Saturday, 31 May 2008

Decision made.

I'm staying home.

If nothing else, it gives me some much-needed "me" time.

Friday, 30 May 2008

The Cancer Chronicles. Part 4

Clicky the links for Parts 1, 2 and 3.

I had no idea what was to come next. Which was probably just as well because if I had known I think I would have run screaming from the hospital. That day was about to fall into the "worst day of my life so far" category.

One thing you need to know at this point is that I am, or was then anyway, terrified of needles. It's a ridiculous and irrational fear I know, but one I suffer from nonetheless. I'd been through quite a few blood tests by this point and I could cope as long as I didn't think about, or see, the needles. But even now I get the shakes and cold sweats whenever I have to have a blood test.

Two technicians led me into a small room with a treatment table and some computer equipment. They got me to lie on the table and then placed a pillow under my neck so that my head fell backwards and exposed my neck. I was getting pretty nervous at this point, I knew needles were going to be involved as it was a biopsy. One thing these technicians seriously lacked was a bedside manner. Without any preamble, one of them said

"I need you to keep absolutely still, hold your breathe and do not swallow whilst the needle
is in place"

"Umm....are you not going to give me any anaesthetic or anything?"

"Oh no, by the time we've given you that injection this can be all done".


By now I was a wreck. I was shaking and sweating and my heart was thumping like a train.

The technician repeated her instructions to keep still, not breathe and not swallow. Now, breathing and swallowing are reflex reactions, and very difficult not to do, especially when someone tells you not to do them.

So I took a deep breathe and tried to lie still and then, THEN, she stuck that damn needle straight into my neck.

It felt like an eternity had passed before she finished and I was so relieved when it was over. It didn't hurt but the thought of what was happening scared me silly. I had just relaxed when the technician turned to me and said

"We haven't got a good enough sample, I'm going to have to do it again".

I have never fainted in my life but at that moment I could feel the edges of my world turning black and it took every effort to keep a firm mental grip on reality, and the side of the bed, to stop me sinking into that blackness.

Finally it was done and I could leave.

Two week later followed my first appointment with the Consultant at St George's Hospital, Mr Sharma. Oh my. I think I fell a little in love with Mr Sharma. It wasn't that he was particularly handsome, although he was quite cute, but his manner with patients was so good. He made me feel like I was the only patient he had in the world and that 110% of his focus was on me every waking moment of his day. I can't tell you how much that was to help. He began by telling me that thyroid cancer was very rare and that the chances of this lump being cancerous were very slim and that I was not to worry. Funnily enough, at that stage of events, I was not that worried. In a bizarre way having all these new experiences was all quite least, it was once I'd gotten over the biopsy episode.

The bad news, however, was that the results of the biopsy were inconclusive and he would like me to have the biopsy done again.

At which point I burst into tears. The thought of going through all that again was more than I could cope with. I explained what had happened previously and he promised me this time it would be different. He suggested I speak to the consultant and ask them to talk me through what they would do. I did and she was absolutely brilliant. She explained that I would be given a local anaesthetic and that they would use ultrasound to make sure the needles went into the right place. What a different experience! The consultant made sure there was nurse sitting right by me and she literally held my hand for the whole procedure. She talked me through what was happening and I even managed to relax enough to look at the ultrasound screen to see what was happening. I won't say it was a pleasant experience but it was a lot easier to get through than the first one.

If there was a funny side to that episode it was that over the next day or two, my neck turned some interesting shades of purple with the bruising. At the same time, Himself had had some dental work done and he was missing his two front teeth whilst he waited for crowns to be fitted. It must have looked like we'd been beating seven bells out of each other!

The following week, I saw Mr Sharma again. The biopsy was again inconclusive. He explained to me that normal procedure would be to operate to remove the half of the thyroid with the lump on it so that the lump itself could be tested. For some reason, I burst into tears again. I'm not usually prone to tears but this was going to become a regular occurrence in his office. The only operation I'd ever had was a tonsilectomy when I was 5 and this operation was most definitely considered major surgery. The decision was mine but he recommended that we go ahead.

There was only one decision to make really.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Party! Anyone want to come?

Although I will warn you this is a fairly major pity party.

We are supposed to be going away camping this weekend. It's Himself's cousin's 50th birthday party and a lots of family are meeting up on the farm he runs. And I really don't want to go. No. That's wrong. I do want to go but I have so much to do before Monday and I'm starting to panic that I won't get it all done.

If I go, I have to get food in, get the camping gear out of the attic and get the car loaded by 11am on Saturday morning. I'm worried about how Brodie the Foster will cope with camping and the last thing I need is two very keen Lurchers and one very keen greyhound having to be on lead and muzzled and glued to me all weekend because we're on a farm with animals.

