A Celtic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
may the rains fall soft upon your fields.
Until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Nollick ghennal!

Bannaghtyn y nollick - Manx season's greetings to you all.

A good Oie'll Voirrey (Christmas Eve - literally "Mary's night") last night. and her mother came up. I was worried as they were running late (daughter in the bath and was waiting for her mum to tell her to get out; mum asleep on the sofa after dealing with the cat!). But the meat was cooking, and when they got here we had dinner (fresh pineapple to start, gammon with potatoes, cauliflower cheese and yorkshire pudding, then spiced peaces and cream to finish).

The really nice thing was that we could spend time together. In the past, they have headed off to her grandmother's down south. This time, they could stay, and talk over a glass of wine (well alcopop in my daughter's case) and catch up. It was the closest thing to a family Christmas for years!

Anyway - work calls. So I wish you shee as boggey erriu (peace and joy to you).

Nollick ghennal!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

T'was the week before Christmas...

...and all through the house -
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.

Though if I did find a mouse, I am not sure what Pepsi would do with it. I know what Hamish would have done though - he would have watched it run around. I know that because I did find one, and he had no idea what to do about it! When it comes to cats, though, she knows exactly what to do! A strange white cat was passing through the back garden on its own business. Pepsi saw it, and was straight out of the window and chased it off under next door's decking.

Ahh Christmas. 'Tis the season to be merry (though for many people, merry becomes blotto). 'Tis also the season to be greedy, aggressive, angry, mean and bad-tempered. I am opting out of most of the Christmas Day festivities by working (when was I ever conventional?). Christmas dinner will be served on Christmas Eve, with the traditional ham (don't like turkey that much) with potatoes and cauliflower cheese.

I will be glad when it is over. My local bakerery is closed from Christmas Eve until onday 29th, so I have to think ahead and freeze some bread. With being on day shift next week, I will be limited as to when I can shop, and I will have to plan ahead. And then get in enough to get me through until at least the Saturday.

And now I am off to help a friend with her cat. I need to hold her so that she can be de-fleaed. That will get me riught off the cat's Christmas card list...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A Christmas prayer

When I am weighted down with tiredness,
when I am bound down with the knots of things I haven't done,
people I haven't seen,
cards I haven't written,
prayers I haven't said;
when the demands of Christmas silence its music,
come to me and free me;
come to me and quieten me;
come to me and love me as I am.
Come to me.

Lynne Chitty

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Just a thought

"Railways and the church have their critics, but both are the best ways of getting a man to his ultimate destination"

Revd. W. Awdry

Friday, 28 November 2008

Full circle

Just a quick update on my dad.

It is strange, but as the Alzheimer's has worked its way though my dad and his personality, he has been regressing. Mum would find the only way to deal with him was as a child - watching him all the time. Then when he went into the home, he became like a young child.

Now he has almost come full circle. Mum saw him yesterday, and he was asleep. "Sleeping like a baby" is a much used cliche, but according to my mum, that was how he was yesterday. He was deeply asleep, not twitching or restless, but just fast asleep. All his needs are the same as a baby needs - food, warmth and security. These the home are providing. His interactions with people are like a baby - touch is all that seems to get through. He sometimes seems to be close to recognizing a face, but that is all. It is as if he has gone through the storms of life, and the hurricane of Alzheimer's, and has reached calm still waters beyond.

And this is making me cry so I can't write any more

Friday, 21 November 2008

Anyone who had a heart...

...may be pleased to know that I do too. And after a visit to the one stop heart clinic, I am reasonably confident that it is in good condition.

This was a follow-up to the scare when I was in hospital last month. I had had to cancel the first appointment I received as I was on nights, so this morning I went toddling off to the hospital. The bad news is that I have put on a lot of weight since I started at the sxwitchboard (I expected to put some on, but not as much as I had!). After weighing, I was then wired up to the ECG and given the treadmill test. This involves walking on the treadmill until I reached '100%' of my heart rate (this is calculated as 220 beats per minute less 1 for each year of your age (work it out for yourselves, I can't be bothered to give you the answer)). Anyway, the treadmill starts off really slowly, which is hard to get used to. The pace increases, and it also simulates climbing a hill. This suprised me - if I climb a hill I go slower as the hill gets steeper! Oh well, what do I know?

Anyway, I reached my 100%, and then they slow down the treadmill and monitor heart and blood pressure for 6 minutes. The upshot is that there is no evidence of irregular beats or heart murmer, and no sign of heart disease. It is almost certainly gastric reflux, so I keep taking the medicine for that. As for the palpitations at night, they will have to be dealt with as I am having real problems getting to sleep. So heigh-ho, back to the doctor again!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Yes we keep waiting...

Dad is in hospital again. He was taken in on Monday, with problems swallowing. At first we thought it was an infection in his throat, which worried us as he has never had any problems there. When he got to hospital, they found he had a urinary infection (again!), probably caused by the catheter. They have treated that, and he has been able to eat something (which he had not been doing), so maybe it was just that the infection put him off his food.

Mum went to see him tonight. My sister-in-law went with her, and she was able to get some sort of a reaction. She held his hand, and he did keep touching her. It seems that touch is the only way to have any connection to him. And how can we know what he feels?

Does God understand Alzheimer's? Am I going to be the next one to catch it (after his mother and him)? It does scare me.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

All I need to know about life...

I learned from my cat.

  • Life is hard, then you nap
  • Curiousity never killed anything except maybe a few hours
  • When in doubt, cop an attitude
  • Variety is the spice of life: one day ignore people, the next day annoy them
  • Climb your way to the top - that's why the drapes are there
  • Never sleep alone when you can sleep on someone's face
  • Find your place in the nsun - especially if it happens to be on that nice pile of warm clean laundry
  • Make your mark in the world - or at least spray in each corner
  • When eating out, think nothing of sending your meal back twenty or thirty times
  • If you are not receieving enough attention, try knocking over several expensive antique lamps
  • Always give generously - a small bird or rodent left on the bed tells them "I care."

