Wednesday, 22 October 2014

'Only' 99p

I will never learn.  Things have been a bit tough over the last eighteen months.   Things are still a bit tough although father is settling into his Nursing Home well and charming everyone.  Also, although I find it hard to admit, life is a lot easier without father under foot and the house is considerably cleaner and emptier.

However I have been limping along a bit and last night I cried on the shoulder of my friend, ebay.  I am not sure what came over me.  About £20 if you don't count postage.  Lots of people can afford to spend £20 without too much thought.  Lots more can spend £20, regret it but manage.  I think of £20 as a lot of money but it is possible to spend it here without fear of ruin.  The bit that makes me wince is that none of my items were more than 99p.  I am going to be getting a shedload.  The postage wasn't excessive (I would not have bid, even in my state) but it adds up on top.  I've got some great bargains that I really didn't need.  An item you do not need, no matter how reasonable the cost, is not a bargain.

It isn't just the cost of of the item plus postage.  That 'only' 99p has a lot of other costs.  First of all there will be a mountain of packaging material.  Some of it is new, some re-used and I've know things to come in a taped up carrier bag before now.  I'll have to dispose of all of that.  Then I have to find places for all the stuff.  It goes a little against the grain as I am getting rid of lots of rubbish.  On the bright side, because I have got rid of a lot of rubbish I now have spaces to put further rubbish.  That was not the point.

Also some of it is craft stuff.  I have let my knitting and cross stitch slide over the last few months but now my hands are in a better state I can get back to that.  I can see a huge opportunity to watch some documentaries and catch up with all the knitting I want to do.  Now I will have a chance to really catch up with the ironing (father had a habit of insisting I broke off and come to talk to him) I can clear a space and learn to use the sewing machine.  I will have to.  It's surprising the sort of sewing stuff you can get for 99p late at night.  I have to be realistic, though.  There is a lot of extra time to get the benefit of it all, and that is part of the cost of these items.  So much for 'only' 99p.

There were also quite a few bits for bear which were absolute bargains.  They will be stashed away for Christmas and his birthday.  So it could be worse.

Bear is currently all eyes and temperature off school with a sort of generic virus.  He is working his way through the periodic table.  He has no real understanding of what it means but he is starting to memorise the order the elements come in.  I feel a bit 'rabbit in the headlights'.

Also when I was looking for a cross head screwdriver and rummaging in father's tool box I found an army knife complete with sheath.  I left it there.  Nobody tell bear.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

An extra helping of weather

I really feel fortunate.  I know I am blessed and I am very grateful.  One of the blessings I am counting today is the ability to enjoy this weather.

I quite enjoy a bit of a breeze, it makes me feel a lot more energetic than normal.  Tonight when the storm is supposed to be bad, I will be snuggled in, with the curtains closed, candles lit, gas fire off (the wind blows down the chimney like a hurricane!) but a halogen heater on and a feeling of being barricaded against the elements as I snuggle under blankets.

Not only that but I will gloat slightly that I am in a sheltered spot and the wind is unlikely to do anything more than howl past.

I feel very grateful that there is little chance of power disruption, and any disruption is likely to be short as we live near a major road and at the edge of an urban centre.  I am also really, really grateful that there are people out there trudging on in all the extra weather so that softies like me are safe and warm.

I don't know if grateful is the right word, but I am very aware that while the UK grumbles about the trailing end of Gonzalo, some people have had to live through it at its worst, and my prayers are definitely with them.  Sometimes I snap out of 'smug' and think how blessed I really am.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Bear is being a Geologist

I suppose it is normal for seven-nearly-eight but bear has decided he wants to collect stones.  He and his pal spent a large portion of yesterday digging bits of brick and slag out of the road (meteorites and granite to bear and his pal) and then washing them.

I did my best to be a good mother and let them use a plastic bowl that they kept in the bath.  By the time I had brought up rags to dry the stones they were already dried on the good bath towel (on its second wash as I type) and were looking very pleased with themselves.  The bathroom looked like it could be ploughed for cabbages it was so muddy.

I wish it was a new thing, but bear has always had a habit of picking up stones.  He has not shown any great insight, but he does have a good helping of wishful thinking.  I now have a large bucket of stones in the garden which I don't have the heart to move.

There is always a bright side, though.  I have been wondering what to get bear for Christmas/birthday along with the Doctor Who stuff.  I can see some geology stuff heading to his gift mountain.  It will make a change.  I am off to investigate ebay (who is my friend).

Sunday, 19 October 2014

An Interesting Question

There are a lot of interesting questions in life.  One is, why am I the only person in the household who changes the toilet roll?  Another is, why are sauce bottles so fiendishly hard to get into?  How about, why do I have to empty my entire handbag to find the pen when if I don't need it is floating happily near the top?  Also, why has father got an air pistol and ammunition in his wardrobe?

I nearly fell over when DH told me.  DH visited father yesterday and came away with a long list of things to bring in.  This included some randomly bought necklaces for the ladies there, some wine (apparently he is on alcohol) and some ties so when he was on a committee he could look the part.  DH had to do some serious excavation in father's wardrobe, which is when he found the air pistol.