Before I go I also have to finalise the Greyhound Gap's accounts for last year and Paypal won't play fair and I can't get it to balance but they have to be with the accountant on Monday. I have to clean my house because my house hasn't seen more than a passing glance of the duster for at least two weeks. The chicken coop needs taking apart and scrubbing and I have a pile of laundry to get done. The bed needs changing, the dog beds need washing and the forecast for this weekend is good. And all that has to be done in the evenings after work.

If I don't go at least I can strike out all the camping stuff because Himself will just take the one man tent and be done with it and that will give me two more days to get everything done.

So what do I do?

At the moment I'm sitting here wallowing and blogging about it in the hope it will help me make a decision

Another Pity Party cocktail anyone?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

More Chooks!

I've been to pick up another two ex-battery chickens tonight. I had room and I think it's a "good thing" to do.

As suggested by the lady I collected them from, I waited until the others had gone to bed and then put the new girls into the coop. Oh were there ever ructions! They all came out of the coop again before I could get the door closed and now they're all refusing to go back in until the pecking order is sorted out.

Nora, who is boss lady of the present flock, made it quite abundantly clear to the new girls that she is in charge. She was strutting her stuff and pecking at them if they dared overstep the mark. Both the new girls seem to be quite accepting of this although there's still a lot of noise going on and a little bit of feather pulling. This is all to be expected and I've been told to leave them to get on with it unless we get any serious injuries.

The new girls aren't in quite such a poor state as my original girls were when they arrived as there is more likely to be bullying if the newbies are in a poor condition. So hopefully they can all settle down together once they sort themselves out and I won't have to separate them.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Dentists. Yack

There I was eating my dinner last night when "crunch".

Oh joy. That'll be part of my tooth then.

I was lucky (ha!) enough to get an appointment with my dentist this afternoon who, thankfully, told me she could repair the tooth and it didn't need extracting. I had two options. She could patch it up with an amalgam filling or she could remove all the filling that was there and replace it with a white composite filling. Given that I really don't want any more mercury in my mouth, I opted for the white filling. It was a bit more expensive but oh hey, it's only money.

This particular dentist is new to my surgery and I've not seen her before but she was absolutely lovely and despite my needle phobia, made the whole process painless and easy.

Except now the anaesthetic is wearing off and I feel like someone has punched me in the side of the face. And it hurts. Lots.

It might be soup for dinner.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Fun Monday

Our lovely host for this week's Fun Monday is Alison at RDH Mom. Our assignment is this:

Vacations...this is the time of year when most of us go on vacations. Show us and/or tell us about your favorite vacation - where you went, what you did, etc. Pictures would be great. Let's all take a trip around a the world via our FM friends!!

We don't get to go on holiday very often. Himself is self-employed so holidays cost him twice as much - the cost of the holiday and the loss of pay for the time we're away. But when we do go, we invariably head to the West Country, and Cornwall in particular.

I don't know what it is about Cornwall that draws me to it. There is, of course, the Celtic connection between Wales and Cornwall, but it's more than that. I always feel like I have come home when I am there. Maybe I lived there in a previous life? It's the rugged north coast that I love to go to. I could sit of hours on the top of a cliff and watch the sea crashing against the rocks or lose myself wandering around Tintagel Castle and along the cliff path.

Photo courtesy of Google (I'm not where my photos are!)

Further down the coast, past the twee Port Isaac, is Rock. You can park up at Rock and either take the ferry across to Padstow or, do as we do, and walk along the coast up to Daymar Bay, stopping en route at St Enodoc Church where Sir John Betjeman is buried.

If you drive past Rock, through Padstow and out into the countryside you can, if you know the little secret roads, eventually find yourself at Hawkers Cove. Which is possibly one of my favourite places on this planet!

The Lurchers and Himself at Hawkers Cove a few years ago.

Lurcher No.2 enjoying the sea

We haven't been down to Cornwall for about three years now, but writing this post has given me pangs to get down there again!

Head on over to Alison's place and find out where everyone else likes to take their holidays.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

It rained.

Yes, it rained. Then it rained again. And then it rained some more. All day. Dog show? Drowned rat show more like.

And I got bitten. But that will teach me to stick my fingers in a dog's mouth. Even if that mouth hadh old of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the time. At least he let go of the Spaniel. My finger must have been more tasty.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

Tomorrow is the first of the two big fundraising dog shows that Greyhound Gap holds each year. Hundreds of people turn up with their hounds and we always have a blast. Whatever the weather.

