Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jingly janglies

The jingly janglies are out. Loads of 'em. Up the cemetery run. Went there for an evening stroll yesterday soirée. Millions of other wild flowers too. Purpley thingies. And sort of orchidy looking thingies. Flowers all over the place. Haven't a clue what they're all called. Georgie knows though. Keeps reciting Latin names whenever she spots something. Like the jingly janglies for example. I've forgotten what their proper name is, but no matter, not important. I call 'em jingly janglies 'cos they remind me of a row of bells. Perhaps 'ding dongs' or 'clangers' would be better, but jingly janglies it is. Goes back to The Byrds and their guitar sound which is commonly known as jingly jangly. Jingle jangle morning I'll come following you. Johnny Marr of The Smiths apparently tried to copy that sound. Failed miserably though, so he's miserable now, ho ho! Anyways..., according to Georgie, these plants are available to buy on the internet for around six or seven quid. If anyone wants some I'll sell 'em for a fiver. Bargain, huh?





Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Amputooted

It's gone. The end of my second toe, left foot. Chopped off over Easter. Three days in hospital then chucked out with stitches in toe. Drove home. 75 miles with a gammy foot operating the clutch pedal. Stitches removed about a week ago. Laurent, the visiting nurse, paid his last visit a few days back. Gave me the all clear so daily visits now terminated. Currently enjoying the odd lie-in without having to get up at the crack of dawn to prepare for when the nurse comes a-knockin' to change the dressing. Or jab a needle in my gut. Or nick an armful of my blood for 'testing'. But the saga's not over yet. Have to go back to hospital in about three weeks' time for yet another heart check-up. I think they're still a bit concerned about my swollen feet and ankles. Could be water retention. Might be caused by circulatory inefficiencies. Or maybe there's still some chlorestoroly stuff blocking up some arteries. Ah well, heigh ho, c'est la vie.

Anyways..., haven't bloggeaued for ages. Which reminds moi..., many thanks to all those very kind people who've sent me messages to check up that I'm still alive. Thanks too for saying you've been missing my postings. Trouble is, as I've said before, my focus for last five months has been on that damned foot problem. Which I first thought was gout, but which turned out to be a dodgy ticker and blocked artery. And bloggeauing about that every couple of days would have been really boring. Besides, I also found myself repeating things from a year ago, like being snowed in. Or having Christmas lunch with the neighbours. Or dogwalking over the same old tracks. Difficult to avoid repetition when one's been bloggeauing for years. Better to stop and give it a rest. Which is what I did. And then there's the fact that my bro-in-law sadly passed away recently. Alzheimer's and lung cancer. Poor chap. He really enjoyed my rubbishy scribings and regularly phoned to say so. Now, with him gone and Georgie out here, it's hard to think of a reason to continue bloggeauing. Which is why I really appreciate messages from anyone who enjoys my written meanderings. So yes, thanks again to those kind folk who've messaged moi. Mucheau appreciated.

So..., we're almost at the longest day already. Hard to believe, but there you go. Seems only a few weeks ago that the Christmas lights were glittering in the puddles of cobbled streets down in Felletin. Been a mild winter though. Didn't have much snow. Fewer stove fires means the woodpile has lasted longer this year. Haven't had much rain either. Mind you, having said that, it's been cloudy and rainy for about a week now. Managed to take a few snaps of the irises before the rains came. And the leafy lane out back. And Georgie doing a bit of gardening. Talking of which, she's been glued to the telly recently. Chelsea flower show. Can't get enough of it. And me, I know nothing about gardening but, surprise, surprise, I know who won the golds and silvers at this year's show. Scary, huh? Talking of which, the green-fingered lady's outside at the moment, au jardin, doing whatever gardeners do. I'm indoors of course. Better get out there and show willing. Get that lawn mower fired up and start trimming. Ah well, here goes...








