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Monday, 30 June 2014

Morning walk

Most mornings at breakfast time and most evenings I take a short (400m) walk "around the block" to help with my walking and balance.

This is me "over the garden wall" this morning in lovely sunshine. Windmill in the background. A couple of boiled eggs awaited me.

I have a couple of Weetabix and banana before the walk. At the moment, I am trying to gain weight. I lost a lot of weight when in hospital for my brain bleed and am trying to put some (not all) back on.

Sepura shares still good

Again today, shares in my old company are still doing well nudging the 150p mark. At present they are still 149.75p. See .

They are doing well currently, which must be good news for all my old friends who still work there. These days I feel very out of touch with what is going on there. I get no news, just what I read on the net. I see they have launched DMR products and now have base station and systems capabilities again. TETRA terminals was a predictable market, whereas the infrastructure side was a much more convoluted business model. DMR radios will be very tricky as price competition will be cut-throat.

UPDATE 1315z:  Sepura shares currently 150.25p.  Very good.

UPDATE 1900z:  Sepura shares ended the day at 150.00p. Very decent.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Civil War

The situation in Iraq looks like civil war, as is the case in Syria.

Civil War must be dreadful: you often have no clear idea who your enemy is. Unlike wars with a "real"  external enemy (bad enough) civil wars must be even worse with nowhere to be safe from "the enemy" within.  I feel so sorry for the people of any nation being torn apart by civil war.

One just has to imagine it taking place in the UK to realise how awful it must be.

London trip

Today we went on a day return to London on the train to be with out son Tim, his wife Jo and our grandchildren Lucien and Amandine. Tim met us and took us back to Kings Cross. Booking in advance and with Senior Rail Cards if works out cheaper than driving. Parking at the station is cheap on Sunday.  At present I cannot drive because of my brain bleed last year.  It was good to spend time in their home again after so long.

With the grandchildren in London today
Totally by accident, we sat next to Nick Swales on the train back from London. I'd not seen Nick since work days over 6 years ago. Many years ago we worked together in several Cambridge companies. Nick is one of the brightest minds I've had the privilege to know. Nick works in London with another old colleague Martin Cooley.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Red Legged Partridges

Some time ago, I mentioned that we have a pair of red legged partridges that seem to live near here. Yesterday, they decided to climb on next door's roof for a change of scenery!
Red legged partridges on the roof next door!
Sorry about the quality of the photo which was taken into the light.  They are nowhere to be seen today. Probably sheltering from the rain! The worst of the bad weather seems to have moved away for now.

See for maps of lightning activity. Very useful to see what storms are around and about.

UPDATE 1500z: All quiet now. I think the storms and rain have passed to the east.

UPDATE 2045z:  Just spotted one behind the windmill.

Burwell Carnival

Today was the annual Burwell Carnival with decorated floats parading through the village. Thankfully the rain held off this morning but we have thundery rain this afternoon.  See for storm data.
Burwell Carnival 2014 - floats going along High Street

Our bungalow and blog visits

This is a picture of our bungalow taken this morning before the storms arrived after lunch. Although we have made changes, we have kept the same character.  The laurel hedge is still growing although we don't intend it to get much higher - just enough to define the boundary along with the small front wall.

Incidentally, yesterday a new record was set with 201 visits to this blog. I have no idea why it was so much higher than usual!

UPDATE 2050z: 80 visits to the blog so far today with a couple of hours to go.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Visitors - a puzzle

I have no idea why on some days visits to this blog are far greater than on other days. With 3 hours still to go today this blog has already had 152 visits!

It cannot be the content as on any given day the mix of content is similar. Maybe on some days the blog is featured somewhere? If you know the reason then please let me know as it puzzles me.

UPDATE 2015z:  163 visitors now.

UPDATE 2212z:  180 visitors now.

Leaving the EU?

The way things are going, there is a strong chance that the UK might leave the EU sometime after 2017. There is even a phrase for British exit from Europe - Brexit.  I think we'll be hearing a lot more of this word in the coming years.  Is there a word Scexit for if the Scots decide to leave the UK in September?  I hope Scotland stays as part of Great Britain.

Back to the European Union, I cannot understand why Mr Jean Claude Juncker is getting so much support in Europe when quite a few countries are skeptical of his federalist views. I am sure he is an honourable man and will do his best in the role, but why elect a staunch federalist to the most senior post? I thought the EU was looking towards a more liberal future? 26:2 in his favour is strong support.

