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Bactrian Conspires

Wednesday, often referred to as hump day, and I have the right ‘ump with this particular Wednesday, it’s not so much a Dromedary and much more a Bactrian of humps.

I mused this morning that today I would upgrade the OS on the iMac to the new Catalina. The timing was right, I’d time-machine backed up after the photo job was done, as well as external drive saved the valuable folders. I clicked the magic button and set it going, just one hour to download, followed by one and half hours to install and a further thirty minutes to set-up. Now that doesn’t sound so bad does it?

Just before Noon a four note trill sounded from the bedroom. Hmm, odd, that’s the sound the phone makes when you place it in the charger. Trill, weird was there a brief power cut, but everything else is working. TrillTrillTrill. Okay that’s more than a power out, it’s going crazy. TrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrillTrill non-stop and my next care visit would not be until 2:50, three hours of this four note TrillTrillTrillTrill that cannot be drowned out by music because the iMac is updating……… it’s like when the smoke alarm battery fades and you have to wait for a bod with step ladder.

After the install and set-up my computer ever so kindly informed me that some of the apps may not be supported by the upgrade. Hmm, well that all depends which ones. I perused the list and most seemed to be to do with the printer survey and compare list, all good. But oh hang on …. bummage ….. those two apps I use a lot, the one I use to write the HTML for the website and the one I use to organise and upload the photo albums to the web site. Whilst finding another HTML editor is not exactly difficult the photo albums one is, because it is essentially discarding all the work done over the past sixteen years and starting from scratch, again. Put that on the “projects” list. *sigh*

Carer came to the rescue taking the phone out of the cradle, whoohoo, bliss. We scuttle through to the kitchen to fire up the slow cooker, she went to open a draw and it wouldn’t budge ‘something’ was stopping it, I could barely get my fingers between the draw front and the work top. I teased out a plastic bag but there was something solidly jamming it, most likely the foil or cling film boxes. Grrr, between the two of us and the handle of the wooden spoon we managed to get it open, another to-do job, reorder that draw (there’s not a lot in it).

Not sure if today is the wisest day to try a new slow cooker recipe.

Is it bed time yet?

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11 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2019 in General, Grumble, Life, Tech

 

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Fair Winds Following Seas – Farewell Friend

I’m saying good bye to another old friend, a tangible piece of my life’s adventure.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust operates two tall ships that are designed to accommodate many forms of disability, not only things like deafness and sight impaired, but also stroke victims, amputees, wheelchair users and mental health sufferers. We are all involved within the watch rota to sail the ships and keep them shipshape. Across her thirty year history STS Lord Nelson known as “Nellie”, has circumnavigated the globe, chased icebergs, clipped the Bermuda Triangle, tamed the China Seas, she has raced as part of the tall ship fleets and been the floating ambassador and has touched hundreds of thousands of mixed ability lives for the better.

A family friend passed a brochure to me in the eighties and I had toyed with the idea of running away to sea, so when Nellie visited my home port I secretly took myself off, explored her and spoke to a volunteer crew member, over a mug of hot tea and freshly baked cake we chatted, mused, discussed and laughed. After that I made up my mind to throw myself fully into this once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-repeat adventure and booked a four-week passage from Southampton to Gran Canaria via Lisbon.

The experience was nerve wracking, exhilarating, daunting, engaging, challenging, educational, but filled with hilarity, congeniality, and above all else, equality. We were just a bunch of people sailing together. I enjoyed myself so much that I repeated the experience another two times on Nellie before my last voyage on the sister ship Tenacious. The atmosphere and camaraderie onboard is indescribable and so special. It’s where I learnt to tie a bona fide hangman’s noose, take down the shipping forecast, complete obs for the Met Office. I’ve hauled ropes, peeled potatoes, polished brass, coiled ropes, swabbed decks, scrubbed toilets, pulled ropes, brewed tea, repaired flags, and messed about with ropes. I’ve been man handled, hauled, shoved, shifted, and tied down, I’ve laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed; I’ve helmed, watched, hauled, radioed, taught navigation rhymes, learnt a bewildering language of terms and created a few specific to Nellie and many other such useful/less life skills. I even have a qualification, the Department of Transport Steering Competency (sailing) Certificate from time at the helm before the mast. I’ve made friends I still keep in touch with. I’ve had conversations and shared experiences (like being at the helm when we were struck by lightning, playing with dolphins, counting shooting stars). There are anecdotes galore, not all repeatable in polite company.

