A bad mistake

I didn’t make the call!

In my recent posts, I mentioned somewhere that I live in a small estate (20 Bungalows). A quiet estate that I have called home for almost 39 years. I quickly learned the names of all the residents, those who spoke to me, those who tolerated me and those who chose to ignore me.

It would have been considered a ‘proddy’ town thirty nine years ago, and everyone seemed to be related. At the height of the troubles, having a strong southern brogue was worse than a dose of the plague. Anyone with a southern accent was considered to be Roman Catholic and a member of the IRA.

Jack had lived here since the houses were built forty six years ago and I joined him in a ready made home, seven years later. We were blissfully happy. I remember saying to him a few times, that it was a good job I loved him so much, because had I not done so, I would be gone long ago. Not because of anything he did, but because of the way some people including neighbours, had treated me. The strange thing was that the people who treated me badly, were not behind the door when they wanted help or to make use of my skills!

That is all past now and As of today, our house is the only one with the original family name. I am now the longest resident. Not the oldest, but the longest.

There was one man who never spoke to me in all the thirty nine years. He would speak to Jack and totally ignore me, I was invisible to him. He was a peculiar character, had very gifted hands for woodwork, he made ladders, tables and bird boxes. He regularly had arguments with his neighbours and at times was rather a recluse.

This man lived around the corner from me, directly opposite my friend who had her hip replaced. In her absence I called to her house each day to move the post, leave back freshly washed clothes collect other items she required etc. All the while I noticed the blinds on the windows opposite were never opened. No sight of the man who lived there.

I asked my friend when I visited her when she last saw him. She could not remember.

“He is often in there and does not open the blinds or appear for days at a time”. She said. I let it go.

A week later I mentioned it to two different neighbours who lived closer than I did. Neither had seen him for some time. I should have phoned the PSNI (Police Service for Northern Ireland) at that point, but because he chose to have nothing to do with me. I let it go.

If he was there and knew I had called the police there would be hell to pay for interfering. I let it go.

My questions must have disturbed the people I shared my concerns with. They asked others and the answers were all the same.

Today two male neighbours tried ringing the bell and knocking on the door. No reply. They went around to the back of the house but there was no sign of him. They finally phoned the PSNI.

The PSNI had to break down the door to gain entry.

He was lying dead in the living room. There was a bundle of untouched mail lying in the hallway. As yet, I have no idea how long he has been lying there.

In today’s world, we are inclined to live in our own bubble of busyness and not give time to check on the frail elderly, particularly those living alone.

Perhaps…

Perhaps we should all adopt an elderly person to check up on… particularly in the cold weather.

None of us are getting any younger, and it would be nice to think that someone would check up on us when we are frail old and cold!

My finger

On January 25 a carrot, a sharp knife and my finger were involved in a contretemps.

I saw red.

Pumping red!

I ran to the bathroom for a plaster. It would not stick to my finger.

Pumping hell!

I wrapped the finger in a clean face flannel and that changed colour instantaneously. I rewrapped the damaged digit in a fresh dressing and a cool damp clean face flannel and held it in the air. I needed help.

The health centre is a mile away. No way could I drive one handed, and walking that far would surely leave a stream of blood from door to door.

The kitchen looked like a massacre had occurred. Blood on the counter, the draining board, the cooker and on the floor. The bathroom was not much better. Darn blood thinners – they sure keep the red stuff running! :sad:

💡 I could phone a friend. It might not make a millionaire out of me, but she might save my life.

Emily jumped to the rescue and became my flying angel for the morning. She even arrived with a great big towel to soak up the juice. She sat patiently waiting while I was looked after and on the way home we stopped for a coffee. It was just what I needed before going home to clear up the murder evidence.

So you see from my recent posts, I had plenty of excuses for staying away from blogging over the past month.

PS: No spiders, animals or people were massacred during this event!

Time to do a web search… Does anyone make metal gloves? 😕

Never neglect a Fall

On a Wednesday morning I take an elderly friend out for coffee. We have an outing, our coffee, a walk or some retail therapy and often a chat with people we meet along our travels. My friend really looks forward to these days out, she never knows which direction we will take and loves to see the countryside from the passenger seat.

On Wednesday 20 January, I was preparing to go and collect my friend when my phone started to buzz.  My friend was all apologetic, she would not be able to come out to play as she had fallen. Throwing my emergency bag into the boot/trunk of my car I went down to her house. She had fallen outdoors and landed on her right side, she was sure the pain was muscular. Taking one look at her trying to walk I was not inclined to agree. She was really uncomfortable and obviously in pain.

I suggested we go to the hospital and have it checked. I let that idea sink in.