And boy do we ever always have weather. Every year the weather gods have seen fit to throw just about everything at us. In buckets. This time last year it was torrential rain and, due to the perverse nature of Gap's supporters, we raised the most we have ever raised! Because the weather was so bad, we decided to have another go in September. This time the weather gods threw gale force winds at us and tents and gazeebos took off like giant kites all over the showground.

And tomorrow's forecast? Tomorrow they're throwing both at us. There are severe weather warnings for the central area of England with torrential rain and the possibility of 50mph winds.

But the show will go on because Gap's supporters are fantastic people who just say "oh what the heck" and get on with it anyway! And we love them for it!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Beauty Treatments

I'm not big on beauty treatments. I wash, I exfoliate, I cleanse and I moisturise and that's pretty much it.

But with the marching of time, things could do with a little help, so I'm trying to decide if I should give this a try.

New skincare delight, De Tuinen Snail Gel, is currently whipping up a storm in Holland! Now it's here and exclusively available at Holland & Barrett; it's hard to believe that this sophisticated solution, is sourced from the slime of Chilean snails.

It was discovered that the snail 'secretion', usually used by the snail to repair it's own shell, is smoothing and strengthening when used as a beauty treatment. Holland & Barrett offers you these qualities in a gorgeous gel to bring your skin into a class of it's own.

If used two to three times daily the gel may help to support the skin's elasticity and leave you with a silky soft and smooth skin. The Snail Gel contains a combination of Glycolic Acid, Allantoine, Elastane, Vitamins and Collagen.

What do you think?

And just in case you wondered...I am joking about trying it. That's just way too ewwwww!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

In the nick of time

Signing up to Blogging 365 was all very well last December when we were in the depths of winter with long evenings to fill. Now that summer is almost here, there's too much to be doing outside to be stuck indoors in front of the computer.

I'm really wondering whether I can keep up with blogging every day. But I set myself the goal and I can't bear to fail. Such a dilemma.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

OK, who did it?

Who flicked the switch that sent time going at twice it's normal speed?

I just don't know what the heck is going on at the moment. There just never seems to be enough hours in a day to do everything and, unfortunately, it's my blogging friends that are suffering. know, I say suffering, you're not actually suffering suffering but...oh heck, you know what I mean!

So, anyway, if it was you that flicked that switch, would you mind flicking it back again please?

Thank you. Most grateful.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

No time! No time!

Be back soon!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Fun Monday #I've lost count!

Our Fun Monday host this week is Mariposa and this is our assignment:


We all have them...and if you don't, you just may not realize it. For some reason or another we all collect something and we collect it for reasons that will definitely make for good reading. So on Monday, I want to see your collection. If you don't have or don't want or CAN'T (wink) show us a picture, then tell us what the collection is in 10 words or less. Then tell us why you started collecting it.

My collection in 10 words or less:


Why? My mother instilled a love of reading in me as soon as I was old enough to hold a book...and before as she read to me every night.

Thank you for stopping by my brief Fun Monday post (I'm sorry, it's been a really long week and I was working this weekend!) and don't forget to visit Mariposa to see who else is participating this week!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sesame Snaps

As the Sesame Snaps with yogurt seem to be setting a few mouths a'watering, let me know if you'd like some and e-mail me your address and I will try to get some organised for you!

First 6 people to reply get the goodies!!

Patience is already in!
As is Jan!

The Cancer Chronicles. Part 3.

Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 here.

When I had the radio-iodine treatment, I was warned that it was very difficult to get the doseage correct. There was every chance that I would develop hypothyroidism (under-active) in time. And so it proved. After a few years I started to develop the symptoms. I put on weight, was tired and weak, my hair started to fall out, dry skin and, most significanlty, memory loss. That was just dreadful and possibly the worst of the symptoms for me. I'd always prided myself on having, if not a photographic memory, then not far off. So to lose that was awful. I couldn't remember names, dates, or even why I had walked into a room.

I made an appointment with my doctor and she arranged for some blood tests. Which came back as normal. Now, the thing about thyroid tests is that "normal" covers a very wide band. If you imagine a band from say -10 to +10 and you fall within that band, you are classed as normal. But if you are at the extremes of that band, they you will be feeling the symptoms. At -10 I was classed as "normal" but if I had been at -11, I would have been classed as hypo and treated accordingly.

Fortunately, my doctor was sympathetic and, as she felt I knoew my body better than anyone else could, decided to start me on a course of thyroid hormone replacement therapy to see how I got on. It worked. The improvement, whilst not 100%, at least had me functioning somewhere near to normal for several years.

We're now in 2002. I was in work, sitting at my desk trying to focus on a paper I was supposed to be reading and inwardly digesting. I was doing my usual habit when I'm concentrating of running my fingers over my neck.

