Thursday, January 31, 2008


31st Jan Mostly a good day.

Today has mostly been a good day - though the morning's weather did nothing to make anybody feel good.
It was wild out there - gale force winds and almost horizontal heavy rain.

Bill was out early for his ECG test at the doctor's surgery.
The nurse commented that the read out showed an irregular rhythm and extra heartbeats.
We are not sure if this is anything to worry about.
But there is good news about his cholesterol - the levels are quite low.
His blood pressure was taken and recorded - 161 over 93. The nurse assumes that the dosage of his medication will be increased when he sees the doctor next week.

We both went to Tescos later for a bit of shopping. I made the big mistake of not taking a wheel chair. I went round using my stick and gradually gor very weary and fund it extremely hard work and all I wanted to do was leave.

Now, we'll have to go to Asda to get things we didn't find in Tescos. So that was not such a good part of the day.

My cooking has gone well today. I did a couple of meals at lunchtime on a base of rice noodles. Bill had the left over baked beans in his - off limits for me of course.
Later I cooked a huge sausage, vegetable and rice dish in the wok. It was really good - and tomorrow we will have it again because I made so much. Amazing - 6 sausages will have lasted us for 3 days. Of course I have to limit my protein intake anyway.
There has been better news of my health. It has been nearly 36 hours since I ate bread and already the pains have subsided a lot - and the wind levels.

This afternoon brought a real pleasure to our door. Ruth called in with Felix.
Wow! Just for one moment I thought I was going to witness his first steps. He stood for a long time - would he walk a few steps to where he could hold on? No - he didn't; but it won't be long.

There might be more Felix pictures tomorrow because we had already arranged to go to Ifield to see them for a while.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


30 Jan. Bread is for the birds - not me.

Well, that's it then - a decision to limit my diet even more.

After several days of gut pain, bloating and wind I have had enough. The wind is embarrasing enough of course but the pain is not tolerable and leaves me doubled up and with back ache.

So, I guess I must return to a mainly gluten free diet.

During the first days on the low potassium diet I decided that with so many limitations (I was already dairy free of course) I would include bread and other wheat products.

At first I didn't notice much of a problem, but it has got worse and worse. It is possible that a small amount very occasionally will do me little harm.

And as I had some good quality sausages out of the freezer for tonight's meal I included one with my rice.

Yes - it looks like rice will be my daily staple food - just as in Thailand. It is a bit dull on its own - and finding allowable, tasty accompaniments can be quite difficult. I have to admit that the supermarkets sell packets of rice with interesting flavours and additions.
Tonight I had a special egg fried rice, carefully picking out the peas and sweetcorn.

I just have to be sensible. I don't like illness and I don't like pain - and I can see ways of avoiding these two and I am determined to make it work.

There will have to be a trip to the supermarket, maybe tomorrow. Tescos have quite a good range of gluten free items - pasta, breads, biscuits and a super sticky ginger cake.

There has been time spent out today. I posted parcels to eBay customers - including the one to our good friend Peter Masters, who confirmed that the book he bid for was really wanted. He will pay me some time - but only for the postage and the original cost of the book. I really cannot make profits out of family and friends - I am just not that sort of dealer.

In fact it feels more important to sell things in the shop for very little profit right now, rather than hang on to them. I sold a doll today which I had paid £40 for because I loved it so much. Jo rang me to say that the customer offered £50, and I accepted. I had hoped for more of course - but decided to let it go.

This afternoon Bill and I sat alongside each other and had needles inserted into our arms.
They needed more of my blood than Bill's, but the expert "vampire" was able to find it successfully.
So, at least I had a little walk - from where we parked the car in Ifield Road and into the hospital. The skies were blue - but the wind was chilly.

I do hope I feel better soon - no gut pain please. It has been hard to find much oomph. Bill actually feels like that too - his blood pressure is still too high. It is normally about 155 over 95. I suspect that the next time he sees the doctor he will be put on a higher dose medication.
My blood pressure remains low - normally about 95 over 65.

I need an early night - we both do. Last night was unfortunately disturbed by a sodden bed. Mustn't grumble - it was the first bag problem for just over 3 weeks.

So, goodnight to my dear readers - no I am not turning into Jane Austen!
By the way - nice to be able to add friend Mo to the collection of Blogs that I keep up with.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


29 Jan Sales and friends - make the world go round!

Well, Grandma P has very little to offer you today.

I spent some time this afternoon sorting out some EBay sales - 6 books out of 6 have sold and some for very good prices.
Mind you it is possible that one just might have been bought in error. I bought a book about Victorian Bangor last September and thought it might be interesting for Ashley - and then realised it was about Bangor in Northern Ireland.
As the successful bidder hales from quite close to Bangor in Wales, a mistake may have been made. I would not be so forgiving for most bidders - but this one is an old friend ( an old fool perhaps!). Sorry Pete!

Grandpa has also been busy selling in the shop. he covered almost a complete page of the sales sheet. Only one item was mine - but the profit covers almost the week's rent. It was a wooden Pelham puppet - the witch.

There have been vistors today. Jo came round for an hour or so. And this evening we were happily surprised by a very quick visit from Andrew (of Dee and Andrew who live in France) He has been here to visit his father and called in before getting to Gatwick to catch a plane back to Toulouse. It is a long time since we have spent any time with him at all.

I feel OK, I guess. But this evening I feel very gutty again. It makes my head ache.
Never mind - tomorrow is another day.

Monday, January 28, 2008


28 Jan Monday - a quiet sort of day.

Monday has been a quiet day.
I have needed rest.
I spent time sitting down and finishing of the sections in the stock file.

I haven't felt really very good - I have gut problems, which I have not been bothered with for some time. Perhaps the build of wheat products is beginning to get to me.

We were warned that the layout of the Boggle web site would change - and today it did just that.
Whoops! Where is everything?
Neverthless the lunch time battle went ahead as usual and I am sure we will all soon work out the way we want the page set up. Certainly I spotted a lot of the old familiar rivals from the previous format there - including a certain Nibbin who hales from Wiltshire.

Bill spent a little more time in the garden before taking the garden rubbish to the dump. With such a small garden we don't have room for a spreading compost heap and so the local council benefits from our waste. And to be fair they make very good use of it, for the parks and gardens in the town are splendid.

The weather has been mostly gloomy. It was really cold at times. The day began with fog and frost and later it was just very grey.
But in between there was a short spell of brilliant sunshine which made water droplets glimmer and glisten on the twigs and branches.

Bill captured the images below of the blossom on Solly's tree. Enlarge them and you will really enjoy the sparkling jewels of water on the petals.

Bill has just washed up the dinner things. The gammon hash I invented turned out really well. There is a little over which might be saved for breakfast on Wednesday.
I will now watch Master Chef and wonder how my gammon hash would fare amongst the attempts at cordon bleu cookery.
Goodnight all - hope your day has been good.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


27th Jan A boot sale and our new grandson

I am catching up with days - and so there are 2 blogs today.

The beautiful red skies of yesterday evening (see the blog entry below) did indeed foretell delight - if not for shepherds, but for us.
We were out of the house by half past seven - before sun up.
We took the familiar road out through Charlwood, Leigh and on to Dorking. There have been changes made in Charlwood - gone are the ridiculous cobbles that were laid along the main street. They looked very attractive and may have slowed the traffic just a little, but they wore out very quickly and the constant rumble of traffic going over them must have been a nightmare for residents.

