Welcome Home Bernard

Welcome Home Bernard!

It took 4 months and nearly two weeks, but Bernard is now back home. I’ve not driven him yet, but I may give it a go soon. I’m really nervous, I used to love driving so much, but I’ve never really got used to driving with my hands.

We only have Bernard until September, then our lease is up and we can choose a new car. Graham has his eye on a Volvo. I thought it would be cool to get a WAV so I could just drive my wheelchair on, that was until I saw the cost…eeek! I think I’ll just stick to getting a new wheelchair and a hoist in the boot of the new car.

In Other News

I think getting Bernard back was the big news of the last week, nothing much else has happened.

I was glad to give my heart monitor back. As I suspected I had a good week with no problems, so they’ll probably give me the all clear. I am 99% sure it was my medication causing the issues, and I’ve stopped it now.

The monitor gave me some lovely sores, I think I’m a bit allergic to those sticky pads they use, I always get a rash whenever I have an ECG.

Wool Addict

My hooks have been busy this week. I’ve almost completed a dragon hooded scarf from a pattern from the lovely Tracey at Hooks and Dragon I can’t wait to show it off.

I’m also in the process of piecing together the CAL (crochet along) blanket that I started last February. I really don’t like the sewing part, but I will finish it after all my hard work, I have to.

I’ve also got the wool for a toy zebra, and the girls fell in love with a pattern for an axolotyl which they want me to make.

I’m going to be a little bit busy.

Debs Random Writings
Mix It Up Linky

The Simple Car Maintenance Tasks Drivers Can and Can’t Do

I remember, many moons ago, I was having an issue with my car battery. My car was refusing to start some mornings and I would have to ask a neighbour to give me a jump start. It was obvious the battery wasn’t holding power and I needed a new one. Feeling confident that I could change it myself I went to a car shop which was only a five minute walk away to buy a new battery. Little did I realise just how heavy car batteries are and that five minute walk home carrying a battery was a complete nightmare. In the future I’ll be sure to go to Kwik Fit where they run a battery testing service and I won’t get caught out again.

Do you look after your car or do you take it to the garage at the first hint of anything needing doing to it? For many years I was quite proud of the things I learnt to do to look after my car. My brother showed me how to change a wheel but although I have never had to do it, at least I would know what to do.

There are new changes proposed to the driving test where new drivers are supposed to know basic maintenance of their cars. The AA conducted a Survey  of over 18,000 drivers and found out that;

68% of drivers were unsure of how to change the oil and oil filter.
53% were unsure of how to check if the power steering is working.
38% were unsure to check that there is a safe level of brake fluid.
35% were unsure of how to change a flat tyre by fitting a spare wheel.
26% were unsure of how to change a window screen wiper blade and how to top up the cooling system with anti-freeze
21% were unsure of how to check the tyre tread depth.
15% were unsure of how to top up the engine oil.
9% were unsure of how to check the tyre pressure
8% were unsure of how to check the engine oil level
5% were unsure of how to top up the windscreen washer fluid
4% were unsure of how to open the bonnet of their car.

Only today I witnessed someone having to help another driver to top up their windscreen washer fluid!

Your car is your responsibility and although you may rely on your garage to fix any issues there are many maintenance tasks that you should be able to perform yourself.
Do you know how to do the things on the list above?

hands on a car steering wheel
photo courtesy of Matheus-Ferrero-1 on Unsplash

   Disclosure: collaborative post

Word of the Week – Cold

Brrrr hasn’t it been cold this week! I’ve really noticed it and as someone who normally prefers the colder months, yes, even snow, I’m quite annoyed that my body can no longer stand it. Cold hurts!

Our house is generally warm but I don’t like having the heating on all the time so I like to wrap up warm inside. I’ve been busy crocheting a blanket that I’m going to keep on the sofa so when I get cold I can just snuggle up in it. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever crocheted and it’s coming along lovely. It’s kept me busy too.

