Journal – February 2011

Things have settled down considerably this month, following Dad’s death at the start of the year. There have still been a few things for Mum and I to sort out of course, but nowhere near as much as in January, and we were able to get away for a break in London with our relatives. Plus I’ve been busy at work, and I’ve mentioned a few other things that got my attention this month too. So I hope you enjoy reading this latest trilogy of entries.

Monday February 7, 2011

Well, that’s one month gone already. Quite a busy one it was too, though not perhaps as stressful as we had initially envisaged. That’s probably because Mum and I kept on top of things and helped each other out, so we got plenty done. Things are pretty much carrying on as normal at home now anyway.

Work’s been really busy this week too, especially as a colleague’s been off sick for much of it, so I’ve been covering for work she would normally do, as well as imposing work for the DI press, and doing various other bits and pieces. Financial year-end’s coming up shortly too, as well as elections, and also variations of other documents to deal with, so there’s all that to look forward to.

But the main news is that Mum and I are back from our weekend in London. We travelled up to Paddington by train on Friday, where my Aunt met us and took us to Nan’s on the Tube. The travelling isn’t a problem for us – Dad was the one who struggled most, as it was hard for him to get around, with his eyes and his legs giving him problems as they did. But now it’s just Mum and I, carrying just a bag each as we didn’t need much, the journey was nice and easy.

Nan’s place is much as we remember it really, and she’s doing alright considering her age. It’s a bit slow for her to get around, her hearing and eyesight aren’t perfect, and she needs help with a few things, but on the whole she’s very well indeed.

Upstairs I slept in Nan’s bedroom at the back, while Mum and Nan shared the double bed in the front room. Mum took her Victor Reader Stream – her portable talking book player that we bought recently – so she and Nan listened to a bit of Rebecca each night, by placing the player in between them in the bed. It was a good way for them to get off to sleep.

During the day, my Aunt cooks Nan’s food for her using the microwave – usually ready meals from places like M&S or Iceland, which are pretty nice, and enough for what Nan wants. We had a chocolate gateau that my Aunt had bought for us as well, so we had a bit of that each over the last couple of nights. Mum and Nan had an eighth each time, while I had a quarter, so that was half the gateau gone each over 2 nights. My Aunt also bought some jumbo chicken drumsticks, so each night when I stayed up late to watch TV, I had a couple of those with some slices of bread and butter, which was nice. Not that there’s much on the TV, but there were a few comedy things on. And we now have Challenge on Freeview, which has only happened in the past couple of weeks, so we can watch old game shows like Family Fortunes, The Crystal Maze, Bullseye, etc.

My Aunt took Mum and I out on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, after giving Nan some lunch to keep her going. We were very lucky with the transport all weekend, with trains and buses arriving very quickly, so we rarely had to wait. We went on the Tube mainly, but we used a few buses too.

On Saturday we went to the Natural History Museum, to see their Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition, and there were some amazing pictures there of animals and wildlife. It takes a lot of work, perseverance and patience, not to mention high quality technology, to get snaps like that, but it pays off. We had a walk through Hyde Park after that, before coming home.

Then on Sunday Mum wanted to look in Marks & Spencer. There’s not a big one near Nan any more, so we went to the one in Oxford Street instead. We actually went to Clarks first, for Mum to look at a few shoes, but they didn’t have what she wanted on this occasion. Then we went into M&S, where Mum got a few jumpers, and we had a quick look at dinner jackets, for an awards dinner relating to work that I’ll need such an outfit for in April. We didn’t buy a suit then and there, it was just to give me an idea of what they look like and what the prices are. Then we went to the food section, inevitably, and got a dinner each to take home with us today – Mum got liver & bacon, and I got a roast beef dinner inside a big Yorkshire pudding. And we got afters too – a treacle tart for me, and a trifle for Mum. Then we had a walk along the South Bank of the Thames, stopping off for a drink (coffee for Mum and my Aunt, Coke for me) in a café, before we made our way back to Nan’s.

We then got the train back home today, with my Aunt taking us back to Paddington on the Tube, and it was a nice quick journey.

And that’s about it really. Might not sound like much perhaps, but it was a good amount of time for us to get away, and it feels like a bit longer than just a few days. My Nan and Aunt were pleased we came up too, and we’ve already spoken about going up there for more long weekends like that. It’ll be a good way for us to test the waters to see how we get on in the city, having not visited for 3 years!

When we got home, we had a few bits of post, including one from TV Licensing to say the license is now in Mum’s name (they don’t need to send us a new one as the old one covers us until September), one from the crematorium to say they hold on to the ashes for 2 months before they scatter them (in case we change our minds, which we won’t), and one telling Mum about her widow’s benefits, which is a surprisingly good amount.

