29 February 2012

Posted by DMC on 1 March 2012 in Diary |

Most people will realise that today is a special Leap Year Day, which only occurs once every four years, (bad luck if you’re born on 29th of February, and you only get a birthday every four years!. The reason for having a leap year is that it takes 365 ¼. days for the earth to move around the sun. This means that every four years, we have to ‘ leap’ over one day in order to bring the calendar back into line with the solar calendar For some extraordinary reason, the origins of which are lost in the mist of time, folklore would have it that on 29 February, that is every four years it was acceptable, to flout tradition and allow the female to propose to her reluctant male partner that they got married. Clearly this folklore developed long before today’s modern woman who would require no such barrier to proposing if she thought she had found the right man and he was being a bit slow about it. A rather crude, in your face, proposal by a female , which requires none of the subtleties of the feminine wiles. Once a male has been identified as the target he is as helpless as an insect caught in one of those insect eating flowers. (Which can also devour small animals and have such splendid names as the Cut Worms; Bronze Worm Eating Earwig; Sundues; Butterwarts; Bladderworts Warts Green Loop and Green Peach Aphid and the best known of all, the Venus Flytrap)

His fate is inexorably sealed and he will find himself engaged, one way or the other ,without invoking this piece of traditional folklore!

Tradition has it that anyone born on 29 February is called a ‘ leapling’ or ‘leaper’. I wonder if that was the derivation of my friend Patrick ?Lepper’s surname?

‘ My lovely’ left early this morning, when the carers came in at 7.30, to spend a nice full day in London. Apart gave lunch to our son, Smiler, at the Lansdowne Club-just off Berkeley Square. This was my club for 35 years or so and was particularly handy when I had my offices just round the corner in Charles Street. The Lansdowne club was renowned for being one of the best squash venues in the UK and I used to try to play every day for an hours and a quarter at lunchtime. They were the days when you could have a lesson from the world champion Jonah Barrington, at the modest cost of 7/6 p. (37 ½ p.).

 i caught the end of a news item yesterday which I hope I got the wrong end of the stick. My British readers will know that English universities now can charge students up to £9000 a year for their tuition fees so most universities are taking advantage of this and charge between 6/£9000. Scotland, on the other hand, offers free University to all who live in Scot on you and land. First of all, how this is possible when Parliament grants Scotland a sum of money per year to run it its services and they choose to use some of that money to offer these free university places (and free prescriptions). That in itself causes a certain amount of resentment, from the English student you might have to pay anything up to 9000 a year and therefore the universe. They were the debt of anything up to £30-£40,000 to be paying off in the lifetime of that student. This resentment therefore is understandable. The latest news, which I came in on the end of and may not have my facts entirely right, was that anybody coming from the EU can take advantage of these free university places, all except students coming from the UK. This is an absolute disgrace and I hope will be remedies in the not too distant future.

Yesterday, at the golf club, I met a prospective member who had been invited to play in the geriatric golf day in order to get to know other members prior to being proposed the membership. It was during our conversation he asked me if I knew what was acknowledged as the world’s funniest joke. I was at the loss, so he said he would send it to me. Well, click here and see if you agree with him. Personally, I think I have heard funnier ones.


1 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 2 March 2012 in Diary |

Dragon are up to their old tricks again and yesterday I received the following e-mail.

We have not heard from you concerning your request for support in the 14 days since we sent you a response. Consequently, we have changed the status of your question to Auto-Closed. If you still require any further assistance on your ticket, please click the following link to update your ticket and re-open it for further troubleshooting.

This is scandalous as, in response to their e-mail dated Wed 22 Feb. I telephoned them the same day, so even as I write 14 days as not elapsed since I last spoke to them. Following that I sent them my reply on? and we have heard nothing since, until this present e-mail which is tantamount to closing the case when they have made no attempt to resolve the problems. I am naturally hoping that starting with a new computer, in the next day or two, downloading all of the programs individually, we will identify if there is some incompatibility somewhere or alternatively, the programme will work faultlessly as it will not have been corrupted by any of the other programmes. If that does not prove to be the case then my battle with Dragon will have to continue.

