Monday, 23 November 2015

Birthday to remember.

November is my birthday month and this one celebrated my seventh decade - I'll leave you to do the maths.  It was one to remember not only because I had a lovely day but because it was immersed in such a chaotic month.

Even Google remembered which was kind of them, if just a little spooky....

Before starting this I dipped back into my last post written on 3rd November - it is now now the 18th and just about everything said previously is being rapidly undone....  the stated 'just one Ikea trip' has turned into four with a fifth currently looming,  I boasted the garden was put to bed and the gardener bade farewell until the spring - he is due here in about ten minutes to see if he can do a stack of reconstructing for me before the weather sets in.  I was relieved that I had finished sorting rooms and cupboards and they had all been tidied - we will soon be emptying wardrobes completely and also my relocating my work room.  So much for the calm and order I thought we'd found.

It has been a scabby month so far for a series of breakdowns....  It began with us out and about on a wet and windy day and returning to our car discovered we had a flat tyre - that was fun.  The two heaters in the conservatory died on the same day!!  That was a Ken fix-it job but one needed doing again shortly afterwards and again and again so clearly not 'right'.  The day following my birthday with my daughter and husband still visiting we got up to a cold house and no hot water.  The boiler was on the fritz.  It was condemned by the Corgi engineer that day, but being Friday couldn't go to  'tribunal' until Monday.  On Monday we were promised a Baxi engineer for the Wednesday.  He arrived and duly fixed the unfixable boiler (!) So Friday to Wednesday without the comforts of 2015 was an experience.  Talk about back to the fifties - the 'good old days' weren't actually that good.  Heaven knows what today's generation would make of it. We are currently limping along with a fault in the house electrics somewhere which trips the fuse a couple or more times a day.

Then there were all the proposed ideas about refurbs that did and didn't happen as fast as you can say that phrase.  One minute we were having wardrobes in two rooms done, then none, then one room - that's due before the 30th.  The garden was a re-design now its not until the Spring.  Another conservatory was being built and now it isn't, blinds were being added to our present conservatory - guess what - they aren't.  We are having a workroom added to the side of the house though for my dollhousing hobby and when I get fed up with it, it will make a great storage/work area.  Hoping that will start soon.

We have trailed to and from Ikea four times - both of us hate it with a passion - to buy and return a series of 'decisions' that work and don't work for various reasons.  Bless Ken, my savior, who did the last returns on his own.

Hating it as I do I must say that Ikea has netted me a million plants for around the house. 

 Hippeastrum that flowered before I could blink at just three pounds I wish I had bought a ton of them.  

 a large and a small orchid - the small one being the expensive one.   

and three lovely small poinsettias in a box which I hope to keep going until Christmas but suspect I will be buying again before then. 

 The Christmas cactus has also done its thing so I was certainly ahead of myself. 

 This is a monster.

I squeezed in just one more but have a zillion more on my hit list

Taking a quick flit through my diary - anything of note? - not really -  just the usual very nice round of seeing friends, meals, movies (Spectre done and Lady in the Van to go).  

There was one gentle day - my birthday.  We met S & S at The Fleece, Ripponden for a late lunch - them coming from Edinburgh and us travelling from Bury meant we were just about a drink and starter ahead of them when they arrived ....  I was starving and so could claim birthday rights.  The food and company was all I could ask for followed by a pootle home and an evening's nattering.   They stayed another couple of days catching up with us and others.  It is always lovely to see them even if our cold house wasn't the best of welcomes.

So, here I am at the 18th November and beginning to think about Christmas........ blame it on the shops and TV and all the jobs we are being promised will be done by then!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Back a week

This is primarily a reminder for folk who look out for me at the end of the month that I am now writing as and when the mood takes me; so October has already been done in bits and pieces if you want to flit back through.

If you want to see photos of our leaving Naples they are here for a while:  Leaving 257

........  but, as I am here.........

We have been English now for a week and it has been just lovely.  We are experiencing totally cliché autumn weather - blue skies, wet underfoot and a distinct nip in the air.  Even a hint of November fogs are beginning to roll in.

We arrived home in the early hours of last Monday (26th Oct) after a pretty miserable flight.  Just as we were taxiing for take-off (spot on time) we turned off the runway and headed back to the airport.  Someone had been taken ill (had a fit) on our flight and needed to be taken off the plane.  Handy hint don't get taken ill - took nearly half an hour to get back in and for an air bridge to be connected to the plane.  The passenger and his companion were 'offloaded' but then their four bags had to be found!  We were on the tarmac from boarding to eventual take off for three hours.  Added to an eight-hour overnighter this was certainly no fun at all.  As the cabin crew said 'better now than a diversion in flight'.  Mind you we do fly over my son's home in St John's (NL) so that would have done us nicely.

The minimal Thomas Cook service was repeated on our trip back.  We will try never to fly with them again, especially long haul.

We did still make it back to the house in time for my grocery delivery from Tesco (ordered in Naples).  Deep joy, grocery delivered plus English food.... not to mention the convenience of even being able to order other stuff from their store such as a slow cooker.

I had remembered that my English one was looking a bit dog-eared and could do with replacing.  What I hadn't remembered, thanks to shifting homes every five minutes, was that I had already done that before leaving for the USA.

Never mind - just a simple return five minutes down the road and any way I wanted to pick up the clothes I had ordered (also from Naples)  for Click and Collect.  Don't you love civilisation.

Our little one person (get to know her) cleaner arrived the next day to kick-start our future routines.  A very different feel to the barrage of different-every-time cleaners (as many as four) who arrive in Naples to do our cleaning.  By the time T arrived we had also managed to unpack our four huge cases plus two small ones and tuck everything hither and yon.

Following lunch out, we did a bit of  local shop the next day for this and that which included potted plants - a rarity in my homes for fifteen years as they have to be binned every few months when we shift homes.  Not any more - I can have what I want.... even an orchid!  I also picked up plants and bulbs for winter pots; another experience I have done without for many years.

We squeezed in a quick catch up with friends before embarking on this lot.

I spent the next couple of days moving stuff from A to B to C which entailed moving the stuff that moved out of those letters on to D and E and F.  I think we are now all sorted - for a while any way.

By Friday we were trawling around Ikea checking out this and that for the great updating of the house which is about to take place.  It took us seven hours and a lot of money spent and a full car only to realise we hadn't actually solved any of the queries we had arrived with.... and, of course, we now need to return things!

On Sunday 1st November we had a great day out at Dunham Massey.  If you are local and can get there, go and visit their war exhibition it is absolutely the very best piece of such work that I have seen.  The house was used for injured troops and housed the Stamford Military Hospital.

on the ward © The University of Manchester

After two exhilarating, emotional and unforgettable years, the Stamford Hospital will close its doors for the final time on Wednesday 11 November.
It's your final chance to visit and hear the stories of the soldiers who stayed here and the nurses who treated them, brought to life by actors, objects and original archive material.

We had a lovely lunch, met up with my best friend and walked around the gardens soaking up the afternoon sun and autumn colours and smells.  (more pictures here for a while: Dunham Massey)

Yesterday (2nd) my gardener paid his last visit for the season and emptied all my pots ready for me to plant up some winter colour.  It is lovely having someone do the heavy work for you.  

So here I am fully ensconced in the UK as autumn works its way towards winter....