Monday, December 11, 2017

Releasing the inner blinger in me

I have only just - and belatedly - realised that having grandchildren gives me a good excuse to release my inner blinger.

So ... we took a trip to Homebase and B&Q today to stock up on Christmas lights and fal-de-rols. All in the best possible taste of course.

Miracle on 34th street
Meanwhile, making the most of my 'enforced rest' I have been watching Christmas films: Arthur Christmas, Dude, Where's My Donkey? and Miracle on 34th Street. You may find this hard to believe but I have never before seen Miracle on 34th, either version. Strangely enough Husband has - although I fear he may be a little confused as he swore it starred Richard Attenborough (it did) and was in black and white (it wasn't). I thoroughly enjoyed them all. 

Every year I buy the Radio Times and get excited about the films or programmes I want to watch - and end up watching very little because I'm just too busy. So I am enjoying this little break. (Operation Sausage update: getting better every day but still painful to do up trousers as I found when I went to B&Q.)

I also spent Sunday binge-watching the recent BBC dramatisation of Howard's End. What a strange story. I'm not surely I entirely approved of the transformation of Margaret. Maybe I was missing something. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The sausage, the seal and me

Or 'How I performed an appendectomy with no medical training.'

So Operation Sausage has been and come and gone. The afternoon before i was due to go in I received a phone call telling me they had a bed for me and if I wanted to be sure of keeping it I should go in that evening. Quick panic on my part: I still had too much to do. But I got there and was safely installed.

The following morning a variety of people came around getting me to sign my life away. A student asked if I minded if she and another student had a good poke around before the operation: carry on, I said - as long as I'm unconscious. The registrar (who was to do my operation I think, and who had overdone the after shave that morning) frightened me to death with the list of possible complications but as it didn't categorically say that death was a possibility I signed anyway. Then the nice anaesthetist I'd seen in my pre-op popped in for a chat too. 

By the time Paul, a surgeon friend from Linden church, stuck his head around the curtain I was a little anxious. He reassured me that was normal and that it would be abnormal not to be. Then he said, 'I'm the expert at keyhole surgery; would you like me to do your operation?'
'Oh yes please!' (I had my suspicions - probably unfounded - that the registrar would be a whip-it-all-out-and-ask-questions-later man.)

I remember panicking when the anaesthetist told me to think of something nice to dream about - and I couldn't - and the next thing was I was waking up and it was all over.

Now the interesting bit. 

Both Paul and his wife, Jo, also a gynaecologist, came to see me later and explained what had happened. Bear in mind I was still a little dopey at this point (yes, even dopier than usual) so some of the details may not be exactly correct ... but this is what seems to have happened.

A mucous seal developed some distance up my appendix. It grew around the appendix and eventually cut off the blood supply leading to my body effectively amputating its own organ. (This would have been what caused my severe stomach pains this time last year.) Then I get a bit more confused but I think the bit of appendix went walkabout and ended up in the area of my lady parts leading to the theory that I had a problem with a fallopian tube. 

No wonder everyone was puzzled when the looked at the scans.

Paul said, 'I've never seen this happen before.' 

I am hoping he will write a paper for a medical journal and Hinds Sausage Syndrome will become a recognised thing. I may never be a famous author but my name will live forever in the annals of medical weirdos. 

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Operation Sausage

In preparation for Operation Sausage I did some cleaning today working on the principle that I want it to be tidy in case I don't come out.

Then I realised that was ridiculous: if I don't come out I don't have to worry about how it looks. But when I do come out I will be thinking about how it looks.

Exactly a year ago before severe tummy pains landed me in hospital - thus beginning Operation Sausage - while lying in bed, in between groaning in pain I studied the damp patch on the ceiling and thought, 'We really must decorate our bedroom soon.' (Note: still not done.)

Now you might find it hard to believe considering the amount of blogging and Facebooking I do but I very rarely sit down and just relax. So on the assumption that, even if it is keyhole surgery, I will need to rest for a day at least I want to be in a calm clean area. 

I may have to limit the rooms I go in but as long as I have a path to my bedroom I'll be fine.

Think of the Chinese

'Don't panic!' I said to myself as I tipped dirty water over a clean floor. 'Think of the Chinese.'

But why? Are the Chinese people particularly renowned for not panicking? Or is it a saying I have misremembered, misheard or made up myself?

By the time I had pondered these things I had cleaned up the mess without panicking. So it works. 

* * * * * * *
On a similar but slightly different topic, why is it that the cream I use to bleach my ... ahem ... 'facial hair' takes ten minutes to do an inefficient job on my face yet instantly bleaches the carpet?

