Sunday, 29 December 2013

Decisions, decisions...

I seem to recall that years ago when faced with having to make a decision about anything, it was all pretty easy. Shall I do this or shall I not? Black or white, no middle-of-the-road dithering about, it was straightforward; cut and dried.
So what's happened?
It's almost as though as the years have passed, so has my ability to make straightforward choices. Everything suddenly has a variety of bells, whistles and twiddly bits attached that all have to be factored into any kind of decision.

There's the big stuff like moving house or buying a car - the sort of thing that's guaranteed to be a complete minefield of side issues and conditions.
For example, twenty years ago buying a car was pretty simple. I'd have a limited amount of money (usually about 500 pounds if I was lucky) so I'd buy whatever came along at that price. Invariably it would be some end-of-life piece of rusty crap that I'd spend every weekend tinkering with to keep it running but at the time that was all part of the fun and it certainly taught me a lot and kept me busy. You don't have time to get bored and be desperately seeking a suitable hobby when you have an old car to maintain.
These days that's changed. Perhaps it's partly that having a bit more money (though not by much) to spend on a car widens the choice, but experience teaches you a few things that you now take into consideration. I love Italian cars because they always put a smile on your face when you drive them - it's like they're alive and talking to you. This fun is only slightly diluted by the absolute certainty that it will at some point go wrong because that's what Italian cars do. French cars have a similar reputation although my own experiences are at odds with the majority's. I had a Peugeot 106 that although it needed a calendar rather than a stopwatch to measure its acceleration was still hilarious to drive and it was only the dreaded metal maggot that sealed its fate. I also had a Renault Laguna diesel that despite having 190,000 miles on the clock, all the electrical gubbins still worked and it was the most comfortable car I've ever had. And it only cost me 200 quid....
The complicated decision I'm faced with now is that due to the ongoing leg situation I need a car with an automatic gearbox because I'm unable to operate a clutch. Being England where autos have never been very popular means that the number of available contenders is immediately slashed to about five percent. Then there's fuel economy to consider because as much as I'd love a 4 litre V8 Jaguar I simply couldn't afford to fund its drinking habit. Imagine doing your weekly shopping if you had Oliver Reed living with you.
Insurance isn't too much of an issue when you're an old fart, but vehicle tax can be crippling so that's a consideration along with parts costs, reliability and so on, not forgetting that however much you come to regard a car as little more than a white good, there are bound to be a few that you wouldn't be seen dead in. Found a brilliant car - cheap to buy and run, immaculate, low tax, low insurance, and only 11,000 miles from new. Unfortunately it was a bright red Hyundai Amica and I'm sorry but I'd rather chew off both my legs and be fitted with those cool carbon fibre blade things that the paralympic runners use, and run to work than drive one of those. Even a Smart would be preferable because at least it's kinda cheeky in a sticking-two-fingers-up-at-the-world sort of way. I also really don't want to have a Vauxhall because I've had them in the past and I just don't like them, and I definitely couldn't have an Audi because no matter how good they are I don't want to be tarred with that particular brush. It would be preferable to have something with character, but not something that attracts attention. It's all so complicated, and it's not just the big stuff that has this effect.

I've said before in one of my early posts (The Agony Of Choice) about the problems of too much choice making it difficult to make decisions and things haven't improved.
Even the task of buying new underpants requires the assistance of a team of crack military strategists to guide you through the incredible array of options. Whatever happened to the days of 'here's a pair of pants, take it or leave it'? It was so easy then. Sometimes we make things difficult for ourselves by choosing to take a more tortuous path. For example, some people would walk into a high street electrical retailer looking for a new stereo, pick out the one that goes best with the curtains and that is that. But when I bought my new hifi system earlier this year I spent weeks researching the current ranges of kit before booking a demo room at a specialist to listen to the components I'd shortlisted. After two hours listening to various combinations of CD player / amplifier / speakers / cables etc, I settled on the winning system and had to wait a couple of days for the parts to be delivered to the shop by the manufacturers before I could collect them and rush home to bask in the glory of a system of the quality I'd been hankering for for so many years. That's my thing though, and many would question the sanity of putting oneself through such a rigmarole, but I'd feel the same about someone wanting to spend countless hours with an effeminate kitchen designer figuring out which cupboard hinges go best with the solid granite worktops.

