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Showing posts from May, 2012

Thursday morning

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What a lovely day it was yesterday bright an sunny but not too warm.  We went off shooting at around 11am and whizzed around the stands.  Although there were lots of people there we managed not to have to que too often.  It is rather nice as we are now considered regulars and all the chaps chat to us, ladies are still pretty few and far between so I suppose we are unusual.  Once home we had a very indulgent lunch of tons of asparagus with poached eggs to dip it in.

Tuc one of my terriers has had a bad back and had been quite off colour but when we decided to go for a walk he was only too pleased to come with us.  I had to lift him gingerly into and out of the car but once on his feet he was fine.  We didn't walk too far as he tired fairly quickly but he was so much more cheerful when we got home and even resumed is pre-wash duties at the dishwasher.  It just goes to show that perhaps a little gently exercise is a good thing even with a bad back!!!

We ended up having a fairly biz…

Wednesday morning

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Dwarf beans at one end and peas at the other end of the newly planted bed. Broad beans going well in the back bed and onions and shallots in the foreground


 Runner beans on one side of the frame and borlotti the other.


Ten tomato plants along the sides and two parsleys plants at the far end

Yesterday was one of accomplishments the vegetable garden is all up and running as planned with both the peas and beans planted.  Mark cleared the bed of spinach and put three barrow loads of compost into it which should give the veg a good start.  The parsley got planted in the green house and lots of other chores got done.  The beds all got changed and the washing machine worked overtime and everything dried and is now awaiting ironing.  It makes you feel really good when you get so much done and while I was in the cleaning mode I stripped some shelving in the kitchen and cleaned that too.  Isn't it amazing what a bit of sunshine can do to lift the spirits.

Today is a shooting day and I ho…

Tuesday morning

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Iris are so beautiful but the flowers dont last long we need to make the most of them while they are with us.

Yesterday started off good and hot so after my early morning chores I was hibernating in the shade of the house until it was time for the hair dresser.  I actually hate having my hair done but it was a real relief this time as it had got all long and straggly so now I am much lighter and cooler too.  The afternoon was hot but the sky was gradually darkening and by tea time we had a couple of claps of thunder which foretold of the deluge to come.  That was all the warning I needed and I shot out and collected all the stuff off the line and quickly ushered the hens to bed.  It only rained for about half an hour but it came down in stair rods and was just what we needed to clear the air and drop the temperature to amore comfortable level.

Today has started off bright and sunny and a bit cooler so I can go and plant my parsley in the green house.  I got a pot of curly and a pot …

Monday morning and the beginning of another week

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Yesterday was another hot one with wall to wall sunshine.  The day started badly with James upending a can of coke all over his bed so it was a case of stripping it all off and getting the duvet out on the line to dry while the bedding went through the washing machine. Once that was done it was out with the dogs before the weather got too warm.  We foolishly thought that as it was such a wonderful day people would be heading for the coast or country side and we would be safe to slip into Tesco for a few odds and ends.  How wrong we were; the place was heaving with semi naked lobsters who had managed to burn themselves the previous day and were hell bent on doing the same again that day.   The men were laying in large amounts of lager and charcoal so I guess it would be the usual barbecue of chicken, burnt on the outside and raw inside, cremated burgers and sausages liberally coated in ash all washed down with copious amounts of beer.  We, on the other hand, were home for our kedgeree…

Sunday morning

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The potted wisteria is a real picture at the moment.
Yesterdays gardening exertions have take their toll on my back which is pretty sore this morning but I am pleased none the less as the jobs really needed doing and I had held off as long as I dared.  I  have also planned to convert the veg bed that is currently filled with spinach to one with peas and dwarf french beans but I am hoping that Mark will do the lions share of that work.  The old spinach plants will make a tasty treat for the hens.


