Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Me versus the treadmill

...actually that's an exaggeration - I can't even run for 2 minutes...

If only 'it's the thought that counts' applied to exercise!

So on the plus side, I'm still motivated. On the negative side, I'm still rubbish!

BUT, and this is a BIG 'but', I think I am slightly, very slightly but still slightly, a bit less rubbish than I was a couple of weeks ago. Get me!

After the Have a Go day, I went along to the training session at Billesdon the following week  to find out a bit more about the role. I have to say I felt really self conscious on the way but when I got there the other 'trainee wannabes' were really nice and the crew made us feel really welcome. We watched their drill practice, had different processes and situations explained to us, saw all the kit and, possibly the most important bit, enjoyed a cuppa at the end!  It was eye‐opening and it became obvious how much your have to learn. It was mind blowing, inspiring, scary and exhilarating/exciting all at the same time! They are such a great team and I came away wanting to be a part of it and feeling more determined than ever to do whatever I have to to get there.

Nice weather and a bit gardening must have helped a bit because after spending a few hours weeding and clearing one corner of the garden (with help from mum and dad whilst Jay was making a drawbridge. Yes, a drawbridge) I was covered in scratches from all the bramble we cut out and knackered! It was worth it though.....

Tonight I decided to go back on the treadmill.  It has a 15 min up and down hill setting which gradually speeds up to 8.5 mins then gradually slows down again.  The last time I tried this setting a couple of weeks ago I had to have a rest after about 5 mins, then managed about a minute before having a 10 min rest, then doing another 30 secs or so before pausing again and repeated this until it started to slow down again. Not very impressive.  Tonight I made it to 7 mins before I stopped, only had a couple of minutes rest, did another minute, let it run for 30 seconds, carried on for 40 seconds, rested for 30 seconds and then carried on to the end. So, like I said earlier, still not great bit definitely a very slight teeny tiny improvement from last time!

I have also been given the number for someone who can set up a training plan for me. I did ring and leave a message for them so hopefully they will get back to me soon and help me get into some sort of regular plan.

In answer to the title of this blog, Currently the treadmill is definitely winning but I will keep going a I WILL complete that 15 minutes without stopping! Be afraid treadmill! Be very afraid.........πŸ˜ˆπŸƒπŸΌ‍♀️

Now all I need to do is find some weights too.....


Saturday, 22 May 2021

So I gave it a go......

On-call Fire Fighter 'Have a go' Day has arrived!

I did wake up wondering what I'd let myself in for! However, I went anyway to see how far I could get.

Everyone there was really positive and supportive, even when I was rubbish! There were 7 tests to try, which you have to pass to be accepted. This was oy a taster say so not a test but gives the opportunity to try the tests  see how you get on and whether you are at the required standard or not. 

So, assembly,  no problem all done and with plenty of time to spare 😁

Climbing the ladder and leg lock, it was either 8m or the test is 8m and this was 1 storey less  I can't remember... Anyway, that was fine, took a couple of goes to master the leg lock (I think I need longer legs!) and you have to climb differently to how you would normally  or at least how I would normally  so I had to think about what I was doing but no problems and I was up and down ok. I liked that one!

Next up, dummy drag. This was lifting and dragging a 55kg dummy 30m in 37.4 seconds (that .4 must be crucial, no idea why!). Puffed me out but I did it in just over 30 so pleased with that!

Then came my achilles heel....the equipment drag...the one I had been dreading! I managed to do the run with the hose and carry the hose reels up and back but was then knackered and stopped. Really cheesed off with myself that I didn't get past that bit πŸ˜₯ I didn't do the running but did go up and down with all the other bits of kit to see how heavy they were etc.  Felt really disheartened after this one 😭

Next up, ladder lift....I think it was 15kg on it's own to lift to waist height, push up to shoulder height, then up above your head stepping forwards. That was fine until the 10kg weight was added then lifting was no problem but couldn't lift it over my head ☹

Ladder extension.... using the pulley, this was extending the ladder then bringing it back down into it's lower housing, first on its own, then with an extra 10kg added.  First time was OK, with the weight was more of a struggle raising it, but I did it so was pleased with that πŸ™‚

Black-out maze thing.....basically two tiers of metal cages with only 1 route across the base and back along the top row, wearing a blacked out respirator. Well I started out well...but I wasn't prepared for the obstacles in the cages which slowed me down! Once I'd worked it out though I was OK and managed to squeeze my way through holes etc., get around top, back down and out. I didn't do it in the time (4 mins 16 seconds instead of 3 mins) but I did it and wasn't bothered by not being able to see and didn't feel claustrophobic so felt OK about that one!

All in all, it was good, I enjoyed it, apart from the ones I couldn't do, and it didn't put me off so now all (!) I need to do is train!

The applications for this round need to be I  tomorrow with tests in 2 weeks so I think I will have to give this round a miss but, if I work at it, maybe I can be ready for the next round!

For anyone else who thinks this could be for them, give it a go! You never know unless you try!


Wednesday, 19 May 2021

A wave of motivation and inspiration strikes...again!

 Yeah yeah, I know, you've heard it all before....

However, this time there is a true motivation to see it through.  As you have probably gathered from the absence of posts, the couch to 5k did not last....

Since my last post we also had a sudden house move to deal with, in lock down, whilst I was shielding, our new place needs a LOT of work and things have been slightly chaotic! So there you go - they are my excuses and I'm sticking to them!

Moving on....

Restrictions are lifting, shielding is over and I am allowed out! Whether it is that or a mid-life crisis I will leave for you to decide!  I just had a strong feeling that I need to DO something so the health kick has re-started!

I started with the 7 day soup diet to kick things off 🀒  This was badly timed though as the last day coincided with election day. Now, as some of you may know, I historically spend this day as a poll clerk in Broughton Astley with our same fab little election team.  This year was slightly different as our usual station was out of bounds due to covid so we were stuck in a new station which really did  not meet the comfort and standards we are used to! I digress, my point is the last thing that is possible on election day is healthy eating! It is such a long day (in this year's case 4.45 am Thursday to 4 am Friday 😴) and comfort food is essential! Baking done it was a day of Noggin, Shortbread plus cakes provided by the other poll clerk's wife. Friday and Saturday were also spent counting and eating.... resulting in the 10 1/2 pounds I'd lost the previous week reducing to 6 pounds but hey that's still an achievement! I've since been (mainly!) On slimming world and gradually losing the lockdown pounds so all good!

The next step - exercise. So this bit is still to start....and this is where the motivation and inspiration hit!

Again, maybe down to a mid-life crisis, even though I love my job I've felt for a while that I could do something more to physically/directly help people and have have had a couple of attempts at joining the police, unsuccessfully! I've been keeping a casual eye out and on going through my group notifications on FB, there it was.  'Have a go day' at our local fire station. This was it! If the police don't want me, maybe I can burden the fire service instead🏭🀣

In all seriousness though, why not? What better motivation is there than to do something that will give something back to your community! I mean, ok, most people's first thought of a fire fighter is still a strapping young man, not an ageing, overweight, completely out of shape woman with dodgy lung capacity but so what?! You never know unless you try!  Which is how I found myself outside the Co-op chatting to 2 fire fighters about whether or not I was completely crazy to even be contemplating this! They convinced me I wasn't so that's it. I came home and watched the videos on the tests I'd have to pass - quietly confident on 4 of them and no surprises at my lack of confidence on the equipment carry/fitness test! I'm sure I felt my lungs shiver and shrink even more just watching it!  Still, I registered for a remote introduction session tonight and for the earliest physical session in Saturday (hoping that everyone else would go for the later times leaving just me to make a fool of myself on my own with no witnesses!).

I felt even more inspired and motivated after the zoom session tonight and am feeling equal measures or excitement and dread for Saturday!  Excitement for the challenge of being able to train and do something so worthwhile whilst still being able to keep my current job and dread that the say may prove that I am physically not capable. But, if you know me, you will know how determined I am, I don't back away from challenges and if there is something I want to achieve, I will do everything I can to achieve it! Every conversation I have had over the last 48 hours has consisted of positivity that the required fitness level can be achieved and I will be helped to get there.

Whether I make it or not, at this stage, I don't know but the journey to try and get there starts now. 

Bring it on!

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Couch it is then!

Well, the intention was there but it has just been one of those weeks! With a brief to be submitted last Monday and presentation due to be submitted by Friday I didn't have much spare time left to try another walk/run last week. On top of that  the new owners of our home (and hopefully our new landlords) were due to visit on Friday bit they cancelled with a couple of hours to go and pre-arranged for Monday. Which they then cancelled on Sat and re-arranged for Tuesday.........😠 It was all a bit stressful!  I COULD have made another attempt at the couch to 5k but instead I helped (forced...) Billy to do his homework, made some chocolate eclairs and did some painting! 🎨 I had my new palette and brush to try out so got my easel set up and and spent a very relaxing couple of hours with Bob Ross and my oils!  I even managed to get more paint on the canvas than on me and everything else for a change! πŸ–Ό This week I have my presentation to practice and some revision to do so it looks like the couch might win again this week! Ah well.........apparently it's the thought that counts! 😁

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Couch to 5k? Really?

 That's what the app says......Couch to 5K in 9, that's NINE weeks! 😱 I mean, I've barely been out of the house for 6 months! However I'm an optimistic person, so I downloaded the app....

About 3 weeks ago....

