Friday 28 March 2008


I have had trouble getting onto internet at this hotel. Next year they tell me they will have free wireless access, but at the moment it's a nightmare. My laptop "dongle" can't pick up a signal, the TV access won't allow me onto, the USB port in the room costs £15 a day, which I refuse to pay, and the machine in reception, which I am using now, costs £1 for 10 minutes and was not working yesterday. So I have to type very, very fast to get good value for money. Yesterday I struggled to post a blog using my BlackBerry but that didn't seem to work either.

The news is that we have been have been told OG may be able to come home for the weekend provided his Xray today doesn't show up any "leaks" in his new plumbing. Unfortunately, he has continued to experience severe "blips" (translation for DogLover - episodes when his blood pressure drops and he feels so bad that he thinks he is dying and continually bangs on to me about it until I want to kill him myself. I never signed up to be a nurse!).

I am terrified of taking him on the 75 mile journey home because he is so frail and when we do get home there is no district nurse c0ver for the weekend which makes me feel very insecure.

BUT, once there I may be able to pursuade him to take some food. The trouble in the hospital (and I'[m not moaning, only making an observation) is that the heavily accented girl comes around to take his lunch order at 1000 when is is not feeling hungy. Because he is slightly deaf he can't make out what she is saying and feels like puke anyway so he says he doesn't want anything. She sighs and goes away. I think she takes it as a personal insult or maybe she is on a bonus related target. Anyway, the end result is that he is eating very, very little. At home we can be more spontaneous and maybe I can pursuade him to have a little titbit now and then.

Next week he will come back to the hospital again for a few days to be "finished off" as it were. All the drains will come out and final checks made to ensure all is working well. Then we will have to return to the clinic once a week for 6 weeks for more of the above. Fingers crossed this will all work. And fingers doubly crossed that the cancer hasn't spread. We are still waiting for that news.

Apart from the fact that he feels so awful all the time they are extremely pleased with his progress and had told him right from the beginning that he would have good days and bad days for a while, especially when he got home. Help!

Thursday 27 March 2008


In anticipation of my prolonged stay in a hotel I came well prepared with my computer set up to access my email, a direct link to the office and the facility to keep me current with other bloggers.

Well, we all know about the best laid plans. Firstly the telephone signal was't strong enough for my "dongle". My alternative internet access is either £15 a day, which I refuse to pay, or £1 to buy 10 minutes on the machine in reception which is now broken.

So here I am struggling with my blackberry.

Enough of me. The update on OG is the plan for him to come home for the weekend his s blip yesterday. He was looking forward to my regular visit and was feeling so much better. He had his first shower and was taking his ablutions whe he felt unwell. When I arrived he was in bed looking very grey, completely out of it, the bed was tipped back with his feet elevated and he was having an ECG.

I asked if he had taken his Tramadol. The answer was that he had taken 1 instead of 2. I suggested they give him another one and was told that as he had asked for only 1 they were not allowed to give him more until the next drug round at lunchtime!

And guess what, two tablets at lunch time did the trick. It was like a miracle had happened - again! Is it me!

Apart from the pill saga the hospital is very impressive. I had wondered if the older part of the hospital was kept to the same standard and apparently it is. So the question is - if it can be done here in this sprawling 70acre building, why can't it be done in every hospital.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Tuesday 25 March 2008


Why life in the vast lane? (I bet you all thought it was a typo!) The reason for the title is that everything about Addenbrookes is vast. Vast hospital site and vast aspirations. I heard a nurse talking about robotic surgery to a patient who is to have it done today. She said you would imagine it would involve micro instruments and procedures but she said that half of the operating theatre is taken us with this vast machine. They are at the cutting edge of this technology.

They are currently developing another 90 acres to be split between Addenbrookes Hospital (9 acres), Papworth Heart Hospital (10 acres) with the rest for a Research and Development facility.

Even the operation that OG had was vast in asmuchas they only do about four a year! They have taken bits out and refashioned bits of his intestines to replace them! As the nurse said "Bionic Man" technology.

The ward that OG is on is in a new building and is spotless. The nurses clean their hands every time they come into his bay and never touch him without first putting on gloves. When they flush his tubes through they first clean their hands, put on gloves, unpack the sterile packs, throw the gloves away and unpack another pair of sterile gloves that have been folded in such a way that the nurse only touches the inside of the glove! Even then they will not touch OG himself. It's amazing the attention to detail.

