PRIDE TAKEN A FALL!

I pride myself on being so bright, intelligent and on the ball for my age.

Just arrived at the Boundary Mill, Sheffield. Drove without mishap along the M 1 but missed the turning off on the A road so wasted 5 minutes turning back.

Parked safely and headed for the cafe in the outlet. Asked where the “Ladies” was but as it was at the other end of the store decided to wait and joined the cafe queue. A few minutes later a gentleman behind tapped me on the shoulder. The assistant was calling me for my turn but I was lost in thought.

Successfully ordered my coffee and cake but couldn’t see the cutlery stand. Assistant pointed. Just to my side!

Hoping the coffee will perk me up before I do serious shopping!

Now unable to download. Probably because no internet connection in store. It is 11 am. Will try at home.

Back at home. No mishaps!

WHICH IS THE REAL ME?

I have two personae connected to my make up look and depending on what mood I am in and who I want to impress.

One is the Joan Collins of Barnsley look. Heavy eye shadow and mascara coupled with bright lipstick and big hair and my best more colourful clothes. The other is the little old lady look. Make- up on but very understated and natural looking with most of my lipstick wiped or worn off!

I have always worn makeup from the age of 15 when I first started work. It is important to me to be made up by breakfast time and I have always kept a make up box in a kitchen drawer just as my mother did.

I will never go outside in the street without at least eyes and lips defined. I remember many many years ago when in hospital after a serious road accident and hardly able to move, asking my sister on the second day to bring me my make up bag!

It makes me feel “more me” and gives me confidence even though those who know me might think that is something I don’t lack!

I was brought down to earth though a few weeks ago when the chiropodist whom I have had several years came unexpectedly. I hadn’t had time to put any make up on and he asked me how I was. “Very well“ I replied and he said “Well you look much better than when I saw you last!”

That had been a full make up day!

Why do I bother!

TALES OF AN ELDERLY CARE WORKER. Who needs the care? ME!

Just to recap from some previous posts, I became a homecare worker at the age of 64, having retired after more than 20 years as a self employed driving instructor.

Working in the most beautiful part of the country, the Lake District, took me to many areas in Kendal, Windermere and the villages nearby.

After I had completed my training I had several “clients” whom I saw on a regular basis but I also I stood in for carers on their day off.

I was asked to make an 8 o’clock morning call to help a lady in her seventies who had mild dementia and needed to have her breakfast made for her otherwise she would forget it. It also included a few household chores.

Mrs. Sanderson lived in a recently completed block of luxury apartments and resided at the top on the second floor. I had to use an intercom system to gain entry but Mrs. Sanderson knew the ropes and let me in.

She was in her dressing gown but appeared a very smart lady and unlike many clients friendly. I don’t think she realised I had not been before. The apartment was really nice, beautifully furnished and decorated and had an open plan lounge and kitchen with a bedroom and bathroom off the hall.

Mrs. Sanderson, Joyce, wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to eat so after exploring the kitchen cupboards I suggested “ cook in the bowl porridge” and toast. This was welcomed. I successfully made the porridge in the microwave in a LARGE BOWL, having realised from overflowing mishaps in my own kitchen, despite what the instructions on the packet infer, it will overflow a normal cereal bowl leaving a mess in the microwave and very little porridge in the bowl.

About to throw the empty packet in the kitchen bin I discovered it was full to overflowing. Joyce was getting on nicely with her porridge and I thought it was a good chance to take the bin bag out to the basement refuse bins. This was also the residents car park.

I went out to the lift situated close to Joyce’s front door but once in couldn’t work out which was the button used to reach the basement. Nothing daunted I ran down the stairs nearby but was thwarted on the ground floor where the stairs finished!

Back up in the lift still trying to work it out, I gave up and entering the apartment asked Joyce what the system was. I now have to point out that although Joyce couldn’t remember about breakfast and the mechanics of dressing she was quite agile, in good health and in her working years had supervised a large office.

“Let me show you” she said firmly, standing up and tying the cord on her dressing gown. Not averse to her helping but thinking of time moving on I put a slice of bread in the toaster ready for when we came back. We walked briskly to the lift and Joyce my dementia client pointed to a minus button, pressed it, then the number 1 and off we went to the basement.

Joyce showed me the refuse bins and after depositing the kitchen waste we went back up in the lift to the second floor. Joyce having enjoyed her little jaunt tremendously.

As I opened her front door an ominous smell of burning assailed my nostrils and stepping into the lounge we were met by loads of smoke emanating from the kitchen area and the smell of incinerated toast.

I dashed to the toaster, blackened bread still toasting and unplugged it a moment before it caught fire. Dreading the smoke alarm going off I vigorously wafted the tea towel towards its position on the ceiling and averted catastrophe.

Mrs Sanderson was happy with the piece of bread and marmalade I gave her before leaving and going on to my next client.

I heard a few days later that a fire engine had attended the apartments early in the morning when all the residents, mainly elderly and most in their nightclothes, dressing gowns and slippers had had to be evacuated in fear and trepidation to the assembly point outside.

I felt a sense of guilt as I had forgotten to report the faulty toaster to my superiors! No need though as there wasn’t a fire, it was a false alarm and most of the residents had enjoyed the appearance of the fire engine, sirens and blue flashing light.

It was the talk of the building for many a week!

WHERE DID I PUT IT?

IS THIS A PROBLEM OF AGING?

From a young age I would lose my purse, often to find it down the back of the sofa. I used to frequently leave my coat in the pub and sadly my youngest son has inherited this trait!

