Another month has been and gone. April was the best month of 2016 thus far because slowly but surely I’m getting better. Every day I’m getting a little bit more mobile and I’m getting more of my life back.
I went to Highclere Castle aka Downton Abbey with K and H. Unfortunately I forgot my camera so there are no photos. I couldn’t drive all the way from South East London to Hampshire and back so I had to trust K to do all the driving which I confess was difficult. It was a lovely day. Highclere is smaller than I imagined but it looks very ecclesiastical. I was very taken with the central hall. I could see myself sitting beside that fire with my book. We wandered around the grounds and had a delicious scone with cream and jam.
I finished decorating my dolls house. It’s only taken me five years… Next step is the Dolls House Fair to hopefully buy some furniture. Rufus needs somewhere comfortable to nap.
I have a lovely pink Geranium on my kitchen window sill to make me smile.
I have the satisfaction of clean window frames – sad but true. I have some professional cleaning stuff and it was very pleasing watching years of grime melt off my UPvC window frames.
On my birthday I went out with my toddler niece and bought her a sticky iced doughnut covered in sprinkles. She was delighted.
Then there was the simple joy of a couple of hours curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a good book
Lovely birthday cards and presents – I’m very spoilt.
I went to a Vintage Hair and Make Up Night with K, K, K and L – yes I do know lots of people whose name starts with a K – as part of my birthday. There are photos but I’m not sharing them both to protect the innocent and because I hate all photos of me.
I went to the cinema for the first time this year (I said I was getting better). Mum, my sister and I went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. We enjoyed it very much.
I went to see Miss Atomic Bomb to celebrate S’s birthday with K and L. Catherine Tate was amazing. I had an Atomic Cocktail – Bikini Martini with Gin, Blue Curaco and Peach Liqueur it was pretty damn good. Thus far I’ve resisted buying the ingredients to make one at home.
Tea from my new cat mug – S bought it for my birthday
I had a Famous Five Birthday Tea or more an Enid Blyton tea. We all have a family birthday tea on the Sunday closest to our birthday when we are allowed to choose the meal. In truth big niece chose mine but she asked so nicely if I’d mind and I though it could be fun. Mum rose to the challenge and we had an amazing tea with ginger beer, coconut macaroons, fruit cake, treacle tart, jam tarts, egg sandwiches, ham sandwiches, cheese sandwiches and pork pies.
I endured my End of Year Review at work – you’ll be glad to hear I’m not being sacked for another year. Some of my colleagues gave me some nice feedback from my colleagues.
I bought these Ranunculus and Anemones to help my recover from the endurance test that is the annual review.
I had this amazing birthday bouquet from S – I know a few S’s too. They came by post in a letterbox pack from Bloom and Wild and they are fantastic. It’s such a good idea. They lasted over a fortnight too.
I treated myself to a Birthday Krispy Kreme doughnut for breakfast or rather Krispy Kreme did as they sent me a voucher. I redeemed it on a morning which needed salvaging because the transport Gods were not with me.
I went to Belgium for the weekend with my parents and big niece. It was a special treat for Big niece and she had a wonderful time.
I own my own copy of one of Elsie Oxenham’s rarer titles New Girls at Woodend. I never thought I’d find an affordable copy but I have and here it is.
I found a new series to read Mrs Pargeter by Simon Brett. They are light and frothy with an appealing main character. Mrs Pargeter follows the tradition of being an observant older lady with a deep understanding of human nature they are a perfect commuting read.
I have been discharged by the orthopaedic surgeon back to the care of my GP and the physios because I am doing so well.
I had a delightful surprise when these letterbox Flowers from M dropped through the letterbox. They are simply stunning.
I shared a picky late birthday dinner with A
Window shopping with A
Meeting A’s niece A.
Family Dinner at the Chinese Buffet – A joined us too
Several gloriously scented Lush bubble baths. Even several weeks off I’m still pleased I can bathe without the cast cover.
I’ve been exploring various other professional options and I’m contemplating a change but it was very flattering to be told I’m business critical and my current team don’t want to lose me
I visited my grandmother and for the first time since February she had a good day and knew who I was.
