Week 682

Sunday, 16th January, 2022

Warm but overcast this morning although we are forecast for sunshine later. Feel a bit overcast anyway so going out for an early walk to blow it all away. Before I do, Google has sent me an interesting (for me) map-line of my geographical movements over the past 5 years. Most of this has been done in the car although recent Athens trips and the Tenerife trips have been flown. Hopefully, next time the line will extend across the Atlantic. Actually, although we collected our new car at the beginning of September, I noticed yesterday that we still haven’t quite reached 3,000 miles on the clock. That includes 2 trips to France and a week in the North of England.

Isthmus Korinthos – 1882

I’ve driven across the French/Italian/Swiss Alps many times and across the Peloponnese which takes one over the Isthmus Korinthos or Corinth Canal. It is a major feat of engineering from the late 19th century. To think how many men suffered and died in its construction is unimaginable. My friend, Kevin, told me recently that he had sailed up it on a cruise and thought it the most boring thing. Mind you, he is very much older than me so probably struggles with his mobility. Nice of him to keep in touch though.

Monday, 17th January, 2022

Up early and out at 7.30 am for a drive to Southlands Hospital in Shoreham-on-Sea. A beautiful sunrise promising a lovely day. 

Sunrise over the Sea – Worthing Beach – 7.30 am.

Half an hour later, the scene was very different. Down the coast to Shoreham-on-Sea and into Southlands Hospital. Reasonably empty carpark and extremely empty hospital. This was the scene:

Sunset on Health

When I tried to be proactive and phoned the Hospital to find out when I will be seen under the 2-week referral rule for colorectal cancer, I was told that the 2-week rule was being stretched to a 4-week wait and then only followed by a telephone call which may lead to them examining me. This just seems deliberate prevarication. As a result, I have reluctantly booked a private appointment at the Nuffield in Chichester with a doctor who specialises in colonoscopy and hernia repair. May kill two birds with one stone – to coin a phrase.

We promised ourselves that we would stay healthy and never become ‘ailment bores’ and, here I am, becoming exactly that. I will try not to mention it again … until tomorrow. Meanwhile, never pay for flowers in Sainsburys. Just ask us. We keep having flowers thrust upon us for ‘free’. It wasn’t even too early but we were offered 4 bunches of roses that were past their sell-by date. They’ll be fine for at least most of the week and then we’ll go back for some more.

Tuesday, 18th January, 2022

We were out walking at 8.30 am today in lovely weather with bright sunshine. We had determined to set off driving to Southampton by 10.30 am so had to get the exercise in early. As we drove down the 50 mile trip to IKEA in the centre of Southampton, a text from my lovely doctor, Giorgeta, told me she would phone to talk me about my scans on Wednesday. She’s a lovely girl and I’m lucky to have her. Kevin sent me an encouraging message asking after my welfare as I drove. You really do find who your friends are in this situation. Kevin suggested that people who shop at IKEA suffer from Stock-Home Syndrome.

Southampton is actually lovely but the view from the carpark at IKEA is not the best as it looks over the container port:

Haven’t been to IKEA for around 5 years but little has changed. We wanted a couple of slightly quirky, retro chairs for the conservatory windows and thought these in IKEA would be alright. They are cheap at £200.00 each and worth a try but we thought it would help to sit on them first. 

After a pleasant hour’s drive out and a nightmare negotiating the multi-storey carpark, we got to sit in a number of chair styles and, finally, decided on these. They will be occasional chairs in the conservatory corners for slumping to watch television before our meal is cooked.

Wednesday, 19th January, 2022

Beautiful morning and quite mild. Expecting a phone consultation with my doctor first thing and then out for a walk. While waiting for that, I am trawling the news websites – internationals, nationals and locals – and a regular is the Manchester Evening News. Just can’t let go of old haunts.

Heywood, Lancashire

As Boris Johnson and the Tory Government are on the skids and quite possibly falling out of power, the MEN has taken the temperature of one of the red-wall seats in its area. This picture of Heywood tells one so much about the ‘Forgotten North’ and why they thought the great, blonde walrus would be their saviour. When you are so down-at-heel, a major change seems very appealing. Unfortunately, it is losing its attraction and recent polling suggests the Tories are not going to be retained in this constituency.