I stopped, poised for a second. Was that a lump? Surely not. I ran my fingers over my neck again. It certainly felt like a lump. I called to my boss, a wonderful wonderful lady, and rather to her surprise, asked her to run her fingers over my neck to see if she could feel it. Bless her, she did to! "Get an appointment with your doctor. Now" she said to me. I did and the doctor immediately referred me to a clinic at St George's Hospital. "It's probably nothing" he said to me "But you can never be too careful with lumps".

So a week later I found myself in a consulting room with a young doctor. I explained my prior thyroid history and after some poking and prodding, she told me I would need a biopsy and, if I would please take a seat in the waiting room, she would arrange that immediately.

I had no idea what was to come next. Which was probably just as well because if I had known I think I would have run screaming from the hospital. That day was about to fall into the "worst day of my life so far" category.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

It must be healthy, mustn't it?

If you buy something from a health food shop, it must be healthy, yes? Stands to reason doesn't it otherwise why would it be called a health food shop?

Good. I'm glad you're with me on that.

So, following that logic, Sesame Snaps covered in yogurt, Thai Chilli Bites and Japanese Rice Crackers must be good for me as I bought them in a health food shop, yes?

Good. That's alright then.

Can you tell the diet really isn't going well?

Friday, 16 May 2008

Cancer Chronicles. Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.

Yes, contrary to my Consultants' advice I changed my job and dumped Fred. As I was living with him in his flat, this also necessitated a move of house too. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

Firstly, I changed my job. In hindsight, that really was a stupid thing to do but it seemed too good a chance to pass up. I was getting nowhere in the job I was in and was passed over for promotion several times. In fact, several managers in my department and departments we worked closely with actually protested to the HR Department. Which was nice of them but still didn't get me that promotion. So I went to work for a competitor. I had to work out my three months notice but because of who I was going to work for, I was given gardening leave. Three months to do as I pleased on full pay and with my company car. That was great! But starting a new job when suffering the symptoms of hyperthyroidism was not so great.

The drugs the Consultant had me on to control the hyperthyroidism, Carbimazole, gave me hives. That was not so great. So then they switched me to Propylthiouracil. I had to take 24 tablets a day. Yep. 24. Apart from rattling like a box of pills, these tablets affected my eyes. About 1/2 hour after they kicked in I would start to get double vision and incredible light sensitivity in my eyes for a couple of hours. For about 6 months I was either seeing the Consultant or speaking to her Registrar to get some explanation for this but nothing. It wasn't a recognised side-effect and so it seemed there was absolutely nothing they could do and I just had to live with it.

During this time came the final blow-out with Fred. His father, whom I adored, had passed away from cancer. Within 6 months his step-mother was tragically killed in a car accident. It was a terrible time and Fred, who was already addicted to tranqulisers, could not deal with everything that had to be done in the aftermath of that. He needed an emotional crutch and I was that crutch. His sister lived in New Zealand so dealing with all the nitty-gritty stuff such as lawyers and clearing their house fell to me. I didn't mind doing it at all. It's what you do isn't it? Support your partner in times of crisis.

Then I had my own family crisis (that's a blog story unto itself), and Fred's response? In the most bitter tone he could summon he told me to "Deal with it". He wanted nothing to do with it at all. I was astounded, hurt and a line had been crossed. I packed my bags and left.

The doctors, meanwhile, decided that, as the drugs were not doing their job in suppressing my thyroid function, a more radical approach was needed. So an appointment was made at St Thomas's hospital in London for me to have radio-iodine treatment. This involves nothing more complicated than drinking a small glass of water with a carefully measured dose of radio-active iodine in it. The principle behind this treatment is that the thyroid gland takes up the iodine and part of it would be "switched off", thereby reducing the the hyperthyroidism. For a week after the treatment I was not allowed to be within 4 metres of anyone for more than an hour. I had to have my own bedlinen, cutlery and food and was not allowed to prepare food for anyone else. Which was fun, particularly as it completely freaked out the friends that I went to stay with for the duration! What did make me giggle was the huge sign in the hospital which said "You will NOT glow in the dark"! The only downside to this treatment was that I had to come off all medication for three weeks prior to receiving it. I was crawling the walls. The full onslaught of hyperthyroidism left me exhausted but unable to sleep and everything was done at 100mph. I drove my friends nuts!

But the treatment was successful and for several years all was well and my thyroid functioned normally and life got back on track.

But I had no idea how hard it would come back to bite me on the ass a few years later.

To be continued.....

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Watch this space! NOW!

At last I can introduce you to who I was talking about in last Saturday's Watch This Space post. I had hoped to be able to tell you yesterday but plans went slightly awry.

So without further ado, may I introduce you to Isis!

