Tuesday, 26 March 2013

It's always winter but never Christmas

Oh dear, late blogging again, now all I have to do is weed out the uninteresting bits, but then that would be most of it. Monday 12th husband took the day off work, since the merger with Orange they have changed the annual leave start date to April, so he ended up with quite few days left. In the morning we had a dental check up, I had lost a filling, so knew I would need at least one appointment. In the afternoon I had a physio 'dry land' appointment. She rang me beforehand to check I was ok, I told her I was fine. when we got to the hospital everyone seemed to know and remember me, quite embarrassing really. I took the physios a large box of chocs for looking after me when I was such a nuisance.
She was quite pleased to see that my sideways lift and front lift measure abut 75 degrees, I could get my hand onto the back of my head, and my behind reach was as far as the coccyx. She gave me some new exercises to inprove my range.
Later that day we had news that my cousin V who has MS had been taken into hospital after fitting and becoming unconscious. She was admitted to HDU, where later pneumonia was diagnosed.
On Tuesday morning I got up and husband had the teapot in his hand, I had to say 'No thanks', and remind him I was fasting for my annual blood tests. I had a few sips of water with my meds. For some reason I was later than I planned in setting off, and I put a banana and an apple in my bag. On the walk down I met H and her twins, they have moved to another part of town and it is too far to get to our parent and toddler group, so we had a quick catch up. She was taking the twins to a paeds appointment later. I arrived at 9.40 am in pathology, only to see that the waiting room was full, and people were standing in the doorway. I asked a member of satff if everyone was there for blood tests and she said 'yes and we have a clinic on too'. When I explained I had fasted, she said 'well you won't want to do that again, you'd better wait', so I took a ticket from the machine, found a seat and pulled out my newspaper. At 10.20 my number came up, and the deed was done. As I left I scoffed the banana. I checked the hospital cafe, no toast. I wandered all over town looking for tea and  toast, but no one seemed to combine the 2, so I got the bus back up the hill and made my own tea and toast.
Wednesday  I seem to remember I had regained the half pound I lost, not surprising really, as I'm finding it hard to concentrate on propoints counting since my op. I didn't stay to the talk, instead going to Daughter's, who was running late. Again by the time we got to Sainsbo's it was time for lunch, so mindful of Nathaniel's needs we had lunch before we started the shopping. I spent a bit more, as I loaded the trolley with some Easter treats. Back home I packed everything away before sitting with the paper, which in turn caused me drop off to sleep.
Last week husband discovered that the temperature in the small fridge had been accidentally turned up. It's a wheel type control, and is easily knocked. this resulted in the type of thing that we saw when I was young in cold weather. it also gave an interesting crunch to my 0% fat Greek yoghurts.
Sadly the milk bottle had cracked as i discovered when it leaked everywhere during defrosting.

