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Category Archives: people

Knobble-bobble hat

Like most things it started with a throw away line.

Recently we have been having some glorious sun shine weather, which can be pleasant but can also bring other problems. Behind glass that sun is powerful and unrelenting, we all know that sensation of handling a piping hot steering wheel. My carer has a natty little sporty car and the gear stick (stick shift in some lands) is metal, it doesn’t sit in the shade of the dashboard but bakes from the direct sun through the windscreen. Throughout her shifts, even with the window cracked ever so slightly the metal heats up and up to ouch level.

So Friday I googled and found a crochet pattern for a mini coupe and began twiddling the yarn. When she returned for the tea time visit I surprised her with a half done cover and asked her to see if it fit the knob snuggly enough (it did).

By the time she (as she said, excited with anticipation) returned to throw me into bed, the cover was finished with a frilled edge, drawstring base and a Pom-Pom on top.

Her smile was a lovely satisfying reward.

It’s the little things that make the biggest impact.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2020 in General, people, Projects

 

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Repeat the Prescription for Frustration

Dear Reader, for your delectation and delight I have for you the next thrilling instalment of ‘How to get a prescription’. If you recall, yesterday I had to and fro-ed between Pharmacy and GP to get my prescription, as of last night a second script was being pinged over to the Pharmacy.

After fuelling my motivation with a little chocolate I dialled the pharmacy and asked if they could find me on their system (yes), had my prescription been received (yes – things are looking up), how do I go about paying for it and getting it delivered – pregnant pause of ominous silence – the mighty powers that be have decreed that they cannot take payments over the phone for prescriptions and the drivers are not permitted to carry any cash, so in short, there isn’t any way a housebound cripple can pay for meds so they can be delivered. Typical, unsurprising, almost expected.

While pondering who to ask to expose themselves to the idiocy of people during this pandemic in order to collect this not exactly necessary concoction the phone rang.

A far too intelligent for her post Pharmacy lady called and put forward an option. The specific, exact same as prescribed VitD is available to purchase, over the counter, no prescription required, and it can be paid for over the phone and delivered for free, AND it’s cheaper than the current prescription charge (£9.15). Yes, we will go for that, except she has none in stock *sigh* but it will be on Monday and things can be sorted then.

So essentially if you ever fall ill, don’t need a prescription. If you do, be in a category that doesn’t pay. If you do have to pay, don’t be so ill you cannot get your carcass to the pharmacy. If you can’t, well ‘computer says no’.

We wait for Monday…..

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2020 in General, Life, people

 

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Prescription For Frustration

Remember the good old days, when a fat expensive ink pen splurged over crisp white paper, that was ripped from the pad with a confident flourish. You clutched said note to the Pharmacy, holding hope and relief as the concoction was dispensed and off you tootled with the miracles of modern science in your tender hands – the whole process taking a mere few, almost imperceptible, minutes *sigh* oh the nostalgia.

But progress brings change, advancement brings efficiency and new methods need learning. I am at the end of day two of getting a prescription sent, filled and delivered and as I type, the system does not have the drugs to my door.

My Rehab Consultant is pretty gung-ho on MD-ers taking Vitamin D, whereas my various other Consultants are non-plus about supplements, during a video conference the subject was broached but no firm action decided upon as I tend to take an over the counter one anyway (when I remember ….. which reminds me …. be right back) . Anywho, Hospital sent request for high dose VitD capsules to GP, sometime passed before I received a copy of the hospital report which had detailed under action that a prescription request sent. I had heard nothing, not surprised, my GP surgery hovers between ‘in need of improvement’ and special measures with the CQC.

I have not had a prescription for anything in around, fifteen years, but have heard many a saga from many a person about the trials and hassles of getting their drugs. Taking the bull by it’s wot nots yesterday I called my surgery and they tapped their keyboards, scratched their heads, did the do, asked questions to which my answers perplexed them further, and sent the prescription electronically within moments to the Pharmacy of my choice (in the room next door to Doctor’s reception, they could literally have shouted it across).

Today I call the Pharmacy to see how I, as a house bound crip who has to pay for and then get it delivered, get my hands on this chemical sunshine ………guess what…….. it’s gone missing in the system. (I stifle urge to say “Computer says no”).

