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October
1 - Woken by the noise of the bin men around 7:45am . . . walked and found a penny and a broken bracelet. Turned out to be a cheap bit of chrome and glass, and fit for the bin. Some idiot had dumped a Sainsburys supermarket trolley on its side half in the gutter and on the pavement just up the road. :o( . . . Hurricane like winds and rain are forecast for Sunday, but actually not a bad day today. Got a bee in my bonnet about the overgrown honesuckle in the garden, growing up the trellis screwed to next doors wall. I haven't cut it back for years and it's all got woody down low and overgrown up top, and actually starting to grow over next doors bathroom roof. It's a constant source of fallen leaves and debris which will block the rainwater drain on the patio if I don't keep on top of clearing them away. That and it always seems to make black stains all over the patio furniture. I'm tired of it - I want as low a maintenance, minimalist garden as I can have. I started out pruning with the secateurs but while trying to hack off a particularly woody piece of stem, the secateurs fractured and split in two!! Damn! Right, that's IT! Ended up digging the whole thing out of the ground and cutting it up as best I could and then used the electric saw to cut up the trellis. Managed to wrap the whole plant and most of the mess in a big old sheet, tied at the four corners, and manhandled and forced the big sack through the house and out into the back of the car. Figured what the hell, less is more, and even pulled out one of the wiry cotoneaster bushes from beneath where the honeysuckle used to be and cleared that whole side of the garden! Loaded everything into the back of the car. Left Sally at home and drove it to the Mangotsfield council tip and dumped it all . . . parked up back at home and decided to move the supermarket trolley that was still laying in the street, into my front garden to stop it getting trashed. Turned out some idiot had cut the security chain and stolen the 1 coin deposit from the slot mechanism. All that damage and loss to the store (and subsequent passing on of the costs to its customers) just to steal 1!! Sheesh! . . finished pottering in the garden and vacuuming the debris from the house by a little after 1pm . . .called the local Sainsburys store and told them about the trolley. They said someone had already told them about it and an employee from the store had already been down the road to pick it up but had failed to find it!! Ooops - probably because I moved it into my garden!!! They said they were busy but someone would eventually come and get it . . . ate microwave chicken curry with four peices of bread and butter . . . lay down to nap but roused by Sally barking within forty five minutes. Looked out to see what she was barking at and found the supermarket trolley was gone. Managed to nap for an hour or so until around 5:30pm . . . walked in the rain. Another bunch of (underage) kids were sat on the seat near the swings all drinking bottles of beer. There'll be plenty of broken glass there in the morning then! :o( . . .PCd a bit of this but soon gave up. Dunno why but I seem to be finding it real hard to sit in front the PC at all at the moment . . . wanted to be quiet, so sat around for a bit with the TV off, drinking a glass of cheap red wine and sucking an annadin tablet. Had a few good yanks at my tooth but still can't get through that pain barrier. Don't understand how it can be SO loose and yet still not pull out!? . . .BB called. . . ate garlic sausage and mayo sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . TVd until around midnight. pad
2 - Woken by Sally just before 8am . . .walked and found 10p. Was walking around doing my usual trawl of the litter and all the broken glass by the swings when I suddenly noticed the little shaggy dog (Yorkshire terrier is it?) that normally wanders around with the 'strange' old lady who dumps food for the birds. She usually wanders around the field and lets her dog go running way off on its own, trailing its lead behind it, but this morning there was no sign of her anywhere. The next time I looked up, the dog had run out of the field, across the busy road and was running along the pavement in the direction of a nearby lane and presumably home!!!? A woman with kids and a pram kept stopping in the distance and staring after the dog, and then at me, as if she thought it was my dog. Picked up as much of the dangerously jagged broken glass all around the swings as I dared and then sat on the seat for a cigarette like usual. Things preyed on my mind - was the weird old woman ok? Ended up leashing up Sally and leaving the field and heading off down the lane in the general direction of where the little dog had gone. (Idiots in the night had tipped out big tins of paint and splattered it all over everywhere and daubed the garage walls and such! Big mess!) Stopped and asked a couple of people and eventually found an old woman (dog owner) who said she knew who the strange old lady was. I told her what I'd seen and she said she'd go and make sure everything was ok. Figured that was all I (busy body!) could be expected to do, so I left her to it and headed home . . . PCd this but ended up making the mistake of thinking I could carry on downloading the service pack update while I did so. Turned out the update was all ready to instal, so that was that for the next hour or so while it did so!! Then turns out I have to do another big download to update my 'Office' software!! Jeeze. :o( Some other time - that's half the day wasted already!!!! . . . messed around in the garden and ended up breaking up the single paving slab that I've had laying spare in the front garden for a while, and used the pieces to slightly modify the end of the raised bed where the honeysuckle used to be. Dug around and ended up carrying back through the house the sacks of earth I've had stacked in the front garden, and distributing the soil around the garden and transplanting 'Mind Your Own Business' and 'Campanula' around the place here and there. Ended up with a big muddy mess but managed to 'lose' all the spare soil and make the garden a little flatter. It'll be tidier and more easily managed with almost no maintenance at all from now on, when things grow back. Only when it was too late did I suddenly realise I may have completely destroyed my little garden eco system!! Maybe, without the honesuckle there will be nothing for the slugs to eat, and there'll be no fallen leaves for the worms to come up to feed on, and as a result, maybe there won't be anything for the frogs to eat? Oh well!? :o| . . . hosed down and cleared up by mid afternoon . . . cooked up all the ready cooked mushrooms that I found in the fridge in a tupperware. Ended up throwing them into a pan with the last four eggs and making up a big mushroom and cheese omlette. BH turned up for a chat and coffee in the middle of me cooking. He was out and about on some new bike he'd just bought - 800cc factory custom type thingy. Very pretty, but a chain drive - I prefer a shaft drive myself. . . walked and found a penny . . . Mum called to remind me to watch 'Casualty' because her paper confirmed it WAS the episode with the runaway and crashing ambulance that I'd seen being filmed just up the road and round the corner, and had told her to watch. I'd already set a reminder on the cable TV box. . .started to PC this but then LB called asking if I had any roll up filters I could spare, for a friend of hers who was down for the evening. Blimey - am I EVER gonna get on top of getting this journal up to date!? . . . LB and her friend popped in for a brief chat and admiring of growling Sally. LB offered to get up early and give me a lift into Southmead Hospital on the morning of my surgery! . . watched the Casualty episode. Yep - I recognised where they were and could even see the clock tower of Cosham Hospital in the background of one of the 'driving around' shots. Blimey - all that work and effort and chaos filming those stunts, just for a few seconds of nonsense. In fact, that's the first time I've watched an episode of Casualty for years - I used to watch it all the time, many years ago. I was shocked and dismayed to see what it has become. Just another pathetic TV 'soap' with the most rediculously contrived story lines and some of the absolutely worst acting I have EVER seen! Couldn't even force myself to sit through the rest of the episode once I'd seen the local bit. . . BB called . . . ate biscuits and then cheese and some BB crackers I found in the back of a cupboard . . . TVd until bed around 1am. pas
3 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . . walked and found 2p . . . left Sally at home and drove to Kingsfield school to check out the advertised car boot sale. Must have got something wrong somewhere - not a trace of any cars anywhere at all, although there DID seem to be a lot of people all turning up and looking then driving away like I did. Figured I was out anyway so I may as well carry on and drive to Emersons Green and get some shopping done out of the way. Oh no! Got there at 10am only to find they didn't open on Sunday until 11am!! Grrr. Rather than drive straight back home I thought I may as well waste the time by visiting Sis1 and thanking her for offering to pick me up from Southmead Hospital after I have my surgery on the 28th. Drove to Sis1s for chats and coffee and a couple of cheap scones. Ended up having a look at her PC which she said she was having trouble with. Blimey - her virus definitions file was around five years old!!!? Recommended that before she did anything else, she should really invest in some shop bought anti virus software, just to eliminate that worry. Ended up going with her in her car to PC world. Got her to buy a copy of Norton Anti Virus (because Norton was what she used to have on the machine in the past) for just under 40. Spent the next couple of hours installing and activating it and then messing here and there with her machine trying to make sure it went as well as I could make it. I suspect there is something amiss with it - seems awfully slow and twitchy even though it is an old slow one by todays standards. Embarassingly and incredibly, it turned out not to have been infected by any virus!! Eventually gave up and left it scanning around 2pm and drove to shop at Sainsburys on the way home. . . cooked up four cheese burhers with all the trimmings around 3:30pm. . . BB called briefly . . . napped for a couple of hours until woken by Sally . . . walked in the hurricane like wind and torrential rain! VERY unpleasant - leaky leggings! Found a penny. Spotted a frog in the street just down the road so managed to catch it in a poop scoop bag and relocated it to the back garden. . .PS called . . . PCd a bit of this. Put the central heating on for the first time in ages. It HAS gotten colder of late but not 'quite' cold enough for the expense of the heating yet. I put it on more to make sure it all still works ok - gonna definitely have to have it on and working when Mum comes up to stay in a few weeks . . . STILL didn't get round to finishing and updating my journal! PS popped round for chats until early as wind and rain battered the house. He offered to go into work late and give me a lift to Southmead hospital on the morning of my surgery! . . . Mum called wanting me to call her back, over and over again in an attempt to confirm she had a fault on her phone line. It appears all her phones work ok, and she can dial out, but all BUT the portable don't ring when there is an incoming call! I'd noticed the audio was scratchy when talking to her of late and had mentioned there could be a problem . . . touched base with BB before bed around 1am. ps
4 - Woken by Sally just after 7:30am. Big wind and rain. . .walked in the rain . . . did laundry and PCd this. Mum called briefly just to confirm her phones still weren't ringing before she tries to report the fault. . uh oh! Mum called back (several times) because the BT people had told hr to disconnect all her phones and then try them one by one, and they'd ring her back this afternoon!? Walked her through the testing and concluded it was NOT the phones that were at fault and told her to ring again and get BT out to fix the fault. She rang again only to get the impression she'd be charged 60 if it was a wiring fault in her property and they had to get an engineer out, she would maybe be better off getting 'an electrician' in privately, and finally she should go and borrow a neighbours phone to plug into her socket!!!!! WHAT??? I got all outraged by this consistant 'fobbing off' and said I'd ring on her behalf. I did so at midday but was told they were very busy and the fault department would have to call me back within 45 minutes. Yeah, right - I bet. :o( Grrrrr . . . balanced my accounts and put laundry out on the line in the sunny spells. Did a couple more loads of laundry . . .oops - I missed BT calling me back (within the 45 minutes) to say they were investigating the fault and would be in touch with either me or Mum. Called and let mum know. . . ate big corned beef, cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with crisps and then a little chocolate. Actually seems to have turned into a nice sunny day - left the washing out in the sun and napped for a couple of hours. Got an ansaphone message from Mum saying they were gonna send a phone engineer out next Tuesday!!. . walked and found a penny . . . cooked the cheap pack of six chicken thighs I'd scored in the supermarket the other day, as I washed dishes . . . ate two pieces of roast chicken with four pieces of bread and butter, followed by chocolate biscuits . . . TVd/PCd until early. pas
5 - Woken by Sally just after 8am. . . walked and found 6p. One of the lady dog walkers was all upset. Apparantly that weird old woman's little dog (Sammy I think it was called) had been out running loose again without her, trailing its lead behind it. It'd run across the main road again (like I'd seen it do the other day) and the woman had made a grab for it as it passed. It dodged past her by running into the busy rush hour road, and went straight under the wheel of a Range Rover! :o( The rover driver stopped, someone went off to tell the weird old woman, someone nearby brought out a basket, and apparantly the dog (which probably wont survive - lets face it, a range rover wheel is several times the size of that dog!) was taken to a nearby vet, more than likely to be put down. Felt particularly sorry for the lady dog walker, who's caring attempt to catch the little dog, kinda precipitated the tragedy. I'm pretty sure (from the little I've seen of her and the condition of her dog) it's a sad case of that weird old woman kinda 'losing it' and no longer being in a fit mental state to care for a pet - and quite possibly no longer herself!! :o( . . . PCd this . . .hosed down the push bike that’s been sat all covered in dust in the conservatory since I used it that once to cycle to Bath. That experience almost killed me and I really can’t imagine wanting to use it again. I need the space. Not much point in trying to sell it when you can buy a fancy new one for about 90. Dried it off, pumped up the tires and then left Sally at home and rode it to a nearby charity shop to ‘donate’ it. The woman behind the counter said yes please thank you, so I wheeled it in and then had a quick look around. Spotted a black and white padded shirt of the kind I practically live in for 2.75 and figured I’d buy it. Back at the counter, the old woman started asking me where I lived and how I was getting back home etc, etc?? Took a while to get to the bottom of why she wanted to know. Turned out she was interested in having the bike for her son, she offered to buy it from me and wanted me to drop it off at her house!! Cheeky! She didn’t live far away so I said I WOULD deliver it for her, but I didn’t want her money. Instead, I suggested I should have the shirt for nothing and she should make an arrangement with the shop about how much she would give them. She confirmed with someone out back, that since she got a 50% discount as an employee, just putting 5 in would be ok!!! Blimey – that can’t be right? Should have been ‘at least’ that AND the 2.75 for my free shirt! I think the charity came off worse there!! :o( Stuffed the shirt down the front of my shirt tucked into my trousers and then rode the bike to her house (all up hill!) and handed it over to her husband. Apparently in his youth he used to do road races on the old fashioned thin wheeled racing bikes. Walked back home across the field and found 2p on the way . . . In the mood for more clearing out, I unscrewed and kept all the hinges from the louvered pine doors I’d got from next door, and then sawed the doors into manageable car width sized halves. I really should have made something out of them, but I just couldn’t figure out what, and frankly can’t be bothered. I need the space. Decided to get rid of Grandmas old big TV which I’ve had mostly unused in the bedroom since I had the roof done and the TV aerial taken down. Something had gone funny with the sound and every now and then it would suddenly unexpectedly get all VERY loud and have to be turned down again – not the best fault to have with a TV used for late night viewing (poor neighbours/my poor nerves)! Loaded everything into the car. Popped up in the attic and found a few more pieces of wood for disposal. In full stride I thought what the hell, and dismantled the cheap chipboard TV unit in the bedroom and threw that in the car too. . drove in the rain to the tip and unloaded everything. Typical – couldn’t park in the nearest space and had to carry the heavy TV and everything else all along the loading platform before tossing it over a wall into the bays! Not so good for a hernia! . . . cut up the three old discoloured and mould covered plastic patio chairs I never use, and managed to cram them in the wheelie bin. I have three better ones I'm keeping. I don't need six - I don't know that many people! . . . touched base with BB . . . ate two cold chicken thighs with four pieces of bread and butter . . . napped for a couple of hours . . . walked . . . moved a blanket box from the back bedroom into the front, to replace the TV unit and give me somewhere to put the clock radio. . . used the hacksaw and a file and an old piece of vacuum pipe to modify the end of the spinning brush vacuum attachment Mum’d given me, to make it a better fit on the (wrong) hose and not keep falling off like it has been! Vacuumed up the debris from the earlier clearout. . . put laundry away and tidied up a bit . . . TVd . . .had a right good go at my wobbly tooth, but STILL it won’t come out! . . ate big corned beef, cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate biscuits . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd until bed around midnight. pa
