I have a bruise!

Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you that I do not bruise easily. It takes an awful lot for my skin to change colour due to ruptured blood vessels.

Frankly, I was astounded. It was obviously caused by my meeting with the Electrician. It’s very surprising.

Damn you, Poirot!

Damn you, Poirot!

Not that it hurts. Not a bit.

And it was another morning at the gym followed by porridge at Nero. And very nice it was too. Okay, it’s done in the microwave and involves a bit of faffing but, with honey added, it was very nice. I reckon the new system is going to work.

At home I started clearing down the side of the extension. It was like a wooded forest down there. Massive great plants were emerging from between very narrow gaps in the pavers. And when I say ‘narrow’ I mean undiscernable. It meant carefully and gradually removing individual pavers, levering the roots up with a screw driver then, when I had it nicely loose, removal with a pair of multigrips.

I couldn’t get over how thin the roots were. They couldn’t have been more than two millimetres for the bit between the slabs but they enlarged to normal size beneath and above the pavers.

Without putting too fine a point on it, it took me most of the day to clear away. I’m going to have to keep an eye on it and pull them out when they appear rather than wait for the forest dwellers to move in.

It was another very hot day (though not as hot as yesterday) with blazing sun and gallons of sweat. Though it was very pleasant working in it and, if I include the walk in the park, I’d say it was a happy day. In fact, the only sad note was this:

Sob

Sob

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34 Degrees in Gravesend

Today, while Skyping with mum, I realised that my new schedule needs a little tweak. My old timetable called for breakfast after shopping but now that I have to factor in the gym, it means breakfast isn’t until about 10:30 at the earliest; 11am more likely. This is clearly ridiculous. So…

My new schedule to work around the gym is:

7:40 – walk to gym
9:15 – bus into Farnham
9:40 – latte and porridge at Starbucks/Nero followed by shopping
10:20 – bus home

This means I’m home by about 10:30 and breakfast has been had. I’ll try it tomorrow. Has to be better than today.

And regarding today…it was bloody hot. Very bloody hot. I know, I spent a lot of time in it, working in the garden. Actually I spent most of it removing the mint from the Day-z Bed.

Now I may have mentioned in this blog how awful bind weed is to remove and nettles as well. They both have awful all encompassing networks of roots that take forever to remove. Now we can add mint to that list. OMG! What a pain!

Add to the difficulty and relentless digging the fact that I was once more struck with trigger finger and you can guess the sort of day I had. Actually, unlike on the Thames, the moment my finger went into lock down, I went into my office and looked up how to treat it. I found an amazing Youtube video that told m what to do. It was like a miracle!

Ignore the ad because this muscle bound guy is a genius. I love him. The treatment works perfectly.

It took me about an hour of gentle massaging on the river where this method took less than a minute. Like I always say, I’m lost without the Internet.

Anyway, trigger finger released, I went back to the mint removal and, eventually finished. I then replaced the invasive herb with some more appropriate plants.

That's better

That’s better

Then, just as I was watering everything later in the day, we were hit by a thunderstorm. It was so bad it even woke Freya up. Sadly the rain did not cool everything down and I spent the night on top of the covers with the dogs well away from me by mutual consent.

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Shocking behaviour, Monsieur Poirot!

Today was definitely a day of two halves. The first half was a delight, filled with family, friends, sun and easy living. The second half was like a visit to the depths of Bedlam with only a slim chance of escape.

The First Half
Given the fact that yesterday Gail and Glenn had announced their intention to retire early and based on the evidence of the other morning, I assumed they’d not be with me until 10am at the earliest, I went to the gym first thing. I even managed a bit of extra exercise by walking back as well.

Turning up at about 10:30, we sat on the terrace for tea and chat. They told me about their day on the Island and how they filled in their How Was Your Stay form for the pub. While they’d had a very pleasant visit on the Island, the pub was told, in no uncertain terms that the lack of a flannel in their bathroom was untenable. There’d be strongly worded letters sent to all the big newspapers, they added. Other than that, the pub was brilliant.

Speaking of pubs…the pair of them insisted on buying me lunch so we hopped in their car and set off for the Holly Bush at Frensham where we sat outside and soaked up the chilled atmosphere and quiet of the minor countryside.

