Search This Blog

Sunday, June 04, 2023


 We both slept remarkably well. Breakfast stretched out over a couple of hours accompanied by the latest news online. I had some domestic chores to clear before heading for the Family Tree and fiddling with some statistics and facts and looking at some techniques for data extraction. The research showed up a number of options but I have not yet decided on the best approach. I will have to look at some more during the week.

Kim and Jon popped in to see us, late morning. It was nice to see them and nice for them to see the progress that Diane is making. Kim is threatening to pop back in during the week, which will be good.

Zoe was back at the hospital for a further IV of antibiotics. This new one seems to be doing the trick as she seems a little better in herself. There is still a way to go yet! Meanwhile, Grandpa is on school duty this coming week.

Diane has managed a couple of walks again today. Slow but steady.

Saturday, June 03, 2023

A couple of walks

 It has been a quiet day. I was up first and made coffee while reading the papers and opening up the doors for Jasper. It was 50 minutes later that Diane started to move around. The kettle was switched on for her tea and I went up for a shower before the cousins' call. 

Clearly, the cousins were all eager to hear how Diane was doing and all sent their love. After that, the call descended into a series of Empson reminiscences.

Other than tending to Diane and the basic household chores, I have been focused on extracting data from my genealogical records in such a way as to produce the contents of a book. The basic data has now been extracted and has a basic format. I now need to polish this up in such a way that I can send it off for printing.

We have taken a couple of walks today. The first was to Zoe's, where we stayed for a while before walking home the long way. The second was a loop of the Crescent, round by the school and back. We just need to concentrate on a little bit further each time.

Zoe is back in A&E this evening. The infection seems to be tracking up her leg. The hospital staff are on the case!

Friday, June 02, 2023

Plans change

 We went to bed knowing that Diane had an appointment with the phlebotomist at 8:30. The correct alarms were set to ensure we were up and ready to go. As we got into the car we received a call from Zoe. She was having to return to A&E after a dreadful night and an early morning consultation with the on-call doctor. We would complete our trip and then look after Ellie until Zoe was sorted out.

Ellie arrived at 9:40 and was a bit worried that Mummy was going to the hospital again. She stayed with us and we distracted her for a while, then we got her washed and dressed and stood by to provide whatever entertainment was required. 

Ellie was going stir-crazy by the time she had finished lunch. We (Diane and I) walked her around to home to get some sensible trainers so that she could go to the park. This was part of Diane's rehabilitation - she needs to walk every day. As we headed back home, Diane dropped off to rest and I took Ellie on to the park for a while.

By late afternoon, Zoe was on her way back. Ellie was collected and would be going to Pete's for the weekend. Zoe was in need of further painkillers. Once they had left, I headed around to Sainsbury's to do the weekly shopping.

Touch wood, everything seems to be back on an even keel! I do suspect we will both sleep well tonight.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Return to normal.

With Diane home, Jasper has switched his allegiance again. He won't leave her alone and is only interested in me for food. (He did, however, snuggle down on my lap last night - but he would never admit to it).


The first thing of note is that Jasper did not indulge in choir practice during the night. This was a huge relief in that the only interruption to sleep was self induced. I emerged at 06:30, well rested. It was scheduled to be a momentous day. Diane was coming home from the hospital. This meant that I had to switch to domestic chore robot mode. Floors cleaned, washing done, and toilets scrubbed within an inch of their lives. Plants were watered and things appeared under control.

At lunchtime, Diane had been given the all-clear. I checked Google and it suggested that the gridlock around Chichester would stretch my journey to 90 minutes. I fired up the car and we headed off. Google immediately rerouted me and we ended up zigging and zagging across toward Chichester Harbour and popped out in front of the tailbacks.

Once at the hospital, it only took 20 minutes to get the car loaded, say goodbye, and head back onto the highway. An hour later we were home.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, Michael Badeski was marrying Emily Tiemann. We were meant to be there, along with Jane and Trevor. That did not happen, for obvious reasons. Ultimately we had the opportunity to watch the event over Google Meetings, with the video thrown onto the big TV.

