I forgot to post again, didn’t I?

I keep doing it. I switch on the computer with every intention of blogging, but by the time I’ve done everything else I have to do online, it’s time for me to switch off and do something else. So yes, I’m rubbish and I know I am! It’s not that I don’t want to, and I can think of plenty of things to say! But I’m here now and that’s what really matters, right?!

First off, I took a picture on Tuesday with the sole purpose of posting it here;

Christmas chocolates. CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATES, on the SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER!! This is unacceptable, and left me muttering furiously as I made my way around the rest of the supermarket. Thankfully the sweets looked untouched, so I’m fairly certain every other shopper was as disenchanted with the display as I was. What made this even more incongruous was that right next to this budding Christmas section was a still active barbeque and summer garden section! They could at least wait until they’ve packed away the charcoal before wheeling out the selection boxes!!

In other news, I seem to have picked up a lovely pair of ear infections, which is filling my life with boundless joy at the moment. The one ear started off about ten days ago, but was just irritating so my GP prescribed the same drops I’ve had before for a form of exzema in my ears called otitis externa. However, by Saturday and while I was at Roath Market the pain levels had increased exponentially and so I called the doctor and made an appointment to go to the out of hours clinic at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (which, on a totally unrelevant note, has featured in Doctor Who lots of times including ‘Aliens of London’, ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ and ‘Turn Left’). There I was prescribed some very strong antibiotics (flucloxacillin, anyone?) which, over the course of a few days made my ear slightly better (much less pain) but had a very detrimental effect on my tummy. So, back I went to the GP on Friday and now I have super-strong eardrops and an invitation to go back again next Wednesday if they haven’t worked. If my ears are still full of yuck then, I will be enjoying a trip to the Ear Nose and Throat people in the hospital. So much fun to look forward to! Oh, and then yesterday I woke up with both ears aching, so I’m now using my superstrong drops in the one ear, and my weaker drops in the one that’s just started aching.

Update on my hands; my rheumatologist has decided he has no ideas (as I already said) and my GP has said I’ll learn to live with it over the next couple of years. I went back to work on Wednesday after my long summer break with the boys. By Thursday lunchtime my hands were aching despite the more accessible hardware my employers have provided. So, this week I should hopefully be trialling a touchscreen monitor with a new on-screen keyboard, and hopefully this will allow me to do my job pain-free. Otherwise I’m not really sure what I’ll do.

Knitting wise, I’m keeping myself busy, especially as it seems to be good physio and pain relief for my hands. I’m knitting a jacket using some Lopi yarn that my parents brought me back from Iceland, a shawl to go with my new winter coat (that I’ve not yet bought) and a short sleeved thin sweater with a fairisle yoke (like this one, in fact). I’m thinking of changing the pattern on the yoke to something rather than paper dolls as the variations that the designer showed looked so cool, but I can’t decide which one I like the best. So I may well do a paper dolls one first, then another one with another design later on. