Got A Date!

No, not one of those…nor those. This is a date for a new knee operation! Woohoo! At last I can plan the next few weeks, and then a couple of months ahead…I like to know what’s going on. This is not to say I don’t like surprises ( so long as they are good ones, involving friends, alcohol, fast cars, nice young men…ahem, back to reality…) but as I get older ( and more forgetful) I like to put things in my diary and know it will happen. It also helps me plan for needing cover for the holiday cottage changeovers on a Friday. Also hubby now knows when I will need his help after the intensive hydro-physio. Did I tell you I am going to the same place Andy Murray went to recover after his hip op? Posh, eh! Apparently this method has speeded up recovery for the majority of users, so I really hope it will get me back up and running ( stop laughing! You know what I mean!) sooner.

The worst bit of all of this is not being able to drive for a few weeks. I don’t mind not being able to do the food shopping – online will be fun for a while, and Hubby can read a list as well as cooking…I’ve trained him well. However not being able to just go somewhere when I want to, with whatever I need in the boot, will drive me nuts!!!! BE WARNED!!!!

My main concern at the moment is the hospital I am going to is so new it has yet to be commissioned. However it is being run by Ze Germans, who are very efficient as we know, and I will be very surprised if anything goes wrong. Then the health insurance company has to like them too…Once all of that is in place I will relax a bit. It is the reliance on others I don’t like; I’m not good at asking for help – my mother was always doing it and I found it so embarrassing somehow – and I really don’t like asking Hubby to help… because he works for a Japanese company who think home life is nothing to do with them and should fit in around your work. That being said, when I am due to leave the hospital for the clinic Hubby will be in a golf committee meeting that cannot be missed! I am raising my eyes to heaven as many a golf widow will recognise. I have some lovely friends who have volunteered to drive me, and I am so grateful, but finding it difficult to say yes. It’s me, not them! I am reluctant to ask my son too…but that has more to do with the size and state of his car!! Small and messy, just like his mother. His car, not him!

So hopefully this time next month I will be doped up to the eyes with painkillers, a lovely scar running down the front of my knee, nice young things answering my buzzer, and nothing but physio to do…reality involves being bullied into walking up and down corridors and then stairs when you don’t want to but know you must, and is good for you. I’m expecting no sympathy from Hubby as he will be at work ( nice air-conditioned office!), but know he will be mildly at a loss as most men are when their significant other is in hospital. All say ahhhh, bless them. Send Chocolate!

Is There A Button?

Oh Dear Reader, I am feeling very much like the bear of very little brain ( Winnie-ther-pooh for those of you not brought up on him) this morning.

I mentioned I had a blog on one of my favourite Facebook sites ( more later) and someone said they couldn’t find the Subscribe Button…Hm, I thought as Hubby chuntered at the US Open on TV (golf), that’s a point…how do people get this blog if they want to? So I have gayly clicked on buttons and answered questions, scratched my head, and am now wondering what the hell I have just signed up for! I really shouldn’t be let out and ought to be sent back to bed!

There should now be a bright  button for MailChimp subscription to this site somewhere (ok, I’ll check in a mo…but let me finish this first, please or I’ll completely forget what I wanted to say!!) where you can follow my thoughts…and good luck to you! Son bought a T-Shirt whilst skiing that said “Don’t follow me, I’m lost too…” Sometimes it really is the story of my life! 😉

I don’t pretend to be a thick person, nor an IT genius, and technology has passed me in the fast lane as I’m still trying to read the signpost, but surely somethings should not be this confusing? Or is it me? Am I losing my concentration…oh, look, a butterfly!

Now a confession…I AM losing my concentration! Stop laughing! This morning I had to drive Hubby to Ashford International train station as his train from Rye was late and he might miss the connection ( transport requires it’s own Grumpy Old Woman post!), and on the way back I was so enjoying listening to Just A Minute on Radio Xtra I drove straight home instead of going to the swimming pool! I even had my costume on under my clothes!! For goodness sake don’t tell Son or he’ll have me booked into the Old People’s Home asap!

