B-DAY PLUS 150

SOMNOLENT SATURDAY

Really, it should be Saturday-super-cleaning day !   But if we are confessing all, then the cleaning took just a couple of hours, and the feeling-very-lazy-in-the-heat took the rest of the day!

After our necessary shopping this morning, and a bit of cleaning, we settled down for a wonderfully idle day.  But no! I am telling a fib!

DSC02768I did do a bit of character-boosting, and gave my nails the Summer look that they have been used to over the last few years.  I used to really look down on people who were hussy enough to paint their toe-nails, but then one birthday, Lex and Dan gave me a bag of different coloured nail polishes!  I really don’t like the stuff on my fingernails, so I experimented with my toes.  And I loved the effect!  We have Chinese bazaars in every town and village here in Spain, and they sell the most amazing stuff to coat the varnish for different effects, and it has become quite a cult. I put sparkles on mine.  As we spend the  whole summer in skimpy sandals (or bare feet at home), feet are important and preferably should  look good.

But then, in my drive to cut out all chemicals from my life, I read that there is something in nail polish that seeps into the system.  I have copied a typical comment:

  • ”  Dr Thu Quach is an epidemiologist from Stanford University

  • Says nail care products contain toxic and potentially hazardous ingredients

  • Toulene, formaldehyde and ibutyl phthalate are known as the ‘toxic trio’

  • Says exposure to these chemicals can damage nervous system, hormones and have been linked with illnesses like cancer and fertility problems .”

When I looked at “safe” alternatives, the cost is about six times as much as run-of-the-mill colours.  And then I researched even more and found that a lot of these so-called safe polishes are not safe at all, and still contain harmful ingredients, which not only have the above effects but are causing all sorts of devastating problems in salon workers who are exposed to a lot of these toxins day in and day out. Depression, memory failure, hormone inbalance,  etc..

Another study finds that finds that nail polishes can contain a suspected endocrine disruptor called triphenyl phopshte, or TPHP.  In animals, this disrupts the reproductive and development processes.  How worrying is this effect when so many teenage girls plaster the stuff on their 20 nails!

My allergy problems have been remarkably different this summer, since I have taken a lot of steps to strengthen my immune system and attempted to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from my diet and home.  It’s been a real treat!  So much so that I have resisted the temptation to colour my nails this year  –   so far!   The studies seem to say that the effect is very bad for pregnant ladies and the very young.  As I am neither of these, I decided to take a risk.   The cheery effect of looking at happy feet will hopefully counteract the nastinesses !

Meanwhile, any hint of a sniffle, and I shall be there with the remover!  AND I shall continue to try to find a properly safe alternative,  grit my teeth and pay the price !

There’s something to while away the hot afternoons then ! Sit in the cool office and do a bit of internet shopping.

 

 

B-DAY PLUS 149

FAFFING  ABOUT  FRIDAY

Poor Rod.  I woke up after a disturbing dream in a really bad mood, but luckily it was matched by his GOOD mood, so all ended well without any falling out!  A good old stomp around the mountains ( getting harder by the day since I took daily walking up again after such a lazy time ), breakfast , a good old spray with the relaxing essential oils, a stiff coffee,  and good harmony was restored.

It took me almost all morning to get all my stuff in my sewing room put away in order to make  it a nice room for our younger guests.  If ever we do move, I shall push for a house with a designated hobbies room for me, where I can relax and spread  myself out undisturbed!  Pie in the sky?  Probably.

It was Pepe’s turn to take us out for lunch today, and he surprised us by taking us to the Restaurant Vall del Pop, just a stone’s throw from DSC02763our house.  What a marvellous meal we had!  A little old man, who was a little old man when we moved here to Spain, cooks everything on a great big barbeque in his kitchen, and it tastes just great.  Rod and Pepe went on and on and on,  telling each other how fantastic it all had been.  A very successful interlude!

Temperatures are soaring again, (36 degrees  in the car ) but there is still quite a cool wind around our house.  It’s enough to keep the pool water at 30 degrees,  – quite hot enough!

The garden is suffering from all this heat, so I spent part of the evening giving the plants a good old spray with the hose. This is a good wheeze, as the old hose nozzle can be relies on to leak and douse the hoser in a lovely cooing spray.

