Category Archives: General

Have You Ever Been Asked To Provide A Service Review?…

I know we are all asked to review service everywhere we go from Superdrug to your local restaurant and normally they offer you the chance to win £100 for leaving a review.

That isn’t the kind of review I mean, let me explain…

I recently went to a furniture shop to order a new settee. On completing the purchase we were told by the sales rep that we would be contacted by text for a review of the service we received. We were then asked to rate it as a 9 or 10 as anything below a 9 resulted in the rep being hauled in front of their supervisor for a debrief.

Now this put me in a quandary. As a shopper I make most of my purchases, as do most people online. I took the decision a long time ago to not review any purchases as it meant I would save myself half a lifetime in writing reviews. So whether something is good or bad I say nothing.

The same for shops who ask me to review to enter a prize draw, it always goes in the bin. I’ve worked in a shop and I know how hard it is to maintain a sunny disposition all day long and not look like you would rather be anywhere else but there. I don’t think people need to be pulled up over it. Some people see shop workers as their own personal servants and talk to them as if they are something you scrape off your shoe. The customer is always right, as the saying goes, only they are usually wrong and refuse to accept it.

So faced with the text message asking me to review my service of said furniture purchase I was torn between sticking to my guns and deleting without reviewing and helping the sales rep out. Even though the very suggestion of being asked to leave a certain review made me want to add into the comments – I left this review as I was told to.

When I thought about the service we received that day it wasn’t the best. We’d looked around 4 furniture stores in a row and came back to this one to order. The first time we were in there we had been approached for help we didn’t need at that time. As I predicted when we went back to order there was no one free to be seen. I wandered the store 3 times and then tried to log on to the website on my phone to do the order myself, only to find the website was practically unusable in the mobile version.

At this point my Mum came back from the hardware store next door and said she had seen someone not doing anything and called the guy over. We eventually placed the order after going through all the questions and possible extras. Then came the request for a review.

The honest thing to do would have been to say I was less than happy with the service I received and yet once we had a rep helping us it was all done with no fuss. The guy was good at his job and that was what made me feel guilty enough to leave a review.

I wondered if he had bad reviews in the past and if he was trying to avoid more trouble or if he was just playing at my heart-strings. It seemed harsh picturing him trying to explain why he didn’t give us a better service to his superiors.

But then it makes a mockery of the whole thing. It’s probably a company directive to avoid them getting negative reviews. I’m sure they are listed somewhere on the website or at least collated for company purposes.

If you are providing good service then you shouldn’t have to tell people to review you at a 9 or 10 as they will happily do it. As we all know the professional review writers and people who love to have a soap box will write in depth reviews on who to speak to and what day is best to get them. I find product and service reviews now are not as reliable as they were, especially when most are paid for writing them.

Sadly my review was just as redundant, I gave 9 out of 10 as I never review anything at the highest mark. There is always room for improvement. If it was up to me I wouldn’t have reviewed at all but due to not being able to find anyone to help us for about 20 minutes an accurate review would be 6 or 7/10!

Writing Tips For Authors…

I haven’t done this in a while but I came across a range of websites and articles that I thought might be helpful for fellow authors and I wanted to share.

How to Get Your Book Distributed: What Self-Published Authors Need to Know

Three Things Most People Don’t Know About Book Cover Design

How to create a book cover

6 Ways to Get Creative with Writing Your Blog Content

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2017

Time to Talk Day 2017

Today is Time to Talk Day raising awareness of mental health issues and that is something that is close to my heart. I have a personal battle with depression, I have been quite open about it on my blog in the past, in the hope that it would help others not feel so alone in similar situations.

I wanted to share Time to Talk Day and ask you to have a look at how you can help. I’ve logged my conversations for the day and I want to share with you my thoughts.

If you’re struggling today and things maybe aren’t going the way you’d like then please use today to talk to someone about it and to reach out for help. There are no magic wands to fix people or situations but there are people who can be reached out to for help if you are willing to ask.

I believe in the power of having people you can trust to open your heart to without judgement, and how that helps to keep your mental health balanced. I find it a constant struggle to stop the darkness from over taking me when I am in emotional situations and in the past I have been guilty of self-destructive behaviour to make myself believe I am how others make me feel.

I found distancing myself from certain people helps in some ways but promotes the feelings of loneliness. At times it feels like I can either feel like a good person who has dreams they want to achieve and be around people or I can be around people and be made to feel like an embarrassment, figure of fun and someone to constantly put down. So to feel better about myself I stay away and feel alone.

I’ve been through a lot emotionally in the last couple of years and I’ve not really shared it with anyone. But last week I poured my heart out to a friend, via email because I was too afraid to say it to their face.  I didn’t want them to see me cry. I was scared at the reaction it would get, telling someone my deepest secrets for the first time but I trusted they would understand. The reaction I got was incredibly comforting. There was no judgement or making me feel inadequate, there was only love.

In truth that friendship has helped me to see that there should only be love. I’ve fought a lot in the past with that friend and tried to cleanse myself of them in many ways but years have passed and now there is only love. That love is allowing me to love myself for who I am and allowing me to be the person I want.

If people don’t like me or understand me then that is their loss. I haven’t met anyone like me so maybe that’s why people are confused. I’m not a screw up or an embarrassment – I just don’t walk everyone elses path. I’m an individual, I always have been and when you don’t feel the need to comply people don’t always get you.

My path is a little circular and lonely right now. It isn’t leading me towards my dreams but to some people it is giving them what they need at a time they need it. I need to find a path soon that lends me a kink towards my dream but I think in the long run things will work out for the best.

