Full of cold …


Yep, I’m full of cold. It started with a bit of a cough at the beginning of the week and it’s now reached the ‘messy’ stage. Problem is, that on Saturday, we are all going for our annual ‘flu jab’. I’ve been told, that with any prosthetic heart valve, the flu vaccination is a very good, if not essential idea. Not sure if I will be able to have it. Certainly don’t feel up to having it at this precise moment.

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Bramham All Saints Church

We went to church on Sunday. Not such a big thing you may say, many people do. I used to go often when R*** was a lot younger, but as he has grown up, getting out of the house on his ‘days off’ is a big problem. I can understand too. He goes off to his daycare centre Monday to Friday, so on the weekend, all he wants to do is be in his room, doing the things that he likes to do. A bit like most of us really. If it’s not something you have to do, then why do it? Anyway, he was on respite at the weekend, and it seemed such a good opportunity to go. It was interesting seeing people that we know, but have not seen for a while. We are looking to go again on the 5th November, when R*** is on a weekend respite again. This could become a regular occurrence.

 

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Now the bathroom is finished, I’m looking to start on some decorating. I need to tidy up the paintwork in the bathroom, (ceiling and door frame to be precise) but want to have a good go at it without too many break-offs. R*** goes on respite again on Monday, so I could probably do that in one day. I then need to start on the staircase. There is not a lot to paint, but it will be the access that will be the main issue. Hopefully, if I can crack on, I should get it all done before he returns of Friday afternoon. Ideally, I’d like to have all the work done by the end of Thursday, but that may be pushing it a little. It’s all in the planning! I’m thinking though, that the doorframes, may have to wait until the following week.

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I have once again used the new WordPress editor to publish this, and the jury is still out. I have yet to work out how to publish as a draft, or in fact if I need to publish as a draft first.

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** I have just discovered the ‘Preview’ button. This seems to work as a draft mode, allowing me to check what the post looks like before posting. So no real need to post a draft first. I have also just found the Windows Store ‘WordPress.com’ app. So the next post will be using that (if I can remember) **

A couple of days away …


It was our wedding anniversary on Friday. Thirty eight years! So here we are having a couple of days away in Scarborough. Not exactly in Scarborough, but just on the outskirts. 

It’s bloody cold! We were expecting it would be, and were expecting that it would be raining all the time too. But the rain has held off for most of the time, although it was a bit horrendous driving. 

Tonight we are staying at The Copper Horse in Seamer and then we move to The Plough at Scalby. Both are on the outskirts of Scarborough.

I have couple of photos, but I’ll post them when I do a full post later this week.

BTW … still not quite got my head around this retirement idea yet.  

All starting to get a bit real now …


Well, the confirmation I’ve been waiting for, came through on Friday morning. My boss emailed me first thing to tell me that my application for Early Retirement had been passed by the Corporate Panel. I am now all set to retire from full time employment on the 31st October.

I may have mentioned this before, but Leeds has had to respond to the huge funding cuts that have been forced on the Council. One of the initiatives has been what Leeds call the ‘Early Leavers Initiative’ or ELI as it is known. This is basically voluntary early retirement. Staff over a certain age in services that are at the forefront of the cuts are able to apply for ELI in order to reduce costs. I applied back in July, when it became obvious that our team was one of the teams that could be at risk. I felt it was a case of jump before I was pushed. Going now, I get a reasonable package, that I would not have got if I would have been one of the ‘pushed’ and my Service Head made it quite clear that some people would be forced to go in March 2017.

So now, I need to look for a part-time job. Although the package is a good one, it’s a lot less than I am currently used too. I also need to be able to get out of the house an keep active. My knitting and computer hobbies will not fill all the time and I don’t want to be under the feet of K*** everyday. Fingers crossed I find something quickly. 

A quick explanation


I’ve been trying the publicise option with WordPress to get my efforts to a wider public. I have managed to get Twitter under my belt, but wanted to get it out on Google+ also. I thought I had managed it but they were all posting as private. Not even going to my Circles.

After a bit of Googling (appropriate or what) I found the settings I needed. Job done.