I mentioned in this post that I had a hankering for another hamster and that spurred me on to have a look to see if there were any that needed a home. A Google search immediately yielded the ARC website who had two Chinese hamsters needing homes. Unfortunately I don't have room for two as, although these can often live together, these two were fighting so had to be separated. So I had to make the decision as to which one came home with me and Isis just called to me! Her name was Amanda, but that just didn't sit right somehow, so Isis it is. She is absolutely beautiful but understandably a little shy and wary at the moment. She needs some quiet time to settle and hopefully we'll see more of her!

And Himself? "It's a bloody hamster, I don't care"

Well, tough. I do. Just as well one of us does.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Cancer Chronicles. Part 1

I've made the odd reference throughout this blog to the fact that I have had cancer but with a whole new audience now, and judging by some recent comments, I guess some of you didn't know. Which kind of ties in with a growing need in me to write down the whole story. Not for any reason other than it should be chronicled somewhere. It's certainly not for sympathy, I couldn't deal with that then and there's no need for it now. But maybe there's someone out there somewhere going through what I went through and it might just be helpful to them too. Perhaps, more to the point, it's a cathartic exercise I need to banish the ghosts so that I can look back on it in 20 years time and think "yes, I did get through that".

I will do this in installments because it will make for much too long a post otherwise. The first part doesn't really deal with the cancer at all but is connected, albeit tenuously, and I think it's important to include it.

The story starts back in 1992. I lived with a chap we shall call Fred. Fred was a highly intelligent drunk. Life with him was not easy. He was fine until he had one drink and then he could not stop until he passed out. I lost count of the number of times I had to try and pick him up off the bathroom floor and haul his ass into bed. He was kind enough in his own way but, even when sober, he could get verbally abusive. You know that consistent digging away at your confidence and judgement? It finally reached the point where I lacked any confidence in myself and truly believed I was as stupid as he told me I was.

Three years into our relationship, I started to lose weight. But I was in happy as a pig in clover! For the first time in years I was back in a size 10 (US 8) and looking trim. I had energy in spades yet slept the sleep of the dead. Unfortunately, Fred had received some basic medical training as part of his science degree and over the ensuing months diagnosed me with any number of diseases, the worst of which was stomach cancer. You can see the positive effect he had on my psyche can't you?

Winter rolled into summer and I can remember what happened next as clear as day. I was sitting in profile to Fred and he suddenly exclaimed "What's wrong with your neck!?". What on earth was he on about now?

"It's all swollen"

He was right. How could I have not noticed that?

"I know what's wrong with you" he said. "You have an overactive thyroid."

I do? Well, OK, at least that was better than stomach cancer.

I made an appointment with my doctor and explained about this goitre on my neck.......

(Image courtesy of Google)

...and how Fred thought it was an overactive thyroid. Annoyingly, she agreed and sent me off for blood tests. In the meantime, Fred remembered he had private health cover so my GP arranged for me to see a consultant privately within a few days.

Having seen the blood test results, she too agreed and started me on medication to control the hyperthyroidism. She also gave me some sage advice. She said "Your hormones are going to be all over the place so my advice to you is not to make any radical life-changing decisions until you are somewhere nearer to normal...don't dump your boyfriend, change your job or move house".

I did all three.

To be continued....

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Environmental Impact

More and more I am thinking about our carbon footprint and the effect that we, as a household, have on the environment.

I am starting to grow my own food - not much to begin with because I am not that green-fingered - but I have planted some tomato, bean and courgette seeds which are coming on nicely in their pots, and some salad greens which I have sown directly into the garden which are also growing well. And I have some curly kale and spinach to sow in the next month or so.

We have the chickens now and they supply us with the eggs we need and they also help by eating some of the vegetable waste. What they don't eat goes into the compost bin.

I cycle to work and try not to use the car unless I have to. Himself is working close to home at the moment so he is walking rather than taking his petrol-thirsty car.

When I'm shopping I try to buy fruit and vegetables that are, if not locally grown, then at least grown in the UK. This isn't always possible, British grapes for example, are probably rarer than hen's teeth. Although I heard on the radio the other day that our climate is getting more and more suitable for growing grapes for wine production so, who knows, with time, we might get British eating grapes too. But changing eating habits is difficult, and expensive.

Firstly we're used to being able to buy what we want pretty much when we want it, and that's a hard habit to break. But I am slowly getting us to eat more seasonally as well. Also at the back of my mind is the fact that we now live on a much more global scale and if everyone refused to buy products from certain countries, many of them third World, those countries' economies may well suffer.

