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.

🙂 🙂 🙂

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.


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.

🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m no beginner … (a long rant)

… when it comes to moving house and after making 18 of them personally and having helped my kids on several more, I can with a lot of experience say that this one has been an absolute pig’s ear.

It was an inauspicious beginning, and continued downhill, with the van and two muppets turning up two and a half hours late. I’d already had to leave in R0X1 with the zoo (grandson, dog and cat) to meet estate agent on time leaving K to oversee the loading of furniture and boxes (already packed by us). A quick re-assessment of timing and I was expecting K in Huish Episcopi around 14.30 and van about an hour later. Nah …

Around 13.00 Kate phoned to say the van was already full with only 2/3 of our stuff loaded. Phone calls to firm’s HO ensued – K was accused of adding stuff that wasn’t on the inventory. K insisted she hadn’t and could prove it with her copy of the inventory. Conversations in a non-English language ensued between HO and the muppets culminating in an offer to get another van to move the remainder, magnanimously at no extra cost to us … !!! K arranged to overnight with a friend, and the first van-load arrived here at 18.00 without one complete bed aboard. The Smart One spent the night in R0X1 with the cat and I on a mattress on the floor on the house with LWD.

Despite all boxes being marked with their destination rooms marked on them a lot ended up in random rooms which had nothing to do with box contents. To and injury to insult boxes were all stacked 5 high, regardless of some being marked fragile contents; these guys were obviously not amongst those who consider me vertically or age challenged, and whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with discrimination this once I would have jettisoned my principles!

Having been told a van to move the remainder of our possessions would arrive at 14.00 the following day K spent a pleasant afternoon next door with our now ex- neighbours. The different van and 2 different muppets made a timely appearance at 18.30, loaded up and duly arrived here at 23.00. I refused to hand over any money before they unloaded as the previous day’s chaps hadn’t finished all they were supposed to, if they moved things where they should be, including K’s bed base from the conservatory upstairs to her bedroom I would pay them and then they could bring the rest in. This request necessitated several calls in a foreign language to HO, on speaking to the manager I was left with the impression that although human error had occurred on their part it wasn’t their fault as such and I should shut up, put up and pay up. The legs for K’s bed base were on the van, they would not unload them. I after the previous day’s experience of muppets clearing off without doing their full job would not give way I wanted beds made up before paying.

Stand off; eventually the bed legs only were removed from van; the van was locked closed whilst the bed was made; I paid; they emptied the van and sped away into the after midnight hours without bothering to give me a receipt.

We’re in … and still alive to tell the tale; just!


Altitude and attitude.

The altitude at our current aire, the car park of the Bull Ring,  (I hasten to add that by parking here I’m not displaying any support for what I consider a barbaric form of entertainment)  is 3,377 ft. The early morning temperature was 0℃ but with the chill factor from a stiff easterly wind, it felt colder; at least the sun put in an appearance. I fancy it won’t be long before the mountains to the east are sprinkled with a drop of the white stuff. I layered up, donned hat and scarf and ventured out, but not until late morning.

Unsurprisingly, the shops in Segovia appeared to be doing a brisk trade in gloves, hats and scarves to the ill prepared grockles. Just to be different, this particular grockle bought slippers, – yes family, you heard it from my own computer; not only did I purchase slippers, they are currently being worn!


Once more – from the top!

Having spent yesterday’s forced march mainly around the aqueduct and close environs, LWD was delighted that we walked further today, saw different sights and she even had a play off lead in a park. The views from this hilltop town are stunning.


Sierra de Guadarrama


The Alcazar (palace, bottom left) is undergoing restoration . For me, like Carcassonne, it’s a bit too Disneyfied and over-restored. I prefer old buildings to have less clean lines and “prettiness”, leave them their wonky walls, ragged roofs and faded beauty. Patch the roofs, deal with the leaks, prop ‘em up, make ‘em safe and let them tell their tales via their blemishes.

Just saying …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Cale-moi et laisse-moi tranquille!

I’m having a couple of “domestic” days before we move on, on Monday. Heading for the hills to see if it’s a tad cooler, LWD is suffering a little at the moment. So whilst the washing is in the machine I thought I’d share an Encounter I had in Avignon.