So, here’s hoping I have done the right thing and not signed up to some international selling corporation, when all I wanted was to make life easier for you all to follow me…there’s a lot to be said for a trail of breadcrumbs!

Lx

Ps Fav site is about Jodi Taylor’s books about a university that studies History “in contemporary time”, and no its not Time Travel!

Swimming Update

It has been a whilst since I wrote about my swimming…but I am still doing it! In fact last week I managed to get up to 60 lengths! I am rather chuffed about that, despite it taking over 45 mins to achieve. Sadly after that my knee was not a happy bunny, so my physio and I have decided to take it down a notch to 50 lengths on as many mornings as I can. Some mornings have been missed due to me not being in Rye, or deliveries etc, the Cottage. But on the whole I go Monday to Friday, giving it a miss for the weekend due to loads more folks in the pool etc, and the wonderful “weekend lie-in” which most people enjoy.

So long as I am doing the physio exercises as well, the knee seems to be aching less. It doesn’t like me kneeling down to weed or read electric metres etc, even when I use my best cushion to rest on. My gardener has very kindly given me one of his kneelers to help (he’s hoping to encourage me to do more weeding!) but it doesn’t help the pain.

I saw the consultant on Monday who says (in my words) I still need to lose a shed load of weight so that the range of movement is better, my fitness will be better, and my recovery will be quicker. If the pain g0es with the weight we can hold off for a while, but we are realistically looking at mid August for a new knee. I took Hubby with me to make sure I remembered to ask all the relevant questions this time, and just so there was another brain to understand what’s going on. It was also nice to have an afternoon in London with him if I’m honest! Even if he proceeded to eat a cream scone in front of me at Harvey Nicks when I’d been told to diet more!!!! He was so lucky not to get it shoved somewhere…but I am a lady…and I couldn’t reach over the table!

So I shall continue to plow up and down in the pool in the mornings, exercise and walk during the day, and I am hoping to try a few holes of golf again, because I really can’t be away from it for that long! I will forget how to play!

Lx

Professionalism

Its a big word, which sadly seems to be going out of style in this modern age of emails etc.  Ok, so I am in my “Grumpy Old Woman’ mood…but I’m not really! I just think that we have got out of the habit of replying to emails professionally!!

For instance: our wonderful new conservatory ( Hubby keeps on calling it an Orangery…I am rolling my eyes as I type) is now finished and is almost everything I dreamed it would be. In fact I have to restrain myself from saying “I was SO right to have this done” every time He and I sit in it. It now needs an energy rating thingy so we can get our building regs etc finished off. The conservatory company arranged this, but didn’t bother to tell me they were doing it. The first I got to know about it was a phone call whilst I was driving from some chap called “Steve” saying could his chap come at a specified date…his name was Alan. I asked Steve to call me back, which he did later, and I expected an email from the main company to back all this up. No such email arrived.

At the specified time a man turned up in a high vis vest, and a clip board, and proceeded to ask me for plans of the house, any drawings etc. I was rather confused as “Steve” had lead me to believe this was just for the new bit. Perhaps I should have looked into it beforehand, but when I questioned “Alan” he said some chap called Steve, he didn’t know from where, had asked him to do this. I gave him a coffee whilst I tried to get hold of the conservatory folks and “Steve” with no luck; Steve tried to sell me food supplements in the meantime, telling me I had a weathered face which needed collagen!! I called my husband who immediately said “no, ask him to leave; we don’t know who he really is, and don’t let him take photos of the place.” … so that plus Hubby’s comments lead me to ask “Alan” to leave as I was not happy, and wished for official confirmation etc. He left shrugging his shoulders.

I eventually got the right person at the conservatory company who told me it was all above board, but agreed it had not been handled very professionally, and we would re-book it all but with confirmation emails about everything.

Now, am I being rather old-fashioned? Am I to let any Tom, Dick, or Alan into my house on a telephone call, to take photos etc? I don’t think so!

