Wednesday, 24 February 2016

auntiegwens 2 days in Glasgow

After returning home from Riga, early next morning we were packed up again and headed to the Mother country. As my parents become older and frailer I feel more and more guilty about the level of support my sister is having to provide as I live so far away. I haven't written much as its been fairly depressing stuff but we have been through 3 months of chaos and more chaos.

My mother was formally diagnosed with dementia 2 years ago, since December she has been in full time nursing home care, looking after her 24 hours a day 7 days a week has taken the most awful toll on my dad and after the weekend from hell and several weeks of broken sleep and her continuously rising levels of agitation and aggression she finally went into care. My mother as she is now is unrecognisable from my mum of a few years ago. Since going into care she has gone downhill even more rapidly but I think she seems to have plateaued and I hope she will stay at this level for a wee while.
It's been fairly grim and since she went into the home my dad has been very low in mood and really turned his face to the wall. He has ended up in hospital with repeated falls and a whopper of a chest infection. My sister and I have been frantic with worry, she became safe but isn't in the best place, he's become our worry and every time we phoned or visited we had the fear we wouldn't find him alive. He had hit rock bottom and was taken into hospital, just about everything wrong with him and the process of getting him back to his own self began, so after a few weeks in hospital and lots of new equipment, panic buttons, falls alarms and the like he has come home again.

 So we head up for a few days so we are there whilst he comes out of hospital, he doesn't want to come and stay with me so back up the M6 I go, I am getting a dab hand at Glasgow hotels now, this time we stayed at GoGlasgow urban hotel due to its proximity to the hospital, loved the decor, breakfast and staff superb, owned by a family company who give 50% of their profits to local charities, they also give you a Tunnocks tea cake in the room, I was mightily pleased by that, himself was very enamoured of the retro style phone although he did not eat it.
We then had a very welcome complimentary night at One Devonshire Gardens, himself had mentioned to staff that we hadn't slept well on our previous anniversary stay, steady yourselves now, due to the bed. Being the all round excellent hotel they are they offered us a free night and as we spend lots of time in Glasgow  we were very pleased to accept. They gave us quite a swish room too, completely different in style to GoGlasgow Urban but lovely none the less. The bath in the bedroom thing is is quite a few of their rooms, we had that previously when we stayed in the Vettriano suite.

The service in both was top notch, I loved the decor in GoGlasgow and as its at least £100  cheaper per night, I guess I will be staying there lots but because One Devonshire is where we got married if I have the cash I will be happy to go there at least on our anniversary. Go and stay in either, they're both brilliant hotels.

My dad is now home and has become fixated on the idea of my mums funeral, God love him, last few weeks you wouldn't have got good odds on it being him but there you go. It's become a thing he has to get fixed, so we sort it out, we have found the paperwork for the cemetery lair my mums parents are buried in, we also have a spare slot in the lair her aunt and uncle are buried in, were that kind of family, 2 plot kind of toffs, that's us. We have bought a funeral bond and chosen hymns, it's been a bit surreal but my mum is completely unaware of it all. 
I was with her just 5 weeks ago and on this visit I'm not convinced she recognised me when I went in. She was less well kempt than I would have liked to see her and they seem to have given up putting her damned teeth in which is my big pet peeve, they had been lost for weeks but turned up in my mums handbag, also lost in one of the staff lockers, the mind boggles.. Despite looking like Draculas granny she has managed to acquire an amour, she was sitting holding his hand when I arrived, I had been pre warned by my sister about this man , who coincidentally has the same name as my dad, I guess she just shouted out 'Jim' and this wee man answered, he seems happy enough with it so I guess I am pleased she's found a pal. Hopefully it'll stop her kleptomania, this visit she had someone else's teddy bear, handbag and the photo frame on her bedside table was of people she was sure were her family, I have a very nice looking younger brother and a cute wee niece I am completely unaware of. Still, I'm not having to buy presents for them or babysit. Every cloud and all that.

Monday, 15 February 2016

auntiegwen's guide to 4 days in Riga

We are currently in Riga, which is beautiful. It is cold, as you would expect in the Baltics, it is not cold enough for himself, last week is was minus 20 and under several feet of snow, disappointed is not even close to how he feels. The poor old Latvians have had a shocking time of it, it comes to something when the Nazis were the better deal. We like a good bit of awful history when we do a city break, last time Poland and the holocaust, this time Latvia and the Red army, they have pretty well been occupied from the end of WW1 until the 1990's.
We are staying in the Old Town,which is lovely, we have a fancy window that opens up into a balcony with lovely views. The hotel Welltown Spa gives you free fizz at breakfast, what's not to like? 
We have walked the legs off ourselves, there are several charming parks with lots of statues, great churches, lots of monuments and as I travel with himself lots of trips to war museums, I enjoyed the museum of the occupation and himself the corner house which is the KGB headquarters, this building and staff within were still providing their own brand of torture till the 1990's ! 
The art nouveau district is particularly charming and definitely worth a wander, sadly the museum was closed during our entire visit but the buildings more than make up for it. Also in the evenings everything s beautifully lit, the auntie loves a fairy light so I'm very happy. We ate heart shaped pizza and watched a wedding as befits Valentine's Day so it felt very romantic.
Eating out is always an adventure for this fussy vegetarian as I don't eat meat, fish, eggs or poultry, this is another meat heavy region but we managed to find Miit, which is a vegetarian place and we had the lunch deal, we had a fantastic tomato and lentil soup with cashew cream and a polenta thing, both courses with a sparkling water for me and a beer for him for 13 euro. I wasn't fussed on the polenta thing. I would also recommend Burger Story,  my spinach burger was alarmingly green but extremely tasty, he had a fancy burger with loads of different bits of dead animal, very nice skin on chips and 2 beers for less than 20 euro.
The local beers were good and cheap and I drank Rigas the local sparkling hooch, a lovely wee lady bottle was 1 euro 50 ish, get the Brut one if you don't want your teeth to fall out, I made the mistake of the Rose, once.
We flew Wizz air from Luton and our return flights and 4 nights in a fancy room at the Wellton cost £300 for the 2 of us, so if you fancy a city break with lots of history, scenery and all within waking distance, come to Riga.
Please note we paid for the break ourselves, it was my Christmas present to the lovely mr adventures.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Another way of looking at it....

Today I was explaining to my lovely colleague about mr auntiegwen and myself's upcoming jollity to Latvia, and I  uttered one of my most favourite sentences "spending the kids inheritance one city break at a time"
Mr a never missed a beat and merely said " also known as our money"