Monday, 28 November 2011

Jack Frost Nipping At My Nose

There was ice on my car this morning, ice! How dare it! I suppose I must count my blessings though, this time last year it was snowing and the journey back from work terrifying. I guess I can put up with a little ice, as long as there is nothing following it.

Sunday was slow, work dragged, as it usually does at the weekend, so I was glad to get out at three and head home to watch the last Grand Prix of the season. It wasn't the most exciting but at least someone other than Vittel won and for that we must be grateful.

Had a call from Laurence who cheerfully announced he would ring me every Sunday because he gets free calls at weekends. He seems to be coping really well and sounds cheerful enough. He confirmed that he will be joining us for lunch next Sunday. Can't wait, I will be doing my mum thing and feeding him up.

The ice was only the start of a frustrating day. They are digging up my usual route to work and have closed the road for two days. The resulting chaos on the other routes made me late and there is nothing I hate more than being late. I'll have to find another way round it tomorrow because I'm not going up the A6 again, horrible road full of maniacs. Work itself was busy, Monday's usually are, and it was hard to find time to take a breath between phone calls. Our room is being redecorated at the moment so half of it is blocked off and we are all crammed into what seems like a very small space. It is claustrophobic and unpleasant and did nothing to lighten my mood. It was even more depressing to come out at three and find it was already getting dark.

Andrew had his second driving lesson today and admitted that he'd stalled. However he did get up to thirty miles an hour. He is obviously really enjoying himself and couldn't stop talking about it, we got the lesson in almost minute by minute details, so funny.

Absolutely classic I'm A Celeb last night. We were riveted as Fatima tried to extract a cockroach from up he nose. If she doesn't win after that there is no justice. The best performance of the series.

Strictly Come Dancing had boob gate this week. Robbie Savage not only stripped off at the end of his dance to reveal football shorts, why, he also made the mistake of grabbing Ola's boob during at rather energetic Samba. Oh the scandal! Despite this the show was notably duller without Russell Grant and I found myself getting rather bored towards the end. Poor Anita got kicked off whilst Holly Valium stayed to send us all to sleep again next week. I've decided I want Jason to win as he is the only one remotely likable, the rest are now beginning to take themselves far to seriously while Jason still looks like he is having fun.

Laurence's departure has had some surprising consequences, we are now knee deep in milk. Laurence and Andrew drink pints of the stuff, plus we all have cereal in the mornings and hot milky drinks at night so we gp through a lot. We cut down the amount we usually buy this week by a quarter figuring this would be about right but we still have five pints to get rid of by Wednesday. Oh well I guess it is macaroni cheese for tea and a nice hot chocolate for bed time.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Well blow me down, Screaming Sinitta got the boot. Totally unexpected but the public are a fickle lot. I suspect they knew that now the camp mates can chose who does the trials there is no way in hell she'd ever be chosen again. What got me is the way she said she didn't consider herself to be a screamer. She looked totally shocked at her own antics. Self delusion is a wonderful thing.

The saddest piece of news today, and one that makes me so angry I could hit someone, was that of Nellie Geraghty aged 79 who was murdered for her handbag containing her husband's ashes. Police say that she put up one hell of a struggle as evidenced by the strap she was still clutching when she was found. According to her family she had carried those ashes around for seventeen years, that's love and devotion for you, and they were so precious to her she gave up her life rather than hand them over to the teenage scum that killed her. No doubt her precious ashes have been scattered to the wind as the thugs sorted through her bag looking for money. They are probably so brain dead that they cannot even begin to comprehend what it is they have done. Two boys aged fourteen and seventeen have been caught but so far are only being held on suspicion of robbery. Of course the police have to ensure the have the right people but when they are sure I hope these thugs are charged with murder and are locked away for a very, very long time. Even if found guilty they won't be locked away for any length of time of course, the fourteen year old will be protected by his age, given a slap on the wrist and put on some sort of probation for a couple of years. The elder one might spend some time in a youth offenders institution where he will be educated in all manner of wrong doing, between trips to the seaside, and will be released a far more dangerous person than when he went in. Both will be described as coming from broken homes and having dysfunctional families. Well excuse me but how long can that go on being an excuse for criminal behaviour? I know many people from 'broken homes', I know some with pretty dysfunctional families but none of these people have ever felt the need to take drugs, rob, rape or murder. Part of the problem is the stupid human rights act which seems to put the rights of the criminal over that of the victim. We need to ditch this act which is hamstringing our judicial system. It is about time thugs like this took responsibility for their actions and were made to face proper consequences and it's about time the courts started handing out proper punishments. Rant over, for now.

I seem to be beating my chest infection and actually feel pretty good. I have a slight cough and breathing is harder than it could be but all in all this time it hasn't really slowed me down. I'm hoping that things continue to improve over the next few days.

Andrew finally submitted his UCAS form today to apply for his place in university. That is the first step out of the way now all he can do is wait.

Today has felt like a Sunday for some odd reason and I keep looking out of the window expecting Laurence to return from work. This is the first day I've really missed him and I think it is because I haven't had anything to occupy my mind. I'm sure I'll be having quite a few days like this over the coming months, Christmas is going to be the hardest as even when he has worked I've seen him. It's going to be very strange.

It's work tomorrow and then home in time to watch the last Grand Prix of the season. Hope it is going to be more exciting than some of the other races.

Friday, 25 November 2011

This Ain't No Holiday

Wouldn't you know it, the minute I actually manage to order Peter's present he goes off and works on the car for two hours, typical.

