Friday, 30 March 2012

Mountain Man's new exercise regime

I am now stuck with my leg having to be raised for the whole weekend. I was hopeful that it might be sunny and hot outside and I could spend the day sitting in the garden. It's currently the former and not the latter so outside is out at the moment, but hopefully by lunch time it will be warm enough.

How did I end up like this? Well a month or so ago I was told by the podiatrist that I have Sinus Tarsi Syndrome and although I tried inserts in my shoes and an ankle brace nothing was working and so I was booked into the hospital yesterday afternoon for a cortisone injection. Not the most pleasant of experiences. It apparently doesn't work for everyone, but I'm sincerely hoping I'm not everyone.

Poor Mountain Man has now had to turn from patient into nurse. He's getting back into exercising again and I'm looking at this stint of enforced inactivity on my part as part of his recovery programme as he runs up and down the stairs fetching and carrying for me. He might well see it differently!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Newly found stag status

I'm not quite sure why these things happen to me, but happen they do.

When I take the train I try and get a seat in the quiet carriage, but because I'd booked my ticket a couple of weeks ago when the meeting I had to attend in London was called, there were none left.

As I got on the train yesterday the carriage I was in was the absolute opposite of quiet. It was full of blokes who were on their way home to Darlington from a stag do in Edinburgh. And when I say full, I mean absolutely stuffed. They were all hungover and some were quite drunk. The guy in my seat was asleep. Undaunted I very politely told his friends he was in my seat and he was shaken awake and he and one of his pals moved to seats further down the carriage, but I was still surrounded. I also noticed that all the seats in the carriage were booked and the ones on my table from Newcastle to London.

Ok, so we get to Newcastle, where blow me, but a whole load of blokes who'd been on a stag do in Newcastle for the weekend got on and proceeded to remove all the stag blokes from the other do and sit in their allotted seats. I was now surrounded by London stags rather than Darlington stags. There were about 20 of this lot. They very quickly established their journey routine by getting out their six packs (and I don't mean the belly variety) and their packs of cards. They looked at me, apologised and then offered me a beer.

Actually the journey was hilarious. I watched them play a rather idiotic card game called 'Inbetweeners' which has no skill whatsoever, but incurs much betting of real live money. I was amazed at how much money they were winning and losing... literally £££'s! They offered me a shot, but quite frankly I'm not a gambler and especially when it's totally down to luck, so I declined. But we chatted and laughed and drank. I even got invited to the party that was due to happen last night, but I declined that too as I'd already booked my ticket to the David Hockney exhibition. Not sure they understood that one.

The Hockney exhibition was absolutely fantastic and I'm so pleased I managed to go. It's only on until the 9th April, so do go if you get the chance.

My meeting went ok and I managed to get home today to find my man had been pretty good and rested for the hours I was away. I think the threat from a phone call from No. 1 Son was enough to stop him from doing too much.

My journey back was very boring compared to my one down. Maybe next time I'll book for a noisy carriage rather than the quiet one and get my honorary stag T-shirt ready just in case there are some stags in need of a 60 year old woman on the lookout for a party!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

If you go down to the woods today

Down in our Community Woods this afternoon we came across this wonderful deer made of woven sticks. It's absolutely amazing. Nell was completely freaked at first and started woofing at it and prancing about for all of 10 seconds, after which discretion got the better part of valour and she decided to ignore it.

You can also see from this photo that Mountain Man is up and about again and was feeling well enough to join us on our afternoon stroll.

In fact MM is so much better today that we've decided to dispense with No. 1 Son's very kind offer of ministrations tomorrow when I leave for the big smoke and MM will stay home with strict instructions not to lift anything at all.

I do, in fact, feel ok about leaving him home alone as the Cardiologist that treated him in the BGH lives across the road from us and a few of the Borders Search and Rescue guys aren't far away. Hopefully neither of them will be needed as I'm sure MM will rest up.

And Nell? Well she doesn't actually know how to do much more than rest up these days and, apart from her 10 seconds of intense activity this afternoon, she's back to normal showing Mountain Man what resting up really looks like.

Friday, 23 March 2012

That was the week that was

At last, after 6 long days, Mountain Man is home from hospital.