I had the lamb burger while G&G shared a fishy platter. All food was enjoyably devoured as well as a couple of beers.

Eventually we headed back to the house where, naturally, Glenn had to use the facilities before they headed off, back to Wiltshire where their luggage has been hiding.

It’s been a lovely visit and we have planned to meet up in Sydney if we go over in 2017.

The Second Half
After taking the girls up to the park for their usual frolic (we met an eight month old cocker who had just come into season and the only was delighted that I had two females so he could let his off her lead for a bit) I set off for Guildford for my next appointment in connection with the lack of connection in my feet. ‘Connection’ is an excellent word given that today I was meeting The Electrician.

For a change, the bus was actually on time. I’d given myself a half hour buffer and settled back happy in the knowledge that I had plenty of time. How wrong I was.

Not long after heading off we hit the traffic on the Hogs Back. There are two lanes across the top of the Hogs Back. One of them is a feeder lane to the A3 and gets very busy every day as people drive home, content in their cars, clearly not bothered about sitting immobile in traffic. The second lane is generally pretty clear as it feeds off into Guildford. It is this second lane that the bus uses.

Not far from the Guildford lane is a bus stop. It is a bus stop in the middle of the Hogs Back and, of course, requires the bus to be in the first lane, the one that’s permanently standing still. We sat in this lane for 30 minutes. I am not exaggerating. I was there for 30 minutes. I was reading but found it difficult to concentrate on the Post Office Girl (by Stefan Zweig) while my buffer evaporated in the heat of car exhaust.

It occurred to me that buses should have some sort of right to push cars out of the way and get priority everywhere. Not just in designated Bus Lanes. They do, after all, removed drivers from the road and reduce pollution. There should, therefore, be some sort of benefit to catching them.

Anyway, the traffic meant we arrived at the Friary with five minutes to go before my appointment. Grumbling and gruffeling, I set off at a good steady clip up, up and ever upwards to the Hospital on the Hill.

As I strode meaningfully and angrily upwards, it occurred to me that my appointment might be cancelled and I’d have to reschedule. This made me angry. All the times I’ve waited in a doctor’s surgery as my appointment ticked by and they cancel me? I must have accrued a few weeks worth of time in my Waiting Bank Account.

I walked into the hospital hot, sweaty, legs aching and ready for a fight. I was ten minutes late for my appointment.

There was no need for my anger. A nurse went and told the doctor then came and, apologetically, let me know that I’d merely been bumped by the patient who was scheduled after me. She said I’d have to wait half an hour. I was deliriously happy. I was so hot and bothered and, quite frankly, a mess, I needed the rest time.

Eventually, calmed down and a little cooler, I went in to see The Electrician. The first thing I noticed was how he looked remarkably like David Suchet. The second thing I noticed was his whispery voice, reminiscent of David Suchet’s dulcet tones. For a while I thought it WAS David Suchet in his day job until he started connecting his electrodes to my body.

Sitting before his little machine like some modern day Josef Mengele, he wrapped one band around my ankle then proceeded to shock me with a little hand held contact. When he touched my foot there was little feeling but when he reached the thigh I was almost jumping like a frog in a biology class.

And I’m not going to mention how it felt when it tested my arm. Though this was made a little worse because he used a small needle to pierce the skin and shock the nerve directly. None of it was particularly pleasant.

After taking close to a million readings and creating some sort of weird electro map of my leg nerve pathways, he concluded that he was pretty sure that I DIDN’T have neuropathy. When I asked what I did have, he just shrugged and said we’d finished. He would deliver his report to Patrick and we would go from there. He did mention an MRI but Patrick wasn’t keen on that last week.

Then, to rub a bit of salt into the many wounds dotted around me body, the buses had stopped running and I had to catch a train home. There was some relief in remembering the morning but the rest of the day didn’t stop intruding, all the way home.

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A day off

Gail and Glenn went down to Hayling Island to visit with Beryl and Co today so I went to the gym while Mirinda worked from home before heading into London for an afternoon meeting…which was cancelled.

