And in other news …

• I’ve encountered yet more idiots on the road, including the middle aged (Tweed suit wearing type) driving a huge BMW who tried to run me off the road then blamed me!

(click to enlarge)

Coming off the A1 onto the slip road leading to a roundabout, she was in front of me. The slip road has two lanes, the left (yellow) leading to a filter lane to turn left at the roundabout. The right (lilac)leading to two lanes at the roundabout – the left(lilac) for the 2nd and 3rd exits, and the right (brown)for the 4th exit. (Got that?) She (red dots mark her route) went straight into the left lane, and as I wanted the 2nd exit at the roundabout, I (blue dots mark my route)took the right lane, which would later become the middle of three, without a lane change being necessary. All of a sudden she swerved out from the side of me, into my lane, forcing me to accelerate hard to get out of danger (luckily there was space!) She had neither looked, nor indicated, and I was not best pleased with her, but it had taken all my concentration to avoid a crash so I didn’t flash my lights, beep my horn or anything else. Heart still racing, I continued to my exit and took the right hand lane from this as I wanted to turn right at the next roundabout. As I waited at that roundabout to go, I became aware of Mrs Mad Woman in the left hand lane gesticulating wildly at me as though our near miss had been MY fault! There wasn’t time to point out that it was HER fault as we parted company, but I certainly hope she told people about it and they put her straight! I felt hard done by all day!
• Mum gave us a huge bag of cat biscuits which she no longer needed, and said it was a gift from Muffin to our three cats. They LOVE them! (Begging for more when they’ve finished their first breakfast.) Oh dear – hope they don’t expect that brand when this bag runs out!
• I’ve officially started Christmas shopping, having seen a couple of things that were perfect for people, and grabbing them whilst I had the chance. I feel very noble! (And I’ve pretty much sorted Stephen’s 18th birthday now too.)
• I had so much ironing last Saturday that I watched one DVD and needed another to get me through the other half. In desperation, I borrowed “Mean Girls” from Laura – at Stephen’s suggestion. To my surprise, it was really good. 🙂
• The hoover died. Well, it electrocuted poor Mrs Gem first. Then died. It’s actually lasted quite well, so apart from feeling bad about Mrs Gem (who was fine, I hasten to add – and even managed to then use a brush to finish the housework that day) I had to go and find a new hoover that would not explode after a couple of weeks. If we use anything other than the very cheapest hoover, toasted, kettle, or microwave, our house’s electrical gremlins just kill them in a matter of weeks. This had been a Tesco value machine, costing just £14, and had lasted 18 months/ 2 years so that was good. I went bought another, thinking it would be identical – unfortunately, this model now has paper bags rather than the permanent one of its predecessor which is a pain. Hope I can get the bags cheaply and easily – must check when I next go to Tesco.
• Laura still loves her room. I’m still basking in the rare luxury of knowing I got something right. 😀
• Stephen had no work this week. He says he is waiting until he is 18 (less than 2 weeks now, not that he keeps reminding me (I KNOW, I was there!)) and then intends to do bar work or similar. Let’s hope he DOES!
• Billy’s mum’s chemo seems to be shrinking the tumour, which is good news. Last session is at the end of December and then she will have a scan to confirm what’s happening.

Round Up.

Well, as you will have gathered by my silence, and my last post, it’s been a stupidly busy week. I spent the entire time doing my best and feeling guilty that I wasn’t elsewhere. The inevitable result of having to cover at the hospital whilst Lee was off sick, was that I was behind there, in my own clinic, and at home too. Mrs Gem was sick and unable to come to clean the house, and I didn’t have time to do it myself. The poor lady returned this week to a tip – probably almost enough to make her ill again!

Laura returned to school, and is less than enthusiastic about it, which is a shame as she had really started to pick up in the holidays. She has less than a year to go, so I’m hoping she can grit her teeth and get through it.

Billy seems to have spent the week procrastinating – and therefore getting nowhere fast! However, he has decided that for this week and next week, he’s spoiling me and so for the last 4 evenings, he’s either cooked or bought the dinner. 🙂

Raji went down to stay with his mum whilst she had her first chemotherapy treatment and returned on Sunday. He says she is coping fairly well at the moment, so let’s hope that continues.

