Archive for 2013

Fannying around

Posted by on November 21st 2013 in Illness and injury

True to form, the Booking Centre staff managed to intentionally fcuk-up yet again...

By the time we'd left the house this morning, the thrice-promised letter of appointment hadn't been delivered. Undeterred, we turned up at Leicester Royal Infirmary well before the time arranged during the phone call with "Christine" c/o the Booking Centre and, as expected, I wasn't on the paper version of the clinic's patient list and my appointment wasn't "live" on the computer. What was on the computer was a marker saying that I'd cancelled the appointment. Hence no letter - in all probability it never existed, it was clear that the Booking Office never had any intent to honour the arrangement.

I tell you, I don't know how I managed to hold on to any semblance of fair speech. It was yet another example of totally bureaucratic bullshit that is spouted regularly by some of the lying feckers in the booking Centre, in particular the notorious "Christine", who no doubt attended the same School of Incompetence as Mr. Andrew Miller, the consultant who did my op and who, after I'd been admitted to the Emergency Ward a few days afterwards, misdiagnosed my condition as constipation and discharged me without treatment, saying that I should go home and eat prunes!

Of course, today's fiasco wasn't the fault of the clinic's desk-staff, so I couldn't let rip at her. She looked at the raft of bumped/cancelled appointment letters that I'd taken along "just in case", understood my angst, got on the blower, and somehow managed to "slot me in". She was a true professional - calm, caring, apologetic and pro-active - and I thanked her accordingly.

She told me that this meddling with the appointment system "happens a lot", that she took a lot of flak for it, and that she thought it wasn't a good way to treat people.

Hell, you don't say!

I won't bore you with the fine details of the consultation, suffice to say that the consultant seems to think that the treatment for skin-tags isn't surgery, it's Imodium. Further to that, I'm now awaiting the results of a blood-test for, of all things, Coeliac Disease. It all sounds far-fetched to me, I believe that they're clutching at straws and that they're trying anything to avoid having to actually fix their mistakes.

And just to add insult to injury, I've been told that my anus looks like a vagina! Now that I CAN believe, and I suppose it could explain why the NHS finds it so easy to shaft me time and time again.

It's a good job I've still got my sense of humour, eh?

Bunch of arse

Posted by on November 20th 2013 in Driveway-blocking feckwits and piss-poor parkers

Now the feckwits are blocking me in two at a time!

I'm going to need a longer wall and a bigger firing-squad:


Observing Report 14-15th November 2013 (doing a runner)

Posted by on November 19th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Like I said, there was a run of clear frosty nights. I managed to blag a pass to spend another one of them in the shed. No visual observing this time, I fancied a shot at imaging an intriguing bunch of nebulae - NGC 1973/5/7. I could have done better with more subs, so I might well grab some more and process the thing again some time, but for now here's the result:

NGC 1973/5/7, 15th November 2013.
Subs: 25 light @ 300s, 50 darks or bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

This trio of objects isn't called the "Running Man Nebula" without good reason!

Observing Report 12-13th November 2013 (Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1))

Posted by on November 17th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

It's been a long time since I had a decent observing session - most nights that I've been up in the obsy recently have start well but clouded over before any imaging could begin. Not so last week, though, when there was a run of clear frosty nights, perfect for a bit of comet-chasing.

It's shaping up to be a good season for comets - there are now four of them rising in the East before dawn, promising to put on a decent show in the coming months. After a bit of visual comet-spotting I had a pop at imaging Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1), here are a couple of versions of a half-hour exposure guided on the comet:

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1), 13th November 2013.
Subs: 1 light @ 1800s, no darks or bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1), 13th November 2013.
Subs: 1 light @ 1800s, no darks or bias frames, ISO800. Levels tweaked to show the tails.
1000D on the 6" R-C, guided with PHD.

There are some other pics still to process so I might post the results sometime soon if I think they're worth showing.