If you fancied a day out years ago your choice was limited to a day trip to the seaside (if you were lucky), or a picnic in the park with only a frisbee for entertainment. Now the choice of activities for the average person is mindboggling, and the deeper your pockets are the wider still your options become. Want to parachute out of a plane onto a raft descending a stretch of white water that deposits you in a lap-dancing club full of gorgeous 18 year-old Japanese girls who don't know the meaning of the word 'no'? Well somewhere out there is a company that'll organise it for you. If your credit card limit doesn't cover that then at the other end of the spectrum there's always the age-old pass-time of people watching. Just sit yourself by the window of any coffee shop nursing a large Americano and watch the world go by, admiring those who got it right and sniggering at those who got it so very wrong.
It's the boy's 16th birthday in two months, and trying to figure out what to do for him is about as easy as finding a university student with legible handwriting.
There's no end of things to do, but trying to motivate a teenager to be interested in anything at all is the ultimate test of patience, although it does raise an interesting point. If we choose to be content with our lot and not want for anything, then we'll have fewer decisions to make and quite possibly be happier.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Ideas, principles and opinions

Over the years I have spouted off about many things, expressing strongly held beliefs and opinions. As time goes on, some of these come back to bite me in the arse as I discover that perhaps I was mistaken.
At one time I was completely dismissive of air conditioning in cars due to the increased fuel consumption and unnecessary complexity of an additional system in a car when you can just as easily open the window. Then I ended up buying a car with aircon, realised how nice it was to be cool without a 70mph wind blowing around my right ear and accepted that the increased aerodynamic drag caused by the open window had just as much effect on fuel consumption as the aircon compressor.
I also remember being critical of those with excessively complicated mobile phones, insisting that all I needed was a basic device that just made calls and maybe did text messaging and anything else was pointless garnish. But over the last couple of years I've become one of those sad individuals who feels nervous if my smartphone isn't within immediate reach.
I dread to think how many times such things have happened, and now I start to reflect on this matter I'm realising how easy it is to make yourself look very silly indeed.
I suppose the answer here would be to not express any strong views on matters - rather than saying "It's a load of crap and anyone who likes it must need their head testing..." it might be better to say something along the lines of "It's not really my thing right now but who knows what the future might bring...".
The problem I have is forming a loose opinion on something and allowing it to grow into a firm belief. I then feel obliged to go for the jugular of anyone who expresses a different viewpoint, which would be OK if it wasn't for the usually shaky foundations on which that belief is built.
At some point down the line it's inevitable that it will become clear that I have had an error of judgement with some things and will have to reverse my previously rock solid stance.
I seem to recall hearing or reading somewhere 'It's better to have an idea than a belief - you can change an idea', and I guess that's true although exactly how you distinguish between an idea and a belief is a bit unclear. The solution, presumably, would be to approach everything with an attitude of flexibility. Events in life can easily change your perception of matters if they put you in more direct contact with a particular situation.
We all at some time have said something like "If that happened, I'd do this", but the reality is that we don't really know for certain until we're in that situation.
We might say "If I heard a burglar in the house I'd grab the baseball bat and stove the thieving bastard's head in" but how many of us if put in that situation would find ourselves cowering behind the bedroom door wetting ourselves because we wonder how effective the baseball bat would really be against a neanderthal psychopath with a sawn-off shotgun?
Taking a step back and looking at things that I currently have strong views about such as Christmas, television etc, I wonder if I should start winding my neck in a bit, biting my tongue and just nod and smile when people talk about them.
Sitting on my arse for a month and a half so far and the prospect of probably another month or two before I can get back to work has got me so desperately bored that I've even considered buying a new aerial and a TV license again. Then I give myself good talking to and remind myself that it's all a load of bollocks anyway and after a couple of days I'd be flicking through the channels getting frustrated at the lack of anything worth watching before lobbing the remote across the room and cancelling the TV license yet again.
On the other hand it might be nice to at least watch the news, so I need to implement a bit of flexibility here and there and accept that things aren't necessarily black or white but may in fact be some shade of grey in between the two.
Christmas can definitely still bugger off though, because that's something that has proved itself to be so nice to ignore. While the rest of the country is running around like headless chickens, for us it's just another day. We know we can have a big roast dinner and watch 'Bridge on the river Kwai' any time we want without racking up huge credit card bills buying presents for people to donate to their favourite charity shop in January. In the days when Christmas happened for just one day rather than from mid-September to the end of the new year sales, and people couldn't afford to eat well or have what they wanted whenever they fancied it, then celebrating the anniversary of Mary popping her first sprog was probably a good enough reason to actually have a nice dinner and exchange a small gift.
Since those simple days where people's expectations began and ended with the hope of still having a home and a heartbeat the following day the world has gone mad, driven by greed and selfishness, where everything is a competition. Who's got the most vulgar Christmas light display? Who bought or received the most expensive gift? I have no religious beliefs myself at this point in my life (covering myself nicely there) so I see nothing to celebrate, and I can't abide rampant consumerism, so there.
When all is said and done though, I have to accept that others do choose to celebrate Christmas to some degree for whatever reason, and in the same way I expect others to accept that I don't.
And leaving Christmas aside, last night's family get-together seemed to go alright. The music selection seemed to go down OK, thankfully, and the only down side for me was not being able to drink.
Sincere thanks to my sisters for all their work in making it all happen and to dad for funding it. I just hope I get to see the set of photos of individuals posing thoughtfully with a grape.
Don't ask..........