Yesterday, I wrote about the iniquity of Scotland treating the UK as a foreign country, when it comes to paying university fees, as compared with any of the other EU countries which enjoy the same status as the Scots themselves and qualify for free tuition, whereas anyone south of the border has to pay the full fee. The other international issue, which is causing a certain amount of consolation is the state of Spain’s economy. Having bailed out Greece, for the time being, the latest potential casualty seems to be Spain. From what the financial press are saying it is on the brink of disaster and is in the same position as was Greece when it was likely not to be able to pay the interest on their debts. I’ve heard no more than the initial concern. A few days ago but no doubt will in the near future. The trouble with these financial disasters is that they intend to drag us down as a result some of the economists who follow our financial position are already talking about a possible double dip.

My lovely new laptop arrived this afternoon but I can do no more than plug it into the mains as there may be some preliminary things I need to do before operating Windows 7. The problem is, as I am unable to turn over the pages of the little booklet the covers are setting up I shall not take a chance and leave this until Paul comes tomorrow.

As this entry is dangerously close to showing signs of xenophobia. I think the following joke about the French, is appropriate. Click here to see if you agree with me.


2 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 3 March 2012 in Diary |

Not wishing for another episode like that from which I suffered a few nights ago when the respirator stopped delivering air, due to the pipe, connecting it to the machine, having come loose, we switched to a new headset which I had been given, on one of my visits to Papworth hospital, some time ago. Unfortunately, this new headset, which is made of heavy duty plastic, was unkind to my nose and caused a couple of small blisters. As a result, on the second night that I used it, ‘my lovely’ padded out my nose with some lint but, the following morning, in removing it with one swift pull, somehow tore the skin, which, no doubt, was paper thin and left me with open sores on both cheeks. I know we have to be very careful about anything like an open sore as it can take months to heal with the faint possibility of septicaemia setting, in, in the meantime.

 Well, the big excitement of the day was ‘Paul the computer’, coming round, early afternoon, to set up my new laptop. and transfer across all the data from my existing laptop I must say that the new Dell, Inspiron, looks very smart and has a few features on it that I didn’t have on the Toshiba. I like to think that I could have managed to set it up myself and probably could. have done after a bit of struggling.

Having said that is amazing how many people who, are not familiar with computers, believe they can walk into a shop, buy one, take it home , plug it in and expect everything to work. Nothing could be further from the truth. The new computer, for example, may not even have a particular software loaded on it, then the purchaser must be aware of precisely what they are getting as part of the package and then, if necessary, purchase the additional software for their particular needs Each programme (software) we download must have the correct driver loaded to run it.. Most of the time. this is not a problem as it will download the driver at the same time as the software, and if there have been recent updates, then it may be necessary to go and find the latest driver.

Then, if like me you are using a considerable number of programmes you may find that some of the more sophisticated ones are incompatible with the programmes , which came with the original purchase Some programs are 64-bit and others 32. Although a 64-bit programme will work with the 32-bit programme, it is usually better if they are all one thing or the other and therefore it may be necessary for you to purchase an upgrade, of a particular programme, to obtain this compatibility as incompatibility between various programs can affect the speed of the processing. Anyway, I will not bore the reader with a more detail but believe me setting up a new computer with 40 or 50 programmes, such as I have, is no walk in the park!.

Paul spent three hours doing all the basic stuff  yesterday and then came back today to finish off and left me with, what I had hoped  would be a satisfactory working piece of equipment. however,  Paul did not quite finished and will need to come back on Monday complete the task. Even when he has finished . I will have to try ouI  all the various programmes  to check that they work satisfactorily. However, it will only be after a few days trouble-free that I shall I know whether we’ve got everything right or not. My main concern is that by loading all the programmes onto a clean, brand-new machine. we will not get the nonsense from which I have suffered for 7 to 8 months with Dragon,: the voice activation programme. if we do then there is something wrong with the software  As much as anything this was one of the main purposes in buying the new computer..

Over the next couple of weeks or so. I really must investigate the potential of this new machine and know what I can do with it by pressing all the various keys. In the past I have been lazy and not bothered to read the instruction book, so inevitably have missed out on some of the various features that were available to me. These features will certainly become more useful to me as I losedo use  of my hands.

