Sunday, 28 September 2008

Blogged Out

It might be a useful tool to impart news and evidence our daily activities, but blogging can also turn into a realisation of just how empty your life is. Such has been the case with me over the past two weeks or so.
By 'empty' I certainly mean the exact opposite. By 'empty' I mean entirely crammed with completely and utterly mundane, every-day tasks - not worthy of a mention here. Things like - getting up, feeding self, feeding cat, feeding daughter, feeding wife, getting ready for work, going to meeting after meeting, writing up endless case notes, making endless referrals to external agencies, completing endless applications for funding, reading and reviewing other people's business plans and ideas (and thinking "Why didn't I think of that?") coming home, feeding self, daughter, wife, bathing, watching "Road Wars" or "Booze Britain", retiring. See? Not worthy of a mention here? Utterly mundane and every-day stuff which, for the past two weeks, has formed the bulk of my life.
I could always fall back on the weather - which for some reason has decided to revert back to 'spring-like' despite being almost October - but I did that all through the Summer-that-never-was. I'm sure you must be as bored with weather as I am. I could write about my other hobbies and interests, the bike project, gardening, swimming, writing. Or I could write about the more personal, emotional stuff - my wife's illness, my illness, but when you live with it all day sometimes it's nice to get a break away from it all, rather than sitting and writing about it. Dwelling on it.
So, what I'm saying, in my usual and very round-about way, is that I've been so busy lately, doing absolutely nothing worthy of note, that I haven't had chance to blog, though I've made the occasional visit.
Fear not, fine blogging friends - for I shall return! I just need to do something interesting enough to write about!

Monday, 15 September 2008


I tend to be growing more and more impatient.  I don't know if it's an age thing, or if it's down to the medication I'm on for Crohn's. (It certainly WAS the medication when I first started to take it - the steroids made me aggressive and short tempered.)

I don't mean impatient with my wife's condition or my own - though these must surely be contributory factors - I mean an overall and very general impatience with everyday life.

Take automated telephone systems for example - I was always the one who had the patience of Job with these things - now I listen to the first message and if it doesn't have the phrase "Or to speak to an operator press the hash key." I hang up. A few years back I'd have gone for the option most closely associated with my query and then found myself lost in a telecommunications nightmare maze - but I'd have navigated my way out of it.  My doctor's surgery has recently decided that all calls into it have to be greeted by such an automated system -  with the only option being to speak to one of the receptionists!! I mean what is the point?? So now when I call the doctors for an appointment I'm greeted by a recorded message which must've been made by a drunk or heavily sedated receptionist who says:

"T h a n k   y o u  f o r  c a l l i n g   C*******  H e a l t h   C e n t r e. I ' m  s o r r y  b u t  a l l  o f 
t h e  r e c e p t i o n i s t s  a r e  b u s y.(No, they're not)  I f  y o u  w o u l d  l i k e  t o  h o l d, 
o n e  o f  t h e  r e c e p t i o n i s t s  w i l l  b e  w i t h  y o u  s h o r t l y.  I f  y o u  a r e 
c a l l i n g  b e t w e e n  6 p m   a n d  8 a m  p l e a s e  c a l l  t h e  o u t  o f  h o u r s  
s e r v i c e  o n ***********,  o r  i f  y o u r  c a l l  i s  m o r e  u r g e n t  d i a l  t h e 
e m e r g e n c y  o u t  o f  h o u r s  s e r v i c e  o n *********. I f  y o u  a r e  c a l l i n g 
b e t w e e n  8 a m  a n d  8.30 a m  a n d  y o u  r e q u i r e  a  h o m e  v i s i t  p l e a s e 
c a l l ********. O r,  i f  y o u r  c a l l  i s  u r g e n t  c a l l  t h e  e m e r g e n c y  o u t  o f 
h o u r s  s e r v i c e on ***********. I f  y o u  w o u l d  l i k e  t o  s p e a k  t o  a 
r e c e p t i o n i s t  p l e a s e  h o l d." 

At which point you are promptly cut off if you have called at 8.29 and 59 seconds, so you have to redial quickly in order to get an appointment and then you have to listen to it all again, so that by the time you get to speak to an operator at 8.53am all of the appointments have been taken.

Is it just me? Am I simply an impatient, grumpy old man (at 42) or has the world gone mad?

Saturday, 13 September 2008


My apologies for not posting over the past few days. A busy schedule at work, and an even busier one at home, has left little time for anything else. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!

I just want to say thank you to all who commented on my most recent post - your comments and offers of support are much appreciated. As for Lesley, well the busy schedule at work meant a few trips out for her this week - she accompanied me on a number of my client visits. Wednesday was a bad day as I had some training to attend in County Durham. I had to be there for 8.30 so it was an early set off and Lesley wasn't able to come along. She was really bad - panicky, tearful, and completely stressed about me driving the 28 miles to the training centre. My handsfree kit served me well that day, though compared to other trips Lesley did really well - only calling me four or five times to check on my progress during the 25 minute drive. Once I was there she could relax until lunchtime when I had to drive back. Only four calls on the way home too, so not such a bad day for me - Lesley put herself through the mill a couple of times though.