Quick update on the car issue…


As I mentioned, the car was going in to have the ‘knocking’ noise looked at. Knowing my luck, I was expecting it to be expensive.

It had to be in the garage for 10:30 and we got it there for just after 10:00. It was booked in and we were told to go have a complimentary coffee, and they would let us know what was happening. I could see my car from where we were sitting, and by 10:45, it still had’n’t moved. Then around 11:00 I saw it being driven down to the service area. “Not long now” I said to K***.

Just after 11:45, K*** went to see if they could tell us how long it was going to be. We both thought, that they would have a look and come and tell what it was, when they could do it and more importantly how much it was going to cost. The answer she got was, I thought just the bog-standard ‘they’re working on it now’ answer.

Another 45 min later, and K*** was up and asking the question again. After about 5 minutes, I went to see where she was.

Found her talking to the Service Manager, who had the job sheet for my car (saw the registration, so that’s how I knew). She was nodding and almost smiling, so I thought it can’t be that bad then. The manager explained that it was one of the ‘suspension’ rods had broken, and that was causing the noise. I stood there, waiting for the bad news. It never came. There was no charge. It was covered. I bought a 5 year extended warranty when I bought the car, but stuff like this is never covered. Never covered! I drove home with a smile on my face that is still lingering!

 

New Lappy – Still getting there


It’s taking a while to get my new machine up to something like I had on my old machine. There are a couple of issues I still need to sort out and some that I don’t think will get sorted.

Those of you who are a bit ‘techy’ will understand the next bit. My hard drive has two visible partitions. One called C: (OS) and the other is D: (Data). Both are roughly the same size, but all new programs and documents and files etc are using the ‘C’ partition and nothing seems to be using the other partition. I had the idea that programs would go to ‘C’ and documents and other files would go to ‘D’. I had a similar issue on R***’s laptop and solved it by using a partition manager that I downloaded from the internet to shrink one and stretch the other. I thought I could do the same on this machine, but it is proving a little more difficult. I’m probably going to have to ask on one of the help websites for some advice.

Another big issue that raised its head this morning was with my anti-virus software. For years I have used AVG as my anti-virus and it has served me well. I therefore thought I would stick with what I know and duly installed AVG. All was fine until I needed to do a restart of my machine. The system that informed me that AVG could run because a certain file was missing. I had probably been deleted when I uninstalled some pre-installed software that I did not need. Trying to reinstall AVG gave me the same error message. I tried the AVG forums, but there was so many ‘answers’ that it was impossible to decipher which route to take. I did the usual Googling for the best (free) program, and it came up with Avast free at the top, with AVG languishing in third place. Well I’ve done a couple of ‘bullet biting’ exercises this week, so I thought one more wouldn’t go amiss. So now I have to get used to using Avast

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I’m having a bit of an issue with the car also. A couple or more weeks ago, I noticed that there was a banging noise as I was driving. Couldn’t work out where the noise was coming from, but I only really notice it when driving on road surfaces that are not well maintained. I have a slight suspicion that it could be the shock absorbers or something to do with the suspension that’s the problem, which could be expensive. It is going to the garage on Wednesday so all will be revealed then.

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On a final note. Anyone have an idea why, the word count at the bottom of my writing in Word 2016 says one thing and and the proper word count says something different? It is only accurate after the document has been saved!

A little bit of a rant


Saturday was ‘Medication Review’ day. This in my opinion, is a bit of a waste of time. I’m currently on three types of medication: an anti-acid for my stomach reflux, an anti-coagulant for my heart valve and a beta-blocker to help my heart. Now the doctor has told me, and I have no reason to disbelieve him, that these are lifelong medications and it is something I accepted when they were prescribed. So why, every twelve months or so do I need to have a medication review? I suppose it is good that I get to see my doctor and he can see that I’m doing okay, but if a medication is lifelong…

My doctors’ surgery is in Tadcaster and many people will be aware of the events of Boxing Day 2015, when the ancient bridge was damaged in the flood. This is the only bridge in the town over the Tadcaster bridgeriver Wharfe and it has literally cut the place in two. It is going to be rebuilt but is estimated to take at least 12 months to complete.