6 - Woke earlier but managed to snooze on then up just before 8am. . . walked and got caught out in a torrential downpour - got soaking wet trousers! . . . breifly PCd a bit of this . . .got as clean as I can and covered myself in deoderant and put on clean (dry!) clothes. Left Sally at home around 10:15am and drove in heavy rain to Frenchay Hospital. Managed to find a rare parking space out on the Bristol road and avoided having to pay for parking. Walked all around the grounds heading for the wrong place, but eventually found the day case centre back out towards the main entrance by 10:50am. Was given a small, two A4 sheets, yes/no questionnaire to complete giving details of allergies, medication etc. (It included a question about whether or not you have loose teeth!! Ummm – YES!!!) Handed it in, popped out in the rain for a cigarette, then waited in the waiting room. Around 11:25am my name was called and I followed the nurse into a room. She breezed through my questionnaire answers and clarified this and that (mostly regarding what medication I take), took my blood pressure, took my pulse, weighed me, asked if I had any questions, and that was that!! I was back out with a cigarette in the rain by 11:30am! So what on earth was the point of all that?? Wow – if I’d had to have taken a day off work to make that appointment I would have been livid! What a terrible waste of NHS (and patients) time and money! So – mostly based on the questionnaire, which I could have posted, I guess I must now be fit for surgery in a few weeks! . walked back out of the main entrance onto Bristol Road and followed the pavement back down towards where I’d parked the car. The torrential rain and blocked drains (when I was a kid they used to ‘vacuum’ out the road drains pretty regularly – almost never see it being done at all these days, and more often see blocked drains!) had made huge puddles in the gutter and road, right next to the pavement for several hundred meters. There was only one pavement on the busy road and I really had no choice but to continue, unless I was to return in a massive detour and walk all the way back through the hospital grounds. I walked as fast as I could keeping one eye behind me on the passing traffic. So big were the puddles (almost a flooded road really) that the traffic had slowed right down, and showing me (the only pedestrian on the pavement) some consideration, was largely picking its way by on the wrong side of the road away from the puddles. Right then, some idiot in a flashy Mercedes drove at speed straight through the puddles right next to the pavement and covered me in a huge wave of water!! I got SO wet! Just as wet as if I’d gone and sat in the river! I shouted obscenities and rudely gesticulated, because – well – he was one! Generally speaking, anyone walking along that road is either going to, or coming from the hospital, as either a patient or someone in distress visiting one. What possible pleasure could someone derive from doing that? F****** ******d! :o( . . Drove home cold and wet, and soaked the car seat. . .Sally had sat in my seat at home while I was out and made the throw all wet and muddy, so there wasn’t much point in not sitting on it. Phoned the dentist asking if they could fit me in as an emergency for a straightforward tooth extraction. Lots of being put on hold – my dentist is on holiday but another would try to see me if I popped in around 4pm, but that is the busiest period and I WOULD have to wait around for ages for a slot. :o( So be it . . . changed into dry clothes (I need more wearable trousers) and put everything in the wash . . . PCd this . . .ate sandwiches made out of the last two chicken thighs, followed by biscuits . . . sucked an annadin tablet to lessen the pain of likely injections, cleaned my teeth and eventually left Sally at home and drove to Hanham around 3:30pm. Parked in the free car park and had time to browse around the couple of charity shops that are down there. Sat in the waiting room for around 30 minutes. Nightmarish wait with the loud TV on new trashy childrens cartoon programs, and a couple of really badly behaved loud children rampaging around! Eventually called in to the dentist and I told him I wanted the offending tooth pulled. He didn't argue - he confirmed gum disease and an infection - he injected me and told me to go wait some more while the anaesthetic took effect. At last the horrible children were called out of the waiting room and I confirmed with the other three guys there that they didn’t mind if I turned the TV off. They were equally delighted to have some peace and quiet and we all amused ourselves in having a three way ‘grumpy old men’ conversation about how bad the world has got. :o) Ended up being the last person in the waiting room and pleased myself by putting the TV back on and changing channels and watching people hunting for dream homes in Spain. Called back in to the dentist's chair a little before 5pm and after a particularly painful jab or squirt or two, with something long and pointy, it was time for the pliers. The tooth was out in no time, thankfully without that normal gut wrenching tearing squeak, which is not unlike chalk on a blackboard! A wad of bandage was stuffed in the hole to soak up the blood and that was that. Back downstairs at the receptionist counter to settle up the bill, I got a bit hot and cold and shuddery and had to sit down for a bit! Whimp! The NHS bill turned out to be an incredibly reasonable 10:08 . . . returned Mums ansaphone call but rudely said I didn't want to speak much (numb/sore/bleeding) and soon rang off. . . washed my mouth out with warm salty water, but the bleeding had already pretty much stopped. Even managed a cup of coffee and cigarettes before walking . . . walked in the rain showers in wellingtons and rubber and managed to actually stay mostly dry. Good job - running out of trousers! . . . PCd this, wanting something to eat but not daring to. Not sure how chewing is gonna go from now on - I have no molars left at all on the lower right hand side of my mouth any more!! Good grief - am I gonna need to save up for false teeth???!!!! Damn - I knew I should have kept those louvered pine doors I threw away yesterday - could have made me a set! :o\ . . .TVd . . .drank coffee and ate soggy dunked biscuits and a couple of bananas . . . touched base with Mum . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd until bed around midnight. pa?s
7 - Woken by Sally just before 7am. Chilly sunny morning - only seven degrees C outside . . .Wow – no pain or soreness from my mouth at all. Excellent. SUCH a relief after the constant pain of the last however many days (or was it weeks?) :o) . . Got an e-mail from CC (old school) confirming that the 55 year old teacher who died in a night diving accident on the weekend WAS the Mr Chris Lindup who used to be the Nightingale House Head at Stockwell Hill School when we were there. I can't really remember him myself. I'd thought the name was 'familiar' when I saw the news on TV. Packed up my waterproofs in a rucksack and headed out just before 8am to walk Sally down to Eastville Park. ‘Just’ caught a hot air balloon drifting impressively low over the school and then landing in the local field. Surprising how quickly the balloon was deflated once they were on the ground - almost intantaneously. Didn't realise till later looking at the photos and checking out the Gowrings website, - the 'short' guy peeking out of the basket musta had wheels!. . . walked down to Eastville Park and along the Frome Valley, through Vassals and back through Fishponds. Home a little before 11am. . . cooked up a huge, fried in butter, lunch. Four sausages, mushrooms, two eggs, half a tin of baked beans and three pieces of bread and butter! Managed to chew everything up without too much trouble. . . touched base with BB around 12:15pm. . . somehow managed to sleep away the entire afternoon until around 5pm, and then woke with a headache!!? . . .PCd this . . . walked . . .Mum called . . . TVd and ate chocolate, bananas and biscuits . . . touched base with BB . . .TVd/PCd until early. pas
8 - Woken by Sally just before 8am. . . walked and found 6p . . . briefly pottered in the garden just a little, moving bits of 'mind your own business' around to try and hasten the growing back over the bare earth . . .cleared out a bit of stuff in the kitchen and made efforts to get to the bottom of my 'fruit fly' infestation. Aha - I'd begun to suspect as much. I'd missed an old potato and had put a bag of new ones in the vegetable rack on top of it!! Eeeeewww!! Poooeee! Oh no – the flies have infested the new bag of potatoes too!! Had to dump the whole lot in the compost bin and hose and scrub down the vegetable rack out on the patio. . . got serious with the long overdue tidying up of my ‘tool cupboard‘ in the conservatory. It’s an old roller shutter metal cabinet (6ft x 3ft x 1.5ft) from my post office days and is the nearest thing I’ve got to a ‘garage’! Wow – seem to have a HUGE collection of 13amp plugs. I NEVER throw away any broken electrical appliance without first cutting the plug off and keeping it, often with the wire. Guess I’m wasting my time now – times have changed and EVERYTHING electrical now seems to come with a welded on plug on it anyway. Got a similarly large collection of door/cupboard hinges too. Sorted out loads and threw away a little and cleaned and restacked everything and eventually managed to tidy it all up enough to actually close the roller shutter front. That looks MUCH better. :o) Not sure how, but somehow I managed to spend the WHOLE day just doing that!!?? Blimey, and I was aiming to do the same sort of clear out to the understairs cupboard. Guess that’ll be a whole nother day then! Called it quits and showered and cleaned up around 6pm. . . . walked . . .started trying to sort out my big lifetime collection of spare keys to who knows what, by running around trying them in various locks! Managed to throw a few away - old bikes and bike locks and such I think. . . Mum called to confirm she'd looked into bus tickets when I have my operation and would be booking an open return . . . finally got round to eating for the first and only time today, and cooked up a huge, fried in butter dinner around 9pm while sipping a glass of cheap red wine. Four sausages, mushrooms, two eggs, half a tin of baked beans and four pieces of bread and butter! . . . TVd struggling to stay awake until bed around 11:30pm. Clearing stuff out and throwing at least something away seems to make me feel SO much better and happy with my little building site nest. pd
9 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . . Walked. Found a 1984, 1/10th oz. fine gold Krugerrand pendant! The coin is intact but the mount/surround is very snapped and twisted - must have been some considerable force applied to break that! Wonder what happened in the street last night?!! It's so 'broken', think I'll keep it. . Big piles of takeaway rubbish underneath the nasty peoples window of the flat above the shops. Big mess all over the pavement. Definitely thrown out of their window - a half eaten burger overhead on the window cill was a bit of a clue!! Sheeesh!! :o( . . . PCd this . . .cut all the buttons off my favourite old black combat jacket (which I've worn threadbear and can't find a replacement for) and put it in the heavy bulging bin. Next door called by and summoned me into their house to see if I wanted some stuff they were getting rid of - mostly their under counter fridge and a small chest freezer. I was tempted to have the freezer but managed to resist - where on earth would I put it? I already have a sofa and two chairs and a kitchen table and chairs, surplus to requirements that I'm eager to get rid of! I DID however jump at the chance of having their wet and dry VAX vacuum machine. Oh dear - I have quite a collection of vaccuums already! . . . Mum called to touch base. Told her that I have a nice matching set of chromed metal sink and bath plug holes that 'may' do for her bathroom to replace the nasty cheap plastic ones she's unhappily ended up with (it was amongst all the junk that next door was getting rid of a while ago), although she'll have to confirm that with her plumber. . . experimented with the VAX. Hmmm - doesn't seem to have as much suck as that old one LB gave me, but it does a 'reasonable' job. . . started work on the understairs cupboard 'dumping ground' and took everything out, sorted through it and then put most of it back, although 'packed' in rather better! Ended up with a far too small pile of junk to get rid of, which did include Grandmas old cyclinder vacuum. It really was on its last legs and lets face it, I still have three to choose from, depending on what sort of vacuuming job I'm doing!!! Climbed up in the attic and put a couple of things up there and brought some junk down. Filled the back of the car up with everything and drove to the Mangotsfield council tip around 3:15pm and dumped it all. Couldn't resist coming home with someones old broken pine chair. I figured that maybe the leg struts could be used to fix the two broken ones I have out in the conservatory with that table I scored from the woman who was throwing it away up the road. Turned out they weren't long enough and I had to break it all up and cram it in the wheely bin . . . popped next door and put my name down for their kitchen table and chairs, IF they end up getting rid of it, IF the woman who's buying their house doesn't want it. If I could get my hands on that set, which is so much better than anything I have AND has padded chairs, I'd happily give the two I have, away to charity. . . tidied up, got clean and then ended up reading some of the book that Mum had loaned to Sis1 and which had then been pased to me. It's been sat on the coffee table cluttering up the place for the last few months! I just wanted to read it so I could get rid of it and give it back! 'A Child Called It' by Dave Pelzer. Read for a couple of hours . . . walked . . . finished reading the book. Good grief - what a horror story!! Don't think I'll be reading the sequal!! . . BB called . . . ate big corned beef, cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate biscuits . . . blimey - dunno what I've done to my left ankle but it's causing considerable 'discomfort'!? I think I had it kinda bent in a funny way for a long time when I was reading. Feels all sorta bruised! Trapped nerve I guess. Can hardly walk!!!! God I'm getting old and falling apart!!! Can't even read a book without 'breaking' myself!!?? :o( . . TVd/PCd until bed around midnight. ps
10 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am, just in time to see Schumacher win the Japanese Grand Prix . . . walked and found 3p. My ankle is still tender but thankfully much improved over last night. Blimey - hardly any litter over the field. I've made a dent in it. :o) Had to search in the hedgerows to fill my carrier bag up! Ended up coming home with 'yet' another pint beer glass that I don't really want. . . Sis1 called to touch base . . . PCd this. Finally got round to responding to a couple of feedback mails from the site. Someone (back on August 11th!!) wanted a copy of the drivers to the old NetKey keyboard I use, and someone else wanted a list of the tracks on the old 'American Heartbeat' cassette tape I have in my collection. Thankfully the keyboard drivers totalled only a meg or so, so it wasn't 'too' long a job to e-mail them. As part of my sorting out stuff to get rid of, I had decided to sort out the back bedroom cupboard in which I've had all my cassettes stored for the last however many years. SUCH a shame I have so many cassettes as opposed to CDs, and for some reason I never listen to any of them any more! Maybe if I get them out of that cupboard and put them somewhere more accessible, I WILL play them again? Pulled everything out of the cupboard and stacked up the cassettes against the wall of the bedroom. Found the American Heartbeat tape and scanned in the cover and e-mailed that. . . touched base with Mum . . . touched base with Sis1and asked her if she wanted the heavy old sewing machine I’ve had stored away unused in a cupboard for years. I tried using it once, but I’ve never been taught or learned how, and got into a big bunched up mess and ended up snapping the needle and having to go and buy replacements!! Being realistic, I can’t imagine ever having the patience to try sewing anything with a machine ever again – I need the cupboard space, I want it gone. She said they’d been talking about trying to maybe get one at the home where she works and yes, she’d have it. Decided to deliver it then and there because I wanted to go out and buy some wood glue anyway (for gluing the kitchen chairs that are dangerously all loose and wobbly!). Left Sally at home and drove to Sis1s and quickly dropped off the sewing machine. Drove on to Longwell Green and popped in B&Q to see if they had any knotty pine doors in stock yet (they didn’t the last couple of times I looked) that would fit my narrow under stairs cupboard opening. Yayyy – they did! Ended up driving away with a ‘Broadland’ 6 panel knotty pine 78”x27” door for 18.98 hanging out of the back of the car, all held in place with bungee chords wrapped round the rear wiper and tow hitch! Quickly stopped off at the Wickes store for some 5.39 wood glue. Stopped off at Lidl for some potatoes but they had none left! . . .unloaded the car, unwrapped the door and left it in the kitchen to acclimatise to the atmosphere (as recommended) and then ate big corned beef, cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate biscuits . . .napped until around 7pm! . . . walked and felt iffy and ended up throwing up all around the field!! Thank goodness it was dark!!! . . . LB called asking if I’d seen the ‘accident’ down the road earlier. Sadly I hadn’t. Apparently the police had closed off the road as a huge skip had somehow ended up on top of and crushing the front of a Mercedes car!!! Damn – would have made a good photo by the sound of it! . . Washed dishes and cleared up in the kitchen . . . PS popped round for chats and biscuits until early . . . touched base with BB . . . didn't feel particularly tired and ended up TV/PCing until the early hours. ps