My horoscope is full of love connections at the moment and fun turning into long-term relationships. Even my fortune cookie advised me that a well-chosen word at the right time would bring miracles my way. I’m not sure I believe in these things but I don’t think it can hurt to hope for a while that they might be right.

For all I do for others and the person I am, I think karma owes me a little bit of happiness. One day it will have to be my turn to get my hearts desire, surely?!

So there you are, that’s how I’m feeling today. Why don’t you tell someone how you’re feeling. Let’s all use today as a Time to Change and a Time to Talk.

Goodbye 2016 – 2017 What New Hopes Do You Bring?…

2016 for me like so many others was a roller coaster of a year. I had personal struggles with family, friends, work and ended up feeling very tired and alone by the end of the year.

In some respects it is a year I wish I would forget quickly but there are parts that I would like to remember forever.

I slowly watched my Nan deteriorate and waste away from a loving, bright, funny, big built woman to someone who weighed next to nothing, refused to eat or drink and behaved in increasingly strange ways.

The 2 weeks before she began the final decent were some of the weirdest with her behaviour being completely erratic. I remember my friend telling me she obviously had no intention of going quietly and she really didn’t.

But that last week, prompted by a fall took everything that she had left. The last 3 days a slow decent in front of our eyes, as she walked to the day room for lunch of a mouthful of soup and couldn’t walk back, but still had the manners to thank someone for handing her a napkin, to not eating at all to no longer being able to drink and finally not being able to move.

Yet I saw something the day before she finally decided to rest that I always hoped would be the case but didn’t dare to believe. On the Sunday I went to see my brother to tell him that Nan would be joining him soon and ask that he come back to be with her so she wasn’t alone on the journey. My Mum went to the home to visit her and it was the last cognitive day she really had, she was laughing and joking and they said it was like she didn’t have Alzheimer’s at all.

Cut to Wednesday the day after her last visit to the lunch hall and she was bedridden and almost completely out of it when I arrived to visit. I rang everyone and rallied the troops knowing in my heart looking at her that this was the end. We opened her christmas cards and she touched them as they were read out to her. I wrote out her card for Grandad and she almost managed to give it to him. I was hoping she would be able to make a mark on it at least but that wasn’t the case. He said she was following me with her eyes as I walked around and spoke to her so I think she was able to recognise movement at least.

At first she took sips of drink but as time passed she pushed my hand away when I tried so I let her be. My Grandad showed her the photos in the picture book I made her and she touched them even though I don’t think she could really see them.

Her eyes had glazed over by the time the others arrived, I don’t think she was following the light anymore. She still tried to move her legs a little bit in the bed.

But the most amazing part to me was how she reached out for something that wasn’t there. She did it a few times when we were alone. At one point she was facing my Grandad and I caught a word whispered on a outbreath ‘home’ the last word she ever said.

By the time my Mum got there she had reached out a couple of times and as I was telling her about it she seemed to do it again. But this time her eyes went as wide as they could, as if she had seen something that shocked her. That’s the moment she left us. Her spirit was taken home by the loved ones who returned to be with her.

Whatever you believe of life and death if you had seen her that day you would come to the same conclusion.

After that eye-opening moment she wasn’t really there. Her last day spent completely still with no recognition and air passing through her until my Mum and Grandad left and she finally decided to rest on 12th December 2016 at 3.50pm.

We waited until after Christmas to bury her. She is in the same cemetery as my brother now, something she would have liked. She is on the same hill looking down on him but still quite near given the 29 year gap in passing.

We had a lovely service for her. I wrote a eulogy that brought the essence of her 87 years to life and included her top phrases – ‘I’ll be singing in a minute’ when someone poured her a drink but we left her final farewell to what she wrote in birthday cards or what she’d say if she saw you drinking ‘don’t get drunk’.

So now we have to make sure that Grandad continues to carry on with life and picks himself up. I feel guilty that after not working for so long, I have to go back to work, and can’t spend as much time with him as I did last year. It’s hard but I’m not getting any younger and I need to move forward with my life.

I haven’t used my brain for work for so long that it’s turned to mush. The last year and a half of my life has been hospital appointments and healthcare. When I looked back over my 2016 calendar to transfer birthdays into the 2017 one I realised the sheer number of appointments we had.

I feel like most of last year I spent sitting in traffic in my car either going to or coming back from an appointment or visiting Nan. No wonder my body is so stiff and I’ve been getting back ache so much.

But 2017 will be a better year all round I hope. I hope to find a job that will give me some purpose in my life again. It will be good to not be a surrogate Mum to everyone and focus on myself for a while. Although I suspect I will still be expected to be the surrogate Mum.

I’ve been asked a lot over the last couple of weeks what I’m looking to do, now Nan has left me technically unemployed. I really don’t know. I haven’t made plans for myself for such a long time. I haven’t even dared to think about me and what I want as it felt selfish.

It’s funny how the more you do for people the less they realise or understand. I’m seen as the pathetic joke but really no one could or would do what I did. No one would put other people first the way I did. They see it as an excuse but it isn’t. I didn’t want to give up my life when I felt I was just starting to get somewhere. I was a victim of the circumstance and stepped up to the plate, allowing everyone else to carry on as they were. Some would say that deserved some recognition and appreciation.

