My sister has given me a new nickname – she tells me I’m now a Globetrotting Granny, especially as my youngest daughter recently announced that she is expecting her first baby in March next year. So I’m very excited – again!!! And my grandchildren are spread around the world – hence Globetrotting Granny Debs 🙂
I’m slowly returning from a blogging break
I’ve been away from blogging while visiting my daughter in England for the past month, I’ve had a lot on my mind and a lot of time to think. When you have a blogging break it’s always interesting to realise how much time you actually spend blogging!
I’ve missed it though, especially the interaction with other bloggers. I haven’t checked my spam folder in all that time and had over 900 spam comments, not one was in the spam folder by mistake. Is that a record?
So onto some random thoughts
Among all the stress of travelling from Australia to Cheddar; hanging out in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Bristol’s Southmead Hospital; watching my daughter and her partner coping and learning how to manage with their very premature baby; seeing baby Dottie (my newest granddaughter) respond positively amid the beeping alarms, pulsating lights and stresses of being born too early; walking dogs; negotiating busy city traffic and road rage – I must say I’ve had a lot on my plate!
Here are some of my thoughts – in no particular order:
A grandmother’s love knows no bounds (and a mother’s love)
- Flying from Australia to England at the drop of a hat when Dottie was born early at 25 weeks, was a no brainer to me. I knew I just had to do it. As I said in my post Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart, I was fortunate to have no real commitments and was able to just pack and go with the support of my family.
- Seeing your daughter become a mother is an emotional moment and when things don’t go to plan, as in Dottie’s early unexpected arrival, makes it harder still. I worry about my daughter coping and also about Dottie’s ability to thrive. I think as a mother you never stop worrying about your children but I had to put aside my own concerns and be strong for my daughter, helping out in whatever way I could.
- I was able to share in this care with Nanny Angie, who ended up staying longer than planned due to breaking her ankle – I was able to help by administering first aid, with the help of the Mathematician via Facetime back in Australia, and then drive to Emergency and to visit Dottie. Poor Nanny Angie!! I’m not planning on emulating her just so I can stay longer! We are now good friends and she was the first person I called after my road rage incident, and she helped me feel better about the whole experience.
It’s a dog’s life
One of my jobs while I’ve been visiting has been to walk Ozzy – or have Ozzy walk me in most cases – on the days the dog walker doesn’t take him out. Ozzy is a delightful chunky black Labrador, he is still a puppy in lots of ways, despite weighing almost as much as me!! He’s matured a lot since our last visit and is really very good.
- I’ve learnt how to put on the special lead to stop him pulling me along (it works some of the time)
- I’ve mastered the art of picking up dog poo in the little black bags, even double bagging in some cases – oooh go me, just don’t look at my face as I do it!
- I’ve learnt to carry treats and poo bags in my pockets
- I’ve seen more dogs in prams and carriers here than I’ve seen babies in prams – dogs are treated very well over there!
- I’ll be honest, I much prefer travelling with the Mathematician, but I know I can do it on my own if I have to, and this time I had to!
- It’s lonely at times, it can be stressful and it’s definitely not for wimps!
- The best way to handle jet lag is to travel for over 24 hours, with minimal stopovers, then visit the NICU and see your daughter and new granddaughter, marvelling at the medical technology you knew nothing about before now, stay moving and awake all day until midnight remembering to eat very late in the evening – MacDonald’s no less – on the way home from hospital. Then go to bed and sleep like a baby waking up with minimal effects of jet lag – and repeat (minus the McDonald’s dinner)
- Make contact with old friends and accept any invitations that come your way
- Try to stay organised and keep track of all your important bits. I have 3 P’s as a priority: passport, purse and phone, followed closely by my glasses.
