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1 - Dad's 71st Birthday. Up ‘late’ around 8am. Foggy and damp out. Mum was asleep on the sofa - dad’s snoring seems to be getting unbearably worse and worse with his condition!! Left Dad’s birthday card in the kitchen and had coffee, cigarettes and Annadin tablet for breakfast in the garage. Cleared away my sleeping bag and the sun bed, swept the floor a little and made a space for the mattress when (IF!!!) it arrives (as much to disguise the fact that I am sleeping in the garage as make a space, to save my embarrassment when the delivery driver arrives!) Mum was soon up and we said good mornings and everything was ‘ok’ although I still felt rather up tight about whatever happened last night. I’ll soon forget - like most of my childhood! . . walked Sally in the mist down to Battery Gardens around 8:30 trying to relax, sat smoking on various seats for a long while as the mist dampened my clothes. Uh oh - text from Sis1 on the mobile jokingly sending me a ‘storm’ warning - a metaphor for the atmosphere back at M/Ds, which served to wind me back up rather! Sent one back saying “I’m just popping out for a while. I may be gone some time!” - something along the lines of that famous saying by one of the members of the doomed Scott of the Antarctic expedition just before he left the tent and walked to his death into the blizzard!! A wasted ‘joke’ - Sis1 had never heard of it. . . slowly back to M/Ds by after 9:30. Said happy birthday to Dad. . . back to the garage for more coffee and cigs as Sally staked out the kitchen door waiting for Mum to appear, which she eventually did, bearing a bowlful of best corned beef treat!! :o) No wonder Sally isn’t touching her dog food breakfast while we are down here. . . popped in for some breakfast for myself and then ended up returning to the garage and lying down waiting for the mattress delivery. HATE waiting like that!!!! around midday Mum popped out with the ‘expected’ news that the mattress wasn’t being delivered today!!! The van had broken down apparently. Bloody typical! Can there be anything worse than having to wait around like that for nothing - as is almost always the case when it comes to dealing with other people!!! Made me really annoyed! Tried to nap for a while but too wound up so ended up changing into my ‘work clothes’ and painting a bit more of the garage roof and a small bit of wall. Sis1 popped in for a chat and a break from M/D and to warn me Mum was ‘getting ready‘ for us all going out - but where? Sis1 went back in to try and catch Dad on his own and find out what he wanted to do on his birthday. She soon returned to say she’d phoned up and we were all gonna go to the Churston Court Inn for a meal and we’d have to be there within 45 minutes!!!! Mad dash to finish off my bit of painting, clean up the brushes and clean up myself. Suggested we go in my car because, based on yesterdays experience , it would be much easier with the four doors what with Dad always needing lots of help in and out of the car. Left sally in the garage and all drove in the heavy rain (first down here for at least four weeks) to the Inn for the carvery meal. Amazing feast - absolutely marvelous. Helped myself to seconds and then just a little thirds!! Ended up eating enough for two large meals. All agreed it was great. Mum and Dad were both happy and sweetness and acting like nothing weird happened last night at all, and it was really quite enjoyable. I guess that is just how they are - they can have no idea of the effect their last night type behavior has on me (and Sis1). Strangely Sis2 doesn’t seem to be as affected by it. . . after the meal as agreed we all headed the miles through Newton Abbot towards Totnes to ‘Fermoyes’, a particular garden centre M/D used to visit. Mum and Sis1 ended up having some toffee gateaux type thing with their coffee as we all sat and chatted in the restaurant!!!! I couldn’t eat another thing and couldn’t even face a coffee so stuffed full was I. Eventually all back home (wow did I have a headache by then with all that stress and shouted ‘conversation’ in the car!!) to excited Sally. Joined everyone inside to sit and chat for a bit but Sis1 had started up the conversation about the Benedon Society and it turned into an awful, stressful, louder still shouting match about what they should do and how they should at least try and see if they qualified for anything after having paid in all these years. I just couldn’t handle the atmosphere and shouting and sneaked back out to the garage with my head pounding for more Annadins and a very brief lay down. Everything eventually calmed down again with M/D agreeing to at least present the forms they had been sent, to the doctor for him to do the report the society needs before any further moves can be made. Sis1 made jokes saying the subject was banned from further discussion to prevent dad from becoming fixated on it and keep bringing it back up! I added to the smoothing jokes by laughing with Mum about all the shouting and how we both had awful headaches! . . rain had stopped so decided to walk poor old Sally who hadn’t had much of a day. Said goodbyes to Sis1 (Dad got all confused and started saying goodbye to me!) and headed off for the three and a half miles pooh lane walk around 6:30pm. Had to stop and wait on the road as a farmer drove out of a field pulling a trailer of HUGE bails of hay. Sis1 pulled up on her way home. Had a brief chat about the M/D situation, how bad we had both felt last night, how inexplicable it was how different they both were today, how terribly, terribly uptight being here made us both feel and how we both need a good time to recover after visiting, how I wondered if dad’s abilities really were as impaired as they appeared or if he had simply become childlike under Mums care/control, etc, etc, etc, etc!!!!! Said goodbyes and carried on walking as she drove off home (lucky her!!). My favorite woods were strangely spooky in the near dark with water falling noisily from the leaves and branches all around. Not so nice! Walked on through and out onto the beach at Churston Cove without stopping for my normal cigarette on my favorite fallen tree sitting place. Poor old Sally’s stomach was a little upset again - probably the new diet of best corned beef treats from Mum!!!! On round to Fishcombe Cove and then Battery Gardens for Sally to do some SERIOUS rabbit chasing as I sat on a bench in the dark under the strange roofed structure. Some guy’s small dog came over and jumped up all whining and wagging and wanting some attention. Sally was aloof looking for rabbits so I made the mistake of throwing his ball. That was it - for the next five minutes I HAD to play with him as his owner stood some distance off, ignoring him and chatting on his mobile phone. Uh oh - I’d thrown the ball and it hadn’t hit the ground!!??? Dabbled with the idea of pretending its loss was nothing to do with me but eventually succumbed to the poor little dogs pleading whimpers and got up and went in search! Luckily I put my hand more or less straight on it, stuck up somewhere in the roof and threw it as a distraction and made my escape with Sally!! Back at M/Ds, fed Sally, put the refuse bin out for tomorrow, and then joined M/D for some TV watching until gone 10pm (Sis1 called to confirm safe arrival) before heading back out to the garage with coffee. Eventually went back in for some more chats before saying goodnight and back to the garage to PC this and chain-smoke until around midnight.(4/10)a
2 - Up around 7am. Misty and everything VERY damp, including my cigarette papers which were all stuck together! More on the local radio news about the wrecked semi inflatable boat that had been discovered in a deserted cove full of half a million pounds worth of cannabis resin!! Yacht moored off Churston Cove, BrixhamWalked the big boots three and a half mile 'Pooh' Lane walk to Churston Cove etc. as the sun burned through the mist, keeping my eyes peeled for any floating packages!!! :o) . . Back after 9am. Sorted my stuff out and started getting ready and packing up for when I leave. Feel rather obliged to wait until this damn mattress turns up although I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if it didn’t come today either! Grrrr. lots of coffee and cigarettes in the garage. Sally was treated to a small pork pie and I couldn’t resist having the other one, having worked up quite an appetite after the walk and not having eaten anything since yesterdays lunch. . .waited! . . . yayyy – around 10:45 the van arrived and the two guys popped the mattress into the garage. Thank goodness for that. In pretty good condition and still in it’s big plastic cover. M/D came out into the garage and we all had a ‘go’ on the mattress much to Sally’s amusement. Certainly better than the sun bed. Coffee and chats in a sunny spell in the garden and then loaded all my stuff into the car and made ready to leave. Mum forced even MORE petrol money into my pocket when my hands were full, and then produced a goodie bag of stuff to eat, including some toffee popcorn! Mmmmm. :o) Said our goodbyes (M/D mostly to Sally!! :o) ) and on the road by around midday. Stopped for petrol on the way. Fast run home with most traffic doing up around 90mph except for where there was a police car cruising along. Everyone overtook that at about 75 before speeding back up and disappearing into the distance. Funny game. . . back home, after stopping to buy some milk, at around 2:30. All ok except the cat-attacked pond and garden which was in a mess. Called M/D to confirm safe arrival. . .bay window wall seems to have dried out a little. Grabbed a bite to eat . . .PCd this. . a couple of ansaphone messages and return calls to make but I really need to be quiet and alone for a while - well - this lifetime mostly!! . . . touched base with BB . . .walked and stopped for a sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . TVd . . . early to bed feeling pretty down and very, VERY exhausted.(3/10)as
