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Old 9th May 2020, 18:39   #1211 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

Best laid plans, etc. etc.

Got the washing done and out. Got about a third of the grass cut and the mower caught fire! Well, smoke was pouring out from it. So I had to cut the remainder of the lawn with the strimmer. That bloody thing kept throwing out the cassette holding the line. Also, you can't keep it going without tremendous pressure on the switch. It won't start until you push the little button, but it doesn't lock in the on position. Strange that, electric drills which in my opinion are more dangerous can be locked to keep going. Eventually I got it cut, and was just thinking about raking it up when Mark arrived.

Although I know it didn't work, he insisted in getting the Flymo from the wooden shed. Switched it on, same story - smoke everywhere. The one I have been using was purchased when the Flymo stopped. Dave had some hair-brained notion about taking it apart and "looking" at the motor.

Next: I have a huge green lawn vacuum. Supposed to be for leaves. It does work, I have used it in the past. I got that out to see if it would pick up the cut grass. No. Then Mark spotted an old Concorde electric cylinder mower. Many years ago we had it serviced and sharpened, and it was never the same again, hence it's relegation to the shed. Anyway, he got it going. He trundled about between the flamingos and I have to say, it did pick up the cut grass. So that is how I finished up.

The only other alternative does not bear thinking about. In the big brick shed, under the table with the rotovator is a Suffolk Colt petrol mower. I used to use that many years ago. It was quite a clever mower in that it went by itself. We used to have a huge cherry tree (sadly died) and the branches were quite low. I used to go up one side of the tree, turn round at the back and let go of the mower. By coming back out on the already cut side, I could catch the mower as it came out and went past! I think that this mower would have annihilated my flamingos! Incidentally, whilst turning out the shed and climbing over things the other day I found a forgotten trampoline and a rowing machine! Anyway, Mark left me to it with the Concorde.

I can't believe that from starting at 10.00am, it took until 4.30pm to cut the grass. So I cleaned the thing and put it back in the shed. I will have to use that one now. Mark (on his mobile from home) and me on my computer started looking at hover mowers. Between us we decided on one at Argos. Only problem is that every store in the country is out of stock! I suppose it is not crucial, as I can use the Concorde so long as I don't let the grass get too long. At least I got the washing done and all dried.

My new vacuum came this morning. It looks quite good. It is cordless so I will charge it this evening. Needs about two hours according to the book of words.

I need a coffee now with a bit of relaxing. I feel worn out! I will probably go to sleep quite easily tonight.

Maisie
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Old 9th May 2020, 19:46   #1212 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

You have such energy Maisie, I'm exhausted thinking of all they you're doing. Maybe a good idea to get rid of all the things that don't work, they're not improving your life just causing more effort in moving them and they aren't going to get fixed..
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Old 10th May 2020, 10:23   #1213 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

Well, the Flymo is definitely going! Mark has stockpiled a load of stuff at the end of the garden which will go when our tip opens again. I have no doubt it will get added to before this happens.

I now have three huge bags of grass and weeds. Normally, this would go to the tip, but I shall creep out on Wednesday night when it is dark and put them by the tree at the top of the road. Other people put stuff there, and it always goes. Our council does offer the service of a wheelie bin for garden refuse at a cost of 50.00 per year. Problem with that is - where to put it. I do not have the room in the back garden. Even if I did, to get it out would be fraught. Firstly opening the padlocked and bolted side gate, then down an eight inch step onto the paving stones. These do not go right to the road, the ground is soil and broken concrete and stones liberally interspaced with weeds. Then, I would have to negotiate the back of the van parked there. If the chap next door has his transit there, the space is too small to get through. Not to mention the weight of the bin! I can barely lift one of the bags that I am putting out this week!

That is unfortunately, a non-starter. The girl who used to live next door had one that she kept in the garden. But she had to virtually dismantle her kitchen to get it through the flat. Terraced, no side entrance. I am quite happy to go to the tip when it opens again. It is so much easier to drive there and just sling the lot in a huge container. We always felt a great sense of achievement after we had been there. No rubbish anywhere to be seen!

My energy levels seem to run on adrenalin - when something needs doing I find the energy, but usually suffer the next day! Today I am suffering from a sunburnt back and the back of my arms. I only had a suntop on, but I didn't think that the sun would burn me to this extent. I also had trousers on, so my legs are okay, except for the bloody gnats that bite through material!