.Apropos of nothing in particular, but just for the purpose of changing the subject, I saw yesterday, on television, that the weather on Tuesday produced a startling new statistic. From the lowest temperature recorded in the UK., a few days earlier, -15.5 centigrade and the highest on Tuesday, of 18.2°C, the 34°C difference in three days smashed all previous records. The weather forecast for next Tuesday – my geriatric golf day, is forecast at 8°C compared with 15°C. this last Tuesday, so it is unlikely I shall venture forth to the golf club. We just happened to be lucky and we got a freak day at the beginning of March, and I still suspect it won’t be much before May that I will start being able to start  going again regularly on Tuesdays.

‘Doreen, the faithful secretary’ came today to do her usual filing and tidying up. The beauty of  Doreen’s visit are that she knows precisely where to find any document, and  where to file them .

My contribution from my study chair is that I can usually recall in which filing cabinet. the file is located it and where, in a particular drawer, she will find a file ,so between us we manage very well despite my contribution being by remote control.

 Today’s little  homily is about a golfer  who found himself in a dilemma You do not, have to play golf or even have to understand the rules, to realise what a dilemma this man has got himself into, particularly if his opponent concedes the hole, and possibly the match. Assuming the cheat is remorseful and ashamed of what he has done, he should insist on putting out and then, inexplicably somehow twitching and missing the hole altogether, which would be pretty difficult from 6 inches. As you  Have little or no understanding of what I’m talking about   Click here  and all will become clear. Ask yourself   what you would do in similar circumstances , hypothetically,, of course, as no friend of mine would ever find himself in this position!


3 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 4 March 2012 in Diary |

My dear daughter Chloe managed to persuade the Amazon people that, due to my disability, I had been unable to spend my £40 book token, with no fuss at all. they extended the period of purchase by six months, so I spend an hour or so this morning looking through the various list of books reviews with a view to spending this money as soon as possible as the six months will slide by without me noticing it and I doubt whether they would be prepared to extend the voucher yet again.

I managed to find a few books but not enough to cover the £40, so I’ will have to have another go in a day or two, perhaps on Monday when’ Jane the sheep’ is here. and can give me a hand. Bearing in mind that this year is the bicentenary of Dickens birth, and being a great Dickens fan, I shall buy a book about his life and times, so that is something I can spend some money on.

We made a Skype call to my mother and Richard this morning and, at last, we could not only hear each other but also see each other. Somehow in the past it was always one or the other but not both at the same time. It is a very good way of keeping an eye on them both and regularly checking up to ensure that they are okay.

Paul was back today, to complete the installation of my new laptop, including reinstalling all the programmess and moving over the data.. I think he said there was something like 250 GB to copy over from the old laptop onto the new one. He also went through the register , making various default settings;, wiping out a number of them which are not necessary for me ,and if left would slow down the performance of the laptop, so that, at the end of the day the installation will be very much a bespoke one. He has spent something like six hours on this exercise to-date and still has another couple of hours ao to go, which I hope he will manage to do on Monday, after which I can.be let loose to enjoy my new toy.

Today’s diversion is all about the American Civil War. I know this is not of burning interest to a number of my readers.

However, the excellent black-and-white photographs are such a fantastic record, giving a snapshot of this period of social history, that is they are well worthwhile click here and looking at them purely from this point of view.


4 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 5 March 2012 in Diary |

A relatively comfortable night but not one entirely free of pain. However, I am comforted in the knowledge that I can expect the nerve block in my shoulder to be just as painful, if not more than it was before the injection, for the next month or so, after which I should start to feel the benefit.

A couple of days ago’ ‘Bill and Ben’ came round to do a few odd jobs. One of the things they looked at was the spark inhibitor inserted in the chimney from the main fireplace. Apparently it was falling to pieces and they asked if they should replace it. I vaguely remembered that this was an unusual requirement by one of our earlier underwriters, only to be told,, some years later, that such spark inhibitors had been banned altogether as they achieved the reverse result for which they were designed. In other words, instead of the spsarks hitting the cowl and being extinguished and they were bouncing off back onto of the thatch.. It is Sunday today so I cannot I telephone my insurance broker , but will do so tomorrow to see whether I need to replace it or not.

It is such little things like that which could cause the insurance policy to be invalid and void, in the event of a thatch fire, so it is well worthwhile reading the small print and complying with the underwriters requirements.

