Saturday 31 January 2015

Relaxing in snow

I slept like a log....................why the hell do we say that? I'll do some research in a minute. As it was  still snowing outside I opted for a warm lie-in and a Weetabix in bed (loosely speaking) eventually getting dressed for lunch. It's a tough life this retirement lark.

As expected, there is no definitive answer although the phrase first appeared in the early 1600's, along with "sleeping like a dog."     Both refer to a particularly deep, uninterrupted sleep, but I have yet to acknowledge witnessing a sleeping log.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Phoebe & village idiot reports

The sad loss of Phoebe has inevitably hit us hard. A loving and friendly companion for 15 long years, she will be greatly missed. Yesterday morning the stomach tumour was clearly uncomfortable and painful for her, and after long discussions with the vet it was obvious decision time had been reached.  She had arrived with her sister Sadie in January 2000, courtesy of the RSPCA. Sadie was the adventurous , active and unsocial one, whilst Phoebe was the opposite, laid back, relaxed and extremely friendly, but by far the best mouser. We have heard nothing of Sadie since her disappearance near the Anderton lift last August, but being "chipped" it will only be a vet  who discovers her real name and home address, so all is still not lost. Knowing Sadie she is living the life of Riley in a mansion near the canal somewhere.
Sadly, my fitness was severely tested by digging Phoebe's grave in our back garden during a particularly ferocious snow storm which continued for several hours. After a quick shower and change of clothes no aches or pains have yet appeared, but the psychological wounds will remain. Both my hospital visits this week ( head scan and drugs review ) have had very,very positive results, but Phoebe's negative news has knocked my euphoria  for six,sadly and my "village idiot" syndrome has returned to haunt me after a long absence. Eric Morcambe ( of Morcambe and Wise fame and one of my comedy heroes) was once asked what he would have been, had he not become a famous comedian. His immediate reply was "Bernie Winters" (the thick half of the Mike and Bernie Winters
"Comedy" duo), a role I am apparently filling at present. Let me explain. Yesterday Lynne bought two chocolate hearts, which she left on the living room table as sugar "top up" before, during and after  my grave-digging exertions. She mentioned them briefly before going to the vets. However, it later transpired only 1 of the hearts was for me and I was asked several times during the remainder of the day for the whereabouts of heart 2, of which I had no recollection ( not unusual post-radiotherapy  and the apparent brain collateral damage). The search continued late into the evening throughout the entire house, car, clothes, cupboards and kitchen waste bin, where the two wrappers were eventually disentangled. As chief (and only suspect) I was prepared to admit I could possibly have eaten both at sometime throughout the day but had no recollection of doing so.
The whole country has a very pretty covering of snow with more to come, apparently. Whether Lynne will be able to undertake her planned trip to London remains to be seen.
A quick walk down to the village for a newspaper revealed the pavements were like ice rinks, whilst the main roads were clear and the minor roads were quickly thawing, thus we set off for London around lunchtime and arrived at Chloe's in time for tea, largely in bright sunshine but cold temperatures. Lynne in particular is knackered, what with the recent long stints of driving and the Phoebe situation, closely followed by me for similar reasons. The break from home should do us both the world of good, giving Lynne the chance of a hair overhaul and me a session with Fiona, my irreplaceable chiropractor ,working on my various aches and pains. In addition a couple of good nights sleep will not go amiss. Onwards and upwards.


Wednesday 28 January 2015

9 months respite

Today Lynne spent 14 hours delivering me to St George's Hospital in London for my latest brain scan and returning me home. For someone who admits to hating driving that is one hell of an achievement and deserves a medal, surely. It must be love ?
We collected my sister Margaret on the way and delivered home on the way back, thus explaining the length of journey. It was a long day, but the rewards were extensive. My next check-up scan has been extended to 9 months based on today's excellent results, (the tumour has not changed shape or size),which should allow us a full,uninterrupted, summer's-cruising. Brilliant news and heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in a wonderful day.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Milestone progress halted ?