I called the surgery and asked the question, which was met with another round of perplexed replies which eventually settled on resending the request and ‘hopefully’ the Pharmacy will call me back shortly. “Hopefully”, hmm, my cynical self thinks that is going the way of common sense and logic, I also foresee getting two scripts for the same thing and both being filled and charged for.

So here I sit ….. waiting ….. wondering whether to call the Pharmacy or wait for them to call. With my mind conjuring visions of electronic prescriptions pinging and ricochetting like ball bearings in a pinball machine around the clouds, which are looking ominously heavy as I stare out the window.

Progress ….. tis a wonderful thing.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in Life, people

 

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Staycation

This morning BFF flew home to Bonny Scotland after staying here to take care of me for a smidge over two weeks. After the stress and worries this year has thrown at me, the postponement of our April pj-party due to CoVid19, it was so unbelievably uplifting to have BFF walk through my door.

Our time together has three main heading, films, food and yarning. Now that might be silly chatter yarning or the more creative productive yarning. This time as well as some cat protection blankets we also tackled some rather cute cat toy mice and fish.

Previous visits have been invaded by the black and white bundle of adorability, affectionately known as Mickey #NotMyCat, this time he brought his brother Ginger #NotMyCat2. He’s a lot more timid but did like to snooze comfortably and alone either on my bedroom windowsill or the woollen blanket on my bed, he’s also very vocal and announces his arrival. Both offered their approval of the crocheted toys, plus the rubs and snooze spots, and especially the edible treats.

My BFF is multi talented, not only did I get a much needed hair cut but a pedi soak too. Mickey gave the humming, vibrating bowl of water a glare, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d decided to dip a paw in but instead he gave it the usual cat statesmanship glare of indifference crossed with that ‘stupid humans’ expression they are so adept at.

After 187 consecutive days I escaped the confines of my dusty hovel and we ventured along the High Street, suitably covered in my new denim jacket (Christmas and birthday present from BFF) and wearing a natty face mask. A few errands were ticked off the list, social distancing guidelines and hand sanitising adhered to, the find trousers task one sadly was not successful.

This visits films included

  • Spitfire
  • The ugly dachshund
  • Armstrong
  • The absentminded professor
  • Kinky boots
  • Summer in February
  • Hidden Figures
  • Broken Flowers
  • The Great Gatsby
  • First Man
  • The Parent Trap
  • Flight
  • Born On The Fourth Of July
  • A summer place
  • A single man
  • First Wives Club
  • Calamity Jane
  • The Iron Maiden
  • A map of the world
  • Capote
  • Pollyanna
  • There’s No a Business Like Show business
  • American Pastoral
  • Walk The Line
  • The Crown Seasons 1 & 2

Back to our respective routines, counting down and conjuring up, until we can get together again.

Oh the tasty treat pictured, it’s enchilasagne …. enchiladas but layered in a lasagne fashion, it is so delicious and no layer out weighs another. BFF made a second batch so there are more for me to enjoy. Did I say my wonderful BFF was multi talented???

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in Films, General, Life, people

 

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The Stunned Pause

Yesterday I had one of those instances where Big Sis would have literally laughed out loud. It began with my afternoon care visit, the carer is one I do not have very regularly but has been coming here for a few Saturday afternoons, we’ve had a number of conversations about various things. How to describe her, she’s short and rounded, akin the Estelle Getty look. She has a tendency to speak as if she’s looking after a half-deaf tottery ancient oldie who starts each sentence with a croaky “I’m eighty four you know…” type vibe.

She mentioned that her brother goes to a music evening where those gathered listen to and discuss music, wondered whether that would be something of interest to me (absolutely not). I replied that not many people listen to the styles of music that I enjoy. I went on to explain that I have a very mixed musical taste, depending on what I’m doing at the time. When I am concentrating on writing the HTML for the website I tend to listen to classical music, the likes of Debussy, Bach, Saint-Saën, Rachmaninov and such, for other creative musings it might be general rock and pop of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s preferring proper good tunes to specific groups, but my absolute go to for pure enjoyment and mood uplifting and this was my driving music was…..

(When I was telling BFF this in a telephone call at this point she went “You didn’t!”, oh yes I absolutely did.)

…..heavy metal, not the main stream but the off main rib rattling proper deep metal.

