Jan. 2nd, 2009

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Wednesday wasn't only the end of 2008 for us, it was the end of an era.  John has had very little business for the past six months and has still had to shell out for expensive Goods in Transit insurance as well as ordinary car insurance and car tax.  The van was in need of an expensive repair to the heating system, which it would have been senseless to have done with no business coming in, and it meant that if he did get a job, he would have to do it without benefit of a heater, which isn't really on for a man of 71 in the coldest winter we've had for ages, unless the load was something he could squeeze into Lucy.

So on Wednesday a chap turned up with a low loader and took away the van which would have had to be taxed the following day.  It won't make a lot of difference to us financially, because there's been very little business during the past year and hardly any in the last six months, and, of course, we won't have to find the money to tax, insure and maintain the van, but I think John feels a bit fed up and sad.  It's also rather strange to be a one-vehicle family again, although I didn't have a car for over a year after my mastectomy, but at least we knew that that was temporary.  A van is a very useful thing to have available, too.  The neighbours will have to find someone else to move their bits and pieces about for nothing, as well.

I feel a bit miffed, because I've only just managed to wrest driving control back from John;  he tends to want to take me somewhere in my car,  leave me there and then come back later when I've finished what I'm doing.  This isn't always convenient for me as I often get left on a cold windy corner for 15 to 30 minutes and it isn't really necessary, either, because I have a Blue Badge and could just as easily park and come back to the car when I'm ready.  I haven't mentioned it, although it's been irritating me slightly, but I think we're going to have to have a frank conversation about it soon.  I don't think he realises it, but it seems like a subtle form of control to me.  Not only that, but, and I'm sure this has never occurred to him, we bought Lucy because she was very comfortable for me to drive.  It's far less comfortable being a passenger, from the point of view of seat width, and somewhere to put my feet without hurting my knees.  I'm very grateful when he voluntarily drives me down to the Midlands for my Community Transport Board Meetings, but I rather like driving myself about if it's not much further than 50 miles away.  I know I must sound like such an ungrateful b***h!

This also means that I'm going to have to keep thinking of things for him to do to prevent him from simply lying about on his bed reading or watching TV.  It's difficult to think of jobs for a man of his age and temperament.  I wonder if he'd like being a lollipop man!

It's not that I'm against a bit of indolence as such, but he can get so that he hardly moves except from bed to desk, or bed to dining table and back, and I don't really think it's very good for him.  I've suggested today that he might like to join the Lit and Phil now, since he won't be spending money on the van, then we could go down there together and he would find plenty to interest him.  We'd have to sit at separate tables, though!  We wouldn't have to worry about heating the house while we were out, either, because Charles is more likely to want the fan on than the heating, even in the depths of winter.  I used to be like that, too.  Sigh!

Charles is still over the moon about his new video card and must thank me at least once a day for it.  He's cheered up even more now that he can play modern computer games which need a lot of RAM and a good video card.

We had our New Year's Dinner yesterday, rather than on New Year's Eve and the beef was wonderful as was everything else except the Gluten Free yorkshire puddings.  They looked like hockey pucks and they were a ghastly doughy, gluey consistency;  the worst thing was that you could chew them for several minutes without being able to get rid of them.  No!  On second thought, the worst thing was that they didn't soak up the delicious gravy at all!  Charles said that next time I must make my normal ones and he will only have a couple rather than his normal plateful.

Tonight we had delicious, pink, thinly sliced beef with sprouts fried with bacon, sliced new potatoes and chestnuts.  Lovely!  There's a lot of beef left so tomorrow I'm going to slice it thinly and freeze it in packs suitable for two sandwiches, rather than leave it in the fridge getting drier and drier which we usually tend to do.  I don't want to waste one crumb of this expensive joint!

It will be a bit of a relief, in a way, to get back to normal everyday food, lovely though the festive food has been.  I think we're all looking forward to spag. bol. tomorrow and "chicken dish" on Sunday!  We still have masses of Christmas cake to eat and since it disagreed with Charles, it's down to John and me.  Maybe I should cut that into slices and freeze it, too, except that I don't think there's enough room in the freezer.  One thing we haven't had enough of, apparently is mince pies and I've been commissioned to make a fresh batch this weekend.

Today I finally went shopping for the first time in eleven days.  I only went to Lidl and got fresh fruit and vegetables, though, with a few odds and ends we had run out of, like butter and my breakfast yoghurts.  It was nice to get a little fresh air, I must say.

I start back at cardiac rehab next week and my writing group the following week, so things will gradually return to normal.  I have got shopping I want to do, but I can't face the City Centre or the Metro Centre while they're in the grip of Sales fever.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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