I am not really a shrinking violet; if I sat on someone I’d probably break their ribs ( if I could reach high enough to get them on the ground!) However it unnerved me that there was no official documentation about any of this. What if I had been a little old lady? No, I am NOT that yet, thank you very much…I can hear the sniggers at the back! It really hasn’t taken that much effort for everyone involved to email me their details etc this time, so why wasn’t it done in the first place?

I also have to get a fob re-sent from a key company because they didn’t inform me it had been sent and I needed to be in for the delivery! I really am rolling my eyes at this one!

Ok. rant over. However folks, can we just make sure everything that needs to be confirmed in writing/by email is done so? That way nobody’s time is wasted!!!

I’m climbing off the soap box now…could someone just lend me a hand, it’s a bit high for me…someone?…anyone?…hello?

Lx

 

New Start week 2

Last week I managed to swim 4 days, including taking Hubby swimming on Saturday first thing. He then gave me Sunday off to give the muscles time to relax…I was amazed as it just didn’t feel right! So unlike this life-long couch potato!

I was very relieved that I still wanted to go on Monday morning, which I did, and managed 18 lengths. Still not many but not bad in these early days. That afternoon I had my first physio session, and was given a list of exercises to do every day. I did a session that evening and was horrified at how other muscles and my “good” leg found it more difficult to do the exercises.

Tuesday morning was a “late” one as I went to art before attending my first ‘water fitness” session…Now this was billed as slightly less energetic than aqua aerobics for those less fit. I think they need to look up the definition of ‘slightly’!!! I didn’t drown at least, but it was a near thing. I was the least fit in the class, surrounded by different ages and sizes. We certainly rocked the waves! It was great fun and I will go from now on. I went home and iced my knee. It helped tremendously that the physio had taped up the knee, tho the tape is not liking the chlorinated water.

This morning I felt very tired, and I certainly know I have tummy muscles!! The nice thing is that I can feel my core strengthening and I am standing taller ( I hope so, after finding out I have lost an inch in height!). It was more difficult to get down to the pool, but once in it was bliss…I think I really am a water baby at heart.

Interestingly, (well, to me!) I found a lady there who has just had her knee done by my consultant. She said how wonderful he had been, and urged me to go to the intensive residential care after the op…sounds like a posh hotel with added bits, so of course I shall beg Hubby to let me go.  It may be in Guildford, miles away, but I’m sure there is a golf club near he can go and play at if he visits me. I think it is quite lucky that we are used to being apart.

So, another 18 lengths this morning, 2 of which were with a float…oh so slow!!! I may wait a bit to do the exercises, if that’s ok? I’m going walking with my Goddaughter and her parents this afternoon as its her birthday…does that count? No? Bother!

New Knee? New Start

Today I have started a new regime of swimming to get fit and help lose weight…no, don’t stop reading! I can hear you say “We have been here before” but this time I HAVE to do it!

A few weeks ago I got up out of a chair and felt that awful familiar feeling of my meniscus going. After some swearing, icing of knee, and general grumpiness, I was sent to a lovely knee consultant. The MRI showed I have a ” Severe medial compartmental osteoarthritic” knee and within 4-12 months will have to have it replace….to you and me that means I have little or no cartilage left in the joint or behind the knee cap, and lots of inflammation etc.

Non of this is helped by me being an unfit fatty of course…but I would have come to this stage of knee degeneration at some point soon. Thanks mum for your genes!

Hence the swimming! I have to have physio, and swim every day, and do aqua-aerobics AND go on a strict diet as I am aiming to lose 2 stone in 2 months…stop laughing! I am going to give it a bloody good try as I am fed up of all this discomfort etc!!! I have signed up at my local pool and I did that just after 7 am this morning, which is quite a feat for me!

I gingerly entered the arena (ok, the pool) and found it lovely and warm, not too many others in the slow area to bash into, and some even smiled at me! Donning the cap and goggles Amazon had kindly supplied I slowly started to do front crawl. Oh boy! I just about made it to the end of the first length without drowning…I am finding getting the breathing rhythm difficult to get back to…short of breath, I turned onto my back and finished the second length without injuring any of my fellow swimmers. 14 lengths later, and feeling quite tired I decided that was enough for DAY 1.