   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oops

Oops. Long time no bloggeau. Laziness I suppose. But there again, nothing much has happened. Anyways..., thought I'd do a quickie just to say I'm off to hospital tomorrow (Thursday) for a Friday op on my toe. I gather the surgeon chappie is going to slice the rubbishy end off and then send me home on Saturday. I understand I'll be able to drive with a damaged left peg, so I won't have to catch a bus or invest in an automatic gearbox jam jar. Was intending to bloggeau after the op but so many extremely kind people have ear'oled moi for a progress report and to make sure I haven't fallen of me perch. Your concern is much appreciated. Apologies for lack of riveting news. Looking forward to scribing a more interesting posting next week. Toodle pip.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dodgy ticker

Been very lazy. Haven't bloggeaued for ages. Not much been happening. Never does in winter. Rubbish weather and rotting toe means stay indoors. Reduced mobility gets boring after a time. Then a bit more boring after a bit more time. The clock ticks and the days roll by. Dull skies mean dull routines. Staring out the window. Watching the rain. Thinking how times have changed. Memories of strolling over those distant hills. Now I just limp up the back lane. C'est la vie.

Went for a check up at that Limoges hospital a couple of weeks back. Half expected the surgeon to chop off the end of the rotting toe. But he didn't. Told me instead to come back again in another month's time. I presume he thought it just might heal. He might be right. But I think he's wrong.


Went back in again a couple of days later. Saw some heart specialist. Stuck electrical thingies all over my chest and stuffed a drip thing in my arm. Didn't really know what was going on. Turned out he was reading my heart workings on a telly screen. The drip thing apparently pumped some liquid into my bloodstream which quickened my heart rate. Apparently at 130 beats a minute my heart misbehaved a bit. Doctor wasn't sure why. He's now booked me in for a minor exploratory operation in about ten days time. I think they're going to pump dye into the heart area to see if some of the tubes are blocked. Not sure though. Anyways, I gather I'll be hospitalised for just two nights. Then I presume they'll know a bit more exactly what the problem is. Then..., I presume they may have to operate again to put it right. Maybe another stent or two. Or maybe just stretching or expanding hardened or partially blocked arteries. Don't know. Haven't a clue.

However, I now have a slightly clearer idea of what's been going on. Originally I thought it was a simple case of gout. May well have been. But added to that was a blocked thigh artery which meant blood couldn't reach the left foot toe area. Didn't realise it at the time though. I now know that that blocked artery, or my present heart condition (whatever that may be), has been around a lot longer than I originally thought. Maybe up to a year or more. Maybe even longer - at a medical check up about ten years ago I was told I had high blood pressure. So, for over a decade my heart's been having to pump harder to get the blood to circulate. And now, I presume, it's just a bit knackered. I guess that's the price I pay for smoking since I was sixteen. Given up now though. Two months. And counting.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hospital'n'stuff

In my recent 'Stent' posting I mentioned that my surgeon at the Limoges hospital had booked me in for a check-up at the end of December. This was to see if the op to insert a 'stent' in my left thigh had had the knock-on effect of renewing the circulation to the toes in my left foot, thus saving them from being amputated (same condition as frostbite). At the time of the appointment being made I was horizontal in hospital with a useless left foot. This ruled out driving the 70 miles to Limoges for the December check-up. Looked like the only way to get there would be by coach and cab. However, Donnie very kindly flew out to spend Hogmanay with us and, at the same time, drive my car to and from the Limoges hospital. By the time the appointment had rolled around, a semblance of life had miraculously returned to my big toe, but the adjacent one remained dead as a dodo. For that reason I fully expected to be kept in hospital for a quick op to remove said toe before being sent limping home a few days later. However, the surgeon seemed encouraged by the big toe's recovery and so decided to allow a stay of execution for the adjacent toe. Another appointment was made for a final check-up. The poorly toe now had thirty days to recover, or it was due for the chop. With that, Georgie, Donnie, Jock and I piled back into the car and headed home. That was ten days ago. Twenty to go.

Since that Limoges trip, life at home has become a sort of dull routine of lazing around doing bugger all apart from popping pills and feeling extremely guilty about Georgie being carer. Have to admit I'm a rubbish patient. Having been virtually immobilised for about a month now I'm beginning to notice a distinct drop in fitness levels. Whereas before I used to think nothing of an hour or two's stroll over the hills with canine company, I now feel knackered after hobbling about a hundred yards. And that's despite giving up the fags and booze three weeks ago. Surprisingly, giving up the fags was easy. Always is when you have to. Well, I presume I had to. After all, some of the medics reckon it was smoking that originally caused the chloresterol build-up in the left leg artery which nearly killed me. Could have been diet of course, but test results showing 'normal' chloresterol levels suggest otherwise. Must be saving around 40 quid a week by kicking the nicotine and whisky. Or maybe a bit less. Pricey stuff these addictions.

