Archive for the 'Rambling on…' Category

One of the Water Signs

Posted by on May 4th 2017 in Rambling on...
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About this time last year I returned from one of my longer stays at LRI to find that we'd had a slow leak where the cold water feed was joined to the plastic cistern at the back of the loo, the cause was a fibre-washer which had perished. I had to rip up and throw away the floor covering in the bathroom and allow the units, floor-boards and plasterboards to dry for a few months. Luckily the leak was caught before it seeped down so far for it to trash the lovingly-crafted suspended ceiling beneath the bathroom and above the kitchen. Said suspended ceiling is actually laminate flooring stuck to a suspended timber-batten framework using aero-adhesive, so repairing it would be either a bodge-job or a complete replacement, neither of which would be a job to look forwards to.

When I was satisfied that everything in and under the bathroom had fully dried I made plans to re-cover the floor, only to be thwarted by a new leak - the shower-screen seal had given up and had to be replaced, and a load of silicone sealer was applied for good measure. Yet another drying-out period was required. Again, the suspended ceiling survived.

At about the same time we noticed some dampness on the kitchen floor, and there were some water-damaged laminate-flooring planks. That was puzzling, because we couldn't find a cause for some time, but it definitely wasn't anything to do with the bathroom leaks. After a few days we found the cause - the tumble-dryer had "walked" slightly from its proper location and was resting lightly on the plastic ring-nut of the cold-feed pipe for the adjacent washing machine. The gentle tumbling action had made the dryer's chassis slowly undo the cold-feed ring-nut and it was allowing water to seep out. Once tightened, it was fine and the leak was stopped, it's not been a problem since then, and the laminate planks are now dry with minimal damage which we can live with until it's time to renovate the whole room.

Two days ago I noticed that one of the unpopulated grow-bag trays in the greenhouse had water in it, and I know that I didn't put it there. This morning the water was deeper, so I surmise that there's a minor leak in the greenhouse roof. It's not an urgent matter, and it wasn't raining so I put the simple repair job on the back-burner while I put the finishing touches to the fruit-cage - I had to transplant an established redcurrant plant to a container, haul it into the cage and then finish spreading bark around it.

After that I went back to the house, made a brew, and decided to have a few minutes planning the refurbishment of the now-dry bathroom. I looked up at the suspended ceiling, thinking how lucky we'd been that it had survived undamaged, but when I did I noticed that it wasn't right, it was buckled and slightly damp. It looks like fresh water-damage and it's directly below the bath-taps and bath overflow. Looks like I have another strip-out to do, another plumbing job, and another period of drying out. It's an extra-wide bath, so to get to the undersides of the taps and to the overflow I'll have to cut an access-hatch in the stud-wall in Anna's bedroom, that won't go down well but it's either that or rip out the tiled-in bath and start again.

Looks like the bathroom floor will have to wait a bit longer 🙁

 

 

Unlike our good-for-nothing MP I don't believe in astrology, but, according to those who do, I'm a Cancerian. Ooda thunkit?

 

The end of the Thin Blue Line

Posted by on March 12th 2017 in Rambling on...
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Harrow Brook again. The supply of contaminant seemed to have stopped and a little overnight drizzle had diluted things a bit, but it was still noticeably blue. We walked upstream again from the Harrowbrook roundabout, taking pics until we came to the end of the accessible bank-side:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress being foiled, we back-tracked to the car and drove to a spot upstream where the brook enters the industrial estate.

There, next to the Ashby Canal, we found where the blue stuff was still trickling into the brook:

 

 

We traced the outflow to a ditch which was still bright blue, where the foot-bridge was adorned with a couple of "portable loo" panels:

 

 

 

 

A little further up we found where the blue stuff was entering the ditch... a pipe leading from the unit in the corner of the industrial estate:

 

 

Even further up, on the other side of the A47,  there was no blue:

 

 

Now, I'm not an expert on these matters, but they say that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck...

so maybe this one is a toilet-duck?

Here's what's in the compound of that unit in the corner of the industrial estate:

 

 

No names, no pack-drill. Nothing is proven yet. The E.A. can call this one.

Thin Blue Line

Posted by on March 11th 2017 in Rambling on...
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The usually-clear Harrow Brook in Hinckley had turned an almost-opaque vivid blue this morning. I walked the bank upstream for about a mile but didn't find the source of the contamination. The voles, the ducks and even the rats were conspicuously absent.

It looks like some ne'er-do-well on the industrial estate had decided to dump something naughty in it. There's a slim chance that it might be a bona fide watercourse-tracing dye but I'm told that they usually use a green dye for that sort of thing.

