Hello, everyone, long time, no see.
Sorry for the prolonged break; I'm not abandoning this blog, there's just been a lot of family stuff going on lately, some good some bad. We've both been pretty stressed out plus DH had another bout of bronchitis and I'm recovering from yet another monster migraine.
The main bad news is DH's mum is really not well again. She's back in hospital, this time with pneumonia, and it's not looking good. He spent nearly a whole week in Wales over half term spending the majority of his time at the care home with her, but had to come home eventually for work. He feels really guilty at the moment that he can't be down there with her, and that so much emphasis is on his cousin and her husband (who are being absolute angels) to visit her and take in anything she needs...and to keep him updated on her condition as the hospital isn't very forthcoming with information when he phones.
Of course, if she takes a serious turn for the worse we'll be in the car and off down there in a shot, and he has warned the school where he works that that might be necessary. At nearly 94 she really hasn't had much quality of life the past few months; her mind is now going whereas up to a short while ago she was bright as a button, and she constantly has one infection (either chest or urinary tract) after another, plus she's now had 3 falls, including breaking her wrist. It's very hard on DH as he's an only child so has no one but his cousin to share the burden of worry and care with, and she and her husband are already looking after her mother who has Alzheimers. Given the fact that he's in a stressful job too, and has to travel 2 hours a day to and from his current school, I'm keeping an eye on him and hoping he doesn't have another breakdown like he did 4 years ago.
We've also had car trouble which hasn't helped with the stress. DH's school is difficult to get to on public transport so he relies on our old VW Polo to get him to and from. It did pass the MOT at the beginning of last month, but started playing up after that. We've now forked out for a full service and - touch wood - it seems to be running a lot more smoothly.
Hopefully the car will play nice this weekend because we're off to Basingstoke to visit DD1. Her wife is with the army band and is currently in Germany so we're going to keep DD1 company for a couple of days, driving down early tomorrow morning and back late on Sunday. It will give us a chance to catch up with DD and to see their new house since they recently moved from army accomdation near Winchester. DH can keep in touch with whatever's happening with his mum and we're taking spare clothes in case we have to dash to Wales and stay for a while, and Basingstoke is closer to Bridgend anyway.
Having had so much to pay out for on the car, plus other unexpected expenses (including going to Basingstoke) this month I'm really belt-tightening. I did have money put by for the car but have had to dip into other savings and I want to replace them, not keep spending, so my budget for the next two weeks until DH gets paid again on the 25th (not including the cost of travelling to Basingstoke and one lunch out with DD1) is £50 a week housekeeping, £60 a week for DH's petrol for work, and £25 for his dental treatment. That's £245 plus I'll allow a £15 float for the 3 extra days over the 2 weeks. £115 housekeeping for 17 days isn't a lot for 4 people (3 of them men) plus 2 greedy cats, when I've already run down my freezer during October, but I've made a menu plan of sorts (which went to pot this week with me in bed for 2 days with a migraine) and it's definitely do-able, as long as we don't get any more nasty surprises!
Good news on the money front, I've taken out a new deal with Scottish Power online until 2017 which freezes the price of my gas and electric. It means I pay a little more now per KWH or whatever they call it, but with prices continuing to rise I'm hoping to reap the benefits of freezing it later on. Plus, because we had built up a lot of credit by paying by direct debit, my monthly payments have been reduced by about £25. My water charges have also reduced by a few pounds since DD3 and BF moved out.
Sorry is this sounds all doom and gloom, not a lot ot shout about at the moment, but we are really looking forward to our mini break this weekend and hoping we get enough dry weather to take stroll by the Basingstoke canal.
You notice I haven't mentioned the dreaded 'C' word. I haven't even started on my Christmas prepartions beyond saving £50 in Morrisons stamps for food and my sealed savings tins which I'll open on 30th of this month. We're going to DD3 and BF's for Xmas dinner, anyway, and she's so excited to be hosting her first family Christmas. We're hoping everyone will manage to be there and we haven't all been together since June.
After taking time out to write this mammoth post I'd better get on and catch up with all the things I haven't done while I was ill. Sorry again for the doom and gloom and I hope all is more cheerful in your neck of the woods despite the weather.