3 - Up around 7am with a beeping noise? - I'd left the alarm clock on in the other room by mistake!! . . .walked - very wet and dewy but looks like a fine day. Found 7p. How different it is up here - another burned out car dumped by the field - guess with the dark nights it's that time of year again!! . . .dabbled with some more of the wall, some concreteing and some cutting of bricks with the angle grinder in the back garden - but not really in the mood and soon gave up . . . slept for a few hours . . . walked and found 2p . . . called BB back . . . TVd/PCd till early. Feeling pretty down and completely unable to reply to e-mails or ansaphone messages.(3/10)ssa
4 - Up late around 9am! . . .walked . . . mustered the energy to get a few tools together and drive with Sally over to Sis1s to look at her front doorlock which needs replacing (now the lodger has gone) and a TV aerial which needs re-soldering. Got there only to find she'd locked her inner door and I couldn't get in!! Made me really, really annoyed that I'd wasted the time and petrol (and mostly the 'energy') and left an unnecessarily short tempered message on her mobile ansaphone!! Looked at and removed the outer door lock only to find both of the locks I'd brought (from Dad's jars in his garage) wouldn't fit!! Drove back home and spent an hour or more digging amongst my junk and sorting through keys trying to find the old spare Yale-lock barrel I'd once had on my back door. Found it and three keys and then spent even longer de-chroming it and oiling and polishing it up!! That one 'should' fit - left another (still short-tempered???!!!) message for Sis1 telling her so. . . so much for my burst of energy - fell asleep for the rest of the day until around 6pm! 12 hours sleep today?! . . .returned BBs calls . . . walked and found 2p . . .returned ansaphone calls from a few days ago and touched base with ML and PS . . . TVd till late. . . PCd till early updating a bit of the school site with a couple of e-mailed contributions. . My b****y website seems to be mostly unavailable again! (3/10)saa
5 - Uh oh - not sure how, but what with PCing and TVing, all of a sudden it was light out and time for Sally's walk and I hadn't been to bed!!!!! . . .walked early - saw a fox near the field!!! Another burned out car. Sally seems to have an upset stomach and was a little sick and eating lots of grass!! . . . in danger of falling asleep all day so drove early to Sis1s and changed the lock on her front door and soldered up her TV aerial plug. . . Walked round the local builders and bought a couple of . . touched base with M/D . . . set the alarm and then fell asleep all afternoon until around 6:30pm . . .woke up to find Sally had been sick more than once in the house!! . . . walked. Sally is really unwell and didn't reach the field before emptying herself!!!!!! Oh dear. . Sat on the seat in the field for a cigarette in the dark and spotted what I think could only have been the inetrnational space station orbitting by from West to East around 8pm. Something else rather smaller up there as I watched crossing from South to North. Must be loads of stuff up there going round all the time - amazing . . . BB called . . . M/D called to say they'd spoken to Sis2. More upset and tears about the builders making a terrible mess of her house, etc, etc!!! At least a little good news - she has finally been given her three year work permit. . . touched base with Sis1 who confirmed she'd managed to get several new keys cut for the new lock . . . TVd . . . Sally is really not herself at all!!!! Totally off her food (even cheese!!) and spent the whole evening sat on her own out in the conservatory or in the garden!! Poor little woofer. Stopped typing this to go down and check on her - uh oh. Is that blood? Oh jeeze - I think she's poohing blood!!!!!!!!! Oh jeeze. . . lay on the floor in the conservatory with her for a while but eventually to bed around midnight feeling SO down! (2/10)
6 - Fitfull nights sleep and then woke around 6:30am . . . walked. I'm no expert but that really looks like blood she's poohing to me - and not much else!! If I'm right, surely that can ONLY mean something really serious!!!? Ended up imagining all sorts of things and couldn't help 'visiting in my mind' the experience of losing her. That's gonna be SO hard! . . . sat around worrying but HAD to do something to occupy me so ended up cutting the heads of loads of six inch nails and banging them into the top of the garden fence at six inch spaces, to try and stop the cats from using the fence as a highway to my garden. Probably wont work. . . M/D called to touch base - made the mistake of telling them how I was worried about Sally and of course worried them too! . . . as the day wore on Sally seemed to be recovering somewhat and even started eating again and sharing the crust off my cheese sandwhiches like normal. Fingers crossed . . . drove with Sally to the DIY store to buy some expanding foam stuff that I'll need to fill the void behind the cladding of the pillars of my bay window, and a new very long spirit level . . . sat around not wanting to be awake . . .eventualy fell asleep for a few hours after having eaten a cheese sandwhich - lots of dreaming! . . . briefly cemented just a couple of bricks back into the wall while watching 'The Dambusters' war film on TV. So when did they censor that for political correctness? They seem to have removed/altered mention of the name of Guy Gibson's dog!!!!?. . . Sally seemed much better and even wanted to play . . . LB popped in bearing two HUGE plates of left over roast dinner - one for me, one for Sally . . . walked around 7pm. To my enormous relief Sally's poop was much more normal than this morning although definitely signs of congealed blood in there. In herself she seemed quite happy and playful as though she was relieved to be feeling better. Stopped for a cigarette on the seat and called M/D on the mobile to tell them the hopeful news. Could it have been some really nasty stomach infection that is now on the mend? God I hope so. . . BB called . . . TVd . . . to bed around midnight. (3/10)s
7 - Up around 6:30am again?!! Dunno why I keep waking up at this time at the moment? Garden looks cat free for the time being. . . walked. Sally appears to be back to normal? Gosh I do hope so - what a scare that was!!! . . . touched base with M/D . . .good news in the post - my income tax refund - a cheque for 214. :o) . . . worked a little on the living room building site making a long rebate in the bay wall for where I envisage putting in all the sockets I want . . . cleaned up and did some washing chores . . . IHB called in on his way home. Took the opportunity and snapped a photo of him for the school site. :o) Apparantly he'd shown it to some of his pupils so I guess that accounts for at least 'some' of the rediculously high number of hits it's had (that and my poor site design!!) . . .PCd . . . BB called . . . walked in the cold dark, a bit later than of late . . . TVd till late watching 'Starship Troopers' - what absolute rubbish, but clever special effects. (4/10)s
8 - Up around 7:30am headachey . . . walked. Sally seemed to be really happy to be well again and was SO bouncy and playfull! :o) Another French magazine left on the seat over the field?? Kept it - still haven't given up on the idea of one day actually being able to speak a bit of the language. Carried on walking up to the building society to get rid of my tax refund cheque and to draw out some money. Couldn't resist buying a bunch more pizzas from the freezer store. Works out at 1 each - that's SO good . . . touched base with M/D . . . had a brief prod at the bay window wall and with Sally safe in the kitchen/garden used the angle grinder to cut in the first of loads of channels for the plastic wiring conduit I intend to cement in, up to each socket. Did the grinding with the vaccum cleaner going right next to me to try and suck up some of the dust but to no avail - whole house has a layer of dust on everything, everywhere!! . . .cleaned up and drove to Hanham for my 12:30pm six monthly dentist check up. Amazingly saw the dentist more or less on time! Unpleasant as always. She replaced the filling that had come out. SO tempted, butjust couldn't bring myself to ask if she minded if I took a photo for here for fun. Strange woman - hardly ever says a word and when she does, no one can understand her, not even her assitant so it seemed! Impossible to build ANY sort of rapor with her, never mind a conversation! . .popped in the nearby allegedly cheap store, but they didn't seem so cheap to me. Bought some more pizzas just to try a different type. . . cooked up one of the pizzas for lunch . . .fell asleep all afternoon . . . walked with Sally still in VERY playfull bouncy mood . . .BB called . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)ssa
