Author Archives: juniperberry27

Solo road trips

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I love a road trip and of late it is often me, alone making them. I think back on the days when I could not drive and count my blessings that now, I can. I got my licence in Japan at the age of 40. I loved driving and did brilliantly in both the written and practical test. Buoyed by this, I was keen to hone my skills on the road. Sadly it was not to happen. The ex, (first one), is/was convinced that I would kill someone and when I was at the wheel it was a horrendous experience. He screeched and screamed and it seemed that every move made was dangerous. The thrill of doing so well in the exams, combined with the fact that driving equaled a sense of liberty soon died. Eventually a pact was made (by me) that I would never drive with him in the car. I know he regretted this as on the rare occasion that he would call, under the weather, for me to pick him up from the station, I refused.

Years later and I am now in the UK and have to drive, there is no option. Hubby no. 2 was a lot more easy going about me behind the wheel and over time my confidence grew. Luckily for all as I became the taxi. Step son’s, daughter’s and hubby’s.

Holidays took us to France and Spain and I drove. Dear friends live in Belgium and at fist I went with Japanese granny and the girls and now, I go alone. I love having the ability to get into my car and GO SOMEWHERE.

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Farewell to a loved one

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farewell bosley_n This was taken yesterday morning with my youngest before our beloved Bosley went to the vet for the last time. At almost 20 he was a significant part of the family, a constant, as step-son said, who was with him through some of the most difficult parts of said step-son’s young life. He created bonds. When the girls moved to England and discovered a step-brother, who in turn had now two younger female ‘siblings’, the gel that bound them was Bosley. He held his own with local cats, kept Juno in line, purred very loudly most of the time and was happy lying on the neighbour’s shed roof. Of late he was blind, deaf and most recently incontinent. The last two weeks saw a huge change so the difficult decision that is fraught with guilt and responsibility was made. I was with him until he went. He was held gently in the arms of a vet nurse who talked softly to him all the time. It was fast and peaceful. I sobbed and sobbed despite thinking I would actually hold it together. It was an honour to be there with him. He came home where the window cleaner dug a grave in which Bosley was placed. I marked it with a small espaliered apple tree. RIP you lovely boy.

Happy days

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This has been a very busy week…a trip north for eldest’s graduation was first. We were joined by Dada and granny from Japan and little sister. Hannah wore a kimono. Granny and I were up just after 5am to get her into it. She looked amazing.

I returned on graduation day, leaving them all to it, for my last day of uni, which ended with bubbly and badminton on the lawn with a couple of merry lecturers! It was a hoot. It also ended with me getting a first class degree. I wept when I found out. I was convinced I just did not have the marks.

Work at my old hospital in two completely new areas started. Three days in one section and 2 in another. It is bringing in the money, but a break would have been nice…especially as the lovely C is almost here for her annual visit.

Granny and I have hit a few of the local car boot fairs. Today I got the yarn to make a second shark blanket from a retailer who sells on line and who delivers! The first shark is coming along swimmingly.

My bedroom underwent a massive clear out today after dropping granny off at Heathrow. It looks exactly the same but the drawers have been culled. Lots of paper work done and as I approach my first anniversary in this house next week, there were  policies to renew, which was done through Quidco.

This week Hannah has a friend staying, Em is heading back from Manchester tonight and it will be, for two more weeks at least, a full house. This is the longest the girls have been around in years as neither of them are going to Japan for the summer. I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ugg is the word

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One of the pleasures of summer is to get up early on a Sunday morning and head to the local car boot. It is 4 minutes drive from home and has been the source of some good finds as well as ideas. It also reminds me that stuff maketh not the home…..If not on duty then off I go, cash limit in my pocket and the search is on.

Three weeks running I have missed out on snapping up fired pots for the garden. They cost so much new that I am determined to find decent ones elsewhere. Again today, I was pipped at the post, despite being there just after 8….

There is little if anything I need and once there would have been the temptation to buy something for the price rather than necessity, but of late I do not part with my 50ps and pounds unless it is needed/will be used/ fits into my mental scheme of how this house might be one day.

One stall had on it a pair of brand new UGG boots, in grey (my favourite colour for slippers), never worn and oh, so fluffy. I walked away without asking the price. Then u-turned. Last winter the fitflop slippers I had worn for neigh on 5 years died. I could not justify replacing them at the time and UGGs were out of the question. I need robust, warm things on my feet in winter and love the natural feel of sheepskin. £10.00 AND MY SIZE. These babies retail up to £175.00, so they were my bargain of the day.  No pots, but a splendid white hydrangea and a pink gaura alongside a ton of tomatoes, red peppers and garlic to make gazpacho, something cool and tasty in this weather.

Back I go now into the heat to cut the grass, weed and then tackle the house. I LOVE having time off and have enjoyed this weekend enormously. Squash later today as well….

Very happy.

The week that was

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As you have read before, to earn the degree we have to do 2300 hours in placement over three years. At this stage, most of us are working shifts to reach that target before we go back for our final day at uni, and to avoid having to make up time in the summer. I am doing 5 shifts this week and then four a week for a further 4 weeks. That should bring me just over the total.

