Catch-up

Hang your head in shame, Grace! What have you been doing during the summer months? Not sun-bathing, that’s for sure! All through the seven weeks of school holidays, we didn’t have three consecutive dry days! Now we are in to October, and lo and behold, the sun is shining! We have had a few days of beautiful weather, but alas, too late in the year for real warmth. By evening, it is chilly, and we need the heating on before 7.30p.m. This has been a sad summer for us. We have lost a very special brother-in-law. It is still unbelievable that we won’t hear from him again, or see him, or share his couthy talk. My sister is having to face life alone, after 56 years of being together. On the health front, I am starting to fight back against this horrible disease. I have been attending the gym at the local health centre, and also trying to keep more active at home. Being realistic, I suspect that the best I could achieve would be to stem the deterioration. But the gym is a new experience! I have encountered things I had never even seen before! Ah, well! It all adds to the rich tapestry of life, as they say!

Battery-operated

When I was little, the only battery I can remember is the battery in a pocket torch. Nowadays, I have batteries everywhere! On the work-top in the kitchen, the battery charger is dealing with the batteries for my digital camera. In the small sitting-room, the mobile phone is getting its battery re-charged. Through in the lounge (!) boss-man’s shaver is on its weekly boost. Very soon, if we are planning a day out, I shall be charging one of the batteries for my portable nebuliser. This afternoon, I visited the local jeweller, to get new batteries into two wrist-watches. My kitchen scales are battery-operated. Most of our clocks are run on batteries.Even the “zapper” for changing channels on the TV needs a battery. And out in the shed, even as I write, my mobility scooter is “on charge”, getting its batteries ready for the travelling I shall do tomorrow! What would we do without these handy things! I am sure we don’t give them the gratitude we should!! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could recharge our human batteries as simply as we deal with all the others!!

Up-date, at last!

I was shocked when I realised just how long it has been since I wrote up my blog!! Lots of things have happened, none of them earth-shattering, but all to some degree time-consuming. I will try to bring things up-to-date, as far as I can. First of all, support groups. In September my dear daughter-in-law set me up in a support group for people with respiratory illness. At first, all went well, if a bit on the solemn side. But then the site became first infected, then infested with horrid spam, and postings of a most distasteful nature. It was obvious that nobody was checking on what went on. I didn’t know how to un-register, but I was able to “block” the site so I didn’t actually see the postings. Then gradually they got fewer and fewer, and now I think the whole thing is dead and gone. Well,I was a bit put off by this, but very recently I took courage and found a super new site. Properly run, not too enormous, and full of great people. I am enjoying it very much indeed. Next up-date has to be the mobility scooter. I was managing well within the limits of the scooter, but my husband decreed that I had to “move up” and get something more powerful, and capable of giving me greater independence. So one day the owner of the mobility shop arrived, with all sorts of leaflets. Boss-man and he studied them, and decided what would be best for me. But I was allowed to choose the colour!!! Wow!! (red, actually!) And although I was a bit nervous at first, now I can go by myself to the bank, to the newsagent’s shop and to the butcher.This is a great advance for me. It means that we only need the car once a week for our big weekly tour round the supermarket. I can cope with that as it doesn’t entail any walking.And on Monday I had my first (and I hope last!) puncture!! Thanks to the kind offices of a friend, I got enough air in the tyre to get me home!! All is well again, but it wasn’t a fun experience!! I am going to have to carry a mobile phone with me, to alert boss-man about any disasters!! We entered a new era today in the Scottish Parliament, when the leader of the parliament was elected. For the very first time, our leader is a member of the Scottish Nationalist party, after a very close-run election. It will not be easy for him, but he is a gifted politician, and knows the value of patience. We shall see. Interesting, though! I hope we are also in a new era in local government!! So far, no sign of my dropped kerb! I was assured it would be installed by the end of May, but with only 12 days to go……

Shame on me!!

