Friday, 29 June 2012

Off on holiday...

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Squeee - I am pretty excited. I have my case all packed and it's only one more sleep until I go on holiday!

I went to work this morning - which was great fun. I feel like I'm getting to grips with the new system - figured out a few more things. In fact Tracy was in today - so the team is back together. As one customer put it - it's great to see the old firm back behind the desk! He was so pleased that he brought us some Roses chocolates in. I am certainly going to be putting all that weight I lost back on :-)

So Tracy and I had a practice on the system - in fact I had a couple of telephone renewals before she came in - and then we had some new borrowers to add when the latest beginners' computer course started at 12 o'clock. We managed to work most stuff out between us - with a bit of trial and error!

Lots more of the regulars came in - and everyone had a chat and asked how I was doing. It was lovely. Terry came to visit too - to see how I was coping being back at work. He brought me a bouquet of roses - cream and pink - that were just beautiful What did I say about him being a lovely boss? He also brought some for Tracy. Let's face it - she deserves them more as she's been holding the fort while I've been sitting around in my dressing gown.

Stilll - I am REALLY happy to be back. :-)

Seems a bit cheeky to be going off on holiday now - after just returning to work, but we have been looking forward to this trip all the time the treatment has been going on. We weren't sure I'd be fit to go - but as it got closer - we hoped that I would be. Now here I am feeling fine and off to Stansted Airport tomorrow. We are not flying out until Saturday morning, but we just want to make sure we are at the airport on time. We shall stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel at the airport tomorrow night so we can be sure that there'll be no last minute delays!

Then we'll be flying off to Ljubljana - capital of Slovenia. Hopefully we'll be able to get a taxi from there to Bled, where the wedding is taking place. There is a castle and a lake - so it should look stunning for the wedding photographs. Martin is English and Tama is American and they both work in Azerbaijan - so we are not exactly sure why they are getting married in Slovenia - but I'm sure it's a very good idea :-)

So fingers crossed I've remembered to pack everything. I found a nice spotty fifties-style swimsuit in M&S and Nathan picked his suit up from Moss Bros this afternoon - and managed to get it into his case! I do love the "hot pink" accessories :-) So I'll blog more when we get back - and post some photos of Slovenia.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

All Change at work....

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I got up at 7am this morning. Haven't done that for a while :-)
I was there outside my library at 8.30am opening the shutter over the door. Luckily I remembered the code for the alarm - or it could have been quite noisy for any sleeping neighbours nearby. Didn't take me long to switch on all the computers and open all the shutters around the library. I couldn't remember the login password for the staff machines - so I had to look it up in the staff manual. Pretty soon I had everything up and running. I found a card on my desk from Caroline the poet. She is looking forward to coming back to the library in September with her poetry group - though she would like a little bit of summer first!

Hazel came before opening time with flowers and a hug! That was a nice start to the day. She has been covering for me, from Newcastle, while I've been off. She said she was happy to see me back :-) I was happy to have her there on my first day as she knows how to use the new system! She started to show me how to navigate around it. She's had training - although the system only went live yesterday at Newcastle.

While we were practicing Sam arrived with a lady from Axiell to make our system live! It didn't take long, In fact by the time I'd made a cuppa for them it was done. So on my first day back I was using the new system. I had a few regular customers in - many were surprised to see me back. It was lovely to see them and ask how they were doing.. Mr Coxon even brought me a box of chocolates! Everyone was telling me not to do too much! I felt fine though.

Tracy popped in too - on her day off - to see if I was okay. She brought me such a cute cat card and a oil burner with lavender. She must think I might need help to relax now that I'm back at work! Farida came too - to see if I needed help while Hazel was on her lunch - but I said I'd be fine on my own. She went back to Newcastle as it was really busy there - after we'd had a quick catch-up of course!

The morning just flew by and I think I got the hang of the new system - the basics at least! It seems to be working fine so far. Hope that continues! Looking forward to Thursday and working with Tracy - the old team back together again :-)

This afternoon I got my hair cut. I went to see Laura - who has a salon a few streets away. She knew I'd had chemo and she was very gentle as she gave me a trim. I have a shorter bob now - so it does look a tiny bit thicker. She said it wasn't as bad as she had thought it was going to be and that she thought it would soon grow back.

So I think I'm almost ready for my holiday. Just a few more things to pack - and I think I might need to buy some kind of  sun hat tomorrow as it looks like it has been pretty hot (over 30 degrees) over there the last few days.. I have my Factor 50 lotion already as Mr Hughes told me to be very careful in the sun.