Another restful day spent mostly indoors. My chest infection seems to be clearing up quite well. I feel so much better today and am not coughing as much. Next time I will definitely go to the GP at the first sign of trouble rather than waiting to see if it will clear up on it's own, it never does. As I felt better and had time on my hands I made some banana and choc chip muffins which seemed to go down well even if they were a little bit heavy. I think I used too much banana but it could just be the magic hand I have with anything that is supposed to be light and fluffy.   Tomorrow is the last day of my holiday then it is back to work, I'm glad I took the time off to help Laurence move but rather wish the time hadn't gone quite so quickly. Apart from the last couple of days I've been rushing here, there and everywhere. I need another holiday to recover.

This afternoon Peter and I went to the dentist for our six monthly check only to discover that we are expected next Friday, that'll teach me not to try and do three things at once. Ah well it was a nice trip out and I got my car filled with petrol ready for next week and we also called into Homebase for a mooch around the paint section. Laurence's old room is well decorated but we are not sure we will keep it the same colours just yet. We've decided to turn it into a sort of library come guest room. We are all avid readers and have bookshelves everywhere but have still just about run out of room. We are going to line at least one wall with shelves, put a sofa bed, small table and side lamp in there and use it as a quiet room where you can just go and grab a book and read, no TV blaring, no music playing, no interruptions with people charging in and out just peace and quite. At least that is the plan. I'm absolutely determined that it won't just become a dumping ground for things like car parts.

Stephanie was first to be booted out of I'm a Celeb and I can't say I'm that surprised. She wasn't great and seemed totally bemused by the whole experience, almost acting as thought she'd wandered in by accident. Pat got his comeuppance in the trial and realised that it isn't as easy as it looked, he still won eight stars though. Sinitta absolutely refused to do the immunity trial, thus ensuring that one of her team (Stephanie) got kicked out. She is rapidly getting on my nerves now and deserves to be out next, she won't be of course it will be Lorraine and Tedward.

In the news the so called General Strike scheduled for Wednesday is dominating all the news programmes at the moment. Today dire warnings were issued about the amount of time it will take to get through passport control at Heathrow. Some doom and gloom merchants are predicting twelve hour queues. Anyone who has travelled through Heathrow, or any airport for that matter will not think that is all that unusual. To be honest the date of the strike has been known for weeks so anyone who doesn't need to travel on that day (by need I mean life or death emergencies) and with a shred of sense will have re-booked their flight. If they haven't then they should be prepared for the worst and not moan when it happens. Personally I think that in order to make an impact a strike has to disrupt a well ordered, speedy and efficient business. When you look at the areas that will be effected, the NHS, the civil service, airports, they are generally not known for their speed or efficiency so how will we notice a difference? I don't actually agree with striking, it rarely does any good and all the striker gets out of it is the loss of a day's pay and few of us can afford that at the moment. I am willing be proved wrong but I suspect Wednesday will be a bit of a damp squib.

Tomorrow is Saturday and Peter has suggested a trip out to look around the shops for ideas for Christmas. I might veto that and suggest we go next Thursday or Friday. Saturdays this close to the big day is going to be manic.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Sweet Smell Of Success

Why is it that when you want to do something in secret the whole world wants to come into the room when normally you are left alone for hours?

I've been trying to buy Peter's birthday present for two days now and whenever I get anywhere close he bowls into the study, sits at his computer and stays there, for hours, while I have to pretend to be madly interested in various news website wishing he would go away. Well if it is late it will be his own fault because at this rate I'm never going to get it ordered.

Yesterday it was off to visit Rushton with Andrew. Andrew has yet to see Laurence's house and was very impressed. Laurence has tidied up now and has got rid of all the boxes cluttering the utility room, kitchen and hall. He has also vacuumed so the whole place now looks neat and tidy. He has done his first wash and as far as we can tell not shrunk anything. I've also had a text today announcing that his latest effort at pasta has been a success. I feel happier now knowing that he is more than capable of looking after himself and if there were a real crisis we are only forty minutes away. I won't be seeing him now until a week Sunday when he is coming around for lunch.

It was drug count day again today when I do my inventory ready for Healthcare At Home to phone me tomorrow to find out how many supplies I have left and arrange delivery of further supplies. Well I say they phone me but for the last four months I've had to phone them. They are not very efficient and either forget to phone me or miss something out of the order. Last month they forgot the sharps bin which meant I had to put all my needles into box until it turned up by post a week later.

Apart from that I've had a really lazy day today. I've been out everyday since last Sunday and really felt the need to recharge my batteries. I've also managed to pick up another slight chest infection so it is doubly important that I rest as much as possible. I'm hoping that as we caught it early the antibiotics will stop it developing any further, well that's the plan. I really couldn't bare being ill again. I did have some good news today, my INR count is fine so I don't have to go back until January. A whole six weeks off, maybe the bruise on my arm will have time to heal.

There was no I'm A Celeb last night because of football. What is it with this country and football? Why on earth does it have the power to kick everything off the TV? No other sport does that, well except Wimbledon in the summer, but that is only two weeks, football seems to be year round these days.

As I did not want to watch the football I watched Monday's edition of the Junior Apprentice. It doesn't get any better does it? This week they were tasked with marketing a new deodorant. They didn't get to choose the smell of the product, Lord Sugar obviously thought that bit was beyond them, all they had to do was design a package and a commercial.

Team Atomic came up with a product called Raw, sore armpits spring to mind, but despite criticism over the name won and were sent of for a stomach churning day at an aerial acrobatics firm.

Team Kenetic were on to a loser from the minute Harry M was made Project manager. In Harry's mind this meant shouting at everyone, ordering them about and bullying them into following his ideas. The girls on the team were given the task of designing the packaging. Gbemi who banging on every five minutes about being a 'designer' clearly thought this was her task alone and quickly sidelined the other girl refusing even to discuss her ideas. The design Gbemi came up with was a pink and black nightmare with a mirror slapped on the side. It looked, cheap, nasty and, dare I say it, sleazy. The commercial was superbly hampered by the ongoing power struggle between Jack and Harry. They had no plan to work to and filmed anything that came into their heads, which wasn't much, and ended up with a bewildering advert that seemed to completely miss the point. They lost the task and Gbemi took the blame and was fired. Was she upset? Frankly it was hard to tell because she only seems to have one expression which is sulky anyway. She did, however, refuse to give Harry M a goodbye hug.