Then I acquired a car, so my car keys were added to the list and that has gone on regularly over the passing years. I have wasted hours and was only eventually saved from missing a vital appointment last month by using the spare. I found the missing bunch when I got home, hung up with the dog leads and not on the key hooks in the kitchen.

As I modernize in the the digital world it is either my Ipad but mainly my mobile phone. At least every other day it goes missing. After a search, usually to be found in the bathroom, or the pocket of the coat I wore that morning, occasionally in my handbag having failed to detect it on the first search. I often resort to phoning it from my landline. This usually works but I have countless missed calls from myself! The worst time was when I lost it overnight. I had gone over my movements and thought I had not used it since the day before whilst out shopping. I deduced it had fallen out of my bag when I searched for my credit card. Panic and one last search. Huge relief, it was in the pocket of my car door and I had failed to find it on first looking as it was covered by a mound of rubbish.

As I became older I needed reading glasses. My family would dread the anguished words “Where are my glasses” and everyone would start the search. I thought I had cracked it after I had a laser eye operation to correct my vision and only needed ready readers from the pound shop. Five pairs, one for each room in the house and one for my handbag. After a few weeks I was down to one pair! The others nowhere to be found.

The worst item of all to lose, apart from your children, but that’s another story is the good old credit card. The sense of doom when you come to pay at the shop and no card. Usually because I have used it at home online and forgotten to replace it in my wallet! On several occasions I have left it behind in the shop. Fortunately the cashier has shouted after me “YOU’VE LEFT YOUR CARD LOVE!”

My car is always going missing in car parks. I am sure I parked on the 3 rd floor only to find it on the 4th. I spent 35 minutes once searching for it once and was about to ring the police when I spotted it hiding behind a post!

I do not think I have become worse as I have aged it’s just that I have a lot more equipment to mislay!

Don’t know whether I am coming or going 😀

I have not been very active lately with YOUTHFUL SENIORS!

This was a because I have been so PRO-ACTIVE!

I have been on my cruise and I wasn’t disappointed. It met all of my expectations. Great food throughout the day and evening into the early hours and the nightly shows were second to none. The ship was lovely and had many different areas for eating, socializing and entertainment. There were even quiet spots beside my single person cabin I had my sister and her husband for company and met others for a chat usually leaning over the rail watching the ship dock. A favorite pastime of mine. Had to be up early for that!t

I went on two excursions one to an exploration of an old town and church followed by a tasting of wine, bruschetta, olive oil, cheese and Parma ham. The other to Herculaneum a short drive from Naples. This was ruined and covered in ash at the same time nearby Pompey was destroyed when Vesuvius erupted. It was fascinating. The architecture, wall paintings, tiles and much more. The bones of bodies over 2,000 years old were found by the harbor where people had fled to take shelter in underground tunnels but where killed by the noxious fumes.

I came home looking forward to receiving Charlie a rescue English Setter from Italy. He arrived a week later at 3.45 am in the morning having travelled for 2 days from Naples, through the Dolomites into Switzerland and France and then on the ferry across the Chanel

I had been up all night and didn’t go to bed, stayed in the same clothes throughout the day until I finally got to bed that night at 10.30pm.

It has not been easy. Charlie had never been in a house before and for the first few days was rushing around knocking things over and jumping up at the counters in the kitchen, stealing food whenever he got the chance. He is learning fast now but everything is a work in progress. The biggest problem is his “prey drive” which means every time he sees Flossy the cat he becomes very hypo trying to get at her. Not surprising as he is an ex hunting dog although couldn’t have been much good as he was abandoned on the streets.

He is very sweet natured and worth all the work even the regular daily cleaning up of the accidents he has. My carpets are looking pretty sad and the air freshener doesn’t always do the job but I have given up bothering about it.

I am sure given time I will have a lovely obedient companion! 🤔

POST SCRIPT. 2nd September 2022

Sadly after nearly 8 weeks Charlie has had to be rehomed. His prey drive was too strong. He didn’t just chase my cat Flossy but got himself into constant danger and would hurtle headlong into injury situations!

Within a week he turned from a nervous quiet dog into a reckless boisterous teenager and was thought to be about 18 months and not 4 years old.

He travelled to me as a neutered dog which is normal except in exceptional circumstances but I discovered he had testicles! 😲 A slip up had occurred at the rescue home in Italy and he was missed.

He was neutered by my vet but had a bad reaction and had to be rushed to the emergency vet at midnight but within a fortnight he was well and back to terrorizing the cat and other small creatures.

He is now in a lovely family home with two teenagers and a massive garden and people who love to go on long walks plus no cat.

Just the home he requires. I was devastated to give him up as I had grown to love him and he loved me but all is well now.

Will I get another dog, time will tell. Billy my miniature Schnauzer was diagnosed with diabetes in March and a few weeks ago went completely blind. He is doing well though and his glucose levels have stabilized.

Billy at the moment is supplying my nurturing instinct!

GREAT EXCITEMENT AHEAD

I am very excited at the moment! I an one of those fortunate people wh really lookforward to happy events. My cup is usually half full which can be a blessing or not if things go wrong.

I am shortly about to embark on a cruise.

i booked it over 2 years ago along with my sister and her husband but it was cancelled several times because of Covid! Now it is finally on, a trip around the Meditteranian. Cant wait. All my summer clothes selected, EU adapter bought and a new Pacamac just in case.

Now to make it even better, when I return my new dog will be arriving!

