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Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Delightful Spot On My Way Home

Something a little different from me today.

I am most fortunate and blessed to live close by to delightful scenery all around me. Sometimes we take it for granted when we have such beauty on our doorstep, yet sometimes it becomes breathtaking and hits us smack in the eye ~ like today on my way home from visiting my daughter and son in law in Bath. 

I had been helping decorate their baby's nursery ~ my second grandchild is due on 19th August.

I was thirsty and fancied a beer shandy so I decided to visit a pub called The Jolly Sailor,  just three miles from my house, and one of my favourite places on a fine day or summer evening.  It is situated near the River Avon and beside some lock gates and an interesting weir.

I neared the pub and was smitten by this view of the shimmering water with the backdrop of hills bathed in evening  sunshine and I just had to take a photo.

Last year I had walked up to the cluster of trees, known as Kelston View, shown on the top tight hand side of the photo, with wonderful views of Bath and Bristol.  I shall do another post on this sometime.  

I jumped back into the car and headed for the pub, just a few hundred yards further, but not before getting another shot showing more glorious countryside.

I parked the car and walked towards the river and I'd like you to share the beautiful weir awaiting my gaze ~ makes one glad to be alive.

. . . and then I panned a little further downstream to this delightful setting, with Kelston View just showing.

Behind me were busy working lock gates with traffic passing up and down stream all day long.

I saw something half way across the weir and I crossed over the bridge to the other side to investigate, taking another photo midway. 

I wondered what was in the water and so I zoomed on a was rewarded with this shot of a heron, standing in a million fragments of glistening water.  I managed to hold my hand steady.

I enjoyed my beer shandy beside the water and talked to a fisherman who said there was plenty of fish there to share with the heron . . and we shared the beauty of the evening for a while in conversation.

Just time for one last look at the backdrop of countryside before heading back home.

Just a quick resume about my leg.  I am pleased to report that it is healed completely and has taken just 2 months and not the year the medics thought it might take ~ I am so blessed to get that out of the way.

Monday, 8 June 2015


I was on Dial-a-Ride duty today and I drove one of my favourite passengers for his weekly hospital consultancy/appointment.  We arrived a little early to drop Don at the hospital and there was just time to show him one of my favourite views, overlooking the Avon Valley, just outside Bath. It was a lovely afternoon.  The River Avon runs along the valley, just out of site and so does a busy railway line and main road.

As we sat for a while talking and enjoying the view memories came flooding back into my mind of sharing this with someone else during my ambulance days.

I had just picked up an elderly lady from one of the hospitals in Bath to transfer her to another hospital in Bristol for treatment.  She was very distressed and not well at all but I could manage to transfer her from her wheelchair into a seat.  She was very anxious about her health and well-being and was very depressed and almost in tears.  

We got talking and I was able to make a connection and she told me the bottom had dropped out of her life, she had lost her husband a few years ago, her children saw her very infrequently and now her health was failing.  She had almost convinced herself that there was nothing left to live for.

She cheered up a little while we talked as I drove and I said because it was such a glorious day we would take the scenic route to Bristol.  I said I had time to show her a view which I liked very much and we pulled over and I lined the vehicle so she could see through the door. I remember it was a warm summer's day and I sat with her and said, "Just look at that! ~ you see, there are still a lot of good things left to enjoy!".

Her face lit up and she smiled and told me I was so kind and said she was so happy to share our conversation and the view.  We stayed there for a full 15 minutes and I said that the view is lovely all the way along the valley.

When we pulled into the Bristol hospital she seemed like a different person.  Her mind was taken off her troubles and at least she had found something to cheer her, albeit just for the afternoon.

This is why I loved the ambulance work so much, to touch someone, make a connection, and make them happier and how long did it take?  ~ just 15 minutes.

I don't know what happened to this lady, maybe she has moved on by now, but I often think about instances of magic like this, and many others.

The icing on the cake today for me was that while I was waiting for Don, I met some of my ex Ambulance Colleagues and it was great to chat with them over old times.  There may be a possibility of me working again in the service in a smaller capacity ~ I would love this.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


I am very pleased to report that my leg is light years better and healing fast.  From the initial verdict that it would probably take a year to heal the latest consensus of the lovely nurses treating me is that it looks like another 6 weeks or so.