9 - Up a little before 8am. Looks like the cat is still getting into the garden to trash the place despite my defences :o( . . . walked. Big queue of traffic and lots of police sealing off the road. Looked pretty serious - as though maybe one of the school kids was gone. Resisted the gruesome urge to go look - felt strange - like a clock had begun to tick, counting down the seconds till the parents were notified and their lives were shattered. . .cleared out all the books and CDs and tapes and nick nacks from the living room and stowed them in boxes upstairs away from most of the dust - let the PC run as I was doing so, downloading an update to my virus checker, then checking the system was clean. Cut more channels for electrical conduit with the angle grinder in the bay window wall - BIG dusty mess ALL over everywhere!!! Cemented in the five(!!!) metal socket boxes. . . fell asleep for a couple of hours around 4pm after grabbing a bite to eat. . . walked and picked up another French magazine left lying about over the field . . . did a little more cementing before eating yet another pizza - seem to be living on them at the moment. Is that maybe why I've lost a little weight? Seem to be slipping back down towards my 'usual' rakish 10st!!!! . . . BB called . . .PCd and ended up chatting to TS for the first time in about a year!! (4/10)a
10 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . .walked and found 2p . . . spent almost the whole day messing with the PC and downloading system updates, 'Service Pack 1' (over two hours!!!), and such. Took ages - had to stand by and monitor for hours cause the connection went down a couple of times! 'Touched' the guitar (after wiping all the dust off!) for the first time in about a year! Messed around and sorted out from the cupboard the two old black and white TVs I'd said Sis1 could have for her lodgers rooms. Took the one with the dodgy switches apart only to find the plastic inside had kinda gone brittle with age and there was no way to fix it. Stripped off a few useable screws and the flex and then put it in the bin! . .messed around online for hours more looking at all sorts of 'Warez' sites looking for a 'free' copy of Frontpage but all to no avail. Lots of free stuff out there - must be really neat to have broadband - too time consuming with a slow dial-up!! . . .a sprinkle of rain and lo and behold - signs of water penetration near the bay window!!!!!!!! I knew it - those damn windows leak like a seive! Gonna have to get even more serious with some more mastic all around the window outside at some point or else all this work I'm doing will be for nothing!!! Grrrrr!!! . . . .ended up not feeling too well and as if I've caught something, getting through several handkercheifs (or maybe suffering from breathing in all this brick and cement dust!!)!? Probably from IHB the other day - he said he'd had something - he is a teacher after all, exposed to all sorts of stuff from loads of people - as a hermit, I must be susceptable to catching it all! . . .cemented the five plastic conduit pieces into the wall up to the socket boxes. Temporarily fitted a few of the sockets just to see if I got the levels and spacings right - not 'too' bad. Feels like just a little progress at last. . . walked, and stopped off for sausage and chips takeaway . . .M/D called. Damn I'd forgotten again - Dad'd been to his doctor's appointment. Everything status quo, 'nothing to report'. Ended up all talking about their oven and its broken timer switch and how they really need a new one - dunno why every such conversation has to turn into more of an argument than a chat!! A relief to at length, eventually hang up! :o( . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd till late watching 'The Matrix' on Channel 5 - not bad. To bed before midnight exhausted. (4/10)
11 - Woken by Sally again! . . . PCd this and then found every time I try and connect my digital camera like normal, the bloody PC crashes and reboots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! F****** Windows XP!!!!!!!! Messed around trying this and that but couldn't work it out so ended up doing a restore to before most of yesterdays update downloads!!!! So yesterday was just a big bloody waste of time then!!! Grrrrrrrr. . .ended up walking Sally a bit late, so figured I owed her a decent walk. Drove her to the River Avon at Hanham. Wow - the water has been up REAL high recently. Hasn't rained, so must have been that autumn-high tide-Severn bore thing. Knew I should have gone to watch it when it was mentioned on the news the other day! What with this never ending building stuff going on (which is starting to really bring me down), I've totally lost track of the days! Have to look at my watch to see not only the time but also what day AND month it is (who cares which year!)!!!!! Seem to have entered a dusty twilight zone! Sally appreciated the walk and was quite simply 'joy-full'. SUCH a priveledge to have her company. . drove to the DIY store(s) on the way home and bought some more conduit and a double telephone socket. . . fitted all the flush sockets (double phone, double power, cable and aerial, double power, blank for speakers and such) without the wires (which can be routed any time through the hidden conduit from the recessed channel below, which will ultimately be hidden by the skirting board) to the wall boxes to check levels and spacings and - well - to just make me feel like I'm getting somewhere, even if I'm not yet really!! The alignment looks worse in the photo than in reality. It 'should' do without drawing the eye, although it'll be difficult rendering and plastering over them all when the time comes! One good thing about that angle grinder dust all over everything - it makes it much easier to see where there is damp and where I've cured it. . .PCd this only to find all my internet settings and a bunch of device drivers are missing!!!! F****** Microsoft and their 'we're so clever' Windows XP!!!!!!! Now what do I do!!!!!!! Wish I'd never gone anywhere near their bloody updates!!! . . .messed with the PC and reinstalled Windows as an 'update' but to no avail. Developed a horrible headache. . slept for a couple of hours . . . walked in the rain. First proper rain for a while. A drunk, being ‘escorted’ down the street by two girls, was all shouting and called out ‘hello’ as I passed on the other side of the street. I ignored him of course but then he shouted out all aggressive to the obvious embarrassment of the girls “well talk to me you bastard!”. I stopped and stared - the girls ushered him away. I came real close to crossing the street in my anger. . . . really annoyed about the PC messing me around and wasting so much of my time and couldn’t bring myself to touch it. TVd. . sounds of more drunks rampaging up the street - went to peek through my bedroom window. Watched and listened as two guys walking down the street drinking from bottles were deciding what mischief to do for entertainment. They decided to smash a bottle - “get ready to run” one said to the other and then with all his might he threw the bottle to the ground in the middle of the road covering the street in broken glass. They both ran off all ‘excited’. What absolute mindlessness!!! I am SO offended by such behavior. And they weren’t ‘children’ - definitely ‘young men’. Good job I don’t own a rifle! . . TVd till the early hours. (4/10)asd