Harry died last Christmas after more than 11 years of constant companionship. He saw me through the death of my husband, Covid and other traumatic incidents. Despite having little Billy my Miniature Schnauzer I felt really bereft after having an English Setter or two in the home for near;y 40 years.

I thought long and hard, could i introduce a new Setter to my quiet household? They can be rather boisterous, selectively deaf, naughty and expensive to maintain. I further pondered and came to the decision, YES. But not a puppy which should have a livelier household.

I decided on a rescue English Setter. Joined Settusfree which rehomes Setters from Europe which have been abandoned by the illegal hunting fraternity. I was vetted and home checked for suitability. Two i applied for weren’t deemed suitable and I was becoming very despondent when the Laison Administrator for Italy asked would I consider Charles? I certainly would. I had seen him on the site, he was described as 4 years old, sweet and affectionate requiring lots of human contact. Likes the outdoors, is inquisitive and good with other dogs.

So Charles is now reserved and travelling to this country on the “HAPPY BUS”, early in June.

No dog will replace Harry but as with children there is always room for another one to love.

So great excitement and a lovely month ahead.

MUSINGS OF AN ELDERLY LADY!

This morning I went to the local garden centre which has a large gift shop, smaller independent shops and a wonderful cafe with the best and largest selection of cakes and deserts I have ever eaten.

I queued at the counter, selected syrup tart with a little pot of cream and waited whilst my Cappuccino was prepared, then found a nice table to eat and watch the people around me! A lot of husband and wife oldies plus older women, in twos, smartly dressed.

I compared appearances to myself, always pleased when I thought I looked more elegant or better for my age!

I admit I have always been a bit vain about my appearance and am now having to come to terms with the fact I LOOK OLD!

I saw a lady with a gentleman both having sensible eggs on toast, probably in her sixties and I thought she looked a bit blowsy! Her hair looked as though it needed a good cut and was very light blonde, a bit brassy.

A sudden horrified thought hit me, was my light blonde hair that colour. Not caring who was watching I took my mirror out of my bag to compare. Relief! Mine is light blonde but with silvery tones.

I know I am very shallow and admire woman who can feel confident in just being themselves and not worrying how they look! I bet they are not eating unhealthy syrup tart and cream at 10.45 in the morning!

I had a discussion with my daughter recently about our love for chocolate and cake which has also transferred to my nine year old granddaughter. . I have brought them up very badly! But we don’t smoke, drink and have very few takeaways. Have never resorted to drugs, just get our fix from going out for coffee and cake. HAPPINESS.

Having enjoyed my break I went into the shopping area to look at the handbags. I needed something to hold my iPad, phone, purse and passport beside various documents and make up as I am travelling abroad on holiday in a few weeks.

I spent a good half hour unfastening bags, did they have enough pockets and could I unzip quickly and easily? Found the perfect one. Only £24 so if it only lasts the year I will be satisfied.

Finished off by mooching around the outside plant section where I bought three flowering plants suitable for an outside container I have beside my front door.

All together a very satisfying and pleasant morning.

A SCARY CUSTOMER

During my training I was introduced to Jean. Jean had contracted Polio as a young woman which had seriously disabled her. Now at the age of eighty she required a caliper on one leg and the use of crutches. I would be required to attend her every Thursday morning when her regular carer Jenny was on her day off.

We entered the bungalow by a key code and the initial job was to open the curtains in the lounge and then go to Jeans bedroom and gently wake her. She was a thin woman with a crotchety aged face which entirely reflected her personality. Very grumpy, but who could blame her with the pain and limitations of her life.

After Jean had pulled herself up into a sitting position with the aid of a hoist above her bed I was shown how to put on put on her knickers and heavy woollen tights and then the caliper which was quite a complicated affair. Jean was assisted into her dressing gown and slippers and was then, with the aid of her crutches, able to stand and walk to the bathroom.

We left her to her ablutions and went to the kitchen to prepare her breakfast which consisted of toast and marmalade. This was prepared in a refined way, toast on a plate and butter and marmalade in separate pots, tea in a teapot with a cosy placed on top and milk and sugar in bowl and jug and a china cup and saucer. Added to this where several medicinal tablets which were kept in a drawer.

By this time Jean was seated in an armchair in the lounge near the window and had switched on the television to watch the news. We wheeled in her breakfast on a wooden tea trolley with an embroidered cloth which was placed by her side.

Finally we were able to say good bye and leave Jean to enjoy her breakfast.

I was absolutely petrified of this woman and dreaded my weekly morning visit. It was irrational really as this lady was completely in my power because of her disabilities but she expected perfection and if jobs were not done to the letter she was sharp in her comments and made one feel stupid.

I wasn’t just me. Jean had been the chairperson of the local Disabled Drivers Association and everyone was terrified of her but admitted she was magnificently organized.

Although I was apprehensive every time I went I had to admire her. She had given up her car when things got too difficult but had a sturdy motorised wheelchair which took her to the town centre a mile away,

One day she decided to take a jaunt to the countryside but down a quiet country road the battery gave out in her chariot leaving her stranded. Jean was not fazed and with her crutches managed to walk a short distance to a farm house where the farmer was able to give her a lift home and she was able to arrange for the local garage to pick up her carriage and transport it back to home.

Jean was not all sharpness as one time when I mentioned my alarm clock had broken she said she had a spare that had belonged to her father. I rummaged through the drawer she pointed to and found a very nice working wind up clock in a box. I took it home and that night set it for 6am the following morning. Fortunately I usually wake up early and this morning was no exception. I looked at the clock which said 2am and knowing this could not be right groped for my watch which read 5.45 am! The clock had lost several hours in the day! On investigating the back i noticed a label for a repair for Mr Simpson dated 1958, some fifty odd years before! I never told Jean but allowed her to think her fathers clock was still “ticking!”

