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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Poor voice

Amateur radio has been one of my great interests for years but since my cerebellum brain bleed in Sept 2013 I have had a very poor speaking voice and this has been a real handicap. Speaking at all takes real effort and I feel breathless.

Although I (just about) get onto the East Cambs 2m FM amateur radio net most Mondays  for about 20 minutes and I get on for about 1 hour in the 2m and 70cm legs of the RSGB's Tuesday evening contests, I find using my voice hard work, so I avoid talking on the radio too much currently.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

East Anglian Churches - blog updated

We actually visited Wiveton Church in North Norfolk a couple of weeks ago,  but I have only today updated the blog to reflect our visit.


Friday, 29 May 2015

Mildenhall Museum

This afternoon we visited the local museum in nearby Mildenhall. Entry was free and it was well worth it!

Sadly our local museum charges £4 entry for adults. It is a much bigger museum in Burwell.   Although I understand why our local museum in Burwell charges, I think they should charge far less and try to recover moneys elsewhere such as donations, gifts and in the new cafe. £4 is far too much.

Stroke update

Not sure if the cranial osteopathy is the reason, but I do seem to be less tired than I was.  This week we have had all our little grandchildren staying (2 lots of 2 and they are all less than 7.5 years old) yet I am coping better.

Overall, I still have a poor voice and poor thin liquid swallow and I still feel drunk when walking, but feeling less tired is a positive step on a long road. Small steps.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Cranial Osteopathy

I still have several stroke related issues (feel drunk when walking, tire easily, poor thin liquid swallow, poor voice), so today I started a series of cranial osteopathy sessions with someone recommended to me in Cambridge. The first session went well and I have fixed up a couple more sessions. Time will tell if these help with my symptoms. Although I am improving, the pace has slowed considerably so I am game to try anything that may help.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Kent earthquake

Earthquakes are far less common in the UK, but they do occur. Last night one occurred in Kent shaking homes and waking people in the middle of the night. This one was 4.2 on the Richter scale. This one was felt by my son near Canterbury and they think some tiles came off their cottage roof.

Some UK earthquakes have caused real disruption and damage. This one must have been quite a shock to those that were aware of it. Being in the middle of the night, many may have been totally unaware. Even though this one lasted several seconds it was nowhere near the force of the recent ones in Nepal which were many orders of magnitude stronger. The strongest UK earthquake in recent times was the Colchester earthquake of 1884 which measured 4.6 on the Richter scale.

Thursday, 21 May 2015


Today we planted our remaining begonias against the house wall in the back garden. As they grow and get established they should look good.  Unlike many  bedding plants they need very little attention and they usually last until the first frosts in late October. They don't need dead-heading either.When these finish we will plant winter flowering primroses. This is not until late October though.

Another success this spring are our clematis. One has just come into flower and looks a picture. We thought this one had died and very nearly dug it up! We are hoping that 2 clematis plants will grow and cover our brick archway into the back garden. Both are growing well and this should happen.

A few bare patches in the front lawn have been reseeded. It will take 2-3 weeks for the seeds to germinate and grow, but hopefully the few mossy patches will soon be grass again.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Old university friend

Today we were visited by an old university friend, Robert. Although we met at a reunion 3 years ago in Shropshire it was really good to have a chance to properly catch-up today. We went out for lunch at The White Pheasant in the next village. The food was very good.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Another crash?

Some commentators are predicting that we are on course for another crash. I have no idea if they are right or wrong, but economics does seem to be cyclical. Some investments may give lower returns but may be safer bets?

Petrol and diesel prices - creeping upwards

Have you noticed that the price of petrol and diesel is creeping upwards again? OK the price of a barrel has risen slightly and the exchange rate against the dollar of the UK pound is a little worse. However, it seems someone is out to push prices up again to maximise profits.

Personally, I think fuel prices should be set nationally as in Iceland. In Iceland prices are the same wherever you go.   I also think it is odd that anyone profits when fuels are essential to all of us.  I'd run all energy supplies as nationalised industries, with any profits benefiting the consumer and not private share-holders. In this I'd put all essential services like energy, trains and buses. Clearly privatisation may encourage efficiency but making profits for private shareholders is stupid, in my opinion, when we are talking of essential services. These should be run for the benefit of all, not the few.

Monday, 18 May 2015


At the home we moved to a couple of years back, just before I was taken seriously ill, we see far fewer smaller birds.  They are around, but don't seem to be attracted to the bird table or nut feeders. We also see no squirrels.  We get a reasonable number of small birds in the garden and nearby such as dunnocks (hedge sparrows), great tits and blue tits, robins etc. Maybe they visit other bird tables or find food naturally very locally?

Our nut feeders seem to attract larger birds in the main like pigeons and collared doves. We have lots of trees and other cover in the garden and nearby.

Every morning at much the same time we get jackdaws on the bird table. We have red legged partridges in the road most days and we have even had mallard ducks in the garden.

See .

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Football playoffs

If Norwich win against Middlesborough in the Championship playoff final they could be back in the Premier League next season. Quite a few hoops to jump through though but a win against local rivals Ipswich must give them hope.

No such luck for League 2 team Plymouth Argyle who were beaten by Wycombe Wanderers for a place in the League 2 playoff final. Still, they did well this season and I wish them well in the next.

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Swallows, swifts and house martins

In the last week the skies have changed. Summer migrant birds are everywhere now but even a week ago they were harder to spot. Screaming swifts are a sure sign of late spring and summer and bring joy to the heart.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Ebola - out of the news?