Maisie
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Old 10th May 2020, 14:46   #1214 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

Maisie,
Have you considered (or do you even know about) Freecycle? (www.freecycle.org)
You could advertise your superfluous gardening equipment on there and if someone wants it they can collect it from you (maintaining social distancing of course). You'd be surprised how many people will take even broken machinery, to either repair themselves (a project during lockdown!) or to use for spares for a similar machine they may already have.

It's free to sign up to Freecycle and there are 'groups' all over UK so should be one in your area, but you must be willing to give the stuff away as no money must change hands!

You can also use Freecycle to advertise for anything you want/need. At this time of year there are adverts from local people wanting vegetable or bedding plants for their gardens and also from people offering bedding plants ... all free!
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Old 11th May 2020, 09:35   #1215 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

Yes, I do know about this site. I will have to sort out the equipment that I no longer need. The Flymo is out in the garden, and it rained yesterday. So I should think that unless someone wants 'bits' it is not much use.

Of course, it is a good job that we didn't junk the Concorde when we got it back from being serviced, or I would be in a bit of trouble now! Looking on eBay, petrol rotovators and parts for are selling for quite a bit of money. We bought every attachment that was available at the time. Ridger, different side tines, etc. We never got very far with the allotment as it was infested with bindweed! The rotovator pulled it up by the barrow load. Also, it was a distance from our home, and we could only go there at weekends as we were both at work then. We tried, but in the end we were defeated by available time.

From observation, I think Mark would benefit from the rowing machine! Although he has been working during lockdown, he seems to have put on a fair bit of weight round the middle! I do think though that he would need a lot of convincing. A lot of the time he works what I regard as antisocial hours, even including all nighters, and he probably would have trouble finding the time, never mind the inclination!

I must say though that Mark is right when he says "what do you want 5 bikes for"? The two mountain bikes are only half way down the brick shed, but the other three are right at the end - as far as you can go. I was saying to him the other day that, with hindsight, we should have had another door put at the far end. There is certainly room as it nowhere near reaches the end of our garden. But at the moment, I have other things on my mind that I want to do before starting on de-cluttering.

I have to make some sort of decisions about Dave's clothes. But I am not looking forward to that. I have had an offer of purchasing some from - of all people - our postman. It seems he buys and sells all clothes, new, vintage or otherwise. When Dave first went into hospital, I had a look through his clothes and started buying him new jogging bottoms (which he always preferred), tee shirts, a padded winter jacket, underwear, pyjamas etc. Of course, as it transpired, he never had the opportunity to use any of it. Such a shame! Had he been in the nursing home, he could have used the things. But in hospital, they preferred him in either a gown or their pyjamas. Most of these new items are in boxes. Because Mark has put on so much weight, none of these will fit him. He tried the jacket and was quite upset that it was too small for him. Or rather, he was too big! I told him that I don't think he can use Garfield's excuse that he is under-tall! He is about 5'10".

Anyway, I think I will leave sorting out the clothes until the summer is over. I still haven't sorted the three cases that I packed Dave's things into when we got the black bags from the home. I just cannot face them at the moment. I see so many things now around my home that starts me off without seeing cases full. I am sure eventually I will be able to do this. But I can't at the moment. Even though they are really in the way.

Still, I feel that I have made a start towards Dave's Memorial garden by cutting the grass. The next step will be the hedge. I am very worried about that at present, as it seems to have got something in it. Maybe some sort of insect. The leaves on the surface all round have died. Careful inspection shows that it is not completely dead, as there are new green shoots. It will make a dreadful mess when cut, but perhaps then I can get something to spray it with. Garden centres will be open shortly, so I might take a cutting to our local one and ask them there. They have been quite helpful in the past.

I have been up this morning since four am. I find it difficult to stay asleep much longer these days. I think I will go and get some coffee now.

Maisie
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Old 14th May 2020, 10:46   #1216 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

Not a lot going on at the moment. Dave is still sitting in his box in the lounge, waiting to go out into his garden. I have loaned my hedge cutter to Mark, so I can't get to my hedge until he finishes and returns the cutter. This has got to be the next step towards Dave's garden.

