It’ll all be fine . . .


Toward the end of last month, I had to go back to the hospital to review where I was after my stay back in February. I was scheduled to go in the middle of June, but with one illness and another, it got cancelled and rescheduled. We had been watching the news programs which showed patients waiting in corridors for long periods, waiting to be admitted to a ward. This was not our experience at all. More on this in a while.

Electrocardiogram
Echocardiogram

I was to have an Electrocardiogram which shows a graph of my heartbeat followed by an Echocardiogram, to get a look at how my replacement Mitral valve was working. The Electrocardiogram showed that I still had what the medical people call Atrial Flutter/Fibrillation. This is where the heart is beating irregularly. The image shows this quite well. The large peaks show that the blood leaving the heart is going at the correct pace, whereas the small peaks show the problem with the irregular heartbeat. The Echocardiogram however showed that the valve was behaving itself.

Cardioversion

The next step is I will need to wear a portable ECG monitor for 24 hours. this will give the Cardiologist a more accurate picture of the problem. The stage after that is the more worrying one. Once the data from the portable monitor has been analysed, the Cardiologist will decide If I need to undergo Cardioversion. Cardioversion is a medical procedure that uses quick, low-energy shocks to restore a regular heart rhythm. It’s a treatment for certain types of irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), including atrial fibrillation.

As mentioned above, there had been TV news videos showing patients on trolleys, and in corridors for hours on end. My appointment was at 14:30. I arrived at 14:25. after both procedures and a good talk with the Cardiologist, I was out at 15:20. A total of 50 minutes. I was amazed as I was expecting to be there until 18:00ish.

Yawn . . .


Says it all really! Nothing much has happened this week. Work was quiet on Monday and busier on Tuesday but nothing out of the ordinary. Eldest went down with Covid mid-week but it was kind of expected. Youngest is on a home visit this weekend and seems to be in a good place. My hospital appointment has changed (again), and that is about it!

Eldest and his family visited the RSPB Centre at Bempton cliffs last week. The granddaughter was obsessed with the Puffins. Unfortunately, there were only three visible, but she was still very excited. They bought me a present of a Puffin knitting kit which was kind. I’m not a huge fan of knitting kits as they tend to be expensive for what they are. This was no exception! It cost £17.95 for the kit which included the pattern and just enough yarn to complete the project. The annoying thing is that the pattern is available on Ravelry at £2.95 and the yarn is just standard low priced acrylic. I reckon I could have put the kit together to make at least 5 Puffins for less than £10.00. But it’s the thought that counts.

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Including ‘Barry’, I currently have two projects on the go. This is unusual for me, as I like to finish one before starting another. The other one is a cardigan I’m knitting for my granddaughter. I found the pattern in the last issue of the Knitting magazine that I recently subscribed to. I tend not to buy magazine subscriptions, but it was a good offer and it’s a magazine I’ve read before. I decided to go for a larger size than I needed, as I think it might take me longer than I expected. She is only three years old, but the size I am working on is for a four year old (note to self: need to buy another pair of 4mm interchangeables). Hopefully, I will get it finished by then. I’m almost at the bottom of the raglan stage, so probably about a third of the way through.

And that is about it for this week.

Always “When” rather than “If” . .


After about 2½ years of mask wearing, stepping into the road to avoid people, and hand sanitising, I finally succumbed to the virus. We had both tested negative on Friday morning (we have to do a lateral flow test [LFT] before R*** can come home for a visit) so everything looked okay. I had been feeling a little off colour since waking up but put it down to simply being a summer cold.


Saturday came, and I spent most of the either dozing in the chair or in bed. I was still thinking it was a cold and nothing else. By Sunday, I was thinking that the cold was lasting longer than it should. K*** said I should do a LFT to be on the safe side and I was beginning to think it might be a good idea. Then it showed … positive … which was not too unexpected. What was unexpected was the feeling of relief. Relief that I now knew what it was. I called K*** and let her know, before calling the boss. That’s another story, which I may put in writing when the anger dies down.

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Flash forward to today (Monday) and we are testing again as R***’s care home had said that he could go back as long as he tested negative. Well, nightmare time again, this time K*** tested positive. R***’s test was negative, so he was picked up around 11:00. It’s messed him up a little as cannot do any of his normal activities, has to be tested every day and his team have to go back to wearing the full PPE.

Then, at around 12ish we got a phone call from his care home. They are obliged to do a test when he arrives as a matter of course. Amazingly he tested positive. Could not believe it. So now, not only can he not do his normal activities, he is not allowed out of his flat until Tuesday.

The week got better . . .


The are no images in this post for reasons that you will understand as you read.

It’s been a bit of a rough week. In fact, it started the Friday before. I had been along to the Drs for my INR test, which was only just over a week since the last one. It had been a little high previously, so my dosage had been cut and it was time to check that it had worked. Problem was that it had gone even higher. No idea why, but it was well out of my range. The clinician decide to reduce the dose again and gave me an appointment for the following Wednesday.

Then in the early hours of Monday morning, I started to feel unwell and began a bout of S&D (sickness and diarrea). I had not felt as bad as did for years. I spent the whole day between and and the toilet. By late evening, I was beginning to feel a little better, but decided that I should not go to work in a kitchen with diarrea. That’s how it spreads. Tuesday came and went and I was beginning to think I had got the better of it.

How, by lunchtime on Wednesday I had a sort of relapse. I had no energy and literally no interest in eating at all. I thought It would be a good idea to go have a lie down and just rest for a while, to see if that helped. I had rung the INR clinic to explain the situation and we decided that it was probably not the best of ideas to have an INR test that day, and I was booked in for Friday.

By the time of the appointment, I was feeling fine again. Everything seemed to have cleared up, although my energy level was still low. I talked though how I had been with the clinician and was expecting the worst. However, I didn’t expect my INR to be so low, that it was out of my range. It was low enough for the clinician, to explain that I was at a slight risk of a stroke and what signs to look out for. She boosted my dosage drastically for two days and asked me to come for a test on Monday, before work. A little worrying.

On the plus side (sort of) I have lost about half a stone in weight and haven’t had an alchoholic drink sine last Sunday. The weight will probably start to creep up again, as it always does, but the cutting down on alcohol will be a great benefit.

Still some lingering issues . . .


After the last issue with my laptop, when it turned out I was using the wrong profile (see this post) I have been most careful with updates. Touch wood, the last couple have not been a problem. In fact (groping for more wood to touch) the computer start-up has improved from a poor 8 minutes to a more appropriate 3 minutes. Not too sure how long that will last though.

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I think I must be one of the very few people that are not really bothered about this Jubilee stuff. I just cannot get excited about it. Especially at this time with the current issues facing the country. I think of the billions being spent on these four days of ‘celebrations’ then I get angry at the people that say my youngest cannot be fully funded in his care home..

And all the plastic! Everywhere you look there are plastic Union flags. The great majority of them are upside down. Most people don’t know there is a correct way to show the flag. The red ‘X’ is set slightly off centre of the white ‘X’ which means (bear with me …) that the left-hand lower and upper legs have narrower lower white parts. This rotates to the right-hand and narrow bands become the upper side of the bands.

To the great majority of the country, I suppose it doesn’t matter, but it’s just another part of our culture being eroded. It’s as bad as the poor use of the English language that has pervaded the way some people speak. I get quite tetchy when I hear someone say “fustrated” instead of the correct “frustrated”. That and the incorrect use of the word “done” in phrases usually by football pundits. Phrases like “The boy done good!”

A bit of a nightmare . . .


I opened up my laptop this morning as I had a couple of things I needed to do before R*** came home. To my total surprise and annoyance, there was that little box at the bottom right of my screen, telling me that my computer needs to restart to complete the update process. I thought it sensible to do it straight away. After about 10 minutes, the system began to start-up again. But what was that? A pop-up message telling me that my profile had failed to install and was advising me to sign out. This was duly done and the start-up continued. My laptop is always slow to start so I wasn’t worried.

That is when the trouble started. My desktop screen had changed. All my usual icons had gone, only to be replaced with some random ones. It actually made to screen less cluttered which is not a bad thing. I then had to check that a document had been scanned and I needed to print it. This is when the real nightmare began. All the documents I had saved seemed to be missing. Everything for the funding review had gone! Months and months of work were nowhere to be found!

I headed straight to Google, but that produced nothing helpful. After about an hour of frantically pulling out what little hair I have, I decided to search for one of the documents. To my amazement, they were still on my machine, only in a TEMP folder. It seems that when the profile failed, any saved stuff was moved into this temporary folder. All I now needed to do was to move the files back into the main part of the storage area. This is going to take some time.

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After a lot more hours on Mr Google things are still not right, but better than first thing. I’m not holding my breath that everything will get back to ‘normal’, this is Windows after all.

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I continued with the Googling and profane language when some of the basic apps just wouldn’t work. then hidden on one of the Microsoft ‘help’ pages I spotted something. It appears that I was signed into my machine with a temporary login. The puzzled look on my face got more and more contorted as I scrambled about looking for my normal login. I found it and signed in using this profile, and everything opened up as normal. Everything I had lost was back in the correct place.

I have to admit that the foul language did not lesson very quickly and I was still more than a little angry about the whole experience, but all is good again (until the next time!)

Not as bad as expected . . .


As weeks go, last week was no different from the usual, although the cafe was (as usual) closed for the Bank Holiday, so Monday was a holiday. I find it unusual, that on possibly one of the most lucrative days on the calendar, the business closes, whilst the other coffee shops are open. But they have their reasons I suppose.

The biggest event of the week was my niece’s wedding. We have never met her husband to be, although we were aware of him. She is about 5 foot tall and very slim and he is getting on for 6 foot and is very large. Large to the point of being obese, but that has nothing to do with me. They are both well suited and seem very much in love.

They had a civil ceremony in a local event venue called The Engine Shed. It literally was an old railway engine shed in Wetherby but is now a much used local ‘party place.’

Then © disused-stations.org.uk
Now © confetti.co.uk
Ready to eat © Tony Huby

It was a good, if a bit of a long, day. The ceremony was at 11:00, but we were asked to be there at around 10:30. I think this was to ensure that the obligatory latecomers didn’t disrupt any of the proceedings. The ceremony went according to whatever plan was in place, and it was quite emotional for the groom, who bravely struggled with his own personal vows, but it all came good in the end.

