a bit of an anticlimax here last night.

Yes, we did have gale force winds that prevented the ferry sailing again (no food in the shops!!!) but overall it was just like another normal winter storm.

We drove the 10 minutes along winding, country lanes lined with trees to meet friends at a local restaurant for a belated Valentines Special meal.  No problems there with falling trees, floods or other disasters.

The meal was wonderful. The restaurant is in a converted outbuilding belonging to the farm where all the meat is produced on site from the rare breeds that they rear.  Their charcuterie has apparently won awards over in the UK.

The Tamworth pork loin was absolutely delicious.

The gin, cider and other drinks are all from local producers too.

We quite enjoyed our small contribution to helping the "Shop Local" initiative.

Couldn't Give A Forex

It seems the banks still cannot accept online foreign currency orders weeks after the Travelex hackers managed to get into their system.

We need to order some cash for our travels so went along to one of the remaining branches to order it over the counter.

Sorry. We don't hold any in stock and cannot order any because of the Travelex problem. Try the Post Office.

The website said we can order online before 3p.m. and it will be delivered by Signed For post the next working day. 

Great. Duly ordered on Wednesday 2 p.m.  The web confirmation screen said Delivery on Thursday. 

Waited in all day Thursday for it to arrive.  Our mail deliveries can arrive any time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. these days.

Nothing.

An email arrived at 3 p.m. confirming that my order was now going to be processed and will be dispatched the next working day.

Great.  So it will be arriving on a day when we are both due to be out so nobody at home to sign for it.

Thanks Post Office.   We would have made a special trip into town if we had known.


Welcome Sunshine

Bright and sunny on the drive to Hospice this morning, although freezing cold.

A very busy morning updating name and address details on the database from around 300 letters which have recently come in.  This task may take me the next few weeks to complete.

Still sunny on the drive home, but only 4C maximum temperature all day.

I didn't feel up to doing much this afternoon so just read my book and am now opening a bottle of wine and throwing a few pieces of wood on the fire - some logs mixed with sawn-up pine bedhead salvaged from the local tip. 

At the height of Storm Ciara over the weekend P didn't feel like venturing outside to bring up more wood and coal so we went without a fire one evening, relying on the gas boiler for our heating. We both missed it and have made sure we have a stock up in the house to keep us going for longer before he has to brave the cold again.

Hopefully I will feel motivated to post something less boring tomorrow.

Thanks for reading anyway.





Warming Up

Not the weather, that's for sure.

This morning (Tuesday) we had arranged to meet friends at the cafe in the park up in Ramsey.  We thought it would be a good idea to take the bus and use my new bus pass.  However, while we were eating our porridge at 8:30 the sky turned black and it started to sleet then hail.

Right. The car it is.

The drive up the west coast road takes around 30  minutes and the sky had started to clear after a while, with some blue bits showing in between large lumps of black cloud.

We stopped off first at the Co-Op store, as we were early, and did some shopping.  Due to the recent stormy weather the ferry hasn't been running for the past few days so the shops are starting to run low on fresh food.  Luckily, the Co-Op has a warehouse on the island so is able to keep some stocks without relying totally on daily deliveries from the UK.

Suitably loaded up with fruit and veg, we drove along the promenade to the park. Before we were able to get out of the car a heavy rain shower passed overhead, which quickly turned to sleet and hail again.  We still had 15 minutes before our friends were due to arrive so we just sat in the car with the engine running and the heater on and waited for the shower to pass.

A brief stroll through the park to the cafe and then a very enjoyable hour and a half drinking coffee, laughing and chatting.

On the way home there were a couple more showers and the strong wind was certainly chilly.

I really fancied soup for lunch for some reason - must have been the weather - so when we arrived home and had unpacked the shopping I made P wait for 20 minutes while I knocked up a pan of homemade leek and potato soup, which we had with chunks of the still-warm rye bloomer we bought from Co-Op.

That warmed me up.

A Stiff Upper Lip

We braved the icy wind this morning to pop into Peel to run a few errands.

It was not pleasant out there. I am sure a whole layer of skin has been scoured from my face.

We met an acquaintance of P's from his running club,  a very pleasant gentleman in his 70s who, P told me, has always been a good runner.

He has just downsized, with his wife, from tbeir former home of 40 years in a semi-rural area into a smaller place in town  to be closer to shops, bus routes and the GP surgery.  He told us, in a matter of fact way, that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer and is not likely to be around by the end of this year.  He was just off to meet with someone who has offered to take over his duties in a local motorcycle owners' club and is busy putting all his affairs in order.

