Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 9

dannys-cake

 

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 9 – written on Sunday 13th August

One problem with living in other people’s houses, is that I am being ruined for living in a one bedroom city flat.

Last night, the pussy cat and I were visited by an owl, whilst we were watching a meteor shower, and this morning I am sitting out in the garden, watching yellow wagtails on the pond, blackbirds on the lawn, sparrows in the Virginia Creeper, and listening to the neighbour’s cockerel crowing. (I must go and feed him later).

There is nothing for me on EdIndex this weekend, and the sale of my flat is still unbelievably slow in going ahead. I just can’t believe how long it takes solicitors to sort things out. I seem to be constantly phoning and emailing to push things forward, and have just been told that it’s a waste of my time actually going into the office, just to see what’s happening. But until I get cash in the bank, I daren’t think of buying.

Other things, such as birthdays, of course, plod remorselessly onwards. I had my seventh seventh last Tuesday, and in fact had a great day. One of my daughters arrived with my grandchildren, as well as four other friends, all bringing contributions of food.

I shared my birthday with Jack who is three years younger than I am, so my daughter made a chocolate cake to be shared…half of the top was a garden with fat pink worms (for Jack), and the other half was covered with musical notes, made out of liquorice (for me).

And then last Friday, we had one of our ‘Live at the Club’ nights which was a sell out and great fun except that I made a bad choice of songs to perform. Minnie the Moocher is not the easiest to sing at double time when one’s mind works at half time.

Oh well…on the phone to the solicitor again tomorrow to try and speed things up. Let’s hope my mind will have speeded up by then.

Take the Balance Challenge

falls-campaign

 

The NHS, with some partner organisations, are running a #TaketheBalanceChallenge campaign to raise awareness of ways in which falls can be prevented in people over the age of 50.  Falls are not an inevitable part of getting older!  And the #TaketheBalanceChallenge campaign highlights ways you can improve your balance and stability through simple exercises.

Maybe you’d like to try one of the Super Six, including heel raises or heel to toe walking?!  You can find out more about the campaign here: Take the Balance Challenge or head over to their Facebook page to see what’s going on: Falls Programme Facebook page

 

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 8

 

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 8 – written on Monday 7th August

movingpic

So now a few more days have passed, and I am settling into my temporary accommodation.

As I said, I now realise that I would not have had the energy to leave one home, travel a few hundred miles, and then immediately set up somewhere else. With everything already in place for me here at a friend’s, I am only just starting to build up energy again. This definitely is one of the worst things about growing old.

My bits that were going up to Edinburgh were loaded quickly, and arrived there safely. Now, of course, I just wish that I hadn’t sent that cap or spare jacket on ahead, as I keep finding that I need something that is in storage hundreds of miles away. Still, I’m sure I’ll survive.

This home is just 12 miles away from my previous one, so the move did not take long, but the getting used to someone else’s set up does take a while. The owners have gone away for a month…by the time I have moved everything around to my satisfaction, it will be time to move things back again.

Pepper the cat seems happy though, and it is quite pleasant for me to have a bit of company. It’s a long time since I’ve had a furry companion, and I’m quite enjoying it, apart from the times when he digs his claws into my leg, whilst purring away on my lap.

There have been a couple of minor panic moments, such as when the front door handle came off in my hand on my first day, locking me out of the house as I was leaving. Sorted now however, and tomorrow a friend is bringing a belt sander, so that I never have to slam the door again.

It’s wonderful that I have this stop gap to move into, but I mustn’t get too complacent. I shall have to move out in a few weeks.

Final HOS on Wheels tour dates

how2017logo

 

Only two locations left for this Summer’s HOS on Wheels tour!  Don’t miss out!

You’ll find us here…

10th August – The Usual Place, Dumfries

And here…

16th August – Victoria Hall, Ballater

10am-3pm

for some housing advice, a cuppa (and some cake!) and a chat.  Come and see us!

Dogfish Dan’s blog – Entry 7

Dogfish Dan Sleeping
Dogfish Dan Sleeping

 

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 7 – written on Friday 4th August

My entries sometimes seem to be more about me than my move to Edinburgh but these last ten days or so have certainly been involved with leaving my flat, if not moving north yet. I now feel that I am on my way, and that there is no turning back.

Last week, one of my daughters spent a few days sorting, packing, washing, cleaning, carrying boxes, and generally being patient with dad, whilst the other one looked after the grandchildren. Although I have not actually sold the flat yet, I have moved out, and am now house sitting for friends whilst they are away on holiday.

