A Trip Back
I know, it has been over a month since my last published blog post. I did start writing one but it has turned into quite a mammoth post** and just when I think it is finished, something happens to add to it – I may or may not get round to publishing that one.
In the meantime, I have been back to the UK to visit friends and family. I’m lucky that I can stay with Mum & Bry and they insure me on Mums car for the duration so I have lots of freedom to get out and about and visit almost everyone I need to. It’s also useful that I can keep ‘a wardrobe’ at Mums so I don’t need to take much back with me. I do bring a full case back to the boat though. This time my hold baggage had no clothes in it whatsoever but two big boxes of English Breakfast tea, Earl Grey tea, packet mixes, magazines, sweets, yarn an iron and other random stuff. Still below my 20kg limit, just.
On my first day I had a dentist appointment and a hairdressers appointment. A new hairdresser also named Tara, the same as my last one, and I went for a big chop! Mum wasn’t too sure as Tara held her hand on the back of my neck and said it’s about 10″ off the length. Yup, go for it. On reflection I wish I’d asked Lou about how she donates her hair to wig making. It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision but I’ll find out from Lou and let others know if they are thinking of having long hair cut.
The UK weather wasn’t too bad either. On my first full day back I walked through Leamington to meet Mum at the bottom of town. It was a lovely bright sunny day, not too cold. I walked past a house on Willes Road that had a fabulous red Camellia bush in bloom with what looked like a pale pink one about to bloom next to it. I then walked through the Jephson Gardens and took in the beautiful displays of spring flowers and all the different shades of green in the trees with new buds, the grasses, leaves on the spring flowers. It was really amazing. I guess I enjoyed this walk more than I would have had I still lived in Leamington as it is now not the norm. Although Cartagena has some stunning scenery and flora I have not seen a park setting quite like an English park in Spring. I rang Neil back on Gleda as I walked and he wasn’t having quite such a bright sunny day.
Bry took Mum and I out for Sunday lunch to the Charlecote Pheasant and we had a cavery dinner. The drive across to Charlecote was great. Sat in the back of the landrover I could see over the hedges and see the new lambs playing in the fields and across the Warwickshire countryside. The meal was great too and we then went to a large garden centre for a potter and a cup of tea. Despite not having any use for terracotta plant pots, bedding plants or spring bulbs, I still love to look. This is why I have a subscription to Country Living magazine; I love to look.
There was only one really rainy day while I was in the UK and as Mum and I spent most of it in Marks & Spencer in Banbury it didn’t matter. We watched the rain while we had lunch and the traffic on the M40 motorway which did not seem to slow down despite the heavy rain and the massive amounts of spray. We sat in the warm and dry enjoying our hot smoked salmon salads. Mum and I had quite a few days where we went shopping, no surprise, but I enjoyed moseying around with my Mum and just spending time together doing not very much.
I caught up with friends and was able to see Rachel just before she shot off to the Caribbean to celebrate a big birthday. Maria, Rachael, Laurel and I went to see Beauty & the Beast at the cinema. Needless to say Laurel and I did not cry! My friend Philippa has sold her house just down the road from my Mum (which was very convenient) and will be moving in with her sister in a village not too far away. Phil was diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia about 18 months ago and finds living on her own too lonely now she cannot work and has realised that long term she will be unable to manage on her own. Maisie her dog is fab (if enormous and somewhat naughty) but sometimes you need someone who can talk back. No doubt my next visit to the UK will see new people in Phil’s cottage and a new home for Phil to show me.
I saw quite a bit of my Dad too and was there for his Annual Care Review. Due to his illness (Frontotemporal Dementia) I was expecting to see some deterioration since my last visit but I was pleasantly surprised. Dad seemed happier and the carers have got him moving more using a zimmer frame which he can negotiate himself around his floor. Seeing him walking along the corridor using his zimmer on his own was great and maybe this bit of freedom is what is helping him mentally. He has had a motorised bed put in his room to aid getting him in and out. To fit the bed in, we had to have a bit of a move around of his furniture and the staff put up some of his pictures that were lying on top of his wardrobe and a put a number of loose photos into a frame outside his door. Again, maybe these visual stimulants are helping too.
