Friday, 29 June 2012


Today is the 75th anniversary of the very first 999 call. In those days the Met had just sixteen telephonists or call handlers as they are now called, and fielded 285 calls per day. What made me laugh was that the radio operators of the day signaled the patrol cars by Morse code and each car had it's own Morse operator and machine in the back. The very first call was from a Mr and Mrs Beard of Hampstead. Mr Beard heard a noise outside and went to investigate only to see a man in a suit and trilby running off up the hill. He followed while his wife phoned the police. The man was caught just four minutes later on Primrose Hill. Although the service was introduce on 29th June, it was 1st July before this first call came in. Those were the days.

In other news Murray is through to the third round, two games down, five to go. The game had a sour note to it with his opponent, Karlovic, claiming the judges were biased and called foot faults that were just not happening. Bad loser or does he have a point? Even Murray refused to condemn the claim outright.

The other shock news was the extraordinary encounter between Nadal and Rosol. What a match and what a result! Nadal appeared out of sorts right from the beginning and he also complained about his opponent. In the end though he was simply out played. A bad day for Nadal fans but great news for Murray at least he won't have to face Nadal in the semi's, always assuming he gets that far. I've never been so glad of such a distraction.

So to me, how am I feeling? Yesterday was bad, I didn't eat and I slept badly. The worse bit was telling my family, hearing my mother trying not to cry was the worst. They were all more disappointed than I was. Today I am feeling more resigned than anything else. I knew that my chances were not good so although disappointed I can't say I'm surprised. The combination of my size, age, antibody count and dodgy ticker, which despite the upbeat report is in early stage failure, combined against me and the surgery would be too risky. They said they probably would have gone ahead if the heart factor hadn't come into it even though finding a donor would be tricky.

So what now? Well according to Carl there may be a glimmer of light. Harefield won't do a lung transplant because of my heart, Harefield do not do heart/lung transplants but Papworth do. So they are considering putting me forward to Papworth for a heart/lung instead. My consultants at the Brompton will look at the Harefield decision and if it is just the heart getting in the way they'll approach Papworth for a second opinion. I'm not holding my breath but as they say 'it isn't over till the fat lady sings'. So it is back to more waiting but I've had all the tests so things should be a little quicker than last time.

Andrew is off on his holiday today and he is so excited. He's like a little flea in a bottle and can't sit still. I'm less happy because it means a whole month without him. It is something I'm going to get used to though as he's off again to uni in September. I was bad enough when Laurence left but with both of them gone I've no idea what I'm going to do with myself. For the last twenty four years my thoughts have been on my children. I've done nothing without thinking about how it will effect them, now the only person I will have to consider is Peter. It is going to be very strange.

I'm supposed to be back in work tomorrow but I'm dreading it. My head really isn't in a good place at the moment, despite trying to fool myself that I can cope I keep getting tearful. My philosophy has always been 'just get on with it' and it has helped enormously up to now. My fear is for the sympathetic looks, will I be able to cope with sadness of others when I can barely cope with my own? There are two people I fear most. Both are lovely, kind, wonderful ladies but they are perpetually cheerful and I don't know if I can take being cheered up and advised to 'look on the bright side' especially when there doesn't appear to be one. Do I cope or do I pull a 'sicky' and take a few extra days to get my head around things? For someone who has never taken a sicky in her life it is a tough call and one I'll have to wait until tomorrow to answer.

The weather is crap again so I'm settling myself down on the settee this afternoon to watch Djokovic and Federer do their stuff, you never know there may be another upset.

Next blog in four days.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Decision Day

I can't even think of what to put in blog today. I'm so stressed out. I had a better night's sleep but woke up with a knot as big as a fist in my stomach and I feel sick. Part of me knows it is going to be 'no' while the other half still has hope it will be a 'yes'. My concentration is all to pot and I'm snappy.

Yesterday I tackled a mountain of ironing, cleaned the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms and sorted out the airing cupboard just to keep busy, which of course means I have nothing left to do today. Well I do but I'm not in the mood.

This afternoon Andy Murray will be on court again but if the weather continues as it did yesterday then I'm likely to have heard before he starts to play so he will not provide the desperately needed distraction. Also on court and through to the third round is Brit wild card wonder boy Jamie Ward. The odds are stacked against him but it is not unknown for an unseeded wild card to win the championship, unfortunately being a Brit wild card he'll probably go out today but I look forward to seeing him in years to come.

Fortunately there have been no calls from Indian gentlemen wanting to fix my computer so claiming to have an apple mac may have been the answer to stopping this annoyance.

The weather is muggy which is not helping matters as it is affecting my breathing and making me feel off colour. I'm blaming the weather though it could be that the cold that has been hanging around for ages might finally be traveling south to my chest. I might book myself in for a check over at my GP's tomorrow just to be on the safe side. I haven't had a day off sick since January/February and I am rather keen to keep it that way.

 That'll be a 'no' for transplant then.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


Well Murray's match was very exciting and for once for all the right reasons. I would say he played better than he has ever done. I felt sorry for Davydenko but he was totally outclassed, and it is not often you can say that about Murray. It is far too early to be optimistic as Murray is in a very tough group and still has six matches to play. Each one will be agony of course and will get tougher. At the moment I'm just grateful I have another day of tennis to watch. Of course for once Murray isn't on his own with three other Brits making their way through to the second round. I'm particularly impressed by James Ward, I think he is definitely one to look out for in the future.

Despite promising sunshine and temperatures as high as 28C I awoke this morning to leaden skies and a slight misting of fine rain on the window. What a pity, I was looking forward to a relaxing read and a doze on the decking this afternoon. Instead I will tackle the mountain that is two weeks worth of ironing. With Andrew no longer at school I was hoping for the ironing to diminish as I no longer had school shirts and trousers to do. Instead there seems to be more than ever. I suspect he has put his whole wardrobe out for washing with a view of not having to do any laundry whilst abroad. In this weather he'll be luck if I get it all dry in time, still I do have the best part of two days in which to try and things might perk up this afternoon.

Like most people claiming tax credits I had my renewal pack last week so today I filled it in and realised I had to notify them of a change of circumstance, Andrew leaving school. I was on the phone for over eleven minutes before I actually got to speak to a real human being, disgraceful! When I did finally get to a human I was asked all sorts of questions that really were not related to Andrew and then I realised he was telling me that because I had higher mobility and higher care DLA I could claim severe disability tax credit. For once the wait was worth it.

Now that I've finally got my blue badge I can tackle yet another mountain of bureaucracy namely the congestion charge. Being disabled and owner of a blue badge I can drive through central London without paying the congestion charge. To do this I need to provide proof of my blue badge, along with identity and a nominal £10 payment. For the last couple of weeks I've been plagued by reminders which I've been unable to respond to because they need a photocopy of my new badge which I didn't have. Now that I have my badge, Andrew is photocopying it as we speak, I notice that I only have to pay the renewal fee if I haven't responded for ninety days after the expiry of my old claim. So why the panic and the waste of money sending reminder after reminder? Don't they read their own rules?

I'm still being plagued by phone calls from scammers wanting to 'fix my computer'. In desperation when the last idiot told me he was from Microsoft I said I only had apple computers, I haven't had a call since. Coincidence, probably but I'd like to think they've finally crossed me off their list. It is irritating that the telephone preference service only stops calls from in this country and nothing can be done about scams from outside the UK. We have now put caller id onto our phones and anything coming up as 'international' just doesn't get answered.