I found being at the car boot sale hard work - physically and mentally. The size of the Dorking sale is quite small, but it did involve walking about, up and down the aisles of stalls. And books are often in boxes on the ground and sellers tend not to bother to have them spine up so that you can see them easily - there has to be much rummaging.
But it was not just that, for I didn't know what to buy. I am so out of practice. And I must bear in mind that in 4 months time I will not have the shop as a place to display and sell things - I should buy only what will sell on EBay (hopefully).

I bought a few books - a couple on the history of Malmesbury in Wiltshire. I paid quite a lot for a Noddy clock - but it does work and is keeping good time.
My best buy of the day was a milk bottle. It was the size that school milk used to come in - a third of a pint. This bottle was supplied by a named farm in Wisborough Green, a Sussex village. It also has a cartoon picture of Mickey Mouse on it with a rhyme about being "bright and gay by drinking milk with Mickey each day". I assume there might be interest from 3 groups of collectors for this bottle. It cost me just a pound. It is on a shelf for now and I will enjoy it for a short while before offering it for sale.

When we got home I chatted a while with Jamie - who had news that my little baby grandson has gone; no longer a baby - he has been changed into a boy!

John doesn't seem very sure that the transformation is a good idea.

But once it was all done he seemed proud to show off his new image.

Jessica most certainly did not have her hair cut. But she was treated to some special pampering - washing the hair and conditioning etc. I think she really approves of the beauty salon way of doing things!

This afternoon Ashley and I talked for a while. He has arranged tickets to come down and stay with us at Easter time. He has such skills at manipulating train fares. The cheapest return fare he could get was £70 - and this is way under the standard charge. But he found that by buying single tickets for each leg of the journey he could save even more. Each ticket cost £17.50 - so half of what the cheapest return fare would have been.

Right the day is creeping to an end - well the sun has set.
There will be a simple meal (with rice for me!) and some TV watching - the ice skating competition and then Larkrise to Candleford. The Antiques Roadshow will be recorded and I can watch that during the week as I complete the lists in my stock file.

I hope all who read this have enjoyed their weekends and I look forward to hearing all the news. I am gradually catching up with personal EMail replies - I can assure you that if you write to me then a reply will arrive in your Inbox at some point.


26th Jan - Gardens and red skies at night.

Yesterday (Saturday) was mostly a rest day for me - the activities of Friday left me feeling tired.

Bill took advantage of the much better weather to get out into the garden - and again today.
Normally we would have sorted a lot out last autumn - putting the garden to bed, as Dee always called the autumn gardening.
But our lives were absorbed in my health matters.
And anyway in these days of presumed global warming, how are we to tell that autumn is passing into winter? Autumn flowers bloom until Christmas and even into the New Year.
It was a couple of years ago that I was entranced by a front garden at the top end of Wakehurst Drive, for there was Christmas wreath on the front door with a few roses blooming close by and the first early daffodils just showing their yellow bonnets.

But at least our small front and back gardens now look much neater and awaiting the next season's colours to return as old friends.

There is just a little blossom on what we have named Solly's tree beind the bird table. We bought that tree on the day that we knew that the much loved cat, Solly had lost his life. I wanted some new life to remember him with.

Later in the day Bill scurried to get his camera to capture the vivid sun set sky.
It is such a wondrous colour that I felt I had to check and see if Bill had not enhanced it on the computer - but no, the pinks and reds you see below are just as the camera recorded them.

I spent some of the day with Frieda who called round. She passed me a Damart catalogue and I decided to order some required items by phone. I had looked On-line and all I got was notification of them being "Out of Stock".
Well, I got the same information from the girl on the phone, but at least she could assure me that the items will be sent in 2 to 3 weeks.
I look forward to my new underwear!
I think the styles I am trying out may be better suited to a bag wearer.
I cooked the Saturday evening roast dinner. We had a beautiful gammon joint.
I realise I might be better off with a smaller plate.
It was not the meat or roast potatoes that were the problem - well, OK I had 4 bits of potato and not 3, but half the plate gets filled with my well boiled vegetables. The diet sheet says I should limit it to just 2 ounces!
Maybe even with a roast dinner I should fill the plate with rice - that can be on the go every day.
I did feel very queasy by bed time - may it was just exhaustion. But I felt awful and it frightened me a bit. The diet must be adhered to.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


25 Jan A visit to Outwood.

As I have lots of pictures and words about our stroll in a leafy Surrey village I will say little about the interesting little cafe we had breakfast in after the visit to the hospital.
I have another appointment in just over a week and I am sure we might go back again.

Later we took a little walk in Outwood, home of the oldest working mill in the country.
It is a post mill, built by Thomas Budgen of Nutfield in 1665.
It is possible to visit the mill in the summer months - even to buy flour milled there.
I once took a school party to the mill. Later we used the flour to make some bread. We even used jars with lids to make a little of our butter and grew some cress in advance to eat with the bread.

Here is the mill with the village sign in the foreground. Grandpa B took this picture and very cleverly turned the sign around because it was facing the wrong way for the shot that he wanted.

Nearby, down a little lane were some pleasing cottages.

And there was also Outwood House - a large dwelling with a beautiful tree to one side.

The silhouetted winter trees pleased me - though by that time the blue skies had clouded over a little.
It actually felt very cold with a chill wind whipping around us.

We walked the short distance to The Bell Inn.
I remember visiting this pub on a number of occasions with my friend Di.
Her parents would take the family to meet up with her aunt and uncle and dishy cousins at this pub.
It was another world to me - families with illusions of grandeur delighting in each other's lives. And spending time in pubs - something my family never did.
The building has changed of course. That huge bell on display was not there in the late 1950's; that was then the main entrance and Di and I, and the other youngsters would sit on the steps with our lemonades and packets of crisps.

I am not sure if the pub sign with the big metal bell was there in those days.
Nowadays it is a very smart pub with a fine restaurant (as well as the bars for the peasants!) noted for its seafood.
Don't forget to click on the pictures to see much larger images.

Friday, January 25, 2008


25 Jan Hospital appointment and shopping

This has been a very busy day and some of it must wait to be described to you tomorrow.

We were up early - my appointment at The East Surrey Hospital was at quarter past nine. Hell! Where does all that traffic come from at that time of the morning?

I was seen by Dr Hillman, Dr Foster's registrar. He really is such a nice man.
He brought up pages of figures on his screen showing just where the chemical imbalances lie at the moment.
Firstly - potassium levels are well within normal. Hooray!
But there are some problems with other chemicals and hormones. And - neither Grandpa or I can remember which ones. I do know that liver function is not as good as it should be.
So, there are problems; and yet I felt almost surprised at how seriously my condition is being regarded - and grateful too.

I will have another blood test next week and this will include having a phial taken to test aldosterone. This one was suggested to me by Paul (son of Pete and Jean, who is a clinical pathology consultant). I didn't push too hard for this - although I would have done if the potassium levels were creeping up. But Dr Hillman was very happy to go ahead with the test.
I am not sure when the results of that will come in because the blood has to be sent to a laboratory in London.

All the other results will be in when I see Mr Swinn on 5th February.

I have an appointment to see the edocrinology specialists again at the beginning of April, just a little more than 2 months.
There must be a couple more blood tests before then.

Conversation led us to tell Dr Hillman that we had invested in a home blood pressure kit - thinking he might sort of laugh at us. On the contrary, for he thought it was a very good idea. He said people don't know when they had high blood pressure - sometimes only their relatives might have an inkling after they have died. he was very pleased that Bill's problem had been discovered.
So a very satisfactory time, yet again, with the doctors of ESH.

We spent much of the rest of the morning out - and I will tell you about that tomorrow (when I have promised myself a quiet day at home).
It did involve a visit to a cafe and a look at features in a village. Quite like old times!