I take no pain killers and attend the ulcer clinic once a week.  I can walk and drive as normal and therefore I am able to look after Peter again, with the nurse's blessing.

It has been a while since I posted about this little fellow:

Here he is, playing with his grandpa when he should be eating his breakfast.

Now don't you just love those big blonde curls and big blue eyes.  Boy he is going to break a lot of ladies' hearts later.

Eat your 'shreddies' and 'wheetabix' up, there's a good lad.

Earlier he found 'bobble hat' and put it on and was running all over the place squealing whenever he saw himself in the mirror . . . . he has a great sense of fun. Shame the photo is blurred. He moved so fast.

I took him into the garden and we had a lot of fun and I gave him a little dustpan and brush and he swept up the leaves . . . . he loved it.

He is very inquisitive too as can be seen when shining this torch onto the ceiling.

He did something which surprised me yesterday morning.  I was sitting in a chair and he got hold of my finger and led me out of the chair and into the next room, still holding my finger.  He got his changing mat and put it onto the table and then got a nappy and some baby wipes plus a bag of waste bags and gave them to me and then he put his hands out for me to lift him up and change him.  I thought how clever for 18 months and made a big fuss of him.  Next stop potty training.

All together . . . awww !

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


It has been a while since I posted.  Perhaps I have been suffering from a severe dose of:

Blogging Constipation 

However hard I tried I just could not write ~ I felt too low and too much in pain. It is only in the last two or three days I have started feeling a lot better and more like myself. It is so good to feel like that after these uncomfortable weeks.

This 'blogging constipation' reminds me of a most unpleasant side effect of some of my pain killers, containing Codeine Phosphate, the most effective pain killer I have found to date.  I love my kidneys too much to take too many Paracetamol based tablets but by carefully juggling various options including Ibuprofen, I have managed to get by, with one or two very painful exceptions, and suffering the unwelcome side effect, much reduced I am pleased to say.  What a relief !! . . .  lol

I am very pleased to say that there has been a noticeable and considerable improvement in my leg since I came home from hospital and the District Nurses took over. It is now normal size after being blown up to over twice the size and raging with infection whilst I was in hospital before the I/V treatment knocked the infection on the head. 

The District Nurses started dressing the wound three times a week and nurse Debbie, who used to nurse Maria when she was sick, has noticed a considerable improvement each and every time she comes and in fact she is quite amazed at how quickly the new growth of healthy tissue is forming and two of the smaller blisters have gone.  I am treated with a gel called Flaminal Forte, which cleans out the wound and promotes healing, then covered with dressings soaked in liquid paraffin, so I had better not walk too near bonfires ~ I am an ambulance man and not a fire fighter.  Over that they apply two layers of compression bandages, which force the blood back up my leg and not through the side of it. The large hole in my leg was 1/2 inch deep and some 5 inches by 2 inches and it closely resembled my feeble attempts at poaching an egg ~ just like a third degree burn. They have stopped Flaminal Forte because it has done its job and promoted bleeding to clean the wound, which is no longer required.  I am always somewhat apprehensive when they take off the dressing, and I always wonder whether progress has been reversed, which could happen, but to date I have been encouraged every time.

In spite of the improvement it still weeps quite a bit and there is quite a way to go yet before I am completely healed, but they reckon in terms of weeks and not months . . . or even a year, as they said it might take when they first saw it.  They think I am a strong, fit, 'young' and active chap and I am a good boy and eat all my greens and lots of fruit and put my feet up at rest and walk about a lot to keep the calf muscles going, which helps circulation ~ so I am doing a lot of the right things and avoiding standing which is very bad for it.

So perhaps it is somewhat of a miracle ~ even though I did pray for instant healing once or twice ~ I think God is doing his best through resources he has chosen to use.