I took Dad for a walk in his wheelchair that we got for him last trip. It was another lovely sunny day and I walked him around “the block”. I wasn’t sure if I’d get up the hill with him or not but I managed it. It is obvious that Dad benefits from these social interactions and with his wheelchair and zimmer frame he is getting out and about more. A few weeks ago two of the care staff took him over to the Greaves Club in Bishops Itchington which is the club in the village where he used to live. The girls said that people were chatting with him and he was remembering names. Dad’s verbal communication is still not good and he tends to repeat the last few words that you say to him and his standard response to a yes/no question is “yes”. When we asked him what he wanted for dinner when Gary, Gavin and I went over one evening we were careful not to assume that he would want a curry, although this is a favourite dish. So the question was “Dad, do you want curry, Chinese or fish & chips for your dinner”. A normal response would be fish & chips repeated or dinner repeated but after a pause he said “curry” so we knew that it was a curry he really wanted. It’s little tricks like this that can help Dad get what he wants and not just what we think he wants. Dad also managed a few short sentences without any prompting or leading. It might not sound like a big deal but an improvement on my last visit and also showing me that his mind is more active than his communication skills show.
I was in the UK for Mother’s Day and Mum and I went to the Toft Alpaca Farm (actually this was for me to look at yarn) but it is somewhere Mum might go with the grandchildren or my Aunt as they have a lovely tea room, it is set in lovely grounds and it was on the way to Rugby where Gary and Gavin live. We then went on to Gary and Lorna’s and had tea, Prosecco and cake. Lorna’s Mum & Dad came round and my neice, Claudia and her fiancé Ryan were also there. Harvey showed me the chickens and we collected the newly laid eggs. Another warm sunny spring day and we had a lovely time.
As usual the time flew and I didn’t have time to catch up with everyone I would have liked to see. I did get dinner with friends I hadn’t seen for a few years. It was great to catch up with Lynne (who taught me to parallel park), Clive and their son Bradley who is amazingly now a mid teen and 6ft tall. I babysat for Bradley when he was a few weeks old!
Since I have been back (5 days now) we have been having lovely weather. Neil had been planning to paint the galley while I was away but said that the weather had not been good enough. This is what he is doing now. I can’t wait to get my things back in and on my newly fixed shelves which were just placed temporarily back in Weir Quay Boatyard in May 2014. I’ve opted for white to cover the green I added back in Lagos. White is easily purchased and easier to touch up. When the paint has dried I need to make some new curtain fronts for the shelves which acts as both a “hiding the tat” curtain and holds things in place when we are sailing. I will use the same olive pattern material as before but use new fabric.
My new galley cushions were made and delivered a couple of days after I left for the UK. Unfortunately although they look good, the foam was far too soft for me and no more comfortable than those we already had. Angel (pronounced Angle) from Casa Angel has been back and taken them away to replace the foam. I’m looking forward to getting them back as they are part of the “new galley” look.
I’ve just taken delivery of my second crochet subscription box from Little Box of Crochet. The first one I had last month had a project designed by Lucy of Attic 24 whose patterns I have used to make my ripple blanket and two different bags.
This month’s project is a beautiful blue scarf called Blue Sky Hug Scarf by Australian designer, Shelley from Spincushions. I have almost finished last months project (needed the iron I have brought back with me to complete) and I’m looking forward to making the scarf. I have cancelled the boxes for now, not because I don’t like them or think they are not worth it but it is an extra expense and also the boxes are so lovely I want to keep them – space being an issue and all that I can’t have too many. You can check the boxes out here. Amanda Bloom and her daughter Jenny started the business and I have followed Amanda on-line for a long time. Distressingly her teenage daughter is terminally ill and they only have a short time left together. Despite this, Amanda and Jenny are amazingly upbeat and making the most of their time together. My heart goes out to them. When I can, I will support LBC.
Hope you all are having a fabulous Spring or Autumn depending on where you are.
**this post turned out longer than planned!