If we do leave I shall have mixed views: a lot of our trade is with the EU and inward investment into the UK is largely because we are in the EU, yet we have a fairly open trading regime.  On the other hand being out of the EU gives us full control of immigration, fishing borders and much more. It would not be a total loss if we left. I suspect other nations might follow us out the door.

I really hope Mr Cameron is able to get a better deal with trade relationships at the heart of a new EU. Somehow I have my doubts this will happen.

On this one, I am with the Conservatives - an EU skeptic, basically in favour of the EU but with strong reservations over the way things are moving. I want to stay in the EU, but not at any cost.

Wimbledon 2014

Like most UK residents, I very much hope Andy Murray make it through to the Men's Finals again and that he wins. He is not he most popular sportsman in the UK, but he is giving it his all.

His mother was on the radio today on "Desert Island Discs". I had not realised how big she was in tennis in earlier times. Even now, she is pretty busy encouraging newcomers into the game.

As (nearly) always, rain may disrupt play today. At least they now have that famous roof!

UPDATE 1920z:  Andy is through today's match and playing in the 4th round next week.

The site and trains

In recent months we've made use of day returns on the train as I have not been fit enough to drive yet. Using our senior railcards we have booked tickets at and collected tickets at the station.

So far, I cannot fault the service: tickets are cheaper buying in advance and trains have been clean and on time. People complain a lot, but with a bit of planning, trains are good - just sit back and relax.

I am sure it would be more hassle on a commuter train in the week, but at weekends it works well. For one person, with a railcard I bet you'll find trains cheaper than a car for a moderate journey.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Visitor numbers

My amateur radio blog seems to be attracting an average of about 1000 visits a day, but surprisingly, this very modest little blog here has growing numbers of visitors and now attracts around 100 visits daily. Both are "as it is" blogs: I write about what I am doing or what interests me.

With a total daily audience of around 1100 people a day, I sometimes lose friends. One regular visitor to the other blog was offended that I moaned too much. I didn't think I did. When asked to say what had upset him, he never replied, so may have eaten humble pie or, as I  told him, he can simply go elsewhere and choose not to read everything.

I try to be fair and balanced in what I write, but I am only human.

UK Population

One of the pleasures of New Zealand was the low population density. Even the places between the lovely places were lovely because there were so few people. We drove up the west coast on the main road and saw just 4 cars in one hour! This was a real joy.

Contrast that with the UK which now boasts a population of 64 million, up 400000 in just one year. We are a small island and need no more people, please!

We need to put a lid on immigration, letting in only those we really need for skills we are short of, and put a lid on large families. In this age of available contraception and education there is no excuse for large families.

At the rate we are going we will be unable to feed and house everyone. Surely there are other places for those coming to the UK to live? Wide open spaces in continental Europe?

This is not being racist: I did NOT vote for UKIP or the BNP. What I am expressing is just pure common sense. Our small island is growing far too fast and this HAS to stop.

Basically I support the trade aims of the EU, I enjoy visiting European countries but think we have to be able to limit net inward migration into the UK. If the EU does not agree then we may need to walk away from the EU and its fine trade aims. I am against a federal Europe: this was not what we agreed when we joined.

Sepura shares still good

Sepura shares are still high at 149.75 currently. This is close to the highest they have ever been.

I am not aware of any great new products coming through - I retired 6 years ago and these days am very out of touch - but the share value still suggests they are "doing the right thing".

Perhaps it is because they have now diversified away from just TETRA digital radios?

Another beautiful day and "Active For Life"

Today may be the last sunny/dry day for some days according to the weather forecast. Our "London" son was unable to come yesterday because our granddaughter has tonsillitis. She is getting better. So, as mentioned yesterday, I cut the grass.

This morning it was off to the gym again in Newmarket for another 30 minute Active For Life session to improve balance and stamina. The latter is improving, but balance is still not right.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Stroke "progress"

Over the last 2 days I have cut both the front and back lawns. In the past (when healthy) these would have taken about an hour. They take much longer now, but at least I managed them. The front lawn was done without a break, whereas last time I had to keep stopping as my stamina was so bad.

The other area where progress is being made is on foods: ALL my foods are now via mouth and the things I eat go down well. Not so liquids like tea and coffee, which are often problematic, even with thickeners.

Walking is also better: I still feel wobbly when moving on my feet, but walking itself is not a problem.

At last there may be some progress on my stomach upset and bad breath issues too: the doctor is doing some tests to see if I have a bacterial infection, once clear of a certain medication I take each morning (until this week). If the result is positive, I can be treated for the infection and hopefully cured of it.

Sepura - doing well?