- The importance of laughter cannot be underestimated. Laughter is important during stressful times and I managed to make some of the people around me laugh during my stay – usually at my antics, but laughter is laughter 🙂
Driving and road rage
- Despite driving competently, without any real drama, for over 40 years, the prospect of driving the 22 miles from Cheddar to Bristol every day was daunting. But I managed to do it! I wrote this post earlier in the week…Driving to see Miss Dottie
- I have never experienced road rage before, so this week’s incident, has left me shaken but undeterred. I’ve continued driving, because I had to!
- Generally drivers in UK are exceptionally polite, considerate and easy to get along with, although the narrow roads can be a bit intimidating at times.
Friends for life
- When I knew I was going to England I immediately contacted some old friends who offered to have me stay for as long as I needed. Shelley (and husband Chris) has been my friend since we met in the playground of Cheddar First School back in 1992, and whenever we visit Cheddar we always see them. They visited us in Australia as well, a huge trip with their 4 young children, but so much fun! So it was lovely to stay at Shelley’s and have her support during this difficult time. You can read more about our special connection to this village here: Cheddar Connection.
- Other friends like my old next door neighbour Liz, my friends Nola, Kay, Elaine, Tiina and Jim – have all been so nice to me at this time. It’s good having connections to the village as we do.
- Making new friends has also been a delight. I value friendship very highly and I’m one of those people who talk to strangers.
- Supportive messages from friends back at home in Australia has been so lovely too.
- I’m well known for talking to random people and everyone I’ve spoken to along the way, while out walking, eating in cafes, buying gifts, shopping – have been so wonderfully positive and caring.
Premature babies are fighters
- NICU staff are worth their weight in gold – they really are amazing!
- It’s amazing seeing a premature baby fighting for life, they’re perfectly formed but just so tiny and we’ve all noticed how feisty Dottie is!
- Parents of premature babies can be forgotten a little in all the drama, they need to be checked on by medical staff and helped deal with the huge range of emotions they are going through.
- It’s tough, but understandable, watching your tiny granddaughter but not being able to touch her.
Blogging friends are more fun in real life
- I have been known to meet up with blogging friends round the world whenever I can, so when Ann from Bananafitz life reached out, I took up her offer of meeting for some time away from the hospital. I knew Ann lived in the general area from connections on Instagram over the years and comments on my blog, but I didn’t know she’d worked at Southmead hospital for many years.
- My family are always so wary and suspicious whenever I arrange to meet up with bloggers but once again, I was proven right. Ann was not an axe wielding, drug crazed truck driver pretending to be a midlife female blogger. Instead she was lovely, friendly, caring, understanding, considerate – and a great driver!
- We had superb weather for our walk around the Bristol Docks, chatting away like old friends! We stopped for a cuppa and cake in an interesting ‘container’ styled area and enjoyed just wandering in the warm sunshine. Thanks again for the time-out Ann 🙂
September is a beautiful time of year in England
- We have been to UK in September before but I’d forgotten just how lovely a time of year it is. It’s generally still green and very pretty with hanging baskets still in full bloom.
- The weather has been warm, lots of sunshine, some brief showers, it’s not dark until about 8pm and the flowers are still colourful in everyone’s gardens.
- As I’ve walked Ozzy and hiked around, I’ve enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine, the feeling of being alive, the start of Autumn coming and the general feeling of being comfortable.
- I’m impressed with my packing ability, having only 1 item unworn.
- The balloons are often up in the sky around Bristol and make me smile every time I see them.
- I have tried to take care of myself too, by going for walks in Cheddar Gorge and around the area. It helped to clear my mind.
Where to from here?
I’m now home again and catching up on things. I will get back into regular blogging but probably not at the same level I was before my break. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything there is to do and I’m still recovering from the stress of the past month. I will slowly start to engage again with my favourite bloggers.
It will take me a while to recover and just when I do, we will be packing up to go back to England to visit Dottie as we had originally planned!
How do you ease back into something after a break – any advice for me?
Nice to see you here again! Thanks for all your support 🙂
(AKA Globetrotting Granny)
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