Sunday 29 May 2016

Bit by Bit

Old age does not come itself and I have to say bit by bit I am beginning to feel like I am getting there. In the last six months I feel if it is not one thing it is another. First off was a full blood screening which showed a possible issue with my kidneys, thankfully that proved not to be the case.   I have had my hearing checked, and as I have a problem, I was away for an MRI scan yesterday.  I have had my eyes tested, and a deterioration in my vision with new glasses. I have had to spread a sample on my bowel screening test kit, not to mention a mammogram to check for anything untoward there, and so far really I have faired quite well. Then of course there are my feet feet have a problem and I use insoles.

checks have been made on various parts of my body

But all these tests are relatively easy to do, but not all issues that creep up on us can be tested for, or in some instances nothing much can be done to stop the advancement of time.

I work in a hospital and see the effects of illness on people. Some illnesses can be made better with modern medicine, but sadly not all. I also work out in the community during the week with elderly people, a lot of them eighty plus.

I have watched some of them over the years as they have become a bit more frail in their body. One lovely old lady, we will call her Nancy,  that I visit as a friend who still has her faculties about her but has had one set back after the other in the last few years.She is eighty four. She fell and broke her hip and ended up in a private care home to recoup. She later fell and broke her arm and so went back again. This year the wee soul has had a series of chest and urine infections and really has not been keeping well at all. So she made the brave decision at the end of March to apply for a permanent place in the private nursing home and two weeks ago moved into her own wee room.

Happy 80th
Some of these people I have known for a few years and for all their bodies still seem to be doing well sadly they are developing signs of Dementia. Lets call one Doreen, she is now ninety four and will be ninety five next month. She is doing remarkably well for her age, Her family made her give up driving at eighty seven, she was just not safe to be on the road at that point. She still manages up and down the stairs and gets to coffee morning with the other residents but she spends a lot of her time confused. Her family have carers coming in to her three times a day, but she does not seem to know who these people are. One of their tasks is to put her hearing aids in for her, but sadly she does not always know where she has put them, They have hot meals delivered for her at lunch time, but some days she is not aware she is suppose to actually be eating it. She pops in to visit her neighbour but forgets she has popped in and will maybe visit Christine twenty times to ask her/tell her the same thing. This gets tiring for Christine as she herself is eighty four.  It also gets worrying for the family who do not live locally. Her family are now looking into placing her in a nursing home closer to them so that they can be on hand to help out when possible but more importantly to know she has the care and attention she needs when they are not around. She has gone beyond what a warden can offer.

This ageing is inevitable, and there is no hard and fast rules to say at what age this will happen. Every one is unique and  some people manage a lot better than others. I have always told my children that when I no longer can live alone safely that they are not to burden themselves with me, they are to choose me a nice nursing home. But what defines nice? What should they be looking for? More to the point what should they be looking for to avoid?

In the UK 85,000 people are living with Dementia of some sort, some of them are capable of living at home with the proper care and support and others are not. This is where organisations like Barchester Healthcare come in. They have put together a great information guide on what to look for when you choose a care home for people living with Dementia. The staff are trained on how best to support the individual which helps reduces their stress and support their well being.

Staff within our Memory Lane communities receive training to help them to support people living with dementia in our care homes.  They spend time learning about the different types of dementia that the person may have and how they might best support each resident through person centred approaches as well as learning about a range of interventions that may help to reduce any distress and promote well-being.

I want to go somewhere that has a homely feel, that is not clinical, somewhere I would get a warm welcome with staff who enjoy their day and get more out of the experience than it just being a way to earn money. I know I work in a hospital, and yes it pays my bills, but I enjoy what I do, I enjoy the banter with the customers and I like to think I brighten their day with a smile or a squeeze of a hand, or doing something simple like spreading jam on their slice of toast for them. This is what I will be looking for when the time comes.

What would you be looking for when the time comes for you or your parents?

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Saturday 28 May 2016

Project 366 week 21


We have some noisy visitors in the loft.

feeding the young


The day we take Bob to gymnastics and then take Lilly a run somewhere. Here she is having fun at playing amongst the rocks.

hunting biscuits


I do holiday relief cover in a warden controlled complex and every Tuesday morning they have a coffee morning. This week it was the eightieth birthday of one of the residents, and so he had asked me to join them for a slice of birthday cake. He had no idea his daughter was flying up from London and that she had asked over various childhood friends to attend as well as a few relatives. It was a lovely turn out and a good morning was had by all.