Stephen mainly worked last week, but has none this week, so he will be roped in to helping me as needed – else he won’t eat! He’s now talking animatedly about moving out in a few months (assuming he first finds work) and sharing a flat with his friend. Already he’s negotiating what of ours he can take with him – but it’s good to see him so enthusiastic (and he’s only proposing to move 10 minutes away.)

The hamsters are all well, and thriving, and little Schnee now has his own cage and loves it. Watching him hop in and out of his wheel, it really is hard to believe that he has half a leg missing. Rikki seems to be losing fur again and his skin is very dry so we’ve been gently rubbing on some olive oil, which we are hoping is non toxic if he licks it, yet soothing and moisturising. We think he has some sort of allergy now, but to what, we don’t know.

The cats have been sleeping through the rain, and going out hunting when it stops for a few minutes. We’ve had a well munched rabbit carcass deposited in the garden, amongst other things. Garfie was missing for a couple of weeks, but is now back again and suitably pleased with himself.

Hopefully the coming week will be slightly more normal, as I have things to do at home. Mum is coming up for my birthday next week (the big 4-0 !) and I want to make sure the spare room is all ready and welcoming. She hasn’t been up to us for ages, due to lack of opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to it.

It’s Back!

Billy’s mum has definitely got cancer again.

It has spread from the original site, into the lymph system, and there is a tumour in her neck, and possibly in her stomach too. Either the cancer spread escaped detection when it was checked originally, or Rani hasn’t been too good at taking her medication – which she has intimated to Billy. Either way, this is bad news as the tumour is inoperable and so it is hoped that chemo- and radio-therapy will help reduce it. We will have some idea of how well Rani responds after 3 of the 6 proposed treatments.

Unfortunately, this poses a problem in terms of her care. She will obviously be feeling very ill during treatments, hopefully with spells of feeling a bit better in between each one. She is not one of life’s copers, and will undoubtedly need to have care – but she doesn’t have family nearby and friends are unlikely to be able to do everything.

Guess who seem to be the ones expected to jump in and offer to have her live with them! Yes – clever you. That’s right – us!

Only we don’t think we can. For so many reasons, not least the fact that we’re still recovering from her last 2 month stay emotionally, mentally and financially. Also we know we could not give her the level of care she’d need, what with working and our generally busy lives. She would be away from all her friends and family in Bristol and London too, which isn’t very nice for her, or them – or us. Although we tried to put on a brave face last time, it really wasn’t great, and Billy really doesn’t have a good relationship with his mum, which doesn’t help.

So we’re feeling under pressure from others, and guilty that we don’t feel up to the task – and yet certain that we have to be realistic and acknowledge our limits. Just as we felt we were getting our life back to some degree, fate wants to snatch it away again and we feel very glum about it all. 🙁

Things to be sorted out.

My life seems to be full of things to be sorted out at the moment, which makes me feel a little out of control.

Billy’s Mum, as explained in my last post, is a major problem that needs sorting properly because I can’t see that she’s ever going to become a properly independent person who will take charge of her own life and let us live ours. Until we get her test results, there is not much the family as a whole can decide, but I truly hope that something can be sorted out after that – for everyone’s sakes, not least for her own.

My counselling appointment revealed an underlying problem which is having a knock on effect in my life, so it needs to be sorted sooner rather than later – though at this point in time, I can’t see the changes that need to be made happening. Unfortunately I don’t quite know what, if anything, I can do about it, but I CAN see that if things don’t change, things will come to a nasty head and result in bitter resentment.

At the hospital, Lee has handed in her notice – though it is for a happy, exciting, reason rather than a negative one. Her husband is being relocated abroad and it’s too good an opportunity to be missed. However, it took the NHS 6 months to replace my predecessor and during that time, Lee had to cover all four days herself. (It’s a unique job and not one that someone from another department could just do casually to cover.) I’ve just struggled through covering 4 days for three weeks – having to do so for 6 months is an unimaginable horror! Until I speak to my manager (hopefully tomorrow) I won’t know what’s happening or what is going to be asked of me. It’s very unsettling, but with Lee due to leave at the end of August, I’m guessing a plan will need to be made sooner rather than later.