I still don't have a favourite but feel that Harry H may well win just because he hasn't irritated anyone yet.

Off to the dentist tomorrow, deep joy.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Oh my word, things are getting bitchy in the jungle.

Yes it's I'm A Celebrity and last night the camp mates were invited to have a good old moan about Sinitta, an offer taken up with gusto by some. Yes it looks as though Sinitta is not winning any friends with her shrieks and squeals. Some have gone as far as considering that it might be an act to ensure she gets more air time. I must admit I hadn't thought about that possibility but looking back on it I think they might be onto something. Whatever the reason for the dismal star count Sinitta had better buck up or she'll be finding herself in the pot.

Pat is a nasty man, he was horrible to poor old Lorraine, threatening to cut off the head of her teddy bear Tedward. I can see his point, a sixty year old with a teddy bear humm, but he really went over the top. It seems it was game play to get the viewers to hate him enough to vote for him for the trial. He said he was fed up with not eating and obviously feels he will do so much better than Sinitta, which is probably true. I can't help but feel there was more than acting behind the digs and taunts though. Whatever, he got his wish and now it is time to put his money where his mouth is. Part of me wants him to get less stars than Sinitta, just to pay him back but I suspect he will triumph and they will all eat well today.

It was Warfarin clinic day today and I swear I have to wait longer and longer each time I go. The wait today was fifty minutes for a two minute blood test. It really doesn't help that the staff stand around laughing and joking with each other for much of the time while others put their coats on and leave when there are so many waiting there are no seats left. My old ladies were obviously not happy with the way things were going today. Grace was in full flow. 'Well look at that, three of them just standing there chatting. 'Ethel was of a more resigned frame of mind. 'We just have to patient don't we, mind you they are taking their time today.'
This is phrase she uttered once every ten minutes and eventually Grace snapped, 'for goodness sake we shouldn't have to be patient. They should pull their fingers out'. Just then one of the nurses sailed past us with her coat on, probably the worst move she could have made. 'Excuse me', said Grace, 'where are you going when there are all these people waiting?' The nurse just smiled sweetly and continued on her way, Grace was livid, 'well really how rude!' Then Ethel piped up, 'we just have to be patient....' 'Oh shut up', snapped Grace and the group descended into stony silence.

They were not the only ones moaning about the wait. About twenty minutes into my wait a lady immaculately made up and dressed in a fur coat sat down on the seat next to me. Five minutes passed the she let out a loud sigh, swiveled around to glare at the receptionist and checked her watch. She continued this routine about every two minutes and was getting on my nerves when I realised she was speaking to me.
'They are very slow in here, are they always this slow?'
'Most of the time.'
'How long have you been waiting?'
'At least half an hour.'
'Half an hour! Well really that is disgraceful. I can't wait half an hour I have things to do.'
'Is this your first time?'
'Well if I were you I'd allow a couple of hours each trip because I'm rarely seen in under forty minutes, once I waited over an hour.'
'Well I'm not waiting that long.'
And with that she got up and stalked over to reception like a battleship on full steam. I was furious that my name got called before she came back. When I'd finished I noticed as I walked past that she was sitting back in her seat looking slightly flushed. As anyone knows, never go into battle with a NHS receptionist unless you are prepared to loose.

Andrew had his first driving lesson and proudly announced that not only did he not stall but he'd got up to second gear. I think he's got a way to go.

Had a text from Laurence at lunch time to announce he'd made himself some pasta and it was a success. He also said that he's got a Domino's within walking distance. Ah well at least I know he won't starve.

Off to visit Laurence again tomorrow and take a few bit and pieces we've found he's left behind. Will probably the last visit for a while, barring any crisis, so I will be making the most of it.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Dance Like Nobodies Watching

Meet up with Laurence this afternoon to stock up at Costco. He has bought enough toilet rolls to last him at least a year. His logic is that as he has room to store them why not and save himself endless shopping trips, petrol and money. He figures that he'll probably only need to visit Costco three or four times a year. He's a much happier boy today, the nerves have gone and now the house is more or less straight he says it is beginning to feel more like home. One down side his next door neighbours had a domestic last night and the police turned up. I hope that doesn't happen too often. We are nipping up again on Wednesday, mainly so Andrew can visit as he hasn't seen the house yet and is bursting with curiosity.

Andrew did not have his first driving lesson today, we got the dates wrong and it is actually tomorrow that he gets behind the wheel.

I am bereft, Russell Grant has left Strictly. It was inevitable I suppose but I'd much rather watch Grant than the mind numbing Holly Valance who seems half asleep during most of her performances. Grant could dance but not very well but boy did he make it fun. He danced the way most of us do when doing the housework and a favourite tune comes on the radio. You'd never dream of doing it if there was the slightest chance of being caught but Russell danced like that in front of millions. What a star! You could also see that he was loving every minute of it and the enjoyment was infectious. He was gallant in defeat but you could see he was upset. Next Saturday's show is going to have less sparkle and razzmatazz that's for sure.

