That sinking feeling.

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There is no tangible reason to feel this way but for the last couple of days I have had this awful sinking feeling. The sun has been shining, everything is blooming in the countryside around us and generally life could be and has been much worse. I don’t feel like this all the time, it just suddenly occurs and I am aware that I feel rather down and a little depressed. I try not to analyse it because I don’t want to make up reasons or even try to pinpoint anything that may have happened or have been said to create this feeling. I know that would only make it worse and possibly fabricate a situation that wasn’t there in the first place. The AP is back in residence and although she is being fairly amenable there are undercurrents just simmering under the surface and I know that it wouldn’t take too much for them to break out.

Part of my feelings could be due to the relentless out-pouring of money at the moment with not enough coming in to fill the vacuum. Having just paid out a great deal of money to put in the boiler house and the new boiler system we have now had to bring in a team of gardeners to sort out the front garden and it is costing rather more than we had originally thought. That always seems to be the case with most things today, think of a sum and double it should be the maxim. But the garden is out of control and the LSO can no longer deal with it so we need to get it back in check and then go on a maintenance regime. This means that the projected hall, stairway and landing decorating has had to be put on hold until the Autumn which is possibly a good thing.

In the midst of all this I have come to the conclusion that like the garden, I too need a maintenance regime both mentally and physically.  A lot of pampering would help, a restful holiday in the Maldives would be good, as well as a thorough make over and of course, a lottery win to pay for it all. Whilst drinking my morning cup of tea today I was mulling over everything and found myself thinking how convenient it would be if a team could suction away all the excess fat I’ve acquired just like the gardeners are removing the weeds, then the skin could be renovated and smoothed over just like the soil that is appearing in the border. It probably is possible but no doubt at a great cost and of course, time.

Time, well that is another issue.

 

 

 

Return to an existence.

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Well, our month without the AP is over and her one hundredth birthday has been successfully celebrated in style and is now over so we are back to the same old routine and the same old repetitive conversations.

At least with the summer looming the weather will be better and the AP can sit out under the shade and catch a few rays. They might work a miracle and improve her attitude and behaviour but I won’t be holding my breath. Sadly the AP’s very presence has ratcheted up the angst and watching her pretend to all and sundry during the celebrations that she is this dear, sweet little old lady has caused the LSO and myself much frustration. The reality is very much the opposite. At this very moment I am listening to the conversation between my lovely cousin from Canada and the AP and no matter what is said the AP manages with amazing skill to bring everything back to herself! I have to be thankful that there is some conversation at all because in truth I have nothing to say to her which is sad in itself but anything in the present is promptly forgotten, hence the repetition and the past is always the same old stories over and over again.

Our month off was pretty stressful but all the boiler work is completed and the results have been definitely worth it, just having a shower is a joy. But the LSO and I now need a break! What a joke but I suppose October isn’t too far away as long as my equally lovely Scottish cousins will have the AP back.

Now I must really get to grips with the diet and next Monday I will start the 5:2 diet in earnest. I am also looking at a low carb regime following Genius Foods. Our darling daughter has sent me some information on podcasts to listen too and the LSO and I will be following this new, according to the LSO, tyranny (typical male response) as soon as I have sorted the meals out. I haven’t gained the weight I lost originally but equally haven’t lost any more. I try to tell myself that being positive is the way to go but do know that as far as the AP is concerned it can only get worse but in the meantime I will endeavour to be a better person and think better thoughts.

Hope springs eternal and all that ….

 

 

 

Existing in a builder’s world.

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When you have any kind of building work done it never ever runs smoothly and I am sure most people reading this statement will all nod sagely, sigh wearily and knowingly.

Builders live in an alternative reality which runs on a completely different time scale from the rest of us, they also have little regard for the mounting costs that rise on a daily basis despite the heartrending cries that although we really appreciate the work being done we do not have a bottomless purse.

The last time I wrote a blog the sun had finally come out to play or so it seemed on that day but the fine weather was short lived and it became once again, wet, cold and miserable. Not only had the work been late starting because of, yes, you guessed it, the weather and once again it was held up and slowed down again by the weather. It has been like living in another world, bleak and grey and extremely cold with no heating and no hot water for what felt like an eternity but in truth was only for about five days. We do now have hot water and glorious showers and the central heating is back on but all is not finished yet and we have at least one more day of disruption. Just in time for the AP’s return on Friday evening.

We have not had the month off that we had hoped for but are, nevertheless grateful for having the break from the responsibilities and demands made on us that looking after the AP creates. This weekend is the celebration of her one hundredth birthday and fifty people will be descending on us one way or another. We will become glorified taxi drivers, cooks, bottle washers and bed changers with a mobile population moving through the house for four days and also well into the month of May.

The venue is arranged and everyone invited to share this momentous occasion has been informed of timings. The shopping list is huge and I am just hoping everything fits into the fridges.

Thank goodness we have a decent washing machine and tumble dryer otherwise we would be walled in with bed linens and towels but hopefully with fingers crossed, a very efficient new boiler system in place. Although as I am writing disaster has struck and we have no central heating again with the hot water still running on the electric heater in the water tank. Oh dear! What is it with anything to do with building works, nothing ever quite runs to plan.

Sunshine at last.

