30th September 2011

Busy week, really, although looking at my diary, I don’t seem to have done very much at all. However.
I had a look at my friend Sylvia’s computer, which was switching itself off randomly and making horrible noises. I cleaned it all out and it’s a bit better now, – no noises, although XP is running like a snail. Will have another think about that. I have to go back because the compressed air I’d ordered hadn’t arrived, and apparently that’s excellent for cleaning out the insides of electronics. It’s arrived now, so I’ll arrange to go back there.
Discovered this morning that my car’s MoT test was due two days ago, so have booked it in for next week for a service and MoT together. Tomorrow is flu jab for hubby and me both, Monday I’m at the doctor’s, but can borrow hubby’s car for that.
Today have sorted out my car insurance, the house and contents insurance, my knitting room and yarn stash, including the pile of knitting magazines which was growing exponentially, and all in one afternoon. 
Slept really badly last night, it’s so hot, and all my wonky bits were hurting too, so had to go back to bed – having got up at 10 am was back in bed by 11 am. But felt better by 1.30 pm.
Washing drying very effectively on the line. I do have some sewing to do – a pair of jeans to take up (so no change there then) and I’m going to take the tunic of the salwar kameez in as it’s a bit roomy. But that can wait till Sunday.
Tired now, but a nice cup of Lady Grey tea should help, and writing this blog. Awaiting letter from hospital and phone call from foot guy re wonky hands / arms and feet respectively.
Am getting more used to my HTC phone. Finally seem to have the home screens sorted out, a wonderful calendar and the sync (which I do manually twice a day) is good too, although don’t seem to be able to upload appointments from the phone to the Google calendar. But that’s not really a problem.

Had a lovely pedicure yesterday, a cuddle with Lucy the beautician’s dog, who is delightful, and my friend. Also a nice cup of tea is provided every time, so it’s all very enjoyable.

Think that’s about it really. Knitting group is lovely – a lovely chat and a coffee and cake at Starbuck’s. A really interesting group of people, all very different, from all walks of life. All joined up by knitting!

Party, phone, garden.

The party was absolutely wonderful. Most people had gone well beyond “masks or moustaches” and dressed up completely – as you can see!
A wonderful time was had by all. The “birthday girl” danced all night long, and has some wonderful moves. Excellent.
Knackered the next day, of course, and slept and slept and slept, but have been taking it easy since then and feel ok now.
Phone – aha! have been wanting a smartphone ever since I decided it would be sensible to have a Google calendar, synching with our desktop computers, and the mobile phone, so I don’t have to carry a diary around with me as well. Trouble is, I had 8 months to go on the current contract with the crappy digital phone. It took three attempts to get Virgin to allow me to spend more money with them, for longer. But finally they graciously allowed me to, and I have a fancy schmancy HTC Wildfire S, for £15.64 per month, with 300 cross-network texts, 300 cross-network minutes, and 3000 minutes to other Virgin mobile users. Don’t actually know any, but there you go. And 1 Gb of internet usage per month too, which is plenty. Won’t be logging into facebook or checking my emails on it, just using the calendar. 
It was a major, major faff to set up the calendar to synchronise with the Google one. Unbelievable. But finally cracked it. Then, next morning, hubby said “you might have done something to the calendar, it’s empty.” Oh f**k. But sorted that relatively easily.
Next – battery life. It’s really a tiny little computer, with a phone built in, so it only lasts a day! Have ordered another battery, which I will charge for 12 hours first off, and see how that goes. YD swears that’s why her battery life is much better.
Got it all set up with the things I want – messages, weather, and a couple of apps (compass, torch) which will be useful. I am a techno-geek, but can’t cope with the flipping touch-screen qwerty keyboard, so have changed that to a phone-pad-type keyboard, and that works much better for me.
Now then, garden. We have a flowerbed which is being slowly strangled by something I thought would look pretty. It has tiny silver leaves and white flowers, and I have been yanking it up for three years now. New plan: dig everything out of the bed, keep the plants I want to re-plant in it next year, and dump everything else. Weedkiller the lot, then cover with black plastic held down with stones or bricks. So today I dug the bed up. It will need further attention I expect in a week or two, and I left the rudbeckias in as they’re still looking lovely. As soon as the flowers die back I’ll move them. 
Also have planted all the bulbs I dug out of said bed elsewhere. A good morning’s work. Bertie the cat came to check I was doing it right, and once she’d done that, wanted to go inside.
Health: have been referred back to different specialist for hand/arm, and saw the foot guy on Wednesday. He’s going to repeat the five steroid injections in my poor old feet, hopefully in a couple of weeks. Hence the gardening “frenzy” – need to get that done before I’m confined to barracks for a few days.