In a rare 'I should do something about my lockdown weight gain' moment.  Who am I kidding, it's not the lockdown.  My weight gain has been around much longer than coronavirus that but hey! When you're handed an excuse on a plate, who am I to argue?! So, lockdown weightgain it is! 😁

Anyway, I thought about it the whole concept, whilst I made some iced buns.

Whilst eating one of said iced buns I  exercised my index finger by pressing the little app icon to open the app and see what it was all about. I even got as far as picking my mentor/encourager/inspiration/torturer - Jo Wiley. 

I have to say, I liked the idea of it. Getting out a bit more, losing some pounds  regaining some of the health, fitness and energy I had previously enjoyed. About 40 years ago....

Then that was it. Any thoughts of leaving the couch for any reason other than to go and get another iced bun were put to the back of my mind with all other thoughts that should never see the light of day.

Until today.

Today I awoke with the thought 'I think I'll try that couch to 5k thing's. Very worrying. I even took my temperature but nope. Normal.

After a morning looking out at the horrible, gloomy weather I decided to go for it. So I found some running kit and my headphones, worked out my route according to 'Run 1' and got Jo on board ready to go.  

I set off at 4, which gave me an hour before the park closed, by which time it was properly chucking it down with rain. Nice and cooling for me and less chance of seeing anyone as no other idiot was going to be out in this weather! 

It all started so warm walk took me to Knighton Park, only passing a Dad with a little girl on a bike and a dog near the entrance and a kids foot lesson on the field. I was feeling confident with Faithless' Insomnia in my ears as I confidently continued my 5 minutes 'brisk walk' warm up  over the bridge and round to the park. Then it was time. 

The first 'run'. 

Only 60 seconds - how hard could it be?! In reality I don't know. I  started my run and on reaching the tennis courts (really not very far!) I was knackered!  I retrieved my phone to find Jo had buggered off and left me! The app was paused and I had not idea how many seconds I'd been running for or how far into my 90 seconds 'resting' brisk walk I was into! I noticed a dog walker heading in my direction so took a great interest in the sign at the tennis courts explaining fair use etc. etc. until they'd passed then set the app off again and started my 90 second walk. Yeah yeah I know I'd already had WAY over my 90 seconds but as I went round the bend I saw a council vehicle parked up on the side and decided I couldn't run until I'd passed that.

Thankfully my shoes lace came undone so I had an excuse to stop and retie it. After all it would be highly dangerous to run with an untied shoelace wouldn't it?!

Once I reached the top of  rise past the park I set the app off again and took a brisk walk down Laburnam Way. Passing the Dad with the girl on the bike and the dog, feeling slightly sheepish that I was walking.  To counter this I had a drink to make it look as though that was why I wasnt running.... pathetic I know!  My anxiety then increased as I spotted a little group of dog walkers at the bottom of the path. Congregating at the point I just knew Jo would suddenly reappear and pipe up that it was time to start my 2nd run! Which she did. Obviously. 

By this time I had decided that the phone getting wet in my coat pocket had been the problem with to keep turning itself off so decided to just carry it. Jo encouraged me to start my 2nd 'run' reassuring me that I could do this as I'd already done 1 run. Little did she know! However, I successfully completed the 60 second run, if you can call it that. More of a weird shuffle really!  It seemed a very long 60 seconds but it was right. I know as I checked the phone about every 10 seconds, each time sure that must be throat was dry and my lungs burned.  It was with great joy I heard Jo telling me it was time to walk again. I was relieved to see the council car drive past just before the lovely Jo told me to prepare for my 3rd run. As I did I felt a slight sense of pride as I passed the Dad with daughter on the bike and dog again, pleased I was shuffle-running this time.  Red faced and hoping they thought I'd run half a lap of the park to look so done in.  This bit was uphill and I had to give up the running after 50 seconds  as I basically couldn't breathe (to be honest I only made it that far due to having to pass another dog walker!). For a split second I even contemplated ringing Jay to ask him to drive down and pick me up. Instead I sat one wet bench for a bit until I could breathe again. And again much longer than the 90 seconds I should have had.  

I set off again with my 4th run, having already decided I was going home I rather than doing another lap (required for my 8 sets). I just avoided running into a dog as I turned back onto Laburnum Walk and managed another 60 seconds, hoping I wouldn't meet anyone this time and pleased it was downhill. I was half way down when I saw a familiar girl on a bike appear from the trees in the left, followed by the dog and her Dad. Shit! Now it was obvious I hadn't been running as there was no way it would have taken me so long to meet at that point if I had! I held my head up high as I walked past with a smile on my red tomato-like face as, at that particular moment in time, I WAS doing exactly as I should have been and thanks to the rain I just looked wet rather than sweaty!

At the bottom I met the dog walker again, who gave me a smile but I detected a hint of sympathy in her eye, although it might just have been a silent "oh dear!". 

I decided I'd had enough as I started my 5th run and only made about 30 seconds before disconnecting Jo and making my way back home. All uphill I might add! 

So 40 minutes after leaving home I returned after failing to even complete 'Run 1'. Sorry Jo.  My legs were like jelly, I was soaked to the skin and wheezing like a 40-a-day smoker, wondering how the hell this was supposed to be good for you!

I initially felt quite disappointed in myself but then I thought  'do you know should be proud for even going out there at all!'

I might have felt like a bag of shit without even completing the first challenge but I had got up and gone out. I had completed 40 minutes of exercise, even if it wasn't exactly as planned. My lungs aren't as good as most other peoples but I still tried. And they'll get better.  

Maybe I'll eventually complete the course and make it to 5k. Maybe I won't. Maybe it'll take me longer than 9 weeks to get there. But you know, it doesn't matter. I don't care if I reach that target or how long it takes. I don't have any aspirations to be the best runner in the world. I just want to feel better and healthier for me. Even if I just walk around the park 3 times a week, it's more than I've been doing and that's good enough for me.

I may not exactly be a leading example or inspiration to anyone thinking about trying it but I hope to show those less keen or confident that just trying is good enough. You dont have to do it all in one go. Baby steps. If you have to stop after 1 set then stop. It's still 1 set! Another time you may be able to manage 2 ...and so it goes on.

Let's just see how it goes! You can follow me here to see if I make it or not!

Now, where's that iced bun recipe........


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

1st year post-op anniversary!!

So, today is my 1-year post-op anniversary!  This time last year I had just undergone surgery to have my lung lining ripped out!  I never blogged about my time in hospital but a year on maybe now's the time to entertain you with my experience!

As some of you know, things didn't quite go to plan when it came to waking me up.  Over the following few days I suffered grand mal seizures and, what at the time was thought to be, a stroke causing left - sided hemiplegia.  When I did finally wake up I didn't notice any problems with my left side and was quite bewildered as to why I kept being asked to try using my left hand for things when I am right-handed!

Time lost meaning, I thought it was Wednesday and it was Sunday, presumably because I expected to have woken up the day after my op and had no idea of the events of the previous few days.  Although in saying that, from the dreams/hallucinations I had, I think I had known something was wrong. One minute I wad in critical care, but it was a weird high spec place, the staff were lovely but all sort of holographic, they moved really weird but really fast and their faces were odd, like caracatures with over large heads, mouths and teeth. Not scary, just strange! The next everything went brown and pixelated and wavy. If you've ever played a computer game where you're running past a brick wall and it all goes a bit blurry and weird, it was like I was in a room like that but I knew it was inside my body and something was wrong, the faster the waves moved, the more wrong things were and I would start to panic. I was convinced I was dying. Then I'd be back in critical care again. This happened a few times, alternating between CCU and this room, and then I started to change and I became 2d and I watched as my body started to disappear. I became like a curtain and the bottom was starting to tear as though it was going through a shredder. I got really upset and was sobbing because I didn't want to die. I didn't want to leave my loved ones, especially Faye and Billy. I kept telling the nurses and doctors to tell them I was so sorry. That I tried really hard to live but I wasn't strong enough....

Then I was really back in CCU and being moved to a bay. For the following few days I had no idea what was real and what wasn't. Although at the time everything felt really real, as I recovered I realised that 99% of it was in my head!! The 1% being that some of the stuff did happen but just not in the context I thought!

First off my hair was short, I could actually feel it being in a job and I couldn't remember having it cut (mainly because I hadn't and it was still the same length!). My fingers were wrong, they were spaced wrong and I had 6 on one hand.... I was firstly convinced that this was because I had heart failure and then somehow thought my fingers had been swooped with someone else's when I was under and thought this was a really cruel joke! Mum and Dad and Jay all had caracature faces like the staff in CCU and I kept wondering how I'd never noticed before but didn't say anything as I didn't want to offend them! Oddly the staff on the ward looked normal. The first night I couldn't sleep (or thought I couldn't but most likely was dreaming!) I was counting in my head to try and pretend to be asleep because staff kept coming in to check on us and kept stopping by me. I got the impression they thought I was faking the whole thing and there was nothing wrong with me and I was upset as I couldn't understand how they could think anyone would go through that op for no reason. More staff came and watched me for a bit then 'woke' me to do obs and inject me with something. They were really nice to me which I thought was really good of them if they didn't think I should be there. In hindsight it was probably more likely that I was just on more frequent obs than the others as I was still quite poorly!

There were several other things that I thought had happened and some things that I came to understand better as I got better ......