2017 needs to be a year for me though. I need to start thinking about what I want to do and achieve. But honesty I have no idea where to start. I feel so tired and lonely, I don’t know who I can talk to anymore. Some of my friends became busy last year and didn’t seem to have time for me anymore. It’s a shame but its life. I know they’ll check in from time to time and I’ll see them sometime but it’s a bit sad too.

Maybe a new job will find me some more people to interact with and have fun. I’ve really missed not having people to laugh with and spend time getting me out of my mind and away from the routine. I have a part to play in some of it too. I didn’t always know what to say to people when my life was just one hospital appointment after another.

One of my biggest fears at the moment is attending interviews. I can’t remember half the stuff I’ve done and I’m worried my personal sabbatical will taint their view of me. I’m also worrying about finance and if I’m honest I’m worried to admit to myself that I’m alone and not just lonely. Accepting that is tough, but I just have to carry on regardless.

I also feel guilty. I feel like it’s my fault that Nan died because I didn’t do enough to save her, even though I know I did everything I could. I hate the fact the last words we spoke to each other were when I put her in the nursing home and she called me every name under the sun. When she begged me to take her home and I ran out and left her when she wasn’t looking because she had to adjust to the new surroundings and she would never understand.

I cried getting into the car that day. I had to turn myself away from her and me and Grandad stood looking at each other with tears in our eyes over the garden gate as we knew she would never be there again.

I stood at the curb outside the house on the day of the funeral waiting for the hearse to arrive and as I saw her slowly coming along the road I asked for her forgiveness.

I’ll never know if I really did enough or if the outcome was always going to be the same. Maybe all I did was buy her comfort and time. I just hope that 2017 forgives me and I get some peace.

I hope we all get some peace this year. I hope we all find what we are looking for and have the courage enough to go searching for it and work hard to secure it. Tell the people you love how you feel and take more photos because you never have enough. Make sure you write down all the special times or record them so you don’t forget. Live everyday to make you happy or at least find some small happiness. Life is too short to be unhappy and unloved. Love yourself and find your happiness.

That’s what I hope 2017 brings, love and happiness to us all.

Loneliness… More Than A Feeling??

Ok so the title is a slight pun on one of my favourite songs that I have stuck in my head today. More Than a Feeling, Boston if you’re wondering.

Last night I caught some of the show on TV about loneliness and it was hard to watch. The situation I’m in has made me feel pretty isolated from the people around me and I’ve been finding it hard to cope.

Being a carer for someone whose behaviour is so erratic and each day wondering what the next crisis needing to be solved will be is hard. I haven’t felt like myself in a long time. I feel myself becoming a whole other person, one I don’t want to be.

I don’t have dreams anymore, I don’t know where I want to go or what I want to do with my life. I want something other than this and if I’m honest it’s more a case of I NEED something other than this to keep me sane.

I’ve been starting to feel it in my health lately too. I’ve had the odd heart twinge, increased indigestion, painful kidneys, sore back, general loss of energy – all classic stress symptoms.

It’s hard feeling so alone, even though I have people around me. All I seem to talk about is the issues I deal with and not how they make me feel. I have no one to talk to about anything else, or so it feels.

I have friends but I don’t want to talk to them about what I’m going through. I don’t want them to know I have to clean the toilet off my Nan when she forgets or that I have to do all her dirty laundry because she can’t be trusted to do it. I want them to treat me as the fun, silly person they know. I want to talk about anything other than hospitals and cleaning up toilet.

But the thing is, I don’t really do anything else anymore so I don’t make as much effort to hang out with the ones I hang with or chat to the ones I normally tell everything too. I just feel like I have nothing to say they want to hear. I mean they would listen but if it was the other way around I wouldn’t really want to listen to talk of crap and hospitals for months on end.

I guess I’m worried they will see through me and realise that I’ve let everything go and then I might not be friend material anymore. No one wants to be the boring un-fun friend with no life that people hang out with through pity. The person I feel myself becoming.

I’m also worried they will think differently of me if they knew what I have to do, the decisions I have to help make and the way I handle things. I get judged enough by my family I don’t need anyone else making me feel like a monster. Because I do, I feel like a horrible monster most of the time.

So I’m alone, lonely, I cry – a lot. I cry for the people I used to have fun with who I don’t really see, I cry for the person I was at the start of last year when everything in my life had finally clicked into place and I was truly happy, I cry because one by one all of those things making me happy fell apart and left me – alone, I cry because I lost my Nan – even though she is physically here and there is no way to get through to her, I cry because we don’t know how much longer she will physically be around, I cry because I’m scared of the impact losing my Nan will have on my Grandad and how I will cope without the one person who has always been there for me, who only ever sees me as someone wonderful.

I cry because I feel sorry for myself because I accepted last year that I would be alone forever and that I just needed to find a way to get on with it. There isn’t someone out there who will love me and spend their life with me, I won’t get to have kids, I missed the chance of travelling with friends when they were all single and childless.

I have to do it all on my own and I don’t know how.

How do I stop wanting to share the bad days with the people I used to tell everything too? How do I cope when I’m really low and reach out to the people I want to talk to, to stop my brain over thinking and they don’t reply?

It’s not my friend’s fault they can’t be there for me when I need them, they all have their own lives and are happy. I’m truly happy for them, I wonder if in their situation I would have time for the needy friend who wants to chat. It’s not like they purposefully shut me out, I see them and we talk when they can fit me in. It’s just hard to remember that when you’re low and in need of support.

The palliative care team keep asking me if I want to see a councillor. I’ve been the girl who fell apart over a boy and needed therapy to put her back together. I promised myself I wouldn’t be the person who fell apart again. Not that therapy isn’t a big help when you need it or that I wouldn’t seek it out if I felt like I needed it. I just didn’t want to need it so soon.

