I went to the boot market yesterday for the first time since last autumn and boy was I surprised. Ok, so it was a nice, sunny day and that always draws the crowds but it was BIG. Twice it’s usual size and there were more people than I’ve ever seen there before. Far more. Like more than double the number. That’s a lot of people. The car park had been extended but even that wasn’t enough - cars were parked along verges for a good few hundred yards or so on either side of the road too.
Another thing I noticed was that a lot of the stall holders were asking more for their stuff than they previously had. Not huge amounts, but a pound rather than 50p, that sort of thing. Some were taking the p**s though… £2 for a chiffon scarf? I don’t think so.
I managed to get myself a few bits that I’m really happy with. A lamp for the guest room when it’s eventually decorated (this summer some time), a little white cotton summer blouse, a belt, a scarf (not the one to two quid, I hasten to add), a spider plant and four necklaces. All in all I spent £6. Can’t grumble at that. LM got herself a really pretty dress for £3.50 too. One of those handy ones that you can just chuck in a weekend bag and it comes out uncreased. And that dries in no time, too. She was pleased :)
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the recession is sending more people in the direction of car boot sales. People wanting to make a few bob by getting rid of their unwanted stuff and others hoping to bag a bargain rather than pay full whack in the shops. Reusing… wonderful :)
And the fact that my fashion conscious daughter (albeit, not a strict follower of high street fashion) can find stuff she likes there is proof that it’s not all tat at the boot market. Far from it. Half of my home and wardrobe has come from car boot sales and I’m not ashamed to admit it, either.
Cross fingers it’s nice weather next Sunday and I’ll be off bargain hunting again. No doubt a good few of you will be doing the same :)
First of all, my apologies for ignoring the blog and you lovely bloggy people for so long but life has been getting in the way and… well, to be honest, I haven’t really had much I’ve felt like writing about. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything to write about, I just haven’t felt like writing it.
I’m starting to feel as though I’m getting on top of things again now though and life is getting back to some kind of normality. Well, MY normality, anyway. But then I guess everybody’s normality is different.
Now that spring’s here I’ve a host of jobs to do around the house. The garden looks the pits and will definitely need sorting out. I’ve written before that I’d ideally like somebody to come in and give it a complete overhaul that would make it easy maintenance but the funeral associated outgoings sucked up a huge chunk of my savings and then a few others things have needed paying for so that idea is a long way off in the future again. Even my new kitchen, which I finally thought I was going to get this summer after 3 years of saving has had to be put on hold. The money just isn’t there anymore. Oh well… back to the drawing board. Worse things have happened at sea, as they say. The least I can do is tidy the bloody garden though, so it looks….hmmm…. I was going to say presentable but it’ll never be quite that - I can get it looking as if somebody care a bit about it though. At the moment it’s full of broken pots, old barbeques, bits of tree net and other odd bits of rubbish. The table and chairs are covered in a rather unattractive green mould and the plants are all overgrown. As for the weeds… I know no matter what I do I’m never going to keep them down; the garden chock-a-block with them.
Then there’s the bedrooms. Paul will be moving back this summer but before that can happen I need to do a bedroom reshuffle. I’m moving into LM’s old bedroom (she moved out while I was in London… yes, it was all happening at once), Paul is going in mine and the little room will become a guest room. The thing is, they all desperately need decorating first. LM’s old room is black and cream and as nice as it looked when she did it, I’m not sleeping in a black room. The room that’ll be Paul’s hasn’t been decorated in yonks and has a carpet that I’m utterly ashamed of, and the little room….well, I actually think that can stay as it is at a push but I’d like to have it painted before I make it into a guest room. All this costs money and as I can’t do the work myself, I have to pay somebody to come in and do it. It has to be done though, like it or not.
I’ll keep you updated on the progress (and maybe even post some before and after photos, assuming I remember to take them) but until my daughter actually gets the rest of her ‘crap’ out of her old bedroom, I can’t do a darned thing.
In the meantime I’ll enjoy the sunshine we’re having and hope that it lasts.
I went clothes shopping yesterday. It was only a trip to Matalan and I didn’t spend a fortune but as I’ve increased a size since last summer (this is a good thing) I really wouldn’t have very much to wear at all without adding considerably to my wardrobe. I had one pair of jeans that fit, I’d stained the last pair of trackie bottoms (I love the soft, baggy ones for slouching about in), one pair of cords, a pair of black trousers and a handful of tops that aren’t even all suitable for wearing on a casual day-to-day basis. With spring here and the, hopefully, warmer weather approaching, the situation was becoming dire. This was also the first time I'd bought brand new clothes for so long that I can't even remember the last time.
