Monthly Archives: August 2020

Early summer 2020

So where to begin!  It’s been three months since I last posted – (I feel like this is the beginning of a confession!) – and what an awful time it has been!  For me anyways… it’s a long and arduous story so I will spare you the gory details.  Basically I had a really bad stomach ache in early April which was diagnosed as gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining).  Typically it’s cured by acid-reducing medicines in a couple of weeks.  For me it’s gone from bad to worse — those medicines gave me lots of awful side effects so there were lots of phone calls to the local GP, which then turned into blood tests, which led to ultrasounds, CT scans of pancreas and liver etc, and finally the (dreaded) endoscopy and colonoscopy.  YACK.  Here I am at Spire Hospital awaiting the last procedures.

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(If anyone is wondering, I had to pay for several of the procedures and scans privately as the NHS outside of corona virus had literally come to a standstill.  My deepest sympathies to anyone suffering a “non-serious” health problem right now.  The NHS waiting lists are terrible even in good times — now it’s just a joke 🙁 )

On the upside “nothing serious” has been found — on the downside I still have quite a few pains in my abdomen which don’t seem to be going away.  We’ve tried everything to reduce acid and inflammation — I’m on a gluten and lactose free diet, as well as avoiding anything acidic.   I currently weigh in the region of 7 stone 11 pounds — Americans will have to google that to make any sense of it!

I was signed off work for most of July as the whole thing was so stressful I wasn’t sleeping very well.  🙁  I’m back at work now which is great news — my employers have been AMAZING in their support, both professionally and personally, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Anyways!  Pray for me please!  It’s taken a real toll on me as a person and on our family — it’s been incredibly frustrating and exhausting and I am thankful for all the hugs and kisses I get from Aled and Morgy who keep me going, and for all the moral support from near and far.  Thank you.

Now onto a cheerier section – all the lovely moments!  Here we are celebrating Aled’s birthday in late May with our neighbours Paul and Anurag.  They can be seen here at the far end of our garden with Anurag demonstrating a new yoga pose “socially-distanced champagne-picnic-sutra”.

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I ordered two sets of the same things from M&S which made for a lovely spread:

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The garden provided a bumper crop of strawberries and raspberries this year:

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And potatoes… half of which Morgan sold to Anurag for $2:

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Lockdown dragged on and the hell that is “both-parents-working-whilst-also-home-schooling” became our new reality.  And WOW to everyone who had been doing that from day 1 back in March – what a freaking nightmare!  Exhibit A of what happens to your bedroom/office when you’re on a conference call whilst also the on-duty parent.  God bless Morgan for being able to entertain himself as much as he did during these months and weeks!

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Here is Morgan “helping” Aled with his work — as one of my brother-in-laws pointed out, a manager in training!

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This picture sums up how much we all loved this situation:

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When we heard in late June that “school” would start back up in July for a few weeks, I cried tears of joy and relief… only to receive an email from our head teacher a few days later explaining that, due to social-distancing requirements, they’d only be able to offer 3 hours a week (YES 3 hours once a week!) to each child in Morgan’s class.  And this arrangement would last for the three weeks left of the term in July.  So just to really spell out what that means in real terms — 9 hours of childcare provided during a total of 120 working hours over 3 weeks in July.

So we sent Morgan to his 3 hour slot on Monday that first week of July — what a joy that was to only have to do one job for half of that day!  And then our First Minister Mark Drakeford (who no one knew existed until lockdown) declared that we’d finally be able to travel more than 5 miles from our homes from 6 July 2020.  Hurrah!  (Just going back to Mark Drakeford and how devolution has played out with Corona virus.  Lockdown rules were devolved to the “nations” which means Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland could make different rules to England.  This has caused lots of confusion as lockdowns are being lifted.  There have been differences around how far you could travel, how many people you could meet at once, whether you could eat inside at a restaurant, etc.  Even as I write, you have to wear masks in shops in England, but you don’t really have to if you don’t want to in Wales.  At times this is really nonsensical, especially if you live close to a border with England.)

Anyways!  We abandoned the last two weeks of “school” in favour of going to Pembrokeshire to see Nanna and Taidi (and the sea)!  We were able to do this immediately because we could stay in their unoccupied holiday cottage.  By then I had been signed off work and was grateful for Nanna and Taidi to help look after Morgan whilst Aled was working remotely.  A huge thanks to Ann and Steve for having us — it was so nice to see you — we missed you so much!

And what a great summer break Morgan had out in Pembrokeshire!

Body boarding:

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Crabbing:

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Bee-keeping:

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Hiking:

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Wheel-barrow riding:

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Black currant processing:

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And lots of reading!  Morgan’s reading has come on by leaps and bounds in the past 6 months (great teachers obviously!).  To think that when he left school he was reading books of about 16 pages with one sentence per page — now he’s reading actual books of 70 pages with normal sized font!  We are currently reading the Famous Five series together.

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There we are in the tent, which we set up in the field up by the big pond — we did this when I returned to/from Cardiff after the CT scan in a (rather ridiculous) attempt to social distance.

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It had a very nice view:

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Aled also managed to get out and enjoy some of his favourite Pembrokeshire spots including Aber Mawr beach (not great surf that day but he managed to catch a few!)

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Some sunset walks on Dinas Mountain — without me sob sob!

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Then it was back to Cardiff for the first few weeks of Augustfor the procedures…  back to the familiar walk around the parks…

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Don’t get me wrong, the parks near us are lovely — but we are so sick of them!!  Well, I definitely am.  Fingers crossed that schools actually are opening next week?!

So 9:30 – nearly my bedtime!  Will write more about our adventures in late August another day. Take care everyone — send me virtual hugs XOXOXO

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