Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Bus passes

One of the good things about being sixty plus is that you are entitled to a bus pass, which means that, within Wales, your bus journeys are free of charge and that even applies if you venture over the border into 'that there England', as long as your journey begins and ends in Wales.
I had a bus pass and I used it but then, a couple of years ago, our local buses vanished. From having a bus running almost past our house every half hour, we suddenly, with no warning, found ourselves without buses, busless, sans buses, which was a bit of a blow, but which was replicated in several other areas of Wrexham county. Unfortunately, this part of the country relies on private bus companies, which bid for contracts and receive little or no financial support, which means that they focus on the more lucrative routes and ditch the others. There are other routes within walking distance, but then a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that, following the example of the buses, my bus pass had also disappeared. Where it's gone, I have no idea, but as it happens, all Welsh bus passes are to be replaced with new style ones by the end of the year and everyone was urged to apply online on the Transport for Wales website, which promptly crashed and remained crashed for over a week. 

It did occur to some people to wonder what provision would be made for those who are not computer savvy, do not own a computer and do not use the internet, and bearing in mind that the concessionary bus passes are mainly used by the elderly, this was a valid concern.

'Well, that's tough' seemed to be the answer to that one and it was only after representations from Age Concern and other organisations, that it was  grudgingly agreed that paper application forms would be made available, with the warning that it would take a while for this to happen and much longer for them to be processed compared to online applications. 

I would describe myself as a 'computer anorak' and proud of it, but it saddens me to see an organisation like Transport for Wales assuming, without, it seems, any consultation, that everyone, young or old, has easy access to the internet and can be required to make their applications through this means only.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A new arrival

This time last week, we were relaxing after a journey from Gretna to Gateshead and back. Confused? You will be ...
In August, we decided that a bit of a break was in order and that as I had never been to Scotland and Keith had only made extremely brief forays into Glasgow and Edinburgh, we would find a cottage for a week so that we could take da dawg as well. The cottage we finally settled on was a couple of miles from Gretna Green, in a little place called Rigg which, as it happens, had once been the home of Keith's grandfather and father; but that's another story.

Earlier in the year, Younger Daughter had become pregnant and her baby was due in mid October. However, on the morning of our first day at the cottage, I got a panicked phone call from Claire saying that she thought her waters had broken and she and her fiancĂ©, Neil were hot footing it to the local hospital. After many long hours of is she? isn't she? how soon? etc, it was decided that she would be able to give birth normally and things were allowed to take their course. As it happened, she managed to accomplish it with nothing more than Entinox, the infamous 'gas and air' but only because the doctor couldn't get the epidural set up in time and after five attempts, it was then too late for Pethidine to have any useful effect. 

So at just 12.36am last Sunday, Charlie Hugh made his entrance into the world, four weeks early but weighing a very healthy 6lb 3oz and that's why we were rushing over to see him.

It seems that a decision has not been made as to whether his photo can appear on social media, so I am playing safe for now and just showing you this one of Charlie's first outing yesterday with proud Mum and asking you to imagine, for now, the pram containing the most beautiful baby in the world.

Well, I would say that, wouldn't I?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Monday was such a great day!

You know how sometimes you get up ready to face whatever the day brings, and  a couple of hours into it, you're wishing you had stayed in bed - and then it just gradually gets worse? 
Well, this was our chain of events yesterday:

1. Front door lock breaks.
2. Front door is so strong and secure that it takes the whole morning for Keith to dismantle the locking system and fix it so that it does at least close.
3. A search on the internet for a suitable replacement because of course, our lock system is a different measurement to more modern doors.
4. It will be delivered tomorrow (if we're lucky).

5. Keith's van wouldn't start as the battery was flat.
6. Keith opened back doors of said van and the left hand one fell off due to corroded rivets.
7. Giles was invited to come and help repair said door.
8. Keith's riveter was a) too small
                                   b) broke.
9. This necessitated a trip to Screw Fix to buy another one.
10. Tonight I shall be sleeping across the front door, musket at the ready in case of intruders.
11. I may have made the last one up .... 


Door lock now repaired, thanks to Keith's hard work.
Van door also repaired.
A system was devised to keep us safe in our beds last night, but if I told you about it, I'd probably have to kill you. However, at least I was able to sleep in bed.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Yep - another one!