Thursday would've seen a repeat of the journey but luckily my gastro appointment overran and I didn't have to go.

Still no sign of the NHS Counsellor - she was referred in May. The longer this goes untreated the more I worry about the physical effects it's having on her - her nerves must be shot to pieces, she is losing weight, and that much adrenalin pumping round her system day in day out means she's always in 'fight-or-flight' mode, never able to relax, even at night she's up two or three times pacing the floor or having a panic attack. I feel so helpless most of the time.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Depression and Anxiety.

My wife suffers from anxiety. Deep seated, long term anxiety, mixed with severe depression (probably associated with untreated post natal depression.)

The anxiety stems from a separation issue - she fears loss following the death of her father whilst he was working abroad and when she was just eleven years old - the fear of loss is fixated on me which makes life very difficult for both of us. For example - I have to work. I meet business owners on a day to day basis and often have to travel (drive) to their premises for these meetings. When Lesley knows I have a drive ahead of me she will do one of a number of things: 1)She will try to get me to rearrange the meeting. 2) She will ask me to feign illness. 3) She will feign illness herself. 4) She will decide to come with me to the meeting. Usually point number 4) above will win - despite my protestations - and she will sit in the car outside of my client's premises for as long as the meeting takes, or she will walk around the town I'm visiting until I collect her after my meeting. On the odd occasion where it is impossible for Lesley to come along, I will receive between ten and fifteen phone calls during a twenty minute journey. Sometimes in rural areas the phone signal isn't as strong and Lesley can't get through - she has been known to call my client, prior to my arrival, to ask if I've arrived or to get me to call her when I get there.

Lesley fears that I will die if she lets me go alone - this is heightened by the fact that we, as a family, are in exactly the same position as her family all those years ago. Mother, Father, one daughter - father goes out to work one day and returns in a box. She fears that history is about to repeat itself. The argument of "Well if you come with me and we both die in a crash, Emily will be an orphan!" holds no weight whatsoever. That scenario doesn't repeat her earlier life experience and so, in her mind, is unlikely to happen. Whereas she knows that the original scenario can happen - because it happened to her thirty years ago.

Her fears also extend to the weekends. She likes to go shopping in town with her Mother whilst I stay at home and look after Emily. Stay at home being the operative phrase. If I decide to take Emily to the park or any other venue all hell breaks loose. I have, in the past, ignored Lesley's pleas of "You will stay in, where it's safe, won't you?!" and taken Emily to the park anyway, for Emily's sake. I always take my phone and call Lesley to let her know - but it doesn't help her fears - it simply fuels them and in an hour long trip to the park she will call me four or five times to ask if I'm back home yet.

This illness puts an enormous strain on our relationship as you can imagine. It also affects Emily who picks up on the atmosphere and anxieties and tends to mirror certain fears.

Lesley has seen numerous doctors and been prescribed numerous courses of tablets - which she never takes because she also fears that she will be affected by the list of side effects on the infosheet. She was referred to the GP's Counselling service by her GP in May and is still waiting for her first appointment - she has been told recently that it may be as late as next year before she is seen.

I will write more on this subject in due course, and have been meaning to do so for some time, but for now I wanted to get the bare bones of the condition down on 'paper' for my own sake rather than as an interesting read for visitors.

Friday, 5 September 2008

In Summary - This Sums up Summer!

Even the cat doesn't want to venture outside!
For more Skywatchers visit the Skywatch Blog

Pure, Unadulterated GREED! - The Proof.

Further to my recent post (Pure, unadulterated GREED! 23rd Aug) The article below is proof that the energy companies are in it for the profits for their shareholders.

On the pretence that recent hikes in energy bills are "to remain competitive in a difficult market, whilst worldwide fuel costs are rising and to sustain investment in energy supply links and infrastructure." the following release kind of blows that theory out of the water:

"Research commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that altogether the six biggest (energy) companies paid £1.635 billion in dividends last year - a 19% increase on the 2006 total of £1.378 billion.

LGA acting chairman Sir Jeremy Beecham said the figures demolished claims by the companies that they needed to protect their profits in order to invest in new forms of energy for the future.

"This research torpedoes the energy companies' justification for their profits," he said.

You can read the full article here -
MSN - News/Energy

It almost makes you want to dig out your placard from the 1970's/80's and start a protest march. I would, if only the British Apathy Party hadn't taken over.

So I, like the rest of the ripped off consumers of the UK, will just sit back and watch in the hope that someone else starts a protest I can sign up to (perhaps online - so as I don't have to leave the house!)

Well? What are you waiting for? (Yes, but I'm waiting for YOU!)

Monday, 1 September 2008

A Pinch and a Punch...

...for the first of the Month!

Welcome to September - let's hope it's a bit brighter than August was (in terms of the weather!)

And speaking of pinches, we're all feeling the pinch at the moment through rising fuel, household and food prices so I thought I'd let you in on a new discovery - Love Food Hate Waste (click on the link) is a site dedicated to reducing the amount of food we waste. It provides hints and tips for saving money, recipe and menu planners, it even suggests weekly menus and provides a shopping list specific to each menu.

Check out the site when you get chance - you might eat better AND save some dosh along the way!!

Happy hunting!