I spent the day pottering around the house, taking the dogs to the park… 

…having a coffee in Nero’s (it was very noticeable the number of regular Starbucks customers there with me)…the usual stuff.

Sob

I had a text from Gail late on saying they’d had a big day on the island and were going back to the pub for dinner and an early night. We arranged to meet tomorrow.

I was quite happy with this rearrangement as I was very tired and just wanted to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Which I did.

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Do you come with the house?

I’m sure it’s happened to most people. You make a little pointless quip in passing; something that might be mildly funny heard in context. It tends to just pop into one’s head and exits the mouth with unrehearsed perfection. Generally it gets a lighthearted laugh or, at the very least, a grin. Most of the time these things pass without incident and everyone concerned just moves on with their lives. Sometimes you don’t even hear what’s been said but the sound is enough for you to realise it was meant to be mildly humorous.

It seems, however, that not everyone is so switched on to the way the world socially works. On the other hand, some people are very clued up.

I’d taken Gail and Glenn up to Farnham Castle (which Glenn now calls Cook Castle) and I was going on and on about what things meant and why they were like they were when a Canadian chap came up to us and said “You seem to know a lot about castles.” I was a bit worried because I thought he was going to ask me something tricky like where did they keep the musical instruments?

“I was wondering whether you’d know a more complete castle close by that we could visit,” He asked.

I suggested Windsor which Gail and Glenn backed up given they’d recently been there. I also suggested Arundel but I think we sold him on Windsor.

From the Castle Keep

From the Castle Keep

After the castle we strolled down Castle Street just in time for opening hours at the Nelson Arms (which Glenn started calling Gary’s Pub after I told him it was my favourite) so we had to go in for a pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Glenn LOVED the pub. As most of my family know, the Nelson Arms is a lovely town pub with brilliant atmosphere, cute history and superb beer. I say ‘most of my family’ because every time someone visits I take them there.

We then went for a stroll around Farnham, stopping briefly at Gail’s for some fresh bread. Well, I was getting bread, Glenn was intent on taking photos of everything about the shop, particularly one photo from the outside with Gail pointing at the sign and me pointing at her. Glenn had a lot of fun with the young girl serving us as well.

I also took them to Starbucks. I had to because it was the last time they’ll be open for two weeks as they are redesigned. Sue asked me what I’ll do while they’re shut. I told her I’ll lock myself in a cellar until they open again. I think she knew I was joking.

After a short shop for lunch at Waitrose, we headed back home where Mirinda had finished Skyping. We had lunch then headed out to Chawton to visit with Jane.

While we were in the house (in the Library to be exact) a jovial type of chap entered behind us and, noticing an older lady sitting immovable on the only chair in the place available for sitting, said “Do you come with the house?”

We smiled at this silly joke. The woman, however didn’t change her expression. She sort of looked at him with a quizzical expression on her face. He repeated his silly question but her face remained unmoved. In fact, her brow scrunched up as if she was trying to understand the basics of speech and said “Did I come to the house?”

The man was really regretting his flippancy as he tried to back out of the room. Still, in for a penny…he repeated his question once more. But her face remained the same.

On the other hand, my face was threatening to explode as my grin fought to become a good belly laugh. I had to leave the room and with great delight told Mirinda what had happened. It was very funny.

Apart from that, we all enjoyed wandering around Jane’s House before heading across the road to the Grey Friar pub where we discovered that Glenn never takes the photos off of his camera. Some of the pictures go back to 1857!

In the beer garden, Glenn reviews his photos from the last ten years

In the beer garden, Glenn reviews his photos from the last ten years

All was lovely and pleasant in the beer garden until the rain started. And didn’t stop. We moved under a less than adequate shelter before going back to the car for the trip back. They then went back to their pub for a rest before we all went to Bel and the Dragon for dinner.

We had a lot of fun with the waitress (she was such a good sport, we personally slipped a tip into her hand as we were leaving) and a delicious meal. Naturally I had an espresso Martini.

It was an excellent day.

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Not praying, Waverley

Today was the start of a crazy weekend because today Gail and Glenn arrived, fresh from the Danube and a Viking tour along the river.

