Tuesday, 31 January 2017

No more drama

So far so quiet thankfully. I don't know if my neighbour is feeling better or if he's holed up in his house staring out at the rain going stir crazy like me, but I haven't seen him at all. 
I went to Sainsburys this morning as I was completely out of dishwasher salt (how much do you envy my exciting life?) and regrettably bought a bit of chocolate and other carby things. No binge though, so no big deal.
After I got back I went into hibernation hoping that the rain might eventually stop so I could take another walk. It didn't. Bit I had to go out anyway as I got a phone call from the health centre offering a cancellation. On the way, as I stomped through the rubbish wet weather, I discovered the hard way that my walking boots have sprung a leak. I squelched most of the way there and all the way back home again. I've resurrected an old pair of hefty leather walking boots to hopefully break back in. I have to say they aren't as comfortable so far as the lighter trainer style boots I'm used to.

I also spent some time today sketching after getting completely out of the habit over the house move and Christmas - it felt good even though all I did was repeat some earlier exercises in the book I'm using. And trying to study and trying to job hunt. I accidentally applied for a permanent role back in Berkshire this afternoon thinking that Jobserve.com would have searched for jobs based on my criteria rather than random inappropriate guesses. Perhaps I should suggest that they hire me as a tester to help them fix their website. Sigh.

Monday, 30 January 2017

More peaceful

First up, thank you Joy and Diane for your advice on Saturday. I haven't needed to follow any of it yet as yesterday I was away all day - visiting my mum - and today I've only seen my neighbour from a distance. On Sunday M went out after I left to drive to Mum's and he says he saw the neighbour's father next door - so hopefully a visit from his dad has helped him get onto a more even keel.
Sunday was lovely. The weather was poor so we didn't go out, but my mum cooked a lovely roast lunch, we talked till my throat was sore (guess that tells you that 'we talked' means largely 'I talked') and my brother popped over for a couple of hours so we had a chat as well. The drive home was pretty nightmarish because it absolutely poured - and with the usual spray on the M4 visibility was very bad. I left quite early to ensure I wasn't driving in the horrible torrential rain and the dark as well, and was home by 5. It was still worth it though!
Today started with a trip to the council recycling site - hopefully the last for a while. I got there a little early but the gate was already open so I just went on in and finished unloading my recycling before I should even have been able to start - always like it when that happens!  A little later my father in law came over to pick something up and we had a chat, then he gave me a lift to the library in the next town from him. I didn't do badly but it wasn't great so I may well have cleaned it out in terms of books for me. The walk home - just over 3 miles - felt arduous because it was cold and dreary, and not long before I got home it started drizzling. Drizzle is the natural state in Wales (possibly even worse in the more mountainous areas than it is here in the South East). It doesn't pour all that often, though yesterday was certainly the exception, but it can drizzle for days and days and days and...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

I need some advice

I just spent 20 minutes writing a post only to have the app on my phone crash and lose it all so I'll have to try again.
Does anyone reading this have experience dealing with the mentally ill?
I'm not talking about me. This time.
Here's the big picture, not too many details because I don't want to disrespect the relevant person's privacy.
A neighbour of mine approached me a few days ago when I was heading out for a walk and asked if he could talk to me for a minute. (I'd only met him once before.)
He told me he has mental health issues and was really scared after lying awake all night worrying that everyone famous or powerful is turning to the dark side. Also that Satan wanted to harm his dog, who he clearly clings to as a lifeline since he lives alone.
I have no experience of such issues so I just tried to be positive (and you know that doesn't come easily to me) in a sympathetically noncommittal kind of way.
Today he came to the front door and asked if he and his dog could come in to talk to me more about it.
I didn't let him in, I did go out and chat with him outside. He was basically in the same place - we're all going to hell, and what will happen to the animals? After about 5 minutes M came out to see where I'd gone, and he just said hello, greeted the dog, stood there looking friendly but big and strong for a few minutes, then pulled the front door almost closed while staying in the porch to keep his ears open as I'd told him about the earlier conversation.
Again I did try to just be friendly but non advising (apart from saying that maybe it would help if he were to join a group so he had someone to talk to) keeping not too emotional, and basically being nervous that I might say the wrong thing. Either in terms of making him worse, or in terms of making him believe I'm some kind of solution to his problems.
So. How do I deal if this proves not to be a one off?
My mother in law thinks I should essentially tell him to find professional help then shut the door in his face if he comes to the door again. M thinks I should be a bit more polite and friendly, but always be too busy to talk in the hope that he will realize I can't be relied on - that approach is a better fit to my inclinations.
I don't think for a minute he's dangerous, although I know I might not pick up on signs other more experienced people would. What I feel is that he's a gentle, harmless, lonely and frightened person. He's well enough to live alone - if that means anything in these days of care in the community. He's doesn't look malnourished and his dog looks healthy, happy, well adjusted and friendly with no signs of nervousness.
But the idea of my trying to help someone who is ill see the good in life is very much the blind leading the blind, and I need to keep some distance for both our sakes.
So I would really appreciate advice, suggestions, anything at all. Because if he comes to me for help on one of my bad days there's a good chance he'll be knocking on my door while I hide under the table, and that wouldn't be good for either of us.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Hold on please while I have a quick heart attack