Although he momentarily appeared slightly emotional I was amazed at his calm acceptance of his fate and the way he spoke about his plans.

I am not sure how I would be if I were in his situation.  


Oh, M&S...Really?

It has just come to my attention that this Friday is Valentine's Day.  I know. The marketing  has been going on for weeks probably but I haven't noticed it until now.

What made me laugh out loud though was an ad from M&S promoting their special "Love Sausage". 




I wonder which PR whizz kid came up with that one?

A Little Bit of Happiness

Yesterday on my blog post Weaver commented on the sad things going on at the moment.

I thought that perhaps today's post should instead be about some of the little things that make me happy.

In no particular order...


Driving home after my weekly volunteering shift at Hospice,  feeling satisfied that I have been busy and useful, and admiring the beautiful green hills on the journey. 

Sitting beside a warm, crackling fire on a cold, wet and windy day with a mug of hot, strong coffee, looking out at the sea and the castle.

Seeing the first snowdrops in flower here and there in the bare winter garden.

My lovely, kind, generous and supportive sister and her two beautiful grandchildren,  who I look forward to spending time with over Easter.

Having a few good friends to join us for food and conversation. 

Being reasonably fit and healthy and able to still enjoy travelling to interesting places.


I feel happy just thinking about these now.



It's Still Winter

Despite the relatively mild weather so far, Spring has not yet properly sprung. At least, not here.

We have more warnings of storms on their way, with Ciara set to hit us tomorrow.  Ferries cancelled again and the likelihood of damage to properties plus fallen trees etc.
We are under that red bit in the middle...

As one of our local weatherman said in a deadpan manner, "It's winter. We get bad weather".

He's not wrong you know.


PS:  An update for those who expressed an interest in yesterday's incident, it seems that there had been a fire in the property overnight. An elderly lady died and a male resident is in a serious condition in the hospital.  Very sad.

Aches and Pains and Goings-On

Yesterday I started to notice a twinge in my lower back which got worse as the day progressed.  By the time I went to bed it was very painful and I had trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position.

It was quite tricky getting out of bed this morning, and worse trying to put my socks on.

Coupled with some wrist pain from too much computer mousing, I feel that I am starting to fall apart.

I took an Ibuprofen with my breakfast and we drove into Peel for a walk along the Prom to try to loosen up my muscles.

On the way, we noticed a police presence outside a property on the coast road.  Local media just mentioned an incident in a local property that was currently being investigated by police and fire officers.  A press release is to follow, apparently.





5 Degrees

When I set off in the car this morning at 9:30 for my Hospice volunteering shift the dashboard display was showing 4C and the frost warning light was flashing amber.

It was pretty chilly out there.

When I returned to my car at 2 p.m. in the Hospice car park the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining.

The dashboard display was showing 9C.

That 5 degrees difference was very welcome.

Hasselback

With all that is going on in the world at the moment, I continue to post frivolous items here on my blog.  I am not ignoring those subjects but it is depressing enough to read about them everywhere else.

I am one of those people who use Facebook to connect with my few remaining family members, who all still live in either the UK or Australia.  As I struggle with the telephone these days I rely on electronic means of communication.

Yesterday my Facebook feed popped up with a post from the Good Housekeeping magazine with their recipe for hasselback potatoes.  I had not cooked these for quite some years and was tempted to try them again.

Monday evening we had salmon fillets with spinach cooked in lime and ginger and the hasselback potatoes, with courgette batons tossed in chilli oil and oregano then baked.

Thank you Restaurant Hasselbacken.


Haggis

Digging around in the freezer at the weekend looking for something for Sunday's supper, I found some haggis that we bought last year and then forgot about.

I know it was too late for Burns night but I cooked it anyway, and very tasty it was too.

My cold seems to have disappeared today.

Have I found a miracle cure?

02.02.2020

I noticed the above on the car dashboard display this morning on the drive into town.

For some reason it just caught my interest and made me smile.

Perhaps I am slowly losing my marbles.

Anyway, we collected our parcel from M&S just as the store opened at 9 a.m. then had coffee and sourdough toast for breakfast at the Sea Terminal cafe.

Living on the edge again.

The B Word

I have decided that I am not going to mention Brexit today.

Oh.  Bugger. I just did.