Our finances need a little sorting for various reasons, and so I’ve been busy pruning our costs as much as possible, before going through things thoroughly and keeping a tight rein on our spending. (We really could have done without the extra cost of Billy’s trip to Bristol last week, but it was a necessary evil.)There’s a lot more work to be done, and meanwhile I don’t have a clear idea of what’s what – which again, is unsettling.

Stephen still has not got himself a job, despite my insistence that he does so, and it’s really getting to me. Not only do we need him to pay his way, but he needs to wake up and realise that life involves a lot of hard work and responsibility!

As mentioned before, I have a party to attend in Sussex at the end of August and I am keen to also see some friends and family. (For some reason, it’s considered so much easier for me me/us to always do the travelling than for anyone to trek all the way up here and risk falling off the edge of the world! 😉 ) Billy and I worked out that he cannot have any time off work so we would have to travel down on the Saturday and back on the Sunday (an 8 hour journey each way!) I feel desperately in need of a holiday, and am also missing Sussex very much just now, so we’ve decided that I will go down for longer and hope that Billy will be able to join me for the weekend somehow. Having had such a rotten year, I’ve not been too good at keeping in touch with my friends in Sussex so I have mailed them all asking if anyone wants to see me, then if I get any responses, I’ll be able to make some plans. All I know at the moment is that I have the time off work, and the party to attend, but the rest needs sorting out.

So all in all, I feel really unsettled at the moment, and it’s a good job I have my herbs to take to help me through. Even so, things really do need to settle down soon as even I have limits to my endurance.

Billy’s week off.

Billy had last week off work but he had to use the first couple of days to go to Bristol to see his mum as she had an oncology appointment on Tuesday, having developed a swelling in her neck. He wasn’t looking forward to the trip since it was also supposed to help work out a long term plan for his mum and we were being pressured to have her come and stay with us again – possibly for good rather than just a visit. (Something that we both feel is not an option as the strain would be too much for us and we have our own family to consider.) Anyway, the plan was for him to leave Hexham at about half past four Monday evening and he would come and see me at the hospital beforehand. I waited until 4.45 at work before giving up on him (I could have finished at 4pm if I’d known!) and I found him at work finishing GP referrals. He eventually left Hexham an hour later than planned, only to arrive in Newcastle to find no trains running at all due to a fatality on the line further south. It was gone 8pm when he finally left, and he’d had an anxious time wondering whether to come back home and try again next day. At his mum’s appointment on Tuesday, it was apparent that the doctors had no idea what the neck swelling was, and so a round of tests has been organised, with the results due next week. Therefore, not much in the way of sorting out the future was accomplished, with his mum saying she needs to get herself sorted mentally and physically first. She doesn’t seem to appreciate that a plan is needed to enable her to do this! So, we’re all back in limbo. Again. I’m fed up of our lives being permanently on hold the last few years, and this year in particular.

Billy came back late Tuesday night and since I was in my clinic for the day Wednesday, we met up afterwards and went out for a very nice romantic dinner. The weather was still gorgeous and the place we went had a continental feel and we sat near the open door, so that it almost felt like we were on holiday. Billy even indulged in wine with me, which is rare, and we had a really relaxing little bit of time to ourselves, not to mention a wonderful meal.