Mike went off to have his hair cut and while he was out I gave James a good wash which requires buckets and jugs and loads of towels but he felt better for a really decent wash.  Hopefully it will not be too long before he can manage the shower.  He was also pleased to received an appointment to see the foot specialist which is a step in the right direction, excuse the pun!! So things are at last going in the right direction and we all feel more hopeful.  
My labours in the kitchen turned out…

Saturday morning

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A bit late this morning I was up at three but James too was up and on the computer so as soon as the light was sufficient I went off up the garden and got stuck in.  So on the have done list so far I have planted the tomatoes in the green house and made sure it was weed free.  Then it was on with the beans.  I have planted one side of the frame with runner beans and the other with climbing borlotti so hopefully that should be enough for us for the summer.  The hens have been fed, watered, cleaned out and eggs collected.  One load of washing is ready to hang out and the last lot has been ironed so quite a lot accomplished in the first few hours of the day.  The red camellia had greened up for a good feed and the yellow leaves have diminished.  My next job is to take my secateurs and have a go at the apricot tree which seems to be suffering some sort of wilt/blight.

Yesterday I managed to get all the nets washed and rehung as well as the shower curtain and I also got the dogs beds lau…

Friday Morning

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This lovely burst of hot weather has brought out the roses ahead of schedule.

I have woken up at this ungodly hour but I think I will have to go back to bed and try for a bit more sleep but until I feel sleepy I will write.

Yesterday was a lovely day if a bit hot for my liking.  We started off with a walk for the dogs while it was still cool and then called in to the butcher and fishmonger on the way home.  I bought a shoulder of lamb in the butcher which has been slow cooked with vegetables and will form the basis of todays menu.  From the fishmonger I bought some lovely brown shrimps which we had on toast for lunch and then some beautiful mackerel fillets that we had for supper.  I did the mackerel fillets on the girdle pan with a line of gremolata [parsley garlic and lemon zest] running down the line where the pin bones had been removed.  All in all a very tasty supper.  I also bought some nice undyed smoked haddock which has been tucked in the freezer for a later date.   It was…

Thursday morning

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In the woodland garden is a self planted lilac which is has decided to flower.  It is so nice that I think I will nurture it to maturity.
Yesterday was a lovely day and Mark arrived to do the garden which now looks nice and tidy after the hens day out.  Their gardening skills are not up to much.  I was very ambivalent about shooting as my back was so bad and even though I decided to go I only managed 5 of the 7 stands.  But that was better than nothing.  We got home at around 2pm and had a lunch of fridge contents.  I had made a beetroot and feta cheese salad which was very nice.  I am not a lover of beetroot is is too sweet for my taste but dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and with the salty feta crumbled over it it was very much improved.  The socks, as predicted, were too small for Jeff so I will have to have another attempt and this time go for 72 stitches rather than the usual 60.  I am hoping that they will fit Sandy and if that fails they will fit Shiona.  
After lunch I…

Wednesday morning

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Yesterdays tart which contained asparagus bacon and three types of cheese not to mention 5 eggs and some creme fraiche and a sprinkling of parsley.  As you can imagine there is not a crumb left it got well and truly demolished at lunch time.  I pre fried the bacon but the rest of the ingredients went in raw which meant that the asparagus still had a little crunch to it and gave a nice texture contrast to the cheese custard.

The weather started off really dull and windy in the early part of the morning but by lunch time we had lovely sunshine and it was very warm.  I was desperate to go and plant my tomatoes but had to restrain myself as my back is really playing up badly and it didn't seem to be a sensible thing to do.  Jane came and did her stuff with the hoover and I got a couple of loads of washing out and dry and ready for ironing.

Today Jeff is coming over and we are hoping to go shooting but I must admit my back woke me a couple of times in the night and is really pretty …

Tuesday morning

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Stunning burgundy colour of the new leaves on the cotinus plant [smoke bush]
All this rain we have had has made the garden really bloom and grow and all the plants are doing very well.  Now all we need is a bit of sun and warmth to make it perfect.  
Yesterday was a reasonable day if a bit dull.  I took the dogs for their usual walk and much to my surprise Basso caught a rabbit.  Which he duly brought to me as a gift, it would have been churlish to refuse so I accepted it and carried until we got to bin where I could dispose of it.  Had it been full size I  would have cooked it for him but sadly is was only a baby and not worth the effort.   
We had made multiple phone calls first thing and were surprised when a physiotherapist came to see James just after lunch.  Sadly he was unable to do anything as he too was caught between the two consultants opinions should James be mobilised to walk or not.  So in the end he just took copious notes and left.  We had booked an appointment with t…

