Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bugs, We Got 'Em


Andrew is home safe and sound but not at all well. He has a terrible bug and can hardly talk so I've made him an appointment to see the GP later and am staying at arms length. I really, really want to hug him but just dare not get too close. I'm bad enough with home grown bugs, bugs from abroad could be really dangerous. He brought me some little presents including a fridge magnet, I collect them and the tackier the better, a bottle of wine and some rose jam. Apparently they eat a lot of roses and I am assured this jam is fabulous with a bit of Camembert.

I am writing this blog with great difficulty. Smirnoff is lying asleep across my desk with his bum right on top of my mouse cable. Every time I try to use the mouse he stretches out a lazy paw and pushes me away. It is annoying but I don't have the heart to move him.

The bathroom is almost done! The new radiator it up, the bath and shower are fully sealed, so we can do away with the plastic sheeting at last, and we've put in th new fixings, toilet roll holder, soap dispenser etc. It really is the odds and ends to finish off now so Peter is taking a well earned day off.

Olympics Watch

Well another day another security gaff, this time the police are to blame. They managed to lose the keys to Wembly stadium and as a result all the locks have had to be changed.

Two medals for Team GB so far, a silver in cycling and a bronze in swimming but we are still looking for that first elusive gold.

Sad news for Team GB and Bedfordshire in particular when Paula Radcliffe was ruled out last night due to a foot injury.

The empty seat row rumbles on and I must admit there were a fair few from what I could see yesterday. Lord Coe is in complete denial and is telling everyone who will listen that the venues are 'packed', when plainly this is not the case. Others are not wasting their time on denials and are trying to come up with ways of ensuring tickets are passed on if not used within a certain time. First idea I heard was to give them free to the off duty members of the armed forces and police who have been drafted in. This is a brilliant idea and I hope they go with it.

In other sports news well done to Lewis and Jenson, here's hoping the rest of the season goes their way. There is no racing in August so everyone can have a bit of a breather.


Yesterday's blog was rudely interrupted by a sudden and severe stomach bug, nothing to do with Andrew I might add who is going back to the doctors today having developed a very nasty rash. He was given penicillin for his throat yesterday and I really hope he isn't becoming allergic to it.

Olympic Watch

Still loads of empty seats, still fuming that I didn't get a ticket, Lord Coe still denying there is a problem. 

Watched the Gymnasts get their medal, such a shame it wasn't gold, or silver. As for blaming everything on Tom Daly well some people don't seem to realise 'synchronized means there must be more than one. So should some of the flack be going in the direction of Tom's partner Pete Waterfield?

Giving up on the blog for today, must go back to bed. Hope to be back soon.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Empty Headed

Well yesterday's blog caused a bit of a stir mainly through people getting completely the wrong end of the stick. So time to set the record straight.

It is not the sports or the athletes that I dislike about the Olympics. Indeed everyone taking part has worked hard for four years to get to this point and deserves to be supported without question.

What I dislike is the commercialism, the 'making of a fast buck' at someone else's expense, the over invasive sponsorship, the stupid rules about not being able to display the rings or say London 2012 or gold, silver and bronze. I would love to race into the middle of the stadium with a megaphone and yell 'anyone for a Burger King and a Pepsi'. The fact that you can only get into the park through a shopping center, the cost to every taxpayer in the country for something that will mostly be knocked down in a few weeks time. The way the tickets were allocated and the rip off prices, the absolutely ghastly Team GB uniforms, the way the torch relay was more about celebrity than those that actually deserved to carry it, Will.I.Am texting while running with it for instance. And finally the sheer fact that you cannot get away from it, and haven't been able to for months.

There is a lot to hate about the London Olympics but there is an awful lot more to admire and enjoy. OK, I wasn't impressed by the majority of the opening ceremony but that is just my opinion, I appreciate that others thought it was fantastic and I have no problem with that but this is my blog and if I don't like something I will say so.

Olympic Watch

The first big British disappointments came yesterday, Mark Cavendish failed to win a medal in the road race and the Murray brothers failed to get into the second round of the tennis. Andy starts his solo campaign today let's hope he has more luck.

A row is brewing over the amount of empty seats at some of the venues. Wimbledon was only half full at some points yesterday and the swimming events were also badly hit. Naturally there is a lot of ill feeling about this. People who have practically mortgaged their house and begged on bended knees for a ticket are having to sit across from row after row of empty places and wonder why tickets were so rare and expensive. So who is not turning up? Well the corporate sponsors of course. Vast amounts of free tickets were given to these corporations to keep them sweet, all I can say is that the lack of attendance fully underlines the fact that for some it is all about the profit. What is really sad is that there are so many who wanted tickets and couldn't get them. Wouldn't it be lovely if organisers sold these empty seats on the door for those who wanted to be there but were not lucky in the draw? Wimbledon does it, so why not do it now?

I watched some of the swimming yesterday and thought the pool looked wonderful, I throughly enjoyed the events I watched though was disappointed that the medals went elsewhere. I missed the mens gymnastics, damn it, because I didn't know it was on. Today I hope to catch Murray's match and Tom Daly in the diving though it might be a bit hit and miss as the Radio Times only gives very rough timings and I cannot find a schedule of play for the tennis anywhere.

Andrew is two days from the end of his holiday and has come down with a bug. Luckily he is staying with two doctors so I know he is being looked after. It appears his girlfriend had it two days ago and is now fine so with a bit of luck he will be feeling better if not great when he steps on that plane on Monday.

We have a sink! Yes it went in late yesterday afternoon but is not sealed to the wall yet, just in case it has to come out again for some reason. At least I don't have to keep dashing down to the kitchen every time I want to wash my hands now. The radiator wall is grouted and the radiator will be put back on sometime this afternoon but not connected until we are absolutely sure it doesn't have to come off again.

Lewis Hamilton is on pole and Jenson Button fourth for this afternoon's race, one of the best qualifying for Mclaren in a long time. I just hope they can translate that into the race itself and give the others a good run for their money.

Well I'm off to watch something, don't know what yet, hopefully the tennis and then early to bed. I'm collecting Andrew from the airport at half past seven tomorrow morning so have to be up early. So excited!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Greatest Show On Earth

Sorry but it wasn't.

It would have been churlish of me not to watch the opening ceremony, so I did, besides I can't moan about something I haven't seen. Well actually that it is a lie to say I hated everything but we will come to that later. Our ceremony was I'm afraid cheap, nasty and at times toe curling.

So what did I dislike about it?

Well I'm afraid the list goes on and on but I'll give you a few highlights. First on my list is the stupid James Bond sequence that had the Queen supposedly parachuting into the stadium displaying her underwear. It wasn't her of course but it was made to look like her. How and why did the Queen allow herself to be dragged into something so awful and tacky. I nearly crawled under the settee in embarrassment. I suppose it was meant to display the famous 'British sense of humour' but if so it was totally lost on me. The drums were mostly plastic and were not actually making any sound at all, the track was pre-recorded. Cheap and nasty, when I remember the thousands of Chinese with real drums and actually playing them I almost want to weep. Then there was my utter astonishment when the camera cut to a man giving what looked suspiciously like a 'Nazi' salute as the German team arrived, how he wasn't jumped on and wrestled from the stadium I don't know. The NHS was represented along side children's nightmares. Well at least that was accurate I suppose, anyone who has ever used the NHS know it is a nightmare. Then we wheeled out Paul McCartney having learned nothing from his performance at the Jubilee concert. Have we really got no one else who could have stepped in?

Enough of what I didn't like, what did I enjoy?

Mr Bean! Rowan Atkinson was absolutely brilliant and his facial expressions had me hooting with laughter, if only we could have had more of him and less of, well anything else really. The forging of the rings was very clever in the Industrial sequence but did we really need to keep cutting to Kenneth Branagh looking smug, and what were the blokes in the top hats doing exactly? I always enjoy the parade, simply because I want to see the eye watering colours some of the teams dress themselves in.  A second laugh came when it was announced that the Italian team were dressed in Armani. I enjoyed the fireworks but who doesn't so no surprise there.

Only one thing truly impressed me and that was the lighting of the cauldron. Not so much the cauldron itself, though I must admit that was a triumph of engineering and was really beautiful. What impressed me out of everything was that seven unknown, up and coming athletes were chosen to light the thing. That was exactly the right choice and each was nominated, not by a celebrity but by a former British Olympic Gold Medal winner, how appropriate. It was a very pleasant surprise because I had had visions of Cheryl Cole, Victoria Beckham or that brainless bunch from Towie.