I make sure they all my plant friends get a good shower to wash off all that dust, tell them they are wonderful and give them all a good guzzle.  Water is scarce here, so usually they all exist on kitchen waste water, which usually has bits of dross in it, vegetable waste and even soap. so they must be thinking it’s their birthday!  Whilst I was down near the cactus, I DSC02752noticed it still had bits of white fluffy stuff on it.  A lot of these big cacti around here are collapsing with mortal fatigue, covered in this fluff.  I planted this one in our garden during the first months we were here in Spain, so I would be sorry to lose it.  I turned the hose to power jet and  got rid of all the white, as indeed I did a couple of weeks ago when I last had the hose out.  I had no idea whether this was the right thing,  but now it’s all clean once more.

DSC02765Google triumphs again!  It seems the fluff is caused by a cochineal scale insect, and squirting them off is the entirely the right thing to do.  I left my fluff on the ground to get dried up by the sun, but apparently you are supposed to scrape it up “and dispose of it”.  Perhaps I’ll get around to that if the problem doesn’t go away.  These are the same insects that used to be commonly used to the red make food dye called cochineal, and were brought to Europe by travellers who were impressed by the beautiful red fabrics of the Americas.  Then synthetic food dyes booted out the need for the harvesting of this little insect, but who knows what will happen now that there is a carcinogen risk attached to all these synthetic dyes?

 

 

 

 

B-DAY PLUS 148

THURSDAY JULY 28TH.

The holiday is over, and we are back to setting everything in place for the visitors.  Yesterday evening’s sundowners on the naya are just a distant memory …..

DSC02755

Philip Green can keep his three yachts – how much better can it get than an iced vodka and orange juice taken on a warm evening by one’s own pool with someone you are at ease with and who is a dab hand at making these things?

Whilst we were out buying beach chairs and drinks glasses for our guests, we called in to the post office in Jalón to collect a parcel.  What a cheery parcel!  Here’s the story ……

A couple of months ago,  I told Pepe to get his hat into the wash, as it was grubbier than a grub in the Slough of Despond.  He did this, and DSC02706then bemoaned the fact that it was now only fit for the bin, as it had fallen to pieces in the washing machine.  BUT this was a very special Tilley hat, bought for Pepe by Sue and Mike on his 80th birthday

I looked inside, and sure enough, the label was still intact …..

DSC02759

And there it was – the guarantee !  It clearly said that the hat should never wear out. I emailed  the photograph and tale of woe to Tilley in Canada.  They immediately rang me and asked for details, explaining that they would happily replace it , but postage from Canada would have to be paid. Yes – agreement reached, we sat down to see the postage money go out of the bank (18€ )  and await the new hat.

DSC02756

 

Today it arrived !

 

DSC02757What a happy chappie  !   I looked up the cost of this hat on Amazon, and it’s 69 pounds !  How amazing that the company just accepted what had happened and with the utmost politeness and swiftness, proved true to their word, and replaced the old hat!  These hats are really in a class of their own.  Rod and I both bought one when we went on our world trek, wore them every single day of the six months to keep off rain  and sun, and they still look good.  Pepe’s old one fell off his head at the donkey sanctuary and a big donkey tried to eat it.  He got through the under-chin cord, but even his big teeth didn’t harm the hat!!

What lovely people these Tilley people are !

All this set me to remembering our six months with rucksack.  It took me hours to get this photo today, of us with our hats on in Thailand.  Not to find it – just to slowly look through the album – 20 years ago!

EPSON MFP image
EPSON MFP image

B-DAY PLUS 147

HOLIDAY – DAY 2 !

It’s the second day of our 2-day holiday !  What a difference it makes to the day, just knowing that it’s holiday time and you don’t have any responsibilities at all !

As I am on holiday – I am sending a genuine old postcard to all my friends:

(I love the way she’s gone to the beach in stockings and smart heeled shoes! )

Off I went at first light to do my mountain walk, then came back, had lovely breakfast, then started to play with my roundhouse.  I wanted to decorate it and start to put the finishing touches on it ..

DSC02753

This is the wall that faces to the west.  According to the shamanic tradition, each of the four directions has a different energy, and I am still working my way through Dr Alberto Villoldo’s series of books describing all this.  Since I spent time in Peru, journeying on my own through many different parts, I have developed a great sympathy for their traditions.  Alberto is am interesting chap.  He is an American psychologist who has spent years in Peru and has learned so much, he now is known as a master shaman.