They turned up just gone 1pm and we sat and chatted and had a beer while I prepped for dinner. We then decided to take them for a drive to Waverley Abbey. We would have taken to the castle but they’d told us that on the cruise everyone was talking about the ABC’s of the trip where ABC stands for Another Bloody Castle. We figured they’d enjoy an abbey for a change. It also meant the girls could come with us.

Emma being a real dog in Max. Thank you, Gail.

Emma being a real dog in Max. Thank you, Gail.

They were both suitable amazed at Henry’s ruins and we took as many offered opportunities for photo posing as possible. We filled Gail and Glenn in on the Beijing style of posing, something they took to like ducks to water.

crazy

During the posing, Glenn did come a-cropper somewhat with the high windows in the chapel. He was determined to go around the back and pop his head through behind me. Given the window was about 15 feet off the ground, this proved very difficult. So he just walked around the building and settled for doing a few AbFab style poses instead.

Strike a pose!

Strike a pose!

From the abbey we popped over to Tilford to have a beer at the Barley Mow and watch a bit of village cricket. We sat in the beer garden with the action just across the road. The batsmen were starting to hit out and, just before we arrived, a six had hit the roof of the pub, dislodging a roof tile. While we sat there, another ball came whizzing through the gate, narrowly missing Glenn. It was all rather jolly exciting…and a bit dangerous.

Oh, how we laughed as the cricket ball threatened to smash anything silly enough to remain stationary long enough for a ball to be bowled and smashed. Unfortunately we missed the BMW getting smacked in the door though we did see the evidence. It was all a lot of fun as long as you remained alert for the possibility of taking a catch. Actually Mirinda assumed if one of us in the beer garden caught the ball on the full, the batsman would be out.

Back at the house I set to cooking to an audience. I’ve never done this before but have a new understanding of the contestants on Master Chef…sort of. I had Glenn doing voice overs to the television audience while I dashed around the kitchen, knives and spatulas in hand and waving.

Dawn and Chris turned up at about 7:30pm and the hilarity started. It didn’t end all night though there was no repeat of the song-fest of last time. There was, however, a fair bit of medical stories swapped between us all culminating in Dawn asking Glenn how his bowel movements were. This shocked Mirinda especially thinking it didn’t sound a very British question for after dinner discussion. It made a change from the collection of assembled kitchens that were stored in a pantechnic near Southampton for reasons known only to Chris.

Gail, Dawn, Chris, Mirinda, Glenn

Gail, Dawn, Chris, Mirinda, Glenn

A great night was had by all…I hope.

The menu, just for the record, was:
Scallops in chili and coriander
French salad
Foamy chicken on creamy mash
Rose Rosé jelly, saffron rice and lavender/shortbread biscuits

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Inconsideration

Today was what I’d call a Day of Annoyance. It was like the gods of misrule had decided I needed irritating. Well, they succeeded…handsomely.

My right foot
Yesterday, returning from putting the rubbish outside, I bashed my toe on the Ghost Prevention Ledge. Normally this would be okay but with my feet, nothing is normal so it hurt like buggery. It also ripped the flesh open on the top and underneath my big toe. I wrapped it in antiseptic and Elastoplast. It made walking very difficult because I had to twist my right foot to the side rather than use the big toe. So, walking to and around work was not easy today. The moments spent sitting at the desk with my right shoe off were bliss indeed.

Earplug hell
My journey home was underlined (heavily) by the woman sitting next to me with the bleeding earplugs. At least her choice of music was reasonably harmless (it was R&B) though I don’t remember asking her if I could listen to it. She joined the train at Woking and accompanied me all the way to Farnham. At Farnham she joined up with another earplug wearing woman asking if she’d like to share a taxi to some Christian camp because the bus wasn’t due for 45 minutes and they’d miss dinner.

Upper class parking
When Exhibition Road was made into a shared area I think the idea was for pedestrians to share the road with cars, bikes, buses and trucks. Some people, the kind that live on Exhibition Road at the fancy Georgian houses that are probably worth more than a small African country, think it means they can share the footpath with pedestrians. To quote Sheldon, “In what universe is this acceptable?”