Happy Birthday


When I had my hearing checked the other week they found I had a loss in my left ear. So I was to go for an MRI scan to check it was nothing sinister and is just wear and tear in my advancing years. You get to take your own music with you if you want so I grabbed this one. Not an overly pleasant experience but just shut my eyes and concentrated on the music.

my choice in music


It was wet and raining but we went and played in the park regardless. They went home soaked to the skin and covered in mud but they had fun and did not want to go home,

wet and muddy but happy


We nipped out to buy some bits for the garden and stopped at Auchincruive for a run around. She really is now starting to behave like a terrier and pouncing on things and rooting around the long grass.

pouncing on a hand


How many of you are aware of the new married tax allowance that came into force in April last year? I thought it only came in this year and so phoned up to get it implemented on my tax code. If one of you in the household does not use up your tax allowance you can transfer £1100 of it to your husband/wife/civil partners tax allowance. I got in back dated to last April and got £212 back.( last year it was only 1060)  Not to be sneezed at. Find out more on the HMRC website if you think it applies to you.

new married tax allowance.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Project 366 week 20


Finished work at 5pm today for a change and so went for a walk after tea with the dog. Here she is relaxing on the slabs at the bottom of the garden.

enjoying the sun


Our car was in the garage for a check so could not take Bob to gymnastics so I babysat the wee ones instead while daughter took him. After babysitting we walked the dog. Love the bluebells in amongst the wild garlic. Whenever I go in now the twins ask about Lilly and like to walk her round the kitchen table on her lead while she is in.

garlic and bluebells


Had a busy day dashing here there and every where else and so decided to stop off at McD's for a burger, and of course if the dog is with us then she had to be introduced to her first burger with us. She is now registered at the vet. We took her in after surgery hours just in case but she did not bother herself with the vet's dog until hubby started stroking it, and then she woofed. Her tail was wagging so not sure if she wanted to play, but as they were operating on a cat we left so as not to disturb them. 

Lilly gets her bit. 


Daughter needed a babysitter while she went and did some shopping so I babysat Bob and the gruesome twosome. So we had some fun. Here are the two of them tickling each other after they had been sat on top of each other.

two happy little people.


Visit day, so lucky for us DD3 was off work and so sat in with Lilly for a while, and then after school Fifi came and sat with her until we got back. Have to say she seems happy enough to be left with other people, the mistake we made with the last dog was never leaving her, so starting as we mean to go on.
Popped in while we were walking Lilly after we got back. Spud was fast asleep. She is a very content baby who is now starting to smile and make noises at people.

one sleeping Spud


Hubby had an appointment at the eye clinic today, a follow up visit from his diabetic screening. His appointment was suppose to be at 3.20 but they phoned to say they were running a bit late and could he come at 3.40. Well this was the wall we sat and stared at for two hours, we eventually got out at 6.05pm, Have no idea how a clinic that starts at 1.30 can be so far behind with appointments. Nothing to worry about back in three month.

eye clinic appointment
one boring wall


The mint is starting to grow nicely with the rain we have had this week. Starting drinking peppermint tea again as well as putting some in bottles of sparkling water to flavour it naturally, much better for me than fizzy juice. 

mint plant
mint in the garden

Saturday 14 May 2016

Project 366 week 19


One of the girls at work had admired my cross stitch blanket and wanted to try cross stitching for herself, so in the break at work I gave her her first lesson, it went well.


I have not had much time to enter competitions lately, but I decided to be different this time and do some post entries, had plenty of stamps so thought I had nothing to loose. Fingers crossed for a win. 


Was on my way home from having done a bit of shopping when I came across an accident, did not look like it had happened long before I got there. Three cars were involved and one of the drivers was wandering aimlessly covered in blood. I stopped as we have a first aid kit in the car to see if I could help. I dealt with the woman who was covered in blood, sat her down, patched her up, used my phone to phone her husband as hers had got lost somewhere in the car when she was hit from behind, and then stayed with her reassuring her until the ambulance and police turned up. Nothing more I could do at that point so I left. I did however then help two van drivers find an alternative route round through the village as the police and ambulances had closed off the road to the bypass. 


Was a beautiful day, and so we packed up a rucksack and went for a walk along the river and round the local woods. The bluebells stretched for miles and miles and looked beautiful. Sadly the same could not be said for the river which had a van, a few cars, lots of tyres, a washing machine and goodness knows what else in it.


Not seen much of the twins lately, so I popped down to pick them up, took them to the park and then brought them up to see Granddad and Lilly. They played in the garden with the pegs and the wash basket.


A bit of baking was on the cards yesterday morning. A Victoria sponge with two mashed bananas in place of the sugar, and a peanut butter butter icing in the middle and on top.


Received an Amazon Kindle Fire 7 2015 edition last week. Hubby was reading about them online when he saw a product recall on the charger. Now while Amazon have sent me a code to get a new charger for free they are expecting me to pay the £3.99 p&p which I am not happy about. But just a warning to anybody else who has one who may not have seen the recall. 

product recall.

