Episode!

Well, I’m in the throes of an M.E. episode. Trying really hard to be positive and “do” stuff, but failing. This week I’ve managed to stay up and out of bed till lunchtime once in the last five days. Failed this morning. No knitting or crochet mojo. Tried a bit of crochet yesterday but it didn’t go well.

Was supposed to go to the osteopath today but re-arranged. It feels a bit sad-making but at the same time empowering because I have a measure of control over my stupid health. Plenty of sleeping, and reading when I’m awake. Also ordering stuff I do actually need, as well as want, online. Handcream, for example, is a constant thing for me as my hands are terribly dry all the time. So I’ve ordered some. And earrings are a new problem. Now I have various pairs of glasses, wearing at least two at once, the reading glasses dangling and the distance glasses on my nose (or vice versa), dangly earrings are just not going to work. Particularly with masks as well. So stud earrings it is. Ordered two lovely pairs from John Lewis, then of course needed a jewellery box to hold them, to replace the ice cube tray I’ve been using for the last twenty years or so. I can justify almost any purchase if I try hard enough . . . 🛒😉. And of course retail therapy is always, always good for the morale.

The garden is even better for the soul of course but it’s been cold and wet the past couple of days. I can look at it out of the window of course, and do. The bird feeder table is very popular at the moment, which is great. The cat seems to have an arrangement with all the birds. She looks at them, they fly away, and all is well. The pigeons – well, they just waddle off because they’re as big as she is.

The cat. Mm. She is much more chatty and approachable now she’s getting older. Not exactly affectionate, but keeps trying to herd me into the lounge, when I’m busy in the study. So I’ve set up another cat bed in the study, and she will occasionally sit in it!

Been Vaccinated!

Hooray! it didn’t hurt at all, didn’t even feel the needle. Next day my arm was very sore, so took painkillers, and the day after that felt completely washed out and had to take myself off to bed.

But today (Sunday) am feeling fine.

I have potted up two primulas – one little yellow traditional one, and one which will look like a purple pompom on a stick when it’s grown. It felt so good to be outside in the sunshine, although my back is protesting now and so are my hands. Hey ho. That will pass, but the primulas will bloom for ages, I hope.

And guess what. My new glasses are actually ok. It’s taken three months and six visits to the optician’s. I’m fetching the matching sunglasses tomorrow. Phew. What a relief. They’re not varifocals though, so I have a cord attached to them and am organising a pendant glasses holder for my reading glasses. Just getting used to changing my glasses every few minutes!

Hubby’s 17 year old BMW has gone to its new home today with youngest son in Malvern. All concerned are very pleased. We now have two electric cars, one with a longer range. It’s the newer version of the one we already had, with a couple more bells and whistles. Feels odd not to have to buy petrol, or pay car tax. Not sure what the government will do about that, because they will need at some point to start charging car tax when more people have electric cars. Mm.

That’s it really!

Love/Hate Technology

Oh. My. Days.

I have just spent a very fraught hour or so trying to access my local doctor’s surgery on line. They’ve recently changed their website service, so you have to go through a whole heap of trouble to get there. You have to wait for text messages with special codes, special url addresses, special documents with yet more special codes in, and then put everything in the right place in the right order. It’s just like an obstacle course for the Very Advanced. Not meant for 65 year olds like me, even though I’m a techie.

Anyway, finally managed it. The whole point was to order repeat prescriptions. With this new system you have to put a message in too. I put “I need repeat prescriptions of these”. What would they like me to say??

At the same time, probably not terribly wisely, I was setting up our Netflix account and trying to talk to the water supply people about why they are sending letters to our address with the wrong name on it.

But it’s all sorted now. Netflix – subscription sorted. Water supply people – sorted. Surgery on-line access – sorted.

I now need a lie down with a cold compress on my forehead. But the cat needs feeding, and her day has been even more fraught because we had the guys in, aka The Noisy Boys, trimming the leylandii and various thuggish shrubs in the garden. She was terrified, so needs a nice calm evening. Yeah. Me too, kiddo.

The Noisy Boys did a great job though. The next thing, when the weather has sprung into spring, is the front lawn. Exciting.

Trying

Yes, it has been. I had another go at making yogurt, with oat milk (barista style) and it was a total failure. Down the loo it went.

However, I have done some research. Back in the day I used to make yogurt with evaporated milk. So I checked it out and you can still get it, and it’s much easier to use (no boiling required), and so I’m going to have a go. I won’t be able to have any of course because it’s dairy, but hubby will. We shall see.

The knitting and crochet are going ok as long as I don’t beat myself up for doing it slowly and for a short time. I’m pleased with how it looks (no pics because the crochet is for a present).

The garden is looking absolutely lovely. Daffodils have suddenly appeared without my noticing, snowdrops all over the place, and a few crocus too.

My younger daughter is 37 today. She’s going to tell everybody she’s 36! so not quite sure what will happen when she gets to 40 . . Spoke last night via WhatsApp as she lives in New Zealand. Glowing with health and having a lovely time.