I had my eyebrows threaded. I always think they look fine and then I make the effort to go and get my eyebrows done and I realise how much better I look when I do bother to get them threaded.
I’ve been able to walk far far more and the Physio has promoted me from an elbow crutch to a small folding walking stick.
One of my birthday presents was a trip to see Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard. My friend L organised it. I’ve not seen her for ages as she’s not a Londoner and I’ve been so immobile. The musical was simply fantastic and then we caught up over dinner.
I had my first (but I hope not the last) Pimms of the year.
In short April was the month when I began to reclaim my life.
March has seemed like a long month but it has also been incredibly busy. There have been lots of things to make me smile.
Mum finished the Rainbow blanket she’s been crocheting me. As the evenings are still jolly chilly this has been ace to curl up in on the sofa or wrap around me in bed.
There was a delightful Call the Midwife evening with the kind of picky TV meal I adore.
Mum made me a Flower cushion to match the blanket.
Amazing flowers from Pimmy
I’ve found another new author LC Tyler whose Ethelred is the most hapless amateur sleuth ever.
Pimmy came to see me
New smartphone – I think
K phoned for a long chat
My phased return to the office began. Initially I was only allowed into the office for four hours twice a week but we’ve been building it up gradually and I’m almost back to full time hours now.
I got the all clear to drive again. I’m still building up the distances but it feels as if I’ve got my freedom back. I don’t drive very much or very far but I’ve hated not being able to at all. Or rather I’ve hated relying on others to drive me around.
Dad has been borrowing my car while I could not drive. He was irritated by the non functioning drivers door window and returned it to me fixed. I’ve been meaning to sort that out for ages it was really quite annoying but there was the small problem of ways and means. As an aside by some miracle my aged car got through its MOT and only needed new wipers.
My wonderful godfather sorted out the light bulb I couldn’t reach and there was light on the stairwell once more.
I had some of my lovely friends to visit it was the first time I’ve entertained properly since surgery.
I can stand for long enough to bake again.
I felt better enough to put up bunting and fairy lights.
I went on a Sipsmiths Gin tour. It was amazing although I found I don’t like neat tasting Gin or Vodka. I like a mixer.
Erica James (@theericajames) spoke at the local library. She was very entertaining and I have a signed copy of her latest book.
I had a delicious curry at the Star with K.
We celebrated my parents return from Florida with a grown ups only dinner at Ziyafet.
Mum brought me back a big pile of American magazines. I do enjoy a US women’s magazine.
The Magnolia trees are flowering. I love Magnolias.
Oxford with H and E – El Shami, cocktails, fun, laughter and chatter.
The Physio said I was ready to begin hydrotherapy and I spent a splendid hour exercising in the Spa pool and relaxing in the steam room as a reward. It was blissful. Thank you K for going with me as I’m not allowed to go alone.
I baked Hot Cross Buns to take into the office. They lasted around twenty minutes.
I had a splendid time gossiping at K’s birthday party.
I took big niece to a Robin Stevens’ (@redbreastedbird) signing of Jolly Foul Play. She was so kind to my big niece it made her day.
I read my signed copy of Robin Stevens’ new book Jolly Foul Play in one glorious sitting when I got home and really enjoyed it.
I took full advantage of the excuse to put some decorations up for Easter.
I received some simply lovely snail mail from L & L. I haven’t opened one of L’s parcels yet as it is waiting for a certain auspicious day in April.
Egg hunting in the garden with my nieces. Baby niece was old enough to enjoy it this year.
I took big niece to see the English National Ballet’s My First Sleeping Beauty. She was captivated and I thought it was a really excellent production.
There was a proper rainbow over the meadows.
Small niece recognised me waved and was very excited as I approached. I think she may have worked out auntie has a flexible approach to rules and routines.
We had an insane Harvester family lunch at the O2 because our preferred restaurant was closed. The meal was quite dreadful but in hindsight the catalogue of disasters has its funny side. Writing his trip adviser review made my father’s day.