Monday morning

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One very lucky wood pigeon who was busy eating the buds off my tree - but I was not in the mood for a pigeon breast salad.  I was feeling so much better yesterday following some decent sleep so the pigeon survived and I got going good and early.  I was showered dressed and out of the house by 9 am to walk the dogs before the weather turned nasty.  Then I was at the doors of Tesco at 10 am as they opened and had a nice buz round and restocked on some essentials.  My life has been too chaotic to make bread recently so I have had to resort to supermarket bread when I can't get to the baker.    I must admit that it is difficult to find a decent loaf that is not sweet tasting.  For lunch I had already made some butternut squash soup and to go with it I made some scotch eggs which I cooked in the oven and served with a nice pile of coleslaw.  A bit of a strange Sunday lunch but we had had roast leg of lamb earlier in the week.  For supper we had a croque monsieur made with a ciabatta l…

Sunday morning

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Fremontodendron californicum

Well yesterday was a relatively good day.  James and Zoe went to Bluewater to get the final wrinkles ironed out of the iphone saga and it is now fully functional and all the data that was on the cloud is now back on the phone.  It is a wonderful system if only you can get the thing to work.  The youngsters in the Apple shop really make you feel inadequate as they seem to do things so easily and what has taken you 5 hours to work out is just done in a flash.  I think all the additional movement has done James no good at all as he has been in terrible pain all night and we are all but out of Oramorph which seems to be the only thing to kill the pain sufficiently to allow him to sleep.

The weather stayed mainly dry and I was able to get the hens cleaned out and a bit of work done in the greenhouse but by lunch time I was feeling pretty rough and took to my bed for a knitting session.  I find that sitting on the side of my bed is the ideal place to knit witho…

Saturday morning

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This is pretty duff photo of the field where I walk the dogs - what is it supposed to show is that the whole area of the photo was actually a pale shade of blue as it is covered in forget-me-nots.  I took the photo with my phone as I dont often take the camera with me on dog walks. 

Once the dogs were happy we set of to Maidstone to the little nursery where I got loads of tomato plants, ranging from tumbler varieties to San Marzano plums and beef steak.  As I bought ten plants I was given two for free so I now have 12 in all.  I also bought some runner beans and some climbing borlotti beans which I will have to plant out fairly soon. The nursery green houses were stuffed with hundreds of plants and I suddenly wished I had a couple of acres to plant things in.  Anyway the plants are all safely tucked up in the green house and yesterday evening I put up the canes which will support the tomatoes as they grow.  The soil in the green house is very dry so it will need watering daily for a …

Friday and the end of another week

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Wild garlic [ransoms] growing at the end of the garden in a shady spot beneath the magnolia.  The area looks very nice at this time of the year with the bluebells and lily of the valley carpeting the ground.  A few chopped leaves of the garlic make all the difference to a salad.  I use it sparingly as the plant is still young and I would like it to spread a bit further.  I did however pick some rhubarb which I cooked with some stem ginger. This has to be one of my favourite deserts.

The man from Virgin turned up at about 11.30 and installed a new super hub which replaces both the modem and the router.  Then he had the job of getting all the wireless kit to accept the new hardware. I am glad to say that this went without any trouble and all the technology is up and running well.  Including, now are you sitting down!!! the new iPhone which is complete with its new sim card and fully functional.  ALLELUIA

They had threatened us with a wet day but we got away with just a very dull day bu…

Thursday Morning

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Fennel fronds just breaking through
Well the phone saga continues we took the iphone to the Apple shop at Bluewater to get the sim card sorted but they couldn't help so it was off to T mobile who were happy to change the sim to a mini until they discovered that we were not James and then we hit the data protection act yet again.  So after shooting we made a few phone calls with James and hopefully we will have the new sim either today or tomorrow then hopefully that will be an end to the whole saga.