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on Pexels.com

I visited Jean many times but never lost the fear!

The Coffee Bar Challenge

I went into Barnsley Town Centre the other morning to do a bit of shopping and have a look round the market. I had decided to have a coffee and be adventurous and choose a new venue. I felt i had been getting into a bit of a rut favouring familiar places, mainly tea shops. It can be a bit daunting entering a cafe a a single elderly lady on her own. What will be the routine, will it be self service or not, will there be a seat and as i am partially deaf can i tell what the assistant is saying.I had been feeling i was losing my confidence and so i was determined to face the challenge of somewhere unknown. I walked from the market across the road to The Glass House and entered the open doorway. A group of young woman stood inside by a sign saying “Please wait here to be seated” Looking around I could see it had high bar stools and was rather busy and noisy.

Not for me, so I turned around and headed for the trusted Costa Coffee shop nearby, which I new well.

MY CHALLENGE HAD FAILED!

There where some tables outside Costa one occupied by a man and a young woman obviously assistants having some time out. We all nodded and I entered. Almost immediately I realised my mistake, The room was very dark and narrow with exposed brick and wood, assorted tables and chairs, lamps and various odds and ends of ornamentation. I stopped, turned around meeting the assistants coming in to attend me. Very embarrassed I said”wrong place” and being honest ” I thought it was Costa”. Man, middle aged with a baseball cap on and dark apron, looking South American, said in good English with a grin ” Better coffee here than Costa”. “Oh go on” I said and turned back then paused, “But do you have cake?” “Nice cakes ” he replied, “Better than Costa, from Marks ans Spencer”. I ordered a Cappuccino at the counter and a slice of lemon drizzle, the only other choice being chocolate cake. he man preparing coffee said “Only £4.60, cheaper than Costa!” and the young lady took my money.

I sat down. It was very quiet. Only two ladies at the front window table. The coffee and cake were very god. Man in charge and young assistant chatted away amicably together and it was a very nice atmosphere. I do not mind sitting on my own, gives me a chance to think and people watch..

After a short while a man entered. Not young. he had a back pack and looked a bit rough.He inquired at the counter how much a drink would cost and the assistant discussed it with him. He turned and looked at me , turned back and said he would come back later. Hesitated, Glanced at me at me again then walked out. I had been thinking should I buy him a coffee but had the feeling it was a trick he employed frequently. Coffee man looked over at me and said apologetically it was something that occurred now and then and was a bit of a scam.

All in all I enjoyed my coffee and cake in a new venue, added to my experience and next time in town will go there again. I had not failed my challenge. The cafe was called DADDY BEANZ which I assume is a franchise probably known by many but not oldies like me!

FURTHER TRAINING: Adventures of a care worker

I had the weekend off from training to be a care worker but did a driving lesson as although I had supposedly retired one of my pupils had still to pass her test.

Early on Monday I met up with Linda in Kendal for the first time, a buxom and jolly care worker who had a wealth of experience. Inside the house we met Margaret the wife of our “client” who was in bed in the back living room. Jeff at the age of 60 had had a massive stroke which had left him paralysed down most of his body. He could still speak and despite his disability was cheerful. The plan for Jeffs care was 3 visits a day, the morning and evening requiring 2 care workers as he needed a 2 person hoist to lift him out of bed and into a wheelchair.

I had learnt how to do this whilst on in house training but was pleased Linda was there to guide me. Jeff was maneuvered to the edge of the bed and lifted into a special wheelchair which was suitable for placement under the shower and over the toilet in the bathroom, which was next door. We undressed Jeff placing a towel to cover his modesty. All accompanied by cheerful chat.

Jeff then moved his bowels in the bathroom and I pushed him over to the shower and later, dried and clothed we hoisted him into his daytime wheelchair, pushed him into the lounge where Margaret was waiting to give him his breakfast.

I found this quite strenuous work despite there being two of us and Linda absolutely fantastic at the job.

I went many times to help with Jeff and was always amazed by Margarets attitude and care of him despite him having been a drinker and womanizer and having had several affairs. He should really have been in a nursing home and Margaret was always desperate by the time annually she had a fortnight’s holiday in Spain when Jeff went into respite care.

I always tried not to think fate dealt Jeff a blow he brought on himself!

GET A PET!

If you now have an empty nest or maybe living on your own I can’t recommend too highly the advantage of having a pet and it’s very good for mental well-being. Perhaps a dog or a cat, maybe even a bird.

Just in the last few months I know of three instances where taking on a pet has changed and enhanced peoples lives for the better.

First there were two middle aged friends of mine who once during the week would come and take my two dogs on longer more adventurous walks than I was able to give them. Jill and Robert had lived together several years, had no children and would have loved a dog but work commitments were against this.

Then Covid struck and Jill found herself working from home and likely to do so when life was back to normal. They started looking around at rescue dog sites but nothing struck a chord. Then after several months they took the plunge, went totally off course and got a little pedigree dachshund puppy!

Little Lena settled in quickly but was very demanding for cuddles and affection which she got in spoonfuls. Life isn’t as simple now for Jill and Robert, Lena doesn’t like being left for too long so one of them needs to be in most of the time. Holidays are now mainly self catering but fortunately if they want to go away Jill’s very understanding parents have Lena for sleepovers! Despite this Lena has enriched their lives and they couldn’t be without her.