West is the direction of water energy – hence the seashells and pebbles from the beach, and its colour is blue.  The bottles are wine ones of course – but I reckon that’s near enough !

North conveys energy of the Earth, South invokes fire energy, and East is the direction of air – hence the lovely swan’s feathers.

DSC02754This roundhouse will be my own “sacred space”, where I can be peaceful and absorb all these healing energies, and become all calm and  healed.  Lovely.

I know I am very lucky to have this beautiful space, where only good things will happen, and I treasure it.

Having enjoyed all this, we then continued our holiday by going out to lunch!  Just a small bit of tapas and a big beer, – sitting overlooking Benissa in Bar Nou, and we felt  very relaxed and holiday-ish.

Try as I might to only think nice holiday thoughts, the mood was a bit spoilt by Rod and I discussing the reported antics of Sir Philip Green, ex-chief of British Home Stores.  He is still the chairman of Arcadia Group, a retail company that includes Topshop, Topman, Wallis, Evans, Burton, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, and Outfit, but he is in the news a lot these days because of his treatment of BHS staff.  He bought BHS in 2000 for 200million pounds, and sold it in 2015 for 1 pound.  Now that looks fishy for a start.  Not only did he sell it to the only buyer he could find (he had permitted it to go so far downhill), but he sold it to someone eminently likely to milk it even dryer and allow it to go bust.

Amongst all the debts on the table when it did fold, were 571 million pounds deficit in the employee pension pot, a figure just slightly less than the amount the Greens had taken out of the company whilst they had it.  It is this which has got people really up in arms.  He and his wife own a  new 100-million pound 4-storey yacht and a 20 million pound private jet which he uses to commute from his main home in Monaco.  Since his wife is a resident there, and on paper owns Arcadia, not a scrap of tax reaches the British taxman.   By the end of this month, all BHS branches will have closed down and the 11,000 employees will be out of work.  As this happens, Philip Green is photographed on one of his palatial yachts ,  (he owns THREE)  enjoying his “holiday”.  Not very tactful, Sir Philip, when there are 22.000 pensioners watching their pension pot get smaller and smaller.

I cannot see how anyone, reputedly worth about 4 billion pounds, can sit back and not do anything about this.  WHY does he NEED all this money?  He likes to party, but does he need all this amount in order to do that?  How does he ease his conscience when so many people work so hard to make a living and pay all the taxes due in order for the country to be a good place for everyone living there?

I have no objection at all to people working hard and making a pot of money.  But I hope they stand back and see the big picture: one that features them standing with the rest of humanity on a shared planet.  Does he watch the news?  Does he see all those poor refugees who trek for months with their families, with no firm idea of where they are going, only that it’s away from the daily threat of starvation or murder. The little children who will be facing another cold winter with no proper shoes on their feet and no bed to snuggle  into. Just an odd billion or two would not be missed by the Greens, and would go a long way to restoring their faith in humanity.

And a mere drop in the ocean would give the BHS pensioners back the means to live with self esteem.

Facebook is full of pleas for readers to boycott Arcadia and to stay away from Topshop.  The Green skin is clearly very thick.  Would it feel the scratch?

I am closing with this picture, just in case Sir Phil idles away a spare afternoon looking at blogs like mine.  Can anyone look at the terror on this boy’s face and not feel moved ???

B-DAY PLUS 146

TUESDAY – HOLIDAY DAY ONE !

Day one of our mini-break, and it has been marvellous!

It all started with a walk over the hills.

DSC02748

Who could fail to be cheery when they have this fantastic view to breathe in first thing in the morning?  By chance, this afternoon I came across a list my old mate Deepak Chopra has made ;  6 things you thought you knew about aging that aren’t true.  I intend to consider each one over the next few days, considering my revelation about Tom Cruise being 54 the other day.

“Myth #3: Your body gets frail as you age

Why it’s not true:

Your body doesn’t have to get frail when you get older. You can increase both the strength and mass of your muscles and even improve bone density through exercises and weight-training. Within six weeks of beginning to exercise, studies show 100 to 200 percent increase in strength in men aged 60 to 70. And walking for 30 minutes, five days a week, can add more than seven years to your life, according to a recent Harvard University study.”

I often go through phases of walking the amount he says, and I always feel better for it.  Walking seems to unlock my poor  old back, –  so why do I continue to fall out of  the habit?  I enjoy it, I come back happy, –  yet sometimes I can’t get myself out the door.  It’s particularly hard when it’s so hot.