Recently the Trust has been forced to look hard at its future running. A promised significant donation from a business source failed to materialise resulting in the Trust nearly folding (we raised £1 million in a week to save it). Subsequently the decision has been sadly made to decommission Nellie.

I kept a detailed diary, my (dis)abled seapersons twig (as opposed to captains log) for two of my voyages are on my website www.amgroves.com It’s on my list to add the others.

It is unknown what her next adventure will be, but I wish her fair winds and following seas, as we salty dog types say; and another piece of my heart is broken and another tear will fall.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2019 in In The News, Life, people, Projects, Website

 

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It’s been quiet ….. too quiet?

It’s been very quiet these past days since BFF jetted back home after our wonderfully restful, fun and encouraging two week pj-party. My days have been filled with pleasing myself between carer visits, maybe fiddling about on the iPad, twiddling some yarn, easing into a computer task, or just feet up watching tv (currently watching I’m Alright Jack, the black and white Peter Sellers movie).

After the past months of worry, anxiety, stress, mammoth personal physical changes, Big Sis’s serious illness, sudden bereavement, Government bureaucracy, so called social services etc the change has indeed a rest. I might even pick up a book!

No news about the yet to arrive Social Worker report, no news from the PIP review form, no new mind bending professional service cock up for me to sort out.

It’ll never last ………. but until then, pass the chocolate biscuits.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2019 in General, Life

 

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Fun No More (until April)

I’ve been wonderfully distracted for the past two glorious weeks, BFF has been to play, stay, I meant stay. … and this time it was greatly needed by us both. Finally after all the stress, anxiety and sorrow attached to so many happenings I could cry my heart out and get physical console. But all too soon, the suitcase is being zipped up and it’s that dreadful time to try and hold the stiff upper lip and say ttfn.

Pre arrival plans had been put in place, a few DVD’s were ordered, two mahoosive boxes had arrived with the neatest of handwriting upon them (more wool to add to the packed suitcase stash) and the dozen bottles of cherry cola added to the grocery order.

We may both be in our golden years, but you’re never too old for a PJ party, and that’s what we do. It’s not all indulgent fun, there were chores and errands done too, the dentist visit with deep deeeep clean and the annual hospital appointment with my neurologist (test results, blood pressure, heart rate all ‘normal’, never thought that word would be attached to me). I supervised while BFF cleared out, sorted, organised my kitchen cupboards (nothing last century lurking in the dark corners), general tidy up of the bathroom and lounge, the resort and reorganising my bedroom draws and I feel sorted, organised, prepared for carers and helpers, etc.

We’ve mooched up and down my High Street, been back and forth to Morrison’s for eats and treats, sat outside enjoying the sun and breeze, took an afternoon stroll along the esplanade and I, yes me, suggested a ice-cream (it was lush), we even went to the cinema to see Downton Abbey (rather good).

Mostly we snoozed, nattered, laughed, chatted, rested, and watched stuff

  • Last Viceroy House
  • Mad Men Season 6 and 7
  • The Green Book
  • Trumbo
  • Edie
  • A Cat Named Leonard
  • Norma Rae
  • Pursuit Of Happyness
  • My Old Lady
  • The Favourite
  • Colette
  • Don’t Eat The Daisies
  • The Right Stuff
  • Spotlight
  • The Girl On The Train
  • Billy Rose’s Jumbo
  • Glass Bottom Boat
  • Man With A Horn
  • To Kill A Mockingbird

Of course the REAL prime reason for being together is a certain four legged furred charmer, known as Mickey, aka #NotMyCat, wandering in when he pleases, playing with his new toys, choosing one of the many seats to snooze upon, getting head rubs and chin scritches galore.