A bit of a roller coaster

Today I got up early (ish) so that I could set up the yogurt to do its thing. Then I went back to bed as today is not a good day M.E. wise.

When I got up again, I had forgotten to press the Go button. That meant that the temperature didn’t remain constant, so this is the second failed yogurt batch. But all that is wasted is one litre of oat milk, to be honest, so not so bad. Dumped it all down the loo. The texture looked ok, though.

Went to the opticians for my new glasses yesterday. Fifth visit. Didn’t go well. Eye test was last November. My double vision is pretty bad, so I need a thick prism. That means varifocals won’t work very well with the (expensive) fancy lenses, nor will Reactolites. So they’ve made three attempts at getting them right, and I still can’t see through them properly. My current specs, which were made up in June 2018, are better. Harrumph. So they’re going to have another go, in non-fancy lenses (i.e. thick ones). Hey ho. It would be nice to think that I can have Reactolites and varifocals, but I’m waiting for a call back from the opticians, so I guess probably not.

The soup I made was lovely, by the way, and there are plans to make more, with carrots and coriander this time. I meant to get a portion out of the freezer this morning but forgot. Of course.

On the upside, I have an appointment for my Covid vaccination next week – hooray! Hubby had his a few weeks ago.

Also on the upside, two guys came yesterday and tidied up the garden, so it looks excellent, even this time of year. They turned over all the soil, trimmed the edges of the lawn, swept up leaves and debris, and left it looking great.

So all in all, everything is more or less ok. Small things.

Progress of a sort

The first batch of non-dairy yogurt was not a success. Some things worked. It set. It smelled vaguely like yogurt. But tasted of absolutely nothing. I used sugar free soya milk, agar agar powder, and a probiotic from Holland and Barrett. Dumped the lot (apart from the bit I tried.) Next batch will try oat milk (barista style) and see what happens.

Currently making dairy free soup in the Bimbi/Thermomix. It’s a first for me. I do make cakes and stuff in it though. Now I’m not eating any cheese I think I need to increase my protein intake. Two potatoes, one large carrot, one large onion, fresh parsley, tin of chopped tomatoes, water, salt and pepper, and away we go. Just cooking now, when it’s done I’ll whizz it up with some dairy free spread and see what happens.

Finally heard from the tree trimming guy after I made it fairly clear we want the work done, and if not by him, by someone else. Original quote was last June. Work supposed to be done September. Now they’re coming, weather permitting, on 22nd February.

Knitting – enjoying knitting this scarf and although it’s slow going because I can’t knit for as long as I once could, it’s enjoyable.

To sleep? or not?

Sometimes I wake up at the normal time, thanks to the alarm, get up and have breakfast and have to go straight back to bed. My brain isn’t working properly, I can’t cope with easy crosswords or even Solitaire. Sunday (I think) I went back to bed and slept for five hours straight. Then woke up and had a shower, and felt ok.

Today is Tuesday. Same thing, but I only slept for two hours, and felt ok-ish. I needed to do my ironing but really couldn’t muster the energy until about forty five minutes ago. It only takes ten minutes, because we each do our own, and one of my little life rules is that I do it every week. So there’s not much. Schlepping the ironing board from utility room to lounge is the hardest bit, to be honest, but that’s what makes me want to put it off. Anyway, long story short, I did it because I could feel the energy needed just getting to the right level, and of course I felt much better afterwards.

A shower always helps me feel better. Always. But I don’t always have the energy! how frustrating.

Looks like we’re in for the long haul with Covid/lockdown, so I’ve been trying to find at least one positive thing in every day.

Today was the ironing! and then, as the sun was out and it’s not actually freezing cold, I pottered round our small garden and found these snow drops. Love them.

Also tried to take a photo of the cat, but she would not look at the camera. I pulled a little weed out of her catnip pot – it’s real catnip in there, just a bit sad and wintery at the moment – and her reaction was priceless. “What are you doing? That’s mine! Have you changed it? I need to investigate all of it right now!” she is such a doofus.

Trying to Stay Positive!

The knitting is going ok. I can’t knit for as long – I was doing two hours each night, with the odd half hour or so each day if I had the time. Now I can manage about three quarters of an hour. That’s fine though. It means that a bobble hat is taking me several evenings, instead of one or two, but it’s ok. I’m loving the colour (coral) and the chunkiness of the yarn. Discovered I hadn’t bought enough yarn to start with, so had to order some more, and asked if they could match the dye lot. They did! so shout out to LoveCrafts.

Having a few issues finding jeans I like. I don’t find rigid, 100% cotton jeans comfortable. I have had a rule for about 25 years that I don’t wear anything uncomfortable, ever, including shoes, even for a party. So rigid jeans are out. I have a couple of pairs of Not Your Daughters Jeans, which are comfy, but ridiculously expensive. I also have a couple of pairs of comfy Boden jeans, which were discontinued when I bought them cheap. I’ve tried two different sizes and two different styles of Lands End jeans, and just don’t like them. Am awaiting delivery of some John Lewis jeans, two different sizes. If those don’t suit, I’ll just give up, I think, and keep my eyes open. Sigh.