The company I retired from 6 years ago seems to be doing well recently with their share value at 149.75p currently. Not too long ago shares were less than 40p each. They must be doing something right. In the last few years they entered the DMR market in addition to TETRA and have acquired a base station and software applications house. I would have thought DMR would be a very difficult market with lots of competition and cut throat prices.

See .

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Another view of the windmill at sunset

This is a view of "our" windmill over the garden wall taken at 9pm this evening. The sails are lit by the evening sunlight.

The light falling on the 200 year old mill is always changing.

The small wall and laurel hedge mark our boundary. Over the wall is the grass around the restored windmill.

Mildenhall activity?

We are located about 10 miles from the US airbase at RAF Mildenhall. For some reason there seems to be a lot of activty in the air overhead tonight.  Usually we hear very little. Is something big planned I wonder? Iraq airstrikes maybe? Personally I hope we do NOT get involved. Wars solve very little.

Passing the bases is always "creepy". It still feels wrong to have all these threatening planes so close. I don't know if the bases at Mildenhall and Lakenheath  have any nuclear weapons. Personally I'd prefer it if both the bases at Mildenhall and at Lakenheath were closed. I dislike such threatening places.

Gym session

At present, I  am attending the gym in Newmarket twice a week "on referral" for their Active for Life sessions. These are twice a week for 30 minutes each (usually longer in reality). Sponsored by physios or doctors they are to help disabled people back to fitness after illness. Fees are at a much reduced rate. My regime is designed to hlep cardio and balance.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Stomach issue - being taken seriously

At last, as our normal doctor was away, I saw a different doctor today and he has agreed we do a test to see if my stomach has the harmful bacterium H.Pylori. It will take 3-4 weeks to do the test and get results,but at least we are looking for the why. If it is present there are antibiotics to clear it. The normal doctor has been good, but this new one seemed keen to help get to the bottom of this issue.

My stomach is just one of my post stroke issues but the one that is distressing me most.

Thunder and lightning around

After several days of hot weather (20-21 deg C) , there is thunder and lightning around today. We are dodging the storms. A useful map showing where there is storm activity in Europe (including the UK) is at:

It is possible to see where the storms are bad and how they are moving. The map at present (1540z) shows bad storms in the Alps and storms here in East Anglia. We seem to be in a gap now between very bad weather.
The thunder returned just after we'd watered the garden (Sod's law) followed by a burst of heavy rain for 5 minutes. I think the rain will be around most of the evening on and off. At the moment there is no lightning, so the storm must be a little way off? Having said that, we just had a very loud thunder clap! It is about 3km away again (1640z). The lightning map shows widespread storm activity in East Anglia right now.

In the meantime, our son in Kent is on the beach after school. There they have good weather.

UPDATE 1720z: At the moment, the storms have ended but the lightning map shows a further storm is due to come through. At present it is over the Peterborough area and moving SE.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Stomach problems (stroke)

This week I have one main objective: to get to the bottom of what is causing my stomach discomfort. I have had this discomfort for several months now, along with bad breath.  My GP has tried all manner of medicines without any success. I am becoming convinced I have some bacterial stomach infection and the GP needs to understand the source and treat that, not the resulting discomfort. Reading about strokes, long term stomach disorders don't normally appear as issues. I think the GP has to get to the bottom of this. If he can fix this with antibiotics I'm sure I'll feel so much better.

Classic Cars

Classic Cars Poster
Our local Burwell Museum held a "Classic Car" day today with around 20 classic cars turning up and on display. There were cars from the 1960s right back to 1907. They were all carefully restored by their owners and looked splendid in the warm sunshine and dry weather.

One was an old white Morris 1000 called "Hilda" restored by an old work friend, The 1930s Austin 7's looked good. Well. they all did. Some of these vehicles are on permanent view in the museum.

We went along with our season ticket, giving us free entry after the initial payment some months ago. Normal adult entry is £4. Children are £1.50 (to 15) and under 5s get in free. There is so much to see in the museum it is well worth the entry fee. You could spend hours looking around. If a local, a season ticket is well worth it, so you can come back and browse whenever you like when the museum and mill are open.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Watering the front garden

We are in a spell of dry weather, so last night I watered the front garden. Lis did the back garden.
Watering plants in the front garden
Surprisingly, I find watering quite therapeutic. I always feel giddy when on my feet, but watering I can manage, despite the stroke. Washing the car earlier was harder and far more tiring.