It's been a very long week that has tried and tested my patience to the full and I'm afraid I've been found wanting. All I can say is that I'm pleased I live in the Borders and my local hospital is the Borders General (or as it's affectionately known down here The BGH), as when MM was removed from there to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary at midnight on Wednesday night, the reality of the worst of the NHS hit home. From food that's prepared in Wales and brought all the way to Edinburgh to a car park where you pay £1.30 for the first hour, no matter whether you're there picking someone up and you're parked for 10 minutes, the experience was not a great one.

The outcome of all this is that MM has a slight left ventricle artery problem which he's now on medication for, and apart from being Sedentary Man for the next few days, he should be back to firing on all cylinders reasonably soon. I'm very relieved.

Meanwhile, I went to my Women's Bowls League competition on Wednesday night as I felt I needed to get out and do something rather than sitting around waiting for the phone to go and someone to tell me what was going on. I'm so pleased I did. We won our match and that has made us runners up. Given that it's my first year doing this I am thrilled. And more importantly my team all told me that I wasn't on the transfer list and no-one was to poach me for next year. It sure is nice to be wanted.

I have a meeting to attend in London on Monday morning and I've been waiting all week to see if it'll be ok to go. It's been decided I will and I'll leave my man and dog in the care of No. 1 son in Edinburgh when I head south on Sunday night. I've also booked to see the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy and, although I had a standby for my ticket, I'm pleased I'll be able to get to it.

I wonder what next week will bring? No... best not go there!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

No news is no news

Mountain Man is still in hospital and we're still not much wiser. It does look as though it wasn't a heart attack, which is great, but the mystery goes on and we won't find out anything until tomorrow. Apparently they want a radiographer to look at the results from one of the tests, so that's that.

One good thing though is that they've unhooked him from the heart monitor because his heart rate was so slow it wasn't registering properly. All those marathons, cycle rides, mountain climbs etc must have done some good then! It also meant that he could get off his bed and walk a bit.

We decided on him walking me to my car in the car park as he wanted a bit of air. I'm not sure he was supposed to go beyond the entrance, but as far as I'm concerned flouting rules means that he's definitely on the mend.

So now we wait... ho hum... I'm not very good at this waiting lark!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day

My Mother's Day started last night when Mountain Man, who was running the Mighty Deerstalker Challenge, had to be rescued by the Borders Search and Rescue team that he works with. He had a collapse - albeit at the end after getting his medal - and was carted off to Borders General Hospital.

What is a little strange about this is that I knew he was in difficulties about 5 minutes before I got the call. I just had a sense that things weren't going ok.

This brought to mind a similar incident with No. 1 son when he was 14. He'd already broken one of his legs at judo 8 months before and was back at training. MM had taken him. I was settling down with a nice glass of wine and my cat on my lap and I just knew he'd broken his leg. And 5 minutes later I got the call to say he'd indeed broken his leg. Luckily it was the other leg... well ok, maybe 'luckily' isn't the right terminology but I'm sure you know what I mean.

And it was exactly the same last night. I'd just settled down, but with a whisky not wine, and knew I was going to get a call, and then 5 minutes later there it was.

We don't know exactly what's wrong, but MM is firmly ensconced in the cardiac ward at BGH attached to wires and monitors. He's due to have more tests tomorrow so all will become clearer then.

As far as Mother's Days go this probably wasn't the most relaxed, but as well as cards from both my sons, they phoned and were absolutely wonderful. I feel blessed as a mother and who could ask for more.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Funny things humans

I'm just back from a two day teaching stint on a specialist supervision workshop, which I facilitated with an extremely experienced psychologist. And, as always, being psychologists, we did our evaluations.

Out of the 10 attendees 9 of them gave the workshop the highest rating, but one didn't. We then spent almost half an hour anxsting about this one and ignoring all the positives in the others. We even managed to ignore that this one person had said that the facilitators (as in us) were great.

After our half hour we drove home and still couldn't lift our mood of desolation and the first thing I told Mountain Man was that it hadn't gone that well.

I had to do my report on the workshop this morning and when I actually read what was written I couldn't help but smile.

Funny isn't it that we always focus on the negative even though the positive is right in front of us.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

You've got mail

Well no we don't actually.

Our postman rang our doorbell this morning to tell us he was having a very bad day and had apparently delivered all our letters next door. This wouldn't usually be a problem, but our neighbours are away until the end of the month.

