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Question Asked Isn’t The Question

I was reminded today about incidents where you have to physically stop your sarcasm and sassy-ness coming out of your mouth.

Many life times ago I worked as a Secretary/Admin/Accounts/Cashier type person at a tourist attraction set in a country park on a Baronial estate, somewhere that had hundreds of years of history and secrecy. The thing about Joe Public on his holibobs is you have to be in semi-holiday mode too, rather than stressed, over tired, is it home time yet mode. Despite the attention given to signage, literature and such, you are constantly asked what sound like obvious questions. Often the question asked isn’t really using the correct words to get the correct answer. For example “can I go out?” what the person is really asking is “If I go out to my car, will you let me back in again without repaying?”

Over time, after the hundredth ask, brain goes into sarcasm mode and you find yourself glazing over as the answer you really really shouldn’t say out loud comes to the forefront. Here are a few common questions and the wrong tired answers…..

Do we have to pay? No, I work for free and the animals don't eat.

is this where we come in? No, it's my front room and you're disturbing my siesta.

What's here? (There's a 20 foot information board beside them) ohh nothing, absolutely nothing.

Do I park there? (Point to carpark) No, you go up to the main road, turn east, go 7 miles, park and get on a bus.

If we come in and we go out? Please do, I want to go home at 6.

Is that the lake? No, that's an illusion, you get a train, turn round three times, recite a mantra and come back tomorrow.

Are you open? (Usually this is a bank holiday Monday) Noooo, we've buggered off to Antigua for the day.

There was only ever one question that stopped us in our tracks and made us go “Huh?” That was – How heavy are your heavy horses? – very, they were big burly Shires and Suffolks, did the person think we were running a horse fat camp.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2023 in General

 

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Knickers and Getting Plastered

Well dear reader …. they say with age comes wisdom … they also say there’s an exception to every rule 😬

Today was a sort of monumental day. The first go at getting to the hospital with hospital transport, and (I know, pushing my luck) getting two birds with one stone with the delightful peeps at Orthotics.

Never having used the service before I had visions of waiting ages for transport, sitting at the hospital for hours before my appointment time, the clinic running late and then waiting hours (needing a pee) for transport home.

The rule of thumb is to be ready to go about two hours before appointment time. So just before 1pm I was ceremoniously hoisted into my wheelchair, slipper socks on my feet (saves the faff of shoes), coat out the cupboard and credit card tucked into the bra (listen, if some Herbert is going to try and nab it, I’m getting some fun out of the game). Wheeled through to the lounge to wait……..ticktockticktock.

Two lovely ladies arrived and I was anchored and strapped into the back of the van for the 1.9 mile journey. The corridor at Orthotics was deserted, I mean there was no one, nothing, nowt, not even distant voices! After a short while a smart chap appeared and wheeled me to the room.

The reason I was there was for some soft foot splints to help stretch my ligaments, as now I’m off my feet they will naturally shorten and twist. He discussed options, showed me several pictures and he decided that the custom shaped would be best. This involves plaster casts on both legs from knee to tip of toes, and hands rubbing up and down the muscle as the plaster moulds and hardens. 😋 So moulds could be made.

We also discussed my back brace. Side bar m’lud, earlier in the week I telephoned the Neuro Consult Secretary to see if the referral had been sent, to find that the system says that my December appointment he called me and there was no answer (I feckin well did! 45 minutes late but he called and we talked). I crossed my fingers that they’d get the referral done and walked the three corridors, by today, but nope. He looked at my brace and measured me and flicked through more books and had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. He said he would like to try a ‘this’ style as it supports front and back without the rigidity at the side ….. and ….. ::drumroll:: ….. I wouldn’t have to pay for it!

After that, the Orthotics Secretary wheeled me back to main reception and informed transport I was ready. Before too long the lovely ladies loaded me up and drove me back. Within a snip and a snap I was hoisted back onto my comfy sofa and it was only 3:45pm!

