Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Outings and an Alteration or Two.

Last weekend I had to work so it was lovely to have a bank holiday to look forward too this weekend.

Soo had found an offer for The Rococo Gardens at Painswick in the cotswolds so we headed off there on Monday morning. We had to take a detour because of the annual cheese rolling, probably a good job as I might have felt obliged to leap out of the car and steal the cheese....mmm cheese.

Anyway the gardens were an absolute joy. We were greeted by a charming black and white puss cat who joined each group of people in a effusive "welcome, welcome to my gardens, do please enjoy your time here, and please do feel free to pet me before I move on" fashion.
graceful as ever I almost lost my balance and plummeted down this slope!

There were follys
Wild gardens
Formal gardens
A stunning wooded area
Look at all that wild garlic, what a shame there isn't smellovision!

 There was a maze which we found our way into and out of using Soo's Dad's formula of first left, second right.
By the time we had seen it all we could no longer ignore the fact it was lunchtime.
There is a little cafe at the garden advertising 'delicious homemade lunches and cakes' so we decided to find out if they lived up to their word.
I'm very happy to say they most definitely did. We both had cauliflower cheese made with local cheddar. It came with ciabatta and a spoon (as the lady explained for getting all of the sauce scooped up) on the side.
It was absolutely gorgeous as was the slice of cake that we forced down after it.

We decided to walk, or waddle in my case, down into Painswick itself after lunch to burn off a few of the million calories we had just scoffed.

It was very beautiful but it strangely quiet. We expected it to be full of tourists but no there was hardly a soul to be seen. Surprisingly there were no shops to speak of and only a couple of pubs. Mind we did pass one
where else would you ride the horse to the pub?!?

We headed to the church which legend has it can only ever have 99 yew trees in the churchyard
apparently the 100th tree just never grows......

As we ambled back to the car exclaiming over the views, we laughed over the fact that if we were to meet our twenty something selves, they would be shocked and appalled that these days we seem to get together to visit gardens and not go pubbing and clubbing!

Mind I say that, this is the picture I took on Friday night when we met up with some other friends down the pub.
We still got it!

I shall sign off with frock news.
Remember the turquoise Hell Bunny dress that was on the at risk register?
I just couldn't get on with the collar bow combo but as I liked the cut and fit of the dress I chopped them off.

Just don't look too closely at the finish!

Also I have a confession. So I was talking to someone about how you admire the style of friends or fellow bloggers, try it on yourself and realise it's not to be.
Last year I bought this 1970's dress because I admire the style on Vix and Curtise.

I have to confess every time I wore it I just didn't feel quite right (sorry ladies) However I liked the fabric and neckline so I took a bit of advice from my Ma and have shortened it to just on the knee.

Talking of frocks thank you all for telling me I'm not mad for getting rid of those dresses, I feel better for knowing it's not just me.  

My other outing was with Soo again (people will talk!) and our friend Melissa to see The Jersey Boys.
First we had a delicious pre-theatre dinner at Cote in Oxford before heading to the theatre. The show was fantastic but we were equally entertained by the audience. There were many ladies of a certain age who clearly don't get out much.

The ones next to us sang along very loudly and distressingly flatly, clearly forgetting this was a theatre production and not a real Frankie Valli concert! The lady behind us looked a very ordinary lady of advanced years but once the cast started singing she started whooping and whistling and...well.. what can only be described as howling like a dog. Most disconcerting, then at the sad bit a lady in front of us started sobbing uncontrollably.

But as I say, they kind of just added to the evening.    

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Highs, Lows and a Frock or Two.

Well there are many adages for this last week 'Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse' or 'It never rains but it pours' spring to mind.
2015 seems determined to give us a shoeing one way and another!

So it's been a roller coaster week of stressful overlapping work deadlines, cinema trips, a birthday dinner, care home visits and a late night phone call from the police.

It all started innocently enough. It was a Bank Holiday which of course means an extra day off work and a delicious boiled egg breakfast in bed and yes I did get egg yolk down my front but would you expect anything less from me?