Today is the first day of the Daily Walk then.

I walked briskly to the top of the hill, sat on a stone and took some deep yoga breaths and admired the view:

DSC02749

Then I walked briskly home again, had a nice breakfast, and packed for the beach.  leaving at 9.30, we got there in plenty of time to park and bag a good spot ion the beach.  I admired the view again:

DSC02750This isn’t your typical Spanish holiday beach.  There are no cafes, ice-cream shops or bars –  only peace !

When we had had enough, we went and had lunch at the nearby Wok.  The view was good here too:

DSC02751

Then home mid-afternoon to begin the siesta.  In the evening we sat outside as the sun went down with a big cold holiday drink.

What a marvellous holiday!

 

B-DAY PLUS 147

MONDAY JULY 25TH

It’s Monday ! It’s usually our day at the seaside, but because two things are stopping us today, we have postponed the beach trip until tomorrow.

Thing one:

Since we got back from the UK, Pepe has been as deaf as the proverbial doorpost.  His ears have been all blocked up as a result  of the cold he suffered in the UK, and because this meant that his hearing aid got dirty, he tried to clean it and damaged it.  Last time his ears were blocked, my essential oil mix did the trick within a day, but this time so amount of trying with different recipes would do any good.  So conversation has been difficult and our house has been juddering with the noise from his television down below.  Often it has been even heard above our own tele!  But now, today,  the nurse has attacked the ears with a huge enormous metal syringe, and all is well.  We are just waiting for the hearing aid to come back from the menders and all will be even weller!

Thing two:

Since I had a surprising failure to stay the course of the scanning tube at the hospital a few weeks ago, I have been waiting for another appointment for them to give me some knockout drops and slide me back into the tube.  All in an attempt to find out why my back is so painful.   I rang to complain about the long wait to hear from the hospital, and they gave me an  appointment for today, but I was not at all clear why.

So, taking a leap of faith,  we got there this afternoon and a nice nurse-of-very-few-words, DSC02747took blood pressure and gave me an ECG., before sending me on  my way with a promise of a appointment-booking phone call after a month.  I have waited so many months, I suppose a few more won’t matter.  It was a very hot day, so we went inn Rod’s Smart Roadster.  He’s still very proud of this little car, even though it’s now 12 years old.  It’s probably the longest he’s ever kept a car, as he is always the one who likes to renew things once they have lost their newness. I  , on the other hand, like to keep things, and in this instance I can see no point at all in selling a car with relatively little mileage on the clock and little wrong with it!  It still turns heads and Rod loves to whizz along with the top open.  Small pleasures.

As we came home from the appointment at about six o’clock, the temperature showed 33 degrees, a string wind having cooled things down considerably. It was good to get home and into the pool.  The wind has been blowing all day here, so the water has only got as warm as 29degrees.

What’s next in the list of 30 things to start doing for yourself?

  1. ” Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks. – Slow down. Breathe. Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose. When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity. These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.”

We have been thinking about “short breaks” recently.  We always had a tent, campervan or caravan for such things, but now that we haven’t got one, we stay at home a lot more.  Looking at this, I realised that I am stressing a bit about our forthcoming visitors at the weekend.  I’ll love it when they are here of course, but worry before they come in case I haven’t done my very best to welcome them and make sure they have a good holiday.

So I suggested to Rod that we declare Tuesday and Wednesday a “Mini-Break”!!  Yes!  For the next two days we shall be on holiday, and jobs are strictly banned!  Wey Hey!!  No cooking or cleaning or fretting about things!  A staycation in fact!


The diary will still be written – but may be a bit short.

B-DAY PLUS 146

SUNDAY 24TH JULY

Yesterday’s lack of walking cost me a lot!  I find that I have to have a bit of exercise during the day in order to sleep soundly, and because I did not do it yesterday, I was awake and ready to start the day at 4.30 this morning.  At five, I had had enough and got up for a cup of tea, and although  I did go back to bed at 6.30, I did not go back to sleep and was up for real at 7.15.  No worries – my own fault !

However, I did feel that I wanted to do something special, so came up with the idea of going to Calpe to walk along the prom and call into the Exotic for a cup of coffee.  It would have to be early though, considering the fact that this is the  first weekend of the UK school holidays, and everywhere is going to get very crowded here from today onwards.