Tomorrow is the big day and I had a terrible night's sleep last night and am expecting an even worse one tonight. I'll be answering every call tomorrow just in case and I wouldn't like to be the scam artist that gets me. Tomorrow I won't be holding back.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Crashing Out

Well the four days at work went really quickly and I coped with my first nine hour day in over a year very well, so well I'm trying two next week. I wasn't helped by Andrew though who went to a party on Friday night, returned home forgetting his key and got us out of bed at twenty past five on Saturday morning. Was I impressed? What do you think? Aside from that, and the residue of my cold I felt a lot less tired than before my holiday so obviously the break has done some real good.

It has been a bad weekend for British sportsmen with England crashing out of the Euro and Hamilton crashing out of the Grand Prix. To be fair Hamilton's crash wasn't his fault and the offending driver, Maldinardo, was duly punished but that was not much comfort to Hamilton who has lost the top spot in the drivers championship to Alonso. However we are less than halfway through the season so there is still all to play for.

England lost on penalties, again! I don't watch football but working in a town with a very large Italian population it was difficult to ignore this particular match. Afterwards the disappointed English fans turned on the celebrating Italian fans and there were some nasty clashes. I can't help feeling that if it had been the other way around the Italian fans would have accepted defeat more graciously and quietly gone home. And to be honest the anger should be directed at the over paid numpties on the field, their the ones that couldn't kick a ball straight.

This morning we went out shopping early so I could be back in time to watch another great English hope crash out of a major tournament. Yes it is Wimbledon fortnight and what is it doing, raining. At the time of typing Nadal has only just arrived back on court after yet another rain break. As center court now has a roof I really don't understand why we are still getting rain stops. So I'm waiting for Andy Murray to step onto center court and lose. He already has his excuses lined up, a back back apparently, so I'm not expecting much, which is probably a good thing.  It seems the organisers cannot decide whether to put the roof up or not, from a tennis fan point of view just put the thing up and get on with it otherwise we might still be watching in August.

My blue badge arrived in the post today, with an apology. It seems going to complain in person and not over a phone had a positive effect and the 'five days to process' rule was magically reduce to two days. I don't care, my new badge is here one day before my old badge expires. Close but thankfully in time.

Regular readers of this blog will know that Thursday is an important day for me. It is the day I find out whether I'm back on the transplant list. I've managed not to think of it over my days in work, the benefits of being rushed off your feet, but the thought hit me like a train this morning. Call me fickle but I now don't want to know. If I don't know there is still hope. I'm swinging between being positive that it will be a 'yes' to sheer panic that they will say no. The worst scenario for me would be to be told they need more tests, they can't do that to me can they? Watch this space!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Blue Badge Blues

Well it is the last day of my holiday and true to form it is raining, brilliant! My only consolation is that the four days I'm in work are also predicted to be pretty dreadful. To be honest I don't mind going back to work as it will make the weekend go quicker and I find weekends always drag when you are waiting for news.

Of course I couldn't finish my holiday without a bit of drama.

With only five days to go before my blue badge expires I'd still heard nothing, I don't even know if I'm going to get one so, deciding not to wait until my badge actually expires, I rang Central Bedfordshire Council for an update and thank goodness I did. It transpires that my badge cannot be issued because there are no photos enclosed. Now I know that is not true because I paper clipped them to the form, which I handed in myself not wishing to trust the postal service. That aside, this little set back could be quickly over come as the machine issued five copies of the passport photo so I still have three spare. Well it would have been easy to overcome IF they had bothered to tell me. 'We're sending a letter out tonight' said the drippy woman on the phone who plainly couldn't care less. I asked to speak to her supervisor and after quite a long hold spoke to a man who was more sympathetic and did admit that it was unreasonable to be requesting replacement photos five days before my old badge ran out. Especially, he acknowledged, as they noticed the missing photos several weeks ago (I'd handed my application in mid May). So a compromise was reached, I drive all the way to Bedford to hand in another set of photo's and he'd rush my badge through for me. Deal done I hopped in the car with the wild hope that they might even prepare the badge while I was waiting. Not so, apparently 'rushing' a badge through takes at least five working days as they are no longer made on the premises but exported to different company licensed to issue the new secure badges. So this year I'm going to have at least a three day period when I won't have my badge. I know it doesn't sound like long to wait and it isn't but it's just one more irritation and inconvenience to deal with. All I can say is thank goodness I don't have any London hospital visits next week or I'd really be stuck. I've actually given up asking 'why me' now because it always is me.

I wish I known about this yesterday because I could have saved myself a trip. Bedford and the Great River Ouse was my first port of call on my photographic trip. I wanted to see if I could photograph some cygnets but when I got there I saw plenty of adult swans but no cygnets so came away disappointed. I did take some photos but I don't regard them as good or interesting enough to enter into an exhibition. I then went on to Great Barford as I've seen some lovely barges and boats there over the years and thought something colourful would be just the ticket. Again no such luck the river was completely devoid of any watercraft. I thought about going on to Leighton Buzzard and the canal but unfortunately by now I was getting tired and the weather was closing in so I called it a day. I plan another trip next week, providing the weather improves, I'm hopeful and haven't yet put the camera back in the cupboard.

The raspberry ice cream was a huge hit with Peter and Andrew but not so much with me. I hate limes, loath them, even the smell makes my stomach turn. One of the ingredients in the ice cream was lime juice. Now as there was so little lime and so many raspberries I didn't think there would be a problem and when I tasted the mixture, before it started to freeze, all I got was raspberries. However three hours later I could not believe how strong the lime actually was and although I ate some it wasn't that long before I developed a queasy tum. I will make it again but next time I'll use lemon juice.

So what to do with my last day of holiday? Well I have a punnet to strawberries and a pot of cream in the fridge with my name on them so I think I'll go and practice for Wimbledon.

Wait, wait, wait, sorry to add this after publishing but I really must comment on this.

Unfunny comedian jimmy Carr has apologised for his 'terrible error of judgement' concerning his tax affairs. It is quite obvious that the only thing he regrets is being found out.

The next blog will be in four days.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Good News Travels Slowly

The home made vanilla ice cream was delicious so I'm being a bit more adventurous today and attempting raspberry. We ate the entire batch yesterday so I'm expecting the same to happen today, good job I'm trying to put on weight and not take it off.

Talking of putting on weight I've reached the heady heights of  seven stone nine pounds, the heaviest I've been in a year. Maybe all this sitting around at home has been a good thing after all. If I can keep the weight then that is another box ticked for transplant.

I was cheered this morning by receiving the written report on my Right Heart Catheter. Right at the bottom, after all the medical jargon, half of which I don't understand, is one lovely little sentence. 'In summary, Mrs Roberts has severe pulmonary arterial hypertension, no residual aortopulmonary window and the outcome of the discussion was that she would benefit from a lung transplant.' Big sigh of relief, they found nothing that would prevent me from having the transplant which is very encouraging. Of course I can't count my chickens yet as there may be something else that could put a spanner in the works but for now I'm feeling a lot happier than I did after my phone call on Monday.

Well my camera batteries are charged and, although it isn't as sunny as it was yesterday, I'm going out this afternoon to snap a few frames. I need to get out for three reasons, 1. it will make the 28th come quicker. 2. I haven't been able to get out except for shopping during the whole of my break. And 3. I've been invited to take part in an exhibition in London in September, which is very exciting. Of course from the minute I was asked to contribute it has pored down, typical. The exhibition is on behalf of the PHA and Royal Brompton PH service so naturally I really want to do something for them as they've done so much for me. With a bit of luck I'll get a couple of great shots today, if I do I'll post them here so you can take a look.

