Monthly Archives: March 2010

Z tackles an Organ

Considering I haven’t been near one since Christmas Eve, it went pretty well.  It was a help that I was able to choose the hymns, so at least I chose ones that I liked and could play.  In fact, fortuitously, one of them suited the sermon as if it had been chosen for it.

According to News for the Pews, there’s a churchwardens’ meeting tomorrow.  Oh.  This isn’t ideal, as I’m looking after Pugsley in the morning and have a governors’ meeting in the afternoon, but there we go.  It’ll be my last, anyway, and I missed the previous meeting because I was in hospital.  In fact, the minutes weren’t sent out, or if they were, they didn’t reach me or the other churchwarden in the village.  I’ve been promised them tomorrow morning.  I have sent out an email promising jellybabies and asking if Maltesers or Minstrels would be preferred – one vote for Maltesers, so far.  I just want to make quite sure I’ll be missed by being quite adorable…


One friend, who is due to have a new knee in a month’s time, was asking me about my experience of being awake during an operation.  I told him what fun it all was, but in case he thought it was my natural exuberance (I seem to be coughing a lot this evening, I wonder what that’s all about?), I’ve copied’n’pasted my description of the operation and sent it to him.  I really was quite sensible about it, and I trust he won’t be too bemused.  He did ask…  And I didn’t even mention the blog.  Some of my friends do know it exists, and two of them asked for its name so I told them (and how damn silly it sounds, said out loud) but most people tactfully don’t ask.

The Sage has just brought me a potful of coffee.  I have thanked him, of course, although I did mention that we seemed to have returned to unaccustomed normality with startling speed, since he showed no interest in cooking dinner this evening as he was far too involved with eBay, so I did it.  I cooked sausages with great care (fried slowly in a small quantity of bacon fat, Simon), with spinach, courgettes and yellow pepper and baked potatoes.  I gave Tilly her own portion of half a sausage and some potato, but I think she persuaded the Sage to give her something off his plate too.  Dear little dog.  She’s old and happy and she deserves to be pampered.


I’ve realised what caused the slight eye problem.  The other day, I put in my contact lens and it was uncomfortable, so I blinked a few times and forgot about it, until I realised that I couldn’t see any better with than without it.  I poked around for a minute, but it was no good, it had disappeared to the back of my eye.

It stayed there all day, until after 10pm.  It wasn’t at all comfortable.  Fortunately, I didn’t need to do anything in particular that needed sharp sight – I could have put in another lens at the front in an emergency, but I imagine it’s not recommended. Anyway, I eventually felt it move around and took it out and thought no more about it.  But it’s very likely that it set up some irritation and bits and pieces moved around a bit, to be seen by me a few days later.  It’s lots better now – and thanks, Dave, for your warning.  The possibility of a detached retina did occur to me and I was prepared to go to the doctor at once if it continued.

I didn’t have a particularly comfortable night, so have decided, if that’s what driving does to me, that I won’t start cycling much for a few days yet.  Maybe down to the church tomorrow.  I’m due to play the organ, which is something I haven’t done since December.  Not touched the keys.  I haven’t received hymns yet, so I suppose I’ll have to choose them.  The other organist is down as sidesman tomorrow – I’m awfully tempted to get him to play instead, but I suppose I should get back in harness.  As it were.

Anyway, today is Squiffany’s birthday, and she is five.  I talked to Dilly about a present and she reminded me that I’d already got one, that I had meant to give her for Christmas and forgot.  Yes, I know – thing is, she bought it and Ro brought it in and squirrelled it away to his old room, where I rarely go, and I’d hardly seen it.  Anyway, it’s a doll’s cot – the bedding is pale blue and yellow so it’s not irredeemably girly and it’s nice enough, being wooden and well made, for me to quite approve of* – so that’s all right.  It’s quite large and, as it swings, is in two pieces, so it was impossible to wrap and I went and bought ribbons and have put it in a duvet cover and have tied the ribbons on decoratively.  She can use them in her hair.  Or her dolls’ hair.

*Good job Dave doesn’t mind bad grammar, isn’t it?

Z tries to stay awake

I’m a bit tired.  Please excuse me if I make less sense than usual.  Possibly, even less sense than usual.

This driving lark takes it out of you, dun’t it?  I’ve driven about 125 miles in the last day and a half, not having driven at all for two months, and I was quite whacked by the time I arrived home this afternoon.  I drank Lady Grey (tea, darlings, tea) and ate carrot cake, but was still glad to move on to wine an hour or so later.  It didn’t help that I forgot to put in my contact lens this morning, which didn’t matter for driving as I had prescription sunglasses in the car, but the meeting was a bit hazy.  In some ways, being without a lens might have been a Good Thing, as I had really nasty floaters in my eyes yesterday, don’t know what that was about, but it seems to have improved a lot now.  I know one gets used to them and stops seeing them, but they were intrusive enough that, if they didn’t clear up, would prompt a visit to the doctor next week to find if there might be a cause I’d rather not know about.  I hope the matter will just go away though, and become an unexplained shrugful.

I really am tired.  It’s hardly 8 o’clock and I really rather want to go to bed.  I won’t, because I’d be wide awake  by midnight and get no more sleep overall.  My left knee twinged by the time I got home – I suppose driving with a clutch puts more strain on the left leg than using the brake and accelerator does on the right, which feels fine.

I’ve duly been elected secretary of the east angularian Nadfas committee, though won’t take it up until May, and was quite startled to have my ear bent by a number of people who want changes in the way things are administered.  I did a lot of nodding and frowning and smiling.

I am going to read today’s papers. And yesterday’s, as I don’t remember finishing them either.

Final hiplog

I’m driving again at any rate, which is about time.  The Sage isn’t always the most reliable chauffeur as he forgets when I need to be places and doesn’t get home in time unless I ring him – on the other hand, at least he carries his mobile around with him nowadays, and charges it regularly too.  That reminds me, I must make sure he’s got credit on it.

Things have been completed today, I went to the consultant and that’s fine.  He showed me the x-ray taken of my new hip the day before I left the hospital – it’s all very big.  Hard to tell from the screen just how big the spike is going down into my femur, but it’s amazing to think I’ve got all that in me and I can’t feel it at all.  I asked what movements I still shouldn’t do now, and what I should Never Do Again – sorry to say this, darlings, but he really doesn’t recommend much running.  A few yards is fine, but it’s just too jarring.  As far as dislocation is concerned, I should be careful about a few things for the next few months, such as sitting in very low chairs – the main thing I shouldn’t do at all is sideways twisting, especially to the outside.    I mean, imagine you’ve got something on the sole of your foot and you bring the foot up backwards and then twist round to see the problem.  Or, your foot doesn’t quite want to go in your shoe and you stand the back of the heel down and bring it up back and around to put it right.  Well, I mustn’t.  I said, I thought it was the inwards movements that were more of a problem, but he explained how much more movement would have to go wrong to put it out of joint that way – “so, can I cross my legs?”  Well, I may.  Gosh, isn’t that good? He wants to see me again in a year’s time and I should have x-rays every 5 years to keep an eye on it, but he suggested that I return to the NHS for that – he doesn’t see why I should have to pay extra for what I’m entitled to anyway.  It’s basically their records, an x-ray and a questionnaire, anyway.

My attention span while driving has gone down a bit, I must admit.  I had to think about concentrating.  Still, that’ll put itself right almost immediately, won’t it? *cough*

On the way home, I stopped to get a bank statement and the Paypal amounts had come through, so that’s now done.  And this evening, I’ve been to a Festival committee meeting, so now I’ve got to write up the notes – how I’ve set it up is with an ongoing document (as much of what happens is yearly) and just append extra bits in italics or a different colour, so I don’t have to start from scratch every time.

The visit to the brewery was jolly good, and we went home with goody bags!  One each!!  And I don’t even have any shares!!(!)  The Sage has four shares, which entitles him to all this largesse (four exclamation marks are OTT, so I leave you to gasp in astonishment).  Anyway, I highly recommend that you buy a few or even one (they cost over £100 each), and then when you go to the visits to the brewery, they can count as blogmeets too (you can meet the Sage, which you will love) The lunch is excellent and the visit is really interesting.

Tomorrow, Bury St Edmunds.  I don’t mean that’s what I’m doing, of course, but it’s where I’m going.