As I was concerned the by split pipe connecting the respirator to the Nippy, we telephoned our local representative from Papworth Hospital, early this morning and, true to their 24/47 service, Lucy turned up before lunch with a selection of pipes and masks. In the event ,we had spare decided to stick to the mask which we were used to, the ‘nose only’ and were given plus a couple of the flexible pipes so I shall go back to this one tonight in order to give my damaged skin and rest from the full mask I have been wearing for the last two or three nights.

It was a truly miserable winters day today, cold and damp and even managed a feeble effort at snowing in the late afternoon. The weather didn’t look very much better in Paris, where the French international rugby team played their suspended matching names Ireland, in a close fast moving game which could have gone anyway. but, in the event, ended as an honourable draw, 17 points each. This match was part of the Six Nations International Tournament now only Wales, as the only unbeaten team, can win the Grand Slam . What an incredible change in the weather which only four days ago, on the Tuesday geriatric golf day,. was warm enough for me to drive around the golf course, and end up sitting outside with a drink and cigar

Talking of drinking and playing golf you might enjoy this one. Click here to see the effect they have on you


5 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 6 March 2012 in Diary |

The ‘nose only’ mask proved to be a great success. It was much softer and more comfortable, and proved to be much more intrusive than the full plastic mask, which covers both nose and mouth.. This being the case, I shall revert to using this one as long as I can, in order to give the skin on my nose and cheeks, a chance to recover

The start on a frenetic week. I know we have visitors for the next three days, then the good Dr Michael arrives , from Sweden, en route to Australia and he will stay until Sunday. Whilst, my lovely dashes up to Wales, to sort out the final details following her mother’s recent Memorial Service. Fortunately for me he will only be away for one night. Narlier you a payday .

Our visitors today were the W-P’s (Judith and Barton William-Powlett). Both being Oxford graduates, I thought I could usefully get some recommendations for some good books to buy to use up my Amazon Gift Voucher. Barton came up trumps with one title. and daughter Chloe had already given me four suggestions.

As I said, in an earlier entry, my dear Chloe had prevailed upon Amazon to extend my gift voucher, so I was determined, to spend it before it expired. once again.. As Jane ‘the sheep’ was babysitting me. I got her to assist me to buy some books. It was just as well I did as it was a little more complicated than usual due to having to use up the gift voucher. We managed to get in and I purchased the following rules.

Charles Dickens:A Liife (My choice ). I have been a gret fan of Charles Dickens since I was a young man and apparently this highly acclaimed book gives an insight, not seen before of his life and times)

The next four are Chloe’s choiice

The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak (brilliant when you get into it – don’t be put off by the slightly strange beginning!)

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon – a really involved tale These 2 are both quite long and require good concentration to stay with the stories – but worth it if you can give them time and energy

For a lighter to read.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell (I love Maggie O’Farrell’s books – this is her best – it is a contemporary novel but looks back at a relative who was committed to an asylum for not conforming – an air of mystery about it)

Water for Elephants Sara Gruen – really not sure if you will like this one! I absolutely loved it – it is a really good and gripping story set in a travelling circus in America around the time of the Depression (1940s?) It is quite racey as there is a love story running through it – but it really is a fantastic story and a real page turner!

Freedom – Jonathan Frazen (
Stories about Patty Bergland -whoever she was?! (Barton’s choice)

Anyway, I achieved my objective and spend the £40 gift voucher and have increased the number of unread books in my Kindle to around a dozen or so.Plenty to occupy me for sometime come

I telephoned our insurer about the defective spark inhibitor and they confirmed that they had no fixed policy on their use. Claire, the representative we spoke to, told us that they were probably okay provided they were taken down regularly and thoroughly cleaned otherwise they could be more dangerous then if we did not have one. In order to get up to the top of the chimney, remove the cowl, cleaning and replace it, would be quite a performance, so I decided to take the easy way out and remove it altogether.

I chased up. the Occupational Therapist today, asking where we had got to on the provision of the special cushion. for my ly NHS lounger. I got the fairly standard retort that they were extremely busy and would get to me as soon as they could. My OT did not think that would be very much longer. I asked her if she would be kind enough to give these people a gently nudge pointing out that in many cases the balance of life for MND patients can be counted in weeks and therefore a delay of several weeks in obtaining a piece of equipment could be significant.