The saddest moment for me was when Mohammed Ali appeared. True he used to be 'the greatest' but he clearly isn't that anymore and, this is my own personal opinion, I think it is cruel to keep wheeling him out at these big occasions. Last night he clearly didn't have any idea where he was or what was going on and I half expected him to go flat on his face at any moment. I would prefer to remember him at his best when his mind and mouth were as fast as his feet.

Lastly, as much as I dislike the Olympics, if I were chosen to represent Team GB then I would embrace the opportunity fully. Unfortunately a few of my fellow countrymen, and a few from Scotland chose to embarrass themselves, their country and their sport by refusing to sing the national anthem. These people were footballers of course and obviously think they are doing everyone a tremendous favour by agreeing to take part. They should be dropped from the team immediately and replaced by someone who doesn't think they are bigger than the event.

And so I'll leave the Olympics for this blog and move on to other news.

The bathroom is almost done! It hasn't progressed as fast as we would have liked as we've both been fairly busy with work these last few days but all walls have tiles on them, with just the tricky bits that have to be cut left to do. The shower and bath walls are grouted but not sealed yet so at the moment we have plastic taped around the edge of the bath and shower. We now have two full days with no interruptions so we a hoping that everything will be complete by Monday bar the new shower curtain, I have yet to find the right colour, and the flooring.

Talking of work it has been one hell of a week. I don't know if it was the weather but everyone seemed to be impatient, snappy or down right rude. I actually hung up on a couple of people because they wouldn't stop shouting at me, something I rarely do.

The weather has affected me too, I've found it terribly hard to breath this week and my voice keeps going. Like anyone with lung disease PH sufferers find that anything too hot or too cold has a profound effect on their breathing. I've had to use my oxygen more often and have only really found relief overnight when it has been cooler.

Well got to go, I have a load of bed linen to wash and a wall to grout.

Monday, 23 July 2012

(Un) Sporting Behaviour

Well we finally have new British Champion and he's got nothing to do with football.

Bradley Wiggins has won the Tour de France, the first Brit to win it in its 109 year history. I know nothing about cycling or indeed take any interest in it but I can recognise the achievement. No doubt it will be all anyone talks about over the next few days and why not, it makes a change to have a Brit we can be proud of.

We have a shower! It is only temporary and covered in plastic as we still need to grout the walls but at least I won't stink my colleagues out at work tomorrow. Disaster struck yesterday when Peter ran out of adhesive, about half an hour before all the shops closed. Deciding that he'd never make it he busied himself with other things, like getting the last wall prepped ready to finish off the tiling tomorrow and removing the old radiator. So today we are going to have to go out which means a slow down of progress but it will be good for Peter to have a little break and at least we can wash now. The next couple of days are also going to be disrupted as Peter has work but he is off on Thursday so anticipates completing the tiling and grouting the shower/bath walls then. It is not going to be fully finished by the time Andrew comes home, as we'd hoped but it will be three quarters there and once home Andrew can help out.

Olympics Watch

I was hoping to say that I had nothing to report today, I was sadly mistaken.

Today's scandal centers around Parkistan and fake passports. A VISA scam giving potential terrorists the chance to sneak into Britain with Pakistan’s Olympic team has been discovered. A journalist was alerted to the scam and went undercover. He found that a crime ring was offering false passports, visas — and access to London 2012 as bogus support staff. They provided the journalist with a genuine Pakistani passport in a false name.

And in a second report a guard has been sacked by G4S after being accused of a nightclub bomb hoax. It is said the man dialled 999 to report a suspicious package when refused entry for wearing a hoodie. The trendy Kosho nightspot in Romford, Essex, was evacuated for a police search.  The guard, who lives nearby, was allegedly traced through his phone number and will appear before magistrates tomorrow.. G4S said: “We dismissed him immediately.” Maybe they shouldn't have employed this petty and  childish individual in the first place. I hope the court throws the proverbial book at him.

In other sporting news an attempt at cheating by Sebastian Vettel netted Jenson Button second place in yesterday's German Grand Prix. The German driver overtook Jenson to win back second place after a tyre change but to do so drove right off the track effectively cutting a corner. It was so blatant that the stewards had no choice but to give Vettel a penalty and promoted the outraged Button. Next weeks Hungarian Grand Prix could now turn out to be a bit of a grudge match. As for Hamilton well he suffered a puncture early on and despite running for half the race decided his car was too badly damaged and retired but not before upsetting Vettel by unlapping himself, so also not endearing himself to the German.

I like Vettel, he is a nice chap but like all drivers his desire to win can sometimes over rule his common sense. Hopefully he will learn from this mistake and will make sure he doesn't repeat it. The ironic thing about all this is that if he'd stayed on the track he could have caught and overtaken Jenson at the next straight anyway. Alonso won, a great driver but I just can't bring myself to like him.

Well in the end we decided to combine our trip out to get more adhesive with finding suitable bathroom extras like toilet roll holder etc, as ours are all wooden and will not go with the new look at all. I was delighted to find some deep Burgundy towels but struck out with cloth for the new curtain and blind. However we only visited one shop, and at a whim at that, so when we are seriously looking I've no doubt we will find something suitable.

In the end I managed to get Peter to just relax and enjoy the sun this afternoon, which I am glad about as he looks really tired. After all it might be the only nice weather we get and Andrew won't mind coming back to an almost done bathroom.

Well I'm off to take some of my own advice and relax for a couple of hours. I still have the ironing to do but I'm waiting until it cools down a bit, no point in pushing things.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Text Speak

People are more likely to text you than actually speak to you. Am I the only one who finds this a little bit sad? In a world where communication has never been easier it seems we are finding it harder to talk to each other. I wonder why this is? I remember spending hours around my friends houses, or at mine and we'd talk and talk about anything and everything. It cost us nothing, no one got offended by misunderstanding what someone meant and it kept us out of trouble. Subjects would be as diverse as the latest pop song through the usual teenage gossip and on to the current affairs of the day. I feel as though we were much more clued up about what was happening in the world than today's rather self obsessed teenagers are.

The tiling has slowed down a little today as Peter is now having to cut to fit and of course this takes time, especially if you want to get it right without messing up your tiles. So far, so good and things are really beginning to pull together. We are still without a sink and a shower but we were able to have baths last night so that doesn't matter so much. The plan is to at least get the sink back in and working by tonight and the whole of the shower and bath area grouted. Amazingly we are still on target to get the shower back in and working by Monday night.

Olympics Watch

Forget incompetence, we are now moving into the realms of out and out fraud.

A whistle blower, worried sick by what she saw, has exposed the activities of yet another firm tasked with supplying stewards for the games. This lot, Tungsten SIA, decided to fake NVQ qualifications necessary for the employees to get their hands on basic security licenses. The course for these qualifications is a year long but the lucky candidates were herded into Earl's Court, issued with the exam papers and then given the answers. With the advice that it 'would look better if you got some answers wrong.'

What really alarms me is that with these faked licenses these people will be able to walk into any other security post being advertised and they are completely untrained. And think of all the people who have given up their time and money to get the license legally. Will they now find they are viewed with suspicion and so denied work that they are actually qualified to do? Will any of us have confidence in so called security again?

A few pages on from these revelations is a full page article by Lord Coe telling us it is time to 'lighten up' and forget about the problems. No Lord Coe, we will not forget because what has happened has tarnished these games before they even started and if something really bad does happen you may not be Lord Coe for much longer.

I have given in and started on my emergency supply of antibiotics as my chest feels 'scratchy' and I've started to cough up gunky stuff. I have say it was a weird feeling giving myself antibiotics without my GP's say so but that is what I was given them for.

Andrew posted some fabulous pictures of himself on holiday. He has just ten days left and I can't believe it has gone so fast. When he gets back it is a nervous wait for exam results and then the scramble to get everything ready for university. Why do they grow up so fast?

The sun is out and it is actually quite warm so I'm off to spend an hour on the decking before the weather changes its mind.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

I Can See Sunshine Now The Rain Has Gone

Yes! The sun is out and I'm feeling that little bit better. OK not a huge amount better but at least I have got rid of my headache. With a bit of luck this lovely blue sky will stick around this afternoon and allow me to spend a little bit of time out in the fresh air.