They are also conducting experiments into research that indicates taking pro-biotic drinks and eating chewing gum helps keep hospital acquired infections at bay and keeps the gut healthy.

He has a dedicated staff nurse and nurse attending him and is still on two hourly observations. The attention to details is outstanding. So, yes, it truly is life in the vast lane!

And how his he? Getting grumpy again, which must be good. He is still in a great deal of pain, and can't manage to eat much, but each day seems to bring new progress. All his drips and tubes are gradually being taken away and he even managed a few steps yesterday.

I am beginning to understand why they say it can take 6/12 months to recover from this operation.

Saturday 22 March 2008


Now the days tick away, some anxious times, some relief. The day after the operation, Wednesday, was anxious. OG started feeling very aggitated. As the hours went by I could see him getting worse. Everyone put it down to the trauma of the operation, but I know him so well I could see this was something different. About lunch time he got really bad and started sweating and continuously rubbing his hand over his head.

We called the nurse who called the sister who called the "pain person". They all stood around watching him get more and more aggitated. They reminded him that he had had major, major surgery, one nurse even called it "bionic man" surgery, and he should expect to feel unwell. Was he in pain "no", can you discribe how you feel, "I can't put words to it, I have never experienced anything like this before" "I think it's a panic attack" "no, I've had panic attacks and they are nothing like this".

I suddenly had an inspiration and asked "has he been given any Tramadol?", "no, why?", "well he has been taking it for pain for a few months and if he hasn't been given any he may well be in withdrawal, particularly as he has an addictive personality. Whew, they bought the tablet and hey presto, it worked.

New staff on yesterday decided that he didn't need the tablet any more and the same thing happened again! Hey ho! Give him the bloody tablets and he'll deal with getting off of them when he is over this.

Apart from that things are going very well apart from my poor grandson going down with flu. Poor lad, after taking three days holiday to look after me he ended up in bed and I daren't go near him in case I spread it to the hospital. Sods law!

I have had the company of my daughters and my friend Kerry though which has been wonderful and a boost for OG. Today my granddaughter is visiting and tomorrow Kerry has invited me to Sunday Lunch so we have set up a little routine that makes the days seem more normal.

Thanks to everyone that has been so supportive and your prayers and good thoughts are working miracles here because apart from the little setback with the tablets OG is amazing everyone with his speed of recovery and determination, but I could have told them this would happen anyway.

Love to all

Tuesday 18 March 2008


Today is that day that we have both longed for and dreaded. The operation. After a long stressful day the surgeon rang me at 1500 to say that the operation had been successful and that my dearly beloved had come through it well. There were no visible signs that the cancer had spread but they have sent samples off for analysis and will have the results through in the next 2 to 3 weeks. More waiting, but this is one milestone over.

There had been doubt whether a complete bladder reconstruction was possible and, as it turned out, it was. As Davy had said to our GP "how can I jump into bed with a 25 year old wearing a pee bag" to which he replied "and what does Ann say about this?" So, God willing, his pulling days are not yet over! But what is it they say - the spirit is willing, but the body is weak?!

I am now waiting for word that he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit so that I can visit him. To be frank, I'm quite scare still because I know he will be so poorly, but, as I say, it's one milestone over.

My wonderful grandson stayed with me all day and we were joined for lunch by his (and my) friend Wayne. They helped to make the day bearable. Thanks guys I am eternally grateful to you. Love you lots and lots.

To all our friends that I would usually email, please forgive me for not being able to - my dongle didn't work! To address the problem was not top of my list of priorities and I'm sure you will understand.

Sunday 16 March 2008


A collective sigh of relief went around the Country on Friday when they found Shannon Matthews the 9-year old schoolgirl who had been missing for 24 days hidden in the apartment of her stepfather’s brothers flat.

This then set me to thinking what a tragic life some children lead and how thankful we are that our family is “normal”. OK, we had/have our share of “isms” but, on the whole, we have great love and concern for each other, especially the children.

Our French family came for the weekend full of exciting tales of their new life in France. They look really good. Relaxed, healthy and – tanned? It’s hard to imagine the weather being good enough to get a tan. How does that one go?