It seems quite the thing to bring your shampoo  etc and shower properly there, but I think I will just rinse off there and enjoy my own large PRIVATE shower at home with a hot cup of tea waiting much better. Hm, I’m going to have to investigate swimmers’ shampoos If I’m doing this every day! Otherwise there will be no point in dying my hair!!! Especially as the cap didn’t stop my hair getting wet…so that was a waste of money 🙁

I now feel invigorated and very clean. On with the laundry!

Lx

 

 

New Room Update

 

How many weeks is it since we started this project? Sometime in September the old conservatory went and a brand new conservatory-end of our old TV room emerged. It has changed the nature of the room, and has given us the wonderful problem of what to call it…TV room is just not descriptive enough, nor is gym room despite the treadmill going back in there when it’s finished. It most definitely is NOT an orangery (Hubby take note) (he won’t, he doesn’t read this…does he know it exists??) Family room, Snug, Den…all good names, but not for this fab space! Of course, MINE springs to mind, teehee, as I shall be in there at almost every chance…the view, the light, THE WARMTH.

SO far the underfloor heating is working, and has produced THE warmest room in the house. This just adds to my frustration that we are not further on. The screed seems to be taking a long time to dry out, and now we have a dehumidifier helping it along. I don’t want to get the engineered oak for the floor yet to avoid any warping: it needs to be left in the room for 2 weeks before being laid to allow it to acclimatise. The new little window won’t go in until just before Christmas, so no decorating until that happens…there is enough dust in there anyway.

One reason it is all taking so long is apparently we should have rubbed off the white latex layer soon after it solidified…who knew? Not me, no-one told me. The builder, who changed it from dry screed to wet for some unknown reason, has not been seen since it went down ( done by an expert company, not the builders), and I have not heard from him…en email will be going this weekend.

As with all building projects there have been niggles. I shall never do this again (hopefully), but if I do it will all be done by local builders I know, rather than using the ones suggested. I shall get professional help locally…oh I could go on, but it’s all academic now.

Now I just have to be patient..um, not one of my virtues, as any member of the family will tell you. I will be surprised if its ready for Christmas sadly, nor for The President’s Putter at the beginning of January (it’s a golf competition for anyone who played golf officially for Oxford and Cambridge universities, played in all weathers, with great camaraderie and keen competitiveness). Hopefully it might be ready by the time the Cambridge golf team come to stay at the end of January…PLEASE!!!!!!!

I will now concentrate on Christmas…OMG it’s only 3 weeks away…out of my way, I need to panic!

Lx

Just Daydreaming…

Do you daydream? Are you conscious of drifting away during a particularly boring task and imagining something completely different; or are you a very ‘present’ person?

I thought I was a complete daydreamer, with a great imagination, able to whisk myself into any number of scenarios where I was the heroine of various situations…of course, I was always tall, slim, fascinating, in total control…yep, completely daydreaming! As a young girl at boarding school, not very popular or cleaver, I was adept at slipping home in my mind, winning loads of prizes, being discovered as the new acting talent and winning Oscars etc…I can still feel that joy of imagining Derek Jacobi ( who gave us a talk at our drama club, and patted me on the head, *sigh*) introducing me as the greatest leading lady of the future…if only Mummy had let me go to drama school, damn her eyes! Hand on forehead at this point please.

The recent photography assignment of film stills has challenged me somewhat, and I have realised that I have stopped daydreaming – that my imagination has somewhat closed down! Disaster!! Why has this occurred to The Greatest Creative Mind The World Has Known….Ahem, sorry. Back to reality. I have been pondering this and have come to several conclusions ( depending on which persona is doing the pondering, Darlink! See Zsa Zsa Gabor).

The nicest reason is that I have such a lovely, comfortable life I no longer need to daydream. Sounds pompous and self-satisfied, but I don’t mean it to. We have both worked hard in our own way to get here, and it fulfils several of my childhood daydreams.