This morning I had a few chores to do - a trip to the council recycling site, filling up the car ready for popping to visit my mum on Sunday, borrowing a drill from M's father so M could do some DIY... and while I was out I thought I'd also check out Lidl to see if I wanted to try to do my main shop there this week. I did the recycling bit, filled up the car at Tesco, and then drove to Lidl - literally next door. It was when I got out of the car at Lidl that I realized my handbag was too light... and then remembered shoving my purse into my jacket pocket at the petrol station after 'paying at the pump'... and then realized it wasn't there either...
I quickly checked inside the car and still nothing, and that's when I figured out that I must have dropped it at the petrol station. You've never seen anything like it... I ran, then walked a bit, then ran again back to the petrol station, by the time I got there the running more like staggering, basically chanting under my breath 'be there, be there...'  It was still on the ground by the pump I used. The guy filling his car at that pump looked quite nervous seeing me staggering over but luckily realized I wasn't a crazed maniac when I picked up the purse and was very friendly, and then I was able to get back on with my day more or less as planned... 
When I got home I helped M with his DIY during his lunch break, which might not have been the best idea.
In the afternoon I took a walk to asda - about 1.9 miles away. Literally at the furthest point - in asda - I started feeling uncomfortable and by the time I was half way home my back was acutely painful. I don't know if it was the stress and unaccustomed exercise first thing, the DIY, or just an unwary twist in asda but my back is still killing me now... Dammit 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017


I had a small bingeing episode later yesterday. I bought some Prosecco (cheers Diane!) and while I was in the shop I also bought some food from the chocolate food group. Not gluten free and they'd never heard of low carb.
It's the first time for a while so I'm moving on from it in an OK fashion and haven't had any problems in that line today thankfully.
No idea if it's connected to the less than ideal eating yesterday but I've been very lacking in energy today. I'm also quite congested and a little breathless so it could just be the cold bug hitting me again. I did walk to town this morning to put some shoes in for resoling and I was very aware that I was walking more slowly than I generally do.
Now I'm lying on the bed trying to find the energy to deal with a laundry load 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Tuesday morning

After I posted yesterday I had a busyish day, making two trips to the doctors surgery I've registered with here - the first to take in the boxes for my medications so I could request a refill for my antidepressants, the second for a 'new patient' check up with the nurse. Which was horribly traumatic because it included being weighed, in the afternoon, fully dressed. I was forced to stick my fingers in my ears and 'la la la I can't hear you' till her lips stopped moving at that point. 
I also met some people walking dogs and, more importantly, the dogs they were walking with. I love meeting friendly dogs on walks, they're so happy and enthusiastic!
The rest of the day was quiet. I was home alone and just watched TV and read my book. It was an autobiography by David Jason - 'My Life' - and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I recommend that. It also inspired me to start watching A Touch of Frost and I enjoyed the pilot episode. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Catch up again

Friday I didn't do anything. I only popped out of the house once - straight up the hill to the corner shop so I could top up the booze, apart from that nothing at all.
On Saturday M's parents came over. He picked them up at 11 so I had time to make a couple of trips to the council recycling site first (it's one of those centres where I'm pretty sure they dump everything into the same landfill when everyone's gone home 😒 but you can only do your best). I had picked up lots of stuff for a buffet style lunch which went down well though I'd over-catered as always. After that my father in law and I went for a long walk in the hills so that I would be exhausted again. 

