Monthly Archives: January 2010

Z is awake

I have been asleep, but a nurse came in to check my drip. They’d taken that out during the afternoon but put it back overnight. The nurse wasn’t being inconsiderate, someone had rung their bell which they knew would wake me. My bedroom door is open, presumably so that they can peep in on me without disturbing me. Hope that won’t last another night.

I’m perfectly comfortable but it’s hard not to move. If not for the wedge between my legs, I’d have turned in my sleep for sure. And I can’t possibly bother a nurse for a little thing – the blanket was folded back and off my right toes ( the sheet is there) and I was a little chilly just there, but how prima donna would that be? Anyway, I asked her to move it when she came in, so it’s fine now.

Also, I’m under instructions to own up to the least discomfort. I put ‘pain’ but there isn’t any – I am on analgesics of course. But it makes one feel a wuss to do so.

I’m still on oxygen, a nifty little tube that goes over both ears. The ends go into the tip of my nose rather like those little plastic moustaches one gets in a Christmas cracker (sorry to use the c word already but I don’t want you to imagine a biscuit, like a fortune cookie with prizes). It feels like wearing comfortable goggles with no lenses. I think all the tubes and stuff will come out later, especially if I can walk as far as the bathroom, and I see no reason why not.

The anaesthetist was surprised I didn’t ask for a sedative. He said I was the first patient of his not to. I wasn’t showing off, it genuinely was fine. I wouldn’t have opted for that if it was an operation the outcome of which I was scared about. Or maybe I would, I’ve just remembered. I’d want to know at once.

Not that I meant to take a gloomy turn. I might listen to the iPod for a bit. Dinu Lipati, Tom Waits and Hoagy Carmichael have been cheering me so far, along with an assortment of music that Julie (Hey Bartender) sent me two or three years back.

I’ve been good and asked for fruit juice, plain yoghurt and toast for breakfast. But I have splashed out decadently and requested marmalade.

Z’s back. Or maybe that should be z’s hip.

Well, that went very well. No drugged posting i’m afraid because the spinal anaesthetic went so well that I didn’t feel any need for any sedation. I was quite happy to be wide awake throughout and, as I didn’t need any recovery, I’d Recommend it. Sorry about random capital there, it’s a bit awkward.

I’m going to be got up later, I’ll report back.

Z forgets to drink

The internet is even slower than usual today. Emails are so slow to load that the page keeps getting timed out and I have to start again. Just a bit frustrating. However, I’m nearly there and will soon be able to think about packing. I have made a start, this morning I put stuff on the spare room bed and removed the shop labels from the nightdresses and things, and it won’t take long to do.

Last night, I was talking to a High Powered friend, and he said that his daughter and family had spent a long weekend at Center Parcs. He’d gone for one night and, among other things, had played badminton with his grandson, who’s three and a half. He was quite impressed, the lad has a good eye and was able to hit the shuttlecock most times. “The stuttlecock,” he said – the lad hadn’t been able to get his tongue round the word and in the end they’d decided to adopt his version. “You can’t say words properly yourself,” the boy pointed out. “You can’t even say ‘path.'” It’s true. He says ‘path’ with a short a, but we’re all effete southerners around here and say ‘pahth’. I cracked up. He commands such respect, normally.

Because I had an evening meeting, I hadn’t had my meagre allocation of wine, and was saving it for when I arrived home. However, I got on with some sorting out of papers and it wasn’t until I decided to have an earlyish night that I realised that I was thirsty, and then that I hadn’t had anything to drink all evening. I made a cup of tea instead and drank it in the bath. Bahth, that is, with a long drawling a.

I’ve got three letters of appreciation to write to teachers – well, emails – and one about a meeting to a committee, and then a couple of personal ones. Then, you know, I think I’m going to switch the computer off for a few days.

‘Course, there’s the iPhone. Heh.

Oh, I nearly forgot – I expended £2 on 4 oysters and successfully opened them without severing a knife or my finger. And I’ve eaten a few brazil nuts. I’m just so obedient.

Z is Perfect

My BMI is, at any rate. My blood pressure and heart rate are excellent and everything else is fine too. It’s worth spending £80 on a visit to an anaesthetist if she’s going to tell you that you weigh exactly the right amount.

She’s also advised foods with plenty of vitamin C, selenium and zinc. Mm, veggies, brazil nuts and oysters. Could be my favourite diet.