It took no more than 20 minutes for the service to complete and we were then told that photos were to be taken outside. this was the first of the, shall we say “boring bits.” It took about an hour before all the formal pictures had been taken and we could go back into the warmth. The ‘Wedding Breakfast’ was served and it was a good meal. Then came the speeches and by half-past 2, the first part of the day was complete.

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The evening session was due to start at around 17:30, so time was spent in the bar trying not to get drunk. I was our driver, for a change, but I had a plan, that if I did feel that I couldn’t drive home, we could always get the local bus. Thankfully the price of the drinks prevented me from drinking more than I should.

© RockChoir.com

The session started with a performance by the Rock Choir, which was excellent. They sang around 6 or 7 songs, all of which were favourites of the bride and groom. Then we were ‘treated’ to the sounds of the ‘Disco!’ The ‘DJ’ could only be described as a cross between Greg Wallace and Ross Kemp. He liked the sound of his own voice, as the volume on his microphone was louder than the music he was playing. And the music . . . he seemed to like playing all those tunes that Dad’s dance really badly to (ABBA for example) or those rubbish tunes that are designed to get people all doing the same moves such as The Macarena. Supper was served at 20:00 and it was a choice between a rather dark looking chicken and rice offering and Macaroni Cheese with a small corn-on-the-cob. By this time I was completely passed it and needed to go home.

It was a good(ish) day, but thankfully there will not be another one in the near future.

A bit of a panic . . .


It was more than a shock when I read on one of the WordPress blogs, that pricing has changed. No discussions, no warning, just an announcement that the company was moving from a 5 plan structure to a simpler 2 plan. There was to be a ‘Free’ plan and a ‘Pro’ plan. All other plans would go. So no Business Plan, no Premium Plan, no Personal Plan and no eCommerce Plan. The cost would be (here in the UK) £7.00 per month for the ‘Pro’ plan. This would almost double the price I was currently paying.

I did a quick email to support, explaining that ‘… I neither needed nor desired …’ to upgrade to any other plan, so what did it mean for me? The reply was quick to arrive:

“… you do not have to switch to the new WordPress.com Pro plan if you don’t want to. All existing users will be able to keep their current legacy plans and no further action is required on your end for this.”

My feeling is that it is safe for now, but wonder how long before one of the ‘happiness engineers’ decide that the ‘legacy’ plans have to go?

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Not gone away . . .


Once again, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. No real reason, except for laziness in the area of writing! I have been knitting some small gift bags for a friend which has taken some time. The picture only shows the first three. I did ten altogether. But it has basically been a case of nothing interesting (to me at least) to write about. Now I have been informed, that “… it is the reader that decides on the level of interest …” and I agree, up to a point. The point is that I need to enjoy what I’m writing about, or what is the point of writing?

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Another week of stress is forthcoming. We will be going through R***’s Annual Review on Thursday. It’s always a strain at the best of times, but with the current situation facing us, it’s even worse this time. At least it’s a face to face meeting with his whole team, which is an improvement. Meeting over “Zoom” was ingenious, but it didn’t quite work as it should. His support team had a laptop between them, which was placed in the middle of a rectangular table. This meant that people at the far end of the table couldn’t be heard and the people closest to the laptop couldn’t be seen.

What should have happened is that there should have been a laptop between two people. That way everyone would have shown on screen when they spoke. It seemed such a simple idea.

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I was doing a little computer “housekeeping” last week and came across a link I had almost forgotten about. I used to have a site on “Blogger”, but it began as a cross-posting site for this blog. I was never satisfied with it as it didn’t seem to have the style that WordPress has and I quickly abandoned it. However, the link I re-found was to a “Google Sites” location. I seemed to have created it way back in 2009 as a place to self-publish some photos and short stories. To be honest, there is not much there as I concentrated more on this site.

I’m not sure how long the site will stay live, but it’s there for now and I’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the future. I have no immediate intention of updating or adding to the content, but it was interesting to visit it again, and who knows what will happen, if I ever get the “story bug” again …… The five short stories that are on there are all based in part on things that did actually happen to people I know.

Dreading it . . .


My post

What am I dreading? It’s back to work tomorrow and I’m not really sure I want to go back. I’m not sure if the work is too much for me these days. A couple of people have said that I need to think about either stopping work or finding an easier job. No not easier, more less strenuous. The job is easy. Put the pots in the dishwasher then take them out. No brain strain there, but it’s more of a physical thing. So it’s something I need to think about carefully, because with the cost of living rising every day, the money is going to be needed.

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Almost !

I got my hair cut on Friday! I had decided to get rid of the moustache and beard at the beginning of the week and had been promising K**h that the hair would follow suit. I enjoyed the length, but it was beginning to get a bit scruffy and unkempt. It was also a bit of a bind having to wet my hair every morning to make it lie correctly. So I bit the bullet and went for the clippers with blade number four. No before and after pictures I’m afraid.

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Strange and scary . . .


It started Saturday morning. I began to notice a slight ache across my chest. I thought it was the result of coughing and that I had strained some muscle. However, it seemed to get stronger slightly as the day went on. By around 6:30, it was a lot more noticeable, but I still put it down to the previous coughing.