12 - Up around 7:30am . . . sunny again after lots of rain overnight . . .walked and found 2p. . . really didn’t want to do it but eventually persuaded myself to start working on my ‘building site’. Covered the TV and other stuff with old sheets, shut sally safe in the kitchen, closed all the inside doors, propped the front door open, and then used the angle grinder to cut an inch wide and deep groove right down the wall from ceiling to floor near the front door to take some conduit for the mains cable. Lifted a floorboard in the bedroom to make sure I was coming up in the right place next to a joist. Awful awful dusty business. Took AGES! Eventually cemented in the conduit and then spent about as much time trying to clean everything up and vacuum away all the brick dust. Despite the closed doors there is a layer on everything everywhere. Eventually got back straight-ish by early evening. That one little part of my building site took a full nine hours - and I’ve at least another to do like that, maybe two!!! At least in theory I am now in a position to be able to connect up those new sockets to the mains whenever I want! I looked like I’d been working down a mine!! Covered in dirt and dust!! Had a shower and cleaned myself up and - uh oh - what the hell is THAT!!!!! Never had anything like that before!! Gonna have to check the doctors book at some time!!!! Embarrassing! What a pain in the ass! Jeeze I’m getting old and starting to fall apart! :o( . . . walked and found 2p. Sis1 called on the mobile as I was walking and said she’d pop over to pick up the old black and white TV I didn’t want. Sis1 arrived soon after I got home. Chats and then both called M/D to touch base. Strange phone conversation - Dad is definitely less and less ‘with it’ as time passes!! :o( . . . Sis1 eventually left and I finally ate (pepperoni pizza loaded up with extra cheese, mushrooms and onions) for the first and only time today!! . . . BB called to touch base . . . TVd but so, Sooo tired, ended up in bed before 11pm. (4/10)
13 - Woken by Sally climbing up onto the bed around 6:30am! . . . PCd this temporarily on the laptop!! . . . walked and found a penny . . . set about trying to figure out how to resolve my PC problem. Messed around and messed around for hours as the wind and rain of a proper gale battered the house!! At least it looks as though my fix on the conservatory roof was successful. Started reinstalling windows (again!) only to discover a ‘repair’ option, so I had a go at that. An hour or two later it was all installed and – damn – still the same problem!!? It wont allow me to add a dial up network account - “Cannot load the Remote Access Connection Manager Service – Error 711” and insists I have a broadband connection!!??? I wish!! . . Eventually got all Buddhist about it – tried to save what I could on another drive and then reinstalled windows again proper, like a fresh install, deleting EVERYTHING on the drive! Bit nerve-wracking having to reactivate the software by calling Microsoft on the phone, but it was all done automatically without talking to a human and without a hitch – which actually seemed a bit weird since it’s already been activated once!!? Spent more hours trying to rebuild everything and get back up and running. Actually a valuable experience – figured out a few things which will make it much easier for me to safeguard my ‘valuable’ data files in the future. Still hours of fiddling to do yet. . .eventually couldn't put it off any longer and got all wrapped up in waterproofs and braved the weather and walked Sally. VERY cold and wet and windy! . . . BB called . . .M/D called . . . TVd till late. Put the gas fire in the living room on for the first time this winter. Seemed to end up feeling pretty ok about things, probably thanks to the PC problem working out pretty ok in the end. (5/10)as
14 - Woken by a dog in my ear around 7:15am. Wonder how she will adjust when the clocks change?. . . still raining but a little less windy. Walked after spending an hour or more downloading updates for my virus checker. . .PCd some more but what appeared to be ISP trouble made me leave it till later . . .put the net curtains from the living room in the wash - suddenly realised they really looked awfully brown and dusty from outside! Put the central heating on for a bit, half expecting it not to work but everything appeared to be ok, despite being well overdue for a drain and clean out of the system - and I never did put any of that anti corrosion stuff in the water!! Nice to be warm - felt real decadent. :o) . . .ended up kinda doing nothing all day! Banged on the window and shouted, all old-manish, when the next door neighbour's son came home from school for lunch with a group of his friends and they started throwing 'missiles' around in the back yard and lane. . . CC called right in the middle of me frying a lunch so I was a bit rude and said 'not now!' and called her back after I'd eaten. I felt a bit awkward - like I've nothing much to say to anyone these days, never mind just 'chatting' - seemed to be far too many awkward silences for my liking. . . fell asleep for a few hours . . . walked. Kinda pleasant out - the calm before the storm, according to the forecast! Walked up the kebab shop and treated myself to a kebab. Real expensive - I could feed myself for three days from the freezer for the price of one kebab!!! . . . BB called . . . TVd the night away. Dug my 'Reader's Digest Family Medical Adviser' out of a cupboard and looked up 'piles'!! Same thing as 'haemorrhoids' apparently!!!! Seem to recall lots of adverts on American TV for haemorrhoid creams and such so I guess it must be common - don't get any of those adverts here? If that IS what's going on with me, then it is a real mild case, but god knows why!!! Bloody embarrassing and unpleasant! Presumably it'll just go away in time. . . attempted to PC until around 4am but still appear to have ISP problems. Such bad timing - not sure if it is the ISP or me! Can't send any e-mails from my main account!!!? Two other ISPs seem to be working fine so my money is on the cable ISP - again! (4/10)as
15 - Woken early by Sally but managed to push her off and sleep on till around 9am. Slow getting out this morning - TERRIBLE wind and rain! The forecast was right again like usual. Walked in rubber! Came back home and did an emergency trim of my honeysuckle in the back garden. It's become so overgrown, the strong winds were threatening to tear it off the old rotten wood trellis! Trimmed it back and then cut off and pulled out a load of the dying reeds from the pond and put everything straight in the bin. Should have done all that yesterday (when it wasn't pouring down with rain and threatening to blow me off the step ladder) but just far too lazy. Like it or not, I HAVE to shop today. . .PCd trying to get to the bottom of my Cable ISP connection and mail problem. Set up a new mail account and connection but same results. Utterly convinced it was the ISP. Surfed looking for a phone number to complain on and found they have changed stuff and I now have to use a premium rate 50p a minute phone line for dial-up issues!!!!! Outrageous!!!!! Bit the bullet and called. I must have been the customer from hell – complaining about the cost, insisting it was THEIR problem and generally being short tempered and awkward and trying to speed the poor guy along as he infuriatingly treated me like someone who’s never touched a computer before. Went round and round in circles letting him tell me to change this setting and check that setting, and make this new connection and that new mail account, but all the while knowing I’d already done all that, and then some, and all to no avail! To cut a long story short, I gave up and hung up after a twenty minute phone call!!!!10+ for nothing?!!!!! Infuriating. Just to prove it WAS their problem and intending to demand a refund of my phone charges I connected up the laptop and got connected up and – and – uh oh?!!! Everything was ok??? It WASN’T the ISP!!!!!! In desperation back on my main machine I thought I’d wipe the slate completely clean and delete ALL my connections and mail accounts and start completely from scratch with a reboot or two along the way just to make sure. Lo and behold, after I’d set up the accounts (YET again – exactly as I’d already done before) everything was fine! It MUST have been a corrupt file or a quirk of XP or something??? Weird! Felt real stupid – and guilty. Phoned the helpline back and tried to speak to the guy I’d spoken to before, but that wasn’t possible, so I had to laboriously explain to someone else what had been going on, and ask that he convey my apologies for being SUCH a rude and difficult, smartass so and so. Must have cost me another 4 to try and apologise!!!! Hummph! :o( . . . eventually braved the wind and torrential rain, left Sally at home and drove up to shop. Pushing my trolley up and down the aisles of the store, my mobile rang – just like one of those people that really annoy me when they chat all loud on their phones in a store!! It was JB! Haven’t spoken in ages – rather didn’t think we would again. Promised I’d call her back when I was at home. . . back home touched base with JB. All seems ok . . . ate pizza . . . did chores . . .LB called asking if the car parked outside her house had been dumped (as if I would know?!!) She seemed outraged it was there in ‘her’ spot, especially since it was untaxed. Bit my tongue – it was only a few months ago hers was untaxed for a month or so! Uh oh – her guy is on holiday and he was supposed to be feeding her cats for her this weekend!! Thankfully she didn’t ask me – I AM gonna HAVE to say no if she does. It’s gonna be difficult because she has offered to get me some duty free tobacco!! . . . walked a little early . . . left Sally at home and went along to the local school where, a leaflet put through the letter box had said, there was a meeting of local Labour Bristol City councillors who wanted to hear ‘views and ideas’ from the community. One of the listed priorities was ‘tackling crime and the fear of crime with the police’ (and anti social behaviour) - a sore point of mine given my experiences over these last few years. I shouldn’t have gone of course. There were only about twenty people there, and most, so it seemed, were councillors! Felt VERY much an outsider and really couldn’t quite see what on earth they were attempting to achieve. Reminded me SO much of ‘meetings’ at work – all hot air and good intentions but a total waste of everyone’s time. Seems to me, a new youth club in some ‘deprived’ area, and more frequent buses aren’t gonna make a damn bit of difference to drunks abusing me in the street and me living each day waiting for the next assault on me, my standard of living or my property! Stuck it out so as not to appear rude, but was SO glad when it was over and I could escape back to my undemanding solitude. Never again. Politicians! Hah!!! :o( . . . TVd but SO exhausted, early to bed before 11pm. (4/10)aa