One of my best lady friends, Pat, who runs a nursing home and was Maria's employer, would disagree with the treatment because 15 years ago she suffered a leg ulcer but treated hers successfully by applying Vitamin E squeezed from a capsule and covering it with a cabbage leaf before bandaging.  She did this every day for a month and it was completely healed and dare not come back.  But she is an angel and I think has a direct line to God on high, where she gets all her strength for the wonderful things she does with her life, always helping others.

Debbie now comes once a week on a Saturday and I visit the ulcer clinic on a Wednesday, so I am treated twice a week. I mentioned Pat's 'cure' to Debbie and she said I should pass it on to the nurses in the ulcer clinic, they will be interested, so I will next time, tomorrow. They are always looking for other ways and means ~ they say no two people are the same and they all respond differently to different things. The nurse at the clinic is a very nice lady whose name escapes me right now, and I told her she has a very nice smile.

I had some interesting experiences whilst in hospital and will try to pen a few in my next posts.

Meanwhile, Debbie has judged that I am almost able to resume my life as normal and do most of the things I like doing provided I am careful with the leg and I am sensible, which I intend to be.

She says when I am better I will be measured for a pair of 'kinky' black lower leg stockings to aid blood flow back up the legs.  I said I did not mind at all and would willingly wear suspenders if it helped, under my jeans . . . she laughed and laughed.

We have already agreed that when I am better all three nurses are coming round to celebrate with glass of champagne. We all go back a long way when they visited Maria when she was ill and I made them a cup of coffee. 

I hope to visit you all again and I am looking forward to reading your posts and commenting.

I love reading comments and it is fun to hear from you even if it is just a "Hi" . . . It is then great to visit you in return.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Hi Friends, 

This afternoon I was discharged from hospital, albeit in my view a little early but they have stabilised my condition and the fever has subsided and I am back onto oral antibiotics.  The swelling has reduced greatly.   My left leg was three times the size of my right one and now it is just 1.5 times  . . .  and falling.

The ulcer, still nasty but much drier, can now be treated by District Nurses and I shall be visited by one tomorrow for a dressing and compression bandages . . and we can work out a plan of action to get rid of this nasty thing.  

They will probably be known to me from the days they visited Maria when she required their attention . . . They all like my cups of tea and coffee . . 

I have a few interesting posts about the hospital stay and how a number of nurses remembered me from my ambulance days . . .  

I came home by ambulance and one of the crew was a great chap I worked with . . . lots of co-incidences . . and some great fun . . plus some painful days . . 

Thursday, 2 April 2015


UPDATE  2 April

It has taken me ages to get into the hospital Wi-Fi.

Thank you for all your very kind comments.  This is my second day here and the swelling has not reduced yet, although the antibiotics seem to be taking the heat out of my leg, which is good.  Before I came in I had an ultrasound DVT scan, which proved negative, but a consultant has just seen me and says he wants another done because he wants to get to the bottom of why the swelling is there, which is causing all the problems.  He seemed quite impressed that I had suggested to my GP the problem might be a DVT and that I had reported that the arterial supply seemed ok.  Indeed this was confirmed a little later when a doctor did an in house arterial ultrasound on both legs and the blood supply to both feet is very good. We await the venial ultrasound and then they can start powerful compression bandaging to get rid of the fluid ~ and that will enable the ulcer to heal.

I have just seen some nurses who remember me from my ambulance days . . . . had a nice chat with them . . . :)

I'll do another post soon.

Hi friends,

Just a short note to say that today I shall be admitted to hospital in Bristol for about a week.

Some of you will know I have been experiencing problems with a leg nasty leg ulcer since December and have been fighting a gradual losing battle.

It has accelerated in sheer horridness and I have a very large swelling in my left calf ~ it is very painful.

The oral antibiotics are not touching it and I need some powerful intravenous antibiotics, which I am hoping and praying will work.

I am taking my laptop to hospital and will be writing some short stories and I shall let you know how I am getting on. 

It will seem rather strange for me to receive some care for a change.   

. . . . . :) 

Monday, 23 March 2015


For those who do not know, I drive one day a week for our local Dial-a-Ride bus service.  We have 1200 members now and are getting busier ~ the service is a life line for local people unable to get to and from GPs, Dentists, Opticians, Shopping or even visiting friends  . . . plus many other reasons to use us.