As long as I don’t turn out to be a carrier for some nasty superbug, all is on track.

Z has another New Toy

Something cropped up yesterday that meant I had to spend a couple of hours at the school this afternoon. Then I wanted to fill the car with petrol, so I had to go and spend £40 at the co op to get 4p per litre off. Petrol is shooting up in price, isn’t it? It’s a shocking price. It would be more than £5 per gallon without the offer.

It was really foggy this morning – I didn’t leave home until after 10, but it was still quite thick. Because of that, it wasn’t until I was driving around the multi-storey car park that I realised I had very slight fuzziness in my sight and I hadn’t put in my contact lens. My sight is borderline for driving, so I wasn’t actually illegal, but it’s remarkable that I didn’t even notice. I never had time to put it in all day. I had to go straight back from Norwich to the meeting, with no lunch, and then I was given a lift to this evening’s meeting. I thought I’d got two clear afternoons, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Tomorrow, I’ve got a two-hour assessment at the hospital and then meetings in the afternoon and evening, so I can’t see myself packing then either. I had a text from Weeza, suggesting we meet up during the week, but I don’t think we’ll have time. Never mind, we’ve got all the time in the world next week. Well, I have.

I was very excited to receive a parcel this morning – my latest treat for myself, a Magic Mouse. Don’t blame me for the name. It is a delight. I’m ever so happy with it. Although I think that’ll be it, as far as presents for myself are concerned, for the time being. I shall revert to my usual cautious ways. It has been fun though. I have not had as much pleasure from a new toy in years as with the iphone. And I’m quite content to hang on to a car I’m not fond of, serviceable though it is, to make up for the extravagance.

Weeza was very fed up when she took Zerlina to the toddler class at the swimming pool. It’s supposed to be no more than nine children, plus a parent for each. But there were several more than that last week, which they said was a one-off, and today there were fourteen. They all have to go in the same area to receive instructions from the – er- instructor, and there isn’t really room for twenty-eight to line up and everything has to be said twice, to left and to right, and the children are getting chilly and bored. And then, afterwards, they all leave the pool together and there are only four changing rooms with a nappy changing table. There was a seat where Weeza took little z, but it was broken so she couldn’t be strapped in while Weeza got dressed and she went and toddled into the shower where the floor was wet. Weeza had a run-in with them last year because the bins were only cleared once a week and were always overflowing with used nappies – once she’d finished with them, they agreed to have a second clearance, but Weeza’s had enough now. She’s tired of complaining and she doesn’t want to go there again. She’s going to ask for her money back. Zerlina loves the pool, but they can go to another one, although she doesn’t want to commit to classes further away.

I only had a spare few minutes to glance through blogs this afternoon, I’m so sorry not to be visiting many of you. Hope all’s well. And if I owe you an email, that might take a while too.

Greener transport makes a duller Z

How is it that an early night is impossible? The evenings seem to be extremely long, mind you, with a single glassful to cheer me. I’m getting a bit fed up with tomato juice but still, I suppose it’s terribly healthy.

I’ve just noticed a splendid cobweb attached to the beam across the middle of the room. I’m glad to see the spiders are thriving. I haven’t seen any for ages. I never saw cobwebs in my last house- there were really high ceilings and a whole arachnoid menagerie could have stalked across the top of the room and I’d have known nothing about it. Here, the drawing room ceiling is touchable even by me – about 2 metres, and 6 feet under the beam*. Tall people duck or grouse, as they say. The doorways are lower again, of course. I don’t notice the lowness. This house fits me just fine.

The Sage has been out all day today, having ventured into Lincolnshire to meet a client. I used to drive through Lincolnshire when Ro was at university – the trains took even longer than the drive and he was usually bused part of the way, so I drove him as often as not. He came home once for a weekend and soon realised his mistake when his Sunday morning train finally delivered him back to Lancashire just before midnight. I have to say, I’ve never come across such reckless drivers anywhere in this country as in Lincs. They seem to use the hatching in the road as a convenient narrow lane for overtaking, particularly where visibility isn’t good. Once, I was following a car in legally overtaking a lorry when the car driver spotted a speed camera and braked sharply. I was taken unawares and nearly ploughed into him. We were well under the speed limit, but the driver was evidently not sure what that was, or didn’t know what speed he was doing. He wasn’t checking his rear view mirror, for sure.

Driving in this county isn’t all that sharp, mind you. We go in for a combination of driving a bit too fast with not really looking where we’re going, as we don’t expect trouble. Or else we pootle along slowly in the middle of the road. And we think nothing of parking on a roundabout if a passenger would like to be dropped off (actually, that’s in Yagnub). My mother, who was normally a good driver, became very casual on roundabouts in her 70s. She drove as close to a straight line as she could, changing lanes willy-nilly. “Why is that man hooting at me?” she would ask. “You just cut him up without signalling,” I explained. It was, I’m afraid, not unusual behaviour at all. Actually, the hooting was more unlikely. It’s quite startling when you go to more car-minded places and the least hesitation gives rise to a chorus of toots.

In the past few years, I’ve used the car less and less. Years ago, I’d reckon on driving 1,000 miles a month, which now seems an awful lot. It came down to 10,000 a year and then to 8,000. It hasn’t been much over 6,000 in the past year I suppose – that is, I’ve had this car 16 months and I still haven’t driven anywhere near 10,000 miles. Other than not driving locally – that is, I cycle if possible if the journey is less than 5 miles – it doesn’t represent me using public transport though. I just don’t get out much. I haven’t been to the cinema in Norwich for a year and I’ve only been to the theatre twice and to half a dozen concerts. There’s no public transport in the evenings, I don’t go to Norwich by bus to do shopping as I can’t carry it around and the railway station is 15 miles away.

So I sit at home and write a blog.

*I’m bilingual and use whichever measurement is neater for the occasion.

Z doesn’t go anywhere

I’m having to get myself organised. I have written a lot of emails, including one that’s been hanging over me since I returned from my holiday at the end of November. It reached the stage that I was putting it off because I’d left it so long. Sometimes one needs a deadline and there wasn’t one, as such.

Tomorrow, I’m going to a Spanish lesson. Not to learn Spanish, just to watch Year 10s learn Spanish. I’m quite up for joining in though. I find the whole governor lesson observation thing quite hard, I feel a bit of a lemon, but it’s all right if I talk to people and ask questions and that sort of thing. I’ve also got to extricate myself from something I’m supposed to be doing in a fortnight’s time. Reluctantly, I’ve decided that, as it includes walking over the entire school, it will be too much for me ten days after a major leg operation.

Wink has returned home, but will come back in two or three weekends’ time to check up on me. I’ve never been so looked after in my life, and I’ve led a pampered life. Well, that is, I am faced with the prospect of all this pampering. Mind you, I found myself being prayed for in church this morning, which is a disconcerting experience, I can tell you. I knew it would be on the cards and was embarrassedly resigned to it, but I thought they would at least wait until I’d been under the knife and wasn’t actually there to be startled.

A film starring Richard Burton has just started on television. I’m not going to stay and watch it – I can’t take war films any more, and besides, it’s late. But didn’t he have a wonderful voice? And my goodness, Leo McKern too. Looking remarkably young. Young is a bit of a relative term, I don’t think he ever actually looked “young”. Anyway. I digress.

Not that I was actually talking about anything. Maybe this is one of those posts that isn’t going anywhere.

Right. The only place I’m going is to bed. It’s after half past twelve, whatever the time at the bottom of the post says, and I’ve hardly started on the Sunday papers yet.


We all, except Al who was at work, had lunch together at the very good pub (with brewery attached) near Weeza’s house. Pugsley surprised me by eating all his lunch except the chips. He’s been very difficult to feed for a while – it’s not so much that he’s a fussy eater, though he’s never been keen on vegetables, but he often eats little or nothing. He’s by no means thin, so we don’t quite know how he gets his nourishment. However, his parents decided to be firm and insist on him eating at least some of every meal, a week or two ago and, although he was very reluctant and meals took a long time for a while, he’s now turned a corner and is a much better eater.

All three children were in high spirits but well-behaved, which was such a pleasure. We had a very good time. Wink and I spent the evening with Al and Dilly – Wink will be going home tomorrow morning but is planning on coming back the weekend after next to help in the arduous task of looking after me.

I have to confess, I’m quite looking forward to the prospect of having a bed to myself for a bit, and I’m sure he is too. We wake each other up frequently and neither of us is getting much rest. And after all, it’s not as if there will be any marital hanky-panky for ages.