Next I reminded her that since it was her right side that was sore, she would have to sit in the back of my car behind me (we drive on the left and the steering wheel is on the right). Taking it gently, I broached the subject that it might be a little more than muscular and getting into the back of the car might cause more injury. I let that sink in.

Then I said that if we went in my car, she would be considered a walk-in patient, having to go through triage and then perhaps sit for several hours on an upright hard chair with others falling over us (I paint a good word picture!). I let that sink in.

Finally I dropped the bombshell:

“You have worked all your life in nursing, given your all to the health service, now it is time for a little pay back. I think we should call an ambulance. Those guys will know how to move you without causing more pain, and they will wheel you straight through, avoiding the triage and hanging about for hours,”  I let that sink in.

“Maybe you are right, it is really very painful” she admitted, handing me the phone.

So thus began a journey through three hospitals and a hip replacement. I am not her next of kin, but she made sure my name and contact number were added as the ‘person to contact’ in each of the hospitals.

I have never visited so many hospitals in such a short time before, but I felt I had a responsibility since I was the person who insisted, even if gently, that we go in the first place.

She returned home yesterday afternoon, tired, but glad to be in her own little palace and looking forward to sleeping in her own bed. I settled her in, we had a cup of coffee (well it was Wednesday!) and I offered to bring down some dinner. She is a very determined lady and said she wanted to see how she could manage on her own, but would I go through her freezer with her, and help pick out something she could manage for her meal. I did.

Carers were due to call in later in the day, so she was happy to let me go.

I will go down tomorrow with some fruit and fresh veg and see how she got on overnight.

Over the weeks my friend kept repeating that she would never be able to repay me for all my kindness.

My answer was:

In life we cross paths with so many people, some we can help in some way, while others might do us a favour. It is not always possible to return the favours… but we can pay them forward. I am paying forward for all the favours I have received over time and need no thanks.

Doing a favour for someone does not mean they must pay you back for the remainder of their lives. A simple thanks is enough.

Never neglect a Fall.

Never try to jump up immediately after you fall, to hell with embarrassment, you could do more damage that way.

That was one heck of a long day!

It is over a month since I metaphorically put pen to paper.

On the 7th January I was preparing to renew my driving licence. The form had arrived and it had like me, certainly changed in the last ten years. I had more questions to answer. I answered all the questions honestly and decided to drive to Coleraine on the north Coast, through a dull grey day to hand in my application form and the requisite payment for the next few years.

A very helpful young man spent some time going over the form and went away to check with the medical department if I needed a form to be filled in by my doctor. I did. I came away home with my money (fee) and the medical form. That was the 18th January.

I delivered this form for medical information, a payment claim form for the GP, a copy of the health questions I had ticked and a covering letter addressed to the Doctor, to his secretary on the morning of 19th January.

Two and a half weeks and many reminder phone calls later… the completed form was returned to me yesterday at 5 p.m – a day before my licence was due to expire. I posted it off this morning and followed up with a phone call to the NI licensing office.

They have extended my existing licence for a couple of weeks until they have vetted and checked the letter I put in the post today. Fingers crossed there will be no more hiccups.

Work for today

Have a photograph (passport size, in colour) for the renewal of my driving licence.

Gather the items I need for identification purposes,

Fill the now two page form…

I never remember having to answer all those questions on health in past years, but it is important and necessary to keep us all safe on the road.

No more ten year licences for me… I may well have to do it all again when I reach seventy years of age.

 

Saving

This morning I am running late, not exactly running, more of a crawling pace and I am not facing the first day back at work. I am off for some knitting & nattering. Sure you never know I might come home with a story…

In the mean time, a little something I came across on Facebook yesterday:

Penny Jar

Penny Jar

Alas my jar full of colourful buttons won’t buy much cake..

This year, I think I’ll change the contents!

Food Monday ~ Bread

At some stage last year I visited a small craft & food fair.

Being small it gave ample opportunity to chat to all the exhibitors. The food stalls had the added bonus of tasting their wares: Chutneys, jams, breads and cakes. I bought a coffee and wandered happily sipping in the sunshine and talking to every one I met.

One particular bread took my fancy… the memory of the taste stayed with me all day.

Late that night I went searching online… and found exactly what I wanted.
I bookmarked it for use at a future date.

Stuff happens… time passes… and it was the following week before I printed out my recipe.

I was short one vital ingredient and vowed to add it to my shopping list. Again weeks passed into months, but eventually, I remembered to add the required liquid to my basket: A bottle of Guinness.