I'm A Celebrity had it's live bush tucker trial last night and who was chosen to do it? Well Sinitta of course. She screamed, she wailed and she shook, mostly when just looking at things. At one point she nearly clouted Ant in the face and covered both presenters in water. Somehow though she managed to get five stars. The worst thing for her was that she had to do it in front of the other camp mates, some of whom are already muttering that she shouldn't be there. You could tell by some of the faces how frustrated they were with her performance. If the public keep voting for her to do the trial the frustration is going to grow because they are all going to starve. For me, although I found her funny at first, last night's performance began to get to me. How can anyone be that scared of everything? The screaming and flapping of arms is just so dramatic and unnecessary. She says she is trying to beat her fears but I don't see much effort being made. I hope someone else gets the trial tonight but I doubt it.

Tomorrow is a rest day for me. OK I have the Warfarin clinic in the afternoon followed by a quick trip to Tesco but that shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. The morning will be spent in bed with a nice cuppa and the papers. After the busy few days I've had I deserve it.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

If I Had A Hammer

A combination of NTL and Laurence has kept me off the Internet for a couple of days so I'm hoping the damn thing behaves itself long enough for me to post this blog.

NTL did some maintenance this weekend and promptly blacked out the whole area. Our Internet connection went down late Friday afternoon and was intermittent through the evening, by Saturday it had gone altogether. A quick phone call revealed that yes it was their fault and they would have it up and running as soon as possible. Since then it has been a bit hit and miss but has mostly stayed up. Some people had it a lot worse than us though. Our neighbours lost the Internet, TV and phone line.

We hit the road at half ten and made it to Rushden just before twelve to find Laurence knee deep in cardboard and bubble wrap. Peter set about putting up the shelves and screwing tables and cupboards together while I perused the kitchen and bathroom looking for something that needed cleaning but Laurence had already done it. So I was relegated to holding piles of screws, bolts, nails and nuts and handing them to whoever needed them. Once the shelves were up the living room rapidly emptied of boxes that had been full of DVD's, CD's and computer games. The coffee table was built, then the computer desk and finally a dining room chair was mended. After that we all sat down and had a cuppa and admired the afternoon's work. I had a bit of a headache from all the thumping and banging and the noise of the electric drill but it soon passed. We left at just gone four as Laurence wanted to go to Asda to stock up and we wanted to be back for Andrew to see how he got on with his new job.

Laurence seems happy enough but confessed that the quiet got to him a little bit that first night. He'll get used to it and now his TV, X box and CD player are all up and working he can at least have some noise around him. We arranged to meet up at Costco on Monday where he is going to stock up on things like toilet rolls and cleaning materials. He likes the idea of buying in bulk and shopping less frequently. it will also save him money in the long term. For me it is another excuse to see him so I'm happy.

Andrew was home waiting for us when we got back. He didn't seem that impressed with his new job which consists of handing out leaflets in a shopping center. He did three hours and got well paid for it but at the moment it is as and when needed so not the regular income he was looking for. Still as I reminded him it is money in the pocket and will do until he can find something else. I also pointed out it isn't exactly hard labour but I think that is part of the problem. Andrew likes to use his brain so I think he found it all rather boring.

Strictly was at Wembley this week and what a fuss they made of it. We were also not allowed to forget the fact with 'Wembley' being mentioned practically every other sentence. It was a good show with, thankfully, no huge eruptions from the judges. The highlight for me was when Robbie Savage dropped Ola and she responded by hitting him in the face and cutting his nose. It wasn't a spectacular drop, more of a letting go too early and she was close to the floor when he did it so no major damage done.

I'm told X Factor was particularly boring this week with not even a sniff of scandal so nothing to write about.

I'm A Celebrity has got me totally enthralled and I'm just loving the trials. Sinetta is going to get voted for everything unless ruled out on health ground as she squeals and jumps at the slightest thing. To be honest I really do not understand why they agree to do it if they are so scared of bugs, rats and snakes. She must have had some idea of it was going to be like so if  she is really that scared that scared why put herself through it. It's different if you have an reaction to something like Freddie Starr had. After all you don't know you are allergic to something until you come up against it but you know you are a complete wimp, don't you?

It was Children In Need on Friday and Sir Terry Wogan was in his element. The event just would not be the same without him and half the viewers must just tune in to hear what he has to say. I did watch some of it but to be honest it is not my kind of thing. I do feel for the people they feature on the programme and I'm really glad that all the money goes to kids in this country but I don't give. I don't give, not because I'm tight but because I prefer to give to charities that I feel really passionate about all year round. It is very easy to get caught up in the hype on the night but I think giving a small amount every month to something you really care about means more than slinging a fiver at someone sitting in a bath of baked beans once a year.

Another busy day ahead tomorrow, I've got to iron the last few bits and pieces that Laurence has left behind then it's off to Costco in the afternoon. Hopefully Tuesday will be a rest day, at least in the morning as I have the Warfarin clinic in the afternoon, deep joy.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Moving On

Well the trip to hospital was rather successful. After seeing the Cardiac Consultant, who carefully went through everything with me and looked at my history, I've been classed as low risk for any rhythm problems. Apparently because I had an ablation two years ago for Atrial Flutter the bods at Harefield were concerned about the flutter reoccurring or other Arrhythmias appearing. The consultant I saw today will be writing to them to say if I haven't had any more flutters in two years then it is unlikely I will. He is also going to class me as low risk for any other irregularities. He told me he can't hand on heart say I won't have a problem as even people with no history can get arrhythmias under the stress of the operation but basically he is saying my chances are the same as anyone elses with no additional risks. This is excellent news, now I have to go down to Harefield again and be seen by the transplant team so it is more waiting but hopefully not for that long.

We got back home with time to spare to pick up the van for Laurence and found that our living room had been turned into a warehouse with boxes everywhere. Peter had a coffee then it was of to collect the van while I lay on the bed for half an hour with Smirnoff and a nice cuppa and rested. My chest feels a bit worse this afternoon but I think that might be psychological as the consultant had a hell of a cold and was sniffing and coughing all over the place. Thankfully he decided the ECG was enough information for him to prove I was in sinus rhythm today so decided not to touch me.