11 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am . . . walked and found 8p . . . transfered some savings into my current account using my normal phone banking (I don't trust the PC or Internet enough to do my banking on line - much happier keeping the PC/internet completely unaware of my bank details!). Once again the banks automated system hickupped (has done so on MANY occasions of late) and it unexpectedly dumped me back at a menu, in the middle of me inputting transfer instructions!? Got put through to a customer service operator and got them to do the transfer manualy and then tried to explain that their system may have a fault. Predictably, the woman didn't accept there could possibly be a fault, and on the edge of getting into a nasty argument, I gave up. Dunno why 'help' line staff (when you can actually find one that speaks English!) are always SO unhelpful these days?! No wonder so many companies are moving their helplines to India and such - if all they do is fob people off and offer no help at all, I guess they may as well be anyone, anywhere! Grrrr. . . left Sally at home and drove to the Lidl store at Hanham to check out the circular saw that's been advertised as todays special deal. Figured it was definitely worth a go - a Parkside PHKS 1450 Laser Circular saw for 24.99 - cheap enough to buy to play with and to kinda figure out what features I may want on a more expensive replacement in the future maybe. I've wanted a circular saw for ages - and will definitely need one if I ever get round to trying to convert the attic - lots of joist cutting. I've had enough of battling on with that damned useless jig saw, that ALWAYS cuts whatever I'm cutting at a wonky angle because of the silly bendy blade! Bought the saw and a few groceries and couldn't resist two packs of chicken drumsticks going half price - something like 17 drumsticks for only 1.70 :o) The woman next to me was buying a pack for her cat!!! . . .ate a banana. . . experimented out on the patio with the new circular saw on a piece of scrap 2" square pine a few feet long. Cut a piece straight off the end to start. That was easy. Set the cutting guide and tried along the length of the wood, at a shallow depth similar to that which I need to trim off the top and bottom of the new understairs cupboard door. Wow - made quick, light work of that - but does prove I need to take into account the 2.5mm width of the cut when using the guide in that way!! Blimey - SO easy - and absolutely straight and square without hardly trying, and without even having fitted the batteries into the laser. That would have been impossible with the jig saw or by hand saw, and would have taken forever. Brilliant! Right - lets do it! . . set to work on fitting the new cupboard door. Measured up and then took the door out into the garden and rested it over the step on an old sleeping bag for protection, and cut the surplus off, top and bottom with my new saw. Almost effortless and trimmed to size in no time at all. Fantastic. Should have bought one of those saws years ago. :o) . . spent the next couple of hours meticulously cutting and chiselling out the three hinge rebates in the door and then the door frame. Not perfect, but I'm definitely getting better at doing that - having freshly 'carborundem stone' sharpened chisels, and really taking my time, is the key. Only left a small amount of blood on the door. Spent a ridiculous amount of time filing down the rough 'burrs' of metal on every one of the 18 cheap hinge screws, so they would seat properly in the hinges, the recesses in each of which, I had to slightly enlarge with my drill attachment! Eventually got the door hung and stood inside the cupboard and marked off with a pencil, the surplus millimeter or two along one edge, stopping the door from closing. Back out in the garden, my electric plane made short work of that. Ain't power tools just BRILLIANT! Got the door re-hung and nailed the door jam in place. Buying and fitting a door handle will have to wait for another day. Time consuming but that all went pretty damned well. :o) . . all cleared up and finished and fit to collapse with an empty growling stomach by around 5pm. . . Just HAD to lay down for a bit, but couldn't actually get to sleep and just kinda lay there in a snooze until around 6:15pm. Felt better for the lie down anyway. . . walked and found a penny. Needed to eat - lots - so carried on walking up to the kebab shop and treated myself to a 4.60 kebab and chips. . Mum interrupted my meal with more phone confusion asking if I'd called earlier because her phone said I had! No - wasn't me - and I'm eating - goodbye!!! Finished eating and de-greased and then called her back! Apparantly she's spoken to Sis2 and things aren't so good with her again. :o( . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd and somehow managed to stay awake until bed around 11:30pm. ps
12 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked in the drizzle . . .PCd this . . . Mum called. The BT engineer turned up to fix her phone fault and miraculously, when he walked through the door, everything was suddenly working ok! That REALLY sounds to me as though he fixed something somewhere before he even rang the doorbell. He also replaced one of the wall sockets because he said one of the terminals was corroded - but I just BET that was an excuse to make Mum have to pay a call out/repair fee! Grrrrr! . . good grief - spent most of the morning on the phone with Mum, going round and round testing this and that and trying to figure out what battery back up may be in which phone, and whether or not that power supply that's broken is really necessary, etc etc etc!!! Seemed to go on forever - and then even longer!! Gone midday by the time we both agreed not to touch a phone again for a good long while! . . .fried up the last of the mushrooms with four sausages and three eggs and ate it all with four pieces of bread and butter . . . lay down to nap and somehow managed to sleep the rest of the day away until around 6:30pm!! . . . walked in the drizzle . . . cooked up all the cheap chicken drumsticks . . . touched base with BB . . .ate three drumsticks with four pieces of bread and butter and put all the rest in the freezer . . . TVd/PCd till early. ps
13 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am . . . walked in the heavy rain and found 2p . . .PCd this . . .left Sally at home and drove to Kingswood and parked in the free short stay car park. Stopped by the post office and mailed a bar of the expensive Green and Black Expresso chocolate to Mum, for her to try. It IS extraordinary that more chocolate isn't made with a coffee flavour, considering how popular coffee and chocolate are individually. . popped in the building society and drew out most of the little money that is left in there! (No PSB wins this month! :o( ) . . quickly toured the charity shops and couldn't resist a long sleeved, black, Fruit of the Loom, buttons near the neck, sweat shirt. I live in these sort of things given the choice, and all those I have are very grey and worn out! Also found a large padded, checked shirt in one of the other shops for 5 - that's the other type of thing I ALWAYS wear around the house in the winter. Not a bad result for the hunt. :o) . . briefly shopped in Sainsburys mostly for bread. .drove on to B&Q at Longwell Green and paid 11.36 on a latch and brass handles for the understairs cupboard door . . . stopped for a little petrol on the way home (12.06 ltrs @ 10) . . . ate large garlic sausage, cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with crisps and then a banana . . . slept the afternoon away until around 5pm . . . walked under a clear sky and found 2p. Passed next door in the street and she confirmed I am in line for their kitchen table and chairs (I'd offered to actually 'buy' them!), because the house buyer doesn't want them. Yayyy - excellent :o) . . . PCd this . . . Mum called . . . sorted out a handful of clothes to get rid of from various cupboards . . . TVd . . . BB called . . . meticulously cut open and emptied all the little plastic baggies I've been picking up over the field, and collected together enough of the dust for a free 'smoke'. :o) . . .ate scones, biscuits, cornflakes . . . TVd until bed around midnight. ps
14 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked and found a penny . . . Mum called to say she'd got the chocolate - I think she liked it. . . took the understairs door off its hinges and set about fitting the latch and handles. Rain meant I had to make a sawdusty mess in the conservatory. Didn't go too badly although it'd be better if those silly brass knobs had a return spring built into them - the latch spring isn't really man enough on its own. Eventually all fitted, rehung the door and fitted the recessed keep plate. Actually - someone has used some intelligence and very slightly modified the design of the keep plate to make sure it holds the door nice and tightly shut. That's better than the one I've put on the door frame between the kitchen and living room - I didn't get that one quite right and the door slopps backwards and forwards in the draught when closed - that modified design would have solved that irritation. . everything was a sawdusty mess and all the tools were out, so I figured I may as well attempt to slightly reposition that keep plate. Took a while and looks a bit more of a mess if you inspect it closely, but I eventually got the door to close rather better and 'tighter' against the door jam. . tidied and vaccuumed up and then got a bee in my bonnet about my bedroom door. I hung that a long time ago now, but never managed to get it to fit properly. Big hard knots in the wood stopped me from being able to hand-plane the edge down as I should have. In different weather conditions it will sometimes close and at other times jam!! Nothing stopping me from doing it, now I have my super duper electric plane. Ended up taking the bedroom door off its hinges and taking it outside on the patio to plane a millimeter or so off part of one edge. Typical - just then it started raining! Ended up having to plane it down in the conservatory - everything covered in sawdust again. Sally didn't help by laying in the sawdust and then walking it all over every room in the house!!! Re hung the door and then set about cleaning up an old keep plate and fitting that to the frame. All worked out ok-ish . . .vacuumed up everywhere, lots!!. . . ate a bunch of scones with butter . . .napped for a couple of hours . . . walked in the drizzle . . .tried to be ruthless and sorted out a few more of my clothes for charity shop disposal. . . ate defrosted roast beef sandwiches with two bags of crisps, followed by a banana . . . BB called . . . felt really VERY tired. TVd/PCd until early. p
15 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am again. . .walked in the drizzle and found 10. :o) Also made the mistake of bringing home a car number plate (WV52 ZNC) that was laying in the field. Guess I'll have to drop it off at some police station some time. Hassle! :o( . . . PCd this . . .I’d noticed when walking that several neighbours had big charity shop donation bags, out awaiting collection in their gardens in the rain. As luck would have it, I suddenly spotted the guy collecting them. Rushed out and said I wanted to give him some and when he’d moved his van up the street a bit closer, I was able to dash out and hand over the two large bags of stuff and this and that I’d been stacking up in the conservatory. I’d planned to drive it to a charity shop this morning – he saved me the bother. All gone. Cool. :o) . . . A few days ago someone had knocked at the door trying to sell a wheelie bin cleaning service! I couldn’t see the point in paying to have a spotlessly clean bin (lets face it – I begrudge having to throw money away on bin liners for the kitchen bin, and keep emptying and re-using them until they fall apart! I’ll never be rich – never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined you could actually make money out of driving around with lots of equipment and cleaning people’s bins!!). Strangely somehow it came up in conversation with LB the last time she called, and she said she’d signed up to have hers done! Somehow this all ate away at my mind, and with my bulging bin freshly emptied, I couldn’t help myself dragging it round the back lane, onto the patio and setting-to with the hosepipe and a stiff broom. Layers of caked on dust, accumulated over several years eventually came away, and it came up pretty clean. Cleanest its been since I once used it as a temporary home for all the garden pond life, when I dug out and swapped the old ‘sunken bath’ for the current pond liner, I think. Still – seems rather pointless to me. A bin is for trash - my bin never smells – it’s always too full of dry builder/vacuum cleaner dust and Sally hair for that! . . . gently started work on clearing out ‘stuff’ from the cupboards in the computer/bed room. Lots of vacuuming of building works dust, covering everything in ALL the cupboards!! Moved stuff around and left all the old PC equipment out and laying around – I need to sort all that out and get rid of it all – badly - but it's gonna take hours and hours and I keep trying to avoid it! At least one of those old PCs is gonna be given away I think, assuming I can find someone who actually would want it!!. . . ate roast beef sandwiches and two bags of crisps . . . BB called . . . ate a banana followed by coffee and biscuits . . . napped for a couple of hours. Woke with a headache. . .sucked an annadin tablet as I started clearing out and vacuuming more dust from the computer bedroom cupboard . . . walked . . . dismantled, glued and reassembled two of the wobbly pine kitchen chairs. Left them to dry sat on top of the table top in the consevatory, because that table top is about the flatest thing I have (NOT the floors!) and should allow them to set all nice and square and not rock. . . cooked chips drinking a glass of cheap red wine and then ate them with microwaved roast beef and peas . . . TVd . . . suddenly got a real bee in my bonnet about the DVD player DS had given me. Clearing things up, I'd stumbled across the page in the manual (multilingual the size of a phone directory!) which said stuff about being able to view JPG (and other) computer files!!?? Spent a crazy amount of time persuading my glitchy PC to create a test CDRW containing loads of photos and then rushed down to view them on the DVD and the TV. It WORKS! Actually not particularly impressive 'quality', but definitely food for thought. Maybe if I had a selection of my old photos on CDs, I WOULD sometimes look at them on the TV. That'd be better than digging through the piles of old photos and albums stored away in that 'never opened' ottomon in the bedroom. Hmmm? . . . BB called . . . TVd and experimented on the PC until early. pads
16 - Woken by Sally around 8:30am . . . walked in the mud and rain. One of the lady dog walkers confirmed she'd seen the crazy old lady who's dog had been run over the other week, and she said she saw her with the little dog held in her arms!! I guess he musta survived. :o\ . lots of rumours about changes in the area. Pretty sure the local Dewsons builders yard has been sold and is gonna be turned into a development of more flats. Also apparently lots of local residents had been invited to a meeting telling them about the rebuilding of the local school. ‘Could’ include expansion (of their playing fields) onto the field where I walk Sally!! Also confirmation from a dog walker that the council ARE intending to convert that derelict hostel near the bottom of the field (where they are planning to install a children’s play area) and pretty much backing onto the school grounds, into accommodation for homeless heroin addicts!!!!! The headline of this weekends local free paper was all about the plan – “Unreasonable, Unfair, Unjust Say Residents”. I of course agree. Yeah – that’s JUST what this area needs – lots of homeless heroin addicts!! No wonder another house down opposite has just gone up for sale! :o( . . . dismantled, glued and reassembled the other two wobbly pine kitchen chairs and left them in the conservatory to dry. . . screwed one of the brass effect hooks I have laying around, to the back of the bedroom door to hang my bath robe on. At last – somewhere for it to live, instead of it just laying around in the bedroom all the time. . climbed up into the attic and brought down the last few pieces of rainwater guttering and drainpipe I’ve had stored up there for years. (I’d got a whole house load from a guy at work when he had all his replaced). Bit of a struggle getting them down – had to bend them through the loft hatch cause they were so long – then had to feed them through the louvered kitchen window, into the conservatory and then out onto the patio. I’d long planned to replace the joined pieces that run along the bathroom/conservatory roof, because the rubber of the old join has ‘gone off’ and it leaks a little. I’d figured those pieces were plenty long enough to do a single run without the join. Wrong!!! Turned out they were about a foot too short! What a disappointment. Oh well – they’d gone a bit brittle too, so I ended up sawing them up into bin sized lengths and put it all in the wheelie bin. One bit less clutter hanging over my head . . . pottered around and ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time clearing off ‘stuff’ pinned to the huge notice board I have all along one wall in the kitchen. Blimey – some of that stuff has been pinned up there for around ten years – and more!! Ruthlessly threw most of it away (including my dust covered pony tail from when I started cutting my hair short, and a couple of amusing hand drawn pictures Dad had done many years ago. SO faded, couldn’t see the point in keeping them). Things change. Time marches indifferently on. :o| . . . ate mayo, garlic sausage, onion, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with two bags of salt and vinegar crisps around 3pm. . .BB called . . . napped for a couple of hours . . . walked . . . PCd this . . . BB called . . . nothing much on TV and strangely I didn't seem in the mood for all the noise . . . ate cheese and cheesey crackers left behind in a cupboard by BB . . . early to bed around 11pm. p
