28 August 2016


It was no good suffering with aching bones, I simply had to go back and see Jonathan, my chiropractor. It's six years since I saw him which is disgraceful considering he's a rather nice Italian!

Since the joints/muscles ached more than ever and at times were quite painful, I started to do exercises. Remember my post about doing them on the bed? I soon tired of that and ventured to try again but this time on the floor. Perseverance is the word or where there’s a will there’s a way. I found a way!

Negotiating steps has been a big problem lately. I was terrified to cross a road because it meant stepping up or down kerbs. Stepping down was the worst but I put that down to an eyesight problem. However, a week ago I noticed an improvement. I was going out to the garden to feed the birds which entails going down two deep steps and it suddenly dawned on me that for the first time I wasn’t holding on to the wall. Then I realised that I also managed two steps from the kitchen door without a murmur and without looking for support. I was cured! However, the pain was still there and that’s when I decided to conquer my fear that the car park might be full and go see Jonathan.

It was lovely to see him again and to know that in his hands I would be able to live a more comfortable life. But first we talked about Joe. He told me how much he admired my late husband for the way he coped with his illness. Apparently when Joe talked about the cancer he spoke humorously and he never lost his down-to-earth practical common-sense. 

Jonathan listened to my story about memory loss, fear, and going down steps. I told him about the fall I had in the garden centre, how crossing a busy road was a nightmare because of my uncertainty, and explained how my fear of falling had made me look for something to hold on to. I revealed the awful fact that my confidence had taken a battering and that decision making was a nightmare.

What he told me was remarkable.

Apparently the grieving process can affect people in different ways and the older we are the more it affects us. The loss of memory is normal, caused by brain and the blood system not behaving as they should.  That affected bones and muscle, causing tightness and pain.  He explained that once stimulation and massage got the blood running properly all this would clear up. Exercise, he said, would also do it but it was essential that I remember it was all perfectly normal.

I began to feel great, especially when he gave me a full massage, stretched the spine a little, and manipulated all the areas that were causing pain. It was wonderful, and I felt wonderful. The massage and manipulation was heavenly.

Back home I can do exercises I couldn’t  do before. I can kneel and get up from the floor without too much effort. The relief and the knowledge that things can get better is fantastic but it is up to me to keep exercising. Jonathan can only do so much.

My next visit included acupuncture, goodness the size of those needles was scary but Jonathan was clever enough not to show them to me until after the deed was done. Actually I hardly felt them, a mere pinprick here and there. I was promised that in three days I would start to feel the benefit ... actually I started to feel better on the second day. Henceforth it's just a matter of manual adjustment and exercising plus ice packs on the worst spots which, I was told, must not be applied for longer than 20 minutes. Something to do with the blood again, freezing slows it down which allows the problem area to heal, thereafter ... well, it's anybody's guess! I trust Jonathan's judgement on these matters since I am, you might say, in his hands. 

21 August 2016


I have a new lady cleaner. Ooops! I don’t mean a gadget to clean ladies with, I mean a new helping hand who happens to be female. I’ve had cleaners before but none were as thorough as this one. Her name is Hannah and I swear if I got in the way she would clean me as well.

Paola, my previous cleaner, went into the fingernail business and I think her heart was always in that rather than her cleaning duties. In order to give herself more time for fingernail work she wanted to change her hours. Her idea was to clean for three families in one day and I was the third. This meant cleaning for me would take place in the evening. No, thanks. Evenings are for relaxing in my house, not shifting from one room to another to accommodate the cleaner. So it was with regret that we parted company. Little did I know that she was actually doing me a favour.

The same day that Paola left I got in touch with an agency and had a new cleaner within two days, a young lady called Hannah. The agency arranged for me to interview her which was not only a surprise but it made me feel that the agency was both reputable and considerate. I save money as well. Paola worked one and a half hours and Hannah works two hours for less. It’s a win-win situation.

Hannah knows all there is to know about housework. She works on the basis that she likes her own home to be clean and wants the same for her clients. She thinks nothing of moving outside her role in order to help in other areas and even offers the services of her husband. It was he who recently shifted two chairs, an exceptionally heavy armchair and a recliner, from one room to another.

I caught Hannah cleaning the oven the other day and you have to admit that isn’t a job anyone relishes, especially when added to a million and one other jobs. Charlie is beginning to feel comfortable in her presence (it takes him time to relax with people) and he benefits from her caring nature. She has his feeding corner spotless and welcoming.

Within minutes of her arrival the house is turned upside down, or rather the furnishings are. Her first job is to pull all the chairs, tables etc. into the middle of each room. This is so that she can whiz round with the vacuum cleaner without having to stop and start. After that she replaces all the furniture and whizzes round again with the vacuum cleaner. Polishing comes next. Now if that was me I would do one item at a time. Chair out, vac, table out, vac, etc. The mop bucket comes out at the end. The new wood effect floor and the kitchen and rather long laundry area are all washed.