Living near to me are an elderly couple who have had a difficult few years due to health problems but they are on the mend now.

I was surprised when getting out of their car they called me over. There cupped in Reg’s hands was the sweetest little puppy. Dorothy told me he was a teacup Yorkshire Terrier and was 10 weeks old. They called him Georgie. What surprised me most of all was that many yeas before they had owned a dog, a GERMAN SHEPHERD!

I saw them a few weeks later carrying Georgie and they said he was doing well, was adorable but wouldn’t walk on a lead so the following day a lady who trained pooches was coming to get him sorted.

I saw them all walking down the road recently, little Georgie behaving impeccably and the latest news was that he had started training classes, was doing well apart from barking at the other dogs! They both agreed they where besotted. Having Georgie has given them a new lease of life.

My friend Alice after being widowed had moved to a very nice quiet first floor apartment. As the months turned into 2 years she found it a bit depressing coming home with no one to greet her. She thought about a dog but as she had no immediate access to the outside that might cause problems. So then thoughts of a cat to be kept inside. After looking on the internet for cats bred to live an indoor life none appealed to her and the matter was temporarily dropped.

When some Covid restrictions were lifted Alice was able to visit her son in Spain. Jeff had a cat and belonged to a rescue society that rehomed street cats to this country. Two female cats in the societies care had had kittens and arrangements were made to transport them to England when they were older. All were taken and being adopted in to good homes.

Just as my friend was finishing her visit one of the adopters gave back word and Alice stepped into the breach.

A few weeks later LEO was delivered to her door! In the meantime Alice had spent a lot of effort making her apartment both safe and interesting for a house cat. Shelving was placed in steps on the walls for climbing, toys and food were bought and a litter tray.

Leo settled in very quickly despite the long journey he had endured and was very playful affectionate. He had a bedtime routine with Alice, first sleeping against her head and then settling further down the bed. Morning was an early start when he would once again go to her head and lie across her hair.

Alice has put up with all these changes to her life. Early rises, lots of play, cleaning the litter tray and foregoing holidays away from home in case he fretted! She is now confident enough in his stability so will be off to Spain soon to meet a new granddaughter. Leo is booked into the most luxurious cat hotel so he can have a holiday too!

All these folk have made a big commitment with their pets both in time, money and a certain lack of freedom but they wouldn’t have it any other way. To be greeted rapturously when returning home after a trip to the shops and all the cuddles received plus having a pet who relies on you gives a feeling of being needed.

Despite the commitment and possibly because of it life has a better dimension. I know. I did have two dogs but my handsome Harry died just before Christmas. It is much easier just looking after Billy my Minature Scnauzer and certainly cheaper but shortly I will be looking around for my next canine companion.

A FEW DAYS LATER……. I have just come back from walking Billy my Miniature Schnauzer. It’s an easy walk, out of the house and down the lane until it filters out into a very muddy narrow path which is almost impassable at this time of year, so I turn back. The walk takes me 30 minutes. I used to do it twice when I had Harry as well so I am not getting quite as much exercise. Having a dog is so good for walking. You have to go out whatever the weather.

GET A DOG !!

Continue reading “GET A PET!”

Home Care Work Stories THE MAN, THE BATH AND THE SPIDER!

My induction into home care work covered a two week period, the first three days in a class environment with other newbies, getting to grips with health and safety, hoist operation and resuscitation. It also included whistle blowing in a positive way! At the end I received a certificate.

I was employed to stand in for full time workers on their days off and therefore needed to cover a range of areas. My next few days were spent based in Windermere with Julie, a married lady in her late thirties who had been in the job several years. We travelled in Julie’s car and our first client was a gentleman in his late seventies who lived on his own in an old terraced cottage down a lane. Julie had been a few times mainly to make his breakfast and help him dress for the day. This time though his son had requested that she give him a bath and dress him in his newly washed underwear, a pair of new trousers and a jumper he had bought him. I must admit what I saw in his clothes drawer were extremely scruffy and worn.

Malcolm was still in his pyjamas and leaving him sitting on the side of the bed we went to investigate the bathroom and run the bath. There sitting near the plug hole was a very large black spider! 🕷. Julie gave a half scream and rushed to the open door and I followed her! We stood peering from a distance at the unmoving but very much alive spider who had obviously inhabited the bath for many weeks. 🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷

Malcolm was definitely not going to be of any help, Julie neither and I have a distinct aversion to 🕷but neither of us were willing to turn on the tap and run it down the plug hole. I gritted my teeth, found a large glass in the kitchen and a piece of paper, went stoically back to the bathroom, opened the window wide, and not giving myself time to think placed the glass over Sid, whipped the paper underneath, rushed to the window and flung him to the ground! Julie still hovering outside the bathroom door was most impressed!

We filled the bath with lovely hot water and ushered in and undressed Malcolm. He protested all the time, not wanting a bath, just a wash but after much persuasion and encouragement he put one foot in, more encouragement, the other foot and lowered his body into the water. The look on his face was pure pleasure as with a sigh he relaxed his body into the warm water. we let him soak for awhile whilst we prepared his breakfast and tidied up.

After he had washed himself and we had helped him dress he looked quite smart and I am sure his son approved!

When I met Julie again a few weeks later she reported that he always looked forward to his once a week bath!

Fit and Healthy

In 2020 I booked a weeks cruise in the Mediterranean for May that year. When Covid started it was cancelled and besides being disappointed I was worried that with the advancing years I wouldn’t be as fit when eventually it was back on.

