Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Problems.Help needed .

I cannot load any photos onto my blog.I don't seem to be able to upload them from my phone.Can anyone help me please?Barbarax

Friday, 3 July 2020

We have made a big decision.

We have decided to put our house on the market and if we can sell move nearer to our daughter and family.You will maybe remember about our son in law having a brain tumour removed in February.He seemed to be doing so well and then developed post operative epilepsy.His right arm goes numb for a few minutes then it passes.We hope his future is good but do not know.They live forty minutes away from us which isn't a long way but as we get older and need more help it would be easier for Sarah if we were closer.Everyone round here seems to have family very close.We used to have a great social life.Eleven of us going out eating together.Two years ago two of the couples moved south to be near their families.One of the group has dementia.It is a really tough call to make.We have lived in our little market town for 48 years.We belong to lots of u3a groups ,have good neighbours and friends.Should we move while we are still fit enough and join a new u3a and make new friends.All the above is churning in our minds.
Anyway, the house will be on the market next week.The agents reckon it is a good time to sell( they would) and there will be a depressed market in Sept /Oct when we hear of more closures and redundancies.Since we made the decision Airbus have announced 1,600 plus job losses with the knock on effect making even more closures so the chances of selling are probably zilch.

What would you do in our situation?Move near to Sarah so if there are more problems with Mike we are there or are we giving up too much.We need a crystal ball.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

I can recommend this book by Christy Lefteri.Nuri is a beekeeper,his wife an artist.They live in Aleppo until they are forced to flee.
Did anyone see the series Unprecedented on BBC 4?There are 3 x10 minutes playlets filmed during lockdown.Some funny,some poignant.I think there are three episodes.

Common sense prevailed and we did not meet up with the family.Since March 13th I have been in two garden centres and two garage shops to get a paper.All masked and gloved.I have not been in a supermarket or pharmacy or anywhere else.My OH has not been in any .

Yesterday I had a "down" day.It was cold and wet and seemed to go on forever.I am much better today.We have had What's App chats with two of our granddaughters and our daughter..The girls who are 12 and 15!have really got into cooking and baking during lockdown and have really become much closer.We then had a chat with our son in Cambridge and one of his sons.These family chats really perk me up.

Over the last week our county  has only had two or three cases every day.Surely that is easy to track and trace.
A new week coming up .If it warms up friends can visit in the garden.That will be good.
Stay safe.Barbarax

Thursday, 28 May 2020

I am a little bit worried....

The last two years I have paid for a private health check up.This year they are not doing it because their nurses are involved with Covid 19 but they did offer a package of tests.They send you a package which contains three phials plus lancets to prick your finger,wipes etc.It arrived yesterday so after lunch we decided to give it a go.I just could not get the blood to flow.Eventually I think I got enough?The instructions were not clear at all.Now I have to wait for the results.Do I really want to know that I have got Type 2 diabetes,liver failure(drinking far too much wine at the moment and the odd g&t),kidney problems and a host of other things.
What do you think?Is it better to know or better to be ignorant when I could die of Covid anyway.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Results in three days,

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Two interesting sites to visit or maybe three!

I know a lots of you are readers.Do you know that the Hay on Wye Literary Festival is on line this year.I have always wanted to go and this year I can.Earlier this afternoon I watched an interview with Maggie O'Farrell.Fascinating.She was talking about her latest book Hamnet which is about Shakespeare's own son Hamnet who died aged 11.Following his death Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.Lots of interesting talks ,readings,interviews etc coming up.People from all over the world were watching.Australia,Peru ,Kenya to name but a few.Have a look.

Another site I have enjoyed visiting is National Gardens Scheme.Virtual tours of many gardens.
It all helps to pass the time.

The third possible visit is to Encyclopedia Britannia which is doing a day by day of what happened in the past on that day.I haven't actually tried it but it has been recommended.

What have I been up to.I am plodding on with my Elizabeth Bradley Bell Pull.I dread doing the background but found I could do it watching TV so I am nearly at the bottom.Another week and it should be finished.I have finished a pair of socks and started another pair using KnitsPots Summer Fun pattern.I got the yarn from Folkstone Habour yarn shop,on Etsy ,and it is lovely.I have read two books by Mike Gayle which I enjoyed.I have read Redhead by the side of the road by Anne Tyler which was ok but not brilliant and I am now reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

Gardening in small doses.I have just had another delivery from J.Parkers with geraniums,Crocosmia and a couple of little shrubs so I need to get busy planting but not until the wind dies down!!!
Hope you are all keeping safe.If you read this just give me a thumbs up please.
Bye for now.Barbaraxx

Monday, 27 April 2020

At long last it is finished.

