Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter - A Time For Rebirth

Well I did finally get to sit down and read all the stuff I'd been sent about going back to teaching.

Some of it I knew already, some I didn't and I must admit the more I read, the more my heart sank. I'm looking at at least two years of retraining to get my subject knowledge back up to scratch and that is before I even contemplate looking for a job, more if I decide to change subject. I could do supply work but I know from experience what a nightmare that is. I was just about to have a little cry when suddenly I had an epiphany, what on earth was I thinking?

My classroom

Should I be lucky enough to be given the ultimate gift one human being can give to another am I really going to waste it by working my socks off? Do I really want to spend my days trying to teach the unteachable? Do I want to spend my evenings sitting at the dining table until nine or ten o'clock marking and planning. Do I want to deal with all the paperwork that goes with it? Do I want to write reports but be unable to say what I really think? Do I? Really?

I've worked almost constantly since I was eighteen and if I wasn't working I was studying. Even when on a career break with the boys I did some pub work a couple of days a week and studied for my degree. And while I was doing all that, like most people, I was putting things off. Anything I wanted o do could wait 'until I retire'. Well what if I don't make it to retirement, what happens then? All those wasted opportunities and I'm still putting things off. Why? Why not just get out there and get on with it?

I was proud of my wall displays

There is so much I still haven't done. I want to spend a couple of months exploring Australia and New Zealand. I want to see the Pyramids in Egypt. I want to try my hand at skiing. I want to revisit Rome, spend the day wandering around the ancient city and finish the day sitting outside sipping wine and eating spagetthi in the warmth of the evening. OK so I won't be able to leave the country for the first year but there is plenty of Britain I want to visit. I want to walk around Edinburgh, climb Snowdon, visit the Jurassic coast and walk the coastal path in Anglesey.

So much to do and so little time to do it in. They say you should only regret what you didn't do and whoever said it was right. Regretting things that have happened, things you cannot change is just a waste of time and energy. I don't want to leave this earth with a lot of regrets. Of course I know it is too late for me in my present condition but if I get the chance I'm going to knock off as many of those regrets as I can.

This just isn't me anymore.

We may have to downsize to do it but with both kids gone permanently in a couple of years time do we really still need a four bedroomed house? Yes it is a nice thing to have but not a necessity. That is something we'll have to discuss if and when the times comes.

So the teaching stuff is in the recycling and I'm planning the biggest holiday of my life. After all what is the point of being reborn if nothing changes? 

Saturday, 30 March 2013


Well it has been an interesting and productive morning so far.

After moaning about waking up at seven yesterday, today, when I wanted to be up early, I slept until half past eight. Typical. So after a quick shower and an even quicker breakfast I started on my cooking marathon. So far the ice cream mixture is done and is now cooling so it can go into the fridge for a couple of hours before the finale in the ice cream maker. I have also started on my cannelloni with ricotta, minced beef and tomatoes, which is today's lunch. Yum. This afternoon I have to finished the ice cream, make some meringue and some raspberry coulis to go with it, then it is on to the cake.

During all this frantic activity I was interrupted by a knock on the door. Opening it I found a rather eager young man with a fist full of leaflets and a clip board. He greeted me with an excited hello and called me madam, I hate that, while extending a large paw for a handshake. This I ignored. Ten minutes later he left feeling somewhat deflated to try my neighbour. What was he selling? Gym membership. Now bare in mind that I opened the door in my full regalia of pump and oxygen. Wouldn't that alone, to any right minded individual say, this woman needs a surgeon not a personal trainer? Not to this chap it didn't who promised me, assured me that six months at his gym and my lungs would be like new. Really? Eventually he got the message and left but not before he'd pressed a leaflet and a registration form into my hand, 'just in case I changed my mind'. I give him full marks for his persistence and optimism, nil for observation and understanding. What a waste of his time and mine. He could have got the door slammed in his face by three or four people in the time he spent with this hopeless case.

Yesterday youngest son Andrew arrived home from university, unfortunately so did all his washing. To be fair he has been working twelve hour shifts on placement so he probably didn't have the time or the inclination but even so. Of course like any doting mum I am so pleased to have him home for a while I can put up with anything. How can you say no to this?

Aww bless no wonder his patients ask if he's old enough to treat them.

Well it is back to the kitchen to check on the ice cream and to put the cannelloni together and bung it in the oven. then I'm going to put my feet up for half an hour before I start all over again. Still tomorrow I will be able to relax and get away with doing very little as it is all prepared. And of course I have an extra day to relax in. If I'm lucky I might even find time to read the info I have on teaching.

In case I don't get to blog tomorrow. Happy Easter everyone.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Time On My Hands

That was weird.

As you know from my last blog, on Wednesday I was suffering from a strange, painful stiffening of the joints. I went to bed that night pumped full of Nurofen and hoping for the best. I awoke on Thursday completely fine. A little stiffness in my left wrist but apart from that nothing. How odd, I have no idea what it was but am heartily relieved that it has gone. I just hope it doesn't come back.

I still haven't worked out the phone function in the Mito but I have found my trip computer, which has please Peter enormously as he's into miles per gallon and all that stuff. I must admit I am curious about the fuel consumption. My 156 gave me 28 miles to the gallon on a good day so I would like to know if the Mito is as economical as it sounds.

As I am writing this I'm waiting for a summons from Andrew to go and pick up his stuff from university. I have tried to get him to give us plenty of warning this time but it has fallen on deaf ears so I'll probably get a text sometime this afternoon with the instruction 'pick me up now'. Kids!

I was delighted to notice the first signs of spring on my way home from work yesterday. A bunch of daffodils on the side of the road. My Forsythia seems to have burst into life too and is a riot of gold in an otherwise grey garden. The snow has melted, which has please the cats, and other plants are beginning to show signs of life too. And we are finally seeing some sun, which the cats are very pleased about and taking full advantage of, here is Smirnoff sun bathing on the stairs.

As I have an extra day off this weekend and not much to do with it, I'm going on a cooking spree.

I'm going to make ice cream, cakes, soups and bakes, all of which can go into the freezer to be thawed out and eaten when I'm too tired to cook. Although my shorter working days leave me far less tired, this does not mean there are not times when I get home too tired to do anything. This is especially true of the last two working days in a week. By day four I'm still on my knees getting home so I need something Peter can slam in the oven or microwave that is not processed crap.

To be fair I like cooking, it is rapidly replacing gardening as my preferred method of relaxing. I'm getting quite good at it too and even have enough confidence to experiment and change recipes here and there. I'm also trying new dishes and have bought myself a Moroccan cook book which I'm slowly working my way through.