Tory Bury South MP, Christian Wakeford has, as I write, defected to the Labour Party and David Davis, former Brexit Secretary quoted Oliver Cromwell in Prime Minister’s Questions today saying:

In the name of God, go!

Oliver Cromwell – 1653

This is devastating for Johnson, in particular, but for Brexit and the Tories in general. The waters are lapping around the foundations of the Government. We just have to see how long it takes for them to collapse.

It is 6.00 pm and a young girl with ‘red-lead’ coloured hair has appeared at our door for the monthly Covid tests. We are so accomplished in them now that the whole thing is over in 30 mins. So £50.00 for half an hour or earning power of £100.00 per hour is a reasonable rate even now. Sainsburys will benefit at least. When I took the results out to her car, I found it was a grey Mini with a ‘read-lead’ coloured roof to mirror her hair. I like quirky things like that!

Thursday, 20th January, 2022

Another beautiful morning. This really is turning out to be a non-winter winter. We are out early to Sainsburys which is shockingly low on fresh produce this morning. At least we passed Go and collected our latest bunch of cut flowers. I’ve bought a new, low calorie drink which really appeals to me – Coconut water which is only 50 calories for a litre. Pauline says it tastes like soap but I like it. I like coconut and it is good for me.

I am struggling at the moment to balance calorie intake which has led me to eat lots of green vegetables against my blood coagulation or INR which is controlled by Warfarin but counteracted by the Vitamin K in the vegetables. Currently, I am having to take increasing amounts of the blood thinner and this is not completely comfortable. I’m getting a lot of agonisingly painful abdominal discomfort.

Really lovely walk this morning without discomfort. Winter sunrises can be so delightful in that lonely sadness.

Friday, 21st January, 2022

Glorious morning of clear, blue sky and strong, low sunshine. High in the sky heading across the Channel are the aeroplane exhaust trails sunlit in deep orange, symbolising hope and possibility. Up early and going out for a walk immediately after Breakfast because we are driving up to Surrey for a couple of hours to visit P&C. Just hope the M25 is alright.

As I was reading yesterday, I found this animation which shows plants taking up and releasing carbon as the seasons change. The Earth seems to inhale and exhale in an animation that shows how carbon is taken up and released through the year. The irony of the juxtaposition in these two paragraphs is not lost on me and not, I hope, on my readers. Still, we have to live (or die) and life requires hope both in the short and long term.

The closest we’ll get to the Christmas Cake.

Really enjoyable drive up to West Byfleet, Surrey to visit P&C. The roads were delightfully quiet even the M25. We stayed a couple of hours and ate delicious cheese-straws. We even tried a bit of the Christmas Cake but left the rest for C to finish. Unfortunately, we left warm sunshine in Sussex and entered the chilly, grey atmosphere of Surrey but you can’t have everything.

While we were there, I received a call from the hospital offering me an urgent, Consultant contact on February 3rd. Doesn’t seem that urgent to me. It will only be an initial phone consultation and there is no guideline as to the wait for a colonoscopy. I’m glad I’ve booked an earlier, private one but will still speak to the NHS consultant. I’m hoping for the best but preparing for the worst!

Saturday, 22nd January, 2022

Very different morning after quite a difficult, fitful night. Not cold but overcast and sombre. Out early to Worthing town centre. We rarely if ever go there on a Saturday. Being retired, it is easier to shop on the quieter weekdays days. As we drove in down the coast road, we saw streams of runners jogging past the beach.

It turns out that there is a park (aqua) run of about 5km at 9.00 am every Saturday. All age groups, body sizes and running/walking styles were there. Cyclists were going in the opposite direction ….

…. and down below the shale, dog walkers were throwing balls across the low tide sands. Above them all was a grey morass of heavy cloud.

Got back from our walk this morning to find a card from Florida had arrived. It was from Milly-Molly and friends saying the had booked us a reservation at the local Tommy Bahama restaurant in Sarasota.

Already choosing from the menu – fish, fish and more fish! Nice of them to send it. Really hope I get there. Only just over 5 weeks to go.

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