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Friday 13 May 2016

Taking Lilly round the river walk.

We brought Lilly into our family three weeks ago and in that time she has settled in well and is pretty much a perfect dog apart from around other dogs. So at the moment we try and walk her where she will not encounter too many other dogs as she gets quite stressed out by the experience. I know some say that defeats the purpose and she will only improve with contact but we are trying to build up trust and faith in us first and get her following basic commands. She is kept on a lead and it is all talk and no action by her so far.

Today we went down the back road and into the woods. A place we have never been in the three years we have lived in the village. We then followed the river path along and enjoyed the thousands and thousands of bluebells that are covering just about every inch of the three miles we walked.

a random tree - I liked the texture and pattern

Thousands of bluebells everywhere

just so many of them

 a red admiral butterfly

Lilly in the bluebells

Reflection in the river

 Lilly decided to roll in a nice fresh cow pat, so I washed the worst off in the river.

The walk was spoilt by the amount of rubbish in the river from an old van and a car, to a washing machine, dozens of tyres and areas of stagnant water as the river cant flow freely due to the trees and branches caught in amongst the rubbish.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Project 366 week 18


Daughter is going to stay down at the holiday camp where SIL works so that they can spend some time together. But as Fifi is at school she is staying with us.

So here is her pile of stuff.


Fifi goes swimming on a Monday night so we dropped her off and went for a walk along the beach with Lilly.


Will be the only night we have Fifi in so we organised a retro movie night so we could enjoy her company. You can read about the night here. So I made a cake for the evening to go with the rest of the food.


Had to go and get my hearing tested, yes another part of me falling apart. I do have a hearing loss in my left ear so have to go for a MRI scan to check nothing other than my age causing this.  We stopped at Dumfries House to walk the dog while we were in the area. This is the Maguire Arboretum


Dentist today, just a check up, and luckily this is one part that is not falling apart, did not even need a polish and clean. We took the dog for a walk in Ayr while we were there.
We had been contacted by a local would be geocacher who had been and tried to find our trail of four local caches with her husband before they took the children to look for them, but they could not find any. So as we are quite passionate about our hobby we agreed to meet with them and help them find our caches and give them some hints and tips to help them find others elsewhere. So we met with two adults and five children who all enjoyed the experience as did we. The children were very enthusiastic and happy to be in the outdoors and they made great company.


Daughter was back, so after we had been the library and walked the dog we stopped off to see them, Wee Minky was giving us plenty of hugs and him and Dinky were happy to walk Lilly round the living room on her lead and feed her some treats out of my pocket.


Not really had much time to work on the blanket in the last few weeks, but nearly got the snail finished.

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Friday 6 May 2016

We had a Movie Night

This week my daughter has been away on holiday, but as Fifi has to be at school then she stayed with us instead of going. Daughter had wanted to go during the Easter holiday but she was still not fit to drive after her C section so she could not go.

Fifi has a lot of things on before and after school most days but Tuesday night is one night she is free, so we asked her if she fancied having a movie night. We invited the other grandparents  Gran N and Grandpa T and asked if she wanted to invite a friend but she declined the offer and so it was just the five of us.

Gran N and Grandpa Tom 

We had been offered the chance to hold a retro movie night and Fifi chose the film from a list of ten, she chose Singing in the Rain a film I have to say I have never seen before. Films are a great way to bring the generation together and are a wonderful way for the older generations in particular to reminisce and remember their youth. Sunrise Senior Living who offer both residential care and assisted living with highly trained staff with individualised care plans suited to the needs of each individual, have film evenings and afternoons to allow their residents to stroll down memory lane. I am sure they remember fifty years ago more vividly than last week.

So we made a proper evening of it, we had a "pre-theatre" meal with pizza, crisps, dips and snacks, with some retro sweets and good old fashioned popcorn, well every good picture house offers popcorn. The highlight of our spread was my cake, made special for the evening.

retro night.
one home made cake

It was four layers of Victoria sponge with a coconut cream ganache in between the layers and round the outside. I topped it with ready to roll icing and put sour fizzy sweet ribbons round the outside. 

We were sent some posh popcorn, that went down very well and was enjoyed by all. Popcorn the staple of  any cinema visit for years, no idea why, the sort of thing little twits would chuck off the balcony level onto people below.

We also got discussing usherettes coming round with the ice cream and showing you to your seat with a torch. How you use to get some trailers and a small film before the main event. A lovely time reminiscing and letting Fifi know how things use to be.