After chatting to the local PCSO about it I reported it to the Environment Agency who said that they would send out a local response unit to investigate.

I'll be checking it again on Sunday, if it's still bad I'll get more pics, with a better camera, for the E.A.'s investigation.

 

 

All shook up

Posted by on February 17th 2017 in Rambling on..., Video (YouTube, Vimeo etc.)

When me and my Dad say goodbye to each other we generally shake hands, it's what we do now that he finds embracing too uncomfortable. It works for us.

During my regular visits to the hospital I usually run into a few of the patients who were fellow inmates a year back, we usually shake hands too, it's a sign not just of friendship but also of us having been through so much shite together. And also because hands are the best bet for contact points due to us all having to do the hygiene routine every time we visit - using the hand-gel dispensers is so ingrained that it's a tad like turning Buddhist prayer-wheels, you can't pass one by without having a go. The one exception is my good friend and fellow patient Nick, A.K.A. "Quaver Nick", he likes to do hugs. Mind you, he does bowl from the pavilion end...

But just lately the hand-shaking thing has gone to a new level. A couple of days ago the postman wanted to shake my hand after delivering a parcel, I thought it was unusual but I went with it. And last night at the posh Italian restaurant in town the head waiter went for the handshake when we arrived... and again on the way out... then the head chef wanted a go... by that time I was in full flow so the junior waiter standing by the door got one too.

What's going on? Has the world gone Über-polite while I've not been paying attention? Have I become an unwitting minor celebrity?

Or am I turning into...

 

Arse versus Elbow

Posted by on February 19th 2016 in Illness and injury, Rambling on...

Friday was spent in the Day Ward having bloods taken and tested, and having another bag of platelets put in. Neutrophil level still zilch.

Sent home.

When I had zero neutrophils during Cycle 1 it was mandatory that I be kept in because they needed to be monitoring me several times a day, the air was super-ultra-mega-filtered, and temperatures were tightly controlled. By "kept in", I mean in the ward. Going off-ward was a no-no while I had no "newts". Going outside was a danger akin to joining a leper colony. Home was an incredibly dangerous place to be, because of the risk of picking up bacterial, viral and/or fungal infections.

Now, with zero neutrophils during Cycle 2, I probably couldn't get admitted even if I contracted rabies and had been run over by a bus. Seems that I no longer need to be monitored around the clock, nor do I need super-ultra-mega-filtered air, nor controlled temperatures. Home has not changed, but Home is now good, together with the exact same risk of picking up the exact same bacterial, viral and/or fungal infections.

Seems that the required care regime has been edited to suit the circumstances and is suddenly much less directly related to the severity and consequences of the illness.

 

 

 

I do wish that they would start singing from the same hymn-sheet. One that has been agreed and approved by everyone in the loop. On Wednesday the doc said that he would admit me, but he was over-ruled by a specialist consultant and I was sent home with instructions to continue to attend Day Ward every day. This afternoon a different doc said that the daily visits to Day Ward would continue through the weekend and into next week, but she was over-ruled by a specialist consultant and I was sent home with a different plan - only attend Day Ward on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Oh, and I'll be getting another 2 cycles of chemo just for good measure. They way things are going they won't have me in for the chemo, they will send it by post and I'll have to pay the local plumber to administer it via an implanted radiator valve and some old garden hosepipe.

I'm trying to keep a lid on my temper whenever they change the plan, but I'm not known for my tolerance of such shenanigans.

Upping the ante

Posted by on February 17th 2016 in Rambling on...

Monday was spent in the Day Ward having bloods taken and tested. Neutrophil level was clearly on the way down (0.28). Sent home.

Tuesday was spent in the Day Ward having bloods taken and tested. Neutrophil level was even further down (0.06). Sent home.

Today was spent in the Day Ward having bloods taken and tested, and having two bags of red put back in. Neutrophil level was way down (0.04), lower than when I was urgently admitted back in December. The doc said that he would admit me, but he was over-ruled by my specialist consultant. Sent home.

Thursday I have to attend the Day Ward yet again, having bloods taken and tested, and probably having a bag of platelets put in. Neutrophil level will probably be rock-bottom. No idea what the outcome will be.

Why no admission?

Well, there's a slight problem on the Haematology Ward...

 

 

 

 

Why the notices and restrictions?

H1N1 Swine Flu.

The ward has 21 beds (4 rooms of 4, and 5 singles). The last time I was given any official figures (Tuesday) there were still 15 patients in there, and 8 of them had confirmed H1N1.