One thing is certain, she is efficient and thorough and a nice person to boot. What a pity she won’t be with me much longer! Yes, she’s taking a break from doing other people’s housework. I know I will miss her.

14 August 2016

Eating out...

My recent lunch date with Judy was hilarious. We went to a place we hadn’t been to before and probably won’t go to again. The Hungry Horse was very quiet when we walked in, practically deserted. Judy commented to the bar staff that it was unusual to see so many empty tables and received the explanation that a party was booked. A party of people won’t worry us, I remarked, as we chose where to sit. As always we wanted to be away from the bar in a secluded section. It is our policy to get as far away from crowds as possible, not that we don't like people but in a bar they are mostly noisy and do tend to crowd the area. 

The menu was huge and ordinary. Nothing fancy and nothing fanciable, so we both chose fish and chips. Well, you can’t go wrong with fish and chips. Right? Wrong! 

It was one of those places where cutlery is stacked in a neat container for you to help yourself. The first two knives still bore remnants of food which is extremely off-putting when you sit down to a meal. The forks weren’t too bad but by this time I wondered if they too had missed out on a good wash. The waitress apologised profusely and hastily brought replacements. Since we were miles away from another eating place we stayed put and hoped for the best.

Many years ago I loved to eat chips straight from the paper but not these days and especially not in a pub sitting at a table. As you can see by the picture, the meal was served on a sheet of newspaper, on a plate. If I'd had any sense I would have removed the paper but I honestly thought there would be grease-proof paper to sop up the ... er ... grease. Have you ever eaten greasy newspaper?

The fish and chips were what I call ordinary and tasteless. The chips weren’t too bad, the fish was tasty but the batter wasn’t. I didn’t even bother to taste the peas because of their colour. We hadn’t been eating for long when the music started. Full blast and I do mean FULL BLAST. We couldn’t hear ourselves speak because of the row. Judy grabbed the first member of staff she saw and asked them to turn the sound down. That’s when we learned that the party was for children. Honestly, lunchtime in a pub and they were having a kid’s party!

The sound was reduced ever so slightly then it stopped, then started, then stopped. I
thought the record player or whatever had gone wrong but Judy was sharper than me. ‘Kids’ party games,’ she said. In a pub? A place where people pop in for a lunch break, hoping for an hour of peace and quiet away from the hullabaloo of their workplace. 

We went through a programme of songs, from Old McDonald had a Farm to Oranges and Lemons and Five Little Ducks, and a stop-start game to the tune of There was an Old Woman who lived in a Shoe. Judy knew all the words! Some folk walked out, others joined in the singing. It takes all sorts!

So that’s, my account of this month’s dinner date with Judy. What fun! I have a feeling we won’t be going there again.

07 August 2016


The other day I decided to clear and clean one of my kitchen cupboards. It’s a big wall cupboard containing three extra wide shelves. It’s a job I used to love doing but that was when I was steadier on my feet and could sprint up and down a set of steps. Not so now, I am extremely fearful of one step let alone three. However, I was determined to give it a go, carefully gripping the handrail with every step.

It didn’t take long to remove cups, glassware, jugs, saucers, dishes and plates and wash the shelves but putting them back was a trial. I thought I could remember where everything went, bearing in mind that some items were seldom used while others were used daily. Suddenly faced with empty shelves I was lost. First attempt was all wrong, as was the second and third. Isn’t it amazing how quickly one can forget?

The trouble is I am an organised sort of person. I like order and everything having its own place, essential these days with a memory that leaves a lot to be desired. I have always been the same; it drove Joe mad but then he was the untidiest person I ever met. These days regimentation is playing a big part in keeping the memory on an even keel. Memory is a powerful asset but when it starts to play up action has to be taken. My way is to write stuff down – all I have to do then is remember where I put the paper or pad!!
Seriously, taking notes has been and still is a godsend, it saves a lot of anxious moments when the memory fails. Heehee just hope I don’t forget how to write!

The iPhone is a useful thing to have, not just for taking pictures or phoning people but for making notes, keeping dates, even a timer when something is cooking in the kitchen. And a torch. Who would have thought you could use a phone as a torch? I have had this phone for a long time but am still amazed by its versatility. I mean, I can even read a book on the phone or buy and pay for stuff if I want to. I don’t do the latter – there’s too many villains around for my liking. I saw on television today that advice is being given for everyone to take a break from anything technical. Those advisors probably have good memories!!

But back to the cupboard, as you can see by the photograph below, it’s back to normal, tidy and clean, and everything in its designated place. I felt quite proud that I’d actually achieved something useful.