Friday and an early start. Peter and Laurence continued packing the van while I escaped for half an hour in order to pick up my monthly prescription from my GP. Then I was tasked with checking that he wasn't leaving anything behind, which was tricky considering I didn't know exactly what he had or where in the house he was storing it. I then made sandwiches and some flasks of coffee and by half eleven they were all packed up and on their way to Rushden. Thankfully they managed to fit everything onto the van so no second run would be needed, another sources of stress nullified.

Taking the opportunity whilst having the house to myself I hoovered the living room, the debris of the boxes and frequents tramping in and out ment the floor was filthy, and did a bit of light dusting then settled down to watch a DVD whilst getting regular text updates from Peter on progress. I have promised to cook some pasta and put it in tupperware boxes so Laurence will have something to eat over the next couple of days until he gets himself organised enough to get to the shops. The return at five thirty having returned the van and Laurence came home to have a meal with us before setting of for his first night in his new home. We are all going to find it a bit strange.

Tomorrow Peter and myself will head up to help with the unpacking, cleaning and organisation. Unfortunately Andrew won't be able to come because he has found himself a Saturday job at last and it is his first day tomorrow.

Talking of Andrew he met with his driving instructor. It seemed to go well and he now has his first few lessons booked up and paid for. First one on Monday.

Up to Rushden tomorrow to help Laurence unpack. Another busy day ahead me thinks.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Does That Make Me Crazy?

Yesterday was training day and I found a few things out that were very, very interesting but had nothing to do with the training. How do I miss all this gossip? Everyone else seems to know interesting things that completely pass me by.

The training itself was one of those things where you ask yourself afterwards, what was the point? I spent four hours finding out I did the stuff anyway. Typical.

It was off to the GP in the afternoon as I could feel another chest infection coming on and wanted to catch it early. The GP said he could hear a faint crackle and gave me antibiotics without hesitation. I've had a bad year for infections with one after another, sometimes with barely a week in between. Sometimes I think it must the the same one not completely clearing and coming back. I've been well for about a month this time so this is definitely a new one. I don't feel too bad in myself and am hoping I really have caught it before it becomes full blown and lands me back in bed. Time will tell.

Booked Andrew's first set of driving lessons, the instructor is coming around for a chat on Friday before getting him out in the car. As Andrew already rides a bike I suspect he's going to need more training on the mechanics of driving than on theory and road craft but we will see. I sat him in my car yesterday evening and went through all the controls and let him have a go at changing gears, all with the engine off of course. The rest I'm leaving to his instructor as I don't want to teach him any bad habits that I've picked up over the years.

Today started in a rather relaxed way but promises to be frantic this afternoon. The problem is that I have a very important appointment regarding my transplant. If I miss it I will have to wait until March for another and I just can't do that. The appointment is at two in London. At five in Flitwick we have to pick up a transit van for Laurence's move tomorrow. Only myself or Peter can drive the van due to insurance concerns as Laurence is still under twenty five. This means that in order to get back in time we will have to leave London no later than three. Anyone who has ever been to a hospital appointment will know how likely that's going to be so I'm going to be left in London while Peter drives back to Flitwick, picks up the van and then comes back into London for me. Sounds crazy but it is the only way we can possibly do it. The things we do for our kids.

Laurence confessed last night that he is scared of moving out on his own. This is understandable but I'm sure once he gets a taste of freedom he's going to be fine.

Well must go, got to get ready for the trip into London, Peter and Laurence are at the rental place doing all the paper work for this afternoon to save time. We are going to try and get to the hospital early in the hope it gives me more of a chance of going in on time. I doubt it but it's worth a go. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

He's Leaving Home

Well it has been a busy couple of days and it only promises to get busier as the week progresses.

Work on Monday and it was the last of my four hour stints. As from next Sunday I'm up to six hours a day, four days a week. I'm feeling really good at the moment so don't anticipate any problems. The hardest part will be getting up an hour earlier, I'm so used to taking my time and surfacing slowly but I'm sure I'll get used to it again. At least I hope I do.

Today has been relatively quiet compared to what the rest of the week is going to be like. Today I did four loads of washing, mostly Laurence's stuff so he has as much clean clothing for his move as possible. Finally got around to putting the covers on the garden furniture in preparation for winter. The cover had fallen on the floor of the shed and had  spider webs all over it so this little feat was completed with accompanying squeals whenever I thought I saw something moving. Then I cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen. I don't know where all this extra energy has come from but I do hope it hangs around.

Tomorrow I'm back at work for a couple of hours of training. I missed some vital stuff when I was off ill over the summer so it has to be done, then it's Tesco's on the way home.

Thursday it is off to hospital to get a vital check up and some tests done for my transplant. Basically they are testing to see if my heart is up to it as they are not removing it anymore. Not sure what the tests involve but I'm quite sure I'm not going to like them. Then it is a sprint back home to pick up a van for Laurence's house move. Peter is going to have to drive it as Laurence is still under twenty five.

Friday is the big move day. I think it is going to be organised chaos but I'm sure we will get it all sorted out in the end.

Saturday is essentials shopping with Laurence, he has no idea what he needs to get in so I'm going with him to ensure he really does get the essentials such as loo paper and doesn't get distracted with chocolate etc.

Sunday a day at work for a rest.

Wow it is going to be quite a week.

I am in seventh heaven I'm A Celebrity started on Sunday night and it is already proving to be one of the more dramatic series with Freddie Starr providing all the drama. Last year Gillian McKeefe kept us all going with her pretend faints but she pales beside Freddie who's health problems are very real.

