My week … the one with pre-op nerves.

I have a busy life and the way I maintain my sanity is to compartmentalise my life. So when at work, I fully focus on my job, at home its family life etc.. Generally this works and helps to manage my time, there is a time and place for everything. In the run up to my operation, I have continued this strategy but this week, as I have finished things off at work and delegated jobs in my absence the reality of the operation and recovery period is beginning to feel real. I have tried to distract myself with practical matters, all birthday cards and presents for the next 6 weeks are written, wrapped and posted, house admin is all prepped in advance and all the decorations and nice things for Halloween and Bonfire Night are all ready to go.

We have also transformed our dining room into my room for the next few weeks so there are no stairs to go up and down. I’m really pleased how this has turned out and has definitely inspired us to think of it as a potential guest room. I love that the French doors lead to a hidden courtyard and so even if I can’t go out I can open the doors and feel the air. I have a pile of books and magazines to read and a play list of podcasts in my room, I can’t imagine how its going to feel to have this time to pause.

With the upcoming operation, this week was all about work and there was no sparkles in the working week, apart from starting the book An American Marriage as part of the girls’ daily sofa reading time. This is when my daughter and I sit down together and read as part of her daily homework schedule. This was a book which grabbed me from page 1 and is one I think about when I’m not reading it, the injustice leaves you seething and I’m not sure there’s going to be a happy ending.

I had a lovely surprise in the post this week as my dad sent me a Fortnum and Mason recipe book for afternoon tea as a thank you for my gift of afternoon tea for his 75th birthday. Its a beautiful book with recipes I’m looking forward to trying.

Saturday was the highlight of the week for its simple pleasures. Our son was at scout camp, his first for nearly two years due to Covid, so we had a relaxed day at home following my Covid test as I needed to self isolate. My Covid test was first thing in a town 20 miles away so it was an early start with no time for my Saturday morning run. I arrived in the town early and was able to pop into Waitrose to pick up a few things, all the essentials, my Saturday newspaper, felt pumpkins, NYR moisturiser, the new Christmas Cath Kisdton Roses tin etc. before the isolation began. The test itself was easy and quick and I was home before 10am. Little Miss and I enjoyed a kitchen day, making a delicious butternut squash and sweet potato soup accompanied by home made cheese scones for lunch and mini Victoria sponges for an afternoon treat. We then settled down to watch Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, I loved it but I bet its even better on the stage as a musical. With Strictly finishing our day, it was my kind of day.

I’m now on the final countdown to the operation and hopefully by the next time I write all will have passed smoothly and I will be happily settled in my room recovering.

My week … the one with a boost

This week felt quite different to previous weeks, I was in a different routine to normal and it gave a different vibe to the week. Also for someone who is such a planner, there were a couple of really nice unexpected and unplanned moments to the week.

My week was different as due to work commitments, I had a different day off, Tuesday. This is also food delivery day and I ordered lots of lovely fresh ingredients and made a family chinese feast. It just felt so random to be having such a nice meal on Tuesday night. Even with homework and all the daily chores, a special meal definitely lifted the mood.

This week’s title, a boost can be applied to a few events this week. I had my Covid booster this week as in January PHE designated all at my place of work as social care workers. This time the gp did not come to our place of work and we had to go to our local vaccination hub in the next town. It was a blast, it was busy but there were so many familiar faces and it was a fun and life affirming trip. It was the first time that I had got to witness all the volunteers and work in a vaccination hub and I was again genuinely moved to tears over what an amazing nhs service we have. The process was also so simple and efficient, I booked on Tuesday and had my jab on Wednesday. Fortunately I had no ill effect and was able to attend a real life work conference the next day. This sounds more normal than it really was, the content was excellent but we had to sit at individual work desks and maintain a social distance, I felt like I was a student back in an exam hall.

Another little boost was a PB in parkrun. I wasn’t supposed to be at parkrun today but Little Miss’ farm trip got postponed last night so we decided to travel across the county to a forestry commission site where I could run and then do a family bike ride and picnic. It was a perfect autumn morning and we all left happy and with that good tired feeling from being active and outside. Not only did I get a new shiny PB by 30 seconds, it was a a new parkrun for me, so a new letter for the alphabet challenge and a new number for stopwatch bingo. Its my last parkrun for a while, i have my Covid test at 9am next Saturday and I’m not sure how long my post op recovery will take. I’m pencilling in a December parkrun, but will strictly adhere to medical advice.

This week was my dad’s 75th birthday and whilst I did not see him as he was celebrating in London with mum, I’ve received some lovely photos of the trip, including the champagne afternoon tea I had arranged. I had such a lovely thank you message from my dad and in my reply I mused that life needs to be filled with little delights.