I missed posting my blog yesterday as, typical of me, I was getting ahead of myself and,without being told, decided to reign myself in, sit back comfortably and allow the world to catch up. Whilst my mental health peaked and my physical health reached a plateau , Pheobe was heading in the opposite direction, back to being lethargic and not eating or drinking much. A call to the vet confirmed our worst fears. The injection she had received had done what it was intended to do, but was wearing off,so we are back to our original position and decisions. It is not fair to keep repeating the "perk you up" injections, particularly at her great age,  so we need to keep a close eye on her for the immediate future. At the first sign of pain or discomfort we ( or the vet) will have to play God, so the mood in our house is heavy, to say the least.       Cue "The wind beneath my wings" ( Bette Midler), "There's a place" and,"In my life" ,(Beatles), "Fix you" (Coldplay), "the last resort" and"Hotel California" (Eagles unplugged and live on "Hell freezes over" ),"How can I tell you" (Cat Stevens on YouTube or "The Best of". Be sure you invest in a box of tissues.
I am continuing with my daily walks, average about 2 miles. Today I managed to walk to Colston and back, using footpaths where possible. Due to the recent heavy rain and lots of it,the footpaths were somewhat muddy, requiring a major trainer clean-up on my return. I'll stick to the pavements in future.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Health Milestone.

Apart from finishing the tidying of next door's garden nothing much happened today,allowing me to quietly assess my health, and pretty good is the answer, all things considered.  Several weeks ago I set myself a definitive milestone by which to measure my progress, and with the happy pills a distant memory the milestone has been passed. We could have celebrated with champagne but part of my healthy life is avoiding alcohol,so dancing and singing will have to wait for a while, best reserved for when we're back  on the boat , moored somewhere miles from anyone or anywhere, but celebrate we will.
Phoebe continues her miraculous progress too. All good news. We must buy a lottery ticket.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Yet more snow and parapets.

We drove through a really slushy snowstorm to a wonderfully large garden centre cafe,resplendent with lots of equally large wood burner stoves , near Melton Mowbray. It makes larger than life cream scones that melt in you mouth and represent good value for money.
I have written an extremely polite letter to MCC confirming our recent discussions about the dodgy Tardis Two electrics and overdue warranty repairs, sent recorded delivery.
Whenever we talk to friends about these issues they all slag ME off for not taking MCC to task for their crap customer care, mentioning Trading Standards and legal proceedings under their breath . If I had my way I would have taken MCC by the throat long ago, politeness forgotten and blood on my knuckles, but Lynne insists we should "not upset them".  WHY,For Christ's sake?     They have upset and frustrated us for the past 2 years, leaving us with no early morning boat heating etc.                                     Soft option John gets slagged off by all and sundry whilst Lynne smiles demurely from below the parapet.

Tuesday 20 January 2015


The predicted snowstorm arrived around 10pm with snowflakes the size of ping-pong balls, which settled initially. Any traces of settled snow had gone by daybreak today, disappointing the majority of schoolchildren and some adults, I'm sure.
We still have the kitchen and downstairs toilet doors to paint, but otherwise the kitchen updates are complete. The room looks immaculate already and smells remarkably fresh, due to a large pot of white hyacinths flowering on the window cill. Bulbs in the garden are obviously not so advanced, but spring is certainly approaching (conveniently ignoring the snowstorm ! ). 
Phoebe's health continues to improve, as does mine. No aches, no pains, despite yesterday's gardening exploits. ( me, not the cat ). It is a great relief to see her eating, drinking and behaving "normally" again following the terrific scare she gave us a couple of days ago. An amazing improvement, considering the vet had given up hope with her. Luckily we and Phoebe had other idea's, although we will be closely monitoring her over the next few days/weeks.

Loaves and fishes

A very sunny start to the day but cold, with snow forecast later .
Phoebe is much brighter this morning, dare I say, almost back to her old self. As a result both Lynne and I feel better, also. It just goes to show no one should rush to play God.
Spent the morning disposing of next door's old Christmas tree and got carried away pruning rampant hollies and Ivy's, but the garden looks neat and tidy now. Old habits die hard, eh?
Our friends Owen and Lisa return to London today, hopefully missing the snowstorms supposedly arriving later.

Monday 19 January 2015

Black Monday

The coldest night of the year ( we are still only in January ) and Phoebe has been to see the vet. She has been off her food for days, occasionally sick and generally lethargic. The vet was flummoxed but arranged a blood test, which is not good news for Phoebe, us or our Bank manager.
The dreaded phone call was received around midday, but was not good news. She has a large stomach tumour but is not in pain. She is aged 15, apparently good for domestic cats. We need to make a fatefull and extremely painfull decision fairly soon, although we have opted to " think things through" prior to deciding. Sadness prevails.
On a brighter note I feel good, no fuzzy head, tiredness etc, and suffered no muscle aches or pains, despite a long slog round shops this afternoon.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Sunday musings