The only stress they have experienced in the last few weeks was when they booked their hire car on line. They had the option of upgrading, looked at the deal, decided not to, paid an extra £4 a day to guarantee full insurance cover with no additional charges or hidden extras, booked, received the confirmation which – surprise, surprise – included the upgrade.

It took them THREE DAYS of frustration getting no-where dealing with English call centres before it was finally resolved by someone with a bit of sense in Spain who even waived the £20 alteration fee!

Forgive me go asking a silly question, but why was it beyond the wit of everyone they spoke to realise that this could be a serious system error that should be looked into, apologise and resolve the problem. They probably thought it was just another old codger complaining about the same old thing all the other old codgers are complaining about!

Their next problem was when they went to pick up the car they were were asked for a deposit of several hundred pounds and the fact that they had already paid £4 to avoid this happening cut no ice. They where told to take it up with the airline they had booked it through. And the icing on the cake was that because it was an unusually high amount to put through on a credit card that was being presented at an airport and hadn't been used for several weeks the credit card put a stop on payment for "security reasons". Scream!!!!

It was so good to see them again and yesterday we managed to get together for lunch as a family. I did 10lb of sausages and onions cooked slowly in the oven and fresh warm baguettes, everyone bought cakes and goodies and the children had an early Easter Egg hunt. Today we are having a smaller gathering for Sunday lunch and then they fly off again tonight. Boo Hoo!

We are also getting ready for our trip to Cambridge tomorrow, provided they don't postpone the operation, which they have the option of doing if they have emergency admissions!Old Grumpy's operation will be on Tuesday and last for between 4 to 8 hours. He will then be in the high dependency unit and will not look very pretty for a while!

One of our grandsons lives in Cambridge and has taken three days off work to look after me although he may be deserting me on Thursday evening because he has a lady friend in corporate hospitality who might be able wangle him a backstage pass to the Eagles concert at the O2 Stadium in London.

He offered for me to stay with him, but I declined because he shares a house with three bachelor friends and I thought that they might cramp my style so I will be staying at a local hotel!

As there is no point waiting around the hospital during the operation and he has reserved us a table at the restaurant where he works, which is only minutes away. Another couple of friends have also offered to accommodate me. They have all been so kind to us and Davy is content in the knowledge that I will be well looked after. In fact, I may have such a good time that I may never want to come home again! We are so fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends.

Sunday 9 March 2008


I’ve just been tagged by Maggie May to reveal 7 unusual/peculiar things about me. Thanks Maggie, I had just settled down to a post- lunch Sunday afternoon nap!

Ok, here we go :-

I like to sniff glossy magazines

Old Grumpy and I turned one of my madder ideas into a successful business

I can drink copious amounts of alcohol and not get drunk.

I’ve been on the Istanbul to Venice Orient Express

New innovations and technology turn me on.

I don’t like shopping.

I used to drive a new Masserati.

I am now about to ruin the post lunch naps of :-

Granny Smith
Famous for all kinds of wickedness
Red, White and Bleu
Manic Mother of Ficve
Confessions of a Rotten Correspondent
Three Dog Blog
A Mothers lace is in the Wrong

My lady that lunches has just returned from a short business trip to Dubai, having straying inadvertently into Oman! I can’t wait to hear the tale.

I just read in my Sunday newspaper of a robbery suspect in Brunswick, Georgia who was taking part in an ID parade. Not quite understanding the purpose of the exercise, the thief caught sight of the victim and blurted out: “Yeah, that’s her – that’s the woman I robbed.”

Saturday 8 March 2008


He had crept in out of the cold through the cracked open bedroom window, out of the open bedroom door, onto the privacy of the landing and hunkered down, thanking his lucky stars that he had found this haven of peace away from the raging gale.

Next morning the house slowly stirred awake, but he remained hidden, not yet ready to face the dying force of the mighty storm.

The mistress of the house walked by without spotting him returning some minutes later with two mugs of steaming coffee. Yuck, why do these humans imbibe such noxious, evil smelling substances.

The bedroom door closed and there were sounds of the TV being switched on. Soon came this almighty sound of the mistress swearing and shouting at Breakfast TV. Time to get to fuck out of here and away from that mad woman! .


Two cows had escaped and were kindly rounded up by our good friend DogLover.


You have two cows. You feed them up and try to sell them, but the market has turned against you and you get less than they've cost you.