Friday, 7 November 2008


Yes - it is Friday. The end of the working week (I wish!) I am on nights, so the end of my working week would normally be 8am Monday morning. However, since I started this set of nights early i am also finishing it early, and am done at 8am Sunday. Then a nice few days off until Thursday evening at 4.

Night shift. Most people at work say they hate it. I really don't mind it that much. Yes it is inconvenient in that you lose all the day (and it is strange going to bed as it is getting light and waking up as it is getting dark), but I do like it. Maybe because I live on my own, I am used to keeping myself occupied. I can read or knit or sew - there is the radio or TV for company - and the kettle is only a few steps away. What more could you want?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Getting heated to keep cool

Oh, the joys of owning appliances.

6 weeks ago, I took delivery of a nice shiny new fridge/freezer. It did everything I wanted it to (kept the milk cold and froze the apples I put in it). This morning, I came downstairs, opened the door and the little light did not come on. FIrst thought was that the sockets had tripped out, so I checked the box and everything was fine. Next thought was that the fuse or the socket were faulty - but I tested them and they passed.

Soooooooooooooo - off to work and call the company I got the fridge from. To save them from embarrassment, I will call them by the acronym MEA. I finally managed to get appliance repairs on the phone, and they said they would go and look at it in the afternoon. Then I had to find someone who would house-sit until they had gone. Thank goodness for my friend Dot - she rushed her morning and house-sat from 1 until 4 - she is a good friend!

So eventually he turned up and looked at the appliance. I then got a call, the gist of which was that it needed a new part, and would be fixed in the middle of next week.

As you can imagine, I was not prepared to accept that! I rang the appliance repair centre, and got no reply. Eventually, I got the appliance repairs manager - someone who understood that I could not live without a fridge for nearly a week. He promised to arrange a replacement.

So then it was contact with the showroom, who did not have another of the one I had. They instead offered me a bigger one. And not only was it bigger but cheaper too, so I asked if they would reverse the doors for me (which they agreed to). Itr was only after they agreed that they checked the original purchase and found it was a manager's special! However, they had agreed so that was that.

Now I just have to replace the lost food. Let me think how many lots of smoked salmon do I have in there, I wonder...?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Incoming clouds

I am sure you have all seen it. You stand somewhere, the sky is blue, the sun is out and all seems peaceful and safe. Then, from almost nowhere, the clouds come in, and before long, you are surrounded by heavy clouds.

I get that happening now. I was in one of my favourite places and times tonight - evening service at St Luke's, Baldwin. From going to the service in a positive mood, the clouds came and I was crying in my pew. I didn't go up for Communion, I didn't sing the last hymn, I didn't take part in any of the last third of the service - I just sat and cried.

Afterwards, the vicar and aa gentleman from the pew behind came and talked to me - which meant I could at least drive home. Trying to explain what it I am going through to someone who has not been through something similar feels like trying to describe green to someone born blind. The only way I could put it is that when the clouds come in, it is immobilizing. The fears, doubts and above all, the dragging feeling that adds weights to your limbs and your thoughts - to understand them needs a common frame of reference, which may people just don't have. It is not a lack of desire to understand; rather it is an inability to comprehend. The upshot of this incomprehension is an isolation - unable to break out and unable to explain to others how to break in.

I consider myself now disabled. Not to a great extent - but this is a disability that is affecting my life. And the effects are deeper than I thought.

I close with this thought from a user of mental health services.

“Mental illness is when the pain, distress and suffering inside your head and body is too much to bear and even the simple things in life prove too much.”

“People with Mental illness are viewed as weak by society. However, if society knew the pain, emotions, feelings and hurt these people are living with constantly, then they would in fact be viewed as the strongest people in society.”

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Digging myself out

I just read the last post - you can change the first line about the meds!

I reread the side-effects - one of them is depression, and boy have I had it. It got to the point that yesterday, I could not face going into work. Thank goodness for an understanding and supportive management!

I spoke to them at length. The upshot was not to come in, but to see my doctor. I managed to get an emergency appointment (a minor miracle in itself!), and discussed it with the doctor. I was in such a state that I needed someone else to tell me what to do - I seemed to have lost my ability to make decisions. Anyway, as a result oif the visit to the doctor, I am on different medication. I also managed to get a short course of sleeping tablets to help me get some sleep (4 hours a night is just not enough!) - I took the dose last night and slept for 9 hours. I didn't even hear my phone going off even though it was right next to my ear. I feel a bit more positive this morning, so I will see how I can build on this. I still feel shaky and agitated, but I hope that is just the old meds working themselves out of my system.

I will keep you posted.

PS - M from London - thank you for the wool The colours are wonderful!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Picking up the pieces

I am still here.

The meds are working (mostly). I am still getting some pain, especially at night, but it is not as bad as it was before. I am going back to work this afternoon - starting the 4 to midnight shift. I have been in close touch with the manager, and she was saying that unless I feel up to it, I should not go back to work (her words were I would get a slap if I did!) However. my feeling is that I am not going to get any better at home - I would be better at work and with people rather than sitting at home brooding.

One side-effect of the meds is that I have a disinterest in food. Yesterday, I had a banana for breakfast, a couple of sandwiches for lunch, and then a small helping of onion, beans and bacon at about 9pm. I have not yet eaten anything today, I may have some fruit in a bit. I will take my sandwiches as usual to work, and see how I feel. I will keep you all posted.

Friday, 10 October 2008

The heart of the matter

How did a simple trip to the doctor turn out like it did?

I have been having chest pains off and on for about 3 weeks. While I was away, I had one night that was really bad, so rang the doctor to get an appointment. I had the appoinyment on Wednesday morning, just after finishing the night shift.He examined me, and sent me back to the hospital for a chest Xray and an ECG, as well as blood tests. He also gave me a couple of squirts from a spray he carries to see if it would ease my chest.