Although I still itch to get my hands dirty I know I am extremely limited in what I can do now. Unless there is someone at home who can do all the lifting and heavy stuff, and these days there often isn't, I'm stuck. Standing, kneeling, digging, bending, pulling and tugging are all more or less beyond me now and it is so frustrating. However frustration doesn't do me any good so I'm having to accept that my herb garden is overgrown and full of weeds, my borders will be devoid of bedding plants, my pots will not contain any tomatoes, peppers of sweet peas and the lawn will not get cut every week during the summer. It's heart breaking but I'm consoling myself with the thought that I'll have a huge amount of fun sorting it out post transplant. In the mean time I'm gaining a new skill, possibly one I should have put more effort into years ago, so it is not all bad I suppose.

In the post yesterday I got the information I'd been waiting for from the Teaching Council regarding what I'd need to do to get back into teaching. There are refresher courses if I feel I need them, though as teaching methods haven't changed all that much and I'm still a qualified teacher, even though I'm no longer practicing, I could step back into a classroom tomorrow if I wanted. However my subject, I taught ICT, has moved on so much that I will probably need to complete another HNC/HND in order to learn the new techniques or I could got for a completely different subject altogether.

This is something I'm going to have to read, digest, ask a few more questions and think hard and long about. The planning for my life post transplant has begun, well I am an optimist.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

One Of Those Days.

I'm in a considerable amount of pain as I write this. I don't know what I've done but I appear to be seizing up.

First to go was my right hip, I woke up this morning feeling liked I'd been kicked by a horse and I've spent the whole day limping around like Long John Silver. Then this afternoon my left wrist started to go, quickly followed by my left elbow and left leg. I've no idea what is going on but I am planning a long soak this evening to see if that sorts it out.

Apart from that everything has been ticking along quite nicely. My car is a dream to drive and is very, very light on the steering. So light in fact that on a couple of occasions I've almost come to grief hauling the wheel over as I used to do with my old car. I've finally figured out the cruise control and have got used to it switching itself off at every traffic light. Yesterday I figured out how to play my music on shuttle but I've still to discover the secret to using the phone. Answering calls is no problem but making them, not a clue at the moment.

I was very saddened to hear that a close friend's father passed away on Monday. Thankfully it was quick and peaceful but what a horrible shock. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family matey.

In other news I'll be collecting Andrew's stuff from uni on Friday as he is home for a few weeks and as luck would have it I've managed to get Monday off. So I have four whole days to enjoy over Easter, so looking forward to it even though Laurence will be unable to join us as he's working.

Right my wrist and fingers are killing me so I'm going to stop for now. Next blog Friday, I hope.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

When Will It End?

Woke up late this morning after a very heavy sleep to find that we'd had yet more snow overnight and it was still coming down. Now I love the look of snow, I can even put up with being snowed in when I've got nowhere to go but I start to get twitchy when I do have to go out. Unless a miracle happens in the next 24 hours I will not be driving my new car anywhere. At best I'll be in my 156, as I think in these conditions familiarity is the safest bet.

To add to my feeling of despondency my best friend cancelled our get together this morning. I fully understand, if I were going to visit her I'd do the same. Much as I love her, driving in these conditions just isn't worth the risk. Still it was a disappointment.

There are others in the house who are also hating the cold weather. As you can see from Smirnoff's expression he's not best pleased with the white stuff. Both cats are bored stiff and have started to take their irritation out on each other and we are having frequent paw batting. As Peter says, there is no reason for Smirnoff to hate the snow so much. He is a Russian Blue and his extremely dense fur is designed to cope with much worse conditions than this. I guess he's become used to a more comfortable climate though, haven't we all.

Tarmac on the other hand is less well equipped and any venture outside at the moment is quick and to the point. He prefers to spend his days like this. Yes he loves his duvet days but again, don't we all.

My cold is at a stand stiil in that it hasn't got any worse but it hasn't got any better either. I've held off with the antibiotics deciding I'm not really 'chesty' and probably don't need any just yet. However I have started taking Complan again to give myself a vitamin boost and compensate for the poorer appetite. I've already started to lose weight again and can't afford any more.

So the big question at the moment is will I actually make it into work tomorrow? I'm up against a double whammy of cold and snow but at the moment I just don't feel poorly enough not to. There are several reasons why I would prefer to go in tomorrow.
1. I've just about got to grips with the new system and don't want to forget it all again.
2. I've managed three months with only one day of sick leave, a record for me, and I would like to make it four.
3. I don't want to be ill because the first thing that happens is I stop eating. I can't let that happen.

On the other hand I promised myself that I'd be kinder to my body and listen to it more. I guess I'll just have to see how I feel at six tomorrow morning. No point in stressing about it now.

So I have a whole day with nothing to do. I did all the housework yesterday in anticipation of today's visit so I'm at a bit of a loose end. There is the Malaysian Grand Prix to watch this afternoon as I no longer have to record it so that'll be two hours taken up but what else? I suppose I'll just have to chill out and rest.

Andrew made it into his placement this morning as it seems the snow isn't as bad where he is today. He'll probably get called out to a lot of road accidents because of the weather so that will make him a happy boy. He is itching for something more than someone with a cold. As he said to me last week, 'all I want is a bit of blood'. Strange boy.

Well time for a sit down and to plan what to cook for Easter. I still cannot get my head around the fact it is next week, I suppose the weather doesn't help. Next blog wednesday.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Woke up to a white world this morning and a distinct sinking feeling that my first journey to work in a new car is going to be in snow and ice. However I'm not in until Monday so hopefully it will have sorted itself out by then and it will be raining again. I've given up hoping for warm sunny days and now just hope it is raining as at least rain isn't snow.

I had a really bad night's sleep and am feeling distinctly under the weather. My chest is tight and I'm finding any exertion makes me puff like a train. Add to that the runny, blocked nose and sore throat and you get the picture. So, instead of rushing out to play with my new toy, I'm confined to the settee again while I guiltily watch Peter doing all the housework. However long experience tells me that this is the best, indeed the only, way to tackle any cold/chest infection and the sooner I give in and rest, the sooner it goes, so I have no choice. If I'm good today, I might well feel much better tomorrow.

Of course the snow doesn't help, every time the temperature drops my breathing worsens, even when I'm well, so you can imagine what the addition of a cold does. It's fair to say that today I'm feeling pretty miserable.

Another person who is not enjoying the weather is Andrew. He was unable to get into London on his bike today so has had to miss a day of placement. To be fair he wasn't actually supposed to be working as his trainer had the day off but someone said they would step in. I have to say Andrew has had an appalling run of luck with his placements, it has snowed on every single one so far. The weather can't be helped though, and I'm pretty sure they would rather he stay at home than become one of their clients. Also it is the first day he's actually missed so he's done pretty well up to now.

