Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas greetings

Here's wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.

Marie and John

Monday, December 17, 2012

What have I let myself in for

I love books but I'm a really slow reader. I always have been. I've tried reading quickly but I just end up skipping bits so have to re-read the page again making me even slower !!!

So I was both delighted and terrified when one of the magazines I subscribe to invited me to take part in a book review. I know I could have said no but only a small number of people get invited so thought it was a privilege to be asked.

There were five books from different genres to choose from. The book I chose did have to have the most pages in it ...

Once the book arrives I've got four weeks to read it before being asked for my thoughts. Four weeks !!!! Four months would be pushing it. As the books has over 400 pages John's worked out that if I spend five days a week reading it I would need to read twenty pages a day.

Guess that I'll be doing morning, noon and night during those four weeks.....


Sunday, December 02, 2012

All's quiet on the Fulwell front

So what's been happening in the BOGOF household. Not a lot I'm afraid.

I was supposed to go and see the Hand Man for a check up on my wrist following my operation but he cancelled.. I'm re-scheduled to see him on December 12th. He's getting as bad as the Back Man for cancelling appointments.

John took a couple of days off work so we used the day we should have gone to see the Hand Man to go Christmas shopping at the Metro Centre. I found a great present for Sarah, my niece. Every year she gets a cheque and a present, which has to be either silly or unusual. Some of the things she's had include a rubber duck bath radio; a wine box filled with Pringles; a make your own Custard Cream keyring set. As she doesn't read this blog I can tell you what she's getting this year - Christmas pudding juggling balls....

We both had the flu lurgy. I got it first then very kindly passed it onto John. So we didn't disturb each other John had the bed while I had the sofa, and spent some of the time watching cheesy Christmas films on Sky's Christmas movie channel.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance isn't what it used to be


As we approach the centenary of the start of the First World War, our government has finally announced that some form of commemoration will take place. This is stark contrast to our former allies, and even some of our former enemies, whose plans have been in place for years.

And what form will this “commemoration” take place. Will it be like the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War, when the word “Celebration” was banned, and all events had to be low key, no smiling allowed.

Sometimes I wonder how we got like this. It certainly doesn’t seem to be the wish of those involved. Read the words of a First World War solder, Charles Carrington, complaining about how remembrance for him was a joyous thing, and how he felt it had been hijacked.

The first Armistice Day had been a carnival; the second Armistice Day, after its solemn pause at the Two Minutes' Silence which King George V was believed to have initiated, was a day of festivity again. For some years I was one of a group of friends who met, every Armistice Day, at the Cafe Royal for no end of a party, until we began to find ourselves out of key with the new age.

Imperceptibly, the Feast-Day became a Fast-Day and one could hardly go brawling on the Sabbath. The do-gooders captured the Armistice, and the British Legion seemed to make its principal outing a day of mourning. To march to the Cenotaph was too much like attending one's own funeral, and I know many old soldiers who found it increasingly discomforting, year by year. We preferred our reunions in private with no pacifist propaganda.”

Strong words, but typical of the soldiers of the day. If you asked them, they would not recognise the war depicted by poets and artists, they did not see themselves as the lost generation. They were extremely proud to have served, and taken part in the greatest series of victories in the history of the British Army, which were achieved between August - November 1918.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Twitcher update

We went shopping this morning, and so we had to take a look, more to see the twitchers as to see the bird. They were out in force.

One told us he had come from London just to see. He even loaned us his binoculars so we could have a look. It turns out that the bee-eater is a bright blue bird, about the size of a blackbird.

Sadly all we had was Marie's 'phone so we didn't get the same quality of picture. But here it is anyway.

If you want the full story, more news can be found here

Friday, November 09, 2012

Twitchers in Fulwell !!

My journey to work is six and a half miles and begins by taking me across our local "high street" and out towards the edge of the City. I hadn't gone but half a mile today when I noticed a crowd of people on the pavement and in the road. At first I though that there had been an accident, except that some of the people have been very well prepared.