16 - Sally along the River Avon at HanhamUp a little before 8am after a full nights sleep for a change . . . not raining so drove Sally down to the River Avon at Hanham for walks and to see how high the river was after all the torrential rain. It was big and brown and fast flowing, but not even up over the path - I've seen it higher. Sally seemed unusually happy to run off out of sight chasing squirrels and exploring on her own in the woods for longer than I was comfortable with. She seems to be more self confident somehow maybe? Dogs have 'moods' too. :o) . . drove home via the pet store - bought a big sack of 'Pal complete' food and chewy things for Sally. Back at home she was still acting a bit 'different' and wore me out wanting to play, lots! . . . PCd. Yet another nutcase leaving messages on my guestbook who thinks I am some other, more wealthy, 'pythonesque' Terry Jones!! Don't these people actually read what they surf? Sheesh! . . .uh oh - Sally seems to have yet another upset stomach!? Pretty convinced she has a 'fragile' stomach which is constantly being upset by her scavenging every edible morsal amongst the piles of litter while we are out walking!!! . . . managed to actually sit and reply to an e-mail from DS. First one I've written for what seems like months!! The effort wore me out and I fell asleep for an hour!!? Dunno what it is about using the PC these days - it actually makes me physically exhausted after only very short periods??. . .BB called . . . walked . . . M/D called just as I was making some food. Weird how the simplest conversation with them now, seems to take forever. Dad's short term memory seems to be getting worse by the day! . . .TVd the rest of the evening. To bed around midnight. (4/10)as
17 - Woke around 7am. Chilly - people scraping frozen dew off their windscreens . . . walked . . . cemented. Same old story - damp earth, loose bricks, big hole, another bag of concrete poured in to underpin the wall!!! Sally was sick in the garden at one point, but it appeared to be a fur ball so nothing to worry about. She is shedding HUGE amounts of fur all over the place and I guess she is bound to swallow some, when she grooms herself occassionaly. . .fell asleep for a few hours . . . put the case back on the PC and tidied up the PC room just a little. PCd and had a look at the site (www.upmystreet.com) that was mentioned in the blood donor magazine that came in the post today. Pretty neat site being able to look at crime figures and house prices and such for my postcode area and even compare different areas. Clever . . . LB called saying she was throwing stuff away from out of her freezer because she was clearing it prior to getting a different one from someone. Popped up - gave her money for duty free tobacco - and said yes, no, yes, no and ended up coming home with a carrier bag full of food! . . . walked . . . cooked up some chips and a pork chop LB had donated. Figured I'd make it a proper 'LB tea' so cracked open a bottle of red wine and had a glass. Would have been a nice meal if I hadn't decided to fill up my salt cellar and then forget to screw the top back on - dumped the whole lot straight on my chips!! Idiot! Very salty! Finished it off with a chocolate cakey spongey thing she'd given me. Ended up with a stomach ache for the rest of the evening! . . . BB called . . . TVd till late. (4/10)ad
18 - Woken by Sally. Somehow rubbed my eye when I was half awake only to find there was something in it, which seemed to scrape across my eye and cause a lot of discomfort!! Bloodshot gritty, bleary eye for the rest of the day?! . . . PCd briefly looking at the weather forecast and the news and such. A local news article had details of the nutcase that had just been sent to prison for viciously stabbing to death a city barmaid. The report seemed to make a great deal of the fact that he had been diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder!!! Jeeze - and I have that on MY medical records!!! Jeeze! :o( . . . walked . . . put the house plants out in the drizzle and later hosed them down trying to get rid of their covering of dust! . . . cemented a couple more bricks back into the wall. I've reached the point where I'm next gonna have to move the TV and knock out the alcove unit it sits on! Difficult . . . next door neighbours boy came home to lunch with all his rampaging friends again. Had a bit of a go at one of them and told him to "Get DOWN!", when he started climbing up onto their bathroom roof!! . . . suffered a terrible headache all day. Maxed out on the number of annadins I can take but all to no avail. Tried to sleep it off for an hour or so but woke with the same (or worse!) headache!!!? . . . TVd . . . BB called . . . walked and found 1.01 :o) Very cold clear night. Popped in the chip shop for sausage and chips takeway on the way home. Headache finally cleared at last. . . LB called telling me her kitten with the breathing problems was home after it's major operation and seemed to be doing ok. 600+ Ouch!!! . . . set up the timer on the central heating and TVd till late all warm.(4/10)aaaaas
19 - Woken 'early' by Sally again! Amazing mostly clear sky and a covering of frost and ice on everything! My front gate is open? Someone 'prowling' in the night? My gritty eye seems to have calmed down thank goodness but a headache again! Annadin tabs for breakfast . . .walked in the frost and the low sun. Evidence of rampaging idiots over the field letting off fireworks all over the place including in the poop scoop bins - some melting of the plastic!! Every night for months now someone is letting off fireworks somewhere!! Found a couple of music CDs all dew/ice covered and thrown in the grass? Walked down past where there had been the accident the other day. As I'd thought, it WAS a fatality - sad wilting bunches of flowers had been tied to a nearby lamp post. Popped in for milk on the way home. . . . sat at the PC, dried off the CDs I'd found and had a play. Shame about the choice of music - I am NOT 'So Horny' - remixed half a dozen times!!! :o) lolol The other CD, which appeared to have been some freebie in a national newspaper at some time and which was actually in the wrong case, wasn't bad. A compliation of all sorts of stuff from 'California Dreaming' (which, having just been for a walk on a winters day, seemed good as ever), to Tom Jones 'It's Not Unusual' (well - every compilation has to have a dodgy one doesn't it!). I haven't listened to any music for ages - was kinda fun - 'Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am . . '. . . messed about in the living room building site for a while. Temporarily put the TV back into the window bay on a coffee table, bundled up all the wires and cables out of the way and then smashed out the old brickwork from the built in unit in the alcove. Hacked off only enough of the old plaster to reveal the first few courses of bricks which I am gonna have to attend to next. The amount of damp in that corner surprised even me - touching a few of the bricks actually resulted in WET fingers!! . M/D called to touch base . Very soon ran out of steam and ended up clearing up, then falling asleep for a few hours. . . BB called . . . walked . . . TVd till late. (4/10)as
