26 July 2023

Little things please little minds

Every day I try to do the Wordle puzzle on my phone. I kid myself it keeps my mind sharp and hopefully stops me falling into old age with dementia. I am also rather fond of cryptic crosswords for the same reason. If I can I usually do Wordle while having breakfast, but if busy, I sometimes do it later in the day.  On difficult words, it has sometimes stretched me to six attempts and on a rare occasion I have failed altogether, but my average is about three or four attempts. 

Today I did it first time! Look away, if you don't want to know the answer below.

18 July 2023

This and that

The days seem to fly by these days and suddenly I see it is 15 days since I last posted. I have been busy since my return from Salisbury, partly in my own house and partly in Kay's, partly at the charity shop and partly at choirs, but also with hospital appointments.

To get to the bottom of why my acid reflux is so bad, I have had various hospital tests lined up. First a CT scan which thankfully revealed no major problems and certainly no regrowth of the tumour they removed in 2016. Then an endoscopy ten days ago, which revealed a hiatus hernia (a by-product of the operation which has made my stomach a crescent shape which now pokes through my diaphragm). I also have polyps caused by over-use of omeprazole (I have been on that for 7 years continuously since the operation) and the pyloric sphincter, which allows food to pass from the stomach into the intestines, is very narrow. Despite fasting for 7 hours before the procedure, I still had food in my stomach, so the consultant concluded that my stomach was not evacuating food fast enough. (It would therefore explain why, even when I eat as late as 7 pm, I may still have food in my stomach at 2am, which, when I am horizontal in bed,  is when I wake up choking with acid in my throat.) The plan is to do a second endoscopy in a few weeks' time and stretch the pyloric sphincter to allow food to evacuate faster. I also have an ultrasound planned to rule out gall stones. So it's all happening.

Meanwhile the weeds in Kay's garden have been a challenge. I removed them about 6 weeks ago and already they are the height of triffids. Kay had some friends coming to stay last weekend, see the house for the first time and celebrate her 32nd birthday, so I went over to de-weed yet again. Bindweed had also taken up residence and was wrapping itself around every bush and plant, growing in some cases up to about 4 feet. Trying to disentangle that lot was like doing brain surgery, trying to remove the problem but keeping the plant intact. While I was working in her garden close to the enormous pond there, I was aware of eyes watching me and saw two little frogs with their heads above water watching my every move intensely. 

I have become obsessed with helping out at the foodbank charity shop and think I have missed my vocation as a shop girl! I have enjoyed sorting clothes, pricing them and hanging them up in colour and then size order, as the manager likes, and pottering around to ensure they stay like that, when customers have mixed them all up!

I've got a quieter week this week, so time to devote to other things and my own garden. And blogs. 

03 July 2023

Away days

Last week I had a much-awaited break away from London.  I rarely get the chance to go on holiday these days as I don't have anyone to go with. Kay understandably wants to spend holidays with her fiance and most of my friends go away with their husbands or are too poorly to travel, so I decided, if I wanted a holiday at all, I would need to try to travel alone.  If I could manage that, then I might venture further afield, I thought to myself. 

The first attempt about 7 weeks ago was aborted, because the hotel I was booked into had a massive power cut which rendered them closed for business for a whole week, starting with the date of my departure.  I was thwarted with an attempt to book alternative accommodation and had to abandon the idea. Then I got sick with a flare-up of my old acid reflux trouble and was only able to resume the Salisbury trip last week, but this time I chose a different hotel. 

Why Salisbury? Because V, an old schoolfriend of mine, lives on the outskirts there and as I haven't seen her in over 40+ years, I decided it was high time to correct that. We kept threatening in Christmas cards to visit one another, but life just got in the way and then in 2020 Covid did, putting paid to any visits anywhere because of lockdowns. Finally this year, I decided it was now or never.

G, the husband of another schoolfriend, who sadly passed away 6 years ago,  has also kept in touch and agreed to meet up too, so it was lovely to see them both. The day flew by as we caught up on those missing 40+ years. There were no awkward silences and it was as if we had met regularly. 

While in Salisbury I covered a lot of ground sightseeing. I stayed in a lovely 800-year-old hotel (although it was fortunate enough to have running water, WiFi and TV facilities!) I was also lucky to be the only person on a walking tour of the town so had my own one-to-one guide. A tour of the Cathedral was also a must and the three days just zoomed past. 

The beautiful cathedral built 1220-1258

The 800-year-old hotel

The contraption in the hotel reception used for steaming the ruffs used by choristers