I decided to go onto a fitness routine and give myself a chance of still being as active as I was at that moment. Now 2 years later and with the cruise 3 months away I am in pretty good shape despite arthritis in the hip. I put this down to the fact that I watch my diet, walk daily with the dog and do a seniors fitness tape 3 or 4 times a week. I have also started daily exercises to help my arthritis. This may sound time consuming and hard work but it’s not and stops me from just sitting on the couch all day. I also recently started a Dancercise class for the over 65s which only lasts 40 minutes and has the advantage of meeting and chatting to new people.

I can only emphasise once again the importance of being PROACTIVE not only in socialising and mind but in physical activity. Even for those chairbound there are many seated exercises online. Just Google it.

To start I can recommend Hasfit on YouTube. Excercise for all ages and mobility!

If you are already feeling pretty fit or have any tips or moans on keeping mobile let me know. I am always ready to try something new!

NATURE AND NETFLIX A very nice morning

I was walking the dog this morning when I heard honking and looking up saw a pair of geese flying overhead. Continuing the walk i heard further loud noises and saw a large skein of geese flying in formation and very low. It is always a stirring sight and sound which I find quite exciting. I assume they were flying on to Worsbrough Mill Park and Reservoir just a mile further on.

A few days ago I was walking there with a friend and much to my delight saw on the edge of the water, gracefully moving, 6 swans. Now you might think this is not unusual but it is at Worsbrough Mill. Swans are very rare there and over the years I have seen only one or two, now and then, and apart from one year they have never stayed. I expect this group were only stopping off and will be gone by now. Swans give me that feeling a beautiful piece of classical music does.

Returning home after my geese spotting walk I made myself a cup of coffee, sat on the sofa, switched on the T.V. and watched the next episode of a thriller on Netflix. A very pleasant and relaxing morning.

NOT A BAD LIFE REALLY.

A 9 years old improvement to the Van Gogh style

Information about Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is extra money for people over 65 who need regular help with personal care.
— Read on www.independentage.org/get-advice/money/benefits/attendance-allowance

A lot of people do not realise this is available or feel too proud to ask for it.

When my husband was very incapacitated with arthritis and unable to do the jobs around the house that he had always done we both found it very difficult. It put a lot more pressure on me, not only physical but mental too.

He kept soldiering on. Once when I was out he tried mowing the lawn which was on a steep slope and when I arrived home it was to find he had fallen and was unable to get up. I managed to hawl to his feet and fortunately, though shaken and bruised he didn’t need an ambulance.

He had psoriasis on his legs and back and needed my assistance in putting the special cream on besides other help and assistance which had crept up on us.

On his behalf I applied for attendance allowance which he received and it made a big difference to us and lightened the burden for me.

We were able to employ a cleaning lady who has become a good friend and a gardener.

I can’t recommend highly enough applying for this benefit if you fit the criteria. It is not charity and will in the end probably save government money by enabling more independence.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I am all about being proactive and feel rather pleased with myself as in the first 4 days of the year I have been able to be very PROACTIVE. I took back a lighted Christmas Ornament to the shop I purchased it from as it didn’t work very well. Complained and got my money back.

I phoned the audio department at the hospital for new hearing aid batteries and mentioned that they were only lasting half the time. Audiologist asked if I could come in later that day.

I did, the hearing aid was tested and replaced with a new receiver and I was given 3 packs of batteries. All on the N.H.S.

Last year I applied to be a volunteer for a trial vaccine project and was accepted. This year I had a telephone conversation in order to give further details and now have an appointment to take part in the trial in a fortnight. Some people might not like the idea but I find it interesting and a challenge. Keeps my brain working……..

and I have also organised the next Ladies Who Lunch event for the end of the month. .

Very sadly my beautiful English Setter Harry, 11 years old was put to sleep just before Christmas as he became less able to get about and was unable to eat. He was my companion, best friend and comfort in difficult times. I miss him.

So Finally and most exciting of all I am about to foster Recue English Setters before they are able to go to their forever homes. It will be quite challenging as they have been rescued from the continent and are mainly discarded gun dogs and puppies, badly treated, abused and left on the street to starve.

All in all a very PROACTIVE start to 2022.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS

Being a grandparent has many advantages.

It’s lovely going with them to see Father Christmas and having none of the parental responsibilities! It was even better yesterday when it involved Breakfast With Santa and the grown ups had a full English!

AM I REGRESSING INTO MY FATHER?

30 years ago my father was in his early eighties and during his final years he lived a fairly independent life down the road from me.

I now find myself doing many of the things he did which I was either amused by or cringed with embarrassment.

We lived in a village in the Lake District and I would drop him off in the nearby town whilst he did his shopping and then went to the library. After choosing his books he would sit on the bench at the foot of the library steps and feed the pigeons whilst waiting for me. He became known as the pigeon man and some thought it sweet whilst others were annoyed by the mess the pigeons made!

I don’t feed the pigeons but I do have two bird feeders in my garden and am forever ordering huge bags of peanuts online.

He would trawl the charity shops looking for mugs to replace those he regularly dropped or chipped and I now find myself doing the same but I search for cereal bowls and pudding basins!

He came home with plates with gaudy pictures and was in his element collecting those with colourful Christmas scenes most of which he delightedly presented to me. I found them very cheap looking but I recently bought a set of tea plates in yellow with bright orange flowers around the edges. Only cost me £2 for six. A bargain!