Went over to Stone this evening to see N's parents and eat some of his mum's fantastic cottage pie and carrot cake. They have had a few casualties recently - with birds flying into their patio doors. So they have put a fluffy NPower mascot on a string and put it in the window. I think it's big googly eyes have put the birds off as they reported there had been no fatalities since they put it up. This is very good news :-)

So I am off to bed now - it has been a very busy and exciting day.
Night, night, xx

Monday, 25 June 2012

Back to Work Tomorrow!

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Today was the last day of me being off sick!

Tomorrow I am back at work. I am pretty excited. Not only will I see my customers again but it is the very day that the new Library Management System goes live at Silverdale. I will have to learn quickly I think. I feel very honoured as both my boss Terry and the top boss Sam are coming over in the morning. Not to see me I'm sure - but to make sure the new system works okay when it comes online!

It's going to be a fun day. Well, I am only there for the morning as part of my phased return. I'm sure I'll be fine though as I feel pretty good. I had my last session of physiotherapy on Wednesday, which was pretty painful so I was glad that I don't have to go again! The shoulder is still quite stiff though - so I have to keep on with the exercises. I have been upgraded to a red stretchy band from the yellow one (which is just for newbies) I have also to massage (or get a lovely partner to) my scar. It breaks down the scar tissue (apparently) so that it looks better in the long run.

I am still getting mouth ulcers and sores - but it doesn't stop me eating! The only thing that is actually worrying me is the state of my hair. I was told it wouldn't fall out with the chemo - but it would get thinner. It certainly has! In fact it is still coming out everytime I wash it or comb or brush it. I am not supposed to wash it very often, which is very hard to do! So I'm sure I'll have bald spots soon! They say not to worry it should come back in six months or so. But if that's all I've got to worry about - it's not bad considering :-)

I had visitors this weekend - from Nelson, place of my birth. My auntie Anne and uncle Anthony came over with Heather, his wife. My parents came over too with my brother and family - and we all went to the Victoria for Sunday lunch. The staff there are just great and so friendly - they can't do enough for you. They happily accomodated us in "the parlour"despite having a huge party going on at the other end of the pub. The food there is wonderful and we all had a great lunch and catch-up. Thry all came back to mine for tea, which was a bit of a tight squeeze - but great fun.

Choirs at the Victoria Hall

Then we had another treat in the evening when I went to see my good friend Janet (not to be confused with my bad friends!) ;-) who was singing at the Victoria Hall. She joined a choir in Stafford in January called the All Woman Choir and they were giving a concert in the Vicky Hall Sunday night. They were joined on stage by the all-male Daleian Choir. it was a really good night - they were singing songs from all genres and eras. I did like "It's Raining Men" and the emotional finale of "You'll Never Walk Alone." I am looking forward to their Christmas concert!

Anyway - it is getting late. I'd better set my alarm and get some sleep before the big day tomorrow!

Monday, 18 June 2012

CT Scan Day

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Today's highlight was a trip to the hospital to have a CT scan. This is the post-treatment scan from pelvis to head - to check that everywhere is clear now. The CT Scans take place in the new X-Ray department on the lower ground floor of the new main building. Another new section we got to see! The lighting is muted and the waiting room only had another two couple in. There were comfy purple tub chairs, smart beige chairs - connected together in twos and one huge chair. I guess these days you have to cater for the larger patient. I'd read in the papers that they've had to make bigger ambulances too.

Anyway, there was a row of bottles of water lined up on the Reception desk - but I wasn't asked to drink one. my letter had stated that I had to drink a pint of water before I got there - so I had been very good and swigged it down. The waiting room was lovely and new - so it hadn't had time to accumulate a good selection of magazines yet. I found a Laura Ashley catalogue and flicked through that while Nathan read his Kindle. He's working his way through the stories of Sherlock Holmes.

I was just admiring some lovely nightingale wallpaper (in the catalogue - not on the wall) when my name was called. I was taken to a small room and asked to remove my jeans and bra. You can't have any metal on you when you go through the scanner. I was given a very fetching powder blue gown to put on to preserve my modesty. The young chap then went onto the CT Scanner room and said he'd knock in four minutes - when I was changed.

Once again this room was totally white - as was everything in it. I was asked to lie on the bed with my head on the headrest. He then explained about the needle he'd have to put in my arm so that they could administer the remote injection once I was in the scanner. He seemed a little embarrassed as he explained about the side-effects of this. Whereas the last nurse had told me that I'd feel like I had wet myself even though I wouldn't have done - he said that I'd "feel an intense hot flushing in the groin area" I told him that I'd had one before and was prepared!

I haven't had a needle in my arm for a few weeks - but it doesn't bother me. But this time it really hurt! No idea why - hope I'm not getting too sensitive to pain! Anyone once it was in it subsided and I was hooked up to the injection machine then the radiographer left the room.

The bed start to move into the scanner and I found myself watching the red light whizzing round in circles in front of my eyes. I was daydreaming that I was being put into stasis ready for a mission to Venus or something. The scanner asked me to hold my breath, breathe normally, breathe gently but don't swallow then swallow. I went in and came out again. Then it was done. The needle was taken out of my arm and I was back in the cubicle putting my things back on again.

It takes a couple of weeks for the results to come through - which will be when I am in Slovenia. I'll call for the results when I get back. Until then - I won't think about it :-)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Normal Week

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I've had a week of getting back to normal - so have been quite busy!
I have been offered some physiotherapy by Occupational Health at work. Aren't they great? I thought that - then I went along last Wednesday to see Matt at Green's Health and Fitness at Britannia Stadium to be assessed. He was very thorough and had a look at my neck and shoulder. He had me moving my head and right arm - to see the extent of the damage. He took me through some stretching exercises that he wants me to do - to gain more mobility on my neck and head. He also concluded that my right arm is weak so gave me some exercises to help with that. He even gave me a big yellow elastic band to help with resistance work.

Then he felt the muscles in my neck (which are rock solid where the radiotherapy happened) and decided to do some hands-on work with them. I had to sit of the edge of his couch and he was behind me and he pressed his thumb and fingers into one of the muscles (he told me the name of each one as he did it - but I can't remember!) and pressed really hard. My word - it really HURT! He said that after 15 seconds the pain would fade - and it did. Then he did several more - and 15 seconds of intense pain is quite a long time I discovered. :-) Still I have to say directly afterwards I could move my head further to the left than I could when I got there. He then made three more appointments for me - every Wednesday and Saturday until I go back to work. He said he was determined to sort me out before I go back! Ow, ow, ow...

How the neck is looking now :-)

I went again yesterday - and he said he could feel that my muscles were a bit better - so he said with relish "I'll be able to go deeper this time." Yes - that DID mean that it hurt more. But if it helps - I guess it's worth it ;-) Two more to go then thank goodness I get back to work!

Talking of which I popped into the library on Saturday. Tracy showed me how to work the backup system that is being used until the new system is fully installed. I had a go and served a customer -it felt great! :-) Saw a couple of regulars and had a chat - which was lovely. Tracy told me that one of my favourite customers had even put the date of my return on his calendar! Hi Mr C :-)

I have taken a photo today of how the neck is looking. Not bad compared to a few short weeks ago :-)

In other news I got my outfit for the wedding in Slovenia! I went with my good friend Janet on Wednesday afternoon. We figured that the easiest and least tiring way to find a new outfit was to make an appointment with the Personal Shoppers at Debenhams. So we arrived at their changing suite and they took a few details - like size, height, what we were looking for, what colours we hated, that kind of thing. Then while we sipped ice-cold drinks and relaxed in the easy chairs they both trundled off with an empty rail on wheels and returned a few minutes later with them full of clothes. Mine was full of dresses and jackets and Jan's was full of smart work wear and suits.

 Now I hardly ever wear dresses (I think I have one in my wardrobe) and I have no idea what kind suit me. But when I saw the red dress on the rail I thought - well I would never have picked that up off the rail myself - but it is quite nice. I tried it on first and I absolutely loved it! It was perfectly proportioned for someone my size and small height :-) Then I tried the next one along - and loved that too. It was green (a colour I don't really like) but it looked so great on. It has a really groovy green belt with it too. I couldn't decide which was nicer. Then I tried on about another twenty dresses - and none compared to these two. I decided that I'd have the red one for the wedding - so the PS went off to find me a jacket that would go with it and then shoes and a bag and a flimsy fascinator for my hair (Nathan calls them "head spiders" - which is quite a good description I think :-)

The Winning Outfit!
 I couldn't leave the green dress behind though - so I decided I'd get that too. As the hotel where the wedding is taking place is a bit posh I thought I could wear it in the evenings for dinner.

