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!

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!