And then it happened, the face freezes as the mind adjusts and computes, the eyes reveal that they had a completely different perception of you. The sweet little innocent young (not so now) ‘nice’ girl. Ohhhh Noooooo, I have a dark side. I am sarcastic, cynical, stubborn, feisty, questioning. My tastes are eclectic, I enjoy Shakespeare and Dickens, but also Red Dwarf and child animation movies; tv quizzes like Tipping Point or The Chase and will have a crack at Only Connect and University Challenge; films it’s more the grizzly horror or mystery than sweet romance. Musically it’s what takes my fancy.

In a recent online convo with my BFF about getting my hair cut, she suggested like Tinkerbell, to which I posted the suitably cute smiling face and she, knowing me exceptionally well, said no, more like…

Can you guess who posted which, lol.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2020 in General, Life, people

 

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Destructive Anger Destroys

Over the past few days we’ve witnessed more and more global unrest and calls for changes along with recognition of how the black community has been systematically treated. The death of George Floyd, along with far too many other coloured people, in the USA is a tragic, horrific thing, but it has lit a fireball that might yet engulf thousands of more lives. It was a wrong action by that officer, others were wrong around him, that caused a death; and there have been similar actions by other officers in the past. Thankfully very very few in the UK compared to some educated countries, but nowhere is immune.

The Black Lives Matter movement has a wish (not using the word agenda, it has connotations) and in the twenty first century, forward thinking, prosperous West, you’d think we’d be able to get it right more than wrong.

Watching the marches, the protests, the taking the knee, it is a commendable grand gesture but how does it teach, enlighten or instruct. I am fully aware that these events contain a few hell bent on chaos and destruction and a few more who get polluted by the mob mentality, but I am yet to understand how defacing buildings, statues, plinths, memorials will teach, enlighten or educate.

Where do I learn the other side of the story without being branded a racist, a privileged white b*itch, or such like, or being shouted at “you’ll never understand coz you’re not black”. Violence, rage, destruction, aggressive language etc will not help change minds, or teach a better way, it will fuel the old assumptions and stereotypes. It will instil fear and anxiety.

There was a particular image that enraged me to utter gutteral wanton disgust … it made me so angry I wished true, long term harm upon another person. Here is that image.

This is the Cenotaph. It stands in Whitehall, London. There are only three words on it “The Glorious Dead” and we see someone trying to set fire to the Union flag. The Cenotaph is a memorial to all those who died in the World Wars, all those who enlisted, all those who volunteered, all those hundreds of thousands who were conscripted, from ALL nations of the Commonwealth (last time I checked that warmly, willingly, includes ethnic minorities). For the millions who fought, suffered, were injured, who died, defending and protecting many rights and freedoms people so quickly abuse today. This person saw fit to trample and abuse that – my cynical sarcastic mind wants to ask “Is it because the Portland stone is too white?”

So what will the consequences be, for me ….. Well, I’ll be blunt and honest, it will scare me. What if as I go to enter a door and don’t stop to let the ethnic person go first, am I about to be called racist. If I hold the door to let the ethnic person go first, am I exerting my white privilege. If I enquire for explanation or understanding about an opinion or action, am I being confrontational. I fully realise that not everyone is carrying that hair triggered chip on the shoulder but because so many do, how do I avoid getting snapped at, or flattened with a knee at my neck.

Dear World, I myself alone have no control on what happened during the past two-three hundred plus years or more. In that, I am powerless. I can only be responsible for my personal actions of the past five decades (and a smidge bit, very slim but more). I hope I have always been equally respectful and friendly to everyone I have ever encountered, for that is the best I can do.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2020 in In The News, Life, people

 

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Confidence Wanes

I don’t know whether this is an age thing, a result in changed circumstances thing or a lock-down self-isolating thing but I can feel my confidence depleting, especially when interacting with another human.

A couple of things have happened this week that has highlighted this odd sensation. It’s home insurance time, I’ve been a tad lazy the past couple of years and just let it auto renew but I decided to grapple that particular bull and fudge about a couple of comparison sites and a few direct ones. I tapped in the data, took screen grabs of quotes, pondered and perused. When I go a hunting and the quote is considerably less I fine tooth comb because I must have forgotten or undervalued something, but no, the quotes were a lot lot less.