We went to see 'Far From The Madding Crowd' which we were surprised to both have thoroughly enjoyed. 
Thomas Hardy is one of those authors I struggle with, just too damn depressing for my liking. My friend Murray (who was Dorset born and bred) always encouraged me to give him another go, he said the way Hardy describes the Dorsetshire countryside is just lyrical, but I just can't seem to bring myself to try his books again.
Having said that the film is stunningly shot, all on location in Dorset, and superbly acted. Even if Matthias Schoenerts has the poshest accent of any shepherd ever!

Talking of films yes, yes OF COURSE we went to see The Avengers - Age of Ultron when it opened, that's a given

and yes OF COURSE I bloody loved it!

So back to Monday, we also went to my Brother's to a.) Both get hair cuts and in my case a much needed colour.
 b.) Give my Sister in Law her birthday present and say goodbye & have a lovely time to them before they headed off on holiday..
c.) For me to help my brother finish up his garden which we had spent the previous weekend re-landscaping.
Talking of which I may have mentioned before that my SIL doesn't garden at all.
So I had to laugh when we staggered in after 6 solid hours of hard graft, digging, lifting and wheelbarrowing top soil, and she grumbled at my brother for not making her dinner because she had been 'working hard all day' whereas we had just been 'outside in the garden'.

Anyway it's looking pretty good out there even if I did end up in the flowerbeds wearing a hairdressing smock with a plastic bag thing on my hair colour, only to get shouted at for risking getting my head cold and turning my hair yellow.

From there we visited my Dad in hospital, came home and had dinner before settling in front of the TV, then the phone call came.

I'm not going to go into great detail because if nothing else it's not my tale to tell, but suffice to say Himself's Dad had been rushed to hospital and his Mum had been left alone with no care.
Cue Himself rushing off to Margate for the rest of the week and me not being able to go and help because I had important appointments booked for the planning of my Dad's future care.

So what do you do when you are worried sick about Himself, your in laws and even more so about your Mum who is exhausted and barely holding on? Oh and you have to make a decision that will determine the rest of your Dad's life?
You paint on a face, you put on a pretty new frock that you couldn't resist because you fell in love with it's spring blossom print,
take a deep breath and put your best foot forward.
Or in my case get distracted when you discover your new dress has pockets. Pockets! I do like a frock with pockets, doubly so when you weren't expecting them.

Decision day was full of the unexpected. The weather seemed to match our emotions and kept having dramatic torrential downpours followed by glorious sunshine. It was certainly a day of tears and smiles as it turned out.

I'm at that age in life when a few friends are in the same situation and I have been so grateful for all their help and advice about choosing a nursing home.
The need to visit first was made abundantly clear when the top choice on paper turned out to be just horrible, and as it goes the one Mum and I both loved, was one that wasn't even in the running on paper! 

Of course the home we loved had no spaces but Dad was top of their list for when one did become free. Which meant in the meantime he would have to go temporarily into the horrible one as unsurprisingly they did have spaces available.

Not ideal but doable.

We made the calls, spoke to his occupational therapist and social worker and were just sitting with Dad explaining when by some happy stroke of luck we were told Dad could go straight to the lovely home after all!
 We hadn't been able to meet with the assistant manager when we visited because she was out assessing a patient for the one room they did have free. As it turns out they couldn't match that person's care needs so as Dad was next on the list he could have the room.

For the first time in a while now it felt like things were going in our favour. I cannot even begin to describe to you the relief.
As it goes this seems to be the turn in the tide. Himself managed to arrange the right care and support for his parents too and came home yesterday knackered but positive. There is a way to go in both situations but we are on the right path.

We had to postpone our trip to Greenwich for Himself's birthday but that is easily rescheduled. Instead I have bought all sorts of yummy treats to spoil home rotten with.

Before I go. One thing I'm wondering, and this may be just me, but I have been having a bit of a clearout of the wardrobe and the first 2 dresses that just had to go, were the one I was wearing when Dad had his stroke, and the one I was wearing at his care plan meeting. I just can't bear to ever wear them again.
Is that just me? Is it a bit weird?

Anyway I'm going to sign off with another new frock, because when life is throwing you lemons buy a novelty print, especially if it's in the sale, which this was.
 Whales! who could resist?
 Cirencester bargain necklace
And if the novelty print doesn't do it, how about a 99p bargain vintage handbag of Ebay?