Happy anniversary to me !!


The title of this post refers to the fact that it is a whole twelve months since my operation. The actual date was the 26th so any celebration should have been on Friday. Only one person mentioned anything, and that was only because they had seen it noted in my work calendar. In fact, the person I thought would have said something, actually tried to give a bit of a *ollockin* for something else.

So after a year how are things? Well I still have a beautiful 10 inch scar running half way down my chest and still quite proud of that. I was given all sorts of ‘hints and tips’ to help it ‘fade’ but, I went through quite a lot to get that scar so it’s going to stay as it is as long as it does (if that makes sense!)

Not much else has changed really. I suppose that having to take an ‘anti-coagulant’ for life is a major change, but I had been on a stomach acid suppressant (another leaking valve) for a few years, with no change in the foreseeable future, so the idea of permanent medication was not an issue.

I suppose the real change is my memory loss. Now that sounds a bit more dramatic than it really is. What apparently happens, is that I have forgotten things that I supposedly knew. It is well documented and even has the popular name “Pump Head“. It is usually attributed to the heart going on by-pass while the surgery takes place. It was assumed that I knew about it, but only found out when I was due to leave the hospital. I shook the hands of all the other patients, and I said the one I had most of my conversations with, that we would have to keep in touch and meet up when we were both fit again. He laughed and said would be a good idea, if we remember!

It is a strange feeling. There are times when I don’t know if I have forgotten how to do a particular thing or that I never knew how to do it in the first place. It’s more disturbing, when K*** mentions a place we have been to and I simply cannot remember it. Some of the memories that I thought had gone, are now slowly beginning to come back to me, but it usually needs a few prompts and there are some things like days we have out together or places we have been to, just don’t seem to be there in my head any more. It makes you feel quite alone, when people talk about things and you struggle to remember them.

Then there is also, given my age, the slight growing concern, that the memory loss might just have a different cause. It is only a very miniscule fear, but it is definitely on my mind.

Up and at ‘em again!


Well my ‘blogging time out’ did not last very long, did it? I will have to take this offline at some point in the near future as I want to change the theme I am using. I am not too happy with the text layout on the Penscratch theme.

I have started knitting again. I used to knit quite a lot, but got out of the habit some 10/15 years back. What got me started again, was seeing somebody wearing a knitted poppy. I thought to myself “That looks easy. I could do knit that!” And so I did. It took only an hour or so, once I got started, but then it took 3 months for me to get in the mood to make it up (always been a problem.) It looked as good as I expected it to look and K*** was pleased with it. So pleased that announced that a daffodil would look nice! I think it was more than a hint and so I trawled the Internet looking for a pattern. Found one and had a go. I goes on from there. Four daffodils later and I’ve a full set of needles and accessories. I’m now also half way through a cushion cover and over 70% the way through a Clanger. The whole thing takes me back years.

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My email is playing up again. Well, not so much my email it’s K***s. I’m unable to download her emails into Outlook 2013. Problem has only just started (like yesterday) but it has happened before. The problem lies with the server I think. You see, my email accounts are with Google and Microsoft. K***s on the other hand is provided by Sky and is powered by Yahoo. That is the issue I think, Yahoo! I was very disappointed when Sky announced they were changing to Yahoo from Gmail, but my complaint fell upon deaf ears at Sky.

I would love to get here away from using the Sky email address, but to change now would be a nightmare. I think the current issue will rectify itself over the next day or two, but it is very frustrating at the moment.

Is there a point ?


I have just spent a good twenty minutes writing up a blog post, about the few days we had away. I had written about 300 words, then stopped!

I sat back and thought, who reads this? Why do they read this? Does anyone read this?

I came to the conclusion, that I could be wasting my time with this. I see the stats show that the occasional visitor drops by and now believe that for the most visits, I am just a ‘Google accident’ picking up on keywords. I don’t see any evidence of regular visitors returning.

So, as boring as it gets, this is my last post for the foreseeable future.

Clueless !!


So, I was going to take up this challenge that a fellow blogger Mel Cusick-Jones had devised on her blog. It is called “The Sunday Write-up”. Mel provides five words, and you (ie me) have write a blog post and include those five words. It’s a monthly challenge and it seemed simple enough and it would encourage people (ie me) to write something regularly. Just the type of thing that I needed to give me that little push. Well guess what? I forgot! I did joke about forgetting in the vain hope that the joking would serve as a reminder. It didn’t!

