dear diary :: it’s been a while

Hello there….long time no see.  I thought I would be back sooner than this but recent events have kept me busy and I am not just referring to the dreaded virus.

Thank you for all your lovely comments and well wishes, advice and suggestions on my last post – they were much appreciated and I hope you don’t mind me not answering them individually, it was difficult to sit at the computer until my back recovered.

Although I was housebound for a few days with my bad back I am now fully recovered…..just in time to be housebound once again because of the virus!

I feel as if I am about to journey through a long dark tunnel, not really knowing where the end will be.  Plans we might have made for this year are now well and truly abandoned as are any visits to Scotland to our cottage and caravan.  The garden up there will no doubt become wild over time and all the hard work we have put in over the years will be quickly lost.  It feels like a repeat of what happened when the cottage flooded and 10 years of renovations were wiped out within hours.

We are managing to cope though – in fact we are in a very privileged positon both of us being at home and living on the state pension of DH and mine soon to come in May….we have few of the financial worries that others are facing, although this might come along after when we find many thousands wiped off the value of our private pension pot that we have not, as yet, had to draw on.

My main concern now is for my family and in particular for my dear mum – I am heartbroken for her as she faces weeks of isolation at a time when she cannot really look after herself.  For those readers who do not know my mum is 94 and struggling to walk now because of osteoarthritis in her right hip, added to which she recently caught a sickness bug which completely wiped her out and the main reason for my extended absence in blogland.  We managed to sort out some ‘aids’ for around the home and a walker so that she can get about her flat better and more safely. She is up and down each day, one day not even being able to get out of bed and the next feeling brighter and more able. Luckily a neighbour had been popping in to make her a cup of tea and my sister went every day but she had not fancied eating very much at all and had become quite weak.

I was unable to travel up to see her when she was first ill as I found it too painful to sit in the car because of my back. As soon as I could I was exercising my back each day, but it wasn’t until Mother’s Day that I was able to go up there, just before the travel clamp down came – we went knowing it would be my last chance to see her for the forseeable future. We took the little tin trough of pink carnations to cheer her up and a picnic which we ate indoors with her – she tucked into our home made leek and potato soup and a cheese and pickle sandwich – I expect she was quite ravenous not having eaten much for the past two weeks because of the sickness bug. I had also made her a fresh cream chocolate cake – her favourite – and left some in the fridge for later.

Because she hadn’t been out for a few weeks and hadn’t been able to watch the TV she had no idea how bad things have become in the world because of the coronavirus. We would have liked to take her for a short run in the car to the coast so she could see the outside world but she was not well enough and we would not have wanted to add to the madness that was out there that day.  Instead we watched an old black and white film on TV together and just having some company for the afternoon cheered her up no end.

With the new government rules of no unnecessary travel in place I will not see her again for a long while added to which it is uncertain whether my sister will be allowed into my mum’s apartment block to care for her ….the apartment manager told me that it might be that only official carers will be allowed in soon. The apartments are classed as Independent Living, so if you need carers the management company are saying that you should not be living there.  The only option for any residents that are not able to look after themselves may be to go into a care home but I can tell you these places are already booked up as the NHS are moving recovering patients into them to convalesce and free up hospital beds.

It has been such a worry for me but I have managed to set up one teatime slot for 3 days a week with a carer who will go in and help mum and provide some human contact and this should help if my sister is not allowed access.  All the residents have been told they must stay in their own apartments and not pop in and out to see their friends and must keep their distance from one another. There are no papers being delivered either and as very few have the internet they are becoming more and more isolated.

As you can imagine mum is not happy at having a stranger forced upon her but we will see how she adapts in the next few days and I hope she will accept their help and not send them away.   She also heard last week that her appointment to see the musculoskeletal clinic has now been cancelled – she was devastated – she was only a week away….it seems so cruel when she is in such pain.

In between all the phone calls and dramas I have been baking and trying hard not to waste any food.  I had left over cream to use up from mum’s chocolate cake so I baked a batch of fruit scones….a little indulgent, but quite delicious.

I am trying to visit the supermarket as little as possible – this requires a lot of forward planning with menus to make sure we eat the fruit and veggies that have a shorter life first. Any green stalks and leaves cut off the vegetables go into our green soup. We even sprinkled the left over cous cous over the last batch together with some parmesan cheese as a garnish – it was actually quite nice.