Maybe the reason everything went so well today was because ….. I am wearing my undies inside out 😊

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2023 in Life

 

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March – Poem

March marches boldly
Roars it's way in windily
Creeps out sheepishly

Haiku is a type of short form poetry originally from Japan. Traditional Japanese haiku consist of three phrases composed of 17 phonetic units (called on in Japanese, which are similar to syllables) in a 5, 7, 5 pattern; that include a kireji, or “cutting word”; and a kigo, or seasonal reference. Similar poems that do not adhere to these rules are generally classified as senryū. There is no exact equivalent of kirejiin in English, and its function can be difficult to define. It is said to supply structural support to the verse.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2023 in Projects

 

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Bombs Building Sandcastles

No…………Body………..Move or sneeze or burp or

Well, dear reader, it’s been an interesting few days. Just up the road from my new abode they are constructing a third river crossing, it’s been thirty years in discussion, three years in building and should be operational by May this year – providing they are no more snaffoo like this week.

Tuesday morning a little left-over from 1942 was dredged up from the river beside the construction area. A one meter long, 250lb bomb, that for the past 81 years has napped through thunderstorms, heavy vibrating ships and boats slowly trundling over it, the rumbling of lorries and vehicles along the road beside it, even the pile driving of the river wall strengthening and outer harbour construction, not to mention the seismic waves when the nearby power station chimneys were demolished.

Police closed roads and began evacuating homes and businesses, placing a 100m cordon around the area. After the Bomb Squad arrived they extended the cordon to mandatory evacuation up to 200m and voluntary but strongly advised 400m zones. This included a small dementia home, who have stayed put but have their minibus and trailer packed with kit and essentials should it become necessary.

The local newspaper has been keeping a ‘live update’ page going throughout the day, giving much needed info such as where evacuation centres are, which roads are closed, the consequential congestion (at one time traffic was moving at the heady speed of a whole two miles per hour!). As well as some typical local media style reporting, like, “Warnings that car windows and camera lenses could crack if….” Proper Pulitzer stuff!

It was decided that a 400 ton sand house would be built around Berty Bomb before any attempts to defuse it could begin. Now 400 ton isn’t a couple of lorry loads and most of Wednesday was taken with getting the sand in place. It looks like sand was compacted into large bags that were then placed, brick like, immediately around the bomb, then a second wall built around that. Then a ceiling of sand was added. A walkway barely wide enough for a beefy bloke or robot to fit through snaked between the sand walls.

All was progressing well until …… “I say chaps, has anyone checked utility maps” slightly blank faces.

“Bally eck, there are gas pipelines under the road!!”

No doubt tea was brewed as tools were downed and a clutch of technicals got their calculators out and recalibrated their thoughts.

Of course, I’m paraphrasing and making light, but how come it hadn’t occurred sooner.

The plan seems to be, after the sand has settled, to send in Robo to start cutting into the bomb, to defuse the detonation circuits and make it ‘safe’, for it then to be taken out to sea, strapped to a better bomb, sunk and then detonated.

Another hold up, water is getting into the area and compromising the sand walls – we’ve all been there with our beach sandcastles. Repairs are needed before Robo can continue his delicate cutting. It seemed the cutting equipment was causing the water build up, so another stoppage and brew up to decide on another option to defuse. The slow burn was the only option left.

And then ………….

Berty unexpectedly went boom.

Thankfully all personnel working the area are unharmed and accounted for. It seems no property or vehicles have been damaged either. Where I am (under half a mile if the crow flies straight) it rattled the newly installed fire doors and echoed through the corridor but the earth didn’t move.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2023 in In The News, Uncategorized

 

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Close To Productive

For decades I’ve been a list maker, I have a list of lists on my reminder app and some list items have subcategories. Nerdy I know. It’s an attempt to organise and prioritise jobs, to see progress (sometimes) or to just add other things to the bottom that have already been done to cross em orf and feel empowered.

Maybe this is an indication that I am starting to nest in my new abode. I have a list of things I’d like to get ‘sorted’, not quite sure how yet.

  • Sort tall cupboard contents
  • Hang pictures
  • Reorganise wardrobe & cupboard contents
  • Source wall mounted tv, and get dvd player
  • Weed and organise desk drawers

Until I can get help with those, I have been at my desk 😱 (I know, shocking). Desk work in general has been very neglected over the past couple of years for numerous reasons and general procrastination tendencies.