Rod came up with a supplementary – he had been trying to dismantle his old trampoline that had got all bent out of shape when the wind turned it upside down recently. (Such is the power of the regular wind around our house!)  But he couldn’t do it, so decided the metal frame had to be towed by the car as far as the bins!  Early on a Sunday morning is an ideal time, so we got some plastic rope and tied the frame to our tow bar.  It was wider than the car, but hopefully we would meet nobody en route!

So we set off slowly, with the big metal trampoline frame dragging along the ground behind us and making a real racket.  All went well until we went down a hill and the frame wanted to overtake the car.  Clank clank clank.  Then clickety clank, clickety clickety CRASH !!   What Rod had struggled for days to achieve, one trip down a hill had achieved in a couple of minutes!  All the frame was in pieces!  We quickly gathered them up. and trying not to look guilty, we loaded them into the car and sped off to the rubbish bins!

We reached Calpe about 9.15, and were surprised to find that already most of the parking spaces were taken, so good timing there!  It was really lovely , walking along by the sea with all the joggers and dog walkers weaving their way around us.  Some families were already ensconced on the beach and were testing the sea for temperature, and the sun was  already packing a punch.

DSC02744After  a healthy stroll, breathing in the salty sea-tang, we found some comfy chairs (too early for the Exotic, so we had to make do with the Tango Bar) and ordered coffee.  How idyllic!  We sat there for some time with this view, reading our books in the shade.

What a good start to the day!

I just had time to finish yesterday’s kitchen job before lunch, then a couple of quick Sudokus in the hammock and it was time for a  swim and a listen to Deepak’s offering for the day.  Then, it was time for my favourite programme of the week – Countryfile.

Phew , what a fun-packed day!

1-DSC02745

Now – what was Deepak’s message today ?

” Day 13 – The Joy of Finding Self-Worth

“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” – Malcolm X

Our true self is at one with the entire cosmos. Therefore our worth is always infinite – it is only a matter of recognizing it as our essential nature. This self-knowledge has nothing to do with our ego or personality; it is about our true being and the unique and vital role that only we can contribute to the cosmos.

Today’s meditation shows us that spiritual self-worth is natural, joyful, and self-affirming. “

What he’s saying is – stop beating yourself up about not being perfect.  You are who you are, so glory in the fact that you are unique.  Oprah Winfrey says,

 “Playing small does not serve the world.  Extending your self love out into the world is the reason why we are here. When you stop judging and doubting yourself , you can begin to take risks and become more of who you really are” 

To paraphrase Deepak :

”  If you have a limited sense of self-worth, you have clamped a lid on your expectations.  When you feel worthy, you believe that you can have, and should have the good things in life.  Not in material terms, but in terms of lasting fulfilment.  From a position of feeling not worthy, creativity is too risky.  Know that each soul plays a unique part in the history of the Universe.  Self worth is to participate fully in your own uniqueness, never judging or shrinking away from who you are. ”

Of course, he goes on to talk about projecting love into the world.  It wouldn’t work if you are a suicide bomber and have convinced yourself that  that’s who you really are!

Last year all the young people were mad about the animated film  ” Frozen “.  I watched it with the grandchildren and thought it was wonderful.  In it, the star, the queen , has a unique gift which she has been trying to supress because it’s a bit antisocial.  But at the end, she decides that she is fed up with hiding who she really is, and she sings a marvellous song, with beautiful animation to go with it.  I loved this!

”  Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!

Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It’s funny how some distance,
makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do,
to test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I’m free!

Let it go, let it go.
I am one with the wind and sky.
Let it go, let it go.
You’ll never see me cry.
Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll stay.
Let the storm rage on.”

I’ll be singing this for the rest of the day now.

B-DAY PLUS 145

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday – our traditional cleaning day, and today was the day ear-marked to re-vamp the kitchen.  The recent set of crockery we bought was too big for the cupboard that has always been used for that purpose, so a big change was needed.  Rod loved this job, it’s written all over his face !

DSC02743Now we have always ended up falling out on days like these,  where I accuse him of putting all the current stuff in daily use at the back of the cupboard, and he ends up telling me that I’d be better to do it all myself.