With only six days to go I still haven't received my new blue badge, which is a little worrying. I'm not planning a trip into any of the big towns over the next week where the badge is worth it's weight in gold but I'd still like the security of having the thing before the old one actually runs out. In theory, because I get the maximum DLA for mobility, it should be an automatic renewal but as with everything else more checks are being made on eligibility which means everything takes longer. If nothing has arrived by Monday then I'll have to ring them and give them a bit of a hurry up.

In the news it is the strange case of Julian Assange. If you have been living under a rock for the last year you might well have missed all the fuss so a quick recap. Assange is the founder of Wikileaks and is a thorn in the side of the authorities of a lot of countries because he keeps leaking diplomatic secrets. The American's in particular don't like him and have made several attempts to get hold of him for various national security violations. In an unexpected twist the Swedish authorities put in a request for extradition on the grounds of rape and sexual assault. Although details haven't been released they must have put up a convincing case because extradition was granted. Since then Assange has been on bail while several appeals go through. Yesterday in a surprise move Assange rocked up at the Ecuadorian embassy claiming asylum. The Ecuadorians are considering his case and in the meantime if Assange sets one foot out of the embassy he will be arrested for breaking his bail.

What makes this case interesting is all the conspiracy theories floating around. The main theory is this, Assange is an Australian who has set up residence in the UK for whatever reason, probably because it is more central for his business interests. Despite what everyone thinks it isn't that easy for the US to extradite someone from the UK for the sort of crimes Assange is being accused of, especially as it is rather difficult to prove he's actually done anything wrong himself. For whatever reason it is thought to be easier for the US to extradite from Sweden. So someone has cooked up a charge of rape and sexual assault to get Assange extradited to Sweden on a more serious charge that the UK courts can't ignore. Once he's there the USA will request extradition knowing they are more likely to be successful. I have no idea if any of this is true or not but it is an interesting theory and not one that can be totally dismissed as fantasy. I also don't know what the relationship between the US and Ecuador is like but I'm willing to bet for Assange to be seeking asylum there I'd say extradition is near impossible. It is going to be interesting to see how all this eventually gets resolved. I think Assange will end up in jail, the only question is where?

Just got back from the trip out. Not as successful as I hoped, no cygnets. Did get some photo's though which I will share once I've uploaded them to my computer and vetted them.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Well I got the expected call from Harefield and am really not much further on. The bad news is I'm still waiting for a decision, there is no meeting again this week. The good news is that I'm the first case up for the meeting on the 28th June and will be called that afternoon with an answer. So another ten days of waiting and nail biting and swinging between desperately hoping they'll say yes while at the same time dreading it. Honestly I've been through so many different emotions over the last few weeks I'm exhausted.

To pass some of the time we blitzed Milton Keynes shopping center this afternoon and returned with new shoes for Peter, various holiday stuff for Andrew and a roll of surgical tape for me, last of the big spenders or what. Yesterday we bought an ice cream maker so we popped into Tesco on the way home and got lots of ingredients with which to make said ice cream. Andrew cannot eat commercial ice cream as it has lots of added whey powder, which he's allergic too. Making my own will be fun (I hope) and I know exactly what is in it so should be safe for him. I've bought stuff to make a plain vanilla as a first run. Raspberry frozen yoghurt and orange and mango sorbet will follow tomorrow provided the first one is a success. If it is not then I'll just eat the fruit and yoghurt as they are, no big deal. At the very least it will give me something to do and if it works out I can get down to some serious experimentation to keep my mind off everything else.

It has been a nice day, not too hot but sunny most of the time. I hope it is the same tomorrow as I'm now itching to get out and do some photography. I've only got two days of my holiday left and apart from shopping haven't left the house yet. Not my fault, it is very difficult getting any motivation when it is bucketing down.

Andrew has already declared himself bored even though his exams only finished yesterday. So he spent yesterday afternoon weeding (decimating) my herb garden. The only things left standing are my sage, rosemary and marjoram, everything else has gone. He meant well but I could weep at the loss of my thyme, which he thought was clover. Luckily herbs are pretty resilient and I'm hoping they will recover given time. If not a swift trip to the garden center will fix things and what I've lost is not expensive. Tomorrow I've got him clearing up the patio which has been left scattered with earth and leaves. He of course is also counting down the days, but for his holiday so he has taken my request in good heart as 'anything to make the time go quicker' seems to be his current motto.

Well I'm off to give the ice cream maker a go, I'll let you know how it turned out tomorrow.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Game, Set, Disqualified

Well my afternoon in the sun didn't last long. Within an hour clouds began to roll in and combined with the wind it became pretty chilly out there. Chased back inside I decided to watch the men's final of Queen's. Switching on I was surprised to see that neither player was one of the big names in tennis. Of course I hadn't been watching much of this tournament so had completely missed the fact that all of the top players had departed unusually early. I'd only seen Murray go out. Not having anyone I really wanted to back I was in the unusual position, for me, of watching a game from an indifferent perspective. I joined half way through the first set and quickly learned that not having anyone to back made the game a bit, well, boring. I stuck with it though and soon I was really pleased I had.

In a 'blink and you miss it' moment Nalbandian was disqualified for abusing a line judge. I suddenly sat forward in my seat aware that this might just turn into the most interesting tennis match this year. Like everyone else I'd missed exactly what had happened and just saw Nalbandian bending over an elderly gent with blood on his leg. A replay showed what had happened and it was truly shocking. Nalbandian messed up a shot and in a fit of temper charged towards the judge and kicked a bit of board into his leg. There could be no doubt that the action was deliberate as Nalbandian had to run several paces to get to the board. I have no doubt, however, that the injury to the judge was unintentional, I think Nalbandian thought the boards were firmly fixed and would withstand his kick. What followed was an unseemly scramble of officials trying to decide what to do accompanied by boos and jeers from the crowd. Any true tennis fan would know that physically abusing an official means instant disqualification. Instead they booed the decision and also booed poor Cilic when presented with the trophy. I don't see why, he had absolutely nothing to do with it and had kept his cool during the match, which is more than can be said for Nalbandian who regularly bounced his racquet around in frustration. In the end it was a match that will be debated for weeks if not months and will no doubt be mentioned every time Nalbandian plays until the day he retires. A sad end to a disappointing tournament, let's hope Wimbledon is better.

Andrew sits his last exam today and officially finishes his school career. Now I can start getting my house back. There are papers and books everywhere and we haven't been able to use the dining room table, except on special occasions, for months. I can finally remove all the index cards that are stuck to every available surface and stop reading about nuclear fusion every time I open the cupboard door to get a teabag. Now begins the long wait for the results and really they have never been more vital. Although Andrew has been offered a place at uni he still needs to get good grades to get in. He shouldn't have a problem but you never can never assume. Until the results are out nothing is guaranteed. Before he starts stressing he's off for a gap month in Bulgeria. He went over for a week in February after his last set of exams and liked it so much he's decided to go for longer. As he has friends over there his accommodation is sorted so all he has to provide is his spending money, I've paid for his flights. Once again I'll be nervous about him going but probably not as bad as I was first time around, at least I hope not.

I've been promised a phone call from Harefield today. At time of writing I've heard nothing but then they do tend to call in the afternoon's so I'm not that bothered, yet. I suspect any call I get will be of a stalling nature and I won't be told definitely until the panel meet again in three weeks time. I did all my jobs on Thursday while waiting for the last call so I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to keep busy today. I think a few episodes of Father Ted are called for.