Frozen pinta

On Thursday, I did some housework, then for the first time in many weeks, picked up my car keys, walked up to the rented garage and opened the door. I got into the car made sure that I felt comfortable, then gingerly edged the car out of the garage. I shut the garage door, then making sure that I only did left turns, drove in a large square to Daughter's home. She was pleased to see me, was pleased too that I had managed to drive, then made me a coffee. I didn't stay too long, and managed a couple of right turns on the way back home.
Later I went to Women's hour. I had been offered a lift, which I accepted, not wishing to overdo the driving. It was our anniversary service and we had a very good speaker from another town in our County.  This time I fell asleep after I had got home, waking just in time to greet husband as he came home from work. At least the evenings are lighter now.
On Friday morning I decided to visit C&C. If you remember, the wife had been in hospital with a broken ankle, only being discharged at around the time when I went in. She is still mainly housebound, has a large splint on her ankle, but is having home visits from a physio to try and get her some mobility back. We had a  coffee, chatted a lot, giggled over some daft things, and hopefully she felt better. I certainly did. I felt I had achieved a lot as driving there on the other side of town was a milestone in my recovery.
Saturday was the usual trip into town, getting the weekend shopping, and home for a good perusal of the Saturday newspapers. We had started watching some of the Miss Marple DVDs which I had for Christmas. I earlier in the week had watched some of the series Broadchurch, which is filmed in West Bay and Bridport, places we have visited in Dorset however I found the constant interruptions for ads a real pain, and the swearing was not a pleasant addition to the script.
Sunday was a normal Sunday. We had a visiting speaker, who was quite good, but his sermon in the evening was a bit long. We had to leave before communion, as husband was threatening a nosebleed, which he gets from time to time. I phoned Mum in law as usual.
The weather hasn't been brilliant, very cold, lots of rain, and a few snow flurries. It seems that winter will never lighten its grip. I have one daffodil out, but as it snowed on Friday night this week, the poor daff is somewhat bowed down.
On Monday we went to the dentist for our treatment. My filling was difficult, it is an awkward shape, in an awkward place, left upper 8 buccal distal. It is right on the gumline and nothing seems to stay in. He was going to leave it at first, then decided on a glass filling, to see how it goes. He also tidied one up which I'd had done a couple of years ago, when he sent me to the endodontist in Borehamwood. Husband had treatment too, and we popped into the old High Street for a browse in the antique shop, then into town. Late I took husbands' car to the local car wash, as I've been ashamed of it's messy exterior for ages.
 On Tuesday husband's car was due for its MOT, so I took it there, and as I waited, walked round to the nearest paper shop. They used to supply newspapers for customers to read, but must be cutting back. It was finished sooner than expected, and I asked if they could bring it round. I explained about my operation, and not wanting to reverse a long way, as is sometimes necessary due to their limited parking space. Even better, they had realised that the place was a bit full, and had driven my car out to the front so I could get in and just drive off. Now that's what I call service.
I rang about my blood test results and was told they were all normal. I nipped upstairs, only to have to answer the upstairs phone. It was the surgery to say that one blood test, the full blood count had to be repeated in a month. she couldn't quite work out what was raised, but I had something similar about 8 years ago, when first the white cells were up, then both, then the white. This went on for about a year, before everything went back to normal. There was never anything sinister, so  hope that this is something similar.
Wednesday was a busy day too. At WW I was a pound down, I stayed to the meeting as I hadn't for a couple of weeks, then drove myself to Sainsbo's for the first time since January. I had to remember not to lift bags with the right arm, and coped fairly well. It was so cold I got changed out of my weighing clothes immediately I got home. Then after lunch off to parent and toddlers, where I again did refreshments, but someone else carried them through. Later at home I got a niggling pain in my shoulder which made me wonder if I had overdone the driving.
Husband was off again on Thursday, I went to collect the prescription which I had forgotten on Wednesday, nipped into the supermarket for something I'd forgotten from there, thus getting alonger walk.  We were tad late leaving for the physio, and because all of the lights were against us in Harpenden, I rushed in, leaving husband to lock the car. Gill was just coming up the corridor to look for me, thinking I may be stuck in a queue at reception. She was very pleased with my progress, up to 125 degrees on both side and front elevation, and I can now slide my hand over my head to the back of my neck.
She thought that the niggling pain was a protective muscle, and gave me some ultrasound before working on the area, then said my appointment booked for Monday was too soon, so I had to go and try and change it, and book a fourth at the same time,  not easy as they are very busy.
Friday was fairly unremarkable, we heard that my cousin had been moved to a ward.
On Saturday I overslept as I hadn't had a good night, I realised the chicken for Sunday was due to go out date, so I cooked it.  We went into town and lunched in M&S. As I am still very tired since my op, we decided to give the fellowship day at church a miss. Just as well, as before 4pm we were both totally zonked, now had that been during a talk it could have been really embarrassing. I just need to try and add some pics of my gorgeous Grandchildren, which I took earlier that week.

Lydia loves peter rabbit

Big blue eyes
Now how do I move from here?
me tease my sister? never
Nat has lunch

 I did enjoy the BBC series WPC 56, which was set in Birmingham, especially as the first scene showed a number 11bus passing some prefabs. I used to get that bus to school! The sexism in the police force was spot on too, although my short stint was quite a while later; happy memories.
The pics have come up in the wrong order, but never mind

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Who needs Shakespeare when we have our very own drama?