We never learn.  Although we started the day by telling each other that we would NOT fall out,  it happened.  BUT, the job got done and we now have a utility room with space to spare.  Lucky me – more sorting out to do tomorrow!  AND, we didn’t let the ill-feeling last.  It’s just not worth ruining precious days over insignificant things,  I know that his body hurts when he does work like this, and I know that I get stressed when there is throwing away to be done: not necessarily  because I have sentimental attachments to things, but in this instance because I just hate waste and like to hang onto things “just in case!”  Also I suspect because when the children were small, I had to house-keep with hardly any money so had to make do.

Any road up, once I had broken the taboo and started chucking stuff into the bin bag, it got easier and I felt much better for the lack of clutter.  I released a surprising amount of storage space, so we’ll both be a lot happier.

I was just preparing to out for my walk at the end of the afternoon, when Rod found a film to watch, and I got hooked!  Mission Impossible Rogue Nation: an incredible number 5 in the series.  It seemed good to start with, but got sillier and sillier until my concentration kept falling through all the holes in the plot.  Come on!  Tom Cruise is 54 now, and a teensy bit old for all this mallarking about acting like a young James Bond !   So at the end of it, I felt a bit annoyed with myself for losing my walk for a thing so daft!

It turned into a bit of an ageist day then !  Firstly  all the fossicking about in the kitchen made my back hurt something awful.  Then this film, starring someone I remember as naught but a boy in his first films, then a programme came on the tele called Catchphrase.  I used to love this when the children were at home, and it became part of our weekend routines.  Now it has been revamped a bit, but essentially it’s the same,  HOWEVER I don’t know half the catchphrases!

Luckily, I have several examples in my head of people who have just refused to recognise age as an obstacle.

Jane_Goodall_2015Dame Jane Goodall is a lovely lady who, at 84, does not seem to have slowed down at all.  I look at her kind eyes, and think of all the good things she is doing globally for animals.  She left school without a degree, but still became a professor. She has written book after book, has set up a worldwide institute for animal research and at the moment is a campaigner for many injustices, both for humans and animals. She is not afraid to say what she thinks:

” Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.”

 

Just one more lady I have come across – Hedda Bolger, a psychotherapist who is 103 years old and still working away for her patients.  She has lots to say about the advantages of becoming older. She didn’t take up yoga until she was 99, and this is what she has to say:

” Life is so much more complicated when you are young! Young people worry about what other people think of them. You’re permanently anxious: are you smart, beautiful, talented enough? You try to guess what people would like you to be. And then everybody — everybody — needs something from you. It’s much easier after fifty. Nobody is lecturing you on how to live your life. Also, you come to realize that what’s truly important is how you treat people, not the other way around. Do you behave well towards people around you? What can you do for your loved ones? These the really important questions to ask yourself.”

 

Usually my pet phrase is “Age is only a number. You are as old as you feel in your head!”  Although sometimes when my back is screaming at me to take notice and my tinnitus is shouting at me,  “I am taking over your brain!!”, I have to head for the cushions, do a bit of deep breathing, don the headphones  with the music in them,  and just lose myself in a good book.  It’s not a bad place to be .

49030_original[6]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right.  Some days are better than others, right ?

Today was designated The Day When We Re-organise The Kitchen And Utility Room.

Both of us knew it would  lead to arguments, and agreed to NOT let it happen.

It did.

Mostly because it was hard work, and we both got exhausted.  Rod tries his best, but inevitably puts things I use all the time on the very top shelf and then gets annoyed when I just put these things back where they were.

 

B-DAY PLUS 144

FRIDAY JULY 22ND

A very successful day !  Rod declared himself 70% back to normal wobbliness when he got up, and the day got more and more successful, his rating improved until he was 99% , much to his relief.

The day started with the delivery of our new mattress.  The man who owns the bed shop, Tony, works tirelessly with his wife to look after a children’s home locally,  He has set up a wonderful place in the mountains for 24 challenged youngsters and ten children to live, where they can learn to be self-sufficient on a small farm.  They grow and sell vegetables and keep chickens, and have a good life, thanks to Tony and his team of helpers.  Whilst he had his van here delivering our bed, he took away our town old office chairs and my old bike;  all things which were just getting in  the way and we had told ourselves that “one day” we would sell them.  Tony will take them back to his own storeroom, where they will be refurbished , and then he will take them to a local auction to raise some money for his children.  What a wonderful man – the sort that makes you feel quite humble.