Before moving house, loads of my cds were uploaded to the iMac as I use the natty Remote App to play music, and I have dropped hundreds of images, photos, vids and graphics that need cataloguing. Before any of that can start I had to wrangle the updates and the Apple TimeMachine back up. It (iMac) initially protested, I informed it of its birth and parentage, threatened it with the metaphoric trusted rusty chisel up the USB, then I left it to stew in the corner. It did at it was supposed to, like the petulant toddler it is, so now I can move onto getting stuff done (allegedly).

So over the next few weekends I plan to, although with the decreased dexterity in my right hand/wrist/arm/shoulder I may need to invest in a track pad. Still the “Mac List” is something like

  • Roughly sort photos into four categories (graphics/cats/fam/others) before closer cataloguing and naming
  • Add album art to albums added to music catalogue (aesthetic & easy search reasons)
  • Consider additional iTunes backup method (in excess of 20 gbs)
  • Ensure backups of website coded pages are up to date versions
  • List website housework and new page needs

But before any of that I really must get on with crocheting the gear stick knob hat (don’t ask, well you can, but I have weird friends).

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2023 in Life, Projects

 

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February Poem

I don’t know if there is a posh term for this style of poem. Anyways my effort for this month. See ya next month!

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2023 in General

 

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Bureaucratic Headaches

I feel the annoyance of things brewing up to a bubbling rant. Those of an easily offended disposition may wish to scroll on by.

There are numerous things that, to be exceedingly frank about, are f**king well pi**ing me off to a boiling a*** of steaming anger – or in other words has one mildly miffed.

Right then – the heating! So far four visits by various engineers. First was an electrician as some beep somewhere mistakenly thought it was electric heating here (nope), he concluded the wireless controller was duff. Second engineer came and concluded that the controller was likely okay it was the valves on the radiators. Third engineer came armed with hammers and valves, he clumped, bashed and clouted it into behaving and voila I had heating that was controlled by the wireless controller. Yes, sorted, that’s done. Then unexpectedly engineer returned again with orders to replace wireless controller with the upgraded one. Yeah, well, within fifteen minutes of him leaving the damn thing lost it’s connection, the radiators were boiling (at one point it was 28°c/82.50f). I did the take the batteries out and put them back but it still didn’t seem to control anything and it drops connection about every 15/20 minutes, so we just turned the radiator valves down to its lowest setting. You see I cannot contact these providers directly, I email person a who forwards it to rep b who gets company c to organise an engineer. Visit five being organised.

Bathroom. Back in early December a carer sat on the toilet seat lid and it cracked. All she did was lean forward to put my foot in the trouser leg and it split. It has been reported but it’s still not cracked. The cistern is a temperamental flush, the sink plug is one you push down to stay down and push to pop up except it doesn’t. The hot/cold indicator on the mixer tap is the wrong way round. The pump for the shower is slurring as slowing.

Care fees – way back way when I was first contacted about a possible flat here I had two immediate questions, can BFF stay for our holibobs together and how much is it. Reasonable enough asks, I thought. Thankfully the answer to a was yes (deffo deal breaker if no) and question b was I’ll get back to you. Eventually after numerous requests a badly photocopied brochure arrived giving pages of details about benefits and financial assessments, deferred payments with property sales, saving and investments limits etc and a line that said the fee was capped at £269 per week. This was the same as I was paying for current care so I could draft a possible budget plan. The County Council are responsible for invoicing and they run about 8 weeks behind, so January fees billed in March, but the buggers want immediate payment or you get a nasty in the post. I moved in the July, it took them until the end of August to change my postal address, despite being emailed weekly as a reminder and to ask for outstanding invoices sent to the wrong address to be emailed. In October I asked again but they said there was nothing outstanding. I chased various sections again and waited. To my surprise a bill arrived for the first 16 weeks (that’s to the first week of November) but the figure charged is £45+ a week more. F-a-r-k!! Emails whizzed off to various people asking the basic question – how much is it – and as yet no reply from anyone. Am I being charged different as a self funder, is this higher rate including kitchen meals I don’t have, or was I simply told the wrong figure or are there extra charges for things I’m unaware of – who knows. It seems those who should know, don’t know.

OT – as per previous rants, I ended up spending £3.5k on a 4ft profiling bed because initially they’d supply a small hospital bed (which I’d roll out of) before attempting to get permission for a better bed, which would be denied as I’m a healthy weight single lady, I’d only qualify for a 3ft bed. This would take approximately 5-6 months, so I ordered my own and got it here in four working days.