Apparently the plan is to get those 15 safe in order to allow decontamination of the ward, so there is a lot of bed-moving and territory negotiation involving other wards. Looks like new/re-admitted Haematology patients will be going downstairs to Oncology. Where the Oncology patients will be going I don't know.

Until the plan has been executed, it's allegedly safer for me to be at home and to travel to and from the Day Ward every day. I'm not entirely convinced.

Meanwhile, every Day Ward appointment means that Chris has to blag another day off work to drive me and my kit hither and thither. Public transport is a no-no due to infection risk, despite me being the only occupant of the train carriage when I broke the rule on Monday.

Catch-up #3

Posted by on December 29th 2015 in Illness and injury, Rambling on...

When Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I said that I'd like some Turkish Delight and that would be enough.

Well, I got the Turkish Delight, but I wasn't expecting to be sitting in hospital scoffing it while being pumped full of chemo drugs on Christmas Eve.

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) Type FAB M2.

Bugger.

Catch-up #2

Posted by on December 27th 2015 in Rambling on...

This should cover most of 2015. You'll have to excuse the lack of photos, I don't have them with me right now so I'll see about adding them when I can.

We eventually got away to the Lakes for a well-earned breather. A weekend in Patterdale just before Easter. We were both surprised by how well I coped on the fells, knocking off a couple of the lower Wainwrights (Longlands Fell and Brae Fell) was a doddle when the walking was properly paced. Only three more to do! We also nipped up to see the recently deconstructed Hayeswater dam area, it'll take some time for nature to reclaim what it had lost, but it was looking good.

Summer hols saw us back at Ty Llewelyn, and pottering about the mountains and the coast. Me and Chris went up Tryfan via the Heather Terrace, and it was a major triumph for her. She's tried before but had to stop just a few tens of feet of alt from the top due to health issues, this time she went all the way. I didn't top-out, I'd done that three times before and considered the possibility of a fall from the "bad corner" to be too great. I'm good with mountains but I'm shite with unsupported exposure to Sir Isaac's greatest discovery. We also pottered around on Moel Siabod... again. Top mountain, best there is.

Ella did better than she thought at uni and went on to start her second year on a high, and Anna got a great set of GCSE results and started what is now compulsory 16-18 education doing a bunch of A-levels at the local Sixth Form college.

After a few mini-extensions, my contractor job at TNT BICC came to an end in Sept, when all of their work was farmed out to an Indian company, and of the permies a few were mapped to different positions, the majority were made redundant. That was a sad day for everyone there. They all had "TNT" running through them like "Blackpool" through a stick of seaside rock, it was a tragic waste of talent.

Our Bonfire Party was exceptionally "in yer face" - plenty of guests, lashings of hot food (courtesy of Chris), and a major surprise - my pyromaniac nephew Luke turned up with his car full of HUGE fireworks from http://www.ghengisfireworks.co.uk/ , we reckon he must have spent about £500 on them. The ground and the windows were really shaken that night!

I've probably missed a bunch of other notable things, but that brings us more-or-less up to date.

One more post should do it.

Catch-up #1

Posted by on December 26th 2015 in Rambling on...

Strange things happened between Aug and the end of Dec 2014...

First up, in Sept I landed myself a job. To be fair, it was handed to me on a plate - a full-time 3-month contractor position in the TNT BICC in Ashby, where Chris works. Simple stuff really - processing requests for users wanting access to BI reporting systems, sending them their access credentials, and being the unofficial Office Joker. So, nothing new there 🙂

The next good thing was that I was given the all-clear and final discharge from the Glenfield Cardio Unit. Statins and mini-aspirins daily forever, and that was all.

By way of a celebration, me and Chris booked a November weekend away at Patterdale YHA, with the intent of bagging a few of the Wainwrights still on my to-do list. What we didn't foresee was that Rab, my trusty Octavia vRS, would suffer catastrophic and terminal oil-system failure while we were on the way there, so the weekend was abandoned, we were rescued from the dual-carriageway by the Police, and the car expired in a mess of mangled piston-rings and fried shell-bearings. R.I.P., Rab, you are sorely missed. The Kia Cee'd SW7 that I bought to replace you will never measure up.

The next good thing was corrective butt-surgery, at long last they performed the minor surgery needed to repair the damage caused by the original piles op. two years before.

So, November wasn't too bad after all, and December was even better - TNT extended my contract by six months, which provided a little more financial security.

More soon.

Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back

Posted by on December 26th 2015 in Rambling on...

Well, ooda thunkit?

Just when I thought it was safe to consider this blog a write-off, I found a new... "hobby".

I'll tell you more about that after one or two catch-up posts - there's a fair chunk missing between Aug 2014 and Dec 2015.

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