I would definitely recommend the Personal Shoppers at Debenhams. The service is absolutely free and there's no pressure to buy loads - but they are so good at finding things that look good on you. I would have never come up with something as good if I'd spent a week in there!

So I am really looking forward to our trip to Slovenia now. Just need to get some Euros and we're all set.

I had a letter yesterday with my appointment for the CT scan - it is tomorrow at 1pm. I am impressed by how quickly that came through. It will take a couple of weeks for the results to come so I am glad that we'll be away for a week. It will take my mind off it nicely :-)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Visit to the Consultant

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I had an appointment with Dr Gahir today at 12 noon. It is a check-up six weeks  (almost) after the radiotherapy stopped. We once again entered the awesome Main Building and this time - I did have an appointment on the screen and it printed it out for me. A helpful nurse pointed us in the right direction for the ENT Department. We went into the Main Reception and booked in. The Receptionist said we had to listen out for the number that was on my slip of paper, which also popped up on several screens. "Number 1364 please go to SubWait 1". It was like being in Argos - waiting for your number to come up and being redirected to a counter. Here however - you were redirected to another waiting room. Nathan thought they were saying "Subway"  and was expecting to get a sandwich. It was making him hungry anyway :-)

We saw Frank and his wife in there - so we sat and had a chat and catch-up. He is still not eating as his throat is still too swollen. He did look a bit better than last time I saw him though. He never did have any more chemotherapy either. I felt a bit bad telling him about having my PEG taken out the other day. He asked how bad it was having it removed - and I told him it was much quicker and easier than having it put in! He told me he still had a sore mouth, stiff neck and ringing in his ears too. It was comforting to know that I wasn't strange in still having the same. I expected to be all better by now!

I had thought that I'd read somewhere that the new Outpatients system would mean that everyone no longer had the same appointment time. But Frank and I had the same time of 12 noon. We were called through to SubWait 1 first though - and sat in a smaller waiting room with a few others. They all went through one by one, then just as I thought it was my turn as we were the last ones in there - they called Frank's name and he came from the Main Waiting Room - so I am not sure how the new system works. We were next though - and went in about 1.10pm - which isn't too bad. I'd done the SuDoku and Spiralword in The Sentinel and was half-way though the crossword by the time Frank came out. They'd popped a camera down to look at his throat and told him not to try eating yet. He has to return in four weeks.

I was surprised to see Mr Hughes when I got into the room - no sign of Dr Gahir. (Hello Dr Gahir - if you are reading this - hope you are well :-) There was a more senior doctor (who Mr Hughes referred to) a student doctor (I think) and two nurses.. It was a very smart new consulting room with a big dentist's chair in the middle of the room. He asked me to take a seat - and I tried to sit in a chair by his desk but he said "No - you're in the hot seat!"

He asked how I was and I told him how things were. He had a look in my mouth and felt all round my neck. He said to the senior doctor - "I don't think we need the camera down do we?" and luckily he shook his head. They decided to do some "Imaging" - not sure what kind of scan but it was to be pelvis to head. He said usually they'd just so head and neck, but with my kind of cancer being so unusual in this area - adenocarcinoma doesn't usually show up in the head or neck - that they'd check everywhere to make sure it was all gone. I had expected this. I'll get an appointment through the post.

He then declared that he was very happy with me. He said that usually at this point patients are looking like they are at death's door - and stay like that for several months. The recovery starts now - and will take twelve months. He said as I was so well he wants me to stay active and keep exercising my arm, neck and shoulder, as the scars would start to mature. He said he's see me in another six weeks.

I was very happy with that too :-)

On the way into the building we'd glanced up and seen the new cafe on the upper level - so on the way out we decided to investigate. It looked lovely and the menu was quite enticing so we decided to get a bite for lunch. We tried the chicken and mushroom pie, which came with carrots. There were chips and wedges there - but they were extra. I think to encourage healthy eating. There was a doctor in front of us who got a pile of chips too though - heehee! Lots of staff were eating in there as well as some builders and lots of visitors. We shared some wedges between us - and the pie was really nice and tasty. We sat by the window trying to figure out what the builders below us (at the front of the Main Building) were constructing. They were moving and placing curved white blocks - a bit like giant lego. We guessed it might be a water feature of some kind - but I guess we won't know until our next visit. I'll keep you posted - watch this space :-)

When I got back I had a phone call from the Physiotherapy chap at Occupational Health. I have to go along to Green's Health and Fitness by the Britannia Stadium for an assessment on Wednesday morning. Hopefully they'll be able to get my arm and shoulder moving a bit better before I go back to work.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Goodbye PEG!!