This has been quite tricky!As you are going round doing petals you just hope they meet up.They did .Phew.The gold metallic bit was hard because the thread kept splitting and knotting. Very frustrating. I have a cross stitch kit to start now.It has been very pleasant sitting in the conservatory stitching,reading,doing crosswords and listening to the radio but I long to get out and meet people.
Our son in law who had a brain tumour removed in February has now been diagnosed with post operative epilepsy and ended back in hospital last Monday,a worry in itself at the moment.He spent one night there and came out with more medication.Good news for him was that he can still have a pint.
Are you finding that situations in the past you coped with are now very stressful?
Stay safe.
Anyone heard from Briony?
Bye Barbaraxxx

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Happy Easter?

 I put a question mark by Happy Easter because there will be many sad,bereaved and lonely people today.
I finished this jigsaw last night.Rubbish picture ,I know .It was quite tricky as there are lots of churches.A friend has loaned me two more and I have bought two.It was amazing how many were out of stock.The country has gone jigsaw mad.I finished The Beekeeper of Aleppo and have started Half a World Away by Mike Gayle.I have never read anything by him before .Have you? Any recommendations?

 A photo of my garden and below my shed with bunting and three mandalas on the garage wall. I need to do more.I should have moved the hose pipe!

Keep safe everyone.Barbarax

Friday, 3 April 2020

Greetings from North Wales.

How are you managing?I have certainly settled into this isolation more and trying to have a structure to the day.
Slow start.
Listen to Woman's Hour on Radio 4.
Do Joe Wicks exercises for seniors.(on you tube).
Cup of tea
Watch the daily Welsh update.
Read The Beekeeper of Aleppo at the moment.
Craft.Maybe Blackwork,crochet,knit listening to a cd or the radio.
Richard Osmans House of Games.
Maybe Coronation Street.
Jigsaw ( out of stock everywhere now).
TV at 9pm with a glass of wine.

Obviously not every day is the same but the above is a general idea.We have only been out to post things.Printing and paying on line for the postage is easy.
We have sent both our families a Virustatic Shield.This is something new and has been developed on Anglesey in conjunction with Manchester University and protects against viruses.It is like a snood that you pull over your head to cover your nose and mouth and ears.
I also sent them some surgical masks which I bought a month ago.
We also have FFP3 face masks bought in the hardware shop.
I have sent my two granddaughters two cross stitch kits each.I also included some yarn and three crochet hooks and hope they and Sarah will give it a go.Home school finished today for the Easter break so they will have time on their hands.Their dog has had so many walks(an excuse to get out) that he is now refusing to budge!!!

Take care one and all.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

I had a blip yesterday...

I felt really sad yesterday and couldn't settle to anything.Anyway I have picked myself up and am feeling more positive.I think I was down because we had had a long phone call with our son.His wife has a coffee shop and a bakery.The coffee shop is obviously shut but the bakery is run off its feet.They are delivering bread etc but the logistics are hard.He was very tired as he had been delivering bread etc and then had to set up an online ordering system.Back to his day job on Monday where he was told his salary will be cut by 20%.So all in all he wasn't very jolly.I take all this on board.OH just takes it on board and says it will pass.
So,I have got up today feeling better.I stayed a bit longer in bed and then listened to Woman's Hour.Then we did the Joe Wicks workout for seniors.It is ten minutes but very good.This afternoon will be pottering in the garden,reading.Amazon have delivered two books which is good.
Hope you are all ok and don't worry if you have a "down" day.I think we will all have them.
Stay safe.Barbarax

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

What have you been up to?