So back to the hospital I went. Half way there, the pains in my chest got really bad, so I just put my foot down to get there as soon as possible. When I got there it has eased slightly, so I went for the Xray first. Then I went for the ECG.

I was still having pains in my chest after the spray. I told them that my chest was hurting, so guess what? Thwey gave me a couple more sqirts from the same spray! And guess what happened half was through the ECG? Yes - the pains came back and then all hell broke loose! They were giving me oxygen, taking blood, and goodness knows what, and I was panicking which was making everything worse! Then they started takiung me down to A&E, but half way there, someone came and told the porter that A&E would not take me, and I was wheeled back to the ECG room! Then finally, I was taken to the Coronary Care Unit, where I was left hooked up for 4 hours while they made sure.

Finally, at about 2, I was wheeled down to a ward for overnight observation. The tests all came back negative, and I had 2 different explanations of what might cause the pain. One was that it was an infection of the muscles around my heart, the other was that it was a muscular-skeletal problem. In was put in a medical and elderly ward - and the guy ion the enxt bed seemed tro spend all his time raving about how terrible the goveernment was and how badly the hospital was run. I found out it eventually that it was because they would not do his washing for him!

Finally on Thursday morning, a consultant saw me. He thinks I have a gastric problem, and I am on medication for a month to see if that works. I finally got out at 1 on Thursday. I was still wearing the uniform that I had sone the night shift in - it looked like it had been slept in (because it had been). I worked out that between Monday morning and Thursday afternoon I had had about 12 hours sleep. As a result, I was worn out, and was given a lift home.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Things as a mum you don't want to hear

The following was overheard. The lady was telling a colleague about a telephone call with her son who has been at university for 2 weeks.

"Hi mum, this is x."
"Hi x, how are you doing?"
"I'm ok mum - how are you?"
"I'm fine."
"Mum - what does herpes look like?"

Sunday, 5 October 2008

I am back

I am back from my trip across. It was good to see mum - though she has done something to her other knee and is finding walking really painful. Even with the help of trips to the physio, and doing her exercises (suppsed to be good for sciatica so I may try them) she was still not her usual mobile self. As a result, I spent a lot of my time there running errands for her and doing things she was having trouble doing herself.

One thing I did make sure was that she got some decent meals. Before I went, she mentioned on the phone that she was not eating properly, so I took charge of the cooking.

  • Monday - onion beans and bacon for lunch, cold meat mash and fresh veg for dinner
  • Tuesday - lunch out
  • Wednesday - corned beef cottage pie for dinner

I came home on Thursday, but made sure there was enough cottage pie for her to have at least one more decent meal. I was not going to let her go hungry!

I went to see dad. It was horrible. Apart from his body, there is nothing there that made him my father. He is like a blank slate. He is no longer confused as he was - he is just unresponsive to anything except the basic stimuli, such as being cold or hungry. The afternoon after we went to visit, Social Services assessed him, and they do not know what is the matter either. He is no longer showing signs of Alzheimer's; he is not showing signs of anything. It was as if his mind has just given up trying to get through the fog. So we wait to see what will happen.

The travelling itself as good. My new car was fine - whether fighting through the traffic or coming up the motorway loaded with stuff I had sorted through. The sailing over was a little bouncy - the worst part was ggetting off the boat onto the floating landing stage at Liverpool, as that was moving to a different rhythm from the boat! Coming back, the forecast was bad but there was hardly any movement - I got lucky with the wind.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Interview with the Vampire

Yes - the vampires got me. Before you start running over with stakes and holy water (you can bring the garlic - I love it!), the vampires is what I call the staff at Blood Donors. So I am an armful down and taking it easy.

Dad is now out of hospital and in a nursing home. Social Services are now questioning if he needs a nursing bed (this is important as if he does need one, then they will contribute towards his care). This is despite him arriving on a stretcher and being unable to walk - the parsimony of local government! Mum is going round and round in circles, so I hope I can slow her down a bit when I am over there. She admitted on the phone that she is not cooking, so I am hoping a few days with me as officer i/c catering will help her. My worries are now for her not him.

And the decision has been made - I think I am going to go and see him. I am torn both ways - but I think I have to go and see. Pray for me - this will be hard! I am taking my black suit over to elave it there - I think it will be needed there soon.

What else is new? Not a lot really. I am between the evening and the day (shift). The new car is going well (which is good as I am taking it away next week) I found out that it was registered in the same town that I grew up in - talk about the circles of the world!

And for those of you who look at my webpage - I have added a bit of fanciness. If you want to look, go here, and click on the link to see what has been updated.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

And now, the end is nigh...

Dad is in hospital.

He was taken in last week. All mum could tell me is that he had 'something nasty' inside. It turns out that he has a bad infection, but they will not operate because he is so frail. He is on antibiotics and a drip, ands spends most of his time asleep. The latest reports from the hospital is that he poorly but comfortable.

My brother went to see him. He was lying there - almost lifeless. He does not respond and does not know anyone. Mum said it was lamost like he has given up.

I am on standby for a phone-call. I will be over there as soon as it comes. I asked if mum wanted me to go voer there, she said no. I don't think I can face seeing him. He would not know me - he does not know his wife. I don;t want to see him lying there bewteen life and death. He used to be such a dynamic person - taking life and making it fit around him. I was never close to him but I admired him so much. And to see him so helpless - I just could not face it.

This is incoherent rambling - sorry. I will delete it if you like.

Monday, 8 September 2008

The Most Expensive Lightbulb in the World?

Well, maybe...

Driving back from St Luke's eysterday, I thought there was something wrong with the headlights on the car. So, being the good motorist I am, I stopped to check, and sure enough, one of the bulbs was out. At least the sidelight was still working, and so was main beam, but the one I use most had gone. So I drove home in the gloom, hoping that there were no police around to stop me (and there weren't).