Church Fete

St Mary's Fete June 2014
Today was our annual St Mary's church fete. My wife has done the home made cake stall for about 35 years! In recent years the weather has been mixed with showers and heavy rain. There was a time when people used to ask for this weekend for weddings (3rd Saturday in June) as, for about 25 years, it never rained. The joke was the vicar had a special relationship with God. Today it was glorious sunshine and very warm at around 21 deg C - in fact a perfect day for a summer fete.
Cake stall centre LHS with Lis in torquoise blouse
I have no idea how much was made on the day for good causes and the church, but it was a very happy afternoon, and those who went had a good time.

I managed to walk down and soaked up the atmosphere for about 45 minutes although I was very wobbly on my feet. It was good to catch up with old friends I'd not seen in a long while.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Windmill at sunset

Windmill at sunset
This is a photo of our local windmill taken "over the garden wall" at sunset. Normally, the sails face in our direction, but in this picture they are on the other side.

The restored windmill is now part of the Burwell Museum next door. Both are well worth a visit (Thursdays and Sundays 11am - 5pm).

The windmill is around 200 years old and has been fully restored recently following a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Stroke - lack of progress

At the moment I feel worse than I have done for months. Although on some fronts I must be making real progress, I am still very giddy when walking and feel as if my stomach is upset ALL of my waking time. Both are making me feel very low.

I am still far from well and really feel it.

I just want to feel/be my old self again. In the last few months I feel as if I am going backwards. Curing my stomach would make me feel so much better.

Football World Cup and England

Yet again England have been knocked out of the Football World Cup. This is the first time since 1958 they have been eliminated in the early stages.

One of the reasons may be because the number of foreigners in Premier League clubs is now so high. We lost the Uruguay match partly because the goal scorer plays for Liverpool!

We need far more ENGLISH players in English teams. Of course, football is now big business and there would be a reluctance to move in this direction. There must be a huge untapped talent pool of ENGLISH players in schools and youth clubs. These should be far less expensive than the silly wages and fees payed to foreign players.

Perhaps there should be a (low) upper limit on wages and transfer fees? That might encourage big clubs to go scouting for local talent instead?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tea and tortoises

Time to say, "bye tortoise"
With Amandine at our home.
When my granddaughter came yesterday with her dad they went out with my wife to the local garden centre. Saying "bye bye" to all the animals took a while!

Looking at the tortoise

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Dizziness following cerebellum bleed

Most people who see me on the street make comments like, " you do look well". Indeed I do. Compared with just after my operation I have regained weight and colour. I look "better". However, inside it is a different story: I suffer from constant dizziness when walking and stomach discomfort all my waking hours. Both are getting me down. All the time I am not my old cheerful self. I am desperate to cure both.

Looking at what could have happened to me - I had no idea how poorly I was last September - perhaps I should be extremely grateful not to be paralysed or left deaf/blind. There is so much more living I want to do still. Please make me fit again soon.

There are other issues too. More on these another time.

Stroke "progress"

For the last few months, progress getting better has been slow.

I am particularly frustrated by my inability to drink liquids without thickeners. Even with thickeners drinks are not easy. Foods by mouth usually go down well. In the coming months I am having a further MRI brain scan, another video x-ray of my throat and an ENT examination to check my vocal cords.

My walking is much better and I can now eat a wide variety of foods by mouth. I tend to forget the real progresss I am making.

Tim and Amandine's visit

Today is a Wednesday. As usual, our son Tim and granddaughter Amandine came to visit us. Usually he cuts the lawns but as these were cut by our other son on Monday, he was able to just relax. They all went to the garden centre for some seeds and a cup of tea.

At 4pm the speech therapist called to see me. Progress is very slow on the stroke recovery front.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Visit by Chris

Chris and I in our front garden
Our son Chris drove all the way from Canterbury to be with us Monday afternoon. He works Saturdays (and many Sundays) but has Monday afternoons off.

He kindly cut both our lawns for us whilst he was here. We are very grateful.

This is a photo of Chris and I taken in our front garden with Burwell Windmill and Museum in the background, just over our garden wall.

Both our sons have been SO kind to me during my illness, bless them.

Visit to Ann Perkins

With Ann Perkins in her lovely garden (Lis took photo)
This afternoon, without my stick, but holding on to Lis, I managed to walk all the way from our house to Ann Perkins' house in North Street. The full return journey must be at least 3km, maybe more. Although wobbly, I made it there and back. It was a nice afternoon out.

Virgin Media

Broadband speed is good, TV recording is good with Tivo, phones are OK anytime. I just want it CHEAPER. Will ring them later to renegotiate our deal. I may be possible to save money and have a smart phone.

