Sunday, 31 May 2009

Monday 1st June, store audits start


Another week in my life starts, I am taking my son to his work experience this week, I wonder if he will be shocked at work?,had to get up extra early this morning as a result, in fact I got up a good half hour too early, even before my alarm so had to go back to bed!. This week I am doing some store compliance audits too, another aspect of the mystery shopping, compliance audits are an important part of the retailers activity, it enables the stores to be similar in layout, have the correct posters and display items and by myself and other people like me doing the audits we can spot problems and assist in correcting them, obviously these are not covert visits and we work with the store managers closely so I need to dress in a business like fashion. Mrs W has a carer in this morning to help get washed and have a shower, we then have another carer coming in to give us a helping hand with the house work too.I will do my first audit then we shall probably have lunch out somewhere today too. Actually didn't manage to eat out, didn't feel like much so we opted for a KFC instead. Mrs W had her afternoon nap, I filed my report for the audit and sat peacefully in the quiet of the garden, the sun beating down on me, the garden was alive with the usual suspects of dragonflies, wasps, bees and today seemed very busy on the butterfly front too, I took a picture of the most popular speices today it is at the top header of this blog, maybe my son and Mrs W are correct when they say I am photo taking mad, but I find it fascinating to capture the wildlife so close up and personal, it is amazing what you see while sat quiet in the garden I am sure that by taking the time to sit quiet I am helping my stress level and that of my blood pressure which as you know has given some cause for concern recently too. Son came home from work experience having had a wonderful eye opening day. They went straight into the pool for a couple of hours after school and work experience.My time in the garden had come to an end today as a result, you will get no peace and quiet when the children are in the garden.

Sunday 31st May Back to nature moments


Well after the impromptu music concert last night from the neighbours I had a good night sleep and have awoken fresh and full of the joys of Summer. First things get rid of the last load of washing in the laundry basket, then to make breakfast and wake the children up! easier said than done sometimes.I went into the garden and was strangely drawn to a blackbird sitting on the television aerial singing his heart out as though his life depended on it I stood mesmerised listening to him. Checked twitter and face book in that order I might add. Then off to carry out a mystery shopping assignment at a local train station cafe, the second one of those in the last few days. Some of you have asked what is mystery shopping and what do I do, well in simple terms, I get given assignments to do, I then have to time the service note the environment conditions and level of service, sometimes making a purchase too. I work on a self employed basis enabling me to work when I wish around caring for Mrs W and the children. I work with several companies so the assignments vary a lot from shops, night clubs, post offices, cinemas and petrol stations to name a few, after each assignment is the need to file a report usually by an on line report, sometimes over the telephone depending on the company, the pay is not excellent but it is a good hobby and it does give you the odd meal out, a drink etc. If anyone would like to become a shopper please email me and I can assist you. The afternoon has been quiet, Mrs W has gone for her nap, the children and their friends have over run the garden using the pool, trampoline and hosepipe, hope the weather lasts once the children have gone to school so we can enjoy the garden ourselves. Going to have a barbecue this evening the four of us making the most of the new equipment namely the barbecue and the glorious weather. Off I go in search of some bread rolls for the sausages and burgers, anyone would think there was a shortage of food as the stocks of essential items IE bread rolls of all kinds were low, I managed to grab the last two packs of the most expensive rolls ever! that they had left on the shelf in readiness for the barbecue tonight. Right I have the garden to myself for a little while as the children have gone over the park, I go and clear up their litter and inspect the pool, then it happens another of those little inspirational moments I spot a small cluster of mushrooms, the pool must be providing perfect growing ground, never seen that before,I then notice the hustle and bustle of insects around the pond, the bees busy round the shrub, why am I being so observant and appreciative of all these wonderful creations of nature lately. I am sure it is something to do with nearly reaching the big 40 later this year, if not it must be some kind of mid life crisis. The barbecue had its second outing of 2009 being as it is brand new that is pretty good stuff, we cooked chicken, sausages, burgers and pork steaks along with haddock too all accompanied by a fresh salad, what we didn't manage to eat was given to the children's friends who were still hanging around outside for them to play after we had finished.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Saturday 30th May 2009 The riverside walk


Well it is the weekend, the last one before school restarts for a few weeks, time to do my bit as a dutiful son and grandson off to visit nan and mum. Spent the morning listening to nan reliving her week then off to see mum, came over all strange felt dizzy and promptly fell over flat on my face in her hall way, much to her amusement and the kids I might add, no matter no broken bones no blood so must be okay. Mum told me all about her holiday she has just had, lucky for her!. Looking forward to our family holiday end of June.