In the soap opera that is our life, we got a message from Zoe. She was about to head off to A&E. She clearly had an infection in her foot that needed immediate attention. Ellie went to play (and possibly stay) with her friend Maddie, while Darren took Zoe to St Richard's. After we had finished dinner I went around to see Ellie and check that she was all right. She was in her element and no intervention was required. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Real Progress

 Choir practice for Jasper started at 03:12 this morning. This was a full-blooded aria, not a lullaby. Jasper was shouted at. All went quiet. I went back to sleep.

Once the day had started properly, I exchanged some messages with Diane while enjoying my coffee and then set about the chores that needed attention. The washing was done and hung up to dry. The floors were vacuumed. Ellie's toys were tidied away. The seats in the Orangery were cleared of cat hairs. I was on top of things. Later in the morning, I headed for M&S. We needed to get something by way of a "Thank You" for the staff at the hospital. Suitable boxes of biscuits were selected, along with some cards.

I left for the hospital a little earlier than usual. Traffic reports were not favourable and there was no escaping the chaos around Chichester. I arrived at the hospital at 13:40 but found that Diane was asleep. I settled down quietly in the chair and left her to slumber.  After about 20 minutes she rallied around and we had a couple of hours or so of chatting and joking among ourselves and with the nurses. During this time, Diane received a call from her brother Paul and they chatted for a while. He is hoping to come to see us at home, next week. 

Diane has completed the checklist set by the Physios and the Cardiac Surgeon. She is set to come home tomorrow. She started to pack all the things that would not be needed in the next 24 hours. I'm surprised she didn't offer to do some dusting and hoovering as she tidied up her things. The car was suitably loaded and I headed home.

I have just finished dinner and will probably settle in front of the TV soon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023


I received a message yesterday. "Your delivery will arrive on 30th May between 8:45 and 10:45". Brilliant thought I. As the morning wore on and I still hadn't received the delivery, I checked the online status tracker. My delivery would arrive today, sometime before 18:30. Well, that was inconvenient but as long as some neighbours were about, it was manageable. Arrangements were made and a sign was attached to the door. Sorted.

Zoe came to collect her car and pop to the doctor's surgery. Ellie stayed with Grandpa for an hour or so. Some form of fragmentation grenade seemed to go off in the Orangery during that hour. I will have to clear the debris when I get a moment.

Zoe and Ellie came with me to visit Diane this afternoon. It was the easiest way to put their minds at rest and for Ellie to realise that Nana was on the mend. She was indeed looking very well. When we arrived she had already walked 2 full circuits of the hospital (200m each) and had 2 further circuits planned for later. She is still a little breathless but is looking very well considering it is only three and a half days post-op. We stayed with her for a couple of hours before making our way home.

On the way home, FedEx had the gall to text me and say that my delivery was scheduled between 8:45 and 12:45 tomorrow, 31st May. Actually, I'm not that bothered whether it was yesterday, today, or tomorrow. What winds me up is the fact that they sent a message with a delivery notification that was clearly wrong. That's just amateur.

The latest news from the hospital is that the Consultant, Mr Tsang, has suggested that Diane might be ready to come home on Thursday (a day earlier than expected). This means that I will have to go into a cleaning frenzy for the next 48 hours!!!

Monday, May 29, 2023


 I woke with a jolt at 7:30. That's not like me. I'm usually awake well before that. The morning was filled with domestic chores, fielding messages, and calls regarding Diane's progress. Denise and Dom were driving down from Buckingham to see her.

I set off just before 13:00 and had a very quick run through. It only took 50 minutes to get to the hospital and Denise and Dom were still there when I arrived. They didn't stay for too long and then Diane and I had a quiet couple of hours chatting and joking. By 16:00 I could see she was flagging so made ready to leave. The nurse was prepared to take her for another walk, so I hung on to join them on their trek down the corridor.

I had a good run home and popped into Zoe's to say hello to the wider family who were there for a BBQ. I didn't stay for long but did manage to consume a beer and some BBQ.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sweet Release

 Jasper was exceptionally vocal during the night and woke me several times. On top of this, my knee was giving me a lot of discomfort and that all added up to a poor night. I was up at seven and with coffee in hand sat down at the computer to continue editing the journals for a while.

Diane phoned. She had slept very well overnight but she remains in Critical Care for now. The only patient in CCU.