Rather than sit on the settee all day I'm going to spend some time transferring  music onto a usb stick so I can plug it into the car and listen to my favourite tunes without having to fiddle around with CD's or ipods. I must admit I love making up play lists and so far I've manage to get the whole of my Beatles collection downloaded along with Aerosmith, Queen and the Rolling Stones. Next up Ozzy and Meatloaf.

At least I have something to look forward too tomorrow, when my best friend is paying a visit, weather allowing. I'm hoping to be well enough to bake a cake but we will see.

In the news the new Archbishop of Canterbury was installed in, what can only be described as, an unusual and colourful way. To be fair he had to do something to stand out from the election of the new Pope but I though it was going just a little far. Still he's in and the religious world can settle down and fade into the background again, until the next crisis that is.

Also in the news the story that gripped my attention this week was  that of the Cypriot government intending to take 10% out of every bank account it could find. Can you imagine that happening here? There would be carnage. The Cypriots are not best pleased either and are protesting left, right and center and who can blame them. Absolutely shocking.

Well it is that time of day again. A cup of tea, a bit more downloading and then lunch. A quick pasta is all I'm going to manage but I'm adding a little chilli, just to warm things up because it looks like we need it.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Introducing My Lovely Little Italian.

Well here it is in all it's glory, my new little red Mito.

I have to say it is lovely to drive and when you pop it into sports mode it goes like stink, even though it is a 1.4 engine. There are a couple of niggles, I have yet to work out how to use the cruise control and I panicked when the engine shut itself off at some traffic lights. However this is a fuel saving device and the engine restarts when you press the throttle, a bit weird but I'm sure I will get used to it in time. The feature I love the most is being able to connect your phone to your radio and so take calls without having to stop somewhere to do so. I haven't worked out how to make calls yet but again that will come. At least my reading material is sorted for the weekend, I've got loads of paperwork and a manual to get through.

So now we have three Alfa Romeo's sitting outside our house and it is a bit cramped, however next week Peter is making a start on doing up the 156 and hopefully it will be up for sale by the end of April, so if anyone knows someone who would like an Alfa Romeo, 156 2L twin spark in silver 05 reg, one careful lady owner, please drop me a line.

I was so excited that for once I let Peter put me in front of the camera and take a picture of me with my new toy. Unfortunately it was so cold and I was shivering so much I look like I desperately need to wee so we are going to try again over the weekend and this time I'm going to be wearing my thermals.

My cold is definitely getting worse and I've started to cough up gunk so I'm starting on the antibiotics this afternoon in the hope that come Monday they will have kicked in and I won't have to take any time off. Apart from one day in February I haven't had any sick leave since before Christmas and I would rather not have to take any now. Usually if I can hit any infection with antibiotics the minute it shows I can get away with feeling a little under the weather for a couple of days, I'm hoping this will be the case this time around.

I could not believe I was waking up to snow again this morning, it is nearly April for heavens sake.  This time last year we were having our summer and I was sitting in the garden in a tee shirt complaining I was too hot. I haven't even seen any cherry blossom yet and my forsythia remains stubbornly brown. It has plenty of buds but they are just refusing to open. Even the daffs haven't flowered yet. Because it is so much like winter the fact that Easter is next week had completely passed me by, until yesterday. Talk about going into panic mode. To be honest since the kids have grown up we don't tend to make too big a deal about it but I still like to do a special lunch on Sunday if I can. I don't even know if both of the kids can make it this year. I'm pretty sure Andrew will be free but I have a nasty feeling Laurence might be working. If so I will put if off a week and at least then I'll have more planning time.

Well it has been a really busy day so I'm off for a sit down with a Cadbury's Creme Egg.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Storm In A Tea Cup

The new system is in at work and after a very stressful couple of days I think I'm beginning to get the hang of it. It still throws me the occasional curved ball and at least once I didn't know whether to laugh or cry I was that close to hysteria. However something very strange happened this afternoon. As I was sitting at my desk the noise around me faded and I became warm and drowsy and then this little voice came out of nowhere saying 'why on earth are you stressing about this?' 'Why does it matter?' Remember nothing matters now except you and staying as well as you can.'

Now I may have dropped off for a moment, that is quite possible as I'm totally exhausted and ended up going to bed at half past eight last night, but, whatever the cause, my attitude change immediately and I became much more relaxed about everything. So what if I make mistakes, I've only been doing it for two days and I will keep making mistakes as I continue to learn. At the end of the day it's just work and it seems I'm finally accepting the change in my life priorities.

Another reason for  being a little excitable this week is that I'm picking up my new car on Friday.

I felt a little sad driving home today as I know tomorrow will be the last time I take my current car on that journey. From next week my new car will take over while Peter works on my current one to get it ready for sale. I know it has to go, it is too big, too expensive to run and now the kids are grown and left home we just don't need a 'family' car anymore but it is going to be a wrench, especially while I'm getting used to the Mito.

My cold is still hanging around and some days are better than others. Although I don't feel that bad there have been times when I've looked quite 'blue'. I'm sure my cold is also responsible for the exhaustion I'm feeling, it can't all be down to work, so I'm keeping a close eye on myself. In a normal week I might have taken a couple of days off but I just couldn't this week and I actually feel quite proud of myself that I've made it in each morning. Next week if I'm still feeling 'off' I'll be kinder to myself and take some time out.

It is a sobering thought that I've been on the list for three whole months tomorrow.

It is easier than I thought it would be. I no longer expect an early call and am beginning to settle in for a longer haul. I'm also sleeping better as I no longer have one ear out for the phone at night. Recent rogue calls have assured me that the ring tone is loud enough to get me out of the deepest of slumbers. And I no longer jump quite so much when we do get unexpected calls at unusual times. I'm sure I'll eventually become completely relaxed to the point of forgetting about it most of the time. The trouble is I don't want to get to that stage, sometimes I feel like throwing a toddler tantrum and stamping my feet while shouting 'I want it now!' However I know that wouldn't get me anywhere so what would be the point. At the end of the day it will happen when it is good and ready and I bet you any money when it does I'll stamp my feet and say I don't want it. After the op is what I'm looking forward too, not the op itself so I'm expecting second thoughts right up until the put me out.

Well time to collapse onto the settee and chill out for the evening. Hopefully my dreams will be full of Mito's tonight and not computer screens as they were last night. Next blog Friday. 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

We Are The Champions! Again!

Oh my goodness I am so happy this morning. Wales are back to back champions in the six nations and I don't think I've stopped smiling yet.