Which left the commode issue – I hate having to publicly admit this because it is degrading and personally embarrassing but since dignity etc is now a luxury I’ve just got to get over myself. Back in May 2022 I told OT I would need a different commode, as I would not be able to slide transfer to the porcelain throne. It would need to be a certain height so I can slide transfer onto it. I chased and confirmed over and over to make sure it would be there by the time I moved in, as you know, I’m good at most things but cannot not need the toilet at some point. Commode 1 was two inches higher than the sofa, I had zero choice but to defy gravity and force myself across, pinching my skin, breaking a stay in my brace, bruising in places and scratching myself on its corners. It was intolerable, my carers were appalled, the managers made an urgent call and three weeks later an OT wandered in, said I’d been sent the wrong one, that a right one would arrive. That took another couple of weeks. Again it was wrong, too low and my feet were dragging on the floor but they said they could raise it. Then they said they were waiting for the bits, then they said they were obsolete so it got cancelled without informing me. OT set about finding a different supplier who visited, took and wrote down measurements, as this would be a special request the once a month equipment panel would have to review and approve, this took another two months. Suddenly in December it arrived and was at the wrong height, they returned to adjust it and it’s maximum height again is too low.

Defeat has been called, towel has been thrown down, conceded stubbornness and with three emails one afternoon a commode to my bespoke requirements is being made by the same company who made my current shower chair some 15+ish years ago. Cost £560. As it’s a specific made to measure item delivery no later than end of February possibly sooner. But I know it will be right. Oh deities of all and any choice please let it be right!

Now the observant reader might well be thinking, if none of the supplied commodes work, then how is she……. you know….. draining the radiator or dropping the kids off at the pool, etc. Oh gosh, do I commit this truth to the forever world of the internet. Deep breath old gal. Well, my old shower chair with its aperture does have any commode pan rails to hold the pot, so it has to be stood on the floor, strategically placed to hopefully catch whatever descends. (Sorry if you’re eating your toast). The carers have been epic at making this system such a straightforward no bother method but still, sometimes not everything, you know. So yes, essentially this has been happening three or four times a day, every day since July 18th. *shudder*

Then there are the trifling little niggles that all add up to be frustrating, it is in my care plan, it is on a sign stuck to the wall, there is a sugar bowl next to the coffee jar and yet it is still a roulette game as to whether there will be none/one/two sugars in my coffee. A couple of things sent to the laundry have either gone walkies or been put away somewhere other carers cannot find them. The wardrobe chest of drawers must have a black hole in. Finally being able to attempt to make hospital appointments only to find either the consultant has to get the GP to or vice versa to make the referral, again it will be months before I can begin getting new back braces, or the EEG, or baseline respiratory clinic or…or…or… Oh yes and £50 travel costs to get to the dentist. I’m going to have to have words with them about how we do things, check up, x-rays, clean, done in one visit not spread across three or more.

Every month the care plan, the risk assessment and the moving and handling assessment is reviewed and signed, it comes round so quick. Management or Management’s management have decided to also include the question “Do you wish to review your respect form” that’s the new description for advanced directive or dnar or dnr, the bugger off and let me die choice. They better not ask me after an OT tussle I might say yes!

I’m not like the others here, except maybe one, and there are times I feel like I’ve moved to a care home where control of personal choice has been taken away and everyone is treated as if they’ve compromised mental capacity. It is not what I was lead to believe. Sadly for everyone I have a mouth and I’m not afraid to use it.

All my pictures are still in the box, I am so worn down by the frustrations and chasing I cannot think about what I want hung where. I miss seeing them, I’m connected to all my accumulated stuff. Maybe ‘soon’ the daylight will power up my solar energies mojo and I’ll get on with things.