On Thursday, it was his birthday, and it seems only yesterday that we had his 30th birthday party. Being somewhat impecunious this year, not to mention rather stressed generally, I suggested we had a family BBQ (just we 4 and Raji) and Billy liked the idea. We then discovered that Steph and Paul would be free so we asked them to join us if they fancied it; the night before, Billy also invited Roger and Stef; Claire and Simon had asked Raji if there was anything planned and we ended up inviting them too! Hm! Not quite the low key affair I’d planned. Thursday is my normal food shopping day, so I ended up having to shop, bake a birthday cake, clean the house and prepare a BBQ, which had not been my original idea. Thank goodness for helpful daughters because Laura volunteered to bake the cake (and decorate it) whilst I did other things, and she also came shopping with me and helped me get the now rather long list of food and drink for the evening, as well as the usual week’s shopping. Naturally, it was too much to expect the weather to hold any longer and the heavens opened in the late afternoon, though Billy gamely cooked on the BBQ in the garden anyway! It was all quite relaxed and Raji and Simon played darts whilst I had my City v EB/Streymore match on the TV. I did get to watch it, but I’m not too great at watching a game with people talking to me, so I can’t really pass any detailed comment, other than that played better than the first leg, but still didn’t look very convincing.

On Friday I was up early to clear up from the night before, whilst Billy slept in again. I left him busy doing as little as possible and went to my clinic and then to my second counselling appointment at the hospital.

I don’t think his week off was quite as constructive as we’d have liked, though he did do a couple of things that he planned. Still, it could be worse, he could be a woman and have to do household chores all week …….. 😉

Marriage meme

Since I am behind with my blogging (hope to catch up this week) I thought I’d pinch this idea from Geepeemum to keep you amused for a couple of minutes.

1. Where/how did you meet?

We met on a football message board. (Sadly the site now has no message board – a great shame as there were some fantastic people on there and we had a couple of meet ups at matches and just for fun.) When our two teams played in the FA Cup, we first met in person, then started to e-mail each other, just as friends. Billy then started to visit me in Chester when he was passing that way, and we also chatted a lot on MSN Messenger.

2. How long have you known each other?

About 7 years

3. How long after you met did you start dating?

10 months after our first meeting in person

4. How long did you date before getting engaged?

4 months! (He was drunk after watching England beat Turkey and blurted it out on MSN, and then came to visit the following weekend, and did the deed properly (on Sophie and Louisa’s orders.) He went down on one knee and produced a (beautiful) ring.

5. How long was your engagement?

1 year 4 months.

6. How long have you been married?

Almost 4 years.

7. What is your anniversary?

December 13th.

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?

Ah, well! We had just 9 of us at the wedding, so we just strolled along to our favourite restaurant for a meal (not pre-booked, we went on the spur of the moment.) It was all supposed to be a secret, but Billy had somehow let the cat out of the bag and so that evening there were most of our friends in the pub to help us celebrate. I gave in to pressure the next April and we had a belated party (which I hated) for about 150 people.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?

Whatever desserts we chose at the restaurant! (Christmas pudding or mince pies I think.)

10. Where was your wedding?

Hexham Registry Office one Monday lunchtime. Highly recommended, and not at all the conveyor belt atmosphere I had always assumed it would be.

11. What did you serve for the meal?

Whatever everyone chose in the restaurant. I think a few had the turkey Christmas dinner.

12. How many people were in your bridal party?

9. Billy and myself. The 2 children. Our mums. Raji. Our best man Paul, and his girlfriend.

13. Are you still friends with them?

Most definitely 🙂

14. Did your spouse cry during the wedding ceremony?

No. As far as I know there were no tears shed at all by anyone.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?

The feeling of “Thank God that’s done”! I was happy to be married to Billy but I was really not into the whole big-deal, and it was me that had dictated the type of day we had. Billy had a choice – my way or we don’t do it. (Which is why I caved in and we had the party the next Spring.) He has since said that he prefers the way we did it to some of the bigger weddings we’ve attended together.

16. Any funny moments?

Sophie and Louisa running to hide behind a bench as we came out of the registry office 😀 They’d played detective and found out when we were getting married so sneaked along for a peek. When we spotted them they thought I might be mad (I’d told Billy that if I spotted anyone at the registry office before the ceremony I would turn around and go home again!) But we laughed, and they joined in with the photos and good wishes.

17. Any big disasters?

Not quite. Billy’s mum managed to annoy me and I was hopping mad, and just deciding whether to shout, hit her or walk out (before the ceremony) when Billy and Paul entered the room and allowed the moment to pass. (She was not happy at the lack of ceremony on the day and was lecturing me about it. She said I was fortunate that she was “allowing” us to have things our way as her culture is big on ceremony… )

18. Where did you honeymoon?

The County Hotel (Hexham) for one night.

