dear diary :: on a brighter note

Thank you for all the comments yesterday – I really value your support and comments. I know most people probably have some family issues from time to time without actually being a dysfunctional family. As a family we have always stuck together and we will get through this. I know that mum is a very unhappy person at the moment and lashing out at everyone but I am surprised that this now includes my sister as she has always been her favourite; she is eleven years younger than me and the baby of the family so she was left at home with mum and dad from being six years old when my brother and I left for Art College. They have always been so close, worn the same style clothes and at one time had similar tastes in furniture and spent a lot of their time together including holidays so it is sad to hear how she is starting to complain so much about her.

On Sunday we will go up to North Yorkshire to see her for the day and give my sister the Sunday off. I usually take a homemade Quiche, a trifle and a chocolate cake (all mum’s favourites) and of course some Sainsbury’s shopping – unlike my sister I do go to Sainsbury’s so it really won’t be any trouble. I am hoping my visit will cheer her up and have a lasting effect for a while. I might even take my box of photos so she can sit and reminisce for a while of the ‘good old days’ and I will politely listen as if I have never heard the stories before (even though it will be the umpteenth time I have been told them!).

The washer comes today and DH failed to get the new flooring down in the utility – there was no hope really once the leaks had to be dealt with but at least we have made a start on stripping the walls.

We decided not to change the units in here, even though we have had them for years, probably 30 years, but they are plain grey so back in fashion and go quite well with our new cabinets in the kitchen. They consist of a double wall cupboard and one of those slim line pull out larder cupboards with wire shelving. A good clean down and some new handles and I think they will be fine. I bought the wallpaper a few years ago now and I got it out the other day to see if I still liked it….and yes I do. There is only one wall papered the rest are painted so I only got two rolls as it was £20 a roll so I hope the pattern repeat is not too wasteful.

We had a long walk with Freddie in the afternoon. DH decided to down tools and go with us, but it was mostly in the rain – the cold damp rain.

We walked down the rough old mill road to the site of the dye mill – now demolished – until we could go no further with the pushchair.

We then walked back and along the road which runs parallel to the pleasure grounds but much higher up and it runs above this old terrace of mill houses where we once lived. I loved my old house it had four stories and some beautiful old features. By the time we sold we had lived there for 8 years and had done quite a bit of renovating. The modern estate house we are in now was only a stop gap for 3 years until we found our dream home. That was 36 years ago and we never did move to our dream home – instead once the girls had left home we bought the ‘retirement’ cottage in Scotland and began our 10 years of renovations before the flood took all that away.

We continued a little way down this road having a good nosy over the railings to see what our old neighbours had been doing to their houses – a lick of paint, some new windows but it is more or less the same as when we lived there. Eventually we cut off along a disused driveway and came across another snicket running through a more recent estate that took us back to the village. By the time we reached home the rain was quite heavy and our coats rather soaked.

Today is our recovery day after the childcare and I have lots to do on the list – chase up John Lewis again for one who have so far failed to send the ‘care package’ they promised last Friday. I also need to make the food to take up to mum’s for lunch and plant the pots of bulbs if they have not died of thirst in the greenhouse. Then I must try and tidy up this chaos around me, all I did last night was tidy the toys away and make our evening meal before collapsing in a heap.

I did pop my head around the door of the spare room that has become a temporary store for the laundry heap, pending the new washer. It had not self destructed – or washed itself – this new washer had better be good it has a lot of work to do.

Hope you have a good weekend everyone.

25 thoughts on “dear diary :: on a brighter note

  1. Sorry to hear about your mum,it’s hard knowing what to do for the best,my own my mum was fine until she gave up her volunteering job at a local hospital at 85, then she just went downhill and used to just get up sit in a chair all day,not moving,that was her downfall and ended up with vascular dementia.One reason I keep moving and motivated. Hope when you go for your visit,it will help.It’s lovely to look after grandchildren but boy is it tiring,the next day after we have had our six year old granddaughter we have to have a rest day! Still I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Hope the washing machine comes on time today and you have a wonderful day. Take care Margaret.