To be honest watching these matches are so detrimental to my health but I can't help getting excited, especially when a match is as good as that. It was fast and furious and you could hear the crunch of some of the tackles. I was bouncing up and down in my seat most of the time and when first try came I jumped up waving my arms screaming so loud I frightened Smirnoff who was asleep at the other end of the settee. By the end of the match I was so washed out I felt I'd been on the pitch with the team. An hour of oxygen and an enforced rest meant I soon recovered but nothing has come close to the enjoyment I felt yesterday afternoon in a very long time so it was well worth it.

It was a very exciting day all in all as in the morning I got the call from my car dealer to say I could pick up anytime I wanted next week. I'm working Monday to Thursday with no hope of getting any time off as the new system is coming in and there is a leave embargo. So I've opted for Friday morning, I could have gone after work but I'd be tired and I want to enjoy my new toy, not rush home and park it. So now everything is done I can reveal that the car I'm actually getting is an Alfa Romeo Mito Sportiva 1.4 TB MultiAir 135 bhp in Alfa Red and it is beautiful. Pictures will be posted next weekend.

My cold seems no worse but no better so the onslaught continues as I am determined not to let it get me. I'm hoping I'm going to be lucky this time and it is just a passing visit but you just cannot tell with these things can you.

Andrew is having trouble readjusting  back from nights to days. He spent most of yesterday morning walking around in a Zombie like state before finally giving in and going to bed. It looks like he's going to have to do a bit at a time but he has until Friday to do so there is no panic.

This afternoon I'm sitting down to watch another of my sporting loves, formula one racing. I don't tend to get so worked up about these events, especially at the start of the season when it's an open field so I should be able to remain cool and collected throughout. Of course being in Australia the race has already been run so I'm frantically avoiding all news channels at the moment in an effort not to find out who won before I even get to see it.

After a couple of hours of fun I'll tackle the ironing hill and start getting ready for work tomorrow. I've made a real effort this week and bought lots of sandwich stuff and little rice/pasta pots. In order to gain weight I need to eat loads but can only eat small portions so snack through out the day. To buy all these snacks would cost me a fortune from the work canteen so I've bought them all in the supermarket. All I've got to do now is not forget to take them in. My usual trick is to have everything waiting in the fridge in a carrier bag the night before. I then move the bag to the kitchen worktop while I have breakfast where I forget about it and dash out the door leaving it there. This is going to stop and I will now dump it by the front door during breakfast, where I'll have to pick it up to open the door. Foolproof or what?

Well time to get started on lunch, I fancy a nice Balti so will spend the next hour grinding spices and marinading chicken, what an exciting life I lead.

Next blog Wednesday.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Doing Something Unfunny For Money

Well I have to say it, that was the unfunniest two hours I've ever spent watching 'comedy'.

Sadly with Comic Relief I barely raised a smile let alone laugh at anything. In fact the funniest moment for me was seeing Lenny Henry hug Ed Miliband and only then because of the expression on Lenny's face. By the time Davina arrived I had to turn off. I can't stand her at the best of times but when I'm bored to tears it's even worse. In the end they managed to raise 75 million, which is an impressive sum, so somebody must have liked it.

Andrew is home and full of stories about his four nights on the Ambulance. It seems they get more false call outs at night than they do during the day, so he spent most of the week scraping drunks off the pavement or putting old ladies back into bed. He's not impressed and is hoping for more excitement when he starts days later this week.

I've woken up today with a slight cough and a runny nose. I knew it, I just knew it! Now the race is on to stop it developing into anything more. So it's honey and lemon and lots of steaming. I figure the high temperature of the steam might just kill off the bugs before they become settled. So far I feel fine, my chest is nice and clear and there is no effect on my breathing. Let's hope it stays that way, the last thing I need this week is to be ill.

Tonight we are going to kick back and enjoy a film night. I might even treat myself to a rare glass of cider. With a bit of luck this will not render me unconscious on the settee and I will get to watch the end of the film.

However first to come is the sheer excitement of Wales versus England to decided the Six Nations Championship. As it stands Wales only needs to finish the match eight points ahead of England to take the title, not unachievable by any stretch of the imagination. I suspect it is going to be an epic match, hard fought and well played. My only hope is that both sides play fair and no one ends up in the sin bin. For this epic afternoon I have assembled crisps, cakes, hot chocolate and a variety of fresh fruit, well a girl's got to keep her strength up. I will try very hard not to get too excited but I suspect I will be on oxygen by the end of it.

Today I posed a question for my fellow PH sufferers, 'if you woke up tomorrow completely cured what would be the first thing you'd do?' Almost to a man the answer came back 'go for a walk.' I didn't know what answers I actually expected, maybe a few marathons or rowing the channels to be thrown in here and there, so for everyone to chose such a mundane,  everyday activity shows just how badly this illness takes away the simplicity of life. As one lady put it, ' I think that has been the greatest gift my illnesses have given me, knowing what is truly important and not worrying about the other stuff.' I can't add to that, that one sentence says it all.

In the news hope has been given to those waiting for liver transplants.

A new machine has been developed that keeps the liver alive outside the body by feeding it blood and oxygen. The device is portable and can keep the liver in good condition for twenty fours hours or more. So far two patients have received organs kept alive by this machine and both are doing well. In the past livers were kept on ice which could cause damage to the delicate tissue causing some operations to fail. The new machine also means that damaged livers can be repaired before transplant freeing up organs that would normally go to waste. Obviously this is good news for the 8000 Britons waiting for a new liver. It also means that we may soon see a reduction in the 100 deaths a day of people waiting for a match.

I always think that this sort of news is a bit of a two edged sword. Yes it is marvellous news that more transplants will be carried out because of this new device. However I wonder whether it will make potential donors think that the announcement means that there is no longer going to be a shortage of organs as a result. What they fail to realise is that the device cannot do it's job if there are no donated organs in the first place.

If you gave money to save a life last night then please, do something to save a life today that won't cost you anything and sign up to the donor register.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Beware The Ides Of March

I hate that Warfarin clinic with a passion beyond belief.

Not only was I kept waiting for over an hour but I had an argument with the nurse taking my blood. For all the time I've been going there I've always had the tiny brown needles because I am needle phobic and anything bigger sends me running from the cubicle. Today a nurse I have been seeing for years tried to take my blood with a much bigger green needle. I freaked! While I was freaking she tried to tell me that she'd always used the green needle on me, no she hasn't, never, no way. Then she said 'well the green needles are so much more convenient for us', maybe so but I'm the patient and I'm the one getting punctured by the thing. I had my blood taken by a brown needle and have vowed never to attend the clinic again. I will of course, when I've calmed down, but anyone trying it on with a green needle is going to get punched.