In my reading this week, I finished Clare Chambers Small Pleasures. Initially I really liked it and was drawn into the mystery but I felt the conclusion trivialised a really serious sexual assault and neatly used it to wrap a part of the story. Its ending has bothered me a lot over the last few days, I feel uncomfortable how a sexual crime was accepted. I know its fiction but if we allow this in fiction, will we accept it in real life too?

Our weekend has been a bit topsy turvy as Sunday is normally reserved as family day and Saturday as jobs day. This week its the other way around and Little Miss and I are off to the shops tomorrow. Again with my imminent operation, its my last trip for a while so I am being very organised, Halloween treats, craft activities for half term, cards and presents for upcoming birthdays are all on my shopping list. I am a woman on a mission tomorrow!

My week … the one with the new, quiet washing machine

This week’s title does really some up the highlight of my week. Its been a week overshadowed by the worst migraine and accompanying sickness I’ve suffered in years, it was very grim couple of days and I’m still feeling a little fragile and gentle today.

The new washing machine arrived when I was ill, so Mr S got to have the first few gos. In fairness, he does the laundry, apart from ironing which I genuinely enjoy, so he does deserve the fun! Our washing machine has been slowly dying over the past few months, something went wrong with the drum and the noise on spin cycles was unbelievable, you could not have a conversation in the same room when on spin. We ordered one from John Lewis and also got removal of the old machine and installation of the new. This is when Mr S starts to panic over the correct measurements, whether it will be able to be installed correctly as its an integrated machine etc.. but thankfully John Lewis were amazing and all went very smoothly. My new washing machine has made me so happy this week, freshly laundered clothes and quiet washing, its perfect. In a stroke of genius (I was in bed so had no idea of this) Mr S also washed the walking boots and trainers the night before the old machine went as there was no worry about damage to the machine. I appreciate his smart thinking.

With illness there was very little to report this week, Ive not really watched, read or listened to anything apart from my favourite podcasts. Whilst doing a few jobs today I’ve had the marathon on in the background which is always inspiring, always leaving the eternal question do I enter?

Its been very much a home weekend, the rain yesterday actually seemed of biblical proportions and in such a rare occurrence, we didn’t go out at all, this genuinely never happens. It was a day of board games and planning special surprises. This month I have my parents’ 70th and 75th birthdays ( only a few months after their 50th wedding anniversary, its been a busy year) My dad’s is first so I’ve booked a champagne afternoon tea at the very exclusive London hotel they are going to for a few days. Its always been on my dad’s bucket list to stay at the hotel so I’ve just added a little sparkle. I made photo montage cards for both my mum and dad’s birthday and on Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I were looking through all the old family photos, it tickled my daughter to find a photo of her grandad with his parents at the age she is now. It was lovely looking at the old photos, remembering people no longer with us and just the happy times (oh and the fashions and hair styles) I scanned and sent a photo to my uncle of him, his dad, my Gramps and me which is about 45 years old now. The photo was just beautiful it felt like this warm, embracing hug in a picture. I recognised my grandparents front room immediately and could feel the soft velvet seat we were all sat on, their room never changed and the sight of their wallpaper and the old familiar mirror on the wall triggered such treasured memories.

My little challenge this year to keep wearing my shorts and flip flops has ended, but now the latest challenge is to keep the heating off! Its been so cold, wet and windy this week, the season has definitely changed. I’ve been wrapped up in a blanket in the evenings, making the use of a much appreciated birthday present. This weekend I did put away my summer clothes until next spring, there is a certain melancholy to this, but the song by the Byrds, Turn, turn, turn is just a beautiful reminder that each season will pass.

I couldn’t really write this week’s post without reference to the fuel crisis affecting the country. What started as a few issues with delivering fuel ended up as full blown panic and chaos. I had noticed that there were increasing issues over the past few weeks with HGV drivers so last time when I went to the petrol station (pre panic) I actually filled my car up full in case these problems extended to petrol and Mystic Meg that I am, so it proved. I am extremely lucky that I walk to work daily and only really use my car at weekends for the trips to the farm or parkrun, neither of which are essential. However, living in a rural location, vehicles are key to a lot of people for work and daily life and there have been long queues at the stations. I had to go to a neighbouring town for work this week and our journey home took an extra 40 minutes with drivers queuing for petrol. There is lots of talk of ’saving Christmas’ as there are also issues in many industries post Brexit (who would have predicted that!!) but I hope that the past 18 months has taught us that material goods aren’t what makes life tick, its people and relationships. I am in big thinking mode at present there’s a lot to consider.