17 - Woke in the night to the sounds of a car being driven nearby like on a racetrack. Got back to sleep until early - woke - snoozed - woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked. Couldn't resist a quick look in the skip down the road as I walked by. Blimey - they are throwing away some drill and screwdriver bits and such - the remnants of some broken electric screwdriver set or other. Couldn't resist bringing the box home and removing all the useful bits - amongst which were a few nice wood drill bits, a countersink attachment, and some clamp on bit 'collars' for restricting the depth of drilling. Useful. :o) Dumped the box in the bin. Wish I had the nerve to really get serious with looking through the rubbish in that skip - looks to me as though, even if I'm ruthless about not bringing home 'junk', there is plenty in there I could make use of. Its the skip of the same people who threw away the computer chair I'm now comfortably sat on - they have money. I still kick myself for not having had a salvagable wrought iron ended garden bench they threw away. What's rubbish to them maybe isn't to me! . . . started the long, long job of clearing out some of my PC junk and 'stuff'. Ended up filling the bin with more old Double Density three and a half inch floppy disks than I can count! Loads of them - and - ooops - many of them with a Post Office logo on them! I salvaged boxes of them (corrupt) from being scrapped when I worked there! Many were fine after a format. Seems little point in keeping them now. Hope no one at the council tip starts investigating why there are loads of 'Post Office' dics turning up - could get me in trouble!!! . .Mum called wanting to test her phone - again! . . . .sorted and sorted and managed to throw just a little more of this and that away (old broken 'ball' mice and cables and such, kept for spares - now overtaken by optical mice). Pretty much filled the bin up again already. . finally bit the bullet and sorted through the big plastic sack of old leather bike jackets that i couldn't bring myself to get rid of until now. After a good look through them, there were a couple that were 'just' worthy of a charity shop donation - the others (the jacket and cut off I used to wear on the bike) were SO disgustingly worn and dirty, no way could I reasonably expect anyone to want them. With almost no ceremony, they were assigned to the bin and gone. End of an era. . dug out the old BX 233mhz PC and plugged it all in and started going through the contents of the hard drive and clearing stuff off prior to maybe trying to give it away - somewhere, somehow??!! Long tedious waste of time - 'almost' tempted to strip out some parts for spares and just take it to the tip, although in some ways (because its running Windows 98) it actually gives the impression when doing very little, of being as fast as my 1000mhz machine running 'could it BE any slower and more cumbersome' XP!!!! . too boring messing with the machine - soon gave up again . . . cooked up four small cheese burgers . . . napped for an hour or so until woken by LB calling in with some left over chocolate cheesecake for me. Felt a bit hungry after I'd fully woken, so I ate it straight away with a coffee, and very nice it was too. . . TVd . . .cut my hair . . . LB called - asked her if she meant it when she offered to give me a lift to the hospital early on the morning of my surgery. She said yes, so I said yes please and thank you very much. . . walked in the cool damp. Blimey - there's a 'new' (still in the wrapping) full size white bath in that skip down the road! If it was metal I'd have it, but its fibre glass and I'll never have another one of those given the choice. Nasty bendy scratchable things. . . washed dishes and vacuumed a little . . . PS popped round for chats and chocolate biscuits until early . . . touched base with BB until bed around 1:30am. ps
18 - Woke earlier but snoozed on until woken by Sally barking as mail was delivered . . . walked and found a penny. Noticed what looked like a pair of PC speakers in the skip down the road! Played with Sally around the field and did a little litter duty and then walked back via the skip. Blimey - they ARE PC speakers and whether they work or not, there is a nice 'doubler' type socket on the end of them for a power feed for the transformer off the power socket on the back of the PC. That's neat. Gotta have those, despite the fact it rained on them in the night - ended up walking home with them, and a long black nylon loading strap which came to hand. . carefully wiped the speakers down ('Typhoon Sound System') and dried them off with one of Sally's towels, some toilet paper and then the hair drier, and excitedly rushed up to the PC room and tested them on the old BX PC. The power supply socket which I liked so much is a tad sloppy, but nothing to worry about. Gingerly powered up. Cool - the power on light comes on and there seems to be a hiss from both speakers. Fingers crossed. . Good grief - they work fine - there's nothing wrong with them!!!!! :o) How cool is that! I now have a set of speakers for each of the machines I want to get rid of. In fact - even though they don't look very pretty, I think I'm gonna keep these as the speakers I use on 'MY' machine. One less transformer plugged into my 'switch everything off at once' switchable, fused, multiblock connector. They actually give a perfectly 'useable' volume of audio when the amp isn't turned on, which is cool, and WITH the amp turned on, will go louder than I EVER use before they distort. Really cool. :o) . . . Played around on the PC for a bit and then started to think about what the hell to do with my old 233mhz BX machine. I just really didn’t want to have to put in the hours messing around formatting the drive and reinstalling everything and getting it all set up and happy, just to then give it all away for nothing. Ummd and ahhd and just couldn’t get down to it. Eventually decided to pop up the local PC shop and price a few things up and see if there was ANY chance of maybe part exchanging the whole lot for something I want. I could REALLY use a new PS2 keyboard. Nothing fancy, just one that doesn’t have all the letters worn off the keys – and maybe an internal modem to tidy up the desk and plugs a little more!! Left Sally at home and walked up to the store and asked a few silly questions. The cheapest keyboard they had was around 5 and something like 15 for a PCI modem. I made my play for doing a deal (swapping the entire old PC system and monitor for a new keyboard) but the guy wasn’t interested at all!!! That pretty much convinced me the old PC WAS pretty much worthless and just a millstone around my neck. Returned home and sat sadly looking at it for a bit before managing to decide that I just needed the space and wanted it gone, even if I had to take it to the tip. Surfed briefly looking for anyone who recycles old PCs but nothing came to hand that was local. Phoned the local council and asked them what may be the best way to get rid of it. They actually came up with a few different local companies and phone numbers. Called one called ‘Bytes Back’ and confirmed they’d be happy to take whatever I had, off my hands, and weren’t at all concerned if I stripped some parts out before I donated it. They weren’t a charity but WERE a not for profit organisation that built up PCs from redundant parts, for people and community organisations/charities who have a need. Turned out they were located across town at the old Merrywood Boys School in Knowle. Right then – decision made – I stripped out a few useful cables, the hard disk and the floppy drive and then loaded the remainder with the old monitor and five pin din keyboard into the car, together with some old installation disks and a few more cards and bits and pieces I didn’t want. Left Sally at home and drove with the AtoZ across town and eventually found the place. Drove round the back as instructed and parked up near a huge skip that was full of flattened metal PC case internals. A guy wielding a sledgehammer was crushing up yet more. Blimey – what a terrible waste!! But then again, I guess things PC move on and evolve SO quickly, and everyone is upgrading all the time, what else are you gonna do with so much scrap metal? Blimey – there must be mountains of old PC stuff all over the world just being crushed and dumped in landfills! WHAT a terrible state of affairs. :o( At least all THAT scrap metal was gonna get recycled. Was helped carrying the stuff inside after I’d asked the guy who unlocked the door, if there was any way I could get my hands on an old PS2 keyboard, because all the letters had worn off mine and I’d tried to replace them by engraving them back on with a hot needle. He obviously took pity on me and said that shouldn’t be a problem. Was told to follow some guy who’d sort me out. Followed him into a another locked room, all stacked from floor to ceiling with PCs and printers and who knows what! Blimey – Aladdin’s cave! The guy walked straight to a box of PS2 keyboards and reached into the pile and chose to pull out a lovely looking black one. Sadly I had to point out that many of the letters were worn off just like mine. Into the pile he went again, and because I’d drooled a bit over the black one, he pulled out the only other black one in there. A Dell Quietkey RT7D5JTW. Cool - matches my Dell monitor. (ALL neat electronic equipment should be black.) He started wandering around looking for somewhere to plug it in and test it, but I started feeling guilty about all the bother cause he’d said I could just ‘have’ it, so I told him not to bother and I’d take the chance. Yayy – drove excitedly straight back home with the keyboard. . . returned BBs ansaphone message and touched base but couldn't wait to get up on the PC and try the new keyboard to see if it works. It does. :o) Some days, things just work out really nicely don't they. :o). . . Messed around in the PC room for ages re-routing cables, vacuuming and wiping dust, and generaly just tidying things up a bit . . .ate garlic sausage, mayo, grated cheese, onion tomato and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . napped for a couple of hours . . . walked and found a penny. . . Mum called to confirm she'd booked her bus ticket up to Bristol for when I go in hospital . . . BB called . . .TVd but was in a funny mood and couldn't find anything I wanted to watch. Ended up wanting to use the PC just to use the new keyboard and speakers and to appreciate the cleared up largely dust free space. Trimmed my nails to try and preserve the letters on the new keyboard. . Surfed all sorts of nonsense as usual (with coffee and chocolate bicuits) and ended up listening to a few snippets of radio shows on the BBC website. Ended up calling Mum and telling her that there was a show on Radio 4 on Wednesday evening she may like to try and catch. (About a Dog) Amusing. :o) Very cool being able to listen to programs on demand like that - shame it's a bit twitchy on a dial up connection. Blimey - if I had broadband I'd probably listen to a lot more radio shows, as and when I wanted!!. . PCd and PCd and all of a sudden I could hear next door was getting up for work and it was only a couple of hours until time to walk Sally!! Seemed little point in getting my head down for just a couple of hours so I ended up just staying up!! Yawn! Blimey - still dark until getting on for gone 7:30am. ps
19 - Typical - started to rain just as I was putting my coat on! Walked in the rain and found 2p. It's that time of year again when Sally (and the house!) is pretty much constantly wet and muddy . :o( . . . napped until around lunchtime. . . BB called before starting a 500 mile drive!! I couldn't do that in one go! . . .ate four defrosted chicken drumsticks with four pieces of bread and butter . . . ended up sleeping again until woken by Sally around 6pm! Ooops - so much for today! . . . walked. . . Mum called to remind me to watch a TV show later . . .PCd this while TVing. . .BB called . . . drank a glass of cheap red wine. Ate six of the LB donated 'thai cakes' that have been sat in the freezer for ages with a couple of pieces of bread and butter, then biscuits and coffee. . . TVd til bed around midnight. Tossed and turned feeling a bit sick for a while! pda
20 - Woken by Sally after 8am . . . walked in the mud and drizzle and found 2p. Idiots in the night had emptied the refuse out of the bin next to the childrens swings (the chains of which they'd tied in a knot!) so I used poop scoop bags as gloves and put everything back in and cleared up a little!!! One of the dog walkers came up and started a conversation about the local kids and yobs and their behaviour and then started on about how there was nothing else for them to do in the area. Damn - that sort of justification for yobish behaviour REALLY bugs me, more and more. There was a LOT less to do when I was a kid (No PC, gameboy, multi channel TV - I never went to a youth club, etc etc etc) but I never went around drinking, doing drugs and smashing the place up!! It is NOT about giving the spoiled little yobs more to do - it's about teaching them social responsibility and respect for others and simply how to behave!!! I tried to make my point but must have come across all agressive because he got all defensive and said there was no need to get 'lairy', whatever that means!! I tried to defuse the situation and explain, but it just ended up with a long depressive conversation about how bad things have got - and I was happy when he carried on walking!. . .did a little paperwork and balanced my accounts. . . left Sally at home and drove over to the Staple Hill police station to hand in that car numberplate I found the other day. Toured all the (5+?) Staple Hill charity shops. Scored two pairs of the long black wooly combat socks I always wear, for only 40p!! Also bagged a long sleeved sweat shirt, like I always wear, for 1 and a white fluffy hand towel for 99p. Not a bad haul. :o) . . drove on down towards Downend intending to pop in a TV aerial shop and see how much a decent TV aerial would be, but they were closed. Parked and looked through all the stuff for sale in 'The Attic' second hand shop. .drove on to Downend and checked out all their charity shops . . . drove to Emersons Green to shop in Sainsburys, mostly for bread, coffee and biscuits! . . . cooked up a chicken kiev, peas and chips for a big late lunch . . . TVd /PCd/ did lots of laundry all afternoon . . . walked in the drizzle. Walking back from the field there was a lot of noise and people running around in the school grounds near where some evening event was on in one of the blocks. Turned out a group of between ten and twenty 'kids' were throwing themselves at the locked doors and banging on the glass and pretty much threatening and intimidating whoever was inside!! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I ended up walking with Sally up to the open entrance gate right behind where all this was going on and just stood there watching (deliberately 'to be seen' to be watching). If I'd been the people inside that building, I would definitely have called the police. Eventually the yobs all ran off after having thrown a large waste bin full of rubbish all around the car park. The fact that they DIDN'T actually throw it through the glass door, is perhaps an indication of how the scene wasn't as serious as I thought it was. I walked in and put the bin back next to the door of the building. The people inside (I think - a young girl, a middle aged woman, a very small old woman and some overweight guy in the background) thanked me. I said I would have called the police if I were them - they said they were starting to think about doing so! Incredible they hadn't already, I thought. Maybe to them that was just run of the mill behaviour??!!! Incredible. Depressing. . . briefly touched base with Mum . . . BB called . . . TVd. Ate bowls of cornflakes and biscuits. TVd until bed around midnight. Big wind and rain outside. ps
21 - Up around 8am . . . walked in the mud and sunny spell . . . put all Sallys muddy 'lets-wipe-ya-down' towels in the wash . . . PCd this . . .climbed into the attic and spent a while trying to ruthlessly sort out some of the stuff up there for disposal. Sorted out some rubbish and added some books and this and that to the charity shop pile I've built in the conservatory. . spent a crazy amount of time removing old photos from a few big albums so I could get rid of the bulky albums and better use the storage space . . . reheated one of yesterdays chicken kievs and cooked up some chips to go with it for a late lunch. . . BB called . . . ummd and ahhd and ummd and ahhd some more about the fate of my old PC/typists chair - fully adjustable in every direction and with arms. Now I have that new leather faced high backed reclining one in front the PC, that old low one doesn't seem 'quite' so marvellous. Its been sat there for days while I tried to make up my mind. I made up my mind. It has to go. Spent a while tightening some of the screws and such just to make sure it would be marvellous to someone else, then loaded it and two large sacks of junk into the car and drove to the nearby charity shop and dropped it all off. . I think I've almost reached a point where the clearing out of junk can slow down now. I still have huge amounts of 'stuff' laying around but its now whittled down enough to mostly be stored in appropriate boxes and cupboards out of sight - and dust. I think I can mostly divide all my 'stuff' into three groups now. One bunch of junk and bits and pieces all connected with the unfinished building work, mostly stored in the under the stairs cupboard. Stuff I actually wear and use and want to keep. And finally a large amount of stuff in cupboards, boxes, the attic and all around the place, which really should be saleable. Some time in the future, I need to look more seriously about starting to play with E-bay. . . TVd/PCd. . . walked in the drizzle . . . returned Mums ansaphone call and watched the program she'd suggested. . . ate garlic sausage, cheese and lettuce sandwiches with crisps and then 'some' chocolate. Actually a whole bar of Green and Black Fruit and Nut!!! . . . BB called . . . felt awfully tired. To bed around 11:30pm. ps
22 - Woken around 7:15am by the sound of the bin men. I guess I was a little anxious about my bin - very full, very heavy! Thankfully all emptied ok . . . walked and found 2p. The kids are apparently on half term break. What a difference that makes to the local environment - hardly any litter blowing around at all. . .PCd this . . .climbed up in the attic with the vacuum cleaner and tidied up just a little. There really is almost literally 'tons' of dust and debris up there, much of it from when the roof was done !! . . . got showered and cleaned my teeth before leaving Sally at home and driving to the dentist in Hanham. Got there just early enough to 'do' the couple of charity shops. In to the waiting room at exactly my appointment time of 12:15pm. Incredibly called in within minutes (I'm starting to wonder if she has lost a bunch of her clients - I haven't been kept waiting around the last couple of times I've been there). Oh NO!!!! You cannot be serious??! Two more teeth in different parts of my mouth are apparently loose and should be removed to attempt to save the rest! She blamed smoking. Had to book two seperate appointments for early December, because they don't like to extract too many at once. Bugger! :o( Paid the 14.52 inspection fee and was back in the car feeling miserable by 12:40pm. . . ate garlic sausage, grated cheese, onion, mayo, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with two bags of crisps . . . touched base with BB . . . napped until around 5pm. Good grief - I'm vacuuming and clearing stuff up in my dreams!! . . .started messing around with some of my paperwork, trying to clear out more rubbish. Uh oh - second day in a row Sally has had an upset stomach and hasn't been able to hold on until walk time!! Hosed down a bit of the garden!! . . . walked mostly between the showers . . .carried on clearing out. The trouble with having all these desk pedestal drawers for my paperwork and stuff, is that I fill em! Good grief - why on earth have I kept all my monthly phone bills for the last almost five years? Bin, bin, bin. Actually, I guess keeping records like that is a symptom of having spent so many years doing office work, and having to project budgets and such like from historical data! Old habits die hard. . . . BB called . . .carried on ruthlessly thining out until gone 10:30pm . . .defrosted and ate four chicken drumsticks with bread and butter, and then chocolate biscuits. . . TVd/PCd till early. pa