Originally LM was going to come with me but it was such a lovely day for a trip out today so, as she was working, I asked Richard if he’d come with me. Most men would balk at a clothes shopping trip with a female and that’s without being laden with the job of pushing the wheelchair around and carrying the basket that was getting heavier and heavier. And without the female in question getting herself just a tad stressed up (ok… a bit more than just a tad) because her arms hurt every time she tried to hold something up or reach for something that was just beyond how far she could comfortably stretch, but Richard didn’t complain. I did wheel myself for a while - I didn’t leave it all to him - but my arms aren’t strong enough yet for me to whiz round the way I once used to. I’m sure in many ways it was a frustrating experience for us both but I got a few things I liked and that would work with what I already have so was pleased.
I was even more pleased when Linn Marie had a look at what I’d bought though. Not only did my 20 year old daughter approve of everything I’d bought but two of the items - both summer jumpers - were met with “awww… you should have got me one of those”.
And there was me thinking I was a right old frump. Maybe there’s life in the old bird yet ;-)
I arrived safely back home on Monday evening after a hectic two weeks, went promptly to bed and stayed there until now. I was shattered. How I kept going through that fortnight is a mystery to me but I guess I was running on adrenaline or something and now that I can finally relax, it’s all caught up with me. Not to worry though, it’s just a blip. I’m still feeling a lot fitter than I was a while ago so things are definitely on the up.
Another person who’s pushing herself to her limits is Amy, a young lady who’s probably out there right now, covering the next leg of her long journey from Leeds to Cardiff. Every day for 10 days she’s walking an average of 20 miles a day in order to raise money for Link Community Development, a charity that builds schools for children in Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Malawi.
Amy came to stay with us on Wednesday night as a ‘couch surfer’. She found us through couchsurfing.com, a website designed to help travellers find free accommodation for a night or two. I originally signed up when LM was thinking of going travelling, basically just to find out what it was all about, but as being a member means I can probably help a few people by offering them a bed for the night, then so be it. Amy was my first ‘couch surfer’ to come stay and a very nice girl she is too. Very grounded, takes things as they are and asks for very little. In fact, she spent the evening in my bedroom with me, LM and Sam (a friend), perched on the end of my bed. We all shared some stories and had a good laugh though and it was 11pm before she finally dropped into the spare bed. I guess that means she enjoyed herself :)
Now 20 miles a day might not sound like an awful lot to some people but when you consider that a marathon is 26 miles, you suddenly realise that 20 miles a day for 10 consecutive days is actually quite a mammoth task. And Amy hadn’t even trained for this. In fact, she told us that the furthest she’d ever walked before was just 4 miles. Brave girl!
Amy will be going to Uganda in the summer to help build schools. A laudable thing to do, as I’m sure you’ll agree. The world could do with more people like her who are willing to actually put themselves out in order to do something to help those who are less privileged than us.
If you’d like to sponsor Amy, she has a JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/amyleedsuganda. The minimum amount is £2 I think, but I doubt that’ll break the bank for any of us. And she really does deserve our support. After all, what’s a couple of quid compared to the blood, sweat and tears that she’ll be enduring over the next week?
After a long illness my dad finally found peace this morning.
I have to get to London somehow.
I don't know when I'll be back. Sorry.
Sharon J xx
UPDATE: Richard is taking the trouble to drive me down on Monday and then take the train back up (I need my car there in order to get around but can't drive such a long distance alone) and Carol has kindly offered me a bed for the duration as well as any extra help that my mum and I might need. I'll probably be gone a couple of weeks.
Thank you everybody for your kind wishes, both in the comments here, through emails, and on Facebook.
Lemons are said to be nature’s own cleansers - they deodorize whatever they come in contact with, cut through grease and leave their beautiful, sharp fragrance behind to add a real whiff of freshness.
Use those sunny yellow fruits to clean worktops, chopping boards, the microwave, the inside of your fridge and just about any other place that needs cleaning and deodorizing.
Just cut a lemon in half and gently wipe it over the surface of whatever needs cleaning then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Throw the rind in the waste bin to help kill off any nasty smells there.
