Wow, its hot!!

It is mid-June, and I have decided that my body is struggling to cope with hot weather. I used to be able to lie in the sunshine and absorb the hot tanning rays, but over the last couple of years, I have noticed that I am less comfortable. As well as struggling with the actual heat, my body has now become an Olympic champion at sweating. Whatever I am lying on becomes soaked in the salty liquid, and it runs down my body like a mountain stream, and gets in my eyes, ears, and settles in various other places.

I have to drink far more than I used to, and regularly suffer head-aches from being in the bright sunshine to long.

Of course the garden still has to be looked after, but my efforts at weeding and cutting the lawns means I have to carry an old towel with me wherever I go, so that I can wipe away the sweat every five minutes. To make matters worse, I have chosen this moment to partially board the loft.

“Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” or in my case I decide to spend time in the oven at the top of our house.

Yes, like so many of us Brits, I complain about the cold and damp winters, and then moan as soon as the sun comes out.

Anyway, it has been glorious and the forecast is for the hot weather to continue for several days yet. We have had a couple of barbeques, and have regularly eaten out on the patio with a glass of cider to celebrate the arrival of summer.

The garden has produced a wonderful crop of strawberries, although they are coming to an end now. The gooseberries have just been picked with a serious amount frozen away. The rhubarb is now ready for a second picking, having recovered from the initial harvest. We have had the first taste of the early raspberries, but I don’t expect much of the early plants, and will wait for the autumn ones for the best fruit. The apple and pear trees have just a few fruit swelling away, but once again we lost lot of the fruit during June. And today I have picked a punnet of blackcurrants, and they were just a thinning of the ripest fruit.

On the vegetable front, the first courgettes are the size of a fat finger, the onions are swelling, and most of the runner bean plants have reached the top of their stakes. Our potatoes look healthy, and my rows of carrots, beetroot and parsnips are growing nicely, and have been thinned out.

In between picking fruit, weeding the vegetables, and cutting the lawn seemingly twice a week, I have been up in the loft putting some flooring down. More accurately, I have been picking up the random layer of wooden panels scattered around the loft by the previous owners, and cutting them to fit properly and screwing them down. I also have several packs of boards to extend the usable floor area up there. Of course it is an oven up in the loft, and I can only work there for  short intervals accompanies by my towel to wipe the sweat out of my eyes.

…Yes I know I should have down that when it is cool!!!!

Two weeks ago I had my knees X-rayed to try and find why they hurt so much. It seems they are only slightly worn by my arthritis and nothing to worry about. When my doctor gave me the good news that my joints are fine, I simply responded by suggesting I think differently. Last weekend I also had an MRI scan on my groin area, and …what a surprise….everything seems normal in there as well.

So the next phase of making my non-existent aching joints feel less painful is a course of physio-therapy, and that is scheduled to start in a month’s time.

Meanwhile Deb and I went to a talk from an orthopaedic surgeon about knee problems. He is the same one that operated on my hip, but also has a clinic in a private hospital. Of course it was a sales talk, but it gave a lot of useful information about different knee issues, and types of surgery that can be given.

Looking around the room last night, I estimated that there was potentially £250,000 worth of knee replacements that the private hospital was hoping to get. If performed by the NHS system that cost would be less than £100,000. There really is a lot of profit in the private health industry.

We are waiting for our conservatory roof blinds to be fitted, but that won’t be for another three weeks. The electrician has been and gone after fitting a new fuse box and hopefully sorted out why are circuits trip out occasionally.

Oh, and there has been a General Election that was a waste of tax payers’ money to create a less stable government than we had before it. Brexit negotiations have begun, and the music festivals season has started. It is Glastonbury this weekend, and (surprise, surprise) thunder storms are predicted.

And more importantly, so many people have died as a result of terrorism, and that awful fire. Neither of these should have happened, but I don’t expect it will be the last series of disasters in my lifetime.

There is just five weeks now until our cruise on Adonia, and although we haven’t started serious preparation for it yet, Deb has sorted out things to do in Bordeaux and Bilbao. We even spotted a stall bout Guernsey at the Gardeners’ World Live show that we visited in Birmingham, and picked up maps and ideas for our visit there as well.

Thanks everyone for looking at the web site. We have now passed the 30,000 visits count, and I will try to post some thoughts on a more regular basis now that we have finally completed the garden commitments for the summer, and there is a little more time to relax.

I have a talk about the World Cruise to prepare for a local club, and I am also beginning the next book about the wonderful memories of our winter on the sea.

Well, that’s enough for now. I will leave you with the hope that you stay safe, and enjoy the long awaited summer. For those of you on the other side of the equator, I hope you stay safe as well.

A Change in the Weather

A Temporary end to Summer

After the need to water the vegetables and new flowers we have planted over the last couple of weeks, we have finally had some rain.

As usual, a change of weather is always looked at in two ways…great for the garden, but sadly no chance of enjoying the warmth and sunshine we have been used to for quite a while.

It is Tuesday afternoon, and I have just come back from the opticians. I had an eye test several weeks ago, and was offered a chance to try some spectacles that had different areas for reading and laptop vision within the lens. Well I tried them, but struggled to see comfortably with a smaller section for the two strengths of magnification. Instead of being to look and scan a page of a book while I read it, I was forced to move my head to keep the page in focus as I followed the text from left to right, or up and down. When using the laptop, I had the same issue with the screen, but even worse when I looked at the keyboard.

I gave the spectacles nearly three weeks before giving up. Fortunately Specsavers guarantee satisfaction and didn’t quibble with my request to have separate pairs of glasses for reading and laptop work. I even had a refund for the difference in price.

So I am home now and actually working on the laptop without (hopefully) an impending headache, and without struggling to focus.