DSC02739The mattress itself is twice as thick as the old one, and is supposed to be “hypoallergenic” (we chickened out of buying a fully organic one as it was more than twice the price), but my goodness it does smell awful.  I can’t put this through the washing machine!  I have opened all the windows and doors in the house to get a good wind going over it, and just hope we are not overcome by its fumes during the night.  I suspect that I’ll be letting it breathe like this for several days.  One thing you can do is scatter baking soda all over it and let it sit for the day, before vacuuming it off.  I’ll do that tomorrow.

We then went out to get the shopping.  First – to renew a lamp.  We had very little in our house in Rugby that we wanted to bring to Spain with us when we moved here, but one thing that did make it was a table lamp which I was quite fond of.  Over the years it has become a bit decrepit.  The shade was held on by cardboard, and the bulb fitting was an old UK bayonet one, for which bulbs are quite hard to come by here.  When we can get them, they are not the energy saving ones we should be buying.  Last week the bulb died, and in a huff over such an outrage, I unplugged the lamp, took it to pieces, threw the shade away and cut off the top connection.

Today, I took it into the light shop in Teulada and showed it to the man, asking if he had a fitting for it.  Another nice man!  He got his toolbox out , found a fitting and fixed it all up for me!  I was so pleased, I was willing to buy one of his expensive nice shades and a energy-saving bulb to go with it.  When I looked at his bill, he was going to charge just 6€ for fitting the fitting for me ; and he did that, without knowing that we would spend any more.  As it was, I spent quite a lot, but Rod and I walked away from the shop with a warm glow, so happy to have met the second Nice Man of the day!

DSC02742The lamp is now re-installed in its rightful place, and will forever be not only a constant reminder of all the good times we had in the old house when the children were growing up, but also a reminder that some people are really really really nice!  I know that we should  all live in the present, but all rules should have an exception!

 

We then went on to purchase a chair for outside dining to replace the one that Rod and demolished with his heavy-sitting habit ( another thing we have been wanting to do for months and couldn’t find one to match!).  What a good day!

We even bought a clock to replace the one that has been annoying us for 18 months.  It’s one that is outside, and the sun had bleached away all the numbers on the face.  So last year, without any planning or fore-thought, I grabbed it off the wall, took it inside and painted DSC02738
on a new face.  it was only when I was at number 4, that I realised that I didn’t know how the numbers on a clockface were organised. (Should have done some research beforehand.)  This is the result!  It has been a talking-point all this time, but recently it has started to rotate in the wind, so we never knew what the time was !  The face rotated on the wall, and the hands moved just a bit, so everything was unsynchronised.    It has been telling us to go and buy a proper clock!  Now we have.  Moral of the story?  Act in haste, repent at leisure !!

After all this success, we were out to lunch as is our Friday habit.  Marvellous – sitting on the mountain overlooking the whole valley!

Going into the bathroom, my eye was caught by the horridness which is our array of bathroom fitments.  We have been trying to get some new ones for ages, but can’t find ones we like.  This is something we DIDN’T achieve today, but now that we have such a record of high achieving, I am sure the next week will bring us a reprieve from this daily outrage to our senses.  We have had this constant problem since we moved into this house.  All our bathroom DSC02740fittings go horrid.  All chrome goes rusty, no matter how much money we throw at it.  This latest set was in  expensive, plastic-coated metal.  In an attempt to beat the jinx, we backed away from chrome , but to no avail.  The whole thing is just crumbling away!  Not a pretty sight.  But it does set me wondering why it should happen.  I don’t use harsh cleaners or bleaches on it, so it can only be the water that affects it in this way.  It makes me  wonder just what is in our water.  It’s supposed to be fresh from the reservoir, although it does have too much lead in it to be drinkable.  This is the stuff we use to wash our dishes, wash our clothes, our bodies  and our hair.  No wonder my body sometimes feels as if it is falling to bits!

At least our air is pure up here.  Another reason for mending the old lamp is to remind me that when we lived in Rugby, I could never breathe through my nose, and constantly felt as if I had hay fever.  It was the most unhealthy place in England to live, being the place in England furthest away from the sea, and being surrounded by a busy motorway network.  It took six months of living in Spain to set me right and to re-install my nostrils in their rightful role as clear passageways for inhalation.  I now appreciate just the simple act of effortless breathing .  Whoever brought us here – thank you !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used to love The Hollies, and still have a big vinyl disc of theirs.  Funny – but when I look at the lyrics to this catchy toon, there aren’t all that many more than this!