A few days ago I sneeked a visit to Old John in Bradgate park.Lynne dropped me off at the nearest entrance gate and collected me a few minutes later. Whilst the distance from park gate to Old John is around a quarter mile but unfortuneately it is on a sort of  mountainside. I managed it without too much trouble but have suffered for it since with aching leg and thigh muscles. Serves me right I suppose.
Owen completed hanging the kitchen blinds before the Arsenal v Man City kick off which also gave me time to finish my book "sole survivor", by Dean Koontz ,a cracking read. It took me ages to decide if it is a novel or for real, but it evolved into an absorbing mystery thriller with subtle twists and an unexpected ending. I seldom get hooked by a book, but this was magnetic. Thoroughly recommended.
I have been feeling a little unsteady of late, particularly when first standing up from a chair or bed. A friend loaned us a blood pressure monitor which revealed my pressure is slightly on the low side so I need to concentrate on getting hydrated again. No problem.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Smooth waters

Lynne and I spent the morning planning our routine and individual duties on the boat, following two years experience, without specifically discussing destinations,aiming to ensure we hit the water running, if you get my drift. And the sun is shining. What more could anyone want? Answers on a post card please.
Proof of blue sky and sunshine above our rear garden, otherwise nothing exciting to look at but at least it takes your eyes and mind off a very boring, short blog. 

Friday 16 January 2015

Warranty issues

Following delay after delay  ( not my fault ) we finally made it to MCC and a reasonably amicable meeting with Eddie and Marion regarding Tardis Two's ongoing ( since it was built in 2013 ) electrical faults. We got the impression we were distinctly unwelcome. We made it crystal clear we want the problem solved within the warranty period, once and for all. After all, they have had four attempts at it over 3 years. If they fail this time we'll get Trading Standards and/ or small claims court on board ( oops, that same old pun keeps rising to the surface, sorry ).

Thursday 15 January 2015

Clear air

Our 2 new yellow kitchen window blinds arrived today and at first glance should smarten up the room considerably. Owen has offered to fit them over the weekend as his DIY skills considerably outweigh mine ( not difficult ). Due to unexpected visitors, a couple of heavy showers and a lengthy relationship discussion my exercise regime again bit the dust, as they used to say in the old westerns. Dust would be difficult to find locally after days of rain, believe me. The flood plains are
In a freezing gale force wind I went for a walk round the village in darkness, helped only by the occasional street light and/or car headlight.I collapsed into the front door, head cleared but thoughts remaining jumbled.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Yet more long and winding roads

Today was dedicated to visiting a variety of family members in various states of recovery from illness/ operations. First visit was to Marlene, near Reading, recovering from a successful operation linked to breast cancer. Travel was in brilliant sunshine but arrival was at the start of a violent thunder storm, fortunately short-lived. After lunch and dinner the plan was to move on to see daughter Chloe, very healthy but perfectly placed for our next trip to visit Nanny Weames (aged 92 )in Kingston hospital, where she currently is recovering from a minor stroke
By mid afternoon all roads around Reading were gridlocked for some unknown reason so Lynne changed plans and we are now staying with Marlene overnight with the intention of returning home in the morning.  Bang goes seeing Chloe or visiting nanny, (perhaps my last opportunity to see her), as had been previously jointly planned,but what the hell. I don't suppose anyone will visit me in hospital when I'm 92, if I'm allowed to get that far, but I refuse to let it bother me right now.
After yet another change of mind this morning after a lively debate  we ended-up visiting Nanny to assist feeding her lunch, which I found very rewarding. She was obviously pleased to see us and for the company. We called in to see Margaret and Bob on the way home in heavy rain.

Monday 12 January 2015

Leicester by bus or car?

A mildly  breezy, dry start to the day. Lynne needs to swop our new HP printer at John Lewis, as it fails to print on the grade of paper we need it to. A chocolate tea pot stand. Do we go by bus ( free and no car parking problems) or by car with the parking problems and expense but ease of carrying a chunky box around?
We opted to go by car, chiefly because the afternoon threatened to be wet. John Lewis advised talking to Hewlett Packard regarding adjusting the paper settings so we returned home in pouring rain, only to discover the HP printer is unsuitable for our needs following lengthy consultation with their technical team. Back to the drawing board.
Not a good day for me.  My daily walk regime was interrupted  due to heavy and continuous rain between my return from Leicester and darkness.
Sadly,I had to suffer a new "village idiot" moment today, the first for many months and totally uncalled for. During the rainy period I stupidly volunteered to replace the key hooks in the kitchen and, following consultation with Lynne I started the process, only to be silently relegated to apprentice fairly quickly. I was somewhat miffed to say the least. Realisation slowly and belatedly happened, thus avoiding a full-blown heated discussion and eventually a truce settled for the evening, thankfully.