Well here goes with the rest of the week. On Sunday we had a very good sermon from one of our favourite visiting speakers. Then we popped home, to collect stuff, and then to Daughter's for lunch. Lydia was pleased with her Peter Rabbit, and proceeded to show her appreciation by giving him a good suck. Nat seemed a little less sure about his Gruffalo, but hopefully he will grow to like it, he certainly loves the book. We gave his parents their small gifts too. I think they were appreciated.
We had a lovely Sunday lunch, and a Nigella dessert, I dread to think how many calories. Nat went off for his nap, and the rest of us relaxed and tried to doze too. Lydia was again  trying to roll over, she almost succeeded, but her arm got in the way again. We were a bit disorganised, husband announced he wanted to call in at home before church, and the upshot was that we didn't make it to church. It was a very long evening with no church. I phoned Mum in Law as usual after she had finished watching 'her' speaker on the God channel, but she confessed she had actually fallen sleeep during his sermon.
Monday was a fairly quiet uneventful day, I got my walk in, and in the evening caught up with the Midwife programme, which was thankfully less traumatic than previously.
Tuesday I was due at hydro, husband working from home so he could take me. I hadn't been in the pool long, it was terribly hot in there, and suddenly I felt odd and my heart rate speeded up. I managed to say 'I don't feel well', and I was assisted up the steps, sat on a chair, and given oxygen. I was told I had gone quite grey. What drama! I drank cold water, had a cold compress on my forehead, and began to cool down. I was moved onto a treatment couch, and was told someone would check my blood pressure. They thought that the faint may have been because I had had a virus when I had that horrid cough. My heart rate was still up, and when they came to check my BP the machine couldn't read it, which in itself probably made matters worse. A Doctor came, and just as my heart rate seemed to me to be slowing, another BP machine was wheeled in, the sight of which made my heart rate increase again, (white coat syndrome). The doctor said my BP was up, I was tachycardic, and ordered an ECG. In the meantime they brought husband through, who had his kindle with him.
The Doctor said the ECG was fine, but as there was no cardiologist on duty, she would like me to be transferred to an A&E, and an ambulance was called. She also produced a nifedipine tablet which she said would bring my BP down. I dislike nifedipine, it makes my heart pound (!!!!), and my face goes the colour of beetroot. The physios were marvellous, plying me with drinks, walking me to the loo, one got worried when I said 'oh no', but I explained I had managed to knock a new toilet roll into the toilet bowl.
We waited for the ambulance, it didn't come, phone call after phone call, 'we are very busy' good thing I wasn't in cardiac arrest! I began to wonder whether a herbal supplement I had taken that morning could have caused the rapid heartbeat, and vowed not to take any more. I cheekily asked the physios what they did when I wasn't there to entertain them, they were actually on lunch break at the time.
I had to be moved to another cubicle, as there was to be a 'hip' class in the area I was in. Eventually, perturbed at the non appearance of the ambulance after 3 hours, the outpatients manager, obviously a trained nurse came, announced she would take my BP with an old fashioned pump up monitor, and declared it fine. They asked the duty Dr, and she said I could go, provided I saw my GP or went to an A&E. They took me in a wheelchair to the car, and soon we were on our way home. we had a very late lunch of soup
I rang the GP surgery, the emergency GP rang me back, said if I got down there pronto all she could do was check my BP, so I went. The first reading was a tad high, but on a second, the top had come down a lot and the bottom was 70. She went through my notes to check what she could give me to bring the top one down, realised we had tried everything, and said 'you're as bad as my mother, come and get it checked in a month'. I had a broken night with palpitations, not unusual for me when I am overtired, but next morning my pulse was 61, and my home monitor BP readings were ok. We will probably never know the cause, but husband suspects that I panicked a bit. He knows me so well.
Wednesday, I got the bus up to WW, I had stayed the same, which is nothing less than a miracle after the Stratford trip. I didn't stay to the class, but walked to Daughter's, where she made me a coffee and we discussed arrangements for the weekly shopping trip. She announced that Lydia had been lying on the floor on her back, and the next time her Daddy looked she was on her front! She has since demonstrated it again a few times, and has been seen to do it. Not bad as she won't be 5 months for another couple of weeks.
Daughter ran me home, and I had lunch, then got ready to go out again, C picked me up, and took me to parent and toddlers, where I did the refreshments, but someone else had to carry them through and wash up. Daughter picked me up, and brought the children in for a few minutes, but Nat wasn't with it, as he'd just woken from a nap. Later we headed off to Sainsbo's and did our shopping, Daughter also dropped some more bed linen and shirts for me at the ironers.
The rest of the week was quite uneventful, Women's hour on Thursday when we had the students from EMF, all young ladies from Russia, or Belarus, who spoke much better English than I speak Russian.
Sadly the weather has gone cold again and there were a few flakes of snow as we went to church this morning. No new pics to show, and I need to go and make a cuppa. I start dry land physio tomorrow, been banned from the hydro pool!