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It has finally arrived, Spring has landed with a truly incredible burst of sunshine and warmth typically just as the schools go back for the Summer term. After weeks and weeks of grey, wet and thoroughly depressing weather it is a real pleasure to wake up to clear blue skies. The land has also sprung into action with blossom bursting out all over and the fields are full of tractors and massive pieces of farming equipment sowing and planting at speed.

We are halfway through our break from the AP and the LSO and myself are enjoying our freedom despite the pressure put on us by the new boiler work.  Although the diet is not exactly on hold it is a bit intermittent. As well as eating out we have found it difficult to deal with the lack of movement on the planned improvement. It has finally got underway beginning over a week late and stuttered along for the first few days as the builder fitted in other jobs that had also been held up by the bad weather as well as his dental appointments. It is just not true that doing this keeps the clients happy and we were beginning to get increasingly upset by the delays and the lack of action. I eat when stressed. I know it’s all a bit pathetic really but sadly true but I will get my act together again.

Hopefully the small building will be completed by the weekend and the new boiler and tanks should be in place and up and running by the end of next week. Well, that is in an ideal world which unfortunately is not inhabited by builders it would seem.

Never mind, at least for another two weeks we can still enjoy having our personal space back, eating what we enjoy and doing things spontaneously.

The sunshine? That’s just a bonus.

 

Friends are like stars….

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…..you don’t always see them but you know they are always there. This rather lovely statement was given to me earlier this week as a gift to hang in my studio and the best thing of all about it is that the friend who gave it to me really means it.

Our eighty year old farmer friend was also waxing lyrically the other day and saying how important friends are and when you find someone to love hang on to them because they are extremely precious. All wise words and all true. The world would be a much emptier and lonely place without friends. Friends care for you and accept you for what you are; they are not critical or manipulative but are there when you need them. I had always considered the AP a friend before she came to live with us but that feeling has sadly long gone, driven away by her selfish determination to dominate us. She constantly tries to be in charge when in fact she is here as a guest and should have more respect for us and the fact we have put our lives on hold to look after her.

The house is a pleasure to be in at the moment and the LSO and I are enjoying being able to do what we want and eat what we like and it’s a great feeling but our planned boiler replacement is still delayed because of our awful weather and that is worrying. We only have a small window of opportunity to work in and that is gradually becoming eroded. A friend is coming to stay in ten days time and I can see us boiling water for washing and if the weather doesn’t improve, huddling around the wood burner to keep warm. I think I heard the LSO muttering that we need to put the summer weight duvet on but that might not be such a good idea at the moment.

My cheery statement that Spring is in the air in a previous blog seems to have been in part a bit hopeful. Still, despite the weather I am thoroughly enjoying our short spell of freedom.

 

Take a deep, slow breath.

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Breathe in, breathe out, slowly and steadily clear the mind of troublesome feelings. An activity I need to follow with some conviction because I can feel the fog is closing in again.

Having experienced a wonderful sense of freedom last week when we handed the AP over to my cousin and his wife, I now am suffering from a real knot of anxiousness. I woke up last night and cried for no apparent reason and I can only surmise that having jumped, be it briefly off the treadmill, everything that has happened over the last year is catching up with me.

We had planned to use the early part of our month of release having a new boiler installed but that, due to the bad weather has been put back and our window of opportunity is getting very narrow. It has also meant we have had to alter and change other plans which has helped to create an intense feeling of irritation and a kind of helplessness because it is out of our control. The month is slipping away and we are not achieving what we had hoped to. This is all adding to my sense of angst which is all encompassing and just to add to it all the weather is dull, grey and damp again. Even the two terriers seem affected by the weather; it really can’t be much fun for them trundling around in the cold through the mud and puddles.

One small light on the horizon is that despite the Easter revelries I have not lost any weight but equally I have not gained any so I am back on track again. My next day of fasting is Friday but I have planned some sensible and low calorie, low carb meals between now and then.

In the meanwhile I will practice slowly breathing in, breathing out, relaxing the shoulders and letting my mind drift on a sea of calm. That is until a dog barks!

 

 

Live for the moment.

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I totally agree with that sentiment but do also realise that it is sometimes an impossibility because life just isn’t that straightforward. Oh that it was!

The AP is now safely delivered to my cousin and his wife in Scotland and the LSO and I are enjoying a break from the crippling routine that looking after the AP has forced upon us. We have a really busy month in front of us but can plan and do things without any restrictions and it is a most liberating feeling.

Waking up in the morning is a real pleasure and there is a lightness in the air. Sadly, it is a fact that the AP’s presence is like a constant dark shadow permeating the whole house. It really should never have been this way but our constant battle to stop her trying to rule our lives, to dominate and manipulate us is responsible for it all. Even when out with others every bit of conversation is always turned round to be about herself and I guess that like a small child or a teenager the AP has become the centre of her own universe and just wants everything and everybody to satellite around her. Unfortunately she wants to include us in her claustrophobic environment and seems unable to comprehend that we have some life to live yet. She has had a good long life and is extremely lucky to be so well looked after but why is she unable to accept all this with some grace? I doubt I will ever have the answer or a solution to the problem other than when inevitably, the AP finally departs.

But with four weeks of unbridled freedom in front of us we are determined to make the most of the time. I had almost forgotten how much I loved living here but fortunately my enjoyment has not been destroyed, just buried. I can plan my meals with pleasure and hopefully keep losing weight too without the feeling that my every move is being scrutinised.

Spring is definitely in the air in every sense of the word.