Saturday, 8 April 2017

One More Sleep!

It's hard to believe, after a lifetime for Hubby, longing to see his family in Australia, we have one more sleep to go!
Australia as we all know, is a vast continent, we are very thankful that the family, whilst spread apart, live on the east and only an hour's flight in between, meaning we only need to take two internal flights.
We land in Melbourne, drive down to Phillip Island, then fly to Sydney, finally flying to Brisbane, before coming home again.
One cousin lives in Perth which is a six hour flight I believe, but very kindly he has offered to make the journey to Sydney to meet us at his brother's, that would have taken a lot out of us, time wise and physically, so we are very grateful.
All of Hubby's cousins are considerably older than him and all retired, which is a strange concept since all my cousins are around my age, give or take a few years either side.
We have had our fair share of unexpected interruptions to our life this week, a week I had intended to keep clear to get all packed and organised in a calm peaceful frame of mind....
...well last night the drama continued!
After the hectic day at hospital, after Friday club I was looking forward to an hour on the sofa before getting some sorting done for packing.
However, as  I mentioned yesterday, our cat Milly suddenly took very ill.
I honestly thought her end had come and today would be that visit to the vets all pet owners dread.
However, after an hour of listening to her yowling, I decided to try and clean her up, after she had soiled herself ( not usual at all and a reason I thought the end might be nigh)
Whilst she was very unhappy about the clean up, within a short time of the humiliating process, she seemed to perk up!
Before we went to bed she ate some food too!
By morning she seemed her normal self and there was no evidence of her being poorly overnight,
phew what a relief!
However....she did still honk some, so there was nothing for it but to go to Pets at Home and buy some cat shampoo....which I didn't even know existed till this morning!
Hubby and I bathed her...not easy.....but she seemed to know it was for her own good... pathetic she looked at the end...her fluffy tail all skinny and limp!
She normally has it held up, but this was all she could muster!
And her legs, which look so fat usually, covered in her thick curly fur....are so skinny underneath!
We wouldn't help but laugh at the poor wee thing!
She really did not know what to do with herself, walking around, shaking her leg from time to time!
She took shelter in a sunny spot in the rabbit hutch, which didn't last long when I spotted her...but all that did was make all the sawdust stick to her wet fur!
Tonight however, she is back in her spot, snuggled on the sofa, all dry and that tail all fluffy again!
But going back to last night, Milly was not the only drama to contend with!
Hubby came to bed with a bowl of cereal for supper, one of his favourite things to do
(very noisy for me when I am trying to get off to sleep!)
He was tucking in then suddenly said
"Oh no, I have a new problem!"
He thought he had broken his tooth  (drat that hard fruit and fibre) but in actual fact, in the morning we could see it was a large filling come out!
So he had to get an emergency appointment this morning, and NHS 111 were able to put us in contact with a local dentist who sorted the problem with a temporary filling.
Well if I thought that was the end of the drama, it wasn't quite!
The downstairs loo decided to block itself ( well probably something to do with last nights cat issues, when I flushed everything down there!)
However, I managed to unblock it after a few attempts...hearing that big whoosh is such a relief!
The weather has been glorious today, but the best I could make of it, was getting all the washing up to date.
The day has been a hectic one, clearing up, getting the pet stations all sorted for Grandma who will come and look after them.
There is still some ways to go, but the cases are packed and only little bits to do, although its always the last minute things that take the time I find!
Just before dinner, we took time out to see a replica of the Nao Victoria, which is moored locally.
She was the first ship to circumnavigate the world in the 16th Century.
She certainly was impressive, although her masts weren't down of course, but we could imagine how she would look on the open seas.
This will be my last blog for a couple of weeks, then hopefully I can share some of our Adventure Down Under with you all.
Be good when I'm away!

Friday, 7 April 2017

A Day With The NHS!

This morning Teen Two and I had to go to Southampton Hospital for allergy testing.
We arrived early so indulged in a Costa and lemon tart for Teen Two.
It was just as well we did as it was to be another five hours before we ate or drank!
First up was to number his arm and the add various liquids followed by pin pricks... up was a fifteen minute wait in the waiting room, where we sat and watched the varying degrees of reaction.
To cut a very long day short, he is currently classified as having a severe nut allergy, so anything "may contain/made in same factory" is to be avoided which seems to rule out most cereals and chocolates and as for eating out...well just don't even go there!
We knew he was allergic to dogs, but were surprised to learn it was cats as well....that must be minor as there is no sneezing or sniffing at home.
Sadly, the little marks we see on his arms when he holds his gerbils, is evidence he is allergic to them as well! However I think he feels the suffering is worth it!
He had to have a blood test, which proved to be rather dramatic, the lack of liquid meant they couldn't find a vein (if only we had been told earlier we would have ensured he drank!) and after several attempts he almost passed out in an instant the nurse whooshed back the chair to make his head lower than his legs and whooshed round the curtains so no one else saw the drama!
Another nurse was drafted in and eventually using a tiny line they managed to draw some blood!
As he left he said "I'm sorry to have been so much trouble!"
Next challenge was to get home and get a prescription for a second epipen....well our doctors receptionist wouldn't even consider showing the doctor the letter we had from the hospital, despite me saying we fly at the weekend and HAD to have it according to the other doctor.
I was sent to our local hospital where a duty doctor did it with no trouble at all, phew.
By this time it was almost time to go to Friday club, with no dinner (or lunch!) I had bought Teen Two a McDonalds on the way home so he was ok and Teen One had been to Pizza Hut at lunch time, so just Hubby and I to scrape something together for....poached eggs it was!
Having got home, hoping to get some packing sorted, one of the cat has suddenly become ill!!
She seems very poorly, being sick is normal for her, but she is walking around yowling and not letting us near her....why do these things happen right now!!
I will probably stay with her overnight and if she is no better get an emergency appointment with the vet...right before going away this is not how we want to leave things for someone to have to deal with.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

"Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String"

The door bell rang early this morning, there was the postie with a little brown box in his hand awaiting my signature.
Not quite a brown paper package tied up with string, but the modern equivalent!
I knew just what was inside, but wasn't expecting to be so thrilled by the delightful way my purchases were presented.
What a pleasure to open these delightful little tissue paper parcels...
...knowing what was inside didn't detract from the  pleasure of opening them up.
These dear little robins are hand made in Devon by    The Tartan Trout.
I was given one some Christmas's ago and have bought several since then for various presents, particularly overseas gifts.
I even had the pleasure of meeting Sarah at a craft show in London one year, quite by chance too!
She has other spoons available, including Rosie Robin and a Christmas pudding.
I am sure our family down under will be as delighted with this unusual gift as I was when I first received mine.
I save mine for Christmas, he is the perfect for the cranberry sauce pot!
At Parent and Toddlers this morning, our Dear Old Soul made these sweet little rocking chicks,
all cut out by hand too...not bad for someone almost blind!
Then when I was doing singing time with the tots, she laid them out like if they were swimming behind their mummy!
They also had "laid" some choccie eggs which was a surprise for the little ones!
As well as Easter marshmallows from my basket, the tots also had their gift bags to go home with,
so there was smiles all round today!
The mums were all smiles as well...we used up the scones from yesterday's funeral, with cream jam and fresh strawberries on top.
After clearing up, it was time to be Taxi of mum.
Teen One's friend was unwell today so wasn't able to take her in.
We found out with just half an hour to get organised to get her to the bus stop for the two hour journey, although today it only took 1hr 40mins.
I offered to collect her, its only just over half an hour in the car and would allow her to have to have a longer afternoon for her course work.
She really wants to get as much done as she can before going away...although bringing home maths homework today has made that less likely!
Whilst travelling home I took a phonecall ( hands free of course) from the hospital offering us an appointment tomorrow for Teen Two's allergy testing.
Its not at our local hospital and will take about an hour to get to, plus at least two hours there for the testing, so my plans to get organised tomorrow have been postponed to Saturday!
I know I could have refused the appointment but to be honest will be glad to know what, if anything, we need to avoid when we are away.
This afternoon has just been general clearing up and piling up of items needing to be packed.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Power of Prayer!

Today was the funeral of a 97 year old man who regularly attended our Gospel services.
Hubby was tasked with the graveside and church service, and has been preparing for it since last week.
So to get a text from him yesterday afternoon saying he had tooth problems was not the best of news!
A visit to the dentist on Monday, to replace a loose crown, had caused some irritation on the gum, making it throb and swell....which had the knock on effect of meaning his one and only denture in the front, would no longer fit in the space!
He spent the afternoon and evening toothless and in pain!
There were two concerns...paramount was, would he be able to conduct the service in agony,
secondly, if the pain subsided enough for him to speak, would he be able to wear the denture or would he have to lisp all the way through and avoid opening his mouth fully at all costs!
So much prayer went up and thankfully this morning he woke to less pain and less swelling, so was able to fulfil his duties and not frighten everyone by going toothless!
I went to church early and along with a couple of other helpful members prepared the food.
After the service everyone thanked us for the spread and in particular the home made cakes.
That was very kind of them indeed, especially as the Victoria Sponge I baked yesterday ended up being slightly undercooked when we cut into it!!
Arrgg! It looked "normal" and did all the "normal" things....a skewer came out clean, it shrank from the sides and was firm to the touch!
Oh well, I guess it wont hurt anyone!
This afternoon Teen One and I went to our Outlet shopping centre, still in search of a skirt to take away.
I did find a reversible one which was ok....but may be tricky to match with a top, so not sure if its a keeper or not.
I did however buy a nice top in the M&S  sale which when I went to pay for it was reduced by another 50%!
Tonight is parents evening for Teen Two, which I am hoping will answer some questions we have regarding September.
Weather wise its been a glorious day and the washing line has been in good use!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A Bundle Of Bunnies!