I needed to pop into the post office for a few minutes and tied LWD up outside, as one does. A minute later I was minding my business looking for a suitable envelope when I was accosted by a French woman who demanded to know if it was my dog tied up outside. I admitted same and she proceeded to harangue me in French faster than I could understand but I managed to interrupt her flow long enough to ask (in French) if Daisy was OK and understood her confirmation of this fact, but none of the rest of the continuation of the harangue. I told her I’m English. She dashed off asking all and sundry if they spoke English and when she’d found someone, dragged her over to me and demanded a translation of her complaints. I still wasn’t quite sure whether she was telling me it was against the law to leave Daize unattended but I thanked her for her concern and said  that I understood just to shut her up so I could get on with my business.

Unprepared to leave it at that, she informed me she would watch LWD. I did my best at a Gallic shrug and said that was fine if that was what she wanted to do. I continued to conduct my business – bear in mind that poor Daize has now been left a lot longer than she would’ve been had the woman just minded her own business. But she still couldn’t leave it alone and as soon as I got back outside to Daize she started all over again. I thanked her again and tried, unsuccessfully, to get away; only for an exact repeat of what went before; she harangued me; she accosted embarrassed passers by until she found one to translate for her (I felt so sorry for the lass she grabbed, as my facial expression made it quite obvious that I was by this time quite pissed off; the lass’s apologetic smile told me my sentiments were shared). I still didn’t quite get it but I think the gist was (and this is for you JJ) that I was a very “irresponsible dog owner” and LWD might’ve been stolen! Eventually the overwrought, and by now nearly exhausted, woman realised it was well past time she went. She wandered off with her latest translator and her companions, whom I’m certain she didn’t know from Adam (or his French equivalent), now haranguing them!

I checked Google translate for “sod off and leave me alone” … !

The tranquil Sorgue at the campsite last evening

🙂 🙂 🙂

The case of the missing Stopcock.

So along came Thames Water to mend our stopcock. They dug this hole and left this mess behind a guardfence (note the water filled hole bottom left). After a week I complained that not only had they mended the wrong stopcock they still hadn’t cleared up the mess … so they came back and cleared the mess. They came back again, after I’d phoned them back and reminded them that they still hadn’t found the correct stopcock, and we now have another hole, complete with another guardfence … no sign of them coming to fill in the hole or clear the mess …

… and they still haven’t found the stopcock.


The only entrance to two flats.

Today I had a text from Thames Water asking me to rate my satisfaction with their performance …

🙂 🙂 🙂

Room 101 (second choice)

I forget how many submissions are allowed to go down the chute of doom into Room 101 but there has to be space, after shallow kitchen sinks ( Room 101),  for my second choice – Insurance Companies.

Thirty-one years ago after Keith’s untimely death from an undiagnosable (at that time) congenital heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, he was posthumously accused by his life insurance company of taking out the policy knowing he was suffering from this problem and I was complicit in this. When my solicitor pointed out that undiagnosable meant that the condition could not be diagnosed therefore no-one could have known he was at risk, and that after nine months of non-payment he was increasing the amount of interest he would be charging on monies owed to me, they soon paid up. The whole business left a really sour taste … but life goes on, and I forgot what b*s*a*d* these companies can be.

It is currently my misfortune to be dealing with two other such companies;

  1. I had a reversing incident in R0X1 which damaged the bottom rear near side corner, exactly the spot that I cannot see either with the wing mirror or the dual reversing camera, maybe  a man might be useful after all ( I need a man … ) to spot these places for me when I reverse. I’m attempting to claim for repairs on my insurance. It has taken them over a month to decide that they need photos of the damage extra to those already sent (on August 27th!!!) and I had to call them (AGAIN) this morning to discover this …
  2. Daisy recently had some tests done to see if she has an underlying reason for her ear problems. Because the vet observed her ears were a bit smelly (but with no inflammation) at her first exam the day after I got her the insurance company are claiming this was an undisclosed condition and has refused to pay despite the fact that she didn’t have any ear infections until months after I insured her …

Uninsurable? 😦

I was considering taking out funeral insurance – but the mind boggles at what objections might be forthcoming when I expire … not to worry Kids, just chuck me in the sea with all those insurance terms and conditions attached to my body to weight me down …

🙂 🙂 🙂