28 June 2010

Bugs, Football and Rattles

Well, I'm back in London after a rather manic ten days, dropping off the dog at my mother's, racing up north to visit Kay, sightseeing, then helping her pack up and come back to London, collecting the dog etc. Then for some extra punishment I went down with a gastric bug - I'll spare the gory details, except to say I had a temperature and spent several days rushing into a small room! The good news is that with that and the sweltering weather we have been having, I have lost twelve pounds and don't even remotely fancy food at the moment, so may resemble a stick insect by the end of the week (well, there's ALWAYS hope!)

Greg's sister, Jill, brought Kay's stuff down from Lincolnshire on Saturday. She had to come as far as Stansted anyway to drop her daughter (Rhianna) off at the airport. Rhianna was flying off to meet up with her German boyfriend. She ended up on Sunday watching the England match in Nuremberg of all places! I would imagine she had to keep her own nationality a bit of a secret!! Anyway, Jill carried on down the motorway to me, bless her, and brought all Kay' stuff safely home. She spent the weekend with us, though I was miserable company as I was still hatching my gastric bug and Kay was brewing a cold.

We three women watched the football on Sunday. The result was to be expected. Even I (with absolutely no experience in football) could see our boys weren't up to it. It beats me why we pay so much money to keep these football primmadonnas and their hangers-on (WAGS, managers and coaches) in a manner to which they have become accustomed. Why not just pay them a modest wage like the rest of us have to survive on and only give them hefty bonuses if they actually win a game? That should apply to all the national as well as European or World Cup games. That would give them an incentive to try to win at least. As it is, they earn ridiculously big money for doing badly. And can someone please explain to me why we have non-English managers,who apparently can barely speak English, managing British clubs when there must be plenty of indigenous folk up for the job? After all, surely an England team should be managed by, errrr, an Englishman; a German team by a German, a Russian team by a Russian. Or am I being too simplistic? Who's to say they are not spying on the team they're manging and giving the trade secrets away to their own country's team? How can they remain unbiased? Anyway, the best team won and that is what the World Cup is ultimately about. A shame, but England was so obviously not the best team. While we were watching, Kay came up with a great name for the German WAGS. HUFS = Hausfrauen und Freundinnen. Maybe it'll catch on.

Before Jill left, we rounded up a few things for her to take back with her. They were old items belonging to her mother, which had been given to Greg some years ago, but he had never used and which I thought now rightfully belonged with Jill. One was an old music centre (turntable/cassette/radio deck) which comes complete with loudspeakers. Greg had kept his mum's music centre in his bedroom alongside his bed, although, as I say, he never used it. Or so I thought. As Kay was carrying one of the speakers and I carried the other downstairs, Kay's one made a funny rattling sound. We thought it was about to fall apart and that its innards had come loose. Whatever was wrong with it? Once at the foot of the stairs, Kay found her speaker's front side came apart and inside she found the amplifier......... and two small empty bottles of whisky! Are we never going to stop finding them.. and in the strangest of places?

16 June 2010

Driving me crazy.

I'm dropping off Snoopy at my mother's tomorrow ( a mere 120-mile round trip), the neighbours are briefed to look after the cat,then I am heading up North to spend a long weekend with Kay. This will be a new experience for Snoopy as Greg always used to look after him when I had to go away from home. The reason I am going away? Kay did her last exam of the season last week and so I am going up to see her, have a wander around her new environment, and help her pack up for the summer vacation. She now has to move out of the Hall of Residence, as the rooms are for first year students only, but she cannot move into the rented house she is going to share with her medic friends next term, until September. On Sunday we shall therefore have to bring all her clothes, bedding and kitchen equipment back to London for the summer.

I may have mentioned before that I HATE motorways and will not drive on them myself . My fear comes from an accident Greg and I came upon many years ago when we were driving along a motorway one dark foggy November night in Germany at the start of our marriage. We saw a dark space ahead of us and cars stopped on all lanes far in the distance with lights flashing. What we did not realise, as we slowed down to join the queue of cars ahead, was that in the dark void between us was a dead horse minus its head. We managed to avoid it at the last minute and swerved onto the hard shoulder of the motorway. Greg then proceeded to run up the motorway the way we had come along, carrying a warning triangle and a lit torch to try to get the traffic we had long overtaken to slow down and stop. He was worried they might not see the horse in time and there would be a multiple pile-up of mangled metal and bodies. I was left in the car with the body of the headless horse close by. It was like something out of The Godfather and of course I was worried sick Greg would get run over in the dark. All ended well (apart from the poor horse)and I later discovered the horse had run out of a field after its foal who had strayed onto the motorway. We later saw the foal alive further on down the motorway, being restrained by the motorists of the cars with flashing lights. But this scene has never left me and now makes me a nervous wreck on the motorway. I hate the speed and the way lorry drivers suddenly pull out in front of you or other cars dart and weave. Even as a passenger I hate motorways. I dread going on them. I certainly would never attempt to drive on them myself. I'd sooner do a thousand-mile detour!!

Greg's sister is kindly coming up from Lincolnshire to meet us on Sunday, bring Kay's stuff back as far as Lincolnshire and then on to London the following weekend. I am so grateful to her and apologise a thousand times for being such a wimp. I did not start to drive until I was 45, so I admit defeat on this one. It is a miracle I drive at all. Thank goodness for Greg's sister though. Kay informs me she is going to take driving lessons this summer and may be able to do the drive in future. Think I am going to lie down in a dark room with some smelling salts!!!!!!