I’ve wondered recently if I died who would be there to say goodbye? Would any of the names in my phone wonder where I had gone or why they hadn’t heard from me in ages and drop me a line? Would anyone miss me? Would my family even know who I’d want them to tell, whether they would show up or not?

When I was a kid I thought I had a good idea of what my life would be like. I wanted to find someone who made me feel good about myself so we could build a life together, supporting each other to achieve our goals and we’d have a cute family. I wanted to have my own business and make it a success. I wanted to travel and explore the world and have adventures and take photos and laugh.

I found the person who makes me feel good about myself, who helped me to success in my job and gave me confidence to build my career. I could see myself having that future I wanted with him. It always felt like one of those movie romances where you can see they will get together but they never do until the end. Maybe there is a chance we haven’t reached that end yet and that’s why we aren’t together.

The movies never tell you how to cope when the person you want to be everything to doesn’t want you around. Because he doesn’t want me in the way I want him and I don’t know how to stop wanting him.

The sad truth is I feel alive when things are good with him, he makes me feel whole and when he isn’t there I feel empty. I shouldn’t, I have no reason to feel that way about him when he was clear in the past that I shouldn’t, I don’t understand why I do, there have been times I actively tried not to think about him or want him around, I’ve even deleted his contact details but it never lasts. Nothing feels as good as when he is a part of my life.

The further we drift apart the more I miss him and want him around. And we have been drifting apart. He’s busy with life, I’m not and I miss the days when we’d talk for hours. I think there are times when he misses me too, or so he has said.

The TV show talked about finding people online to talk to and internet dating. I tried all that before. Making friends online is a big exercise in trust that I’m really not interested in playing anymore. I’ve met some good people online who I’m in touch with but I’ve also had a lot of problems in the past with trusting the wrong people and I’m too tired or maybe too old for all that.

The more I use the internet the more I realise very few people are who they say they are. I’ve read enough internet dating stories to know it isn’t for me. I tried it myself a couple of times, years ago. I was happy chatting to a couple of people but I had no interest in meeting them. I’m not a casual sex with strangers person and a lot of the interest I got was in that light.

Also do I really want to introduce any more people into my life who don’t return my messages or calls? I have enough people to keep track of as it is. Adding more people at the moment with the potential for more disappointment won’t help me feel any less lonely.

I need real people who can give me a hug, make me laugh and share an experience with me, not just texts on a screen and nice words. Not that I’m against text messaging, sometimes you just need a bit of physical interaction.

Maybe if I could find a job around my caring responsibilities which means I can finally stop eating through my savings I could also end up meeting the man of my dreams. Or a new man of my dreams who will oust the old one and actually want me in return!

Oh yeah, I forgot I also cry over money worries. I’ve always been careful with money and made sure I build savings to give myself chance to get a house one day. It wasn’t meant to prop me up until I can work again.

I’ve been trying to earn money from writing and designing cross stitch since I’ve been home but it’s pocket-money and not life-sustaining money. At least it helps a bit and I don’t feel so hopeless all the time.

I started a couple of courses this week on the fitness app on my phone one entitled Love Yourself and one about mindfulness. Day 2 on both and things are going well. I just needed to focus on something positive to get my mind back to healthy ground.

There has been a lot of negative thinking lately and a bit of stress eating related weight gain. I want to turn things around for Christmas. It’s likely to be the last we have with my Nan, we’re planning two just incase we have to have an early Christmas. I just want it to be filled with happy memories for us all and for us to look back and see happy smiling, healthy faces.

I get another year older next month, I don’t feel my age but it does worry me a bit. I’m too old to be unemployed and have such a static career. People tried to tell me but as is normally the case I thought it would all be ok. Now I look back and wish I’d have known what I know now 10 years ago so I could have really made an effort to make more friends and build a career.

It also reminds me that I need to arrange a catch up with the group of friends I mostly see once a year on my birthday. You have these weird friendships when you get older, but somehow they always seem to come together.

It’s important for me to keep things in my diary to look forward to so it isn’t filled with hospital appointments. I’ve managed to get a few fun things in over the next couple of months. I’ve also been spending time with my cousins little girl who is now 5 and at school. I go and pick her up and we have playtime and laughs and I feel like a kid again.

Maybe the worst part of loneliness isn’t the emptiness and feeling like you don’t matter to anyone, I think the worst part is all the time you have on your hands to keep yourself occupied so you don’t notice the fact no one else is there. If you can keep your mind active in a helathy way then you’re winning the battle.

Anyway I think there are a lot more people in the world who feel lonely than like to let on. I don’t feel the need to look at other people and wish I was them. I don’t feel the need to beat myself up (all the time) for not having it all together. Other people aren’t always as they seem. Just because you’re smiling and appear to be happy doesn’t mean that deep down there isn’t something you’d like to change about your life.

I think the modern world has given us so many ways to show off how amazing our lives are that we put so much emphasis on how it all looks and forget to just live for ourselves and not worry about what others think.

I’ll get the hang of being alone. I’ll either find the courage to live the life I want alone or I’ll find a way to have a different life, one that I’m comfortable living alone. It might not be easy and I might feel hurt along the way but no more than believing that the man I love will one day love me back hurts.