A sale that I was expecting fell through a week ago, but everything had been set in motion on my side, so all the bits that I am taking to Edinburgh have gone, and are now in storage up there. Thank goodness that I am still down here though. Although I haven’t found anything at the other end yet, I am convinced that I have done the right thing. I would never have had the energy to clear my flat, travel north immediately, and then live somewhere temporarily whilst I was sorting out somewhere else with carpeting, a fridge and whatever, new furniture, and doing all the other bits necessary to set up a new home.

As this was all going on, there were potential buyers calling to look round, and I was getting messages from the estate agents about offers, surveys, and various other complications. And of course, I had to keep my eye on EdIndex to see if somewhere came up.

I think that I have been emotionally drained, as much as anything. I moved to my new house almost a week ago, but am still recovering. (And can’t think of a single funny thing to write, although I’m sure that there have been plenty of moments).

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 6

dogfish-dan-pic-1

 

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 6 – written on Wednesday 26th July

In a bit of a daze at the moment, but slowly coming out of it.

I’ve just had a rather prolonged visit to the dentist for a root filling, followed by a rather poverty inducing bill. The National Health dentist that I was with closed down some months ago, leaving the nearest one with any vacancies is at least an hour and a half away. It’s been some months now, so it doesn’t look hopeful. Surely there are more dentists than this in Edinburgh?

On the way home, I’ve stopped for a quick lunch of lasagne followed by a rice crispie and chocolate lump. No wonder I’ve just been to the dentist. I’m in the caff at the local swimming pool, which is full of people my age, dotingly watching, miming and trying to give advice to grand children on the other side of the spectator window. Most grandparents must at least have been Channel swimmers by the confidence with which they swim on dry land.

And I’ve learnt a new word…MAMIL…Middle Aged Men In Lycra. This came about since I’ve been getting on my bike recently. (Pain wise, the difference between walking and cycling is amazing). Most of my rides start over a very bumpy bridge so I’ve been wondering what to wear to protect myself, and have been delving into the world of Lycra. Since I’m well past middle age, and look daft enough already, I’m not going down that road, thank you very much.   As for the sale of my flat, there is hope yet. One of the early buyers is still interested, and wants my solicitor to forward a copy of the lease to hers. This was actually requested three days ago, but nothing has happened yet. So I’ve just chased things up…grr.

One of my daughters is arriving tomorrow, to help me decide what to send into storage in Edinburgh on Tuesday and what to keep here to live with for however long. It’s a bit difficult to imagine what I might need in October if I’m still here. Oh well, plenty of charity shops around.

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 5

Sunset from the living room
Sunset from the living room

 

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

 

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 5 written on Friday 21 July

 

Well, yesterday had its fair share of surprises.

Firstly, a phone call from the estate agents saying that my buyers had pulled out of buying the flat. Fortunately, it wasn’t too much of a shock to me, since these latter stages had been taking a suspiciously long time. Just a huge pity, though, that this had been going on for months, and a lot of time had been wasted. Two months ago, we had a couple of other interested parties. I know that at least one of them has now found somewhere else. Anyway, the solicitor now has all relevant information to hand.

Secondly, I had a letter from Edinburgh Council, asking for information from my occupational therapist, the local authority housing department and details of my family connection to Edinburgh. I had submitted all relevant information when I registered, some months ago, so I collapsed into a chair when I read all this now.

HOS to the rescue! They immediately contacted Edinburgh Council and then informed me that this was a standard letter that was not relevant in my case. Phew! This is where the stress of the situation kicks in and when a knowledgeable, experienced helping hand is wonderful.

Thirdly, my furniture mover rang to tell me that he had sourced a van at a reasonable price, and to ask whether the move was still on etc. I took a deep breath, paid for the van over the phone, and so everything that I’m taking with me is now being moved into storage in Edinburgh, on the first of August. And I am moving out with my suitcase, to live in a friend’s house for a month, before I move on to someone else’s. At least, I shall have cut myself off from my present flat both physically and emotionally.

I went out to see some friends last night, so they had to listen to all this, but then I felt cleansed. And talked about how wonderful the courgette fritters were.

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 4

Cader Idris from the garden
Cader Idris from the garden

 

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog Entry 4 – written on Tues 15th July

Well, I was right about last week’s jam…guitars galore, singing galore, fun galore…but apart from the fun bit, not quite the thing for me.

Last night was better. Went to a chip shop where there’s jazz every Monday. Rather unexpected perhaps but it works. And I’m certainly not contravening any trades description act by having the pensioners special. Had a bit of a blow on my trusty trombone. People up and dancing to Blueberry Hill amongst the salt and vinegar. As always, the old ones are the best.