29th April saw me pencilled in for a hysterectomy. Not something to look forward to but definitely necessary. At my pre-op assessment, I was given six drinks, four for the previous evening and two for the morning of the operation. I gather they are to provide you with the energy you need for the operation and subsequent early recovery and I was told they taste pretty horrible, although I thought that, whilst not on the scale of a decent red, they were quite bearable. Unfortunately, on this occasion, they were also superfluous as the operation was cancelled while we were coasting round the hospital car park, searching for a space.
Fast forward a fortnight to May 15th and this time I did manage to make it to the operating table - and off it a couple of hours later, minus the relevant body parts and I came back home on 17th.

Keith has been holding the fort admirably as regards shopping, cooking and housework as I have to ease back into things gradually over six weeks. My post op. check up is in a week and after that, I am hoping that nothing else is going to raise its ugly head, at least for the rest of 2019. Three operations in a year is enough for anyone - I don't want to be greedy!

Monday, March 25, 2019

A doctor's note with a difference

I was amazed and very impressed to get this card in the post the other day. I mentioned in my last post that it looks as though I am in line for another operation in the near future, which is never the most welcome news, but this thoughtful note from my GP has gone a long way to cheering me up.  A small gesture but a significant one, especially these days when the NHS is under so much time pressure. Earlier that day, one of my dog-walking friends, who also recently needed to see the GP, remarked on what good care she had received.
Referring to our problems with our previous GP practice, she remarked, "I'm really glad you did your research and encouraged me to change."
After this, so am I.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A night in a skip

Having got through my second eye operation and survived to tell the tale, I mentally sat back and told myself I could relax and enjoy the rest of the year ...
Well, no. Instead, there have been recent visits to the hospital, including an appointment to see a very nice doctor who seemed to think he had to dress up his news by comparing it with a rose bush - the good news being the rose and the not so good being the thorns. 

Anyway, time has moved on a tad and this morning saw me back at the hospital, this time for an MRI scan.

Now I have heard about these, of course and been told more than one tale of people being so comfortable in them that they have dozed off, so I was quite hoping that my experience would be similar. 

Well not quite. Left arm was offered up for the insertion of a drain thingy so that dye could be pumped in. (I did wonder if I would come out a nice shade of blue, green or maybe yellow.) Then I was told it was very important to lie completely still and not move at all, and of course, as soon as you're told not to do something, you have the overwhelming impulse to do it; and finally, that the whole thing would last thirty to forty minutes, although it seemed so much longer, as I tried to relax and stay still, as well as breathing in and holding my breath several times for about ten minutes each time. (Okay, slight exaggeration but  that's how it felt.) As for falling asleep, no chance with all the clatters, bangs and whistles, which were the sound effects of the machine doing what it had to do.

'Well, how was that?' asked the nurse as she helped me out at the end.
'Something like spending several hours in a skip on a building site after a heavy night out, I think,' I said, 'Not that I've ever experienced that ...' 
She laughed. 'Sounds like a very good description.'

Last time I was in the Xray department, I noticed a mistake in the Welsh on this sign and mentioned it to the receptionist, who said she would pass it on. This time,  the mistake and the receptionist were still there.
'Oh yes, I remember you noticing it and I did tell the Welsh language speakers.'
'And they said, what was an English person doing telling them that they'd made a mistake?' I laughed.
The expression on her face told me I had hit the nail on the head.
Ah well, can't win 'em all.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The eyes have it!

I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I had an eye operation looming over me, which I was not looking forward to, not one little bit. I have glaucoma, but not to be relegated to the common herd of glaucoma sufferers, I also have what the specialists call ‘deep cupping of the optic nerve’. I’m still not sure about the interconnection of the two but suffice it to say, over the last few years, I have been prescribed a variety of eye drops to reduce the pressure and while this treatment has had some success, the pressures were creeping up again, so the dreaded operation was suggested - a viscocanalostomy

I’m very squeamish about eyes,” I said plaintively to the doctor.
“Lots of people are,” she said, “but don’t worry, it’s only like going to the dentist.”
“You’re not really selling it to me,” I muttered.
However, when you are told that the alternative to the operation is gradually losing your sight, it kind of concentrates the mind and so Christmas was spent under the cloud of ‘the operation’, in the distance like a man’s fist but drawing ever closer and looming ever larger. I know, pathetic, isn’t it? When I think of what lots of other people are suffering,  and here was I behaving like a complete baby.

Elder Daughter suggested that I ask for a sedative.
“You won’t care what’s happening to you,” she assured me, “and you probably won’t even remember.”