Because when I accepted that maybe he won’t ever care for me because we aren’t in a film adaptation of a novel where the girl gets her happy ending, it did hurt and it does hurt every time I remind myself of it. But it’s the honest thing to do, for every good memory I have of every nice thing we said to each other I remember something negative to keep it in perspective. It gives me the illusion that I’m in control and that I won’t get carried away in the moment of things that are said sincerely but in the fullness of time aren’t really meant. It doesn’t stop me loving him or missing the unusual ‘us’ we created, it just makes me appreciate what we have/ had/ are/ were.

Drivers: I Have Some Questions…

Ok so this post has been bubbling away for a while since I’ve been doing more urban driving. I’ve noticed in the 15 years or so since I’ve had my licence, that the standard of driving has fallen dramatically and I wonder why. Almost every time I go out someone in my vicinity causes a near miss.

Now I know what you’re thinking… the common denominator here is me! You’re thinking I must be a bad driver and that’s why I have so many problems.

Well in those 15 or so years I have had 1 accident, and this was probably 10 years ago.  I knew the road well, it was one I have used all my life. In 30+ years of travelling along the road only once have I encountered a car that tried to turn a single line of traffic into a double line of traffic and that happened to be when I got caught out.

I would say I’m a fairly cautious driver but not dangerous. I occasionally go a little faster than I should but only on roads I know well and only if it is safe to do so i.e. not heavy with traffic or in bad weather. I would say I’m a considerate driver and that’s why driving nowadays is so frustrating to me.

So I would like to ask the following questions:

To all the drivers who sit in the fast lane until they almost reach the end of their exit slip road and cut the 2 or more lines of traffic to make their exit – Why do you not just move over in time, safely like the rest of us??? Is your spatial awareness so great that you can 100% accurately gauge the minimal distance between the cars you’re slotting between or do you just close your eyes and hope for the best???

To all the drivers who refuse to join the queue and get into their lane but drive to the head of the traffic and force their way in, do you not realise all you are doing is creating more traffic????? Why can’t you just wait with everyone else? Why are you more deserving of cutting into the traffic than the rest of us who waited patiently only to be put further and further back by all the cars who cut in?!! It might be news to you but we are all trying to get somewhere!!!!!!

To all the drivers who sit in the left hand turn only lane at the roundabout and go straight on, why can’t you just wait in line like the rest of the traffic??? Why do you need to create more of a bottleneck in the junction and block the traffic up so no one can move on the roundabout????

To all the drivers who sit in the straight on only lane at the lights but then turn left, effectively cutting into the traffic and forcing the drivers over who waited in the left hand turn lane, why could you not just wait in the left hand turn lane like the rest of us????

To all the drivers who waiver out of their lanes at roundabouts and cut you up, could you please look in your wing mirror before moving over and indicate what you are about to do so the rest of us know!

To all the drivers who stop on feeder lanes – do you have any idea how dangerous that is????? A feeder lane is there for you to build up speed and move into the traffic. When approaching a feeder lane you are adjusting your speed accordingly and not expecting a stationary car to be blocking the lane. The traffic which you are feeding into are expecting you to build up speed and join which you can do if you have adjusted your speed. It is harder to do this when building up speed from a dead stop.

To all the people driving in bad weather conditions please use some common sense. Adjust your speed and make sure you leave more space between cars. Make sure you have all your lights on to assist with seeing you and try to stay in your lanes. The spray from the road teemed with the rain make it so much harder to see other vehicles so lets all make it easier to be seen and drive safely and if needs be slowly.

To all the drivers who do not seem to understand the road signal ‘Merge in Turn’ let me explain. That means that cars go on a one for one basis. I.e. 2 roads are merging together so therefore you should let the cars into the traffic in turn and merge together. It doesn’t mean keep going and stop the cars from merging in by speeding up and then claiming they cut you up.

To all the drivers who go straight over mini roundabouts without even looking to see if a car is turning when they have the right of way – could you not just turn your head for a millisecond and check if you have the right of way before cutting someone up???

To all the drivers who pull out in front of you forcing you to break hard only for you to see a clear road in your rear view mirror, could you not just wait another second to let the car past and move into clear traffic?????

To all the drivers who indicate right and a roundabout and then turn left across you, can you please spare a thought for the rest of humanity when you do these things? I know you want to make money from us by forcing an accident and claiming damages from the insurance company but some of us have lives. We need our cars and to not be scared to death by idiotic drivers. All you are doing by making false claims is putting up the cost of insurance for every other person on the road, making more people less likely to be able to afford insurance and potentially causing someone who has a genuine accident the problem of not being able to make a claim. So yes you earn some money from us but at what cost???? No one wins in the game of insurance fraud.

To all the drivers changing lanes on a motorway or A road – just putting on your indicator does not give you the right of way to move across. You still have to check there is actually space in that lane for you to move into. If not where exactly are you expecting the car to go that you are cutting up??? It won’t magically disappear because you indicated and moved without looking.

To all the motorbike riders along the A40 that weave in and out of cars and squeeze through millimeter gaps, could you not just wait for a sensible gap? I’ve seen so many nearly get trapped between 2 cars and have almost had my car scraped by bikes squeezing up the side of my car.

To the motorbike rider I saw go around the back of a reversing car – could you really not wait that extra minute for the car to finish turning around and continue your journey safely?

To people driving in car parks, road rules still apply, if you reach the end of an aisle you still have to stop and check for traffic, you can’t just pull out in front of cars!!

The white lines in car parks are there for a reason, your car is supposed to be within the 2 lines with an equal if possible distance around it i.e. parked straight in between 2 white lines. It isn’t that hard.