Assuming all goes well I can get back to writing the book again. For some time I have not had any enthusiasm to work on it, knowing that I was going to suffer the consequences of unsuitable spectacles.

Well, it is the General Election in two days’ time, and to be honest I haven’t made my mind up which way to vote. I have found that over the years I have changed my political bias according to my finances. I was once a staunch Labour voter, but then as I was getting a good salary I tended towards the Tory policies. Now as a pensioner I am on a fixed income and have to consider what political party is going to look after us best.

Our daughter is bringing our grandson up on Thursday to allow her to take part in the vote counting for her area. She has always wanted to do it, and this was the first time the opportunity has arisen. Since the decision was made, we have had new carpets fitted and even new curtains in some rooms as well. Along with ordering the conservatory roof blinds and the expense for the garden, this has been a rather expensive few weeks.

Yesterday a new expense has turned up. We have had various issues with our electrics ever since we moved in. Most I have been able to fix, although we did need an electrician for one instance when I just couldn’t find why the lights were tripping the fuses. But now we are sorting out a major problem with the power tripping more often than it should do. A (real) electrician has been found to come and inspect the wiring and the consumer unit. I already know that this inspection has to be done and will cost me £150 to get a certificate of safety. There are also some obvious bits to replace including a longish length of earth cable. He is bound to find some other aspects of the wiring that are unsatisfactory so the eventual bills could be heading towards the £1000 mark.

There was another landmark this morning. Last night we burnt the last of our logs, so today I cleared out the stove thoroughly and took way all the paraphernalia associated with a fire and stored it in the garage. My intention is to change to a gas fire before next winter to allow us a more convenient (and cleaner) way of getting instant heat in the living room.

…yes that it going to cost a lot of money as well, but should be cheaper in the long term compared to buying logs each year.

….unless the new government takes away my winter fuel allowance!!!

Health wise, I am still waiting for a date for my MRI scan on my groin, and I need to make another appointment to see my doctor about the knees. The painkilling injection is no longer giving me any relief, so it’s time for some physio-therapy in the hopes that this will ease my pain a little in the short term, before any chance of getting to see a hospital consultant.

The good news is that it is less than two months before we go away on our cruise, and we are seriously trying to organise a few days down in Cornwall during the next few weeks.

Well, I have been typing way for a while now, and it is time to get some coffee once this has been posted. Then I can see how my eyes have survived with these new glasses.


Catch up time for the last fortnight

Catch up time for the last fortnight.

OK, so the last you heard from me was about Deb and me spending several hours cluttering up the Accident and Emergency system.

Well the next morning after a very deep sleep, the pain was not quite so bad and I was ready to face the world without looking like an imitation of Quasimodo. I continued with the pain killers and things slowly improved.

So over the next few days I went back into the garden and continued my attempts to get the vegetable patch fully planted, plus constructing a fruit cage to prevent our raspberries and strawberries giving the birds an easy lunch. I was careful not to do too much, and limited my efforts to short blasts of digging or grovelling in the soil.

To sum up the efforts, the vegetable patch is now full of treats such as runner beans, potatoes, onions, garlic, broad beans, courgettes, and a mixture of lettuce and other green leaves for salads. Hopefully the carrot, beetroot and parsnip seeds will start to show their faces soon. The strawberries are now ripening and we have had four taster dishes so far, and the portions have increased in size each day. The gooseberries are also looking wonderful but not ripe enough yet. The rhubarb has recovered from the initial plundering and we can have some of that as well over the next day or so.

…and my groin and knees are just as bad as before.

I had my knees X-rayed and the results were back the next day to report that they are just SLIGHTLY affected by arthritic wear. At the same visit to the GP I mentioned my ongoing groin issues and he has requested an MRTI scan to see what is going on. The painkiller injection is already wearing off and the next step is an appointment for some physio-therapy.

I have read enough online to know that I have to go through the approved stages of pain killing injection, and physio-therapy before there is any chance of being referred to a consultant about my poorly knees.

Deb is trying to get me to go and see someone as a private patient, but I hate the idea of going down that road, especially with a typical cost of £16000 or more for the treatment.

Coincidently, I received an advert from the local Nuffield hospital (Private) to come to a talk about various conditions, of which one was about knee joint issues. The speaker is Mr Oakley who is the consultant surgeon who replaced my hip. He works at the Nuffield as a private surgeon when not working at the local NHS hospital.

Deb and I have booked a place on this talk. I am hoping to know what suggestions he can offer as an interim treatment before opting for a knee replacement. The talk is also very much about tempting me to go private I will get a better idea of how much it will really cost.

But more importantly, I will hear what criteria Mr Oakley uses before suggesting a knee is ready f or replacement. The chances are that if I was willing to pay, it could be scheduled almost straight away. Of course I will almost certainly decline the offer, and when I finally get an appointment to see a consultant at the NHS hospital, there is a possibility it could be Mr Oakley again. My thoughts are that he would struggle to refuse me getting onto the surgical waiting list if my symptoms are the same.

Away from gardens and medical calamities, the General Election is just a few days away. We are having our grandson to stay overnight while his mum helps with her local election vote count. This should be interesting as little Oliver has not spent a night away from his mum (as far as I know) and it could be very traumatic for him, and us.

We have also had new carpets fitted in three rooms, and that means all the flooring in the house has now been changed since we moved here. This meant Deb and I moved furniture out of the rooms and then back again, as the fitters performed their magic with the carpets. We worked really hard all day, and were shattered by the evening. The bottle of wine went down very well as we finally relaxed.

The next project is fitting roof blinds in the conservatory, and we have accepted a quote from a company and now just waiting for the survey and a date for fitting.

Oh, and, it is just two months before we go away on holiday again.

….now, who am I going to vote for on Thursday?????