I got on with my chores through the morning, and also continue my editing. Lat morning I got a call from Diane. She had been sitting up in a chair since breakfast, the consultant had visited, and further X-rays had been taken.

I popped to Sainsbury's to get her some fruit juices and smoothies, then headed off to Southampton. It was a wonderful run-through, with no traffic delays at all. When I arrived at the hospital, I headed straight to the CCU. She was fast asleep, but the nurse gave me an update on her progress. She is clearly doing well and has managed a walk. Later she will finish her time in CCU and return to her room.

She woke up soon after I had finished talking with the nurse. We had a couple of hours chatting and joking but again, I didn't want to outstay my welcome and wanted to ensure she rested. Since getting home she has called to say that she is now released from solitary confinement back in her room.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Slick run

 I managed to speak with Diane in the Critical Care unit at the hospital. She had experienced a disturbed night (I guess a 4 a.m. X-Ray will do that to you), but was feeling fine. She would, however, be staying in CCU for another 24 hours. It was so nice to chat with her and find her quite chirpy.

Kim turned up at the door soon after the call. She had dropped Jon at the railway station so that he could go up to Wembley and see the play-off between Luton and Coventry (courtesy of his brother who had a spare ticket). She stayed for about 40m minutes and we had a lovely chat. As she disappeared, I returned to my chores and got the washing done before hitting the study and the 2021 edit.

At lunchtime, I cooked a batch of rice and put it in the fridge for later and while doing this, Zoe popped in with a couple of pork joints that were surplus to her requirements - these are now resting in the freezer for the right moment.

I headed out on the King's Highway to visit Diane at the hospital. Google Maps provided advice and guidance and I managed to get there within a couple of minutes of the projected time. Diane was in the Critical Care unit but was quite alert and chirpy. We had a bit of a laugh with the Staff Nurse (who kindly provided us with tea). I stayed for a couple of hours and oversaw a couple of phone calls (not wanting to tire her). She seems to be very positive and "on the mend". She should be back in her own room tomorrow.

Very slick run home (50 minutes). I then sent off a few messages and texts to update friends and family before firing up my curry (from yesterday) and the rice (from lunchtime). It was perfect... accompanied by a beer.


 What a bizarre notification! My phone just received a summary of recent news headlines:

The Legacy of Tina Turner - Why Orcas are sinking ships.

Tina Turner was clearly more influential than we thought. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

That was Unexpected

 I have just phoned the hospital for an update. I was pleased to hear that Diane is doing very well and is now awake, though very drowsy. That was great news. What was completely unexpected, however, was when the nurse handed the phone to Diane and I was able to have brief chat with her. Quite an emotional moment.


 It has been a strange day. Diane phoned just before 8 o'clock. She was sitting in her hospital room enjoying the morning sunshine and waiting for the build-up to commence. She seemed pretty relaxed and chatty. I wished her luck and left her to the unfolding events.

I walked around to Zoe's and escorted Ellie to school. She was very chirpy this morning (even though she had lost another tooth yesterday).

Back home there was the best part of the day to fill before I could expect any news. I started preparing a big batch of curry. This took about an hour to get properly underway, and then I could leave it to simmer. I retired to my study and continued with the editing of the 2020 blog extract. This took the rest of the morning. 

At lunchtime, I switched off the curry and went to meet with the Sonning Crew. They had arranged to take me out for lunch to The Gribble. We sat out in the lovely Spring sunshine and quaffed a very tasty beer and ordered some lunch. I chose the crispy chicken baguette. This proved to be an excellent selection, with a huge tiger-loaf baguette stuffed with katsu-style chicken and salad and served with a side order of chips. The rest of the Crew went for fish and chips, or ham, egg, and chips. I think I chose well.

Back home after a couple of hours, I fired up the curry pan again to allow it another hour on the simmer. I again returned to the study and continued editing.

At ten minutes to four, I received a phone call from Amanda, the Sister in the Critical Care unit. Diane was out of theatre and was nice and stable. There's been no opportunity to hear from the surgeon as yet, but she suggested that I call back this evening for a status report. My plan is to go and visit tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Company Trolley

The exciting news today, which came in just as we arrived at the hospital, was that Zoe has been offered the job at Sainsbury's. She starts in about a month and has an initial 12 weeks working at the Horsham store. The hours are less than Lidl (by a lot) and the salary is more... sounds like an exciting win, win situation!