23 - Woken by Sally after 8am . . . walked in the mud and drizzle. Uh oh - Sally was in playful mood and ended up wallowing in a mud hole. Hosed her down on the patio :o( . . .Weather turned awful for the rest of the day. BIG wind and rain almost non stop ALL day!! . . .finally put the effort in and sealed and labelled up a box of nonsense, only worth around 5, I've been intending to send to DS. Really should have knocked up a CD of full size image files, but just couldn't be bothered to invest the hours it'd take! Took long enough just taping up the box! Mum called in the middle of me rushing to get the box done and get it to the post office before they shut. . Getting that parcel posted was all part of wanting to do certain things I'd set my mind on, before my operation. The clearing up lots of the junk in the house and getting most of 'my affairs in order' has been part of that. I'd intended to visit a solicitor and finally do a will, but I haven't got round to that. I know it's a routine operation and I'll be conscious and back out after a couple of hours - but I can't help having in the back of my mind that things sometimes do go wrong (adverse reaction to anaesthetic, MRSA, all that bad stuff in the press recently, etc.) and I have found myself allowing myself to consider (in some small part - as much as anyone can, without a terminal illness) that this could be the end of my time. Not necessarily a bad thing to consider from time to time I think. (Can't help but think we should all just stop, and do it more!) Puts things in perspective a bit. Makes not much matter. :o|. . .phoned up and transferred some of my savings into my current account - I'm gonna need that to pay the extortionate postage on this parcel! . . left Sally at home and drove up to the Kingswood Post Office in the downpour. SUCH a pain just wanting to mail something these days, now there are so few post offices left. Being Saturday and what with the weather and all, there was no where to park!! Ended up circling the block and eventually 'just' managing to squeeze into a space down a crowded nearby side street. In to the Post Office and weighed up the parcel. Jeezeuz!!!!! 44 by air mail which takes about a week, or 33 by surface which takes around six weeks!!! Good grief!!! Well - considering the price difference - what the hell - paid for the air mail. What a terrible waste of money!! :o( Kindof ironic that I'm just about surviving on my Post Office pension, and yet am giving so much back to them!! Sickening amount of money!! :o( . . . stripped all the bed linen off my bed and put it in several loads through the washing machine. Guess I should start to try and clean up the bedroom for Mum to use while she's here, and start sleeping in the PC bedroom. Gonna be touch and go with the weather as it is, whether I'll be able to dry everything in time!! . . spent a while 'de-mudding' one of the walls in the conservatory. A two foot or so high 'tide mark' from where muddy Sally returns from walks and rubs against the wall while I try to wipe her down with dirty old, ever wet towels. Actually cleaned up fairly well considering. . wiped down a few of the smoke stained wall tiles in the bathroom . . ate Philadelphia garlic and herb cheese with some (soft) crackers, left open in the cupboard from since when BB was here . . . napped late for a couple of hours . . . walked in the rain, just a little earlier than usual because I just wanted it over with. That field has turned into an awful quagmire with all today's heavy rain!! . . . drank a glass of cheap red wine and cooked up four sausages, two eggs, mushrooms and baked beans and ate it all with two pieces of bread and butter . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd but once again, as has become common of late, whatever was on, bored me and I ended up just wanting to be quiet. I think I'm pretty wound up about having this surgery - seems to have changed me a bit. . .eventually got caught up in the fairly entertaining film 'K-Pax' . . .oh so VERY tired but then 'Street Wars' (cops on the beat, fly on the wall type reality show) was on and I HAD to watch that - and then one of the old original Doctor Who films was on so I just HAD to watch until I saw a dalek exterminate someone with an egg whisk. :o) . . . eventually to bed in the computer room around 1am. ps
24 - Woken by Sally moving around at about 7am after already having been woken earlier by noise from next door! The noise translated in my dream to somone all in green with a wooly hat on, running down the road with a friend, smashing wing mirrors as he went!??. . . walked in the mud. Once again Sally wallowed in a mud hole. Hosed her down on the patio :o( . . . PCd this . . .the weather improved for much of the morning, so I was able to get the damp bed sheets out on the line in the wind for a couple of hours while I got serious with cleaning up the front bedroom for when Mum comes up. I'm painfully aware that it isn't easy for her coming up to stay here (she never has before) and feel obliged to do everything I can to make it as comfortable for her as I possibly can. At the very least, 'HER' bedroom needs to be as clean and comfy as I can manage. Vacuumed everything (including the lamp shade, the walls, inside cupboards, etc, etc!) and managed to mostly de-Sally-hair the room. Took the curtains down and put them through the wash with the net curtains from the computer room. Cleaned up and superglued back onto the aluminium window frame, the nylon seat for the window opener, which has been loose for ages and will occasionaly fall off when the window is opened! Cleaned the old fashioned style curtain pole and attempted to remedy the problem with the drawing of the curtains. Dust and dirt and the profile of the wooden curtain rings has made drawing the curtains a real pain. They quite often resist and just get stuck and wont draw across! Cleaned everything and then sat in the conservatory and meticulously sandpapered the inside of all 18 wooden curtain pole rings, to smooth them off and hopefully make them slide better! Touched base with LB and asked if she had any spray on polish I could have a bit of for the rings. Popped up to get it, only to find she had none left in the aerosol. I confirmed in response to her question, that I 'still' (?) wanted a lift to the hospital on Thursday. Huh? Apparantly she has asked her boyfriend to take me because he'll be there that day, will be up around 6am, and isn't at work at the moment!!!!?? Oh jeeze - wish I hadn't asked and had arranged a taxi now! It's bad enough having to ask a favour of someone, without then being a nuisance and kinda being passed off to someone I hardly know!!! :o( . . took the dust covered blind down off the window and took it out onto the patio and hosed it down before propping it up on the patio table to dry for a while. Eventually all wiped down and back up at the window, but still looking less than clean! Eventually got all the washing back in before the rain came, and put the slightly damp curtains back up to dry at the open window. They appear to draw a bit better than before. Made 'Mums' bed but wasn't entirely happy with the result, and incredibly ended up ironing the pillowcases!! First ironing I've done in a LONG while. Gave up half way through trying to iron a sheet! I need a new (clean!) ironing board cover! Emptied the last of the fabric freshener aerosol around the room and then closed the door. THAT is gonna HAVE to do!!! . . . Uncle TJ called to say good luck with the operation - and I should consider taking a laxative before I go in, to avoid having to go on a potty behind a curtain while I'm in there!! Uhuh?!!!!?? :o\ Awkwardly said thank you - or some such!? I'm no good at having to respond to peoples 'good wishes'. Wish I could just crawl away on my own and deal with this operation thing, without telling anyone until it's done with! :o( . . . returned BBs missed ansaphone call . . . ate garlic sausage and grated cheese sandwiches with two bags of crisps followed by loads of chocolate biscuits as a really heavy rain shower battered the house. Uh oh - lots of debris fell down the chimney into the fireplace and out onto the rug!!!! More vacuuming! . . napped for a couple of hours . . . walked . . . got all overalled up and dragged the step ladder out of the understairs cupboard and set about starting to try to fill in that twelve inches by six inches 'missing' piece of the kitchen ceiling next to the fire breast where the old back boiler pipes used to be routed up to the immersion tank in the bedroom. Cut the hole out neater and then cut to size and grafted in, a piece of hardboard that I had laying around. Nailed it to the joists and then mixed up a small tub of plaster and did a preliminary skim over the whole lot to seal the hole. Matching it in to the stippled pattern plaster on the rest of the ceiling can wait. Done it at last. Hopefully that will cut down on the transmission of noise and should stop the cooking fumes from the kitchen, seeping up into and filling the computer/bedroom. Wanted to get that done now, so that when Mum is here she'll be able to potter around and do what she wants, without affecting my ability to sleep in the computer/bedroom!! The central heating is gonna be a problem. I'm gonna HAVE to have it on when she is here, cause she feels the cold - but I can't sleep through the noise of the boiler which is in the corner of the computer/bedroom. Ho hum. :o| . . .touched base with BB . . . PCd this . . .ate a microwave chicken curry with bread and butter around midnight . . . TVd/PCd until early. Attempted to touch base with Sis2 in her new apartment but just had to leave an ansaphone message. p
25 - Woke around 8am . . . walked. Some black guy was walking along the cycle path way up ahead of me, drinking from a plastic bottle of coke. He was one of those people who finds it necessary to walk along with a weird exaggerated kind of ‘saunter’. That kind of saunter that projects an ‘attitude’. I think it is supposed to project an attitude of importance and confidence and such, although to me it suggests the complete opposite – someone with a pathetically fragile ego! His swaggering walk was SO exaggerated and laboured, it was actually kinda interfering with his ability to walk! A frail and doddery old granny went whizzing by him!! lol Predictably, when he’d had enough of his bottle of drink, he simply threw it across the field onto the grass! B*****d. I couldn’t help myself retrieving it as I passed by and did attempt to speed up, but lumbering along in my Wellingtons there was no chance of catching up with him before he left the field – and – well - what would have been the point? Nasty man. Wasn’t in the mood to do litter duty and left the bottle near a poop scoop bin for me to relocate some other time . . . .Who's been sat in MY chair?!! left Sally at home and popped round the local newsagent to buy a couple of birthday cards. Popped into the hairdresser on the spur of the moment to ask about hair trimmers and to see if there was any way the blades can be sharpened. Blimey - the guy was SO helpful it was kinda embarassing (I think he must have been bored). He suggested I should take my trimmer in and he'd have a look at it for me!! . . back home to find that in my abscence, Sally had been sat in my chair, as is apparantly her habit whenever I go out and leave her behind (never at any other time). Trouble was of course, she was all wet and muddy from her walk, despite my having tried to towel her down. Damn damn damn - the STATE of the throw on my chair!!!! Ended up having to do yet more unplanned laundry!! Grrrrr. :o( As the washing machine laboured, I mixed up a little more plaster and put a little more on the patch in the kitchen and finished blocking up the smaller hole from where the old gas pipe used to come down the wall to the cooker. . The weather eventually cleared enough to risk putting the throws out on the line. They got rained on a little but eventually dried out enough to go back on the furniture. . . ok - I guess I should just have thrown that old dust covered pot pourri in 'Mums' room away and bought some new, but I didn't. I decided to wash it!! It cleaned up mostly ok. Got a handful stuck in the plug hole and when I fished it out it was all covered in Sally hair, but other than that, it came up pretty clean. Spread it out on a plate and tried drying it in a sunny spell in the conservatory, but there wasn't enough sun to do the job. Ended up putting the oven on, on its lowest 'just warm' setting, and putting an oven tray in with the wet pot pourri spread around to dry. . spent a rediculous amount of time sorting through the metal chest of junk in the understairs cupboard, looking for some old 'rail supports' I thought I had in there somewhere. Turned out they weren't in there at all, but I found them in the end, and sorting through, managed to throw a bit more junk in the bin. Used those rail supports and some old bits and pieces of plastic covered rail I've had laying around, to construct a metal towel rail and bolt it to the side of the metal roller shutter 'tool' cabinet in the conservatory. At last - somewhere to hang all Sally's wet and muddy towels, rather than just having them thrown in heaps on whatever. . Blimey - all this clearing out and vacuuming - I must be doing something right - place smells strangely clean. Hmmm - dunno why it smells so nice and clean in the kitchen though? Couldn't figure it out and started wandering around sniffing and trying to identify what was smelling so good. Oh bloody hell!! The pot pourri IS STILL IN THE OVEN!!!!!! Rescued it in time. Nicely dried out. Put it back in its bowl and emptied a bottle of aromatic oil in on top and swished it all around before putting it back up in 'Mums' room. Blimey - that room smells unfamiliar, weird and unlike anything of mine. I think it must smell of 'clean'!! :o) . . ate grated cheese, mayo, lettuce and onion sandwiches with crisps around 3:30pm. . . napped for a couple of hours . . .LB left an anspahone message confirming no problem, her guy will give me a lift to the hospital . . . briefly returned BBs ansaphone call . . . walked in the mud under a clear starry sky and did a little litter duty - including putting that guys bottle from this morning in the bin. The newish looking white fibre glass bath that was in the skip down the road has gone. I suspected it would be too good for someone not to have it out! :o) . . . briefly guitarred in the garden for just a bit but was all wound up and restless . . . TVd and against my better judgement, decided to watch the Trevor McDonald news program. Touched base with Mum. The TV info screen about the show said "As deaths from hospital super bugs soar, undercover cameras go into Britain’s wards and operating theatres to reveal where the risks are greatest." Jeezuz!!! What a horrific program with plenty of examples of people going in for successfully completed routine operations, who then get an infection and die!! Just what you want to hear immediately before going in for an operation yourself!!!!!! NOT! Apparantly the statistics suggest that in excess of 100 people a week in this country die from MRSA type hospital infections! And all because there is a simple lack of cleanliness. There is no doubt in my mind, that is simply because of cost cutting!!! I knew I shouldn't have watched that program!! I am REALLY, NOT looking forward to having to have this hernia surgery. :o( . . touched base with Mum and joked that she should get a refund on her bus ticket because no way was I gonna go into any hospital and die of a super bug!! :o\. . . touched base with BB . . . cooked and ate baked beans, sausages, mushrooms and bread and butter around 10:30pm . . . TVd until bed around midnight. pas
26 - Woke around 7:30am . . .slow getting going. Eventually walked in the mud. . . PCd a bit of this . . . walked with Sally and posted the birthday card to IHB. Actually walked round with the hair trimmer in my pocket, but the hairdresser guy was in the middle of doing someones hair so I didn't go in. Bought a 'good luck in your new home' card for next door, whenever they move out - about a week or so I think. Assuming I AM given their ladder and kitchen table and chairs, I'm not sure I'm gonna be in a fit state to carry them in!! . . . messed around clearing up a little and managed to sort out half a dozen or so old shirts for the charity shop. Took BBs advice and moved a comfy chair into 'Mums' room, to give her somewhere to sit and maybe escape to if she needs to have some 'alone time' when she's here. BB called to touch base . . . drove with Sally down town to see what state the bus station is in, and to kinda do a dry run for when I pick Mum up. It's now pretty much one big building site with absolutely no where to park anywhere near, although it DID still apppear to be open and using the existing arrivals platform. Mum had been told when she booked her ticket that the bus would NOT be arriving at the bus station but at a layby at some pub nearby!?? I think the safest bet will be for me to park up (illegaly) somewhere nearby with my phone and wait in the car for her to call me on the mobile to say where she is and for me then to find her and just quickly stop and pick her up. . stopped off at Eastville Park on the way home and slowly walked Sally around and down to the lake. Lots of squirrel chasing. . walking around the park and back to the car the long way round, some young woman and a kid were walking a young long haired german shepherd puppy. Boy are they cute and bouncy when they are that young. :o) Sally was too busy looking for squirrels to bother playing. Strangely the woman kinda latched on to me and started walking back with me!!!!? She didn't even take the hint when I said I was heading back to the car park and started off in a beeline off the paths and across the muddy grass. Ended up having to walk almost the entire way with her!! Eventually pretty near the car her puppy ran off towards some other people and wouldn't come back when she called, so she chased after it and I 'escaped'. . on the ground next to the car was a plastic baggie with a tiny bit of leaf and a cannabis seed!! Blimey - maybe I should try planting that somewhere? . . . stopped on the way home and bought a bunch of flowers to put in 'Mums' room. . did flower arranging for the first time in my life (weird thing to do) and put the finished vase in 'Mums' room!! . . . re-read the hospital info just to make sure there was nothing I needed to do. "On the day of admission, please bring dressing gown and slippers but leave any valuables at home." . .couldn't be bothered to prepare food so just ended up eating three defrosted doughnuts around 4pm! . . . napped for almost a couple of hours. . . put my dressing gown in the wash and then walked. Blimey - looks as though those nasty guys in the flat above the shops round the corner (the ones who throw their rubbish straight out of the window) are gone. Looks like the place is empty - an old matress can be seen propped against one of the windows. Cool. :o) . . surfed and checked the bus station info. According to the website, the station WILL be open when Mum arrives so I guess she will be arriving there, despite what she was told. Touched base with Mum, told her what I thought would be best and then tested the mobile phones to make sure everything would be ok tomorrow (but mostly to make sure Mum knew how to use hers!). Briefly outlined in conversation (in the abscence of a will) what my desires would be for the disposal of my estate (or the bit the government wouldn't 'grab') in the event of my death. Damn - wish I'd done a will!! . . . touched base with BB . . . ate two fried eggs, four sausages, the last of the mushrooms and four pieces of bread and butter . . .Sis2 called to say good luck with the operation. John Peel died this day. pas