I'm hoping to bag some pics of the other three comets sometime during the next few evenings if the weather decides to play along. Suffice to say that I'm not holding my breath!


Well, it's been a while. There's not been much to blog about - no epic days on the hill, no gear-testing, no firm plans for much in the way of outdoorsy-stuff.

Our bonfire party went well on Saturday. I would have taken pics but due to the lower-than-usual turnout of responsible adults I was stuck on firework-ignition and bonfire-stoking all night so the camera stayed unused. Our over-the-road neighbours donated a huge pile of privet from their garden-clearance, it lasted a good five hours and the fire-pit is still aglow two days later.

The cardiac rehab folk at Glenfield Hospital are on the ball - we've already been to an introductory lecture about CHD and I have a couple of appointments coming up: one to arrange a suitable physio regime (although they seem to think that my current levels of exercise and exertion are above and beyond what their usual patients are expected to achieve) and there's a follow-up with the cardiac consultant booked for the start of 2014. Indeed, they've been chasing me on the phone to make sure that I'm going to attend. It's a slick system, they're real pros and they treat me as a human being.

Sadly, the same can't be said of the staff of the Booking Centre staff Leicester Royal Infirmary where they're desperately avoiding having to fix my arse after they wrecked it back in January 2012, and where I'm just a number to be juggled to make their stats look acceptable, not a person who they've made virtually unfit for employment.

I saw a brilliant Functional Bowel Service Specialist Practitioner (SP) back on 20th June, she taught me how to exercise specific muscles and insisted on a follow-up appointment no more than two weeks later because if I wasn't doing the exercises correctly I'd be doing more harm than good. Before I left the consultation we'd arranged for the follow-up to be on the 4th of July, and she'd made the appropriate entry in her diary.

Just two days before I was due to go in, the Booking Centre staff phoned me to bump my appointment to 5th August, and lied to me about the reason why. My protestations and explanations of the medical need went unheeded, and when I explained the situation to the SP in August she was livid when she found that I'd been told that she'd not be on site on 4th July - she showed me her diary which clearly indicated that she'd been on duty on 4th July and that some lying sod at the Booking Centre had told her that I'd rearranged my appointment!

I left that consultation with the promise of an appointment with a colorectal consultant within the next month, and true to her word the SP managed to get me booked in - I received a letter, dated 15th August, detailing an appointment on 25th September...

but on 19th August the Booking Centre bumped that to 30th October...

and then on 15th October they bumped it again, to 26th November...

and today I received a letter, dated 7th November, telling me that they had cancelled that. Not bumped, cancelled. There was no explanation other than "due to unforseen [sic] circumstances..."

And they wonder why my blood-pressure is so high!

They can expect me to be in touch soon, and they'd better have a damned good explanation of what's going on. One more bump or fcuk-up and I'll be naming-and-shaming, first in front of the Trustees, and second, if necessary, here on my lowly blog. Oh, and probably on a few choice online forums too.

I tell you; come the revolution, the liars among the Booking Centre staff will be first against the wall.

Second against the wall will be the Macmillan Nurse who, despite having numerous options for sensible parking, insists on obstructing my driveway whenever she visits our neighbour:


A hearty breakfast

Posted by on October 4th 2013 in Illness and injury

Well, the NHS does keep going on about us needing "5 A Day":


(Late) Observing Report 26th-27th August 2013 (Another Moon Mosaic)

Posted by on September 15th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

It was going to be a night for software-testing, there having been a new release of APT that needed checking out. The skies were clear but the heat of the previous day was still making its escape from the planet via the air, which meant that the seeing was marginal for any sort of imaging, therefore I wasn't intending to take any images.

And then I remembered the medium-bandwidth Hydrogen-alpha (H-a) filter that I'd bought on the cheap. In theory it would cut out the worst of the shimmer. It had to be tried.