(It's not clear whether she gets her own shopping basket or trolley).


 Having had the excitement of the weekly shopping yesterday the morning was limited to the school escort duties. Ellie seemed a little subdued but went into class without any fuss.

We had a fairly quiet morning as Diane prepared all the bits and pieces she needed to take to the hospital. We had a lovely phone call from Kim as she finished night duty, and Zoe popped in during the morning to wish her all the best.

We set off at lunchtime and whistled across to Southampton. That's where the whistling stopped. The roads were almost gridlocked and it took 45 minutes to do the last couple of miles. This delay did give us the opportunity to take a phone call from Di's brother, Paul. He wished her luck and explained that he would actually be working in the Southampton area next week. Hopefully, he'll get a chance to pop in and visit when she is on the mend.

Diane checked in at reception and a ward assistant came to collect us and take us up to her room. It was a lovely airy room with a view over a large stand of trees. The room was spacious with a couple of visitors' chairs and its own en suite. Within a few minutes of our arrival, the Consultant arrived and sat down on the bed to take Di through the consent forms, to discuss the procedure, and gave us the chance to ask any questions. Then we had the cardiac nurse doing blood tests, ECG, blood pressure and so forth and asking lots of background questions. The ICU nurse also came in to have a chat and get information regarding how Di wanted to be addressed, any phobias, and so forth. It was very thorough and I was immensely impressed. I might feel helpless but I know she is in the best of hands.

I left her soon after 18:00... I won't see her again until Saturday afternoon. I told her to get better because I expect at least another 50 years of marriage before she can get rid of me.

Dreadful drive out of Southampton to the motorway, but then a very quick run through to home. UFO for dinner while fielding phone calls from Zoe and Auntie Margaret.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Shaking thing up

 I decided to shake things up a bit. That had to wait until the morning security detail was complete and Ellie was delivered to the school.

Back home, caffeinated and breakfasted, I announced that I would do the Sainsbury's shopping today instead of Thursday. Diane was shocked. She checked the rule book. There was no rule preventing it. It was allowed. The list was compiled and I headed to the local store. Supplies were duly selected and paid for and I returned home. We now have now commitments that might interfere with Thursday morning. I know! I'm living on the edge, but you only live once.

The rest of the day has been fairly quiet as Diane prepared for her hospital admission tomorrow. Late in the afternoon, a few phone calls and messages trickled in to wish her luck.

We are now, quite definitively, on the countdown.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023


I had a remarkably good night's sleep. I usually sleep fairly well, but last night I excelled. That was a good start to the day. The usual school escort protocol was followed and Ellie was delivered to the door without incident.  I strolled back with Zoe, and as we parted wished her good luck for her scheduled chat with an Executive from her possible employer.

Back home we finished breakfast and pottered around doing domestic chores while waiting for news. The phone rang and I put it on speaker so that Diane could also listen. It was clear that the call had gone very well and the Exec seemed satisfied. Zoe now awaits something in writing.

I had a delivery of three further printed journals, so the collection is beginning to look quite impressive. I will have to find shelf space in my study to accommodate the collection. 

I collected Ellie from school. Zoe was a bit busy with a neighbour at the appointed hour, so Grandpa collected her from school and took her along to the park.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Keeping things short

 I had some trouble overnight with my hip. This disturbed my sleep and while trying to find a comfortable position my mind wandered through some of the great imponderables of existence. The most pressing of these, which needed an answer, was "Is it Sunday or Monday?"  It took a lot of concentration but I finally concluded that when I got up, it would be Monday. With this filed away, the world could continue to spin on its axis.

I had the usual school escort service. Ellie was a bit subdued but perked up as we headed for school. Back home I finished my breakfast with Diane then, being on the cutting edge, walked into the village to get my hair cut. There was no waiting around and I was home within 40 minutes.

The rest of the day has seen Diane complete some ironing and both of us spend some time with our books. I have also started the editing process for the 2019 blog extract.

After school, we stopped off at the park for a while and then moved on to another park so that Ellie could play on the climbing frame and roundabout.

We obviously wore her out because she didn't want to stop off for a biscuit on the way home.