Shame on me!! It is several weeks since my last entry, and really I have no satisfactory excuse! O.k., so it’s cold in the office. So it’s a busy time of year. So nothing too exciting has been happening. You pays your money and you takes your choice!! But on Monday afternoon, I saw a thrush in the garden. The first I have seen for months! And what a lift it gave to my spirits! Thrushes are becoming so scarce, and here was one parading up and down, gazing all round his territory! Today it is bitterly cold, and the forecast is for icy roads and frost. But what has happened to our snow? Not a flake yet. Kent, in the SE of England, is forecast heavy falls. But not so here!! I feel as if the whole weather system is topsy-turvy!! Out in the garden things are stirring which should still be snugly asleep underground. The camellia is covered with buds. The wall hydrangea is popping out buds and the beginnings of new leaves. Guid sakes!! Robert Burns birthday isn’t by yet, and my daffodils are inches high! Well, after a quiet but enjoyable Christmas and New Year, we had the boss-man’s birthday. Two dear friends came to help us celebrate, and we had a lovely evening of “good crack, good food, and good drams!” I can hardly believe that in another week we will be in February.It must be my advancing years that make the years advance so fast! Soon it will be the end of the council’s financial year! maybe I’ll get my dropped kerb then! (Beware of low-flying porkers!!) I am planning my next step with the Moray Council. More of that anon! Hopefully tomorrow if the roads are still dry, I will be able to go to the hairdressers with my buggy. I just love it! I must explore further with it as soon as it gets a bit warmer.

Me versus the Council_ part 2

Half-way through November, and I have been neglecting my blog! Well, a gloomy, dull month so far. I am feeling very dull and gloomy too, having made no headway with my request for disabled access on the pavement past my house. However, I am expecting information about obligations to provide such access, from our MSP. He will also , if I request it, make an approach to the chief executive of the council, on my behalf. I will see first what info, if any, he can give me. It is so frustrating to have to trail round such a circuitous path to get anywhere, when “a suppie cement” at the crossing would solve my problem. I think what annoys me most is the patronising way my request was dealt with. To tell me that someone would come to assess the needs! Good heavens, it’s not rocket science! My local councillor told him the situation, and anyway, all he had to do was ask the man who sweeps the pavement! Then to say I would be told “in due course” what steps, if any, would be taken! I have waited now for 17 weeks, and still there is no response. Shakespeare had it right when he wrote of “the insolence of office”. These people are paid (through my council tax!) to deliver a service. And as long as the tax-payers of Moray accept fifth-rate service, that is what they will get. Time to shout loud and clear? Maybe! Anyway, I fully expect that not a thing will be done till next financial year, if then! Just another 17 weeks to go, now!

One Day In History

Tuesday17th October. Grey and foggy, but not cold. Usual performance with nebuliser and puffers, then read local paper. Headline: “Wedding in the ward for biker and his bride”. But after long catalogue of injuries, at end of story, “…had hoped to get married in Hospital Chapel, but when Mr. W. contracted the hospital superbug MRSA, …” So what’s the real story there? Travelled ten miles to next town to shop at much better store than anywhere here. Spent more than usual, but well pleased as got several items “on offer” or unobtainable at home. Drove round town at home to visit local baker, and fish shop. Lunched on veggie soup and morning rolls. Usual collection of catalogues in the mail. E-mail from son in America. Lazy afternoon, doing a few chores. Today is day garden rubbish goes to recycling. Suppose they make it into compost. No answer yet to e-mail sent to MSP concerning my rights to disability access on pavement. Frustrated! Evening meal, then after clearing up, had visit from grand-daughter, bringing me book 5 in Harry Potter series. Have actually read book 6, so could get slightly confused with “flash-back” information! Heard about grand-daughter’s teaching. Not an easy job nowadays, but recognised many of the incidents from my own years in the job! Watched a DVD as nothing of interest on TV. Still enjoy “Kavanagh QC”! Shared nightcap of whisky with husband, then bed. The above was entry for the One Day in History blog. Am looking forward to reading other people’s accounts of their day yesterday!

View from the kitchen

If I don’t add an entry to this journal, I shall be in trouble! It will be a case of “pottie canna cry kettlie black-airse!” Well, after a horrible start, October got her act together and we have had some beautiful days with lots of sunshine. But it is cold at night, with even a touch of frost. We took a run down the coast last week-end,to get a close-up view of the wind turbines. They are so big, when you get near them! But they have a beauty of their own, too. What Rupert Brooke called “the keen unpassioned beauty of a great machine.” Even though boss-man is still on grass-cutting duty, the time is here for sorting out the bird-feeders. Peanuts for the blue-tits and the great-tits, and cut apples for the blackies. And bits and pieces for all and sundry! We get enormous delight just watching the birds from the kitchen window. Blackies chase each other in an amicable way, the sparrows have a punch-up with each other over a tit-bit, the tits fly around looking lovely, which is what they do best! Then along comes the playground bully. Master Robin Redbreast. He struts around, seeing off all competition. What a show-off! It is odd to think that the wee bird which decorates our Christmas cards is in reality a territorial dictator! Let’s not forget the starlings! Noisy and gregarious, they descend en masse, squabbling and flapping, grab what they can, then take off again. Here, of course, seagulls are the birds which cause the most annoyance. Nowadays they nest on roof-tops and chimney-pots. They are most aggressive when there are young birds around, and a seagull will swoop on a human being and peck! It is quite frightening! Because we hardly ever throw out in the garden large pieces of food, like slices of bread, we don’t have many seagulls around just now. Thank goodness!