Back in the real world it was a quick trip to Tesco and then back home for lunch while I wait for a very important phone call. No not that one, well OK, that one as well but more immediately the date I can collect my new car. I got a call yesterday afternoon to say all the paperwork had gone through and that they would ring me back with a pick up date today. I wasn't that bothered when I started the process but as the time gets nearer I find myself getting more and more excited. I've never had a brand new car before, or are ever likely to have one again, so this is a big moment for me.

Along with the excitement is reassurance in the fact that everything, apart from petrol, will be taken care of for me. I never have to worry about the cost of repairs if it breaks down and I will know absolutely 100% that it will start in the middle of the night when I eventually get that call. Much as I love my current car I am aware that there are things wrong with it and it could let me down at the vital moment.

Today is Comic Relief Day and don't we know it.

I find it ironic that this year Comic Relief falls on the day that Julius Caesar met his end and for me, no matter how many people in funny costumes assail me as I try to go about my business, the fifteenth of March always seems rather gloomy. Today is no exception and, although a bit warmer, the dark clouds make everything seem depressingly dull. I will probably watch some of the programme tonight though, to be fair sometimes it can be quite good, but I will go and make tea when they start on the guilt trips. I will buy the Comic Relief Single, as I do every time one is released, and will consider that to be my contribution.

The World's Catholics have a new Pope and I was highly amused at the crowd's reaction outside the Vatican when the name was announced. The crowd had already decided it was going to be the man from Milan and were disappointed and confused when it turned out to be none of the front runners but an elderly gent from Argentina. First impression is that this pope looks like a kindly Grandfather and has a reputation for humility, however the media is already digging the dirt and the mud slinging has already begun. Such a shame.

I am expecting Andrew home later today, fresh from his four night shifts with the London Ambulance service. I haven't heard from him since the first night which means he's either been very busy, is absolutely shattered and can't be bothered to text or he hasn't remembered to charge his phone. However if I don't hear from him by tomorrow I will be hot footing it down to Hatfield to check on him.

Well in anticipation of his arrival I'm baking a walnut and banana loaf, one of his favourites. I suspect that his food consumption hasn't been what it should have been over the last few days so I'll be practically force feeding him good wholesome meals and loads of veg and fruit to make up.

Tomorrow it is that all important Wales versus England rugby match to determined the Six Nations Champions. I will, of course, be glued to the TV and may even dig out my Welsh Rugby shirt for the occasion.

This weekend is a double whammy as on Sunday it is the start of the Formula One season and the opening race in Australia. You all know who I'll be cheering but I think this year more of my hopes will lie more with Jenson rather than Lewis.

So to give myself something to do while I wait for the garage to call, I'd better get going and start mashing those banana's. After all my afternoons are booked for the next two days so it I don't do it now it just won't happen..

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Puff The Magic Dragon

Well it has been a bit of an up and down three days. I have spent most of it trying to avoid different colleagues with a variety of bugs, I even cancelled my counselling session because the counsellor had a cold. Unfortunately I suspect it is all in vain as when I arrived home yesterday I found Peter with a streamer.

I've become absolutely paranoid about hygiene of late but I feel I have no choice. With all the bugs ganging up on me wherever I go at the moment I need all the alcohol gel I can get my hands on, literally. So far this paranoia seems to be paying off but I doubt it will last.

As I write this I'm watching flurries of snow fly past the window. Surely spring must be just around the corner, it can't go on like this can it? I long for some warm sunshine on my face and not having to wrap up in duvets just to leave the house.

My car purchase is going well.

My original dealer rang on Monday and cancelled my application and paid back the deposit without any argument. It appears the cars he though he could offer me didn't materialise and there was no point in trying to hold on to me. The new dealer is ringing when he says he will and is keeping me bang up to date on every development. Brilliant!

Andrew started his night placement on Monday. I got an excited text to say he was on the rapid response car so would be getting all the 'juicy' jobs but nothing since. I suspect he is probably too busy when working and too shattered when he isn't. I'll be seeing him Friday anyway and will probably get non stop chatter then.

I've lost weight, a whole three pounds. Yes I know it doesn't sound much but you've no idea the effort it took to put it on in the first place. This morning I found they were selling bacon rolls in the canteen and decided 'why not', after all I've got to put weight on, so I bought one and loved every mouthful. However about an hour later I realised I'd made a big mistake. The bacon was so salty I was dying of thirst and was soon pouring liquid into my mouth like there was no tomorrow. Much as I enjoyed it I think I might give it a miss tomorrow, or take in extra squash.

In the news the conclave has started to elect a new Pope. Everyone seems very excited about this for some reason and Sky News is practically hysterical whenever a puff of smoke emerges from the chimney. Other news stations are publishing biographies of all the cardinals, asking you to vote for the Pope you would like, as if it matter what you or they think, and generally treating it like the Oscars. What a shame such an ancient ceremony is being reduced to a popularity contest such as Big Brother or X Factor. And what annoys the most is that, whoever they do chose, we are unlikely to notice much difference.

Well time for a slump in front of the TV and a read of the paper. Next blog Friday.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Stressful Saturdays And Lazy Sundays

Well things are looking up. Just as we were giving up hope we get a call from a garage, not a million miles from our original dealer, to say not only did they have the car I wanted, in a colour I liked, though not grey unfortunately, but it was all ready to go if I wanted it. So we high tailed it down there and put my name to it. It is lovely and I can't wait to get my hands on it but I'll have to wait until all the paperwork goes through, though not too long, the predicted pick up is Sunday or Monday next week.

On the way home we called into the original dealer to abort the process with them and get my deposit back. To say we met with some resistance would be an understatement. Apparently the fact they sold me a car that they'd already sold to someone else and didn't return my  phone calls was all my fault for choosing an awkward colour. Excuse me, out of the five colours they said they had available that was the colour I chose. If it hadn't been given as an option, I wouldn't have chosen it. Then the salesman moaned that 'he'd spent a lot of time on you.' Really? Well you didn't spent it talking to me or updating me on what was actually happening did you. He then said he couldn't refund me or remove my application from the system because it was Saturday. Strange then that he could process both on a Sunday last week. Then he said that he had three cars lined up that may be available to me but he wouldn't know until Monday. I pointed out that 'may' wasn't good enough and as I'd just sat in the car I was buying from the other garage he could consider our association at an end. I then showed him the contract stating the make, model, colour and date of delivery that I'd signed for and expressed the view that they had actually broken the contract anyway because they couldn't supply what they'd promised, when they'd promised. In the end we left without my agreement being cancelled or any money returned and the salesman promising to ring me on Monday, to sort it out. Peter will be dealing with him on Monday and if they still refuse to cancel the application or refund the deposit he will be calling motability and Alfa head office. Watch this space.