He bought a Father Christmas ornament which on shaking created a snowstorm in its belly. I hated putting it on show but over 35 years later it still sits on a shelf at Christmas with just a few snowflakes left. You should see the sparkly lights on my Christmas picture with two dogs and a cat. Daddy would have been proud of me!

Daddy decided to get an orange and white kitten, and called him Charlie. He was besotted with him and Charlie felt the same about my dad. It was normal when speaking to my father on the phone to hear the receiver clatter to the floor and my father yelling expletives as Charlie leapt at him from the windowsill! That cat was useful though as I once found a wizened long dead mouse behind the sofa.

I have two dogs and my son complains they are very badly behaved. It’s not true, as I go downstairs in the morning shouting where’s my babies, they rush to great me, leaping up, tails furiously wagging.

My father always brought his grandchildren sweets, took them to the playground and afterwards to the pub opposite where he would buy them lemonade and crisps whilst he drank his beer. They loved the sherbet fountains he brought and he continued to do so no matter how many times I complained about the mess they made.

During the summer holidays my 5 year old grandson and his parents spent a week with me and when back at school and asked by the teacher what was the best thing during the holidays he replied “ having chocolate biscuits and sweets at Nanas”.

I expect my children will be the same in the advancing years. I hope I live long enough to see it.

The Missing Trowel! Further Senior Moments!

My son came to clean out the gutters around my house. A job that had needed doing for weeks as leaves, moss and debris from the roof had collected causing blockages and drips.

I made sure I had a bucket ready and usually I had a trowel to scrape out the mess but for weeks I had been unable to find it.

Son said he would look and within a minute came across it under a pile of refuse bags. I had searched there several times! My son gave me a pitying look and went out to the garage to get the stepladder.

A few minutes later he came back and rather sheepishly said “ Mum, I don’t know where I have put the trowel“

“It’s in the bucket!“ I said and felt very smug!





Continue reading “The Missing Trowel! Further Senior Moments!”

AM I OLD?

The day I first thought about blogging, I had been chatting to my friend who is also my cleaner about old age. I decided I would be old at 90 so still had 13 more years to go!

Now one year later at the age 78 and 10 months I have definitely reached old age despite feeling reasonably fit and not brain dead!

What has caused this……. three of my middle aged children!

They do say “Insanity is inherited, you get it from your children!”

I had been on a week’s self catering holiday with the two youngest and my 6 and 8 years old grandchildren. I organised it, ordered an online grocery delivery and booked a couple of castle viewings. We had a lovely time, the children helped out and we all enjoyed it.

Feeling pretty shattered though. Have you noticed that holidays are quite tiring!

Arrived home on the Saturday with daughter and grandchild staying on and on Sunday drove to the railway station to meet middle son Harry, 47 years, daughter in law Maggy and grandson Jake 5 years off the train after their journey from Amsterdam.

Finally after 20 months of Covid, 2 vaccinations and 2 Covid tests they are able to enter the country to see poor old mum!

My children, particularly when they are staying together with me, go into childhood mode. It’s my fault, I very rarely asked them to do anything at home, pandered to their eating preferences, was their taxi driver etc etc. so now at least 30 years later they revert back and I allow it!  They are lovely caring children but because mum has always done it and I don’t ask for help that’s the way it is.

Mum makes most of the meals, tidies up, sorts the dishwasher out, sorts out the dogs, empties the excessive rubbish and everything else to keep the house running smoothly, organising outings besides driving everywhere. My physical state was not helped by having to give up my lovely comfortable bedroom for the small downstairs room and a  single rather hard bed.

I thought I could do it as I always have and I wanted them all to have a lovely relaxing time as they lead quite stressful lives.

This time though NO. I was really drained, aching body and mentally shattered but I soldiered on.

Finally everyone left apart from my son who spent a few extra days with his mum.

The catalyst came when he said to me “How are you mum”.

I told him. He was shocked and took on the clearing up of the dishes after our meals. By then there was only him and I so I was beginning to feel my old self. (No pun intended!)

Harry is a loving caring son, phones me twice a week and would do anything I ask but….although in a top academic job, can be a bit unobservant as on the day he left.  He stripped his bed in my room and said “Are you sleeping downstairs now Mum?”

He is a sweet boy really!

Another thing making me feel old  is people now rushing in to help before giving me a chance to sort things out myself. For instance when paying by chip and pin if the machine doesn’t immediately register my card it is automatically assumed I don’t know what I am doing, if I don’t immediately answer a question it’s assumed I am daft, not a little deaf and trying to process what has been said.

So now I  accept I am old but still in pretty good nick for my age and when I reach ninety which I intend to do I will be ancient

Be Proactive

I was widowed a few years ago after 45 years of happy marriage.

It wasn’t unexpected as my husband was 12 years older than me and the final 12 months had been hard for both of us.

Fortunately I like my own company so living on my own isn’t a problem but I have a good social life because I believe in being proactive and getting on with it.

I took myself out regularly to a favourite café to have coffee and cake and people watch but I missed not properly going out to dine in a restaurant. I think sitting with my steak and chips on my own would be a bit lonely and slightly embarrassing!

How could I solve this problem, family helped now and then but I wanted something more frequent.

Ladies Who Lunch would be just the job but unfortunately though I trawled the internet no reasonably local group was to be found.

The solution, start one myself! 🍽

I belong to a neighbourhood group on Facebook so I asked were any ladies interested in having lunch out?  The response was very encouraging with mainly retired ladies interested.

We were off.