So after pondering some more and returning fresh eyed the next day I decided, okay time is up, I’m switching ……. then the stomach knotted and the throat clenched. That means telephoning the current provider to cancel. They’re going to question me, persuade me to stay, re-quote, make me doubt my decision, so with trepidation I dialled and was surprised that the chap was very pleasant, took me at my word, cancelled the renewal no quibble and wished me well! My fear was for nought.

Then it became necessary to bring to light something with my care agency. It involved the actions of a particular carer (don’t fret, it was not to my person, I am 100% well looked after). I knew I had to bring something to light but felt an incredible sense of responsibility, along side feelings of snitching, what I say could have a consequence to this person. Although justified, and necessary, it stuck in my throat (don’t worry folks, BFF put me in my place with love and a telling off, lol). I bit the bullet and emailed the office and the manager telephoned me and listened, letting me fully explain in my calm mannered way. I also said how I felt about talking like that and she understood my point of view, but also appreciated me telling what had happened. The matter is resolved and while I pang if I think too much, it was right and necessary to do so.

I can feel the dread rising when I think about having to telephone the dentist, or rearrange a hospital appointment (when we are through the pandemic situ). It’s not the same as reluctantly having to do something unpleasant, it is having to interact with another human and almost fretting over the curve ball they may lob.

I never used to be this way, I had reliable competence and ability.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2020 in Life, people

 

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Behind The Screen

This blog is a little different to my usual because it is being written with the intention of adding a link elsewhere to try and explain/highlight what has happened ‘behind the screen’ to bring a web page together.

As some may know I administrate, edit and manage a web site about a particular musician and have done for many many years. It is an on-going, complex, multi-layered learning experience that gathers information into one place. I do it for my own satisfaction, to have a one-stop place that collates his work, for the fans and those interested to visit. Yes, it costs me money, but what hobby doesn’t.

Recently he was interviewed by Dom Familaro for The Sessions Artist Series published to YouTube. If you are interested in the workings of the music industry, the various musicians that back, support, perform with many A-list names, perhaps you play an instrument, these interviews are entertaining and interesting to hear so many peoples different life stories, how music became their profession and where that profession has taken them and things they’ve learnt and experienced on the way. But I digress…..

The website has a few interview transcripts and it occurred to me that even though YouTube has the ‘captions’ option (akin to on the go subtitles in language of your choice), there is still a section of the world wide audience who are missing out, so I decided to transcribe the thirty-eight minute interview and find a way it can be translated, thus broadening it’s reach. Sounds reasonably straightforward, doesn’t it. Ha!

Step 1. Using a mix of shorthand, speed writing and longhand I begin taking down the dialogue. Gone are the days when I could audio-type thanks to my depleted dexterity. So it’s listen intently, stop video, write, reread, rewind and listen again, correct script, add punctuation. Continue to listen, pause it, write it down, check it, relisten to the passage, make corrections and proceed ….. you get the idea. It took a few days, working an hour or two per day.

Step 2. Thanks to my muscle disease rendering my fingers/hands/wrists so weak the easiest way to transcribe the written word is to use dictation, no more confidently typing at between 70-75 wpm for me anymore. I create a fresh document, hit the microphone and speak clearly, deciphering my scrawl as I go. Stopping after a couple of paragraphs to read over the dictation, correct the errors, add the punctuation, capitalise names etc. Hit save and carry on. It takes a couple of days but at the end there are nine pages of crisp type, each paragraph a persons dialogue, all checked, proofed and corrected.

Step 3. Now it gets a little technical because I need to add the HTML tags that make it show on the eventual web page. Each paragraph needs a <p> at the beginning. It makes visual sense to have the interviewers dialogue in a different colour to the interviewees, so I add a font=“colornumber” to those lines. I also have to add the speakers name to each paragraph to make it easier to follow who is saying or asking what. So that’s added, all in capitals for emphasise.

Step 4. Using a specific software program I create the webpage, it’s basic style set to match the myriad of pages already there. I add the techie bit of code to embed the YouTube video, making sure it sits comfortably and is the correct size. I add the tab heading and explanation. Then in chunks I add the coded interview transcription. Crossing my fingers I hit the ‘test’ function to see what it looks like as a web page. I am reasonably pleased with the result except the colour is way way off, neon lime green, the hex code is a shade of red! Hmm……that needs investigating, it works on other pages already published.