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Miscellaneous
The rest of the day was littered with irritating little incidents of people getting in my way or standing in front of ticket gates because they don’t know how to put their ticket in a slot or blocking doorways because they are just plain rude. Like I said above, it was just one of those days.

On a brighter note…I overheard this conversation on the basement level of the museum between an 8 year old boy and his mum. They had just left a bigger group which included, I think, grandma and second child in a pram waiting for the lift.

8 YEAR OLD: But I don’t like lifts.
MUM: It’s fine, honey. Look. It’s glass and everyone is perfectly happy.
8 YEAR OLD: No. I’d rather walk.
MUM: I don’t understand you. You catch the lift at home all the time.
8 YEAR OLD: But that’s MY lift. I know MY lift. This one is completely different. I don’t trust it.

It should be noted they were only going one floor.

Oh, and it was raining and very, very crowded, so I didn’t leave the museum cafe at lunchtime.

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Telly time II

This morning Mirinda had to wake up at 6am. She was due to be interviewed on the Vanessa Feltz radio show (BBC London) regarding Clearing. She didn’t want to use the phone at the flat because it’s a bit fuzzy so she went into the office early instead. Then she was bumped.

She was bumped because of ‘breaking news.’ The breaking news was a bit of dust up over the excess dosh incurred by the new, yet to be built, garden bridge over the Thames. Vanessa was having a lot of fun with it and a lot of her listeners were complaining that it was an awful waste of money (“If we have another bridge, it should be for cars,” said one listener from South East London). I rather enjoyed it all but then found out it was why Mirinda had been bumped and, therefore, awake far earlier than she needed to be.

In the afternoon she was due to head over to the Kensington studio of London Live again. She wasn’t that keen after her last 30 second interview with the plastic presenter but it was short notice and she thought it unfair to ask anyone else.

As it turned out, the interview was much better with the added benefit of an attractive and personality loaded presenter.

As usual she spoke with great assurance, knowledge and skill and, this time, was able to use more than half a sentence. I thought it went very well.

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While Mirinda was on the publicity wheel, I was stuck in the house waiting for a redelivered parcel from Germany. I’d missed the first attempt last week by about ten minutes so organised for the redelivery to be for today. The Post Office never give you a time so I just stayed in.

I didn’t go to the gym and I couldn’t work in the garden. I didn’t go shopping first thing either. Fortunately I had enough food to muck together some lunch.

Eventually the parcel arrived at 1pm just as I was eating. It did mean we could go for a walk up the park before I headed into Farnham for a very late (read ‘unappealing’) shopping trip.

The problem with shopping later in the day is the choice of fresh food is reduced because early shoppers (like me) have already swept through the fruit and veg aisles. There’s no point in restocking before the next morning so the remaining stuff is sad and lonely, bereft of the first flush of freshness.

Mind you, I did get to say goodbye to James. He is a barista at Starbucks who has been poached by Carocoli in Haslemere and won’t be around anymore. This is a bit sad because his coffee skills are brilliant. Lucky Carocoli, I say. I better tell Dawn to hit him up for a brew.

Mirinda arrived home at 8pm and we had a delightfully fresh salad for dinner with olive bread. It was too hot to cook, I declared as we toasted her televisual success with a glass of Sancerre.

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Unenjoyable mountains

Today I went to Guildford to see a neurologist. He works out of a private hospital at the top of Guildford. When I say ‘top’ I mean at a great height. The hospital is called Mount for a reason.

As if the exertion required to scale the heady heights of the hospital wasn’t enough, I also went to the gym this morning. I enjoyed the usual round of cardio and upper body exercises and, for the first time ever, actually had the changing room to myself. It was a rare joy.

From there it was the usual shopping trip into Farnham before heading back home to two excited puppies.

Today also saw the U3A switchover. I’d handed the webmaster reigns over to someone else a while ago and have just be waiting for the new site to be ready. Today was the day. First thing this morning I deleted all of the files and left them to it.

I’m not convinced by the new site but what do I know? They wanted a site that the members could amend as they required rather than go through me all the time. What they have is a site built around blog software. That’s fine but it’s still a blog and if the users are as uncomfortable with the Internet as I have been led to believe, I don’t think they’ll use it very often. Though, it’s not my problem. Besides, I haven’t had a thank you or anything for the last five years so what do I care? Not a lot!