Six were definite, which suited me as that is a manageable group round one table.

On our first meeting at a very reasonably priced pub there were only three of us, a fourth had to dash off to hospital when her husband became seriously ill.

There are eight of us now meeting every 4-6 weeks at different venues. Usually one or two have other commitments but make it the next time.

Our youngest member in her fifties brings her mother of 83 years, who is a real laugh, and the rest of us are in our seventies.

Four are widows and the rest leave their husbands at home!

We have an app which we communicate through and that has developed into sending holiday photos, interesting events and more.

I am a great believer in helping oneself but I realise that is not always possible for some. We all have different personalities.

If you are bored, lonely, need help why not ring up AGE UK and I am sure they will be able to help.

THAT’S BEING PROACTIVE!

I have noticed that my local superstore has a board advertising events. One or two posters have information about either weekly or monthly lunches for the over sixties. One in a community hall has a very reasonably priced lunch followed by a game of Bingo. Even if that is not quite up your street if you are lonely it would be worth getting in touch and it is a way of meeting people. Better than sitting at home on your own!

The F Word

I have never had anyone swear at me using the “F” word!

I was 16 when I saw it written on a menu as I was serving in a cafe and innocently asked the lady owner what it meant. We were both extremely embarrassed when she told me!

Now in my dotage I am an avid fan of crime dramas and don’t turn a hair when I hear it even if I am with my children. It seems very common especially in America but I believe a bloody expletive which I occasionally use is in very bad taste! 💥⚡️😳

I still cannot use the”F”word in company but one day it may slip out as effing and blinding is occasionally on my lips when I burn the food, drop a plate or stub my toe!

Continue reading “The F Word”

Did I enjoy my holiday?

I have just been on a two week holiday in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands where I have been many times in the last twenty years. It is a 500 miles drive by car.

The weather was awful. Lots of wind, rain and very cold days. The self catering cottage, a croft house, was in an isolated area and was warmed by storage heaters. It was very chilly at times requiring several layers of clothing.

There are a few eating out places in the nearest village which is half an hours drive away through rocky hills with passing places. Unhappily they were all closed due to Covid but our favourite was open for takeaways and at least we had good sausage ciabattas with onion marmamalade.

Harry my beautiful 11 year old English Setter was very off colour and had been for a few weeks but on our third day couldn’t even get up to greet me. I made an appointment for that afternoon at the nearest vet which was 65 miles away over a road with passing places. It was a two hour drive through rain but the scenery was magnificent!

Harry was diagnosed, given a two week course of antibiotics and I drove back £153 lighter but within a few days Harry was his usual lively self and so it was worth it!

The plusses of the holiday were the short walk down to the sandy spectacular bay, wonderful ever changing views from the cottage windows, a fish and chip van on Saturday night using beef dripping, being with members of my family and the enforced rest due to nothing open plus a really comfortable bed.

Having been back home for a few days the conclusion is I REALLY ENJOYED MY HOLIDAY!

THE MYSTERY OF THE BRUSHPAN AND BRUSH!

WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE COUNTRYSIDE?

Whilst walking the dog this morning down another country lane ( see the tale of the trolley) and having open fields to one side and converted barns fronted by gardens on the other I spotted a brush pan with a brush lying to the side of the road on the grass.

Both were in a used condition but not too worn.

Now why had this pair been brought to that spot and left.

On occasions I have taken my brush and pan out in order to sweep up and deposit in the bin the lifeless presents left on the back doorstep by Flossy my cat but that is not an explanation that works in this case.

There is no answer at the moment to this conundrum its just another of lifes mysteries!

The Tale of the Trolley

THE TALE OF THE TROLLEY

I was walking the dog down an unmade country lane which lies between the local railway line and fields with grazing horses.

Halfway down I came across an almost new Tesco trolley. Nothing in it and no indication as to why it was there.

Now the nearest Tesco store is about 2 miles away and one would assume it had been pushed from there. Why. What is the reason?

I can only assume mischievous youths had thought it a great joke but that doesn’t make sense. Pushing a trolley 2 miles along mostly main roads to a spot that is not a gathering place for the local youths.

It’s a mystery!

Anybody any thoughts or ideas?

Let me know.

A LOVELY TIME WITH MY GRANDAUGHTER

DINING OUT WITH A TEENAGER.

My 18 year old grandaughter was due to go to University the following week so I texted her and and asked would she like to go out for lunch. The reply was, Nana, could we go to Meadow Hall Shopping Centre, there are a few last minute bits I need. My heart sank, I am not really keen on shopping with other people. OK I said and arranged a time to pick her up.

The shopping went well, I hurried her through the various outlets and we were successful in buying all on her list.

Time for lunch. Mia chose Barburritos on the ground floor of the Oasis Eating Hub. All new to me, so my grandaughter shepherded me through the system. Choose a wrap then the fillings. I have a very dry mouth condition and anything with heat really stings but we managed after discussion with the serving assistant to come up with a few options. Finally the assistant said, “Would you like tea”. “Yes please” I said and I went and paid the bill.

We found a table and my grandaughter brought over our wraps encased in tinfoil. “Where is my tea I asked?” “You didn’t order any”. “Yes I did, she asked me did I want tea”. “No Nana, she asked did you want cheese!” Oh the joys of being hard of hearing!

My original idea of a smart sophisticated lunch with my grandaughter did not happen but on the other hand my wrap was very nice, and the bill was only just over £11, but I didn’t get my cup of tea!

I had a lovely few hours with my eldest grandaughter that I shall treasure.