19. For how long?

One night.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?

I’d keep the date and time a secret from Billy so he couldn’t spill the beans!!!

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

Whichever side is nearest the door at the time – I tend to get up for the loo in the night.

22. What size is your bed?

Queen size.

23. Greatest strength as a couple?

Pretty good at working through problems and planning a course of action. We’re good at allowing the other to be themselves. Both good at seeing the other’s point of view and finding compromises when needed.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?

Complete opposites in terms of energy levels, body clocks, punctuality and tidiness!

25. Who literally pays the bills?

Everything is paid by direct debit from the joint account.

26. What is your song?

Still the One” by The Paris Band

and “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” by REO Speed Wagon.

27. What did you dance your first dance to?

I don’t dance. Ever.

28. Describe your wedding dress?

Black trousers with a nice cream jumper/top. And my winter coat.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?


30. Are your wedding bands engraved?

No. Just as well as Billy keeps losing (and replacing) his. He’s now lost 2.

31. What advice about weddings would you give to someone who is about to get married?

It’s not about a party and a pretty dress!It’s not even about guests and who’s there or not. It’s about you two.

All quiet on the home front.

On Sunday, Billy and I had a pretty lazy day – simply enjoying having our house back.

It’s very difficult to share living space with someone new and all things considered, I think we, and Rani, did pretty well. But it was definitely becoming a strain. Billy, I, and both children, are people that need a certain amount of our own space, and we all respect that in each other and live accordingly. Having a house guest, particularly one who I think does not particularly enjoy her own company, for so long made it very difficult for any of us to get that space, despite trying to snatch a little here and there.

So on Sunday, we didn’t even bother with a proper meal, we sat around together, and apart, we pottered at what we wanted and it was lovely! We’ve continued to appreciate this re-found freedom, all week, and even had a spur-of-the-moment-after-work drink and meal on Wednesday. Wonderful!

The children and Billy, have particularly enjoyed the regaining of a spare room in the house, and it is certainly nice when the children have friends over, as they can all pile in there.

Hopefully, Rani is enjoying her own peace and space, in India, as much as we are here.


I drove back home on Thursday morning – via a little detour thanks to a lorry shedding its load, though happily the detour was not really a problem, simply requiring me to get off the motorway one junction after my usual one. I unloaded the car, had a quick chat with the children, and then dashed to Tesco to do the food shopping. When I came back, I unpacked all the shopping of course, and then had to go upstairs and unpack my bags 🙁

Laura had friends staying over for the night, as Thursday had been a day of a teachers’ strike (for the record, I am firmly against striking, and always have been. Working to rule is perfectly acceptable, but not striking. Thank goodness my children are old enough not to need child-care, but I’d be pretty furious otherwise. In fact, I AM cross about yet another school day being lost on top of the confusing Easter holidays and ever increasing Teacher training days!) Oops, sorry, rant over. And breathe. So, as I was saying, Laura had friends over, and Stephen was playing his music fairly loudly, so I didn’t get much sleep and was tired and grumpy on Friday.

I spent Friday morning in my clinic and then was very lethargic in the afternoon. I discovered that Rani, who had asked Mrs Gem to do the ironing each week that she was with us, hadn’t actually paid her! Instead she’d said she send a cheque in August! Needless to say, I was mortified, and Billy and I agreed that we will pay her and his mum can repay us if she remembers. Grrrrrrr. I’m actually quite pleased to have my ironing back now – through no fault of her own, Mrs Gem doesn’t know whose clothes are whose or where they go or how we organise our wardrobes, so we’ve had great fun finding our clothes. I have also missed watching a DVD whilst doing this job, and I don’t mind doing it really – I am just sometimes a bit pushed to find the time.

I also discovered that the family had not kept things tidy whilst I was away and Mrs Gem had actually come in an extra day on her own initiative to put the house in order, as she knew I’d hate to return home to chaos. Ever felt like turning round and going away again?