Secondly, I try to buy organic as much as I can. But the problem I find with that is that the supermarkets over here charge an extortionate premium for anything labelled organic. I can't help but think they are to blame for so many people not being able to buy organic more regularly. Why should it be so much more expensive? It shouldn't be classed as a premium product. Whilst I will pay about £7 for a free-range chicken, I absolutely refuse to pay the same amount for two chicken breasts. So we don't have them. Since having the chickens, I refuse to buy any chicken that isn't free range. Not will I buy any product that contains eggs or chicken unless they come from free-range chickens - I will not support battery farming and its by-products any longer.

I have always bought bottled water. The tap water here is pretty dismal but I read in the paper today that it takes 6 litres of water to produce the plastic to make a 1 litre water bottle. WTF!?? So I bought a water filter this morning. It cost £10 and will probably cost about £5 a month for new filters. Which is much less than I pay for the bottled water I drink.

But we still have a lot of room for improvement in this house. We don't recycle as much as we should. We always used to as the recycling bins were across the road but since moving to the cottage there are no convenient recycling bins. Himself is of the opinion that by the time you've driven to the recycling centre, you've probably negated any good you might do by recycling in the first place. The jury is still out on that one.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Fun Monday #22

Our lovely hostess this week is Sauntering Soul and our assignment is this:

I know we all try to be sweet and kind to people the majority of the time. But let's face it....we also know that sometimes we can be a big jerk. It could be that you experience road rage from time to time. Perhaps you empty the coffee pot at work some mornings and don't feel like taking the time to start a new pot for the next person. Or maybe you don't return phone calls on a timely basis when you know someone needs a response from you. Have you ever "accidentally" ruined a favorite shirt of your spouse just because you didn't care for it? Come on - it's confession time! List the small things you do that make you a jerk and elaborate just a bit on each one. Please tell me I'm not the only jerk around here!

Oh no, you are most certainly not the only jerk around here!

Inconsiderate drivers - Most inconsiderate drivers will send my blood pressure through the roof. If I'm not in a good mood to start with, woe betide them! Stuff like cutting across in front of you because they can't be bothered to get in lane in plenty of time like every one else...particularly in road works where they think they can beat the queue and leave it to the last minute - bet your boots I'm not going to let you in. Or getting into the filter lane to turn left, knowing all the time they intend to turn right. Or, and this is the real one that gets me, not raising a hand in thanks when you've stopped to let them through...arrggghhh!! Anyone of these can result in me gesticulating and yelling obscenities or, and this is the worst of my driving jerkiness, tailgating. I do that too if I'm in a hurry and sod's law puts a really slow and overly considerate driver in front of me. It's bad bad bad and I so should not do it!

My inner jerk - my inner jerk tells me I always know the right way to do something. So what if it can be done in any number of ways to reach the same end? My way, people, is the right way! I have one of those little calendar things on my desk that has the date on tear-off pages that have little quotes on them. One I tore off and stuck to my pc screen. It says "For peace of mind, resign as general manger of the universe". I always have to manage and organise everything, not because I'm a control freak (although there could be a little of that) but more because I want everyone to get the best out of whatever it is they are doing and, well, I think I know best how they should do that. I hate it and really wish I didn't do it.

Dog-walking jerk - People who can't, or won't, keep their dog under reasonable control when out on walks. And if this ends up with me going ass over apex because my on-lead foster dog wants to chase your out of control dog, then rest assured you are going to feel the sharp end of my tongue. This will be followed by me muttering away to myself and storming off whilst glaring at the offending owner.

Then there are the miscellaneous things:

The "Yes I've left it to the last minute please don't state the obvious that I should have started a week ago" jerkiness. Which sits rather well with the "I've left it to the last minute please don't ask me stupid questions now" type of jerkiness.

Or there's the "Important occasion I've nothing to wear throw clothes out of the cupboard" jerkiness. And that one sits well with the "Important occasion why can't my hair go right today" one. Been there? I expect you probably have!

The "Get out of my kitchen!" jerkiness...Himself has learnt how to throw that one back at me. In spades!

And finally, the "Where the hell are my keys/mobile phone/purse" jerkiness. That's always a good one to start the day off with!

Now, head over to Sauntering Soul and see who else is admitting to being a jerk today!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Hot hot hot!

It has been absolutely baking here this weekend with temperatures reaching about 24C.

I've been at a major show called All About Dogs in Essex. I left The Lurchers and Brodie the Foster at home with himself as it was just too hot for them. But you know what was astounding us all? The number of calls that had to be made over the tannoy because people were leaving their dogs in their cars. Bloody unbelievable.

The RSPCA just about gave up in the end and they were smashing windows and getting the dogs out, and then putting out calls for the owners. Damn right too.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Why is it....

...that whenever I pre-empt something by writing about it here, it goes tits up?