Friday, 8 March 2013

It's that time of year again

Quite an eventful week this week, on Thursday we set off for Stratford upon Avon, it was going to be our wedding anniversary on the Friday. I had thought we might go to Derbyshire and have a visit to Chatsworth, but Chatsworth doesn't open till March 10th. We stopped for lunch on the M40,at Cherwell Valley services, which has had a complete makeover since we last called in there.
We arrived at our hotel just after 3pm, and were soon checked into our room. The room was a strange shape, but quite large with an enormous bed. We settled in, found the complimentary tea and coffee, and I made us a drink. The tea didn't taste too nice, so I popped out for a walk, found a small Sainsbury's and bought some tea bags. I walked in a square and arrived back at the hotel. I passed the restaurant which is open to the public, but was disappointed to see how little there was on the menu. Later we changed and went down for dinner, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the menu I had seen was a pre theatre menu, and they also had an a la carte. We both chose the same starter, 'hand dived' scallops, and the same mains, sea bass on linguini.We opted for side of new potatoes and seasonal veg, which looked roasted, and struggled to finish them all.
Husband chose ginger cake with plum mousse for dessert, and I chose what was described as panna cotta, but the panna cotta was contained in a brandy snap, and there were bits of fruit and other interesting bits to eat. It was almost too artistic to eat.
Sadly the bed was a bit on the firm side, but I did get to sleep, probably as I've not been sleeping too well at other times. There were 3 lots of pillows on the bed, and we felt as if we were miles apart.
We awoke quite early, but didn't get up straight away. There was free wifi at the hotel, so we made use of that. Breakfast was lovely, fruit juice, followed by anything we wanted from the buffet, we both had berries and yoghurt, then a full English, with me missing out the sausage and fried bread.
The weather was a bit on the cold side, so I was glad that I'd taken a thick coat with me. We walked along the river bank first, to find the church where the Bard is buried. He was quite wealthy and bought a large plot  inside the church, in front of the altar. It was explained to us that had he been buried outside, his grave may not have survived. Having explored the church, and taken photos, which are permitted, we left via the tiny door, and walked along an avenue of limes to the front gate. We the made our way to the town centre, past Shakespeare's Daughter's house, then along Chapel Street, admiring the old buildings dotted along there.
We wandered around the shopping area, and I found a shoe shop, where I found some comfy summer sandals. Husband treated himself to a new tweed jacket, waistcoat and hat. We took our purchase back to the hotel, then wandered around looking for Shakespeare's birthplace. We found a Beatrix Potter toyshop in the same street, and got tempted by a gruffalo for Nat and a Peter rabbit for Lydia. We also went in the Christmas shop, which was bit surreal as it is nearly spring. Husband was all for going to Costa for a coffee and a bite to eat, but it was full. I had spotted a place just around the corner, described as a patisserie. There was lovely looking stuff in the window, so we went in. We decide to share a wrap, but there were some beautiful looking pies there. I don't eat pies, but they looked tempting. Then we saw the cakes, and couldn't resist them. Mine was a chocolate slice  with cherries on top, and it was served with cream. Overall, it wasn't too different from Costa pricewise, and in my opinion much nicer. We resumed our wanderings, then went back to the hotel to pick up the car to drive to Shottery. I hadn't walked so much since my op, and I couldn't have walked the distance to Anne Hathaway's Cottage.
It was quite expensive to go in, but we can use our tickets again in the next 12 months. It was worth it just to be entertained by the guide with his tales of life in Tudor times. We didn't have time to explore the gardens, but spent some time in the gift shop choosing small items for our grown up children, then back to the hotel for a rest before dinner. This time husband chose soup, I had cured salmon, then I had sesame crusted cod, with fondant potato and husband had venison. This time we shared a dish of seasonal veg. Desserts were brownie for me, which had mousse with it, a chocolate parfait and a chocolate chewy maccaroon. Husband doesn't remember what he had but it was all delicious. We watched a bit of TV, read newspapers, and I started my packing.
We got down a little bit earlier the next morning for breakfast, the same as the previous day, but different fruit juice, and prunes instead of berries.
All too soon we were paying the bill, and packing the car, then off to the other side of Brum to visit my sister and her husband. Her Daughters both came to see us, and one of her grandchildren. M had provide a large lunch, which we didn't think we could eat at first as we'd had a good breakfast. We left Birmingham at about 3.15, the satnav tried to direct us to the M6, but I told husband we were going the wrong way, so he turned when he could and we headed off back through Northfield and Longbridge, stopping for a drink in the same services as on the way up, then arriving home at about 6.30
I may well have to leave the rest of my tale till later

River Avon


Shakespeare's grave

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Kitsch in Christmas shop


One of the many lampposts donated to the town
Anne Hathaway's cottage
main bed with rope mattress pulled tight at night, hence sleep tight
Apparently some vandal who owned Shakespeare's house got fed up with people gawping at it and pulled it down