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Too true

I could never understand how the retired could say they had never been so busy, I can now. Last time I posted I mentioned that I was a Parish Councillor, The Vicar of Dibley, on a smaller scale. It is often so like this excellent parody. I am the youngest member of the Council, and often find the attitudes of my fellow councillors frustrating. So, so blinkered. Acknowledging their reluctance to immerse themselves in village concerns myself and another councillor thought that establishing a residents group would be an idea. How simplistic was our vision? Nothing is that easy nowadays. In my naivety I thought that getting villagers on board would be the hurdle. Not at all. We advertised a meeting. 500 leaflets through letter boxes. How vicious are some letter boxes? My nails really suffered. So did my ears with one stroppy resident. He did not want to know anything about the village apparently. ‘Sod the lot of us’. That first meeting, being optimistic we hoped for 30 attendees. OMG. 150 villagers turned up, the village definitely wanted a village society. I was really emotional. Blame it on the menopause! Cripes, we were in business. There were meetings; coffee dates; discussions with District and County representatives. Arm twistings to encourage people to be on the committee. Putting together the constitution. Reassuring the Parish Council that there isn’t a conflict of interest. Nearly there now though, then I step back. Always the midwife. Be there through the pregnant part, delivery, early days then, leave.

My forray back to ballet continues. One of the grandchildren snuggled up to me a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about my ballet class. She took my hand and gazed up at my face. ‘Are they kind to you Nanny?’ Just about sums it up really. BMI = overweight. Age = Late middle-aged. What on earth does she look like pretending to be a ballerina? Refer to Dawn French, again!

Well, not content with ballet I’ve now taken up aqua-aerobics as well. What a laugh. I love it. An amazing release. I’ve spent the last 15 years hiding my body. The burkini is nothing new. I have been wearing swimsuits with skirts for years, attempting to conceal stretch marks, flab and cellulite. I have always believed in miracles! Two other 60+, fun-lovers convinced me to plunge into the local pool and cavort to music. Along I went, swim dress flapping around my thighs. What an eye-opener. Do you know,  not all women at the municipal baths are golden brown, toned and young. They are mostly middle-aged and all make-up free, except for one hussy who looked pretty streaked by the end of the session. There is superfluous, blindingly pale flesh everywhere, and no one gives a damn. I went home that night and ordered a swim suit, nothing too daring or revealing, but a distinct lack of a skirt. Who would have thought that aqua-aerobics could be such a confidence builder.

Life is good. Busy, but not stressful.

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Purple thoughts

Just waiting for the morning sun, yes sun, to dry off the dew from the grass and then I shall be out there giving the lawn (grass, moss and weeds) the first cut of the year.

Meanwhile, back in the weird and wonderful 13th dimension which are the maternity services, a strange calm has descended. So far my manager has not approached me directly about the plans to rip me from my natural habitat. Many others have told me that I am a) to be co-ordinator on labour ward; b) sister on postnatal ward; c) a stand alone midwife on the stand alone birth unit but there is nothing from anyone in authority. Two of the message bearers were apparently told to discuss options with me but, until I have been in conclave with a body in a senior position, I am of the opinion that the consultation has not commenced so that gives me 3 months to consider my next move.

The election. This has given me a wonderful platform to air my concerns about local maternity services. Representatives of the political parties are knocking, innocently, at my door canvassing for my vote. In times gone past I would politely rebuff them, not now though, I have a captive audience. Last night Hubby answered the door and was in the process of saying goodbye to a rosette wearing bod when a tubby little madwoman invited the caller in for a chat. Huge satisfaction and enjoyment, being able to sit one of our local officials down and enlighten him about the troubles within the maternity services, not just locally but nationwide. I know that it won’t make a jot of difference, Hubby’s expression was ‘pi**ing in the wind’, but at least I can express my concerns to someone who may pass them on, even if it is only to warn others about the mad woman!

Years ago my sister told me about a poem concerning a lady of advancing years, Warning by Jenny Joseph. We joked that we would become the person described in the poem and that I was already on the way there as I do ‘ hoard pens….. and  things in boxes’. Well, last weekend, Easter Sunday in fact, was my birthday. I decided that this was my most important birthday…ever. I was now of an age when I could retire and I had achieved this at Easter (symbolism) so I was of a mind to celebrate. The first step toward my ‘rebirth’ was managed by one of my daughters, hair colour, she chose violet, it is really more purple, but it is vivid and it is different. Then my offspring took me to Crazy Bear to educate me in how other, less ordinary people, spend their leisure time. Thankfully they had been there before so were not a fazed as I was by the decor, with which I co-ordinated well, and the cleverly concealed toilets. Sunday saw a surprise meal, children, grandchildren, sister and best friend, fabulous and special. Deviation, back to ‘Warning’. I think I am slowly slipping into the persona, especially with my new found diversion of engaging political cold-callers. As the poem advises-

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

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Buzzing

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This last week has been one of those where perpetual motion would not be a bad description. Lots happening –