It is tiring but without the pressure of academic work, much more relaxed and there is a chance to really focus on the fact that in 2 months I will be doing this for real. Yikes.

On Tuesday however, I met with my academic supervisor and the lead for research development at uni to talk about publishing the dissertation. It was a great meeting in that I discovered that they really do support the process and that there will not have to be a massive reworking of the paper. The target magazine was agreed on and now we wait to see what they say.  My supervisor in the meantime has been visiting different hospitals in her line of teaching and claims that she wants me to talk to staff on the stroke unit in one major London hospital and the dental staff in another. She says she has already discussed it with them! That part got me really nervous, but I am not thinking about it as it may never happen….got to get into print first!

On the ward, Sister continues to strike fear into our hearts and smile as she does it! She did sign me off though. I am so thrilled.

On my day off I pottered around the charity shops and got some knitting needles for a new project that is about to begin. This little number x 2 for the children of the lovely L. Can’t wait.  I went to the library and borrowed a book to read just because I HAVE THE TIME…..Em and I are off on a quick road trip to Belgium in two weeks to see Francoise, so I booked the ferry and got 8% cash back.  I picked up Juno from her other home and was given a huge plant pot that might do well in the front garden with a little tree in it….

I have had a stern talking to myself this week about health, diet and booze mainly, and admit that there is far too much of the latter in my life at present. It’s more habit than anything, so I am about to have an alcohol detox. The window cleaner and I love a beer, but he will have to love it alone when he pops over. At least for a few weeks. When my lovely friend from Japan is here though, I am jumping off the wagon!

The election result overnight seems to ad to the chaos of the last few weeks in this country. Everyone seems unsettled. Things are changing, there are policemen and women stationed in the corridors at work. There is discontent and frustration but regardless, I count my blessings all the time.

 

 

 

Done and dusted and back to life

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I am back, no longer chained to a laptop or computer, checking references, proof reading, editing, fretting, sleeping about 5 hours a night, getting home from the library at midnight. Because….I have submitted my dissertation and it is not due until Monday.

Wooooooohooooooo.

It was handed in on Friday, complete with embarrassing typo on the front page…I could have wept. The hours spent picking over that thing and right there, in the question on which the whole paper was based, a spelling mistake. But then I thought, why get anxious. It is a mistake, sloppy maybe, innocent, definitely, but it is the content that counts……

Before submitting it, I was asked by my supervisor if I would consider putting it forward for publication. The thrill and the sense of pride. I have WORKED on that thing, really put my heart and soul into it. The supervisor got a second opinion from another lecturer, who agreed, and we meet next week to discuss how it can be turned into a publishable article. No guarantees of course that anyone will want it, but what a great experience.

But the loveliest thing is that since Friday afternoon there has been a sense of relief and peace and even…normality.

Friday night we went to the local pub (5 minutes walk) to a Comedy Beats show. It was hilarious, and we will go again. We played pool afterwards, drank rum and walked home.  Today, normal things were done. I planted out a tomato seedling that was getting sad and leggy on the kitchen window sill. All the little geranium plugs have been planted up in two gorgeous glazed pots and now sit on both sides of the front door.  We sourced a new bike saddle for the hand-me-down bike that the window cleaner’s brother gave him. We rode 6.5 miles to a local village, had a beer and sat in the garden, then rode back. The weather was glorious and I haven’t felt so relaxed in months.

I did come off the bike big time outside the house though. The window cleaner did a funny little jump on his bike over a high curb and I for some reason approached said curb at a snail’s pace…..hit it, then as I fell over the handle bars and twisted to avoid landing on my head. I have a HUGE bruise on my butt now…..

Long day shift tomorrow so lunch is made and everything is ready. I am happy with my lot, happy with my efforts, and happy to be back in blog land. x

 

 

Meh!

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At a time when things are all upon us, we are doing our management placements. In this time we do medicines management, loads of reading, learning, calculating and then double and even triple checking. And we are not even administering any drugs really at this stage, not without strict supervision.

Concurrently we are reading and writing about learning and teaching in the nursing profession. We are all both learners and teachers for the entirety of our careers. We must continue to learn and to also teach, colleagues, students and patients when we have knowledge to pass on.

Having a vague, but not really well thought through idea of this, I chose to go back to the ward I am currently on, in a major London Trauma centre. The mix of cases means a lot of exposure to complex nursing, although it is not critical care. With the mix goes the need to learn about the drugs. Of course, at the same time I have to manage my own patients.

Now in week five I have been yelled at, argued with, told I don’t know what I am saying, doubted when I report or say something, basically bossed and bullied to the extreme. I knew what I was letting myself in for. But there were about 6 very angry tears the other morning when accused of shirking my duties to the patient and my profession by walking away from a room where the floor was covered in faeces. In fact, the patient was in respiratory isolation and no one could go in without wearing a mask, in addition to the other protective clothing needed. There were no masks and I was making my way to the storeroom to get some so that nurses and cleaners alike could help. I ended up wiping everything up myself, disposing of the soiled clothing and then got an earful about the above failure to carry out my duties.

