Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt

That it! The Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt ends today so you only have until midnight tonight to get the rest of those elusive photos. Here's the final linky for you to share your photos with fellow hunters. 

Monday, 19 March 2018

Playing Catch Up!

I'm behind with everything so it's not just the blog I've been ignoring.

Health wise, things are not great. My knee is still troubling me and now the other one is just as painful, so walking any distance is an effort. On the plus side the nosebleeds and migraines are starting to ease off, and the PVD in my right eye continues to improve. I had the appointment with the consultant about the 'freckle' in my left eye and left with the shocking news that it may be a melanoma. At the moment whatever it is contains features of both a benign freckle and a malignant melanoma but not enough to be certain either way, so they will continue to monitor it. Not really the news I wanted but at least it is being monitored.

I'll have all the quotes for the home improvements by the end of this week and can decide whether everything can be done. I'd added quite a few 'wants' to the list of 'needs' so fingers crossed that I can afford to get everything done now  so that the entire house will be finished. Work starts on the replacement windows within the next month and then the electrician will be in, followed by the plumber and carpenter. It's going to be a busy and messy few months ... but worth it!

I've already made some changes to teaching commitments. It's not been possible to change everything to the same day which means that I'm still tied to travelling during the school holidays so I've decided to stop running one of the recorder clubs when we break for Easter, a choice made easier as the parents weren't too good at paying! Another school may not have the budget to finance music lessons in the next academic year so that may all stop as well which will leave me with one afternoon's teaching from September. This will really open up the week for me and means that I'll be able to organise mini breaks away during the cheaper term time. I'll get some more brochures next time I go into town and start planning!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

A Quick Post

This will be a short post as I don't really have anything to say, a direct result of doing very little!

I've spent most of my time sleeping off migraines and then coping with nosebleeds in between. My eye and knee problems are continuing to improve, although it will be a slow job for both. I see the eye consultant next Monday and then it's back to see my doctor about the blood pressure, migraines and nosebleeds. He's going to be sick of the sight of me, I think I need to rub me out and draw me again!

Home improvements are progressing as planned. I've received the quote for the electrical work and am just waiting on the cost of the rest of the work from the carpenter/builder. Everything I've asked for can be done so it's moved to the next stage where I'm choosing tiles, bathroom suites and light fitting - much more interesting.

Friday, 2 March 2018

A Snow Day

It's frustrating that I can't go out to take some snow photos but I'm being sensible and it's simply not worth the risk to my knee. This one was taken through the doors in the living room and is probably all I'm going to manage for now as the whiteness makes my eye hurt.

My neighbour has very kindly cleared the front of my house and all around my car for me, not that I plan to go out. All the Wiltshire schools are closed, we've cancelled tomorrow's band practice and I've plenty of food in the house so I have no need to venture out before Monday at the earliest and only then if the schools are back. 

I'm not feeling full of energy today so it's going to be a quiet day at best, probably just  getting on with a bit of paperwork and filing. I kept the heating on overnight (just turned the temperature down a bit) so the house is warm and I don't have the problems of the condensate pipe from the boiler freezing that lots of people are reporting on Facebook. I've rearranged my holidays and, instead of the two planned photography holidays, will now be going to the Peak District (in August) and to the Isle of Wight (in September) instead.

I've just looked out the window - the local kids knocked on my door earlier to ask if they could have my snow 😊 but have now abandoned their efforts to build snowmen (not the right sort of snow apparently!) and have cobbled together some sleds so are racing up and down the close. It's good to see them out enjoying it.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Eye Update

This is a quick update using my phone. I can't post the links for the scavenger hunt update as the Internet doesn't like the snowy conditions and won't come out to play today so I'll get that sorted as soon as I have Internet access on the laptop.