Z learns Anatomy

The receptionist who dealt with me yesterday sorted the matter out and was on the phone at 9am to confirm that an appointment has been made for 4 o’clock tomorrow.  It’s interesting to observe oneself – I felt quite matter-of-fact about my visit to the consultant – I know everything is fine, I have a couple of questions I’d like to ask and one or two things to clarify, but nothing that indicates any anxiety on my part.  I was relaxed and good-humoured at the hospital, which I needn’t have been as a cock-up was certainly made – but by the time I got home I did feel very jagged and out of sorts.  I didn’t *need* a drink, but alcohol certainly played its part in restoring my good-humour.

Tomorrow, we really are going for a piss-up in a brewery, which I’m quite sure will be entirely well organised.  We’re going as shareholders – one of the Sage’s many good decisions.  I’ve no idea what dividends are paid, but I’m quite happy to accept fringe benefits.  We have to leave Southwold in time to get to Norwich by 4 o’clock, but that’s all right.

The ATM I usually use doesn’t give mini-statements, but my own bank’s machine does.  The PayPal pennies have not yet been paid in.  Or, they hadn’t by 2 o’clock this afternoon.  I have at least had my hair cut.

The other thing that really unnerved me yesterday was calling the headmaster by the completely wrong name.  I’ve known him for 5 years.  His name is Sean.  Why on earth did I suddenly call him Roger?  Completely embarrassing.  He isn’t letting me live it down, either.  I told him, for decades I never called anyone by name in case I got the name wrong.  I wish I’d not overcome that particular phobia, because it evidently was soundly based.  Still, I’m looking on the bright side – he was probably quite as unnerved as I was.

I’m still having fun with apps.  I do have a childish nature and like playing games.  Current favourite is Anatomy – I’ve always been worryingly vague about this sort of thing, and I soon found out that I’d got the sites of the spleen and the pancreas confused with each other.  And I had no idea where the deltoid muscles were. I’m getting on quite well now, and (one has to get over 50% of the answers right in any one level to progress to the next) now breeze through individual vertebrae, on to various limb bones and only come unstuck when on the specifics of the shoulder.  Next comes the skull and then the lungs.  Gosh.

Weeza and I were, coincidentally, talking about body parts we had eaten, this evening.  I mentioned that I had once served sweetbreads to the family, which Al had particularly enjoyed.  She said she had tried, but not eaten tripe – it went into her mouth but no further.  She had also eaten brains.  I hadn’t and asked what they were like.  “Well, all right, I suppose.  It put me off avocado for a while though.”

Dis appointments

Which has nothing to do with Diss (no, Rog, I’m not putting in a bloody link.  Or even one to Diss).

This has not been one of our better days.

I had a patient email from Dilly early this morning, saying that Pugsley is waking earlier and earlier with the light and sunny early mornings.  “He was watching baby bunnies out of our window in the early hours today – that may be why I am feeling so tired.”

I went off for my Finance committee meeting.  If you hear the government saying how much extra money they’re putting into things such as learning support/SEN, take it with the usual pinch of salt, will you?  They have, rather, altered categories so that many schools are having money withdrawn  to be given to others, particularly to those that have many pupils for whom English is not their first language.  Anyway, the school financial manager and her assistant have done their usual fine job and the school is still solvent.

After the meeting, I was to go through various papers with the former chairman of governors – we still haven’t done a full hand-over -this doesn’t matter as we work closely together, but it does need to be done.  However, she had been called for an extra meeting at her other school, not an easy one, so she didn’t have time.  So never mind, we had a quick cup of coffee together and she dropped me off in town for my hairdresser appointment.

While waiting, because I was early, I checked emails and read one from Weeza, who said that Zerlina’s viral infection had gone to her chest and the doctor said she has mild bronchitis.  She’s on medication and is getting over it, but has been poorly with an awful cough, and spots.

I went to the hairdresser and it turned out I’d written the wrong date in my diary and I’m due in tomorrow.  Great.

I went home and went to commiserate with Dilly, and Pugsley took me to his parents’ bedroom where, from the window, you could still see bunnies frolicking.  Sweet.

The Sage and I set out for my appointment with my consultant in Norwich.  Oh no, back a bit.

At the weekend, I had an email from Paypal saying I was near the limit that money could be paid out without my account being verified.  Okay, fair enough, I logged on straight away and did what was necessary.  They said that they would put a few pence into my bank account, twice, and I then need to tell them what sums have been put in and that’ll be that.  Damn silly, but fine.