Fell about laughing this morning when I saw a headline in my newspaper describing Wayne Rooney as a 'big man'. I don't know why they send the other players to these games as Wayne is obviously the only player capable of getting a win for England. What a joke.

Just seen the play list for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, it includes the theme tunes from Eastenders and Coronation Street. Really?

Tomorrow's blog will contain the news from Harefield, good, bad, I don't care anymore, I just need to know.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Was so pleased to see the Duke of Edinburgh back in the thick of it at the Trooping of the Colour yesterday. I have to say though he didn't look as robust as he usually does, which is slightly worrying.

Well my car passed it's MOT but of course, as with everything I do, there was a hitch. My front number plate had become stained after water got in between the clear plastic front and the white plastic backing so the day before we nipped along to a garage and got new ones as we feared the staining might fail. Imagine my surprise then when the tester failed me, on my number plates. Apparently the new ones broke the tougher number plate regulations because they didn't have solid lettering. Closer inspection showed that the lettering on these plates were made up of a series of cross hatchings instead of solid block colour. A quick trip home and we returned with old number plates attached to be passed after the tester did a quick check. Needless to say the new plates will be returned and a return of money demanded. I'm still going to get new plates but from somewhere else and I'm going to check them throughly before accepting them too. Do you want to know the really crazy thing? Peter got new number plates from the same place and in the same style just before his MOT. His car number plates were deemed legal. Seems different tester different rules.

So crisis averted we returned home again to find Laurence waiting for us. He has a key so he was in the living room chatting to Andrew who was busy recounting the saga of Mum's MOT. Every time I see Laurence now he seems to have grown bigger and proudly told us that he can now bench press two hundred pounds. The two of us standing side by side is almost comical, I must get a picture taken next time we are together so you can see what I mean. Everything is fine in his world and there is even a hint of a girlfriend, though he gave very little away.

Of course the cats decided to disgrace themselves during his visit. Just as we sat down to succulent, juicy home made burgers there was a commotion at the cat flap and in charged Smirnoff complete with feathered friend. After a lot of persuasion we managed to get Smirnoff to release the bird which to our surprise was still alive and extremely pissed off. Laurence grabbed it and I gave it a quick examination to find, apart from damp feathers, it appeared unhurt. So with cat flap locked Laurence charged up the garden and deposited it under a bush, getting a nasty peck for his troubles. Drama over we opened the cat flap and sat down to continue our meal. The cats seemed to have forgotten the bird and circled the dining table like sharks waiting for tidbits. Enjoying the food and conversation we didn't notice Tarmac had slipped away until we heard another commotion, this time on the patio and saw Tarmac with a bird in his mouth, I swear it was the same one. Smirnoff saw it at the same time and made a charge for the cat flap, Andrew managed to stop him and I slipped out of the patio doors to try and release the bird. I was too late, this time it was definitely dead. It is now residing in the bin, I knew one of the cats would eventually eat it but I also knew they'd be sick afterwards, they always are, so I saved myself a job.

Today, although windy, the sun is out and the back garden is warm in the shelter of the patio so I'm taking my chances and planning an afternoon of reading, snoozing and watching the weeds grow. I no longer get stressed about weeds. They are after all just flowers growing in the wrong place and some of them are quite pretty. I've decided that my gardening efforts this year will center around keeping the grass cut and stopping things getting too overgrown. The weather being as unpredictable as it is there is very little else I can do. This time next year I might be post transplant and able to do all the things I want to do myself or I'll have won the lottery and employed a gardener. You've got to remain positive about these things.

Talking of being positive my cold remains a nuisance but doesn't appear to have got any worse. I'm hoping that this is all it is going to be.Being out in the fresh air yesterday certainly helped more than lying on the settee with a box of tissues so I'm employing the same tactic today. With a bit of luck the wind will blow my germs away and I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Storm In A Teacup

I knew it, there was no escape, I've got the cold. I've had a scratchy throat for the last few days but nothing else and was secretly hoping I'd got away with it, until this morning. The first thing I noticed was that my nose felt as though it was about to burst, moving my head encouraged the dull throb into a full blown headache and I feel slightly nauseous. Now the battle is on to prevent it from turning into a full blown chest infection.

Last night I witnessed the most interesting thing about football I've ever seen. Lying on the settee casually channel hopping trying to find something intelligent to watch I suddenly got a text. It said 'turn onto ITV quick.' Thinking there was a news item or something similar I did and was greeted by the most spectacular thunderstorm . Why can't we get storms like that, it was fantastic. Forked lightening, torrential rain and deafening thunder, absolutely brilliant. I was so disappointed when it cleared up and the football started again.

Talking of weather, well the 'worst storm for fifty years' didn't quite live up to it's billing. We've had some strong gusts of windy but nothing really bad and it has remained mostly dry. I don't know whether the west of the country faired worse but so far no reports of floods or wind damage on any of the news sites.

What is in the news is the story of a nine year old girl and her school dinner website.

Set up to raise money for a charity called Mary's Meals, Martha hit on the idea of taking a daily picture of her school dinner and rating it out of ten. All was going well until one of the tabloids took up the story and called for the dinner ladies to be sacked. The local council took exception to this and banned Martha from taking any more pictures. Anyone seeing what Martha and her school friends were expected to eat each day might be forgiven for thinking the tabloids had a point. Has the school ever heard of vegetables? And no, three slices of cucumber does not count. After a back lash from everyone from celebrities to government ministers the council has done a spectacular U turn and will now allow Martha to continue taking photo's for her blog. I just hope that they have been shamed into providing better meals as well. If you want to see what all the fuss is about here is the link, if you visit please don't forget to donate.

Well it is MOT day and I'm off shortly with fingers firmly crossed as if my car doesn't pass that will be both vehicles off the road, not ideal when I'm hoping to be put on the transplant list and need reliable transport. Peter has struggled all week to find the cause of his failure (emissions). My car is much younger and as been driven less vigorously than his and a quick check of the breaks, tyres, lights etc has not thrown up any areas for concern. Of course I have no way of checking for emissions apart from my sense of smell. I cannot smell anything amiss but that doesn't put me totally in the clear. It is going to be another tense afternoon.

Laurence is coming to tea this afternoon and will no doubt be discussing his intentions to get a pair of kitties to keep him company. Although he likes living on his own he says he does miss having a pet to come home to. I can understand that, I'd be lost without my two little furry fellas. I am planning home made burgers with all the trimmings for tea, I just hope I'm feeling well enough to enjoy them.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Road To Nowhere

Do you ever feel that you're battling your way through treacle and not getting anywhere? That's what I feel like at the moment. Just as I was giving up on getting a call from Harefield I got one. Unfortunately it wasn't the one I'd been hoping for. It seems that there was no meeting this week as one of the consultants that make the decisions was on holiday. There also will not be a meeting next week because the other consultant will also be on holiday. The call was to reassure me that they'd received my test results and I hadn't been forgotten. It is good of them to keep me in the loop I suppose but it is such a let down when you've been waiting so long for an actual answer. I was informed that my consultant will call me on Monday to let me know where they are in the decision making process and to discuss any questions I might have. Well I only have one question 'AM I ON THE BLOODY LIST OR NOT?' I am consoling myself with the thought that at least I'm not still waiting to have the tests, and the way the NHS works that is a miracle in itself.