 I do not know what has happened to my photos ,some are ok,some are sideways and the socks are upside down.I did them all the same way.Yesterday we had a letter,through the post,from our youngest granddaughter.Such a lovely surprise.
I have been doing some puzzles.Some I just don't understand.
Now blogger will not let me move down.
I have finished a pair of socks.
I made another mandala last night,a quick project and very satisfying.This one is for my sister in law.She has a seashore themed conservatory so I chose the colours accordingly.
I am reading Dear Life by Rachel Clarke.Not really the book to be reading in these troubled times.Any suggestions for a good read welcomed.
I am doing a 1,000 piece jigsaw.
We have done loads in the garden with this beautiful weather but suddenly I have become terrified of falling.Our garden is very uneven with lots of roots.

Would love to hear how you are getting on particularly those of you who live alone.


Sunday, 22 March 2020

Please try and be positive.

It is going to be a hard and long slog but if we are feeling negative it will seem even longer.I have missed seeing my daughter and granddaughters today but we could not risk contact.
We are setting up a WhatsApp group for our family.All 11 of us ranging in age from 12 to 78!!
China seems to have got on top of this and is emerging the other side.
Use this time to finish projects and start new ones.
We have to get
into a mindset that it is ok to read for an hour in the morning.
Learn a new skill.
Do a free course.I have just looked on the Open University site and there are loads of courses.
My daughter has got a timetable for her girls 12 and 14.She has to do work as well.Structure to the day is important.
Our U3A is setting up contact groups for those on their own.
We all need to build some exercise into our day.
Etc etc


Love and hugs to everyone.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Some good news.

Our son in law had his post brain tumour removal consultation today.By phone.It was good news that the tumour was benign and he has healed amazingly well.There is the possibility of further tumours but they are going to monitor him closely.Phew!
Our eldest granddaughter who was spending a semester at Madison University in Wisconsin USA decided to come home as all the American students had been sent home and she was there on her own.She travelled three hours by bus to Chicago,plane to Dublin and then plane to Heathrow and onto Cambridge and home.I think she got out in the nick of time.Phew again!
My OH is "vulnerable" having no spleen and rheumatoid arthritis.He is as fit as a fiddle really but we are being very careful.We live where there is lots of empty countryside so we can go for walks and not meet anyone.I was lucky enough last Friday to buy in a local hardware shop two face masks.FFP3 .These are what the doctors are using and were used in the Ebola epidemic .I got the last two.

I have a 1,000 piece jigsaw on the go and two more were delivered today from Hobbycraft.
I have started to learn macrame.
I have lots of knitting and crochet(Some for charity).
I have loads of books ,magazines and puzzle books.
Radio 4 to listen to.

I just can't settle to anything at the moment

And finally I have ordered some wine.We should be ok!!!!

Take care everyone and stay safe.
Love to you all.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Three interesting talks.

On Monday it was U 3 A Social History and the talk was by the Tallest Town Crier in the world.He is town crier for Shrewsbury(about an hour away) and is seven foot two inches tall.!!!! He told us how he got the job,about his regalia and his bell and of course we had a demonstration.It was really interesting and he was a good speaker.Informative and funny.150 attend this group
Yesterday was U3A AGM followed by music from a violinist.Philip Chiddell was educated at Chethams Music School in Manchester.He began studying the violin aged 6 and plays a violin made in 1750.He plays in concerts and also busks.What an inspirational young man and his playing was amazing.
Today we have been to the Gardening Group for a talk on The Gardens of Singapore.Again interesting.
Tonight we are at the theatre to see The Kite Runner.

Just reading through the above and spellchecker had replaced busks with buses.No he doesn't play on buses.Made me chuckle.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

My first go at a hoop mandala.

This is my first attempt at a hooped mandala.Curtesy of Attic 24.I found it very satisfying to do.I bought some more cotton yarn from Abakhan this morning so I am on a roll.Watch this space!Barbara

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Are you stocking up ....

Are you stocking up in case the coronavirus spreads?I must admit we have done a bit.We have a spare freezer in the garage and we have filled it with bread and meat and fish.We have also stocked up on toilet rolls!!!!Some long life milk too.
My OH has a compromised immune system in that he has no spleen and is on daily antibiotics for life.So we have a bit of a worry there and I would rather be safe than sorry.When I told my daughter I thought she would say I was fussing but,no,she tells me she has enough food to feed the four of them for three weeks.She is a Type 1 diabetic and four weeks ago her OH had a brain tumour removed so they are vulnerable.
Have you made any preparations or do you think it is all a big fuss?
Look forward to hearing your views.

Monday, 24 February 2020

We ended up in a heap and very muddy!!!