The postman decided he'd see if a letter rescue mission could be mounted as our neighbour's son lives  down at the other end of the village, but as the poor guy will be at work for the day and won't get home until late, it's unlikely that anything can be done today or maybe until tomorrow or even the weekend.

The thing that bothers me is that I'm sure most of the post is unwanted crap that will hit the shredder as soon as it enters the house but I just can't be 100% sure. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the day that some super duper offer comes through letting either me or Mountain Man know that our lives depend on answering whatever by midnight tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest.

Oh well, as it's doubtful that anything will arrive today and I'm off very early tomorrow and am away until late on Friday, the only thing to do is put the the whole thing out of my mind and hope that the postman's day is getting better.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Battery chat

I got an upgraded iPhone last Wednesday. I went from a 3G to a 4S. The battery life on my old one was pretty awful, so ages ago I bought a Mophie for it to extend the usage, and it was ok. Far better with than without. I could get about 6 hours out of my phone and then the Mophie added about another 6.

Well when I got my new one I decided I'd better invest in another Mophie, basically because the iPhone 4 is a completely different shape to the 3 and so I couldn't use my old one (typical!) and, unbelievably, since last Wednesday I've not recharged my phone at all. The phone itself went for at least 4 days without a recharge and the Mophie has added another 4. I think that's stupendous myself, and hopefully I won't have to carry my charger everywhere I go just in case.

Monday, 12 March 2012

I don't like Mondays

Monday's are not good days for going out to eat in The Borders.

For Mountain Man's birthday celebration meal our first choice was Cobbles in Kelso, but they weren't open. Then we tried the Siamese Kitchen in Duns, a Thai restaurant that came highly recommended, but they weren't open. Then Roxburghe House, but they had a coach party and weren't taking bookings. We thought of Chapters in Gattonside, but last time we were there the meal wasn't good and we decided against it. So we then thought we might go to the Black Bull in Duns, but somehow their menu didn't sound inspiring.

And so we ended up going to Herges on the Loch in Tweedbank. Food was ok but don't think we'll go again. At least the company was great.

Next year our birthday's won't fall on a Monday... hooray.

Sunday, 11 March 2012


Today is my March birthday celebration, and to help me celebrate my brother and his wife came all the way up from Hertfordshire to bring champagne and take me and Mountain Man out for a very fancy, slap up meal at The Kitchin in Edinburgh on Friday. And very fancy and slap up it was too. In fact it was one of the best fancy, slap up meals I've had in a very long time.

Big thanks to my brother for being so generous.

I've still got a bit of champagne left to finish off my birthday tonight before the clock turns past midnight and then it's straight into Mountain Man's birthday. So another meal out will be had tomorrow night to celebrate that one. It definitely won't be in the same bracket, either food wise or financially, as Friday's meal, but as it'll be just the two of us we can be assured of a good evening.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Her indoors

Birmingham seemed to go well. The fact that approximately 75 people decided to come and hear me talk rather than Baron David Freud, who was giving a keynote speech at the same time, was gratifying. As was the fact that the room was full of people nodding in agreement to the points I was making, so it seems no faux pas were made. I also had several people come up to me during the day to say how much they took from my talk and that felt very good indeed.

There was just one thing that dawned on me, however, while I was waiting for my plane home, which is that on Monday I spent only 23 minutes in fresh air (*see below), and about the same yesterday. What a scary fact. My life for the last few days seems to have been spent inside of a building or a mode of transport and this cannot be healthy. And actually, when I thought about it, I haven't spent a huge amount of time outdoors this winter.

I came home determined to get out more, which is all well and good, but sadly today once I got home my resolution was overcome by my upgraded iPhone 4S and lots of emails which needed my attention.

Luckily I had to take a trip to Galashiels to get the bleeping phone to function fully otherwise my time in the great outdoors would've been even less than it was.

* Monday's fresh air quota:
home to car = 1 minute, followed by a drive to Edinburgh.
Parked car and walked to Waverley to get the airport bus = 10 minutes
Wait for airport bus = 5 minutes
Airport bus stop to terminal = 1 minute
Terminal to plane = 1 minute
Plane to bus = 1 minute, followed by less than a minute from bus to terminal.
Airport exit to taxi = 2 minutes
Taxi to hotel entrance = less than a minute, but I'm adding this to the other 'less than a minute' to make 1 minute

Total time = 23 minutes!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Coffee plant news!