Went off to bed around 11:30 and the ache had now become a pain. I was now beginning to wonder what was going on. I couldn’t sleep or get comfortable and went downstairs to get a warm drink. My wife followed asking what was wrong. I explained about the pain, which was now much worse. We decided that we needed to call someone, as I was beginning to think along the Heart Attack lines.

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K**h called the Ambulance Service and they arrived within about 15 minutes. The Paramedic and his partner were amazing. He asked a lot of questions and then wired me up to his portable ECG machine. He explained that he would do three scans to check the readings were all correct. After a quick study of the print-outs, he declared that he was convinced that I was suffering from Atrial Fibrillation and his partner quickly agreed.

Then the scary bit came, when he said, “Right let’s get off to the hospital!” Neither I or K**h knew what to say. It certainly wasn’t what I expected to hear. I’m not sure what I expected, maybe a tablet to put under my tongue (not sure what that does, but I had heard of that) and advice to see a GP. But the hospital was not on my radar at all. We asked what I should take and he joked that all I needed was a phone and a good book.

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The next thing I knew, I was strapped to a trolley and we were hurtling along the roads to Harrogate. With blue lights flashing, as the paramedic wanted to get me there quickly, we soon arrived at the A & E of Harrogate district hospital. Things moved quite quickly. After the usual blood taking and a chest X-ray, I was found a bed in a Critical Care ward. All in all, about 45 minutes.

I was hooked up to a full ECG monitor and was placed on oxygen as my saturation levels were low. Well, sleep was out of the question! The ECG machine was constantly beeping as my heart rate changed and if you have ever had the cause to use a Nasal Cannula then you will know how uncomfortable they can be when lying on your side, trying to sleep.

I was in my own room, and there was nobody to talk to. The door was kept closed as there was a patient with dementia, that was trying to go home and would go into the rooms if the door was open. I had a full day and night of this before a doctor decided that I should be on a Cardiology and not Critical Care. I was moved to another ward at 8pm. This time it was a five bedded ward, with four other patients. Although they were all around my age, they were all local people talking about local issues. Not as boring as before, but I had nothing in common with any of them.

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I now had a portable monitor which was linked by wifi to somewhere. This meant I was mobile and didn’t have to unplug anything to go to the toilet. I was still on oxygen though. Monday night passed without any issues and I found that I had slept for about six hours.

Tuesday was as boring as the other two days. For some reason, televisions are not on any of the wards. Something to do with the licence fee which I didn’t understand. So the only entertainment we had was a small radio playing music from a local radio station.

Later in the afternoon, a different Cardiologist saw me and explained that the increase in one of my medications had regulated my heart rate enough for me to go home. Hopefully that day. However, my blood oxygen levels were not good enough and I was to stay another night.

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Wednesday morning came and the nurse that was taking my blood pressure and oxygen levels told me to take really deep breaths when the oxygen was checked as that increased the levels. She also told me that I should regularly take a couple of deep breaths throughout the day as a matter of course.

The Cardiologist came again and explained that all the signs were good and that I could go home that day. This was around 10am. I now had to wait for my new medications. The Pharmacist turned up at around 1pm and took some details about the medication I had at home. She explained that she would put the prescription in and that as soon as it was ready, I could go.

I called K**h and explained that I was waiting for my meds and I would call her again when I had them. It was 4:30pm before the Dispensary called the ward to say my stuff was ready. It annoyed me that with all the bed shortages around, I was taking up a bed, whilst waiting for someone to fulfil my prescription.

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It was getting on for 6pm when we finally got home, and I have never been so happy to see the house again. It had been a scary episode and has given me cause to ponder on life, work and things.

Not the best start . . .


R**s was home on Friday for the weekend. We spent most of the day waiting for storm Eunice to start, and when it did, it wasn’t as bad as we had been led to believe. Well not for us anyway. Then at around 17:45, we got a power cut. I had been expecting one all day and I thought we had got away with it. The problem was that everything went down. R**s did not understand this and he became more and more stressed. We were off-grid for only 30 or 40 minutes but it seemed a lot longer. As the power cut continued, we realised that we needed to calm R**s down and opted to give him his PRN medication. He has not had any for quite a long time, but it seemed to work.

Suddenly everything began to work again. Lights came on, the wi-fi router fired up, the burglar alarm sounded and everything was back to normal. Or so we thought. It became obvious that there was something amiss with R**s’s television. There was no signal. He has a secondary Sky receiver and the TV was showing a graphic that said “No Signal”. K**h thought it may be the satellite dish, but it was working downstairs. after a great deal of ‘Googling’, we came up with the idea that his box may need to be reset. This was not as easy as the Googlites were explaining. We seemed to have buttons and switches missing.

Composite AV
HDMI

Then, for no reason whatsoever I selected the ‘Source’ button on the TV handset and instantly realised what had happened. The power cut had reset the input to its default Composite AV. To view from the Sky receiver it needed to be changed to HDMI. Once this was done, everything was back to ‘normal’. I should have remembered this from when we had the problem a couple of years ago. We now just had to reset all the clocks, timers in the house that do not have a battery back-up, of which there are many!