The not-so-nice reason is that if I dared to dream about life with two living children I may just tumble back into the dark. So we are not going THERE! Manga ( my maternal grandmother) always banged on about counting your blessings, and she was so right!

What has taken the place of my wonderful inner cinema? You are on it! I disappear into the internet, FaceBook, Pinterest, other peoples’ blogs…I am actively blocking my daydreams by looking at others’ lives, zoning out of mine without giving myself my lovely alternatives. That has to change!!

According to The Daily Mail ( ok, ok, I know!) there is a group of scientists who have discovered daydreaming stimulates the frontal lobes and brain activity http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2967732/Daydreaming-GOOD-boost-brainpower.html

In this study Prof Moshe Bar concludes that daydreaming frees up the brain to conclude the task in hand to a better standard. If a prof says its good then I’m all for it! I used to be able to control the topic of a daydream…wonder if I still can…last time I really went “off line” was some time ago, when I was weeding ( I can hear my gardener laughing) and then it was an argument! Lots of arguments with Hubby in my head which, of course, I won brilliantly, getting my own way on whatever the topic was…wonder if I can still do it? Only this time it will be an argument with the Project Manager regarding the new dormer roof – I better win that one!!!

What will you daydream about?

 

 

 

Murder Most Fun

 

Have you every wanted to murder someone? or at least plan it?

Yesterday I got to not only plan and execute it, but to photograph it too….

No, not a real one, Silly! Otherwise I wouldn’t be here, or at least not putting this blog up! It is all part of my latest photography course assignment, to put together a story board in pictures of a FICTIONAL story.

Above is my lovely friend, Lindsey, who volunteered to be murdered by…well, there was a choice of 2…Caroline or me. Hopefully no-one can tell from my story board, until the last picture that is! ( in my head there is an unearthly “Mwahahaha” at this point).

Caroline had practiced smirking for me, and we did a few versions of this picture below, but this one gives me the shivers!!! Never cross this woman! However, the catch in the story is that someone had sent me an anonymous letter, and hopefully the viewer can’t tell who did this either.

The brief said if we were cleaver enough we could add sounds to the photos, but I suspect I need a whole lesson on that alone, so I am leaving the viewer to add their own soundtrack.

It was such a fun afternoon! It certainly made my job easier that these two ladies were very happy to be directed, to do the shot several times, to give their advice when asked, and to be placed on the damp, cold, leaf-covered ground with ghastly fake blood ( which stains) on her temple and hair. How directors do this sort of job with unwilling actors I don’t know!

Of course, now this photograph won’t stay put and have the words wrapped around it…another lesson required. Life is full of lessons waiting to be learned, isn’t it!

Lx

The Builders are here, put the kettle on.

Have you, now or in the past, ever had The Builders in? Those of you who have will know how I am feeling. For those of you who have never had this phenomenon, here are a few tips for survival…

  1. Tea/Coffee. Always have a huge supply of these in your store cupboards. They may or may not be needed, but you can guarantee if you haven’t got either of these The Builders will ask for that one!
  2. Biscuits. Now you may have one of those rare Builders who doesn’t eat custard creams or ddigestive biscuits, but I haven’t come across them yet. Certainly British Builders love to munch.
  3. Earplugs. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a mansion where you can’t hear what goes on down the other end, buy some of these. Alternatively, plug yourself into your favourite music…no, don’t try an audio book, you will miss something vital. Ah, you think your noise cancelling headphones can block out the sound of a jackhammer? FORGET IT.
  4. Loo paper….enough said!
  5. Draft Excluders. Dust can move through walls and doors through the smallest of cracks. Be prepared to hoover every night, every day.
  6. Go Out! If you don’t feel you can leave Them alone with your precious house, invite friends over for a Watch The Workers party. The Builders might even join in!
  7. Pets. If you have any Precious Pooches then it might be an idea to board them with a trusted friend; I don’t think they make ear defenders for animals, but I could be wrong… Don’t worry about your cats, they will get their own back in their own way!
  8. Have a PLAN. Know what your are expecting the builders to do and when. Go through it with The Builders when they first arrive, watch as they collapse in laughter at your time frame, and rate of work per day chart.
  9. Cash. Now some Builders respond to the old paper stuff and will do just what you want for the thought of extra dosh. But be careful!
  10. Pills. If all of the above fail, ask your doctor for something soothing, just for a few weeks (months?) until the project is finished…well, add a few weeks onto that please Doc, the final bill isn’t in yet…
  11. Budget. I would have put this as number one but lets face it, the final figure will bear no resemblance to your budget, and The Builder will have given you lots to think about along the journey.