Firstly there was always a member of staff in the doorway of our bay at the bottom of our bed and they wouldn't leave unless someone else took over. To start with I thought this was just what they did, eventually I realised it was because I was on 1-to-1 obs because I waa acting so nuts!! 😂

There was a patient on the opposite side of the bay to me who passed away (apparently this bed was actually empty!) Anyhow, this lady, that only I could see, had her own special bed, zebra patterned too! She was very poorly and I could see the numbers on her monitor going down and down to - 1-1- then - - - - - at which point her bed, which was  slightly raised, automatically reclined back down to being flat as she passed away.

Next thing, she'd gone and there was someone new there. (again I was later told that the bay was still empty!) The new lady, who again only I could see, was just there to annoy me!! She was the most irritating person ever! She had the curtain permanently closed around her bed  it kept putting her stuff just in view. First it was a flat screen TV (just to confirm I wasn't completely nuts, I did think this was very strange!), then another TV appeared as she was singing (badly!) about how rich she was. I did want to tell her to bugger off to a private hospital then if she was so rich and let the rest of us sleep but I just tried to ignore her instead. Then mannequin appeared next to her locker, and every time I looked up there was a different dress on it.... It sounded like she was shaving but the noise carried on and on so I went to the toilet and could see her sat on her bed laughing with her tablet just playing sound effects. She then started to play music too and put both TVs on. Eventually the nurse took her tablet off her and turned the TVs off. I gave up trying to sleep and read a magazine but she seemed to somehow grow to about 7' tall and started watching me from the top of her curtain rail, sliding along the top of it so I had to keep moving my magazine up higher to block her out. Thankfully she magically disappeared too 😂

Then came the paint.......

I was talking to a lovely nurse who was obviously on obs duty and she was upset (she wasn't but I could definitely see her crying! Which is nothing compared to what happened next!!) I asked what was wrong and she said nothing but was still crying so I gave her some tissues and asked if she was ok. She told me she had something wrong with her but she was on meds and they mainly controlled it so noone knew apart from a few other members of staff who covered for her if need be. She pulled her hair back and showed me how she had lizard type skin patterning on her face but her hair covered it so you couldn't see it normally. I  tried to reassure her that it was OK as you couldn't see it but even if you did it didn't look horrible but then it started to spread and she cried even more and told that once it started to spread it wouldn't stop. It spread down her arms and legs but carried on along the chair arms, the floor, the walls but it was like orange and white paint running everywhere. It carried on throughout the hospital, it was 'raining' inside and even spread outside. I was mortified and so guilty that if I had left her alone none of this would have happened and now I'd let her secret out too. Lots of people were walking past the bay and seemed to know it was my fault, talking over-loud at the doorway about all the operations that had had to be cancelled because all the equipment was ruined by the paint and how many millions of pounds it was going to cost to put everything right...... All the staff and patients were getting covered in it, their hair frizzing up on end, their clothes getting ruined. And they all knew it was my fault. I started trying to clean the locker next to me so it wasn't dirty for the next person and the staff were trying to humour me and stop me at the same time!  I really did go to the reception desk to ring Jay completely beside myself coz I didn't know what to do! After the initial shock of me telling him I'd painted the hospital and everyone hated me, he humoured me and told me not to worry, he'd look when he came it and would sort it. The lovely man behind the desk asked me why I was so upset and I keep apologising, told him what happened and that I hadn't meant for it to happen but I didn't know... He came round and gave me a big hug and said "there ain't no paint", he told me to look around to see that there was no paint running anywhere and if there was the ward would have been closed, it was just because of all the drugs I'd had and I wasn't to worry as I hadn't done anything and noone hated me. He gave me a big smile and told me to trust him. And I did! The paint disappeared from everywhere apart from our bay but now I knew it wasn't real, it didn't bother me! After that, every time this man started work he would come in to see me, give me a hug, ask how I was doing and repeat "there ain't no paint" with a big smile!

There was a nurse I was convinced was fake and was bumping people off, I didn't want her anywhere near me and was horrible to and about her (she was actually really lovely!).

There were 'leaf bugs' that kept appearing but if you hit them they disappeared. Even though I knew they weren't really there, I could still see them so mum and dad and Jay were still concerned that I kept hitting them, even though I told them I knew they weren't real.

A tree branch also used to come through the window.  I learnt how to tell the difference between the things that were real and the things that weren't, ene though this didn't make the things that weren't real go away. The fans used to have a tune playing constantly that drove me mad. Again I was the only one who could hear it. I had to keep unplugging mine just to dull it enough to sleep. I could see my obs on everyone's monitors as well as my own, and the numbers kept going down and I would get really stressed out, convinced I was going to die if I stayed in that place. The nurse turned my monitor around so I couldn't see it and turned the other patients' monitors around or off, although I could still see the numbers even when the monitors were off! As I got more stressed, the numbers I could see appeared on the walls and scrolled faster, the leaf bugs increased in number, the paint spread wider and faster, and the tree branch got longer and came further I to the room.  As I got more used to this I started to use these signs to recognise and judge how stressed I was getting and then concentrate on making them reduce/slow down to help calm myself.

As for my physical health, I was doing ok! I was getting up and moving about, my left side was fine, I was eating like I hadn't seen food for days (which in fact I hadn't! 😂) . I started chatting to the other ladies in the bay. I got on really well with the lady next to me, who always calmed me down when I started to stress out. I gave the lady opposite her a manicure and sat with her when she was feeling poorly and sick. We all got on well, had lots of laughs and kept each other going when things for tough. I spent the last couple of days, apologising to the staff for having been so horrible and such a pain, even though I was still being a pain by being convinced I was going to die and trying to unplug anything and everything electrical to stop it singing at me! They were so patient and tolerant of me and my paranoia/hallucinations! As were Jay and mum and dad every time they visited me! Our bay all got discharged on the same day so we met up again in the discharge lounge! The lady from opposite told her son how, as she came round from her op, there was a nutty woman opposite her wittering on about painting the hospital, then gave me a big wink! 😂 I finally got my tablets and was free to go! I was so pleased to get out of that place as, as soon as I left, the auditory hallucinations stopped and the peace and quiet was absolute bliss! The leaf bugs hung around for a week or so still, but they didn't make a noise so they didn't bother me. I still woke up in a panic a few times when I'd still see my numbers going down and down when I closed my eyes / dreamt. My wound got infected and opened up needing 1 or 2 trips a week for several weeks to my GP nurse for dressing. Overall though, I got back to my version of normal fairly quickly and I am forever thankful to the skilled surgeon and staff at Papworth for the treatment and care I received whilst I was there.

After reading all the above, and there are possibly many other things I did or said that aren't here, you will understand how I couldn't blog from hospital as I wasn't deemed mentally stable enough to be trusted with my phone, no matter how much I begged pleaded, and promised to be good!! 😂 😂 😂

I feel very lucky to live near to the only hospital in the UK to offer the specialist surgery I had done and I have therefore decided to challenge myself a year post-op, as a thank you to go the staff who cared for me, to doing something to raise money for Papworth Hospital Charity and have signed up for the Asda 10k Leicester on 9th September.

There is a link at the top of my page to my Just Giving site if anyone is in a position to be able to make a donation to this fantastic charity.

Night night everyone, I'm off to dream of leaf bugs....... 😂

Monday, 25 June 2018

The fitness regime has started! πŸƒ‍♀️🚣‍♀️

Well I'm coming up to 1 year post op, what better time to start a new fitness regime!

This time last year I could barely get up the stairs. Now I'm looking at registering for a 10k!! I'm not completely mad, I have no grand delusions of running it in a record time, or even running it at all come to that! I would just like to take part, finish the course and ideally get a medal as a momento of still being alive and kicking a year on! 😂

So, to start, the rowing machine came out last night. I only did 5 reps of 20 whilst watching the footy, but it's a start!

I also plan to start walking home from work twice a week (5k) and maybe try a few park runs. Then hopefully start swimming again once I can fit in my cozzie and get into the pool without all the water getting out!

Anyway, you know those people who go to the gym or running, even a marathon, and finish looking as fresh a daisy as though they hadn't done anything? Yeah, well it turns out I'm NOT one of them!!!

I did my first 5k walk home from work tonight, in the sweltering heat! I started off quite well until I got stuck behind someone walking very slightly slower than me. It was like when you're driving fractionally faster than the car in front of you and you have to keep taking your foot off the accelerator/braking so you don't get too close, but they're still going too fast for you to overtake. Annoying. In the end I decided to do the slow overtake, meaning I would be walking next to him for a while, hoping that would make him feel uncomfortable enough to slow down and let me pass! Obviously, it worked! 😂

It was soooo hot (have I already mentioned that?!) and some passers-by looked slightly concerned by the no doubt fetching shade of puce that was my face. I was just feeling reassured by the fact that there is a defibrillator on the wall of the Coop Funeral Services half way home so, in the event of any problems, I'd be in the right place to get sorted either way! 😂 😂

However, I made it past the point of no return and was feeling quite pleased with myself (especially as it was 30°! Have I mentioned how hot it was??😂), but as I crossed the last main road and onto the home stretch, I got overtaken by an old man on a mobility scooter....... 😒  I was too hot to push him off but put on an extra spurt and overtook him back as he slowed down to have an argument with his daughter..... I finally got home, 52 minutes after leaving work, to be greeted by Jay and the kids with bottles of cold water which they squirted all over me! I was soaked but it was lovely and so refreshing!! Faye wasn't quite as amused when I gave her a big, cold, wet, hug though!! 🤗

So, that was my first 5k!