Can't really comment on how things are going in the toe department. I get occasional jabs of pain which I presume is blood blasting its way into dead areas of flesh, but I might be wrong. Maybe it's just nerve endings on their last legs having one final fling. Who knows. And visually, there's not much to see. The big toe is now pink (was black, but a nurse pulled the old skin off - a bit like a snake shedding its skin) but remains a bit swollen. And it looks a bit of a mess (blackish) where the old toenail fell off - a new one will apparently grow back, according to Laurent, one of the nurses. However, the adjacent toe remains stubbornly black in its upper half with no apparent signs of new skin growth. I only get to see its condition briefly in the mornings when I remove the bandage and dressings in order to soak the foot in warm water before the nurse arrives at around 10am. Not a pretty sight. The toe that is, not the nurse.

All we can do is live in hope. Maybe that toe will suddenly shed  its black coat and return to full fitness, but I remain somewhat pessimistic. And although the big toe seems to have escaped the chop, I have my doubts. Still, we'll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trials bikes

So..., there I was with a mint, UK registered Montesa 4RT trials bike that couldn't be re-registered in France due to a lack of one of these confounded 'Certificat de Conformité' papers. Therefore had little option other than to return the bike to the UK and put it up for sale with the much appreciated assistance of sis and bro-in-law. Bike sold after just one week. So what bike to buy as a replacemenet? Well, as is often the case, the bike just popped up on eBay - a mint, 1963, renovated, 250 DOT trials with a 37a Villiers engine. Bought it and had it 'white-vanned' out to France. Excellent nick - er, apart from the engine being down on power and reluctant to 'rev out'. Bike now back in the UK undergoing surgery at Stevens Motorcycles in Kent. At about this time I had my first gout attack (only it wasn't gout - see 'Stent' posting). This made me think I might never ride in trials again. So I thought about selling the DOT. But that seemed bonkers as I'd only just bought it. Then I thought maybe I have just one more crack at riding in a pre-'65 or twinshock trial. Maybe next year's Phil Mellers trial in Hampshire. Or maybe next year's Dick Little trial. Or maybe next year's Greybeards. The DOT would be an ideal steed for all those trials. Or maybe a twinshock would be better. So I had a quick search for twinshocks. Spotted a gem. A Don Godden-framed 320 Majesty. Bought it. White-vanned it out here. Now parked up in the garage. So I now own two absolutely brilliant trials bikes, both of which could be seen as investments. Or maybe I'll sell the DOT and keep the Majesty. Or if this blasted foot condition results in no more trials rides, maybe I'll sell 'em both. Nah, perish the thought.

P.S. - Heart problem. Maybe my trials-riding days are over. Both bikes now sold. This is the first time in half a century that I've been without a trials 'iron'. Feels a bit odd.




The first snows of winter

Date for the diary: 18th November - that's when this year's snow arrived. Came about a month later than last year so maybe we're in for a teeny bit shorter winter. Surprisingly, it came without warning. The previous evening had been sunny so I was looking forward to getting out to take some snaps of the autumnal colours. However, the snow put a stop to that. Shame really, 'cos the trees had turned into striking colours of reds, browns and yellows. Now, a couple of weeks later, the trees are almost bare, their colourful leaves lying on the ground battered by snow and blown by winds.

Couple of nights after that first flurry, the real snow hit. About ten inches. Had to shovel a path to the woodshed to get much needed logs. Then dig out the car to get provisions from downtown. As with all snows, one never knows when it will end, or for how long you'll be snowed in. So, when the winter snows arrive, it makes sense to get down the supermarché and get stocked up. Trouble is, everyone thinks the same so get there late and the shelves start looking a bit bare. Nipped down there in the afternoon and was quite surprised to see that it hadn't snowed nearly as much down in the lowlands. Just a couple of inches. Keep forgetting how high we are - about 600 metres, which is about the same as the high bits of the Derbyshire Peaks district.

Woke up earlyish on the day the snow arrived. Noticed a couple of visitors in the garden scavenging for fallen apples under the snow. Normally deer keep well clear of the village. But these two seemed perfectly at ease pottering around les jardins. Wonderful to watch. Then they were gone.