The weather is foul, apparently the worst storm for fifty years is blowing in from the Atlantic and is due to hit us later today. Worst storm in fifty years? Is this going to be worse than the hurricane in 1987 then, which was just over thirty years ago? No, it is just going to be wet and windy as it has been the last three months. I do wish reporters would get their facts right before spouting such rubbish.

I am exactly half way through my twelve day holiday and thanks to the weather have yet to blow the dust off my camera. Still if the storm is going to be as bad as they say I might get some good shots, providing someone manages to anchor me to the pavement. If you can't beat 'em etc.

My mum sent me Aberystwyth's local paper with all the pictures and reports on the flooding last week. It was far worse and far more extensive than the TV news reports would have you believe. Local people started muttering when building work started near the river Rheidol but as is usual fears were brushed aside by money grabbing counselors and developers. And now there are questions as to why a new hotel and a retail park were allowed to be built on a flood plan. If any of the builders had asked any of these muttering locals, instead of listening to the politicians, they would have been told that the nice piece of flat ground they'd bought flooded most years. Now, of course, everything is under water and about to get doused again. I suspect the muttering locals are secretly pleased they have been proved right.

While watching the lunchtime news, full of flood warnings of course, the clouds suddenly parted and bright warm sunshine flooded the kitchen and the living room. It has remained sunny though windy since then. I think in future I'll be prepared for anything opposite of what is being predicted. It is the only way to stay sane. Unfortunately everywhere is very damp and the wind is making it feel cold otherwise I'd be out on the decking like a shot with a book and a Pimms.  As it is I'm opening the windows in the living room and will be enjoying some sun, fresh air and my book from the dry comfort of my settee. It also saves me having to run if a sudden shower comes over.

My car is having it's MOT tomorrow, yes, really, I do mean mine this time. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Hair and Heir

Knowing that today could be the day I hear whether I'm on the transplant list or not I've been keeping myself busy. I had a good night's sleep but woke with a slightly scratchy throat. I'm really hoping I haven't caught Peter's cold.

Hot on the heels of cleaning the oven I set about steam cleaning the settee's and curtains in the living room. Normally I'd take down and wash the curtains but you can't tumble dry them so it is finding a day hot enough to do them that is proving a bit of a problem. aAn hour later and a follow up squirt of Febreeze and I was done. I would have done the windows as well but I'd already used up my energy reserves for the morning so I've penciled them in for tomorrow. I've got a pile of ironing lined up for after lunch, at least I can do that sitting down so it shouldn't be too tiring.

So desperate were they to talk football on the news last night that they held a discussion about Wayne Rooney's hair style. I couldn't believe what I was watching. I don't care about football but I care even less about a thick thug's new hairdo.I suspect that England's chances of winning are so bleak any distraction will do.

In the newspaper this morning some fashion guru was having another dig at the Duchess of Cambridge. Over the last few weeks there have been various articles showing how the Duchess 'recycles' dresses, hats, shoes and coats as if it were the worst thing she could possibly do. I'd like to meet the woman who doesn't wear an item of clothing at least twice. The trouble is the Duchess, or any other female member of the royal family for that matter, is never going to win. If they have a new outfit for every public occasion there would be an outcry over the expense and 'not setting an example in these times of austerity' etc. If they use something twice then they are 'penny pinching' as if that is somehow wrong or embarrassing. I like having a royal family and accept that some of my taxes go towards their upkeep so it is nice to know that savings are being made, however small. One last point, no one ever complains if the males royals wear the same suit and tie day in day out.

Andy Murray crashed out of Queen's yesterday after reaching just the second round. He says he will be much better for Wimbledon, I won't be holding my breath.

An eighteen year old footballer has been charged with the murder of our local school girl. Wouldn't you just know football would be involved somewhere. Details of exactly what happened haven't been released yet and probably won't be until the case goes to trial. According to the papers he had a promising future ahead of him, not anymore. It will be interested to see what the club he is attached to does about this. Will they immediately drop him? Will they wait until the outcome of the trial and then drop him? As football seems to turn a blind eye to any sort of wrong doing I wouldn't be at all surprised if they keep him on and penciled him in for the next world cup. Seriously though it is dreadful that someone of such a young age could do something so hidious. Rumours abound that not only had the pair been drinking but that cannabis was also present at the party. I have no way of knowing if this is true but I'm willing to bet his state of mind will be blamed on one or the other or both.

Talking of murder the parents charged with the murder of their six children in Derby are being kept away from the funeral. Naturally they are objecting, saying they want to say goodbye properly. The police have refused them permission for their own safety. Now normally I'd argue that as long as they are handcuffed to a police officer what harm can it do, especially as they haven't actually been proved guilty yet. However if their presence is likely to cause a riot, and thinking about their court appearance it will, then it is better they are kept away so the little ones can be buried with dignity.

Well I've got things to do, lunch for a start. I'll let you know tomorrow whether I got the call of not.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Tinky Winky Goes To the Olympics

I got it wrong, it is Peter's car which is due it's MOT today, mine is due next week so I've booked it in for Saturday.

Had a call from the sister at the warfarin clinic. She wanted to know why I had left the clinic without providing 'evidence' of my stay in hospital. Who on earth does this woman think she is? Why do I need 'evidence', this is a clinic not a court, and why should I lie anyway? Unwilling to get into another argument with the woman I explained, yet again, where I was, what I'd had done and why I'd had it done. I almost choked when she said, 'lung transplant? Why do you need a lung transplant you've only got high blood pressure.' Instead of slamming the phone down or hurling abuse about her competence I took a deep breath and told this 'highly trained health professional' what PH was. When I finished her reaction was that she'd 'never heard of it' and her attitude was if she's never heard of it, it can't exist. There are some people who just will not accept they are ignorant or wrong and I'd just stumbled across a prime example. Deciding that nothing I was going to say was going to make the slightest bit of difference to this woman I referred her to Dr Wort at the Royal Brompton, passing her is PA's number. I doubt she will bother to contact him but if she does I expect (hope) I'll be treated a little better in future but I'm not holding my breath. On the plus side my INR was spot on so I won't have to see her again for another ten weeks.

Was anyone else as gob smacked at the revealing of the model of our Olympic open ceremony as I was? My first thought was that it looked liked the Teletubbies house, and I should know I've sat through hours of them. My second though was 'oh no this is going to be embarrassing.' The designer, Danny Boyle, explained that we couldn't really top Beijing so we were going for something more 'homely', 'low key' and 'quintessentially British'. Well it's British all right, cheap, badly thought out and thrown together in a hurry. I mean what were they thinking? They've got sheep, clouds with real rain, as though we actually need any fake rain, a cricket team and someone ploughing a field. An opening ceremony to be remembered? Probably but for all the wrong reasons.

Tomorrow is the earliest date I can hear whether I'm on the transplant list or not. I know that they have their weekly meetings on a Thursday morning, I also know all my test results were emailed over to my transplant consultant the Friday after I had the tests so in theory there is nothing else that can delay the results, apart from the consultant being ill or on holiday. Last time I was waiting they phoned me around two on Thursday afternoon straight after the meeting. Up to now I've managed to put this to the back of my mind and have honestly not thought about it at all. However today I'm a nervous wreck and keep swinging between being positive that they will say yes and and being equally positive that I'll be turned down. The trouble is that I don't know what their criteria for a 'yes' is. I know they had concerns about my heart but the test results were very good so hopefully any concerns have been negated but I just don't know what they are thinking and I'm finding that very hard to cope with. I have a feeling I may not have a good night tonight.