This afternoon the first 2 EBay parcels were posted - after a gap of over 3 months.

And then we went to Asda. We really must stop going on Fridays - it is so crowded. I am sure we have enough food to keep us going for 10 days or so and so might go on a Wednesday instead.

As before I opted for the electric buggy - and this time we had the camera with us.

This was at the start of the trip - though I had spent a while choosing some cheap hair bands (Alice bands in my day) to keep my long unruly hair better in place.
I can assure you I bought none of the tomato products to my left.

The basket is now much fuller - lots of treats for ourselves that we feel will be comparatively harmless.
I am finding that wheat is not really that harmful to me and therefore plainish biscuits are fine. The ones are I chose are called puff pastry fingers - they are shiny with sugar on the top. I haven't tried them yet.

Later I made fish pies. I had mashed potato left over from yesterday and some vegetables too; I took haddock fillets from the freezer and layered things up with a leek and onion sauce (yes - tut tut! the sauce mix was in a packet).
I made one for our meal and another to put in the freezer for another week. But it was very hard to stop Grandpa B from tucking into the second one this evening, and I had to agree it had turned out rather well.

So look out for a windmill and a pub tomorrow and maybe some trees and houses. Some people might be able to guess where we went from those words.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


24 Jan Hospitals, EBay, dishes, sunshine.

Today has been an EBay day for me. The first items to sell since the middle of October finished and I was dealing with them this afternoon.
By chance today was also a half price listing day and so I got busy adding a lot more items to the list for sale.
And then I browsed.

I found a postcard that interested me and reminded me that the Christmas just gone was, in fact, the third time I had been in a hospital on Christmas Day.
I was only there for a few hours in Buckland Ward last Christmas.
But in 1992 I was in The Royal Marsden after over 3 months of hospital stay.
In 1948 I was in a hospital for only a short time.
It was The Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells - and Dad was the patient, having his appendix removed.

Here is the postcard of the men's surgical ward. I am sure Dad was on the right hand side as you look down the ward.
What a contrast is this austere environment with uncomfortable looking beds to the bright yet cosy atmosphere to be found nowadays. There were just 6 of us in our bay in Buckland Ward and the beds, with electrical devices to raise and lower the head of the bed, were really lovely.

And here is Dad being visited by the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells.
Well, it was Christmas!
And I guess that because it was Christmas Day a very special favour was granted to allow the children of patients to visit.

Tomorrow I am off to the hospital once again to see Dr Foster - not for very long I assume.
I guess he will just advise to keep up the good work with the diet and maybe to have blood tests every month.

The appointment is early and we shall have to leave home before half past eight.
I have suggested that we have a cup of tea and a biscuit and then go to Morrison's in Reigate for a small cooked breakfast after the appointment. We might as well make a treat out of it!

Today turned out to be very pleasant indeed. There was bright sunshine for a while this afternoon.
But this morning, when we might have had a little time to go out for a while it was dull and drizzly.
I stayed home and sorted out 3 more sections of stock listings.

I think the satellite dish installers enjoyed the sunshine as they fixed the dish on the front of the house. The free-sat dishes are not nearly as obtrusive as some dishes.
So, I won't be minding too much about it, especially as the improvement in reception is a real bonus. Now we need some time to sort out where all the channels are - the ones we know we will watch, the ones we might watch and then there are the ones that I am sure we will never see.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


23rd Jan a smile for a dull day.

This morning was quite bright - but gradually the drizzle and grey skies affected my mood.

I guess I feel very tired - I certainly hope it is no worse than that.

I don't seem to have got around to very much - I had a strong urge to doze.

I did work this morning on my stock book. I suggested to Roger at lunchtime that it might take me 10 days to complete the task, but I have only 11 sections to sort out and that means I could be finished within a few days - just in time perhaps for me to go out to find new stock to be written up.

Grandpa B walked into town this morning to buy bread from Asda - and I envied him the walk. I just am not sure how far I can manage right now.

I will experiment tomorrow morning maybe - if the weather is dry.

So on this dull day - dull weather and dull me I offer you the smily face that was a guest as we ate our breakfast.

Wednesday is the day the dustmen collect the rubbish and their vehicle is decorated with a smily green face.
It made us smile in response.
I have a favourite saying..... "If you see somebody without a smile then give them one of yours."
You can see some of the strange odds and ends with which we decorate our small garden.
The twirly thing was bought on the pier at Lladudno.
The French signs on the back gate obviously remind us of times in France.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


22nd Jan. Changing rooms.

The shelves in our rooms at home seem to be crammed full with memories.

Last Autumn sometime I had put all the comemorative china on the shelves above the TV, facing the sofa.

Those shelves started to seem rather messy and rather stark because a lot of it has a white back ground and it all looked so obvious just above the TV screen.

I decided today that I had got the energy to do some moving around.

The collection of loved Slovenian and Thai souvenirs are now arranged opposite the sofa and the commemorative china sits above the cabinet. The cabinet is crammed full of family memories - each piece reminds me of somebody or a special time.

The items arranged here all have family connections. The lower shelf is the Crawley/Ifield collection - places which have been my home since I was just 5 years old. And Crawley has been Bill's home since his birth in 1940 - and The Brands side of his family for a lot longer.

The upper shelf features places connected with my ancestors. The Monks are on the left and the Frosts/Wares are on the right.

You can catch a glimpse of a picture on the wall. Having been born in Kent it feels good to have some Kentish scenes on display. The artist is Rowland Hilder.

Here are some of the Crawley souvenirs. It is fascinating to me that a small town (as it once was) that has never been on the tourist trail should provide so much of interest.
I am always on the look out for more - china and paper ephemera items.

Naturally I have quite a good collection of old postcards of the places connected with family history and my own personal history.

I never imagined when I was a little girl sorting out my stamp album that one day I would have such strong connections with Siam, as Thailand was then known. There were portraits of a young and good looking King of Siam on many of the stamps - and he still sits on the throne today.
The picture above shows some of our Thai souvenirs.

Slovenia is our own special place - not visited by any other member of the family. The display shows things we have bought and things we have found. Our friend, Neli, could hardly believe the price I was prepared to pay for the baby milk tin whilst at the flea market in Ljubljana.
In a dish to the right are conkers from a special horse chestnut tree.
On the white lace cloth, given to us by Neli, are little fir cones and some nails that we watched being made in the old fashioned way at the old nail making centre.

I have to admit I was tired after changing the shelves around - but glad to have done something.
Jo came round for a while in the middle of the day.
Bill has been at the shop - where it was busier than last Tuesday.
But then the weather has been much better this week.

Lets hope we have some more dry days.

Monday, January 21, 2008


21st January Medical things and ramblings.

I think it is time I provided some sort of update on our health issues.

Me - Grandma P is doing pretty well. Despite the low potassium restrictive diet I have put a little weight back on during the last 2 weeks. Well, those that know me well will realise that I am a dab hand at finding ways and means to nibble!

I can remember so well my Grandad Frost commenting with half a smile when I was a child - "Are you putting something into your mouth again?"

That would have been at Christmas time when goodies were more freely available.

Ah! So many memories! This was in 1954 when I was 10 years old. I was very proud of the silver dancing shoes that were bought for me when I joined Mrs Hobden's Old Time Dancing class.

Then there are the shelf units on the wall - carefully constructed by my Dad to carry the huge old radio and the aquarium. The chairs and table were basic and had repairs and modifications by Dad.

Dad even created a mad hairbrained scheme for taking a photo which included him - there was no gadget as we have nowadays. He tied the shutter with a long piece of cotton and then set fire to the loose end of it and we would watch it burn up towards the camera on the tripod until it burnt through the knot holding the shutter lever.