I have been cleaning too.  This virus makes me feel quite grubby every time we have been out for our essentials so I have been giving the bathroom and kitchen an extra dose of elbow grease and detox spray.

When the sun was out last week we had a lovely walk up towards the moors above where we live – there were people about but not too many and when we passed it was at a safe distance.  Looking across the valley everything seemed so deceivingly normal and like the cat and the sheep, basking in the warmth of the sunshine, we felt relieved that spring had finally made an appearance.

Of course it was short lived and this week we have been plunged back into a cold spell with hail falling occasionally and a bitterly cold wind. So what better way of keeping warm than doing a spot of cooking in the kitchen. I had eggs to use up and a few pieces of cauliflower so made these little cheesy savouries in a muffin tin to have with some fresh salad.

I then used up the last of the mushrooms and leeks by making these individual pies topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

We are managing to eek out all our groceries so that our visits to the supermarket are as few as possible. I have spent some time this week reorganising my recipe folders and searching out new recipes to try. I will spend the rest of the week with a long overdue task of reorganising a box full of photos. I will at the same time be looking for one or two of my elder daughter to make a photo book of her life so far for her 40th birthday which is coming up soon. There will be no big party or celebration for her – everything is cancelled – we will have to have a party by internet connection of some kind. I am not sure how you can play party games via Skype or Zoom but we will find a way!

I have a great deal of catch up to do in blogland so will be hopping over to my favourite places and hopefully will not leave it as long next time to write another post.

Hoping all is well with you too. Many safe distance hugs to everyone. x

41 thoughts on “dear diary :: it’s been a while

  1. I really feel for you with such a frail Mum. The worry is all consuming. My mum is living with us for the duration of the lockdown but my elderly aunt with COPD is on her own. A neighbour is dropping off occasional supplies but apart from that she has no contact apart from the phone. Mum is already irritating my husband but on the whole we are rubbing along and I am happier knowing she is ok. I seem to be spending all my time baking or planning meals. I like cooking generally but miss having contact outside the house. We went for a blowy walk alongside ploughed fields yesterday. The wind was so cold. This morning has dawned really bright but with a frost.

    Like

    1. We did think about gathering mum up and bringing her to live here but at that point she thought she would still be seeing the consultant about her hip – so did not want to miss the appointment (which has now been canclled anyway). Also we have no downstairs room for a bed and she cannot climb stairs now so would have been trapped upstairs here if we could have got her up them in the first place! At the moment she is quite well covered unless my sister is not allowed in the building or falls ill herself. We can only hope for the best – it is the staying in that is getting to her as she has not been able to go out since the beginning of March long before the lock down began.
      I like the term rubbing along – I think it would be fireworks here if mum did stay for a long time!! Longing now for warmer weather – I dislike the warm / cold / warm / cold weather of this time of year. stay safe x

      Like

  2. Viv, I typed a long comment but it vanished off my computer! Suffice it to say my thoughts are with you and sending a hug x

    Like

      1. Hi Sooze – I will check my settings just in case as WordPress have been ‘updating’ their software and we now have a new homepage. Sometimes when they change the format etc it can disrupt the settings. PS lovely to hear from you – will be popping by soon. x

        Like

  3. Times are strange and hard at the moment and I know how you feel in a way. Mothers day was the last time I saw my mum although I am lucky in the fact my brother lives near to her and they pop in everyday with shopping or to take the dog out (keeping a safe distance!) but She is already so bored and quite a stubborn woman so I am not sure she will last the full 12 weeks of not going out! Any way I am glad you kept yourself busy and I love the fact people have slipped into a sort of second world war mindset of not wasting anything and using up what we would normally put in the compost bin. Well I say everyone, maybe not everyone! but This can’t last for ever and soon we will be able to celebrate missed birthdays, go on picnics and stroll along the beach front…..It won’t last. xxx

    Like

    1. I am sure we are all appreciating what we had in our ‘normal’ lives and the freedom we had too – maybe these uncertain times will give us all a new perspective on life and time to reflect on what is important to us. I am longing for the beach and my Scottish garden. x

      Like

  4. You poor love, the worry about your Mum must be all consuming and I so feel for you.

    You’re right in that it would feel so much easier if we knew how long this might last for. I fear we might be in lockdown for as much as a couple of months if not more – and I would be delighted to be wrong. Trouble is, if the government had said that last Monday there would have been an uproar – so “break them in gently” with the prospect of just 3 weeks to start with, and then it is easier to get people to accept extensions, drip, drip, drip.