Paul ‘the computer’ was scheduled to come round, to complete the re-installation of programmes and data onto my new the top. However, in the event, he did not turn up to 5.00 p.m. and took the laptop away saying he was going to blitz it that evening and he would see me tomorrow and, in passing, said that he had decided to strip it down and reinstall all the programmes from scratch. I think he had a long night ahead of him!

You can see from this Joke how desperate I am becoming for good material and the end of my entries in order to amuse the reader or divert him or her from the disability. I did ask my readers to send me anything that they bought other readers might be interested in, so we can share it with them.. So far I’ve only had one responds. So if you have something you’d like to share with the rest of us, please send it to me or put up with my feeble attempts , such as the following joke entitled Mexicans Jews. I was slightly nervous and toyed with the idea of trashing this one when it came in, in case it gave offence to my Jewish friends, but on reflection I decided that this was most unlikely, so why not so click here and see if you agree with me.


6 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 7 March 2012 in Diary |

Today’s entry will be very brief, which will no doubt please those of you who find that they are generally too long and you don’t have time to read them. The point being that this is the first entry made using my new laptop and my new User profile on Dragon. Paul’ the Computer came and collected the laptop on Monday evening, saying that he intended to blitz the installation. In other words to stick at it till it was broadly right..

After spending around six hours over two days transferring data and programmes over from the old laptop, Paul decided that a completely clean install was probably preferable. He came back on Monday evening and took the computer away returning it yesterday morning. However, it was still not finished and he promised to come back later in the day. In the event he turned up just after four o’clock and, clashed with Althea, who had come to do my nails. Shortly after she left the six o’clock carer arrived, 15 min early, which threw us out some what. In the meantime we moved Paul to the breakfast room. Although there is some tweaking to be done here and there he believes has substantially achieved his objective. I will only be able to confirm this when I have been through all of the programmes.

When I opened up the laptop this morning I had to start off building a completely new User Profile as we both believe that the original one, which ran for some years, although very knowledgeable about my language and the way I pronounce various words, has somehow become corrupted on the way and it was better for me to ‘ bite the bullet’ and start again afresh.

So far, so good. After I trained my new User Profile, which took about 10 mins., I went straight into dictating this entry and achieved 100% accuracy, so it would appear that we might well have solve at least part of the problem. I did notice, however, that when I chose to substitute the word, it did not respond as it should have done. This may be done to me not giving it the correct command or correction. We will see.

You know how irritating mobile phone users are when they fail to exercise discretion and think the world needs to know their business? When you have enjoyed as much as you can stand you can now get you own back!

After a busy dayin London her friend and mine settled down in his train from Waterloo for a nap as far as his destination at Winchester, when the chap sitting near him hauled out his mobile and started up:-

“Hi darling it’s Eric, I’m on the train – yes, I know it’s the 6.30 not the 4.30 but I had a long meeting – no, not with that floozie from the typing pool, with the boss, no darling you’re the only one in my life – yes, I’m sure, cross my heart” etc., etc.

This was still going on at Wimbledon, when the young woman opposite, driven beyond endurance, yelled at the top of her voice:

“Hey, Eric, turn that bloody phone off and come back to bed!”

Well, there you are. I promised you the entry would be short. Any minute now the travelling optician arrives to give me an eye test so I can buy a couple of pairs of glasses now both of my cataracts have been done. After that, I get back to dealing with my e-mails and testing out the various programmes.


7 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 8 March 2012 in Diary |

The travelling optician, Lee, arrived as scheduled and after checking out my eyes to ensure that the cataracts had healed nicely went on to test my eyes for glasses. In the end we decided between us that I am really only needed some mild reading glasses and, although in the past, I have bought my glasses from one of these online companies like Vision Express or Spec Savers, I decided that it was not really worth the hassle as I had the optician with me. I bought a pair of glasses which should be with me within five working days.