To clean a microwave, just pop a slice or two of lemon in a glass of water, zap in the micro for 30 seconds on the highest setting then clean off any loose residue with a barely damp cloth.
To dust and polish wooden furniture, just add a little olive oil to some lemon juice (just enough oil to give it a better polishing consistency) then use as you would any other wood furniture polish. It not only smells better than those spray polishes, it’s far better for the environment too.
Even ink stains can be removed with lemon juice so next time that pen in your top pocket leaks, just dip the effected area in lemon juice for about 15 minutes then wash as you normally would (using environmentally friendly washing detergent, of course).
And then, when you’ve finished your housework for the day, pop a slice of lemon in a glass of Cinzano and lemonade and just chill. Well it works for me.
Are there daffodils blooming in your garden now? Or along country lanes, in parks, or maybe in your neighbour's front garden?
There are a good few beautiful golden blooms smiling at me from the garden these days and the miniature daffodils in the front are budded and ready to go any day now.
I don't think there's anything that lifts my spirits quite as much as seeing the daffodils bloom in spring. To me, it's the first major sign that the rebirth of nature has started and soon everything else will start to follow. The birds will be singing their crazy love songs, the trees will be budding and the insects will start to crawl out from their winter hideaways. Badgers, hedgehogs and other hibernating creatures will emerge from their long period of winter sleep and the sun will just keep getting stronger.
I had a lovely day yesterday, which is quite strange considering I had to take an urgent trip up to Manchester, to the specialist unit at Salford Royal.
I have to admit that I woke up dreading the day ahead of me. I hauled myself off the sofa, where I’ve been sleeping for the past two months, knowing that the clinic I’d been called to on Monday would undoubtedly leave me feeling exhausted and sat myself at my set-up trolley (the place where I lay out my aseptic medical equipment in order to deal with my IV feeding line) and proceeded to get myself ‘unhooked’. All was going well until I had to flush the line through with saline, at which point the darned thing burst. Yes, it burst. Saline sprayed all over me and for a moment I sat there wondering what on earth had happened. Just as well I already had to go the hospital as that would definitely need dealing with pronto.
By this time I wasn’t feeling too upbeat about the day ahead. On the contrary, my mind was full of negative thoughts and the dread started to really build up in me. But I ‘pulled myself together’ and decided that thinking negatively wouldn’t help anything and would almost certainly make the day worse and that some positive thought was needed instead. I thought about how blessed I am to still be in a position to enjoy the things I’m still able to do - just 25 years ago they wouldn’t even have been able to save my life let alone keep me alive through artificial nutrition pumped directly into my blood.
Anyway, I got myself dressed for the first time since Boxing Day and although just doing that sapped my energy considerably (I’ve been suffering from lack of potassium, something that REALLY depletes your energy and can be life threatening) it felt good to be looking more or less normal again. I couldn’t have a bath or wash my hair though - the former because I can’t actually get in and out of the bath and the latter because I can’t get up the stairs to the bathroom anyway - so still felt I looked a bit bag ladyish but I’d just have to hope the neighbours didn’t see me and deal with it. In fact, when I checked in the mirror, my hair didn’t look tooooo bad considering, but it does need a bloody good cut.
Richard, with whom I’m now on talking terms but not in a sense where we’ll ever be a couple again, drove me to the hospital and just being out, seeing the world again, had me feeling as though I’d just escaped prison. It had been so long since I’d been out that I was actually starting to forget what ‘outside’ looked like. And although it was a rainy day that didn’t matter - even the rain looked and felt good.
Clinic went ok - there was a lot of waiting around as usual but we got chatting to a few other patients who suffer from the same condition as I do and although it’s sad that so many people have had their lives changed in this way, it does help to know that others are up against the same kind of problems and hear how they deal with things, or not, whatever the case may be.
I also had my line fixed. That was a fiddly job but the nurse was lovely and everything went as it should. My line’s a little longer now and will therefore be bulkier beneath my clothes but what the heck, it keeps me alive! That line is as important to me as my heart is.