This has been a very quiet month indeed as I’ve slowly recovered from my foot surgery. It has slowly dawned on me just what a big op it was. I confess I’ve sometimes been lonely and I have had ghastly cabin fever. I am not meant to spend long hours alone and inside. However there were still things to be glad about mostly my ace friends who’ve all helped to keep me sane.
On the first of the month I was well enough to start doing some work from home.
K came to see me and cooked me an ace dinner.
H came to visit and brought some glorious yellow roses.
Cuddles from big niece.
Kindness of my colleagues they have phoned, emailed and generally tried to keep me in the loop.
Reading Malory Towers with big niece. We both enjoyed reading about a tea and midnight feast and are plotting an Enid Blyton themed meal for ourselves. We are both in agreement that there will be no sardines however authentic.
The biggest cast in the world ever was changed for a smaller lighter cast.
My Christmas bargain Amaryllis is flowering.
My Dad has been taking me out to lunch at the local Harvester every week. This has helped with the cabin fever.
L&S keeping me company and helping with Sale order
Rewatching Death in Paradise all the series to date.
No more cast! The day it was removed was one of great joy even if it has been exchanged for a huge Aircast boot. Possibly the most stylish piece of footwear I’ve ever owned. I did not pay but cost wise this spectacular piece of engineering is comparable with a pair of Jimmy Choos.
My new dresses from a very exclusive establishment. They are pretty, inexpensive and will help get me over a difficult sartorial patch.
N came to stay and we had a delicious Indian takeaway.
I have a new CD/ Cassette player. I’m aware that this is almost obsolete technology but it means I can continue to listen to some treasured audio books. Sometimes audio books are my salvation.
Wonderful surprise parcel from D a book I really wanted to read. It’s about vintage style and I have some new ideas for the flat.
Watching Vera on TV. I always enjoy a good whodunnit.
Pizza and Call the Midwife evening with Mum
Lovely Goodies from France. I was very sad that I couldn’t go with the rest of my family but some of my pain was assuaged by chocolate, Kir Royale, proper French garlic etc.
Mum helped me move my dining room round so there is more space and I could get around it more easily with crutches and an Aircast boot.
L gave me a book I’ve been wanting to read since I saw it in Waterstones last December.
K and H came to visit. There was Kir Royale, Pizza, Garlic Bread, Apple Crumble, gossip and company.
K acted as my housemaid and did several jobs I could not do. This helped as knowing they needed doing and I couldn’t do them had been worrying me.
Watching Lord Peter Wimsey DVDs. Thanks L.
An ego boosting cut and colour.
An entertaining parcel from J.
S visited and brought more reading material.
H sent something cheerful.
D the podiatrist helped get my raw sore foot into something more like normal state. I begin to believe my slow healing heel flap will eventually heal properly.
I have a lovely Physio and I really hope he’s going to help me progress quickly.
Criminal Case this is addictive and a thief of time but has kept me entertained on the sofa.
Managing to restore all the phone data I accidentally deleted in a post anaesthetic haze.
I managed a short walk outside all by myself. I’ve discovered I rely on walking alone to sort out thoughts and feelings and formulate a strategy to deal with them. I needed to be outside alone so much.
My brother’s birthday dinner in the local Turkish restaurant.
One of my Orchids is flowering.
I knew this year I wanted something to focus my reading. I want to concentrate on reading just a little outside my comfort zone and not falling back on the familiar comforting reads of cosy crime and girlsown. A friend posted this challenge and I realised it’s probably the answer. There’s still scope for my usual kind of reading but it pushes the boundaries just a little without forcing me to read anything. I decided when I graduated I’d never read or finish any book I didn’t want to ever again. Life’s too short.
I will try to review all the books I read for this which will help with the other promise I made to myself that I’ll make time to write more often.
Just like last January this month has involved major orthopaedic surgery. Much more major surgery than last year as it turned out, more pain, much larger cast and longer bigger operation. I am absolutely hoping that this will be the end of it.