20 - Woken by insistant Sally around 3am - she needed to use the garden! I'm gonna have to try changing her diet to probably just the dry complete food - her stomach upsets seem to be almost now a constant feature!!! Worrying!! . . .back to sleep and up again just before 7am . . . walked in the rain. Someones wheely bin had been relocated by drunks in the night and was sat alone and lost, just down the road. It had the house number painted on it but not the road name. Walking back from the field with Sally, I took a slight detour to check out that number up the road - it had a bin, so detoured again and found a house of that number up a side street. No sign of a bin so knocked on the door and asked (the house of the shouting single mother of several, who I can often hear screaming and shouting at the kids from my back yard!). It WAS hers - she'd already been out to get rid of some rubbish, to find her bin - not! Walked down with Sally and brought it back for her. She lives in one of those old fashioned houses that doesn't have a front yard - front door opens right out onto the pavement. Council don't seem to have consiered that when providing everyone with those huge wheeled bins. Where the hell is she supposed to put it?!! If it was me, I'd have a big metal staple anchored in the house wall and a chain round the bin handles!! . . . excavated the next bit of the living room wall and to my great disappointment uncovered the biggest problem I've had so far. Not only the usual piles of damp earth and loose bricks that can be removed by hand but also a large cavity beneath the concrete floor and in places the floor is only half an inch thick, kinda hanging in mid air!!!! Big hassle. Big, BIG hassle. Didn't get much further - had to sit and work out a plan of action that wouldn't see the floor 'snapping' half way across the living room, or the front wall of the house collapsing where I've removed so many bricks at once! I figure I'll have to drive in at least two, maybe more, bags of concrete to underpin everything! Then I'll have to wait AGES for it to cure and dry out!!! Didn't bother driving to buy any bags of concrete. Until this stormy weather clears, which isn't for at least a couple of days, I can't do any concrete mixing in the garden anyway! What a pain. If only JE had done a proper job when he layed this floor, instead of just botching it for the sale. Grrrrr!! Cleared up and gave up for a while . . . PCd . . . BB called . . . finally ate around 6pm. A couple of chicken kiev things LB had given me, with chips. . . walked in the rain . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)as
21 - Up late and walked even later. No 'particular' reason I could think of, but felt really down this morning. Sally too didn't seem quite herself, and was even off her food a bit! I seem to spend more time worrying about her than most anything else! . . . forecast was for showers but it cleared up rather well so I just HAD to think about doing the concreting in the living room. Left Sally at home and drove to the DIY store and bought three bags of concrete. . The 'floating' living room wall!Had no choice but to remove another brick or two, leaving the house floating in mid air!!! Pushed in a sheet of plastic damp-proof-course under the existing (which incredibly is actually wet to the touch!) , beneath the floor to give me something to join to when it's done, and then mixed up and poured and rammed in a bag and a half or so of concrete. Mothers old rubber washing up gloves came in real handy for forcing the concrete into the awkward void beneath the floor!! Not perfect but it'll just HAVE to do. That is gonna take forever to dry out!!! . . .Sis1 called (she was off work sick) asking if I would house sit for her some time, when she has to get a gas man in to do a job. Damn, damn, damn - as if I haven't enough on my own plate right now without having to indulge in my worst nightmare - sitting wasting a day waiting for someone to 'maybe' arrive! Grrrr. Said ok because I felt I had to, but made it pretty clear I didn't want to!! Not happy. She mentioned she was thinking of visiting M/D again soon, not because she 'wanted' to, but more out of guilt. I know that feeling!! :o( . . called her back after having thought a bit suggesting that her being sick and visiting M/D was maybe not a good combination right now!! . . . cleaned up and grabbed a sandwhich mid afternoon watching a bit of the news. Live coverage of where someone was arrested in the states by the police searching for the lunatic sniper that has been killing people at random. Held my breath hoping upon hope that it WAS their man . . . fell asleep for an hour or two. Lots of dreams - unusually remembered the last one - I'd gone away for a couple of days only to return to find six people had moved into my house and I was gonna have to share it with them!!! An avoidant's nightmare I guess. lol :o) Woke feeling less down . . . BB called . . . walked. Looks like a full moon - still no rain but sodden under foot and much warmer than of late - would almost be pleasant out if not for the wind - stopped on the seat over the field in the dark for two cigarettes, as the distant sounds of children 'demolishing' the school drifted by on the wind! . . . PCd this . . .TVd/PCd till early. (3/10)
22 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am . . .walked . . . balanced my accounts which seemed to take several hours! . . . LB called saying she was back from her French trip and had my duty free tobacco. Popped up and got it with genuine thanks - jeeze she has loads of boxes of wine all over the place!!. . . briefly sewed on a dog-lead like fastener I'd found, to a nylon strap I have taken to carrying, that is ideal for looping round pillars or railings when I need to tie Sally up - hooked through the handle of her lead it is always long enough for comfort for almost anywhere. . . walked Sally up to the shops in Kingswood. Dropped the 'SORN' form into the post office to confirm my untaxed bike is not kept on the road. Drew some money out and then shopped and bought a couple of birthday cards for up and coming birthdays. Suddenly occured to me how Sally has calmed down quite a bit. I moved her from pillar to post, dashed into a total of four different places with her tied up waiting outside, and she took it all pretty much in her stride - just lay or sat there looking all frowning and indignant as if to say 'how dare you leave me here - where are you and what are you up to'. No barking or whining or complaining. Excellent. If anything it is me who is more disturbed at leaving her like that!! Eventually walked back home in the rain after having grabbed another four 1 pizzas from the frozen food place. Ate one of the pizzas and then tried to sleep off the awful headache that had been torturing me all day!! I can't recall the last time I didn't have some form of neck/headache!!? Sally woke me within half an hour deafeningly barking guard dog like, as some rep from an electric company called trying to sell their prices . . . woke with the headache still there, making me feel pretty sick, although that is probably all the annadin tablets I've taken! . . . BB called . . . walked. No rain but pretty breezy! . . . TVd. The US sniper has killed again!!!!! Jeeze they need to find this guy!!! . . . Some time after 9pm, at last, my head/neck ache eased off as is often the case!? Wish I knew what that was all about! . . . spent ages playing with Sally! We made a pretty good team today. Wow - just checked back on my journal - we've been together a year now. I guess in 'some' ways she's kinda like the child I'll never have - I just want her to be confident and happy - just like a parent wanting your child to have everything you didn't . . . PCd. Extraordinary to look back on my journal at what I was up to this time last year. I can remember none of it until I read I, and then only fleeting impressions – it’s almost like reading about someone else!!! Being able to tap into those erstwhile lost memories is maybe reason enough to continue the ‘chore’ of doing this journal. Wish I'd started it years ago - all those forgotten 'lost' years!! Extraordinary! I journal therefor I am?!! . . . couldn't sleep! Tossed and turned for ages before ending up getting up around 4am and eating several bowls of corn flakes! (4/10)aaaa
23 - Up late after not enough sleep. Totally clear blue sky but a strong cold wind. . . walked Sally for two and a half hours down to Eastville Park and along the River Frome to Fishponds and back. Found 17p along the way. Spotted a group of people in the next dog field down from my usual, that appeared to be having a problem of some sort. Looked and looked trying to make it out. Eventually detoured to see. An old woman was awkwardly pushing an electric wheelchair across the field and another old woman was helping an old man to walk, periodically stopping as he ran out of breath and had to stop and recover by breathing into an oxygen mask connected to an oxygen cylinder! Their pack of dogs were running all around! Asked if I could help but apparently they were not far from where he lived. Apparently his electric wheelchair had broken down as he was walking his dog!!! The old man reminded me of Dad as he declined my help but thanked me profusely for offering. Wished them ‘luck’ and carried on my way feeling pretty sad. . .gave Sally a little of the special grainy 'Irish' bread that LB had given me that I didn't like the taste of (may have been that which gave nme a bad stomach yesterday), and then put the rest out for the birds/slugs. . . slept all afternoon. Woke to find poor old Sally had been sick in the conservatory - the closest she could get to being outside. Such a good dog. That damn bread!!! She was sick some more until it was all ejected! . . BB called . . . cleared up, hosed down, dried carpets, stroked good dog, etc. Got a bee in my bonnet about the food donation from LBs freezer being 'dodgy' and ended up retrieving it all from my freezer and putting it ALL in the bin!!!! Terrible waste. . . walked. Chilly starry sky and big moon. Found a penny. Stopped for sausage and chips takeaway . . .TVd . . . Uncle/Auntie TJ called to touch base and say they'd enjoyed the company of M/D today. . . TVd/PCd till late. Felt a bit weird all day - haven't felt quite 'present with myself'. I need to stop smoking, sleep at regular times, eat better food at regular times, get some glasses, etc, etc, etc. (4/10)