Have you noticed that the deadly disease Ebola is no longer in the news? This started to cease to be newsworthy around Christmas last year.  I guess the BBC decided there were more important issues like Nigel Farage, he says with a great deal of sarcasm.

The disease is still present in some West African nations but others have reported no new cases in some time now. I think the world was late to "wake up" to the real dangers of this condition. Luckily, it managed to be contained in West Africa, in the main. It could have spread so easily to western nations and been a real public health catastrophe.

See .

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Churches blog updated

See .

Today we visited North Norfolk and called in at Cley and Wiveton churches. I have updated the churches blog with Cley church. Wiveton church will be added shortly. A few more images will also be added later.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Lawns cut

Today I managed to cut both our front and rear lawns and drink a can of "Old Speckled Hen" beer.  In the past this would have been trivial, but since the cerebellum brain bleed this is an achievement, especially as I needed no breaks whilst doing them. Mind you, I was pretty tired by the end.

Most of the blossom has now gone - so ephemeral - but the Californian lilac is in flower as is next door's lilac bush.  I expect both will soon be gone!


One of the after-effects of my cerebellum brain bleed seems to be an inability to quickly spot spelling mistakes. In the end I tend to notice these, but often long after an email has been sent. As an example, I had "an" instead of "am" in an email sent this afternoon. It really is not that important, but I seem slower to pick up this sort of mistake than before.

A second large earthquake in Nepal

News is just breaking that a second large earthquake has struck eastern Nepal. This was a 7.3 magnitude quake and it must have been so frightening for those poor people already struggling to come to terms with the first earthquake a few weeks ago. It must be so hard for the children.

See .

Monday, 11 May 2015

Heading home

After a long weekend visiting our son and family near Canterbury, today we head home. It was lovely to see them all and they are all coming up to us at half-term in 2 weeks time.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Stroke and spelling

About  19 months after my cerebellum brain bleed and operation I am still far from right. My symptoms that I had last year are still there although, on average, I feel a little less tired than I did. Some days are still bad and I feel totally exhausted.

My other issues are feeling drunk when walking (but I do not fall), poor speech and poor thin liquid swallow. These have improved very little if I am honest. Life is still very hard and I find stress harder to cope with. I still feel unwell and still a long way from my old self.

One thing that I am attributing to my stroke is poor spelling. It is not that I make lots of mistakes but rather it seems to take longer for me to realise when I have made an error. Some of these are keyboard typos but some are genuine errors that I am sure are a more recent thing.

An example: yesterday I really struggled with "bare" and "bear". There are other examples but in the past these would not have been a problem. Also, I find I am more forgetful too. Although my wife can remember who has called to see me in the past, I sometimes forget who has, and has not, called, say last year. A few weeks ago I posted something on Twitter but I have no recollection of doing this, at all.

Overall,I still feel in a bit of a fog.  Oh for my old self!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Your democratic right

Thankfully we live in a free country where we have certain rights.  Tomorrow we can vote for whichever candidate/party we like. This is our right. Please use your vote and don't waste it.  

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Churches blog updated has been updated to include Exning Church in Suffolk.

Exning is much older than nearby Newmarket.  Newmarket, the worldwide home of horse racing, was literally the "new market" for Exning.

Election blues

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People are getting rather stupid about the upcoming UK General Election voting for which is on this Thursday.  The real difference between Labour and Conservatives is actually not that great.

 We are likely to be in a hung parliament with another coalition, so the policies of either Labour or Conservatives will have to be moderated. Both want the deficit to be reduced. Both want to keep the NHS free at point of use. Both want to keep Trident (I don't).

In the end, I hope we end up with another coalition involving the Lib Dems.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Royal baby named

Today, they named the royal baby girl. I am ambivalent on royalty: they probably help the country by encouraging tradition, visits to stately homes and the sale of useless memorabilia.

On the other hand, the royals really have no great claim to wealth or privilege. One problem is we'd never agree on a president! So, for now, I sort of favour royalty, but I think they have to earn our respect and never just assume it.


We visited West Stow today with 2 of our young grandchildren. This is a reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village. We heard a goldcrest and the first cuckoo whilst there, but saw neither. A cuckoo is a sign if the return of spring. I have yet to see house martins or swifts and have only see 2 swallows so far this spring.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Royal baby

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I am not sure what I think about royalty. On the one hand I think they must do our tourist trade a lot of good encouraging visits to historic houses and trade in royal trinkets and memorabilia.

On the other had, all royals still have to sit on the loo and have nothing really that is any different from the rest of us. Why do these royals have any right to wealth and privilege?

Friday, 1 May 2015

Stroke - often hungry

One thing I do not understand is why I feel hungry so often, yet do not put on weight.

I recently had a bowel cancer check and that was all clear. I eat a very full breakfast (Weetabix, half a banana followed by a cooked breakfast cooked in very little oil) and I have a good lunch and tea, but already I am hungry again! My weight has been pretty constant for over a year - maybe a few pounds heavier. I drink very little alcohol these days and have no sugar in tea or coffee, but I guess there is sugar in the chocolate drinks I have.

Stroke update

Although, on  average, I am a little less tired overall, I still have very bad days, like today, when I feel very exhausted.  I still have problems with thin liquid drinks and still feel wobbly on my feet. Progress is painfully slow.

Never, ever, take your health for granted, as you never know when things might change. Before Sept 2013 I was fit and healthy. These days, still, I feel just a shadow of my old self.  How I wish I was back to as I was!

At the moment, long travel is a real problem. I have not been down to Devon for 2 years.  Last year the furtherest we managed was Kent and Cheshire, both by train.