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SCART

The next morning all seemed okay. His computer was working and so was the Sky receiver. I quickly nipped out to the bottle bank and came back to hear that his DVD player was not playing correctly. Or more correctly wasn’t displaying correctly. I immediately checked the ‘source’ which was correct, but quickly realised that it must be the SCART cable that had worked loose whilst I was trying to reset the Sky receiver. After a few minutes of juggling about and we had ‘lift off’. Everything back to what we call ‘normal’ again.

Then it snowed!

Hello COVID Year 3


R**s came home for the weekend on Friday. We have not seen him since 30th December. He likes to be in his flat over the New Year as fireworks upset him, and at his care home, they are able to minimise any startling noise. So it’s a lot calmer for him.


The home went into ‘lock-down’ on the 2nd of January, when one of the staff tested positive. As per the Government guidelines (sic) they were not allowing home visits until there was 28 (?) clear days without any new infections. That changed about a week ago to 14 days, and so he was able to come and visit for the weekend

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Leeds Civic Hall

We had his assessment on Wednesday, which was very traumatic. The Social Worker went through everything with us, and noted everything about him. This should have been done before the funding meeting, but there was nobody available at such short notice, except for the Duty Social Worker. He had little or no knowledge of R*** or his case, so could only go on what he was being told.


The case now has to go to a panel, who will decide if it is an appropriate placement. If it is, and I think we all made a good case, then it goes to a Financial Assessment to see if some of the funding needs to come from R***’s benefits, before going to yet another panel for financial approval.
It’s just more worries on top of more worries, especially as this is likely to happen every year.

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Work is turning into a bit of a chore at the moment. The Assistant Manager left, and it seems that people are jockeying for the position. To be honest, I don’t think any of them are capable. There is more to a managers job, than simply telling others what to do. The boss has her favourites though, so it is down to her as to what happens.


I’m still half-heartedly looking for something else. This job is getting a little too strenuous for me these days. But I don’t want a job that has any form of responsibility. I had enough of that over the past 50 years. I’d love a job, where I can sit at a desk and tap details into a computer system. I wouldn’t want a phone as I’m not very good with people on the telephone. In fact, I’m not very good with people full stop.

Not been in the mood . . .


I’ve had a cold since around the 16th of the month. I started with a bit of a sniffle on the previous Wednesday and I did a few Lateral Flow Tests (LFT’s) on the basis that the new Omicron variation had cold-like symptoms. All showed negative thankfully, but by the afternoon of the 17th (Monday), my cold was in full flow. So bad that I decided to ring in sick on Tuesday, which was probably the best idea. I spent the whole day in bed, sleeping which was very unusual for me.

By Saturday, I was beginning to feel much better and was almost looking forward to returning to work on the following Monday. I duly went back, but by Tuesday afternoon, I was beginning to feel bad again. More LFT’s followed, but again all were negative and I had to give in to the fact that either my initial cold had not gone, or that I had a new version. It’s just coming to the end now, ready for work tomorrow. Oh, joy!

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Wednesday is not going to be a good day. The trust that funds R***’s placement has decided that they don’t it to be fully funded by them. It has been for the past 10 years, but they now think that the funding should be shared between them and the Local Authority. I find it very wrong, that people make decisions about people, without even really knowing them. But apart from him getting older and becoming more tolerant, he still has the same diagnosis. He has not been ‘cured’ of Autism or ADHD. His medication has been reduced, but that is down to the team he works with.

So on Wednesday, we are having a Zoom meeting with the Social Worker that has been allocated to him. It’s going to be very stressful, especially as he’s been in lock-down since he went back to his residential place at the end of December. Hopefully, he can get home for the weekend, but much depends on how the virus spreads over this next week.

Going backwards ? ? ?


I don’t like the Gutenberg Block editor. I feel constrained when adding images by the way I am forced to let the image sit at the top of the block. It’s either left-aligned or right-aligned, but always at the top of the block. It used to be the case that an image could be placed anywhere in the paragraph and the text would wrap around that image. This was most useful, especially if you are writing a longer paragraph and feel the need to add an image halfway down the text. The top of a text paragraph is not always the most appropriate position for an image. Here you can see that the image appears to be embedded within the paragraph, and you can see that it is relevant to the text.

I have tried a number of 3rd party editors much to the disgust of the WordPress mafia, team. who appear to think that the block editor is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Open Live Writer, which was an open-source replacement for Windows Live Writer, was my favourite, but that has not been actively developed for over 5 years. Microsoft Word is good but I need to do a little bit of work to get the display of the post to look correct. However, there is an excellant tutorial on https://weeklyprompts.com/ website/blog (NB: I must re-read this again) along with many more helpful downloadable files.

So, I may have to go back to the Classic Editor, with which this post was written. Any suggestions to the WordPress team/support/forum is met with the classic “Thank  you for reaching out ...” (whoever coined that phrase needs help) followed a day or so later with “We are not currently looking to blah, blah, blah…

I recently tried a Windows app called Net Writer 2. From the information in the Microsoft Store this app “…Net Writer helps you write blogs. WordPress, Movable Type, Livejournal, Google Blogger and MetaWeblog based blogs are supported…”. To be honest, it not worth the time it takes to download. It looks clumsy and dated and has an interface that looks like it has been built by a seven year old.

Interesting (Disappointing) day . . .