We have growth!

After a slow growing winter one of my coffee plants is now peeking it's head above the fleece. I'm thrilled! It's so exciting when something coffee-wise happens, even if it's just one leaf that's showing.

I'm hoping by the time I get back from Birmingham later in the week the others will have decided to join in the growth spurt.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday is rest day...

... for some.

Mountain Man, true to his name has gone off up the mountains to do a Search and Rescue training exercise. It was supposed to be helicopter training, but when we opened the blinds this morning it was snowing. Still a man's got to do what a man's got to do and off he went. I can't honestly say that there wasn't a hint of complaint in his voice, but nevertheless he's not a skiver by any means and wouldn't miss a training session unless... well I have often wondered what that might be, but whatever it is it hasn't happened yet.

Meanwhile I have things to do.

Tomorrow I'm off to Birmingham to talk about bereavement at the Health and Wellbeing conference at the NEC, and today I need to get all my stuff ready. I need one more rehearsal of my talk, get my case packed and then get all the paperwork I need for the event. I sent off the presentation last week so I don't need to take that with me, but I will anyway as I've learned over the years never to trust technology. And that's on top of doing all the other things that need doing.

So... rest day? Not in this house.

Well no, that's not accurate... Nell is doing a great job being as restful as she possibly can.

Nell's Sunday

Friday, 2 March 2012

An anniversary finale

We are so lucky because The Pavilion Cinema in Galashiels is doing a season of National Theatre Live and last night was William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, directed by Dominic Cooke and with Lenny Henry. Sadly Lenny Henry totally overacted, which was unnecessary, but even that couldn't spoil what was undoubtedly a wonderful production. The setting and the costumes were fantastic, as were all the other actors.

A high note to end our anniversary celebrations.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A travelling we will go

I used my bus pass for the very first time, and a merry old dance it was too.

Last night, because we were going for dinner in Edinburgh (and very lovely it was too), we only took one car into the city; and because I had to pick up a large amount of yoga mats from my work that I need for a course I'm running in a couple of weeks, Mountain Man took me into work this morning, picked up the mats for me and then he headed home, while I did my work and then was to take the bus from Edinburgh to The Borders this afternoon.

I needed to get from Princes Street to Earlston and then from Earlston to Gordon. And this is how it went:

Because of all the upheavals in Edinburgh due to effing tram track building there are no bus stops in Princes Street, so I had to walk to George Street to find a stop. This was error number one. I should have headed for the bus station and got on a bus there, but I had free travel, it was a nice day, I had time, and so I decided to grab a bus in George Street. Big mistake.
The first leg of my journey was from George Street to South Clerk Street and it's really nice to be able to get on a bus, swipe my card on the reader and head for a seat. So far so good.

Second journey was from South Clerk Street to Sheriffhall. This bus took 15 minutes to come. I tried to get a bus straight from South Clerk to Earlston, but no-one knew where the bus actually stopped. And here's where the problem lies. Lothian Buses only know their own bus stops, but not where others, such as Edinburgh First or Munro's stop and I needed a Munro Bus No 51. Another quick swipe of my card and that was it.

Third journey was from Sheriffhall to Dalkeith (I'm not counting the mini journey when a lovely bus driver was trying to help me out and gave me a lift round a roundabout to the other bus stop on the other side of the road, which would actually have taken me but 2 seconds to walk!). This bus was an Edinburgh First bus and the rules of bus passes are different. You have to put your card on the swipe bit and leave it there while telling the driver where you want to go, you get issued with a ticket and that's it.

Fourth journey was from Dalkeith to Earlston (after a 20 minute wait for the No 51 to make an appearance). This was a Munro's bus and the rules are different again. You tell the driver where you want to go and swipe your card quickly on the machine and then he punches in where you're going, but you don't get given a ticket.

By this time I gave in and phoned for Mountain Man Rescue Services to come and pick me up in Earlston. It just so happened that he needed to be there anyway so it wasn't a problem.

So there you have it, four (and a bit) buses and two and a half hours later I arrived in Earlston, a village 6 miles from home. However, I now know how to use each bus system and get to all kinds of places I would never normally dream of going, and I know never to take the bus if I'm in a hurry.

Actually next time I'll not make a mistake and go straight down the bus station and no messing!