The weather today is dry but I am still not able to do anything in the garden. The lawn is like a sponge and you squelch rather than walk. There are puddles in the flower beds and the self contained water feature is actually over flowing now. There is so much I want to get out and do but even when it isn't raining it is too wet.

The one compensation is that Queen's is on but that keeps getting rained off too, so watching Andy Murray is even more frustrating than usually.

Peter's car failed the MOT, he is not a happy man but his cold has improved so he is not as unhappy as he could be.

I've pulled on my slipper socks, wrapped myself in a thick jumper and armed with a box of Belgium chocolates and a good book will try not to think about tomorrow while praying Murray gets through to the second round.

Flaming June my foot!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Paddington Bear and the Monster Nurse From Hell

Well my desire for a stress free holiday lasted into the third day. Today it all went horribly wrong.

It was my first warfarin clinic since my RHC and as far as I was concerned I'd done all the right things, notified them when I was going into hospital and again when I came out. I told them how long I'd stopped the warfarin for and for how long I'd had heparin injections instead, I even told them my INR reading on leaving hospital. Today as I handed over my book at reception I was fixed with a glare and asked why I hadn't notified them that I'd been in hospital. I explained that I had over the phone and was taken aback when told I should have notified them in person or by letter with a letter of admission as proof. They then demanded my discharge letter as they wanted to know exactly what I'd had done. I told them I didn't have it as it was with my GP and if they wanted it they'd have to contact him. I do have my own copy but I'm not handing that over besides I didn't see what business it is of their's really especially as my INR was carefully monitored while I was in the Brompton.

To my delight my old ladies were in and there was a seat right in the middle of them. In between moaning about the weather the main topic of conversation was the Jubilee.
Grace: I don't know why the Queen didn't sit on those chairs on the boat, I wouldn't have stood all that way.
Doris:Yes but you are not the Queen.
Ethel: Didn't it rain.
Grace: When, on the jubilee or yesterday.
Ethel: Well both really.
Grace: It wasn't as bad as the rain in 2001
Doris: But that was in Devon
Grace I know that, I'm just saying
Ethel: The snow in 63 was bad too

And on and on they went, for a time I almost felt like I was in an episode of the Vicar of Dibley. Eventually their numbers whittled down as they were called one by one into the room for their tests until I was left with just one. To my surprise she suddenly lent over and whispered to me 'I've been a bit naughty so I've got to wait for the sister, I've been here since half past nine. I wish she'd get a move on.' She introduced herself as Nancy and told me that she'd had a bit of a tipple over the jubilee weekend and had basically carried on celebrating until this weekend sending her INR levels haywire. I've only seen the sister a couple of times, for being naughty in exactly the same way. That was in the days before having a glass of wine didn't render me unconscious because of my other meds.

We continued chatting then Nancy told me a funny and poignant story about a friend of hers who recently died of cancer. Nancy and her husband were bowls fanatics and belonged to a local club. When Nancy's husband died, Bob, who was friends with the couple, became her bowling partner. Ten years later and during a game Bob complained of pains in his chest and was taken to hospital. It was found that he had cancer and it was too advanced for anything but palliative treatment and Bob was sent home. A couple of months later Bob was readmitted. The cancer was around his aorta and was now pressing on his throat making breathing and swallowing difficult. Eventually Bob was on liquids only and then mostly through a tube. Nancy visited him regularly and secretly fed him gin and tonic at Bob's request. One day close to the end she was giving Bob his secret tipple when the doctor arrived but instead of telling her off told her that a little of what Bob fancied was fine and asked the nurse to supple some ice. Bob died a few days later. What a lovely story, I felt sad but happy at the same time and realised that I was speaking to a kindred spirit because that is exactly what I would have done if my best friend was dying.

Talking to Nancy the time passed quite quickly and it was coming up to eleven when the sister rocketed out of her room and called Nancy's name. I was in the process of helping Nancy up when the sister shouted, 'come on, come on, I haven't got all day, I've got things to do.' Well that was enough for me and it was a case of light blue touch paper and stand well back. I turned and shouted back 'Do you really think we haven't got things to do?' I waved my arm to indicate the other patients waiting. 'Nancy has been sitting here for an hour and a half waiting to see you, how dare you tell her to hurry up!' The sister's face was a picture but fair play she did apologise to Nancy. As Nancy went past me she gave my arm a squeeze. I think I've made a friend.

After Nancy left I sat back down waiting for my turn. Idly I scanned the room looking for people who were ahead of me in the queue for reception so I could work out how much longer I might have to wait. As my eyes wandered over the rows of seating they suddenly stopped and swung back to the reception desk and then it registered. Coming very, very slowly around the desk was a hat, not just any old hat but exactly the same hat in colour, shape and condition as that worn by Paddington Bear. I sat up and craned my neck to see what might be underneath the hat. Eventually a little old lady with a walking frame emerged and to my delight she was wearing Paddington's coat too. I was so tempted to take a picture but decided that I'd already upset the staff enough for one day so resisted. As she came closer I notice the coat was ankle length so it was even the right size. I just couldn't take my eyes off her and it came as a bit of a relief when I was called in because I was so, so close to taking that picture.

Back home Peter has a cold. He came in from work with it yesterday and it is a real stinker. Now we are playing the 'keep as far away from Hazel as possible' game. I may have started my holiday off feeling well, it doesn't look like I'm going to finish it that way though. It is bad enough trying to avoid bugs at work but when you live with a big factory you've got no chance. If I'm not also streaming by Friday I'll be very surprised indeed.

I took Andrew with me to do the grocery shop and to my shame ended up with two pot noodles, chip shop curry flavour, in the trolley. Is it just me or are all teenagers programmed to eat total rubbish?

Tomorrow I have the joy of putting my car through it's MOT, wish me luck.

Monday, 11 June 2012


We are in the middle of a monsoon, there can be no other explanation for what I woke up to this morning. Yesterday I managed to get all my washing out and dried and happily mooched around the house in sandals. Today I've got thick socks on, we've already had the heating on and our patio looks like a paddling pool. According to my weather station we've had an inch of rain in the last twenty four hours and as it wasn't raining when we went to bed at ten thirty last night all that has fallen in the last twelve.

The Daily Mail has christened the murder I spoke of yesterday the 'Home Alone Murder', well it was inevitable I suppose. A few more details have emerged and the boy they arrested is now said to have just turned eighteen in the last month. If that is the case and he goes to the same school as Andrew then there is every chance Andrew knows him. How scary is that?

There was chaos around the school this morning. If there is a problem at the school parents are alerted by text and we received the first around seven thirty. This alert was to say several buses were not running from certain areas and could parents deliver students to school themselves. The second, half an hour later, that buses from other areas were running but would be late. Usually there is a brief explanation but none was forthcoming today so I can only conclude that it is one out three possible reasons. The school in inundated with media bods, the weather has drowned out the bus company or the bus company assumed that today was a teacher training day and they were not needed. My money is on the weather, as if anything goes wrong it is always the weather that is at fault.

Talking of weather my family in Aberystwyth are high and dry, quite literally living on a hill, and the only concession to the flooding is the lack of bus services. In Edinburgh my brother and his family have managed to avoid the legionnaire's outbreak so far and are taking every precaution to lake sure they continue to do so.