There were people with binoculars, people with cameras, and people with cameras with some VERY long lenses mounted on tripods. And all of them were looking at a bungalow. Actually they were looking into the garden. If I was being pedantic, I would say they were looking at a tree in the garden etc.

And in the tree was a bee-eater, which according to the news reports is a bird not normally seen in these parts. Ever.

People had come from as far afield as Birmingham just to get a look. Pity the poor folk in the bungalow.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

New roof

Shortly after we moved into our house we build a garage at the back of the house. Who needs to use a trowel when bricklaying – that’s what’s fingers are for !!!

Over the years the wind, rain and the snow have taken its toll on roof. When it rained you had to pick your way very carefully in the garage to avoid stepping into the huge puddles.
At the beginning of the year John had to do an emergency repair to the roof as the strong wings began lifting the roof panels. One panel broke off and ended up down the back lane. Thankfully John had kept some spare panels so was able to do a patch up repair but what it really needed was a new roof.


Maxi/Ruby (they both look alike) inspecting the new roof….


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Mod Walker

When we left the hospital after the surgery on my wrist I was given a walker to use as I wouldn’t be able to use Stickies (my elbow crutches) for a while. 

The walker is similar to the one I used for a couple of days when I first had my hip out. It’s a zimmer frame shape but has wheels at the front and arm rests and handles.
The arm rests and handles resembles the bicycle frame that cyclist use when they doing their time trials, so we have named the walker ‘Bradley’ after Tour De France and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins.
Bradley came with us when we went to Stratford for a few days last week. Thankfully Premier rooms are large so there was plenty of space for both Wizzy and Bradley.
There was a new sewing shop in Stratford which I made a beeline for. I was certainly not disappointed. My credit card is recovering from a severe work out !!!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A light at the end of the tunnel

After a wait of nearly 10 months I finally went to hospital on Monday for Carpal Tunnel Surgery on my wrist.
The holdup was because occupational therapy and physiotherapy had been fighting over who was responsible for arranging help for me to walk. As I’m not able to put any pressure on my left hand I can’t use my Stickies.
The whole thing has been a bit of a farce. I was moved from my original consultant’s patient list, as he had a huge surgery waiting time, and put onto the books of a newly arrived lady consultant.
A surgery date was given, however OT and physio were still arguing who was going to sort out a walker for me, so that date had to be cancelled.
I was then moved to another consultants list (no idea why…..) and yet another date was given and then cancelled, because OT and physio still couldn’t agree as to who was responsible.
I received a phone call from consultant number three’s secretary to say that OT and physio had finally decided who was responsible – physio as it turned out – and that someone would give me a ring to see what I would require.
Just after we came back from our cruise Number Three’s secretary rang to ask if I could come in for my op in two days time. Sadly I had to say no as it was too late to arrange time off work for John.
Eventually a date was sorted so John could take some time off work to give me a hand – no pun intended!!!!
As I hadn’t heard anything from the physio about arranging a walker for me I rang Number Three’s secretary a couple of days before my op. She assured me that physio were well aware of everything and that they would come and see me before my op to sort out a walker.
When we arrived at the hospital at 12.30pm John decided to stay and wait for me as I was first on Number Three’s surgery list and the op would take less than twenty minutes.
I asked the nurse who was booking me in when the physio would be coming to see me. She had a blank look on her face so I explained what had been agreed. It would appear the Day Surgery Unit knew nothing about it and after phoning physio, they too were in the dark about it. Isn’t NHS communication wonderful!!!!!!!
While I was waiting for the physio to come Number Three popped in to introduce himself.  He was curious as to why it had taken 10 months so I explained what the holdup had been.
The physio finally arrived at 2pm (she had forgotten she had been paged….); by which time Number Three reluctantly had to put me to the back of his surgery list as he couldn’t wait any longer.
After trying out various walkers a suitable one was found, then once I’d changed into surgery attire, I was allocated a bed on the ward.
I eventually had my op at 4pm and by 4.25pm I was back on the ward eager to go home.
By the time I’d been helped back into my clothes, had a glass of water (I couldn’t leave until I’d had something to drink – they had wanted me to have a cup of tea and a sandwich but water was quicker) and a trip to the loo (again obligatory), it was 5.15pm. Finally after been given a list of do’s and don’ts I was eventually allowed home.
I did feel sorry for John, as, bless him; he had been waiting for nearly four hours!!!! Thankfully he remembered to bring a book with him...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Prof