    But what is the alternative? News channels are showing reports from places such an slum townships in South Africa – little electric, one shared water tap for multiple households, no proper healthcare at the best of times, and people who are completely ignoring social distancing possibly because they just do not comprehend the enormity and virulence of CV-19. When the disease takes hold in these areas rotting corpses will lie in the streets.

    If our government did nothing we might have the same sort of mortality rates, and then there would be an outcry that “the government should have done more”. Damned if you do, damned if you do not.

    But enough armchair philosophising. Sorry for the lengthy comment, feel free to delete if it is too much. Until I get accepted for the NHS Volunteer Scheme (if indeed I do) then it feels as if all I can do is chat to friends and bloggers.

    Like

    1. My heart goes out to everyone as each individual and each family have their own problems and concerns to face – it might be ill health, old age, energised youngsters at home, pregnant women and those with a new baby. families with loved ones stuck abroad, final year students not knowing if they will get their qualifications, people working on the frontline being exposed daily to the risk of the virus, the homeless and less well off, the vulnerable children in abusive households – the list is endless. I feel we are in such a shielded place ourselves – we discussed signing up for the NHS Volunteers but not sure if they still want people given the number of applicants. Thought we might wait and see if we are needed later on if things get worse – in the meantime we are trying to phone anyone who is on their own that we know personally for a chat in between calling my mum 2 or three times a day to check on her. It can get a bit exhausting all this phone chat but it is the least we can do at the moment! x

      Like

      1. As asked I have removed your comment above which also deletes my attached reply to that comment. I am not sure who the Mrs RCS person is that you are referring too?
        However I am pleased to hear you have only suffered 5 deaths so far over there – we get little news of South Africa on the TV here and the report I saw the other night was of the slum settlement areas and how they are trying to cope with so many people being close together and very little sanitisation – I think it was mentioned that around 30 families are sharing one toilet that doesn’t have any washing facilities for their hands, and the people there said they felt very scared – are you saying this is not actually the case and it is being misreported?
        Over here it has gathered pace in the last week or two – we are about two weeks behind Italy now, but hopefully our lockdown will manage to control the rising figures better.
        Stay safe over there.

        Like

  5. Sorry to hear about your frail Mum – send her a hug from me. I am arthritic, live alone (87) and am not very mobile but thankfully in reasonably good health otherwise. Your baking was very mouth-watering – wish you lived next door to me here in the Dales.

    Like

    1. Hi there – I think it is Pat if you live in the Dales? it seems we are not destined to meet in person yet but I am hopeful when this is over and we can visit your area again we will have that cup of coffee together and we will enjoy a scone or two! x

      Like

  6. It’s good to read your post and know that your are okay. I was thinking just the other day that I hadn’t seen any posts from you and that it was probably difficult for you trying to care for your mum and family during such a difficult time. I hope your mum doesn’t feel too frustrated by the lockdown. Take care.

    Like

  7. Such an ordeal for your Mum, I feel so sorry for her and those like her who are lonely.
    I just hope this thing goes away quickly (although I doubt it) we will all be climbing the walls by the end.
    Lovely post and a pleasure to read.
    Briony
    x

    Like

    1. Thanks Briony – I know you and you DH have your difficulties too and I hope you are keeping safe and managing to amuse yourselves at home. I expect you will be crafting more than ever and I will look forward to seeing it. x

      Like

  8. I am so glad to hear that you are doing ok and I am sorry to hear that you have added worries with your Mum. It is enough to comprehend the enormity of what is going on in the world. I do hope the care package you have put together is enough for your mum and that you are able to continue with it for the foreseeable future. I agree that when you go out for a walk it feels like all is well, it is so strange isn’t it. Stay safe and thank you for this lovely post.

