Today is another day when I feel suddenly and inexplicably happy!  It seems to happen more and more often.

Not bad for an arthritic diabetic with heart failure who can't walk more than a few yards!

Thanks for the happiness!
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John falls and is in hospital

Last evening John had a fall on the stairs.  He refused to let me call an ambulance and with a great deal of difficulty Charles & I managed to get him upstairs and into bed.

At 3.00 am, Charles was wandering about and John called him saying he needed an ambulance because the pain was unbearable.

The ambulance came and the men were really good, incredibly kind and patient, and they took him away at about 4.00 am., having administered copious amounts of gas and air.

I've spent ages on the phone this morning trying to find out where he is (we have three hospitals in Newcastle) and finally tracked him down to the Observation ward of Accident & Emergency dept. at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.  He was off having some kind of scan when I rang.

The poor chap has no money and no clothes with him and since we have 4 inches of snow lying outside, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get money, clothes and more books to him. I'm not up to driving to the hospital with the roads in the condition they're in.  He did take a book, but I'm pretty sure he'll be needing another one by now.  He hasn't even got a flannel or a toothbrush!

I'll have to see if I can get a taxi to deliver stuff to the hospital for him, but don't feel very confident about it.

Christmas feelings

As a big fan of Christmas, I've been feeling rather low about my inability to feel any Christmas cheer this year, and I've been wondering why that is.

The fact that there are only three of us  and two of us are grumps doesn't really help, but I've usually got enough enthusiasm for all of us.  This year, however, I feel as though Christmas is passing us by.  No-one knows what they want for presents (except one thing we've got for Charles) and once upon a time, this wouldn't have fazed me, but now I have to go shopping in my disability scooter, which is not easy in a crowded High Street, I'm mostly getting presents from the Internet.  This is not all bad news, since, on the whole, things seem to be cheaper on the Internet, but I find that choosing stuff and buying online is no substitute for that lovely feeling I used to get when making a successful purchase in the real shops for someone I love.  Somehow buying online feels a bit distanced.  I wish I lived nearer my sister, but as it is, we're almost as far away from each other as it's possible to be in the same country.

I have just had the first slight Christmassy feeling, but I'm ashamed to say it was as a result of buying a couple of presents online for my men to give to me.  I wouldn't usually let them off so easily, but as I want long white cotton nightdresses, I couldn't stand the strain of waiting till Christmas to see what they might have managed to find for me;  at least this way I know that they'll fit and will be cotton!

It may be that the reason I feel less than Christmassy is because I've made no puddings this year;  it was a pragmatic choice because we need a gluten-free pudding for Charles and I'm afraid my gluten-free baking efforts always turn out a bit sad.  I've decided to make a cake tomorrow;  I know one is supposed to make the cake weeks in advance but I've hardly ever managed to do that and they always taste fine anyway.  The gluten-free cake will be OK, because the proportion of flour to all the other delicious things is fairly minimal;  I made one last year and it wasn't too bad, but this time I shall be stuffing a lot of extra fruit in.  Mince pies don't get made till Christmas Eve, and the gluten-free pastry seems more like ordinary pastry than GF cake is like ordinary cake;  in any case my alcoholic brandy butter will cover any deficiencies. (Is that spelled right?  It looks very odd!)

I've just received a bit of bombshell information;  the thing I thought I'd bought for C's birthday (next Monday), was, he informs me, bought and paid for by him himself.  I feel very confused.  What I can find to get him between now and  Monday I don't know.

We were supposed to be going to get the tree this afternoon, but neither John nor Charles felt like it, so we'll probably go tomorrow.  Sadly it was a beautiful day today and might have raised our spirits;  needless to say, tomorrow's forecast is for rain!  I shan't be able to go to help choose the tree anyway, since there's insufficient room in the car for the three of us and the tree and my disability scooter.

Actually, now that I think about it, I feel as though I'm carrying my own little rain-cloud about with me, like one of the characters in "The Perishers" used to do.  I dare say I'll feel better tomorrow!


I am so lucky to live at the top of a high hill, (although I don't always thinks so when I want to walk anywhere) and am safe from any kind of flooding (provided the roof doesn't collapse)

I've been feeling almost guilty at being so safe and dry when I see all the poor people who have been flooded out of their homes, sometimes for multiple times.  I simply can't imagine how I would cope with that.

I cannot remember a time when there have been so many floods in so many different places;  I suppose global warming must be true, although it doesn't feel like it where I live in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where we've had hardly any sunshine for a couple of years.

I just thought I would mention to those of my friends inclined to such activities that it would be good to pray for better weather in the areas which have been so  badly hit.  We're used to praying for other countries where weather extremes make life hard for people, but hardly ever have to do so for our own country.
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Brrrrrr! Winter!

I'm so cold that I'm seriously considering putting on the central heating.  I've just put the supplementary electric heater on in this room, feeling terribly guilty at doing so, but my knees are so stiff and painful that I'm finding myself stumbling around instead of walking.  My fingers are very stiff too, but at least they're not yet as grossly misshapened as poor Grandma's became.  We have agreed not to put the central heating on until at least 1st. November but I'm wondering if I can hold out, even though it's just a few days away.