I have now just registered for the park run. I've got my barcodes and everything. I guess there's no backing out now!!


Friday, 25 May 2018

I'm a complete mess..... And I'm loving it!!

What can I say?

The evening started early with afternoon tea at the Belmont Hotel in Leicester for a friend finishing work on maternity leave.  It was all really nice and the cakes were luurvely! We then made our way to The Lansdowne for cocktails (2 for 1 for NHS staff - it really would be rude not to!). Our party gradually dwindled down then as people started to leave to catch trains.

The sun was setting, it was still warm, a really lovely night. Which was when I made my decision. I was going to walk home.

One friend went into town to catch the bus and the remaining two of set of in the opposite direction. It was just starting to spit with rain but still nice. We walked and chatted  until we reached Queen's Road and decided to stop off in Babelas for a glass of wine. Or two. It was here I embarrassingly forget about the cakes I'd got for the kids in my bag and, as I delved into my bag for my purse, my hand came out with, not my purse, but buttercream covered fingers 😳

It was properly raining when we left. We walked to my friend's house and, after meeting hubby and dog, and turning down the offer of calling a cab, I set off for home. I checked and it was only 2.2 miles. I could do this!

Thankfully there weren't many people about at that time of night. In the rain. Surprising really....... If there had have been, I think I may have been reported as the mad woman laughing to herself, walking in the rain, getting soaked!

This will be hard for many people, who maybe take their health and fitness for granted, to understand but the exhilaration I felt walking home is indescribable.

When you have been in a position of genuinely believing you are going to die, just that simple act of walking home made me feel more alive than I have felt for a very long time. By the time I got up the hill to the top of Welford Road I was grinning from ear to ear, possibly looking slightly manic and scary! The rain got heavier, my clothes were stuck to me, my hair was plastered to my face, my shoes were filling with water and squelching and I was loving it!! As I reached Palmerston Way I was laughing and crying at the same time so pleased with myself! Again I realise this would be no boggy for most people, but for me it was such an accomplishment. I reached home just after midnight, also discovering , contrary to my previous belief , that a lot of our streetlights DO go off at midnight!. I was soaked to the skin but soooo happy! I DID IT!! I walked home.

Some may think I was stupid, stubborn, recklessa.  I may have blisters in the morning, I may feel exhausted, tired, and achy in the morning, but you know what? I DON'T CARE!!!  Because at least I'M ALIVE to grimace at those blisters when I try to put my shoes on, I'M ALIVE to feel tired, I'M ALIVE to feel my bones Aching.  I may wake up and berate myself for being maybe very slightly stupid, but I do not and will not regret a thing. I'm alive and kicking. That's a feeling that nothing else can beat and no-one can take that away from me.

So thank you to my friend for not forcing me to get a cab. Thank you lousy British weather for helping me to feel so alive.Thank you for helping me to feel like me again!


My journey has just begun........

Monday, 26 March 2018

Training Day

When I say training, I mean I'm getting the train... to Nottingham.... and I have just  realised that I don't think I have ever caught the train to Nottingham before!

So far so good, got to the station in plenty of time, bought (the right!) ticket and got to the right platform, I even managed to get on the right train! I've not forgotten anything or if I have, I haven't remembered I've forgotten it yet! The sun is shining.....  Also, unlike many previous train journeys, I'm not sat next to, or even near, a nutter!! It's already promising to be a good day!😂 😎

So, what's happened since my last blog? I've been busy, which is why I've not been blogging. Unfortunately I've not been busy with anything particularly interesting!!

We did go out from work last week to celebrate someone finishing her exams, time to relax and enjoy a night out after their hard work studying! We started at The Distillery for cocktails (always a must!). No night out can EVER start right without a porn star martini (or two)! We were booked in at Crafty Burgers to eat, which was entertaining from deciding on burgers, the slightly scary waitress, to setting fire to the table! At this point I feel it is vital to clarify that it was not me who set fire to the table, the fire was just in front of me, and the blame went entirely to the person day opposite me!  I do have to say that he was also completely blameless, but it was just too much to blame him! He is now know as The Firestarter, and The Prodigy was quickly found and played on a phone. Once the fire was out, obviously! It was only a small fire - a paper napkin fell on to a tealight candle. Quite big flames though! The waitress blew it (?!) which obviously just made it worse and blew bits of still-burning napkin at me and someone else! My neighbour chucked water on it and I doused the rest of with another scrunched up, wet napkin. The table was a bit black and wet but otherwise no damage done!! The rest of the evening was quite sedate in comparison!

My train is now arriving at Nottingham, so time to go!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Pamper Day & Treat Weekend!!!

Part of my Christmas present from my lovely other half was vouchers for the beauticians and hairdressers so I could have a pamper day!

We were also given a 'Time Together' voucher by his daughter and her boyfriend so the two have been combined to follow my pamper day with a night away in the Cotswolds tomorrow night (the place we wanted to go to being completely booked every Fri and Sat for the foreseeable future!) It meant having to take Monday off from work, a great shame I know, but what can you do?! 😂

I've been looking forward to this day since booking it and although the snow finally hit us last night, no amount of the white stuff was going to stop me getting here!!  To be honest, we didn't actually have all that much snow and the beautician's and hairdresser are right next to each other. At the bottom of my road! The lovely ladies working there would have had more trouble getting in than me - assuch, I am very grateful that they made it!

My first treatment was for a deluxe facial, an hour of having so many lotions and potions massaged into my face I lost count.... Oh OK, I admit it.... I wasn't counting. I was far too relaxed for that! The only time I was slightly less relaxed was when the steamer was on. Now, I've never had this before so I didn't know what they used and I had pads on my eyes so I couldn't see. It sounded suspiciously like a wallpaper steamer so I was half expecting it to splatter boiling water over me at any given time, hence feeling slightly tense at this point!! I did manage to relax again though, but it was the first thing I looked for when the treatment was over. It wasn't a wallpaper steamer. At least now I know.

I then nipped next door to get my hair done. I'm currently sat looking like some sort of mad alien with could all over my head and the rest of my mad frizzy hair sticking out all over the place. It's not the most attractive look, but necessary!  The hairdressers are annoyed with the bloke in the flat upstairs keep turning his music up REALLY LOUD! I did let to go up and see him as, once I was fully foiled and with no makeup on I would've scared the living daylights out of him! 😂👹

Time to chill...... Be back later.......


Hair done, light and bright again, it feels so much better!

Went back to the beautician's for a manicure, which was also lovely and relaxing, especially the part where I had to put my arms in heat pads for a while. Toasty and warm! My only slight disappointment was that it wasn't gel nails, I guess I just sort of assumed they would be. Never mind. Still never than when I do them myself but, typically, still managed to catch one whilst putting my coat on!


All in all it was a lovely few hours and I feel nice and refreshed now, looking forward to our trip to the Cotswolds 😊

Monday, 26 February 2018

Going A. W. O. L.

I don't know - give a girl a bit of freedom......... and she will find shops!! 😂

So Saturday provided me with the exciting prospect of doing the grocery shopping. On my own!! I also had something to pick something up from town... it seemed sensible to get that first than go and get the shopping. I was under strict instructions to text when I arrived everywhere to confirm I was ok.

I drove into town and parked, the shop I needed was only over the road from the car park so a nice, quick and easy trip. Until I left the car and started to make my way out through the shopping centre.... Then it hit me. I was in town. On my own. No kids. No Jay. Just me........ and oh soooo many shops!!!

Well..... What would you do?!

I decided I'd got enough time to just pop into one shop and have a casual look around without constantly having to turn my head full circle to watch the kids before giving up trying to look at anything, which is what usually happens.

Next I went across the road to collect my parcel from Waterstones... But at the last minute walked straight by Waterstones to have a nice relaxed stroll through the Highcross... Tiger caught my eye so I had to go in, it would have been rude not to! I love that shop!! Then, as I was already halfway there by now anyway, I thought I might as well go and have a look around Paperchase too, another favourite of mine!

I eventually meandered my way back to the only shop I came to town for, picked up my parcel and started to make my way back to the car.

Via TK Maxx 😁.

I did find a better backpack for Faye for school in there though so it was a good job I called in! I did then get a text checking I was ok as I'd been gone for over 2 hours and not text to say I'd  made it to Asda. Oooops! What can I say? Time flies when you're having fun!!

I then had a similar problem in Asda, looking around the aisles I didn't need before realising I'd been there for about 15 mins and not got one thing off the list!! I just whizzed around quickly to get everything, and only went 'off list' a couple of times, which I thought was really good!

I wonder if I'll be allowed to do the shopping again next week......... 🤔

Friday, 23 February 2018

It's soooooooooo exciting!!!

Finally! After 6 loooooooooong months, I'm driving again!!!

I can't even begin to express how happy I am! It felt so good to get in the car and drive the kids to school this morning before driving to work! I thought it would be a bit weird and I would feel nervous but it was like I'd never stopped!!

It was just like old times.... grumbling about other 'drivers' (using the term loosely!) within about 10 minutes of being back behind the wheel! 😂

There'll be no stopping me now! I can go anywhere, anytime, without having to rely on anyone else or put anyone else out. It feels so good!! 😊

I am, once again, Little Miss Independent
and I'm loving it!!!