But, in the end, it has given me a bit of a push to write. Hence this post.

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Last time, I was a little concerned about going back to work, and any little surprises that may be lying in wait after my “Big Day.” I had planned to go in, thank everyone for the birthday wishes, get embarrassed and then nip out at lunchtime and buy a supply of cakes! I didn’t want any fuss, as I mentioned before, and I did not get any. In fact nobody mentioned it at all! Now I know they knew, or at least my previous line-manager knew, but nobody said a thing. I thought at first, that they were waiting until most of the team were in, but no. Nothing!

“But it’s what you wanted!” I hear you say, and it was, but I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed. So the cakes went by the wayside.

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What else? Not a lot really. I went to the doctors today. K*** has been going on about me going to basically find out if my medication has caused me to put on over 2 ½ stone in weight over the past ten months. That and should I have had a follow-up from the hospital.

Well I knew the answer to the first issue, and the Dr just confirmed it. At the end of the day (and during the day also) I’m just eating too much of the wrong type of food. He did put a different slant on the reason though. He thought, that the increase could be partly due to the fact that my body was functioning better after my operation, and that I was processing and absorbing foods more. You know what? I almost believed that. It wasn’t until a lot later that I realised that he was trying to take the “blame” away. To try and stop me from feeling guilty. As I say, I’m just eating too much, and it has to stop. Instead of reaching for that Kit-Kat, have a banana! Instead of having a banana sandwich for supper, just have the banana. He also mentioned, that often people mistake thirst for hunger. Sometimes when you feel like you want to eat something, you really need to drink something. Well that one was new one on me, but it kind of makes sense.

With regard to the second query, it seems that I should have had a follow-up appointment in February! He was partly surprised that it had been missed, but I suppose these things just happen sometime. A bit philosophical I know, but the way the NHS is at the moment, nothing surprises me.

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What else? I was going to have a rant about “other drivers”, but I think I’ve exhausted that previously. Cyclists were going to come in for a bit of stick again, but they all seem to be behaving themselves at the moment.

So that’s it for this time. We are going away for a couple of nights when R*** goes on respite. Two nights in Cartmell, Cumbria. Should be nice. I think I may have mentioned some time ago, that R*** no longer wants to go away with us. In fact, apart from his fortnightly respite, he does not want to go away with anyone. So every so often, when he goes on respite, K*** and me have a couple of nights away. It’s not ideal as holidays go, but it’s what we have to do at the moment. Who knows what will happen in the future?

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One last thing. I do wish that those who visit this blog, would actually make some comments. I would be disappointed if the comments were all negative, but I get visitors, but no comments. Makes me think, at times, if it is worth the effort.

And so the end of the first week…..


Well here we are, six days in and I really don’t feel any different. It seems that is will make a difference being this age as things might start to get a little cheaper. More on that later.

The ‘big day’ went as well as I could have hoped. I did not want any big celebrations or fuss that I think people might have wanted to plan, so it was a quiet day. I had changed my Facebook profile to not display my birthday, to see if anyone actually remembered. Guess what? Nobody did remember. It has come to something, when people, including some family members need a social media site to remind them of birthdays and the like! What was a surprise was, when I was searching for something on Google, I hovered over the graphic on the Google web site, and saw that Google sent me birthday wishes. Was a bit of a shock, before I realised that Google does actually know my birth date.

Lots of presents and a few cards, and a nice day out with K***s parents at Harlow Carr gardens. Then lunch at The Black Swan in Burn Bridge, near Harrogate.

One of the ways that being 60 has got a little cheaper is my prescriptions are now free. After my operation, I realised that it would be cheaper if I got a prepayment prescription certificate (or PPC). This drastically reduced the charges by over half. But, it seems that when you get to 60, the charges stop and all my medication is now free. The pharmacist, told me to reclaim the balance, and it looks like I may get somewhere in the region of £25.00 back.

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On Wednesday we set off for a couple of days break at The Black Swan (different one from before) in Fearby, just outside Masham. We got there in good time and decided that we do the Black Sheep Brewery tour. It was a very interesting couple of hours, and if you are in the area, I suggest you give it a go. You will not be disappointed. Especially with the beer sampling you get at the end of the tour! Now this was another way that being 60 was a little cheaper. The tour cost is £8.50 per person, which includes 3 x 1/3 of a pint of beer as your sampling. However, and I never spotted this, if you are a ‘senior’ aged 60 or over, you get in for £6.99 and still get the beer at the end. It seems that there are a lot of places that do this kind of reduction for people over 60, and I’ll need to look out for them. One thing that bothered me a little, was that no proof of age was required ……. Maybe my little joke about being as old as I look was not such a joke after all!

