Monthly Archives: Aug 2017

Down at the Doctor

First – blood test at 11.40. I managed it just in time after doing a few errands round town.

Despite the experience of the last blood test, which made the nurse more nervous than I was, everything went well. I hardly felt the needle go in and next thing I knew we had a tube of blood. I’ve had no phone call this afternoon so I assume I’m within the correct range and will have at least another three weeks before the next test.

That is good.

Then, after a few more errands, some washing up and cooking a pan of carrot and ginger soup, it was time for my 4.30 doctor’s appointment.

It was the follow up to a letter from hospital about my heart scan. No problem, just a tweaking of tablets. Clearly it wasn’t cause for concern as the hospital had waited two months to send the letter.

I assume the delay is calculated to allow the Grim Reaper to balance supply and demand.

I took my list with me.

We did an Epworth Test to examine my propsensity for falling asleep in front of the TV. I was within the normal band and thus it’s another thing to put down to the aging process.

We will be moving on from there and looking at ways of stopping my nightly trips to the toilet. This will be after I have a month of increasing the dosage of heart pills so we’re only changing one thing at a time.

After five years of disturbed sleep another month shouldn’t harm me. The question is whether I am waking up and wanting the toilet, or wanting the toilet and waking up. There is a subtle difference.

The doctor thinks it may be prostate-related.

I’m hoping that something happens in the next few weeks that diverts her attention to a different conclusion.

If Julia, for instance, notes that I am waking myself by snoring we might still be able to blame sleep apnoea for me waking up. That would be a nuisance, but I would be able to keep my trousers on.

I also dispensed with the asthma test advice that was printed on my last prescription – seems it’s not meant for me.

Weight is holding steady. That’s sort of good news. But not good enough. More exercise, less food.

So, two visits and I’m pretty much in the clear, with no new problems for the moment. I am feeling quite relieved.

 

All Went Well

Well, that was easy.

I arrived in plenty of time, sat down, opened my book and was called through before I’d had time to read the first page.

Of course, they didn’t want me, they just wanted to move me to the next waiting area. This was crammed with men of a certain age, mostly with a slightly haunted air. This was due, I found out, to the next instruction.

“We’re going to do a flow test today, so I need to ask you to have five or six glasses of water.”

She pointed to the water fountain and left me to it. The slightly haunted air of my fellow drinkers was now explained. Take a man with a dodgy bladder, fill him with water, and it’s not exactly a recipe for comfort and jollity.

I was able to read plenty more of my book, though I wasn’t exactly able to concentrate as the water worked its way through.

Eventually, as I was beginning to feel a touch urgent, I was called through by the consultant.

All is good.

He turned out, despite his formidable qualifications and reputation, to be a warm and charming man with a sense of humour. This is not, as I have discovered over the years, always true of consultants.

He discharged me, told me to see the GP about the disturbed nights, thanked me for my patience and shook my hand.

I shook back then made off in search of a toilet. I may have avoided the flow test, but I still had six glasses of water to unload…

 

 

 

 

In Just Under an Hour

In just under an hour I will be in hospital being prodded and questioned.

I’ve run through it all in my head and hope I have enough answers ready to avoid them following up with more pills or tests. I already rattle when I walk too fast and am still having dreams of long corridors from my last three month session of intensive prodding.

Recently, I have started daydreaming about hospital food. I’m wondering if it may be a form of Stockholm Syndrome. I do hope not, because spending more time in hospital would definitely be the wrong treatment…

When I was in hospital twelve years ago the procedure which now takes a day and a half used to take three or four. It was much more restful and they used to take the catheter out before sending you home.

There are advantages to the new industrial system – probably more people seen, and definitely less chance of becoming ill from something you pick up in hospital.

There’s another thing I noticed – when I was in for three days I was glad to get out.When I was in for four days I was resentful at being sent home on Irish Stew day. I’d been looking forward to that stew.

Ah well, time to go.

Wish me luck.

 

Spiders, Shopping and Dead Butterflies

A couple of days ago I noticed something fluttering in the front garden, It turned out to be the remains of a Small Tortoiseshell, enangled in a sider’s web. It was past help, but I thought I’d take a few pictures. If I ever need a picture of a dead butterfly with a spider I now have one in stock.

It was quite a cunning plan on behalf of the spider, stringing a web between the Red Valerian flowers and lying in wait for a passing pollinator. I imagine that it wou;d have preferred a nice juicy bee, but it got a butterfly. There must be plenty of food in a butterfly, but the wings are a bit of a waste.