It seems yesterday's blog caused something of a debate with a more or less fifty fifty split of opinion. I have been urged to continue my smear tests something I promise I will consider.

We did not get tiles on yesterday. Laurence arrived earlier than expected and so Peter called a halt having completed all the prep. On the plus side today he is racing along and almost all the shower/bath area should be done bar the grouting before six, the time he has deemed as 'had enough now'. It did mean an early start and I had to forgo my bath this morning and make do with an all over wash in the downstairs loo but it'll be worth it if I can have a soak tomorrow and look up at brand new tiles.

Laurence was in high spirits but bemoaning the fact that all he's been able to do on his break so far is watch TV while it pours outside, welcome to my world. This being his first year in his new house he is desperate to get out and sort the garden. However a few nice days have been forecast so any minute now I'm expecting a call with a question somewhere along the lines of 'how do I tell what is a weed?'

I have been accused of being an Olympics 'hater', this is not the case at all. True I dislike the disruption, cost and commercialism but to say I 'hate' the games themselves is far from the truth. What I do hate is the incompetence of those running the games but it is hardly unexpected. Incompetence is what this country does best these days. In fact if there were a gold medal for incompetence then Team GB would already have walked away with a shed load. It would, just for once, be nice to be proud of the UK instead of feeling like we have to apologise for it's failings all of the time. Maybe, when the games actually start they will be a resounding success and something we can be proud of, I really hope so. Yes really, I do.

Olympic Watch

Told you G4S could top yesterday's blunder.

The security crisis deepened yesterday when it was realised that terrorists could use uniforms and passes supplied to missing guards. A G4S staff trainer said hundreds of yellow outfits and documents had vanished with the staff who have failed to show at Games venues. And “Anyone in a G4S uniform would have a clear advantage if they tried to breach security. They’re not the sort of items you’d want in the hands of terrorists." 

Talk about stating the bleeding obvious, didn't they think about this when they started and ban staff from taking the uniforms home? You really couldn't make it up.

On top of all that only nine out of a possible one hundred and forty security personnel turned up for a training session at Old Trafford. So that's a possible one hundred and thirty one terrorists in the making then. I'm just wondering how long it will be before these uniforms start turning up on ebay.

Talking of bleeding, Peter's hand is fine, a deep cut but not so deep that he needed stitches. I stemmed the flow, bandaged him up and he went back to the bathroom.

I have been feeling extremely guilty about not being able to do much to help with the bathroom. To be fair I wouldn't have been much use without the cold, being unable to lift anything, hold my arms above my head or stand for long periods, but with it I'm a total loss. So I was delighted to be given a job this morning, well that is delighted until I found out it was to ferry cups of coffee and glasses of cold lemonade on an almost continuous loop. I was even less impressed with the 'woman get thee to thy kitchen' that accompanied the allocation. Revenge they say is best served cold, besides I want the bathroom finished before I pay back.

I did take the opportunity though to thoroughly clean the sink and it's pedestal while it lay in the corridor waiting to be reassembled. You can never reach the really tricky bits right at the back when it is attached to the wall. This involved nothing more strenuous than a firm rub down with Mr Muscle and all achieve sitting down but at least I can now say I contributed in a small way and not just with cups of tea.

I have decided that, taking into account the warm colouring of the tiles, I'm going to make up the shower curtain and the window blind in a rich burgundy. It will add a much needed splash of colour and make the bathroom feel warmer. I like fully tiled bathrooms but sometimes they can be a bit 'cold'. Peter, amazingly agrees with me so I'm off to buy the fabric on Monday, provided I feel better, before he changes his mind.

The only bone of contention left really if the flooring. We've decided against tiling the floor, too much of a slip hazard for me and too much work for him, the floorboards are not exactly even and a lot of work will have to be done before he even starts on the tiling. Our current carpet tiles, although in good nick, are now completely the wrong colour. I would like to replace them with either more carpet tiles or rubber tiles, which of course will be water proof. The trouble with that is they cost an absolute fortune. The current tiles will do for now so at least we can take our time finding the perfect solution.

Well better go and see how it is going and make a few encouraging noises, I haven't heard any swearing lately so I'm assuming it is going well.

Friday, 20 July 2012

There's Klingons On The Starboard Bow

You'll have to excuse the date on today's blog but I started writing this yesterday in case I forgot what I'm about to relate. So often I've thought 'I must remember that for tomorrow's blog' and then sat down in front of the computer to find it has gone clean out of my head. Not this time failing memory, gotcha!

This is probably going to offend at least half of the people who read this but I feel it has to be said. Please be assured I am not getting at anyone or setting out to intentionally offend, I just have a point of view that I feel needs airing so here goes.

I have noticed a slightly alarming trend amongst my fellow PH sufferers of late and that is the upsurge in the use of diagnostic machines. There are machines for measuring blood pressure, how much oxygen is in the blood, how fast/slow/regular the heart is beating. Really? You need a machine to tell you when you need oxygen? Can't you tell?

I have had PH for coming up to five years and when I first got in touch with fellow sufferers for advice and support the overwhelming one piece of advice I was given was 'listen to your body'. Now it took a while to get tuned in but by 'listening to my body' I can now recognise the very early signs of infection, when my heartbeat has changed and when my blood pressure might be up. I will admit to having a blood pressure machine, which I was advised to get before I was diagnosed, when they thought I had angina, it has no batteries and I haven't used it in over two years. I will also admit to having a stethoscope that I use to confirm a chest infection, that is CONFIRM, not 'look for' a problem before I go dashing off to the GP for antibiotics.

However it transpires that some PH sufferers will not retire at night before checking every vital sign first. Now I am the first to admit that those of us with serious illnesses tend to become a little precious with our health but there is a world of difference between taking sensible precautions and becoming overly concerned. I see this rise in machinery as a worrying step in the wrong direction. Let me explain.

I work on the theory of don't go looking for trouble because it will find you soon enough. I must be one of an extremely small percentage of the female population that doesn't go for routine smears or mammograms. This refusal to conform has brought accusations of being selfish and reckless let alone setting a bad example. Why? It is my body, shouldn't I be able to do with it what I want? I stopped going for smears about ten years ago when I missed an appointment and decide not to bother making another. My GP nagged and nagged about it but even she has given up and accepted I don't want these tests. I'm not reckless, if there is something amiss I get it checked out, as my recent trip to the breast clinic will testify. Since being diagnosed with PH I reckon that with all the tests, x-rays, scans and other examinations I have every year if anything nasty is lurking it will soon be found out so I've become even more relaxed. And to be honest having one terminal illness is quite enough, I could not cope with knowing about or having the treatment for another serious condition. There is a limit to my resilience even if I like to pretend it is infinite.

So back to my problem with self testing, picture this. You are testing your blood pressure just before bed on a Friday two days before Christmas Day. Your blood pressure is up, not by much but enough to make you wonder why. There is no GP service and your PH team will not be back until Tuesday at the earliest. What do you do? Do you rush off to your local A & E where you, and your loved one, sit with drunks for a couple of hours? Then when you see the doctor he has never heard of PH and sends you away with a tablet, which you are unsure you can take because you don't know if it will cause problems with you other meds. Or do you decide to wait until Tuesday all the while worrying yourself sick and taking countless readings, each of which is higher than the previous one, and ruin everyone's Christmas? Which do you choose, either scenario is bound to raise not only your blood pressure further but also the pressures of those around you. Wouldn't it be better to enjoy Christmas in blissful ignorance? Chances are it is only a temporary blip anyway, or would have been if you hadn't stressed yourself out about it and made it worse.

Can anyone see where I'm coming from here?

My final point, although self testing has its place, in diabetes for instance, any routine testing isn't always the best course of action. How many times have we read about women having breasts removed unnecessarily because of a mistake on the mammogram. How many have had horrible operations and chemotherapy that they didn't need because someone mis-read the smear? And the most frightening of all, how many have died because they were given the all clear after a lump on a mammogram or cancer cell in a smear test went un-noticed?

'Listen To You Body', probably the best advice I've ever had.