    1. My mum justs sits now too and vascular problems could affect her soon. Certainly her bad shoulder is due to her not moving it – the consultant spelt it out to her that she must do the exercises to improve it and keep it going. Sadly she has not and now the other shoulder is going the same way.
      Freddie is a joy and I am going to miss my little playmate so much when he returns to nursery.


  2. Really conscious of how difficult it is for those in the “Sandwich” generation – caught between caring for the youngest and oldest in their families. I hope the weekend with your Mum goes OK. Your sister will appreciate the respite. My 10 month old grandson is fascinated by Pointless, because he recognises Xanders voice from Hey Duggee. Love and prayers winging your way – may you have all the energy and resilience you need.


    1. That is a good term for how I feel! Shame we can’t stay over and give my sister a few days off but we will have to get back for Master Freddie and we can’t actually stay with mum – it is too much for her so normally we stay at my sister’s house and they go away for a few days but of course Covid rules do not allow that. Thank you for the prayers that means a lot.


    1. Thanks Emma – our village isn’t over exciting but it has a lot of history and when it is warmer I intend to explore a lot more.
      Mum is really looking forward to my visit now I only hope it doesn’t snow!


  3. Good luck with the visit, and I hope you’ll have time for yourself at some point afterwards so you can recharge your batteries. As Angela says, being part of the sandwich generation is difficult ( our younger daughter was very ill 18 months ago and we brought her home to care for her. She’s much improved, but it’s not always easy, and not what we expected after years on our own).


  4. Those grey cupboards will look lovely with just the addition of some more modern, maybe metal handles. It’s funny isn’t it if you hang on to things for long enough they come right back into fashion. I’m loving a lot of the retro wallpapers available at the moment, they remind me of my childhood home. I’m going to be really struggling to choose my accent wall in the bedroom of my new place. I want something either very pretty and twee, or very dramatic … I’m beginning to suspect I have a split personality!!


    1. Snap – I am a split personality person too – I love minimalism and plain but also vintage and pattern. At one time I could have a modern home here in Yorkshire and indulge myself in a more vintage style at the cottage hideaway.


  5. I must have missed your previous posts as I haven’t been seen on WordPress for almost a year. So I missed the essential information about your life journeys. From this post and tread of comments I see you’re undergoing difficult times. I’m deeply emphasise with you. I hope everything will be fine sooner or later down the road.
    Hopefully, I’ll be henceforth more frequent on this website.

    With Love xx,


      1. Thank you Viv. I might have been a bit depressed. I don’t think it was for the lockdown. As a painter, I’m used to living a semi-isolated life. I had my gallbladder removed ( Very happy with it!) in October. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an opportunity to get the covid jab immediately after the operation. Doctors recommended that I should wait for a while.
        Ironically, in November, I contracted Covid, but my conditions were not too heavy. I pulled through it.

        I’ve totally overcome that ‘depression’ too, because I take in vitamin D. )))))) Truth be told, it works! xx


  6. You and your sister are good people dealing with a very tough problem when it comes to your mom. A persistently negative individual absolutely saps the joy out of not only their own life, but everyone who comes in contact with them. Their narcissistic behavior alienates one and all so that trying to care for them is a zero-sum game, but yet you and your sister keep trying–even when what you would like to do is go screaming into the night. May you find some peace–in helping your sister–if not your mother. Hope this weekend gives your sister some respite and your mother a momentary diversion…though it will likely produce a new complaint. Very hard on the soul. Hoping you and your sister are able to find a bit of joy in being together. Thinking of you all and hoping this weekend is not too much of a trial. Safe travels.


    1. I am sure we will have a lovely day and it will be nice to see her. On the good side she will eat everything I take for the meals as she hates getting a meal for herself and will be well pleased with the chocolate cake I intend to make – her current diet is tins of custard which is not helping her iron intake so she has been taken off the operating list for her hip replacement. My sister is pleased too as it is her husband’s birthday so they can ordr a nice takeaway meal from the local pub and have a night to themselves, although mum has a habit of phoning her the minute we leave but I can do very little about that.