  • Work very busy, and full of poor examples of ‘team’ working. Midwives are normal human beings and, especially at times of stress, will behave like school kids. All it takes is for 2 people to have a minor misunderstanding, not solve it by talking, and soon others are dragged in, as they are affected by others actions. Presently I have managed to remain on the periphery, a midwife from another team asked me today if I was wearing body armour! Just about sums up the working environment at the moment.
  • Jack and Izzy’s Mummy has been under the weather recently so I took them off her hands on Sunday so she could sleep. I was a very, very naughty Nanny and took them out for the most unhealthy meal……..ever. Hamburgers and chips, chocolate milkshake, pancakes, ice-cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles and flakes and, just for good measure, the waitress gave them each a lolly for eating all their lunch. We then went to the park and ran off as much of the excess sugar we could. On our return their Mummy felt a little better but then that night her head ‘exploded’. She phoned NHS direct, her partner had to take the phone from her as she couldn’t speak properly. They told him to contact the on-call docs, who just told him to take her to A&E if her breathing was affected. I can only think they were anticipating an embolism of some description. By the morning her face was numb, she was still unable to form words and sitting up caused an escalation of her headache. She visited her G.P who took her blood pressure and pulse, tried to The G.P put the headache down to a continued problem from the whiplash sustained back in September.
  • Hubby went off for a golfing weekend, I pottered. Sorted out earrings, cleaned jewellery, moved my leaf-store, reduced my wardrobe, and recycled it via the local charity shops. Caught up, again, with all my stats, tidied out my car and checked my on-call bag, then went out for a meal with all the other golf-widows.
  • Set up my new printer/scanner/copier.
  • Son’s ileostomy blocked on Sunday night so he, DIL and Evie all came to us on Monday. He went to bed, we went out for a walk and on the way bought a carpet washer! Then Amy came around, her Mummy had offered her a visit to the local, open farm but Amy declined ‘ I don’t want to go to the farm, or the zoo, I’m going to my Nanny’s’, so she did. We painted the ornamental cat as he was showing signs of weather damage, rather than black he was grey and green. He has been reclining by the pond for several years now, I like to think he was a deterrent to the heron but since said heron took all my fish last week his scare abilities were obviously failing, or the heron has become wise to his immobility.

Gosh, now I’ve written it down it really doesn’t seem that busy, but it seemed it at the time then, just to make my day my elderly washing machine declined to rotate this evening. Hubby, who is not an engineer, and definitely NOT a washing machine engineer decided that he could fix it, wrong, so, so wrong. It may have helped if he even knew how to switch it on, let alone know where in different programmes the machine should agitate. Via the grapevine my ex-BIL heard of the demise of my washing-machine and he e-mailed me with an offer too good to gracefully decline. If I wasn’t married, and he wasn’t about to tie the knot I would propose, he has rescued me and my computer on numerous occasions and now he has solved my laundry issue. God bless the man.

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Good Day

Oh how I wish that everyday could be like today. The weather has been mild and dry and I have been able to spend all day in my garden. My spirits are high and I feel that I have spent the day being super, super productive. I’ve raked the grass, drastically pruned various shrubs, de-weeded the flower beds, ensured that the fencing around the pond is strong enough to withstand the twin’s attention and entertained 5 grandchildren, 2 daughters, 1 mother, 1 step-father and one extremely pleasant man from Aus, no idea who he was! I think that he is a distant relation to step-father, I felt very sorry for him as he has been staying with Mum, who is totally bonkers. Not bonkers in a jovial, amusing way but quite outspoken, overbearing and insulting to those unfortunate enough to pass within commenting distance. Anyway, whoever Aus man was he was treated to my Mother conducting a guided tour of our house, poor man must have incredibly embarrassed, but he coped terribly well, making all the right noises about how lovely my house and garden are and expressing disbelief at me having 6 grandchildren. It was shortly after this that 5 of them came flooding in, some through the front door, others via the back gate, all squealing and then just standing, silently staring at this exotic, sun-glass toting male who was commandeering Nanny’s attention. Izzy broke the spell by announcing that she needed a poo, and that Nanny had to take her to the toilet. Aus man left shortly afterwards.

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Spare time

Did I mention a wedding we were going to? I can’t remember. If I did it would have been because of Hubby’s reaction to the dress that I had purchased for the occasion. Nice little ‘frock’ (the name Hubby uses to describe any apparel combining a top and skirt), or so I thought,  from Next, calf length, 3/4 sleeves, black and cream in colour, tasteful. Not as far as my dearly beloved was concerned. ‘It’s horrible, you look awful in it’. Now he never, ever comments on what I’m wearing, unless prompted, so for him to voice an opinion shocked me and ensured that my new dress would never leave my wardrobe, except to be returned to the shop.  By being extremely judicious with time planning I managed to fit in another trip to the shops and bought myself another dress, but this time plus jacket and shoes, that cheered me up!

The wedding on Saturday was lovely. Why do I always cry at nuptials, conditioned response perhaps?