Came home and went to the shops brought a pre packed sandwich for myself and a pasty for Mrs W as not feeling 100% following the fall at mothers house. I cant be bothered to make anything, lazy I know but hey who cares?. Kids have gone out not sure where possibly over the park again,I am sat here listening to an old Top gear on Dave, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond make me laugh, simple life I lead !. Not a lot happening so far today. Tweeting and face booking is about all at the moment. Mrs W went for her afternoon nap so I am left all on my lonesome again. I know I thought to myself I will go for a walk down by the river, something I don't usually think of, for some strange reason I had the urge to go and take in the sights of the Frome valley. Off I trundle to the river from Fishponds to Eastville, well nearly, Snuff Mill to be precise. The walk was interesting lovely views, sights to see and the bird song echoing though the valley. Not sure if it is me but I seem to be finding such small things give me immense pleasure lately, things like seeing a dragon fly, a tiny fish,a butterfly or even a kingfisher. Could it be part of the process they call mid life crisis?. Or is it just the fact that when you get older you appreciate the little things in life?. Either way I am taking more interest in them.

Just when I thought the perfect day had just happened the neighbours opted to let everyone listen to their music, pop music blaring full volume, can even hear it through the closed double glazed windows if I had them open we wouldn't be able to hear our television and the judges on Britain's Got Talent tonight, am slowly roasting here on what is possibly one of the hottest days of the year so far, please for god sake turn the music down!, so I may open the windows and let a breeze through the house.

Once again the 15ft pool has been well used, the children when not over the park are in it with their "friends" I use the term losely as like I said in a previous blog it amazes me how many suddenly turn up when the pool goes up each year.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday 29th May 2009 The new BBQ


Well where to start, first off one of the care agencies called to say they had no help for Mrs W today, already my plans for the day were being thrown into turmoil. Okay so no carer, that means I have to go and do the weeks shopping taking Mrs W along, usually this is something the carer would come and help her do so she is able to have a bit of Independence and input into the running of the household on her own merit and thoughts without me tagging along spoiling things for her. Off we go to the local supermarket stocking up on everyday essentials and some little treats which I have no doubt the children will devour before we have even unpacked the shopping at home. As we were nearby I took a mystery shopping visit to a cafe in a local train station too, surprisingly the place was reasonable and quiet clean too, I went home with the shopping and filed my report on the successful visit.
We Invited the mother in law round for a barbecue today too, so off outside I went after shopping, hoovering and putting washing on the line to clean the barbecue in readiness for the evening, while cleaning the barbecue the bottom gave way, I had a bottomless barbecue.! so after asking eldest to dismantle the old now defunct barbecue I trundled off to the local diy store to browse the selection on display, I chose one that looked suitable and returned home, one man build it said on the box, only a screwdriver and maybe a pair of pliers, how hard can it be I thought, well as it turned out only half an hour later and a few choice words muttered under my breath there stood the gleaming, shiny new barbecue ready for action, but, why do I have so many nuts and bolts left? I searched high and low inside and out but I failed to see where else anyone could possibly shove another nut and bolt, satisfied that it was sound and usable I packed the tools away. I put another load of washing on the line, this is brilliant three loads washed and the laundry basket nearly empty, heaven!. I then sat and twittered, face booked and surfed while eating what looked like a really nice Smarties ice cream on the package but when I opened it I was so disappointed, it was small and the package was so wrong! shame on you Nestle I thought but ate it anyway!. God I am sounding like that guy off the telly, Victor Meldrew, shoot me now! I beg of you( please do not call the Samaritans or take up the offer either thanks). While surfing I came across a peregrine camera, basically a camera following the exploits of a peregrine and her chicks, it refreshed every two minutes, such a time wasting website, I spent a good hour refreshing it and watching the peregrine. The children have been entertaining themselves most the day, over the park loitering round the fun fair and in the garden in the swimming pool with their "friends". It's funny how many friends you get once they realize you have a 15ft swimming pool isn't it?. The barbecue went well, the food was cooked to perfection, chicken breasts, sausage and chicken kebabs, pork steaks and haddock to name but a few of the tasty items cooked, all followed by a traditional summer favorite strawberries and cream.Watched Britains got talent and felt sorry for the little girl who broke down with nerves and pleaded to start agian. Well that is the end of today's update call back soon.