24 - Up around 8am. . walked . . . layed in some damp proof course and then cemented a couple more bricks back into the living room wall . . . ate a pizza and watched James Stewart in 'The Man From Laramie' on TV. Dunno why but James Stewart seems to be a real likeable guy . . . lay down to nap but woken within an hour by Sally barking as IHB called in for a chat . . . BB called . . . walked . . . touched base with M/D . . . TVd till early. Looks as though they have arrested the psycho sniper in the states. Thank goodness . . . couldn't sleep and ended up PCing till around 4am!! (4/10)
25 - Woken around 8:30am by the sound of the bins being emptied. Not enough sleep at all! . . .walked and found 2p . . .a few birthday cards in the post . . . didn't want to, but started doing some cementing and excavating in the living room. Looks like I can't do that 'removing bricks/sliding in plastic damp proof course' trick on the party walls because of the way they are tied in with cross bricks! Damn. Spent hours messing around carefully excavating and trying not to suddenly appear in next doors hallway!!!! Eventually managed to cement in the two plastic tubes, that run from the new cable recess at skirting board level to the outside, that will eventually be the new entry points for the cable and TV aerials. Terrible weather with rain and gales and SO dark!! Developed another horrible headache as the day wore on - lack of food and stress about doing the cementing as right as I can, trying to forsee all possible future requirements! . . .eventually cleared up and ate TWO microwave chilli meals, together with four pieces of bread and butter and a bag of crisps, in an attempt to dislodge my headache!!!!! Too much! . . so, SO exhausted - turned the phone ringers off and just HAD to fall asleep for a while. Woke feeling a bit sick. Uh oh - Sally had been sick in the conservatory again!!! Looks like she has been licking up the bird food (bad breadcrumbs) in the garden while I was cementing! SO intelligent but then, SO not!!!. . . .BIG weather - gales, rain, thunder, lightning!!! . . . walked in rubber but somehow managed to mostly miss the rain. Shouldn't have eaten so much and fallen asleep so soon - big heartburn - ended up throwing up, half way round the field! Thank goodness it was dark and no one was around! . . . returned M/Ds ansaphone call. Dad'd manged to get hold of a speaking watch because he can no longer tell the time on his - had to sit and listen as he kept on pressing the button so I could hear. Bet he 'fixates' on that like he does checking the ansaphone - it'll drive Mum crazy I bet! Everything was ok and they were awaiting Sis1s arrival - don't envy her that drive in this weather!! . . . PCd this . . .TVd/PCd till early. An entry in my guestbook from 'Grumpy' (?) made me laugh. (4/10)aaa
26 - Woke around 8:45am after around six hours sleep. A sunny morning but still very windy. Forecast for Sunday is AWFUL!!! Wind gusts up to 70mph with structural damage likely! I hate such forecasts and live in fear until things calm down - it's been an awful long time since I did any maintenance on the roof or the chimney pots! . . .hit counter on the website seems to have gone haywire recently and intermitantly shows the true hits?? . . .a few more birthday cards in the post . . . M/D/Sis1 called to touch base and tell how some young kid walking past M/Ds house had suddenly for no reason thrown a milk carton at the window!!!? Just as we were talking Sis1 said she could see the kid walking back past and all of a sudden I was on the phone on my own as they all rushed off to challenge him!!!!! Waited and waited and did chores worrying about what may be happening, especially considering Dad'd said he'd kill him if he got hold of him - as if he is in a fit state to walk into the street let alone start getting physical with some child! Eventually couldn't worry any more and called them back to find out what was going on. Apparantly nothing, cause the kid had denied it was he who had done it, and they'd just forgotten to call me back! Hah! . . . CC called saying I SHOULD go to tonights school reunion. I've thought about little else for days now - agonising over whether or not I could 'endure' going. One minute I will, the next I wont, then I will, then I wont!!! Arrrgggh!! Such a shame I am this way - it should be something 'nice' - something to look forward to. For me it simply isn't. . . fell asleep for a few hours . . . just woken up and Sis2 called all in a panic because she'd called M/D and got no answer. Explained that Sis1 was there and they were probably all out eating or some such. Sis2 seems ok despite the ongoing legal dispute over her house and the fact she is still currently living in a hotel room!! Mentioned the reunion to her and the fact that her old English teacher was gonna be there - mistake! She got all excited and INSISTED I should go and pass on her thanks to that teacher who so influenced her life! Made a final decision that I WOULD go and put myself through it all. . just got off the phone and BB called. . . walked and Sis1 called on the mobile half way round the field saying she was gonna pop in briefly on her way back from M/Ds. Started feeling like everything was a rush! Sis1 popped in and gave me the birthday gift from M/D - a quick boil electric kettle the same as theirs which I had admired - and a small gift left by Sis2 the last time she was in the country. Chats, touched base with M/D and then Sis1 soon left . . . had a shower, got all cleaned up, had a rare wardrobe crisis, strangely concerned over my appearance for the first time in years!? Eventually bit the bullet and got in the car and drove through the gale to the reunion at the Aztec West wine bar. Couldn't help myself from doing a quick detour and driving around the car park of the Post Office building I used to work in, only a stones throw from the wine bar, reliving some of the awfullness of those years!! Parked up outside the wine bar and ended up sitting in the car for fifteen minutes or so, smoking a cigarette and mustering the strength to actually submit to this feat of endurance. Eventually wandered in with my legs definitely shaking quite a bit. Immediately bumped into the teacher Sis2 wanted me to see and tried as best I could to offer the gift of my Sisters thanks . . . to cut a VERY long and acutely embarassing story short (never mind the inevitable 'avoidant' agony of not knowing what to say to anyone, awkward silences, feeling awkward and self conscious, talking gibberish, etc, etc.) - within an hour I had shared a 'smoke' with someone - made myself instantly terribly and horribly ill (lightweight! Should have eaten before I went but too up tight for food! Damn - what and how much was in that thing!!!!!) - ended up sat in the car outside for the rest of the evening (didn't dare drive), unable to hold any sort of coherant conversation, with a few people occasionaly coming out into the gale to check on me to see if I was ok, and feeling SO ill I just wanted to die - quickly!!!!!!!! What an idiot! What a fool! It must be admitted - those hours sat in the car - jeeze - one hell of a 'trip' - amazing stuff!!! Quite an experience. Too much so. My behaviour on this evening will rank high amongst THE most acutely embarassing and reprehensable I have ever done. I feel I have thrown away any 'credibilty' I had - much self loathing. What an idiot. What a fool. . . ended up around 1:30am driving (shouldn't have!!!!!) a couple of the girls who had been let down by a taxi company, and dropping them off somewhere. Finally got home SO happy to be here around 2am ish. Watched TV for hours (saw the clocks change) re-examining, re-experiencing every little agonisingly embarassing event of the evening! (-/10)SSSSSSSS