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Marbles and mealtimes

Much is made of ensuring we're provided for financially in our old age. We get swamped with confusing information about pensions; told that we must make sure we have sufficient income to see us through the grey fog between giving up work and giving up living altogether. The government however, seem increasingly keen that nobody is ever going to be allowed to retire and we'll all be carried away from our workplace in a wooden box with the obligatory carriage clock nailed to the top.
I think it's safe to say that most of us would love to retire as soon as we're able to, and as the government don't want to give us back what we've paid into the system because they're already spent it on second homes for all the MPs, we have to make our own arrangements.
But how much income does someone actually need when they've retired? Anyone with an ounce of financial savvy will ensure that they're debt-free by the time they think about giving up the daily grind, with the mortgage paid off and no big outgoings like car loans or credit card payments.
So what does that  leave that needs to be paid for each month? Once the utility bills are taken care of and there's food in the fridge there's not much else that's needed, and surely there's only so much money that can be spent on zip-up tartan slippers and cat food.
I suppose those who are still active and of sound mind and bladder might be keen to spend their twilight years travelling the world, and all power to them. There may be those who see this time as a golden opportunity to buy a top-of-the-range set of golf clubs to throw in the boot of the new Jaguar every day, play eighteen holes, quaff numerous sherries in the clubhouse and weave their way home hoping they don't get spotted by PC plod.
For the many though, I suspect that it becomes a time of getting up late, wandering down to the local shop for milk and a newspaper, watching crap TV and going to bed with a cup of something brown and vaguely offensive like Horlicks, hoping that tomorrow perhaps someone will remember you're still alive and pop round to visit.
This doesn't sound like a scenario that demands ensuring you have a private pension plan that pays out two grand a month or to have taken the precaution of having accumulated vast savings.
No matter how much you contributed to the good of the country during your working life, you'll end up getting sod all back from the government until you've spent all your savings which you'd carefully harvested in the hope of providing an inheritance for your kids after you'd taken that Mediterranean cruise or African safari you'd been promising yourself for all these years.
All this then begs the question of why we spend so much time and worry making sure we provide for a future that for all we know may not even exist.
For those still alive when it comes to pension time, a large proportion will be reluctant to spend their savings because they might need them later. What for exactly? When you're sat in the corner wetting yourself in front of 'Songs of Praise' you're unlikely to be thinking about buying a designer kitchen.
Even if your marbles are still in their rightful place rather than rolling around the floor gathering fluff, you'll have spent so long being used to not spending money that it has become second nature and the thought of actually spending some of what you've accumulated over all those years of scrimping and saving leaves you in need of a stiff brandy and a good lie down to get over the shock.
Nobody knows what's around the corner so why put off living today for the sake of tomorrow? So to hell with it. I'll make sure that the mortgage is going to be paid off by the time I retire which will hopefully be at sixty (if I live that long), and the works pension should be adequate to keep the bills paid and an acceptable stock of beer and Pringles in the house.
I'm not worried about putting away vast savings because by the time I get that far I hope to not need very much and I'd rather enjoy it now thank you very much. All we need come the final big push towards the bright light at the end of the tunnel is food, drink, and company, with plenty of happy memories of what we did when we were younger and fitter, and judging by the popularity of the twice-weekly carvery at the local garden centre's restaurant with the area's cloth-cap-and-Toyota-Verso enthusiasts, my theory isn't too far wide of the mark.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

We gotta get out of this place...