Funfair 28th May 09


Well after yesterday with the 24hr monitoring of my bp, I thought it was about time we had some fun, the local travelling fair pulled into the park nearby. They had made it clear about a week before they were coming to the local park, about 5 minutes walking distance from our house, posters everywhere, now I am sure that if i put that many posters up I would be charged with fly posting?. Anyway back to the point. I took the bp monitor and my diary back to the hospital, glad to get rid of it too be honest. The afternoon Mrs W went for a nap after a lunch of pie and chips from the chippy, the children had already gone to the park, "just too look". I had some cash in my pocket which is rare these days!. I called my eldest on his mobile and asked where they were, his reply was at the park waiting for the fair to open. I told him I was on my way to the park and met them at the entrance. The park was bustling with families, for those of you who do not know Vassells park in Fishponds on the Oldbury Court estate it links with Snuff mills via a lovely riverside walk, there is even large playing fields, woodland and a play area, it is ideal to get away from the stresses of busy city life. The fun fair had not opened fully and men with oily hands and clothes were working on fixing some of the rides and continued to get some rides ready in time for opening but were failing miserably with at least one ride nowhere near completion and another confounding the engineers with a breakdown beyond their comprehension . The fair began to open like a giant beast waking from an eternal deep sleep, one by one the rides opened and then the side stalls, the smell of candy floss began to drift around the air, the lights visible even in the glorious sunshine, the smell of diesel powering the generators. Lots of smiling kids and parents dipping into their wallets and purses, talk about bank of mum and dad!.

The Children wanted to go on a ride which to be honest you wouldn't get me on it was called rock and roll, it did simply that it span round at high speed rolling the cage you sat in doing a complete roll over at times, they loved it, can't say I would have done, we spent about two hours going round the rides and various side stalls before I dropped the bomb shell that we had to leave, the children took this in good grace although reluctantly I might add. All in all the fair was good value I guess at £1.50 per rider, but, if you have more than 1 child it could be an expensive time out, I noticed the fair had made an effort to bury the cables linking the rides and side stalls to the generators too, something that I had pointed out previously which made navigating the fair difficult with a wheelchair, especially if it had long grass, which I might add the council had not been and cut the grass for a while. Mrs W was happy not to have gone to the fair in the knowledge that she would not have been able to get in any of the rides due to access problems and the lack of assistance that is usually offered at these travelling fairs or indeed some larger theme parks too. Right that's me done for today. Hope you enjoyed the entry see you tomorrow.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Blood pressure monitored 27th May 09


Had an interesting day yesterday, for months nearly years I have been to the Doctor complaining of feeling tired, sweating, pains in the chest, dizzy spells, headaches and visual problems, each time I go to the doctor they take my bp and say " hmmm it is a bit high, lets wait a while and see what happens", anyway, things came to a head when I started being sick and having severe headaches that worried me enough to make a scene. i went to the doctor and stated that I was worried about the bp and I have had high Reading's previously both in hospital and at the surgery, she asked me some questions which had been asked before and recommended that i go to the local hospital for 24hr monitoring, well that day was yesterday. I went to the hospital and had a monitor fitted which I have been wearing all day and night, I have had my bp taken every thirty minutes both day and night, at times I felt like a microwave with the machine inflating, buzzing and pinging all day and night!. Along with bp monitoring I had to keep a diary of my activities too. I hope that by doing this they will make a diagnosis and be able to assist me and help to make my bp more steady, apparently my brother and my father have a history of high bp and are both on medication for this, when I mentioned this to the doctor she dismissed any link to it being possible that it was passed on from generation to generation from father to son but much more likely to be passed from mother to son and began asking about my mothers health, i told her that I had asked my mother and she denies having any knowledge of blood pressure problems either her or on her side of the family. Wouldn't be the first time a doctor has been proved wrong eh?. As well as having the visit to the hospital we went out for lunch to a restaurant called Chiquitos at Avonmeads Bristol, the food was passable the service was slow. The blood pressure monitor carried on monitoring me during the meal much to the amusement of the children who laughed to see my shirt sleeve inflate every thirty minutes, I made a joke referring to the microwave stating that when it beeped I would be cooked should they get hungry while waiting for their meals to arrive, that joke carried on through out the day with comments like "hes cooking again" as the monitor inflated the cuff. During the night I had a surprisingly easy sleep even with the cuff on my arm, I only awoke once to go to the toilet, holding monitor box in one hand and doing the business with the other, is that a man multi tasking? maybe not. The monitor and I depart company today at eleven am so can get back to more normal life after that all being well, just have to await the results which could take around two weeks or so. That will be the hardest part I guess, the waiting, never been good at that even as a child. Christmas, birthdays were a nightmare, the waiting the agony the suspense of it all. Right then enough of the blog today, off to enjoy the day and the events that follow. come back soon wont you?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

