Recently a very close family member lost his life after battling a long illness. The fact that he had been suffering and is now free from all pain and discomfort is something of a blessing, but I will certainly miss him having known him all my life.
As you get older and especially at my time of life, I will be experiencing more deaths within my family and circle of friends and it is still a massive shock when someone dies however much it is expected.
But how long does the grieving process continue? The reason I ask is that after a couple of weeks I am still very upset and it still seems to be affecting me in my own day-to-day life.
It doesn’t really help that the family member made it abundantly clear that he did not want a traditional funeral. He preferred the idea of a Pure Cremation i.e. the body be cremated and returned to the family with the minimum of fuss. He then wanted a party to be organised playing the music of Pink Floyd (there really is no accounting for taste) and everyone can celebrate his life away from the gloom of a funeral.
But is this the right way to go about it. Obviously it is what he wanted so the answer is yes, but while a funeral doesn't exactly draw a line under the whole event, it gives a chance for family and friends to come to terms and move on with their own lives. I for one would find it easier to deal with.
What are your thoughts? Do you think a Pure Cremation is the way to go (sic) or should family and friends have an opportunity to grieve together?
I have spent the last week or so covering the early shift at work. That means falling out of the pit at about 4.45 and staggering to the bathroom, invariably falling over the dog who has a habit of sleeping at the bottom of the bed. She has a perfectly good bed of her own I might add in our bedroom, but lying on the floor in a cramped space is obviously far more comfortable.
Our dog, an English Foxhound cross, is a strange creature at the best of times. Today, when we went out for our walk, she managed to find a KitKat on the ground and tried to eat it. It didn’t help matters that it was still in its wrapper and suddenly there is Ruby wandering along with this chocolate bar sticking out of the side of her mouth.
For those of you about to warn me that chocolate is bad for dogs, I managed to get it away from her quite quickly, but she was not amused I can tell you. You might think she doesn’t get fed enough, well trust me, that dog does perfectly alright I can tell you! The word spoiled comes to mind.
I am convinced that if there was a doggy version of Mastermind, she would go on there in this fashion:
Your name - Ruby
Occupation - scrounging menace with a penchant for eating things I shouldn’t have
Specialised subject - getting in the bloody way!
Over the years she has found and eaten:
Along with eating anything she can get her paws on she is an expert at digging. I have had to build fences in the garden to keep her away from my plants, but it doesn’t stop her trying to get through. There are a couple of areas on the lawn that are bare of grass thanks to madam digging away at them.
She howls at the postman - the poor man has never done anything to harm her but everytime he either delivers or even just walks past the house, she goes potty at him. It is noticeable that if she walks past him when we are out she is very quiet and perfectly behaved.
Most nights she will wake me up at about Midnight wanting to go outside to excuse herself which is better than doing her business on the carpet, but it is a pain in the proverbial when you have to get up at some ungodly hour in the morning
She can be the most exasperating, annoying and naughty dog you could ever find, but she is also loving, gentle, very soppy and a very much a creature of habit. It goes without saying I wouldn’t have her any other way and I love her to bits.
Do you have a dog? Does he/she have any strange quirks or behaviour?
So I have been a bit quiet here for a while.
There’s no real reason for this except for nothing really going on at present and having little particularly of interest to write about.
Because of holidays at work I have had the pleasure of covering a couple of night shifts (I could think of other words rather than pleasure to use, but politeness forbids me). Night shifts in a petrol station are the pits! You sit there for hours on end, waiting for a customer to appear and then generally end up getting abuse thrown at you through the night hatch window when you tell them they cannot enter the shop.
It never fails to amaze me who is around during the graveyard hours. Obviously there are truck drivers who are working hard keeping the country supplied. I have had a couple of Stevenage FC players stop off on their way home, filling up their cars after a late night away match and other people in different jobs working through, but some people just seem to be driving about for no reason at all with little else to do. This is all well and good, but we are still in lockdown I thought!
The good side is that I have a decent boss who has no problem with me whiling away the hours watching films/TV programmes on my tablet. His opinion is, so long as the required work is done, he doesn’t care what you do to pass the time. It is also a bonus that I get a higher rate for working unsocial hours.
I usually cover morning shifts when it is so much busier and the time passes like a shot. One thing that does annoy me is the amount of people who still come into the shop not wearing face coverings. After a long period when we were informed by the company not to mention the fact and confront the customer, we are now.encouraged to say something to the offending individual. This is all well and good, but it generally ends up in another load of abuse and to be honest, I really can do without it. I’ve had my 1st vaccine and am hidden behind a screen which of course isn’t total safety from the virus, but it is about the best I am likely to get.
The garden is coming along well. I have built three planters from old pallet wood and now have one each now for carrots, parsnips and turnips. Carrot wise I will be growing Early Nantes 2, Berlicum and Solar Yellow varieties (I like a bit of colour); parsnips are Guernsey and turnips are the good old faithful Milan Purple Top.
I am also growing Arran Pilot first early potatoes in growbags which is an old favourite - they are probably not the best looking spuds in the world, but the taste is divine, rivalling the wonderful Jersey Royals IMHO. The downside is that they don’t keep particularly well and have to be eaten soon after being dug up. Not a problem generally in this house!
So that is about it for this bulletin. I hope everything is going well for all of you reading and please try to stay safe. Will return with more boring nonsense soon - take care everyone.
It has been an interesting week.
On Sunday I had my first Covid jab. I drove into the car park at the vaccination centre and after being part of what came across as an impressive military logistical operation, I came out with a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine having been injected into me.
Initially I felt fine. I thought maybe I would be lucky and maybe avoid the possibility of any side effects, but how wrong could I be? In the evening I suddenly started to feel strange. My limbs ached as did the area in the upper arm where I was punctured and I was suddenly dog tired.
After a night’s sleep I still felt quite rough, but I went to work and as the morning went on I thought I was beginning to feel a little better. It didn’t last however and by early afternoon I was at home feeling like I had been hit by a double decker bus. After spending most of the afternoon and evening dozing in the chair, I went to bed and slept right through to the morning. Tuesday morning, apart from the aching arm, I felt great.
In 12 weeks I will get the second dose and I believe the side effects can be worse than the first time, but I don’t care - if it means I am protected from this damn virus I’ll put up with it.
A day or so before going for the jab, I woke up on Friday morning with my left eye all bloodshot as if I’d had a pasting from both Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua at the same time. In fact the white of my eye is still looking very red and it seems as though I am getting in some early practice for next Halloween.
It is caused by a subconjunctival hemorrhage which is brought about by my hypertension and I suffer from them about once every 18 months or so. The first time I ever had one, I was rushed to Lister Hospital A&E department who very quickly told me there was nothing to worry about. Nowadays they seem to concern other people who think there must be a major problem going on while I am really not bothered.
The veg plot is going well. I have shallots and garlic planted and I have transferred some winter cabbages I have had growing in the greenhouse out into one of the beds. Inside the greenhouse I have tomato, sweet pepper, lettuce, cabbage and spring onion seedlings all sprouting.
I mentioned in the last post that I would write about the unexpected promotion I will soon be getting at work, but I’m going to hold fire on that one for now. I will explain all at a later date.
Now I must go because it’s Thursday night and I have Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz to tune into on YouTube.
See y’all soon.
So the old back has been playing up again.
It has not been quite as bad as last time, but it has certainly caused me a bit of gyp here and there.
It probably doesn’t help with continuing the build of new veg beds at the end of the garden (which is coming on well I might add) along with constructing a fence over the other side to keep the infernal digging Ruby dog at bay. Also the humping about bags of compost and bark don’t particularly help, but I never learn and still think I am invincible! Well obviously I am not - pass the Naproxen if you would be so kind.
When we recently switched our broadband provider to Plusnet (see previous post - Bye Bye Sky Wi-Fi) ), one of the incentives to change was a £50 Mastercard. Today I used the card towards buying a brand new Black and Decker mini circular saw which I am sure I am going to have great fun with. I tried it out when I got it home just slicing up some old wood and MDF and I have to say I am suitably impressed. I like the 2 handles which seem to me to give a more precise cut.
We also had problems with our old fridge/freezer this week. We noticed that it didn’t seem particularly cold at the top of the fridge and I thought I could detect a bit of a pong coming from inside, so I was dispatched down to Wilko’s to buy a fridge thermometer. When checking the temperature the reading was around the 11°C mark. According to the UK foods standards agency the ideal fridge temperature is 8°C and below, but suggests that it is kept between 1 and 5°C.