We arrived at our place of stay, at around 4pm, booked in and then went for a short walk round the village. It seems that The Black Swan is the only pub in the village. It worried me a little, that it might be a bit noisy later on in the night, but it turned out not to be the case.

The restaurant/breakfast room/bar had an unusual collection. The whole of the roof was covered with chamber pots. Must have been over 200 hanging from the ceiling. It made for an interesting if somewhat bizarre display. Mind you, saying that the landlord seemed to drive everywhere in an old U.S. army jeep, so I suppose each to his own.

Thursday was the day we were to do what is known as “The Druids Temple Walk”. Now this is not as dramatic is it sounds. The Druids Temple is actually a folly built in about 1820, by the owner of the Swinton Estate, as a means of employment for local people. It is stated that it is a 5 mile circular walk, although to me it seemed to feel more like 8 miles! But it was worth it when we got there.

We had a quick visit to Thirsk on Friday on the way home. Nothing special there for me, I’m afraid, but K*** seemed to like the place. K*** likes to make our breaks last as long as possible. Me, on the other hand prefer to get home as soon as possible on the last day.

All in all, it was a good couple of days away. The weather could not have been better and the scenery was just perfect.

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Monday will be interesting I think. The team I work with now, seem to like to ‘celebrate’ people’s birthday milestones, and they seem to know when everyone’s birthday is. Thing is, that I’m not in my main office tomorrow, so I’m not sure how things will pan out or what might happen when I go to the main office on Tuesday. I think I need to get some sweet stuff to take in on the Tuesday, but I shall just have to play it by ear. Before the last workplace review, the team I was in just did not do anything for birthdays. They didn’t even send each other Christmas cards, which always seemed unusual. I did get a ‘Get Well soon’ card after my operation, but it was given to me about 2 weeks before I returned to work, so I felt a little bit cheated.

 

 

Tomorrow is another decade !!!


Let’s start with the title of this post shall we? Tomorrow, 20th April 2015 I will reach a milestone in my life. The day will see me hit 60 years old! And in reply to all those kind people ….. yes I do look it and at times I do feel it. So that’s that out of the way.

For an early birthday present, S**** took me to see the wrestling at WWE Live. It took place at the Leeds First Direct Arena, which is a fairly new venue. Although I love watching the wrestling, the thought of going to see it live was something, I had never really considered. So it was a bit of a surprise when he produced the tickets. To be honest, K*** bought mine and he bought his own, but the thought was his. I really enjoyed it. It was great to see some of the big names in the wrestling world. The seats were good, and we both had a good view of all the action. I know it’s all scripted and it is more of a pantomime that a sporting event, but it is very entertaining. The atmosphere was amazing, and I have to say, I did get into it quite a bit. Even the two kids right behind me that were joining in, with very annoying voices added to the whole enjoyment of the event.

It was good to spend some time with S**** as father and son. It has been a while since we did anything together. We used to go to the local pub for the ‘Quiz Night’ every Tuesday, but that stopped when one night R*** flipped and K*** struggled to cope with it.

But, the day was not without its problems. I needed to get some cash as the ticket machines in the car park would not accept my debit card, so tried to use the nearest ATM. Again, my debit card was not accepted, not even to obtain a balance. Luckily, I had a card for another account with me, so all was not lost. However, it did nag me a little, and I could only put it down to my card being damaged or something.

When I got home, I checked my account on the website, to find that there had been two unknown transactions for $200.00. A swift panic call to the bank, quickly sorted the issue out. It seems that a clone of my card had been used in New York on the 10th. The bank had picked it up as a potential fraud, as they said that the time difference between the last use in England and the use in New York was too short and when the second transaction was made, the card was blocked.

I now have a new card and the cash has been refunded, so all’s well.

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Remember me talking about my mobile phone? I was going to get a Windows phone. I was still not sure about changing operation systems, but when I talked to the sales person about the phone, he advised that “…. We no longer stock that model, because of the issues with it….” There was no mention of what issues they had, but it made the decision for me. I had another phone in mind and I was kind of hoping they would be out of stock of the Windows phone. So in the end I settled for an HTC. I went with the HTC Desire 620. I have had an HTC phone before and was very pleased with it. Up to press, I am very satisfied with this one too.