I'm afraid you'll have to watch this space until Wednesday. Sorry 'bout that!

Watch this space

I may have someone to show you later. You'll never guess!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Inane ramblings

There is nothing worse than tucking into your morning bowl of cereals to find the milk has gone off. Bleuch.

You will be pleased to hear that I did remember to go for my blood test this morning and that I have the date of my re-scheduled hospital appointment on 4th June left on big Post-Its all over the place. But please feel free to remind me.

My neck is much better this morning and, so far, no painkillers.

My stolen money has been refunded by the bank but no sign of my new Debit Card yet. Given that it took my last one about 3 weeks to get to me I could be in for a penny-pinching few weeks. Which is really annoying when I have money there to be spent and no means to get at it! I shall go and have a chat to the bank in the morning to see if I can at least get some cash out.

Has anyone else's Google Reader started acting funny? My view pane is showing all posts, even after I've read them, whereas they used to disappear once you'd clicked on them. Not particularly important but annoying nontheless.

End of inane ramble.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


Seems I have pinched a nerve in my neck. And it flippin' well hurts. The diet of painkillers resumes.

Honestly, it feels like my body is falling apart at the seams at the moment.

And can you believe I forgot I had an hospital appointment yesterday morning!? Not only that but three weeks ago I forgot to get the blood tests for the hospital appointment yesterday morning. Not that it was for anything important. Oh no. Just an annual check to make sure the cancer hasn't come back. Easy to forget something like that isn't? *shakes head in bewilderment*

Seems my memory is falling apart as well.

BIRDSONG Update: In my post yesterday I linked to a birdsong that I couldn't identify. Well, our resident bird expert got equally irritated and has spent ages trying to identify it for me. Today he got it. Apparently it's a song thrush throwing in a strange bit of tune in between it's usual song.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


I'm sorry about yesterday's little blip.

Yesterday evening I actually fell asleep on the sofa whilst watching TV. I never do that. Especially not when Star Trek is on. And I missed the start of CSI so I didn't get to see the guy and the deer he'd clothed in a dress....actually, that's probably just as well. Thank you for your lovely comments..I did get a better night's sleep last night although Brodie had me up twice to go out. I've discovered that what is upsetting his stomach is plain old Shapes biscuits - I usually give them all a handful if we have to leave them or any length of time - as we did on Sunday. That's another lesson learnt.

I've also failed to catch up with the Fun Monday participants this week. So my apologies to those that commented on mine and whose blogs I have yet to get back to. I promise I am not being rude or ignoring you, I just seem to be running out of hours already this week.

Changing the subject completely, there is something someone might be able to help me with. There is a bird that sings away near my cottage in the mornings and I have no idea what it is. I'm not very good at identifying birds at the best of times but I do know the normal morning chorus and this is a new one on me. It has reached the stage where my brain picks it out immediately and it's all I hear, and it is driving me potty! Can anyone help me out?

Clicky the linky to have a listen.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Too tired.

Just too damn tired.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Fun Monday #21

Our Hostess for this week's Fun Monday is the lovely Kitten.

Our assignment for this week is…Tell me about the Super Hero in your life. Not from TV, but anyone that has been or is in your life that you have really looked up to or has made a impact on your life. It can one or many. You can share pictures if you like. Just have fun with it.

If I called the two people that I'm about to mention "Heroes" they would more than likely have my guts for garters!! So I won't call them heroes. What I will say about them is that they are both people who are not only very good friends and people who have enriched my life by being a part of it, but who are people I admire greatly and who both have my utmost respect.

One will only get a brief mention because she reads this blog and I know that she hates any form of public praise or glory. Suffice to say that what she does for the dogs in her care she does because it comes from the heart. To her it's as natural as breathing. And in a world that has a tendency for self-centredness and self-glorification, this is a rare and special thing.

The second is my special friend Niki. On Christmas Day just over 6 years ago, I rang Niki to wish her a merry Christmas. She was suffering a migraine and not feeling too brilliant. The pain didn't go away and got progressively worse. Niki was eventually diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. TN is thought to be among the most severe types of pain known to humanity, and the condition can bring about stabbing, mind-numbing, electric shock-like pain from just a light wind or a finger's glance of the cheek.

Niki has been through three operations to help ease the pain. Each operation has managed to achieve a measure of relief for only short periods of time but has never managed to get resolve the problem. And the pain always comes back. Niki had to give up a job she enjoyed and move home with her parents. She can no longer drive and has to rely on family and friends to get about when she needs to.

She lives every day with your worst nightmare of a migraine-type pain as well as the frequent stabbing pains that are typical of TN. The drugs she has to take to cope with that pain can leave her floating in la-la land and unable to function properly.