The grass is looking like a cut hayfield! Very dry and brownish patches. It needs rain, which is not forecast at the moment. I am reluctant to water it myself, but it might come to that in the end. In actual fact parts of the grass seem to be growing. I think it might be where I have missed bits. Mark came round last night and moved the three bags of grass for me up the road to the tree. There were already many other bags there. One was quite a strange shape, so I kicked it to see. It felt like a bag of cement powder that had gone hard. Actually, I have something similar I found in part of the garden. It is a bag of pink finishing plaster. The bag it is in has split, so the rain has got to it. I must say I didn't know it was there. I have a very large clematis on one wall (beautiful white flowers) that has not only spread along the trellis on top of the wall, but also downwards. The bag of plaster was behind the overhang. That will have to go with the rest of the stuff Mark has stockpiled ready for the tip. Mark will have to move it, it is too heavy for me.

Finding this bag, has made me look at one corner of the garden, at the back. Dave kept many bags of things there. Shingle, builder's sand, pebbles, cement, etc. Over the last couple of years, the bags have biodegraded. I can see through the bags that some of them are also growing copious weeds! There was at one time a large black plastic sheet that was under these bags and wrapped over the top. I don't know quite what has happened, because the sheet is still there. But it looks as though it has shrunk - which is impossible.

Also, mixed in with these bags, there are bricks which have fallen off the top of the wall, together with a huge lump which came off one of the piers. I am going to have to get a brickie to rebuild this wall. Dave kept putting it off, so now it is down to me. The wall was never capped, which I think it should be. We have coping stones on the ends of the brick shed, but the wall, which goes round the rest of the garden was left. I will have to see how much it will cost to put coping stones on this wall to try and prevent any further deterioration.

I want Mark to take me to a garden centre shortly. I don't know how we can arrange this, but if he can't, then I will have to drive myself to one. I really do need bedding plants to go in the tubs. They don't look right with nothing in them. He said last night that he was going food shopping again on Saturday, so to let him know what I want. Depending on where he is planning to go, he might be able to get me some plants. On the day of Dave's cremation, we went to a Morrisons on the way home. I picked up an outdoor fuchsia there for a pound. They had bedding plants as well, but my mind was somewhere else on that day.

As people are now gradually getting back to work, I might be able to get someone to fix my satellite dish for me maybe next week, or the week after. Whilst I don't mind catching up on all the films I have bought over the years, I do miss the 'normal' TV. Whilst I am sitting here at the computer during the mornings, I have the BBC on iPlayer in the background, so I can hear news etc. Mr. Motivator has just come on. He can get stuffed! I am not prancing about like a loony - I am too old for that. I've just looked at it. That man is off his rocker!

I'm off for coffee!

Maisie
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Old 15th May 2020, 13:01   #1217 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

We are having trouble with the nursing home at present. They didn't give us back all of Dave's possessions and, when we gave them a list of the missing items, they only 'found' a couple of them. Saying that either they had thrown away (worn out?) items, or that I had already been given them! Yeah, that is why we're asking for them.

Anyway, Mark and Juliet sent a quite strong missive to the home manager, who passed it to her area manager. So Juliet has been having correspondence with him. His reply to our complaints is a crock of s--t. He has obviously asked the woman who runs the home, and just relayed back to us what she said, taking her part.

After Juliet received the last duck-out email, I decided it was time I wrote to him. So last night I sat here and composed a four page email to him. He has now had the lot! Some things we hadn't mentioned before, but I now decided to throw it all at him. Including my feelings when I found that not only had they not given me all of Dave's possessions, but those they did give me were thrust into black rubbish bags. Some of the more fragile items got crushed at the bottom of these bags. The woman has lied through her teeth, and I will not accept it. I told him so in no uncertain terms.

Initially, Juliet was writing to him on the premise that I was too distraught to write. Actually Mark wrote the emails and signed them from Juliet, because it was she who had the initial contact with Lillian at the home over the missing items.

I wrote twice to Lillian, and she ignored me. She obviously didn't realise that she ignored me at her peril! From what this area manager has said, it seems that anything Lillian could not account for was, in her words "thrown out" because whatever it was either was worn out, or something else, not specified. We have taken the stance that we do not have the items, they say they can't find them, so someone has stolen Dave's property. The area manager doesn't like that! Well, tough! How can one dozen brand new towels, for example, get worn out into such a state that they are only fit to be thrown away considering Dave only used them for approximately one month! If Lillian thinks I came down with yesterday's rain she needs to think again. There were other items, consumables I think they call them, all of which Dave could not possibly have used in the twelve days he was back in the home.

I am not expecting a reply from this bloke before the weekend. He will have to go back to Lillian to tell her what I have said, and get her answers to each and every item missing. He even had the gall to tell me that "in any case" Dave's blood testing machine "only costs less than 20" and was probably given to us free in the first place! Bloody cheek. We bought that machine. Today's cost for this model is 79.99. that does not take into consideration the two additional finger prickers I bought because Dave didn't like the one that came with the machine. Neither does this take into account the leather pouch I bought to contain the whole kit.