As scheduled, the good Dr Michael arrived from Paris at lunchtime after he. After he had eaten he told us what had been going on in his life since he was last here a month or so ago. Apparently his son Tom, who is an actor, well-known in Australia, recently complained of pain in his neck and after various tests was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. This is a serious complaint which if not dealt with quickly can lead to an early death. In fact that is what Alice’s sister Mary had. Mick had spent hours on the phone organising the best medical treatment for Tom and he has already had some sessions of chemotherapy and found a fairly flat in Melbourne delivering for the time being. He had only just bought a house in Brooklyn USA however, because of the extortionate cost of medical treatment in America, Tom decided to return to Australia where much of it is free. He is fortunate that he holds both an Australian and American passport.

The good thing is that Mick will be with him over the next two or three weeks which can be critical in this illness. If the chemotherapy does not stop the rise of para-proteins in his bone marrow the prognosis is not good. On the other hand, great advances have been made since Alice’s sister Mary died from it and Mick tells me that it’s possible to get a cure provided it is caught in time. So we must just wait and hope.

Yesterday Alice and I were only discussing how unpredictable life can be. You can be sailing along in still waters on a beautiful warm day enjoying the wide expanse of calm ocean all around.’ God is in his heaven and all is well with the world’ the then suddenly something occurs which completely shatters that happiness. A road accident; a fall which causes brain damage etc and in Tom’s case a painful neck which turned out to be multiple myeloma. His acting career and that of his partner Chloe, put on hold for the time being, as indeed is the house he has just bought in Brooklyn. We can only hope that he makes a full recovery but how long it will take and what ups and downs he will have to endure on the way, this stage, no one knows.

This then will be a familiar tale too many of my readers who are suffering from a terminal illness and have absolutely no idea whether they’re going to live for three months or three yes. The same applies to their loved ones and those who care for them. The only thing you can do is try to remain positive and live every day as it comes. It is an object lesson in not taking anything for granted. Carpe diem

Paul ‘the computer’, kindly dropped in, late afternoon, just to check up and see how the new installation was going. Fortunately, I was able to say, so far so good. Certainly, Dragon seems back to its old self. Fast and 100% accurate when it comes to dictation. I’m not so sure about commands and corrections but this is something I must try out over the next day or two.

In deference to Tom, I shall not include a joke today but instead click here to see some awesome pictures of the Grand Canyon.


8 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 12 March 2012 in Diary |

‘ My lovely’ was up bright and early this morning and after attending to me, giving me my breakfast etc handed me over to the girls – Louise and Paula. -to shower and dress me before depositing me in my study chair. The good Doctor, Michael, appeared whilst all this was going on, and having assured himself that all was well ,went back to his room and continued his battle with the various authorities over travel arrangements for Chloe Tom’s partner – and Elizabeth, Michaels ex-wife.

It was a beautiful day, wall-to-wall sunshine and an almost cloudless blue sky. The temperature, at around 15°C, was unseasonably warm. I just hope it’s like this tomorrow for our lunch at the Cricketers, so I can sit outside, at least part of the time, and smoke a small cigar.

Mick spent a good time in the early morning and late evening, Skypeing Tom, in Australia, giving him the reassurance that a good father gives to his son in times of adversity, except in these circumstances Tom knows that the medical advice being given to him comes from a very experienced Doctor. The next couple of weeks will be critical and that following the treatment he is receiving a fairly accurate prognosis should be possible. Tom’s partner Chloe (I prefer the old-fashioned girlfriend’) is fortunate as the play that she was in in Brussels has just come to an end and so she has no impediment to joining Tom in Australia and giving him the adding prop of loving support that he needs at this time.

I’ve scarcely like to mention my minor complaints after that but Dr Lort, my GP, called in to have a look at the progress of my sebaceous cyst following the course of antibiotics. It is still inflamed and she feels that the best option would be to cut it out and is prepared to do so here, in my own home, rather than having to arrange transport them either to the surgery or to the hospital. While she was here she observed the two moles on my back which had become itchy and therefore concerned me as to whether they were malignant as a result of too much sun I which have taken practically all my life. She did not seem concerned about them but did say she would burn them off while she was here.

The other thing I was slightly concerned about was a small lump in my stomach which three of the carers have mentioned when massaging my stomach as part of the aromatherapy prescribed by Dr Margaret Saunders of the Rank Hospice. Again, Dr Lort did not seem concerned that it was anything to worry about but will have a further look at it when she comes to do with the shoulder..