If you have a great big car it would be amazing if you could spare a thought for the cars parked next to you and whether they will be able to get into their car when they return! I’ve lost track of the times I haven’t been able to get in my car on the driver’s side when returning to a car park but luckily have been able to climb over. Also we know you are banging our doors to get in and out of your car, you aren’t fooling anyone!!!!

To all the people who steal number plates so they can get petrol for free. It costs the best part of £100 to replace the plates and everyone else has to pay for their petrol. Why should I have to replace my plates at a cost so you can steal and drive up the petrol prices to cover the losses???

To all the people who steal cars – why???? They cost us a lot of hard-earned money, we buy them for a reason. We rely on them for our every day life. We use it for work, to take our kids to school, to go to hospital appointments and a million other reasons. What gives you the right to take it from us??? Why can’t you save up like the rest of us and buy yourself a car???  Why should we, after working hard and saving up be denied the right to our car because you want to take something that isn’t yours???

Do you have any idea how much time it takes to deal with getting a replacement car and getting your things back if it is recovered??? Do you have any idea how much time you spend with insurance companies trying to get a deal for the money back for your car, only then to have to spend more time looking for a replacement if you can afford it?? Sometimes a car is worth nothing to anyone else but you, as you can’t afford to replace it, so when someone steals it for fun and then leaves you unable to replace it, how is that fair???? Would you want someone to do that to you or someone you know????

To all the people who think it’s funny to stick a brick through someone’s car window, it isn’t funny. It costs people money and I’m damn sure if someone did it to you, you wouldn’t see the funny side. Damaging cars costs people money and it isn’t a joke, if you want to have fun buy a pack of cards don’t damage someone’s property.

I was a kid once and never felt the need to cause criminal damage to have a laugh. But it isn’t always kids, adults can be just as bad or worse if you add into the fact they are old enough to know better.

I sound like a grumpy old sod but I really do think if we all had a little bit more consideration for the people around us we would all have a better time of it. I like to go out, complete my journey and come home safely I don’t think that is too much to ask.

I jokingly put these observations as questions but lately as I’ve seen more and more bad driving, I have been tempted to pull someone over and ask why they just did that stupid thing. I suspect it wouldn’t be a clever thing to do but I really am curious as to what goes through their minds. I suspect not a lot, it becomes habit more than anything, a way of cutting corners in their mind to get to work or home that little bit quicker.

Sure some people have genuinely been caught out and need to cut in by mistake but the majority I suspect are doing it every day in the same places at the same time. I can’t help but wonder how many times they get away with it before their luck runs out and they have an accident. Not that I’m wishing it on anyone, but by the law of averages, who knows.

It takes one lapse of judgement one time to change your life or that of the people around you. We all tread that line from time to time. Maybe if we all took a second to have a rethink the roads would be a safer place for us all and that can only be a good thing.

Healthcare Decisions…

It’s something we never really think of talking about. No one ever wants to admit that one day we might not be able to make our own decisions anymore and that we will need someone to be trusted with them on our behalf. Let’s face it no one wants to think that one day we will die, even though we all know it’s the case.

It could happen to us at any age, for any number of reasons and could affect us in a million different ways but one day there is a chance that our lives will change and we could become a prisoner to our bodies.

Do the people you love know your thoughts on the matter? Does someone know where to find the details for your bank accounts, will, bills and personal effects?

My sister is a solicitor and she recommends everyone should have a LPA for their Financial Affairs and Healthcare issues. It costs a lot of money to log both in the correct way and I can see why people don’t but I can also see why it would be important.

We’ve been asked to make many healthcare decisions lately on behalf of my Nan. She has been party in her own way to the decisions but you wouldn’t think of some of the choices you could be asked to make.

I couldn’t help but think about it for myself. The Rip Off Britain show this week was talking about leaving a digital inventory so that you can pass on your music, photos, social media etc with your will. There is a link to

On the Rip Off Britain website which has a lot of interesting information on there.

In this day and age we have so many different aspects to our lives that it is worth taking some time to think and write down your feelings and thoughts about how you would like your affairs to be managed. I would also suggest making it easy on your loved ones by letting them know where the important paperwork etc can be found in the event they need to assist you. It might just make things a lot easier for all concerned one day.

But remember once you’ve had the chat, go to the pub or do something fun and carry on living your life to the best of your ability. Because we are all here once, (or more if you believe) we don’t want to spend all our time thinking of the boring stuff!

 

Taking a Chance….

I had to pick up a parcel in town today and by chance I looked in the bookshop window. They were advertising a job with flexible hours and for more information you had to enquire within.

Due to my caring arrangements I haven’t been able to work in the last year. At first I was looking to set up a business but couldn’t find a profitable model. Then I was looking for work but with appointments piling up I couldn’t really focus. Now I feel like I need something to take my mind off everything else.

I thought about looking for part-time work but with appointments coming on any day of the week it is hard to be able to commit to set days and hours. Not many people will be keen to employ someone who is a carer as I’ll be seen as unreliable when in fact it takes a lot of reliability to be a carer!

I couldn’t get the bookshop job out of my head. A minimum of 10 hours per week, I could manage that around what I do now. There would be weeks where I could do more but life is on a day-to-day basis most of the time. I wonder when the weather turns colder what the reality will be but that is a future I can’t see.

So I took a chance. I sent a cover letter explaining my situation, love of books and that I was ready to work 10 hours a week with the possibility of more. I rushed to the post box and got it out first class in tonight’s mail. The lady in the shop said the recruitment people would be there on Thursday to consider applications so it should be there in plenty of time.