Sunday 11 January 2015

Mojo regained

Following days of home disruption, terrorist atrocities, fictitious  bacon sandwiches and freezing temperatures I have regained my mojo, no doubt assisted by arsenal winning 3. 0, although it could easily have been 6.  0.   Following a self-help session via Google I have retrained myself to focus back on positives, with amazing results. 


Owen returned to the peace and quiet of London yesterday afternoon just as inspiration hit Lynne regarding the placement of kitchen utensil racks, too late for implementation on this occasion but a future project, perhaps ?
A sunny, chilly start to the day. No plans other than watching Arsenal v Stoke on the box, early afternoon. I aim to take my daily walk prior to that.

Friday 9 January 2015

The long and winding road

If I had written this blog last night it would have been more positive. No so, this morning.The kitchen furniture/shelves etc, painted with silk-finish gloss yesterday, remains "drying" on the living room floor, but is still sticky, long after it should have dried, indicating a possible fault with the paint. My guess regarding a solution (excuse the pun) is to wait longer for it to dry ( unlikely ), turn up the central heating or, heaven forbid, remove the offending paint and repaint with some new stuff, extending the finish target by a week or so.  Owen, our friend and painter, is due to return home today, but has yet to wake from watching yet another late-night TV film, so a decision on the way forward will have to wait. Bearing in mind any disruption tends to affect my life balance this whole episode is just what I needed....not.
My sleep patterns have not been good lately so I will return to bed in a minute.
Lynne and Owen opted to refit the shelves, pot rack and fittings in my sleepy absence and very nice they look, too, although nothing is to be placed on them for a day or two. The offending paint pot has been suitably discarded.
The bedside light has been replaced following my demolition job on the previous one, so we are almost   
back on level ground once again.
Normal life ( whatever that is ) returns.

Bacon sandwich 2

With the downstairs resembling a travellers camp I opted to get a bus to HSBC ( the world's local Bank ) in Leicester to pay in a Christmas cheque. The world's local bank used to be just round the corner but is now 4.5 miles away ( sod the customers but admire the profits). The nice young lady told me I could pay cheques into my account via the village Post Office.Why hadn't they said so when they closed our"local" branch ?
The 4 Banks in our village centre will soon become 2.
Yet another "new" blood sugar monitor arrived this morning ( see 01/01/15 blog ) virtually identical to the previous one only this time with "ordinary" batteries, not rechargeables, thus doing away with the need for an electric supply or a generator. Surely my letter and subsequent rant at the customer services officer ( whoever invented that title ? ) were noted and acted upon. I guess I was not the only one. I felt sorry for the young lady afterwards because she obviously had little knowledge of diabetes and was confident all diabetics are old, decrepid and never stray away from hospitals or OAP homes.
She seemed astounded some diabetics travel and camp across the Serengeti and/or the Australian outback with no electric supply or generator. She has now been enlightened and probably is still trying to remove the flea from her ear.  If I ever make it up the Amazon I"ll send her a postcard.

Thursday 8 January 2015

More of the same

Still raining. Projects for today include rewiring the bedside lamp, attempting to solve the mystery of the non-working phones and redecorating the kitchen.
12.30.   Phones working ( a dodgy wire in the drinks cupboard).
3.00.     I Was beginning to feel like a bacon sandwich at a bar mitzvah (Owen was almost finishing the kitchen first coat and Lynne was in great phone demand by the family, with her sister due into hospital any time soon as her breast cancer may have returned and her ex Mother in Law is in hospital following a stroke, whilst her alcoholic ex husband is "broke" and knows nothing about it, similar to his alcoholic and broke brother in Spain. Visits to hospitals and AA centres loom large). Anyway, I retired to bed, out of the way.
The hypo mysteries have also been solved, simply by swopping insulin. Whilst all insulin phials carry a manufacture and use by date, their structure can alter if exposed to non-refridgerator temperatures, even for short periods. The new phial seems "normal".

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Rain,rain and more rain

To say today is wet would be a major understatement. Apart from replacing the bedside light terminated by me recently and purchasing some masking tape for the kitchen decorating there is little to report. 
It stopped raining lunchtime, allowing us to buy the lamp and gubbings without drowning. Lynne was suffering with sickness but soldiered-on regardless.
I have narrowed down why my hypo occurred a couple of nights ago. A series of unplanned encounters caused my injection/meal routine to go way off course. The type of insulin I use acts over 8 hours, thus injections should be done roughly 8 hours apart. On this occasion  the "action periods" overlapped and were not countered by properly spaced meal times, as they normally are. I'm going back to basics and a more controlled routine. At the same time I am attempting to lose half a stone I have accumulated which makes balancing insulin/exercise/foods more delicate and difficult.  Watch for later reports.