First he was late going into the jungle because of concerns for his health and when he did turn up he immediately took a dislike to Stephanie, the feeling seems to be mutual. However the biggest drama came after the bush tucker trial where Freddie ate everything put in front of him and paid the price by having an allergic reaction. So Freddie was whisked off to a nice comfortable hospital for the night. His camp mates didn't do too badly though as Freddie won the trial ensuring they ate well that night. Now we are all waiting to see if he returns. If he does I predict, barring anymore medical emergencies, he will at least make it to the last three.

What surprised me about this is that it has never happened before. With all the things the celebs have to eat, lie in or have crawl over them you'd have thought someone would have had some sort of allergic reaction to something before. I'm not saying Freddie's illness was faked, it clearly was very real, but am just expressing surprise that it has never happened before.

Another reality show that I watched last night was the Young Apprentice and came away feeling slightly insulted. The task this week was to pick products that would appeal to the over fifties and then sell them. I was not bowled over the way the youngsters clearly thought I should be by the choice of products. First there was a pie maker, designed to make only two pies I noticed. Why was this aimed specifically at the over fifties' an age group more than used to making pies than younger generations? In my teenage years and early twenties the closest we came to convenience food was a Vesta curry, and even they required a bit of work on your part to prepare. We don't have the 'unwrap it, slam it in a microwave and it's done' mentality of those in their twenties and thirties. If anyone is most likely to make a proper pie it is the over fifties, and they'd look a damned sight more appetising than the machine's efforts.

Next up the bird box with a camera attached. Why? Do they think that when not making pies the over fifties just sit around all day watching birds? Personally I thought anyone with a bit of intelligence could quite easily place a webcam inside a bird box for a tenth of the cost. In fact I know someone who has done just that, cost him a tenner. The asking price for the bird box was over one hundred pounds, how many pensioners do you know who could spend one hundred pounds on such frippery?

The designer shopping trolley held more promise but again the price was staggering. OK it had a cool bag section but it didn't justify the price tag. Again the stereotype of little old ladies pulling their weekly shop home was obviously to the fore of the teenagers minds. One girl was trying to entice buyers on colour alone 'it comes in red and purple' she trilled at a bevy of bemused grandmother types. While the other girl in the group just stood around leaning on the handle in a 'wish I was doing anything else' sort of way. The bag itself was enormous and I doubt very much that any but the fittest could drag that on and off the bus when fully laden.

The last item was the best, the hand held vacuum cleaner, cheap and light it was a gem but again why only aimed at the over fifties, the same group of people they expected to shell out vast amounts of money to lug gigantic shopping bags around. Talk about mixed messages. The show was quite amusing with one team leader being chosen because she had a grandmother and therefore could clearly relate to the age range. She couldn't, she chose the wrong products and they lost.

Well must go, this whirlwind has been still long enough.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Scandal - They're Gonna Turn Our Lives Into A Freak Show

Don't know where to start with today's blog.

Spent the morning driving Peter to Swindon to pick up a vital part for his car. It was quite nice to go for a long run in the car as the furthest I seem to get these days is Milton Keynes. We were back by lunch time and settled down for the last Sunday lunch with all four of us present. Until Laurence announced he planned to drop in for lunch next Sunday that is. Seems he can't give up his mum's cooking just yet. He also announced that he has booked a bungie jump for himself and his friend next month. Oh great something else to worry about. I suppose he's old enough to now to make his own decisions about doing such things but I don't like the idea and said so.

At work we finally got to know which shifts we've be allocated and some took the news better than others. I got what I'd asked for more or less so am happy though not quiet so thrilled with the 7am starts I'm going to have to do. On the plus side finishing at 3pm is going to be brilliant, especially in the summer.

Andrew's throat has finally improved and he will be back in school tomorrow. We've also decided to bite the bullet and pay for driving lessons for him. He needs to be able to drive for his college course so I see it as an essential expense. I don't know what we are going to do about getting him a small run around but we'll think about that once he's passed his test.

More scandal this weekend with both Strictly and X factor hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Len swore, yes Len! On live TV! Sir Bruce looked as though he was going to faint. The cause of the outbrust was Harry Judd's tango. Craig thought it was great, Len was less impressed and an arguement ensued during which Len called Craig a 'silly sod'. The audience gasped and Sir Bruce was, for once, lost for words. Len immediately apologised but the damage was done, you could almost hear the phonelines buzzing with complaints. I thought it was hilarious and fell about laughing. I must say I don't know what has happened to Len this series, he is so much more grumpy than usual. Maybe the trips back and fore to America really are getting to him.

I don't watch X Factor but this week I almost wished I did. Things got off to a bad start when the't start. Instead sixteen minutes of snippets from previous programmes were shown along with increasingly panicked announcements from the continuity man blaming technical problems at the BT tower. What? Since then a rumour has been circulating that it was down to cable theft. Once again...what? Neither of these explainations seem all that plausable as a live TV show would have several back up systems, or at least you would assume they would.

However it was when the programme finally got going that the real scandal took place. A scandal which has angered several of my friends so much they have vowed never to watch it again as they are now fully convinced it is a fix. There was a special vote taking place where four previously dismissed acts got the chance to re-join the competition following the sudden departure of Birds Nest Head. The favourite to win was a girl with pink hair whom I had the misfortune to witness murdering one of my favourite songs during boot camp. I confess to watching a few of the early episodes before coming to my senses. She has been lauded as the probably winner of the public vote in the media and to be fair, giving what she was up against, she probably was the best bet. So what upset my friends so badly? While Dermot was urging the public to vote it was announced on Twitter and on the X Factor website that Pink Hair had won the public vote. By the time the vote closed and the result announced it was already on the front page of several news websites. The producers tried to cover things up by saying that a technical hitch had resulted in the announcement of all four acts winning being released on their website by accident as all four had prepared announcements ready to go. My friends do not remember seeing any announcements about any of the other acts and so a fix has been declared and the show abandoned.