This morning I had to pop in to town for a few bits and was also
 hoping to find a new skirt
to replace the ones that no longer fit me.
Sadly I didn't find anything I liked, but did come across these as I walked through the food department of M&S ( it was on the way to the clothes section...honest!)
Now then....apricot, marzipan and chocolate are three of my favourite all in one bar...and proclaiming to be guilt free...well I just had to try them!
They were indeed very yummy!
Yesterday in Morrison's I saw these in the home baking section.....although they were a trifle expensive (£1.85) I thought they would be perfect for the carrot cake I had made for tomorrow's funeral.
Normally I use walnuts in the cake and chopped pistachio on the top ( that green and purple is soooo pretty!)
But with Teen Two not being allowed nuts at the moment, I replaced the walnuts with sultanas and was wondering what I could put on  top in place of the this really solved the problem for me.
So if there are any left overs, I can bring it home and let the Teens finish it off!
After lunch the builder came to measure up for the new glass roof in the conservatory.
Whilst he was measuring up the door bell late neighbour's son presented me with this adorable bundle of bunnies!
Why five?
Well he very kindly bought one for Grandma!
How kind!
Next up was to make a plain sponge for tomorrow, which is a shade too "golden" for my liking, but its amazing what a dusting of icing sugar can do!
Last night I did indeed get my wish for a quiet night in with some knitting,
it was sheer bliss!
I belong to a Facebook Sockalong group (whoever knew such things existed!) and having posted the pictures of my socks with their labels on, was amazed to get almost 350 responses of praise and
"can I buy them?" posts!
Let's hope the recipients they are destined for think the same!

Monday, 3 April 2017

A Nut Free Nut Loaf!

This morning Teen Two and I called in to see Grandma, with some dinner for her to heat up, and thankfully she was a little better.
We then called in to see our Monday Recycled Teenager, who was also feeling a little better, but still waiting for her hospital appointment to come through.
When in Lidl's I fell in love with this spring basket, I really love the strawberry flowers and fruit
Teen One also loved it ( I knew she would) so for a couple of quid it has added nicely to our Spring/Easter decorations, and no doubt I will find some treats to hide inside.

After lunch Teen Two cleaned the car for me, I almost envy him if I am honest, that power hose is great fun!
The afternoon was spent doing as little housework as I could get away with, then starting to sort some clothes for packing.
Teen Two got the gerbils out in their play pen and also printed off instructions for the pet sitters.
I am not a vegetarian, but do like veggie food, and often linger in the vegetarian section of the freezers in supermarkets, drooling over the variety available.
I often choose a vegetarian option when out as well, but I love meat too much to even consider giving it up!
Today however, inspired by something I saw in the freezer of the supermarket, I decided to try my hand at a nut roast....but because of Teen Two's recent nut allergy it had to be nut free!
I used this BBC recipe as a guide, then added pumpkin seeds, linseed and sesame seeds for some texture and also switched a celery for leeks, adding more lentils to replace the volume of nuts missing.
I didnt bother with the sauce as I was already making a leek and carrot medley is made with a  cheese sauce .
It didn't want to slice nicely for me, but everyone said
it tasted delicious so that's more important, maybe when cold it slices better, but who wants it cold!
With  the small amount of lamb left over from yesterday's roast, I blitzed it up with some wholemeal breadcrumbs, leeks and left over brown rice, along with some mint jelly, formed it into patties and baked until heated right the nut roast, it wasn't too pretty to look at but tasted good according to everyone.
Whilst dinner was cooking I picked up some knitting, having not done any for a few days I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms!
I am hoping for a quiet night in with plenty more knitting!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

A Poorly Grandma

Our morning started as usual, getting ourselves ready for church when we had a call from Grandma to say she was feeling full of cold, so was staying home.
I did say she was welcome to come round for dinner as usual, but she declined.
After church, with dinner done, Hubby nipped round with a dinner for her and then unusually we had the rest of the day to ourselves.
No playing games, no chit chat about how the week went or what plans we had for the following week.
...I baked a carrot cake for the funeral on Wednesday...
...packed up the Easter gifts for Parent and Toddlers later in the week.
The books were from The Bible Society, 50p each,
the bunnies were knitted from a square using this pattern
the choccy bunnies were from Lidl and the gift bags I bought in Ikea sale earlier in the year.
Next up was to tie up the little gift boxes I made with an old atlas yesterday, I thought parcel string
would be ideal.
I feel as if I am on top of the pressies now for next week....thinking of next week...this time next week we will be in the air!!
Teen One cracked on with course work, which is coming in thick and fast!
Hubby designed and printed off the Orders of Service for the funeral
 and then prepared his message.
Teen Two had it easy for the afternoon and enjoyed some gaming fun.
Although we were all doing different things, we were with each other for most of the time,
I love the fact our living room is the hub where we all come together, even though we are often doing different activities, we are still together.
All too soon it was time for our evening Gospel service.
The preacher finished earlier than usual, which was great as we then had to set out the hall ready for
Wednesday's funeral.
I did as much as I could in the kitchen, getting crockery out etc, so will only have to concentrate on the food when I arrive early on Wednesday.