The shopping has just been delivered. We use disinfectant wipes to clean the bag handles and every single item delivered.

I have been awaiting an invitation for my annual flu jab. Nothing. And we’re almost in November. I can’t find a way of contacting the surgery except for phoning, which takes 45 minutes each time just to get through to a person. Luckily I needed to order some repeat prescriptions, and there’s a little comment box, so I put a note in there. It worked! Flu jab tomorrow and a blood test a week on Monday. Probably for the thyroid, they do a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test to ensure I’m on the right dose.

Last Christmas present due to be delivered today. Then I can start working out which boxes to use to send them all. Apparently Royal Mail are starting a pick-up service. Excellent news. No more queueing in the Post Office. You pre-pay the postage, which is already possible, then pay another 72p per parcel for the pick up, and book it. Five parcels maximum. Am going to investigate further to see when it actually starts.

The garden is a joy. Still waiting for the work to be done on trimming the leylandii, willow, lilac, winged spindle and the front lawn to be dug up and relaid.

This and That

Well, I’m delighted that I’m now able to knit again. I was knitting a boring stocking stitch jumper in DK yarn that kept just breaking randomly. It hadn’t occurred to me that I could just stop doing that and do something else. But then one of the daughters-in-law said she is really into bright coloured bobble hats, because she goes wild swimming (in lakes, in the winter -hopefully in a wetsuit!).

Ping! inside my head. I undid the 12″ or so of child’s jumper I’d done, found a lovely pattern for chunky yarn (it knits up So Quickly) and ordered some coral and turquoise yarns so I can knit two hats for her. Hooray!

Then I sorted out a new pattern for a child’s jumper for some Aran yarn I have – enough detail to keep me interested without being too difficult, but also not just boring old stocking stitch, which results in my losing the will to live.

I also have a pattern and the yarn for a lovely jumper for hubby, but am sticking to small projects for the moment to see how it goes.

The man has been today to mow and edge the lawn and do the weeding. Excellent job.

I’ve just finished reading “Us” by David Nicholls. It’s just been serialised on the BBC and was very good. Sad but delicately done and so lovely. The book has more detail, of course, and there are incidents not mentioned or done differently in the series, but oh I loved it. I do enjoy a good book.

Scams and Gardening

I get irrationally angry when we get a scam phone call, email or text. My instinct when we receive a call from an unknown number is simply not to answer, my reasoning being that if they’re bona fide they’ll leave a message.

However, there is some satisfaction to be derived from answering the call and questioning them. For example, yesterday received a call from a slightly stroppy woman with a strong Indian accent, saying she was calling from BT. Ok, I said, why are you calling me from BT? Because, she said, all the phone lines in the UK are owned by BT. That’s simply not true, said I. Who told you that? she said? it’s a known fact – and then hung up. Ha!

So today I checked, and BT own most of the lines in the UK, but not all. I will be armed with this information next time.

I have also received numerous calls from people purporting to be Microsoft (Ha! as if Microsoft phone you up!) telling me that there’s a problem with my computer. I let them carry on for a while, digging themselves a bigger and bigger metaphorical hole, until I advise them that I use Linux. That always, always confuses them. One guy was clearly looking at some sort of list, and finally said Oh, are you a technician? Yes. Yes I am. So he hung up.

Next time I get one I may just cut to the chase and ask if they’d like my bank details and then see what they say.

Emails and texts which are clearly scams I just angrily delete. Interestingly, it’s only my Virgin email address which gets scams, which makes me think there’s been a data breach somewhere along the line. I get plenty of junk mail on my other email addresses, but that’s just advertising, or a friend has had their email hacked and all their contacts sent a spurious message.

The sort of thing I know is a scam is, say, purporting to be from the TV licensing people, saying they can’t collect our money, but they’ve sent it to the wrong email address! and that is how I know they’re lying. Apart from the fact that I check the bank account every day so I know that the TV licensing people are actually getting our money.

Ho hum.

The man (it’s a different guy almost every time) is currently mowing the lawn. The gardening service we have is excellent apart from time keeping, although today he’s 45 minutes early. We won’t be asking them to do any more odd jobs, though. They’ve done the ones we asked them to do (several weeks ago now) and have done a good job, except that there is the old back gate and the ugly phormium sitting on our front garden waiting to be removed. Sigh. Here are some photos – old/new back gate, old/new side fence panel, old ugly phormium. You’ll be glad to know I decided the new manhole cover was just too boring to photograph and post!

But it took weeks to get them to actually come and do the work. I do think the guy in charge is honest and well meaning, and has had a lot of bad luck, and maybe he has taken on too much work. But if you’re self employed it must be difficult to know what counts as too much work, particularly if you have guys on your team who go to the pub and then have to self isolate for 14 days. Whose idea was it to open the pubs? madness.

I have the new plant ready to put in the hole where the phormium was, but am waiting until I have the opportunity, the energy, and the weather. Also we’re going to have the front lawn dug up and completely replaced, so I’m wondering if it might be better to leave it in its pot until after that.