Only a short blog but I am so excited I just wanted to share it with you!!


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Bus journey #4 - Passenger's Log, busdate 220218.1

I'm so cold!! My hands are freezing so excuse any typos!!

I not-so-merrily watched my bus go driving off as I was stuck in the middle of the road waiting to cross! 😡

Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long for the next one! Just long enough to become a viable study for cryogenics......

You can tell its nearing the end of the week as its very quiet on the bus, apart from one little old lady who's happily telling her friend (and the rest of the bus) the state of another friend's house and health 😂 She does seem to have a better social life than me and her weekend is taking a lot of planning!

Anyway my bus journeys may be short lived. Last night I got home to a letter from the DVLA saying they were renewing my licence, which should arrive within 14 days!  Today I got home to my licence!! 😁

It might take me a few trips to brave it on my own but it's only been 6 months.... What could go wrong??!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Bus journey #3 - Passenger's Log, busdate 210218.1

What timing! I'm getting the knack of this now! Although it's still far too early in my opinion, and only necessary because I have a course today . Hopefully I won't injure anyone on this one like I almost did on the last one which, ironically, was a first aider course! That, however, is an entirely different story!

Got to the bus stop as the bus came down the road and got straight on. To be fair I wasn't sure if it was my bus at first as I couldn't see the number, and I didn't want to stop it if it wasn't. Luckily another lady arrived just before the ideal 'stick your arm out to stop the bus' time, but she didn't make any move to stop the bus. Panicking so I ended up having  to ask her! I really should remember my glasses, it makes the whole waiting-to-see-what-number-the-bus-is-without-jumping-out-infront-of-it  far less stressful! Catching the bus at the end of the day, however, holds the risk of jumping in front of it for an entirely different reason, depending on how crap the day has been!

I've decided my bus journeys are in fact really boring! Or maybe it's just too early for the characters to be out and about!

Short and sweet but I'm now arriving at work so logging off......

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Bus journey #2 - Passenger's Log, busdate 200218.1

Well that started well! Maybe it wasn't the best idea to start a bus log on my last bus journey before half term!

Well the good news is that I caught an even earlier bus than I intended to, AND I've treated myself to a yummy breakfast for my efforts. The bad news is the lady in sainsbury doesn't like me anymore!

But why?! I hear you ask. It appears I am perfectly capable of upsetting people before I've even had my first cup of coffee (but counting my family of course)!

Basically I didn't have any change for the bus and I can't use my pass before 9.30. So I didn't have any choice! Sainsbury's it was to buy something to get some change. The first thing I saw was a maple and pecan plait. Mmmmm mmmmm. My favourite! Off I went to Mrs Grumpy Pants on the till with, what I thought was, a suitably apologetic expression and grimace when I handed her my £10 for my 80p year with a "I'm really sorry, it's all I have" (which was true, apart from a 2p). Needless to say, she wasn't impressed as she huffed, puffed and grumbled due to me presumably emptying her till of the entire float for my change which, for the record, consisted of one note and three coins! So I thanked her, flashed her my best smile, and left. Quickly. Just in time to see my bus making its way down the road 😊

It was one of my favourite friendly drivers so things started to look up! It was surprisingly full for the time of morning, most of the passengers getting off with me at the hospital, which just shows how much earlier than me most people here start work, even when I think I'm really early!

A pretty uneventful journey!!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Bus journey #1 - Passenger's Log, busdate 090218.1

Hmmmmm so how do I do this?!

My bus journey only lasts 10-15 minutes and is usually relatively boring....

So I could start with the boring stuff, like whether the bus was on time or not, afterall this is likely to affect my mood and could colour my perception of the rest of the journey! The bus drivers obviously vary too from happy and friendly, through uninterested to downright grumpy and rude. The same also applies to passengers of course!

To kick-start, for my first logged journey, the bus was 5 mins late. "What?! No way!!" I hear you all cry in shock and horror. I know, I know, unbelievable as it is, it's true! Now, this was an early bus for me so, having dragged myself out of bed, in what to me felt like the middle of the night, to get showered, ready for work and run out of the house (ok, slight exaggeration, everyone knows I don't run. Ever. 😂) with just enough time to make it to the bus stop, I have to admit I was slightly irked that it was late. It couldn't even blame the traffic, there wasn't any, it was too damn early!!

Anyway, as I never dry my hair, unless I have the urge to spend the day looking like Crystal Tips, or have a couple of free hours to straighten it only to walk out of the door and end up with the same result within 5 mins of being outside, by the time the bus arrived my still-wet hair had frozen. I'm talking icicles! If I'd spun around quickly I could have accidentally decapitated at least three people with it! In my defence, they shouldn't have been standing so close, I mean 'personal space' people, come on!!!

I digress, so...... the bus driver was a youngish pleasant man so that was a good start. I settled into my seat, as did other passengers, then I heard the most vigorous page turning of a newspaper I think I've ever heard! To begin with I thought the pages were being ripped out but no, the man in question was just flicking through the paper. He didn't look to be grumpy, maybe he just didn't like the articles.... This continued for most of the journey, occasionally drowning out the conversation of the couple behind him, one of whom appeared to have recently found out that someone they both knew had died, leading to a lengthy discussion about, and breakdown of, the deceased acquaintance's smoking habits. Not in a sense of whether it was bad for him or contributed to his demise, but very specific details of when and where he smoked and even down to how much he would smoke of a cigarette, depending on the previous two factors. Oh how they laughed!! 😕

By that time I had reached work and paper destroying man was confirmed to not be at all grumpy as the bus came to a stop and he gave me a lovely smile, indicating for me to get off first.....

Marks out of 10? That's up to you, let me know what you think!!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Back in the blog

So I haven't blogged since my op.... I keep wanting to but struggling to get back into it! Now I'm back on the bus to or from work most days I'm thinking of starting a bus journey Blog to get me started again 🤔#buspeoplewatching

Monday, 17 July 2017

And so it begins.............

So far, so good!

Got here early, was admitted to the day ward and tagged (not electronically....). Being given 3 tags confused me but I have since found out that once you're in theatre, they take one off your arm and put it around the tube down your throat so they can check ID as they can't (easily) see your wristbands. I'm glad that one's sorted at least. Another thing I don't be worried about walking myself up for to ask halfway through the op!! 😂

I had the lovely 6 minute walk test, looking stupid again (no different to usual then... Yeah yeah I know.....), chest xray, ECG and bloods, forms, forms, more forms etc. etc. etc......

We had an afternoon of cards and puzzles, then were told they were closing the ward so I'd have to go to a different ward to sleep then come back up again in the morning. Before any of that happened, however, the fire alarm went off. Rumour has it someone burnt toast on level was just like being back at work!! 😂. The anaesthetist came to see me so we missed the evacuation and the drama was over by the time he'd finished. As he left the surgical doctor who's going to be helping tomorrow came to see us to go through everything and by the time he left everyone had gone!


Now on Duchess Ward with a cup of coffee, crackers and cheese. Waiting for my towels and lurvely antiseptic wash for my shower.....


Oh I'm being so spoiled!! Not only do I now have towels and Octenisan (mmmmm, a lovely antiseptic scent....), I have also been given my backless gown, paper knickers, special red socks, AND I've been measured for a pair of those gorgeous, highly sought after, surgical stockings. Can my day get any better???!

I fear the actual op tomorrow is going to be a compete anticlimax after such excitement!! 😂 😂 😂

Let's just hope the shower is a power shower now to complete the night!!

I have to say, every member of staff I have had any contact with has been really lovely and helpful, I couldn't ask for any better care and am, surprisingly, feeling very calm and ok about it all. Although I could still be in denial...... 😂

Friday, 14 July 2017

It's almost time for 'The Op'......

Soooo, my last weekend of freedom for a couple of weeks! I'm off to Papworth on Monday so this is also likely to be my last blog for a while, until I'm back in the land of the living after my op!

It was very strange finishing work on Wednesday. Afterall, you don't usually have pre-warning of bring off sick. Particularly when you don't actually feel 'ill' as such!

Anyway since it is went out for drinks after work and my big Sis joined us as well which was lovely. It was a good night in great company. I will miss everyone!

Yesterday morning it felt wrong not going in but I was kept busy with the kids. The end of year church service for the year 6 leavers was really emotional, the kids were crying, we were crying..... our kids aren't even leaving until next year! Not sure I'll be able to cope with that service!! 😢😢😢. Faye was surprisingly fine, until we'd been home for a bit. She went to get changed and came down sobbing her heart out, bless her! 🙁

I distracted her with the mermaid tail blanket a friend from work had given me for hospital (knowing first hand how much I hate being cold!!).

They wanted McDonald's so we went there on the way to my friend's. It was nice for all the kids to play together as they don't really get to see each other apart from in the holidays.  My friend gave me a beautiful Hot Diamonds guardian angel charm, which is definitely coming with me to Papworth!

Today I didn't do bad being of add the kids were off anyway. We got clothes ready to pack for their 'holiday' and sorted some stuff off myself. I decided to treat them to the cinema so we went to see Despicable Me 3 which they really enjoyed. It was nice to just spend the day with them.

I was really surprised when Jay gave me a bag of lovely goodies from one of his work colleagues! I was so touched at such a thoughtful gesture. With all the bad things happening in the world it does restore faith that the majority of people are good, caring people.

I feel so lucky to have such loving family and friends who are always there for me and I will always be there for them, no matter how near or far, or how much or little we see each other.