I've never been so near a firearm.  At what point did father decide he needed an air pistol.  Also what the jeff am I supposed to do with it?  I am not sure if I need a licence.  How on earth am I supposed to dispose of it?

I am still not sure why father obtained this, or from where.  The neighbours are fine, the local murder was almost certainly just a private matter and unlikely to affect those a quarter of a mile away, I suppose he may have to it to fire at the local cats when they dug up his flowers, but father wouldn't have hurt a whisker of an animal.  I suppose he may have fired over their heads, but a cap gun would have been a lot cheaper if he was wanting to do that.

I am a bit worried that a random purchase happened, like father's determination to buy a sickle to tackle the weeds at the church instead of all the alternatives.  I am a bit worried about what else I may find as I clear out father's room.  I know about the cache of smelly candles, I know about the 1966 World Cup Final programme.  I would never have guessed an air pistol and ammunition.

I'm off to work out whether I need a licence.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Absolutely Amazing and a bit meh!

Please look away now if you don't like parents who boast about their darling little ones...

Bear had an awesome report at the parents' evening.  As bear had been good I asked for more maths for bear.  Bear insisted.  He loves maths.  He really, really, really loves maths and is better at it than I am.  According to the teacher, bear who has just started Year Three would be comfortable starting Year Four if he did nothing else all year.  The lovely teacher was very clear that bear would not be allowed to do nothing all year!  Negotiations are ongoing about the condition of bear's handwriting which is the only thing the teacher complained about.  I felt sooo smug and now I am off to dust off all the wonderful advice previously given, look into resources for maths and generally try and make space for bear to move forward.  We are also looking at a treat for bear, who is negotiating rewards.  He's holding out for a cinema trip whereas I am offering Bagshaw Museum.  It's ongoing.

I am feeling a bit happier about bear's Christmas and birthday.  I have just found a stash of books I got in to give bear for Christmas last year, and they are still good for that, so I am happy that he will get reading matter as well as the books that arrived from the Book People.  I have a Cyberman voice changing helmet (ebay is my friend) plus Cyberman towel, some Doctor Who notebooks and a figure already.  I also have a stash of skylander figures bought from a neighbour selling up their collection in a huge box under the kitchen table.  We have decided to not add much to this but give instead something like £20 for Christmas and £20 for his birthday in the certain knowledge that bear will certainly receive other goodies.  Bear's stocking will be a bit of a challenge, but I am sure it will be fine.

As for the meh part, I am back on antibiotics.  My leg is still infected, ongoing since April.  I need to try and chase up the hospital to see why I haven't had the urgent dermatology referral.  I am feeling a bit fed up.  I feel like nothing will ever change, that I will be stuck with this for ever and it is really itchy, sore and yeurck.

However, something that is less meh - father may have been only in the Nursing Home for a few days but he is already on a committee.  That makes me feel much more reassured.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Actually Thinking

Just next to the Nursing Home where father is now living is a very small Co-op.  I like the Co-op, I worked there in the eighties and looking back I think being on the till there was the best job I ever had.  It isn't the cheapest supermarket, but the bigger ones have some good bargains and I'm glad to have somewhere to run to for bits for father.

Today as I popped in for his paper and some random other stuff I found a stand with little sachets of squishy stuff for *only* £1.  I picked one up.  It was an Uncle Ben's mix for chilli and you just added mince, tinned tomatoes and kidney beans.  I thought about it.  My chilli is not classic, and includes baked beans, but even with a generous spirit, if was adding mince, tomatoes and kidney beans the only things that the pouch would contain would be a couple of onions and some spices, which is rather dear at £1.  The link to the pouch on the Tesco site is here - and it doesn't even include onions!  Mind you, it is gluten free.

More and more I am working out whether it is worth buying a packet or tin.  I think I saved at least 70p just stopping and thinking.  I can't see that it would save that much time either.

I am beginning to seriously think there needs to be lessons in shopping at school.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Grey Day

When will I ever learn.  Last night I was not on antibiotics for the first time in a loooong while.  I think I must be my father's daughter as I drank a full half a bottle of Tia Maria.  What I thought when I dragged myself out of my pit this morning was, 'How much did that cost?  And was it really worth the money?' (£8.49 and no it wasn't worth it, I may as well had a nice cuppa.  I could probably have got it on offer as well if I had looked around.)

And I did some random ordering from Amazon that seemed like a good idea at the time.  I daren't open the box.  It is some Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall books, and I think I may have wasted my money on them.  Sigh.

On the bright side I browsed a lot of places while in the same glum mood and didn't buy any knitting yarn, cross stitch kits or bulk supplies of toilet paper, so it could be worse.

I just wish the weather would improve.  It is grey, damp and miserable.  I can find the bright side because I don't have to water the garden and I poured bleach over my steps for the rain to wash down to the drain, but I think I would prefer crisp, golden, autumn sun.  I shall keep a hopeful eye on the weather forecast.