I do worry what impact my sabbatical will have on my future career prospects but maybe this job is just what I need. I’ve always thought working in a book shop would be amazing. I could certainly use some regular income. Maybe in the run up to Xmas I could pick up more hours and that would solve the headache of being able to afford presents for family.

But more than all that I need a sense of something other than illness and the mental decline of my close relative in my life. I want to be able to think about something other than hospitals, doctors and nurses and remembering all the medical conditions, medications and outcomes of appointments.

I don’t even know what I want to do as a career anymore. I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I’d say I have a business mind, I’ve certainly offered ideas to my employers in the past that have worked out well for them. I just haven’t found a formula that works for me yet.

My cousins Mum thinks I should work with kids as I’m good with them. Kids are easy, I’m the eldest of 4 so I’m used to dealing with them. Plus it helps that a big part of me never really grew up and I like getting to play with all the cool toys we didn’t have when I was little.

But as a career I’m just not sure. I always thought I would have kids one day but I don’t think I will anymore. Maybe working with kids will cure that need. But I doubt it would be as fun as I imagine it will.

My Mum thinks it’s a good idea and that I should open either a childminders or children’s nursery, she even offered to help fund some premises to start me off. But as a business I just don’t know. Sure they charge a lot for the services they provide but that just makes me think that they either want to make big profits or that having a nursery comes with big overheads.

I know someone who was a childminder so maybe I’ll pick her brains next time we’re out and see what she thinks. I know a company that does training courses but as they forced me out would I want to give them my money?! I know people who live locally who have small children who maybe interested in getting involved. I’m due a catch up with one of them who thinks there is a market for my children’s cross stitch designs.

Then there was the suggestion that I trained to be a conveyancer as my sisters law firm are struggling to keep up with demand due to not enough people being qualified and available. I could potentially fill a gap that exists but it means studying full-time for 2 years and probably a hefty sum of money. Plus I may not have enough qualifications to be able to apply for the course. It sounds good as I would basically be self-employed and have time to pursue other things with a steady income stream but it’s not clear-cut. I have to wait until the next years syllabus is decided before being able to see if I qualify to enroll.

I just don’t know. I wish I had a crystal ball to see into the future so I can see if it all works out ok. I’m not really ready to commit to training for something which will probably cost me quite a bit of money and then not be able to get a job using that skill.

I think for the time being 10 hours a week selling books would be a really good thing for me. Getting my mind back into being a useful member of staff and chatting to new people might just kick-start some things for me.

I guess I need to keep my fingers crossed and hope my honesty will pay off and they give me a chance. I figured it was better to be upfront than try to hide the fact I have a years gap in my CV.

Wish me luck!!

The Stresses of Dealing With Alzheimers Dementia…

We had a bad week. My Nan’s blood pressure dropped, she was faint and dizzy with no energy. It ended with her being admitted to hospital to combat an infection.

It was there that we finally got to find out the status of her cancer. It has spread but no more than the scan in April, so that is something. However, the Doctor made it clear that is wasn’t good.

I spent a day trying to build her up to get her through an appointment with the Palliative Care Team, only for her to be pain-free whilst they were there and in agony shortly after they left. So no special pain patches.

It is so hard to find anything that she interested in eating. Her appetite is that of a sparrow. Recently we have observed her breaking the food into small pieces so she thinks she has eaten more than she has or chewing but taking it out of her mouth. The hospital dietitian told me that is the trick of an anorexic.

I made her some scrambled egg on toast. Well 2 tablespoons of egg and half a slice of buttered toast. She moaned over every mouthful. I tried to put on some ketchup but they didn’t have any, the best I could do was a toffee flavoured dietary drink. I felt bad passing it off as ketchup but she finished the egg and ate probably half the toast, so it worked out in the end.

I keep trying her on different yoghurt and high calorie single pot desserts. We had some success with fruit yoghurt but only for a short time, after a couple of weeks she wouldn’t touch them.

I tried a different tack and trawled the supermarket for sour desserts, in particular gooseberry fool which I’d heard of but had no idea what it is. I eventually found it in the second store I tried. She is now a fan of gooseberry fool and lemon fool which are a mousse. She will also eat a small pot of petit filous style yoghurt but only occasionally.

For lunch I gave her a quarter of a banana chopped small with a spoonful of ice cream. She ate the ice cream no worries but the banana was a challenge as she said it was all black. It wasn’t until I showed her the rest of the banana and proved it was just the middle that she ate it.

I gave her quiche and vegetables for dinner. I tried her with boiled potatoes, carrot slices chopped small and broccoli. I wanted to see if she was struggling with textures so I gave her whole vegetables and also mashed some together using a big dollop of marg for extra calories. She favoured the mashed veg and ate the whole slice of quiche which was only a small slice, but randomly she covered the plate in beef gravy so maybe toffee sauce wasn’t the weirdest thing she ate that day.

For dessert she had a couple of peach slices in syrup cut up small with the rest of the sliced banana, a spoonful of ice cream and the rest of the toffee drink poured over the top. That went down well.

I tried to give her something to eat about every hour and in the end she had managed to eat more in one day than she had in a long time.

We go to see the dietitian this week, they have sent her samples to try of various flavoured juices, flavoured milks and desserts, all of which are high calorie, to see what she likes so we can order them. She seems to like most flavours of the drinks and desserts which is good.

At the moment she will drink one of the milkshake style drinks almost all in one go but complain the whole time it is too much for her to drink. It can be entertaining when it isn’t wearing you down!