It was a beautiful day but shooting was a disaster.  My back was playing up and I was shattered and over tired so I shot really badly and got the worst score I have had in ages.  I think I might have been better just throwing the cartridges at the clays.  Anyway, we stopped at the kebab shop on the way home and after lunch I took myself off to bed for a rest.  We had the kidneys with rice for supper and still have loads of salad left from the kebab lunch.  Today we are going to have a…

Wednesday morning and bin day

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Euphorbia polychroma
Yesterday was another horrid day with cold winds and intermittent heavy showers and hail.  I did however get my timing right and managed to do any outdoor things in the gaps between showers.  I had to go to the bakers to get some crusty rolls to go with our very odd soup.  Basically I just blitzed the remaining spinach with the sauce and vegetables from the previous meal then added the chopped ham.  It looked pretty lurid green but tasted fine.  For supper I broke out one of the packs of bolognese sauce which is always a nice easy supper.  
The iphone 4 has finally arrived, now all we have to do is go to Bluewater and get them to put the sim card from James old phone into the new phone and we should be up and running and back to where we were in February.  The iphone doesn't take the usual size of sim card of course so it will need to be cut down to size.  Can you believe it has taken this long to get a lost phone replaced.  I think it would be a good idea to…

Tuesday morning

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Well who got their timing completely wrong then - I got a whole load of washing all pegged out just in time for the heavens to open.  Fortunately the second load of duvet covers and king size sheets was still in the machine.  They are for the tumble dryer!!!  The gammon braised in Madeira was really rather nice and so easy with the slow cooker the accompanying creamed spinach was from the garden so also nice and easy.  Our lunch of an egg and tomato sandwich left plenty of room for a more robust supper.  The recipe is from Constance Spry and is a real one pot wonder.  Any left overs make a wonderful soup once blitzed and with a little added stock.  I also have a couple of bundles of nice english asparagus just crying out for some hollandaise sauce.
Recipe
Gammon joint [currently half price in Tesco] soaked over night to remove the salt drain and dry the joint then brown in a pan on all sides in dripping or lard.  Remove meat and add a mixture of diced vegetables [what ever you have l…

Monday morning

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The huge white scented flowers of wisteria venusta
Yesterday was yet another day of glorious sunshine.  I had a lovely walk with the dogs down at the estuary and though the tide was out I managed to stop them paddling in the mud.  A whole load of washing dried on the line in the garden which is so much nicer than having to use the tumble dryer.  The clothes smell so nice a fresh when they come in.  With an assortment of jugs and buckets we managed to give James the equivalent of a shower which made him feel a great deal better too.  Lunch was an assortment of left overs and oddments from the freezer served with boiled potatoes and flat green beans.  I had, however, made a bread and butter pudding with a stale baguette which made a very nice desert.  For supper we had various things on toast including ham and mushrooms.  
Today the wonderful Jane is due but how she is going to manage I don't really know as the house is all a bit of mess with the furniture all out of place hooverin…

Sunday morning

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Fresh new growth on the Korean fir
Yesterday was yet another glorious day with warm sunshine and I even managed to get a load of washing dry in garden.  The hens got a good clean out and I even managed to pull a few weeds.  The leg of lamb left overs were converted into a magnificent shepherds pie which we had for supper as lunch had been rather light with just a small dover sole and some salad. The soles had been caught in the Medway the night before and we are likely to get more of them as the water being abstracted higher up the river allows more salt water into the estuary and with it come the soles.  I made the ginger cake but was unhappy with the results as it contained a fair amount of black treacle, the flavour of which permeated the cake.  However, the one person who liked it was James and he has managed to eat half of it.  The bed has proved a real god send and he has slept for hours at a time both during the day and through the night.  Which has resulted in much better tem…

Saturday morning

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What a lovely day yesterday was at last a bit of sun and warmth.  My order from Sainsbury turned up on time and I made preparations for lunch and got all the stuff put away.  James and Mike were at hammer and tongs when the phone rang and the bed delivery people rang to say the bed was out of stock but they would have it by mid June.  I don't think the poor chap knew what had hit him as I just exploded with sheer frustration.  It was at this point that Shiona and Keith arrived.  Shiona being an astute person realised that I had just about reached breaking point and promptly took me out to buy a bed leaving Mike Keith and James to sort out the room in anticipation.  We have an industrial estate about half a mile from home and there there are about 6 furniture shops so we went from one to the other until we found the cheapest bed frame.  It was duly loaded into the car and we took it back to the men.  The leg of lamb was put into the oven and we then took the computer to the laptop…

Friday morning

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The pittosporum looks its best at this time of the year with the new growth bright green against the almost black of the the older leaves.

