Going Backwards

From today we shall need to start wearing masks again when out and about, something we have not had to do over here for a while. 

It doesn't bother me although I sometimes struggle to understand what people are saying to me, even with my hearing aids turned up. 

Our cold and stormy snap has now turned to a mild and wet spell.  I think I prefer the rain to the gale force winds. At least I can stand up when I go out!

P went for a stroll up to take a look at the new house yesterday morning while I was out with my walking partner.   The vendors were in the process of moving their belongings to their new temporary rental and invited him in to chat about the final preparations for the sale completion date.  It is getting so close now.

Soon we shall be able to look forwards rather than back.

Out For A Blow

It was a gorgeous sunny morning today but with a very strong, freezing wind left over from last night's storm. 

I had gone off to bed last night at 10 p.m. and, without my hearing aids, heard nothing of the storm force winds blowing wheelie bins and garden contents around the streets.  P was there when I awoke at 8 a.m. so he obviously made it home in one piece, despite having to drag a large tree branch out of the way that had been blocking his side of the road.  Fortunately there were no other cars on the road at the time.

We walked into town after breakfast, stopping to take a look at the white caps out to sea.  My goodness though, the wind was so strong and so cold I struggled to get this shot. My fingers were frozen within seconds.



Of course,  as a result of the stormy weather the ferries had been cancelled so there were no UK newspapers or UK foodstuffs on the shelves.  No Saturday crossword for us this week.  

We did buy some Manx milk and local cheese  and some veg and a pie from the Farmers Market then battled against the wind to get back for hot chocolate and a slice of coconut cake.

Last week I collected the framed photo collage of old Ramsey that I had won in the local British Legion prize draw.  Apologies for the poor quality photo here, but I am quite pleased with my prize.





Honking And A Storm Brewing

Yesterday was sunny but cold and P decided to go out for a run after lunch. He wanted to recce the route of an upcoming fell race on North Barrule, the second highest peak on the island. 

He was out for an hour and a half, having got himself lost on the descent. He had ended up wading through the deep, marshy upland, past his ankles in sludge.

Whilst he was in the shower I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. There was an overpowering stench which appeared to me to resemble  very strong cat litter aroma or blocked drains.  It turned out to be his fell shoes and their rubbery insoles drying on the radiator.

Boy, did those shoes honk!

This morning we took the early bus to Douglas as P was due his booster jab.  We had brunch afterwards in The Caff, opposite the bus station. P had the pensioners ' size all-day breakfast and I had an omelette, which turned out to be a 4 egg omelette (!) with a huge slice of buttered extra thick toast.  I struggled (wo)manfully but had to admit defeat halfway through.

P is planning to drive back into Douglas this evening to attend the Fell Runners Club AGM, despite the severe weather warning for tonight. The Mountain Road will be closed due to the forecast so he will have to travel the long way via the coast road.  Nothing is going to keep him from the annual fell league awards and prize giving  with its carb loaded buffet. Not even the forecast severe storm force winds accompanied by wintry showers.

Worried? Me?  Whatever makes you think that.




Colour

With less than three weeks to go now until our completion date I am thinking more about the little things I want to do in the house.  In my head I have arranged the furniture and chosen which pictures are to go on each wall.  I have already bought new cushions and have been thinking about replacing our worn out towels.

My biggest conundrum is the downstairs loo.   It is quite small, no window, tucked away off the entrance hall, and currently painted a bright orangey / red.   I am not really keen on the colour and want to change it but am having trouble deciding what to do with it.  P has already decreed "No wallpaper; No tiles" as that is too much work. So, paint it is then.  But which colour do I choose?

I have spent (far too many) hours browsing home decorating magazines and websites looking for inspiration.  Do I go for the safe option and paint it all white or should I be brave and opt for a rich,   dark colour?

These three appeal to me, but I shall have to wait until we move in before we can decide what do.



I quite like the art gallery.

What would you prefer for your smallest room -  light or dark?



Picking A Winner

Last week we visited a small exhibition in the old Ramsey Courthouse in the square beside the war memorial. The boards arranged around the old courtroom displayed old sepia photographs and newspaper cuttings depicting the town's retail and business heritage.  Many of the businesses are, of course, now long gone but some still remain and the old buildings are still recognisable. 

The exhibition was in support of the British Legion and Remembrance Day so we dropped our donation into the collection bucket  where we noticed that we could also leave our name and telephone number to be entered into a draw.  The prize was a large framed collage of old photos of the town centre.