So off this morning into Douglas. I knew of a car spares place in upper Douglas, so there I went. Next door is a car showroom, so I had a quick glance through what was in the second-hand section. There was nothing that really caught my eye, so I went in to have a skeet (skeet : n a useful Manx word meaning either gossip (as in "what's the skeet?") or to have a look (as in "to have a skeet")). The salesman tried to sell me a new car, but after a test drive over my usual; route, I was not sure if my internal organs were still in their proper places as the ride was so bumpy! Imagine cycling over corrugated iron.

So I handed the keys back without too much regret, but there was a car that had just arrived, and was not even on the forecourt. 18 months old and only 6,000 miles on the clock. A little bit more than I intended to pay and a little bit more powerful, but it was just what I was looking for. So on Saturday, my poor faithful car goes away and I collect my new one.

Oh by the way - I didn't buy the headlight bulb!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Driven to Distraction?

Dad is going even further. From being the driver for all the family (mum has a licence but has not driven for years), when he went to the hospital yesterday, he could not even remember how to sit in a car. Mum sounded so worn out, even though the appointment was through in an hour. We don't think anything registeresd with dad. He was seeing an eye specialist, and one of the things they needed was a sight test. Dad could not even remember what capital letters were! Please don't let this go on much longer!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A daughter's success

My daughter's results - 4 As, 4 bs and 2 Cs. Roll on the 6th form!

And for those who have missed me - thank you. I have not been in a blogging mood lately. So much has been happening around my life.

As you can see, my daughter got good results in her GCSEs. Academically, people might say she did not do as well as me. I say she has got good, solid results, (A in English, B in Maths) and is going on to the 6th form. When I passed my exams, I had not had a elading role in a pantomime, or joined a street theatre group, nor did I have a girlfriend (boyfriend in her case), so she is a much more rounded person that I was (or may ever be!)

Dad is going downhill so fast. Mum attended a review meeting last week, and the upshot is that the care home he is in now can no longer provide the care he needs. It is a pity, since he was settled there, and the staff thought he was a character. However, over the last few weeks, he has become very aggressive, and they are worried that he could grab another resident and hurt them without meaning to. He is having problems with his catheter, and keeps undressing at all times of the day. So the upshot is that mum, my brother and his wife are going to start searching for a nursing home that can take him. I hope this does not go on too long. It is still wearing mum out, and he has no life at all - just an existence.

So now you know why I have not been around so much. I will try to do better...

Friday, 8 August 2008

I am still here...

Yes I know it has been a long time. In that time my contract came through, so I am now permanent. The only difference that makes is that now I can have paid holidays (and boy, am I ready for them!) My shifts are the same, and I have just finished a full set, and am restarting evenings tonight (you know what I mean). At 4pm, I will make my merry way into work, and do the first of 7 evenings. And then...holiday! I have taken my week of nights off, so that 7 days holiday gives me 12 days off! I hope to do some decorating in that time (I have doors that need painting) but they need good weather as I have to take them off to paint them.

Talking of the weather, what happened to summer? If anyone has seen it, can we have it back please? The weather here has been pretty awful overe the last couple of weeks - rain, drizzle and low cloud. Today is a better day (so my washing is out) and then rain tomorrow. Though the weather man today said summer has been wetter than usual - the third wettest on record.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Tempus fugit

Yes time flies. I can hardly belive that it has been a month since I last wrote anything here! And more to the point, that nothing exciting has happened in that month. Isn't life fun?

I am still working. I have just finished a week of nights, and am now on my 'week-end'. & days of nights (huh?) and then 2 days off. If it wasn;t for covering Wednesdays I would have 3 days off, but Wednesday is the swap day for the day shift and I cover it. The last night shifts marked a landmark for me, as they included my first ever shift on my own. I knew I was doing Friday alone as I was covering for leave, and that was ok as I took in some CDs to listen to. When I got in for Sunday though, my partner was sick so I ahd to grab what I had in the car to keep me amused! Friday was quiet, but Sunday I had an emergency call and a gas alarm.

I am still waiting for my contract to come through. I was hoping to ehar something last week but with being on nights and so on, I was not able to find anything out. Maybe I will know something this week.

On a sad note, my bed disintegrated this weekend (not with me in it you will be glad to hear!) The footboard had been coming apart for a while but finally it gave up the ghost. My new one arrives today!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

I remember the nights...

That is the first line of a song by Lindisfarne. And I do remember the nights - right now I remember the nights when I could sleep in my own bed through the hours of darkness.

Yes I am working night shift. In some ways it is easier than I thought - in others it is harder. There are very few calls, and the other bits and pieces that have to be done are fairly easy. The main part of the shift is done by soon after 1, so then it is a battle with the nodding donkey and Mr Yawnie! We have the radio, and I take in something to read, but even so...

The biggest thing is to be alert if the emergency phone rings. That is the number called if there is an emergency, such as a heart attack. When that phone rings, everything is dropped. it is set to top volume, and when it goes off, your heart leaps into your mouth! You have to find out where the emergency is and what sort, so that the right medical staff can be sent to the right location, so it really is a case of someone's life in your hands.

Ok, time to go and face another shift. Guess what the song is that I am listening to now? Another appropriate one - Daysleeper by REM!!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Work continues

"How is the new job going?" I hear you cry. Well I don't unless you shout it very loudly, but you know what I mean.

I went there for a 3 month trial. I must be doing something right, because after 3 1/2 weeks I was offered a permanent position!! So I must be doing something right. Bear in mind that the offer was made before I had done any shifts except days, so they must have confidence in me. I felt that was a real boost to me.

So now I have (another) application form to complete. I thought my days of completing application forms were over for a while, but here is hoping that this one will be the last. It will be something to do on my night shift.

Oh yes, the night shift. Tonight (Sunday) is the first of 7 that I am doing. I start at midnight and work through until 8. The lady I am working with this week is the same one who introduced me to the evening shifts last week. The evening shifts are when the paperwork is done, so I was being introduced to that. At the same time, I was passing on some basic hints about Excel to her, so it was a 2-way process. She has also been giving me advice about the night shift, like try to get some sleep in the evening and bring a couple of slices of bread in to make toast in the morning. We will see how it goes....