Da dum, dee dee dee diddy dee diddy dee

Diddy da dum.  Diddy dee diddy DAAAA !

Diddy da dum. Diddy dee diddy dee diddy da dum.

B-DAY PLUS 143

THURSDAY 21ST JULY

It’s been another hot day today, but , unlike yesterday, it’s been a heat that I have enjoyed.  The really intense summer heat that we are used to here in Spain was a long time in coming, but Rod and I find that once we have accepted it as a routine, we both love it!  We get up early so that the jobs can be done before the sun is fully hot, then straight after lunch we have our siesta, coming back to life at about 5 o’clock.  Not a bad life !

Unfortunately today, Rod has had one of his “turns”.  Many years ago now, he went through a bad batch of Meniere’s Disease, where he would become dizzy for no apparent reason and often just collapse onto the floor without knowing where was up and where was down. The dizziness would usually last for a day.  Since moving to Spain, he has had probably 3 of these nasty events, and today was one of them.  He got up feeling dizzy and could not shake the feeling off.   Meniere’s has been linked to stress, so I told him –  he has been getting far too stressed with all this politicking !  Referendum, leadership challenges and all sorts!  Thankfully, parliament has broken up today for the summer so there’ll be nothing to get worked up about.

So it was left to me to go it alone to the shops and try to get some sheets and things for our guests.  I would like some really nice  sheets for the guest bed, but have not been able to find them (should have got them when I bought the new ones for us  … silly Lily that I am!).  I did get some sheets for the children though.  They were all sealed up in plastic of course, and when I released them from a mound of unnecessary plastic, paper and cardboard, the chemical smell nearly knocked me off my feet.  Ugh!  I hate to think that some people might just plonk them on the beds and let children sleep amongst all those noxious fumes.

It has been well documented that new sheets are loaded with formaldehyde, butane, urea resin and propane.  All these are supposedly to repel mildew in transit and to stop them creasing.  My suspicious mind thinks it’s also to make a cheap item look better in quality, but the thing to do is wash them in baking soda to try to get rid of these horrible things.  It may even be necessary to wash more than once.

Skin irritation might be the least of the results of contact with these chemicals, as it seems we have weekly reports about common concoctions proving to be carcinogenic.  Formaldehyde  is already known to be a guilty player in the cancer-causing field, and can cause excema  upon skin contact.  As we breathe in the fumes, what is happening to our lungs?  Unfortunately a lot of our clothing and household  linen is made in countries where the laws on using chemicals  in manufacture are very different from the ideal.

Since I realised all this, I always wash all my new stuff before I wear it.  There’s a terrible detergent used in making clothes – I’ll let Dr Mercola tell it much better than I can :

”  Nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE), is a toxic endocrine-disrupting surfactant used to manufacture clothing.

You certainly don’t want to be exposed to NPE if you can help it, but when consumers wash their clothes, NPEs are released into local water supplies where wastewater treatment plants are unable to remove them.

When NPEs enter the environment, they break down into nonylphenol (NP), a toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemical that accumulates in sediments and builds up in fish and wildlife.”

Oh, what are we doing to ourselves ??  I have become a great petition-signer just lately, and just hope that things will improve when public pressure is applied.  Recently, I signed a petition to ban those plastic micro-beads which have unnecessarily crept into the recipes of lots of cosmetics and toothpastes, and end up in the sea to poison them.   Result!  Now we hear that Waitrose is banning all micro-beads in the products it sells . This is fantastic news – and hopefully other outlets will follow.

mb

President Obama and the Canadian Prime Minister have already banned companies from using them, so Theresa May could earn lots of Brownie points by following suit !

I can’t let the day go without lightening all this doom and gloom!  I see that in San Francisco there are a number of hotels which have installed beehives on their roofs ! Two reasons – to try to stop the decline in bee numbers worldwide, and so that they have a good supply of pure honey for their restaurant and cocktails !!  Some things just do your old heart good!

DSC02737And on the subject of Good News ……

Every year I scrub then oil our teak dining table and chairs out on the naya.  Every year I hate doing it. Some jobs are like that – they just ARE.  So today I knuckled down and DID IT !

Thank goodness for impending house guests, otherwise these old jobs would just sit there un-done, niggling away at my poor brain,       ” Do me. DO me !”  So there we go – job DONE !  Jiminy Cricket conscious –  JUST SHUT UP !