Three quarters of an hour ago we hugged, smiled, said “call you tomorrow”, and off she goes ……… just 199 days to go until we’re back together *fingers-crossed*

Thank you BFF for being everything I need and a heck of a lot more, words are not enough to convey all you do for me, help me, cajole me, entertain and help me.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2019 in Films, General, Life, people, Pets

 

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My Mat Remains UnThudded

Well folks we are a week further along from the telephone call stating that the original PIP2 form has not arrived and guess what ……. it’s still not arrived. *sigh*

I grasp the phone and dial the freephone number (ever wondered what their phone bill looks like 😲). After going through the ‘please visit out web site at ….’ schpeel, the press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for the other, press # to hear these again, I sit tediously in the loop of a very tinny opening strains of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons which is interrupted with the ‘All our operators are busy right now, please hold or you may wish to call back’, back to Vivaldi before being interrupted 30-seconds later with the same voice.

Seventeen minutes later an actual proper live human person speaks! We whisk through the security questions (I sometimes wonder if I sound too confident and knowledgeable when I answer them, too many times answering the same questions plus too many years asking the same questions). Up shot – call back on Monday if it’s not there – it seems last weeks lady was a tad bit over eager in our Royal Mail operatives.

I explained that I wouldn’t be calling on Monday because it’s Big Sis’s funeral and I don’t think I’ll be coherent enough for business. She was incredibly understanding, made a note on my claim (brain was visualising the old 110 screen from my days as a processor) and said to call on Tuesday or Wednesday.

So in limbo, I wait……

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 13, 2019 in General, Life

 

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Game, Set, and new strawberries please

The past two weeks have delivered a rather welcome distraction from the trials, woes, chaos, stresses, bureaucracy and struggles I am wading through. With the BBC having such extensive Wimbledon coverage online I could switch and flip through numerous matches from 11am until almost bed time.

Boy have there been some thrilling and entertaining games, from the rocketing prowess of the 15 year old Coco Gauff, the epic men’s doubles games and the men’s singles to the antics in the Gents and Senior Gents Invitational Doubles (affectionately known as the old and the dead) with such characters as Mansour Bahrami, Paul HaasHois and Henri Leconte. It has been lovely. But that’s ended for another year *sigh*

Time to get back to my lists of jobs, chores, tasks, bureaucracy and such. So here goes

  • Update Management Company spreadsheets
  • Email Agents for update on works pending
  • Liaise with Director over estate business
  • Order Great-Niece’s birthday present (4 already!)
  • Collate care professionals names, addresses, phone numbers
  • Begin DLA to PIP migration (scary)
  • Amass medical evidence
  • Do own financial evaluation
  • Source home demo powerchairs
  • Update website (1st Aug)
  • Cogitate Mac ‘big project’
  • Go through and weed 300+ saved read emails
  • Finish cat blanket crochet

That should do for starters. None of them are exactly five minute easy jobs and seeing them it looks a little daunting, but I’ll get there one tick at a time.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2019 in General, Life, Projects

 

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The Other PostCode Lottery

With having different people visit my hovel recently I’ve found myself having very similar conversations. Firstly it’s “I didn’t know these flats were here, how long have you lived here?” (27 years) and after a brief surprised silence I add “it’s okay the Royal Mail don’t know These flats are here either”.

You see a frequent occurrence happened again and this time (again) I began an official complaint about it with Royal Mail. I had ordered some clothing from a High Street store via their online site, carefully added my postcode and ding up popped the correct address in full. On Friday last week the PostPerson ‘tried’ to deliver it, my usual Postie knows to try the door when there’s a packet and leave it on my desk, but Friday must be his day off. What made it increasingly annoying was the red card shoved through the door was discovered as my primary care person was leaving, she looked at the time and remarked “I was here at 10:40 I never heard a knock” nor had I and to add salt she added “I was in here (the lounge, window beside front door) I would have seen him”.

Hmph …. blessed redelivery needed.

I went to the redelivery web page and tapped in my postcode and hit the ‘find address’ button, annddd my address does not appear, my street does not appear, my town does not appear! According to the proper official Royal Mail my street name is really my building name, the street is the street my road joins, and my town doesn’t warrant a mention. I took screen grabs of the errors and then manually added my address. Thankfully when Postie delivered on Monday it was my usual Postie and he brought the parcel in.

Twenty Seven years and ‘still’ the Royal Mail cannot get it right with the postcode they issued to my street.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2019 in Grumble, Life

 

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