My absolute favourite reality show starts tonight, 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' has the opening show tonight and I just can't wait. I think the reason I love this show is that it is short. Three weeks and it is over, not enough time to get bored and although most of the celebs are very, very z list it is Ant and Dec I tune in to watch. The comments they make and faces they pull during the bush tucker trials absolutely crease me up.

One day of work tomorrow then off until next Sunday. I took some leave to help Laurence move house. It will break my heart but what can I do. I can't hold on to him for ever.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

We're Off To See The Wizard

Had a bit of a thrill when traveling on the M1 this afternoon. We were going north and noticed a steam train on the back of a lorry traveling south. Although unusual what really caught our eye was the name 'Hogwarts Express'. Now I don't know if it was the exact train used in the film but it was identical. Andrew who was with us said there is some sort of Harry Potter exhibit in London so maybe that is where it was heading. I like it when you come across something like that, something unexpected. I'll never forget the thrill of being sandwiched between two huge trucks with Red Bull splashed all over them the Thursday before a race weekend. Or the time we passed a convoy of armored vehicles off to the the Gulf war of the 80's. My only complaint is that it always happens on the motorway where you can't stop and have a good look, or take a photo.

Andrew is still suffering and is pretty down about things. He came out shopping with us today just for something to do as he is bored stiff. If he remains off next week I've urged him to phone school and get them to send him some work so he doesn't fall too far behind and it will give him something to do.

It is a week today that Laurence moves out. He is a combination of nerves and excitement but is suddenly realising how easy he has it here. From next week he is going to have to do everything himself. I wonder how he will cope?

Sir Jimmy Savile was laid to rest today after lying in state at a Leeds hotels in his gold coloured coffin. It seems he was determined to go against the flow right to the last gasp. and he got his final wish to be buried on a hilltop at a forty five degree angle so he can 'see the sea'. I must admit that is a pretty cool thing to do. And in a thousand years time it will drive the archaeologists nuts trying to work out why.

In other news the X factor scandal rumbles on and on and on. It seems that Birds Nest Head is the most news worthy thing to come out of the show since it started and the media is going to make the most of it. We've had an interview with Bird Nest where he came across as less than repentant, then we had a blonde spilling the beans on what exactly they all got up to and now his mentor has come out to say that it is all his fault. Too damned right it is for putting the tuneless twit through in the first place. One can only hope that it all dies down sooner rather than later and Birds Nest will be cast back into oblivion where he belongs.

It has been a quiet couple of days, the weather has kept me indoors mostly trying to keep warm without turning the heating on. I've invested in a big thick housecoat and it is amazingly warm and cosy so I'm managing very well. Now if only I could find some really thick slippers.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Return Of The Mack

Smirnoff is home safe and well.

The little monkey was found sleeping in a box under Laurence's bed and emerged blinking into the light wondering what all the fuss was about. Today he is stretched out on our bed as normal blissfully unaware of the stress he put me through yesterday. Cats, who'd have them?

Andrew has spent another day at home nursing a terrible throat. I hope the antibiotics kick in soon, he can't afford to miss too much school. I'm busy making soup for him as he is finding it very hard to eat anything solid. I've made enough for two or three days, hopefully by then he'll be back on solids. I've also bought him an array of yoghurts as I think something cold can be very soothing. And I'm making sure he is drinking plenty of fruit juice.

The X Factor is still being accused of fixing as the double eviction did not go the way the vast majority of viewers wanted. Everyone was hoping Birds Nest Head would go but it wasn't to be and two, seemingly more popular acts, bit the dust. However today there is dancing in the streets as Birds Nest has been booted off for not obeying the rules. Basically he was acting as though he was already a multi millionaire rock star and pissed everyone off. The show however tried to play it all down blaming 'high spirits' and a lively character. Today however more serious charges of drug taking have emerged and Bird's Nest is out on his ear. And for that a whole nation can take out the ear plugs and rejoice.

Meanwhile over on Strictly Come Dancing there has been another unplanned departure, albeit a temporary one. One of the professional dancers has fractured a bone in his spine and spent Saturday night in absolute agony. He still managed to perform a fast and bouncy jive though how he did it is anyone's guess. So now his celebrity charge is rehearsing with one of the recently voted out professionals while Artem rests up and hopes to be able to return very soon.

I tell you sometimes the background goings on are far more interesting than the programmes themselves.

For me it was ironing day and I noted that at least half of the pile was Laurence's stuff. Looks like this is another little task that will down size when he moves out.  There is only ten days to go now and I'm beginning to feel quite sad about him leaving. I know that it is the natural order of things that the kids grow up, move out and make homes of their own but it seems so strange knowing that soon he won't be walking through the front door of an evening asking what I've cooked for his tea. I know despite all the washing, ironing, mess he generates I'd rather he still be living with us. That's the price of being a mum I suppose.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Remember, Remember.....

Well it has been a bit of a full weekend.

It was my birthday on Saturday and it was a quiet one. We used to all get wrapped up warm and go and see the firework display at the local lower school but health and safety and the rising cost of insuring the event put paid to that little pleasure a few years ago. There are still some big events around the area but they all require us to drive to the venue with all the accompanying parking problems that can bring. So we stay home and watch the neighbours display, if they both having any, and often they don't.

Bonfire night seems to have fallen out of favour in recent years, with fewer displays and almost no families getting their own boxes of explosives. After the terrible events on the M5 I can't help wondering when they will ban fireworks altogether. Another piece of our culture and heritage consigned to the bin.

Of course there is always the hooligan element to contend with and as is normal these days bangs have been heard days before and after the actual event and at all hours of the night. The latest I heard on Saturday was at 1130 at night. I was already tucked up in bed with my hot chocolate when suddenly the air was rent with the sounds of explosion after explosion, we could have been on the Somme.

