Skip to content

May we live in interesting times!

January 12, 2014

So here we are in 2014, and the last few weeks have been somewhat traumatic but also pleasant in many ways. Our health issues continue to dominate our lives though and we seem to have spent a significant amount of time with blood tests, scans, x-rays etc. Although the NHS thinks it is moving quickly, it certainly isn’t up to other standards we have experienced and is woefully lacking in some respects. In all our visits to medical facilities we have yet to have blood pressure, heart rate, height and weight measured; or any kind of examination involving stethoscopes, thermometers or optical devices. I find this incredible and not one practitioner has wanted to see past history data despite it being offered to them. Ah well, we soldier on, as best we can.

Christmas shopping proved a bit of a challenge as mobility is an issue but June did get a day out with Joan and managed to find a few goodies for both of us including a new coat she needed. I cheated and did all my shopping online apart from the usual load of confectionary stocking stuffers I picked up with the regular groceries. The special food shopping I had been looking forward to being back in the UK for the first Christmas in 22 years, but it actually turned out a bit of a disappointment. The butcher requested us to complete our Christmas order by December 14th so we figured out what we needed for our traditional menu and wrote it all on his special form. We needed bacon, sausages, sausage meat, veal, a small ham (preferably on the bone) and of course a turkey. This was all collected on the 23rd but they hadn’t made up the orders in advance, simply serving each customer in turn from their printed lists. With about 8 people serving on a tiny counter this was chaos with a queue out the door but it got done in the end. However, there appears to have been some confusion in metric/imperial measurements (they use both) so we ended up with a lot of veal and not enough sausage meat. The price of turkeys continues to amaze us – they were expensive in France and seem to be even higher in the UK. Back in the US we used to pay about $1.00 per pound, the cost here is at least five times higher, our 10lb bird cost over £40.00!!! It all cooked up fine, but the sausages and sausage meat seemed a bit bland and the ham (off the bone) was a tad strange as well – seemed to be stringy and broke rather than sliced. It tasted OK and lasted well into the New Year but we didn’t make turkey & ham pies this year. All our other traditional stuff of sausage rolls, mince pies, chestnut stuffing, brandy butter etc, were great and the Tesco Christmas pudding was really good, served traditionally flamed in brandy, with double cream and brandy butter – but no piece of holly for the top!

I bought June a Kindle Paperwhite e-book for Christmas and she has taken to it like a duck to water, which is amazing as she usually doesn’t get on with technology at all. Loaded it up with a couple of Alan Garner books (inspired by Country File on TV) plus The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings – that’ll keep her busy for a while 🙂 I might even get one of these for myself.

Christmas and New Year were pretty quiet – we both managed to get bad colds and coughs which meant staying home rather than going to the pub and visiting friends etc. We eventually recovered enough to spend a pleasant lunch time of drinks and nibblers with Joan and her sister just after New Year and now we are fully over the lurgey and back in circulation. We’ve celebrated with a couple of pub lunches which are great value for money.

The eBay selling is moving along nicely, all but one of the cameras has gone and now I’m listing my multi-system VCR and an electronic PAL/NTSC converter, both of which did sterling service in getting all my old VHS tapes onto DVD. I did find some old VHS tapes so if anyone wants examples of GWR steam locomotive videos, a Yachtmaster course or a documentary on rebuilding an E-Type you are more than welcome. I also have the Lord of the Rings and Wallace and Gromit on NTSC VHS plus a copy of San Diego Above All!

Just as with everything else we have way too many Christmas decorations, some dating back to my childhood days and even earlier. So when putting them all away this year we had a good sort out and gave a bunch of stuff to charity and threw quite a lot of other stuff away (worn out tree mats, old torn paper decorations etc). We still have four large boxes of decorations but at least they are now organised properly and catalogued!

The firearms inspector came on Jan 6th and his first question was “where is the gun cabinet?” I explained to him that his office had told me that he didn’t need to see it so it was still packed away in the garage. He said it HAD to be bolted to an outside solid wall rather than an internal partition wall and when I had done that to let him know and he would do a re-inspection; other than that all was fine and I would get my certificate in a few days after the inspection. So, I sent off an email to the letting agent informing them of the requirements, a suggested location and asking for permission to drill the necessary holes.

At that point life went pear-shaped and in a big way!

I got an email back asking me to phone the agent and they told me that the landlady was not going to renew our rental agreement in March and was therefore giving us two months notice to vacate the place! There was no rational explanation given for this, all we knew was that she had decided not to renew. Given our current health issues, which are significantly limiting our activities, house hunting and moving house would be a major challenge, apart from the fact that a quick internet search revealed there was nothing comparable on the market either to buy or rent. We let them know this and asked for more details of why we had to move – we also offered to buy the place if possible. We didn’t get a result straight away so we decided we had to tell the agent exactly why we didn’t want to move just yet, appeal to the landlady’s better nature and get an extension. A detailed email followed by a phone call gave them all the specifics (I’ll refrain from boring you with them) and then we spent a couple of very anxious days trying to decide where and how to make the move and searching the internet for possibilities. The agent did send a representative to inspect the place (as per contract) and they also gave us the formal notice to vacate. Fortunately, after another day’s delay and discussions, she changed her mind – we can stay and we now have a rolling contract with no fixed end date, just two months notice required from her, one month from us. It subsequently turned out that having reported a number of issues with the bungalow (with associated expense) she thought we weren’t happy here and wanted to move on, all down to miscommunication for which I blame the agents mainly. A massive relief though, now we can concentrate on getting fit and well and continuing the downsizing.

There was an ulterior motive behind the Kindle – we have no room for real books (and are not likely to in the future) and as we have loads of them this was a way to solve the problem. We had discovered that Oxfam is running a campaign for old books so we bit the bullet and decided to sort out our surplus. We had 13 boxes (13” x 13” x 18”) in the garage, none of the books really worth anything on the current market, so we invited Joan for a “first refusal” look and then started to unpack each one and repack it in the back of the car. Despite it being a sunny day it was quite cold and we had all had enough after a couple of hours. A call to the Oxfam shop revealed that they were open and they had helpers available to unload – our current physical issues would have made this a real challenge and the main reason why each box had to be unpacked and repacked into the car. An hour later and we were back at home with a significant amount of new space available in the garage – sorted!

The coming weeks should see some resolution in the medical situations and we will continue with disposing of surplus stuff. We will also be thinking about where to move to should the need arise or we choose to do so.

Keep on keeping on!



David & June

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2014 18:02

    Gosh what a scare that must have been, a notice to move only just after having moved in!!
    Glad it all turned out OK and I hope that the good ole NHS will get their skates on and help you sort out the medical issues!

    • January 12, 2014 18:25

      Hi Gerda, yes it was very worrying for a few days. Now for the NHS 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Mrs Niklasson's Adventures

Home is where the heart is

%d bloggers like this: