Wednesday 21 December 2011

When the builders aren't around

What goes on here?

Well, life without the builders is just as busy as life with them, but with less kettle-boiling involved.

Lists get written, and mostly ticked off.

Dogs get taken to the sea and swim energetically, coming home to sleep like the dead. (Flossie does, at any rate; Tosca watches.)

Beautiful babies come to visit.

It's tormenting for babies like 9-week-old Merlot because they can't be set down on a floor other than their own until their vaccination course has been completed. So Merlot wriggles and squeaks, and gazes longingly at the cats and dogs who troop in to inspect, and in the cats' case, pronounce him wholly beneath contempt.

Merlot doesn't care. A few days later, he comes for another visit, and it's evident that his ears have grown rapidly.

So what else?

Well, two days ago I had my blood pressure checked. Not as good as I'd hoped: I blame the hectic-ness of the past few months, but also noted that the electronic monitor - the one that strangles your arm rather painfully - was playing up again. Three times that arm had to be strangled before the nurse gave up, and accepted one of the readings.

Despite the erratic behaviour of the machine, I have been summonsed to talk to the practice nurse and to have my low-level medication reviewed, but also must monitor myself, taking triple readings twice daily, for two whole weeks! And then I must present my home readings to the GP. Perhaps they hope that my home monitor will be better behaved than the overworked machine in the practice.

Today I had my regular deep tissue back and neck massage; I feel like I have someone else's back now, someone much younger and fitter than I. Maybe I should have a massage before a blood pressure check - I'll try that one next time.

And this afternoon I travelled a good distance in mild sunny weather, and picked up an espaliered apple tree (Cox's Pippin, my favourite) for the Lovely Son to give me for Christmas (and - oh joy - to plant for me, after putting up the requisite training wires against the garden wall). This was a pleasant excursion along little country lanes to a specialist fruit nursery, made all the happier by ending about a mile and a half from a town that boasts a Waitrose.

So of course I had to go, buying things I may never use, like rose harissa paste (suggestions welcome!) and lovely cordials for the non-drinkers (well, me) and can also tell you that the Lovely Son will do well for mad stylish cheesecake and other delights this Christmas.

Christmas pudding cheesecake

Tomorrow I have my hair cut and coloured. Three hours of torment for me, but I should emerge fit for polite company at the end of them, and fully acquainted with the details of my hairdresser's recent stag night in Prague, as well as all his socialising plans for the holidays. I won't need to speak at all.

And then on Friday the Lovely Son arrives, bringing tools and timber for the long-promised wood store and bookshelves. We plan to have our usual low-key (aka idle and slow) Christmas Day doing very little other than reading our new books, eating Anton Berg plums in madeira chocolates, and walking the dogs.

His girlfriend joins us some time on Boxing Day, so our 'proper' Christmas dinner won't take place till the day after. This gives us time to pause, review the cheesecake and chocolate situation, and make salads and life style resolutions.

Meantime, there is still present-wrapping to be done and the eternal tidying. And maybe a cup of tea - I've been a bit tea-deprived since the builders went away. They'll be back in the New year; phew, that's a relief!


Frances said...

What a great much to comment on, where shall I start? That pup looks gorgeous, and what a super name he has. I have had blood pressure issues, that were probably the fault of the machine ( or the nursy type using it maybe? ) The apple tree will look good in your garden, and hopefully some fruit to eat. I have rose harissa paste in my fridge, and no idea what I used it for!..and finally, your Christmas Day sounds just fine...I only have us and 2 of my 3 lovely sons, but 18 for Boxing Day! Aargh ! Hope you have had some nice cuppas, and I wish you a very Happy time and look forward to all your blogging next year. X

jabblog said...

Glad to see that Flossie's digestion has adjusted - just in time for Christmas delights;-)

Lovely civilised time you'll be having - a proper 'grown-up' Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and yours and a Healthy and Happy 2012.

(High blood pressure? Pah! With all your animals your pressure must be normal to low. I reckon you've got 'white coat syndrome';-)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

hardly surprising your blood pressure's a little higher after the last couple of months ! my reading is now taken for a half hour , during which time it goes down , as i relax with a book .
mind you , it's being done again on friday ... just after another x-ray and a visit to the trauma surgeon . i'll probably blow the machine up !
i hope you have a lovely christmas .... your plans sound perfect !

Lucille said...

I think home monitoring delivers better pressure readings just because you're not in the surgery. Rose harissa paste is delicious. I use it mixed with yogurt as a paste on a chicken or lamb before roasting and many other things that I forget for the moment. Ask Sue. Can you get me some quinoa next time you are in Waitrose?

the veg artist said...

A tree, wood-store and bookshelves? All from one son? Over Christmas? A son is obviously a more productive species than a husband!
Lovely puppy. Blood pressure will be fine once you slow down - remember, you are in Somerset now!

Dartford Warbler said...

Your blood pressure will probably go right down once the builders have finished and left you in peace.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

judy in ky said...

Your Christmas plans sound delightful. So does a neck and back massage and a nice cup of tea. I hope you have a wonderful time with the Lovely Son and the Lovely Girlfriend.

knutty knitter said...

Merry christmas from summer heat here. You'll have to invite your builders back for cups of tea like we have with ours :)

High blood pressure is a bummer. I have that too - its a family failing as is white coat syndrome. Sometimes its hard to decide between the two when deciding what medications to use.

viv in nz

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Rachel

A plum in madeira, a good book and a son all to yourself sounds like the perfect prescription for lowering blood pressure.

I hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas.


Anonymous said...

Dear Santa, I've been a very good girl. can I please have a puppy like Merlot?
Your Christmas plans sound wonderful - we too like a low key lazy day ...... this year we may even get out for a walk, which we were unable to do the last two years because of snow.
We're off to M&S this morning for some tasty treats - including, of course, a lemon meringue pie, Stuart's favourite!

Marcheline said...

Happy Yule! That cheesecake looks DELISH!

Arthur Ransome said...

Have a wonderful time - it's nearly a year since I first found your blog, you were fixing your dishwasher which I found very impressive. You won't need it for clearing up after chocolates! Hee-hee.

Maggie Christie said...

I have a feeling I'm familiar with that particular branch of Waitrose. Nigella's a big user of rose harissa. My favourite recipe using it is meatballs and couscous from her Feast book. Delia uses it in her Summer book too (in a roasted vegetable salad with cous cous). As for blood pressure, a few hours stroking Merlot's silky ears should help! I bet it's lower at home and after a lovely massage too. Have a lovely Christmas.

Noelle the dreamer said...

Merlot is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
Oops...not good about the BP...better watch out!
May your holidays be all you wish for and looking forward to see photos and hear alll about it!
Hugs to all,

Lesley said...

Ooooh, what a smorgasbord of goodies - look at little Merlot...can we have LOTS of pics of him please?? And then there's the cheesecake...uber posh and cool too. And then lovely massage and relaxed Christmas plans.

All good apart from the blood pressure. I'm in the same boat, nearly controlled but not quite good enough so slightly stressed about the whole thing.... Good luck with it.

Happy Christmas to you and all your brood and looking forward to seeing how 2012 pans out for you all.

Lesley x

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