Truth be told, there was another recipe I wanted to try with Guinness, so my purchase was a 500ml bottle. That covered both recipes and a few mouthfuls to quench my thirst as I worked! By now I think you know where this is going…

Guinness® Bread
Preheat oven to 220°C

75g porridge oats
250g wholemeal flour*
100g dark brown soft sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225ml buttermilk
330 ml Guinness® beer (1 bottle)

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (gas mark 7). Grease an 23 x 30cm baking.
Mix together the oats, flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, stir together the butter, vanilla, buttermilk and Guinness®. Pour the flour mixture into the beer mixture, and gently stir until well blended. Pour mixture into the prepared baking tin, and sprinkle with additional oats if desired.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 200°C and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Turn the oven off, open the door, and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the oven before turning out onto a wire rack.
Serve warm with butter and honey.

*I found this to be a very wet mixture, think pouring rather than the usual stiff Wheaten bread, I added a little more wholemeal flour, in Mammy fashion:- Stuck my hand in the bag and sprinkled about half my handful to the mix. One of these days I must weigh ‘my handful’!

The quantities above gave me a 2lb loaf and a skimpy 1lb loaf. I made both Guinness recipes last Monday, the day before Elly & George arrived. Naturally, I cut into the little one as soon as it was cold. I loved it. So did Elly & George.

I have tried it with smoked salmon, hummus, marmalade and with a skim of Chocolate nut spread and topped with mashed banana. They all worked for me. I made it on a Monday and the last two slices were just as soft and delicious on Saturday – five days later. With normal wheaten bread, I would need to toast it by the third day.

I will make it again.

The other recipe will show up next Monday… in the meantime I need visit the off-licence!

Thoughtful friends

I have some very thoughtful friends.

Clair is one of them.

Even when she goes shopping she has my best interest at heart. She saw a bargain that was right up my street and she let me know.

Not alone the perfect bargain, but at two for the price of one…

AND

With 33% off the price, how could I refuse?

Perfect Man

I might have the answer to my warm cold toes… 😉 😉

Coming in Last

 

“I’ll tell you a true story,” he said. “A young man with disabilities wanted to win the 100-metre race. And he got into the finals. And he was running like crazy to get that gold medal, and somebody in the next lane tripped and fell. And he stopped, picked this guy up, and they ran together, and both of them were the last.

“That’s a true story,” Mr. Vanier confirmed. It’s the deepest lesson the disabled have to teach. “It’s not that they can become like us – but how can we become like them and have fun together. And lift up the chap who has fallen on the other lane, and come in last. There’s in us all an ego we have to conquer. You kill the ego so that the real person may rise up. And the real person is the one who’s learning to love.”

Jean Vanier created L’Arche – a unique community for mentally disabled adults

The full article is well worth reading. There are lessons for all of us in it.

With thanks to my pal in Newfoundland for directing me to this heart warming article.

A new beginning

While I slept, the new year began.

The last days of 2015 were special with a late Christmas visit from Elly, George & Buffy. Good food, wine, treats and shared time are what I like about these visits. Storm Frank howled about outside, but indoors, the fire sparkled and glowed as we chatted and shared stories from the past few months. It has been a busy year but Elly was here at the important times – making the days around surgery easier for me, and assuring her that I was coping well.

I gave Elly life, but not a life sentence to be tied to my apron strings for all my days. Some people find this difficult to accept, there are those who feels she neglects me… just because she does not run up the road every other weekend. I never want her visits to be a chore for her, she still has a key and knows the door will always be open for her and or George.

We may not see each other for months at a time, but we are in contact on an almost daily basis in the background. Modern technology allows her many options of checking on me. We share a calendar, so she is aware if I have medical appointments, meet friends for coffee or have lunch dates with Toyboys! She knows if I am active on social media, and if I am missing in action or awol …  She will make contact to check that all is well with me. Once I am happy, she is happy!

It is not much fun for her at times being a ‘one and only‘ with no siblings to share the burden of her mother. Thankfully with George she has been welcomed into the heart of his family, and for that I will be forever grateful.

I try not to be the Motherinlawfromhell, but George assures me that I am not and that I came as part of the package with Elly when they married. He is always helpful, kind and caring to me. I am so lucky – there are many out there who are not so fortunate with family relationships or in-laws.

So, all the ‘Mum you need to try this’ or ‘Mum you need to install that’ and ‘Mum can you fix this or sew that’ moments, keep me not alone up to date, but using the grey cells and my talents.

Day and daily I give thanks for life’s greatest gift:-

A bundle of joy and wonder, effervescence and caring for all she meets – a real chip off the old block that was her father. 

That is my Elly!

On this first day of the new year, my wish for her is a long, loving and interesting life with my son in law, George.

here-we-come

George & Elly on the first steps as a married couple.

May there be many new years ahead for them.