Back home I've gritted my teeth and cleaned my oven. I absolutely hate cleaning the oven but it had to be done and to be honest it wasn't that bad. I put the shelves through the dishwasher and liberally sprayed the over with Mr Muscle and shut the door and left it for a couple of hours. The hardest part is wiping it all off. I have to be careful of the fumes so I opened the kitchen windows and worked as quickly as I could. It is now bright and sparkly and I am going to hate having to use it for dinner as I'd like to keep it that way.

Got my usual call from Laurence last night, he is fine and is coming around on Saturday for a tea of homemade burgers (I don't have to use the oven) and a gossip.

Watched the Grand Prix this morning, as it was on too late for me yesterday, and I was delighted with Hamilton's win. Really wish Button had managed at least a top ten place but his time will come, we are not even halfway through the season yet.

This afternoon I'm on my own for a short while as Peter is in work and Andrew has his exam. I intend to use the time well and veg out on the sofa while catching up on Neighbours.

The rain is continuing to fall and parts of the county are experiencing severe flooding. Peter has just text me to say he's had trouble getting to work and the school have just text to say that there will be delays on some bus routes due to flooding and buses having to re-route. Not for the first time I'm pleased we are also on a hill. Most of the time I hate being on a hill simply because it means I'm trapped in the house unless I have access to a mobility scooter or a car. However having seen my neighbours at the bottom of the road being pumped out it can be a blessing.

As I write I am keeping a worried eye on the level of water on our patio. It has risen significantly since this morning and the rain is still coming down in buckets.To be fair it has never reached the top of the step from the house onto the patio but that doesn't mean it won't. There is a first time for everything. To add to my troubles the electricity seems to be on it's way out as the lights keep flickering up and down, so I'd better get this blog posted while I can.

Stay safe and dry everyone.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

In The News

Twelve days off, oh yes! I made it to my holiday without having them canceled because of sickness. Unfortunately the weather is going to be mixed but I'm determined to enjoy myself, so it will be out with the camera on dry days and watching DVD's on wet ones. Nothing is planned, we are just going to play it by ear.

My home town was all over the news yesterday with several caravan parks around the area under water. Aberystwyth is a popular seaside town and the majority of summer visitors rent or bring their own caravans as hotel space is limited. Being Wales holiday makers can expect a few damp days during their holidays but this was taking it to extremes. I'm just glad that no one was hurt.

The village is in somber mood today as news filters through that one of the pupils at our high school was killed at a party. The girl was only fifteen and popular at school, which is hopefully preparing for a lot of upset pupil's turning up tomorrow. With GCSE's in full swing it couldn't have come at a worst time, not that there is any good time for murder but you know what I mean, they have all the exam stress to cope with and now this on top. Andrew knows her only in passing as he is two years above her but a lot of his friends have sisters or brothers in the same year and apparently Facebook is awash with outpourings of shock and grief. The papers have a photo of her which shows a slightly out of focus but pretty girl smiling at the camera, probably taken from Facebook. The media are saying that the police are questioning a nineteen year old , if true and he is the killer then at least we don't have the worry of a murderer roaming the area, something to be grateful for I guess.

You hear of dreadful murders all over the country but it really brings it home how awful it is when it affects your community. I sincerely hope the school keeps the media well away from the students tomorrow as they really don't need anymore distractions or upset. Andrew has his Physics A level exam tomorrow and is hoping things will be as normal as possible. The chatter on Facebook is that the killer was either a boyfriend or someone she knew quite well, not really surprising as a high percentage of murders are carried out by someone the victim is either related to or knows well. I guess it will all come out eventually and we'll know exactly what went on and who the killer is. Personally I feel sorry for both the victim and the killer as it is not one but two young lives ruined.

Work this week has been a bit, well odd. The work has been steady rather than frantic but despite not being rushed off my feet by the end of the third day I was dead tired and beginning to get cranky. An early night and a late start on day four helped enormously and in the end I didn't have to request an early exit as I'd feared. I can only put it down to having the RHC. I didn't sleep much in the days running up to it and with the stress of being canceled and then re-booked and the fear of the whole thing must have just knocked me for six. Unusually since having the RHC I have slept like the dead every night and if I could would probably sleep most of the day as well.

As I expected I didn't hear from Harefield this week but admit that I am a bit disappointed. I knew it was going to be very unlikely that I'd hear so soon due to the extended bank holiday but I did hold out a little bit of hope. So I'm expecting to hear sometime this week instead. It is annoying being in limbo for so long but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.

In the news Prince Philip is ninety one today and thankfully out of hospital. I do hope he enjoys his birthday and is allowed to rest along with the Queen. After last weekend they both need it.

Euro 2012 has started and the TV on all channels are awash with football or football related programmes. Last night all I wanted to do after a heavy four days was to sit down with my feet up and watch something good. Having flicked through the channels we decided on a film night and watched Star Trek instead. I don't mind anyone watching a bit of sport, I like rugby, tennis and formula one for instance but, with the possible exception of the Wimbledon fortnight, no other sport can wipe out a TV schedule like football can. I know it is our national sport but the whole nation doesn't love it. There are plenty who wouldn't shed a tear if it were banned and they also pay their TV licenses and so should be given a choice, and I don't mean slapping a black and white movie on BBC 2 either.

One final point regarding the football. There has been much angst about the racism encountered by various players of African and Asian decent and a lot of football bosses, coaches and pundits have been discussing how to take racism out of football. I'd take them all more seriously if they hadn't included thug John Terry, who is to stand trial for racism shortly, in the England squad. Ever heard of leading by example boys? 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Don't Rain On My Parade

Today the Diamond celebrations finally draw to a close and I suspect among those giving thanks will be the Queen herself.

Going to a party is never much fun if you have to go on your own but this is the unfortunate predicament the Queen found herself in yesterday. Hours before the concert outside Buckingham Palace Prince Philip fell ill and had to be rushed to hospital. Now I know some will be thinking that it is 'just' a bladder infection but in someone his age bladder infections can be fatal. These things can come from a number of causes, dehydration being one of them. Today we learn that both Philip and the Queen regularly restrict their liquid intake before a big occasion so they don't have to pop to the loo in the middle of things. Combine that with standing in the freezing cold for four hours and you have a recipe for disaster no matter what your age. My only surprise is that the Queen herself didn't succumb. I've said it before and I'll say it again, despite the occasion their age and the British weather should have been taken into account.

I didn't watch all of the concert, tuning in on and off between other programmes but I did notice how glum the Queen looked and felt really sorry for her. The acts themselves were, on the whole, not at their best. The sound system seems to have had a fit and there was a distinct lack of bass that made everyone sound a bit like slowed down Smirffs. The older contingent, with a couple of notable exceptions, sounded as though they'd either got the wrong teeth in, were very drunk or were recovering from a stroke as they slurred and mumbled through that were just recognisable as their greatest hits. The younger acts just seemed to scream, as screaming has long since replaced actual singing. Madness made me smile and I wished they'd had a bigger slot. Maybe in the circumstances 'Live And Let Die' wasn't exactly appropriate but at least it livened things up a bit. Tom Jones and Cliff Richard were the two exceptions as both managed to belt songs out in tune and with most of the power of their youth.

The highlight of the event for me were the comedy duo of Rolf Harris and Lenny Henry. Rolf was absolutely determined to finish the song he'd been asked to perform as a fill in while Lenny was equally determined to cut him short. In the end Rolf won the day, possibly because he had the crowd behind him, but more likely because Rolf is a national treasure whereas Lenny isn't and knew when he was beaten. The fireworks at the end were excellent and I really enjoyed the speech given by Prince Charles, it was the only occasion during the whole evening that I saw the Queen smile.

