All posts by smudgie

New toys

I have two new toys and have been playing with them all day yesterday. I think today looks like being the same.
I also have visitors. Hence the reason for the toys.
Bl***y fleas!
But my new vacuum cleaner is lovely. And my new steam cleaner is epic.
The routine is: vacuum thoroughly (including moving all the furniture), shampoo carpets with the carpet cleaner my brother’s brought down for a couple of days, steam thoroughly with steam cleaner, spray with highly expensive flea spray, boil wash all the clothes, air the rooms… and, in a flurry of excitement at how nice the flat looks with newly cleaned carpets, dust and polish all the furniture and even wash down all the doors and skirting boards. The poor flat doesn’t know what’s hit it.
It had actually got into rather a bad state over the last three months while I’d been stuck in a job which was taking me fifteen hours a day to do, and as the job grew increasingly momentous, so my motivation to do it decreased.
But now… now……. now…………
I have the motivation, I have the time, I have the tools……….

Shame the weather’s such a sauna. But guess that’s doing me good too.

Any flea that survives this onslaught must be a megaflea.

Today we finish the last room, then move onto the garden patio with the pressure washer……….


Last year, on his birthday, my brother had a cerebral haemorrhage.

Last year, at Christmas, he had an operation to fill the fistula (site of the bleed) with superglue. He was given permission to drive again, after six months without his cars, and was also signed off as fit to return to sea (his former job – though now just an occasional hobby).

This year, on his birthday. he had an angiogram to assess the success of the operation and allow him to be discharged from the hospital as completely fit again.

Excellent. The operation was a complete success. The glue has blocked those faulty blood vessels completely, preventing any risk of a further stroke from that weakened area due to a congenital malformation of the arteries/veins in that part of his brain. (I always said he was weak in the head!)

But, a bit of a b****r……….

….the diverted blood supply has managed to find another area of weakness.

The latest angiogram has shown up a fresh fistula which was not visible on any previous angiogram slides. This area poses slight further risk of a stroke. This one cannot be glued (we suspect because the glue gun which got stuck last time makes the artery too narrow) so he is being referred to Sheffield, centre of excellence, to have the …(*cue dramatic music*) Gamma knife! It’s non invasive, will involved four short hospital visits on four consecutive days, but takes about 18 months to have its full effect. Today we are waiting on the phone call which says whether the DVLA are going to allow him still to drive in the meantime.

He is such an attention whore.

Hot hot hot hot hot

33 degrees today, apparently. No wonder I don’t feel very inclined to proceed at great speed with my plans for the day.
The boy is away for a week and my plan was to focus on the flat.
DUring the last term it has deteriorated and deteriorated as I have quite honestly had no time at all to spare for things like housework or even tidying up a bit. Sounds like an excuse, I know, but I’ve been working 15 hours a day on average and I’m afraid things like eating and sleeping take priority in the free moments at times like those. But now I’m free. Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. So I planned to do something about it.

So far, not so good. I’ve discovered something else that I’ve been missing the opportunity to do – it’s having a social life. That and work (see another post still to be typed). I’ve been out for coffee and cakes with a friend I haven’t seen in ages, I’ve been out for a meal with another. This morning I’ve been to a picnic at church, yesterday a picnic at my new workplace. Tomorrow I’m off to visit my Goddaughters and sit through a Local Preacher’s meeting in the evening. Tuesday night I’m out to my second BBQ of the week. I’m at “work” all day Tuesday and Wednesday. So time is running out.

Needless to say, my concerted efforts thus far have extended as far as pulling everything out. My bed is covered, the bedroom and lounge and hallway have disappeared under mountains of “stuff” in the process of sifting and sorting, together with a similar mountain of charity shop potential. The dustbin is full to overflowing. And I have an ironing mountain which is so high I’d need breathing apparatus to reach the top. Ironing? Good grief – it’s too hot for ironing!!!

Trouble is, now I’m running out of time. I have no spare minutes Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, and on Wednesday the boy returns, which wouldn’t be a problem except that he is bringing my brother with him to stay for a week. Which, of course, means that this evening will probably be spent shoving everything back into a single cluttermountain once more.

Glue Two

I realise now that the last time I blogged was when they were planning to glue my brother.
This week he comes down to visit again for his final angiogram, six months after the gluing took place. He is driving down. He was declared fit to drive and, more to the point, fully fit to return to sea should he so choose, without any of the restrictions he was expecting. He’s been declared no more likely to suffer a further stroke than any other member of the general population of his age.
The gluing was a success – all the blood vessels that were tangled and malformed in his brain have been blocked off with superglue and the blood has found alternative healthier routes to circulate through. Only one minor problem. You know how careful you have to be with superglue? You know how, if you squeeze the tube too hard, it squirts out and attaches itself to things it should attach itself to? Well, that’s what happened. The glue squirted out just a tiny bit too fast and got on the catheter which was delivering it to its target – the gluegun. So for the rest of his life, my brother will have a catheter glued in, running right from his groin to his brain cell. Apparently it will be absorbed into the wall of the arteries and won’t cause him any problems. SO there you go! He just has to stick with it!
The only after effects of it all are a slight slowness in his speech when he’s tired or stressed, an awareness that he has to take things slightly more easy and not get overtired, and……… miracle of miracles…… his resolve to reduce his alcohol intake has been heftily influenced by the fact that his sense of taste has been completely altered. He no longer actually like the taste of the stuff. He craves sweet foods, which is really unusual for him (and not actually awfully helpful to me when he comes a-visiting and brings chocolate and expensive biscuits to share – well, it would be unsisterly to refuse, wouldn’t it?)

