Personal Update

Sadly it may be a while before we return to blogging. Chris is one of those people who are always fit and healthy, he’s barely seen a doctor or been to hospital in his life. In fact I’m considered the one with poor health.

All that changed at the beginning of March. First the optician diagnosed Chris with possible Glaucoma, an appointment was made for him to go to hospital. At the same time, he’d been having problems with water retention, to the extent that huge water blisters developed on his legs. The doctor came out to see him, the district nurses came out to dress his legs, and Chris was told he needed to go to hospital for tests. Chris refused to go, it’s not that he was being stubborn, he was just bloody terrified, this was something he just could not deal with.

But eventually he gave in and was admitted to hospital, and after a few tests, he was moved to the Cardiac short stay ward with heart failure. At the time he weighed in at just over 17 stones. Within 3 days of treatment, he dropped 3 stones. He was in hospital for 2 weeks, he’s been home for a few weeks now and his weight is down to just over 13 stones.

Overall though, his health is improving, though heart failure can only be managed, not fixed.

Then yesterday everything took a turn for the worse. We went to the hospital for his Glaucoma tests, only to be told that the sight in Chris’ left eye is permanently damaged, and his right one is just hanging on. There is a lot more complication and detail involved, but essentially, at some point in the future, Chris will lose his sight completely.

There is one further issue, for those who don’t know, I have agoraphobia, yet despite this, I’ve been with Chris all the way through. I visited the hospital every day, it wasn’t easy, but for Chris’ sake I had to deal with the anxiety as best as I could.

We decided to post this not to garner sympathy, but to share with you what has been an exceedingly traumatic time, and thank you all for your understanding.


Snow Business

Seeing all the snow that’s fallen, and the inevitable panic that always comes with the unprepared, had me remin reminis remembering what it was like in days gone by.

This picture was taken in the Winter of ’63 when I was about 18 months old. I remember being so excited that I dashed outside without getting properly dressed, yes I am wearing a jumper, but no underwear and only my bootee slippers on my feet, but we were hardy and impervious to cold back in the day!

The next snow event I remember was when I was a teenager, we lived in a small village at the time about 5 miles from school and had to rely on buses to ferry us back and forth. When it snowed, the village was cut off and we were reet excited about not going to school…but the authorities had other ideas. We had a small hike to the main road where, surprise, surprise, the school buses were waiting. Damn. We drove through snow drifts almost as high as the bus, the country did not grind to halt like it does today. Life carried on pretty much as normal.

That was pretty much a localised snow event, the next one was not, it was the Winter of 1978-79. I was working in a department store at the time, and through the day the weather got worse…and worse…but it was an old-fashioned store who believed in being there just in a case a customer wandered in. By mid-afternoon it was quite clear that anyone with an ounce of sense had gone home, in the store however, we were all standing there looking at each other in an increasing sense of panic.

When they finally let us go, all the buses had stopped, so I had no option but to walk the 1.5 miles or so, home…in high heels…and about 6″ of snow…moderately uphill. I’ve no idea how long it took, seemed like forever, I was sobbing with the pain of the cold and the struggle to walk. At the half way point, my heel gave out, and I had to half limp, half drag myself the rest of the way home. I was so traumatised I have no recollection of whether I went to work the next day, but knowing me, I probably did!

I’ve been through many other snow events since, but thankfully I’ve been able to stay inside, which is what I’m doing now…and starving to death* in the process because Sainsburys cancelled my grocery delivery this morning!

*author’s artistic licence


An uncanny moment occurred during one of this evening’s hands of Lexicon (our favourite wordy card game) when I led with AWFUL and Shana countered with WHIRLS. Little to Shana’s knowledge, I had the word TAMER all ready to put on the table, thus allowing me to add the value of whatever cards Shana had left, and so bringing her nearer to the fateful ‘out’ score of one hundred.

‘There! “Tamer”,’ I said, setting down my cards. ‘As in “lion tamer”,’ I added.

Without a word, Shana held up her last four cards. Which, if you read the title of this post instead of just diving in, you will probably guess spelled LION. A chunky thirty-two points onto Shana’s score. But one of those times when we try to figure out what the probability might be of the two words coming out at the same time. Billions to one, we like to think. Cue, as usual, the Twilight Zone theme. Maybe we’d be better playing ‘Snap’ instead.


Today was what is often called a ‘red letter’ day. Strictly speaking, though, this wouldn’t be entirely true, as the letters on our pack of Lexicon playing cards are black.

The big achievement? Shana managed to get a ten-letter word, which is the longest you can make in Lexicon (so yah-boo! to Channel Four’s Countdown with their mere nine-letter bonanzas 🙂 ).

The word? I’ll print it in block caps like the cards. Oh, and Shana didn’t have to use the joker to stand for a spare letter: it was all there waiting to be found. The word was RELOCATION.

So Shana gets the gold star for first ten-letter word of the year. Not only that, but she beat me three games in a row. As Shakespeare said, .You can go off people, you know.’ 🙂