Sunday we went to my Sister’s for lunch and, just to prove that she can, she cooked. I could fib here and say that it was terrible, it wasn’t, in fact it was lovely, there was a price to pay though. I seem to have been nominated to host my Mother’s 80th birthday party, blow, blow and thrice blow. My niece was there and was saying how much my blog makes her laugh, especially my menopause entries. See, that’s just what I’m trying to get across, the change is either seen as good material for comedians or something to hide under the carpet, it’s not, not to the woman who’s going through it. Anyway, she insisted on reading one of my ‘The Change’ entries to Hubby, who has never read my blog. At the time  was mortified, it’s one thing writing an on-line diary, divulging thoughts and feelings to a computer screen, it’s another thing entirely hearing someone reading it to your nearest and dearest. I do have to say though that Hubby became quiet afterwards, perhaps it gave him food for thought or, he now thinks that I am totally neurotic and is busy hiding all the knives and paracetamol.

Today has been a lovely day. The tree surgeons came and cut down one of two giant leylandii which were taller than our house, and then reduced the other one to 10ft. Amy came and spent the day with Nanny and Grandad, she was fascinated by the tree surgeons but decided that they aren’t as brave as her Daddy. The weather was glorious so we sent much of the day outside, which was lovely. We gardened, spread some grass seed, watched the frogs in the pond and played with the sand table, just what I needed to unwind.

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Family time

Today was the family meal in honour of son’s 30th birthday. We have broken with tradition and, rather than having a ‘sit down’ meal, we had a buffet. The problem with the traditional meal is not the fact that there are 8 adults and 6 children, it’s the ages of the children. Amy and Jack, 3 and 4, sit and eat well with the adults but Izzy, 2, and the boys, 18 months, soon get fed-up with the protracted nature of a family meal. Add 4 month old Evie to the mix, she is guaranteed to want feeding as soon as her Mummy sits down, and the whole experience is chaotic and exhausting. I’m not too sure that a buffet was much better, for the adults. The children had a whale of a time. Jack dressed as a pirate, Amy as Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Izzy a pretty, pink fairy raced around creating absolute mayhem. Evie was totally mesmerised by the constant movement and sounds emanating from her cousins and it was lovely to watch her becoming so excited and attempting to vocalise with them, boy has she got a loud voice!
In the midst of all the family pandemonium Jack and Izzy’s Mummy and Daddy made a surprise announcement, Hubby responded by spilling red wine over our oatmeal coloured carpet. Whilst I rushed off to get the salt son dripped white wine onto the spill, our mixed-up approach to stain removal worked, thank heavens, but did rather detract from daughter and SIL’s news.
This last year has been quite a monumental one for son. He got married, became seriously ill, lost over 4 stone in weght, had a major operaton, became a Daddy and put the 4 stone back on. Lets just hope that his 31st year won’t be quite as eventful as hs 30th!

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Work is manic at the moment. One of our team is off sick with………..chicken pox and another 2 are on annual leave. I have been finishing over an hour late everyday, getting home and then spending another hour making phonecalls and doing all my paperwork.

The couple whose little girl was stillborn were having an especially sad day today as it was today that their baby was ‘due’. The results of the postmortem are expected on Monday, I’m visiting them on Sunday but then I’m off until Friday so I’ve given them my mobile number, just in case they need a chat when they have received the results, if there are any. I know that sounds strange but that’s how it is sometimes, there is no reason found as to why baby did. I suppose that there are different ways to look at a ‘non’ result like that. It could. perhaps should be seen as positive as there was no abnormality found with the placenta or any problem with baby so it would not indicate any reason as to why the next pregnancy should not result in positive outcome. However, a different perspective from the parents point of view may be that it happened for no apparent reason before, why not in subsequent pregnancies? I do know though that, if they go on to have another baby, they will be hugely anxious as they approach and enter the weeks when their first baby stopped moving in the womb.

Last weekend Nanny and Grandad had Jack, Amy and Izzy to stay. I was anticipating bedlam, instead I had a wonderful cuddly time with 3 really angelic (most of the time) grandchildren. On Thursday I took the twins, Jamie and Louis, to a local open farm, it was a messy, glorious affair! I’ve invested in a set of twin reins, they go around my waist and then the boys are attached to me, rather like 2 huskies pulling a sledge, I think we provided an interesting side-show for the other farm visitors.

Jack has, finally, developed chicken-pox. He has taken so long about it that we thought that he may have immunity, we were wrong. His Mummy reported that he had said he was really tired this evening, and then when he had his bath 10 spots were spotted :). When they told him he had the pox he slowly took himself upstairs, got into his bed and announced that he was ‘very poorly’. What a man.

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Not me, or ‘the boys’.

We had all, including son, though that his ulcerative colitis was a thing of the past following his total colectomy and ileostomy, this isn’t the case though. What none of us had appreciated was that a short length of bowel is left behind and, obviously now we know, that is still affected by UC. Son doesn’t go into great detail but from the comments he has made it was starting to cause him discomfort, so he is back on medication. Nasty, nasty disease.

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