As soon as I can get around efficiently on my own two feet, we're going to book up a holiday. We were planning to do more in terms of getting away before the whole leg situation arose, putting life in general on hold, but once this period is over we should be able to get back on track.
But where to go?
I have a mental list of places I want to go in this country, and even a few places outside of the UK that I have a hankering to see. I've never been one for foreign travel; indeed it's the whole travelling bit of going places that I really hate. Once I'm safely installed in whatever place I'm staying in, I'm fine.
I'd love to go to the Scottish Highlands in search of the perfect photograph of such a beautiful landscape, touring the distilleries and being baffled by the local accent.
When I tell people how much I love the Yorkshire Dales and Moors, many say to me "Yes it's really nice, but have you been to Northumberland?". So often have I heard this that there's clearly something in it, so that's another one for the list.
I'm also keen to visit the Isle of Man, but not during TT week when it will be impossible to get a hotel room and getting around will be a bit tricky unless you happen to be John McGuinness. I would still love to drive the TT circuit, but at a somewhat more sedate pace than the world's two-wheel heroes would normally attack it.
I was born in Kent, and although I have been back there a few times I don't have any real desire to do so again. The only thing that would draw me there now would be to visit Dover castle to look at all the stuff from when it was used during WWII. The rest of the area I hail from - Broadstairs, Margate, Ramsgate - hold nothing for me at all, but to be honest it's just family history that I have no memory of, having moved to Cambridgeshire when I was only a year old.
I've done Devon, which although having some decent scenery (along with its neighbour Dorset) has failed to inspire me to make a return journey. I think this has less to do with the scenery, and more to do with the fact that the further south you go in the UK the more rude people become. In which case I definitely can't be bothered with Cornwall.

Going to another country will be a huge step. The last time I left Britain was nineteen years ago when we went to Austria for our honeymoon. Even then financial limitations meant going by coach which was good in a way because it avoided the airport nightmare, but also it was very tiring sitting on a coach for 23 hours each way. We were surrounded by old people who were obviously seasoned long distance coach users and therefore kitted up with all the essentials like inflatable pillows, bottles of brandy and the ability to fall asleep at the drop of a pork-pie hat.
That trip and a couple of day trips to France are the sum total of my time outside this country so far, and for most of my life this hasn't bothered me in the slightest. More recently however, I seem to have acquired a desire to explore other lands, cultures, and of course the traditional food and drink.
I have absolutely no interest in lying on a beach in Spain eating chips, drinking lager and going clubbing, but I would be happy to see the real Spain away from the tourist bollocks, and eating authentic paella.
I'd also love to visit Japan. Not Tokyo but whatever remains of old Japan, with its rolling hills and ancient temples.
Norway would be high on my list too, along with Alaska and Canada.
No list would be complete without America I suppose, but that would need to be a long trip to fit in the bits I'd want to see. Some would be predictable tourist traps no doubt, but even so I'd love to see the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. New York for Central Park and Liberty Island, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz and Seattle's space needle would all be required stops, which is a hell of a lot of miles that would probably require at least a month's tour. And while I was there I'd need to try and get a tour of NASA's enormous supersonic wind tunnel facility if they'd let me in.
The rest of the world can wait for now. If I manage to do all of the above I'd feel as though I'd achieved something good. After that I might consider places like Italy's Amalfi coast (because it looks awesome in Forza 3), and maybe Poland because it must be pretty much empty by now.
The main purpose of any holiday though, seems to be the same no matter where you go and what you do, because however good a time you have, the best part is getting back to the familiarity of your own home with your own bed and the reassuring normality of everyday life.
Until the repetitive drudgery of normality gets too much and you book up the next holiday....