On New Year’s Day I went for a walk with K and H. In deference to my current limitations we stayed locally and walked along the Thames Path from Woolwich to North Greenwich. It was bleak, grey, industrial – a part of the city I never notice or that I am aware of. It had a compelling quality although I can’t say it’s beautiful. I loved watching the planes landing at London City Airport.
We’d intended to walk as far as Greenwich but it became clear that I could not do that. So we stopped for a delicious Brazillian lunch at the O2 and then I got a bus home.
It’s been such a mild January I was able to have a vase of the first daffodils of the year to cheer up my flat when the decorations came down.
My Orchids are shooting again and soon there will be flowers.
The immaculate cleanliness and space of a deChristmassed flat. I hate taking the decorations down the flat always seems so dark and gloomy but on the plus side there is more space without them. I cleaned and polished even using proper beeswax polish. It’s nice to start the year with a fresh shiny flat.
I bought some hyacinths to cheer up my flat once the decorations were down.
I saw the surgeon again to discuss what could be done about my poor maltreated foot. He was very kind and understanding to the extent that I reluctantly consented to try surgery again. He also agreed to fit in with my fairly complex timetable for recovery.
My parent’s bought me back a lovely new Vera Bradley laptop back from Florida. I had saved it to use when I went back to work after Christmas to give me a bit of a boost.
There was some splendid snail mail from A, L, S, L and K L and a beautifully written note from my small cousins.
Pizza and TV night with Mum.
A friend had a baby son who arrived safe and well.
Mulled grape juice – I was looking for a new soft drink in Starbucks and saw that on the menu. It was really delicious and I’ve worked out how to make it at home too.
Coffee and gossip with the girls.
The discovery I can mute everything people share on Facebook I don’t want to deal with without muting them. Abhorrent (to me) politics, OTT animal rights (and I’m veggie so it has to hardcore to annoy me), misogyny, nasty guilt inducing equivalents of chain letters all gone. People have an absolute right (as long as it is legal) to post and share what they like but now I don’t have to read it. Hurrah!
Spontaneous Friday night work drinks to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.
A super sunrise – this was taken from my kitchen window.
An unexpected dinner out with R and a catch up.
Pizza supper with family.
A snowy awakening.
Dinner at GBK with the usual suspects.
A very peaceful pottering about kind of Saturday with lots of reading.
Watching Private Lives at the Churchill Theatre. Sam Strachan, Laura Chambers and Charlotte Ritchie were just fab.
A very nice pre theatre dinner at Aqua.
The arrival of my new cup and saucer to complete my beloved Royal Albert Primulette teaset.
New French pharmacy moisturiser.
My skin is finally getting better. It has been horrendous blotchy, dry and spotty ever since I caught the nasty viral thing in December and finally it’s getting better.
Bronze Hema nail polish I got for Christmas. It goes on beautifully.
A walk in the dark with big niece and a fascinating discussion about her chances of going to Hogwarts and the difference between telling a lie and being creative with the truth.
Cuddles from small niece
Discovering Entrelac knitting and how deceptively easy it is.
My Surgery went well – the surgeon is optimistic that my Achilles’ tendon will heal and I’ll be able to walk without pain. The nursing staff were very kind to me as I surfaced from my anaesthetic haze. It took a while this time as I wasn’t as well as everyone expected immediately post op this time. Fortunately within two hours I was fine. I am now sporting the largest cast ever and a very unstylish compression stocking.
January TV. I’ve been saving up the programmes I enjoy for the sofa time I knew was coming. I’ve made a start on Death in Paradise, Shetland, Endeavour and War and Peace. Vera and Call the Midwife are still in reserve.
WPC56 I found this on Alibi and was accidentally addicted. I watched all five episodes of the first series in one sitting.
My handknitted cast sock a present from N to keep my poor toes warm.
My LimbO cast sleeve. It is an amazing device which was well worth what it cost (about £15) as I have been able to have a proper hot bubble bath and wash my hair while in a full lower leg plaster cast. I did it alone and unaided so my dignity and independence are intact. What’s not to like.