Interestingly the man I dealt with at the new dealership was older, much more polite and obviously disabled himself. He said that during the time he has been using the motability scheme he has come across some appalling behaviour from certain dealers. He says that he's known cases where cars promised to motability customers have been sold to normal motorists because motablility customers are seen as second class, even though motability customers are actually paying similar amounts, it's really just the deposit and service arrangements that differ. He's even known garages to try and force motability customers to accept unpopular colours or models or both by limiting choice for such customers. We were told all this without even mentioning what had happened with the other dealer. When we told him that something similar had happened to us he said he wasn't surprised.

I have to admit I'm surprised at what has happened as most of the people I know think the scheme is wonderful and have no complaints about their treatment. Which is why I decided to try it. My guess is that Alfa don't get many motability customers and to be honest they never have had a good reputation for customer service so really I should have known it was never going to be as smooth a ride as I'd hoped.

So after a stress filled Saturday I started Sunday in style by sleeping through until nine and then spending another half hour soaking in a deep scented bath before enjoying breakfast with the news papers. Lunch was homemade lasagna and then I put my feet up and watched a movie.

Andrew pulled an all nighter over Saturday/Sunday as he prepares for his week of night shifts with the London Ambulance service so he slept the day away and is still asleep now, though I've been told to wake him after four if he isn't up. I have to admit I am worried about him but he got through his last placement without any problems so I suspect he'll just get on and enjoy himself while I sit at home hoping he hasn't forgotten his stab vest.

In the news Justin Bieber has vowed never to return to the UK proving once again that there is a God (and it's not Justin despite what he believes).

I love it when idiots with an inflated sense of self importance make threats like this. Does he really think anyone, except his most ardent fans and he's got fewer of them this week, cares one iota where he comes back or not? I suspect everyone involved in organising this tour is breathing a sigh of relief and planning a massive celebration the moment he steps on the plane out of here.

Well it's back to work tomorrow and they are predicting snow, we've had a few flakes today. When is it going to get warmer I wonder as I'm just a little fed up with winter now. Next blog Wednesday.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Why Is Nothing Ever Easy?

Well I knew it was too simple, I just knew it.

I got a call from the garage yesterday to say that the car they had just sold me wasn't mine because it had been sold to someone else even before they sold it to me. How can that be? Now I have choice of getting the vehicle in white, possibly my least favourite colour in the whole world, or waiting three months. Arrrggghhh! A three month wait means I'll have to go through the pain, agony and expense of getting my current car through it's MOT again. Don't get me wrong, I was going to do this anyway in order to sell it, but at a more leisurely pace and it wouldn't be disaster if it failed first time around. I cannot believe there is only one Alfa Romeo available in the whole country, it just doesn't make sense and am beginning to wonder whether the garage is just trying to pull a fast one. I mean surely dealers keep stocks, at least of the more popular models and colours, so that customers don't have to wait if they order a standard model? I also don't like the way the salesman was insistent that I take the white as that 'will probably sold by tomorrow'. My instinct, if pressured, is to dig my heals in and not budge but I want the peace of mind of reliability. The salesman has generously agree to give my until this afternoon to make up my mind and in the meantime he will 'scour the country for a different colour', I bet he doesn't find one. So it was a restless night for me as I mulled over my choices and I still have not come to any decision. What to do?

My drugs finally arrived at ten to twelve so after a quick lunch we went out and did our shopping. It was horrible outside, cold and damp and the fog didn't lift all day. Even worse the place was packed out with pensioners who seemed to have gathered for a social event as all they were doing was standing around chatting and blocking the aisles. They all also appeared to be deaf as 'excuse me's' didn't shift them. As a result, what should have been a twenty minute job, stretched to almost an hour and we were both grumpy leaving.

Back home the mood soon improved as we tucked in to some chocolate doughnuts and hot tea while we put the shopping away. And then I sat down to watch some day time TV while Peter got on the phone to call other Alfa dealers to see what they said about availability. After half an hour he emerged frustrated to say he'd rung four and they were all going to ring him back, we are still waiting for those calls. Honestly it is almost as though they don't want to sell any cars. I'm half tempted to give up and go for a Mini instead, my second choice.

In the news I see the pretty boy is getting himself into even more trouble.

After the late arrival at his first gig, which was Monday not Tuesday as previously stated, he then went for the sympathy vote by claiming to be breathless. However he still managed to get a photo of himself, naked to the waist I might add, out to 'reassure his fans that he was OK. Anyone else think this 'sexy', and I use the word very loosely, picture jarred a bit considering his target audience are at an age when they should still be playing with teddy bares? Anyway I digress, his latest public outing yesterday  was probably the cherry on the cake. Dressed in a very silly hat and jumper combo in a colour which screamed 'look at me' he obviously didn't want to be looked at especially by photographers. The result was a teen tantrum that any two year old would be proud of. I'll miss him when he's gone, no one has managed to keep me laughing so hard, for so long, in ages.

Also in the news aging footballer Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne was pictured returning home after drying out in a remote clinic in America. I have to say he looked worse coming out than he did going in but that's just my opinion. Apparently Gazza has announced that he'll 'never drink again', haven't we heard that before somewhere? Oh yes, aging footballer George Best said it several times then drank himself to death and wasted a liver transplant that someone else would have treasured.

The problem with Gazza is he never got over no longer being the young man women drooled over and young men wanted to emulate. Coupled with that was the fact that his short period in the spotlight gained him much wealth which he subsequently drank in order to forget what he had been. Over the years he has lost everything to an extent that friends had to rally round to pay for the latest stint of rehab. I hope it works for him, I really do but I can't help thinking that this time next year he'll be back to square one or worse.

I have just received the most wonderful Mother's Day card from Laurence, it will be displayed in pride of place in my bedroom and all over facebook. Well why not, it is only once a year.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Breath Taking Arrogance

After a much needed lie in, well until eight, I got up, showered and prepared myself for a busy morning. After eighteen months of regular medication deliveries I knew that the van would be here well before nine, after which, I would head off for my warfarin clinic at ten. Did it happen, no of course not. I'm still sitting here at ten past ten and no delivery in sight. I've had to ring the clinic and explain to the stroppy receptionist that I needed to re-book, something I always hate as she makes me feel like a naughty school kid. So instead of whizzing around Tesco's I'm going to spend the morning on house work and waiting for my delivery.

Andrew sent me a text yesterday to say that his placement starts on Monday with four night shifts. He's quite excited as he missed out on nights last term due to his mentor moving to another station in the middle of his placement. He is at Richmond station this time, for three weeks, so if you live or work around there and need an ambulance it may well be my boy that turns up to treat you.