Three hours after arriving we left the hospital again and headed back to Crewe and a pub where we knew we could grab a cheap but decent meal. Unfortunately, halfway through the meal my energy deserted me and I just wanted to go home. I started getting cold and I was shivering badly - always a sign that I need sleep - so we headed back to my house, Richard saw me in and picked up a few bits he’d left behind when we split, and I crawled back on to the sofa, pulled the duvet over me and slept soundly for three hours. I don’t even remember my daughter talking to me, I was out for the count within minutes.
When I woke again it was dark and I was alone. My daughter came down for a chat, then I read for a while, had a quick look on eBay and then settled myself down for the night. Again, I slept soundly until eight this morning.
Going out yesterday restored my faith in that I will get over this blip - I just need to keep exercising (I have a pedlar and dumbbells that I use daily to help build up my muscle mass again) and keep thinking positively.
My next goal is to visit the hairdresser and get a bit more self-esteem back. I’m hoping I’ll have done that by the end of the month.
Positive thought is powerful. Like attracts like so by thinking good thoughts we're more likely to attract good things into our lives making even the days we dread the most just that bit more bearable.
I just had a phone call. Nothing unusual about that really, except that this one was. Unusual, that is.
Here’s how it went:
Ring…ring… [I check number, it’s unavailable. I answer anyway, there‘s a few seconds pause and I clearly hear the caller put the phone down.]
Ring…ring… [I check number again...still unavailable. I answer.]
Me: Hello Him: Is that Mrs Sharon? Me [thinking it’s strange he didn’t use my surname]: Who’s asking? Him: I’m calling about your loft and cavity wall insulation for [tells me my house number and street] Me: Sorry, I know nothing about any insulation. Goodbye.
I was rather abrupt in my manner when I put the phone down but the whole thing felt very dodgy to me and I wasn’t about to stay on the line with him.
1. Why an unavailable number? 2. Why put the phone down the first time he called? 3. Why not use my surname? 4. Why, even though I asked, did he not introduce himself?
I’m sure that whatever he was up to, it wasn’t kosher. He even sounded nervous, like he knew he didn’t really ought to be doing what he was doing; the pause between me asking who wanted to speak to me and him responding was just a bit too long, if you get what I mean.
It really is worth being aware of dodgy phone calls. I mean, I can’t say for sure that he was up to no good, but the signs are definitely there. I should really have asked him for the name of the company he worked for and his name, but I wasn’t in the best of moods and I do remember reading something a while back that said you shouldn’t keep anonymous callers on the line for longer than you need to but it would have been interesting to have heard what he’d said if I had asked.
I guess I won’t be getting any loft or cavity wall insulation.
I love the English language. In fact, I love listening to any language as I’m fascinating by the different sounds and gestures that people use when speaking. What I’m sad about though is the way our language appears to be evolving.
Now I know language doesn’t remain static. Every language evolves whether we like it or not - if that weren’t the case we’d still all be speaking in the same way Shakespeare did, or even Anglo-Saxon, but I really don’t like what’s happening to it these days.
This is copied from something a 15 year old friend of the family wrote recently:
“I had da best tym todaii it woz wiked. Just gt in nd am 2 tyred 2 fink. C ya 2mrw.”
I’m really not sure whether that’s txt spk or just a case of bad spelling, grammar and everything else rolled together.
This isn’t an isolated incident either. Go on any social networking site and take a look at how young people write these days. Not all of them - some youngsters write beautifully - but far too many.
Is it because they’re not being taught proper language skills in school? Is it because of txt spk influences? Is it just sheer laziness (can’t be bothered to learn)?
I really hope this isn’t a sign of how people will be speaking/writing in the future because that, to me, just isn’t beautiful.
My daughter’s out tonight. Just recently she’s been spending more time than usual at home and definitely more time sitting in the living room actually wanting to talk to me. Every night this week so far and all but one last week. And the one night she was out last week was because it was her birthday so was taken out for a meal by some friends. She did make me a lasagne before she went though (my favourite - she hates it) and apart from an hour or two spent shopping in the morning, spent the day with me.
This is most unusual behaviour for her but I know what’s happening. She’s moving out in a few weeks and knows that this is the last of her time left being part of this place… being here whenever…. In the future it’ll be visits and that’s never the same. For the same reason I’ve been really enjoying her company.
We’re both heading off into the unknown now. I’ve just realised that I’ve never actually lived alone before. I went straight from my parents’ home to my married home and when that went tits up I had my children living with me. After 48 years I’m finally going it alone.
How we’ll cope remains to be seen but I’m optimistic.