Sunday was a disaster when I broke my one and only purpose made lasagne dish. It took us ages to find years ago and I treasured it. Now the hunt is on for a new one. My bet is that I will find one in a speciality kitchenware shop and it will cost a small fortune by hey ho if it lasts as long as the one I broke then it won't do too badly and will be worth the money.

Today has been one of those grey, miserable days that never get fully dry or light. And to add to our misery my beautiful Russian Blue Smirnoff has gone missing. He was tucked up safe and sound on the end of my bed at midnight last night but there has been no sign of him today. He does sometimes go missing for a few hours but he has been gone a long time this time. He's not as young and sprightly as he was, he is  thirteen coming up to fourteen and in weather like this he usually prefers to be stretched across a bed than out and about. I am beside myself worrying that he is lying injured and frightened somewhere. I've been out and searched the garden but like all cats he could be absolutely anywhere. It is unlikely he is locked in someones shed as few people will be using their sheds between midnight and seven this morning so I'm thinking the worst.

Andrew is at home with tonsillitis again. He can barely croak and is finding swallowing very difficult. We could only get him an appointment at the doctor's for tomorrow so he'll have to suffer another day before getting any treatment. This will be the third episode in less than six months and I suspect suggestions will be made to have them removed. It might well be the best solution with his A levels and uni coming up.

Heres hoping that tomorrow will bring the return of Smirnoff and a cure for Andrew's throat. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Dawning Of A New Era

Things still haven't been decided at work so everyone is still very fraught. Well I say everyone but that's not true because the lucky ones already know what they are doing. I think this is unfair and everyone should be told at the same time and lots of my colleagues, including those who have been told what they are doing agree. The decision to tell half of us while the rest are still waiting has meant things are a little tense at the moment.

I'm still only doing four hours a day at the moment but am coping really well so hope to increase to six hours in the next week or two. I am desperate to get back to my full hours and am having to pull myself back as I know charging into ten hours shifts without a slow build up would probably see me off sick again. This is something I've got to do slowly and gradually. I'll get there eventually, I've just got to learn to be patient with myself. I've also started to look for other jobs within the organisation as I think it might be time to move onto something more secure than the job I'm in now.

In the news Greece is still causing everyone problems. This country has it's own financial problems and yet we are paying several billions to the IMF to help bail Greece out. How can this be right when we are not even in the Euro zone. It just doesn't make sense and doesn't seem fair. Surely that money could be better spent supporting local businesses, the NHS or schools. I do not understand why we always have to give money to everyone else. Scaremongers are saying that if Greece goes under so will Italy and Ireland and the collapse could even bring about another world war. It seems that something just are not bad enough for everyone they want a war thrown in as well.

Andrew is now desperate to go back to Bulgaria sometime next year so is on the hunt for a job. He's going to be spending the weekend trawling the local pubs and restaurants in the hope of finding some work. Finger crossed.

The countdown to Laurence's house move gathers pace and he is getting quite excited if not a little nervous about it. He has confessed that he doesn't think he is going to like going home to an empty house. However the thought of having his own space soon negates those worries and I can tell he can't wait. It can't be easy for a twenty three year old to be living out of one room in his parents house so I do understand his need to move on but I am so going to miss him.

At his work they have all decided to grow mustaches for the month of November for Children In Need and he is currently sporting a shadow of a dead caterpillar on his upper lip. I dread to think what it is going to look like by the thirtieth  as he already looks shifty.

There are so many changes happening at the moment both personally and world wide. I wonder where it will all end.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

At work we are all playing a waiting game. They are changing our shift patterns and we are all waiting to see what we end up with. The wait has been a long one, first we were supposed to be told in early October, now sometime this week. My guess is next week at the earliest. Some of my colleagues are so concerned that they are not sleeping and are feeling sick, personally I think this is an over reaction. No one will lose their jobs, they may end up working less and therefore earning less but a job is a job. My personal view is don't stress over something you have no control over, it's not worth the effort. And the change won't be coming in until April at the earliest so no point in worrying this side of Christmas.

It's been a quiet couple of days, all I've done is the ironing so not much to report really. Had a Chinese take away for lunch, proof positive that my appetite has returned but slightly regretted it afterwards. I'm not used to having such a full stomach and spent the afternoon feeling bloated. I kept it all down though which is a very good sign.

Got a phone call from the hospital asking if I minded going in on seventeenth of November for an appointment regarding my transplant. The secretary didn't know exactly what it was about but said there was a letter on the way to me, maybe this will bring further enlightenment.

In other news it appears that the Greek government have sacked all the generals in order to prevent a coup. Does a general have to be employed in order to stage a coup? Can they be self employed and do it anyway? Greece is imploding in spectacular style and it's demise will effect everyone in the EU, even us and we are not even in the Euro. Looks like more bad times ahead.

Jimmy Savile is to lie in state in a Leeds hotel. Why? Was he really so popular that he warrants this kind of treatment? And who decided to do it, was it in the will (that I can believe) or have the family requested it? Who knows but it seems very weird to me. At least the coffin will be closed, ewww, can you imagine, so we are spared an even worse scenario. After all he's not Elvis.

Laurence has been off today and has spent the time arranging gas, electric, water, council tax, house insurance etc, etc ready for the big move on the eighteenth. The one blip is that he is going to have to wait a week for Virgin to set up his broadband/tv package but if that's all he has to worry about he is very lucky.

Andrew is going down with a cold, he sneezed and sneezed while watching TV last night and ended up with a very stuffy nose. His room now stinks of Olbas Oil and is covered in tissues. He got up and went to school though saying he felt a bit better, hopefully whatever he's got is going to be short lived and mild. And with a bit of luck he won't give it to me.