Sometimes things go your way and yesterday we had a lull in the terrible weather just long enough for us to go shooting.  The shooting ground was almost under water as it is situated on marsh land close to the QE2 bridge.  We decided to shoot skeet as it requires the least amount of lugging guns and bullets around.  We were just about to get started when a group of three young men asked if they could join us.  We were happy for the company and informed them that we were not skeet shooters just out for a bit of fun.  They accepted this and were happy to help us with the rules of skeet.  One of the guys was rather good and hardly missed a clay but it was not until afterwards that we discovered that he shoots skeet for team GB.  How typical of an Englishman not to mention this.   I didn't disgrace myself too badly but I am very glad I didn't …

Thursday morning

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The rose 'canary bird' is in flower it is always the first to bloom
Well the peace is over, James is back with us as Zoe couldn't manage.  I did try to warn them that full time nursing care is very demanding.  We have ordered a single bed to put in the sitting-room which will arrive tomorrow.  So today we will need to remove all the occasional tables and small furniture from the room so that the suite can be pushed to one side and room made for a bed.  Poor James has been stuck in an armchair over night and hasn't slept a wink.  He is short of pain medication and that will not be ready until this evening but I will be ringing the pharmacy this morning to see if I can speed that up a bit.  I think that shooting may well get cancelled as it is blowing a gale and pouring with rain at the moment.  Having confirmed my visitors in the morning and put in a large order with Sainsbury I had to cancel them in the evening when everything changed again.  Fortunately there is noth…

Wednesday morning

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Honesty in bloom
Yesterday was the first peaceful day in many months the weather was miserable in the morning but Mark came none the less and got stuck into sorting out the chicken run which has been flooding.  Frankly I am surprised the hens haven't got webbed feet.  Anyway, we now have a couple of nice 'soak aways' to let the water run off and until they make a mess of it they should stay nice and dry.  Jane came and gave the house the once over so that too is looking a bit better.  I stripped off all the beds so I now have a mountain of washing to get through and the chair covers in the sitting room are also due for a wash so the machine is going full tilt.  The weather is too poor to risk drying outside so I have succumbed to using the tumble dryer as well as the indoor drying rack.  I also made a few phone calls and managed to get my gas and electricity bills reduced as well as the telephone and broadband.  As Tesco says every little helps.  There is nothing like thr…

Tuesday Morning

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The red camelia in bloom but just look at the chlorosis on the leaves; this is a plant in desperate need of some TLC

Now that James has gone elsewhere I spent most of yesterday sleeping and catching up on a bit of rest the most strenuous thing I did was to pick up my knitting needles.  After a fairly hellish 9 months the house seems so quiet.  However, I can feel a spring cleaning bout coming on as so much has been neglected in both the house and the garden.  I guess it will take a while to settle back into a routine and get my mind focused back on my life.

The long range weather forecast looks a bit hit and miss so the gardening will have to be done on the good days and the house on the wet ones.


The vegetable garden is doing fine with the exception of a few weeds the onions shallots and garlic are going like the clappers.  I think it is now time to start sorting out the green house and get some tomato plants established.

Currently it is raining but a bit warmer than yesterday whe…

Monday morning and bank holiday

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Yesterday was wet and miserable and cold and it looks like today will be the same.  I took the camera up the garden yesterday thinking to take some photos of the flowers in bloom but the heavens opened on me so I beat a hasty retreat having fed the chickens.  The garden certainly looks lush with all this rain but it is best viewed from inside.

The veal chops were very tasty and the left over mash made some nice cheese and onion croquetes for supper.  James was a bit of handful and feeling very down and today he is talking of moving out to stay a Zoe's house which will give us a bit of a break but I think it is a stupid idea as he is still not weight bearing and so very dependant for help.

The radio station from Adelaide duly rang at 9 last night and I spent all of about 2 minutes running through the story of the how Basso retrieved the phone.  I think that that will be the end of his 15 minutes of fame.