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I think it was a bit of a mistake, but yesterday I went to an early screening of Prometheus. I thought a nice trip to the cinema might take my mind off the ordeal to come today - namely having my feeding tube removed via endoscope.

So I settled down with some popcorn and watched as several of the characters were attacked by aliens shoving a tentacle down their throats. Hmm not the best choice of movie - haha!

I came home and had a nice soak in the bath to try to take my mind off THAT!

Anyway I did manage to sleep a little before having to get up this morning and head over to the hospital for 11am. I was quite excited as we were going into the Main Building for the first time. it is pretty awesome - really vast space with check-in screens, a desk and some staff just walking around ready to help anyone who looks perplexed. There's also a WHSmith's where we purchased a newspaper and some milk on the way out :-)

 I tried to check-in - but it said I didn't have an appointment. I asked a floating receptionist and she told me the way to the Endoscopy department, where it seems I had to speak to the reception there. We went down some stairs and found it easily. There were only a handful of people in Reception. It seems it is a good idea having a Saturday appointment. I sat reading the notices on the wall - all about cutting down your alcohol intake. Then glanced up at the telly where they were showing Saturday Kitchen and it was a feature on choosing wines!

I didn't have many minutes to wait before a nurse came in and called my name. I was feeling quite nervous but she was very chatty and made me feel a bit better. She was also called Bernadette, so I asked if she was from a Catholic family too. She said no - her dad was called Bernard so she was named after him. She took my blood pressure and asked me a few questions. She told me about the procedure, they would lie me on my left side, introduce the endoscope (that sounds so much more polite than "shove it down your throat" :-), then put a noose down the endoscope which they would use to lasso the internal part of the PEG, Once they had that caught they would cut the external part off and pull the internal part up through the endoscope. "It's a five minute jobbie!" she proclaimed cheerfully.

Then she noticed on my notes that it said that I was off on holiday soon. I told her we were going to Slovenia and she told me about her holiday she once had in Bulgaria. They got moved from their 3* hotel when the toaster broke and they couldn't have any breakfast (the staff said they couldn't afford a new one so the holiday Rep moved them to a 5* hotel)  She had a wonderful time but was slightly unnerved when she asked about the black marks at the bottom of the swimming pool. She was told that it was because the local mafia liked to use it for target practice. Hopefully not when it was full of holiday makers!

She then took me round to a cubicle and I sat on a bed. There was a gown and blanket there so I wasn't sure if I was supposed to get undressed. I sat there a while - it seemed that I was to be done after a patient who was coming down from one of the wards. It seems that they lost him though - as they were frantically trying to get hold of the porter bringing him down, on the radio, They decided he must be in a black spot for communications and took me in first.

I just walked into the treatment room and they just lifted up my top to get at it. I lay down on my left side, after being liberally sprayed in the mouth with local anaesthetic. I think they'd tried to make it banana-flavoured but the underlying taste was too strong to be masked! I had a bit of trouble swallowing the endoscope - but they eventually got it in, then I watched as they fed a really long wire down it into my stomach. Then they had a few goes at trying to lasso the internal PEG, until the doctor shouted "We've got it" and just cut the outside bit and literally whipped the whole lot out in a flash and I was done. The nurse put a bit of gauze over the hole, stuck it down with tape and asked me to jump off the bed.

It was all done in just a few minutes. I had to get up and walk (rather shakily) back to my cubicle where I was given a leaflet  and sent on my way.

I thought there might be stitches or something - but it seems that it heals over in just 24 hours. I can't drink anything for four hours or eat anything for six. Nathan said it was because it would be like on cartoons when someone gets shot and then drinks a glass of water - and it comes pouring out of the bullet hole!! Not sure it'd be that dramatic - but I'm not taking any chances :-)

I'm starving - as I'd had to fast from last night already. Still I'll keep myself occupied by doing the online shopping order - mmmmm fooooood.....

Friday, 8 June 2012

Back behind the desk...


I had an appointment with Occupational Health this morning. So off I went in the pouring rain and gale force winds to get in my car and drive off to Winton House. I remembered that this was the place where you go to take your Theory driving test and was situated opposite Signal Radio. I managed to find a parking space on the road just by the side door, so I wasn't too dripping wet when I got in there.