So now we can enjoy our M&S dinners and relax until I go back to work again tomorrow. The most important thing to do next is to book in with the solicitor to sign our wills, and we need to order Dad’s tree soon, as well as getting my dinner suit in good time for the awards dinner at the end of April. Other than that though, everything’s back to normal again for the moment.

Friday February 11, 2011

Another week at work is done, and things are very busy, in a good way. We’ve started to get a few things through for financial year-end testing, elections are looming, we’ve had a few big surveys to print with more mailings to come, and there have been various other jobs coming in as well. It’s going to be busy like this for the next couple of months I think, but that’s fine by me. Our department manager’s boss also came down, taking a moment to pat me on the shoulder and give her condolences, saying she’s glad to have me back and asking how Mum was, so that was nice of her.

At home, there have been updates to Mum’s bank account, which means the solicitor got the information through to them correctly. We’re surprised it got sorted out this quickly, but we’re glad too. The bank first sent Mum a new cheque book, with just her name on it and not Dad’s. And then they sent Mum a letter because they noticed she had deposited a large sum of money in her account recently, as the pensions service had sent over the death grant from Dad’s work pension that she was entitled to. Plus she’s received a smaller cheque for Dad’s state pension as well, so that’s a nice little bonus too. And I’ve received a cheque for £25 from the Premium Bonds this month, so I haven’t missed out completely!

Our builder’s wife has emailed us seeing if we want the kitchen done, partly out of the knowledge that we’ll be moving, but also to tout for business, as it’s not easy finding work for her husband to do in the current economic climate. We’ve decided not to have a new kitchen fitted now though. It was something Dad wanted, and would have been great if we were going to stay here, but it doesn’t seem so important now. It may put up the asking price a bit, but we don’t feel it would be significant enough to make investing in it worthwhile. We’re happy with things as they are.

So it’s still looking to be a big year of change for us. But we’re not the only ones. The big news over the past 18 days on the TV has been protests by hundreds of thousands of people in Egypt against their President, trying to get him to step down, after 30 years of autocratic rule, as they don’t have much of a democracy there. It follows in the footsteps of Tunisia, who had a similar situation recently. Anyway, Egypt’s president had said, as a result of the unrest, that he would step down at the next elections in September, but that didn’t please the protestors. He then made a speech last night, where everyone hoped he would resign, but he just repeated that he would stay on until September, which made things flare up even more.

But then today there was a complete change, as the vice-president announced the president’s immediate resignation. Cue mass jubilation on the streets throughout the country, which will probably go on all night and all weekend. It just goes to show what people power can achieve, especially in these days of 24-hour news, instant communication with people all over the world, and instant bad publicity for a country if these situations develop. One wonders if people in other countries will take inspiration and start standing up to their leaders like that. Time will tell.

That’s all I can think of for this week. I’ve got this coming Monday afternoon off, as that’s when Mum and I have got our appointment for signing our wills. Other than that though, things should be pretty normal next week.

Friday February 18, 2011

We’re still busy at work, with financial year-end testing well underway, and various other jobs that need doing. There’s not much to report there though, and not much at home either really. Mum’s still gradually getting rid of Dad’s clothes and other rubbish bit by bit, we sorted out our wills on Monday and have now received the invoices for them, and the bank have sent Mum renewed home insurance details, which again is thanks to the solicitor contacting them about it, just as they did with the bank account.

As for me, I’ve been continuing to watch the various DVDs I have left to wade through. I’ve just finished watching the Madness Gogglebox set, which is very good, with lots of live performances after their recent Norton Folgate album and other fun bits and pieces. And now I’m finishing off Status Quo: Live At The BBC, which is also good. I might watch Doctor Who: Series 5 next, to get that out of the way. I’ve also got Outnumbered: Series 1-3, Family Guy: Season 9 and 24 to get through as well – I haven’t even started Outnumbered yet, while I’m about halfway through Family Guy, and I’m up to Season 3 of 24 in my recap of the show until I watch the new Series 8 DVD I bought before Christmas. So there’s still plenty for me to watch, which I’m certainly not complaining about!

Mum and I keep talking about London of course, as it is a certainty that we’ll be going there. I’ve told another friend about our plans as he wrote to check how Mum and I were doing, and he’s happy that we’re making the right decision as well. As for going to other places, my best mate’s invited me to pop over to Guernsey for a long weekend, which is very nice of him, and I do have a bit of my holiday entitlement that I still need to use up. So I’m hoping to visit him sometime during March.

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger, culture vulture & accessibility advocate, with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

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