Council Concerns

The Indian summer weather seems to be drifting away. We haven’t had much rain, and it has been at night, but the wind has been quite blustery, with gales forecast in the west. This is apparently the tail-end of Hurricane Gordon. In spite of the windy weather, I have been able to fetch shopping home with the buggy, because I have now acquired a bag for behind my seat. Boss-man has made a cunning metal frame to hold the bag in case the straps slip off the back of the seat. But there is still no word of a dropped kerb! And now a furious row has erupted in the council. In the face of all advice to the contrary, the council have voted to build TWO new secondary schools in Elgin, to replace the existing two. Alas! They don’t really have the money for this initiative, and there are fears that other projects currently under way, like flood alleviation, will have to be abandoned, or at the very least put “on the back burner”. I was anxious about a tiny puddle of rain-water on my floor, last month. But just imagine the total misery of your whole house being flooded! And I am sure it will be small consolation to anyone caught in the recurring problem of flood-water pouring through their home, that Elgin is getting two new schools, instead of the one new super-school which was the other, rejected but affordable, option. I fear there will be a back-lash of fury and outrage in other districts of the region. There are always mutterings that “everything goes to Elgin”, and this may well fan the flames of indignation. I, for one, will not be happy if my council tax goes up in successive years by 7.5% to pay for a project in another town, with no advantage, as far as I can see, to the people outside the Elgin arena. Let us hope that this is not a case of the vociferous minority imposing their will on the quiescent majority. I await developments with interest!

Bonus weather

Saturday afternoon, and our daughter-in-law is long gone! Such an empty house it seemed the day she left. And I was haunting the computer the following morning, waiting word that she was home safe and sound!It was great having her here, and her massage course down south was a success, and she fitted in quite a number of visits to old friends! But, as always, there’s never enough time to do everything you want to. She did, however, set me up with an internet support group. More news on the success or otherwise of that later on. I am just back from a quick scoot up to the local mini-supermarket. I still have to take the long way round, and there is no further word about the dropped kerb. “In due course” must be council-speak for months, rather than weeks. However, it is a lovely day, and I enjoyed the trip! The day our visitor arrived from the States, we had torrential rain. And the day she went back, we had rain in abundance. But in between, we have been enjoying an “Indian summer” interlude.At this time of year up north here, every day of warm sunshine is a bonus. And today is beautiful. Boss-man is pottering around outside. He is pleased with his new car, and we enjoyed a drive last Sunday over the Cabrach and home, eventually, via the coast. The best of all worlds!!

Turn of the Year

September weather, sunny and warmish! A nice day for my visitor to go travelling…. not home, but down south to attend a 4-day course. It is great having her with us. I haven’t got round to asking about the Support Group I mentioned earlier, too much news to catch up with, and I hope I don’t forget, as when she returns from her course, we won’t have very long left of her precious holiday! I must say it is very odd having her, but no dogs! We were so used to one or more of her dogs being with her on her visits! But they are all enjoying the warmth of Colorado. Tomorrow is the day of the monthly “Retired teachers” coffee morning. What a great chance to meet up with friends, and see who is new!! (So we older ones can say to ourselves “Gosh, is he/she that age already!!”) The plums in the garden next-door are turning red. And out in the country the rowan-trees are a blaze of colour, hanging thick with berries. Some will say that is the sign of a hard winter, but in truth, the rowan trees are always like that!! They are beautiful to see, but the plums are a much greater temptation! Boss-man is gradually putting the garden into winter order. Autumn is seldom a long season up here in the North-east. The nasturtiums are past their best, time to pull them up. But no doubt enough seeds will have fallen to the ground to ensure a colourful display next summer…. free!!