I had an 8 am appointment with the optician to complete the final tests. I aced the peripheral vision test - 40 out of 40 on both eyes so am pleased with that. Also received the brilliant news that the problem in the right eye is a posterior vitrious detachment (PVD) and should settle down over the next six months with no long term loss of vision. I just have to take extra care for the next six weeks as, if I'm really unlucky, it could still develop to a full retinal detachment during that time period. She said it was already looking better this morning so it's unlikely to develop into the more serious condition and the 'extra care' means that I need to avoid heavy lifting and exercises that 'jog' the body such as running and jumping. Once it heals it'll never happen again in this eye but at some stage it is likely to affect the left eye, so I have that to look forward to in the future!

She then managed to wipe the smile off my face by saying she'd found something in my left eye. Apparently I have developed a 'freckle' in that eye which needs further investigation, this time at the eye clinic in the Royal United Hospital in Bath. She was very evasive so I don't really understand what this may mean but she faxed the images through to the hospital and they phoned me to book an appointment within 20 minutes. I'm hoping that this speedy response is down to efficiency rather than urgency. The appointment is for March 12th as I had to turn down the two earlier dates I was offered because they clashed with other medical appointments. 

I'm tucked up in home now waiting for the blurred vision (from the eye drops she used this morning) to clear. I've turned the heating up, have a casserole in the oven which'll be ready for lunch and am snuggled up on the sofa watching daytime TV. I'm using the term 'watching' quite loosely as I can't see any detail at all! 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018


If it's not one thing, it's another! Today's new medical problem, to add to the ever growing list of problems, is to do with my right eye. I woke with all the symptoms of a detached retina - flashing lights, clouded vision etc., so took myself into town for an emergency optician's appointment. Lots of eye examinations and tests later and she thinks it may be to do with age related shrinkage of the vitreous humour in the eyeball collapsing away from the retina rather than an actual detachment. I have to go back in tomorrow morning for the final test but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the collapse rather than the detachment as that doesn't have any concerns about permanent loss of vision or a need for surgery. The vision tests confirmed that my eyesight has actually improved and need new glasses so I'll be choosing new ones some time next week. 

I've had to cancel my teaching commitment for tomorrow as the eye drops to be used in preparation for the final test will blur my vision for anything up to six hours so I won't be allowed to drive - I'd driven to the optician's so that's why she couldn't do the test today. I admit that I'm secretly quite glad about having a good reason to cancel commitments as the local forecast is for snow and ice so I don't really want to be out driving in it. 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Knee Update

It was the return visit to the doctor today - some good news, some not so good. The recent x-ray of my knee has revealed mild/moderate arthritis and a narrowing of the space where the cartilage lies. The cartilage doesn't show on the x-ray so the extent of the tear isn't known but my symptoms seem to confirm that diagnosis.  Pretty much what the doctor was expecting and the confirmation of arthritis explains the aches and pains I had before the recent injury.

The good news is that, if things continue to improve, I won't need a referral to the hospital and won't need surgery. I can start slowly increasing the amount of walking I do but it has to be all on level ground with strict instructions to stay indoors if it snows! The not so good news is that Nordic Walking is out of the question as is the photography holiday to Dorset in four weeks time (because of the terrain and the risk of further injury to the knee). I phoned to cancel the holiday and was delighted to be told that I can transfer my deposit to a different holiday later in the year. I need to inform them of the change by Sunday so will spend this evening choosing a different type of holiday. This also applies to the other photography holiday booked for May. There are plenty of other types of holiday to choose from so I'm sure to find something I like, maybe one of the choral singing ones or a crafting holiday. 

The other not so good news is that my blood pressure is still higher than usual so he's increased the dosage of one of my tablets. I have to go back to see him in about three weeks.

And to end on some good news, I came away from the consultation with a book recommendation - 'Instrumental' by James Rhodes. He thinks I'll enjoy all the music references in it so I've ordered it from Waterstones. 

Thursday, 22 February 2018

WPSH, Home Improvements and Knees!