Yesterday evening I had a phone call from a very charming gentleman who told me that I had won the prize draw.  I was very pleased as I have never previously been very lucky with draws or raffles.

I am going to collect my prize from the Courthouse building on Saturday morning.

It will look very well on the wall in the hallway of our new home.


An Eventful Morning

Today did not quite go to plan. 

Yesterday evening an elderly family friend rang and asked P if he would call round to her house this morning to "open up".  She had given him a spare key last week, "just in case" as she said.

Over the past few months she seems to have become a little more confused, or perhaps confusing, saying and doing slightly odd things. We put this down to her age - 96 - and increasing physical frailty, although she has managed living on her own ever since her live-in companion (P's father) died 11 years ago.

P popped round to her house after breakfast at 8:30 as he was due to meet friends in Douglas later this morning. 

I received a phone call from him soon afterwards telling me that he had found her body on the kitchen floor and had called 999.

I wonder why she had insisted that he visit her today as it seems such a  coincidence and was not something she had ever asked before.

Poor lady.  She had been telling us for a few years now that she was getting very tired of living and wished it could all be over. 

Poor P for being the one to find her like that.


Cut Short

I went for a Sunday morning walk today with my friend Babs. She lives close by so came up to meet me before joining me on our planned walk around the footpaths above the town. 

The first section is paved and car-free so was an easy, if uphill, stroll to the Hairpin bend on the TT Course. 

We crossed the road and joined the next section of footpath but,  after the recent rainy weather, this section was very muddy and slippery with wet leaves. 

At the bottom of the track we were going to walk down through the houses into town for coffee but at this point the low, grey, damp cloud turned to a persistent,  drenching drizzle.  We decided to follow the series of ginnels / alleys between the houses back towards our starting point. 

We surprised P by arriving home earlier than planned but the three of us spent a very pleasant hour together chatting over coffee and sharing a rather nice date and walnut cake which I had bought yesterday at the Farmers Market.



Who cares if it rains when you have cake!

To Goggle Or Not?

We have had a couple of quotes from local tradesmen to sand the worn and stained solid oak kitchen floor in our new house before we move in.  The amount quoted is quite a lot higher than our budget so P has decided that he will hire a floor sanding machine and, reluctantly,  do it himself.

I asked him if he still had his dust mask and protective goggles.  He grumbled a bit and said he had a mask but was not going to wear goggles as they made his face sweat.

When I expressed concern that he may get sawdust particles in his eyes he dismissed me with the comment "you obviously don't understand anything about floor sanding".

Well. That's me told then. 



A Touch Of Colour

Although not as spectacular as the autumn foliage that can be seen elsewhere, I think that the colours on the hillside viewed from our window are quite pretty, especially on this grey old morning.


We are due to exchange contracts on the new house sometime today.  I am on tenterhooks.   Until then I can peek across to the bell tower in eager anticipation...






Monday

The morning turned out to be dry,  albeit quite overcast and windy. 

We walked into town,  had coffee and almond biscotti then went down to the library to choose a couple of books each; enough to see us through the next few wet and windy days.  On the way back we squeezed down the very narrow lane / ginnel / twitten to take a look at the old post boxes on the wall - one for each monarch's reign.

















After lunch the sky brightened up so we went for a walk.  A circular route up behind the house then along the lane that runs between the tram track and the woods . Plenty of fallen leaves to kick our way through.



















Later on, as dusk fell, I happened to look out of the window and caught the last gasp of what had been a vividly colourful sunset.

Just managed to snap it in time...



Vision

I have suffered from poor eyesight since childhood.  At the age of seven I had to wear those hideously ugly round, flesh pink NHS specs for my short-sightedness, graduating to equally unattractive "Dame Edna" blue plastic, winged frames in my teenage years.

In my twenties I was able to change to contact lenses for a  time  although eventually these became uncomfortable and I started to experience irritation and blurriness.

In 1991 I took the plunge and underwent a surgical procedure called radial keratotomy to correct my short sight.  This was successful in giving me near perfect vision, although leaving me with permanent scarring of the cornea.

Eventually, as I reached my fifties, my eyesight began to change and I became long sighted which meant I had to wear glasses again.  Three different prescriptions - one each for reading, driving and computer work.

When I retired I had cataract surgery which has thankfully given me back near normal eyesight but I now find that a combination of the artificial lenses plus the corneal scars means that I suffer from extremely poor night vision.

Last night we visited friends for a birthday meal.  I offered to drive the 40 minutes each way so that P could enjoy a glass or two of wine.  