Smirnoff came in this afternoon and sat in the middle of the living room and stared at me. Nothing wrong with that I hear you thinking, that's what cats do. I also didn't think anything of it until he turned around to go out again. His entire right side was green, a mixture of seeds and those infuriating sticky ball things. Battle then commenced to remove the seeds and restore him to his natural sliver grey. I don't know what sort of seeds they were but they were hell to remove. Not only were they stuck really well into his fur but they had sharp points to them so I kept stabbing myself on them. Smirnoff himself didn't help as although he stood still for the first couple of minutes he soon got annoyed with me pulling and tugging at his fur and before long I was trying to avoid claws and teeth as well as the sharp points on the seeds. Eventually he ran off taking the remains of his unexpected cargo clinging to his side. Battle will recommence the minute he walks back though the cat flap, with some new additions to his collection no doubt.

Olympic Watch

Welcome to a new feature to my blog that will last until all the fuss and bother has died down and life returns to normal.

Last night it was announced that UK Border Agency workers are among thousands of Home Office employees who will walk out on July 26 in a row over jobs, pay and privatisation. Honestly it is getting so bad that it almost isn't funny anymore. For those who do not realise the significance, July 26 is the day before the opening ceremony and most likely to be the busiest day of the year at our airports. All I can say is at least they can't blame G4S for that one but don't worry Olympic Watchers, G4S are bound to come up with something to top that very soon and when they do you can read about it here.

The assault on the bathroom continues today but by this evening I should have some new tiles in the shower area. If I don't I'm going to have one grumpy husband as he is already muttering darkly about 'being behind'.

My cold is slightly better today, although I still have a nagging headache and a sore throat. I braved Tesco this morning to get loads of fruit and Tangtastics. My appetite has plummeted and whenever that happens fruit and sweeties always seem to be the answer. Actually the trip out helped as my head cleared and I became less stuffy. I did have other shoppers scuttling from my aisle every time I sneezed though.

Laurence is coming for tea today, and I'm so excited. I was hoping to make a cake but I don't feel up to it so I've bought one instead.

Husband has just come running into the study with blood streaming from his hand. I'd better go and check him out. I just hope this doesn't mean a trip to A&E.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Do You Believe.............

Well so much for my diagnostic skills. I've woken up with a thick head, sore throat, aching limbs and stuffy nose. So not just tired, I have a cold as well. Oh how I remember the days when I shrugged off colds and staggered into work smelling of Vick and clutching a packet of Lemsip. Now I have PH my body no longer has the energy and can either fight the cold or take me to work but not both. Sod it! I'm more upset because I've broken a long spell of good health, I haven't actually missed a day of work through illness since February, than I am at being ill. The one redeeming factor is that so far my breathing has not been compromised, hopefully it will stay that way. So it is out with the Olbas and steam bowl and on with a determined effort to get rid of it before it turns into anything else.

The Olympic shambles continues apace with only seventeen out of an expected fifty eight security personnel turning up at one of the venues yesterday. The crisis has got so bad that now not only the army but the police are being reassigned to fill in the gaps. Let's see how popular the Games are with the British public when they start having to wait even longer for police to arrive, if they do at all.

The biggest humiliation, so far, has been the announcement that the opening ceremony has had to be cut by thirty minutes because there will not be enough staff to get people in or out of the stadium quickly enough at the start and end of the ceremony. Apparently there is a real danger of people missing the beginning of the ceremony or missing the last bus home because of the longer queues this lack of staff will generate.

However what has really shocked me is the boss of G4S, Nick Buckles, insisting on keeping the full fifty seven million his firm were paid for their services. Hate to tell you this Nick but that money was meant to guarantee a full and efficient service, which you have failed to deliver. As a tax payer who has contributed to your enormous pay packet, I would prefer the money to go as a little extra into the pay packets of the poor soldiers and policemen who have had their holidays ruined due to your incompetence. David Cameron has vowed to get some of the money back, I hope he succeeds but I can't help feeling it is going to cost more in legal fees than will be actually retrieved.

And today it gets worse, 'TWO Olympic security guards have been nicked as suspected illegal immigrants', screams the headline. These two from Parkistan got through all the vetting processes and were lined up at one of the football venues, in fact they had actually been working for G4S for several weeks before their status was discovered. A G4S spokesman said  “It is highly embarrassing.” You don't say!

Do you believe in God?

I usually avoid religion in these blogs because it is the cause of more bad feeling, rows and wars than possibly anything else on the planet. However, listening to the local radio yesterday, I came across a discussion on whether God actually exists. The opposing views were represent by a blind man, no, I don't know why that was relevant either, and a vicar. Things were already getting heated, see my point above, so I decided to stick with it and turned up the volume.

As I listened I realised how narrow the discussion was, the only views being expressed by the speakers, and those phoning in, were those of the non believers and those of Christians. Mercifully our country remains one of the few who allow any faith to be practiced without fear of persecution, this is why so many other countries, who don't, hate us so much but I digress. It got me wondering why other religions are rarely invited into this sort of discussion. Maybe they are but refuse because they have better things to do, who knows. Ok, I know Britain is still, just, predominately Christian  but who is to say that it is the Christians that have the right idea. What if the Jews are right, or the Buddists, Muslims or Hindus. What if the blind man was right and they are all just fairytales that have got out of hand, what then?

The non believers argument is that science has proved that we didn't just arrive fully cooked and decorated but evolved over a vast amount of time and are continuing do so. The Christian point of view was that, while science might be right, something must have started it all off. And so the argument goes around and around and this is sort of my point. If you have faith you believe something happened even if there is no actual evidence that it actually did, I have never quite managed that. Yes I have had my spiritual moments, haven't we all, I have thanked God for getting me through my exams, my driving test and several operations. I can also pinpoint the exact, heart crushing moment when I decided there couldn't be a God. I also remember going into a church and screaming my fury at God when diagnosed with PH. If I don't believe why did I do that? I think the answer must be that we all need someone to blame when things go wrong and thank when things go right. It is much easier to chose someone who only exists in faith to scream at than a real live human being who might thump you for your outburst.

I don't have the answers, no one can have answers but I do know this, if your child was trapped in a burning car and was pulled clear and unharmed just in the nick of time you'd thank God, believer or not, weird isn't it?

The destruction of the bathroom carries on apace. Peter was rather pleased when I announced I'd be staying at home today and celebrated by knocking out the tiles in the shower. He is working today so I was left to wash my hair in the sink and have a bath with strict instructions not to splash. As I lay in the fragrant water I surveyed a scene of utter devastation, we are at that really horrible stage where it looks its worst just before the new tiles start to go on, and I hate it. To be fair Peter is doing his best to keep the mess to a minimum but even his best efforts have failed to stop some of the debris making it's way onto the carpet and then down the stairs. Still he has assured me that by Tuesday the majority of the bathroom will be back to normal. Looking at the hole where the shower head once resided, I'm beginning to have my doubts.

Andrew is still enjoying himself and has tried Octopus, which apparently tastes like pork. This may well be but if he thinks I'm serving it up with two veg for Sunday lunch he can think again.

Laurence is coming to tea tomorrow so I'm really looking forward to having one of my boys back under my roof, even for a short time. What he is going to make of the bathroom I don't know.

It is another afternoon on the settee for me today, I hope this cold passes soon or I'm going to get hooked on Doctors again.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Day Like Today

In a surprise move I am at home today instead of at work. My body ambushed me and as a result I am typing this instead of dealing with someone who wants to tell me in no uncertain terms that I am 'bloody useless' just because I cannot put them through to someone who is on holiday/sick/on nights.

I'm having what I call a 'can't be arsed' day but what other PH suffers will recognise as a 'nothing I can put my finger on just incredibly shattered' day. I knew it was on the cards, I've been building up to it for some time. First there was the disappointment of not being put back on the transplant list, then the breast scare and all the time I've had this nagging mild cold that doesn't develop but doesn't go away either. It has been stress city the last few weeks and it doesn't look like ending anytime soon as I still haven't heard from Papworth. It was bound to get me in the end.

I though I was in trouble yesterday when it took an enormous effort to drag myself out of bed. Once up and running though I felt ok so didn't really think anything of it and happily did my full nine hour day. However when the alarm went off this morning my brain was going 'get up, get up' while my body just went 'sod it, I just cannot do it today'. The body won, admittedly without much of a fight, so I called in sick and went back to sleep only to awake three hours later feeling a hell of a lot better. I feel so much better that I'm actually feeling guilty about not going in now.