Friday was not a very good day really!

City 3 – 1 Pompey

Having tried to spend a little time with Rani on her last day here, and wishing the men luck for their derby game, before I left, I had a smooth drive down to Manchester.

I stopped, as ever, to use the loo at Bolton services and as I came back to my car, a car pulled up behind me. There were four men in it, and one, in a City shirt, came to my window and asked if I was going to the match. When I said that I was, he asked if they could follow me in as they were coming from an unfamiliar direction and therefore did not know the way. I said that was fine, and sat and listened to the last 20 minutes or so of the first half of the Newcastle v Sunderland game on the radio. Then when the other car load had finished their picnic, we set off again – and I soon discovered that their car didn’t seem to like going above 60mph so I had to hang back for them to keep up with me. There wasn’t a problem with time, it’s just that I am used to driving to the speed of the road – which on motorways for me, usually means 75mph. Anyway, once I’d safely guided them in to the North car park, I relaxed and enjoyed my day of freedom, and first day of my break.

The game itself was good – and the result even better. James received a good welcome from the home fans, but Distin was less popular and enjoyed baiting the fans as much as they enjoyed abusing him. (“Distin, what’s the score, Distin, Distin, What’s the score?” etc.) I wasn’t convinced that the red card was merited, though on TV later, I was less sure. Still, it was 3 valuable points, and a lot of happy City fans.

I then drove to Mum’s and she had made us Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner, which we enjoyed with a drink – or two, followed by a relaxing evening with non stop natter – we had a lot of catching up to do!


The week ended routinely, and Raji came up on Friday night, to stay for the weekend. On Saturday I cooked a roast dinner at lunchtime and Rani and I spent the afternoon packing – she is going home Sunday evening and I am going away for a few days. (More on this further on)

At five O’Clock, after taking some photos, Billy, Raji, Rani and I all went to Pat’s to help her celebrate her 60th birthday. There were lots of people there, as you’d expect for such a warm, friendly, generous lady, and as ever, there was also lots of food and drink. There was a piñata (in the shape of Ermentrude from the Magic Roundabout) and there was much laughter as first Pat, then Billy, and then Martin had a turn at bashing it to bits. Pat (who landed on her bottom on the grass even before taking a swing at it – can’t have been the wine, must have been uneven ground!) swiped off the head and three legs. Billy then managed to dislodge a couple of goody bags, before a very determined Martin smashed away until all the goodies were liberated. 🙂 Once back indoors, a book was doing the rounds – a great idea, whereby each guest filled in a page answering such questions as how they know the hostess, which 3 words describe her, and so on, and then questions about themselves – the whole then forming a keepsake for the birthday girl. We left just before 9 pm as we all had plans for Sunday but we’d had a pleasant time and as ever Pat was a great hostess. Happy Birthday Pat.

Just a few of the photos (The rest are in my photo gallery (Family and Friends/our Mums/Billy’s and /our brothers/Raji):


Billy and Raji are going to their Newcastle v Sunderland game on Sunday, and afterwards, Raji will drive himself and Rani back to Bristol as she has a week of doctor’s appointments before she leaves for India.

So here I am Sunday morning, about to start a few days of celebrations. First I am off to my City v Pompey match, and then going to stay with my mum. I’m going to have a quiet day in Chester on Monday whilst she works, and then she has a couple of days off.

Tuesday would have been my Nan’s birthday so Mum and I are going to wear green (Nan’s favourite colour) and go out for afternoon tea (her favourite (only!) drink), before joining Mum’s colleagues for an evening performance by Aled Jones in Chester Cathedral. We’re going to wear the green ribbons my Aunt made for Nanny’s funeral, and I’m sure we’ll have both tears and laughter on the day.

Wednesday is St George’s Day, our day together in Dad’s memory, and we’re planning to spend it in patriotic Chester this year. Our first was in Chester, followed by one in Hexham, then London, and last year, in Coldstream, so we’re back at the beginning. We will wear our red roses, which we’ll buy from “dad’s florist” then hit the town – and make it up as we go along. Happy St George’s Day in anticipation!

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