I was a bit worried about the new contract though. It cost slightly more (the provider has changed all the ‘plans’) and has only a 2gb data allowance. My previous contract had unlimited data, and although I checked my data usage and found it never went above 1gb in the whole 2 years. I was still concerned that I may be losing out. I am monitoring it and well within the limit. I have not used the internet as much as before, so it might take a couple of months before I’m sure I have enough.

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And now, a question. Why, when the road sign indicates a 50 miles per hour speed limit, do some drivers think that it means ‘drive at a speed between 30mph and 40mph’? It happens all the time. The major road when where we live to the centre of Leeds, is an ‘A’ road and for a great deal of it the speed limit is 50mph. You never actually get to that speed! There is always some driver that, for whatever reason drives slower than that. It’s not an age thing or a gender thing. It’s not just at 50mph it happens. Many times on a 30mph road, does one driver takes it to mean 22mph. Do these people own the road? Do they apply some complicated mathematical formula that calculates the speed for them? Or are they simply just inconsiderate drivers? I tend to think the latter applies. Rant over!

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Finally, does this theme work? I have struggled a little with themes for this blog, as I never really know if it looks right. I think it does, but I’m not the reader. Would be interesting to know your views.

Satisfying week


A great week off from work. Used the last 5 days of leave for 2014/2015. So we had two nights in Whitby. It’s a place we both like and have done for quite a long time. Whitby has lots of history about it, and I’ll mention some of that later.

We stayed in a hotel called “The White Horse and Griffin” which is a very old coaching inn, located near the harbour. The bar is interesting, as it is quite a narrow room. In fact the doorway you can see in the picture, is more or less, the width of the bar. There two seats at a table to the left of the door as you enter and to the right there is room for what can only be described as a shelf with stools. There is a gap between these that is suitable for two slender people to walk down together.

The room was good and comfortable and the food was excellent. The only downside, if you could call it a downside, was the Wi-Fi. It was really, quite poor. You could only pick it up in certain parts of the room, and whilst the hotel information said it was available in the public rooms (which was the bar, restaurant and breakfast room) it was very hit and miss there also.

Still, we did not go there for a technological experience, and one day, I will simply leave my tablet at home and forget about everything that is going on elsewhere. I say that now, but I don’t think it will happen soon. We are all too reliant on these things today. It’s true! I feel quite naked, if I forget to take my smartphone when I go out of the house. It’s a little bit scary really!

Now, a little bit about Whitby. It is the place where HMS Endeavour, the ship that James Cook sailed to Australia and New Zealand, was built. It has a ruined Benedictine abbey, which can trace its roots back to 657AD. Jet, the compressed remains of ancestors of the monkey-puzzle tree, can be found in the cliffs and on the moors and has been used since the Bronze Age to make beads. It was the favoured mourning jewellery for the Victorians. Of course, one cannot mention Whitby, without mentioning Bram Stokers Dracula. The famous gothic horror/romance was partly set in Whitby, and the ruined abbey has been used in many film and TV adaptations of the tale.

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It was K***s birthday yesterday, and she had mentioned the day previous, that it would be nice to have a pork chop for dinner. We had two in the fridge, which she had got at the beginning of the week, and I was to get some veg when I went out. This was the plan. However, the night before, S**** had texted me to say that him and his girlfriend were coming over on K***s birthday and could stay for dinner, if it was okay, but it was to be a secret. No problem, I thought, we could have the chops today (Sunday) and I would cook the ham joint, that we were going to have, on the Saturday. Simple. But it was not to be. K*** wanted the chops on Saturday. So my trip to the shops, involved sneakily buying a couple of extra chops, extra veg and hiding them in the fridge in the garage. K*** quizzed me a bit about the number of potatoes I had got out, but I explained that I was using up some of the ones that were getting old. I think I got away with it.

All in all, it was a great surprise for here, and it all went as well as could be expected, even though I slightly overcooked the chops.

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Today sees the start of BST or British Summer Time. It is the day when the clocks in Britain are put forward by 1 hour and nearly everyone gets up 1 hour earlier than usual. It goes back to the Summer Time Act of 1916. I say ‘nearly everyone’, because this time, we forgot! I put it down to having S**** and his girlfriend here the night that made me forget. It was not until K*** was listening to the radio after her shower, that she realised, she was one hour late! I will not repeat the language used, but it was not quite lady-like. We shall say nothing more about this.