After clearing all orifices of any deposits and keeping an eye on the temperature for a couple of days, it was obvious that it wasn’t changing so we came to the conclusion that it was time to replace the offending old appliance. Looking back on old paperwork (yes I am sad enough to keep old documents), we noticed that we have had the fridge for 14 years which we really cannot complain about, so we decided to bite the bullet and buy a new one.
The new fridge was delivered yesterday afternoon and it certainly looks good sitting in the corner of the kitchen. It is probably a bit larger than its predecessor, but otherwise is very similar. The obvious difference is that it is stainless steel grey in colour as opposed to being a fitted unit inside an MDF door (we wanted to get away from the fitted kitchen look) and the change is quite striking and pleasing to the eye. If it lasts 14 years, like the last one, we’ll be more than happy.
That wasn’t the end of my spending splurge this week either. I was having a look at Facebook Marketplace and came across a listing for a garden vacuum/leaf blower for the exorbitant cost of a fiver. Fully working, the only problem with it is there is a hole in the bag. It looks like it has been left in a shed at some stage and mice or something similar have had a little nibble. But Mrs G says she is able to mend it, so it’s “happy days” all round. I tried it out after collecting it and it works a treat.
So that is all for another week. In the next post I will write about the promotion I will be getting at work in a couple of weeks. For someone who no more harbours any ambition for climbing the ladder, this opportunity has come as something of a surprise coming after an off the cuff comment I made to my boss a few weeks ago.
Have a good week.
The construction of the raised beds in our garden is coming on well although the initial plan however of building three has now been reduced to two.
Okay, so three beds of size 4.5 x 3.5 feet would fit in the space, but with my wonky knee I would have major problems getting in there to actually do any gardening, so the best option is to cut back (just to say I am a bit of a dinosaur me - I still measure things in feet, inches, stones, pounds and cubits - never could get my head around this metric mullarkey).
In one bed I was planning to grow runner and borlotti beans and I saw a wonderful idea on one of my favourite gardening vlogs “Jessie at Plot 37” who uses garden arches at each end of two beds and grows the beans over the top of them both. Genius! Think I’ll give that a go.
The wood that was acquired came in very useful and I had plans to get some more for a few other ideas, but that went down the swanee when my boss at work came up with his own plan for me to use it to build some advertising hoardings at one of the service stations.I could have really kicked myself for not taking the lot when I had the chance.
I have also been busy starting to construct fences to go around the area so as to keep Ruby dog out of the growing area of the garden. You can rest assured that if there is an area where there is an availability of soil and earth, then that little devil will generally find a way to get in there to have a good old dig!
My next plan, to compensate for the one less raised bed, is to build a couple of planters from some pallet wood I have lying around. I intend to grow veg in all sorts of interesting containers. From raised beds, to planters, to pots, to troughs, to grow bags and even in a couple of old buckets I have rescued from behind the shed (ideal to grow courgettes in I reckon).
Changing the subject, I had a phone call from my physiotherapist today discussing how my knee is coping with the exercises she gave me a few weeks back. Now it has to be said that the pain in my knee has increased since starting these exercises, but I am assured by both the Physio and my Doctor that initially the pain will get worse, but as the muscles get stronger, it will subside. I certainly hope that is the case.
She has changed one of my exercises and also changed the frequency to 3 times a day as opposed to twice (it was hard enough getting them done before, but the increased volume could be somewhat difficult - still, we’ll give it a go!).
After an 18 month home broadband and telephone contract with Sky, this week we are changing our provider.
Now while I have no problem with the service with which we have been provided, which has on the whole been very good, I do have a problem with a company who in my opinion do not care about their customers.
About 6 weeks ago we were notified by Sky that our contract was coming to a close. They made an offer to keep our business which was nothing short of pathetic to say the least. They suggested we paid £5 a month more for the same service as before. Now this all comes to me similarly as a red rag to a bull and if I can find a better deal elsewhere I will generally be off like a shot. .
Recently Sky have been advertising on TV and in the press of some tempting cut-price offers, but when we get down to the nitty gritty, it seems these are only to tempt new customers and existing clientele can take a run apparently.
