Term has ended and E managed to attend every day for six weeks! We are so pleased with her and she is very proud of herself too. She has found a really nice group of friends and is starting to relax and enjoy life. She is on track with two out of the four subjects she is studying and just needs to do a little extra work to catch-up in Art. The one subject that needs a lot of work is her Maths but I am hoping that R and I can persuade her to get on with that during the Christmas break. She is going into college next Tuesday for an Art catch-up day which will be a great help.
I have got most of my present-buying done but I haven’t started on the card-writing yet. I must clean the house properly as it has only had a lick and a promise lately and then we can put the decorations up. I must also start baking and freezing food in advance to save time later.
R has one more week at work and then has two weeks annual leave. He had a hospital appointment during the week for a bone-density scan in case he has started to get osteoporosis. This is part of the investigation he has to under-go because of the tumour on his pituitary gland. He has two separate hospital appointments next week, one to see if his adrenal gland is working properly and the other at the eye clinic. We are not sure if the eye clinic appointment is to do with his pituitary problem (the gland is very close to the optic nerve) or whether it is a routine check-up. He has keratoconus (conical corneas) and has to wear special contact lenses.
My eldest daughter Alice, will be coming home on Christmas Eve and will stay until New Year’s Eve. My sister is visiting on Monday and I hope to be seeing my brother sometime soon too. Mum seems to be fine at the moment. I took her Christmas shopping in Norwich on Tuesday and then we did her usual grocery shopping on Wednesday. I will take her to church tomorrow. She hasn’t been for weeks, sadly – I haven’t been able to take her as I’ve had other duties and there is no-one else around it seems, who could do it either. This is very unfortunate especially as she takes great comfort from her church attendance. Mum and Dad, when he was alive, give and gave so much of their time and skill to that church that I am surprised that she can be forgotten so easily. Mum got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a lady at the church asking if Mum could provide a cake for the Christmas Bazaar. Mum said she was happy to but had no means of getting the cake to the church. She was told that that would be no problem. Someone would come and collect it and as there was a funeral of an old friend of my father’s on the same day as the bazaar, Mum would get a lift to that as well. Mum made two cakes and phoned and left a message to say she had made them. She phoned on the day of the bazaar and left another message. No-one came and no-one has been in touch to apologise. She is 84 and has very little money to spare and very little energy to spare either. I am hoping that she will get an apology tomorrow.
I have become very tired because of the extra driving I have had to do lately. I have driven over 11,000 miles since the beginning of September, spending on average 4 hours a day in the car. The days I take Mum out as well as doing the double journey to Norwich and back I spend nearer to 5.5 hours in the car. I have bought a lot of petrol, filling the tank every five days. Fortunately the price of petrol has gone down recently – at the moment it is 118.9 pence per litre here. I am still trying to do my household chores but I have had to give up my gardening. I haven’t even had time to feed the birds for weeks and weeks. Tiredness has made me grumpy, prone to upset stomachs, prone to tears and a ‘Scrooginess’ comes over me when I have to think about Christmas.
Today, however, has been such a pleasant one. We woke to another clear and frosty morning. R and I enjoyed a relaxed breakfast and then I drove us to Bungay so that we could collect the Christmas wreath I had ordered a week or so ago. We haven’t been out together for some while so this walk through the town made a nice change. R bought a newspaper and we returned home.
E had a hair appointment to go to in Halesworth at 1.00 pm so this time R drove us. We walked with her to the hairdressers and then went to buy some dried ingredients for R’s soup-making from a delicatessen in the Thoroughfare. In most English towns the main street is known as the High Street but in Suffolk many towns call their main street the ‘thoroughfare’. We called in at a café and had coffee and then, as there was still about a quarter of an hour until E would be finished we walked up Rectory Lane back to the Market Place. This is a narrow alleyway that runs behind the Thoroughfare from the north of the town to the south.
Halesworth is quite a busy market town but as you can see, even on a Saturday afternoon less than two weeks before Christmas some peace and quiet can be had.
We returned to our car and almost immediately E joined us looking lovely with her neatly cut and straightened hair. We drove to Holton, a village on the outskirts of Halesworth where we usually buy our Christmas tree at a farm. We quickly found a suitable one and took it home with us.
R will trim a little off the base of the trunk and a couple of the lower branches and then fit it into the tree stand after we have soaked it for a few days. We will bring it into the house in a few days time and then decorate it. This is the first year that Alice hasn’t been here to help us.