I feel like I am being very moaning but this ‘independent living’ doesn’t seem to be gaining progress. It is all very deflating and wearing – plus it’s January, dark, dank, dismal…. ::sigh:: still could be worse.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2023 in General, Grumble, Life

 

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January Poem

I’ve decided to set myself a little challenge for the year. Each month I will create a poem relating to that month, different styles, differing contexts. Nothing too too taxing, probably dull and doubtful of proficiency but *blows-raspberry and sticks up two fingers, one finger if you’ve really pissed me off*

January – acrostic

January drags
All bare and dark
Never ending nights
Uninviting and stark
Adverse weather
Reducing our spark
Yearning for Spring
 
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Posted by on January 11, 2023 in Projects

 

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A Thief, A Rat and into 2023

Hmm, now let me see ….. grab your magnifying glass and come detect with me ……

Within my abode just about a week ago there were a tube of Pringles, a Nestlè selection box, a sizeable bag of mixed nut selection, a bag of mint aero bubbles and a bottle of grape drink. Whilst I will admit I did pop a Pringle while watching a film, and I might have nibbled a choc during a game show and I know I lightly sipped a tipple during a festive special … but … the festive basket has been plundered to just the fruit pastilles and bingo cookies (more later) and if the thieving rat has been at my cheese selection saved for this afternoon I will have his tail!!

Surely, not I, the lone resident, renowned non-nibbler couldn’t have…. well … indulged frequently, absentmindedly, sort of occasionally gourmandised (don’t you just love a thesaurus) all of those goodies?

🫣 🥴 Oopss

If I suddenly go missing this year, tell the authorities to check out the Bingo Mafia, I’ve been branded a hustler and they don’t like it 😂. You see, yesterday afternoon I was enticed to join my fellow ressies for drinks, sausage rolls and mince pies and as I had stealthy avoided the Christmas hoorah I went.

Wheeled into the dining room, where a dozen or more were congregating, a silver sequinned trilby plonked upon my head, I was braked in front of a bingo card – ominous. Then raffle tickets were plied and purchased – more ominoisnessness….. Have I been conned and fleeced!!! Eyes down, silence descends, the air tenses, first to four corners. Hopeless. Onto full house, no where near. Next round, first to a line, number after number, getting nearer and I won! Some Belgian chocolate cookies. Onto a full house, nearly, nearly, just two more, and ‘Bingo’! A bag of chocolate caramels. Third and final round, four corners, I came close but my neighbour got there first. The final full house, each number called, legs eleven, knock at the door, two round ladies, two little ducks, clickerty click and Brighton line (I realise that may be a confusing language to some), oh no, my neck starts to heat up, oh no no, palms get sweaty, oh nooooo……. trombones…… ‘Bingo’! I cried as the table behind sighed and mumbled. Oopsy, I told you they take their gambling seriously, I could feel the daggered stares from the crew. Six games and this first timer won three 😳.

Onto the raffle, we’d each bought two strips of five tickets, so ten chances of my numbers coming up out of about a possible 120. First number, phew not me…. second number, phew not me…. third number 419, oh crap that’s me, a bottle of Merlot. We adjourned to the lounge for a tipple and a nibble. Alexa was instructed to play some party tunes and loud chatter and merriment ensued, interspersed with some dubious singing. Back in time for a late supper.

As for 2023, well, let’s see, there’s the debacle of OT and their failings, so I’m giving in and buying my own bespoke item, so I know it’s right. I should have done it sooner, knew I’d end up doing so and only my own stubborn procrastination has prevented me from doing so, six months on and something needed three/four times a day is still not fit for purpose. The system of OT isn’t just broken, it is decimated and like most systems, it is those in need most, who will suffer most.

There’s more paperwork to chase. You see I pay for my care, the care company tells the County Council, who then send me the bill, except I haven’t had any bills. I’ve asked the complex manager to chase, to no avail, I’ve asked the County Council to check and they’ve the correct address but no order to bill, I’ve asked the care company who are confused why it hadn’t already been done. See again, business can delay and confuse and wait but you can get those buggers will want the dosh the next day, well, tough, I’ve done my due diligence, they’ll get it in stages, I’m not loosing six months of Tesco vouchers because of their laziness. (Did I mention I can be stubborn).

The pipe dream for 2023 is to get to appointments, maybe successfully mobile, but I’m having to deal with ‘systems’ that are clogged and bureaucratic, they make a garden snail look like Speedy Gonzales!

So as the Latin quote states “same crap, different year”…. cheers, slange var, Iechyd da 🥂

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2023 in Life

 

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Pink, Brrr, Hoorah

Well it’s all fun and games round these parts.