10 June 2010

The maybe's and perhaps'es

I suppose I should have remembered that my blog had its second anniversary a couple of weeks ago. Maybe, because the whole reason for starting this blog has now disappeared, my temporary memory lapse is a sign that the blog is going nowhere right now and doesn't need to be remembered.

When I nervously published that first post on 22 May 2008, I had no idea that two years down the line, I would be a widow. I knew things were not well, I knew Greg had a lot of health problems and I knew that death was distinctly on the cards if he carried on drinking. But just as you also know lung cancer is on the cards if you carry on smoking, you always think you are going to be the lucky one. So with Greg, I hoped he might see the error of his ways, manage to come off the drink permanently and we'd both sail into the golden sunset of retirement together. After all, it was not as if he had been a heavy drinker all his life, only in the last five years. I imagined he could stop as easily as he had started. I suppose I was in denial. The brutal facts are that only 1 in 10 alcoholics ever recover totally from their addiction and even then it is a tortured existence when faced with invites to family occasions, boys' or girls' nights out, or a walk past a pub on a bad day, at a vulnerable moment. So why I thought Greg would be the one in ten to survive and rise above this awful disease, I don't know. After all, that would be the same Greg, who spent most of his whole life trying to stop smoking even when he knew it was causing vascular problems in his legs and together with his diabetes making walking more difficult. So I guess addiction was in his veins.

Still, there was always a part of me that hoped (or maybe fantasised or just wasn't thinking realistically) that he would get over this. He certainly wanted to lick alcoholism into submission, but somehow the faint determination to do it got arm-wrestled into defeat by the enormous big bully cravings to carry on. Even a few days before he ended up on what was to be the final stay in hospital he was talking about getting help...... again. The trouble is that detox alone is not enough. He had had plenty of those either in a detox clinic or on numerous occasions when he was in a hospital bed and enforced not to drink . Detoxes just get the alcohol out of your system in a reduced slow way with the help of prescription drugs so that you don't experience the withdrawal symptoms. What you then need after that is rehab - a (usually) six-month-long stay in an institution to get to the bottom of WHY you drink and how best you can avoid it.... I suppose with a lot of soul-searching. Greg always refused to go to rehab. He did not like the idea of being away from home at all, let alone sharing a room with a stranger for six months (rooms are inevitably shared to help the process), nor the idea of possibly mixing with drug addicts and hard criminals. He always turned down that lifeline. Whether ultimately rehab might have kept him on the straight and narrow I do not know, but in turning it down, simply because he did not want to be away from home, he ended up in the situation of not coming home at all - ever - except in a wooden casket.

When he was admitted to hospital, bleeding internally in several places, his last words to me, before he fell unconscious, were that he hoped they could do something to help him "if I ever get out of here." I had to leave him at that point, as the hospital were barring visitors to contain the winter vomiting bug that was doing its rounds and I was only there to visit in the first place, because Greg was on the critical list. He must have realised how low his health had sunk. Did he perhaps know this was the last chance? "If I ever get out of here" keeps going through my mind over and over again. Perhaps he already knew then he had lost the battle.

07 June 2010

Exam stress

Just back from a week at my mother's, so have not had a chance to catch up with other blogs and continue mine. Meanwhile as it is the exam season here in the UK at the moment, I thought I would publish this list of genuine errors which have appeared in past papers.....

Monotony means being married to the same person for all your life.

Use the word "judicious" in a sentence to show you understand its meaning..
Hands that judicious can be as soft as your face...

How important are elections to a democratic society?
Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.

What is a turbine?
Something an Arab wears on his head.

What is Britain's highest award for valour in war?
Nelson's Column.

Who was it that didn't like the return of the prodigal son?
The fatted calf.

What's a Hindu?
It lays eggs.

Name the four seasons.
Salt, mustard, pepper and vinegar.

What changes happen to your body as you age?
When you get old, so do your bowels and you get inter-continental.

What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?
They'll insist you're well endowed if you are buying a house.

What is a co-operative?
It's a kind of shop that is not as dear as places like Marks and Spencer.

What are steroids?
Things for keeping the carpet on the stairs.

A major disease associated with smoking is premature death.

The equator is a menagerie lion running around the earth through Africa.

Christians go on a pilgrimage to Lord's.

I've said goodbye to boyhood, now I'm looking forward to adultery.

Artificial insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull.

The process of flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Cows produce large amounts of methane, so the problem could be solved by fitting them with catalytic converters.

The moon is a planet just like the earth, only it is even deader.

Dew is formed on the leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire.

A super-saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold.

Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they always look like umbrellas.

Rhubarb: a sort of celery gone bloodshot.

The body consists of three parts - the brainium, the borax and the abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowels of which there are five - a,e,i,o,and u.

To remove dust from the eye: pull the eye down over the nose.

For a nosebleed: put the nose much lower than the body until the heart stops.

For drowning: climb on top of the person and move up and down to make artificial perspiration.

For dog bite: put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered, then kill it.

To prevent conception, wear a condominium.

For head cold: use an agonizer to spray the nose until it drops in your throat.

The pistol of the flower is its only protection against insects.

To keep milk from turning sour, keep it in the cow.