The SRN4 hovercraft "The Princess Margaret".
Long since retired, these beasts used to do the cross-channel run.
I was lucky enough to travel on this one and her sister vessel "The Princess Anne" on a school trip to France when I was about 12.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Vauxhall Astras do it better

I've had enough and I want to run away. But given that I can't even bloody walk at the moment I guess that's out of the question.
I know there's plenty of people in a far worse situation than me, but I still can't help wallowing in self pity from time to time. I try to make light of things by doing Andy Pipkin impressions when I'm being pushed about in a wheelchair but thanks (presumably) to the side effects of the codeine I'm taking, my whole world feels like it has been turned upside down.
Somehow I now don't have much of a taste for coffee, preferring either tea or just water. I also seem to have a preference for savoury things rather than sweet, so expect shares in Cadburys to be in free-fall very soon.
The really bizarre thing is that my emotions have been affected in such a way that the least sentimental thing in a movie sends me off into floods of tears.
The fact that I've got the doc to prescribe a reduced dosage may be contributing to my feeling so crappy right now, suggesting that what I'm dealing with is withdrawal symptoms. But there's no way I want to be taking this stuff any longer than necessary - partly because I hate being reliant on any kind of medication no matter how good it is at its job, and partly because I'm so fucking desperate for a good old pint of ale.

On the up side, I've bought myself a walking stick in preparation for the next stage which should be in about four weeks time when I should be able to start putting weight on the left leg, and in just three weeks I'll be allowed to take off this damn leg brace.
The consultant was happy with the healing progress shown by the latest x-rays on Thursday, and as this was the first time I'd seen any of the images it was a bit of a shock to see the bits of bone floating around in the initial x-rays and CT scan. The latest images show the metal plates and screws very clearly, which is a bit disconcerting because it looks more like a shrapnel injury than a repair job but I suppose there are differences between orthopaedic surgery and the sort of engineering I'm used to.
All the spare time I've had sitting on the sofa hasn't been entirely wasted though, because I've managed to finish 'Red Dead Redemption' and spent lots of time searching for a decent car with automatic transmission so I can get myself mobile sooner and therefore be able to get back to work and achieve something a bit more meaningful with my days.
I've also devised a method of being able to make a cup of tea and get it from the kitchen to the living room without hopping and throwing it all over the floor and walls, by sitting in the wheelchair and scooting myself along with the good leg.
The wife says she's a bit concerned that I appear to be embracing crippledom, but I prefer to think of it as a problem-solving exercise and although I'm determined to not let this shit beat me, I'm also not going to try and rush it and bugger it all up and have to start from scratch again.
So there's definitely a light at the end of the tunnel and although it's frustrating having to take baby steps to get there, at least I can be pretty confident that I will get there in the end.


Sunday, 8 December 2013

That's nasty...

Just changed the dressings on my knee and thought I'd share the current state of it with you all.
Enjoy!

The struggle for inspiration

As a kid back in the 1970s I used to watch a TV programme called 'Why Don't You?'. It was narrated by and featured only kids, and its purpose was basically to give ideas for things to do in your spare time. This was all in the days before Playstations and YouTube, at a time when we had no option but to make our own entertainment. Back then we'd watch Blue Peter and then have a go at making whatever stuff they made on the show (which invariably made extensive use of sticky-back plastic) just for the sake of an hour's entertainment producing something that would find its way into the bin within a few days. But somehow it didn't matter because at least we were doing something.
The theme song for 'Why Don't You?' went something like "Why don't you just turn off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead....", and that's exactly what we did - after the programme was finished of course...