I have written 2 emails and neither has been answered (it would have been nice and polite but that is not their style) yet I get bombarded with offers and special customer deals most weeks by post. You have to love them. Actually there is little choice.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Iraq, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Kenya

It looks like chaos is breaking out  in the Middle East, Near East and Africa. Fundamentalists are keen to take their revenge. Sadly, these standpoints usually stem from earlier grievances and sadly Western Government decisions are often part of these. This is no excuse for acts of terrorism, but long-term grievances often stretch back many hundreds of years.

Think, for example of N.Ireland where today's children are still sectarianised because of events that go back many many generations.  The only real answer is if deep trust is rebuilt and this takes generations. War and civil wars and acts of terror are not the answer. In the end, everyone has to be treated with total fairness.

Cause and effects

My doctor has been trying all sorts of pills and medicines to try to cure my stomach discomfort and bad breath, all so far without success. This is following my stroke. The bad breath has been an issue only since leaving hospital. Changes since then are more foods by mouth, now nil food by Peg, but I don't believe this is the cause.

I can't help thinking he is trying to fix the effect rather than the cause. Last week I emailed my doctor and my hospital dietician with a possible cause, found on the internet (bacterial infection in gut). We'll see if they read and agree. My stomach discomfort and bad breath are getting me down. This and my giddiness are the main remaining issues I have.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

D-Day landings

Just watching a TV programme about the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach. I did not realise the troops had to climb 150 foot cliffs under fire first! The chances of it all going badly wrong were very high. These men must have been incredibly brave. It is not until now did I realise just how brave these people were on my behalf.

 I pray we never have to sacrifice young lives ever again in such a way.

Chppenham Park - Cambridgeshire

Chippenham Park Gardens, Cambridgeshire, today
This Sunday, the gardens were open at Chippenham Park so we visited them to see the flowers. Unlike NT properties (we have subscriptions so visits are "free") we had to pay to pay to get in but, this once, it was worth it. Some of the beds are wonderful. It was good for me to do more walking as well.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Blog readers

Today this blog has been read (already and there are 3 hours still to go) by more people than on any day in the last week. I have no idea why this should be so.

UPDATE 2200z:   133 reads of this Miscellaneous Musings blog today so far.  My amateur radio blog gets about 1000 visits a day regularly and has a dedicated bunch of 115 subscribers.

Local Gilbert and Sullivan

Every spring (Met office summer) in mid-June the Swaffham Bulbeck Summer Theatre puts on a G&S production in a local barn. It is a village highlight. We rarely miss going unless we are away.
"Patience" Gilbert and Sullivan
This year it was "Patience" and, as always, it was very good. All the cast are locals and non-professionals but you would never know. We went to the Saturday matinee. Luckily we bought tickets on the internet this morning as they nearly sold out.
It was good to be able to go today and be "normal" again - the stroke did not stop me enjoying myself although normally I'd have a glass of wine and was unable to today. Maybe next year, God willing.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Iraq chaos

Since before the fall of Saddam Hussein I have been completely against western intervention in Iraq.  The cynic in me says we only were interested because of oil. Were it some tinpot non-entity in Africa we would have let them sort out their own future. My son and his then girlfriend attended the anti-Iraq war rally in London years ago. I am proud of them and their stand.

As it is, we have the worst of both worlds: Iraq deaths during and after the war have been huge and now it is on the brink of outright civil war. Saddam was bad but the chaos that has followed is arguably at least as bad. For the same reasons I fear for Afghanistan.

Some are even saying Tony Blair (the UK Prime Minister who took us into the war) should be prosecuted for war crimes. He is certainly leading a very nice lifestyle now as a so called Middle East Peace Envoy. It seems a million miles away from his so-called Labour roots. Sorry Tony but your lavish, truly capitalist, lifestyle makes your days as a Labour PM ring very hollow to many including me.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Ely Physio and garden

Today I had to go to Ely for more physio to help my balance. The physio keeps telling me I am making progress although I am finding it hard to detect. I have written to my doctor to tell him about something I found on the Internet that may be relevant to one of my symptoms. I have another MRI scan June 30th.

When we got home we did some gardening. My wife did some more planting and I got the hose out to do some watering. At the moment the garden is looking good. Tomorrow my brother-in-law and his wife are coming for lunch.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Indian rape

The recent rape and hanging of young girls in rural India is horrific and another reminder of just how far some countries have still to come to become truly civilised.  We in the west were just as bad not long ago. We have to remember this, but in this global age there really is no excuse for such barbarism. Countries like India , Pakistan and similar have a long way to come.

The world is judging you by your actions. Civilised nations don't allow such acts to go unpunished.