Pizza evening with S who generously came round with Pinot Noir to keep me company in my enforced immobility. I have the best friends. For future reference Pinot Noir makes for better pain relief than the stuff I was prescribed.
I can’t break this alliteration habit now it’s started…
I almost always enjoy December. I love the run up to Christmas, the lights, decorations, socialising, eating drinking etc.
I have struggled this month physically because my foot has been very sore and I caught some sort of ghastly adult slaying bug from my smallest niece which has knocked me for six and there have been entirely too many doctors visits. However I’m still here to tell the tale and the good things definitely outweigh the bad. So without further ado here are the things that made me happy in the last month of 2015.
I had a day trip to Oxford with my friend L and met our friend H for a delicious dinner at a Lebanese restaurant Al Shami. I was worried about this trip as it was taken entirely on public transport as I’m not allowed to drive very far at the moment but it was tremendous fun. We loved exploring the covered market. Just look at that beautiful fruit and veg stall. It looks like something from a fifties picture book.
Circumstances meant I could hear my friend S sing with her choir for the first time ever. Vivaldi’s Gloria gave me great joy.
I went to the London CS meeting for the first time in months and it was surprisingly fun
I had a wonderful Advent Candle
December brings the opportunity to use the Emma Bridgewater Reindeer China I adore again.
Amusingly this year Mum and I gave each other exactly the same Advent Calandar a chocolate covered marzipan one. It was a daily delight although five year old me would never are believed I could get four days behind with my advent calendar.
Discovering that I can use Dad’s Amazon Prime and as I was organised I was given Kindle vouchers for choosing slower orders
Dinner at The Real Greek with the usual suspects. Good food and good friends you can’t really ask for more.
The Christmas Lights in Trafalgar Square once again I was lucky enough to be passing as they switched them on.
Christmas Pizza at FGT. A delightful evening in connivial company.
My Christmas at Home – I invited the people I care about to visit and happily they are good enough friends not to mind that I wasn’t well enough to cater it myself and bought it all in so to speak.
Coleslavian Christmas – another happy sociable night with delicious food.
Work Christmas Lunch at the Cinnamon Club. The Cinnamon Club is always a delight.
Work Christmas drinks – a good chance to catch up with people I don’t always see anymore.
Cut and colour – nothing boosts the ego like a good haircut especially when it is accompanied by champagne.
The now traditional annual Christmas Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I always leave on a high having sung Christmas songs for two hours.
Millie came to stay. I simply loved having a feline house guest and she was no trouble. She can come and stay again whenever she likes.
Margin Note Books republished Tony Among the Prefects which was the only Clare Mallory I did not own my own copy of. I do now.
GGBP published a brand new Chalet School filler Bettanys on the Home Front which I really enjoyed.
Mum made me a log cabin Christmas lap Quilt. I love it to bits.
She also crocheted me a Christmas hat and Scarf in a fantastic seasonal yarn as modelled by the swamped Teddy Edward.
The Southbank London Chalet Christmas meet up
My Christmas decorations. You may by now have gathered that I like a decoration or two…
A friend’s very unwell mother is on the mend
My Godparents annual Christmas get together
Breakfast at Dishoom with my old team
Baking with my big niece. There’s something rather nice about using the same gingerbread man cutter that my Great Aunt used when baking with my Mum as a small girl to bake with big niece. It makes a perfect gingerbread man every time too.
Lessons and Carols at Westminster Abbey. I find it both reassuring and inspiring to know that people have stood where I am standing celebrating Christmas for thousands of years and that they will probably do so long after I’m dead and gone.
Lovely Christmas presents – I was given plenty of books with offerings of chocolate, Gin, potions for the bath and stationery. My friends and family know me so very well.
Christmas Eve Dinner at the Turkish. I don’t normally like change but this was a change for the better. I hope it will become a tradition. We had a delicious meal, there was no stress or mess for Mum and I to clear up and we were laying the dining room table for Christmas dinner by 5pm on Christmas Eve.