Now I face the tricky question of whether to go in tomorrow. The sensible me says stay at home, you obviously need some rest while my guilt complex is saying you are letting everyone down, they are short staffed enough as it is. My problem is that I don't like staying at home for something I consider to be trivial. Unfortunately with PH something trivial can turn into something life threatening at the drop of a hat. All I can do is rest up and see how I feel later on, at the very worst it will be another six o'clock call to work to say I can't come in.

Our planned power cut on Monday went on longer than promised and as a result I arrived home to find the bathroom completely wrecked. OK, maybe 'completely' is a bit of an exaggeration but certainly 'a mess' wouldn't be short of the mark. The problem was that Peter spent the morning chipping away the old tiles and had planned to vacuum up the mess before leaving for work at one. Unfortunately by twelve there was still no power so he cleared up as best he could and left a note saying he would tidy up properly when he got home at six. Then he was asked to stay until ten so I set about cleaning the bath, dusting everything else and vacuuming up what was left. I'd done in half an hour but could have done with out that on top of a nine hour shift.

Yesterday Peter was at home all day so set about removing some of the fixtures like the shelves and peeling off the wallpaper. This time I arrived home to a clean house as he'd vacuumed everything before I got home. Today things are progressing at a frightening pace and all but the shower area tiles have now gone and he is sanding down the walls and preparing for the new tiles. Tomorrow, after I've showered, the rest of the tiles will go and the new ones will start to go up. From Friday I am restricted to baths only and will have to wash my hair in the sink which I have no problem with. The goal is to have the shower back in working order by the time I return to work on Tuesday, a bit ambitious if you take in our track record and our motto of 'if it can go wrong it will' but we will see.

It is raining again, usually if home unwell I like to sit in the garden with a book to get some fresh air. I will even do this in winter, wrapped up well of course, as it make me feel better. Absolutely no chance of doing that unless I want to put on a wet suit and reach the decking by kayak. To be honest I'm not entirely convinced that the weather hasn't had a hand in my downfall as humidity makes breathing so much harder, and if you have trouble breathing you use up extra energy and so get tired quicker. And I really think it is being tired rather than ill that is the problem today.  So it is an afternoon of DVD's for me, feeling doubly guilty because I'm not at work or able to help out with the decorating, damn my work ethic.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

By Jove We've Got It!

Just when you think everything is settled husband has to rock the boat by finding more tiles on the Internet.

Peter is a great one for Internet shopping, I also like Internet shopping, there is a world of choice and things are generally a bit cheaper if bought off the web. However you can't feel, or smell something over the Internet, and you can't get an idea of size. What you definitely cannot get over the Internet is an idea of the true colour of a thing, as I've discovered to my cost more than once. Fortunately, I think that is the word, these particular tiles are available in Wickes so guess where we are going this afternoon. My life is so exciting.

It was a late rise this morning, well late for me and I was surprised to find the sun shining. Surprised because last night, just after I'd finished doing my drugs the heavens opened and the rain really hammered down. The road became a river and the drain outside my house couldn't cope and started to overflow adding it's contents to the torrent. Around the back the patio quickly disappeared and we watched in alarm as the water crept up slowly towards the back step. Fortunately, after about fifteen minutes the rain started to ease and we'd escaped flooding once again. I don't know how many times we are going to be that lucky though as the ground is so saturated even a light shower is producing a minor flood at the moment. As for my water feature, well it is more of an under water feature and the rock must think it is back in the sea.

Taking advantage of this rare and sudden dry spell Peter hurtled out into the garden to cut the lawn, very carefully, and hack back some of the bushes that are threatening to take over the decking. He's done really well and has managed not to churn up the grass, he's been a bit more brutal with the bushes than I would have liked but with this weather give it a couple of weeks and we'll be back to square one anyway.

Hold the front page, we have tiles!

At last our search for and arguments over the bathroom tiles are at an end. Not only did we both say 'yes' the minute we saw them but they also turned out to be in the sale so cost us less than half the price of the tiles we'd seen on Friday. They are currently sitting in our hallway waiting to make the trip up to Laurence's old room where they will be stored until attached to the wall. Now the serious discussions about wall colour have started. Peter wants red, I'd prefer something a little more pastel and am wavering between lavender and violet, so totally opposite ends of the spectrum. Hopefully the colour will come to us in the same way the tiles did or we might be some time.

It it nearly four on a Sunday afternoon, I start work at eight tomorrow morning and I have yet to iron my uniform. All the excitement about finding the tiles has completely wrong footed me and left me with that horrible feeling that you know you have forgotten something but am not sure what it is. It isn't the ironing, I know about that and am off to get it done very soon but there is something else nagging at me. No doubt I'll remember once I'm on the road tomorrow, I just hope it is nothing really important.

Tomorrow we are having a power cut. Unlike ordinary powercuts that happen without warning, this one is pre-planned and we were warned about it weeks ago. It won't effect me but Peter isn't at work until after lunch so I have a horrible feeling I'll be coming home to find most of the tiling in the bathroom missing. Getting started is not a bad thing but like most men Peter just focuses on the task in hand and doesn't consider the more widespread consequences. Like the time he decided to sand a door down on the patio, nothing wrong with that you might say. Well no there isn't except he'd left the patio doors open and I came in to find the kitchen and utility room covered in dust. Or the time I came home to find wallpaper paste walked over ALL the carpets, or the time I found I couldn't make a cuppa as he'd turned off the electricity and then nipped out to get something from the shop. Decorating has very nearly ended our marriage on more than one occasion. Hopefully we will survive this project with only the odd row and not the serving of divorce papers.

Next blog in four days.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Ticked Off

I found a tick on Smirnoff yesterday evening. It was sticking out of his cheek just below his eye but not for long. A pair of fine nosed tweezers and a scratched hand later the tick was safely and completely removed and Smirnoff has been dosed with a fresh tube of tick and flea prevention treatment. Yuk!

Of all the things to forget when out shopping yesterday it was the ant poison. However there do not seem to be so many over the last few days so either I've vacuumed the majority out of they have decided to cut their loses and use another means of escape.

The debacle that is the G4S attempt at security for the Olympics goes on with it now being revealed that between 15 - 40% of those they have recruited regularly miss work. And that is before the games actually begin. When they have to actually do some real work the drop off rate could be even more.

To be honest any terrorist worth his salt wouldn't be targeting the Olympic park anyway. They will know that there is a very high chance of being caught. If I wanted to cause a problem during the games then I'd go for something more iconic and less well guarded such as the Gherkin, the new Shard or even Tower Bridge. I would not want to have to live or work in London over the next couple of months, it is going to be dangerous let alone hell moving about.

Here in damp, dreary Bedfordshire we will be perfectly safe. We have no Olympic venues and our only real area of risk is the main routes into London that run through our county. The most excitement we are likely to get is a massive traffic jam.

Since telling the helpful Indian gentlemen who are employed by Mircosoft that I have an Apple Mac (which I don't) my phone has remained silent except for those calls I actually want, result! I have had to put up with another minor irritation this week though, the RSPCA. These cold callers turned up at my door two days ago and tried to persuade me, not to give cash, they might have got something if they had, but to part with my bank details to set up a direct debit. Are they mad? Would anyone really give their bank details to someone calling at their doorstep? The pair that called on me tried the hard sell but I am tougher than I look and rebuffed every argument they came up with. In the end I just had to close the door on them as they just would not go away. Sadly there will be people who will pass on their details including their passwords to complete strangers standing on their door step in a blue tabard with RSPCA embroidered across it and official looking identity cards. They may well be genuinely employed by the organisation they claim to represent but what of the person themselves? How do I know what vetting procedures are in place? How do I know that my details won't be diverted to someone other than the RSPCA? I don't, and neither do you so my advice would be keep your details to yourself. If you are swayed by their methods and really do want to donate, do it on line, much safer.

After the frenetic activity of the last two days I'm having some downtime today. I plan a film this afternoon but haven't decided what yet, and have been listening to some music this morning. I started with the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album. I don't listen to this album very often as it is probably my least favourite but I drag it out for an airing now and then. Then out came Mike Oldfield's Discovery album, I was obsessed with this when pregnant with Laurence and played it everyday when I got home from work. I then decided to rock it out a little with the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge and finished my session with Plant and Page's haunting Kashmir. It is a long time since I spent time just listening to music, apart from in hospital when my ipod comes into it's own. I must make time to do it again, and soon.