Yesterday afternoon we decided to get some sea air and have a little.walk.We headed off to Parkgate on the Wirral and parked by the Old Baths.Off we set but it was quite a long way to a gap in the fence to get through to the footpath.C managed to get over  the fence.I got one leg over this 18 inch high fence but needed him to steady me but before he could I lost my balance and toppled to the ground taking him with me.We are both in our 70s and had to crawl to the fence to get up.There were a lot younger couple about twenty yards away but they did not come to help.Once we were upright we set off on the walk feeling very shaken but we were beaten by floods.You should have seen the state we were in.Mud everywhere.We were very lucky we didn't break anything.Imagine adding that to Mike's brain tumour and Ruby's broken shoulder.We live to tell the tale and see it as quite funny now but have learned our lesson about climbing over fences!!!!

Thursday, 20 February 2020

It never rains but it pours

I have just had a phone call from our daughter ,who is coping with Mike post brain op,that our granddaughter has fallen and broken her shoulder bone!!!When we just thought things were on the up.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Two weeks on....

Two weeks on from his brain tumour removal and Mike(son in law) is doing well.It is still early days but there is progress every day and no apparent brain damage.Our daughter has been amazing coping with everything but had a meltdown on Sunday as did I.We all felt relief it was over but it has been a very stressful few months which started with one of our grandsons being very poorly with appendicitis.Fingers crossed we are on the"up".
It is a busy week for us.I met a friend for coffee yesterday.Isn't it great to have a friend you can tell everything and they understand.This morning was U3A Art Appreciation.The talk from one of our members was on Banksy.Very interesting with lots of unanswered questions.Tomorrow is lunch club.14 of us go out for lunch taking it in turns to choose a venue.A very pleasant couple of hours.Thursday morning is my reading group.The book is Entry Isla d by Peter May.I still have 200 plus pages to read!!Thursday evening we are going to the theatre to see a live screening from the National Theatre of Cyrano de Bergerac.Friday I meet another friend for coffee and then we are off early afternoon to see Sarah,Mike and family.Saturday morning we meet a different set of friends for coffee and then in the afternoon we are going seeing Little Women at the film theatre.
Phew.I may need to sleep all day Sunday.

Last Saturday we saw the film 1917 and were underwhelmed by it.Has anyone seen it and what did you think?

Friday, 7 February 2020

Mike is home!!!

Mikewent home yesterday just 48 hours after a six hour op on his brain.He is still very poorly and in a lot of pain but everyone was pleased to have him back at home and it saves Sarah driving back and forth up the motorway to Manchester.Hope fully each day he will feels little bit better.He has strict instructions to do nothing for three weeks,nothing at all.Sarah has been signed off for next week and then it is half term.She( and us) are absolutely exhausted.Hopefully it is now onwards and upwards.Thank you for all your messages.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Mike now in recovery.

Mike is now in recovery waiting for a bed on the High Dependency Unit.The operation lasted 6 hours and they did not manage to remove all the tumour.Taking the last bit would have paralysed his eye.They will monitor it.It has been a very stressful time but hopefully he does not have any bleeds and is on the up.
Thanks for all your messages of support.It means a lot.Barbarax

My son in law is in the operating theatre.

Mike went down to theatre at 9am and is going to be there most of the day having his brain tumour removed.It is going to be a very loooooong day.Fingers crossed he comes out of it with no brain damage.He is in the Christie Hospital in Manchester so in a place of excellence.

Saturday, 1 February 2020


Last night we went to see Frankinstein at the theatre.We both borough lay enjoyed it.I have never read the book but when we got home I read some reviews of this particular production and they were very critical.I loved the interpretation and the person who played Mary Shelley was outstanding. It is touring in the UK.Catch it if you can or has someone already seen it.
We have just had a lovely FaceTime chat with our eldest granddaughter Ella who is at Madison University in Wisconsin for a semester.She seems to have settled in really well.
Tension is mounting here as our son in law goes into hospital on Tuesday to have his brain tumour removed.Please send positive vibes our way
Back soon.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

I bought one of these today.