Then the Sage bought another vesta, so I paid with Paypal.  Since, the nice lady selling the piece and I have been in friendly email contact.  It was a bit disconcerting to have an email from Paypal today saying that my payment took me over the limit and has been stopped.  So, with only five minutes in hand before leaving for Norwich, we nipped into the bank for a statement.  The payments have not gone in yet.  Oh, and the bank is not open tomorrow and I’m pretty fully committed to various things on Thursday and Friday and not sure if I can get to a branch in opening hours.  I’m not sure if an ATM gives an actual statement of ins and outs, or just a total.  So I may not be able to get my account verified this week.

Anyway, off we went and got to the hospital and I went to check in at the reception desk.  I had an appointment (the correct name was on the letter), but not with the surgeon I expected – it was another one whose name starts with the same letter.  My chap isn’t in the hospital today and there was no point in seeing the other one as he wouldn’t have my notes and I’d need to come in again anyway.  The startlingly pretty receptionist was extremely apologetic and thanked me several times for being so good-humoured about it.  The secretary who had sent the appointment had simply screwed it up.  My consultant will be in on Thursday and then off on holiday for a couple of weeks.  I said, I’m out most of Thursday but if I can be fitted in about 4pm I can get there.  Otherwise, it’ll have to wait – which doesn’t matter vastly except I want to be okayed to drive.  Eight weeks is a long time to stare at your own four walls.

I’ve come home and written an apologetic email to the vendor of the vesta.  And eaten cake.  At six o’clock, I will drink gin.

If you have been, thanks for listening.

By the way, my engagement for Thursday actually is for a piss-up in a brewery.

PS.  I’ve just noticed that I’ve lost a follower from my sidebar.  That hardly surprises me at all.  Still, I suppose a square number is just as good as a round one.

Long ago when Z was young

Here is the photo I mentioned the other day – from left at the back (humans first) are Wink, George and John, two brothers who were staying with us for the summer, one of the sisters who were Wink’s French pen friends, I think this one was Pascal.  Front row are me, Pearson, who was my mother’s godson and also spent summer holidays with us, and my mother.

Dogs – Simon, the patriarch of the family, Huckleberry his son, Bess (with her mouth open), the mother, Kipper, Huck’s brother, who lived next door, and Jess, Huck’s sister, who belonged to our gardener and lived in the house opposite.

                                                                              And here is a close-up of Huckleberry.  Lovely dog.

Shooting spring

I should have written a couple of hours ago, before I had an email from a friend.  It was upsetting, her son-in-law had a serious accident and was badly burned and is critically injured in hospital.  The specialist burns unit is about 3 hours drive from their home and they have young children – the last week has been awful.  Someone close to me had such an accident many years ago, remembering it was so awful that I could hardly tell the Sage.  Time mercifully blanks a lot but it comes back when you talk about it.  I do hope he makes a good recovery, but survival is the issue right now, and in any case it’ll be a long and painful haul.

Until then, the day had been excellent.  Cakes were well received but enough has been brought home to make the Sage happy.  Al cooked a lovely lunch and the children were happy, having bought various goodies at a car boot sale that morning.  They had bought several DVDs as well as toys and stuff, and we watched Men In Black.  I told the children about the dog that said “kiss my hairy ass”, which quite shocked them – I was a bit wrong in fact, as it was “furry” but they still giggled mightily.  I think that Squiffany is too good a little girl, but I can still take Pugsley well astray, as any Granny should.

I let Dilly play with my iPhone.  She’s hooked, she wants one too.  So does Pugsley.  Smartphones (I’m not plugging macs, honest, have whichever you like) are the biz.  I don’t bother much with the phone, admittedly, though the Sage seems to have racked up 2 hours worth of calls in a couple of days.

This meeting in Bury on Friday – apparently there’s a military funeral on at much the same time (the meeting is at the Cathedral, in its meeting room appropriately enough) so we’ll have to go early as roads will be closed off, if we don’t want to have to leg it through the Abbey Gardens, which Yvonne won’t be able to.  I don’t mind leaving early, so sad I am that an hour or two killing time over coffee feels like a holiday to me as it means there is no question of me looking in at one of the two meetings that clashes with the day.

I slept better last night, and then woke for the last time (“better” is comparative, after all) five minutes before the alarm was due to go off, so the morning was nice and relaxed, with plenty of time for everything.

I will try to put up that photo tomorrow.  It’s upstairs.  I’m used to thinking of an unscheduled trip upstairs as a Big Deal.