It is raining again and I have two bored cats. In the summer months, when the weather is fine, I rarely see them except at feeding time. Now they are on my desk when typing this, on my lap when watching TV and on my bed when I'm resting. Don't get me wrong I love them to bits but you can have too much of a good thing. No, really, you can.

Well I've just got time to listen to something else before I make lunch, now what will it be.................

Friday, 13 July 2012

A Difference Of Opinion

Well it seems that even the security staff G4S have got are not up to the job. Most appear to be teenagers who are only interesting in the money and have been described by various trainers as 'uneducated slovenly yobs', at least half do not speak English. Even more alarming is that these people have only received four days training. What a great impression we are going to give the world. I would be very worried if I had tickets.

Actually there is a great cartoon in the Daily Mail that sums up the situation perfectly. It shows a spotty youth, complete with fag and hoodie, standing behind a table while a portly gentleman brandishes a handbag at him. Underneath it says, 'Let's try that again...you ask politely if you can search the lady's handbag...you don't snatch it then run off with her purse and phone.' Hilarious, or would be if it wasn't so close to the truth.

It must give the British public great confidence to know that G4S are now taking over many of the departments in our police forces, if the public think the service is bad now just wait a few years.

It is raining again and the frustrated gardener in me is well to the fore. I want to do some weeding and I want to cut the lawn, before the cats disappear altogether. Even on dry days it is not dry enough to perform these tasks. My neighbour cut his grass yesterday and it now resembles the Somme. Although I desperately want to do the same I'm holding myself back reasoning rather the Savannah than the Somme any day.

We finally had our argument, or heated exchange of diverse opinions, as I prefer to call it, over the new tiles in the bathroom. After a morning dragging from one place to another we finally agreed on a tile we'd seen in the very first shop we visited. Typical. Now all Peter has to do is work out how many we need, including wastage and then we can start the argument whether to paint or paper what's left. The need to re-tile became more urgent this week when a row of five crashed into the bath while Peter was having a shower.

Then it was off for a bit of food shopping and we scuttled down to Tesco to find it absolutely packed. There were no disabled bays and no ordinary bays near enough for me to walk so deciding not to bother I, in my wisdom, suggested Asda. This was a huge mistake as we quickly found out when stuck in the new one way system to get in. Most of the car park spaces were free as most of the cars were queuing to get out. Committed we decided to stay and do our shopping in the hope the queues would clear somewhat while we were busy. No chance. If anything it was even worse than when we arrived. There were so many queuing to get out they were blocking those trying to get in and it took us thirty minutes to reach the road. The cause of all this chaos is the new guided bus way being built between Luton and Dunstable which nobody really wants. We were so late that we decided to treat ourselves to a KFC before heading home to measure out the bathroom.

While out shopping I decided to buy a new moisturiser having scrapped the last out of the one I had this morning. ll I want is something that will stop my skin feeling dry and won't give me spots. Easy enough wouldn't you think, well think again. A whole aisle was given over to lotions, potions and creams all in expensive packaging claiming all sort of miracles. There were creams to get rid of my wrinkles and others that would get rid of my brown patches. Lotions promising to 'tone down' redness while more still offered 'a tint of foundation'. If I wanted foundation I'd buy bloody foundation wouldn't I. In the end I found a small modest bottle that promised to 'moisturiser the skin and protect from UV'. Why do manufacturers think adding more and more chemicals is such a good thing, and why do so many women fall for it?

After all the cleaning yesterday, I did vacuum and mop the floors in the end, and the trip out today I feel pretty shattered this afternoon so am planning a slump on the sofa with a box of cherries and a good book. An activity guaranteed to see me snoring my head off in fifteen minutes flat.

I turned on the news to find that John Terry has been cleared of racial abuse. Why am I surprised? He's a footballer and in this country footballers are gods so obviously can do no wrong. The powers that be could have used this opportunity to send out a clear message that, contrary to popular opinion, racism is not acceptable in football. Instead the message is that in football you can do and say exactly what you like and get away with it.

Still nothing from Papworth so I've emailed the Brompton.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Things That Make You Go......

We had a massive thunderstorm last night, the first in ages but did it clear the air? In a word no, we remain muggy and damp.

I knew we were in trouble when I left work last night. I was bathed in warm sunshine as I walked to the car and enjoyed feeling the sun on my face for once. As I drove home I became aware of a bank of thick dark cloud racing towards me. The closer I got to home the more clouds appeared until I arrived on my drive to a smattering of rain. As I got changed and laid out my drug paraphernalia it got darker and darker until I had to turn the lights on to see what I was doing. Then it came, large drops of rain hard against the window and the low threatening rumble. Lightening flashed and thunder roared across the roof until ten minutes later the sun came out and it was all over.

The breast clinic on Monday was a traumatic experience, not least because they charged a pound an hour, no concessions for disabled people, and the letter in my hand said I'd be there at least two hours depending on what tests I needed. I parted with three pounds for three hours, just to be on the safe side and made my way in.

I found the mammogram intensely painful and vowed that next time I find something I'm going to keep it to myself. The mammogram was made more difficult because of my line. I was of course asked it I could 'take it off' during the test and wasn't exactly encouraged when everyone including the doctor kept referring to it as my 'pacemaker'. After the third explanation I saved my breath deciding I'd only explain exactly what I had and what my machine was if further treatment was required.

I was eventually shown into the consulting room where to my relief I was told my mammograms had come back perfectly clear. The doctor still wanted to do an ultrasound, 'just in case' there was something the mammogram hadn't picked up but I was so sore I declined. He explained that there was a very small chance that the ultrasound might pick up something the mammogram had missed but I really couldn't face an already painful breast being squashed again. Anyone who has ever had an ultrasound or ECHO knows how hard they have to press. So deciding that a clear mammogram was good enough for me I left feeling a lot happier than when I went in. The door has been left open for me to have the ultrasound at a later date if I want it. I might take them up on it if my symptoms reappear but I don't believe in looking for trouble so I'd have to be really worried to do so.

I did two nine hour days this week and sailed through them without a blip, it would have been three but I had the breast clinic so it was actually one five hour and two nine hours. Next week I'm attempting four nine hours, I don't know whether I will be able to do it but if I can't I can't, at least I'll have tried.

This afternoon Peter is in work so I will have another afternoon on my own as Andrew is still enjoying himself in Bulgeria. So it will be out with the vacuum cleaner and mop, even though I got told off last time, and a quick flick around with a duster. It's amazing how much pleasure you can get out of doing things you're not supposed to.

I have yet to hear from Papworth and have decided to email the Brompton if nothing has arrived by Monday. I don't want to sound impatient but I spent six months waiting to be turned down by Harefield and I don't want to do that again. If it is going to be a 'no' I rather know now than have hope dragged on for nothing.

In the news O2 are upsetting their customers by not fixing their 'technical glitch' quickly enough. There have been a lot of technical glitches in the UK of late with the banks RBS, Nat West and Ulster all having problems over the last few weeks. Maybe they shouldn't have sacked all their highly skilled IT experts and moved everything over to the, undoubtedly cheaper, Asian sector. As my mother always says, you get what you pay for and if you pay cheap don't expect quality.

The same can be said for the debacle that is G4S and the security of the Olympics. With sixteen days to go G4S finally admitted they don't have enough trained staff to cover all the venues to the standards our ever paranoid government require. What a surprise, and the government's answer, bring in the armed forces, as if there are not enough of them attending as it is. Far from being the 'friendly games' they are turning into the most militarised  ever seen. Hardly a 'friendly' message to the world is it.

Talking of the Olympics the torch made it's way through our area Saturday and Sunday and was remarkably unmolested. I'd have put a bet on something happening to it but is seems it can't even raise interest in our most militant residents. I stayed away, I had no desire to stand shivering in the rain for hours for a three second glance, if I'm lucky, of the ghastly thing.

To add to my annoyance I had an email yesterday offering me a disabled space at one of the football matches for the very reasonable price of £850. I wouldn't pay that to watch Murray play in the final at Wimbledon or sit opposite the pits at the British Grand Prix. The worst thing was the way they worded the email to make it sound as though they were doing me a huge favour. 'We realise how disappointed you must have been to miss out on the tickets you requested, for the tennis event, so we are delighted to be able to offer you .....' The closer the games get the more grateful I am to have missed out. And now even the TV is nagging me, every time I turn it on up pops a message along the lines of 'to get more red button options during the Olympics press to activate blah, blah, blah.' I think the DVD player is going to be very busy very soon.