I  tried to get some close-ups, but must have touched a web, as the spider made a rush for me, defending its lunch. In such a David and Goliath situation we were always going to have a non-traditional outcome. I was never going to fall over after taking a rock between the eyes. Fortunately the spider didn’t push its luck and, after a sneer, it went back to eating.

Moving forward to Bank Holiday Monday,  we went to the garden centre so that Julia could buy more plants. We always seem to be buying new plants. After the first half of the trip I hobbled back to the car, making much use of my walking stick, and allowed her to enjoy the centre without me holding her back. I am so noble.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with me, apart from laziness and the inability to put up with heat. I’m just a very bad husband. However, I was able to sit in a car in the shade and enjoy the breeze instead of sweating round a variety of converted polytunnels masquerading as a shop. I feel a little deception was good for my health.

Whether or not it remains good for my health if Julia reads this, we will have to see.

As I sat in the car I took a few photos. There wasn’t much to photograph, but when in doubt take a picture of things that look like a pattern. That’s why I took the pots and compost bags.  They aren’t good photos, but they look like they could be. The one with the pots would have been better if they’d been stacked on the level. Or if I’d noticed they were sloping when I took the photo.

 

It was nice day, even if it was too hot for me, and even better when we were able to drive round with the air-conditioning on.

At least we weren’t disappointed by this garden centre.

Bad Things to Buy on Ebay – Update

This is the update from yesterday’s post – any more suggestions?

  1. Wives
  2. Horses
  3. Things sold “for spares”
  4. Bomb-making manuals
  5. Chemical fertiliser (large amounts)
  6. TBA
  7. TBA
  8. TBA
  9. Diamonds
  10. Things with blurred photographs

I’ve had two suggestions that ebay is a bad place to look for a wife, from John Knifton and Charliecountryboy and have to admit I can see that being true. I’m surprised at how many people seem to meet online these days. It seems that 22% of couples meet online, making it the second most popular method of meeting, compared to 24% who meet through mutual friends.

John even went so far as to introduce Thomas Hardy and The Mayor of Casterbridge into his answer, ensuring that I have some culture and history in the post, even if it is a history of wife selling. It also gives me a chance to work in the story of Hardy’s heart.

The other suggestion, from The Snail of Happiness, is “things sold for spares” as the bit you want is invariably the bit that has worn out on the one you just bought. That brings back memories of searching scrap yards for car parts in the days when cars were simpler and I was poorer. When you found the right model of car it was invariably lacking the bit you wanted.

Charliecountryboy did suggest Betamax videos, but nobody (including charity shops) wants VHS either. As for Philips 2000…

I’m going to wait and see before making a decision about this.

10 Bad Things to Buy on Ebay

I covered this briefly a few days ago, when suggesting Ebay was a bad place to buy a diamond. John Knifton followed up by suggesting it was also a bad place to buy a horse. That immediately took over as Number One on the list. Diamonds, for the moment, are Number Nine on the list. I’m going to put “Things with blurred photos” at Number Ten. I haven’t been on Ebay for a while and the standard of photography seems to have gone down so that many slapdash postings seem to be accompanied by pitifully blurred photographs.

I’ve just bought something with a blurred photograph. I can’t escape the idea that the blur was deliberate.

Here’s an initial plan – let me know if you have any ideas that should be Top Ten.

Horses. Always a tricky thing to buy at the best of time, but with the added problems of internet anonymity and sloppy standards this could be a real problem. Blurred pictures of teeth are a further complication. Anyway, have you really got a big enough garden?

Bomb making manuals. Buying one of these could see you booked into prison for a spot of waterboarding. This sounds like it fits in nicely with surfboarding and snowboarding but don’t be fooled. It doesn’t, despite all you may have heard about prisons getting soft, and it can really make for a bad holiday.

Large amounts of chemical fertiliser. Unless you are a farmer. See above.

So:

  1. Horses
  2. Bomb-making manuals
  3. Chemical fertiliser (large amounts)
  4. TBA
  5. TBA
  6. TBA
  7. TBA
  8. TBA
  9. Diamonds
  10. Things with blurred photographs

 

That leaves five slots, and if your suggestions are good enough they could easily displace some of the others.

What are your nominations, or horror stories?

Book Review – Leave it to Psmith

 

Leave it to Psmith – P G Wodehouse

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Arrow (1 May 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 009951379X

ISBN-13: 978-0099513797

Published in 1923, this is the second Blandings novel and he fourth and final Psmith book. It seems that Wodehouse stopped writing Psmith novels because he couldn’t think of more stories for the character. Fortunately he didn’t take that view of Blamdings, and carried on writing the same story for another sixty years.