Looking round the house is in uproar with stuff scattered everywhere and co…

Sunday Morning

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It is still so cold this morning it is only 5 degrees.  It was pretty chilly yesterday when I took the dogs out and the mud was very slippery.  A couple of times I nearly came a cropper but managed to stay vertical.  Anyway the dogs enjoyed it which was the object of the exercise.  The poor hens are living in a quagmire and I spent some time in the morning cleaning them out and trying to make their accommodation a bit more comfortable with plenty of nest material and dry saw dust under foot.  I havent seen a long range weather forecast but it feels like we are still in for more rain and cold.  I think a little warmth and sun would lift all our spirits.

The sausage and macaroni cheese dish turned out to be a great success.  I the cooked chipolatas on the bottom of the dish and covered them with a layer of saute onions then put the macaroni cheese on top of that and baked it in the oven until the top was crisp and brown.  The starter of asparagus and buerre noisette went down well and …

Saturday morning

Yesterday was a long one spent at the at the very posh new hospital at Pembury where further X rays were taken and then came the consultant who said that James should not be weight bearing yet and should be confined to the wheel chair.  Needless to say he took this quite badly and when he was informed that his pelvis would take between 3-6 months to heal he took a further nose dive.  Anyway we will just have to muddle along as best we can.  On the way home we spotted a sign to a farm shop selling the first asparagus of the season so we diverted and bought a couple of bundles which will be for lunch today.  Zoe had very kindly offered to make supper for us and we were delighted to accept.  She had made a lovely chicken and broccoli ring in puff pastry with sweet potato chips followed by a nice lemon cake so we were well fed and a least I didn't have to do anything or even think about it.  I have a stale baguette which I think I will make into a bread and butter pudding and there ar…

Friday morning

We had a really good day yesterday at last we have cracked the pain control and James managed to sleep for 7 hours in an armchair with his foot elevated on a pouffe. He was quite obviously exhausted from lack of sleep in the hospital and once out of pain he could sleep at last.   We had a visit from two lovely  ladies from the "rapid response" team who had brought lots of bits with them.  James finds the most useful is the Zimmer frame with wheels which gives him a stable base from which to manoeuvre. They were horrified that he had been sent home with nothing to help him and we had been left to muddle along as best we could.  Isn't it amazing what 24 hours of proper nursing care can achieve!!!

This morning we are off Pembury hospital fracture clinic and so hopefully we may get some information as to prognosis etc.  Mike and Zoe went and bought a memory foam mattress for the bed in her house so he will be able to move in there as soon as we have sorted out the financial…

Thursday morning

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Well we made it through yesterday, shooting got knocked on the head as Jeff got caught in the traffic on the motorway and decided that discretion was the better part of valor and turned round and went home.  I must confess I was not at all unhappy about it as I was rather too tired to be enthusiastic.

We had a little run around in the morning doing a few chores and I rang the various agencies to see what sort of care package had been put in place for James discharge.  Now I know that this will not surprise you but there was absolutely nothing arranged.  Apparently we are now to expect a visit from the rapid response team but I am not holding my breath.  We have an appointment at Pembury hospital fracture clinic on Friday which is going to be quite a performance.


At least it is a brand spanking new hospital lets hope the care is just as new and wonderful.  I spent the last few years of my working career on this site; in the school of nursing, which was an accumulation of nissen huts. …

Wednesday morning

We are entering a new phase.  The wheelchair was delivered by the Red Cross at about 2pm and we collected James at around 4pm.  We had great fun getting him into the house on crutches as he finds great difficulty getting up the various steps.  The wheelchair manoeuvres around the down stairs relatively well but then came getting up the stairs to the bedroom.  The only way to accomplish this was to "bum shuffle" up the stairs.  How we are going to get him down this morning when he wakes heaven only knows, it is going to take some ingenuity. I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  What we could really do with is a stair lift.   Anyway one good thing is that he has had a peaceful night and is still sleeping which is all to the good.  When I read the discharge letter apparently his pelvis is fractured in 4 places - no wonder he has been in so much pain.  The dogs were pleased to see James back and Tuc had not left his side and has spent the night sleeping alongsid…