Well time to go and prepare lunch before Peter heads off to work. He is silently, or not, fuming as he has been waiting all week to get a chance to work on his car and the only completely dry day comes along when he has other commitments. At least yesterday he did manage to get some stuff done before the heavens opened thank goodness but progress is still painfully slow.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Britain Expects

Well yesterday turned into a marathon tele session if ever there was one.

I was under orders to record the Grand Prix qualifying so set Tivo for the required time then got on with making my lunch. Then sat down to check that the recording was going OK before flicking through the channels to find something else to watch while waiting for the tennis to get going.

Setting up my ironing board I flicked on to BBC 2 to check progress to find that qualifying has been red flagged because of the rain. So I extended the recording by half an hour and switched to BBC 1 for the tennis. Between sets I checked again and still no action and viewers were being told it could be another forty five minutes before racing started so I extended the recording again, this time for an hour. Another break in the tennis, another check on the racing and another extension. This time I thought 'sod it' and added the maximum of three hours.

So Serena won, as predictable as Sliverstone having a wet race and ever so slightly boring. There will be no boredom today though. The decision has been made to record the Grand Prix, with a big over run, and watch the tennis. After all the British Grand Prix happens every year, a British man in the Wimbledon final might be a once in a lifetime event. I've got Peter on tea and snack duty, I will do the same for him when we watch the race later in the day.

It was almost ten before we woke up this morning, neither of us can work out what happened but we've both had the best night's sleep for ages. The cats, who are normally demanding breakfast if we sleep in past seven were also asleep on the end of the bed. So a very late start in the Roberts household and one not help by me screaming the place down when getting dressed. In my bra was an extremely large spider. I screamed and screamed and the cat, still asleep on the bed, suddenly doubled in size and shot under the rocking chair. Peter came rushing in thinking the worst to find me in the corner pointing at the offending piece of clothing and it's passenger, which were now both on the floor. Once the intruder had been removed I finished dressing, with a clean bra, and set about trying to calm Tarmac down. All I got for my troubles was a scratch. I think it might be a while before I'm forgiven for that one.

I am seriously thinking of canceling my appointment at the breast clinic tomorrow. The lump has completely gone, everything is back to normal and I honestly don't think there is anything left for them to see. The other problem I have is that due to the short notice Peter has been unable to get time off to accompany me, which means I'm going to have to park outside the clinic or I just won't be able to get there. Parking outside the hospital is always a nightmare but the main site does have a disabled car park within easy reach of the warfarin clinic. The breast clinic is not on site but on the other side of the road and quite a distance further down the road. Peter says I ought to go just to be sure, he's right of course but if I can't physically get there what can I do? I will give it a go, maybe they have a couple of disabled bays on site. If mnot I will have to ring and rebook at a time when Peter can drive me there.

Well I'm off to cook lunch, and then settle down for a very interesting afternoon.

Next blog in three days.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

All On My Own

Oh my goodness, what a Friday and what a Sunday it is going to be.

I think I went through every possible emotion as I watch Andy Murray battle his way through to be the first British man in a Wimbledon final for seventy four years. It wasn't an easy match but I think that's a good thing. Up to now he's more or less had everything his own way, he needed Tsonga to test his metal as we all know Andy once down stays down. Not this time though, he held his temper and his emotions in check and came through. Now, of course, there is finals fever amongst his fans and much media speculation as to whether he can actually beat Federer. Well as I said yesterday anything is possible and he has beaten Federer before though amazingly they've never met on grass. It won't be an easy match to watch, but then with Murray it rarely is.

Of course it is also the British Grand Prix this weekend and unlike Wimbledon, where they now have a roof, the weather is playing it's part. Car parks and camping grounds are water logged and organisers are pleading with fans not to attended today's qualifying. Unlikely as it sounds doubt has even been thrown over the race actually going ahead. Of course driver safety is paramount but to cancel the biggest motor racing event in the country? Unheard of but then the weather has never been quite as bad as this. There were similar conditions in Canada last year when the race started, then stopped for two hours, then started again and Button went on to win. At worst I'm predicting a similar scenario tomorrow.

So which one to watch? Well unlikely as it seems we have managed to reach a compromise for once. If it is raining we will watch the racing live and record Wimbledon.. If it is dry Peter wants to work on his car which so far he has been prevented from doing so by work and weather. So I will watch Wimbledon live and record the Grand Prix to watch later in the evening.

Today I am on my own again as Peter has been called into work. Faced with a long empty day ahead I decided to get on with some house work. At time of writing I've already cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed all downstairs, emptied all the waste bins, cleaned the kitchen and mopped all the hard wood and tile floors. Shattered? Yes. Happy? Definitely, it is nice to know you still can when allowed to. This afternoon it is ironing while watching the women's final, happy days.

In the news seven potential terrorists have been arrested after their car was stopped on the motorway for......having no insurance. The stupidity of criminals constantly amazes me. If you were up to no good and planning on blowing something up and needed your car to transport you and your bomb to the target, would you want to draw attention to yourself by driving without insurance? Well no, neither would I, in fact I'd make damned sure my car was taxed, insured and had an up to date MOT. Instead time after time a car is stopped for no insurance and the driver turns out to be wanted, drunk, carrying drugs or doesn't have a licence. We've all seen it a million times on every cop show going and yet they never learn. It's a good thing these people don't have common sense or they really would be dangerous.

Well the time has come to nip downstairs and get ready for another sporty afternoon. Left over home made Lasagna for lunch, yummy.

Friday, 6 July 2012


I have ants. Well not me personally my house. I went downstairs, after posting yesterday's blog as it happens, and they were everywhere, flying ones included. As it was near at hand I grabbed the vacuum cleaner, sucked them all up and deposited them into the bin outside, a process I repeated twice more during the course of the day. Ant poison has been added to the shopping list, I don't like using it but I don't like having my home overrun by creepy crawlies either.

Eighty six flood warnings have been issued today, and our area is expected to cop it big time. To be expected really considering all that is happening in or near our area this weekend. There's the Wimbledon final, more on that later, the British GP, the Olympic torch arrives and we have the Love Luton Festival. To be honest the last event might have to have a re-think in the name as they are having trouble shifting tickets.

This afternoon Peter will be in work, Andrew is still on holiday so I'm all set to watch, what will probably be, the most exciting match of Wimbledon so far. Yep I'm talking about the Murray/Tsonga game. Like most Murray supporters I receive a constant barrage of negative comments such as 'is he on the bus home yet', every time he plays. This afternoon I will be able to watch on my own, uninterrupted and with everything crossed. On paper it is promising, Murray has beaten Tsonga five times out of six meets, however on paper it should be Nadal in the semi final so nothing is guaranteed.  If Murray makes it to the final he will make history and for many fans that will be enough of a pay back to make all the nail biting worth it. If he gets to the final could he win? Well anything is possible but personally I think unlikely. He'd have more chance against Federer than Djokovic but that's a whole different ball game, literally, and can be discussed tomorrow, hopefully.

In the news the hilarious and slightly scary police response to a fake cigarette designed to help smokers stop. This device contains a liquid that evaporates to mimic smoke fooling the user into thinking they have the real thing. It also has the ability to trigger a full terrorist alert and close a motorway for over six hours.

The comedy turn started when someone on a coach decided to have a crafty suck on this device placing it in a carrier bag between puffs. Not sure quite why he felt he had to hide what he was doing as unlike real smoking pretend smoking is not illegal. To add to this gentleman's problems he was 'of Asian appearance' so naturally couldn't be anything else but a terrorist up to no good.

Instead of approaching this man and asking him what he was up to the police were called and what ensued was the biggest over reaction in history. Everyone arrived, police, ambulances, fire brigade and the army bomb squad (I'm amazed we still have one) and the motorway was promptly closed. Sky news got completely over excited and sent every reporter within a twenty mile radius to the scene and a helicopter, the BBC, as always, were playing catch up.