The new boiler has been installed and is proving it's worth already. The house is toasty warm in every room, something which has been difficult to achieve since the heating was turned back on in the autumn so I assume that the old boiler was struggling long before I realised that it was on it's way out.  I'll turn the heating down tomorrow and reset the thermostats in some of the rooms but tonight is all about checking that every radiator keeps it's heat properly. The new boiler is more energy efficient so running costs should be cheaper and I have also changed my gas and electricity supplier from next month, which will theoretically save me £230 a year. Best of all, the hot water is 'hot' again so I've had a long soak in the bath and am currently rocking the 'wrinkled prune' look!

I'm sharing a couple of photos for the scavenger hunt. The first one is for no. 1| men at work and was taken in Bath outside the Theatre Royal.

The second was was taken at home during the boiler installation and is for no 24 | steam, smoke or mist and shows the steam from the vent on the front wall of the house. 

On the health front, my knee is feeling much better though still not completely healed. I can walk without limping for most of the day and am not waking in pain during the night though this is still based on just doing only essential walking and doesn't include any exercising. I see my doctor next Tuesday and am hoping for the go ahead to start slowly increasing the number of daily steps and maybe some exercises to improve strength in the joint. I'm feeling more positive about it than I did when I last saw him but it has knocked my confidence a bit. I'll get over it but it has made me realise how important my mobility and independence is to me and has reinforced that losing weight and improving fitness is absolutely essential.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

New Boiler Day

It's celebration time! Work has started on installing the new boiler so by tomorrow afternoon I will have heat and hot water again. 

There's not a lot I can do around the house until he's finished as he's in and out of every room checking radiators and I'm trying to stay out of his way. I can't easily get to my computer upstairs as the upstairs landing is blocked by the access ladder to the attic and I can't easily squeeze past it without twisting my knee - I speak from experience having tried earlier this morning! I've decided that the best thing to do is to stay out of his way by curling up on the sofa with my latest book and regular supplies of steaming hot coffee ... no hardship really!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

A Marked Improvement

Well, much as I hate to admit it, the enforced inactivity is doing some good. My knee is much less painful and walking is easier, although this situation deteriorates as the day progresses. It's not a 'real life' situation as I'm consciously keeping my weight off my knee as much as possible but I'm now hopeful that a non-surgical route may see the problem solved. This, of course, is my own take on things as I haven't been back for the next consultation with my doctor!

It's starting to feel like I never started my fitness regime and some of the aches and pains I was experiencing prior to starting the Fitbit daily steps are back. I wasn't at a particularly high level of fitness but it was definitely making a difference to how I felt and was improving ease of movement so I'm very aware of how quickly my overall fitness level has reverted. The thing I'm holding on to is the fact that I did it once so will be able to do it again ... once I get the go ahead. In the meantime I've been searching YouTube for seated upper body exercises but so far haven't found anything suitable. 

Lady Ella's recent post about her choice for 'one little word' prompted me to look back at my word and assess my progress and I'm pleased to report that there is some! My word is 'fulfil' and one aspect of this was to complete the decluttering and home improvements, and there is progress on both fronts. Admittedly, the decluttering involved friends doing the lifting and me sitting on the sofa supervising the work, but I now have a pile of stuff to go to the skip and another pile of donations for a charity shop. I'm now in the middle of sorting through all the books I've been given; my sister passes all of her books on to me and I have two bookcases full of unread novels. I used to keep pace with her but lagged behind when I was caring for my late partner and have never been able to catch up, so I'm being ruthless and getting rid of the ones that I'll never read. I only want one bookcase in use (the other one is in my music room and I need the space for other things) so over half of the books need to go. I've also started taking photos of things to be sold, ready for listing them on eBay or Gumtree. 

As for the home improvements, the new boiler will be installed next week. I've also placed the order for the new windows and that work is scheduled for mid April. I've asked the electrician and builder for revised quotes with a view to them starting their work after the window installation is complete but I'm still waiting to hear back from them. The work may not be completed but I have started looking for ideas on decorating and for lighting in the living room - this is the best bit!