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Have you read Gilead?

Again in the car - I get most of my listening done there - I heard bits of a World Book Club programme where they spoke to the author of Gilead. Apparently it's one of President Obama's favourite books but he never told me so I've never heard of it let alone read it.

As I say I heard bits of it - having to get in and out the car interrupted my listening - so I may not have all these details correct.

The author said the name Gilead came from 'the balm of Gilead', a healing lotion, mentioned in the bible. I believe there are several towns in middle America named Gilead and it indicates that they were founded by abolitionists along the slave escape route, providing refuge and tunnels. The founding fathers were usually educated and intelligent people: teachers, preachers, doctors and the like.

It's a fascinating bit of history that I had no idea about so I am thinking about reading the book, which is told in the form of letters from a grandfather, a preacher, who wants to make sure his grandson understands the history of his people and the town. 

But I am not sure if it might be a bit heavy going for late night reading. The author read a section on the radio and I think an audio version would suit me just fine. Rather like Garrison Keillor, whom I love to listen to but can't read his books. 

A quick google reveals that Gilead by Marilynne Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 so there will undoubtedly be someone out there who has read it and can recommend it or not. Some of the reviewers on Goodreads are less than fulsome.

What's in your bag?

Out-of-date Sainsburys vouchers, old till receipts and sweetie wrappers. It was hard to find anything in my handbag rummaging through all that. Tidy-up Time!

Having cleared all aforesaid rubbish I found in my handbag:
a notebook - obviously all writers should carry one;
a generous supply of pens and pencils (in case the pens don't work);
several packets of paracetamol - better to be prepared;
four mini packs of tissues - my nose runs;
a huge piece of white chalk - to draw around a body should I chance upon one;
a wee sample bottle (as in sample bottle for wee, unused, not small sample bottle) - because you never know;
a perfect skimming stone in case the opportunity arises to show off my prowess - but I must use it wisely - I only have one.

No purse (unusual), no mobile phone (not at all unusual). 

From Hovis to Alien

On the same car journey the presenter mentioned that it was Ridley Scott's birthday, his 80th I think. Sir Ridley Scott is famous for many of the films he's directed but I didn't realise that before he directed Alien and Blade Runner he made, amongst the other things, adverts. Including what is apparently Britain's favourite television ad, for Hovis back in 1973.

It must have been twenty years after that that I wrote a nativity play for Sunday school in Linden Church. I wrote it as though it were being reported by television news and in the middle we had a break for advertisements, which I'd cunningly adapted from real television adverts. So instead of Hovis we advertised the 'bread of life' that never runs out - a specially expanding loaf that I constructed but don't ask me how!

I also used the Gold Blend coffee advert where a woman asks her new neighbour if she can borrow some coffee. I can't remember my twist on it but it must have been something about 'drink this and you'll never be thirsty again'.

But for now here's the Hovis advertisement, one of a series of three.

Come away, come away with William Tell!

I had a jolly time in the car the other day. The William Tell overture came on the radio and I was in my element, at first dum-diddle-um-diddle-um-diddle-um-ing (I think I might have slipped into Bonanza there) ah, yes, diddle-um-diddle-um-diddle-um-dum-dum-ing and then conducting. Such fun.

It instantly took me back to the television series on when I was a child. And the name of the leading man, Conrad Phillips, just leapt into my head. If only useful things did that too.

Life is good

Wales won the final game in their autumn international season (beating South Africa) and I have Michael Buble singing Christmas songs in the kitchen. Life is good.

Plus there's been a single chocolate eclair sweet sitting in the kitchen for a few days. Today, at half time, I said, 'If Wales win I will eat you to celebrate.'

* * * * * 
Delicious meal at Slice last night. Unfortunately we didn't discover until we refused dessert that it was a set price for three courses. So we had to have dessert. And I'd been so good not eating any of Husband's birthday cheesecake.
Delia Smith cheesecake

Friday, December 01, 2017

Happy birthday, Husband!

Today is Husband's 68th birthday. To celebrate we are going to Slice this evening while this morning we walked through Crawley Woods onto the beach and back through Oxwich Nature reserve.

And we will have cake this afternoon when the children come around.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The bad and the good

Got home from walking George to be told I had to phone the hospital. Can I go in for my operation a week Thursday, 7th December? Um, yes. 

Just long enough notice to start to panic.

I was sort of hoping they'd forget about me until after Christmas.

But we had a fun afternoon yesterday visiting the local garden centre with GrandDaughter2 (aged 2) to see all the lights and decorations. I think everyone in the shop could hear how much GrandDaughter2 was enjoying it.