Bar3

For whatever reason, our day out shopping on Thursday did not take place. What usually happens is that we go to Wetherby, have a walk around the Market then visit Bar3 for lunch. However, on the past two occasions we were served by new staff, who didn’t seem to know what we would normally have. We like to share a wrap, split over two plates. That way we appear to each get more or less the same salad and chips that a single portion would be. Most of the staff know us by sight, but the new staff were just that, new.

Tesco, rather than Morrisons was the order of the day yesterday. We had it in mind to spend a little time as possible instore then hed off for a bit of lunch at Ego @ The Wellington. It’s been a while since I visited The Wellington, but I must have subscribed to their newsletter as I have been getting an email from them at least once a week.

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However, back to Tesco. I was very dismayed by the number of customers, instore that were not wearing a face covering. I estimate that there was at least 20% of the customers did not even attempt to cover their face! I was also baffled by the 5% that had a covering, but had decided that they only needed to cover their throat, leaving their mouth and nose uncovered. There was even one man that had his face covering over his forehead. Now I know that for some people it can be a very traumatic thing wearing a mask, but I cannot believe that all of those people had some form of medical exemption. Although I may be wrong!

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I’m flitting back and forth here. We finished the shopping and set off to the Wellington. The place looked not too full and there seemed to be a good few empty tables. We asked for a table for two but was advised, that there was a 30 minute wait for a table, and then another 30 minute wait for food. It was bizarre. It was half past one, which meant that we would not even be served until until half past two, which seemed ridiculous. I think it was a trick to get people into the bar for more drinks rather than anything else, although the waiter claimed it was due to staff shortages.

The Inn @ Scarcroft
Frozen Fish ??

We were getting a little hungry by now, so K*** suggested we try The Inn at Scarcroft. We had been a few times, but it had been last year when I last went. No problems here. K*** requested a children’s Fish & Chips (she had had that before, and it was ample for her) and I selected the standard Fish & Chips. I must say, it was very disappointing. Whilst K***’s was real battered fish strips, mine appeared to be a portion of ready battered frozen fish. It should have been Cod, but there was no way I could tell what fish it even was. There should have been triple cooked chips, but they looked just like standard frozen ones. If I we go back, then the Fish & Chips will not be my choice.

Happy(ish) New Year . . .


The Crown

Didn’t get off to the best of starts! We stayed up to see the new year in by watching the annual Jules Holland Hogmany show. It had got to about 00:40 and K*** decided she was too tired to stay up any longer. I thought I would check some emails that had been pinging away since midnight. I fired up the laptop, which I had shutdown earlier. It can often take 5 minutes before the machine is usable, and during this time, I must have closed my eyes. When I opened them again the time was show as 02:50. I had know idea where I was, what I was doing, and wasn’t too sure who I was.

We decided to resurrect our tradition of a News Year’s Walk. K*** quite fancied trying a pub in Boston Spa that had recently reopened. It’s a 5 mile round trip and by the time we got to the pub, we were ready for a drink. The service was appalling! There was only one person serving at the bar, and he was also taking food orders. It took at least 10 minutes to be served but we eventually got our drinks and began to warm to the place. Warm that is, until we decided to have another drink. I’m not sure if it just bad luck, but it again took 10 minutes before I was served. Not sure if another visit is on the cards!

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R***, our youngest had gone back to his care home on the 30th. He usually goes back before New Years Eve as he struggles with the noise of fireworks. In his flat, they can ensure that the noise doesn’t disturb him, which is something we cannot do here as there are usually fireworks being let off most of the night. It works well for all of us and to be honest, he was ready to go back. He was sat waiting in his room, and as soon as his primary caseworker arrived in his car, R*** was downstairs and ready to go. It is really reassuring to know that he thinks of his flat, at the care home as his other home.

Then yesterday, we got our usual daily call (or so we thought) from his care worker, who informed us that because of the rising number of Covid cases in the area, the place was going into a mini lockdown until the end of January. It was not unexpected, and we were just glad he was able to come here for Christmas, and glad he got back. It was around this time last year when the country went into full lockdown, and Rhys was not able to come here for about 5 weeks. The year before we went into lockdown in March and it was July when he was ‘released’ for want of a better word. Then in October 2020 we had another lockdown and we were not sure if he would be allowed home for Christmas at all.

But through it all, he has amazed everybody with how well he has coped and understood. It could have been so different. We are convinced that this is partly due to him having a planner, that shows what days he is where and the team that look after him. They know him and know just how far they can go. Couple that with the fact that he is no longer on any medication for his condition, we continue to be amazed.

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Yesterday also brought some news that was expected. Another member of the team at the cafe where I work has decided to leave. That makes three of my friends leaving in the past three months. It leaves me worried about my position. A*** was at one time the top person in the team. The one to go to for help or advice. An expert in her job as a Barista. But she seems to have fallen out of favour with the management since our new team member started. He is one of those annoying people that will do anything to please. At least he thinks he is pleasing.

Anyway, she is going which leaves only one trained Barista left . The manager can do it, but she is not going to want to work six days a week. So I think it is going to be a big change all round, and I cannot forsee the outcome to be anything but a disaster.

One more sleep . . .