Three hours into the event and the police, who had surrounded the coach with armed men, began ordering people off and into a 'containment area', a square of tarmac surrounded by police tape. Now I find this strange, if you think someone has a bomb do you really stand next to the thing that you think is going to go bang? No you don't and you evacuate the coach as quickly as possible don't you? So I can only conclude that the police already knew there wasn't a bomb before or very quickly after they arrived. So why the panic? As time went on the scare was down graded from a bomb to 'chemicals', possibly destined to make a bomb, to actually it was just a bloke trying to stop smoking.

OK, I know that the Olympics make us a target for every nutter going but a little bit of common sense policing would have gone a long way to solving this situation. Unfortunately this sort of knee jerk policing will become more common place over the next few weeks as every incident will be viewed as a potential threat. The police need to stop trying to be more like American 'cops' and go back to being good old honest British 'bobbies', they might find they get more respect if they did.

And finally the 'Shard', Why?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Don't Worry Baby Everything Will Turn Out All Right

Well my doctor certainly doesn't hang around. Within a couple of hours of me leaving his room I got a phone call saying I have an appointment with the breast clinic on Monday. Though I doubt I'll have anything to show them by then. I don't know what these antibiotics are doing, apart from making me feel slightly sick, but the lump is much smaller today and far less painful. This is the best news though as if things continue to improve it will prove that it is just an infection and not anything sinister. Phew, I can do without scares like that.

The battle with my weight continues and I've managed to drop four pounds since last week. Though many would celebrate such a loss for me it is a disaster as I've desperately been trying to put weight on. I suppose it is only to be expected with the stress and upset of the last week but even so, I'm now only a pound off square one.

Health scares aside on the whole I'm feeling a lot better in myself today and have decided to embrace the new hope offered by my referral to Papworth. How long it will take to hear anything is anybodies guess but I hope to hear something, anything, by the end of the month.

I was saddened to hear about the decision to close the Royal Brompton's children's surgical ward. They have fought so hard over this but despite all their efforts they've been turned down. I suppose it was always going to happen given that Great Ormond Street is only a few miles away but even so it must be a crushing blow. To me it doesn't make sense to close a department in one of the UK's leading heart/lung centers but then what do I know, I only use the services.

Today I'm having a rare session with my sewing machine. A few weeks ago I was issued with new uniform trousers as I'd lost so much weight the only thing keeping my old trousers up was the belt and will power. Being the numpty that I am I chose the day before work to try them on and discovered they'd been made for a giant, I had at least a foot of material bunched around my ankles. So I got out my sewing machine and after carefully measuring the length I turn the bottoms up and voilĂ , perfect fit. All was fine until I washed them, it never occurred to me to wash them first in case they shrunk. After the first wash they seemed OK so thinking I'd got away with it I continued to wash and wear in a complete sense of false security. What I hadn't realised was that with every wash the trousers had shrunk a tiny bit, however I then put them into the tumble dryer. Once again I'd failed to realise my mistake until I dragged then on in a hurry on Saturday morning. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror I realised I resembled a Bay City Roller. Horrified I pulled them down as far as I could, with the waist band balanced precariously on my hips, reasoning that as I spent most of my time with my legs under a desk I might just get away with it. Of course I'd forgotten about tea breaks and received some gentle ribbing from my colleagues while trying to enjoy a quiet cuppa and watch the tennis. So with no matches I want to watch and no sun to sleep in I'm spending the afternoon unpicking and re-sewing. This time I'm going to make them a little long and hopefully tumble dryer proof.

We have decided that the time has come to redecorate our bathroom. It isn't in a bad state, apart from a few loose tiles. The grouting needs re-doing and the wallpaper, yes I was stupid enough to wallpaper a bathroom, has lasted well but has now faded and is curling at the edges. We both hate having to decorate because we can never agree on a colour scheme. We have completely different ideas about everything and there is usually a good few weeks of power struggle before we finally hit common ground. Of course before the arguing can begin every DIY store, tile store or specialist decorating shop has to be visited for ideas and pricing. We are starting this process tomorrow, wish me luck.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

What a week! I was beginning to think a higher power really had it in for me and then, bam, good news arrived.

Went in to work on Saturday and immediately sent an email around informing my colleagues what had happened and asking that they refrain from asking me about it for now until I can get my own head around it. They obliged sending only a few emails or texts to say how sorry they were. Work was a much needed distraction and the day passed without event and without me sobbing over everyone.

Is it strange that I still haven't really cried, I've had a few sobs but I haven't really cried, it all feels surreal to me. As though it is happening to someone else.

Sunday morning I got into my car as I normally do and headed off to work. I'd gone approximately two miles when I noticed a slight knocking sound. I have tray of sorts under the car that covers something important which sometimes loosens up causing a banging sound when I go over lumps and bumps so I assumed it was that and carried on. Another couple of miles and the front end began to jump about and the banging was horrendous. Luckily I was approaching a lay by so I pulled in and stopped, I got out and did a quick loop of the car, no flats. Thinking it was a steering arm or suspension I quickly phoned Peter, then work, then the RAC.

Fifteen minutes later a huge orange truck pulled in behind me, my rescuer had arrived. I explained the situation and he grimaced at my description of the knocking and dodgy steering. Instead of just loading me he decided to take a quick look under the car saying if a bolt had come loose it might just need tightening to solve the problem and he carried a few spares if the bolt had gone altogether. He started to jack the car up and then called out in astonishment, 'where are your wheel nuts?' All but one nut, the locking one, had been removed from the passenger side wheel. I was taken home and Peter, who thankfully keeps spares soon had my wheel firmly fixed with the RAC bloke's help. After some discussion the only conclusion was that someone had tried to steal my alloys. They could have killed me and all for the cost of a bit of metal. Couldn't they have puncture my tyre to warn me that my car wasn't safe? Of course not, these selfish people do not think of the effect they have on others.

Anyway my second attempt to go to work was more successfully and I arrived shaken, not stirred an hour and a half late but thankfully in one piece. I made a crime report and it wasn't long before the enormity of what might have happened hit me. It would have been one of my colleagues taking the call reporting the accident, it would have been one of my colleagues coming to sort things out, it could have been one of my colleagues going to see my husband to say I was hurt or worse. Then I got angry, how dare someone do that to me and my family. All I can say is I'd better never meet up with them. They are scum plain and simple.

Monday was my darkest day. I don't know if it was because of the near miss of Sunday or just that something eventually had to give, but boy did it give.

The day started normally and everything seemed to be jogging along nicely then my supervisor asked to have a word. I'd been expecting this, no one can depart the news I did and not have someone decide to check you out. I was all right at first telling her what had happened and that I was 'fine', I'm always 'fine' even when I'm not. Who wants an ill person moaning all day long, I wouldn't so don't inflict it on my colleagues. Then it happened, the flood gates open and I couldn't hold it back. Everything came gushing out. Ten minutes later I had control again, cleaned myself up in the loo and went back to work. Then I had my regular meeting with the doctor from Occupational Health and off I went again. Back in the office I was casually asked if everything went well and, well you can guess. I don't know what happened, it was just as if everything came bursting out and once it started it wouldn't stop. I was shattered by the time I got home and spent the evening half asleep in front of the TV.

Tuesday and I had an appointment with welfare thrust upon me. I'm guessing it was made because of my meltdown. Off I went armed with tissues expecting another tear filled hour but nothing, not a drop fell despite some of the deeply probing questions on how I'm coping. Maybe I just needed that one day of sorrow, maybe it will happen again, who knows, but for now the storm has passed.

And then, just as I'm coming to terms with things, I get an email from the Brompton. They have looked at the reasons for my rejection and have refered me to Papworth as an urgent case for heart/lung transplant. I'm not sure i like the sound of 'urgent'. Of course they may just have done that as they think I've been messed around for long enough. I'm not sure how to take this news. Part of me wants to leap around with joy as there is still hope, the rest of me is desperately trying to reign the joyous part back in and has already started gearing up for another huge disappointment. Do you ever feel like you are on a merry-go-round? Then you know exactly how I feel.

Then as if life just can't stop throwing things at me this morning I found a lump. Large and extremely tender, I was at my GP in minutes. He ushered me straight in and after lots of frowning smiled and announced I had an infected milk duct, quite common in 'women of my age'. A course of antibiotics has been prescribe and a referal to the breast clinic as a precaution. I should have known, I've had cysts and one major scare, before. How I am not a nervous wreck I don't know.

I'm off for a lie down in a darkened room, someone pass the Valium.