I've started experiencing pain in my back, chest and legs, which is rather worrying. I was sitting talking to some colleagues in the tea room yesterday when the pain in my back just stopped me in my tracks and I just gasped, rather embarrassing to say the least. This has never happened to me before and it rather surprised me. My legs feel heavy and as though I'm dragging them rather than walking. There is no swelling or any other signs of water retention and no bruising. It is worse after I've been sitting down for a while, the first few steps are very stiff and unsteady. It is very weird. If it continues I'll contact the Brompton and ask the question. It may be that after years of little exercise and oxygen deprivation the muscles in my extremities are just getting weaker. I suspect my PH has to start effecting other bits of my body sooner or later. Maybe I've been lucky to last so long relatively unscathed. And it may just be one of those things, I'll give it a week and if I'm still having problems I'll talk to someone.

In the news.

I am horrified by the arrogance of pretty boy and 'teen sensation' Justin Bieber.

This arrogant little boy decided his fans were just not important enough for him to turn up to start his concert on time. For those of you who missed all the commotion I'll give you a little of the background. Bieber is currently playing a series of concerts at the O2 arena in London, some of which are on week nights or 'school nights'. The concert in question was on Tuesday and he was due on stage at eight thirty, however Bieber didn't appear until ten thirty, around the time the concert was supposed to end. Bearing in mind that his target audience is between seven and thirteen this meant that by the time he arrive on stage it was way past the bedtime of most of his audience, who were either in tears, asleep or being dragged away by angry parents who feared missing the last bus/train home. What made it worse is that Bieber refused to apologise or give any explanation  for his actions, and any refund was flatly refused. After an outcry in the media and on several social networks he finally came out with an explanation of 'technical problems', a half hearted apology and a whinge that he was actually only forty minutes late. That's OK then is it? If people are paying large amounts of money to see you perform you should have the manners to at least turn up on time. After all you are only in the position you enjoy because of the people you've just insulted.

Bieber is yet another example of an arrogant little brat who think he can do no wrong because he has some minor talent. Personally I think he sounds like at cat being strangled, but then I am not ten years old and, like most adults, can see right through the carefully crafted veneer. Fortunately as he gets older so will his fan base and hopefully he will fade into the background and disappear.

Well time to start thinking about lunch. Of course what I'd planned has gone straight out of the window because I've been unable to get to the shops. So it is a trawl of the cupboards and a bit of kitchen magic as I try to turn tinned tomatoes, beans, ham and pasta into something edible.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

We're Having A Heat Wave.

Well it's not perfect but we now have heat in all radiators, though the temperature varies.

The good news is that all the important radiators are hot so I no longer freeze when watching TV or taking a shower. A big, big improvement. Hopefully everything will be working properly come the weekend, fingers crossed.

Work has been busy as worryingly lots of people are off due to colds and chest infections. Even more worrying is the fact that there are a lot of people in work with cold symptoms too. So I'm scrubbing my desk down in the morning and using liberal amounts of alcohol gel on my hands. So far, so good but I have my antibiotics on standby just in case.

I had an interesting letter through the post from Papworth today.

It asked me to read the information given very carefully and then sign a consent form. They were asking whether I would be happy to accept lungs from a person over sixty, or a smoker, or someone who had died of a brain tumour, who was an IV drug users etc, etc, basically high risk groups. Accepting lungs from these groups would increase my chances of getting a transplant greatly but there are very, very small risks associated. I read the letter through and decided that the risk of dying without a transplant far outweighed the risk of getting cancer, HIV or anything else from a donor. To be frank I don't think I have much choice and anything that increases my chances must be a good thing. So I've ticked yes to everything and managed to catch the evening post collection. I hope I won't have to accept an organ from one of these groups but at the end of the day any lungs will do.

I had confirmation yesterday that I have been accepted onto the motability scheme and so my car should be ready for me on or around 20th March. I have to admit I'm getting excited now

Talking of cars, I seem determined to write my present one off. Yesterday I was driving around a corner on a country road at my usual pace, i.e. fast, when I was confronted by a Pheasant walking down the middle of the road. The bird noticed me at about the same time as I saw it and came to the same conclusion, I'd never stop in time. It started to run while I swerved in the opposite direction. I missed it by a hare's breathe, I swear I heard the tail feathers sweep along the side of the car. Looking in the rear view mirror I saw the bird standing by the side of the road looking very confused but thankfully unharmed.

This morning same stretch of road and possibly the same bird but I was ready for him this time and slowed right down while he sauntered into the hedge. All I can say is thank goodness I have good brakes. I can't wait to see what he's going to do tomorrow.

Well time to eat and relax before my last day tomorrow. Next blog Friday.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Agony And The Ecstasy

Heating update, there isn't any, we are still cold. Getting a might fed up now.

When it comes to making a big decision I am an absolute nightmare. I will agonise over the smallest thing and pick the pros and cons to pieces. I over think things to such a degree that I become almost catatonic and then suddenly the answer arrives in a flash of inspiration and everything is OK again. I've said it before and I will say it again, I am my own worst enemy.

So the angonising started yesterday afternoon after I'd test driven the Mito. I was really surprised at how nippy it was and the handling was superb but did I really like it? Unfortunately the salesman came with me so I was unable to drive with my usual verve and therefore test it, in my mind, properly. One thing I really didn't like about it was when you brake really hard the hazard lights come on, very strange and very off putting I must say. However I loved the overall look and feel of the car and to be honest by the time the drive was over I was smitten. All I had to do now was convince myself to go for it. I immediately came up with all sorts of reasons why I shouldn't go for it, which is what I always do in any situation. No one would every accuse me of impulse buying. Back home I sat down and wrote out a list of pros and cons to getting a new car.


Reliability - my 156 has never let me down yet but it is getting to that age when things start to go wrong.
Lower fuel consumption - my 156 eats fuel.
MOT, servicing and insurance all covered - again these cost a fortune on my 156
RAC breakdown cover included, another thing that costs a lot but I dare not do without. There was a time I could change my own wheel, but not anymore.


Cost - not that much extra when you take into account what it costs to keep my 156 on the road.
Selling the 156 - things will need doing before I can sell but this cost will be recovered when sold.
Storing the 156 until sold - a minor consideration but I don't want to upset the neighbours
I won't own the car - this is a hire arrangement via the motability scheme, whilst I own the 156 outright.
Saving for the next deposit - I can put some aside from the profits of selling the 156 and to be honest it is three years away and my life could be very different by then, so not really worth worrying about now.

However the most important factor was for once doing something for me. Not wishing to be morbid but if I don't get a transplant I may not be here this time next year and if I am there is no guarantee that I'll be well enough to drive. And if I do have a transplant I may never again get the chance to have a brand new car sitting in the drive so why wait? I've spent my whole life considering others, putting things off until a better time, maybe now I need to think of myself for once and be a bit selfish. Surely there isn't any reason to deny myself this one little pleasure, is there? So this morning I went out and did what I had to do and with a bit of luck I will be driving my new car in three weeks time. It was the most exciting thing I've done in ages. There was a brief twinge of guilt but I forced that away and am now looking forward to taking delivery.