Saturday 17th September 2011

Goodness, is it really a week since I posted? my system must be slipping.
Well, what have I done this week? On Wednesday I had my last physiotherapy appointment, and I am to be referred to a (different) specialist. Still lots of pain, worse in my elbows now, despite a slight improvement before. A bit fed up to be honest. Not sure how long I’ll have to wait for that appointment. At least 4 weeks, they’ve said.
I also phoned the foot clinic, as I have pain in my left foot which is getting worse. The two toes next to my big toe are separating, and so one is pressing into my big toe. Not good. It seems that the injections more or less worked, except on this particular bit, and so it may well mean surgery. Ah well. I did think hard before phoning, because surgery is no fun. I have an appointment next Wednesday to see the chap.
Then Thursday evening I went to the knitting group, which is always lovely, even though I can’t knit.
Friday lunchtime went out with two people I worked with at Coventry Council – my ex-boss Warwick, and Maggie. We went to Giraffe’s in Solihull, and it was excellent. The food is interesting and different, and then we wandered back along the (pedestrianised) High Street rather than through Touchwood, and they came in for a nice cup of tea when they dropped me home again. My time working for Coventry City Council was one of my favourite jobs.
I have defrosted and iced (with frozen buttercream icing – which worked really well) – a carrot cake, and made a coffee cake. Both to take to Kate’s 40th party as dairy-free desserts are difficult. The coffee cake is still cooling, so I made the buttercream and have put it in the fridge till later. That way I only have to actually ice the cake when it’s cool enough.
My sister is recovering well, although still very tired and in a lot of pain. She and I are currently planning our mother’s 80th birthday – can’t say too much at this stage, mother may well read this blog.
My uncle is walking without a stick and even driving a little as well – it’s such good news.
Various sewing projects all waiting to be done – a towelling beach changing robe and three new tops. Possibly the same pattern as the salwar kameez tunic, but with a V-neck I think.
Have had to return two pairs of jeans to Land’s End – the quality is good, but they “grow” when I wear them. Shame. But I’ve ordered two more pairs from Marks & Spencers and am fetching them on Monday. They’re very cheap, so I don’t have huge hopes for the quality, but you never know. The reviews were excellent.

And that’s about it for now.

Right. Today went into Shirley, as planned, to collect new underwear from M&S Simply Food. Hmm. Shirley was gridlocked, and an ambulance was trying, loudly but in vain, to get through. Multiple stupid white van men were studiously ignoring him – how can people do that? and it took me 20 minutes to travel two miles and park. Interestingly, there were plenty of parking places. I guess because everybody was driving their car, not parking it.
Simply Food is not an ideal place to collect orders on a Saturday. Everybody is fraught and much too busy. But I got the stuff. Then discovered when I finally got to Sainsbury’s (mercifully on the way home, not further into the hell that was the Stratford Road this morning), they don’t have any avocados or goat yoghurt. Damn and blast.
Ah well. Got everything else. But got home fraught and wet (it had started to rain). Lunch helped.