It’s meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Yes, here I am, back again like a bad penny.
It won’t be a long post seeing as I’m just getting ready for church.
But there may well be a few posts on their way, mainly to record for my own benefit the way God has been influencing my life just lately. Oh, and to introduce Millie.
It’s going to be interesting going to church this morning.
All through my life I have supported one particular charity through the church.
Today is the Sunday dedicated to a celebration (and awareness raising) of the work of that charity.
The charity is amazing. The work they do is second to none and a very large part of me is still proud to know that it arose from my Christian denomination (now no longer directly linked) and that I have been involved in the invaluable work they do, both as a fundraiser and as an employee. This is the part of me which I need to focus on this morning, and hand over to God the other bit of me.
At least I can go today secure in the knowledge that working for this charity when I did was God’s plan for me at that time, and that my new job is clearly God’s plan for me right now.
So, do I wear my charity t-shirt for the first time since I left? 😉

Better get planning…

… for the fifty minute sample lesson I have to teach next Tuesday.

Yes, I’ve got an interview.

Not my ideal job in that the contract finishes at the start of the summer holidays rather than the end, so if they were to give me the job I’d have to negotiate something or turn it down – can’t exactly afford to live on nothing all Summer – but my ideal job in all other respects as far as I can tell.

Now, to think of an inspiring lesson based on zero-knowledge of the kids I will be teaching or what they can already do, and a lesson which is totally self contained within one fifty minute slot. Hmmmmmmmmm……..


I would seem to have lost all feeling in my right arm.

Makes typing a little challenging, to say the least.

I suppose I could push off the extremely large and heavy feline who has decided that the length of my forearm is ideally comfortable as a resting place for the length of his body.

Think of it as a kitten

From my last post you’ll remember that my beloved brother decided to drive his car to the local hospital whilst having a cerebral bleed. He parked it remarkably well, considering. His first intelligible words when off the ventilator and able to speak were “is my car OK?”
I tracked it down to the hospital. Two hours parking… he certainly got his money’s worth! But what to do with it. Because this is no kitten, it’s a Jaguar.
Obviously it was going to have to be moved. He couldn’t drive it. Even if he’d not been in the hospital, he was going to have to relinquish his driving license for six months because of the seizures. I was insured third party on my own insurance – it was going to be down to me. I decided that I would wait until late in the evening when the roads were clear and drive it up to my workplace where I could park it more securely.

I found it easily enough – there weren’t many Jaguars on the carpark. I knew it was a keyless car, I just had to have the keys in my pocket, so I clicked the button to disable the alarm and climbed in. Great. OK. Adjust the seat and the mirror. Easier said than done – where ON EARTH is the right switch. Fiddle. Fiddle. Fiddle. That’ll do. Quick mental adjustment to the fact it’s an automatic. Fine, ready to start the engine. Don’t worry about the key, Smudgie, just look for the button.

“START”. Good start. I press the button. Wrrrrrrrr… the wing mirrors pop into position. Pinnngggggg … the dashboard lights up into a merry display of fancy gadgets. What doesn’t happen? Well, what doesn’t happen is that the car doesn’t start. Great.

Helpful little LED display on the dashboard informs me that I need to hold the brake pedal down when I press START. Thank you – that I can manage. I know which is the brake pedal. I switch off. Wrrrrrrrrr….. pinggggggg…. darkness. I press down the brake pedal and press the button again. Wrrrrrrrr.. pinggggggg… lights, camera… inaction. Nothing. Not a single purr of an engine.

Maybe it has to be in gear. That might be the answer. OK, where’s the gear lever? OK, so there isn’t a gear lever. There’s just a little circle of metal flush with the armrest which has the gears labelled alongside it. How on earth do you do anything with that? It’s just a circle of metal. It doesn’t press, it doesn’t turn, it doesn’t DO ANYTHING.

I wasn’t panicking, honest I wasn’t.

Now, let’s think about this logically. I’ve now been sitting in this car nearly half an hour. There must be an easy answer, there must. I can’t ring my brother – he’s talking gobbledegook as it is. I was too proud to ring the boy – he’s a teenager and a car geek, I know he’d have known, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe if I rang my brother’s friend, he’d remember what to do. Ah – good plan…. if only I’d remembered to bring my mobile.

In desperation I pressed the start button one more time, holding it down for several seconds while I tried to think what to do. And you’ve guessed it. That did the trick. Wrrrrrrrr…… pinggggggggg…… VROOOOOOOOOOOOM! The Jag leapt into action. The engine started and the unhelpful circle of metal in the armrest magically arose from the depths and turned into a cylindrical knob which turned clockwise, smooth as a button, to put the car into reverse. The satnav blanked out and was replaced with a camera view which showed me precisely what was behind me ready for reversing out, together with an indication of how much space I had to manoevre. This was going to be a doddle.

Hold on… where on EARTH is the handbrake?

Whoever would have designed a car without a proper lever for the handbrake. Somehow just slipping the tip of your index finger under a semi-circular shiny plate of metal in the armrest and flicking the brake off just doesn’t seem right. Had me fooled for a good ten minutes!

Engine on, finger-brake off, and the car just drove me all the way from the hospital to work without me having to do anything.. just sit back and relax and enjoy the drive!

Jaguar? Kitten!

Give me my Kangoo, any day!!!