See .

Son and granddaughter

This afternoon our son came to see us with our granddaughter. We went for a meal at the  La Hogue farm shop where our granddaughter played on the slide and the toy tractors. She really loves these.
Amandine on the slide
As my brother had cut the grass, our son did not have to cut the grass this week. Our laurel hedge along our front wall is growing quite well now. It was given a  bone meal feed about 6 weeks ago and this has helped revive it as it looked quite yellow a little while back.
Front lawn

Brother and sister-in-law go home

My brother at home in our kitchen
Me with my sister-in-law (Jo) and brother (John) in back garden
Today my brother and his wife returned home to Devon. They were good company and did a great job in our garden, tidying up the hedges, flower beds and lawns.  We will miss their company.
My brother John cutting front hedge

"Our" windmill over hedge (from back garden)

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Brother and sister-in-law

With Jo and John in the back garden
Tomorrow my brother and wife go back to Devon. It has been good to see them and they were busy yesterday helping to tidy our garden (front and back). John did the hedges and Jo trimmed to lawn edges. Today we went to Ickworth near Bury-St-Edmunds.
Back garden

Monday, 9 June 2014

"Too busy being Christian" to be Christian?

This phrase, from my sister-in-law rings true to me.  Two of our so called "Christian"neighbours have managed just one visit to see how I am and even that was at OUR invitation.   Other friends have been several times including one couple who have a handicapped daughter who drove a round trip of 4 hours to see me. Some people have been genuinely concerned for me, even people I hardly knew.

It may be these neighbours are just shy (?), but it is not a resoundingly good advert for their faith.  Everything they now do supposedly "Christian" will ring hollow. In reality they would not have had to do anything but it would have been nice to know they actually cared at all. Me thinks they are "too busy being Christian" to be real Christians.

One thing my stroke has taught me is that you soon find out who your REAL friends are. Those you least expect come up trumps whereas those you would have expected to be really helpful are noticeable by their hollow shells.

Garden shipshape

My brother and his wife worked really hard on our garden this morning.

They cut the hedges, cut the front lawn and greatly tidied up the beds and lawn edges.

In my current feeble (stroke) state , I was very very grateful indeed. I must say the difference is very noticeable. Thank you both.

At home, John has 4 acres+ to look after and this maybe getting too much now. My brother will be 70 this December.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Michael Gove

Why does Michael Gove (UK Secretary of State for Education) remind me so much of an overgrown schoolboy without satchel and cap? His recent statements about syllabus changes make me cross. He comes over, to me, as more than slightly out of his depth and talking nonsense. In my view, he should be made to write 100 lines "I must stop meddling" and made to sit in the naughty corner. These are my personal views and I appreciate other may have very different views. As a free country I hope I am able to say how I feel without being accused of slander.

I see he is in trouble from David Cameron (for his row with Theresa May, Home Secretary) and now with the Labour Party. See .
Many did not like Tony Benn, but he was a proper principled politician. Never once did I hear him talking rubbish. Everything he said was sensible, in my view.  His views were definitely left wing, but at least he said what he believed and was "his own man".  I had respect for him even if our views differed.

Mr Gove?  Sorry, in my view you are not even in the same league as Tony Benn.
See  .

More page visits?

This blog seems to be attracting more visits these days (nearly 100 a day). I try to post something most days but occasionally this is not possible. A lot of posts have been centred on my health issues (stroke) and for this I apologise. I guess my stroke has been foremost on my mind in recent months.

My other active blog on amateur radio regularly gets 1000 visits a day!

Brother and sister-in-law visit Burwell Museum

Windmill over the garden wall.
My brother and his wife have come up from Devon to visit us, going back Wednesday. This afternoon they walked about 30m from our bungalow to our local Burwell Museum, just across the green, The museum is quite something. They thought it was great.

Spread over several buildings, the museum is a snapshot of rural village life down the ages. There are old cars , old delivery vans, an old school, an old shop, horses and carts, old cars and buses, and even a blacksmiths and WW2 room and a fully working telephone exchange with phones to dial up.  There is a room dedicated to old clothes and so very much more. You could easily spend a few hours here.

Now, of course, the fully restored windmill is also open too. The museum "punches way above its station" as they say.  It is open to the public 11am-5pm Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. Sometimes school visits are on other days by arrangement. It is run entirely by volunteers.

If you are in the area it is well worth seeing. Our grandchildren love it and ALWAYS want to go back, so this year we bought a season ticket. Every month my wife and I do a volunteer duty.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Heath-Robinson illustrations

My wife has a book that is 97 years old (a book of Hans Andersen's fairy tales dated 1917) and we just realised the plates are by Heath-Robinson.