This afternoon I have snuggled up under the duvet, with Tarmac for company, and watched a lot of Sunday afternoon rubbish while dozing off now and then. It is back to work tomorrow and as always I'm having mixed emotions. I'm quite looking forward to being warm I must say and it will be nice to have a bit of a gossip with the girls. On the other hand the thought of getting up and showering in a freezing cold bathroom at six o'clock in the morning, or returning to a cold house after a busy day, is one I dread. Though in fairness the engineers might have sorted it out by the time I get home, here's hoping.

In the meantime it is lots of hot milky drinks and a fan heater turned up to full blast that will keep me going.

Next blog Wednesday when hopefully my house will resemble the tropics.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Covered In Glory

There has been a change in our heating situation. Now we have no heat anywhere and hardly any hot water.

You know that when someone tells you to sit by a hole in the floorboards and 'watch that pipe' while they flush compressed air through it that you really shouldn't. Well yesterday we were getting desperate and in order to help I agreed to do just that as Peter checked the flow to the radiator in the dining room. The dining room radiator is connected to the living room radiator so by checking for blockages before, after and in between these two radiators he reckoned he might just find the cause, as these are the two that consistently refuse to heat up.

So with system drained and pipes disconnected I sat at the other end and waited for the air to come through. The first pipe reveal just a dribble of water and then a stream of cold air but with the second pipe there was an ominous gurgle and then a loud pop as black gunk shot out of the end of the pipe and all over me. My squeal brought Peter bounding up the stairs to find me resembling the creature from the black lagoon. The only comment was 'I think I've found our blockage then' before he went back downstairs to put everything back together again. I cleaned myself and the surrounding floorboards, fortunately we had the foresight to remove the carpet, as best I could and then we set about bleeding the system, again. Did it work, no, it just made things worse so we are back to huddling under duvets in front of the fan heater.

I am worried for a friend.

She went to see her doctor's yesterday and didn't like what they told her. She has been suffering tremendous pain with her current meds and has weaned herself off them, understandable as who wants to be in continuous pain. I think anyone would do the same especially as her specialist hospital seem to be ignoring her complaints.The trouble is that her transplant center does not agree with this course of action and told her so in no uncertain terms. Although I agree with her, I wouldn't put up with pain either, I am now concerned that she may have jeapodised her transplant chances. One of the things transplant centers are red hot on is how well you take your meds. Their concern is that if you refuse to follow doctors advice before transplant will you follow them after transplant, and of course without the medication she could become too unstable for transplant. I can see both sides in this, which makes it awkward because although I agree with my friend, I also can see where the doctor is coming from. My friend knows, I hope, that I will support her all the way, whatever her decision is, but I really, really want her to have the transplant she so richly deserves. Such a difficult, difficult situation.

Today we are supposed to be going to test drive the Mito but I'm not sure I want to now. Part of the problem is that the salesman who was supposed to call me yesterday, to answer any questions I had, didn't. There may be all sorts of reasons for this, he could be ill, have a family crisis etc but if that was the case surely someone should have rung me to let me know. One thing I cannot stand is bad manners and not ringing someone when you say you are going to is very bad manners, not to mention bad sales technique. So if I go this afternoon I will be none the wiser than I was on Thursday and if the motability bloke still isn't around I'm still not going to know anything, other than whether I like the drive of course. Talk about frustrating, now I know why I've left it so long, I absolutely hate dealing with car salesmen.

I woke this morning with the horrible thought that I only have one more lie in before I'm back to work on Monday. Why do holidays go so quickly and work days so slowly? Well better go and get a nice cup of something hot, the effects of the last one are beginning to wear off and I'm feeling cold again. Maybe I will go for that test drive after all, at least my car has a heater so I'll be warm for a couple of hours today.

Friday, 1 March 2013

To Buy Or Not To Buy, That Is The Question

 Well yesterday turned out to be even more fun than I imagined it would be.

First up was a visit to an Alfa Romeo dealer in Hemel Hempstead to look over the Mito. The first thing that struck me was how big it was. Despite being advertised as Alfa's 'baby' it is almost as long as my 156, which was a bit disappointing as I really was looking for something much smaller. However my trike fits nicely in the boot with loads of room left for shopping and the interior is nice and roomy and I liked the lay out. As always the salesman was extremely pushy and soon started blasting me with facts, figures and brochures I didn't really want. The stuff I was interested in he couldn't tell me because he 'hadn't been on his motability course yet'. The only bloke who had was on a day off so I came away with an appointment for a test drive and an idea of what the car actually looks like, inside and out, and not much else. The motability bloke is back in today and is supposed to be giving me a call today to answer the questions I'd asked. Although it is a nice car I'm not sure it is right for me but I'll give the test drive a go before I finally decide whether to go for it or not.

Then Peter had to pick some electronics up from a specialist supplier and while sitting in the car park waiting for him I spotted one of those roadside snack bars so wandered over to have a look. By the time Peter returned my mouth was watering and we decided to grab something to eat there and then rather than scour the countryside looking for a pub we liked the look of. I was soon tucking into the biggest egg and bacon roll I've ever seen and, washed down with a large cup of sweet tea, it was one of the most enjoyable lunches out I've every had. We sat in the car pouring over the literature we'd been given and discussing our options while munching away happily. I was taken back to before we were married when we used to go out with our camera stuff and would often stop at a roadside cafe for a cuppa and a bacon butty. I don't know why we stopped doing this, probably because of the kids, pressure of work etc but it is something I'm quickly going to reinstate as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer.

Then it was off to Watford for a trawl around their many charity shops, a trawl that wasn't as successful as I'd hope but it was still fun and the roughish pavements gave my trike a real work out. Then we went into the shopping center and I was horrified to find the big Waterson's had closed up. What a shame, good bookshops are becoming harder to find and I love the smell and feel of new books so again I was disappointed. However things started looking up when I discovered a brand new and huge cook shop. It had everything in it, even things I didn't know existed and Peter had to drag me away as I could have happily spent hundreds in there.

Back home the heating was still determined to keep us on our toes and this time all the radiators downstairs were icy while upstairs it was like a sauna. By the time we went to bed things were reversed. This morning we are back to all the radiators working upstairs and three downstairs. Peter is gearing up for a shout at British Gas this afternoon, though I suspect it won't do that much good. To be fair even with only half the radiators on it is quite comfortable as long as you wear a jumper, however we could be in trouble if we have another sudden cold snap.

Well time to go and decide what to make for lunch, all I can say at this point is that it will be 'warming'.