27 - Up just before 8am. With my operation looming tomorrow, this isn't gonna be much of a birthday! :o( . . . Sis1 hand delivered a birthday card for me through the door. She was on her way to work and couldn't stop. . .pushed a birthday card for LB through her door and then walked in the increasing wind. Found 2p . . . PCd this . . .Mum called to confirm she was awaiting her taxi to get to the bus. . .PCd this with the heating on and my dressing gown draped over a radiator to dry . . .IHB popped in to say happy 43rd (I didn't know which without doing the math - and frankly, don't really care) birthday and for a coffee. . finally finished PCing this around midday and set about washing up all the mountains of dirty dishes stacked in the kitchen . . .vacuumed around a little and quickly had a bit of a go at cleaning the bath before finally giving up around 2pm. Like it or not, that is about as clean as I can get it Mum! :o\ . . .sat around in front the TV until around 2:40pm and then set off with Sally in the car and drove down to the Bristol bus station building site. Lots of traffic - took ages to get there. Pulled into a road near the bus station and illegally parked up in a 'keep clear' space behind the taxi rank, keeping an eye open for traffic wardens. Big wind and rain showers but actually not as bad as had been forecast. Listened to the radio and chain smoked and waited for Mum to call on the mobile. Eventually she did but only to tell me the bus was across town and on its way towards the bus station. Should have arrived at 3:10pm - its a bit late then. Waited for what seemed like ages before Mum called again to confirm she was off the bus and near the bus station exit. I could 'just' make her out in the distance but probably couldn't have pulled in anywhere near her so she agreed to start making her way up the hill, past all the taxis. Quickly dashed out of the car and ran down to meet her half way and rushed with her case back to the car. Set off for home around 3:40pm . . . Mum settled into her room and we had a quick coffee before intending to do some shopping, for whatever Mum might want that I didn't have in the house. Mum said she didn't really need anything and wanted to know where I walk Sally, so despite the appalling weather, it was agreed we'd both walk Sally early, before it got fully dark. Tried to give Mum a quick crash course in how to leash up Sally and what to do with her. All walked (with Mum leading Sally) in the mud and torrential rain. Awful, AWFUL weather!! All got drenched!! Skipped the muddiest part of the field and then detoured to the nearest little Tesco store to show Mum the nearest useable store and for her to buy a few things. Most important of all and apparantly vital to my continued survival, ( and I suspect Mum's survival in MY house!) was the purchase of a large bottle of Dettol Antiseptic Disinfectant Liquid!! It apparantly brings back happy memories for Mum of being all safe and happy and clean - it was widely used by the midwife back then, when Mum had her babies. . Eventually made our way back home to dry out and warm up. A bit early but figured I'd be walking sally SO early tomorrow morning, that would do for her evening walk. . .attempted to give Mum a crash course in everything she needs to know - how to use the cooker, turn on the central heating, etc, etc. . .LB called to confirm that everything was arranged, and her man would give me a lift to the hospital if I turned up at her door around 6:45 in the morning. . . Mum insisted on preparing tea - ate big garlic sausage, mayo, grated cheese, onion, tomato and lettuce sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate biscuits. That'll be my 'last supper' then! No more eating until after the surgery. . . Mum insisted on washing up!! . . . TVd and attempted to instruct Mum on how to use the various confusing TV and cable remotes. All too much for her to take in really. . . BB called . . .had my last drink (coffee) before surgery, around 11pm . . . set both my alarms and eventually to bed just before midnight. Happy birthday? What birthday? :o| p
28 - Woke around 5:20am before either of my alarms went off. I must have been sleeping light and was woken by the sound of next door in their bathroom on the other side of the wall, getting ready to go to work. Got up and found Mum hadn't hardly slept and was awake too. I went into my auto pilot routine of waking up with coffee and cigarettes and Mum retreated back to her room so as not to get in the way of my rushing around to get everything done in time. Suddenly Mum came rushing back down the stairs - I shouldn't be drinking!!!!! Oooops. Blimey - I'd forgotten all about that!!! Luckily I'd only had two mouthfulls of coffee so I figured I'd get away with it. Poured the rest of the cup away and then quickly got my coat and boots on and walked Sally in the dark, a little before 6am. Despite the awful weather we'd had (incredibly we'd escaped the worst of it - really, REALLY bad on the south coast) and the even worse forecast, there appeared to be a lull in the storm and the full(ish?) moon was bright in the sky with the clouds scudding by. Heyyyyyyyy!!! Yayyyyyy. I was able to see the last minutes of the eclipse of the moon. Perhaps a little more than an eighth of the bottom of the moon was still in darkness. Cool. The black curve of the earths shadow gradually moved down and off the bottom of the glistening silver moon. Was so excited to have caught a glimpse of that, I called Mum on the mobile and told her to go out on the patio and have a look. By the time I'd walked Sally briskly round the field and back, all the action was over. Unfortunately I'd told Mum the wrong thing and she'd missed it - the moon was actually out the front of the house and probably not really visible from the garden at all. Dunno what the hell the light in the sky was that Mum had been stood watching?? Wasn't no moon! Probably a partially eclipsed security light on some neighbour's house! lol . . .dashed around and showered and got ready and stuffed my slippers and dressing gown in a carrier bag and eventually bid Mum and Sally good luck and farewell, put the footstool up on my chair to stop muddy Sally from sitting in it, and wandered up to knock on LBs door. Thankfully her guy came straight out and was ready to go and off we went in his car. Roads were still 'fairly' clear of traffic and we arrived at the Southmead hospital top entrance around 7am. We pulled up by a large signposted map and peered through the windscreen looking for the ‘Main Admissions’ section which was where I was supposed to report to. Couldn’t find it. Seemed unfair to make LBs guy have to mess around so I said I’d get out and walk wherever it was cause I was plenty early anyway. He wished me luck – I gave him my thanks and waved him goodbye. Checked out the map and decided to walk to the main reception to ask where I should be going. Explained to the woman behind the counter what I was there for and showed her my ‘party invite’. Turned out I was in the right place and she soon had my computer printout in front of her. She checked through a bunch of my details to confirm they were correct, handed me a copy printout and a couple of identification wrist bands, and told me to have a seat in the waiting area. It was still very early and only two other guys were already sat there waiting and reading their papers and such. Hmm? They had rather neat looking little cases which presumably had their dressing gown and slippers in. I felt a bit self conscious with my scruffy Sainsbury carrier bag! . I’d fully intended to try and stop smoking by this time, or at the very least, cut down a lot, to reduce the smokers congestion in my throat and lungs and reduce the risk of complications under the anaesthetic. It didn’t happen. It was still very early so I figured I may as well go and stand outside and have my last cigarette for who knows how long. . back inside, more people started to show up (not a single one with a carrier bag!) and the waiting room began to fill. . Weird waiting room. A mixture of chairs and kinda shabby. Two gas lift, computer type chairs in particular stood out. They were all worn out and in terrible shape and had department labels stuck to them to indicate where they belonged. On closer examination, they also appeared to be absolutely COVERED in a thick layer of animal hair!!?? Seemed a bit weird for a hospital? A short while later it became clear why. As calm as you like, out of one of the adjoining offices walked a fluffy white cat! It slowly walked across ‘its’ room and hopped up onto ‘its’ chair! Blimey – must be the reception cat. That’s pretty cool. Good job I didn’t bring Sally! How lucky to be able to work in a place with a pet. Wish I could find me some office job where I could take Sally in! :o\ SUCH a shame she and I haven’t got a different temperament – would have been SO neat to be a volunteer hospital visitor with her. . . around 7:35am peoples names were called and part of the waiting crowd was directed to head for one of the hospital wards. The rest of us were then called and directed to head upstairs and down a corridor to the ‘Day Case Reception’ office. Here we were all booked in again and our computer printouts were matched up with files which presumably contained our records. Blimey – that old guys file must have been two inches thick!! Mine was pretty thin. In fact, since I’ve not had any scans of any description and only one very cursory consultant examination, I really can’t imagine what was in mine at all, other than the pre-op forms I’d filled in at Frenchay! As this was done, our id wrist bands were fixed on to us. Some old guy appeared to be pretty much deaf and continually didn’t hear when anyone called his name. Wasn’t long before everyone knew that when a name was called and there was an awkward pause when no one came forward, it was him! He was in denial about his hearing loss. One of the nursing staff said something about a hearing aid at one point. He said his wife wanted him to have one, but he didn’t want one – ‘because he could hear pretty well actually’. Yeah, right! RIGHT!! lol . . A wipe board on the wall divided into AM and PM had some surgeons names written on it, and how many patients they would be operating on that day. Blimey – what a conveyor belt! One name had six to do that morning! Dr K. was mine and had three to do! What an amazing job it is, being a doctor/surgeon/etc. All but three of us were called by name and escorted out and shown to some nearby ward. We were left to sit in the waiting area. Probably through nerves, or perhaps because of those couple of mouths full of coffee I’d had and wasn’t gonna dare mention to anyone, I needed to use the bathroom. Oh for goodness sake. Must have looked funny me going in and out of the door and looking all over the walls and up at the ceiling. No way could I find any sign of a light switch anywhere!! Humph! Eventually asked a passing nursey person, who directed me to a different bathroom only a couple of feet away. What a relief. . there was some issue about a possible lack of ward space, but it wasn’t long before our names were called and we stood to be escorted to the same ward as all the rest. Inevitably the old hard of hearing guy was reading a paper and didn’t hear his name called, so we had to pause while the woman patiently went and caught his attention. Very weird how the guy who was stood behind me started trying to squeeze past me and get to the front as she did this!?? I can’t recall what he was wearing, but something about him and his newspaper and leather suitcase, made me think he was one of those people who is comfortable in a tie and suit and at ease with bullying his way ahead in life. I just couldn’t help myself becoming as wide as I could with my Sainsbury carrier bag, and then making sure I held him back behind me as we were shown along the corridor. By the time we reached the ward, he’d taken on the opposite ‘I’m in control’ tactic and was actually deliberately hanging back, so we all had to wait for him to catch up. Ego-twit-ical! . . There WAS something about a shortage of beds and we were instructed to wait in a seating area by the TV which was scratchily showing BBC breakfast TV. Why oh why oh WHY do TVs in such circumstances almost always have such a poor reception? I guess a decent aerial amplifier/distribution system isn’t a high NHS budget priority. I was up tight and wasn’t in the mood to watch it (apart from some of the reports about the terrible hurricane like weather down south, and the occasional tornado elsewhere), and couldn’t have cared less what articles were in the dog eared, out of date magazines on the tables. I can pretty much only ever do one thing at a time, so I just sat and waited. Wasn’t too long before a nurse called my name. Apparently they WERE short on beds at the moment so we had to borrow one! She pulled the curtains around the bed and then confirmed some of my pre-op questionnaire details (again) and then took my blood pressure and pulse with a little machine on wheels – took my temperature by sticking a gadget in my ear (just like I’d seen them do to Dad so many times) – weighed me on nearby scales to confirm my weight. She then gave me the dreaded backless hospital gown (albeit fully 'modernised' by having velcro on the ties! lol) and left me to change into it and my dressing gown and slippers. Felt a bit exposed only separated from all the people, hustle and bustle, by a poorly closed curtain, but soon accepted it was a hospital and – well - who cares if someone sees a bit of someone else naked! We’re all meat on the slab now!!! :o( All of a sudden the curtains opened and a doctor was stood there asking if I was – someone else! Blimey – nightmarish visions of having the wrong operation done on me! Was that why we had an id wrist band on each wrist? In case they cut off one of our arms by mistake?!!! !! ‘No, no no – there’s a thing with the beds – I’m me and just borrowing this one!!!’ Thankfully he excused himself and was pointed in the right direction by a nearby nurse. . Right, the curtains were as closed as I could make them, without embarrassingly drawing the attention of various patients’ relatives to myself, by trying to make them overlap a little more! Go for it. I whipped my clothes off and got the backless hospital gown on. Only took a couple of seconds to realise that the Velcro ties on the ‘fully modernised’ gown were still somewhere round the back and out of reach and impossible to fasten! Left my ass hanging out and quickly covered up with my big dressing gown. Sis1 bought me that dressing gown years ago as either a birthday or Christmas present. It’s blue towelling and absolutely huge. It’s almost down to the floor and will very nearly wrap itself around me twice. Perfect for fully covering up during a hospital visit. Nice one. Actually felt quite ‘secure’ once I’d got it on. Took my silver hoop earring out of my left ear and threaded it onto my watch strap and popped them both into my shirt pocket. The instructions I’d received before attending for surgery had been explicit about leaving any valuables at home. I’d really rather wanted to bring my camera in, to record something of the experience, and maybe even give to someone in the operating theatre to take some snaps while I was ‘under’ (like the vet did with Sally’s spay operation), but had eventually decided against it for obvious reasons. I could hear plenty of people having to go off with nurses to have their valuables signed for and locked up somewhere. Seemed like a lot of unnecessary hassle for the nurses. I had nothing on me which I couldn’t happily live without (guess I'd just settle for living) – no point in locking anything away. I wrapped all my clothes up into a ball and stuffed them all back into my Sainsbury carrier bag and then pulled the curtains back from my ‘rented bed space’ and went to sit in the TV seating area as I’d been instructed . . Eventually a nurse came and directed me to ‘my’ bed area – the surgeons name and mine were scribbled on the wipe board on the wall above the bed. The bed itself was actually more of a ‘narrow trolley’ than a full blown hospital bed. Next to it was one of those nice old fashioned high backed chairs. I put my bag of belongings behind the chair out of everyone’s way and installed myself in the chair, and that was where I waited out my time for the next couple of hours, watching the ‘hospital world’ go by. I think I only saw one female patient wandering around in her dressing gown. All the rest were men. I think it’s fair to say that most men haven’t had much experience of wearing skirts or dresses – or, 'just' dressing gowns. It’s a whole different way of having to hold your body to retain your dignity. Women seem to learn it at an early age and in later life, no matter how short a skirt they may wear, no matter how hard a man may involuntarily look to catch an unguarded peek, they seem to be able to keep everything ‘under wraps’ in all sorts of situations. Men don’t learn it – or at least not many of the men on that ward! It soon became apparent that the only place to look in safety was the floor. Guys were sat around all over the place, reading books, reading newspapers, watching TV, all apparently completely unaware that their ‘tackle’ was on full display!! Ewwwww - please! Looking at the floor for a couple of hours was obviously boring and it was inevitable I’d start to listen in, to whatever conversations I could, around the ward. The curtains they draw around the beds, give no privacy whatsoever to a conversation, and yet everyone seems to forget that when hidden behind them. Two ‘proper’ hospital beds were behind curtains against the wall on the other side of the ward. A guy in one of the beds had undergone some serious surgery, but I didn’t get to hear what. He was apparently all connected to tubes which made it difficult for his poor wife to wash around when she came in to see him and help him with his morning wash and shave!! God I felt sorry for her. More so than for him. I think it’s easier being the patient in many ways, no matter how serious or terminal the condition! :o( The guy opposite, in the other ‘proper’ hospital bed, was soon to have something major removed from his body!! I can’t recall what it was, but I really think we all need it, and I’m not sure we can do without it!! He was laying on his bed looking through some sort of ‘What Car’ magazine as though he was thinking of buying a new car. That struck me as a bit weird – a bit pointless – a bit like ‘worldly goods’ and