I suspect the plates are worth as much as the book.  My wife took it off the bookshelf to read, thinking she might read them to the grandchildren.

The book was a gift from her Uncle Ernest to her mum when she was a little girl in the last years of WW1. The book binding is tatty now, but the fairy tales don't age. I hope the grandchildren enjoy it too. It will be owned by one of them soon.

Brother's visit

Tomorrow, my brother and his wife are driving up from Devon to stay a few days. They are good company and it is always good to have them come to stay.

It gives my wife a chance to have a glass of wine with company. I have not been allowed alcohol of any kind since my stroke last September. Can't say I've missed it. but I wish I was fully fit again.

UK weather

Today has been an odd day weather-wise. This morning we had thunder storms and torrential rain, whereas now we have bright, June evening sunshine, the sort of evening that makes you glad to be alive. I am about to go for my evening walk "around the block" about 400m. I do this twice a day to help my stroke recovery.

This afternoon I also managed to go to/from the Post Office and Chemist. which is further. In days gone by these walks would have been trivial. Not at present!

I have some new medicines for my sickness but it is too early to tell if this is more effective.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Remembering the Germans too on D-Day

At our old house we saw "Herman the German" walking his little dog past our house most days. Herman came to the UK after the war as a PoW. This reminds me that many German soldiers were just like us and were more interested in their homes and families than Hitler.

We must not harbour hatred of any men or women whatever their colour or creed - inside they are the same as us - and we would do well to remember this, especially today on the anniversary of D-Day. Hitler was mad and bad but most of his countrymen were, and are, the same as us. Many "good" Germans died in fear on D-Day.

Now is the time for peace and reconciliation. Let such wars never happen again.

Fed up

It was Jan 3rd 2014 that I was discharged from hospital and I have now been home for longer than I was in hospital. To be honest I am getting fed up with not getting better sooner. I must be improving. My feeding is better. But I am frustrated that I still feel sick every waking moment and wobbly whenever moving. Drinking drinks seems no better than when first discharged and in recent months progress has been extremely slow. I just want to be better.

Doctor and stroke

I mentioned all my current stroke symptoms to my doctor today and he seems convinced my giddiness/balance issues will go with time. He has prescribed some new medicine for my sickness feelings. We'll see. I have another MRI scan booked June Addenbrookes in Cambridge.

Typos and errors

Whenever I write my blogs or emails, I find I have to make corrections to what I type. I am wondering if this is my keyboard skills (or lack of them) or an artifact of my stroke: am I more prone to making errors than before? Also, it takes me a while to even notice the errors, such as two full stops or key words missing.

Please accept my apologies for any uncorrected errors.

D-day celebrations

The TV is full of D-Day anniversary celebrations from the Normandy beaches It is 70 years since it happened.  It must have been a day filled with unbelievable fear, on a level I cannot begin to imagine, with the fear of being shot at any moment.

My stroke has left me more emotional than before: the thought of these brave men moved me to tears, as did thinking of my dear dad flying Lancasters in Bomber Command. In his lifetime I never once told him how brave he was, one of my greatest regrets.  I do so hope their efforts were not in vane. We have had 70 years of peace in Europe, just about, with a few exceptions.

I do not have bad feelings towards the German people. Mankind has a nasty side and it could so easily been the other way around. We have all to work towards peace and reconciliation.  The EC has a good side by helping to keep the peace.

I must stop bursting into tears.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Off Peg feed today

Today is a significant day in my stroke recovery. As my weight was unchanged from last week today I reduced my liquid (Peg) feed down to nothing, so all my food now comes through my mouth. I've still a way to go to regain my full health, but this is a step on the way. I have to increase the quantity of food through my mouth so I maintain my weight.

Last November I was told I might never be able to eat ever again via my mouth and that I might be dependent on Peg (stomach tube) for ever and ever. That day nearly broke my heart and that of many of my family and my friends. Quite a change!

Quiet evening

My wife has gone out to her CCS (choir) committee meeting so I am home alone until she gets back around 21.45 BST. A chance to catch up with FB and the blogs.

See for details of the choir.

Our Garden

Front lawn

"Our" windmill next door
Because of my recent stroke I have been unable to do much in the garden this year, so far.  Cutting the grass exhausts me.

Most of the flower beds have been seen to by my wife and they are looking good considering everything. Our sons have been good and cut the front and rear grass lawns most weeks.