I forgot the tale of the oven while BFF was here. For the first night I’d gotten a lasagne and garlic bread, something easy to throw in the oven as BFF would have been up and travelling since stupid-o-clock. She turned the oven on to preheat and we waited, about ten minutes later *pink* and we were plunged into silent darkness. I was confused, the outside lights were still on but my flat was thrust into blankness. Hmm, something has tripped a fuse. Armed with torch BFF went investigating in the airing cupboard but the switch wouldn’t reset. She turned off the oven and presto the switch obliged and lights returned. It was gone 5pm on a Friday, excellent excuse, I mean reason, to get something delivered for dinner but nothing could be reported until Monday and even then, no idea how long it would take to fix.

On the Tuesday a capable man appeared, turned on the oven and waited. Now, you know how it goes, when the professional is waiting the problem never reoccurs. Just when he asked how long it was, I said the same thing, just as I said “it won’t happen with you here” *pink*. Voila! It did. Straight away he took the oven out and said he wasn’t going to fix the fault, just replace the oven altogether. The next day a new oven was installed – that wasn’t straightforward as the muttering fitter (different guy) tasted positive for CoVid the next day!

At a meeting between residents and the housing association we were told that the windows and fire doors were due to be replaced ‘sometime soon’, the official documents had a completion date no later than August 2023. Oh goodie, no more using the tin of tomatoes to prop the window or explaining to visitors that it wasn’t a piece of conceptual statement art. Minds Thinking Alike tells the tale. As things for me are never straightforward, while I was windowless, the guys came to remove the old fire detectors.

NRS delivered a new commode chair about three weeks ago, but we all said it looked too low, and the tape measure confirmed that, at least an inch and a bit. I’ve only been waiting on this kit since April. The system that is Occupational Therapy has broken me, physically, mentally, cynically, I wish I had kept a detailed diary because it’s been unbelievable. Anywho, there’s a man-who-might coming Thursday to height adjust. I’m in mixed mind, is the ‘adjustable’ preset in set increments of an inch or can be it set to a finite specific amount. I mean an inch is enough to trip over. I’m nervous, if it cannot be done, then I’m looking at having to pay for a bespoke one, again.

After a mere four months the two off-the-shelf, standard fit, just not supplied by contracted supplier, slings have been delivered. I can now be hoisted into a wheelchair and go out-out (yeah, have you seen the weather f-ark that, I’m hibernating until March). At least now I can go ahead and make the Orthotics, Imaging, Respiratory Clinic, Dentist appointments for Spring time now. What’s more, once the weather improves, I can get to wheelchair services for an assessment and get motorised! Beep beep, coming through, eat my rubber dust suckers, mwah.

The sudden drop in temperature brought a new challenge and learning curve, how does the heating work here. The magic box could be detached from the wall and after a bit of Googling I found the instruction manual. WooHoo, after a bit of reading and head scratching I had it sussed. I selected the manual override and set the temp, things clicked and the little “heat demand” icon lit up …… just one slightly niggly snaffoo ….. no heat. The girls checked the radiator valves and they were all on full, the hall radiator might have been trying or just less cold. Great, no heating. Now Ms Brain Box here brought when she moved her plug-in oil filled electric radiator that BFF donated many moons ago. I plugged that in and within half an hour was toasty toasting. A few convos concluded that several flats have radiators that are not warming or struggling to. It is likely that they’re all bunged up with accumulated sludge, crap and scale but flushing such a large system isn’t a straightforward task nor something that can be done in a day. it’s on the refurbishment list.

Friday brought its biggest surprise ….. I’ve only been waiting since July of 2019. A couple of people turned up from my GP Surgery to administer the pneumonia vaccine! Ouch, well sort of, my arm swelled and went more a bruised purple than the expected sunburn red. Other than that no real side affects, although I wonder if it’s starting to strike now as I feel a bit sniffly and throat/ear odd. Medicinal strepsils are being sucked.

What else – oh yes, it’s busy as heck here today. There’s a new person moving in, the family are back and forth bringing furniture and belongings, the fire system engineers are here as there’s a fault that refuses to clear, the in-house auditors are here checking care plans and records, the window guys are here doing the final couple of windows, and later a singing duo will be here for the Christmas party this afternoon (while I’m on the phone with my Neuro Consultant).

And here I was thinking I’d have a quiet life!

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2022 in General, Life

 

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