He is making waves about the fact that he didn't know why it was there anyway. Lillian or Gloria, I can't remember which, asked me for this machine to ease the pressure on the machines and sticks that the home used. Obviously I could get the cassettes to go in it on prescription. I showed them how to use it, but they couldn't fathom it. I later found out from Dave that they were not using it. I offered to show them how to use it again, but they said no. This bloke is saying that the home has "trained nurses" who are capable of taking blood for a test. Perhaps they are, but none of them could use Dave's machine!

Gloria, who I think is Lillian's second in command, told Mark and Juliet, twice, that she was with Dave when he died. We have a copy of the Medical Certificate on which the question is asked if anyone was with the deceased at the time of their death. The 'No' box is ticked.

His answer to that was to copy and paste the procedure following a death from his handbook! Which did not touch on the tick in the box at all. I told him this, and that unless he was there he could not present this to us without proof that this procedure was followed. So I told him that this information was superfluous to the question. Someone is lying here. If the doctor unilaterally decided to tick the 'No' box, then he was guilty of making unfounded unilateral decisions. If he asked someone who was with him whilst he was completing this form, then whoever that was lied. Somewhere along the line there is a gross dereliction of duty. This might seem a small point, but Dave had asked Mark that he wanted him and me there at the time of his death. Because of the restrictions we could not go to the home, and Gloria said she was with him at the end. Now we don't know if this is true, or whether my poor Dave died alone. I realise he could have died in the night and no-one would have been there, but this didn't happen. Apart from all the other errors, omissions and downright lies, it is this one small point which is most important to me. I am mortified that I was not there and hadn't seen him for a week, due to the restrictions, and was not allowed to see him after.

Anyway, I sincerely hope that my email ruins his weekend. Mark has asked for Dave's paperwork from the home. Now I don't know anything about this. But Mark and Juliet, working within the care industry, know that we are entitled by law to have this paperwork. The area manager is backing off from this, saying that he cannot understand why we want this. He has even suggested that we might be hoping to see some reference to the items missing. I find this interesting. Why is he kicking against this, if it is the law? Is he scared we might see something that we didn't previously know? Like, for example, we were told that a doctor visited Dave the day before he died. No-one told us this, we saw it on the paperwork. Why? Who called the doctor? Also, if this was the case, why was there all that nonsense with the coroner because Dave hadn't seen a doctor (hospital doctors do not count, apparently) within his last two weeks? Are they lying about calling a doctor? Who knows.

I have to admit that I did accuse his staff of negligence and/or indifference when it came to 'packing' Dave's possessions. I feel this is justified. You can't imagine how I felt when I saw that heap of rubbish bags. Then to find that things were missing was the final straw.

Mark called this morning. I am expecting him imminently as he is going to take me to a garden centre to get my bedding plants.

Maisie

PS I am still waiting for the hospital complaints department to get in touch.
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Old 17th May 2020, 07:04   #1218 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

I got my bedding plants. Not quite what I would have chosen if I had a full choice. But they will do for this year. We got them at Morrisons, so I did some shopping at the same time. I will get these plants in today. Just waiting for the sun to come out!

As predicted, I have not had a reply to my email. I hope he is having trouble trying to decide what to tell me, because the previous email was not the truth, just what he was told.

Mark has found me a new, used, mower on Facebook and he is collecting it today when he finishes work. He tried taking the motor out of my Flymo, but you can see where it has burned and also the capacitor has exploded. Flymo do not offer new motors for sale. I suppose it is too old. I would guess it is about 20 years old, so I would not have thought it was obsolete yet. We found this with a previous electric Black and Decker mower. We took it to a mower shop to sharpen the blades (rotary mower), and the guy in the shop was surprised to see it. He said that he hadn't seen one "for ages". We always look after the mowers, cleaning them very thoroughly after use. Well, Dave did. Perhaps this is why they get so 'old'. I do not subscribe to a 'throwaway' society.

Anyway, it looks as though the weather will be nice today, so I can do the plants.

Maisie
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Old 18th May 2020, 10:01   #1219 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

I was able to do all the plants into the tubs as I wanted. But, I got absolutely bitten to death. Is it my imagination or are there more gnats about this year? We are nowhere near standing water, so I don't know why we are being inundated. I am scratching arms, legs (bitten through trousers), back (again through clothes) and my neck. Mark got it worse than me, his arms are full of lumps.