We played card games a lot. I wonder when that picture card on the floor by Granny's foot was actually missed! I am sure she hadn't deposited it away for use when faced with losing.

Good gracious - I didn't realise my ramblings would take me back to a childhood Christmas when I started out.

But I do recall the urge to put things in my mouth. I have such a craving for some tasty crisps tonight (potato chips for those that prefer that term). They are off limits and I am getting bored with my snacks.

Bill has declined crisps too tonight - for he should keep clear of fat in foods. Some weight must certainly be lost.

But there has been a change for Bill - the medication was designed to give him a quick fix and they have already helped. His blood pressure has dropped down to much more like that which it should be.

Our medical tests are in place. The district nurse came this morning to take blood from me - enough to fill 3 phials. I guess I will be expected to go to the local hospital for blood tests in future and they may be needed only monthly. Hopefully we could get mine and Bill's done on the same day in future. Bill must wait until a week on Thursday for his ECG test.

The day has generally been like most others. I tend to be a bit too idle sometimes. I listed 7 more items on EBay - I would like to see more bidders now. I have worked hard on lists in my stock file - though I didn't get as much done as I had planned because our neighbour Rose came round. She is quite elderly, but such a contrast to Frieda. Rose is confident and busy and we often find that we can take advice from her about things.

I really must start going out - the weather seems to be enough to put me off. But I fear that the habit of not bothering to go anywhere has taken hold and it will take mental effort to overcome it.

I have been reading our nephew Stephen's blog. He has been a very over worked young man working for a pharmaceutical company in Switzerland. He at one time hoped maybe he could make the big time in the world of cycling and he trained really hard. He is still a very fit young 35 year old - well, he was. He had a heart attack just after Christmas. He has been in intensive care and in a rehab centre for some time.
I put the address here for those who know Stephen but may not know of the blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


20th Jan Brief Sunday news.

This will be just a short piece tonight.
It has been like old times as we sat and began to doze after dinner, whilst watching The Antiques Roadshow.
I have been at home all day - I made a large curry this morning from beef and lots of vegetables (all pre boiled of course).
Again it is a reminder of the good old days when a meal made one day will provide for the next day as well.
I have continued with my listings in the stock file - gradually working through all my subject headings for books at the moment.
Bill has been at the shop where he and Jo were busy.
Right, I want to go and watch the second part of Larkrise to Candleford - wonder how long I will stay awake!
I'll get back to some comment about our health situation tomorrow maybe. But generally all is reasonably well.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


19th Jan Frieda, our next door neighbour.

Today I am writing about Frieda, our next door neighbour.

The first picture was taken on her 80th birthday. She always said that she liked greenery, especially variegated plants and we bought the planter and filled it with plants she might like. I think it has all grown rather out of control now because Frieda would claim to know nothing about gardening and therefore won't attempt anything.

Believe me I feel great affection for our Frieda and would never wish to mock her. But really! She is sadly very unaware of not just the ways of the world, but her own ways seem to be beyond her.

She came round to today feeling confused by the new lay out of her fuel bills. She wasn't sure who to send the cheque to. We suggested that the easiest way would be to take it to the Post office and at least the person behind the counter would be able to help her.

We told her that we pay on line using the debit card and if she brought round her debit card we could do it for her by phone.

Whilst she was gone we had a good look at the bill and found that she already pays a monthly sum by direct debit through the bank. And when a statement comes in she reads it as a bill and sends off a cheque in addition to the direct debit. It is no wonder she fears that the amount she has to spend on gas and electricity is so much. The result of this is that EDF (the new fuel company) actually owe her quite a lot of money.

The amount at the end of the statement today was a minus amount - and yet she wanted to send off a cheque for that amount.
She was most surprised to learn that she didn't owe them any money and that she should just leave it to the bank to send off the amount each month.
But I suspect that when the next statement comes in she will still feel she should be sending off a cheque.

Now Frieda is getting on a bit - 86 now, and was never given an opportunity to learn any self esteem or to have confidence in enjoying knowledge. Her children - about the same age as me should be aware of this and step in to help, but she never wants to bother them. More likely - they never want to be bothered!
She looks very good for her age and always dresses well; sometimes if you see her from behind you might think she was quite a young woman with a fine pair of legs. She has a heart of gold.
It is a shame that her family are not able to offer the support they should. I think some time maybe Bill and I should have a chat with them, for maybe they are unaware that they could be needed by their mother.
I have made a point of taking Frieda out for special occasions, mainly for her birthday because then, at least, she feels I can treat her.
She just loved the experience in a lovely old tea room in Horsham a few years ago.
I can just hear our Jamie imitating her comment "Ooh I say!"
Well there's a change - today you have not heard the woes of poor old Grandma and Grandpa!
We'll save that for tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2008


18th Jan A "nothing much" sort of day.

This has ben a funny sort of day.
Grandpa was up early. He had been advised that the best way to avoid queues for a blood test was to arrive before the lab opened. Even so he was 10th in the line, but that is a lot better than later in the morning and he was able to talk with an old friend for a while who was 12th in the queue.
Grandpa was out just after half past 7, leaving Grandma in bed for a while, enjoying some sleep. I had been awake for a couple of hours in the night and came down for a cup of tea a long time before dawn.
The morning passed idly - I think. I hardly remember what we were doing.
This afternoon we went to Asda and I enjoyed shopping from the electric wheel chair again. I had thought of Grandpa taking a camera - but we forgot. So I'll use the chair again next week for sure.
The surgery rang this morning to say that Grandpa's ECG test would have to be postponed because the maching was not working. They will phone again on Monday.
We are both feeling a bit run down. This morning I felt quite nauseous - that was worrying. Bill may be suffering from some side affects of the new heart drug, which can be troublesome at first.
It has been another grey day.
Do have a look at the jjjj blog - lots of lovely pictures of the family in Phuket.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


17th Jan Changing roles in Monkland.

Today it became Grandpa B's turn to become the patient.
This afternoon he had an appointment with Dr. Armstrong.
And yes, we have been quite right to be concerned about Grandpa's high blood pressure.
The doctor obviously feels that he should be treated quite rapidly and medication has been prescribed - Ramipril is the drug he is on; the dose is quite low at the moment.
But for sure the drugs will act more quickly than a diet and exercise prgramme.
In fact diet and exercise hardly got a mention - except to watch salt consumption.
Tomorrow he will have a cholesterol blood test in the morning and ECG in the afternoon.
He will see the doctor again in about 3 weeks.
I am so glad that he is now being properly monitored.

I was expecting a blood test today - but nobody arrived. I don't think it matters too much this week. But it must be done in the middle of next week for Dr Foster who I see at the hospital next Friday. If the district nurse can't visit, then I shall have to go to the hospital.

This morning TV aerial people came to look at our TV reception which is very poor. Their best advice is to receive programmes into a satellite dish. We certainly won't be paying for all the pay to view channels - but the dish, like a freeview box, adds choices to our viewing. Not that we view a great variety of programmes anyway - though I will be in front of the screen for MasterChef shortly. Next Thursday we get the dish.

And this morning we also enjoyed a visit from Joy and Peter and their 18 month old grandaughter. Arwen is a lovely little thing, enjoying her books and singing beautifully.

I have worked more on pages from my stock file again today - all the china items are now neatly sorted. Well - sorted on paper, but not out in the garage. I can't say how the shop looks because I haven't been for so long.

After my boasting of yesterday about successful boggling, I was beaten a few times today by Roger. My! One time he did very well indeed! Congratulations brother!