    Like

    1. I heard from mum that she got through the first visit – the carer fetched her a paper, prepared her meal and made a cup of tea and had a chat – so far so good! I had wanted a visit every day, morning and tea time. The carers could not do the mornings and mum didn’t want every day but I will settle on the three days she would have as better than nothing! i will be over for a catch up soon. x

      Like

  9. Glad you have recovered from the bad back, but sorry to hear about Mum. In uncharted territory these days. Trying to care for her (and for your sister) from afar is certainly another level of worry. Not to mention concern for your DDs and their families. We all have to take calming breaths and figure out a new normal. Or simply find ways to adjust to the new bizarre landscape. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Trying to do likewise over the Pond.

    Like

    1. I hear on TV things are none too good in some places over the pond so stay safe over there. It is all quite bizarre – I keep waking up thinking was it all a bad dream I had then realise no it is actualy happening! x

      Like

  10. thank you for your lovely and heartfelt post dear lady. please take care and pop in with updates whenever you fancy. we will be here and ready to welcome your sweet and thoughtful notes. stay safe, wash your hands and remember this will not be forever. cheers from london, ontario.

    Like

  11. Good to hear that your back is better and you are able to be out and about — if only we could! My mom is 93 and lives alone, a 9 hour drive away from us, so I truly understand your worries. Trying to make some arrangements at this distance is beyond difficult. I hope all will be well for you and your mom.

    Like

    1. Wow that is some distance away – I feel for you – we had difficulty setting something up as my mom was so hesitant at first she kept saying Boris has said that your loved ones could still visit – not sure where she heard that one! I had to say that was fine unless the rules suddenly change and no-one can visit or my sister becomes ill. She reluctantly agreed but just in the nick of time. x

      Like

  12. It’s good to hear from you, Viv and to know you are feeling better. I can understand your concerns for your lovely mum, but in my experience any initial objection regarding having a carer In the home is soon replaced by actually looking forward to their visit, although it’s such a disappointment her hip appointment has had to be cancelled.
    Like you, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen this week. I am finding comfort in creating wholesome food. X

    Like

    1. hi Jules – glad to hear all is OK with you – I expect you might be finding the restriction on places to walk is one of your main issues, but no doubt you can still find some lovely places to walk near to home that are quiet. The kitchen is certainly a good place to be at the moment and I am looking forward to more gardening as the weather improves again – surely it must, we had a taster last week. x

      Like

  13. I’m glad to hear your back is a lot better. I do feel for you, being so far away from your mum and her health issues. Let’s hope she gets on ok with her carers. I have to say the various things you have cooked look mouth watering, especially those little pies and the cheese savouries. I have quite a few eggs, so I might try something inventive in muffin tin!

    Like

  14. Good to hear that you are as fine as can be expected in these strange days. I do feel for you with your Mum. Neither my nor my husband’s parents are still alive, and I know the difficulties we and they would have had, not least of which would have been their incomprehension and resistance. I can’t believe how the senior citizens here have suddenly started walking all over the place when never previously seen out of doors and until the lockdown were gathering in large groups to chat!
    Food supply has been a bit precarious here so my cooking has been on the basic side – not least because we’re still in the temporary kitchen. Our renovations came to a sudden stop last week, of course, but the electrician and plumber very kindly did a quick temp installation of our new range cooker, and it’s sitting in splendid isolation in the empty room that will eventually be the kitchen.
    Good for you not heading up to Scotland and your caravan. We have a serious problem in Scotland with people who have come up to remote areas of the highlands and islands in camper vans and to their second homes to “escape” the virus – but actually bring it with them. They are putting a critical strain on food and hospital services in these areas – imagine one small village shop which only has enough for local inhabitants, and no intensive care beds. Rant over! You will appreciate your caravan and garden even more when you do get there – even if there’s a “bit” of weeding required!