He got the lawn mower. Given a choice if I had been in a shop selling various mowers, I would not have chosen this one. It is enormous! It is also heavy to move when it is not going. It was extremely dirty and clogged up with grass and mud. It looks as though someone has been 'mowing' where there is no grass. Anyway, we took it as much apart as we could and cleaned out all the rubbish. I cleaned the outside, so it looks a bit better now. Quite scuffed around the base plate. Then we plugged it in.

It does go and appears to be working okay except that it is cutting too high. We did not get any additional spacers with it. I can get them on eBay for a couple of pounds, so not too much of a problem. Although I don't want to use it until I have dropped the blade. I will have to use the Concorde some time this week. Late in the afternoon, when the sun is going down, it shines across the grass and highlights the bits that are sticking up! So it is in the shed for the time being. According to various sources, the spacers from my burnt out mower should fit, but they look much different. I have written to Flymo so I will wait for them to get back to me before buying on eBay.

Mark hasn't used the hedge cutter yet, so I can't get to the hedge. However, I have two Aucubas on either side of the front path, near the porch. They are gradually getting closer to each other, so I might have a go at them today. If they aren't done before it rains, it will make getting up the path difficult, because the rain weights the branches down towards each other. Also, as mentioned before, the front garden looks like the land of the Triffids. So there is plenty to do there. I also have what is laughingly described as a privet hedge plant in the front garden. Only the one. Just as well, as the top branches can be seen from the bedroom. It badly needs cutting back. We didn't plant it, it was there when we came although it was nowhere near as big. Also, the castor oil plant in the front is hanging over the footpath. I must get that cut back because people passing by tend to pull the leaves off if they think they are in their way. Also the blasted black berries are starting to drop on the footpath. They make such a mess. Usually I try to get it cut before it gets to this stage. I did pull off all the white bits that these come from earlier on in the year. At least I thought I did. But obviously I missed some.

I had another disaster in the kitchen on Friday. I got a reduced price ready stuffed chicken in Morrisons. I had already got my dinner ready, so I decided to cook it so I could use it cold with a salad. Except that I forgot it was in the oven! I ate my dinner and was watching DVD films. I could smell it cooking, but I thought the smell was from my dinner (beef casserole with dumplings). When I went to bed, I suddenly remembered the chicken. It had been cooking at 375 degrees for about five hours! I am surprised though that it was still recognisable. Maybe because it was a cook in the bag type. I told Mark, who had also bought one of these. The bugger emailed me a picture of his after he had cooked it! It looked delicious, and he said it tasted lovely!

Right. I am off to start on the Aucubas.

Maisie
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Old 20th May 2020, 09:29   #1220 (permalink)
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Re: My Bolshie Husband

Still pacing myself - a bit. Today I am hoping to make a start on the front garden. I don't think I can finish it, there is too much to deal with. But at least I can get rid of some of it. Also, of course, tomorrow is rubbish day. So I can put the bags by the tree once it gets dark!

I got a leaflet (from somewhere) about a food company called Parsleybox. They offer home delivery of various dinners and puddings etc. that do not need to go in a freezer. Their products have a shelf life, in a cupboard, of six months because they are vacuum packed. They had an introductory offer of 10 dinners (with three free cakes) for 29.90, so I decided to give it a go.

I bought the offer last Friday. The box was delivered on Tuesday. The dinners do need other items added at home, like potatoes, or rice with the curries, etc. They had included two pots of instant mash, which I didn't know about. The food looks great. They are not huge, but are enough for one. One or two of them, like the hotpots, are complete as they have potato on them. Maybe add a tin of peas or sweetcorn. The variety is great. The free cakes were each as big as a fist!

Included in the package was a catalogue (which I already had), so I have given it to Mark. There was a voucher inside for 10 dinners + two small bottles of wine free for 19.99. Mark said he will send for them and they will have a look. I have told him that if they decide the meals are not enough for them, I will buy the box from him. Most of the meals are between two and three pounds with pennies. I think they are quite good. The budget range of things like shepherds pie and spaghetti bolognese in Sainsburys have about the same weight in them, but of course they need a freezer or eat the same day. I will let you know when I have tried one of them. I think I will give the Coq au Vin a try first - it looks great! Delivery is free if the total is over 19.00, which won't be too difficult. Delivery is by DPD.

Maisie
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