Yet she, and her body, have adjusted. Niki is doing her best to get on with her life despite the limitations the pain inflicts. With two like-minded and understanding friends, she is starting a business rehabilitating horses. She has qualified as a Bowen therapist and is a gifted animal communicator. She has learnt to work around the pain. She works early in the morning and then has to go back to bed for a good part of the day.

The last few months have been pretty bad, with the pain reaching new levels of intensity. But just yesterday she was telling me about a new horse that was arriving. "It's just the kick up the butt I need" she said. "I have to learn to cope with this new level of pain and get on with my life".

And that really sums Niki up. When the rest of us would be in a helpless heap on the floor, Niki picks herself up and makes herself get on with it and get through the pain one day at a time. And yet through all this, she still has time for me and my problems and for anyone else that needs her. If she can help, pain permitting, she will.

And I love her dearly.

Now, head on over to Kitten's place and see who else is participating in this week's Fun Monday.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

There goes the diet then

We went to friends for lunch today and our hostess had made three different puddings.....all from recipes by Nigella Lawson. If you're not familiar with Nigella's recipes, all you need to know is that there is nothing diet-friendly about them.

So, one piece of chocolate fudge cake, one piece of chocolate pavlova and a helping of rhubarb mousse later.......

Oh well. It would have been rude not to try them and if it's one thing I'm not, it's rude when it comes to food. And the resulting sugar rush was quite something.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Not a good start to the day

This morning started off pretty well. Up at 7am as I had to get Brodie to the vets for 9am. He's had a really dodgy stomach since he's been here and tests revealed nothing wrong, despite poos the consistency of ketchup (sorry, were you eating breakfast?). I made the appointment on Thursday evening and ever since...yep, solid as a rock. So the appointment was cancelled but, in the meantime, I'd got all the banking sorted out and by 9.45am I'd been to the bank, post office and picked up a few bits and pieces and was home. Greatness achieved!

Then the post arrived and, with it, a letter from my bank telling me I was overdrawn by £400. Considering I only got paid last week, that's pretty good going even for me. A quick check on my account showed five unauthorised transactions out of my account totalling some £770. Yes, I panicked.

Got through to my bank and the operator was fixated on selling me identity protection cover even before cancelling my card. YES! Get on with it already!! I finally get my card cancelled and a fraud investigation rolling.

Of course, it's a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK so sorting it out is going to take longer. The money will be refunded but in the meantime I will be charged £20 a day for being overdrawn. Yes, that will be refunded too but it all takes time. My new card will take at least five working days to arrive and so I have no card and no money.

Looking on the bright side, that's one way to save I guess.

Friday, 2 May 2008

At last!

Blogger now has the capacity to schedule posting so you can write your posts and set the time and date you want them published, and blogger does the rest!

That's going to make going on holiday to somewhere with no internet connection whilst trying to do Blogger 365 a bit easier!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

I want...

...I want a hamster.

When our last dog, Cisco, passed away some eight years ago, Himself needed to wait for a while before we gave a home to another dog. Reluctantly, I agreed. But the house was way too quiet, depressingly so. So, for my birthday, Himself bought me a hamster.

Hercules by name and Hercules by nature. I have never seen so much personality bundled up into such a small package. He performed acrobatics in his cage and loved nothing better than an admiring audience to show off too.

Herc was followed by Bean.

This might sound a bit ridiculous to some of you but Bean could really communicate with me. He had originally been called Egg, but made it quite clear to me that he preferred Bean. Some time later he insisted on Puppy Bean. Lurcher No.1 had always been called Puppy Georgie and he wanted the "Puppy" bit too.

Bean was joined by Chaz who we adopted after someone local to me decided they wanted guinea pigs instead.

Bean passed away and Chaz was joined by Apollo Gemini Valentine. Yes I know, a big name for a little bundle. He couldn't decide between Apollo and Gemini so he got both and Valentine because he arrived on Valentine's Day.

After losing Chaz (the downside of hamsters is that they don't live much more than 18 months/2 years), Apollo was joined by Lola who had belonged to the niece of a friend. Lola was a nippy little thing and the niece wanted something a little more cuddly!

We lost both Apollo and Lola within a few weeks of each other after moving to the cottage last year. Much as I would have loved another, we just didn't have the room and with fostering as well, I decided perhaps the time had come not to have any more hamsters.

Except someone has just posted some pictures of their hamster on a forum I frequent. And I'm starting to get hamster pangs again. Himself will have forty fits - we've no room for a hamster cage anywhere in our teeny-tiny cottage and the fact that they really come awake at night was always an annoyance for him.

But you know what? I might just find some room somewhere.