27 - Woken before 8am by the wind battering the house . . . Sis1 sent me text messages saying happy birthday and asking how last night went! Didn't feel like replying!! . . . walked. Boy was it windy!!!! Actually had trouble walking up the top of the field and poor old Sally dog had to keep tacking like a yacht, backwards and forwards against the wind, although she seemed to enjoy it and got all excited and bouncy. One of the few trees over the field had lost one of it's enormous branches!!! Reports on the news that six people across the country had been killed by falling trees and such! Bizzarre way to go - a tree with your name on it! . . . M/D called to touch base and sing the customary Happy Birthday. Admitted to them what a fool I'd made of myself last night . . . still feeling fragile - cooked up a large breakfast and then fell asleep for several hours . . . PS popped round for a coffee and chats and turned up bearing an enormous chocolate cake thingy and a bottle of wine. He had no objection to me keeping it for some time later when I may feel more up to eating it. . . PCd. Uh oh - 41 e-mails!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?? All the photos from last night from CC. Jeeze - gonna take hours to download that lot on my slow dial up!! Gonna take hours more trying to sort them all out and modify and upload to the school site. Feel obliged to do it ASAP but really not in the mood. . PCd this . . . CC called and tried to convince me I'd not made as much of a fool of myself as I felt - she failed of course. . .walked, dropping off a birthday card for LB on the way and declining her invite to pop in for a drink. Wind had dropped right off and it was rather a nice clear starry evening . . figured I'd treat myself so jumped in the car with Sally and drove to the Miss Millies takeaway and bought a 3 piece meal deal with chips and a coke. Thought I'd be helpful when I was leaving the shop and inform them that maybe their fridge wasn't working cause the can of coke they'd just given me was SO warm - amazing how the young girl on the counter got all indignant and defensive and told me how they'd just filled it, in an offensive tone fit for if I had just cast doubt on her parentage!! Why do people have to be so unpleasant over nothing these days?! Drove home and ate, disappointingly leaving the coke in the fridge, cooling for some other time . . . Sis2 called to touch base. Thanked her for the weird china frog ornament she'd sent up for my Birthday - glad she assumed that at some point it would reach a charity shop - I'm trying to get rid of much of what I have and she buys me more!! :o\ . . . TVd the night away. Ate a fair bit of PS chocolate cake, sharing just a little with Sally. First time in years I've not had a 'smoke' on the evening of my birthday - just couldn't face it! (3/10)
28 - Woken by Sally around 8am . . .walked . . .spent the next six hours messing with photos, and such on the school website. So SO disappointed there wasn't a collective photo of everyone that was there. Damn - if I hadn't screwed up and made such a fool of myself I would have made that happen. The effort of all that concentrating and wearing of glasses totally exhausted me and when I finally ate a sandwhich, fell asleep straight away for a few hours . . .woke feeling awful. Walked . . . PCd this . . . DH popped in to say hi. Haven't seen her (or SH) for nearly a year - guilt! . . . PS popped round for chats till early. (3/10)
29 - Up around 8am again. . .walked . . .felt pretty down and dull and cold and couldn't face doing - um- well - anything really! M/D called to force me to show appropriate appreciation for their kettle gift. I already had two working electric kettles (they knew that!) - couldn't admit I really didn't want yet another!! . . . TVd/PCd a bit before sleeping through the rest of the daylight hours. . .walked in the dark drizzle . . . BB called . . . remained motionless in front the TV till early, but earlier to bed than of late.(3/10)
30 - Woken around 7:30 by Sally . . . drove Sally to the River Avon at Hanham for walks in the rain. Lots of evidence of the recent storms and several trees blown over. Managed to move one of the smaller ones off the path, probably much to the disappointment of the few horse riders that go that way. . . shopped on the way home. Almost got hit by an idiot in the car park reversing into me without looking - frantic blowing of my horn saw the car stop less than six inches of my rear wing! . . . back at home Sally seemed strangely FULL of energy and demanded I play with her LOTS. Some 'rough play' got a bit out of hand and whilst I was wrestling with Sally, kind of on her back, she nearly tipped the sofa over with her hind legs!!!!! Jeeze - playing rough with such a big dog is dangerous - SO hard to 'turn her off' once she has got going too! . . . felt a lot better than yesterday but still just can't bring myself to start playing with the living room building site, despite having bought a few odds and ends earlier from the DIY store. Pulled the frozen chicken out of the freezer and left it to thaw - tomorrow will be a cooking kinda day . . . PCd/TVd . . .touched base with BB . . . M/D called to touch base. . . walked . . . TVd till late. (4/10)s
31 - Woken by Sally 'as usual'! . . . walked . . . PCd a bit on the school site, rather than have to face any cementing! . . . I'd tried on several occasions over the last couple of days, to ring the guy I used to use for my car servicing and MOTs when I was at work, but to no avail. Decided maybe the number had changed after all these years so took Sally in the car and drove to his lock-up to book an appointment for the MOT (due in three weeks) and ‘maybe’ a service. His lock-up was locked up, there were no sings of life, and lots of mail was in the letterbox! Damn – guess I’m back to square one and will have to pick somewhere at random!! Damn! . . Sally with her tail in the waterSally got all excited when she spotted the park opposite the lock-up - I couldn’t face disappointing her so ended up doing once round the boating lake. Some SERIOUS squirrel chasing amongst the trees and masses of huge fallen branches from the storm. SUCH a pretty dog - but daft as a coot - sat with her tail in the water! . . ate a sandwich and fell asleep for a couple of hours. Definitely in my ‘lack of sunlight, winter blues, don't want to do anything’ kinda mood. That’s the trouble with having to defrost a frozen chicken the day before you cook it – you can’t guarantee you’ll still be in the mood to do it all the next day. It’s been SO long since I’ve done a chicken I suddenly had a crisis of confidence and had to seek cooking tips! Called BB but no answer – called LB who more or less confirmed what I knew about preparation and temperatures and such. Her advice to cook it for half the time upside down seemed reasonable. Touched base with M/D and got Mums advice too for good measure. . .BB called me back. Ended up talking about all sorts of stuff but not about cooking chicken! . . god I HATE trick or treat!! Ugly American import in my life time. I’ll have none of it. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just all good humoured but it always seems to result in criminal damage to property! At the very least your house or car will often end up covered in broken eggs and flour. Must have had about six or more calls at the door- Sally’s barking is DEAFENING!! Answered the first call and said no thanks and then ignored the rest except for looking through the peep hole in the door to see what damage may be being done to my property. Thankfully none - so far! The nasty local pub has advertised a fancy dress/Irish night evening, so the likelihood of rampaging drunks will be on the cards for later!! :o( . . Walked. Like a war zone out there. Crazy people in outfits running around, broken eggs all over the streets, and fireworks going off all over. A crowd of children all in outfits were being escorted across the field by their parents as some idiot kids were letting off fireworks and rockets only a few hundred yards away!!! The idiots eventually ended up firing their rockets at the houses and church hall at the bottom of the field where I usually sit with Sally for a cigarette! Amazing none of the windows were broken. I can remember the time when you could call the police out to stop such behaviour – no longer! Did a bit of a detour with Sally. . . mixed up a garlic clove with some butter(Flora margarine actually!) and covered the chicken with it, and even managed to stuff some under the skin next to the breasts. Mixed up a little left over with Sally’s food – SO weird that dogs LOVE garlic with their acute sense of smell!? Eventually got the upside down chicken in the oven around 8:30pm!!!!! . . . PCd this . . .entered into the spirit of things and had myself a glass of red wine. I swear I could feel the effects, soon after the first mouthfull! My head seems to operate on a knife edge! Decided rather late to do some roast potatoes after all. Eventually sat eating roast chicken, peas, roast potatoes and gravy around 11pm! Not very garlicy but damn good nonetheless. :o) Been a few years since I've cooked and eaten like that. Sally had already eaten, so had to make do, finishing off the left over gravy. To bed around 12:30am - only a little shouting noise from passing drunks. (4/10)