Tips from our Grandmothers or Great-grandmothers

My kitchen is no different from most with its (sometimes) shining cooker, fridge, washing machine, kettle etc. But have you ever wondered about how life was for our grandmothers or great grandmothers who had only their hands, strength and patience to do everyday chores? Well, I often wonder about their strength and resilience particularly after reading a small Readers Digest book “What our Grandmothers knew.”

Here are a few of their beauty tips:

Treatment for dry skin: apply a face pack consisting of beaten egg yolk with a few drops of lemon juice added. If this doesn’t work they recommended, after washing the mask off your face to rub in a homemade skin cream made up of 1/3 oz of lard mixed with a pinch of zinc oxide.

This one is very seasonal – to get relief from sunburn. Grate a raw potato and spread between two layers of gauze. Apply this to the sunburnt skin.

Another which made me smile – relief for tired eyes: Boil some cornflowers in water, allow to cool. Then make compresses by layering the flowers between gauze. Lie flat for 15 mins with compresses over each eye.

Do you wonder that years ago many dogs lived outside? If they lived indoors they would have dined off the beauty treatments while the lady was wearing them!

 

Bob was always partial to fruit and veg and never considered picking his own to be work.

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Lessons Learnt

In our inconsistent world, some of the most powerful lessons we learn come from children and (in my case) our dogs. This is only my opinion before I get a truckload of replies all denying this is the case.

There is a tv program that tracks young four and five-year-olds at play. I love watching it as I am reminded or there resilience and love of basically having fun. They also say what they think, which is also a mind opener. If we say what we honestly think the only thing we often open is a can of worms!

I have had many dogs come and go in my life and they all taught me something different, some times about myself. The poodles my mum had basically taught me:

you cannot make someone do something just because you wish it to happen. Poodle number one often was dragged by me out on a walk and I inevitably arrived home carrying him!

Poodle number two taught me that simply giving someone time and sitting with them, listening or holding their hand is often all that is required.

Poodle number three; fun is important.

However, I was reminded of all of these things when Bob arrived into our lives. He was a great people dog. He loved to sit at the gate and wait for the children to pass by on the way home from school. This feat alone gained him many jelly babies, some crisps and a few extra inches around his middle, and a long list of admirers.  While he did this, Ellie and her collection of tennis balls would appear and she would push the balls through the gate while the children chucked them back.

He was patient, sitting calmly staring at me at 6pm each evening to remind me it was time for his food and meds.

He gave comfort to both Ellie and me whenever we returned from a long search cold and tired, with a wag of his tail and a lick across my hand and on her ear, he appeared to say, tomorrow is another day. 

It has become evident that Ellie continues to miss him but that too is another learning curve – dogs emotions run deep.

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From Ellie I have learnt a different set of lessons, never give up, don’t say can’t without trying. We have done some crazy things like swimming the river Boyne, or on one occasion climbed a great height (in torrential rain)to get around fallen trees and blocked pathway to find a missing person. Taking shelter from a snowstorm in a forest and then hitching a lift back to base in a tractor.

I would love to know what others have learnt from their canine buddies and what adventures they have taken with them.

 

Missing – Dad and Bob.

Of all the things I have ever written this is the toughest.

As this is Bob’s blog I will explain his story first.

On the 23rd of April, my best 4 legged buddy passed away. Bob has always been with me as I type my blog entries. His favourite position was to sleep on my feet and snore softly as I typed. It is an overused statement but – I miss him.

We were told, as many of you know, in March of 2018 that we would be lucky to have him with us for another month or two.

For me my emotions are like a daily rollercoaster as only four weeks before Bob, my Dad passed away. I was starting to come to terms with that loss when Bob left us.

I am still recovering from the shock of losing two strong well-loved individuals, (yes I know that Bob was to most – only a dog) who played such a big part in my daily life. In fact, in the past four years, my life has been centred around them and visits to Doctors and Veterinarians.

For Ellie, life has become a confusing place. She always had Bob with her except when she was working and even then when she arrived back home, he was at the back of the car ready to welcome her. Now when she gets out of the car she tends to stand and look around the yard as though expecting him to amble around the corner to say hello. She is not the only one who does this.

I really don’t want to stop writing the blog as I am still learning and working with dogs, but I am open to suggestions from the few who read my ramblings. But without Dad and Bob, the world has tilted.

I have visited the vets many times, as I stated above, but on that horrible evening, there was something that sort of freaked me out. The only four-legged client at the surgery was an Elkhound pup! Norwegian Elkhounds are not a popular breed here in Meath.

As always any and all comments are appreciated by me, and Ellie.