That’s all. One more sleep and then it’s over. Christmas can become a thing of the past until October 2022 then we do it all again. However, we probably will still be paying for it up until Easter. It’s been a wet one for us. No snow, not even a glimmer of a flake. I put it down to the fact that our village is in a dip, therefore, retains some slight warmth. Well, that’s my theory.

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I’m not back at work until 10th January. The owners close for their annual holiday at this time, and although they are not going abroad this year, they still decided to close. It may be something they regret in the near future. There are no new COVID restrictions in England at the moment, but the Government are trying to be popular and are putting the emphasis on personal responsibility rather than a Government diktat. I fear that come the beginning of the New Year, that decision may have to be revised.

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The last time . . .


Now I know that you do not “give to receive”. I know that it’s not a good thing to expect some return when you give something, but an acknowledgement should be the done thing! I’m talking about Christmas cards.

It’s always a bit of an effort for me when it comes to selecting and writing Christmas cards. My handwriting is not the best in the world and I always find it difficult to put a message that doesn’t sound a bit ‘cheesy’. I usually put something like “Best wishes for a great Xmas and a great New Year” which is about as ‘cheesy’ as it comes. But I had a go and took time to write carefully and select appropriate cards.

But to return to the point. Out of the 15 cards I gave to work colleagues, only 2 replied with a card. Another one, I wasn’t expecting to reply as I won’t see them again until the new year. That leaves 12 that couldn’t even bother to respond. Not even with that old cliche ‘We are not giving cards this year … blah blah blah … donating to charity…’ So this year is the last time of giving cards. Maybe.

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On another subject!

I’m considering changing the theme to this blog. No idea what I will choose if, in fact, I do so. I just fancy a change. This will be the fourth change of theme since I started. My current theme is Independent Publisher 2 and the previous ones have been 2015 and 2016. But this is yet another maybe.

Well . . . I survived . . .


Starter
Main

The staff night out happened yesterday. It was a supposedly ‘Italian Christmas Special Menu‘ but it didn’t look too special to me. It seemed to be an attempt to popularise some menu items that they may not have been selling much. I didn’t rate the meal highly, but I suppose it could have been my choices. Starter was ‘Butterfly King Prawns‘ and they were a little bit on the tough side. I followed up with ‘Pollo Milanese‘. This was a breaded chicken breast served with a creamy mushroom sauce. I think the chicken was more than a little over-cooked as it was quite dry and didn’t taste any better than the local ‘Chicken & Chips’ shop. As for the ‘creamy’ mushroom sauce, it was more a ‘greasy’ mushroom sauce that was lacking in seasoning of any kind. But at least the dessert of Tirimasu was excellent.

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Since I became an ‘OAP’ I have had a consessionary bus pass. I very rarely use it, but I thought it would give the perfect reason to leave the party early if I needed to. I have used it a couple of times when we have used the Park & Ride at York. It gives the holder a return journey for the price of a single journey, but yesterday it was free travel all day. By car, it takes 8 minutes, but by bus it’s more like 25 minutes, so it is understandable, why so many people drive everywhere. I have often considered using the bus for work. But the times are awkward. For me to get to work in time to start at 10:30, I would have to catch the 9:27 bus. Whereas if I drive, I don’t need to set off until 9:55.

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We had are ‘family get together and present exchange‘ on Friday. It was another thing that I was dreading. The Americans were coming! K***’s brother married a Californian teacher and moved to America over 20 years ago. They keep coming back, with their daughter every few years to see us and it is usually quite pleasant. However. They are a loud bunch and their loudness seems to rub off on everyone else. It usually seems to end up with people trying to out do each other in the volume stakes.

When I say “Hate” . . .


Hate is a big word that is used a lot these days. I often can be heard to say “I hate Christmas …“I don’t hate it, I just hate all the ‘extra stuff’ that jogs alongside it. You know, things like ‘Celebrity Christmas’ quizzes or game shows. All done for a charity of course, but you kind of know the ‘Celebs’ are not doing it for free. They mainly take part in these shows as a reminder to the public, that they are ‘still around…‘ Still, Christmas only lasts from around the middle of October until January the first, or is that me being a little cynical?

R***’s Wreath

So the cards (what few I’m giving) are written and delivered/posted. The gift for the works ‘Secret Santa‘ has been decided on and purchased. I think nearly all the gifts we are giving this year have been bought and wrapped. Decorations are up. We don’t go overboard, and usually have the same things every year. Youngest came home with a fantastic handmade wreath which he had made himself. Looks amazing and because it is not made from any organic material, it will last for many years to come.

We have decided this year not to give each other a present. I had been thinking about this for a couple of years, although I never mentioned it, but it was K*** that came up with the idea and I had to agree. Seems a little pointless asking each other what we want for Christmas, when we can just go a buy it when we want.

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© citikey
© Wetherby District Lions Club

I’m dreading work tomorrow (as is usual.) I have this idea that the manager is going to insist that staff wear face coverings again. We don’t wear them in the kitchen, but I think she will insist that staff wear one when in the restaurant. That will cause a lot of ‘moans and groans‘ again. It’s understandable that it is uncomfortable and inconvenient, but complaining does not do anything. The cafe is open today as there is a ‘Dickensian Christmas Market’ in Wetherby. They do not usually open on Sunday, but the staff get to dress-up and it’s a bit of fun. I do think they are missing a trick here. Sunday is quite a busy day in Wetherby and to be open, even for just a few hours may prove more profitable than some of the other days. All the other cafes (bar one) in Wetherby are open on Sunday, so competition maybe a little bit stiff, but once word gets around, it could be worth while.