Old racing drivers like to tell of a time when sex was safe but driving was dangerous. Jackie Stewart has talked of a year when he attended a fellow drivers funeral every month. Those days are gone now, thanks to the effort of a number of people, Stewart included. But perhaps the biggest mover for driver safety wasn't a driver, nor an official. He was a neurosurgeon. Specifically he was Professor Eric Sidney Watkins, OBE, FRCS.

The Prof, as he was most often known, began to take safety seriously when he was working in new York.  He was helping out at Watkins Glen, and was appalled at the standard of care available. He took four of his staff and a quantity of medical equipment to the circuit, and began a life-long campaign for better standards.

In 1978 Bernie Ecclestone asked him to take on the post of Formula One race doctor. This was not a popular move with the race organisers. In his first season in charge, Ronnie Peterson died from injuries received at the Italian grand prix. The police sealed off the scene, preventing medical aid reaching poor Ronnie for eighteen minutes. This was the turning point. The Prof made it known that races would not proceed without proper medical centres, helicopters and a new idea pioneered by the ADAC in Germany. Intervention cars. At the start of a grand prix you will see a car following the race on the first lap. If you watched a grand prix in the 80's and 90's then The Prof would be in the car, together with a trauma specialist. Most serious accidents happen on the first lap so The Prof pioneered the idea that if you get assistance to the scene of an accident while it's still happening you have a better chance of survival. Such was his reputation, and eventually the high esteem in which he was held, that he alone had the final veto on whether a driver was fit to race.

Eventually the governing body, the FIA took notice, and The Prof spent 26 years as head of the medical commission. Over time he also became President of the FIA Institute for Motorsport Safety and President of the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society.

In 2002 he was awarded an OBE, but never received a knighthood. In his profession, he was one of the top neurosurgeons. Such an honour would be considered normal even without his achievements in motorsport. There can be no doubt that one was offered, and even less doubt that a man with the humility and strength of mind of The Prof turned it down.

The Prof died on 12th September 2012. He was 84 years old.

GĂ©rard Saillant, FIA Institute President, said: "Sid was a true gentleman of our sport and always a pleasure to work with. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, from doctors and drivers to officials and fans. Sid's influence will live on for many years to come." 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

I can’t believe it’s been that long

I was just checking the blog and couldn’t believe that the last entry was 16th July. Where has the time gone !!!!!

In our defence there hasn’t been anything exciting to blog about. Plus I’ve been really busy sewing. Lame excuses I know for not blogging but that’s the best I can come up with...

So, what have I been sewing. A rucksack for Jenny, a jewellery wrap and bag for Jan and a tool bag for John.

When Jenny and Jan were up North in June I asked Jenny if she would like another bag making as a birthday present – last year I made her the Tote bag below.

“Can you make me something like this”, she said, showing me her rucksack.

“I don’t see why not”, I replied, then having found a tape measure and a note pad and pen, took some measurements and did a rough drawing of the rucksack.

Because I was making something for Jenny I ask Jan if she would like me to make her something. She asked if I could make her a bag to keep her jewellery making tools in and a necklace wrap.

“Is it possible to have them in lilac”, she asked, “as that’s my corporate colour”.

Jan is setting up a jewellery making business so I said I’d try my best.

Sadly I haven’t got round to taking a photo of John’s tool bag yet. I will be soon though as I’m in the middle of setting up my own sewing blog. It’s still in the planning and preparing stage but I hope to have it up and running by the end of the year. Watch this space for more details….