    Like

    1. I am sorry for the ‘down tools’ situation now on your kitchen – you were getting so close but I expect having your range working even temporarily is a godsend.
      We should have gone to check the cottage / caravan weeks ago but with mum being ill and then my bad back we never got off. I am sure the boiler will be flashing fault and it may be we will have to buy a new one but we did not want to add further to the locals fears and can quite understand how they feel. I am not sure how we will stand with the insurers as we are under a duty to go once every 30 days to be fully covered. The local hospital in Stranraer would never cope with an overload of patients. The locals were complaining that the supermarkets in Stranraer were very low on food and this had led to the townies driving out to local village shops and stripping their shelves too. Many old people rely on these tiny village stores for their loaf of bread each day. Luckily the shopkeeper in the village where our cottage is knows all the locals well and would make sure his shop wasn’t ‘raided’ by the townies.
      Incidentally the owner of the caravan site next to our cottage said they were staying open for business as usual when their pub on site had to close so that was the reason many caravaners had decided to go as they thought at that time it was OK if the sites were allowed to stay open. We thought it odd at the time that the government had not included sites and second homes and obviously within days things changed pretty quickly and the site was forced to close in the end.
      I am so missing the beach and the garden but as you say we wil appreciate it more. Stay safe up there x

      Like

  15. Welcome back Vivien! I am sorry about your Mum and not being able to see her. I am glad that your back is better. I feel a bit glum today after being positive and cheerful for so long. I am terrified of going to the shops and when I get there the shelves still have little to buy. All I could get last time was a cucumber, the last bag of spinach and two sweet potatoes. There was literally no more fresh veg on the shelves. I can’t get an online delivery slot from anywhere or click and collect. What annoys me more than anything was that I didn’t panic buy and now I am without many things. Oh well, it could be worse but I will try not to dwell on that. Take care. x

    Like

    1. Hi Simone, lovely to hear from you. Hope you are feeling a bit brighter today – I think it can be a bit overwhelming at times especially when you go to the shops and the fresh fruit and veg is limited. All I could think of was soup with your three ingredients! Hope you do better next time. Even our neighbours who had deliveries weekly as normal are now struggling to get a slot and when they do not much of what they order is delivered.
      I think it takes a while to adjust and we are bound to have off days when it all just becomes too much – hang in there, you are not alone. Sending hugs and also birthday greetings – well belated ones. xx

      Like

  16. Strange, sad times we live in. Being isolated from those we love is the most difficult. We miss our lovely grandsons so much. I do hope your Mum stays well.

    Like

    1. Hello Sally – missing the grandchildren is the hardest part. Mum is just up and down – one day it is her leg, then her vertigo and then the blood pressure – in fact it is more about not being able to get about like she used to and there is no pill she can take to get her back to normal. Sad but I think it comes to us all in time but this was not the best time to pick to start going downhill. Thank you for your comment though and good wishes.

      Like

  17. Hello, I’m a long time lurker and hopefully first time poster on your blog. I will give it a try now to see whether my comment actually appears. I don’t have a blog of my own but think I live not too far from you in a village called Farnley Tyas.

    Like

  18. Oh, gosh and flipping heck! That actually worked. I love the photos you post. It made me smile to see your blue recipe book on one of the photos. I have exactly the same one in my drawer but I don’t do much baking any more. I do however enjoy all crafts. Card making and patchwork being two of my favourites.

    Glad your back is better and I hope it continues that way. Don’t do too much in the garden tomorrow or you may suffer for it after a prolonged spell of not doing any gardening. I had hoped that we could get our touring caravan ready to set off this coming weekend but that looks as though it may be a no no this summer at all.

    I enjoy your blog and will hopefully comment again.
    Regards Beverley

    Like

    1. Hello Beverley – how excited am I to know you are not far away from me – I do know Farnley Tyas and pass through occasionally on route to the Hyundai garage near Lepton. I used to go to the Honley Grammar school many many years ago – not far from you and we would do cross country runs up to Castle Hill, we also did community service at nearby Storthes Hall when it was the mental hospital back in the day!
      I hope you do get away at some point in your caravan – if everyone stays home we may just get through this quicker. I am just embarking on some patchwork, I have made only one quilt before in the 70’s so a bit rusty – I didn’t get to buy more fabric before the lock down so it will be gathering dust for a while, but I have plenty to be getting on with in the garden.
      Hope you will drop me a comment again soon, I love getting to know new people and comments are the only way when you don’t have a blog. Best wishes x

      Like

  19. So very hard to be away from loved ones right now. It’s such a worrying time when we’d like to be with them and we can’t be. My Mum lives over 2000km away and, because of her fragile health, it would not be safe for me to go and visit her. I find myself wondering when I will get to see her again. ..

    I am glad your back is feeling better.
    MegXx

    Like

Comments are closed.