Oh, I meant to mention- the sun shone warmly this morning.  I went off down the drive, noticing that the daffodils were still short and showed no colour.  When I came home a couple of hours later, I saw flashes of yellow – but they were not from the flowers.  The leaves had shot from the ground so fast that they had not had time to turn green.  I should have taken a photo but didn’t think of it – they had grown a full inch in that short time.

Z Goes a bit Overboard

In this country, it’s Mothering Sunday tomorrow, which is treated as Mother’s Day is everywhere else, even, erroneously, in most churches (okay, Dave?).  So we’re starting our service with coffee and cakes and a craft for children – they will make and decorate little boxes, which they can then fill with chocolates, which will be provided.  Then we’ll move into the church for a short service, then the chocolates and posies of flowers will be handed out at the end.

I’m on the rota to do coffee tomorrow.   However, I asked a friend if she’d make a cake too, and when we arrived to set up everything ready for tomorrow, another friend had brought along small cakes for the children.  This afternoon, I have made a fruit cake and a carrot cake and I’m just going back to the kitchen in a few minutes to make a chocolate sponge cake.  I rang my friend to ask what cake she had made.  “I’ve made a jam sandwich (that’s a Victoria sponge, darlings, not bread and jam) and a fruit cake.  Oh, and I made some date slices”.

We’re going to have enough cake to feed at least 100 hungry people (we’ll have fewer than half that at the service I expect, although we’re preparing in other respects for 60).  I normally make cake, reluctantly, about twice a year.  It’s all this cooking that the Sage is doing – I can’t move into his territory of cooking delicious (if rather meat-based) dinners, so I’m having to do a whole lot of baking instead.

I’ve never tried this carrot cake recipe before, but I have eaten it.  About 15 years ago, at the Middle School fete, I bought a cake from a stall that a friend had made.  It was delicious and I told her so, and she said she had made it from the Food Aid recipe book which had been published not long before.  “I have that book, I’ll have to give the recipe a go,” I said.

Now I have.

Hiplog, nearing the last time, DV.

I feel such a mess.  I missed having a haircut last month – I’d had my hair cut shorter than usual at the end of December because I knew I’d have to miss a cut, but then I forgot all about it and it only just occurred to me what a scruff I am.  Well, I always know it, but worse than usual.  Anyway, I went in to book an appointment and – oh joy – there had been a cancellation so I can go next Wednesday.  Thank goodness I don’t have roots to have grown out.  One good thing about being shortsighted and unobservant is that I don’t notice grey hairs so don’t think I have to do anything about them.

Anyway, I’d meant to make cakes for Sunday this afternoon, but Weeza and Zerlina came over, and so did Pugsley, so that was far better.  There is always time for catching up with things, but not always with people.  Although, frankly it will just mean that the cakes I do make will be more thrown together than lovingly hand-crafted.  They will be delicious, though, right?



Anyway, a seven-week update, and there’s not much more to say.  I ventured to lie on my left side for a while in the night, with a cushion between my legs so that my right hip couldn’t drop.  I can put tights on and sometimes socks – that is, I can put on my left sock but I managed a looseish right sock a couple of days ago, by getting it close to my foot and poking – without using my sock-aid.  And I cut my toenails last night in the bath (very careful not to lose bits because that would be horrid*) and sat on the floor, as is my usual habit, to dry off afterwards.  So all is going very well.  I’m still cautious and only do what I’m very comfortable with.  I’ve got an appointment with my consultant on Tuesday, after which I’m rather relying on being able to drive, by the Friday at any rate, as I have a meeting in Bury St Edmunds to which I’ve promised a lift to a friend, who had her new hip less than a fortnight ago.  She has been able to nobble a disabled space at the Cathedral, which is jolly good, as otherwise I’d have to drop her off, go and park and come back – it’d add another 15 minutes but at least would be physically unremarkable.  At the last meeting, in December, we limped back to the car park together.  So things are much better.

I found myself a bit late again this morning.  The Sage was prancing around early, as he heard talking outside but it was the milkman who’d brought a friend (we had the window open so could hear their voices) and then he came back to bed and we entwined our legs somewhat and went back to sleep, so when I woke around 7 o’clock, I couldn’t move without disturbing him.  So I stayed put.  I finally had to get up, waking him, when there was only half an hour to go before I was due to leave the house.

* I trust you all notice that I use horrid and horrible with correct differentiation between them.