There has been yet more rain today - it has looked very dark and gloomy at times.

Right - lets go and see the cooking programme and dream of forbidden treats!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


16th Jan Concentration.

Concentration - sadly lacking from Grandma P's life for a good long while now.

Thankfully I found some evidence that it might be returning to my life.

Firstly it gives me an opportunity to boast! I played Boggle at lunchtime against Roger (in school) and Sue (at home) and of course many others round the world, though they seem to lack significance when family battles are being enjoyed.

I hope R & S enjoyed the battle even though they failed to beat me. Of course it is a delight to beat my brother in a game, but absolutely thrilling to find myself able to do it.

I have also concentrated on my stock file today. I have re -written pages with unsold stock from a section I call CHILDREN - the books, the toys and games and also nursery china. Many old pages have been sent to the paper skip. It is just a start.
I can see that many sections might be better amalgamated because by the middle of the year there will be no new stock for the shop and that will cut out many types of things that I normally would buy.
From now on I really should only buy what is suitable to be sold on EBay.

One person who lost a little concentration today was John - but then he is just a few days past his 3rd birthday and he was playing in one of those areas filled with small plastic balls. He fell and managed to break the little finger on his right hand.

Ah bless him! He is looking so sorry for himself.
The little finger has been splinted to the one next to it.
I think he was feeling better by evening, but frustrated that he couldn't use his hand so well and feeding himself was a problem.

I don't know if Grandpa B was aware of special powers of concentration as he walked to the post office and on to the chemist. He took the camera with him.

The local church is modern - though now 50 years old.
St Mary's is airy and attractive and is the centre of a very
lively Christian community.
The bell tower is quite a local landmark.

I do not know the name of the tree - possibly a Plane. Anybody able to help?

The fact that he walked tells you that for today, at least, we have had no rain.
Washing has billowed in the wind in the back garden.
It is quite chilly tonight, with a clear sky.

And today Grandma has learned something new. I phoned Rolf in Germany and he didn't recognise the words Potassium; but when I gave him the chemical symbol (K) he knew what I meant. It seems I meant Kalium - so now I know why a chemical beginning with a P has the chemical symbol K.

The pictures are very small on today's blog because they have already been reduced in size to be sent easily. Don't forget about clicking on them to enjoy a larger image.

And I am sorry that my text has got all squashed up in the second half. No matter how I try to edit tonight I fail to put the spaces in that I want.
Ah! Grandma P failed to put things right.
Perhaps concentration has died.
But clever Grandpa B fiddled after I had gone to bed - and lo and behold all is well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


15 Jan The weather and visitors.

It has been a fairly sociable day for Grandma; whilst Grandpa B has had a fairly lonely day at the shop.
One look at the weather this morning would have been enough to keep people at home rather than go browsing in an antiques shop. Grandpa saw nobody at all for some hours, so spent the time re-arranging his stall.
The final sales total for the day was just £17.
I have had 2 visitors today - Jo and later Frieda. It was good to see them and I was pleased to be able to give some food away.
I have managed a few chores again.
It is hard to believe that today Grandma did some washing up for the first time since October.

But back to that weather.

This web site tells the story of the day in our part of the world. I am sure there are many similar tales from other parts - and probably other regions have been hit harder.
There has been torrential rain for almost all the day with very strong winds and we are promised much more for the rest of the week.
Bill found a lot of very deep puddles - small areas of flooding -on the country roads. The causway across Ardingly reservoir was covered with about 6 inches of water. It was not from an overflowing reservoir - just standing water that hasd leached down from the surrounding hills.
He came home by a less rural route and hit more water in the dark. He had to stop as soon as he hit some light in Crawley to check a noise. He feels that water swooshed up so violently that it knocked a mudflap and fixture out of place and it was knocking on the wheel arch liner.

So, that was today.
I hope those in Southern England are safe and warm tonight.

Monday, January 14, 2008


14 Jan Ready for some action.

This evening we had chicken, rice and vegetables. I cooked just the right amount of rice, so no left overs for this time.
So why do I tell you this?
Well, I had an Email from friend, Maggie, full of concern that I was eating left over rice. Did I not know that there is potential danger?
I have to ask if any of my other family or friends knew this - I certainly did not.
It seems that, by good fortune, I have always stored cooked rice in the proper fashion and never kept it for very long.
It should be quickly transferred to a fridge and stored at less then 5 degrees C. Or it can be kept hot at over 65 degrees.
I have been investigating on web sites about the toxins that quickly develop if the rice is not stored well.
We learn something new everyday!

This morning I went through all the details of the sales in Rocking Horse since the very end of October. They are all crossed off in my stock file now.
I need to re-do the pages in the stock file some time. Water has been spilled on the pages and it looks a mess and anyway there are now very many items that have been crossed off. January seems to be a good time to start again, but I think it will take me well into February.

At lunch time I joined the daily Boggle battle and was pleased to manage some victories over my brother - though there is still room for improvement.

Grandpa has been out an about. The cordless phone he bought last November has not been working too well so he asked for a refund and then went and bought another in Tescos.
He also took a couple of bags of the rejected old and unsuitable foodstuffs to the rubbish tip.

This afternoon Bill decided to list some books he had described and ready onto EBay. There were some problems and so I tried just one of mine - and together we solved the problems. It looks like I shall have to alter all the listings I have ready before listing over the next few weeks.

I also spent some chatting with Jamie and Mam again. They, of course, are preparing for bed at that time; whilst I want to do as many things as I can.

So, it has been quite an active day - hard to believe that last Monday I was in hospital. The diet is helping me so much. Now we have to sort out Grandpa B's diet.

I feel very tired again. I will go and watch Masterchef - people cooking delicious food that I am not permitted to eat!
Then I will have an early night.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


13 Jan Out with the old and on to a new year with hope.

It has been another grey and drizzly day.

This morning I chatted a while with Jamie - in the office. He sent me some photos from Christmas and a couple from the party yesterday evening.
The first picture shows John trying to cut the cake with Mam's help and Jessica looking on.
Almost all the food is well cooked at home but celebration cakes are bought from the cake shop - after all it is difficult to make cakes without an oven.
I tend to agree with John's suspicious look as he tries out the slice of thick cream (well sort of cream). He didn't think it was worth all the effort.
Don't forget that you can enlarge the images by clicking onto the picture.
Then our minds turned to food once again - the sorting of food cupboards that is.
We have looked through everything now and amazingly we have clean and tidy cupboards and things don't fall out when the doors are opened.
The only thing to sort now is the freezer. This is harder because it is less likely that we can give things away. Perhaps we can set aside the bottom shelf for a while for unwanted items.
Tomorrow Bill will have another trip to the rubbish tip with another couple of black plastic bin liners.
We had a late lunch - some soup just a couple of months past its sell by date. It seemed an interesting choice at the time - sauerkraut and turkey. It was actually quite nice though the pickled cabbage did seem a bit acid and salty.
Then we relaxed - travelled back in time to New Years Eve and watched Jools Holland's Hootenanny show. The acts are always varied and perform very well live.
Then we sorted out food for our main meal - cold roast beef with a very few left over potatoes (normally they would have been eaten up as seconds on the day of cooking them). I boosted this with a little pasta and cabbage. The chilli and garlic sauce was quite hot - but contained nothing forbidden and I liked it; Bill was less sure.
This evening I watched the first part of Lark Rise to Candleford, I am not sure why I have never read it. I think Mum liked it and normally I respected her choice of literature. Anyway it was well done, with lovely 19th century rural scenery and people - the poverty in the hamlet contrasting with the affluence to be found in the town.
And now I shall finish my cup of tea. I am glad that my habit is for weak black tea, for if I had always drunk my tea strong and well brewed I would now have to cut down the amount.
Then it will be off to bed. I still get so very tired. But I am happy that I have not felt ill for a few days now and am beginning to have hope that some normality is really returning to my life.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


12 Jan John's birthday and cooking food.

It was happy birthday to our Grandson, John yesterday. He is now 3 years old.
So, after breakfast the first task (very pleasant) was to phone Thailand. Thank goodness for the wonders of Skype! We had to phone Jamie's mobile because their land line is not working and yet the 9 minute phone call cost only 60p.
The late afternoon (they are 7 hours ahead of us) saw the start of John's birthday party. If you saw a blog posting last July, after Jessica's party, you might recall Jamie saying "Never again"! This was not never to a party, of course, but never again should they have over 60 guests for one occasion. Well it happened again today! But a party in Thailand involves people bringing and preparing food and working together.