who cares right now? . . Yikes – more than one of the guys in there were waiting for surgery on their testicles!! One young man accompanied by his father, was in to have some fluid drained off, because it was all swollen up. His father respectfully stood outside the curtain while the surgeon briefly examined him.The surgeon then came over to the wash station next to where I was sat, to ‘wash’ his hands. Hmm! So much for being extra careful about cleanliness after all those critical TV reports. It was a token gesture. His hands hardly got wet, and no soap was involved! . . Another poor guy accompanied by his worried looking wife was apparently going to have a cancerous testicle removed! Throughout the course of the morning, I learned quite a bit about testicle operations!! I’d mistakenly thought that because they are all dangly and pretty accessible, operations on them would be pretty easy. Apparently they are actually kinda on a ‘stalk’ and contained within a sack like membrane, and when one is to be removed, they go into the groin and grab the whole sack to prevent anything from leaking out and maybe causing secondaries! Yikes!!! I hadn’t fully appreciated the scale of the operation IHB had said he’d had. I should apologise some time. . All in all, I began to feel a bit guilty and thanked my lucky stars that I was ‘only’ in for a routine single hernia . . A businesslike guy in a smart suit eventually came my way, shook hands and introduced himself as Dr K., my surgeon. I felt relieved to have the opportunity to actually meet him! He pulled the curtains around the bed and explained what was going to be done to me and then said he’d like a quick look at my hernia. Yeah – that seemed like a good idea, given that he never had, and was soon to operate on it! I opened my dressing gown and did the usual uncomfortable coughing and after a quick prod or two, he was happy and off he went. A short while later another smart suited guy turned up and shook my hand and introduced himself as my anaesthetist and then sat next to me on the bed with my file and explained what was going to happen. I made some joking comment about ‘my life in your hands’, but I think he was used to hearing it. I have to confess that I am rather in awe of such people. I’ve seen enough on TV documentaries to know that at the very least, they all have a far superior IQ to mine. They’ve all spent twice as long as I have in education, and can actually remember it for goodness sake. Day in and day out, they really DO hold peoples lives in their hands, in a very real sense. They are the gods of humanism. I’m not sure if such people are made or born. They ARE different. The anaesthetist once again went through some of the pre-operative questionnaire I’d filled out, confirming this and that. He paused when he came to the section upon which I’d said I was taking fluoxetine and then pursued a line of questioning. He seemed particularly interested in me saying I suffered from stress and depression, and as such, always had a stiff neck and often a headache and was liable to being particularly ‘nervous’ in certain situations. He satisfied himself that my stiff neck and shoulders could cope with a long period of immobility on the operating table and seemed happy all was in order. He then referred to the possibility of me being particularly nervous and stressed about the procedure and said that he could happily give me something for that (some form of tranquiliser) if I wanted it. I guess in his position that was just common sense from a health point of view, and lessened the likelihood of having to restrain a hysterical patient in the anaesthetic room, but it was most unexpected and seemed like an extraordinarily nice, kind thing to offer. I said ‘I’m good’, thanked him and declined. I managed to somehow offer advanced apologies for whatever I may do or say when I was woken in the recovery room. I’m not good at being woken from sleep. Many years ago I had fallen asleep on a friend’s settee and they’d gently shaken my foot to wake me and send me off to bed. Apparently, unknown to me, I bluntly told them to leave me alone (“F*** **f!”) and violently kicked out with my leg!! Luckily no one was hurt. Seemed only fair to warn the anaesthetist of the possibility of such behaviour! A short time later a nurse brought me the normal pre-op cup of water and a handful of pain killers, to start acting and be in my system by the time I went into surgery. Nice to have a drink at least. . . The ‘not so pleasant’ guy with the ‘ego’ was in a nearby bed. For some strange reason he alone didn’t find it necessary to change into his dressing gown for ages, and sat in the chair next to his bed reading his newspaper. Eventually curtains were pulled and I could hear his surgeon examining him. I wasn’t wrong about him. I couldn’t hear the whole conversation, but there was actually almost an argument going on where the guy was wanting ‘both’ (hernias?) done, whereas the surgeon was recommending doing only the one. Dunno what he ended up with. Dodgy thing to do, I would have thought – argue with your surgeon like that. Worse than arguing with the waiter in a restaurant. Upset a waiter and you can be pretty sure you’ll end up with something rather nasty in your stomach once you’ve eaten. Upset your surgeon and you’ll end up with someONE rather nasty in your stomach and maybe even be lucky to still have a stomach once he’s done!!
Sooner or later I guess all the preliminaries were done and things seemed to quieten down just a little in the ward. The anaesthetists and surgeons appeared briefly around the nearby nurses station and I was aware of them discussing how they’d start on the ‘BLs’ (Bi laterals?) and fit the singles in around them. Amazing. Just another day at the office I suppose. I sat and looked at the floor and eavesdropped and didn’t really even notice one or two people disappearing to face their fate. From time to time I WAS aware that operations were being done somewhere because operating room staff would wander by. I knew this from studying the passing footwear. The operating room staff all wore soft, comfortable, plimsoll, slip on shoes, many of which seemed to have little cartoon like characters on!? Maybe that is how they recognise each other when they are all suited up and masked and staring down, concentrating on an operating table? Somewhere around 10:45am what I assume was a theatre porter turned up and started wheeling my bed away! He commented that they’d be here for me soon and that now would be a good time to go to the bathroom if I needed to. Of course the minute he’d said that, I needed to! Around 11am a nurse turned up and called my name. ‘We’ll walk if you don’t mind’ she said looking all busy, so I followed her along corridors and I don’t know where, until we came to a deep dark part of the hospital that seemed to have a lot of strangely dressed people bustling around, with more in a nearby room taking a rest break. The sharp end! We briefly had to stand to one side as a bed was pushed by with an unconscious guy laying in it with an oxygen mask on! Blimey – it’s a conveyor belt! That’ll be me next. She escorted me into a room full of equipment with a bed prominently placed in the middle, reminiscent of a mortuary slab on some TV show. . ‘Take off your robe and slippers and lay down’. At any other time, having a lady tell me that, would most probably have been not entirely an unpleasant proposition ( But only if it was BB of course! :o\ ). Under these circumstances, it was nothing more than exactly what I had to instantly, unquestioningly do - so I did. So business like was it all, that I can’t really remember if I was partially covered with a blanket to save my modesty - but I think I was. Frankly (my dear) – I couldn’t give a damn. A double side door swung open and my anaesthetist and his female assistant (yeah – I’m naked - and a 'pile of buttons' - who cares!) came in and immediately got to work on me. Without me having time to even think about it, he pulled out the dreaded safety razor, and with a quick swipe, shaved off the hair from my navel down to my groin in a short diagonal. I watched as he got to work sticking that enormous large bore pipe (small needle and ‘tap’) into the vein on the back of my left hand. As he did so, his assistant was plopping lubricated rubber heart monitor sticky attachments on different parts of my chest and soon had me wired up to a fancy TV monitor. She moved the trolley a bit closer to the screen and I made some silly joke about ‘Good. I can watch TV now then.’ They told me what was on the screen – blood pressure and heart rate I think it was. Neat. I started to mess around with my ‘will’ to see if I could raise my heart rate, and mentioned that was what I was doing. The anaesthetist seemed to kinda get into the spirit of my experiment and suggested it would work if, I held my breath as I raised up while he lowered the end of the bed behind me, and then breathed out as I lay down flat. Wow – it DID work. My heart rate shot up briefly on the monitor. I happily remarked how wow, yes, that had worked – and then - I was gone!!! I hadn’t even noticed him injecting anything into the tap in my hand. Damn – I’d been SO determined to attempt to fight going under (just to test my ‘will’) whilst I was presumably gonna have to count myself out, like I’ve had to before. I wonder? Had that anaesthetist done that deliberately – kinda sneaked it up on me because he thought I was all stressed out and up tight? IF that IS what he did – that’s nice. That’s really nice of him. I didn’t need him to - but that’s nice. Caring. :o)
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- - All and Nothing here!!!???!!! - - >
I think I came round at somewhere around 1:45pm (I can recall hearing the ‘Neighbours’ theme tune on the TV) back in the ward and on my trolley bed with the safety arms raised on both sides to stop any falling out. I was rather surprised to wake up, feeling as though I WAS actually awake. I was fully expecting to be drifting in and out of consciousness for ages, but instead, all I can recall is being definitely awake and ‘me’ and annoyed that I couldn’t quite focus on the clock on the opposite side of the ward without closing one eye for quite a while. So what was all that about a ‘recovery room’? I was expecting to be brought round by someone, somewhere else? Did that happen? No knowledge! I think I MUST have imagined or dreamed it – or maybe it was my subconscious returning to its normal place and having a word, but somehow I have a ‘memory’ of ‘being told’ (??) I’d had a ‘little difficulty’ with my breathing – and it was ok, I hadn’t said ‘**** off’ to anyone when I was brought round! Weird. Oh well – guess I gotta carry on living then. I think I was pretty quick to have a look under the sheets at my stomach (thank goodness for those id wrist bands. If they HAD done the wrong operation, at least I still had both arms). The whole of my stomach below my navel was covered in two overlapping big squares of what appeared to be clear sticky back plastic! Beneath the plastic were three separate tiny groups of what appeared to be reinforced nylon like sticking plasters. One group immediately to the left of my navel, the other two diagonally to the right further down my groin. All three bore evidence of a small amount of blood leakage. Wow – that ain’t bad. Presumably all full of painkilling stuff, I wasn’t in any real pain at all. Very cool. :o) Very dry throated and thirsty. A nurse soon came over and said that I was free to raise up and have a drink of water from the bedside table. Joy. . Not long after I was offered and gratefully accepted a cup of coffee and a couple of digestive biscuits. Lovely. I wasn’t nauseous or anything – just HUNGRY!! At some point the surgeon (I think! Could have been a vacuum salesman for all I know!) appeared in his businessman’s suit and wanted to have a look at my wound. I guess I MUST have been a little ‘out of it’ with the anaesthetic because I would normally in such circumstances have been all full of thanks for what he’d done for me. I’m sorry to have to admit, I don’t recall thanking him for the surgery, and don’t think I even asked if everything had gone ok, etc! Maybe I was a little taken aback by his expressions of concern when he looked through the plastic covering, to my slightly ‘leaking’ wounds and blood stained stick on ‘stitches’. He wasn’t happy with it (looked pretty damned ok to me) and decided he wanted it re-dressed! I imagined a ‘lowly’ nurse would be called upon to do the dirty work, but instead he armed himself with the rubber gloves and equipment that was required, and set about doing it himself!! It was pretty quick and painless and I DID thank him for it as he left. . .by 3:15pm I was sat in bed eating toast and marmalade, and boy did it taste good. :o) By 3:45pm I was allowed out of bed to sit in ‘my’ chair. Somewhere along the line it was made clear to me by one of the nurses that I really shouldn’t go home until I’d been to the bathroom to pee. They needed to know everything was still working ok. I protested a little about being empty and having had so little to drink since yesterday, but apparently when I was having my operation I would have been on a drip, so I should be quite normally hydrated and should need to go. No way was I gonna be ‘kept in’ because I hadn’t ‘been’. I set about emptying down the jug of water that was next to the bed as quickly as I could. I couldn’t believe how ‘ok’ I felt. I tested myself by standing next to my bed and looking out the window and moving around a little. I didn’t fall over. Got all cocky and around 4pm slowly carried my empty plate back to the small kitchen area and handed it to a nurse before carrying on into the bathroom. Felt all very weird ‘down below’, but I eventually managed to squeeze out enough to be able to triumphantly report ‘I’d been’. :o) I was good to go. Somehow all of a sudden a nurse said Mum was on the phone and I made my way over and said I was ready to go and started trying to give directions. Thankfully a nurse took over and spoke to Sis1 and gave whatever directions were necessary. I carefully got dressed and sat near the TV waiting until I could see Mum at the distant entrance to the ward. I was given a small package of post surgery information leaflets, a copy of my discharge form and a box of 30, 500milligram Co-Codamol tablets for the pain. . . thanked whichever nurses were nearby and then carefully and slowly walked (or was it ran? Get me outa here!!) with Mum down a corridor and out into a rear yard to where Sis1 was waiting in her car. Mum awkwardly folded herself into the back seat of the small sporty thing, and I carefully lowered myself into the front, and off we went. Mum and Sis1 of course wanted to debrief me on my experience, but as soon as I began to talk I suddenly ran out of saliva and got a terribly sore dry throat and could hardly speak! I needed a drink real bad!! Sis1 suggested we should go to the Tesco store on the way home!! Huh? Good grief - I've just had surgery and come out of hospital, and she wants to go shopping? I made some sarcastic joke that maybe she'd like to go to Ikea to do some!! She had of course meant that she could have dashed into Tesco and bought me a drink. :o) No thanks - I just wanted to be home as soon as possible, and as soon as the rush hour traffic queues would allow. . I felt 'ok'. . Home by around 5:30pm. Having Mum to keep her company had made all the difference, and Sally was just 'normally' pleased to see me and thankfully wasn't overly rough in her greeting. I let her sniff around my stomach a bit. Apparantly Mum had been brave enough to take her out over the field in the early afternoon and had let her off her lead to have a good run around. Mum had walked around the upper drier part of the field some three times before heading back. Right then, Sally apparently decided to have a romp and lay down and wallow in one of the huge muddy puddles!! Poor Mum - she must have been horrified! lol Apparantly she'd tried her best to towel the mud off, but without a hosing down out on the patio (which Mum knew nothing of) that would of course have been impossible. Later on, still covered in mud, as is her habit in my abscence and because the foot stool was still guarding my chair, Sally'd climbed up and lay down on the sofa, covering the throw in mud! Poor Mum. She must have been even more horrified. lololol Apparantly when they left Sally at home to come and pick me up, she put one of my guitars on the sofa, and magazines and remotes on her chair to prevent a repeat. lololol . . Mum and Sis1 immediately set off and walked Sally in what turned into another heavy rain shower, and got soaked!! I had a cigarette and immediately got back to my usual heavy smoking!! :o( Insane considering that (smokers cough etc) is what caused my hernia in the first place!! Yes, yes, yes, I DO need to stop, but believe me, now is NOT the time for me to try to do so!. .Couldn't resist popping upstairs and briefly e-mailing a line to BB, just to prove my point and disprove her insistance that I wouldn't be able to manage any stairs after the operation. . Mum prepared us all big garlic sausage etc sandwiches, and we all ate in the kitchen at the kitchen table. Boy, having that kitchen table is SUCH an improvement on what I had before. . chats and coffee and chocolate biscuits and then Sis1 left . . . TVd. Swallowed just one of the Co-Codamol 30/500 pain killers, just to take the edge off my discomfort as the earlier medication began to wear off, because I really didn't know how bad the pain would maybe get. Turned out not to be 'too' bad at all, apart from coughing which was hellish! Couldn't clear my (a bit sore) throat like normal because of my bruised stomach muscles, and had to try and do it by 'growling' rather than coughing. :o( . . the clear 'sticky back plastic' wound covering, enabled me to keep an eye on the state of my wounds. There was worryingly a little seepage of blood which spread out from each of them, but it didn't really amount to much, and was all kept contained beneath the plastic. More worrying was the amount of visits I had to make to the bathroom to pee. Reminded me a little of that time long ago when I had cystitis. Reasonable to assume that all that messing around in my groin has maybe bruised my bladder or something. Fingers crossed it'll improve with time. . .LB called to check in. Told her I was fine and asked her to thank her guy for taking me in. . . TVd. Scratching my chest inside my shirt and gently exploring the strange bruising which I appear to have, I discovered one of the lubricated rubber heart monitor sticky attachments was still fixed to the side of my chest by my left arm! Hadn't even felt it! Pulled it off and binned it. . . Uncle/Auntie TJ called . . . touched base with BB . . . touched base with Sis2. . . It's incredible how 'ok' I feel, especially considering the scary warnings in the hospital leaflets about how I could be a 'danger to myself zombie' afterwards and shouldn't even try to boil a kettle!! Eventually to bed getting on for 1am!!