London Eye 26th May 2009


Well having done the wheel at Weston Super Mare we figured that the London Eye was a must. We booked our tickets about four weeks in advance to allow for the fact we might need some help with the wheelchair for Mrs W. The day arrived it was slightly overcast, we set off from Bristol at 6.30am figuring we had plenty of time to get to London. We were snaking our way through London traffic at 10.35am. Only 25 minutes till our pre booked flight and the Sat nav system told me we still had ten minutes till we reached our destination, a decision was made to ditch the car in Trafalgar square, blow and behold we found 3 disabled bays still free at that time of the morning, I darted into one, we got our stuff together and walked through the hustle and bustle that was London traffic, there were some tourists going round with face masks on having taken precautions against the out break of swine flu. We arrived at Jubilee bridge the only way to get to the wheel in time, we hadn't noticed a lift and were contemplating lifting the wheelchair up the number of steps when a street cleanser told us of the lift, we walked across the bridge and could see the massive structure of the wheel, nearly there. Once at the other end of the bridge the lift the other side was not coming up, our son went down and noticed the lift doors were out of action, there was no choice but to carry Mrs W in her chair down the steps to the London Eye. Luck would have it a passer by saw the struggle and offered to help, we arrived at the embarkation point to the London eye and were ushered through the safety barrier straight to the front of the line. The wheel was stopped and a ramp placed across the short gap between the platform and the wheel. The flight round the eye lasted around thirty minutes and the views were stunning. We came off the London eye and through the gift shop which was busy. Right now we all needed the toilet having last been some forty miles out of London and some hours ago, the signs for the toilets were unclear, we asked for some directions and were told the London Eye toilets were currently closed and the nearest ones were in Waterloo station, we walked along the south bank with the numerous street acts performing along the way and found some pub and restaurants. We entered the complex and used the toilets there, we were able to use the lift to get us to a roof top terrace and managed to negotiate a much smaller flight of steps to the top of Jubilee bridge as a result, we found ourselves just outside Trafalgar square not far from the car, just enough time for some lunch, we found a little Frankie's and ate there. We walked around after lunch taking in some sights like Trafalgar square and then decided it was time to head home, all of us stated that perhaps London was best given a wide berth in the future as it was stressful and considering a capital city was very ill equipped for wheelchair access and users.

Day out to Cheddar 25th May 09


First posting in the blog, so here goes, it was another bank holiday Monday. What to do with the family that wouldn't cost the earth?. We love Cheddar, the wonderful cheese produced there, the local scenes, the caves, not accessible to us due to Sam my wife being a wheelchair user, so off we go, first port of call the cheese making factory, great value for entry fee, at just under £2.00 per adult. The children now in their teens were well interested in the history and the workings of the cheese factory, how the cheese was made, matured, packaged and sold in the adjoining shop. Once through the cheese factory we came to the best bit, tasting the cheese we had seen made, the various cheeses from mild, to cave matured to vintage, even tried goats cheese, that was a first for all of us. We left having sampled the cheeses onto sample some local cider and not forgetting the locally produced ice creams. both equally tasty.
We walked up and down the gorge taking in the wonderful sites, the children insisted on checking out yet another cheese shop and tasting their cheese, before leaving we found one, their cheese was laid out for all to sample they were equally tasty. The day ended with a meal out in a pub locally in all we spent very little and had an educational day out, thoroughly enjoyed by all, made even more so by the accessible nature of the cheese factory, we had to give the caves a miss due to the fact being a naturally made attraction over thousands of years that some of the caves were not accessible. Something to consider when Mrs W is out shopping or something maybe.