It helped to take my mind off today, which has been rather flat. I had put a bid in for Sheltered housing in Edinburgh and hoped to hear something, but not a word. So that’s probably it for now. Oh well, I knew that this was a waiting game…

I’m learning to live much more in the moment and to not to think too much about regrets for the past or hopes for the future. And today’s moment is wonderful. Sitting in the shade of a kind old tree, the blue sea in the distance and broom pods popping nearby in the warmth of the sun.

It’s not that I don’t care about what happens…I care hugely, but daren’t think about it too much. I just want to get this business all over and done with and to be settled in a new home.

A couple of weeks ago, in order to celebrate my impending departure, some friends treated me to a trip to Zip World, the highest, fastest, & longest zip wire in the UK. And that was certainly a moment to enjoy. The sun shone, and the huge quarry lake miles below, was azure blue and so big, that I just seemed to coast over it, having sped over the tree tops.

The most difficult thing was getting in and out of the ‘flying suit’…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 3

Sunset from Barmouth Bridge
Sunset from Barmouth Bridge

 

Dogfish Dan is a HOS client who is hoping to move from Wales to Edinburgh to be near his two daughters and his grandchildren.  He’s keeping us up-to-date with his experiences via his blog…

Dogfish Dan’s Blog – Entry 3 – written on Wed 12th July

Well, the visit to the latest solicitor was good and bad. She turned out to be Welsh speaking which made things a little easier for me. The surprise was that her secretary was as well…I had no inkling of the fact, and had always spoken English to her. A good reminder that not every one that has Welsh as a first language has a Welsh accent.

There are still, after three and a half months, a few queries concerning my flat sale. One is with regard to planning permission for two flat conversions in 1987 and 1990. These were the first two of six in the building, which have all changed hands a few times since then, so it really makes one wonder who dreams up these irrelevant points.

Anyway, I think that a bit more pressure will be put on the buyer now, so that completion will hopefully happen at the end of the month.

I still have one particular worry however. The owner of the flat below mine has recently installed a central heating boiler in the communally owned basement, without any consultation with the Residents Association. This fact is now being queried, but as I can see, has no direct bearing on the boundaries of my flat.

Oh well, off to a jam session in a pub tonight, to take my mind off things. I suspect that it will be a guitar blues night, so I may struggle a bit with a trombone. (Different favourite keys, you know. If they are in E, which guitarists like, I shall be in F# and all that stuff).

Welcome to our intern – Janis

 

Introducing Janis, our Summer intern.  Read on to find out more…janis

Who am I?

This question could take more space than I have for this introduction so I will give a very abbreviated version. I am an older student from the University of Oregon earning my Bachelor of Education degree in Family and Human Services. I am also a very proud mother of five and grandmother of three.

Where am I from?

I am from the west coast of the United States. I was born in Washington state and lived most of my childhood in San Diego, California. My home address is currently Springfield, Oregon which is on the western side of the state. Prior to moving to Springfield, I lived in the high desert of rural eastern Oregon for 20 years.

Why did I choose to do internship with HOS?

My focus is working with, and advocating for, seniors and disabled persons. When researching internships abroad there were limited agencies that have this area of focus. When I found HOS I knew it was a perfect fit because of the population they work with a specific issue of focus that affects the population greatly. An additional bonus is that the internship is in Scotland during the summer when the weather is much cooler than back home.

What do I hope to gain out of internship?

I hope to gain understanding of the Scottish governmental system and how it supports its citizens in all areas, but specifically regarding housing. I would like to gain more tools and understanding in working with clients from diverse backgrounds and cultures by being exposed to a variety of people from government officials to clients. One of the most important things I hope to leave here with is strong and lasting connections.

What have I learned so far?

Although I have a Scottish history (my grandfather was born and raised in Clydebank) I didn’t realize how different the culture is between the U.S. and Scotland. There are a lot of things I am accustomed to, having been raised in a family with fairly recent Scottish history, however being immersed in this culture I am finding myself deeply moved by how much this country listens to, cares about, and invests in its citizens. I am learning where my excitement and drive for advocacy and equality stems from; it is not just from my upbringing, but the values my family has had instilled in them from this country and its leadership for generations past.

What do I hope to do with information when I return home?

In Oregon, and the U.S. as a whole, housing is a huge problem, especially for this vulnerable population, and unfortunately the issue is only becoming larger with the Baby Boom generation quickly increasing the elderly population. I hope to take the information, experience, and knowledge back to the U.S. and make a positive change in the lives of the citizens. I want to work on making changes in policy and the experience I am getting from HOS will help be build my confidence and knowledge to reach that goal.