The kindness and straightforwardness of the surgeon I saw on Christmas Eve. He was very sympathetic but also spelt out my choices clearly. I also think anyone would like a doctor who prescribes afternoon naps.
Playing Articulate with the family. I like to think I’d have enjoyed it even if I hadn’t won.
Big niece’s sleepover: we had a TV supper of chip shop chips, watched Eloise at Christmastime and ate popcorn.
A quiet two hours with tea, Fortnums Truffles and EBD.
I’m filled with gratitude for the NHS who once again got me through a crisis quickly and efficiently.
Boxing Day at my sister’s.
Petrol below £1 a litre I never thought I’d see the litres go up faster than the pounds again.
The Christmas Call the Midwife – pure indulgent, escapist joy.
A little sales shopping. Father Christmas did not realise I longed for an Amaryllis or that I needed a diary so I rectified this. I’d also been coveting the Emma Bridgewater Hellebore mug but couldn’t justify paying full price for it. At half price it was destined to be mine. The tulips were simply irresistible temptation. A reminder that Spring will come and light and warmth will return however long it takes. Actually you can just see my Hedgehog measuring cups in this photo. They were a Christmas present a couple of years ago but I still smile every time I look at them.
The Christmas bath foam I bought in Calais. It is supposed to be scented with orange and cinnamon but smells just like chocolate orange. I like it a lot.
New Years Eve spent with friends and another tasty meal in the Turkish restaurant.
The alliteration truly is irresistible. I can’t think of any big excitements but there was lots of quiet happiness along the way to misquote Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Friends with a flat overlooking Crystal Palace invited me to watch the fireworks from their balcony. This involved me making some interesting journeys on public transport I’d never made before.
I read Val McDermid for the first time and wondered why I’d never done it before
Writing my name with a sparkler – that was sheer childish joy.
A nice evening of shopping and dinner at Bluewater
I had a Violet Needham reread
The Abbey Chronicle republished Elsie Oxenham’s The Junior Captain. I now own my own copy and I was delighted to read it again.
In an amazing act of kindness Hilary McKay sent me a copy of her book Binny in Secret. I loved it and it was a welcome distraction during an unpleasant experience at the dentist’s.
The Sainsbury’s Christmas ad featuring my beloved Mog made me very happy.
I had Dinner with the girls and it served as consolation after a difficult appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon – the foot saga continues.
Starbucks Honey and Almond hot chocolate
I hadn’t indulged in a Lush bath bomb for ages but then treated myself to a very indulgent hot scented bubble bath.
Kathye’s pampered chef party. It was just good fun.
Reward voucher from work for being a ‘good’ girl.
My sister gave me the New Mog book. My big niece and I read it at once.
The Christmas Lights in Oxford St and Regent St
Marmalade coloured ducks in the park – I’ve no idea what these ducks are called but I love them.
I managed to be very brave while having an MRI scan. I am not good with enclosed spaces and loud noises so find them challenging. This one was much better than previous scans. It was a newer quieter scanner and it came with noise cancelling headphones and I was asked which radio station I wanted to listen to while I was scanned. The radiographer was aware I was very anxious and made it as untraumatic for me as he could.
We also found a new small restaurant for lunch called Oscar and Bentley. We will be returning. This was Mum’s lunch my veggie one didn’t photograph as well.
Coffee and Cake with H and K in the British Library Cafe
Playing Chinese whispers with big niece we tormented her poor child by deliberately getting the messages wrong.
Gentle morning pottering about
The kindness of the staff in Lush Oxford St towards an enthralled small girl
My MRI Scan showed no tumours and no fractures in my foot which was good news even if the less said about what the scan did show the better. At least I’m now sure I’m not imagining a problem where none exists. As I’d been reading a book about people whose own mind gave them seizures and paralysis this was a relief.
I was elected Vice Chair of Governors – I think this is an honour. It’s nice my fellow governors have faith in me.
Victory over the local authority in a small but vital contretemps
A very quiet Sunday filled with gentle domesticity.
My godparents gave me a set of Poirot audio books which are making me very happy