I love you all with all my heart 💖💖💖

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Old friends, new old friends, sunshine and relaxation

What a fantastic few days!!

It all started with a day of pampering at Beauty Boutique in Wigston, a pedicure and massage, toe and finger nails manicured and painted, and lashes lifted and tinted (will save the need for mascara in hospital!). I was out just in time to get to Base hairdressers for a trim and highlights to brighten me up for the summer. Bliss!

I packed the following morning and went on my way to Teddington for the weekend to see a friend I haven't seen for a couple of years, leaving early to miss the traffic. It was a lovely day and it was great to park up and wander down to the river. It always has a real holiday feel to me, especially when the sun is shining 🌞

It turns out that another old friend lives there too, who I haven't seen for (cough, cough) years. We agreed to meet at Tide End Cottage for a drink and, although I felt a bit nervous meeting someone from so long ago, it was actually really easy and the time flew by. Well, it did for me anyway! For all I know I could have been chatting far too much and bored them to tears! I hope not though!

As they needed to leave, my other friends arrived and we made our way to the Fallow Deer for cocktails and then almost next door for an Italian (food, not person...). Overall, a very enjoyable day with delicious food, refreshing drinks and, most importantly, great company!

I awoke Saturday morning to another lovely day which we decided to start off with a game of crazy golf, much to my friend's partner's horror! Not just crazy golf though, Pirate crazy golf! It was really busy, and yes mainly with kids, but did we care??! Well, two of us didn't! 😂 We had to pull ourselves across the water in rafts, play inside a pirate ship in the dark, it was fun!! There was another small group of adults only behind us who were taking it all much too seriously! I had to bite my tongue to not point out it was a crazy golf course, mainly aimed at kids and not grown men...... We really didn't take it seriously, I mean, my first hit of the ball and it went straight in the water!! You could almost see their agitation growing with each of the 9 attempts it took my to complete hole no. 1!!

We recovered from the effort with some lunch at The Anchor at Wisley, watching the boats go through the lock, going back to the Flying Cloud at Teddington for a cuppa and cake back by the river, again watching all the boats go by as we made several (fairly unsuccessful) attempts at taking a selfie!

Another beautiful evening made our decision to go to a now favourite haunt of mine, Comptoir Libanais, by Kingston Bridge. We managed to upset the waitress by wanting to sit at a different (and nicer) table than the one she initially offered us, leading her to very grumpy and almost throwing chairs about before telling us we'd have to wait while she seated someone else at 'our' table! Ooops! Another waitress then came to seat us, who was very happy and pleasant! We had a lovely meal watching the sun set. Our cocktail reminded me slightly of Benilyn (although you got used to it after a while!) and the 'tea' my friend ordered looked vaguely as though she had been pond dipping, although she quite liked it, until my pond dipping comment at least........

Sunday wasn't meant to be so nice but it was another gorgeous, hot and sunny day! We ambled around a classic car show in Hampton before shopping for picnic bits and making our way to Strawberry Hill House for their fun day and music festival. We went around the house which was like nothing I had ever seen before. Very gothic in style and seemingly completely random! Lots of the windows had original panes of 17th century painted glass from Flanders which were fantastic. We then relaxed in the sunshine with our picnic, listening to the different bands until early evening.

It was a really chilled out weekend and I had such a lovely time, just what I needed before hospital calls!!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Flashing knickers!! πŸ˜–

So I probably experienced one of the most embarrassing, mortifying and traumatic moments of my life yesterday. I still shudder just thinking about it!!

I finished work and collected Faye, had tea, did some work whilst Faye got ready for gym. All fine. Took her to gym and sorted out Billy going for a trial next week (bless him!). Decided not to bother going home so just say in the car, rang mum and dad and spoke to Billy. Still all good so far.  Got out of the car to go a different fetch Faye, and my nightmare began.

It was still warm and I was happily walking past the cars to the gym when I lady following me down the hill called 'excuse me'. I turned and realised she was calling to me so stopped. Her next words sent a chill right through me.

'Sorry, but I thought I should tell you your dress is split all down the back.'

'Is it bad?`

`Well it's all the way down you the hem. You can see your pants and everything. I thought it was shorts to start with but then realised. I'm really sorry but if it says me I'd want someone to tell me...'

I was mortified!!!  I had no coat. Nothing. And I just stood there like an idiot with no idea what to do!! Then there was the horror of wondering how long it had been split without me noticing? Surely someone at work would have said. Wouldn't they?? Or at school when I picked Faye up? And what about when I dropped Faye off at gym and spent a while at reception with kids and parents everywhere?? Had I been flashing my knickers to all and sundry?! They weren't even a decent pair!! The thought was paralysing!!

I held the back of my dress together the best I could, probably looking like I'd had an accident as I scuttled into the waiting room clutching my bum and clamped myself to the nearest wall! Faye was first out which, to start with I thought was good, as that meant I could get away quick. In reality I soon realised that just meant that everyone else was behind me......

'Faye walk behind me!'


'just do it?!'


I told her about my predicament and she promptly went into hysterics! Not that I could blame her, no doubt I'd have done the same. She did walk behind me though. Encouraging me as we went. Not.

'Mum you look weird, just let go of it'

'I can't. You can see my knickers'

'it'll be better than you look now'

'Thanks. But it really wouldn't. And stop laughing!'

'I can't, it's funny'

At this point I noticed a car with one of the dad's I know say in it. We always say hello, but on this occasion I thought it would be better to focus ahead and pretend I hadn't noticed him.

'It is NOT funny. At all'

I'm sure there was an amused look on 'dad's' face as I passed the car.....

'let go'


'well you're going to have to let go of it in a minute to get in the car!'

'yes. Thank you. I'm well aware of that!'

Thankfully the car next to me dad empty so I was able to take refund between the two cars.

'let's have a look then'

I let go.

'[gasp] oh m that is really bad! I mean REALLY bad!!`

I have never been so pleased and relieved to get in my car!!

And I've never known 10 minutes to be do traumatic it felt like 10 hours!!!

At least Faye reassured me that my dress was fine when I dropped her off so that was at least some relief!

All I need to do now is find the receipt...... and a disguise to wear to all future trips to gym........... 😐

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Iiiiiiiiiiit's RANT TIME!!!!!

OK, so maybe I'm just not in the best of moods today. Or maybe, just maybe, it's been a day full of idiots conspiring to annoy me............ On the bright side, they only partially succeeded 
It started with a kamikaze cyclist  on the school run. Now I know cyclists have just as much right to be on the road as cars, and I am generally very considerate of them,  but surely they should comply with the rules of the road too?? So if their traffic lights are on red, STOP! Don't just carry on and cycle straight across in front of me, when my lights are on green, and just expect me to stop! I did, but one day you might not be so lucky......
I then had a stereotypical white van man cut me up, twice, coz he was in so much of a hurry as he obviously felt he was much more important than everyone else trying to get to work. Still it worked out well for him, he managed to get 1 vehicle ahead of where he started (behind me) all the way in to town, shaving milliseconds off his time,  so Woohoo!! Well done Mr Van driver! You must be sooooo proud of your achievement!! 
So that was all before I actually got in to work.......
As far as work goes, there are a few things I consider important...
1. Work hard and you will be rewarded (OK maybe that one is a bit out of date and optimistic.....)
2. Be humble and don't run ramshod over other people to get where you want /get the recognition you want, whether you deserve it or not.
3. Don't ask anyone to do anything you aren't prepared to do yourself
4. If something needs doing and there's no one else available, do it yourself!
..... But maybe I'm just old skool
Why people can't do something that, OK, might not be their job, but would only take them approximately 1 minute at the most to do is beyond me. Especially when not doing it can causes delays of a day or so. I guess some people must think certain tasks are beneath them......
Still, however irritating, it's not such a biggy I guess and I can at least be glad that I'm not like that.
I had half a day's annual leave to take Billy for another visit to big school, this time we left them and they went on their own. He was full of it when he came back and loved it! I was so pleased and feel happier that he isn't going to be really clingy when he starts  We got Faye and came home to get changed and go straight into the paddling pool. It was soooo nice! We had a pack of water balloons and had an hour or so messing about in the pool and staying cool! . We had a great time and all was well with the world again!
For a bit ....
Tonight I dropped Faye off at guides and went swimming.  It was a busy but lovely and cool. There were a few lads being lads but there were also the annoying chatters. I know people go with their friends and have a bit of a natter, I know I used to. But we swim in lanes and I still have to stop every two lengths to, well, breathe! It's therefore pretty annoying to not be able to stop at the end coz of people chatting. I don't mean a few minutes chit chat while they have a breather, I'm talking 10/15 minutes of not moving! In the 10 lengths or so I managed whilst they were chatting, I learnt more about their dog's habits, behaviour in the park, what they had for dinner blah blah blah than I really needed, or wanted, to know! Then one of them complained about how busy it was and that they hadn't even got out of breath yet! I was so close to pointing out that that wasn't exactly surprising seeing as they hadn't moved for ages, although the amount of yapping she was doing should have rendered her breathless!  Unfortunately this didn't happen and I had to suffer overhearing their inane conversations......
Hopefully, seeing as it was far too busy for them, they won't be there when I go again. It would be much safer for them, probably more than they could ever imagine.....!!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Wet chairs and water fights πŸ’¦

Well it's been a funny old week! This time last week I was sat at home after a long day at the polling station watching the first of the results come in. It seems much longer than a week ago!