Apart from Psmith (the P is silent, I will refrain from the ancient joke) the book also features the Efficient Baxter, the Earl’s secretary, and the bane of his life. I always feel the peril is more real when Baxter is about.

Psmith enters the castle masquerading as a poet with plans to help Freddie Threepwood (heir of the Earl of Emsworth) in a plot to purloin a valuable necklace which he needs…

Let’s just say that it’s complicated.

Baxter is judged to be mad by Emsworth after a scene involving plantpots and pyjamas (which will be mentioned in subsequent books) and Psmith foils a second plot to steal the necklace before all the romances are rounded off and Freddie Threepwood gets the money he needs to set up as a bookmaker.

I doubt I’m giving any secrets away here, as this is what you would expect. That’s really what you read the Blandings books for – romance, mild peril and everlasting summer.

 

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More Random Titles and Happiness

I took another look at the random generator and came up with: Is there anything you regret?

The answer, of course, is “yes”.

I think I’ll leave it at that as going further into an answer is like opening a big bag of misery and reaching in right up to the elbows. Yes, I regret a lack of confidence, parenting skills, education and skill at saving. But all the wallowing in the world won’t change it, so on to the next question.

Those of you who are able to put up with bad language might like to read a bit of Larkin on the subject.

Write about how you drive (or why you don’t).

I drive less well than I did when I was in my 40s. However, I make up for that loss of quality with the increasing volume of advice I dispense to other drivers.

Write about an experience that made you very happy.

Starting on WordPress made me happy. It was a bit of a trial at first, and still can be on some days, but overall, I’m happy when I’m typing and thinking of all the interesting people out there.

I was also happy when I found the random subject generator. I was having a tough morning thinking and it has eased the burden of thinking quite nicely.

Who from your past do you wish were still around?

Actually, shelve what I just said about it making me happy. You can’t live your life looking back and thinking about what might have been.

There are dozens of family members that I’d like to have around, but I’d want them back in healthy and happy times, not how they were when they died. And that sounds a bit like the plot for a horrible sci-fi plot.

I’m not sure whether to go for another random title or not.

Write about your feet.

Yes, time to call it a day. My feet have done sterling service over the years but this is one subject too many…

 

Dreams, Laws and Randomness

 

Searching for inspiration, I just Googled “Random Subject Generator” to see if there was such a thing. There is.

The subject it generated is: If you could pass a law right now, what would it be, and why?

Well, my first thought is why bother, because nobody takes notice of the law these days. On Friday I actually saw a cyclist ride across a pedestrian crossing without using his hands whilst reading something off his phone screen. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, though that was a minor safety consideration compared to the rest of it.

No amount of legislation will improve that situation – some people are way past that.

The appropriate action was that sort of thing is a marksman on a high building with permission to cull the weakere members of the herd. American dentists would probably pay a large sum for the chance of mounting such a rare head on the wall, complete with unused brain.

My second thought was about the advisibility of passing a law that allows me to win the next big lottery jackpot…

 

 

More from Yesterday

First stop of the day was in the garden with Julia.  A Robin was singing its heart out, Goldfinches were flitting round the treetops, two Cormorants flew over and a Green Woodpecker was yaffling in the trees. (Later, the woodpecker would visit the garden and perch on top of the large polytunnel.)

It was too cool for insects, but we had a window to mend and various other things to do. The glass for the window is going to cost £24. We’d spend that if we had a meal while we were out, but when it has to come from fund-raising, and when you consider it was broken by the worst burglar in the world, it is extremely irksome.

I did manage to get a dragonfly picture.

At the end of the day, when I returned from Men in Sheds with the pieces of 16 nest boxes, there were a few more insects about, including a massive bee and a strange fly. The quality of photography was not good and I didn’t get much worth showing. The newly painted door has a frame now, and the planters have become white. The blue stripes are lengths of fabric from discarded blinds (skip-diving again) – it’s probably not a long-term solution but it saves paint.

Have to get Julia to work now, will add ID notes later.

The dragonfly is a Common Darter.

The fly is some species of the sarcopaga family – flesh flies. You have to examine the genitalia closely to tell what exact species it is and, frankly, I don’t care enough to do that.

The bumblebee was massive. In pre-metric measurements it’s about the size of the end of my thumb. I could see it from 20 yards away. It’s probably a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee.