Weekend bits and pieces


2010 – Do you remember when we had icicles like these hanging from our windows? For once, the Midlands which is usually protected from the very worst weather, suffered badly for several weeks. On the weekend before Christmas it took us an hour and a half to travel just nine miles. We’d not have bothered but we had two small children in the car who were desperately clutching their tickets for breakfast with Santa at Webbs Garden Centre in Wychbold, Droitwich. Santa, clearly having struggled himself, kindly waited for all the latecomers.

So why, on this beautifully sunny autumn day am I writing about that awful winter?  Whilst the past two nights have been nowhere near bad enough to result in any icicle formation, they have been exceedingly cold for October.  On both nights I awoke at about 2am and my arms were so cold that they hurt when I moved them under the covers. The reason I leave them outside the covers is because the hot water bottle makes me too hot but I can’t get rid of it. I’d really like not to need it but the direct heat is the only thing that prevents the awful night cramps in my legs. Most often occurring in my shins or across the instep of my feet, I even occasionally get the pain in my thighs.  It’s not every night but happens too often. Most of the time I’m aware during the evening of the muscles tightening and get warning as to whether or not there’s going to be a problem but the warmth of the hwb is playing havoc with how the rest of my body feels. The top half of me gets too warm, hence the arms out of the bed, and  my head gets so hot that I’m constantly flipping the pillow in order to find a cool spot.

Some time ago I bought a special pad that when filled with cold water was said to cool the head. The idea was to place it under the regular pillow. It made no difference whatsoever so I tried putting it on top of the pillow but the heat from my head heated up the water in it and then it leaked all over the bed! I’ve recently seen advertised a ‘cool-gel-filled’ pad and am tempted to try again. Has anyone tried one of these, and most importantly, does it work?

The weekend has flown by (I do seem to be concentrating lately on this subject) even though we benefited from an extra hour when the clocks went back last night. I spent the entire day yesterday working on my novel. I am now up to 83% of target but it is getting progressively harder as I struggle with quite how to tie up loose ends in part three. I also need to expand part two by around 4,000 words. But if I feel down, I re-read the feedback I received when four extracts (c10,000 words) were critiqued by Stephanie Hale, Director of the Oxford Literary Consultancy: “It has moments of poignancy that are beautifully written [and] it’s a brilliant storyline.”  It is this that encourages me to soldier on.

Today we have been to visit son’s new home. It took us a little over an hour to get there (less time than expected) but I didn’t like the journey which has several complicated road junctions. For someone who, until six years ago, drove 25,000 business miles a year, it is disappointing to admit that I now feel lacking in the confidence to deal with these. I am currently investigating other possible routes which are longer but may be less stressful. Failing that, I shall get the train (though this is a considerably more expensive option at 3x the cost of driving there. No wonder people are not taking notice of the Government’s urging that we all make greater use of public transport).

Journey aside, it was lovely to see the family and get lots of grandsons’ hugs and cuddles. We had brunch in the form of a traditional English breakfast and since this is something I never cook, it was a real treat!


  1. I hope you are getting some relief from your nightcramps by increasing your magnesium levels. It might be worth looking at your Bvit levels as well, as you need magnesium to be able to absorb the Bvits and a deficiency of the latter is characterised by hot feet. Otherwise, you can make your own cramp remedy by skinning the bark off some Guelder rose/crampbark cuttings and immersing them in vodka for three weeks. The infusion will turn red. Take 1tsp about half an hour before you go to bed and your cramps should be a thing of the past.


    • Thank you for your ideas, Sarah. My problem is not hot feet but the fact that the cramp is only relieved by heat. Applying that heat then makes the rest of me too hot! I am now taking a magnesium supplement, having Epsom salt baths and eating more bananas. I shall investigate the guelder rose remedy also.


  2. I usually feel cold, not hot, but I second the suggestion to include potassium and magnesium to the diet. I am supposed to eat a banana every day and take a magnesium supplement to prevent cramps. Oh, and drink plenty of water!


  3. I’ve read quite a lot about Epsom Salts baths which contain magnesium sulphate and are supposed to be beneficial for all sorts of health related issues. It’s on my list to try them. Could be worth researching?


  4. In 1963 I was 9-10. I am from Canada so am sure that unless some relatives in England sent letters, we would know very little about that time. Ours must have bee unremarkable as the only thing I remember from 1963 was my brother graduating from grade 12. Nice to read an accounting though. As for your leg cramps. I had them for years. Mine were so bad I would actually scream at times. I hit apon a remedy that has greatly helped to the point I don’t get them any longer. Chances are your body is low on a couple of nutrients. Potassium and Magnesium. I eat a banana every day and take a magnesium supplement. As we age those are two things that have a hard time staying at good levels. Hope this helps.


    • Thank you for your suggestions Jean. I am definitely going to buy magnesium supplements tomorrow. I do eat bananas. Yes, the pain makes me cry out at times. Canada certainly knows all about snow!


  5. The winter of 1963 was the worst I can remember. It started snowing just after Christmas, I believe, and the snow was still hanging around in May. It’s not been that cold at night down here in Torbay, Eloise – but then this is the English Riviera and supposed to be very mild!

    As for night cramps, I suffer from those, too, and in my calf muscles mainly but I also get what I call front-leg cramp, when my big toes feel they want to come up and meet my knees, and the whole of the front of my legs go into a cramp-like spasm, and this takes ages to clear. Like you, the top half is hot and the bottom half cold! And I also keep flipping my pillow over to find a cold spot! What are we like. Husband is as bad but in a different way: he suffers from irritable legs syndrome, but he can get twitchy all over, in his arms and body as well as in his legs.

    The drive to your son and his family doesn’t sound a pleasant one, I would hate that. I have never had to drive far even though I drove a lot, if that makes sense, taking husband to and from work, taking my mother shopping, taking the lads to various venues, and so forth as children.

    Now, girl, crack on with that novel! (I’m a fine one to talk, not having done the writing I planned today!)
    Margaret P


    • I have a faint memory of walking to school in the snow in 1963 and I know from reading about it that it was one of the worst winters on record (along with 47/48, I believe). To think that we had just two coal fires in our house in 63. I remember my mum lighting the rings on the gas cooker to warm up the kitchen. Really, in 2010 most of us were very fortunate to live in centrally heated houses. One morning I had driven to Nottingham, around 70 miles away, for an 8.30am meeting. Just as I got our of my car it began to snow and within 10 minutes the cars were covered and the snow was falling very heavily. I didn’t take in a single word, all I could think about was how I was going to get home. It took me several hours and I was so frightened on the motorway that I cried. It was on that very day that I decided if the mooted take over of the company was going to mean redundancies, I was going to volunteer. It was and I did!


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