It occurs to me, having sat about for the past few weeks getting bored, that what's really needed is a new version of 'Why Don't You?' for adults in the 21st century.
A trawl of the web looking at various sites claiming to give ideas for hobbies or things to do leaves you wondering why you bothered. Most of these sites seem to assume that everyone would benefit from either fishing or knitting. There are a few that seem to be written for those who grew up in the 1940s and have a hankering for the good old days where top entertainment was to be found with a hoop & stick, a spinning top, and rickets.
Then there are other gems such as how to build your own boat which on the face of it sounds like a fabulous idea until you realise how much red tape the rivers authority puts in your way, and that the logistics of actually getting a boat to the river once you've built it make the whole idea a tad less appealing.
Wine and beer making can be great fun, but having dabbled with such things in the past I can confidently say that if I was to do it long term my liver would end up pickled in a very short space of time. Seriously, if it's there I'll drink it, which is why I only ever buy a couple of bottles of beer or one bottle of wine a week.
So even though the internet usually manages to provide the answer to any question you care to throw at it (possibly an inaccurate one if you rely on Wikipedia), it nevertheless seems to fall flat on it's face in certain areas. You may be able to read the latest news as it breaks, tell the world you've been to the gym, and dribble over Lucy Pinder's tits, but when it comes to finding non web-based practical entertainment you're better off elsewhere.
So what would an updated version of that old TV programme be like?
First thing would be to have presenters that are genuinely enthusiastic about practical activities. Someone like James May would be ideal as far as I'm concerned because he's someone I think I can relate to, rather than some plastic celebrity who got the job because they look good in a boiler suit.
Then we want articles on stuff to do outdoors when the weather's good, and stuff to do indoors when it's crappy. We want things to make that don't absorb every hour of the day and fill the house with so much clutter that you can't see when the divorce papers drop through the letterbox. We want hobbies that don't require the spending of hundreds of pounds on specialist kit before finding that it's not really what we want to do after all.
We want stuff to do that doesn't cost a fortune, occupies enough time to fill in those little gaps in the day currently occupied by Grand Theft Auto without becoming a full-time obsession, and that isn't so embarrassing that you feel obliged to lie if someone asks what you do in your spare time.
No activity will be right for everyone of course, which means that there should be plenty of variety in ideas covered. Hang gliding would be incredibly exciting but the Fens don't exactly lend themselves to it. Jump off the highest point around here and the resulting impact would barely require a sticking plaster.
And even though knitting would be a handy skill to have, I can't help but remember how annoying I found the constant clicking of the needles when I was a kid and mum spent her spare time knitting jumpers for the family for Christmas.
So until this new programme arrives, I'll ponder the question further. My shed is full of stuff that could enable me to take up a hobby making something, but what that might be is still a mystery.
The one benefit of sitting about waiting for my leg to heal and fighting with the resultant codeine addiction is that I'm not short of time to research the subject further. Until I get distracted by Lucy Pinder again....

"OK lads, we've got some wheels so all we need
now is a frame and a big fuck-off engine..."


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Karma Comedian

The last couple of weeks have been a time of reflection. I've often gone on about enjoying life's little pleasures, but I don't think I really ever appreciated just how many things I've taken for granted in daily life that aren't noticed until you can't do them.
I usually sleep on my front. Can't do that now, so I have to lie flat on my back unable to even turn on my side to relieve the stiffness in my back.
If I was to make a cup of tea I have no way to carry it from the kitchen to the living room.
I can't get in the bath or shower so I have to have a strip wash in a chair.
It's so unbelievably difficult to come to accept that I need other people to do the simplest things for me, especially having always been so capable and independent - always being the person doing things for others wherever possible.
Maybe it's karma giving me a good hard kick in the head. The past year has been a rollercoaster and in some ways perhaps my current situation is things being put back on an even keel.
Sometimes, though, you wonder if karma gets a bit carried away. Or maybe it also works like a sort of credit account where bad shit happens to you so that when you do something bad yourself, the balance is restored.
Depeche Mode sang 'I don't want to start any blasphemous rumours, but I think that god's got a sick sense of humour', and I suspect that much the same can be said of karma.

Having had extensive knee surgery on Monday, ending up with two metal plates installed and numerous screws to hold the bones together (should be fun if I ever go through airport security), and spending a few days on the ward getting to a state where I was deemed fit to be discharged, I've also seen and heard things that make my own situation seem pretty trivial.
The bloke in the bed to one side of me had a ton of hay bales fall on him, breaking both legs and a collarbone, and only survived because a wheelbarrow prevented all the weight crushing his chest. All this just a week after his German Shepherd ripped up his arm while playing ball. So there he was facing many weeks or months of pain and rehabilitation, lying about with scaffolding holding his leg together and suffering the indignity of loss of bowel control. I really felt so sorry for the poor bugger.
Elsewhere on the ward was some old lady clearly suffering with dementia (which surely has to be the ultimate bastard of diseases), who was in a terrible state and made everyone else upset with her frequent bouts of shouting and screaming, and then there was some bloke who was unable to keep anything down and spent extended periods vomiting noisily.
All this time the poor nurses, carers and porters were rushing around like blue-arsed flies and somehow keeping their heads straight amongst all the mayhem. They truly are angels - all of them.

Apologies for a lack of humour over past few posts but it's a bit hard to find things to poke fun at at the moment.
I'll just finish up by expressing my sorrow at the untimely death of Paul Walker. It was a real shock to read about it this morning, and my heart goes out to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Paul.