It was like the Marie Celeste - not a soul in sight. I walked down a corridor, through some doors - with nothing written on them. Eventually I tried some double doors and found a lift - and some signs! I was destined for Floor 3 it seemed so I pressed the lift button. There was much clanking and squeaking and with a shudder the lift doors opened. I stepped inside tentatively and pressed the button with 3 on it. The doors squealed in protest as they closed and the lift wheezed and trembled as it attempted to hoist me into the air and up the building.

It was so old the decor looked like something from a Victorian asylum and I wasn't totally confident I would actually reach my destination. In fact it would be a great location for a horror film. Imagine the doors opening and you'd gone back in time to an horrific old institution and you couldn't find your way out..

Anyway - the doors did eventually manage to part and I was deposited in another blank corridor with a door at the end. After a few more doors I found one that said Occupational Health Reception. I was going to go in - but there was a stern sign on the door instructing anyone with an appointment to go to the waititng room and wait to be called. I did as I was told.

At my appointed time a cheerful nurse came to fetch me and took me through to an examination room. I sat by her desk and we had a chat about how I was doing and what was happening with my treatment. I told her that I was due to have my tube out tomorrow - a final hurdle and that I was dying to get back to work. She said that I might benefit from physiotherapy for my shoulder and arm, but there was no reason I shouldn't go back as soon as my sick note ends. She wanted me to start by doing two half days a week for the first few weeks to see how I feel. So I'll be back on Tuesday 26th June., Yay!!

I rang Terry ( the nicest boss in the world :-) and he agreed that I could go back and do Tuesday and Thursday mornings to start with. It will be quite an exciting time as that is when our new LMS (Library Management System) will be going live that very week. I'll have a lot to learn when I get back!

In the meantime I have been doing more normal things - in fact we played poker on Tuesday night. I didn't win (though Nathan did!) - I guess I am a bit out of practise! But it was great to be bakc there.

So tomorrow I will be having the tube out - not looking forward to the actual procedure but can't wait to get rid of it!

I'll let you know how that goes!

In the meantime - if you are at a loose end and fancy trying a quick (but addictive) game online - on your  PC, laptop or iPad have a look what Nathan has been working on over the last few months:

You can login via Twitter or Facebook - it caused much hilarity when we were all together with the family on Thursday. There are quite a few games on the go - so jump in and have a try. You can look at the Gallery of games if you want to see how it works.
Can you guess who this is meant to be?


Monday, 4 June 2012


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Silverdale Country Park

I hope that you are all enjoying the Jubilee bank holidays. I have to say that it wasn't that great yesterday. We went over to Stone, as they were having a street party celebration - but the weather was so awful that it was pretty quiet. We had a wander up and down the High Street under a big brolly, watched a tiny bit of the Punch and Judy, then bought a crepe from a very nice French lady (hmmm - made us feel a bit unpatriotic - but it was delicious :-) then went home! We spent the rest of the afternoon watching everyone getting soaked in London during the River Thames Pageant. What a shame for all those people - especially those brave singers on the Philharmonic boat. While the orchestra was nice and dry below deck - these poor girls in their flimsy dresses looked like drowned rats while trying to sing Rule Britannia and other classics. I hope none of them caught their deaths..

Viewing Platform - bring your binoculars!
 Today is a bit brighter so I persuaded Nathan and Laura to come for a walk at the new Silverdale Country Park. I had no idea that this tranquil lake was just a few hundred yards up from my library, until the other day. It was lovely and apart from a couple of fishermen, the place was deserted. We walked all round the lake and we saw moorhens, with a family of babies, mallards, some crested birds that we didn't recognise and dozens of electric blue dragonflies. They were beautiful! I have a great fondness for dragonflies ever since I lived in South Carolina. They have huge and multicoloured ones there. I tried to take photos of them - but they didn't come out too well. Got a picture of the lake though...

In other (good) news - I got a letter from the hospital on Saturday to say that I am having my PEG removed next Saturday at 11am. I can't wait to get rid of it! I haven't used it at all for feeding but everyday I have to dismantle it, clean it, push it in and out (to make sure it hasn't got stuck) twirl it around and then put it back together and get a syringe full of water and inject it into my stomach to flush out the tube so that it doesn't get blocked. It will be a great relief when I don't have to do that ever again!

That will be a significant step back to normality! After that I'm going shopping for a swimsuit :-)