Properly Mick and I finished off, what turned out to be a fairly busy day by treating ourselves to a bottle of champagne in the breakfast room which is the only room in the house in which Alice tolerates the odd cigar. Fortunately, I am clearly not addicted, either to smoking or two alcohol, as several weeks go by between having either or not. I was also very pleased to find that the champagne did not inflame my sinuses and make it difficult to breathe, although I was a little snuffly when it came to bedtime. Both Mick and I had observed this before a drop of champagne passed my lips so we knew it wasn’t that. I was keen not to damage the skin on my cheeks or my nose any more than necessary so started off with the ‘nose only’ mask hoping I could get by with that one Mick put me down and made the bed over me whilst I struggled to get calm and breathes evenly. At one stage I thought I would have to ask him to get me up and start again, this time with the full facial mask which also covered the mouth. Fortunately, this did not happen and I fell asleep before I was able to get to alarmed about it. Considering Mick only comes here every 6 to 8 weeks, he did a pretty good job in remembering all the little nuances has developed and built into the various things with which she has to help me. Mick was pretty much on the button and I think has done a great job of caring for me under the circumstances.

Paul ‘the computer’ dropped in whilst we were indulging ourselves in the breakfast room, smoking and drinking and made us feel a bit like naughty boys who have been caught behind the changing rooms at school. He only wanted to check and see how the computer was performing. I was able to reassure him that as far as dictation was concerned it was still fast and 100% accurate. There are still one or two wrinkles he needs to iron out, most particularly in the Commands section, but we are in a significantly improved state than we were in before Paul stripped down the laptop and reloaded all the programmes.

This morning I received a U Tube video from my eldest grandson, Fred. He asked me to share it with as many people as I can through my blog. As my readers will know I assiduously avoid any political commentary or criticism, so as not to give offence but, on this one occasion, I am prepared to make an exception. It was a heartfelt plea from my grandson to spread this message as widely as I can and having the facility at my fingertips I can share Fred’s message with 30/50,000 people. Do watch this compelling video and send it to your friends. It seems perfectly genuine to me and, if so, we should all do what they can to assist the organisation behind the idea to spread the word as widely as possible in the hope that the blanket publicity will stop this man and his followers from the atrocities, it is claimed, that they carry out. When young people like Fred become aware of people like KONY and are determined to do something about it, the least we can do is to support them .This was Fred’s message to me:

Dear Grandpa,

This is a very important message that should be shared with as many people as possible. I was wondering if you could help try and get the message out and put this on your blog etc.

Please watch this video and you will see why it is so important that as many people as possible support KONY 2012:


Lots of love,

Fred xx.


9 March 2012

Posted by DMC on 12 March 2012 in Diary |

Had a reasonable night so far as the pain is concerned but had problems with the respirator. For some reason, which we couldn’t fathom out, the alarm kept going off on the machine, sometimes for 30 seconds or so. That would normally only happen if the was a severe leak between the machine and the patient’s mask . I had reverted to the ‘nose only’ mask and at one stage wondered whether I would be able to breathe properly through it as I had a snuffly nurse which and not yet turned into a full-blown cold. However, I stuck to my guns and we got through the night with the good Dr Michael coming down two or three times, roughly the same times as’ my lovely’. During the day we switched the respirator machines as we had a spare one in the study for emergencies. As I’m going to Papworth within the next couple of weeks I will take both machines with me and have them checked over.

The big excitement of the day was lunch at The Cricketers with Dr. Michael and my good son, Smiler, who come down especially to meet the Dr. and show his gratitude for the kindness in relieving Alice from time to time. Although they had met briefly before it was a good opportunity for them to have a good chat over lunch and get to know each other a little better. I made the mistake of having the small steak and kidney pie with the suet pastry. Absolutely delicious but I could scarcely managed to read half of it. Fortunately Michael, who always exhibits a healthy appetite, managed to polish off half a pot of muscles, which I had left from my starter, plus the rest of my pie, so nothing is wasted.

We then went back to the house and into the breakfast room where we had coffee and I was able to smoke a small cigar. By this time, to be honest, I was feeling a little weary. Just socialising for three hours takes its toll on me. Smiler had another appointment on the way home and so left around 3.00.

l the rest of the day I spent either watching me Six Nations Rugby Championship, reading or listening to music. We did watch some television. But I nodded off and cannot recall what it was.

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