We dragged a very excited John away from the excitement of so many people, Mam's family, adult friends and lots of children. Mostly I heard the words "I got....". I did hear about the big football and the big sword.

OK - this is a photo from last August.
I am sure there will be some birthday snap shots soon.

Then we left them to it for a crazy evening in the garden - thank goodness they now own a much bigger garden.

After that Bill went out for a couple of hours. He took the sack of rejected food items to the dump. How I hate wasting food, but honestly it had got to the point where is was not usable.
He then went to see his Aunty Joyce.

Whilst he was out I peeled potatoes and sorted some carrots and cauliflower to have with the small piece of beef we bought yesterday. At the moment I don't want large items of meat because I haven't yet sorted out how best to deal with left overs on this diet. Gone are the days of stir frying some onion, mushroom and peppers as a basis of a casserole which would last for 2 days.

But I felt proud to have everything ready to cook.

This afternon I did rather less. I watched some big cross country races, staged in Edinburgh. My - it looked cold in Scotland.
Together we sorted out the cooking and serving of the beef and vegetables and enjoyed a much smaller roast dinner than normal whilst watching the new Saturday evening talent competition. Next week it will clash with the ice skating competition and I think we might prefer that.
Grandpa's blood pressure was high again first thing this morning (horribly so), but down after lunch. Maybe sitting round at Aunty Joyce's had been good for him. I guess I should try not to worry him too much about high blood pressure and in the end it must be his decision as to whether he chooses to follow a diet properly. He did it once before when his cholesterol levels were raised. I just hope Dr Armstrong can make him realise that it is very important.
There was a beautiful sun rise this morning - but sadly it is now raining again.

Friday, January 11, 2008


11 Jan The comeback kid (well 63 year old!)

It would be lovely to believe that today has been the start of the Grandma P comeback.
I'll let you know tomorrow if there have been ill effects.
Actually I started the day with a bit of a funny turn - nausea, feeling faint etc. I had done very little and continued to rest all morning really.
We started the day with the "obs" - Bill's blood pressure was higher than when we took it yesterday - 175 over 93. Perhaps it is always higher in the morning - even mine had crept up a couple of points. But no - we were wrong - it would get higher still.
Bill went to collect my prescription items during the morning and then to have a cup of tea with sister Julie. He had thought of walking, but the rain was torrential and so he drove.
Whilst close to the doctor's he called in to make an appointment. He could have seen a doctor we don't know on Wednesday or wait one more day to see somebody we know well. It will seem like a long week.
When he got back, together we made a very simple lunch - basically left over rice and sauteed left over boiled potatoes and an egg on top. But I was involved for the first time in weeks.
After that we did the blood pressures - oh dear Grandpa's reading was 181 over 101. That's really bad.
Our plan was to go to the supermarket together later - I was ready to go (coat on) when Bill began to look through cuboards. There were perishable goods, well out of date and items that I will no longer be eating. A black plastic dustbin liner has been filled. It was my job to reject or keep things. This was just the start, there is still more to do. Anything worth eating that I have rejected has been put to one side to offer to others.
And then we set off to Asda. Wow! I drove an electric wheel chair round the store. It felt like fun! We planned to buy meals for just a few days but we have enough for over a week. Oh dear we spent very little time in the greengrocery department this time. I am sure that this time next week Bill will have been told to stuff himself on the very fruits and veg that I cannot have and I am sure that carrots, cauliflower and cabbage will start to get boring for him.
I am not completely sure about Bill's BP readings at 6.30 - he did both arms at a good time interval apart. The left was a scary 185 over 91 and later the right was 176 over 78. Maybe whilst he was waiting to do it a second time he had rested.
This evening we have snacked on things that I once thought I shouldn't have - we each had a couple of toasted crumpets.
I am not sure how I will spend the rest of the evening. I feel very tired - but then I slept quite badly again last night. I don't think I shall watch more of Echo Beach; the main story lines seem very shallow (as if I was a deep intellectual!) and Gwynneth appeared very little in the first part. I think though she was the most competent for her character looked and sounded genuine and surprisingly for a small Cornish seaside village she seemed to be the only person with a Cornish accent.
Maybe I will try a game of Boggle. I do have a go sometimes, but I can't manage to concentrate for too long and have not yet managed to do more than a very few games in a session. Where is the "just one more game" urge?
If today is a comeback then it is, in part, motivated by the feelings I have to try and lessen the load for Grandpa.
I really think that the £20 spent on the blood pressure monitor could turn out to be money exceedingly well spent.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


10th Jan. Medical matters again.

Medical matters..........
Well, you didn't think medical matters would ever be too far away from the thoughts of Grandma P and dear Grandpa B.
This morning I was surprised by a visit from the district nurse. It seems that the G.P. has now caught up with my situation as it was when I was discharged from hospital on Christmas Day. The instructions to the district nurse were that I should have weekly blood tests.
Of course the local doctor has not yet had the news that I have been back in hospital since then.
Anyway the good news is that the nurse was able to get blood from my arm with no bother - first attempt.
Before that Grandpa had taken a bus trip into town. He had a medical item on his shopping list.
I hadn't realised that he also was looking at clothes - Primark style clothes. He came home with a pair of trousers, 2 T shirts and a fleecy body warmer for the princely sum of £13. Of course we do feel a bit uneasy that these clothes can be sold to us so cheaply, for we know that third world folk are paid a pittance to make them.
The medical item seemed to be for me - but I think it might be of even more benefit to Grandpa. I wanted a blood pressure monitoring kit just to reassure myself that all is OK, even though my blood pressure is quite low. And I will feel somewhat happier to know just what it drops to, when it does.
One might have some doubts about a home monitoring kit but I was sure when we did mine that it was accurate - a reading over 102 over 79 would have been about normal most times in hospital.
Then of course we measured Bill's blood pressure. Immediately I was concerned, for it was high - much too high. His score was 166 over 98. I want him to see the GP as soon as possible, though it might be wise to arm himself with a pattern of readings for a few days before he is seen. Of course Bill has been under a lot of stress and is very tired, but there is no denying that he is carrying too much excess weight now. I can see both of us on special diets before long.
Tonight, after far too many days of a hacking cough, I have agreed with Bill that some cough medicine might help. It won't cure it but I badly need some relief. I have been coughing since I came out of hospital on Christmas Day. When I went back in I was taken in my bed for a chest X Ray on the first night just to be on the safe side. It can't be a serious infection for there was no talk of an antibiotic.
I started the day with a shower and hair wash even before the early morning cup of tea in bed. I felt that it is all too easy to leave things undone if they are not done at the earliest opportunity. Just now I am so tired all day - especially after some bad nights.
I am pleased to say that I actually filled in the account book of all income and outgoings since the end of October. Tomorrow I shall start crossing off things sold in my stock file.
This afternoon we watched another thriller (British) set in the 1950's.
I shall be in bed by 9 o'clock and will try to stay awake to watch the new drama Echo Beach. It is not often I can claim to know an actress on TV. Gwynneth dabbles a bit in interesting antiques and for a while she was in Rocking Horse. I never knew her well, but Jo and she grew rather close by working together. For those that remember things like that you might recall Gwynneth as Mrs McCluskey, the head mistress, in Grange Hill.
We had nasty rain this afternoon - but nothing like Ashley has had. There has been flooding in North Wales.
OK time to find the cough medicine and the spoon and think about snuggling down for the night.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