Sunday, 18 May 2008


A man and his girlfriend are walking down the street and pass a jewellers. She sees a ring in the window and says "I'd love to have that".

"Ok" he says, takes a brick out of his pocket, throws it through the window, gets the ring and gives it to her.

A bit further down they pass a shoeshop and she seems some shjoes "I'd love them" she says.

"Ok" he says, takes a brick out of his pocket, throws it through the window, gets the shoes and gives them to her.

A bit further she sees a handbag. "I'd love that" she says.

"Hang on," he says, "do you think I am made of bricks?"

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Welcome to the Isle of Man - the road racing capital of the world!

So runs the slogan, and people think of the TT when they think of motorsport on the Isle of Man. However, as well as the 2 wheel variety (TT, Manx Grand Prix, Southern 100 and so on), the island also hosts rounds of the British rally championships, as the laws here allow roads to be closed which is not so easy in the UK.

And this is my interest. I have never been that entranced with the bikes, for a couple of reasons I think. I think part of it is the commitment to five up 2 weeks to marshall the main events, and also when a bike accident happens, it gets very messy. At least rally competitors have some protection.

It was a good day for incidents. The stage I was on was stopped a couple of times, and by the end of the day the field was so split up that almost noone knew where the next car would be (or when for that matter!) On the stage that i was on, a car went backwards off the road, leaving the driver with a broken shoulder and a broken hand. The stage after mine included a sharp right then a left hand hairpin, to get round a deep valley. The road went round it but one car didn't. This led to the cancelling of the stage. By the end of the day I don't think anyone really knew who was where.

The main thing is that everyone had a fun day and noone was badly hurt.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Work work work

Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel black hole that knows how to read (Terry Pratchett)

So I started my new job on Monday. I am working with some nice people, though they are used to not having any men in there (there are only 2 of us!) I was told that I would be listening to calls on the first few days, and then starting to pick them up. The aim was for me to be confident with calls and pagers withing 3 months, whioch seemed a reasonable timescale.

I started on calls on Tuesday, and yesterday was introduced to pagers. With a bit of practice I should have basic bleeps (pagers) mastered by the end of the week. Now is that good or bad? Will I get bored when there is no more to learn? I hope not, as there is the variety of the calls that we get, as well as learning where to find things. I was told there will be some reception duties as well so we shall see how that goes.

The main thing is that I am enjoying it!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Moving on

And so it goes on...

Dad is currently in hospital, after having an operation. We thought it would be a long wait, but a cancellation allowed them to bring him forward to today. At the moment he is still asleep, but the initial reports are that the operation was a success.

And my next step is being taken. My notice has been handed in, and now I am working out the time until I leave (6pm Saturday). The leaving do is on Friday, so I may have to go into work with a hangover on Saturday - one must keep up appearances, mustn't one? I have managed to get a a few things organized today, and with tomorrow being my last day off in the week for now, I am getting the boiler serviced and an electrician is coming round to give me a quote for some work I want to get done (outside lights in the back yard). I also want to make a marmalade cake and go and buy some bread. So I will have a busy morning, but I hope I can sew in the afternoon.

Monday, 14 April 2008


It sounds like the matter is settled. Dad is going to be in full time residential care from Wednesday, and it is almost certain that he will be in the place he is in now. This is really good news, as according to mum, he is settled there. He is quite happy to talk to his new friends in the lounge, though it does mean that he does not really welcome visitors, which is hard on mum particularly.

Other than that, though, it has made such a difference to mum. She is picking up her sewing again, and is able to go out to WI. And the fact that she is happier is making me much easier in my mind, and I am sure it is the same for the rest of the family.

Another thing is settled as well. I am going to move on from my current job. I have given them 18 months, and it has done what it needed to do. I am back on my feet, and have regained some of my confidence. It has also revealed some talents and skills I did not know I had, such as dealing with people. However, there are parts of it that I don't like - such as the way the staff are treated. So I will move on - I have a 3 month trial of a post at the hospital, and if that works out then I will be working there full time permanently. More of that anon...

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Rumours, rumours

I hope that what mum heard will be confirmed this week. Dad is still in respite, but according to various sources (as yet unconfirmed), dad will be offered a permanent place where he is now, quite possibly staying in the same room.

If that turns out to be true, then it will be a real answer to prayer. Mum went to visit him last week. The room he is in is light, with plenty of space for his own things (furniture, pictures, etc), and the residents are encouraged to bring their own items with them. There is a large window at one side, with both opening panes and a door into the garden outside, so dad will have be able to get out in the fresh air if he wants to. All in all, it sounds like a good place for him to be. Mum said that one of the staff spent some time with him, looking at a book he had taken in, and reported that it was 'nice to talk to someone with a bit of class'. So that is something that has not changed!

But according to mum, he is getting worse. He had no idea who mum was when she visited. He could not relate to anyone in the family, although when Carol (my sister-in-law) went to visit, he told her that he had two sons who were going to come and take him home. Carol had to explain that they could not come straight away - and anyway, home to him now is Birmingham where he grew up. It is as if the whole of his married life and his family no longer appear in his memory - 49 years of married life has gone. he also seems to have lost all idea of time and distance.

And as for mum - she sounds more cheerful now that the decision has been made. She is now able to please herself, which I think is a great relief. She spent some time tidying the front garden, which now looks very good she says. I will go over when I can...

Monday, 31 March 2008

Its finally happened

The decision has been made. I think it was a case of bad news long expected - dreaded yet still a relief that you know.

What am I burbling about? Well, dad has been in respite care for the last 12 days. Mum has been so much more at ease while he was there. I was worrying how she would cope when he came home (he was due home this Wednesday). She could hardly cope when I was there, even with the sitter overnight and me trying to help all I could in the day. I think we are all relieved that she has made the decision that she has.

Now comes the easy part. All we need to do now is find somewhere that can provide him the care he needs in an environment he will be happy in - a piece of cake.