Monday 5 January 2015

Sole survivor

A two day blog today due to "technical problems" ( I couldn't get my hands on the iPad ).I've started reading a best selling book by Dean Koontz entitled "Sole survivor" which I picked-up cheap in Sainsbury's during a lull in the excitement of food shopping yesterday. Spookily the author describes a state of mind very close to mine during a hypo. Something I can relate to.
Today I opted to "do" my old circuit of Bradgate Park, approx 2.5 miles. By the halfway stage I was physically done-for and suffering right hip pains so I phoned home for a lift. Very disappointing, somewhat deflating my previously high confidence. I am obviously not at the fitness point I thought I was. Back to the drawing board.
A friend has offered to paint the kitchen for us later in the week, providing we get the paint and other essentials.

Sunday 4 January 2015

Arsenal FA Cup/ Sainsbury's

A foggy start to the day in which we plan to undertake our oft-postponed trip to Sainsbury's for basic supplies and be back in time to watch Arsenal v Hull on TV at 17.20, a repeat of last year's FA cup final.  Which Arsenal won, by the way. Exciting stuff. Be Still, my beating heart, which no doubt Leicester Royal will have a tablet for, but thankfully euthanasia is still illegal in the UK, isn't it ?

Saturday 3 January 2015

Parallel universe

I had a hypo (low blood sugar) at 0300, which strangely stranded me in a parallel universe for a couple of hours. I have excellent memories of what I thought was going on at time (as opposed to what actually was going on), which is unusual, but I will "keep my powder dry" and postpone sharing/blogging my thoughts  and theories on this occasion, for fear of those imbecile self-important top managers and consultants at Leicester Royal mis-enterpreting them to support their own agenda's.
As usual Lynne handled the incident brilliantly, even playing along with the scenario for some considerable time, which allowed me to catch up with reality fairly quickly.
Today started wet and mild so our proposed shopping trip was put in the "pending tray", to allow us to catch up on some lost sleep.
Lack of sleep apart I feel OK, which is encouraging.

Friday 2 January 2015

Technology 2

Further to yesterday's blog I recalled the first Daewoo TV's arriving in the UK, one of which we unfortuneately purchased but it was impossible to set-up using their instruction booklet. We became increasingly frustrated, as did several technology geeks subsequently. Rather than throw the thing out of the window we phoned Daewoo, who happened to be based on an industrial estate less than a mile from where we lived at the time. The guy there asked if we were using the Daewoo instruction booklet, when we replied "yes" he laughed and recommended shredding or burning it as it was apparently an early badly translated example of the original Korean version. True to his word he sent a properly translated version the next day, which worked perfectly, as did the TV for many years. The TV quality control system obviously worked, but why not have a similar one for the set-up booklet ?
However, I do not intend criticising anything Korean at this time.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Happy New Year and technology.

A mild, damp start to 2015. Boringly we saw the New Year in sipping whiskey and cokes watching a brilliant film "The Help" on TV. Thoroughly recommended ( the film, not the whiskey ).
Have you noticed how new technology is often a step backwards rather than an advance? Over Christmas two examples revealed themselves, as follows:
1) Lifespan, blood sugar monitor Verio iQ? Having very successfully used the battery powered original unit for more years than I care to recall,those clever Sod's have "improved" it by adding a rechargeable battery pack. The "old"unit got me across the wilds of Africa, Australia and Malaysia without the need for an electric supply and bulky carry-case. They sent it to me unrequested so I have requested they arrange it's return.
2) Clas Ohlson digital alarm clock. Deemed ideal for our on-board needs it was purchased as a replacement for an old-fashioned tick-tock decrepid example, only to discover the set-up instructions failed to match reality. The internet revealed this is a universal fault and a help forum has already been implemented.
With set-up now complete we are still left with an annoying fault, whereby the "illuminated dial" ( one of the reasons we bought it ) has to be  manually switched on each time you need it, but unfortunately accompanied by a very loud "bleep",not  ideal in the middle of the night. We will need to sleep with a torch on our pillow.
Who the hell checks these things?
We can land a spacecraft softly on Mars but can't produce a bloody working alarm clock you can read at night or a blood sugar monitor that does not require a generator in tow.