09 Jan Another day survived.

I think I should rename the blog! Grandma P is hardly rambling through life, rather she is merely surviving time. At least that's how it feels today.
I didn't sleep well last night. I was frustrated with the radio on offer too. Radio 5 was in New Hampshire and The World Service seemed to have schools programmes - a Music, Movement and Mime just as I remember from childhood. I expect you can recall curling in a ball on the school hall floor to be a little seed and then letting one arm poke up to be the first shoot until you had grown into a beautiful flower or tree.
Anyway I didn't want any of it - though I was interested in the New Hampshire results. I am not sure why I was pleased that Hillary Clinton had won the democrat vote. Maybe I just don't think it should be a foregone conclusion just yet and I do have some regard for her tucked away within me.
When morning came I surfaced slowly. I decided to have breakfast before my ablutions. Then I fell asleep almost immediately. Oh well, I thought - I will wash my hair later. But it didn't happen.
After lunch I spent more than an hour at the computer. I joined in chat with Jamie and Mam for the first time in weeks. John will be 3 years old on Friday and there will be a party on Saturday.
I never did sort out my queries about the potassium content of my strawberry flavoured soya milk - after all soya is made from beans and they are off limits.
And as many of you know I sent a general EMail.
I was exhausted after that and spent the next hours lying down. I saw the end of The Blue Lamp - the first film that Dirk Bogarde starred in.
This evening we dined on salmon, boiled potatoes and cauliflower. It was lovely - but obviously will have to be a weekly occurrence because it is easy. Poor Grandpa B!
Being home reminds me just how much of a strain Grandpa B is under. I can see it much more clearly than when I am in hospital. I offered some help this afternoon - peel potatoes perhaps, but was shooed away. Some time - maybe not this week, Grandpa will have to learn to let go of the tight control he has of the monkland ship.
Well, time for an early bedtime very soon.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


8th January. First day home.

Well then! - Grandma P here.
I can almost hear the groans from those of you who will miss Grandpa B's inimitable style.
Today leaves me feeling tired - but not unwell. Hooray!
Because Grandpa had to be in the shop today I worked hard to be washed and dressed in time to have breakfast with him at half past eight. That alone was an achievement. And today there have been no ill effects - yesterday, in hospital, I had one of my turns, leading to a morning on the bed, frequent monitoring of blood pressure and another ECG. My blood pressure is low (never more than hovering at about 100 over about 60, for those that understand these things) and it has a tendency to drop and leave me feeling dizzy and weak.
I have to admit for most of today I have been sitting - combining talking, watching TV and dozing. Grandma P is far from ready to deal with housework.
This morning I had 3 phone calls in quick succession and then Dee came round. What a treat to spend a couple of hours with such a special friend who I see far too infrequently - she lives in a renovated old school in the middle of nowhere in the South of France. Some time this year we will be there I hope.
I watched Doctor at Large on TV after my lunch. Its years since I saw any of that series of amusing films.
Some time soon we will scan a page of one of my diet sheets to explain to those interested what will be involved. Dr Foster seemed to suggest that this diet must be viewed as a long term measure, with maybe some relaxation later on.
I keep thinking of problems and yet more things that must be avoided. For example I love houmous spread on my rice cakes (with mango chutney). Houmous is made from chick peas; pulses, beans and legumes are restricted - oh, and mangoes are out too!
The only medication I am on is sodium bicarbonate (600gr 3 times a day) which controls the build up of potassium. In hospital I was given all sorts to bring the level down. Calcium whatever it is and hydrocortisol amongst others.
There is some debate about the causes of everything. Normally it would reflect poor kidney function, but the urologists are sure that my kidneys are fine. Dr Foster tried to explain that it could be connected with the fact that what was a part of my small intestine has changed its role so that it is now carrying urine from the kidneys and that, unusually, my body has not coped well with it.
The causes are their problem - my job is to learn to live with the consequences.
The dietician phoned me this afternoon to see how I was feeling about things.
I don't feel too negative really. When I am stronger I shall have to clear cupboards of all things that are out for me.
Basically this diet is one where I should forget much that I thought I knew about healthy fruits and veg - broccoli is off limits now and much more in the fruit and veg line. And permitted veg must be boiled to within an inch of its life! No more stir fries!
If it leads to some degree of normality for both of us I shall be satisfied.
This is disjointed and bitty - but then I am tired and emotional. Good grief! I even found myself shedding a few tears over something just now on TV only to find it was an advert!
I really do hope that gradually I shall find myself giving time to Emails, EBay and visiting the countryside again.
But I have a fear, of course, that this is a temporary lull before yet another flare up.
Night all!

Monday, January 07, 2008


7th January. Home again.

Grandma P is back home and is now tucked up in bed for the night. She had a blood test today and her Potassium levels were normal. Dr Foster saw her this afternoon while Grandpa was visiting and said she could come home, so we packed up her belongings, collected her medications, said our thank yous and goodbyes to the nursing staff and made our way to the car. Then it took a long time to get out of the hospital car park because of road works near the entrance, but once on the road we made good time. Grandpa made some sandwiches for himself and Grandma and we settled to watch Emmerdale on the box, after which Grandma fell asleep so she decided that the best place was bed. Grandpa won't be long in going there himself (whoops spoke to soon, Grandma has just said that the bag was leaking so it is off to fit a new one). OK all done and so am I. Grandpa is in the shop tomorrow, it could be quite busy as it is the Ardingly Antique Fair at the showground just up the road. At least I won't have to go travelling to the hospital in the evening which is a good thing. I will have time to prepare a meal when I get back from the shop. I am sure that Grandma will attempt to Blog tomorrow so she can tell her news in person. Thanks for all your messages of support received by Grandma today. So it's Goodnight from a tired old Grandpa who needs a nightcap. GRANDPA B

Sunday, January 06, 2008


6th January. Decorations taken down today.

First task today for Grandpa was to take down and put away the small amount of decorations he put up for Christmas 2007. Not a lot this year but a token amount. Next year we will perhaps go a little mad with them.

Grandma P seems to be on the road to recovery (fingers crossed) and could be home late tomorrow if tests and Doctor visits go well. Today she had visits from Jenny and from our friend Dee who is over from France for a few days, thank you both. Grandpa went to see her this evening after an afternoon in the shop which today has been fairly busy. He was working with friend Jo who has been mentioned in previous Blogs.

Looks like a short Blog today, will mention that Jamie is pretty well over his Man Cold and back working hard at the Dive Centre, and the rest of the family is in good health. Ashley and family are also in good health and so is the boiler after the plumber came to fix it. Have a nice day back at school tomrrow Ekatarina. Hope the first day back well for you as well Roger and Sue.

I seem to have two cats sitting staring at me thinking when is he going to give us our evening treats, so I suppose that I had better finish this and attend to said Moggies.