After lunch spoke to my friend, at length, who has been having a horrible time. Then a short sleep, then Phase 1 of the gardening. Emptied several grotty pots (that involves separating out the gravel on the top, getting out the dead plants, then putting the compost on the garden, then sorting out the expanded polystyrene. Much better and tidier now. Green wheelie bin full! Also dug up almost everything (except the perennial poppy) in a bed where everything else was just dead. Next phase involves moving two plants (currently in pots) into a different flower bed, and repotting another one. Eventually will be able to dump all the pots with annuals in, and finally, dig up the oblong bed which needs replanting in the spring. Some of the plants I will keep in pots over the winter, but not many. Very satisfying. Needed hubby’s muscle with the biggest pot. Now they all need washing, but that’s for another day.

Post had arrived – some photos of elder daughter’s 30th, see below. Lovely.

beautiful daughters

daughter with uncle (they share a birthday)

three brothers – whose mother thinks they aren’t grey-haired!
me, daughter, her chappie & our daughter-in-law

daughter’s chappie giving it some wellie

daughter and her dad (my first husband)

daughter & uncle – both having had a drinkie or two .  .
my three great-nieces

first husband + my brother in law

daughter and chappie
two brothers

Wednesday 7th September

Well, the birthday presents went down well – three Boden tops – mum was happy too. Boden stuff is really nice, it’s just a question of catching the bargains when they appear.
Have started the salwar kameez. Next step is to press open the seams, and then there’s only the sleeves to set in, and the hems to do. I’m going to put a little pocket on the outside of the trousers, under the skirt, so I can take my mobile phone/camera. I’m pleased with it so far. YD says it would be better with plain black trousers, rather than patterned, but I just don’t care.
Today hubby and I went to Ikea in Coventry. We bought storage for my sewing patterns, two large striped towels for me to make a changing robe for the beach, a frame for a copy of the Magna Carta which we bought when we went to Salisbury Cathedral, three new face flannels and four new cereal bowls. Excellent. All sorted out, either already in use or ready for use.
Also received three orders from Marks and Spencers. I’m in the middle of an underwear replacement frenzy. Six bras altogether. Two fitted and were perfect, the other four are going back. New order for two more (they don’t seem to do exchanges by post), so will fetch those on Saturday from the local store. Good work. And money to be refunded too. I really must do this on a rolling programme, rather than have a splurge from time to time, but I can’t remember the last time I bought new underwear, so it really is time.
My uncle – my favourite uncle, my mum’s brother, has just had much-needed surgery on his back, where there was a nerve trapped. It wasn’t causing him any pain, but he had been having trouble with his thigh, then knee, then lower leg, then foot, which went numb, and involved him walking with a stick, very carefully.
He had the surgery on Monday, and is home today, and walking without a stick! he’s 76, and just lovely. I’m going to phone him when I’ve finished this blog and talk to him. 
My sister is recovering from her major surgery, although still has a lot of pain and is tired too I think. But then one is after major abdominal surgery.
Tomorrow it’s physio, then the knitting group at 6 pm. I did get a bit excited last week because I had no pain in my hands on Thursday and Friday, and actually did some knitting. However, the pain returned with a vengeance in my elbow, so no knitting at the moment. But what this does imply is that the physio on my neck is having some effect at least, and that the wrist/hand pain was due to the neck problems (which I wasn’t aware of until they started treatment!) and now it’s as if the cause of the pain is becoming clearer. It may well still involve being referred to a surgeon, but things are changing, which in my head at least is good news.
My latest project is to sync my calendar with my phone. Not working at the moment. I have a Google calendar, which is now also my desktop calendar, so that works well. That means that wherever I am in the world, if I have access to a computer, I can access and edit my calendar. But I think I may need an Android phone to access the calendar on a mobile. Am awaiting my Bluetooth dongle for my desktop computer to see if that makes any difference. It was about £5 from Amazon, so even if it doesn’t enable calendar synching with my current phone (Nokia X2), it will at least mean I have Bluetooth ready for anything else that needs it. It would also be good if hubby could get the calendar on his mobile phone too, so that we were both in synch, as it were . . . and he thinks so too! hooray!
Right. Must go and phone my uncle, and then do the online food shopping ready for Saturday’s delivery.