I know it toughens me up. It actually makes me more sure if and when I disagree because in order to do so, I MUST know my stuff.  But in week five I am secretly longing for it all to be over and there are 9 more weeks of this…..

 

Yoga mats, cobwebs and banged heads

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Like many in my year, I am struggling as we approach the end of it all and the very scary beginning of life as nurses. There is just SO MUCH to do and I have been outstanding in my degree of procrastination. From lying in bed looking blankly at the ceiling to binge TV viewing. Anything works as long as nothing gets done really…like now. But I do have something to write about and if it is out of my system, then I can concentrate…..

The old bike has been getting out a bit, mainly to the gym/sports/leisure centre. What a fab place. I rode there a few days ago and did a short weights work out and on the way to the bike rack, received a text. The sun was bright in the sky and I was squinting at the screen and the next thing I was aware of was that there had been a mighty blow to my head and I was now on my back on the ground, phone and cards strewn around me. Confusion and pain, why was I lying there and why did it hurt big time?  I felt the old neck crack a bit when I moved it. Sadly not one of the many, many people around came to my assistance, maybe they thought I was mad, or drunk or weird. It turned out that I had walked into the rear of the bike-rack roof which is about eye height. There are two racks at an angle to each other – no doubt to make them look funky – but the back of one was in the path of me heading to my own bike in the other. I felt ill, was wobbly and now dirty, but I tentatively got back on the bike and rode home.

Days later my scalp is tender and bruised and my pride is a bit too.

Today however I repeated the trip, without knocking myself out, and did a 90 minute yoga session. In my true style it was a bit of a rush getting out of the house and I grabbed youngest’s yoga mat from the hall to borrow. All good until I get to the gym where, while thinking how yummy (older) mummy it was to be heading to yoga in lycra on a bike, I discovered a massive cobweb trailing from the yoga mat’s bag….I quickly brushed it off where it clung to my lycra clad leg in a persistent way.  By the time I got into the room, they were all on their backs, breathing slowly. I then had a prolonged wrestling session with the yoga mat, trying to get it out of the bag, quietly, all the while hoping a big cross spider didn’t pop out of it. No beasties, but I felt as though I was disturbing the harmony of the session. That feeling ebbed away as we went through our cow-face, downward dog, child and warrior poses. The teacher read out a message at wind-down time about using the day well and being positive. It was brilliant.

I am now about to take that message on board and do something good today that will make tomorrow better.

Ciao x

Long Days and Nights

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Life without little Max is lonely. Even Juno, who loved to keep him in line, has done a thorough search and sniff over the house a few times. Possibly to convince herself that he has actually gone, rather than to mourn his absence…

She spent a few days with B&C who are like her grandparents, then came to me as they are away. The plan is that on the Long Days, she will stay there and on Nights, I can have her as I walk her and have a usual day, tuck her into bed about 6pm when I leave to catch the train, and I am home in the morning when she wakes up.

On Long Days I am getting up at 4:30 to leave the house at 5:15 and tend to arrive home at about 10:30 at night. It is indeed a very long day. But I surprised myself by being really prepared in week one. Meals ready for each day, thanks to a big cooking spree. I got home, emptied the bags, washed the lunch boxes, then packed the lunch for the next day, showered then slept. Uniforms were always ready and I have been trying to keep things as efficient as possible.

This week it is all night shifts…

At the weekend I did something I have wanted to do for months. I joined the amazing local gym. It has an Olympic sized pool, a diving pool – with a 10 meter board….rock climbing wall, 160 different classes a week, squash, tennis, badminton, a running track, cafe, bar and hairdresser! The membership for a student is £39 a month. Not cheap, but I can ride the bike there in about 5 minutes which means I am far more likely to go than if I had to drive to it. I think I could walk it in 15. My membership starts on Friday and I can’t wait. The window cleaner and I are going to play squash, and I can get back into weights. I am actually excited because I miss going to the gym.

We are still waiting to hear about the conditional job offers and I phoned about it today. They reassured me that it will arrive soon, they have just had a few issues with getting them out in time.

 

 

50 Hairs of Grey

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Rain has prevented our walk this morning. It is coming down hard and Juno will barely poke her nose through the cat flap and sigh. The only thing that gets her out in the rain is a nature call. Even Max, who is oblivious usually to being wet, shot right back in after a whirlwind turn of the garden. Things have gone quiet now after a tumultuous wrestling match between them that began in the kitchen and worked its way up the stairs to the best wrestling zone in the house…MY BED. 50 hairs of grey indeed, all over the duvet.

I wonder if the neighbours think I have a particularly athletic lover? The growling might worry them though.

Anyhoo, the library calls, the dissertation calls, as does another essay, a workbook, the remains of the portfolio and all that passing a degree entails. But the uni library is not the only one that calls today. Popping in to sort out a travel card at the station later to help reduce the horrendous cost of fares to London for the next 15 weeks, and will nip across the road to the local library.

I have my eye on a book and after looking at the ‘used’ price on Amazon, searched the local library for it and they have a copy. Woohoo. Not spending again.

Enjoy your day people. x