This week we also had some visitors from Cornwall. When I was little my older brother was friends with this man who lived locally, then he moved away and they drifted apart, not seeing or speaking to each other for years.Then they discovered Facebook and got in touch again. I love that Facebook is so good for this, I’ve re-connected with a few of my childhood and school friends. Anyway, we have been speaking to this friend of my brother’s for quite a few years on Facebook so when he said he was coming to our town we agreed to meet up with him and his wife. We had a lovely afternoon catching up in ‘real life.’

Yesterday we decided to  do a little more Christmas shopping, I wanted to get board games for the kids and Smyths are doing an offer of 3 for 2 on board games. As I needed 3, this was perfect. We have a Smyths store about 10 mins drive away and I decided that I’d like to drive. I think this might be the first time in about six months that I have been behind the wheel. I was so nervous, but once in the driving seat my nerves left me and I was fine. Of course I was quite happy for hubby to get back behind the wheel for the journey home. One way was enough. We parked almost directly by the entrance to Smyths but while I waited for hubby to put my wheelchair together I got really cold and when we got in the shop I just couldn’t stop shivering. Hubby got worried that I was having a spasm in the shop but I was just seriously cold.

Last Saturday we had a lovely day at Hatton Enchanted Christmas Kingdom and although the weather was bright and dry it was incredibly cold. I really do think that being in a wheelchair is much colder than walking around. I’ll have to invest in thermals or a blanket.

Well, it’s December today so I guess you have to expect the weather to be really cold. I’ve not seen any snow yet though!

The Reading Residence

Back Seat Driver

I’m not sure why they call it a back seat driver, I sat in the back seat yesterday while my husband drove and for the first time ever I managed to keep my mouth shut!!

Hands up though, I am the worst back seat driver ever, if they could give and award for it then mine would certainly be gold!

Yesterday evening I had a call from a friend.
“I’ve got my driving test next week and I wondered if you would take a drive with me so I can get some extra practice?”

MY Worst Nightmare!!

I couldn’t even get in the car when my husband was learning. Thankfully I couldn’t get him insured in my car until he passed his test so I had a good excuse. But I am seriously scared of being in a car with a learner driver. A driving instructor would be my nightmare job.

I had to let her down, I hope she understands. I just couldn’t do it. I hope she passes her test, I really do. I have everything crossed for her.

When my husband first passed his test I was a nervous wreck getting in the car with him. In his first six months of driving he’s had two bumps, that’s two black marks on our insurance policy. I haven’t had a bump in nearly 20 years! I am a very careful driver though and I hate it when I see someone else not being so careful. I don’t even have to be in the car to notice, oh yes, I saw you cutting off the corner or speeding up the crossing and braking hard at the last minute. You wouldn’t catch me doing that.

My husband is a good driver but he’s most definitely a MAN driver. The seat is pushed back so he can relax in it and he loves having just one had on the wheel. I have to drive with one hand on the wheel because as a hand driver my other hand is on the accelerator/brake, but I have a knob on the wheel to make one handed steering easier. He takes off my knob when driving but still thinks he can control the wheel with one hand, while fiddling with the radio with the other.

I do feel more comfortable in the car now but I often notice that he will pull off at an island when I probably would have waited a little longer, he speeds up to junction and stops suddenly (one of my pet hates) he stops suddenly at traffic lights as if he hasn’t been paying attention, and he edges out of junctions impatiently. He also gets angry with other drivers and throws insults at them.

And me? I can’t keep my mouth shut. I’m telling him all the time, which way to go, to slow down, to be patient, to look out for the lights, to watch that car coming from the right, that he’s in the wrong lane going around an island. I just can’t help myself. I drive him nuts and we often end up arguing.

Then I apologise because I am trying not to be critical but to help him drive better.
He accepts my apology and we turn it all into a joke.