And Granny enjoyed herself too.
Granny and the gorilla
No comments please about who has the bigger boobs or hairier chin.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A bit of endocannabinoids do you good ... possibly

Maybe what I need to help my brain is to 'awaken your endocannabinoid senses.'

I was a little surprised to see that on a poster in an e-cigarette shop window. Should we be awakening those senses I asked Helen, who's a nurse and knows about such things.

'Those are the good bits of cannabis,' Helen explained. 'The pain killing bits. But I don't think they're actually legal here.'

So I was probably right in the first place. People already think I'm a drinker.

Black Friday came and went

I arrived home from birthday breakfast on Friday and Husband said, 'They have boxes of Ferrero Rocher on sale on Amazon; how many do we need?'
'Um, none.'
'Oh you can only order three boxes per person.'
'That's okay. I don't want any.'
'But we need Christmas presents for (he listed several people) and a few spare would be useful in case of emergencies. You were caught out last year bu the neighbours.' He waved an admonishing finger at me.

But I know what will happen. The chocolates will arrive and one evening in the near future he will say, 'I feel like something sweet to nibble on. Where are those chocolates?' And I am so weak-willed I will join him in scoffing a boxful.

But he hadn't finished. 'Go on Amazon,' he said. 'Look at the deals. You may be able to find some Christmas presents.'
I sighed. 'Okay.'
'Now,' he said, 'while the deals are on!'

I ended up putting in an order but I forgot the chocolates and instead ordered three Christmas books for me. That weren't in the sale.

Later when I told Daughter she asked which books.
'A book of essays about Christmas by Nina Stibbe and a book of short stories by Rachel Joyce. The Snow Garden, I think.'
'I bought you The Snow Garden for Christmas last year,' she said. 'And then you passed it on to me.'
'Oh. Did I enjoy it?'

So someone - not Daughter - may be having a book of seasonal short stories for Christmas this year ...

P.S. Looking for an image on Amazon I notice it had a different cover last year so that's why I didn't recognise it. Although it may just be my brain. I asked the librarian in Mumbles if they had a book called The Diary of a Librarian. I was puzzled that they not only didn't have it but it wasn't coming up as a recognised title. 'It's a small local library, possibly in a village in Scotland, and a true account of the characters who go there,' I explained. I said I'd check and let her know the author.

Turns out it's called Diary of a Bookseller.

P.P.S. And now google won't let me display a photo. Hey ho.

Too early for Christmas music

It's Husband's birthday on Friday, 1st December. We're not allowed to play Christmas music until after that date. I say 'we' but obviously I mean 'I'. It's not that Husband doesn't like Christmas he's just ... not into it like some of us. Daughter, for example, has been playing Christmas music for months.

But I was in the car the other day and I began thinking about Christmas music. My absolute favourite Christmas song - although it's not really Christmassy except it's included on a number of compilation cds - is A Winter's Tale by David Essex.

And my favourite carol is In the Bleak Midwinter. Are you spotting a theme here? Haunting, slow, a bit depressing-sounding. But really it's only the title - okay, and the music - of In the Bleak Midwinter that is a bit sad. And my favourite words of all are in the last verse of ITBM (originally a poem by Christina Rossetti):
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

'I don't want a boy!'

I took GrandDaughter1 shopping yesterday afternoon for the boots I promised her for her birthday.

First stop Costa, where GrandDaughter1 had mint hot chocolate and we shared a millionaire's shortbread. (She insisted.)

There are remarkably few shoe shops in town these days. After getting measured and trying on some boots at Clarks we tried Schuh and then, after a phone call to Mum to check what exactly she was allowed to have in the way of boots for school, I dragged her to Marks and Spencers. (Via Jenkins the pasty shop for a cheese and onion pasty.) (For her not me.)

I said, 'Do you like any of these boots?'
She took one look while  munching and said, 'No, I hate them all.'

Back to Schuh to try on some Doc Martens. 'I don't want a boy,' Granddaughter1 whispered. 'I'm not going in if I have to have a boy.'
'It's okay, you don't have to have a boy to serve you. We can wait for a girl.'
Which proved easier to say than to do. 

The crowds had dispersed leaving three boy assistants hovering hopefully. GrandDaughter1 and I hung around 'just looking' at shoes for ages. What with her giggling and hiding her face in my coat I feared we would be asked to leave as suspicious characters before a girl assistant became available.

We finally got home with cherry Doc Martens. Just like her old ones except one size bigger.

Cherry Doc Martens for children
You can't see in this picture but they have zips making them much easier to put on and take off and I speak from experience. Of not having zips that is.