Sandfly swarm

The live singer in Saltash on New Years Eve was enjoyable even tho’ the mixing desk somewhat overly heavied on the decibels from the speakers. Frankly, her voice was very good and if he hadn’t had the backing up so loud she probably wouldn’t’ve needed a mic. The DJ who was on during her breaks was even more heavy handed on the decibels  – when will these folk realise that music does not need to be that LOUD in a small enclosed environment.

Okay that was the last rant for 2018.

New Year’s Day saw R and I walking at Seaton (Cornwall) sea front. I felt right at home steering R0X down a narrow, twisty windy to the beach and just after we’d parked illegally on double yellows the sun chose to come out to play. The warmth that came with the sun’s appearance must’ve convinced the sandflies that spring had arrived as the damn things swarmed everywhere. LWD was covered, R got one in her eye and I tried desperately to breathe through my blocked nose (I’m now into week 5 of the cold and cough from hell) to avoid swallowing a mouthful. Apart from that we had a great walk and lunch; R did impressively well on her new knee especially as she’d spent a fair bit of the previous evening dancing.

Seaton (Cornwall) January 1st 2019

So an auspicious start to the New Year for me and only six weeks to the start of my next trip … France, Spain, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, France, Germany and Denmark; I figure in the event of a No Deal Brexit they’ve got to find me before they can deport me!

Happy New Year dear regular readers! (I think there may be more than one of you) I hope 2019 will see you and yours happy and healthy throughout.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Solstice and a damp squib

Solstice celebrations with J & B, who came up from Torquay, were excellent. We gorged on roast lamb, pigs-in-blankets, stuffing, yorkshires, roast taters, loads of veg, and gravy and toasted the shortest day of the year. Summer’s coming! As a family we do this more years than not because unless Christmas Day is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday J is working that night.

Just as well we enjoyed J & B’s stay really as Christmas got cancelled.

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Solstice celebration.

I’ve had a Brute of a Cold I can’t get shot of for well over two weeks, some days are less symptomatic than others; Christmas Day was not one of them. Unfortunately last week K started The Cold and was also having a bad day. We made do with staying in our jammies, snacking on biscuits and cheeses, mince pies and cheesecake. We did open pressies. The un(so far)infected Smart One had the most pressies and was then happy to take himself and his loot back to his teenage cave; K and I dozed, watched Strictly and a few old Christmas comedies and went to bed early.

 

Langport reflecting the damp squib that was Christmas Day.

It could’ve been much worse and I’m having a less symptoms day today – so we’ll have Christmas today!

I have high hopes for the New Year celebrations which, for me and the Bezzies, will take place in Saltash.

Thank you for reading my blog and I do hope, dear Regular Reader that your Christmas was wonderful and that your 2019 will be happy and healthy.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Depression Diabetes

My suspicions about the call from the surgery for a repeat blood test were spot on. My HbA1c has soared – I’m diabetic again 😦 .

It’s frightening how one ghastly doctor’s appointment can have had such devastating results; that a full blown PTSD episode can triggered by so few words (What makes you presume you have PTSD?) from an insensitive medical professional at first meeting. I was so shocked by her disdainful tone I could do nothing but comply with her insistence on full details. The major depressive episode following this appointment has caused me nightmares, extreme anxiety, comfort eating, losing interest in everything, including my hobbies, shutting myself in the house and not exercising amongst other things. I’ve put on shedloads of weight and passed my diabetes trigger point. (LWD has also put on weight but hopefully isn’t diabetic!) It’s not been a good 3 months.

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Edvard Munch – The Scream

Luckily I have insight into my own mental health, helped in the main by two consecutive previous very understanding and supportive GPs and also by my own experiences as a mental health professional. Okay it took me 17 years to work out why I was having major depressive episodes and finally get diagnosed but in the main I was able to control these episodes by upping meds as and when necessary, and since PTSD diagnosis and therapy I’ve had six untroubled years. I do have and expect the odd blip of heightened anxiety and the occasional bad night, but am able to keep myself in the here and now by recognising, acknowledging and rationalising and it didn’t take long for me to understand the causation of this particular mood crash.