It was lovely to get out in the garden and get some planting done after all the rain last week and I'm happy to say my cucamelon plants are looking good! I can't wait for them to grow and fruit..... They are going to be soooo cute!!

Work has been a bit stressful to the point where I'm not sure if I even speak English or people can't actually hear me.... But then something will happen that makes turning up worthwhile.....

For instance, as I got into work on Tuesday I found boxes of files on my desk that needed to go to the lab. I grabbed a couple of boxes and was on my way when a colleague came out of a nearby office and called me in, saying I needed to look at her chair because she didn't know what to do. She explained someone had been in her office, sitting in her chair, and her chair was now marked.... Sure enough I looked at the chair and there was, what I can only describe as, a wet, oddly shaped streak on the seat. I shared her horror with an exclamation of "what is that?!". She replied that she didn't know, we really didn't want to know, but she didn't know what to do because she couldn't bring herself to sit on it. I didn't blame her but at that point I started laughing uncontrollably until I was crying!  Just thinking about it again now whilst I'm writing this is making me giggle! When I'd calmed down enough to be able to speak, I reasoned that we must have something in the department or lab to clean/disinfect it with, and we had a spare chair in our office she could use.  We did find some Flash (with Febreze I might add!) in the tea room, so I gave it a good scrub and left it to dry....... All's well that ends well 😂

Yesterday was sunny and hot, promoting one of the managers to bring a lead of jubbleys into work. And a number of water pistols. What could go wrong?! Well, maybe giving one to me for a start! It was nice to temporarily revert to being a kid again though!!

Last night Faye was in an interschool athletics competition involving all the local schools, about a dozen altogether. As you can imagine, it was organised chaos but I think the teachers and everyone involved did a really good job sorting so many kids out! I didn't any even one bit! Everyone did well and seemed to enjoy it anyway.

Today the water pistols are forgotten about. For most of the day. Then all hell let loose in the office! In hindsight I should have known better than to shoot one of the Consultants. At the time I didn't know better but son learnt my lesson when he came back at me with a fairly powerful water bottle. I got soaked. As did the carpet, my chair, my desk....... Squirt two had me running out of the office to escape another drenching. And to dry out!

Things calmed down, he left for home and I went to collect my printing. On returning to the office I walked through the door and got soaked again.... and almost had a heart attack as he was hiding behind the wall as I came in! Apparently he'd forgotten his phone and thought it to perfect an opportunity to miss! I can't say I blame him, I would most likely have done the same thing myself. I did get him back with the water bottle on his way out though 😂

Best of all, it's nearly the weekend again!! It's meant to be a lovely one too! I can see paddling pools, hose pipes and water bombs on the horizon........

So a Happy Father's Day to all of you Dad's out there and I hope you all get spoiled!! Xxx

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Schools and pools

Today Billy had his first induction at 'Big School' ready for starting in September. For all my concerns about him being less confident and more clingy than Faye was, after a couple of minutes his coat was off and he was getting stuck in!! A couple of kids he knew from pre-school last year are there too and they came over to him which was sweet of them. We made pictures with shells, played in the kitchen, did a puppet show, and went climbing in planks, crates and tyres outside in the rain! He seemed to really enjoy it and asked when he could go back so it looks promising!

Faye's been to athletics after school fir the last two nights and has really enjoyed it. Her teacher has told us she's very good and the best at throwing! She throws Billy around a lot so I guess she has had a fair amount of practice! 😂

After dropping Faye off at guides I made it back to the swimming pool again. Aren't I a good girl!! It was a lot busier to start with but then emptied a bit and, apart from a couple of lads being a couple of lads, it was fairly peaceful and relaxing. Unfortunately, my muscles must have been tired from the effort last night as I only managed half a mile in 45 minutes. Still, better than nothing I suppose. I'll aim at just making it into the pool tomorrow night!!!

Monday, 5 June 2017

...and I'm done. In. Completely...😩

At least I did it.  After a fairly long break from the pool I was quietly optimistic of managing my 1k/40 length goal.

But, get me, I'd done that in just under 50 minutes so then faced the dilemma of getting out whilst the going was good and I'd done what I wanted to.......or seeing if I could get another 8 lengths in the last 10 minutes to make it 3/4 of a mile in an hour.

I only went and did it!

Admittedly I am now completely cream crackered and ache everywhere!  But I don't care!  Smug me is back! 😏

Now to see if I can keep it up long enough to make it back there again on Wednesday..........

Fitness regime attempt No. 6875423885.........

So here we go again...... another attempt at regular swimming sessions. I have made it as far as the gym..... in the rain no less! To be fair, getting wet to get to the gym isn't really anything to be pleased with myself for when my goal is the pool!
Unbelievably, my swipe card worked to let me in - I was expecting alarms to go off, lights to flash and a booming voice to yell "Who the hell are you?! Don't you come swanning back here after all this time and expect to just be let straight back in!!!"
Thankfully, that was just the paranoia in my head!
So here I am, ready to go for it. Again. I'll be back with an update. Presuming the shock of exercise doesn't kill me...... 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Rain, rain go away, come again.... Actually, you know what? Don't bother!

So a typical bank holiday/packing up camp day with rain. And more rain. Lots of rain........

After breakfast we started to get things packed away as much as we could in the dry but as all that got done we were forced to empty the tent and load it all, and the kids into the car and start loading the trailer..

At one point we were also forced to the car by the monsoon type rain, waiting for it to slow enough for us to carry on. In the end we just had to go for it. We were drenched within minutes but it seems you can actually only get so wet....

Our jeans were so wet we were close, on several occasions, of sporting the current half way down your bum look...... Not a pleasant thought!

We finally managed to get everything packed and loaded, all as wet as we were! We need some sun when we get home to dry everything out !

It was our first experience of a CCC rally and we loved it. We were at Merry Weather Farm and the rally was organised by the Coventry DA. The stewards were really friendly and helpful as were all the other campers/caravanners there. We really enjoyed it and I'm sure we will be on another rally soon!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Rollright stones and Cotswold Farm Park

What better to do on a sunny, cloudy, and rainy day than to go and look at a stone circle. I mean, everyone loves a stone circle don't they? No? Just me? Oh well, never mind. I like it so off we went to the Rollright stones!

It was a bit chilly and very windy but the lady, when we got there, chatted and told us some of the history of the stones. She was a volunteer with the Rollright Trust and bless her for turning out in such conditions! We learnt all about the Whispering Knights, the King's Men and the King Stone. There had been a druid wedding in the morning and one of the trees had ribbons and purses tied in it.  It is said that if you count the stones in the circle twice and get the same number both times your wish will be granted. All I can say is, we tried! Several times. Nice of us got the same number twice or even the same number as each other! I guess those wishes are just going to have to wait!

The following day forecast a dry sunny day so we booked tickets for Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park. It was really good! Faye and Billy tried their hands at milking fake cows, we had a tractor and trailer ride around the sight learning about the rare breeds, then went to the barn where the kids could hold chicks, which were very sweet. However, they weren't as cute as the ducklings, which were adorable! Forget the kids, I wanted a duckling so asked and, like the kids, I was told to sit down and was handed a duckling...... My duckling was the cutest thing ever with his (or hers) big clumsy webbed feet, although it was a lively little thing! I really didn't want to hand it back told Jay I wanted a duck for our 'pond'. Unsurprisingly he rolled his eyes and said "she's worse than the kids.."  I'm guessing no duck then 🙁

We went round and fed the animals before going back to queue to feed the lambs and kids (OK, yes, me again....) . After half an hour we were duly given a bottle each to feed whichever animal fought, pushed and nuzzled it's way to the teet first, which was empty in about 2 seconds flat!

After that we went on the wildlife walk, saw the beehive (I was slightly more cautious and observant in this area due to my apparent allergy!), climbed over some logs and made our way to the play area. The whole day was really enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a day out in the area, with or with hour kids! It was well run, well organised and the staff were all really pleasant, helpful and genuinely seemed to enjoy what they were doing. We had ice creams and visited the shop before making our way back to camp.

Faye's new friend was at the rent door almost before we got through it! We had a BBQ then new friend's grandparents brought their chairs and drink up, the neighbours joined us and we watched the kids' show as the sun set behind the trees.....

A very enjoyable and relaxing weekend!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Cotswolds, camping and curfews...

It was such a gorgeous day to start our camping weekend, if a bit hot for travelling. Considering it was bank holiday Friday, we had a really good journey and reached the campsite by 6.30.  The weather was perfect for getting set up and because it was so nice, we had no idea of the time. Until I went off in search of a chippy.

Chipping Norton is only a couple of miles from the campsite and is bigger than I thought it would be. I parked up and had a walk around, found lots of pubs and bars (and yes I was tempted but thought I should maybe feed the kids first!), but no chippy and all the takeaways were shut. P Went back to the car and tried good old Google. 2 minutes later I was outside the chippy. Which we shut. Probably because it was 10.45! Plan B, I'd passed a garage. So it was meal deals all round!

Got back to the campsite and the was shut. But if a nuisance but no biggy. Got out to unlatch it, but no. It wasn't just shut, it was padlocked! I then saw the sign stating the gate closed at 11pm. It was 11.04. Aaarrgggghhhhh!! We still had stuff in the car, like our clothes, the cool box and another bag with some drink and food bits in...... A slightly panicked phone call to Jay and he met me with the kids to get the clothes and 'dinner'. Then went back for the wine (priorities!). So no chips, locked out and car dumped. Not a bad start...........