We live, in a nearby village which is on one side of the river, and the doctors’ surgery is on the opposite side. So at the moment, what used to be a 9 mile round trip is now 17 miles , and what used to be at maximum a 26 minute round journey, is now a 42 minute one. It is worse some many of the inhabitants. I know of one person that lives very very close to the bridge that works very close to the other side of the bridge. What used to be a 3 minute walk across the bridge now is now a 20 minute bus journey.

On a more positive note, work has commenced on building a, what I understand is a temporary footbridge close to the main bridge. This will go a long way to reuniting the two halves of the town.

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I’m still struggling to find the best posting method for me. This post is being written in Word and I then intend to ‘copy & paste’ it into the WordPress desktop app. I like the desktop app, but would like it better if it had a spell checker. That was one of the better features of the old online editor which seems to be missing from the ‘newer’ online editor that WordPress tries to get me to adopt.

I suppose, at the end of the day, the best posting method is the one that suits the poster best. I still like the Word 2013 Blog Post template, but then again I really liked the Windows Live Essential Writer program (anyone remember when ‘apps’ used to be programmes?). The best thing that WordPress can do next, is to update the new editor to include some proofing tools. So if anyone at WordPress reads this … please

I bit the bullet …


I completed the form, citing mid April 2017 as my leaving date and emailed it off to HR. I then composed, recomposed, deleted, recomposed again my email to my service head. Then took a deep breath and sent it. I believe the exhalation of that deep breath was quite audible. I had done it, now wait for the backlash. I had decided that I would tell him that I had made my decision ‘after a good deal of talking with family and friends and a recent disappointment on the job front‘ which I hoped would provoke queries about my looking for another post. It didn’t. The reply was basically ‘keep me informed‘.

Within about thirty to forty minutes, I received an email back from our HR explaining that that they could not register my interest for 2017 as the scheme was ending 31 March this year! There was no indication of it being extended for next year. This left me with the embarrassing task of re-emailing my service head to retract my original. Not a fun task.

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The first few flakes of snow hit us last evening. There was a very light covering where we live, but from the plethora of photos on Facebook, you would have though nobody had seen it before. Lots of people saying how wonderful it was to see snow, but they won’t be saying it if they can’t get to work in the morning or when their car won’t start. They won’t be saying it when the car can’t get up the hill or slides back down. I wonder if they’ll be now asking where the grit/salt bin has gone. Went missing last year and nobody really bothered. Maybe they will now.

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I thought I would post this picture. K*** likes hearts. We have a number of them dotted around the house in various formats from wicker work to rustedP1010820 iron to beads on a wire. Now I’m a bit of a knitter, and I realised that we did not have a heart that had been knitted. This could be a long story if I went into the full details, but I will cut it short. I found a pattern  for a knitted heart shape in a magazine which I thought would look good. So in keeping with the colour scheme of the room, I went to work on creating a heart out of wool. It was quite easy, and knitted up quite quickly. Only problem was that it curled up at the sides. I had the idea that if I knitted two, sewed them together and plumped it up with a bit of stuffing it would look better. I think it works.

Giving it a go


Well here I am, typing directly into the WordPress editor. I usually use Microsoft Word and post as draft, but as the online Word does not have a ‘blog’ template, I thought I would give this a try.

I did try posting by email once, but that was a disaster. Post never landed on my blog, so I gave up on that.

This is also the first post I have made using my Tesco hudl tablet. Not bad for a first attempt. I have a bluetooth keyboard, but for one reason or another it does not want to connect.

Post with no title


When I started this blog, I had no real purpose for it. I initially thought it would be a good project to occupy me when I went through a period of staying up late. I thought it would be more constructive than spending hours on a chat-site I used to use. My intention was to post what I wanted, when I wanted and it more or less happened that way. I then had the idea to have two blogs, one on WordPress and the other on Blogger. The idea there was that I would create a post on one site, then cross post to the other alternating between the two. That lasted for about eight posts before it got confusing as to which was the original and which was the cross post. So that went out of the window. I then thought it would be good to post every day. It did not have to be a big post, just a post every single day. Another bad idea! Lasted just two weeks before I gave up.