Seville oranges are in the shops now, so it’s time to start making marmalade. Al is making his already. I’ve got some time on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, but actually I’ll probably leave it for a month or so when I’m getting back to normal. I made so much the year before last that I didn’t need to make any at all last year, but now we’re nearly out. Not that I eat it very often, much as I like it. I like the peel best and the Sage prefers the jelly. We’re well suited to each other in a Jack and Mrs Sprattish way.

A frozen Z bed

It rained today, but it’s still pretty cold so the snow is slow to be washed away. It’s so unusual to see it linger this long – I remember many winters when we’ve had more snow; that is, greater average depth as well as deep drifts, some well above my head (no cracks about this being knee high to everyone else, if you please) but it’s always gone within a week. Except in 1963 of course, which is The Winter of living memory to anyone born in the first decade or so since the second world war.

7.51 pm and I’m just draining my glass of the last of tonight’s wine. “Any more?” asked the Sage with suavely unaware sadism. Still, at least Wink is here to say yes. She has returned for the weekend to attend the funeral of her brother-in-law (on her late husband’s side).

Momentarily, yesterday, everyone became over-efficient to the extent that vital papers were taken to the tip. With the greatest of good fortune, I didn’t have the only copy, but all the same I had to inconvenience someone – two people – into replacing them for me. I owned up to the headmaster today, to his amusement – I could have kept quiet but that would have meant his staff, whether they knew it or not, colluding in mild deception.

I think it’ll be red wine from now on. It’s more satisfying. A glass of white has merely teased the tastebuds. Interestingly, I realise that it is the taste of it that I miss, not the alcohol. I always said I wasn’t unhealthily reliant on alcohol. Tomato juice is okay if you add some Tabasco as well as the Worcestershire sauce.

I received more correspondence from the hospital, including an information letter. It started by describing the pain of an arthritic hip, usually in the groin. What? I have, at various occasions, pain in the top of the foot, the shin, the calf, in both the front and the back of the thigh (distinctly different pains), in the back and the other hip and a sore right hip, but in the groin, never a twinge.

I was silly last night. I knew I wouldn’t have time to wash my hair this morning and the electric shower is not very hot – I think one of the heating elements isn’t working – so I decided on an early bath and washed my hair before dinner. So I didn’t bath before going to bed. I mostly have a bath to warm up. The Sage hugged me relatively warm – the man is a masochist too, I was freezing – but when I woke an hour later, I was so cold that I’d frozen the bed again, even though we’d fallen asleep with the electric blanket on. I didn’t sleep much after that. Took hours to get the same degree of warmth all over. Then it was time to get up. Still, it means I’ll sleep well tonight. I said to the Sage, he must be looking forward to a week or so of tranquil solitary night times. If he can’t sleep, he can always come downstairs and entertain me with scintillating gossip.


That is, semi-dry. I’ve decided to Cut Down in preparation for the operation. I shall limit myself to one glass of wine a day, apart from Saturday when we’re all going out for lunch to a pub with its own brewery, so I shall have a glass of beer as well.

It’s always a puzzle, knowing what to drink if one wishes to keep off the sauce. I mean, nothing else tastes right apart from beer and wine, because everything else is fruity or sweet – apart from water, of course. And I don’t understand why one would be able to drink a sugary-tasting drink with savoury food – well, or without it. Anyway, I’m going to try tomato juice before a meal and the single glass of good wine with it.

All the various electrical appliances that have been squirrelled away over the past few years have gone to the tip. I mean, the recycling centre. And so far I have removed two boxes of books – and saved another boxful – still, I’m tackling the bookcase in the cloakroom next. The thing is, I’ve got a whole lot of books that were my mother’s that need to find a home rather urgently – Al and Dilly hung on to them for a long time for me, but now need the space themselves. I just can’t fit in any more bookcases, and besides I really don’t have to feel obliged to keep every potboiler novel or out-of-date reference book, just because of a reverence and affection for printed paper.

I filled in forms from the hospital today – it’s all on for next Friday, unless I’m suddenly declared to be unfit for an operation on Wednesday, for which I can’t see any reason at present. And, of course, I’ll be able to say that I’ve more than halved my alcohol consumption in preparation.

I think I’m going to make a big pot of coffee now. What is there to drink when you don’t have alcohol?