Part of the problem is that the paraffin heater at the top of the stairs is out of fuel and nobody can be bothered to refill it.  I can't do it because I can't carry it back upstairs afterwards.  I've asked someone to refill it, but he is feeling quite cosy sitting on his bed with the bedspread over his legs, so is reluctant to be disturbed.

Usually the calor gas heater down in the hall would cover it, specially if I turned it up a notch, but we've run out of calor gas, so that's not helping as it usually would.

The real problem is, of course, that we're terrified of using the central heating because of the extortionate price of gas.  We can just about keep up with the bills and even have a little over for occasional treats, but Christmas is on the horizon and Winter is apparently starting early this year. We had snow on Friday and it laid about 2 inches deep until yesterday's sunshine melted it, but I really think today is even colder;  it's certainly a lot darker;  it's a good job I can almost touch type because at least I don't have to have a light on.

Ah ha!  Someone has refilled the paraffin heater, so I think I'll go down and make myself a hot drink!
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Feeling sad.

I'm feeling rather sad today.

My niece is getting married in Norfolk in a couple of weeks and I've been really looking forward to it.  I had the hotel booked and paid for in  mid June and have been counting the weeks ever since.

But, now, John is in the middle of a long drawn out series of hospital tests and has been told he mustn't drive.  There's no way I can drive to Norfolk and back without someone else driving too, so I've had to cancel my hotel booking and write to the bride's mother saying that we can't come.  It would be too difficult to go by train from Newcastle, especially as I would have to take my disability scooter with me.

I can't remember the last time I've looked forward to something so much, or the last time I've been so disappointed.

I'm wondering now whether I shall be able to get any kind of refund for the hotel, as the phone number is, ominously, not taking incoming calls.  

Oh well !!

I ought to have known I wouldn't have the lovely weekend I've been looking forward to.



I've been watching Raymond Blanc cooking with tomatoes - I would love to have the patience to make tomato stock as he did, because I really fancied the tomato risotto he made, but there's no chance of the whole suspended-bag-over-a-bowl thingy remaining undisturbed overnight in a house with three cats, besides which I would have to accumulate a whole lot of energy I no longer seem to possess.  But just imagine!  The stock is not only just-not-white .... it's not red at all.

The thing that always strikes me when I watch Raymond Blanc is the lovely relationship he has with Adam, one of his senior kitchen staff.  It's more like father and son, or maybe grandfather and son than employer and employee.  I wish everyone could have such relationships at work.  I can't really describe the relationship, except that it seems to be built on respect and affection on both sides, and is possibly the main reason I watch the programme, although, I do love the cookery too.

Oh dear!  I've just remembered that I haven't done my on-line grocery shop.  Charles will be cross.  I'd better do it now.
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Lent and self-deception

I was considerably exercised as to what to give up for Lent this year.

I had mooted giving up using the Internet, but realised that I simply don't have sufficient self-control to keep it up for six weeks, so I came up with an idea.

I would not allow myself to use the Internet until I had done at least an hour's writing.

I didn't start on Wednesday because I hadn't decided what to do, but since Thursday, when I did two hours to make up for Wednesday,  I've been doing  a minimum of an hour's writing every day before going on the Internet, and  I was feeling quite pleased with myself.

Last night, however, I was lying in bed thinking about Lent and suddenly realised that while my little scheme might be enabling (or forcing) me to write more, there wasn't a lot in it for God or anyone else - all the benefit was to me.  I felt really stupid and now I don't know what to do.

Then I started to wonder what any Lenten benefit achieved should be for;  maybe it's always for our own benefit in the long run?  It was certainly to my own benefit when I gave up smoking.

So I'm back to square one wondering what to do for Lent.  I suppose I could give up chocolate or cake (which I eat very little in any case because of the diabetes), or alcohol (ditto), but I know from past experience that I don't find that at all difficult so it seems a little pointless.

Perhaps I should challenge myself to walk a little farther each day, which would certainly be difficult and painful for me, but there again, the ultimate beneficiary would be myself.

I think I shall just have to force myself to be kinder to John.  I wonder if I can do it!
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Pesky e-mail

I'm totally confused and in despair about my e-mail program.

Ever since I got my new PC I've had problems with e-mail programs.

I had used Thunderbird for years without any mishap, but almost as soon as I got the new PC, with Windows 7, Thunderbird decided to play up and threw all my contact addresses away.

After various trials of other e-mail programs, I decided to buy Microsoft Outlook, because John has been using it for years without trouble and he isn't exactly PC or Internet savvy, and because I missed the lovely Outlook Calendar/Diary which wouldn't transfer to Windows 7.

I've used Outlook successfully for several months and had begun to hope my troubles were over, but today it has thrown away my entire inbox, all my folders, my Sent folder and all my contacts.  I suspect it may have something to do with the date, but even trying a Restore point a few days ago hasn't restored the data.

There is a file which tells me it contains a lot of Outlook data and I'm confident this is the address book and maybe also the Inbox, but this file refuses to be accessed except by Outlook which patently is not accessing it.

I'm at my wits'  (and Charles' wits') end.

Have I really got to uninstall and reinstall the program?  And if I do will I ever be able to trust the program again?