So you move to the next field, set up a hotel company, hand it over to relatives to run, get bored and then you have to start a blog to provide you with something to do.

DEFINITELY – THE END (Unless there are any more cows are wandering about out there!!)

Wednesday 5 March 2008


This is an artist impression of what our new bedroom will be like. The spiral staircase leads up to a dressing room and behind the curved wall is our ensuite bathroom. The figure lounging on the chair is Old Grumpy watching his 62" TV!
We have two french doors with a balconette facing the bed and overlooking the fens. We can't wait until the house is finished.
At the moment we are reduced to only one ensuite bathroom, so all visitors have to traipse through our bedroom to go to the loo. Not very convenient and consequently we can't have anyone staying overnight, except the children who don't seem to mind!
The plan is to finish one side of the house, move in and renovate the side that we are now living in. The transition should occur within the next few weeks (fingers crossed) and we can then spread out a little again. Whew! This has been a long haul and I don't anticipate it being totally finished until summer.


You can just about make out my logo on Wayne's cart. It looks good doesn't it? He had a good race and reported as follows:

I tested all day Saturday and managed a grand total of 4 laps as I had nothing but problems throughout the day but with some help from some very friendly people I managed to get the kart running right for the race day.

There were bigger grids this time with just over 20 karts entered in my heats, again the main aim was to keep out of trouble and get a signature on my license for the upgrade.
In the first heat I recorded a lap time 0.2 of a second faster than I went last month so at least I was heading in the right direction, I finished 15th from 21 karts.

In the 2nd heat I went a further 0.2 second faster so I’d already gained nearly half a second per lap than last month, I finished 17th from 20 karts.

Heat 3 was basically a non starter when contact with another kart forced me to retire with

The final was excellent and I made up 6 places on the first lap alone (more than anyone else!), I kept my head but I think I had set my tyre pressures a little high and towards the end of the race I was sliding about and losing momentum which allowed a few karts to sneak past me – I recorded my fastest lap of the meeting and set a new personal best, half a second quicker than last month so things are heading in the right direction – I finished 17th from 20 after starting 20th (remember I have to start at the back for every race until I get 6 signatures on my license, I now have 2).

Overall I’m very pleased after the disaster of testing, I can feel myself getting quicker and my driving is improving all the time.

The kart will now be completely stripped and cleaned before the next meeting.

Take care

Monday 3 March 2008


This morning, whilst swearing and shouting at Breakfast TV, I heard a noise outside our bedroom door.

“What was that?”

“What was what?”

“That noise”

“What noise?”

“If I knew what noise, I would know what noise wouldn’t I? Have you got a university degree asking silly questions or something?. Well it’s obvious that you aren’t going to do anything about it so I’d better look for myself!”

“OK, but put some clothes on in case you’re attacked”

So, whistling a merry tune I bravely marched to the door. Outside on the landing was a bird trying to fly out of the window. Mystery solved! But wait a minute, how had a bird got onto the landing in the first place? The landing and stairs come straight from the downstairs living room where we had spent all yesterday afternoon and evening. All the windows and doors were closed and we don’t have a chimney. So this bird had spent all that time in our immediate vicinity without making any movement or sound until this morning? I think not! Woooowh!


You have two cows. You worship them.

You have two cows. Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy....

You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate


Saturday 1 March 2008


Old Grumpy has a penchant to masquerade as Sean Connery. Sad really because the only thing that he actually has in common with the man is that they are both Scottish!

Once our nephew Brian asked him to take a ring into the jewellers to get re-sized. When Brian went in to collect it they couldn’t trace it, until he had an inspiration. “Try an alteration in the name of Sean Connery”. Sure enough, there it was! Mad, isn’t it?

A friend even bought him a Sean Connery mask that he would occasionally wear around the house and office to the great delight of everyone.

He is scheduled for surgery on 18th March and I am doing my best to dissuade him from wearing this wretched mask into the operating theatre because I think that it may distract the surgeons. The operation will take 4 to 8 hours and he will be in hospital for 2 to 3 weeks. Oh happy days but, as I once read the words of a jew to his wife after they were arrested in Nazi Germany, "until now we have lived in fear, now we live in hope".

We are so lucky that we have the love and support of a good family, dear freinds, a "one day at a time" philosophy and belief in a higher power we chose to call God.


You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.