I am hoping that my sickness, dizziness and profound tiredness will soon be better so I can do my fair share again. It is not nice to be beholden to others to do jobs I'd have willingly done in the past.

Someone wants to buy our bungalow!

Last night we had a printed note in our mailbox. It was from someone called Julie whom lives in the village and wants to move. She obviously has walked past our bungalow, likes it, and was seeing if we want to move. We don't. The bungalow suits us perfectly and we have no plans to move any time soon. Still, it was rather flattering.

Interest rates at 0.5% in UK

Here in the UK, interest rates have been pegged at 0.5% of 5 years now. This has allowed low cost mortgage repayments and some credit card debts to be cleared. See .

At some point, interest rates will start to rise a a new generation will again start to fall into debt with higher repayment costs. The last few years have been exceptional.

It will, of course, help savers who have had a raw deal now for years with savings falling in real terms for most.

Debt costs generally will rise (costs to borrow money from other nations to live as we in the UK are accustomed) and this will be painful.  Also, we face rising energy costs. The UK has been living beyond its means (spending more than we earn) for a long time now.  This has to change.

Life will get tough for many in the coming years.

UPDATE 1730z:   I see that the EU Central Bank has lowered interest rates in the Eurozone in an attempt to prevent deflation.  The Euro crisis has not ended yet.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Catholic Church - evil?

In the last few days I have been made aware of deaths in Ireland of babies in a home for unmarried mothers This was in the Washington Post first and has only today appeared in the UK press (Guardian). See .

Last year I saw the film Mea Maxima Culpa about how the Catholic Church deliberately covered up child abuse in the priesthood, see . Right up to the Pope the  cover-up went on. Dreadful!

Other religions and religious groups may be as bad, but what is becoming public knowledge about the Catholic Church is nothing short of a scandal.  Why? It is totally un-Christian. I am sure, not that many years ago, other Christian Churches acted in similar ways. What I find despicable is that publically they pretend to be so "holy". It is a sham.

Quiet day

Our son and granddaughter were unable to visit today, so we have had a quiet day. As long as my weight is not falling, today is the very last day on my liquid (Peg) feed. This is a significant milestone on my road to full recovery. The Peg remains for liquids and medicines. Eventually, th-e Peg will be removed at the point I can eat, drink and take all medicines orally.

At the moment giddiness, a feeling like indigestion and swallow are my main stroke related issues.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Physio today

After my wife returns from her hair appointment and my 2 hours of Peg (stomach) liquid feed ends, we are off to Newmarket for my twice weekly physio session that should be 30 minutes long.  Of late, it has taken longer for various reasons (late starting, non availability of staff, etc.).  I hope the physio sessions help balance as this is my greatest issue from my stroke.

Monday, 2 June 2014


My little granddaughter was recently 3 years old. This was her cake at her recent party in her local park. She wanted a red cake with butterflies!
Birthday party and cake

Stroke update

You may (or may not!) remember that Sept 2013 I was very ill and needed an operation on my brain for a cerebellar bleed. I was discharged from hospital Jan 3rd 2014 and have been recovering at home ever since, albeit too slowly for my liking.

Today I had to attend a neurology clinic at Addenbrookes Hospital as an out-patient. They seem very pleased with my recovery, which is good news.  I may be driving again in the next few months. They have to write to the DVLA.

They are doing a further MRI scan June 30th to see if my remaining giddiness when walking/turning can be helped. In all, it was a good outcome - nothing dramatic to report. Giddiness should continue to improve given time - just be patient - as the brain learns to cope and rewires itself. I guess I was expecting to get instantly better whereas brain injuries go at their own pace! I am impatient to fully recover.

I am luckier than many. Apart from giddiness when walking/turning and profound tiredness a lot of the time (like M.E.) I have few other problems. Some are left with permanent limb paralysis or worse.  As far as I am aware my intellect is pretty intact and I have all my faculties intact. I really hope to avoid any further invasive surgery.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Qatar - World Cup 2022

If there is any hint of corruption in getting chosen, the FIFA vote should be re-run. No brainer. Corruption has no place in football or any other sport.

I have no evidence that corruption took place and hope it did not.

House quiet

The "London" grandchildren returned home yesterday evening, so the house is very quiet again without them . Yesterday morning (early) we found them both (3 and 6.5yrs old)  quietly sitting at the foot of our bed on the carpet. They have been as good as gold, although they had to sleep apart Friday night as the little one was too excited and kept waking up here elder brother!

Yesterday we learnt that Edward (5) who lives near Canterbury, is able to ride his 2-wheeled bike without stabilisers. This is a big step for him.