And I was, despite a small break in a pub for refreshment. But the good side of that was I slept like the dead Saturday night - usually I really don't sleep well when they come over because of all the activity and noise.
Sunday was another do nothing day. I spent the majority of it lying on the bed reading a library book or watching Midsomer Murders. Really relaxing and a good recovery time from the walk the day before. Also eating loads of carbs because I 'had' to eat up some of the buffet ingredients. The rest I will bin even though I don't link throwing food away - but if I don't want to eat it, forcing myself is no less a waste. Next time I'll try to buy less.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

So tired

I spent this afternoon walking around Cardiff before meeting an agent to discuss my job situation. Between that and the walk to and from the train station I thoroughly over did things without realizing it. It was interesting to go back after not visiting the city for about 7 years and I was revisiting places I used to go to all those years ago - but it added up to over 8.5 miles and once again I was poleaxed afterwards.
As I was returning home on the train I got an email from M's father proposing a stroll up Penyfan - that's a mountain - tomorrow. For once I put sanity ahead of my long term desire to do that walk and asked for a rain check. I don't think I'll be going far tomorrow...

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Doing a bit Better

After I posted yesterday I walked to another local library (via an unplanned detour because Google maps went weird and confusing - or maybe that's my sense of direction) where I got more books than I planned. I walked home carrying said books, and when I got back I collapsed of knackeredness because I'd walked further and carried more than I really should have.
Last night I slept amazingly well - a combination of exhaustion and Night Nurse knocked me out - and this morning I woke up feeling at least 60% human, which was a big improvement I can tell you. Today I managed to get a walk this morning so I wouldn't be suicidal, but didn't walk an excessive distance, mostly stayed on the flat (as much as you can in this part of Wales) and only carried a manageable amount so I still feel much better.
I also feel more cheerful after M surprised me yesterday with a present.

Isn't it beautiful? Even I can't be depressed looking at that!
I'm also feeling more in control of my eating now - I'm not being ridiculously stringent or anything, but I haven't binged for several days now and the majority of what I've eaten has been unprocessed, which definitely helps. I want to thank Joy, Diane, Deniz and Rachel for your comments on my rambles over the last week. It does help when I'm depressed, and when I'm struggling with my health, to have your encouragement and warmth showing me that I'm not on my own and I really do always appreciate your general loveliness, even if I don't always say it!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

I've not been very well

Some kind of cold-like bug that was hanging around in the background last week, hit hard Saturday night, and prevented me visiting my mum on Sunday, thereby making me depressed as well. I suppose my appalling eating several times last week may have been due to my misreading of the signals my body was sending me to say it had a need to fight off the infection or something. Anyway I never set one toe outside the house on Sunday - in fact I stayed in bed most of the day and only got up for the bathroom, food, or to avoid bed sores - and yesterday I felt much better though not 100%. I walked to Aldi - about a mile each way - and did some speculative shopping there. I've been used to shopping at Tesco every week but now we are so close to an Aldi I want to see if I can replace a lot of my shopping there to save money. I bought a little more than I intended and after carrying it home I was knackered for the rest of the day. This morning I feel better than yesterday morning but not 100% so I'll see how the day unwinds but maybe be a little less ambitious in terms of carrying stuff if I go out for a walk later.
Also yesterday we got blinds fitted on the downstairs windows. Because it's a (dormer) bungalow with the main bedrooms on the ground floor I haven't been comfortable opening the curtains since we moved in - delivery men and visitors actually walk past the bedroom windows on the way to the front door - so we've been living in artificial light since we moved in. Now that we have vertical blinds I'll be able to open the curtains and let some natural light in at last, thank God - I am not a fan of artificial light generally, or of having to pay for electricity when its daylight outside. I guess that might have contributed to my low mood the last couple of weeks.

It's very grey but this is a picture of the view from my dining room window, taken while the curtains were open for the blind fitting. 