Then it was ‘blog on a theme’. Pick an idea and blog about it on a regular basis. Great! What would my theme be? Hmmmm ….. I know ……. no don’t know enough about that…….of course, I’ll blog about …… nope that would need too much research. Between each of these ‘epic’ brainwaves, I reverted back to type and posted whatever, whenever. Then last year, along comes the “Blogging 201” and I really thought I was now in the mind-set to make this blog something! But, you guessed it, I’m back to my original ‘what and when’ and I think that’s the way it’s meant to be.

However, a friend, who reads my blog as randomly as I post, came up with an idea last week which I’m beginning to warm to. The thought would be to take a photograph of anything I want, and incorporate this into a blog post. The photo would give me the impetus to write, but it may not be the main topic of the post. The post would also have to be a minimum of 300 words and I would have to post at least three times a week.

It is something I need to think about as I believe I need a bit more structure to this site. The challenge is to start on Monday 16th. Here goes!

It’s been a while


It’s been a month or so since my last post, and a few things have happened since then. The video change that I mentioned last time worked, thankfully. Which was more than we hoped for. Both K*** and I had this fear that it might cause a problem for the driver on his way in the morning. Fortunately that issue did not arise. We now think that so long as R*** knows what is happening and so long as it happens, he is more or less fine with it.

Two weeks ago, I had to go into work to have a chat with my line manager. Because I have had more than four week continuous sick leave, I have hit a ‘trigger’ in our attendance management policy that requires me to be interviewed about how they can support my return to work. My line manager was furious about this and I understand that she had a few choice words with our HR department. Now I understand the need for the policy, however there needs to be some form of flexibility built in that allows for the fact that some people are not at work for a damn good reason. In my case, recovering from heart surgery and being told by the surgeon that I would not be able to work for three months after to operation. It does not matter that some system in HR has hit a flag, it’s down to the medical staff when I’m fit to return, not some piece of computer software. Rant over!!!

The new work structure has been issued, and it does nothing to suppress any worries I have. We’ve been told that there are enough jobs to go around, with some spare, but are those positions at the same grade that staff are at now? Will there be enough grades at my level for all those at the same grade? Without knowing what grades we currently have, it’s impossible to know what the changes might be. The meeting was only held on Friday, so those questions may have been answered. I will wait until the minutes come out, before I start asking any questions.

Talking about work, K*** and I are in the process of changing S****s old room into more of an office, than a bedroom. We had decided that it would be a good idea, when I work from home, for me to utilise this now spare room, to work from. But we have taken it a step further, and although the bed is still in there, my work computer is all set up.

On Tuesday, I am going for my 1st Out Patients appointment since being discharged from the hospital. This is where I find out that I can drive again and can remove these ‘anti-embolism’ stockings for good. It is also the date when I should be told when I can go back to work. I’ve started making some plans, but cannot be more definite until after this appointment. I fear driving will be a bit of an issue. I have to inform the insurance company about my operation and I think it will mean a large hike in the premiums. I don’t see why it should be a problem, but we shall see. You know what insurance companies are like.

And now me! I feel a thousand time better than I did this time in June. It is hard to believe that such a small piece of hardware can make such a difference, but I can assure you it does! I still have a chest that aches like I have run into a brick wall, but there has never been the pain that others appear to have had. My problem seems to be one of backache. It comes on around half four in the morning and makes sleeping very uncomfortable. I’ve been told that backache is one of the side effects of the operation and that it does go away in time. Hopefully that is true. The valve seems to be working fine and as expected, it can be heard. It sounds different and different time, but mainly seems to be a clicking noise on the left hand side of the scar. Most people can hear it, and S**** seems to think it is quite cool!! I found a picture of the thing they used and I was very surprised how simple it looked. I don’t know what I was expecting though.

I think that is about all, except that K*** has decided that we need new PVC windows and doors. Groan!! That is happening in just under a fortnight, and we have been told that it will all be done in a day!! Will let you know on that one after the event!