Fingers crossed . . .


My INR value has gone to pot this past few weeks. I had a test at the end of September, which was almost on target at 2.9 (my target is 3 within the range of 2.0 to 3.5). The clinician was very pleased as it had been going either up or down since I had some anti-biotics back in May. I had been getting my INR test every 3 weeks and because it was so good, I was given 6 weeks before the next test. That next test wasn’t good. It had dropped to 2.1, within my range but only just. My Warfarin dose was upped a little and was due back in 4 weeks. That happened on the 1st of this month and lo and behold, the rate was up to 3.7. So the dosage was changed again and I’m back again on the 15th of this month. Fingers crossed that it will be where it should be.

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Annoyingly, three days after booking my COVID booster jab, and moaning that there was nowhere local offering them, I received a phone call from my GP’s surgery. They wanted to book me in for my booster. I explained that I had booked elsewhere, but would cancel if they could jab me sooner than the 9th. “Oh no!” was the reply, “We would be looking at around the 20th …” It seems that they are a couple of weeks behind, which doesn’t sound so good.

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It’s beginning to get very close now. I’ve just finished writing my Christmas cards. There are not as many as there used to be and I’ve decided to only send them to the people I want to send greetings to. In the past, I would send them to everybody I knew. It cost a fortune to send and you knew that most of them would end up in the recycling bin by New Years Day. I don’t send to receive, but can be a little disheartening when made an effort and you don’t get a reply or even a response.

I’m a bit of a Grinch or a ‘Bah Humbug’ type when it comes to Christmas. The whole idea and meaning of Christmas seems to have been lost over the years. I hate how the TV ads start to appear towards the end of October, which is probably only a few months after you have finished paying for the previous years celebrations.

Changes . . .


Things are changing at work. We are a couple of members of staff down due to them leaving the job. We don’t seem to be able to recruit anybody to replace them. So there are the beginnings of thoughts to close the cafe for two days instead of the one. At the moment we are closed only on Sunday. It’s my belief (and one or two others) that Monday will be the second day to close. This will affect me, as I only work Monday and Tuesday. I’ve been asked if would be willing to change a day and work on Thursdays instead, which I have said I cannot do.

When I applied for the job, I made it clear that I could only work Monday and Tuesday and possibly an occasional extra day if they were desperate. At the time, I was having my INR test every 3 weeks on Wednesday. Thursday was the day K*** and I had our day out, and often we had meetings with R***’s care managers on Thursday. And then R*** would come home every weekend on a Friday, so that made Friday and Saturday impossible.

So it does look like I may be losing a day’s work, which to be honest, I’m not going to miss that much.

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Finally got our COVID Booster jabs sorted. I say finally because it’s been a bit of a struggle to get a date. My invite came through about a fortnight ago, and we decided to wait until K*** got her invite before we booked, so we could both go together, which made more sense than having to make two separate journeys.

There were some serious issues when we tried to book. There is nowhere local to us! The nearest was about nine miles away. When K*** looked at her options, the list was showing locations different from mine. Again, like with my work, there were only certain days when I\we could go. We eventually managed to get booked for 9th December. It makes a total mockery of the Governments pressure to get the booster if there are not enough centres and dates available. We have two ‘Health Centres’ within 5 miles of our home, but neither of them are vaccination centres which seems crazy to me.

Sometimes . . . Grrrr


There are occasions when Microsoft Windows will make life so difficult that murder becomes an attractive option. I can usually have a go at fixing a problem when I know what the problem is. But then there are times when even knowing the problem leaves you in the dark when trying to fix them.

Windows 10

Today was one such occasion. It started yesterday evening when my laptop informed me that Windows needs to restart to complete the latest update. I like to get things like that out of the way as soon as possible, so I did the required restart and cracked on with some other stuff I needed to do.

It became apparent after about 40 minutes that something was amiss. The screen showed the usual blue update screen warning me not to turn my computer off as it was ‘working’ on the updates and was at 0%. Twenty minutes later, it was still at 0%!

It was then that I took drastic action and put my laptop into ‘sleep mode’. Upon waking up again everything seemed fine until it got stuck again 10 minutes later. A bit more sleep mode and then the update finished. By this time it was getting late and I decided that I needed to go into ‘sleep mode.’

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SFC.exe

This morning new problems appeared. Everything was running very slowly and some applications were simply refusing to open. I remembered from my previous job that if there was a problem, I should run the “System File Checker” (sfc.exe). This would find the problem and I could then look for a solution. It took about 2½ hours to run, but the system still seemed slow. I was contemplating how I could explain that I needed a new machine when a pop-up occurred telling me that ‘Windows needs to restart …” again. A quick look in the update settings told me that the previous update had not been installed.

Once again I restarted my laptop and after a good 30 minutes, I was back up and running. This time everything was back to normal speed and all the applications were behaving themselves. I’m thinking that yesterdays update file was corrupted somehow and a new version of the update fixed everything. But who knows?