Saturday, 14 January 2017


I walked 8 miles yesterday.
But I ate 23400000 calories of mostly crap. I feel fat, bloated and sick - of myself 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

And another missed day

Weirdly I find it easier to remember to post - and think of something to post about - when I'm working and should be too busy than when I have all day. I guess it's true that routine and structure are useful.
On Tuesday I did my hand over at 9:30 am and then had nothing specific to do until I met M at 4pm. If we'd been staying in the area another night I would have used the time wisely by going to London or Reading but I knew that the drive home would take over 2 hours (it was actually over 2.5 in the end) and I was determined not to take any chances on being late to meet him. So I caught the next train back to Feltham and killed some time in the library before grabbing a gluten laden lunch at Subway and heading towards his office. There's a country Park just down the road and I planned to spend a bit of time there before meeting him. But I've been struggling a bit with the old depressive tendencies lately and by the time I reached the park I didn't really feel like walking aimlessly around so instead I was daft enough to wander into the adjoining cemetery. Old cemeteries full of illegible gravestones can be attractive I think, but unfortunately this one was still in use and the first gravestone I looked at was for a 6 year old girl. Given that I was already feeling down I should have stayed out in the first place or left straight away but instead I kept reading stones and getting gradually more teary until I finally found my senses (and a lichgate) and left.
After that I had a brief look at a pretty lake to try to clear my mind before heading to a cafe in the business park where M works and just camping there with my Kindle until he finished work. Then, of course, the trek home began and by the time we took delivery of our Chinese takeaway we were both pretty shattered. Yesterday I did take a short walk - nothing exciting sadly. I was reading a book as I went - a library book, one of the ones supposedly written by Richard Castle of the TV show Castle - and I popped into a convenience store where I ended up chatting for 15 minutes about murder mystery books and shows with the shopkeeper - which cheered me up quite a bit. I love talking about books, especially with people who have similar taste to me. And Enz and Deniz, I haven't forgotten being asked who my favourite author is :-) I was tempted to come up with something impressive, literary and life affirming so that you might believe I am an intellectual but I think that ship probably already sailed (and sunk), plus I couldn't carry it off! I read purely for pleasure and love murder mysteries, thrillers, science fiction and fantasy. I also enjoy autobiographies by comedians. My favourite (living) author is Nora Roberts (not her early slushy romances but her suspense thrillers and supernatural thrillers) aka JD Robb, and the book I was talking about was a JD Robb futuristic murder mystery. I would love love love to hear from you all what authors you would recommend as I do enjoy trying new writers - feel free to try to improve my mind if that's what floats your boat!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Missed another day...

I'm in a hotel room in Feltham right now. If you're interested, this is definitely not a holiday destination. Today we hand the keys back for the rental so I came up with M yesterday (he works in the area a couple of days a week) and we'll head back to Wales tonight.
Yesterday I had to get up at 4 for the journey up and my stupid brain was stressing over the possibility of over sleeping so decided it was better - you know, safer- to just wake up at 2 and stay that way. I'm also catching a cold. Between those two factors and the rain, I didn't enjoy yesterday much, felt like crap all day, ate crap all day, and spent several hours just hiding in the local library instead of my planned long walk. In the evening we went to Nando's - which is gourmet food by Feltham standards - and then watched a little TV before I had an early night.
Today I'm going to the rental to take meter readings and hand over the keys. That should be done by 9:30. M finishes work at 4 so I have quite a while to try to entertain myself. I have a feeling that it's likely to be another annoying day because I'll be focused on not risking getting stuck anywhere and failing to meet him at the office. At the moment I can't even decide whether to have breakfast in Feltham or Bracknell. Or just live off the 6 inches of fat I've added around my bum, which could support a family of four for years but I need things to do with the day so probably I won't do that. At least the weather forecast is better for today - the logistics I have to carry out for the above plans have at least 4 miles of walking built in and I would prefer not to have to do it in the rain.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Injured meself again

Sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to kill myself a cell - or a limb - at a time.
Right after I posted here yesterday I went out to post my V5C to the DVLA and why can't we do that on the internet yet huh? HUH?
Anyway. It was cold and I am daft so was reading my Kindle while strolling to the nearest post box when my foot slid out from under me and I found myself abruptly kneeling on the path. Having dropped the envelope in the slushy leaf litter alongside the big ice patch I might have seen if I wasn't reading my Kindle.
So I had to quickly remove the form from the disintegrating envelope before it also disintegrated, then return home to write, stamp and fill another envelope and wipe the mud and semi-liquid leaf litter off my leg and my Kindle so I could try again.
At the time it was not too painful and I'm still not limping although kneeling down is no fun at all but I was shaken up and overnight my back got really sore so I must have jarred or twisted something on the way down. I really enjoyed changing the duvet cover this morning what with the back and the elbow and the knee... Serious question, I won't take offence, but am I actually the clumsiest person you (sort of) know?
Enough moaning anyway.
Sky was installed yesterday and I went a little nuts on the On Demand trying to catch up with stuff I missed because of the move. My conclusion - we watch too much TV.
In the interest of not watching too much TV I joined the local library today, so you'll be delighted to read 'I went to the library' 8000 times in the next week. Sorry. Actually the library isn't anywhere near as good as the one I belonged to in Berkshire so I may not go as often - but I did get a new book by my favourite author so that was good. I managed to walk into town alongside the Sirhowy River, which was very picturesque if you avoided looking at the litter - I may have to get myself one of those grabbing hooks and take it with my picking litter everywhere I go. This area is way more beautiful in terms of the landscape then Bracknell ever was or ever will be - but the local people don't seem to appreciate what they have in the same way so its not looked after as well.
Would you drop litter round this?

I'm turning into my mother by the way, which is not the worst thing that could happen. She's always been most indignant about litter whereas I didn't notice it as much before (maybe because of the whole reading while walking thing) but now it seems much more offensive to me. People should look after what they have dammit! Grrrr. 
It's due to be freezing again tomorrow. I wonder if I can bash the other knee up too. Symmetry is important.
BTW I've descended into eating crap again and massively struggling to find a way out. For the last 3 days I've declared to myself it's time to toss the gluten and reduce the carbs - and every day I've done neither of those things. Give me strength...

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Back to Reality

At least for the portion of the population that is employed currently. I hope you all enjoyed the time off work!
I have spent the last two weeks packing and unpacking the house and we are finally seeing something that looks like a working house, although there are still a few things outstanding - more address changes to process, tasks that couldn't be completed during the holiday season such as ordering a recycling bin (the local borough council literally closed its office down from the 23rd of Dec till today), joining the library (ditto - although I had to wait for my new driving license anyway as proof of ID & address), registering with a doctor and so on. It's good that so much of it can be done online these days though - we've already done quite a lot of that stuff.
Today we're getting Sky installed - I got lucky, it was originally not happening until early February but I guess they had a cancellation or something - and in a couple of days we'll get BT phone and broadband, which will feel positively civilized. I have a garage full of cardboard boxes waiting to go to the recycling centre later on in the week along with bin bags full of non-recyclable packaging materials galore. Hopefully they'll only completely fill my poor little car two or three times before I can see the ground in the garage. And then we'll get some more deliveries and I'll have to do it again.
I've had some pleasant walks in the frosty sunshine the last couple of days - and one in the rain when I just needed to get out for fresh air regardless - but can't post any photos because my (formerly much loved) iPhone has started crashing while I'm out, usually just as I select the camera app to take a picture, and refusing to restart until I bring it home and plug it in. At least once this happened when I was exploring a common on the top of a hill with no real clue of where I was and I had to follow the sound of traffic till I could find a road with signs that helped me figure out where I was. On the plus side I discovered a large wild area I can explore properly when it dries out a bit. On the negative side I almost threw my not yet paid for iPhone into a bog in disgust. Hopefully a new software update will occur shortly. Hopefully this update will actually have been tested first. FYI Apple I am a perfectly good software tester looking for a job - how about letting me help you get it right next time??? The main reason I didn't throw the phone into said bog (or into the river the first time it happened, or at a wall) is that I hurt my arm - my right arm, and I am right handed - during the move. At the moment my elbow protests when I pick up a can of fizzy drink / scratch my nose, so athletic hatred-fuelled hurling actions are not appealing.
Speaking of not appealing, time to hoover up the snowdrift of polystyrene currently covering the floor before the Sky engineer arrives at lunchtime...