As an ex-ambulance man I love the work because I see it as an extension to my previous job and the work is very similar at times.  I am always able to help a few folk during my day's work on Monday.

Today was a very busy day which I just loved and fortunately I had rather some challenging situations to deal with which made the day more interesting.

I was driving a vehicle, affectionately called Diana, a five seater plus wheelchair facility if required.

Here it is so you get some idea ~ a little like the pope mobile on my last post, only bigger.

 . . . and here is the rear view, showing the ramp and wheelchair fitting area, but no wheelchair was used today.  What you can see is a folded four wheel zimmer trolley, very useful to steady the wobbly.

During the morning I was scheduled to pick up two elderly ladies from a nearby town and take them to the bus stop at our Post Office, about 6 miles away. I picked them up, seated them in the vehicle and said I needed to pick up an elderly gentleman and his dog and take him to a park just before their bus stop. They said, ok, and we chatted on the way ~ I know them very well. We arrived at the gentleman's house and out he stepped, very wobbly, with a huge Golden Labrador dog, which made a beeline for me and almost knocked me off my feet, much to everyone's amusement, including mine.  Anyway, I got hold of the lead and walked the dog behind his master up the drive towards the vehicle. I could see that the gentleman was quite incapable of controlling such a powerful dog.  Previously I had taken him out a few times, minus dog, and had to help him in and out of the vehicle, so I was very surprised he had opted for such a solo adventure.  Anyway, the immediate idea was to get the Labrador into the back of the vehicle up the ramp so he could be seated or lie down just behind his master.

He would not go in, try as we would, in spite of all our encouragement and persuasion.  The owner said he would travel in the back with him and I said that was totally illegal because passengers have to be seated with a seat belt.  So for plan B.  I asked one of the ladies if she would kindly move along the bench seats so the owner and the dog could fit in. She was quite ok about it but even with him sitting in the middle the dog would not go in . . . 

With a lot of coaxing the dog did eventually climb into the vehicle but there was insufficient room for him and his tail was sticking out where I needed to shut the door and his 'derrier' was in the way too. Reluctantly I had to ask the lady to move again into the front between me and the other lady, which she did with considerable dexterity for one aged 83. Fortunately she saw the funny side of things, along with the other lady, but they were both looking at their watches and getting anxious about their timetable. The guy moved over and I pushed the dog in quickly.  We got to the park and I got the dog out first and held his lead and he pulled so hard I had to go with him a few steps.  Then I got the old boy out and gave him the dog who immediately pulled so hard he did a 360 degree spin and then just had to let go but fortunately the dog came back when he called him. Reluctantly I had to leave him because there were passengers to attend to.  I drove the ladies to the bus stop and dropped them off. They were quite amused by it all.  I did hear later than the old guy plus dog were successfully picked up from the park for the return journey by a larger bus, as scheduled, but the driver had to chase after the dog to retrieve it. Maybe it was a Golden Retriever. 

A little later I picked up a blind man I know who goes shopping on Monday afternoons.  I used to know Ray's blind wife as well and often saw them out walking in town together holding hands and using their white canes with their other hands. 

Unfortunately Ray lost his wife four years ago and now lives alone but does so remarkably well.  We have something in common since I lost my Maria two years ago next month.

I was talking with him and told him the story of the blind man guiding me on my journey when I was in the ambulance service, as told last week, HERE for those who missed it.  Ray said he can relate to that and does the same on the bus when he travels from Bristol but if he falls asleep he is lost and has to ask someone.  I said, "You know Keynsham well Ray, don't you?  Any idea where we are now?  He said yes and he told me and he was right on the button.

I dropped him off at the supermarket, got a trolley for him and helped him to the customer service desk and they arranged for a very nice lady to accompany and help him with his shopping.  I was able to stay with him until she came.  She looked at me and said she would look after him.  An hour later I picked him up and took him home and once he knew where he was in relation to the railings leading to his flat he was ok to pull his trolley after him, but using his stick to guide him home.  I find it all remarkable ~ I do admire that guy.

Next time, back to the ambulance stories I think.