Tuesday, 31st August, 2021

[Day 533]

The gloomy weather continues today – the weather forecasters tell us it is because of a ‘blocking high’ to the north of Britain which is encouraging some cooler winds to flow around it. So we may have to endure this gloomy spell for a little while longer yet but there is a hint that things might get a little bit better in a few days time. Because today is my Pilates day, Meg and I thought that we would go down into town by car and we would treat ourselves to a cappuccino and a cake (which was very enjoyable) We then went by car knowing, that as usual, I have quite a quick turnaround to start my walk down to my Pilates class. All of this worked out well and the class went very well with five of us in attendance altogether. On the way home, I called in at our local Asda because I needed some home-made remedies to clean toilets and washbasins. If you look on the web, you will see a whole torrent of articles that extoll the virtues of a combination of bicarbonate of soda (which the Americans call ‘baking soda’) and white vinegar which will react together to form a foaming mass which should, with a little bit of friction, help to remove ground in dirt. So having bought these ingredients, I shall have a fun time doing a little bit of home-made chemistry. There are some sources on the web that argue that these ‘natural’ and ‘home-made’ cleaning agents are both more effective and also less damaging to surfaces than the conventional commercially available cleaning agents.

Meg and I had the lunch which we reserve for my Pilates day which is normally fishcakes accompanied by some of those greens that only take a few minutes in the microwave. So after our lunch and a coffee, we FaceTimed my sister as it was her birthday today. I had taken great pains to try and get a birthday card to her in time for her birthday – unfortunately, it had failed to arrive. When I got through to my sister, she was not having the best of birthdays as her husband had been admitted to hospital the previous day and they were running some scans on various parts of his anatomy to identify the source of his problems. We only had a few minutes chat with my sister because the time was approaching when we normally FaceTime our ex-Waitrose friends and so terminated the call with my sister, having agreed to call her later. Then we had our normal weekly session with our ex-Waitrose friends and we updated them with various bits of news (some medical, some culinary, some domestic and family) by which time we were ready for tea.

After tea, I had just started this blog and my sister returned my FaceTime call (fortunately, I was sitting right in front of my portable which I have in the living room so that I could respond quickly) We got the full blow-by-blow account of what had been happening to her husband (my brother-in-law) so we are hoping that his stay in hospital his short and that the various scans will help to suggest some treatment options for him. Once he returns home, then certain adaptations may have to be made to their accommodation. My sister had taken it upon herself to order a specialist ‘riser’ chair for her husband which will assist him in getting out of his chair and keeping a degree of mobility and it seemed that a firm with which they had been dealing for decades was helping to expedite all of this. So we will have to wait until my brother-in-law is discharged from hospital and then, no doubt with plenty of assistance from other family members, we have the situation in which my brother-in-law had been my sister’s principal carer but now their roles are going to be reversed – at least temporarily.

Earlier in the day, our good Italian friend called around dressed in her ‘going to a funeral’ gear had turned up to our house, thinking that the funeral of our near neighbour was going to be today rather than Thursday. Our friend had tried to telephone us on our landline but as I was in the shower and Meg was simultaneously at the wash basin, we neither of us heard the telephone. To cut a long story short, we have now got our plans aligned for next Thursday (the day after tomorrow) and we have arranged to pick up our friend and we will all go to the funeral together. This is bound to be quite an emotional day for all of us but we are a little sustained by the thought that our neighbour did not linger too long (after her first stroke) and died in her sleep (from the second stroke). So we trust that she did not suffer in her final days and we are just left with lots of memories (all generally happy ones)