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Update on Bob

Mr Bob is becoming a grumpy demanding old dog! No other way to put it, I am afraid to say he is relishing the role. If there were a doggy version of Father Ted, he would be Father Jack!

He doesn’t call for whiskey though he did lick some off my fingers with great enthusiasm which would indicate that if a bowl or glass were offered it would not be refused.

Bob still makes everyone smile, as he plods about the house, walking under the visiting Brooke (Greyhound of a very leggy variety) as though she were not there. His meds have increased a little and on each occasion, I call to the vets to get a new batch, they express their surprise and delight that he is still king of the castle. I have attached a few photos of the grumpy, sometimes smiling old dog. Please note I did try bribery to get him to look at the camera, but…

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I am not looking at the camera

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I refuse to say cheese

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Who wrote this book?

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How old we become…

Isn’t it odd how old we become on the outside while inside we still feel like a twenty-year-old? That is my one observation having spent some days visiting with my dad.

His dementia has progressed at a frightening rate. So much so, that we had no choice but to bring him back to the nursing home where he feels happy. For me, it was a tough decision in one way, because I remember his reluctance to consider going in for respite eighteen months ago and his refusal to move mum to a local nursing home. However, I was happy knowing that, he is safer with many carers around him than just one of us with him twenty-four seven.

It is now two weeks since he moved house, and the weight has lifted from my shoulders, years and layers of stress are falling away and I have gained a little weight. Dad too is experiencing a lightening of years as he takes part in musical afternoons, dancing with anyone who is willing to risk getting their feet shuffled on, or squashed. His bright cheery “Hello,” gains him smiles and conversation. He is taking part in art classes, and on Wednesday of this week, he was a baker hoping to enjoy tea and queen cakes which he had helped to whip up and bake.

Just like Bob he is managing to hold on to his good humour and winning ways.

I Should Know Better

You would think I would know better, this is a sentence I repeat over and over. For instance newly married we stupidly believed if we work hard, save a few euro and life will run smoothly. Rubbish. The government simply creates new fiendish taxes and we are caught in a  loop. 

Life is what you make of it – true. But if you keep your life simple and try to help others, everyone thinks you are amazing until you have that one mili second of a slip up and you are the worlds worst ejit.

If it throws lemons – make lemonade. – Difficult but possible. Then the stupid government discovers you made lemonade and they tax it.

Smile and the whole world smiles with you. – No, they simply look at you and wonder why is that idiot is smiling? Is she laughing at me? Either way you, the smiler are in big trouble – Run.

All in all it leads to the same thing – I should know better. In fact I should do what Bob does, nothing  and live in the moment. In other words dream!

Why rush? We all get there in the end. Besides I have a cute face!

This Simple Life

I believed, stupidly, that life would get easier as we age.

This is not the case and no one escapes, in this writers life.

I always wanted to write, that is a given with me, so I blog.

I am not competitive but have learned that button once pushed does not easily switch off. I try to get to the gym  2 or 3 times a week, to offset the bad habits I have i.e. slouching over a computer screen,  and the inherited family traits of heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy and high blood pressure. And have discovered it is addictive, sociable and exhausting but good.

As kids, we were brought up believing it is good to give back, so I volunteer.

I work with Ellie, who being a collie is all about being busy. Working with her led me to find a lab who also likes to work and now she has two sons who live to find anything I care to hide.

I almost forgot, I work not a full week but I work and now help to take care of Dad.

Add that into the mix along with a reluctance to say no and there is an explosion waiting to happen.

So I have decided to cut back but on what?  Housework is the tempting answer to that question, but I am a woman and we are programmed to only ignore the dust for so long.

Yes, this simple life I crave is a dream.

So any suggestions or advice would be gratefully received, mulled over and … tried out for a month or two.

Perhaps I should follow Bob’s example.

 

Caring for a Dad and a Bob.

One question about sit and stay and ageing.

As carer to one 86 year old dad and one 98 years old Bob I have discovered they have one thing in common, they can move like Ninjas.

Ask Dad to wait for a second while you grab a coat for him and when you turn around he has not only calmly gone outside but left his Zimmer behind him.

Tell Bob to sit and stay while you open the gate to bring in the bin and bam – he has calmly walked through it and is making his way to whatever house the delicious scent of cooking is wafting from.

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Trouble is – how can you give out to either of them? Besides they won’t listen!

Curiosity

Now that the elder dog (Bob) no longer can walk beyond the end of the next house’s driveway, Ellie’s morning walks are a little more varied. However, we do see some curious things as we saunter along.

Take this pair, they would not stop following us or cock a doodle dooing!

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Ellie shook her head at me and moved on.

Then we spotted this guy sitting at the side of the road:

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She positively glared at him and turning on her heel walked home for breakfast!