  7. Sorry about your Mom. But I think you visiting with that yummy food will certainly help. Also, it will give your sister a bit of respite. Your photos around the village are so charming. I didn’t realize you’ve lived in this house for 36 years. Quite something. Hope the washer gets a workout!!!


    1. I can’t believe the 36 years myself when it was planned that we would stay only 3 years. We purposely bought a modern house on an estate (only 2 years old back then) so it would not need any maintenance or renovation so we could sell easily when the time came. Things never work out as planned as the economy took a real dive shortly after and the building trade had a big slump which then affected my husband’s job (he is and architect) so subsequently we had a 25% wage cut (a bit like being furloughed now) so we had to stay put for a while. After that the girls were very settled here and no renovating jobs meant we could spend a lot more time at our caravan in Derbyshire that we shared with my brother and sister. After that I spent a lot of my time caring for aged grandparents and then parents – so the years rolled on and now just mum is left to care for but our girls have had babies now and we find ourselves caring for the younger end!
      Washer now installed and first trial wash on!


  8. Those houses are so beautiful….I love the colour of the stone and with the green of the moss and the plants…just lovely. I

    I hope you have a nice visit with your mum….she will surely appreciate the lovely goodies and a chance to reminisce :). And I hope your sister gets a nice break as well…she very likely needs it.

    Time really does fly, doesn’t it? lol xo


    1. I have always found the Victorian houses and the soot stained stone dark and heavy after living in the Cotswolds for a while where everything is paler and lighter but I have grown to love them more over the years. Having said that if we could move to North Yorkshire tomorrow and by the sea with their grey stone cottages and terracotta pantile roofs then I would be off like a shot!


  9. So hard for all of you – your mum, your sister and you. I’d be depressed too if I was stuck at home with nothing new to look forward to. As an elderly friend said once (she was a tough old Geordie who migrated to Australia in the 50s and lived into her 90s) “Old age ain’t fun and it isn’t for sissies.”

    And so hard for your sister to go from so close to having to care for someone who now is negative. And same for you. You are both being wonderful dutiful daughters!

    I love the Victorian terraces! I’ve never lived in an attached house – or a flat or apartment. Given I’m very loud, probably good for any neighbours. And I have never lived in a multi storied house – always only one story. So while I like the idea of living in an old, stone terrace, I’d probably get jack of the stairs. But the photos do look so romantic!


    1. I can understand her depression but we cannot alter her disabilities now or the Covid lockdown rules. They are what they are and we can only do so much for her the rest is up to her. I have suggested things that might occupy her time and we put in place the carers so she had someone going in to see her on the days my sister cannot go (sister works but has to cover her full time job in her 3 spare days) – luckily she works from home anyway so has to do very long hours into the evening on 3 days so she can see mum on the others. Mum never had a job other than housewife and never had to care for anyone so she does not know or understand how difficult it is to work and keep house and be a carer.
      I loved that house but the 3 flights of stairs with 2 babies was quite demanding. They have been listed since we left and are now much sought after. Some are still rented to the man who bought the whole block in the 70’s for £20,000 and then sold them off individually or rents them. I think there are about 40 houses in total and originally they were under and over dwellings – very common in this area for mill workers. For every two houses on top a two room flat ran underneath accessed from the other side to what you see in the photo – most of the house owners above bought a part of the flat below when they came up for sale and knocked through to create the 4 story house and gain the garden. Some people bought the whole flat (two rooms below) and ended up with an ‘L’ shaped house. Ours was already knocked through when we bought it. I will try and search out some old photos that might explain better.


  10. Good luck with your visit tomorrow. I topped up my comment from yesterday – don’t know if it will be helpful to you, xx

    Liked what Mary said – yes, you are in a zero-sum game. It is a very difficult place to be. Sadly, if your mother refuses to change her behaviour then you & your sister may have to consider changing yours in order to retain your health and sanity.


  11. It sounds like you don’t have regrets about leaving the 4-story house. That’s good! I agree with Mary; if it doesn’t feel entirely rewarding to visit with your mum, it may feel more rewarding to have helped your sister. I have a regular commitment I dislike, but I do it to lessen the workload of someone else, and it pleases me to be able to do that. I still feel for you in your situation, though!


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