Some additional news

Mum spoke to Social Services and he will not be coming home. He has another 2 weeks of respite and in that time, they will try to find somewhere suitable that will take him. So watch this space...

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Alien encounter

Its eyes were the black bottomless holes of which nightmares are made. The face was cruel, cold, unsmiling. It betrayed no hint of humanity or brotherhood or compassion. One sensed only a primitive basic sort of intelligence. It spoke only in rhymes and the strange discourse that had been imprinted on the psyche. And it smelt familiarly of the trough and of inbred violence. Alien as they were to me, I had met this kind before and I knew what to say:

"Surely I wasn't speeeding officer?"

Saturday, 22 March 2008

What if...?

What if? What if? What if? What if?

What if – I had taken another A level?
Worked harder at school, gone to Oxbridge
Taken the academic route?

What if – I had spent more time in my books,
And less with my girlfriend?
Should I have worked and studied more?

What if – I had stayed in the UK
Rather than moving to the island?
Would it be better to stay with what I knew
Rather than throwing it all in for something unknown?

What if – I had worked harder at my marriage?
Did I ask too much from her?
Expect more than I should?

What if – I hadn’t had problems at work?
Stayed there and stuck it out
Sat there and taken it all?

Turn the page.
Close the book.
I am here
This is where I am
And when I am

What if – the future is better than the past?

Nik White

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Christmas is really for the children

Christmas is really
for the children.
Especially for children
who like animals, stables,
stars and babies wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Then there are wise men,
kings in fine robes,
humble shepherds and a
hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really
for the children
unless accompanied by
a cream filled egg.
It has whips, blood, nails,
a spear and allegations
of body snatching.
It involves politics, God
and the sins of the world.
It is not good for people
of a nervous disposition.
They would do better to
think on rabbits, chickens
and the first snowdrop
of spring.

Or they'd do better to
wait for a re-run of
Christmas without asking
too many questions about
what Jesus did when he grew up
or whether there's any connection.

Steve Turner

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Hold my hand Lord

Hold my hand Lord
Walk with me through the loneliness
And the valley of my sorrow.
Hold on to me when I am too afraid to think about tomorrow.
Let me lean on you Lord
When I'm too weary to go on.
Hold my hand Lord through the night
Until I see the light of dawn.

Author unknown

Saturday, 15 March 2008


When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving advice
You have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I should not feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
you have failed me, strange as it may seem.

Listen! All I asked was that you listen
Not talk or do - just hear me
and I can do for myself; I am not helpless
maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But when you accept the simple fact that I do feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational, then I quit trying to convince you
and can get about the business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling.
And when that's clear, the answers are obvious, and I do not need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what is behind them.

Perhaps that is why prayer works sometimes for some people,
because God is mute and does not give advice, or try to fix things,
"They" just listen and let you work it out for yourself.

So please listen and just hear me
and if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn;

And I will listen to you.

Author unknown

Friday, 14 March 2008

Am I a bad son?

I am just back from a week in the UK. Leaving aside the rough crossing back on the overnight boat (previous boats canceled by the weather) next to a woman with some of the smelliest feet I have ever known (so no sleep)...

I no longer have a father. His body is there, but there is almost nothing left of the essence that made him what he was. I was only just getting to know him properly, and now Mr. Alzheimer has snatched him away from me. I would scream out that eternal cry - "It's not fair!", except that I don't remember it saying 'fair' on the description of life.

Alzheimer's is supposed to be a gradual disease. I saw my dad decline so far in 6 days - never mind the change in the 6 weeks since I previously saw him. From being a man who strode through life, he is now a shrunken shadow of himself - lost and confused. I can't even write this without crying...

I don't think I will see my dad at home ever again...

Saturday, 23 February 2008


"There are no brave men and cowardly men in the world. There are only brave men. To be born, to live, to die - that takes courage enough in itself, and more than enough. We are all brave men, and we are all afraid, and what the world calls a brave man, he, too, is brave and afraid like the rest of us. Only he is brave for five minutes longer." Alistair MacLean

Friday, 22 February 2008

Friday at last

Well the week is over. What a week it was - 5 days of boredom mixed in with mayhem and lunacy (so what changes?)

The big news was the lack of news. I finally had my hospital appointment. The upshot was that there was no news. The doctor did not know what was causing the weakness in my left side. He was not even aware of the cyst, and he is also of the opinion that it is of no importance. So I still don't know what it is, only what it isn't.

And then we had a lot of fun today. A corporate order came in on Thursday, and so we were all ready for it. However they did not turn up until today. Due to confusion, we ended up with the original order being all confused, and there ended up with 5 of us desperately trying to complete the order. What is frustrating is that I had a word with the manager to say that these orders were going to tie us up, only to be told it was all in hand. Maybe now he will think again.

Thank goodness for the weekend (well Saturday anyway, as I am working Sunday). This evening was good - I had dinner with the vicar of Marown parish - a lovely man.

By the way - the translation? It is the Lord's Prayer in Manx.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Can you translate this?

Padjyr y Chairn
Ayr ain t'ayns niau:
Casherick dy row dt'ennym.
Dy jig dty reeriaght.
Dty aigney dy row jeant er y thalloo myr te ayns niau.
Cur dooin nyn arran jiu as gagh laa.
As leih dooin nyn loghtyn,
Myr ta shinyn leih dauesyn ta jannoo loghtyn nyn 'oi.
As ny leeid shin ayns miolagh,
Agh livrey shin veih olk
Son lhiats y reeriaght, as y phooar as y ghloyr.
So dy bragh as dy bragh.
Myr shen dy row eh.

The first person to translate this will win a free trip down six flights of stairs.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Can I sit down now?

Someone in head office has decided that all staff should have the chance to get an extra discount, and also that their friends and family should have a chance to save some money as well. However, I did not notice those head office staff on the tills when we were being run off our feet.

We had a quiet start to the day. Then from 10:30 until 5:30 it was non-stop. When I finally got my afternoon break, my knees had almost set so they would not bend so I could sit down. I don't know how much money we took, but it must be a fair amount. I know we sold a few packs of socks which I need for my 'challenge'.