Several people, including some readers of this blog, have suggested that I complain about my new GP. At first I demurred firstly, as everyone can have a bad day at work and I have no idea of the kind of personal or professional pressures this woman may have been under in early September and secondly at the time I first wrote about this I didn’t feel strong enough emotionally to complain. But eight years hard work keeping my weight down and diabetes in remission and six years of Mike Davies, (GP, Twyford) cheering me on (but insisting I keep taking the tablets too!) have been well and truly blighted. I know I have the strength to tackle the weight and mood issues facing me (I’m even getting through this latest episode without a meds increase because I was too anxious to go to the new doctor) but that may not be true for someone else with mental health issues visiting this particular GP and, for that reason only, I intend to send a copy of extracts from this and an earlier blog to the practice manager of the local surgery with the suggestion that this doctor have some refresher mental health and “bedside manner” training.

On the bright side I would like to reassure my regular reader that my mood is improving every day and my calorie intake is diminishing! I’m looking forward to the festive season and planning next year’s travelling and apart from currently being victimised by a seasonal virus I’m doing well.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Rockin’ the night away!

Apart from seeing R’s latest surgical scar, my other reason for being in Saltash was to celebrate The Bezzies’ birthdays. S had been deviously and secretly plotting a celebration for R as her this year’s birthday number has a zero in it – 100, no I’m kidding there’s a few more decades to go before that! Relatives and friends arrived some of whom she sort of half expected and others she had no idea of. As someone who was completely in the know, I delighted in watching her face as each of her children (and grandchildren) arrived at carefully choreographed times on Friday and Saturday – and it wasn’t even her birthday on Saturday, it was S’s! R’s is on Wednesday. 13 of us sat round the table for a splendid Chinese takeaway followed by the traditional singing to the arrival of the cake, only one candle, can’t have the “old” girl getting too breathless!

Then it was everybody off to the The Cecil, their local, for live music from Luke Deakin, an excellent local musician/one man band! The arrival at the pub of two old school friends was S’s final surprise for her, she’d been half expecting the “kids” and knew I was coming for the weekend but hadn’t a clue about the final guests. Simon having achieved his triumph finally relaxed and got rather merry. We sang, we danced, we drank –

[I actually drank very little, as on Friday I made the (probably fortunate) mistake of standing on R’s bathroom scales and discovered a possible reason for a recall to the surgery for repeat blood tests next week. I’ve put on quite a bit of weight and could well be close to the trigger point for diabetes and the end of my remission. Calorie counting has started. Urgent weight loss is required; I refuse to go back on medication.]

– and rocked the night away, quite literally in the case of the Bezzies and I.

I was sleeping in R0X and they in Big Blue (their new camper van) the bedrooms being filled with other guests. The arrival of an uninvited overnight guest rocked our world as a storm with gusts of up to 70mph swept up Plymouth sound. Parked outside their bungalow right up at the exposed top end of Saltash we did not have a peaceful night in our rocking vans!

 

 

🙂 🙂 🙂

P.S. S’s birthday was not ignored he got cards and prezzies and was sung to in the pub as well, much to his embarrassment, he doesn’t do front and centre!

Festive Fotos …

as promised.

Unfortunately my creative juices, tho’ flowing again, are not yet up to par. I am pleased that I’ve actually had the camera out of the drawer for the first time in a couple of months, not so pleased with the results which seem a little lacklustre to me.