Step 5. Thanks to an excellent web site that walks you through, teaches and shows how to grapple with HTML coding I can put together the five or six lines of instruction to add a button to bring up a menu of languages that Google will then translate the whole page. Wow! I add it at the top of the transcription coding and hit ‘test’. It’s there, and what’s more……it works! Victory! By chance it answers my query about the text colour coding, I think the issue is that versions of HTML change things, and that’s what has happened here, the code for changing the font colour is now a script command within the <p> notation, so I will need to put together the new bit of code, then copy and paste it at the beginning of each of the interviewers dialogue.

Step 6. I confidently upload the new page to the server, add the link to the main media page so viewers can get to it and voila….well no, not quite yet, actually. I forgot the special text snaffoo, you see when you type characters like & ( ‘ ) “ and then copy/paste them into a coding page, things go a little bit odd, it turns a ‘ into ’ . So I need to go through the entire transcript and remove the gobbledygook and replace the appropriate punctuation mark.

Next time I am at my desk, I will have to go through the coding, change the font colour code and correct the ‘ (oh I hope the find and replace will help me). That a rough idea of what is involved for just one page. I intend to add the translation script to every page of the site, a mere thirty or so. Like the Forth Bridge, there is always something that needs working on to improve.

Link to the interview ….. The Sessions Artist Interview

Link to the website http://www.stcgibb.com

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2020 in Music, people, Tech, Website

 

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CoVid-19

Well here we all are, being all cosy and shut in, some are out and about doing their essential duties and a huge THANK YOU to them all. It was been interesting watching the tv reports, media articles and social media reaction. Soo, what do we think of it so far.

Quick run down of the media v chief medical advisor advice. Official advice on the symptoms is …

  • Fever
  • Persistent dry cough

According to the media symptoms are

  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach and intestine issues
  • Breathlessness
  • Headache
  • A dozen other unsubstantiated drivel 🙄

Then we have the behaviour versus the rules. Officially we have been told

  • Only go out to buy food or get medicines
  • Travel to/from work if it’s essential
  • Short exercise (maintaining social distance)

But what are people ‘actually’ doing? The majority seem to be able to follow the appropriate guidelines but, as ever, there is a selfish element in our society that ignored, flouted and even blatantly acting ridiculously.

There are horror stories of gangs gathering, of people spitting, of people acing out, punching, attacking anyone who crosses their actions. People have been selfishly stockpiling food and loo rolls, actively yanking out of others hands or filling three, four trolleys of items. It’s not actions driven by fear but by selfish greed, either to resell at hiked prices or do be smug.

AS FOR ME ….. I’m okay, I self isolate in January, February and March because I want to socially distance from the usual coughs and colds, so it’s just being extended. My Carers complete the four daily visits and I’ve been assured that as in most need I am a priority for continued care. I’ve enough in the cupboard to get me to my grocery delivery (might get a bit odd next weekend) but depending what they bring and whether I can book another slot *shrug* but Carers, neighbours and family have offered to shop.

Sadly, broken heartedly, brought to tears, my BFF has had to cancel her visit but she has rebooked for June. I hope some of these restrictions can be reduced before then.

When this is all over …. I am definitely having that bumper British breakfast delivered by a local diner – delayed deserved birthday bonanza.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2020 in In The News, Life, people

 

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X-rating Review

I’ve been ‘selectively chosen’ to complete a service user questionnaire…. hmmmm, not sure if it is wise of them, or me. I have issues.

To begin with, I am not impressed with the quality of this questionnaire (pictured above), I didn’t need a hidden words game in trying to read the darn thing. Whilst they did provide a stamped addressed envelope, the covering letter failed to give a deadline, so can I give it a week or a month to ponder over.

It is difficult to ‘grade’ competency when over the past five-six months I have had at least thirty different people visit me, some excellent and others not so good. Some I saw once and never again, some are my infrequent regulars, some are my oftens and a handful are my always. Wouldn’t it have been better to say “For the week x to y, how did we do?”

Grading is so subjective, after all two people could receive the exact same service yet one grade it as average and another as very good. How does this highlight areas that need attention. Hmm, maybe I’ll add an anonymous letter suggesting that maybe sending out ten or twenty of these a month asking how they did the week prior, would give a better overview across, say a six month period.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2020 in Life, people, Review

 

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