Yes, I forgot to mention that this ‘procedure’ is carried out under local anaesthetic and I didn’t even want to think about how they get the anaesthetic in there!

Elder Daughter very kindly came to stay overnight to take my mind off things and Keith has been an absolute brick driving me up and down for my appointments - an hour’s journey each way. I didn’t have to be carried kicking and screaming into the hospital (gold star for that!) and carefully noted all the patients coming back from theatre, looking relaxed and happy, so I began to think that maybe it wouldn’t be a fate worse than death after all. If they could do it ...

And so it proved. Sedative given, anaesthetic administered and I was wheeled into theatre.
“You’re going to have a black eye tomorrow,” said the doctor. She wasn’t joking. Apparently, it depends on how and where the anaesthetic goes in. I have still banned myself from pursuing that train of thought! I managed to survive the half hour ordeal and lived to tell the tale, albeit looking as if I have gone ten rounds with whoever the latest boxing legend is. Believe me, the photo does not do it justice at all!

So I am now under strict instructions not to do anything energetic or any bending for four weeks and then, in a few more weeks, I get to do it all again on the right eye!

Friday, January 04, 2019

Away for Christmas

This year - well last year, strictly speaking, as it is now 2019 - we decided to have a change and to book a cottage for a few days over Christmas. We chose one in Northumberland, quite near to where Younger Daughter, Claire, lives. 
The first time Keith and I went on holiday was about fourteen years ago and we just decided to go to France, booked a ferry crossing and off we went. Apart from checking that our passports were not out of date, we didn't even think of servicing the car, taking out health insurance or preparing in any other way other than throwing some clothes in cases and setting off. How times have changed! Now, it's much more akin to a military operation. Pack relevant medication, laptops, tablets, smartphones and, most importantly, their relevant chargers and pack everything that the little white dog will need, as he was coming too.

The cottage was very comfortable, we spent some time each day with Claire and Neil and even got to see Elder Daughter, Kathy and her husband, as they came up to stay overnight at the weekend.

Toby was very happy with his presents, while Keith was the picture of sartorial elegance in his new Christmas jumper.

And so was Claire - happy with her presents and the picture of sartorial elegance.

I think this is Toby asking Claire if he can come and live with her, but he'll have to get past Neil first!

On Christmas Eve, we found time to pop round to see Hadrian and his wall. Unfortunately he was out, but we did have a wander round the Sill and Housesteads.

Toby and the sheep seemed to get on well. He liked them but decided he couldn't eat a whole one. 

On Boxing Day, we wandered up the coast. At Blyth there were some mad people swimming in the sea. (No accounting for taste.)
All in all, we enjoyed our short break and have decided that later this year, we will definitely go back and maybe venture into Scotland as well.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Welcome to 2019 ... Hmm

If someone in need of cheering up their boring life, were to have planted a microphone or two chez Jenny and Keith over the last few days, they would have been treated to a never-ending series of sighs, moans and groans. No, not some 'Red Hot' cable channel! And not an over-enthusiastic exercise regime either. On the contrary, these are sounds of suffering. Yes, the dreaded lurgy has struck us both and while I tend to go for the stoic acceptance of fate (yes, really - well, I try), Keith prefers the more full volume approach. They don't call it 'man 'flu' for nothing.
It started over Christmas, which we spent up in Northumbria with Younger Daughter, who already had a cold but was coping with it very well. By Boxing Day, Keith was shopping for his usual cold remedies but didn't really begin to feel ill until Sunday, just in time to welcome in the new year.

And that was it. 2019 began in a blaze of tissues and Lemsips. We certainly know how to live it up, you know.

But there are more goodies to look forward to.  In the middle of the month,  I am booked in for a procedure (as in little operation) on my left eye to sort out my glaucoma, which is not responding well enough to the usual treatment of eye drops, and this will be followed by the right eye a few weeks later. As I am more than a little squeamish about anything to do with eyes, I have been trying not to think about that, but it has been looming on the periphery of my consciousness nevertheless. I suppose 'quietly terrified' would sum it up.

So all in all, I can completely relate to a post that I saw this afternoon, suggesting that maybe January could be a practice run and the year could really start in February. Yes, I'm all for that ... please ...?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Towel rail

Towel rail. 
Destination - bathroom
Date of purchase - a week ago
Current situation - lying forgotten and abandoned in the conservatory
Update - Well, this morning, he has taken it out of its packaging and looked at the instruction sheet - before continuing on his way to play in the shed (sorry, workshop).
A degree of progress, I suppose ...


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