[One of the problems with my PTSD is that it hits me very unexpectedly. I’ve been well for such a long time that it surprised the hell out of me and this time, believe it or not, it was my GP who triggered it! At my meet and greet appointment she demanded  “Why do you take anti-depressants?” on hearing I have PTSD she then demanded to know the details of why I “presumed ” I have it. I very rarely discuss it and if I do it’s because I have made the choice; I’m in control of how much and what I say and the person to whom I am talking is familiar and trusted. I felt bullied. Suffice to say that following that appointment I started to have nightmares (this time about going to the surgery!), my startle reflex went into overdrive, my anxiety levels rocketed and my mood slumped. I have no intention of consulting that particular GP again.]

Hopefully the photography will improve soon, for the moment I’m just happy that the shutter is beckoning once more.

Langport Christmas Market 30/11/2018

Chez Crosby/Mepstead 1/121/2018

🙂 🙂 🙂

Plastic surgery completed

A huge welcome home to R0X1 following “surgery” to her rear nearside (UK) corner and replacement grey waste pipe. At the same time she had a service and MOT and is once more fit to travel. Many thanks to Richard and Brian at my local garage in Langport.

The BFF has also just come out of hospital having had surgery so next week R0X will get a long overdue run out – down to Cornwall so I can help relieve R’s boredom – she really doesn’t do “take it slowly” at all well.

Tomorrow morning festive decorations will appear chez Crosby/Mepstead, looking forward to seeing all my baubles and my Santa collection again. One of the nicest things about this joined up multi generational household is the huge amount of baubles, ornaments, trees and lights we jointly own, all of which will be on display. Then late afternoon we’ll go into Langport for the market, fireworks and lights switch on, hopefully amongst the food concessions there’ll be a mulled wine stall …

Pix will follow early next week.

🙂🙂🙂

It’s November; it’s Carnival time!

There is a long tradition of carnival in this area dating back, allegedly, to Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot of 1605 to blow up Westminster Palace and the entire government in an attempt to overthrow the Protestant King and reinstate a Catholic monarchy. The burning of old unusable boats boats in Bridgewater symbolised the unsuccessful attempt and reinforced protestant power and was performed each November 5th for many years until they ran out of derelict boats and started on viable ones; a halt was called to the proceedings. The event now is not limited to its Bridgewater beginnings and encompasses 7 towns in 14 nights commencing in Bridgewater on the first Saturday in November and the finale in Glastonbury on the third Saturday. (There are other autumn carnivals around the county but we like this one best.)

The modern carnival reinterpretation of this event started in 1881. It has evolved over the years into the Somerset County Guy Fawkes carnival season. Local carnival clubs spend many thousands of hours throughout the year (and up to £40,000 funded by their supporters) building carts (never call them floats here) up to a maximum of 30 metres long. These largest carts have a tractor unit (literally a tractor in some cases) , a trailer and then a third unit containing the generator needed for the vast number of lights and moving parts. These units are decorated to whatever theme the club chooses quite often something topical, this year’s most moving cart for me was the one depicting scenes from the first world war. This tableau (where the human occupants dressed according to the theme, remain unmoving except for short relax breaks at designated points) headed the procession of more than 40 carts of varying sizes. Not all carts are tableaux, other categories include the ones that literally bounce up and down whilst the dancers perform a routine repetitively whilst the cart is moving …  The decorations, if you can call them such a frivolous word, are works both of art and engineering – roundabouts, swings, moving “animals”, spinning stuff, moving side to side, up and down stuff. This year’s stand out engineering for me was the cart with the car whizzing round a track that ran a circuit built above all the other scenery where the performers were dancing. The performers costumes are spectacular too. I often worry about the performers getting cold, it was brass monkey weather last night, but of course each cart has thousands of light bulbs belting out heat that you miss once each cart has passed.

In amongst the carts are solo performers, dancing troupes and bands all well worth a good clap and a whoop!

This year K, The Smart One and I were among roughly a hundred thousand folk, including our weekend guests a couple of first timers, boogying, clapping and cheering kerbside , duly impressed by the 2 hour parade, and donating money for local charities. K and I, delighted to be back after an absence of several years, both thought this year’s entries were the best ever.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Photos from previous carnivals.