It isn’t about getting her to put on weight, it’s about stopping her from losing any more. Although I have no idea what she actually weighs, I was told 69kg in January, 60kg in June but in hospital last week she was 42kg which seems frightening.

After 3 days of being pumped full of fluids at the hospital she was feeling good. Now they are starting to wear off she is showing signs of deteriorating again, unless we can get her to change her ways and start eating more. Which is easier said than done.

Unlike what I have read about some people with Alzheimer’s her issue is not forgetting to eat. She will say everyday at around 5 o’clock what are we having for dinner. She knows she needs to eat. Her issue is her mind is stuck in the loop of years ago, pre-cancer when she was a large woman who ate a full plate of dinner and food throughout the day.

She says she makes a dinner every night and eats all of it as she enjoys her food but the reality is she barely eats anything and can barely remember how to cook. She claims to eat sandwiches, although she hasn’t eaten one in years, she barely touches meat and just even eggs seem to be off the menu. Either I make something for them or my granddad cooks. We are slowly showing him how to make basic dinners and he is coping well.

We met a dietitian in the hospital who told her she needs to listen to her granddaughter because she knows what she is talking about and she needs to eat the food we make her. It was nice to hear I am doing the right thing.

I’m quite bullish with her, I won’t let her get away with pushing the food about and playing with it. I watch over her to make sure she eats it, no matter how long it takes. It feels wrong to be tough with her but I think sometimes she responds better to being tough than suggesting she eats.

She also seems to eat better if food and drink just appear without asking whether she wants something. I often don’t tell her what it is as she seems to have an excuse for why she can’t eat it if she knows what it is. I just tell her it’s good for her and she needs to eat it.

She is starting to be more like a toddler than an adult, you have to think what you would do with a small child and that seems to work better. Only she doesn’t always respond to the 2 more mouthfuls and you can leave it routine. When she only eats 2 to 4 small mouthfuls of anything asking her to eat another 2 doesn’t really help.

She accused me of trying to destroy her life because I gave her a high calorie dessert to eat. I’m not sure how you can respond to that. Most people would see a dessert as a nice treat! I turned around a minute later and she had eaten it all, drunk all her drink and was washing it up so it couldn’t have been that bad!

Her outbursts are becoming more common. She swears a lot at me and Granddad but I think that is because we are the ones who are around the most. Still sometimes it is very hard to take. Sometimes you can just walk away and remember it’s not really her but others it is hard to not want to say something to her, even though you are wasting your breath.

Her trip to the hospital really took it out of me. I was doing the running around, visiting, cooking and shopping with Granddad, only to get to the hospital and be told to ‘F off’. Charming! She thought we were all enjoying ourselves instead of having sleepless nights, stress, worry and feeling like a zombie. I had to take a day to myself when she was released as I was so physically drained I didn’t feel safe to drive.

I came home the night before and got my key stuck in the door, it just needs a little wiggle and it comes out but I was so worn out I burst into tears. It took a good 5 minutes of heavy crying for me to calm down, all because I couldn’t take a second to get my key out the door. I don’t know how I managed to drive home that night I was barely awake.

Luckily we had already arranged for my mum to get her from the hospital as she had only been cleared to go at visiting time and they needed time to get her ready to leave. She wasn’t even ready when my mum got there to pick her up even though they knew what time she would be there.

This is likely to be the future for us. The doctor said she will probably get more infections which will be harder to recover from and need longer stays in hospital. Eating and drinking more would help to starve that off for a bit but who knows when the cancer will grow again or where.

I worry about the change in weather. The hot summer days have already passed her by in 2 piece woollens, thick jumpers and winter coats. What will she be like when it is actually cold?! I guess that is what happens when you shrink to practically skin over bone, a talking, walking (shuffling) skeleton if you will.

I’m hoping that once the appointments quieten down I will at least be able to start job hunting again. Not having anything to do other than being a carer isn’t always easy. Especially when I don’t qualify for financial assistance. I’m not even sure I could do part-time work as the appointments can be on any day of the week.

At least I have my writing and hobbies to keep me relaxed and that helps to make me feel a bit more useful. There is the possibility to do a few small things on that front which will help a bit at least. Other than that, someone always needs something done so I can be in demand as a lacky at least!

I think maybe that’s why it gets to me so much when she accuses me of trying to kill her. She has no concept of the fact that I have put my life on hold to look after her, when I needed to be building my career. I will now have a big employment gap and need to find a way to cover it up without making me look like I have the possibility of being unreliable. It worries me sometimes but as I couldn’t have planned for what happened to me leading up to where we are now there is nothing I can do about it.

In the greater scheme of things the current situation won’t be forever. I just need to make the most of the time that I have now and hope that in the future it won’t hold me back too much. That really would be incredibly unfair.

 

 

Can You Help Battle Dementia By Playing Sea Hero Quest?…

I read an article the other day about a game you can download free and the time you spend playing helps with Dementia research.

Play Sea Hero Quest and #gameforgood

It sounded like an interesting idea so I downloaded the game and started to rack up some playing time. You are asked to provide some very basic and anonymous data about yourself as a baseline for the research and as you play you are reminded of the contribution you are making.

The game is very easy to play, it is mostly remembering and carrying out simple instructions which means that virtually everyone can play. Each level is quite short so if you have 5 minutes to spare in between meetings it will fit in nicely with that.

But the best part is that your 5 minutes of fun and relaxation could one day help the scientists find a cure for Dementia. That can only be a good thing, right??

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