It worked, and it worked better than I would have expected. I grabbed 22 .avi files of the Moon, and after a bit of stacking jiggery-pokery I stuck the resultant .bmps into PS's photomerge. That spat out a reasonably-good mosaic image which I processed with RegiStax, and the following image was the result. I'm reasonably happy with it, but there's room for improvement next time out:

Moon (27/08/2013 @ 02:00 approx). 22 panes stitched with PS CS3.
Each pane is 200/2000 stacked frames. DMK mono CCD camera with H-a
filter on the GSRC6M.

(Late) Observing Report 12th-13th August 2013 (Perseid meteors)

Posted by on September 14th 2013 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports, Pics

With one thing or another taking precedence, the processing of these was unavoidably delayed.

Perseid meteors - taster pic below - click it to see a few more.

Perseid meteor.


Posted by on September 12th 2013 in Illness and injury

Yup, I'm back on topic...

That piles op back in Jan 2012 - remember that, and the aftermath of it? Well, it's still giving me hassle. I've not been able to exercise properly since the op because it makes the rear-end swollen and dysfunctional. Yes, I've had the odd good day in the hills but I've always paid for it during the following week.

Eventually they sent me to a bum-physio who taught me how to retrain the damaged/wasted muscles down there. They needed to be sorted before the NHS would even consider any further corrective surgery. I won't list the number of times my appointments were bumped, suffice to say that I ain't happy about it and that my next consultation (to arrange the removal of the large skin-tags and the repair of the muscle-damage, both of which resulted from the original op) was to be on September 25th but they've already bumped that to October 30th.

So... consequences...

My inability to maintain a proper exercise regime for well over a year has left me seriously unfit. I didn't read much into the aching torso thing when I went up Moel Siabod in July, I thought I was just lacking in the oomph department, and an occasional minute or two of rest combined with a slackening of the pack-straps allowed me to keep going.

Fast(?)-forward to three weeks ago and I was struggling on the flat. We were at a wood-craft fair, it was a very hot day and again I didn't pay much attention to myself. After a beer and a sit down in the shade I felt better, I put the whole affair down to the unseasonal hot weather, my unfitness and the need for the hydrating effects of real ale.

A week later and it was clear that something was wrong. Cutting the hedges became a task punctuated by rests and cups of tea. I thought that the aching in the arms and chest was due to the efforts of wielding the not-so-lightweight electric trimmers, but I followed the advice of all and sundry and took it easy for a few days.

Aldi had some Blood Pressure Monitors on sale so we bought one, just so that I could keep an eye on how my ticker was coping. The first few days of readings were fine (112/65, 80bpm for example) but a few days later I took a reading after tightening-up while doing a bit of leisurely gardening and the pressure result was a bit of a shocker - 212/125!

I went to see my doctor ASAP. The prognosis wasn't good. The doc put me on aspirin and nitroglycerine spray, and put me down for treadmill and ECG tests at the local specialist cardiac unit.

And that's where I was yesterday. They didn't need to do the treadmill test, the effect of the walk from the car to the reception was enough to make the static ECG results conclusive: Stable Angina. Against all expectations the tests indicated that apart from the effects of Angina I'm in really good nick for a 51-year-old smoker, with no respiratory or weight/fat problems at all. After a chest X-ray and blood-tests I was sent home with a big bag full of meds and the promise of a coronary angioplasty with stent implantation(s) within a month.

Of course, cardiac problems always trump colorectal problems, so I doubt that my bum-doctor will do anything more until the ticker's sorted, which puts me in a Catch-22 situation where exertion is good for one end but not the other.

Of course, this might all have been avoided if they'd properly managed my recovery from the piles op nearly two years ago. I'd have been back in the hills keeping in shape instead of getting progressively unfit to the point where I've started to fall apart.

I tell you, getting up those last five Wainwrights is proving to be more of a challenge than the previous 209 ever were 😥

Titter ye not!

Posted by on August 26th 2013 in Just for fun

You can make up your own captions for this one:

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