Today it is the thanksgiving in St Paul's and then a parade back to Buckingham Palace where my hope is the Queen will be allowed to put her feet up before going to visit her husband in hospital. The rain poured on Sunday, it drizzled at the concert last night, today I hope it stays dry for her though at the moment a bit of sunshine is too much to hope for.

My leg is now more or less back to normal, it still has two cuts but the bruising has faded to a dull yellow and the soreness has all but cleared up. I still get a twinge if one of the cats stands on it but apart from that I'm good. I will be going to work tomorrow as normal as I see no reason why I shouldn't although I am still unusually tired and had another heavy night's sleep. Still I'll give it a go, if I can't do my full eight hours I will just ask to go home, simples. I only have to get through the next four days as I'm on twelve days holiday from next week. It will be a change for me to be off work and well at the same time so I'm really looking forward to getting out and doing some photography, providing the weather is kind. We were trying to plan a few days away but all this hospital business has thrown us off course so the best we can manage may be a trip down to Wales, we'll have to see. I still have plenty of leave left so maybe later in the years when everything has calmed down a bit. This afternoon is going to be another lazy one though I may attempt some muffins to replace the ones that got cremated.

Catch up soon.

Monday, 4 June 2012



Well I hate to say I told you so but I told you so, the big day is here and it is cold and wet.

I woke up around nine after the best night's sleep I've had in ages. You don't realise how much things affect you until it is over. I was exhausted and couldn't even read before going to sleep and didn't wake once in the night. My leg is much more comfortable today and is healing well so I don't think I'm going to have any delayed problems but I will be keeping off my feet as much as possible over the next couple of days as ordered just to be on the safe side.

The cats have been all over me since I got home and no wonder as Andrew confessed that they had forgotten to feed them twice during my absence. It seems it was a classic 'I thought you had' confusion but even so, poor puddies. The problem I have is that they both want to sit on my lap and as I have a sore groin I would rather they didn't. Naturally they don't understand and are more determined than ever. I woke up this morning with one on each side huddled up as tight as they could get, it's a wonder they didn't get squished.

This afternoon saw me once again in the land of nod as I dropped off in front of the TV. Maybe this stay in hospital has hit me harder than I thought. My get up and go has definitely got up and gone at the moment. We were going to go out and tackle Tesco's but Peter has vetoed this idea stating I'm obviously not recovered enough yet, he is probably right.


Woke up to no Internet connection and a monsoon. Fed up we decided to go and do our shopping in the hope that the rest of the bank holiday would be nice enough for us to spend sometime relaxing in the garden. After lunch we all settled down to watch the river pageant, well there was little else to do, and I must admit I rather enjoyed it. I did feel really sorry for the Queen though who at one point looked absolutely frozen. Whoever designed that barge should have taken the Great British weather into account and hidden a couple of patio heaters on deck. Philip on the other hand looked remarkably perky and didn't seem affected by the cold but then he did have a thick uniform on and no doubt was wearing thermals underneath it all. At eighty seven and ninety respectively the Queen and Prince Philip did well to complete the journey still upright. Others younger than them were being dragged off boats and treated for hypothermia all over the place.

The Internet flicker briefly back to life late afternoon but it wasn't to last so I lay on the bed and read for a while while Peter went out to the garage to fiddle with the car and Andrew got on with his revision.

The evening was taken up by the finals of The Apprentice. It was the interviews and this is where we find out just how much substance is behind all the showing off and as usual the answer was not a lot. Jade was first to go after a dreadful interview where her business plan was revealed as basically cold calling and selling on peoples details so someone else could cold call them. An unsavory business idea which was quickly rejected. Jade had also failed to present figures, and as we all know Lord Sugar loves to know how much he is going to make. She also lied on her CV claiming to have already bought several websites only to turn red faced when the interviewer told he owned one of them. It was obvious to anyone that Jade was onto a loser.

Nick faired little better because his business idea has already been done and was far too complicated and technical for Lord Sugar to understand. Lord Sugar said he didn't understand computers, which is odd as he built his business selling them. Nick's idea was a website where you could take a recipe from another website or magazine or TV show, type it into Nick's website and all the ingredients needed would be ordered for you. Sounds good but, as was pointed out to him, who would actually use it? I don't plan meals more than an hour or two ahead unless it is for a special occasion and then I stick to tried and trusted meals. I think the majority of working mum's probably do the same. It was never going to get off the ground and Nick was out of the door.

So it left Tom and Ricky. Tom had already proved his worth by running his own very successful wine business. At twenty three he was the youngest of the candidates but had the best business plan. Suspicion fell on him when it was revealed that his father was his partner and was in investments, which is exactly what Tom was putting forward in his business plan. The question was asked whether he'd written his business plan or daddy did. In the end it was decided that Tom's proposed wine investment business was too risky in the current climate and with reluctance he was also sent packing.

So the winner was Ricky Martin, who confessed to changing his name from Richard to make him easier to remember. Ricky's CV was hilarious with Ricky likening himself to the god Thor but not really knowing what Thor was the god of. Margaret's eyebrows did a a little two step and her eyes sparkled as she desperately tried not to laugh. Ricky's business was a specialist recruitment agency which again was deemed to be a bit of a risk in the current climate. However it had one redeeming feature, Lord Sugar had done something similar before so Ricky was in despite cheekily putting in his business plan that he'd 'teach an old dog new tricks.'

We had our own little drama last night to liven things up. Not really into The Apprentice, Peter decided to make us some toasties. He busied himself in the kitchen then went upstairs saying he'd be back down in a few moments. The first thing I noticed was a rather sweet sickly smell, I looked up and saw the hall looking a bit 'misty'. I shot into the kitchen and found it full of smoke. I shouted to Andrew to open the doors and windows to stop the smoke alarms going off, while I turned off the sandwich maker and the microwave. I then noticed the smoke was coming from the microwave rather than the sandwich maker and opened the door to be engulfed in another wave of acrid smoke. I soon worked out what had happened. Peter had decided to use the microwave timer to ensure the toasties were perfectly cooked but instead of setting the timer he'd switched the microwave to high, effectively cremating the muffins left over from tea which we'd put in the microwave to stop the cats eating them. I carefully removed the offending items, which were still smoking, and put them outside the back door to cool. As I returned to the kitchen Peter appeared enquiring why all the doors and windows were open when it was freezing cold and pouring down outside. We all had a good laugh while clearing up and then ate out toasties, which were delicious.

And so to bed, again with windows open because of the smell, to listen to the rain hammering down and drift off to sleep.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Homeward Bound

It is all over and I am back home with a throbbing leg that is sporting a bruise the size of Brazil. A couple of days of rest should sort that out thank goodness.

Saw the Doctor's this afternoon and was told more or less what I was told yesterday. I was delighted to be informed that the results have already been e-mailed to my consultant at Harefield so there won't be anymore hanging around than necessary. If I'm lucky I might even hear on Friday, though the extended bank holiday might get in the way there so I'm not expecting anything until the Friday after. At least I know I've done everything I can to give myself the best chance.

The drive home was painfully slow as they are already closing roads in London ready for the jubilee celebrations, coupled with everyone trying to get away early for the bank holiday weekend and you can guess the result.

I'm now going to follow doctor's orders and plonk myself in front of the TV and catch up on everything I missed while I was in, especially The Apprentice as despite my best efforts I didn't get to watch anything uninterrupted. I will also be enjoying muffins cooked by Andrew to celebrate my home coming.