I never used to be like this. I was driven around for many years before I started driving myself and I never once opened my mouth in criticism. I think being a driver makes me more aware and more critical.

I don’t speak when I’m other cars but I do notice. I notice taxi drivers that are speeding or taking too much notice of their radio rather than the road. But I wouldn’t dare tell a taxi driver off.

I hope my husband understands. I do think he’s taken to driving really well and in just six months he’s achieved loads. When we went on holiday he drove for hours on the motorway and country lanes and he did brilliantly. I felt relaxed enough to take in the view. I only got panicky once when he went down a very steep and bendy incline a little too fast. I’m pretty sure he felt he was in complete control but I felt my stomach in my mouth. I think I may have been scared if I’d been driving too.

He rarely panics, even when lost. I panic terribly when I lose my way. To be fair we are both as bad as each other when it comes to directions, so it doesn’t matter who’s driving and who’s giving directions, we always get it wrong. Thankfully we can laugh about it (after the argument.)

What about you? Are you a back seat driver? Is your partner? Would you have the patience to teach someone else to drive? I’m sure I’m not the only one.


Out – Word of the Week

This week we have been out quite lot which is why it’s my word of the week.

It’s been really quite an exciting week and not just because it’s nearly Christmas.
We’ll start on Monday. My husband had an important driving lesson that he really didn’t want to miss, but the younger kids were still at school and had a family afternoon where parents could join them for a Christmas decoration making session. I really didn’t want to let them down but I can’t go out without Graham, so I had a dilemma.
I solved it by getting Graham to get me to the school before his lesson. Then I managed to spend the afternoon with the kids. Afterwards we had half hour left before the end of Graham’s lesson so he could fetch us so I decided that we would do it by ourselves. With the help of the Little Man we managed to get my wheelchair to the car. Then with the help of Boo, I managed to get the wheelchair in the boot of the car and we went home! I felt so independent. I know I had the help of the kids but it still felt like a huge achievement for me. I’d not been out without an adult’s help before.
Then on Tuesday morning, bright and early at 8am (Well not so bright but you know what I mean) Graham had his driving test. He’d managed to get a cancellation and told him to go ahead and book it as the kids would have broken up from school by then. Wrong! The kids didn’t break up until Tuesday afternoon so I had to get them to school, on my own!! I got them up, dressed and ready for school and then packed them in the car. Now, it may have been easy getting the wheelchair in the boot the day before but getting it out is another story. Not only that, I would have been alone getting back to the car and wouldn’t have been able to get the wheelchair back in the boot by myself. So, plan B. I parked as close to the school as possible. Then when Joseph’s little friend tapped on the car window to say hello I opened the window and asked his mum to take Joseph down with her. Of course she agreed. Every single morning I see them go past the car so I knew this would work, but back up would have been to get Boo to take him down, which would have meant her being late, but it would have been her first time late since September. The problem is, the Little Man’s school entrance is not visible from the road, no matter where you park. For Boo it was easier as her school entrance was in plain view, so I could just watch her go in from the car. Another accomplishment for me. The first time this year I’d taken the kids to school by myself. It was also the last time this year!
Now, let’s get on to the exciting bit! As I said, Graham had abandoned me and the kids in favour of a driving test! Well, it was okay, because he PASSED! So now he can drive us around instead. This is such good news because we are often unable to get anywhere because I’m not well enough to drive. Also, I can only drive for short periods because of the pain it causes me. Also, it frees me up to take my full dosage of medication which I don’t at the moment as it would prevent me from driving. 
So, for the rest of the week Graham has been going out every day getting used to the car and, well, just because he can. Today we are off visiting family, dropping off cards and presents and Graham will be driving us. He can also go  and pick the Turkey hamper up so I don’t have to. It’s going to make such a difference having someone else driving other than me. 
As always I’m linking up to Jocelyn’s Word of the Week linky and would like to wish all my readers and anyone from the #wotw linky, a very merry Christmas!
The Reading Residence

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.