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29 - Up painfully in the night needing to pee around 3:30am . . . up needing to pee again around 7:30am. Having learned from what happened when Dad was ill before he died, I made sure I 'sat' to pee, and did NOT lock the bathroom door while I was in there! . . .decided NOT to take any of the Co-Codamol pain killers. The pain wasn't 'that' bad, and I figured I would be better off really feeling what was going on with me, just in case anything was amiss, rather than be all painless and unaware. . .had a bit of an argument with Mum but managed to persuade her I was up to walking, albeit carefully and slowly. All walked in the mud after 9am. Tiring and rather uncomfortable, but quite do-able. Amazing only the day after surgery! Found a penny . . . sat around, TVd, chatted and peed lots!!! Blimey - I hope this reduced bladder capacity thing is temporary!!!! . . . Mum walking Sally - or vice versa!Defrosted and ate three chicken drumsticks with four pieces of bread and butter for lunch and then lay down to nap. Feel more tired (painful) today than yesterday. . . woken by BB calling around 3:30pm. Snoozed on a little and then back up before 5pm . . . BB called. . .called Sis1 to see if she was coming over, but got the ansaphone. . Sis1 called back and said she'd be here in about an hour . . . slowly carefully walked with Mum and Sally. They were 'both' very good. :o) . . . Sis1 came over. Put plates in the oven to warm as Mum and Sis1 walked round the local chip shop for cod and chips. . .all sat at the kitchen table and ate and chatted. Eventually Sis1 went home . . . TVd. Apologised to Mum but made it clear that I was simply going to sit there and pass wind, if and when I needed to. Any such increased pressure in my stomach was MOST painful!! Mum was very understanding and fully appreciated my concerns about not being fully happy everything was ok after the operation, until I'd managed to sit down and 'go' in the bathroom! All modesty about such topics seems to easily slip away in such circumstances, and rightly so!! :o\. . . forced Mum to watch some of my Sheryl Crow DVD. Not really her cup of tea but I think she was suitably impressed nonetheless . . . Sis2 called to touch base and see how I was doing. Mum was real tired and left me chatting and went to bed early. As I chatted, my stomach was being REAL painful! Apologised to Sis2 and said I'd call her back and then abruptly hung up. Kindof embrassing but she understood. The only thing I need to accomplish to prove everything is all working normally, is to 'go' on the loo!! I imagined it was gonna hurt like hell. Felt like I needed to, so to hell with the conversation - I rushed out to the bathroom. Sadly it was a false alarm and my stomach pains continued. Called Sis2 back to continue the conversation, only to have to hang up again and run for the bathroom. Yayyy - success! lololol :o) So - I'm all fully functional, and that didn't hurt too much at all. Thank goodness. Thought I'd make a joke of it, so called Sis2 back and gave her the good news!! lolol Tore off a long run of toilet roll and wrote ' Y-I-P-P-E-E-! :o) ' on it before disturbing Mum and going into her bedroom and just holding it up above my head, all triumphantly like a banner. She eventually understood. lololol :o) . . . To bed around 1am. p
30 - Woken by Mum talking to Sally before 8am . . .Sis1 called and confirmed she'd be over to pick Mum up in an hour or so . . all walked after 9am. Cool, damp and misty out but thankfully no rain. Walked most of the way round the field but exited via the hole in the hedge down the bottom, to prevent Mum from having to wade through the muddiest quagmire-like part of the field . . . TVd as Mum got ready to go out for 'breakfast' with Sis1 . . . Sis1 arrived around 11am and off they went . . . messed around on the PC for a while listening to the collection of CDs Mum had brought up with her. Lots of compilations she'd got free with the newspaper she buys . . . touched base with BB . . . drank coffees and PCd a bit of this . . .ate garlic sausage and philadelphia sandwiches with crisps . . . lay down to nap for a while but within twenty minutes Mum returned home. She'd forgotten her keys so Sally had a good bark at the door and I had to 'rush' rather slowly and carefully down to open the door. Waved goodbye to Sis1. They'd had a nice breakfast at the Clifton restaurant. Mum'd managed to find a shop selling Green and Blacks chocolate, but as usual NOT the rare Expresso flavour, so she'd bought a bar of the caramel flavour. Just like the one I already had in the cupboard, except the one she'd bought had cost 2:53 as opposed to the 1:69 I'd paid for mine!! Good grief!! WHAT a mark up! Mum had also bought a pastie and a couple of sausage rolls while she was out. The pastie for me for later and and one sausage roll for her and one for Sally. She couldn't resist treating appreciative Sally to a bit of the sausage roll straight away. :o) I assured her it would all be safe on the kitchen table until later, because Sally knows her place - so the rest of her sausage roll was left wrapped in the paper bag on top of the pastie and the other sausage roll on a plate in the middle of the table. . . Mum walked up Kingswood to look around for old times sake and to shop just a little. I lay down to nap. Hang on? What's that weird noise? That doesn't sound right? What IS Sally up to? Crept back downstairs and peered around the kitchen door to see Sally, all ears down looking guilty, stood next to an empty paper bag and surrounded by sausage roll pastry crumbs!!! Little devil! She'd been up on the table and helped herself to the rest of 'her' sausage roll!! Grrrrrrr!! Told her off a bunch (growled at her), but I couldn't blame her and it WAS kinda funny. Quickly put the surviving roll and pastie safely in the fridge out of her way before going back to nap . . woken by Mum returning around 4pm and getting the vacuum out and vacuuming up all the sausage roll pastry crumbs Sally had left all over the kitchen floor. . . all walked around the local muddy field as it got dark. Found a penny. Weird - looks like the local pub down the road isn't open?? Cool . . . TVd . . . microwaved and ate the pastie with crisps and then some cherry bakewell tarts. Mum had most of the surviving sausage roll but couldn't resist giving a large amount to Sally as well. Blimey - she spoils that dog! She's pretty impressed with how cool and good Sally is. :o) . . .TVd . . . eventually decided to 'risk' having my first shower since the surgery. . I toyed with gently pulling on the sticky back plastic that covered the weird plastic stitches over my wounds. The most uncomfortable thing about the wound, is that sticky stuff pulling on my stomach hairs, and those 'stitches' sealed underneath really are a bit mucky with dried blood and would be better off removed, I'm sure! Ewwww! Owwwwww!! Ouwwwchh! Ok - removal of the sticky will wait for some other time! The contradicting leaflets pretty much suggest it should stay on for seven days anyway. VERY weird to be in the shower and suddenly realize you are sporting completely unknown 'injuries'. Despite the obvious bruising and maybe minor swelling around my lower abdomen, I also eventually found, the hint of a bruise on the ribs of the upper left side of my chest. Light bruising to my jaw, on either side beneath my ears. Slight damage to my right gum, behind the last tooth in my mouth on the lower right hand side. I have no memory record of how any of that could have occured, but of course, can readily imagine. . .TVd and chats until bed long after 1am. Blimey - Mum sure does talk a lot more these days. Almost like she's kinda making up for not having had Dad to talk to for the last couple of years. :o\ . I must confess, I actually enjoyed some of the chats, and having her (forced) to stay with me here, for the first time ever. (Oh - and god BLESS prozac!) . Changed most of the clocks back an hour before bed. Those cheap Lidl radio controlled clocks are neat - they correct themselves around 2am. Mum was quite impressed with the 'projection' one, that puts the time on the ceiling above her bed. She pretty much kept watch on it and saw it change. She never sleeps much more than a few hours, especially when 'away from home'. :o| p
31 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . .sat around and TVd and drank coffee until Mum'd had her bath and was ready to go out. We'd agreed I'd drive us somewhere for a walk today, just to make sure I was ok with driving again. All drove in the car to Eastville Park and walked Sally slowly and carefully the long, flatter way, down to the boating lake for a sit and a cigarette. Found a penny. I felt pretty much ok, despite agonising itching from beneath the sticky back plastic covering my 'wound'. I rather suspect this awful itchy irritation is where the hair is trying to grow back from where they shaved that little inch wide track down my abdomen beneath my navel. Wow - Sally very nearly caught a squirrel!! Must have been something wrong with it - instead of climbing straight up a tree, it clung to the side of the bottom of one tree, and then as Sally chased it around, it jumped across to the bottom of another nearby and just hung there before jumping back and forth again, only 'just' out of Sallys reach!!?? Eventually it ran off up another safer tree. VERY close!!. . Walked along the river a little to just past the Colston Weir, so Mum could see the weird 'cave' like hole through the rocks of one of the riverbanks, which she could remember from her childhood!! How amazing to have a memory like that! Sat on another seat for a bit and played stick throwing for swimming Sally, before my dodgy bladder (very much getting back to normal) demanded we head back to the car and home. Drove a long way home to show Mum the little health food store where I can get that rare Expresso flavour Green and Black chocolate, and to briefly stop near Cosham hospital for Mum to remember old times and other operations! (Her veins, my appendix). . . discussions about what Mum would prepare for us to have for lunch, seemed to degenerate into a suggestion of merely cheese on toast! After having eaten so little last night and then walked down the river, I needed something more substantial! There was a bit of an argument but I eventually managed to get my way, and banned Mum from the kitchen while I cooked us both a big fried 'breakfast' of fried bread, bacon, tomato, eggs and beans with a couple of pieces of bread and butter. ( I can count the number of times I've been 'allowed' to make food for Mum, on one hand! It felt nice to be able to do so for once!) Seemed to go down quite well. :o) More arguments but Mum insisted on doing all the washing up (mostly so she could give extra sterilizing 'special treatment' to the two plates I'd let Sally lick - I normally just wash such dishes with all the rest!). Seemed easiest to give in and let her, so I watched TV and itched and waited for her to bring me a coffee and share a bar of the VERY expensive caramel flavour Green and Black chocolate she'd bought up in Clifton. Not bad but certainly not worth THAT price!! . . . lay down around 2:30pm to nap as Mum got ready to go out with Sis1 later . . . woken by Sally barking at the door around 4:30pm. Struggled downstairs and gratefully accepted the bowls of left over sunday roast and deserts and cream LB had brought down - I'd slept through her earlier ansaphone message. It would appear that Sis1 came - Mum had gone - I think I maybe recall the noise of that in my sleep. . Felt too hot and a bit unwell - in fact a little bit nauseaus for a while. Oh blimey - I daren't be sick with my painful stomach!!! God that would hurt! Lay down to maybe sleep some more but was soon disturbed by Sally barking at what I gathered were trick or treaters knocking at the door. I tried to ignore the noise and carried on trying to get back to sleep. Within minutes I was roused again by LB calling - let the ansaphone take it. She was complaining about damn trick or treaters banging on her door. Hmmm - tempted to call her back and complain about 'neighbours' waking me up when I'm trying to sleep! :o\ Gave up trying to sleep and got up. .thankfully felt a bit better as I cooled down, and PCd some of this with coffee. Interrupted by Mum briefly returning to put some plates in the oven to warm! She'd stopped off with Sis1 and ordered some Pizzas at the Pizza Hut up the road and was just about to return to pick them up!! I'd just seen her back out the door when the doorbell rang. Some little monster saying trick or treat! Grrrr. Politely said no thanks and closed the door. . scribbled on a piece of paper and fixed it to the outside of the letterbox - "No trick or treaters, or I'll feed you to the dog!" . . .Mum and Sis1 returned with three different flavoured deep pan pizzas. Very delicious. All ate our fill and ended up with lots left over - some for my fridge, some for Sis1 to take home. Mum and Sis1 tried a little of the LB desert left overs with cream. Seemed to be a big hit. . .Sis1 eventually set off for home and I left Mum to enjoy her washing up and walked Sally on my own for the first time - took a bit of arguing with Mum to assure her I was quite fit enough to safely do so! :o) Looking about as good as I feel. Found a penny, and would you believe it - a halloween mask just laying in the road!! Loads of fireworks going off all around, and as usual, Sally was completely unconcerned. Brilliant dog . . Lots of people (many children) all dressed up and out and about and knocking on doors and being goulish. Blimey - it's grown to be just like America somehow! Didn't have anything of the kind when I was a kid. Amazing how American TV and films have influenced our culture like that! I disapprove. It's almost like teaching kids the principals of blackmail and extortion. I'll never buy into it - on principal kinda. . All the pavements and roads were covered in broken eggs and thrown flour! :o( Sally tried to lick up all the eggs! . . Mum insisted on washing off the broken egg I'd discovered on the inside of the halloween mask, in a bowl of Dettol water! Ended up being a very clean mask! Another 'seasonal' picture opportunity for the journal I guess. Wish I'd found it a day or two ago - could have worn it while I was out walking Sally, with my strange and goulish, post surgery gait! lol :o) (Gotta be careful to tread lightly, especially with my left leg, to avoid 'jolting' my groin!) Funny - no matter how I try to sneak up on Sally wearing it and maybe scare her a little, she doesn't bat an eyelid, or even just wags her tail!! I guess there's no fooling her nose - everything familiar smells of Dettol!!. . .fed Sally a HUGE meal of dog food and LBs left over vegetables all mixed together. She woofed it down in no time! . . .PS called saying 'Everything ok?' and 'tonight?'. I explained that Mum was here and probably best not. Maybe Tuesday? . . . BB called to touch base. . .TVd. . . Sis2 called to touch base and make sure everything was still ok, and Mum was all set for returning tomorrow . . . TVd . . . Mum went to bed a little earlier and left me watching more of the 'the worlds wildest police chases' until bed around 12:30am. Considering what day it is, the street outside has been remarkably well behaved. In fact, things have been unusually quiet for quite a while. (Thank goodness - I didn't want Mum to be exposed to the usual drunken noise and mayhem outside while in the front bedroom. The back bedroom is wonderfully quiet and peaceful in comparison, despite the nightly fireworks.) I think the pub down the road, really IS inexplicably closed all of a sudden. p
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