Did I tell you about my challenge? I am ambivalent as to whether I want to succeed or fail. The object is to increase sales of a certain range of socks by 50%. If I succeed, I will get a bottle of something (and I can choose so it will be really expensive!). However, if I succeed, everyone else will be given a plan to increase their sales too. The general feeling is that it is not our business to create sales plans - that is what managers are for. We feel that too much is being passed down to us - we get the responsibility without the rewards - can you see the mismatch?

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

It might be true!

This item was heard on the radio this week.

It concerns a couple who were rushed to A&E (ER to the American audience).
He had his penis hanging by a thread and she had a burn on the top of her head and bruises on the back of her head. Apparently he was cooking pancakes and she was performing 'an act of gratification' on him. She distracted him when he tossed the pancake and it landed on her head. She clenched her teeth and nearly bit his penis off, and he had to beat her about the back of the head to make her let go

Good news or bad news?

Well the results are in, and the verdict has been passed.

Yes, the hospital have been in touch. The scan came back negative, apart from a small cyst in the ventricles on the left side. The opinion is that the cyst is a chance find, and unconnected to whatever happened back in December.

Sooooooooo - the good news is that I have not had a stroke. That is a great weight off my mind. However, the bad news is that I still do not know what is causing my symptoms. I will see the neurologist on the 21st and maybe then I will know something more.

So this afternoon I went and did some gentle work in the garden. I am still converting it from a wilderness of mud and weeds into soil and plants. I dug a couple of square yards on either side of the end of the patio, so that when I get something to put in them, the soil will have some roughage and nutrients dug into it. I have a lot more to do, but I am working my way across the garden. The rest is what I call a 'disposable garden', in that I just put in annuals and let them get on with themselves.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Rallying round

For those of you who don't know, I have been involved in the local rally scene almost since I moved to the island. I marshalled my first rally (up at the Q, as I found out it is called) in May 1990, and have been doing it ever since.

When I turned 40, I found myself running up and down a road. I said to myself "You are getting too old for this, and for standing out in the rain", so I transferred to become a radio operator. The main advantages of this is that it is done in the car (mostly), in the dry and sitting down. Mind you, my friend Dot puts me to shame. She is a pensioner, and still marshalls - not just the rallies but the bikes at the TT and the Southern 100, not to mention Jurby (oh did I mention it? I said not to mention it!)

Anyway, to cut a long story short (too late!), I joined the Manx Motorsport Marshalls Association (MMSMA, pronouced 'maz-ma'), and Saturday was their training day. Neither Dot nor I knew what to expect, but it turned out to be a really interesting day. One of the most interesting sessions was by someoene I didn't think much of before Saturday. Finding out exactly the powers and liabilities of a marshall (and I am still a marshall, even when I am sitting in my radio car!) was really illuminating - such as finding out what information was needed to get a summons and what we could doa s reasonable force.

In the afternoon, marshalls and radio operators had seperate sessions. While the marshalls were being shown a variety of equipment used by recovery and medical crews (including blades to cut crash-helmets off), the radio operators were learning about the new system. Sitting in the classroom? Hardly! BP said "I need 10 cars - put the radios in and of you go to drive the stages and check the coverage at all the likely radio points". It turns out that the new system is so much better than the old. On the old system, you would struggle to hear what was happening more than 10 miles away - you might hear control but you were unlikely to hear the other end. This resulted in a lot of 'walk over' because noone could here. Now you can be in Port Erin and ehar operators in Ramsey and Andreas at the other end of the island!

In the evening was the Marshalls' Supper. And it was good. Not only a good dinner, but I came away with meals for 2 at the Cherry Orchard and a case of beer from the raffle!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

A very mixed day

Today was a real day of contrasts. As far as work goes, it was very slow, with only a few customers until afternoon. Then the rain started, and people came flooding in. Isn't it strange? You would have thought the bad weather would have kept them at home but no - they want to brave the rain and wind to come out and shop! Not the sort of behaviour I understand for sure!

There was the lady who slipped in the store. I am glad I have learnt to be 'quietly bossy', as today it paid dividends for her. When I got there, she was sitting on the floor holding her wrist, because as she fell, she had put her hand out to break her fall. I examined her arm, and decided to bandage it to immobilize it. The lady was saying she didn't want any fuss, but I was trying to persuade her to go up to the hospital to get it checked out. Eventually, I offered to call a taxi for her, and she agreed. I rang her later as I had said I would, only to be told that she had been told that her wrist was fractured. It seems that my bandaging had helped ensure that the wrist was not too displaced and was easier to reset. So I did something right!

Then I got home to find a letter from the hospital. I have an appointment with a neurologist on the 21st (nothing like an urgent appointment!) The delay suggests that there is something wrong, but it is not urgent. If the scan was clear, then surely they would have said that it was clear in the letter? And if it was life-threatening, they would have had me in yesterday. So it suggests that there is something they can do nothing about. So another 3 weeks of waiting...

And then the best part of the day. I met my daughter, and we had a great Chinese meal together. We were talking in a whole new way - so i hope this is the start of soemthing better. We are hoping to go out for a drink now and then now - a new form of relationship. That made everything in the day seem unimportant - my daughter is what matters!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Out of control

At the end of November, I felt that everything was going well. I had a job that I enjoyed, things were getting on track, and even though I was not making a lot of money, I was just about making enough to survive.

And then I had the bad migraine in early December, and since then my life has gone out of control again. Instead of feeling like a stone with the waves breaking around me, I am back to being a leaf, tossed about on the currents of life's stream. And it seems that the harder I try to get my feet back on the ground, the worse the currents flow and the more of a buffeting I get.

So we will see what the doctor says tomorrow and take it from there. I get the feeling that I am moving into another conflict at work, despite my trying to avoid it.

By the way - does anyone know a cure for claustrophobia?

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

...and a bad day to follow

Today I learned a new degree of panic.