I even gave them the opportunity to keep our custom. I rang them up, waiting 20 odd minutes to get through, explaining that I had an offer from a rival company which was actually cheaper than what we had been previously paying. I told them if they could match the price we had been paying throughout the length of the contract we would stay. Sadly my call obviously went through to an Indian call centre as the lady could barely understand what I was saying and in the end I just gave up.
It has to be said that we also take TV and mobile phone services from Sky and when these contracts come to a close we may well be looking elsewhere for these as well.
So tomorrow I will have the fun of trying to install our new service. The router box arrived in the post today and after reading the accompanying paperwork, it all seems pretty straightforward.
We have agreed to another 18 month contract paying £2 a month less than what we were paying Sky and we also receive a gift card as a thank you for changing. But I am under no illusions here - in 18 months, when this new contract comes to a close, I will probably be writing a similar post about the new company while getting ready to install another new system.
It all just goes to prove that companies who provide our services really don’t give a damn about our custom knowing full well that they will replace it fairly easily.
I have been spending the last day or so planning my gardening exploits for the year and sowing a few seeds here and there.
In recent years this would have been split between growing a few crops in the garden and greenhouse, finished off by the bulk being grown at our allotment. This year things are different as I have had to give up the allotment due to the osteoarthritis in my knee becoming more severe and I would not be able to manage the workload. Last summer I struggled and we made a conscious decision that sadly the plot just had to go.
This year the garden and the greenhouse will have to do and therefore, as I said, I have been planning what goes where and when etc. I came across a few 4x1 planks of wood at work that were surplus to requirements and have cut them into lengths ready to build some raised beds.
Along with numerous pots, troughs and growbags there is no telling to the crops I am planning on growing. The only problem will be keeping Ruby dog away as she does like to have a dig, and generally not where I want her to dig!
So far I have sown some lolla rossa lettuce, cos lettuce, savoy cabbage, peppers and tomatoes, all in propagators. The first 3 have all sprouted and when the others follow suit I will continue their growth in the heated greenhouse.
From then I will move on to celery and well, the possibilities from there are endless.
In my early 60s and I pull a muscle in my back filling up sand buckets at work.
It was agony I can tell you. The only way I could avoid the pain was to lie still in bed and to pop painkillers like they were Smarties, Yet once I managed to get up, standing and walking about wasn’t quite so bad as trying to rest as I was instructed to do.
The week before "Her indoors" had told me off when I agreed to work a couple of night shifts to help out. At that time my back had just started to become rather painful and when that overtime caused me to eventually have to take a few days off due to the discomfort, all I got was the “I told you so” look!
So let me introduce myself. Male, in my sixties, hence the sexagenerian tag, with a body that is all too quickly (it seems) falling apart, trying to plough through life in the same sorry, carefree way I seem to have always done.
It wasn’t always that way, mind. I seem to have been lucky, managing to get through to this ripe old age without too many medical emergencies and being what I would consider to be in pretty reasonable shape. Over the last year or so however the old body has started something of a decline down a very slippery slope and the aches and pains are noticeably more achy and painful.
The thing is that I don’t particularly feel much different to how I did 30, or even 40 years ago. The body is still willing and, in my mind, is still capable of everything it ever did before. It seems rather strange when you start to struggle walking up a hill, or maybe start to feel the strain on your body when crouching down for longer than a minute. I can’t understand it, I'd say, I used to be able to do that, but not any more. Indeed I now often have a desire to have a nap in the afternoon! What’s going on here? You’re getting older my son, that's what!
It is considered you become more agreeable with age and are likely to be less inclined to get angry. Your hormones change causing, for example the hair on your head to get thinner, but conversely get thicker in your ears and nostrils. Apparently you become more of a morning person, waking earlier and feeling tired earlier in the evening. These may be true, but if I remember rightly I was generally pretty grouchy when I was younger anyway, my hair has been receding for years and I’ve always been more “with it” in the mornings.
But the longer you live, apparently the more gravity brings you down. The space between your vertebrae get closer together meaning you could be maybe an inch shorter than you were back in your heyday. So not only is the body falling apart, it seems it is getting shorter as well.
Shame my weight doesn’t get smaller at the same time!