 It looks like an electric toothbrush but is actually for use in the kitchen.It cleans in hard to reach places eg hobs,around taps.I have tried it out and it is brilliant.It takes away all the "elbow grease".It comes with four different heads for different places and one is pointed.I don't usually get excited about cleaning but if this makes life easier it will be moneywellspent.I got it from Lakeland in Chester.£18.99.I also bought a te bag squeezer saving all those drips.Isn't life exciting!!!

We haven't been to Chester for ages so it was lovely to wander round this beautiful city.Then it was out tolunch(no cooking tonight,yay.
This afternoon we have spent a bit of time in the garden.We have a gravel drive which needs keeping tidy and weed free.Hopefully it burned off some of the calories eaten at lunchtime.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

A trip to Conwy

                                          Conway castle (North Wales) from the back.From the front it is on a main road across the river so tricky.
 On the quayside with the castle in the background.

Below the town walls and the smallest house in Uk.

It takes us about fifty minutes to drive here.I was saying to OH today that I a so glad we are close to the sea and mountains.We are very lucky.
Lunch was mussels at the Mulberry pub on Conwy Marina.It was cold but sunny.A lovely way to spend a January Saturday.Iforgot we also went to the Cambrian Art Gallery inConwy to see the 2020 Open Exhibition.

I have to confess that I came back and had a nap.Allthat fresh air!!!!!

Thursday, 16 January 2020

It is my birthday today!

 We started the day at Dunham Massey which is a National Trust property with a winter garden.We didn't expect there to be much out but were pleasantly surprised

 This is the house which is closed at the moment for winter.

                                           Winter aconites.

                                      Wonderful silver birches.
                                          Daphne.I can't remember which variety but wonderfully scented.

                                          This is a shrub which was new to me but again a lovely perfume.



                                          Even daffodils.

                                          Witch hazel.

                                         Witch hazel again.Beautifully scented.

From here we moved on to Salford Museum and Art Gallery.They have recreated a Victorian street with about 12 shops.Fascinating.We had lunch here and a good look round.We then navigated our way through Manchester (lots of traffic and traffic lights.Not used to that here in North Wales!!!) to our daughter's in Northwich.Sarah and the girls cooked tea .We had pro secco and birthday cake.Lots of love and laughter.
We are back home now and have just had a phone call from our son and granddaughter who have just arrived in Wisconsin.Sunny but minus 12 degrees.
I have had lots of cards and presents and am truly blessed to have had such a wonderful day.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

A walk by the River Dee .

We had a walk this morning by the River Dee.This is a stretch which has been canalised and is between Chester and the coast.The wings for the Airbus 380 are made just a few miles upstream from here and are transported by barge to the port of Mostyn where they are loaded on a larger boat and taken to Toulouse in France to be assembled.It was so peaceful today with the winter sunshine and just a few cyclists around.I like this walk because it is flat,somethings very difficult to find round here!!!

I was really disappointed on Monday.The talk on the BayeuxTapestry was postponed.Instead we heard a a talk from someone who had converted his drive into a garden.Not really social history.There were 150 there so it was good for a catch up with friends.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

I am back and need to blog more!!!

It was our wedding anniversary last week and this is the card I got for C.Inside it said "together through thick and thin".It is by Quentin Blake ,a very famous British illustrator.I thought it was very apt in two ways.We are both a lot heavier than we used to be but we have been through a lot together as well.
I am going to adopt a new personal mantra of "live each day to the full and enjoy it." Who knows what is round the corner.O ver the last month we have received lots of bad news about friends who are ill.We have Mike's op hanging over us,due onFeb 4th but apart from that we are fine.We had a great Xmas.Sarah ,Mike,Emily and Ruby came to us .We catered and all went well.We patted ourselves on the back that we had pulled it off.We played lots of games and laughed a lot.They stayed for three days.We were exhausted when they went but it was really good.
I am looking forward to getting back to a normal routine.I have been so confused about what day it is!!!
Tomorrow morning it is our U3A Social History Group and a talk on the BayeuxTapestry.We are hoping to go to Normandy in July(fingers crossed all goes well with M's op) and would go and see it.We went years ago but I would like to go again.
Aren't the fires inAustralia terrible.Many years ago we were on holiday in the south of France and we were evacuated in the middle of the night because a fire
was rapidly approaching our campsite.I can honestly say it is most frightened I have been in my life.The sky was orange and the air thick with smoke making our eyes sting.It stopped 50 yards from our mobile home.Scary.