These little tips have been given in jest, as I have a great bunch of lads working on my property now. However, for those of you who are planning some work in the future, here’s the number of my psychiatrist…;-) On the whole our “project” has gone swimmingly, from The Builders point of view. They know what they are doing and when, how long concrete takes to go off, how thick the base needs to be, and how many sugars in tea they all like (2…they all like 2! Makes it much easier for me). The unknown factor in this project is….ME! every time I am told something that makes sense at the time, I am in a blind panic when I try to describe it on FaceTime to Hubby on the other side of the World…well, He shouldn’t have asked how it was all going as He is about to go to sleep, now should He???? Why should I be the only one awake at 4am, worrying that they might not have put membrane down where they should have whilst I was away playing golf. I should NEVER have listened to Hubby who said to just get on with my life!!!!

I Love September!

 

 

Weird? I don’t think so. To me this month means new beginnings. As a child it meant getting back amongst people of my own age, new exercise books, learning new stuff ( not sure I can remember any of it now tho!). As a teenager it meant going back to boarding school (that bit wasn’t so great…I still feel sick in Headington, Oxford), seeing friends again and putting up with those who weren’t.

 

For me this month has never been “the end of summer, sob”. As I have got bigger and bigger it has also given me respite from being too hot. A chance to move more without looking like I have just run the London Marathon, to put on big baggy jumpers that I love, and in the past BONFIRES! I love bonfires!!! Although I  have had to let the gardener do the last ones as they had just got too big, and I got scared of burning down our shed!!

 

 

Now it means the start of another photography course, another drawing course, golf gets easier (when its not raining), another chance to try and lose weight by exercising more… yes, September for me means New Beginnings.

What does it mean to you?

Lx

I’m In?

I am so excited!! I have put in a photograph from our Italian holiday to a competition and it seems it has been accepted!!!! WOOHOO!

Only now they want a biography to put next to the picture…no idea how many words or anything….I will send them an email asking (why didn’t I think of that earlier?) how long. In the meantime I am jotting down a few things, and I have asked various friends what I should include. Have you ever done this, asked friends to describe you? It is quite enlightening; those who include the things you have thought of and those who see you slightly differently, good or bad.

We see ourselves one way, usually emphasising the weaker points (well, if you are British that is!) and almost afraid of pointing out the good things. I am lucky in my friends – they have highlighted some lovely things, and I am grateful to them. I do have to fight the instinct that this is just an ego boost (yes, I heard your comments!) but when I have to provide a bio it is necessary.

So here are my bullet points….

*B.Ed (hons), *Foundation of Art (Distinction), *various certificates of photography from my teacher (Andre Newson) but not sure to include these as not National awards.

Had *2 children whilst working at *The Economist, became an *Amateur Actor, took up *drawing, and then introduced to *photography seriously by a friend.

See my problem there? I start with concise points then the rambling chatty style buts in! I can’t help it!! 😉

Do I say I live in East Sussex and London? Do I bother to include that I run a holiday cottage? That I am lucky enough to travel with Hubby occasionally? Is that boasting?? ARRGH!!! My British Understatement Fairy is ruffling her wings at me!!!

Ok, I will put the kettle on and think about this seriously! I can, if the coffee is good!

What photograph? This one…Now one of my favourites that I have taken. I am thinking of making cards/notelettes of it. She was such a pale girl and her mum was taking the picture. It reminds me of times past, but also of so many windy holidays at beaches.

Ok…kettle going on, thinking cap on, laters reader!

Lx