While the site deletion took up a bit of time, most of my ‘home’ hours were spent in the garden.

I weeded and planted up a few things in The Day-z Bed which should create a bit of colour. There’s still a few things to do (get rid of the awful mint for a start) but it’s slowly starting to take on a nicer appearance than it’s had for a while. I’ll add a photo when I’ve finished – hopefully tomorrow.

And then, of course, I caught the 65 bus into Guildford.

I really liked the receptionist, Emily and the furniture in the waiting room. But most of all, I really liked Dr Trend. What a jolly chap. He immediately put me at my ease by asking what he should call me. I said Captain* would do, and the appointment went along from there.

He had me walk around and up and down. He had me try and stand on my heels and then my toes. He tried to get me to squat (that was hilarious) then walk one foot in front of the other. He had me lie down so he could test my reflexes then tickled my toes. He used a tuning fork to determine how much feeling I had in my feet. He was very thorough.

We chatted for a long time about medical history and the history of my feet until, eventually, he announced that he wanted me to see his electrician friend who will determine if the connections in my body are working properly. He doesn’t want me to go for an MRI scan (as the GP thought I’d need) until he knows what the likely cause is. He tutted the suggestion away with disdain.

So, I now have to ring his ‘secretary’ (that’s what he called her) on Monday to get an appointment with the ‘electrician’ before returning to see Dr Trend within the next three weeks.

I then went home and collapsed. I think I managed more walking today than I’ve done for a long time.

Guildford High Street

Guildford High Street

* Actually I said ‘Gary’ but, in retrospect, ‘Captain’ would have been quite funny and I wish I’d thought of it.

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Changes in Farnham

On Sunday, after 4pm, the pixies at Waitrose went a bit mad. They completely removed the awful basket only customer service slots and returned the area to the way it used to be. I didn’t know why until today when I wandered up the other end of the shop. The pixies also added a load of self service spots.

This is a much better use of the space for a few reasons. The main reason is that the self service check out points have two sides. One of them is for the full basket and the other is for your bag. This is such an improvement over the previous narrow service spots. There was just room for the basket and then nothing for your bag. Some shop assistants would helpfully pack your bag for you but most did not.

Anyway, that was Waitrose…before I went shopping I had an appointment to check my blood pressure with the health care assistant. And I was perfect. She was very pleased; I was deliriously pleased. She thinks it was the medication but I reckon it was sheer will power on my behalf because the last thing I want is a dicky ticker!

So, with a happy heart but minus a spring in my step (for obvious reasons) I headed into town and to Starbucks where Kerry, recently returned from her romantic week away with the boyfriend told me that, according to the CCTV footage, the yellow g-string guy did, in fact, carry his money where I suspected. She thought it really funny that it should have happened to Gracie. I said she’d have seen him off properly. Kerry said she’d have just laughed. Very loudly.

Another new addition to Farnham opened last week. In the Borough, between the Prezzo and Maison Blanc a new branch of Oasis has opened.

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It’s almost as if the face of Farnham is changing on a weekly basis.

The rest of my day was spent Skyping mum, walking the dogs and planting flowers in Carmen’s Sweet Escape. I ran out of time to plant up The Day-z Bed because Nicktor arrived to take me to Bromley.

He’d texted me yesterday to ask if I fancied the Shots away and Mirinda insisted I go…so off we went.

Not as informative as ours

Not as informative as ours

It was another hard fought battle with us taking the lead after about five minutes then doubling it by ten. All seemed glorious in victory until Bromley went a bit mad and scored twice. While there were a few scares late on, it all ended in a draw.

I didn’t think the referee had a very good game. He didn’t have a lot of control and, in the second half, the Bromley players were a bit rough with their tackles and dirty tricks. I think we were lucky to walk away with a point because we could have had a lot of injuries instead.

Still, a good night and at least we didn’t lose.

On the way home, Nicktor stopped for petrol and we saw a very overweight pug being pushed on a trolley by it’s skinny owner. Quite unexpected.

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