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Red sky at night, Shepherd's delight...

.... and although there aren't many Shepherd's around here, plus I'm not that keen on lamb, I have enjoyed the sun making an appearance as the saying promises!

It first came out on Saturday morning and Faye was happy as she had a hot tub party in the afternoon. We went to Asda in the sunshine (no coats needed today!) and came out to black skies and a monsoon-like downpour! By the time we got back to the car we were soaked!! It kept alternating between sunshine and torrential rain for the rest of the day.

Faye and Billy had been wanting to watch Star Wars so on Friday night, as a treat, they were allowed the sofa bed out downstairs with me and we watched A New Hope (no arguments from me!). Billy made it as far as the Cantina band scene before flaking out but Faye watched the whole thing and loved it! :) Saturday night turned into another Star Wars night with the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Billy missed it again but Faye enjoyed them, apart from when Han and Leia kissed, which she watched in horror, pulled a face and said "eeeeewwww that's disgusting!!" 😂

Sunday was so nice we spent the day in the garden, mainly weeding but at least we were outside enjoying the sunshine. The trampoline is back up so the kids were happy too!  Most importantly, I finally got all the washing done and dried (oh how you must all envy the rock 'n' roll lifestyle I lead! 😂)

We also sorted out camping for the bank holiday weekend - we're off to Chipping Norton! Sounds a bit posh for us but never mind! The rollright stones are nearby and I do love a good stone circle! I just hope the weather stays like these. The memories of packing up in torrential lane at the end of our last camping holiday are still lurking in the back of my mind and not something I'm in a hurry to repeat!

So after a lovely day I got the kids in the bath whole Jay cooked dinner..... and that's when if hit...... I'd either done too much gardening or had too much sun as I suddenly felt rubbish! Nothing specific just generally crap! So once I'd got the kids settled, Iwent to bed myself!

I was fine in the morning and, after taking one look in the mirror, decided it was definitely the sun that made me bad. Glowing is an underestimate.... Warning beacon is closer, I was red. Very red. Some might say 'blazing' red (you know who you are!!) and ever so slightly sore!

Work has been work..... Enough said! Although after a pretty rubbish morning, someone dropped by the office for a chat to tell me it makes their day to see me when he goes by the office and it's never the same when I'm not there! Awwww how sweet! I do think he maybe got the wrong office........

Faye decided it was too hot to go gym tonight, until I gave her the alternative of helping me tidy - she soon changed her mind!! 😂 As it happens, she really hurt her hands on the bars with deep broken blisters, so she would have been better off tidying!!

The most exciting thing was getting home to a big box in the porch with our new portable toilet (basically a posh bucket with a seat) and toilet tent. Woohoo!! My sister did suggest I could lock myself in and hide when the kids are driving me nuts...... I should probably take some wine in with me too.....

Only one more day to get through..........

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Ging Gang Goolie Goolie Goolie Goolie wat...cha step Mrs!!

This weekend was a big weekend for Faye - her first time camping with the guides! I was probably more nervous about it than she was!! After spending Thursday night naming everything and cramming it into her rucksack she was ready. It turns out the rucksack was almost as big as her, How she managed to carry it I'll never know!
I was probably a bit older than her when I first went camping, but similar weekends working up to Charnwood 85. Did anyone reading this go there? There were loads of different activities but I remember archery was very popular with the guides. Which I am pretty sure, in fact certain, had absolutely nothing whatsoever at all to do with the rather gorgeous scout doing it!
As it happens, and possibly for the better, I wasnt able to take her as I had a prior engagement after work. At The Parcelyard. I did ring her though and she was very excited!
Whilst sitting in the Parcelyard waiting for a couple more work friends to arrive we heard a noise behind us and turned to see a woman on the floor, having fallen on the stairs, her, we assumed boyfriend, coming back down the stairs to her. We all did the very British thing of 'don't look at the drunk lady' and pretended nothing had happened. Until one of our group said "Hey isn't that our lady from work?". On re-checking, it turned out it wasn't a drunk lady falling over, leaving with her boyfriend, but was in fact our sober friend falling down the stairs on her way to meet us, helped by a gentleman who had been leaving whilst we all ignored her!! But fair play to her, what an entrance!!  I blame it on the fact that she hadn't got her pram with her to use for balance.  At this point, I would like to point out (particularly if my friend is reading this!), that most of my amusement at this situation was purely due to the fact that that is exactly the sort of thing that usually happens to me!
It was the usual chores Saturday, food shopping etc., but went shopping with Amez in the afternoon which was nice. The weekend was slightly strange though without Faye. And quiet! Especially Eurovision Saturday night which Faye loves. Billy had his flags to wave though and stayed awake for a lot of it.
Faye came back this afternoon and seemed to have enjoyed herself! Within a short space of time, her and Billy were arguing and falling out. 
I couldn't help a little happy smile to myself...... Yep, Faye’s home, normality has resumed and life is back to normal 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Good Old Days

After a friend from primary school asked if I had any photos of us, I popped round to mum and dad's to pick something up..... And a couple of hours later was still looking through photo albums!!

Some photos had people in that I couldn't even remember and yet others brought back memories of people I hadn't thought about in years. Some of them for good reason!! 😂

Thankfully some other friends were able to help out where my memory failed, and vice versa!

Our school performance of 'Hip Hip Horatio' (about the life of Horatio Nelson in case you were wondering) was a far cry from the fairytales the top class usually put on, and I do remember being really peeved about that at the time! There were more people in my class than I remembered and as all the boys appeared to have beards for the production, my ability to recognise any of them was pretty much zero! I only recognised the one that all the girls liked as I recall!!

My old school photo was also spookily similar to Faye's, although I think she was probably more disturbed by that than me! 😂

And who can forget that luuuurvely Brownie uniform, complete with woolly hat?!

Times moved on to Cala Gran in Fleetwood where I spent a happy 8 months as a barmaid with my sister and temporary illusionist's assistant after we jacked in our jobs at the Alliance and Leicester, much to the shock of my manager at the time!! We had many 'theme' nights which had me dressed up as Hilda Ogden, a flapper girl, St. Trinians, a French maid, a clown amongst many...... I was so (rather cruelly I thought) 'advertised' as a 'cheap night out - one bottle of Max and she's anybody' 's!' To clarify, it would have taken at least two bottles. And food. 😊 Max, for anyone who doesn't know, was a strong bottled cider, the Northern version of Diamond White. I never really used to drink much prior to Fleetwood as I had generally been the designated driver so it is true that after one bottle of Max I was likely to be asleep...... It was good fun though, even when we did have to thaw caravan pipes out with a hairdryer in the winter just to be able to make a cuppa!! We made friends for life during that short stint and my life is all the richer for it.

It's so nice to be able to look back and relive old memories, remember people you thought you'd forgotten and wonder where their lives have taken them...

"It's not like the good old days" always seemed a bit of a cliché, but it's true. Or maybe I'm just getting old! Either way, we had lots of fun and I'm grateful for those friends and experiences.

Good times!!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Election Day - Round 1

So everything started well.

I'd spent Wednesday night baking goodies to see us through the long day ahead, got everything ready, even did my nails! I'd never been so organised! My plan was to get up at 5am, pack my bag, go to Asda to pick up a couple of bits for Faye's imminent camping trip, get diesel and be at the polling station for 6.15/6.30. That was the plan. I set my alarm and snuggled down for a decent hours' sleep.

As the saying goes, the best laid plans.......

I woke up at 4.20, great still half an hour until I have to get up 😊 then I heard Jay get up.... Strange for him to be up do early....

I looked at the clock, then double checked, blinking back at my was the worst start to my day...... 6.05.....


My polling station is a good 20 to 30 minute drive away and I was meant to be there for 6.30, ready to open the doors to voters at 7am. Jay got everything ready for me as I got ready and I was out if the door at 6.20. I tried ringing the Presiding Officer, 4 times, without success. Considering I'm normally early and the first there, it was reassuring that it got to 6.40, as I was pulling in to the car park, before he rang back. I could have been in a ditch somewhere! 😂

Once there I calmed down and the day went fairly smoothly. I got asked if I was married which, if it had come from some gorgeous hunk of a man, would have been flattering. Unfortunately the gentleman was in his 70's/80's and didn't even appear to know which election he was there for........ So not exactly flattered!!

Still out team had a good day, it was a nice change and actually quite relaxing spending the day just having to write down numbers, hand out ballot papers, eat and read! I did manage to read an entire book through the day/night!

We were out by 10.20 pm and made our way back to Harborough for the verification count. At which point my diesel light started flashing.........

Verification went well and by 1.30 am we were done. After several conversations to locate the nearest 24 hour petrol station (slightly concerned about this as I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it home!), someone came along and confirmed the one on my way home WAS 24 hours. It was. Feeling more than a little relieved, I filled the tank and got home around 2am.

By that time I was wide awake so took ages to get to sleep, then up got ready, briefly saw Jay and the kids before coming back for the count!

All went well, no recounts and results declared. Went for a break at 1 and dismissed at 1.30! Now home for a rest!! Well, play with the kids at least!!

That's it for 5 weeks until we're back for Round 2 - the General Election.  I gave a feeling that one may take longer......... 😂