The sweets we were sent got us all talking about the things us grandparents remembered from our childhood. I use to get an old halfpenny on the way to school in a morning and buy four black jacks with it. Fifi made us all laugh by emptying a whole packet of the fizz wizz popping corn into her mouth in one go. I was shocked the other week when I saw a 50p mix up in a local shop, 50p for a few sweets, makes taking a couple of children to the shop for a sweet expensive by the end of the week. 

Gran N had brought over some biscuits and juice with her so we added them to the table and all enjoyed tucking in. 

some of the food

I have to say it was a very pleasant evening with good company and a good film. It was also nice to get Fifi away from her phone and to enjoy her for the lovely young lady she is.

the popcorn is all gone

Disclaimer we were provided with the dvd, sweets and popcorn to allow us to spend the evening together.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Our rescue dog two weeks on.

Two weeks ago we made the decision to take on another dog, We decided a rescue dog was the best option for us and as we had been looking for a while we decided to go to one of the SSPCA rehoming centres.

rescue dog
one lucky dog

Hubby had been looking for a while on various dog rehoming sites but all the small terriers seem to get snapped up very quickly. I did not want a big dog and due to allergy issues a dog with fur was out of the question, needed to be a hair type dog. So we managed to find a suitable dog and drove through to Hamilton to have a look. We met Lilly,  We were told she has a minor issues with other dogs, well so did the last rescue dog we had, so we were not bothered by this.We then went for some lunch, went back for another look and decided she was the dog for us. So we left and went to buy the bits and pieces we would need for her when we got her home. 

saying goodbye to the staff
So the next day we went back, paid for her and brought her home. One of the items we had bought for her was a harness for the car. We got the SSPCA staff to fit it on her while they were putting on her new collar and lead. Well the harness did not stay on for long, she just twisted herself round and round and as it was not quite small enough she escaped. Since this incident we think she must have used this as a tactic in the past, she does this when we have her out and she wants off her lead, usually when we encounter another dog, as she wants to go and attack them. but thankfully having changed the harness for a smaller one she cannot get out of it. So I am hoping this behavious will stop, but she just seems to loose all sense of reasoning. 
We think she use to travel on the back parcel shelf of her last car as she tries to get up on ours, but she is settling down and now will sleep in the basket we have for her. 

in her bed attached to a seatbelt harness
In the house she is a great dog. She can be left and is not destructive, she comes when you call her, she goes to her bed when told to - ever time we eat  plus other times - and she will bark if somebody comes to the door but only for a few seconds and then quietens down. Hubby has got her learning hand signals and will stand in front of him, walk round to the side of him and sit pretty much every time she is asked to. She is allowed on the couch but she only gets up if invited and is sent back down if not invited, so again most times now she will sit and look at you until you allow her up.

on the couch

dad's away so mum will do

She likes to watch out of the window and used to jump up onto the coffee table in front of the window, but we have stopped her from doing that. She is not at all interested in playing with toys, does not chew soft toys and will bury a chew if you give her one, either put in the garden or will try various corners of the house if indoors.

She is settling down and is less clingy than she was when we first got her. But considering she left her first home, got rehomed with her daughter in a new home and then sent back on her own two days later for us to adopt thenit is no wonder she is unsettled.

at Auchincruive

Have to say what we were told was a minor issue with other dogs is actually a very major issue with other dogs. She becomes very violent and aggressive and twists round and round and round trying to get out of her harness. She gets herself totally agitated and I think if I was daft enough to get my fingers in the way they would get nipped by accident. She will go nuts to try and follow the dog that has just passed. Other times she just walks past with just a slight growl. She pulls a lot on her lead when out for a walk, and can be very unpleasant to walk at the moment. She also has a habit of jumping up on people which we are trying to stop by telling her no and walking away from her.

round the fishery
My task for the next few weeks is trying to get her to walk nice and not pull on her lead. I am going to try this by stopping every time she pulls, and I will only restart once she stops pulling. We have ordered a dog whistle and hubby is going to train her with this, her first command to learn with be to come back. We do let her off the lead in a field just over the back as we can keep an eye open easily as it is a big open space and we will spot any dogs before she does and pop her back on the lead.

Hopefully with consistency and patience she will become a great dog that we can take out and not have her pulling or showing aggressive behaviour.

at Dumfries House

She seems to be all right with the older two grandchildren and if we go down to daughters then Dinky likes to walk her round the living room on her lead. She will never be left alone with any of the grandchildren at any point any more than the last dog ever was, I would never trust any dog not to nip if a toddler/young child does something to scare or alarm it.

So far we have had her at some of the local parks and tourist attractions, she has been to the beach, and she even has her own geocaching tracker so she can log up the miles with us when we go caching. She had her first caching trip out today.

more Auchincruive