I haven't driven at night for quite some time so was horrified to discover on the way there in the dark that each time  vehicles approached from the opposite direction I was totally blinded. On a couple of occasions I had to slow to a standstill until they had passed.  Once we finally reached our friends' house P said he would happily forego his wine in order to drive us home safely.

It is quite a shock to discover that something I had taken for granted is now lost.  No more night driving for me.




Spend, Spend, Spend

 Today has been a very "spendy" day.

It was a beautiful bright, sunny but very cold morning so we drove "over the mountain" , as they say here, to the busy metropolis of Douglas.

P dropped me off first as he wanted to visit his favoured small, locally owned sports shop to buy some compression sleeves for his leg, which has suffered from several muscle injuries. I walked down to M&S to collect my recent online order - cushions and a warm, chunky sofa throw for the new house.  These were courtesy of last Christmas' gift vouchers from my lovely sister. Thanks Sis x

We met up in the Sea Terminal for coffee and a chocolate biscuit then set off to spend some money.

First we visited the Crossroads Care warehouse shop which sells some lovely second hand, donated furniture and homeware. We came away with a large ceramic table lamp complete with shade for £20 - a bargain.

Next stop was the Hospice warehouse shop which was actually a little too busy for me. We only had a quick browse there but still found a couple of things for the new house. A seagrass lidded basket and a curiosity which will make an ideal umbrella stand for the hall.  I noticed the stand as we were walking towards the till to pay for the basket and tried to find a price ticket on it. We asked the young lady how much it was and she told us that it wasn't actually part of their stock - it had been used to transport some of the tall upright Christmas decorations that had just been delivered and had been put to one side whilst they were unpacking.  She was happy to sell it to us though and said how about £4?  Yes please!

Our last stop was our locally owned electrical retailer where we ordered and paid for a new washing machine - the house vendors are taking theirs with them.  I had seen the one I wanted and it was on special offer. They are happy to keep it until we move in and will deliver it then.  They may not be as cheap as Currys, but they are locally owned, very friendly and have amazing after sales service.

We drove back - over the mountain - enjoying the beautiful scenery with all of the island spread out below us in the sunshine as we passed Snaefell . We could clearly see the mountains of Scotland and Cumbria on the horizon, so close we could even make out some of the buildings on the coast.

After all that spending I needed a cup of tea and a lie down. 

I am soooo looking forward to moving in and playing house.



Something To Look Forward To

I am just back from a hospital appointment with a Dermatology Consultant, having a mole on my leg investigated.

I was a little taken aback when he said it needed to be removed and sent for biopsy, as I was expecting him to say it was nothing sinister.

He is referring me to the Plastic Surgery team as it is quite large and will require a skin graft to cover the wound.

It seems my procedure is likely to be done before Christmas. 

What's the betting the appointment falls at the same time as completion on the house?



Just Leave It To Me

Yesterday morning we had a trip into Douglas to visit our Advocate in order to sign the purchase contract and hand over a cheque for the deposit payment.

We were advised that we have to take out the Buildings Insurance cover before contracts can be exchanged so I was going to contact the broker yesterday afternoon to get a quote. P said that he would deal with so I left it for him to sort out.

This morning I met my walking buddy, who is slowly recovering from the cold bug, and we went for a short, leisurely walk to the park for a coffee and chat.    When I arrived back home at lunchtime P was a little sheepish. He had received another one of those scam 'phone calls from "Windows" in India. Immediately after hanging up on that one the 'phone rang again. This time he said it was a young woman with an Eastern European accent saying that she was calling from our bank. He apparently said "No, you're not" and hung up again.  Shortly afterwards he realised that it may have been a genuine call regarding the rather large cheque we had handed over yesterday but he was unable to find the number to return the call. He then walked into town to visit the local bank branch and they confirmed that it had indeed been a genuine call from Head Office and that as he had been unable to verify that the payment was genuine the cheque had been stopped.  Great.

Straight after lunch we both went back to the bank branch and arranged a telegraphic transfer to the Advocates' account which, thankfully, went through OK.

When I asked P if he had sorted out the insurance cover he said that he was still waiting for the vendor to get back to him about it. (Why was he asking the vendor???).  I emailed the insurance broker and requested a quote but by this time it was too late to arrange it so that will have to be done tomorrow so that contracts can be exchanged.  

P gets cross with me because I always want to take control of any admin issues and says that I don't trust him to do it himself.  I wonder why.