It was scan-day today. Not Tuesday, but scan-day. I had a nice breakfast, and then it seemed that everything I tried to do made me later. Everything from not being able to find all the paperwork I needed to being stuck in a queue of traffic. As a result, I ended up getting to the hospital late and flustered.

It was not too bad to start with. I was laid down on the bed and then the cage was put around my head. That was bad, but after that i went into the scanner. I immediately pressed the panic button as I was panicking. They fixed a mirror and I just managed to survive the first lot of scans that took about 20 minutes. Then they told me that they needed to do some more, so I was taken out of the machine and given an injection to 'improve the contrast' for my blood flow. It was when they put me back in for the third time that I really panicked! I could not take another moment.

When I sat up on the table I felt horrible. I thought it was bad, but whern I stood up, I walked about 3 paces and then fainted. I thought it was only in films where people walked a couple of paces and then fainted - now I know it is for real. My last recollection was of the nurse (who was small and slightly built) shouting for help as I went down.

The next thing I remember was lying on the floor. It took about 10 minutes to get up, and it was difficult to hear that the next person in was a 7 year old!

After that, I went for a coffee, and then called on Sean, the Disability Employment Officer. I told him some of the things that have been happening at work. I am going to see my GP on Thursday, so I have to work a long day tomorrow.

So that is where things stand now. I will keep you posted.

Monday, 28 January 2008

A bad weekend...

This has not been a good weekend.

For those of you I have not told, I went to visit my parents this weekend. It was not a restful or relaxing time. My father thinks that the manageress of the place where he is staying is very good, the food is good and there are plenty of things for him to read. He has been looked after by her since his wife died when she was 49. (The person who he thinks is the manageress is his wife - my mum).

We went for a walk together. We just went round the block - along one side of the canal, across the bridge, down the other side and back again. He was in better shape than the previous time I saw him. He walked well, and we got round at a good pace. And yet, there was no interest in him. Trying to attract his attention and get him to look at things or to talk. He was walking, and so we walked.

And he talks. We used to be able to talk about all manner of things, and to have long discussions. Now he talks at you. And it is hard to follow his conversation. I am sure he can follow the links but it comes out with bits missing. He knows he has a bad memory, but it really frustrates him. And because you can't tell what he is thinking, it is very hard to help him find the words.

This has been the hardest post to write. Please forgive me, but I am going to go and cry...

Saturday, 19 January 2008


Well I don't know what to put here (no change there). It has been a mixed week.

The doctor and the dentist were fine on Tuesday - apart from wanting me to use a sensitive toothpaste. And then on Wednesday, the whole week got derailed. I went in as usual, but started feeling off-colour even before I got to the salesfloor. I could not eat my lunch and then just after 2 I was sick. Everyone was telling me to go home, but I did not want to risk the bus, so I waited until the day finished and I could get a lift. I got homwe and went to bed, and did not get up until midday the following day. I hardly ate a thing for 2 days.

Now I feel a bit better, but I am still weak. My appetite is still not back to normal, but I will try to work through it. So back into work for an 8 1/2 hour day. Anyone fancy taking my place?

So what have you all been up to?

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The BodyRockers*

The first 2 days of this week have been a very moving experience. On Monday morning, I moved the underwear at work (that being the department I am responsible for). On Monday afternoon I was told it was in the wrong place so I had to start moving it all back again. And then this morning, the assistant manager came and looked at it and decided it was all wrong, so it all had to be moved again! It is so disheartening to keep moving things around - it messes up the store and confuses the customers. And don't forget that while lugging this stuff around, I am 'on light duties and sitting down' (yeah right!)

With the wind and the rain, and the late finishes, it is hard to realise that we are getting into the year. I noticed when I came home on the bus on Monday that there was light in the sky for a lot longer than I had previously noticed. We are already a week in and more, and the days are getting longer. It may be a few months away but spring is coming. Of course, the other give away is that we are already getting summer clothes in. I think it is crazy - coming into the coldest and darkest part of winter and they get rid of all the thick sweaters and replace them with t-shirts and shorts - go figure that one out?

Oh well ...

* Why is this post called the BodyRockers? They had a hit song called "I Like The Way You Move"

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Made for corners

Have you noticed how some people seem made for centre-stage? They come in and attract attention - some do it deliberately, while others do it naturally.

I am not like that. I noticed it again when I was in church on Christmas Day. I was at St Johns, and felt most comfortable in the back corner. Don't ask me why, but I feel I am made for corners. I feel more comfortable there. I do not mind doing the minor things, the unimportant things, the little things. maybe that is why I like working in the shop? it is not the most glamourous of jobs, nor the best paid.

Just because I am in a corner, it doesn't make me insignificant. Just think of a stage performance. For the star of the show, how many people work behind the scenes. Or consider the credits on a film. Look how many actors are listed, and then all the people who work behind the scenes to make it all happen.

So let's hear it for the people in corners - the ones who do the 'little' jobs without which the bigger things could not be accomplished. Let's hear it for all the foot soldiers in a world of generals!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

A bit more news

Blein vie noa to you all.

Though whether it will be a blein vie (a good year) may well depend on the 22nd of January. On that day, I have to go for an MRI scan at the local hospital. The appointment letter was waiting for me when I got home from work tonight. I am not sure whether I want them to find something or to find nothing. If they find nothing then it means that I don't know what has been causing the problems - if they find something I will know what it is and what I am up against.

And if that was not enough. I sit down tonight to eat my sandwiches and read a little to relax after work. I am reading 'Full Circle' by Michael Palin. And on the first entry I read that he gets a message to call his wife to be told she has a benign brain tumour. Just what I needed to read!

So we will have to see if it will be a blein vie or a blein drogh (a good year or a bad year).

Update... I had to put the appointment back a week as I could not afford to lose the hours that week. I am already leaving an hour early on the Friday so I can catch an earleir flight to the 'other island' to see my parents - so losing 2 or 3 more hours was just too big an amount to make up in the week.