So bye for now , who knows Grandma may even write the next one. GRANDPA B

Saturday, January 05, 2008


5th January. What no Liquorice in this Diet.

What ho folks it's Grandpa B here and you are thinking what does that title mean? Grandma was given a Low Potassium Diet sheet to look at today, this is not necessarily the one that she will get from the Dietitian on Monday but give a good indication as to what she should or should not be eating. On the list is Liquorice which is a No No and guess who has chewed their way through loads of it recently. Of course this lovely stuff has a lot of Potassium in it, But so have other things that have been consumed. There are several Fruits and Vegetables, Pulses and whole selection of thing that one normally eats that have a high Potassium content and when you have a problem and not realise it then it can have severe consequences to your health.

Right, enough of the lecture. Today has been quite busy for Grandma for on down side she has had two bag leaks during last night and today. But on the up side She had her bed moved so she can now see the outside world ( well, some of the local golf course). She has had visits from brother Roger and his wife Sue up from Wiltshire who came laden with Christmas gifts. They first called on Grandpa at lunch time and supplied fish and chips from the local chippy. Thank you Roger and Sue. They were then going on to visit Uncle Billy for tea in Paddock Wood, Kent before travelling back to Wiltshire this evening. Later in the afternoon it was Grandpa's time to visit and during this time took Grandma to the Cafe to buy her some sweets that weren't on the forbidden list. Later in the evening Jenny went to see Grandma and is going to call on her tomorrow afternoon as Grandpa is at the Olde Rocking Horse Antique Shoppe.. Thank you Jenny. So it seems to have been a busy day for all concerned and I am sure that we all should sleep well tonight. Well folks I think that's about it for now as the old thought processes are beginning to fuddle (maybe its the glass of Whisky sitting by the keyboard that's causing it).
So its Goodnight from GRANDPA B and I hope you all keep well and safe. GRANDPA B

Friday, January 04, 2008


4th December. In for the weekend.

Grandma P will be in the hospital until Monday or possibly beyond. On Monday she will have more blood tests for the Electrolytes and will also see the Dietitian regarding Low Potassium Diets, so no Bananas or Tomatoes and probably a list of other forbidden items. She has had an Arterial Blood test, this is taken from the artery and tests for Oxygen levels and other blood gases plus she has had Anti Blood clotting injections. This afternoon while Grandpa was with her a visit was made by Dr Foster from the General Medicine Dept who has doubled up her Bi-Carb dose and said she should be on a low Potassium diet, I think she may see him again on Monday. ( this is not the Dr Foster from Gloucester). I think things are progressing as she was feeling a lot better today. An out patients appointment to see Dr Foster has been made for three weeks time. Grandpa B was going to take a bus ride into town this morning but after several phone calls from family and friends he decided perhaps a nice cuppa would be better than tramping around in the damp. After visiting Grandma , Grandpa drove home to get his tea. This took longer than normal as it took about 1/2 hour to get out of the car park. Friday night and the entrance area gets very crowded. The access to the hospital is not very good as the road has to pass under a narrow railway arch with busy traffic lights at one end of it. So Grandpa has had his tea and is going to sister Jane's house for a little get together for nephew Barrie's birthday number 30. Only seems like yesterday when he was a wee lad.
We look forward to tomorrow to see how things are progressing. Grandma's brother Roger and wife Sue from Wiltshire are visiting tomorrow stopping off on their way to Uncle Billy who lives at Paddock Wood in Kent, so they will have a busy day. Thank you Roger and Sue.
Time now to publish this epic piece and pop over to Jane's for a while.....GRANDPA B.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


3rd January. Vets and Hospitals.

Gosh it's 9pm already, where does the time go? You get back from the hospital, get something to eat, make a couple of phone calls and bingo it's nearly time for the wooden hill. Well the day started gently enough getting some breakfast, hanging out the washing and a quick clean around the loo and bathroom and hey presto it was time to take George to the vets. He seems to be OK now, the medicine has worked so he will be relieved that tomorrow he wont have some nasty stuff dropped down his throat. So after lunch it was time to hit the road again to visit Grandma calling in at Asda to get a few things for her. She seems a lot brighter today due I expect being looked after well and hooked up to a Sodium Chloride drip and with a few other pills to take. She had a chest x-ray last night the result of which is unknown but assumed to be no problem found. More blood has been taken for testing and a Doctor came late this afternoon while I was there to check whether the stoma was clear to the kidneys which meant a catheter being inserted into and along the stoma tube. As there was not much fluid found it was assumed all was clear but when we went to fit a new bag there seemed to be much more fluid than normal when carrying out this operation, so maybe the plastic tube cleared a small obstruction. Who knows? Well we had some snow here today but not enough to cause any problems. Maybe up north but not here in Sussex. Thanks to everyone for their support and best wishes for Grandma it is much appreciated. We need Grandma P back to normal again, well as near normal as possible.
Goodnight ........ GRANDPA B . and . GEORGE .

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


2nd January. A long day at the hospital.

Grandma P is back in hospital so let's hope they can sort out her problems and get back to some sort of normality of life.
We arrived this morning at the ward at about 10.15am so a blood test could be taken. The nurse on the ward could not get any blood mainly because Grandma's veins are not good, so Grandpa wheel chaired her to the pathology lab where they succeeded in getting an arm full (a bit of Tony Hancock in Hancock's Half Hour). Then back to the ward for a long wait for the results which came after about 2 1/2 hours showing that Potassium levels were at a count of 6 where normal is about 3 to 5. There were slightly higher levels in other parts of the test as well. After learning this there was another wait whilst the Doctor finished her clinics and had some lunch before seeing Grandma and to decide whether she would stay or not, after a bit of humming and harring it was decided to keep her in and hopefully sort things out. An ECG test seemed to show a slight abnormality and she will have a chest x-ray and more blood tests tomorrow (Thursday). There then was a wait for a bed to be vacant so finally at about 7.30pm she was in bed. Grandpa left the hospital around 8pm. Not wishing to be bothered to cook when getting home it was a stop at the Mc D's drive in for a Burger and Fries which went down very nicely. Now having fed the cats and tidied up it will be time for a hot chocolate and a early night. It's a trip to the vets again for George again tomorrow morning and hospital visits in the afternoon. That should take up most of the day, still it gives me something to do instead of time wasting.
See you......GRANDPA B.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


01 January 2008. It's GRANDPA B again.

Firstly a Happy New Year to all who read this. Secondly it's not a good start for the Monk household. You may have guessed that Grandma is not at all well because Grandpa B is tapping this out. We got up this morning, washed and dressed and changed a bag, this activity wore Grandma out. She had an egg and a drink at breakfast but not much at all for lunch. Grandpa was in Ye Olde Rocking Horse today and it was quite busy. People spending their left over Christmas money perhaps. Grandpa got home at about 4.30 and started to prepare some food for dinner. Haddock in a lovely sauce with nice small boiled potatoes and broccoli. It wasn't long before Grandma took to her bed and was promptly sick shortly after. Luckily a bowl was handy. Jo came to see Grandma this morning for a while, thank you Jo.
Tomorrow we have to go to the East Surrey hospital for blood tests and will wait for the results, this will take a couple of hours or so. The results of which will hopefully determine what the next step will be, there is a possibility that she may have to stay in again. Ah well we shall see.
Had news today that our nephew Steven suffered a mild heart attack on his return back to Switzerland where he works and lives with his wife Fiona. Best Wishes to you Steve for a speedy recovery. Well until tomorrows exciting instalment of the Monkland chronicles I will say goodnight to you all. Signing out.....GRANDPA B.

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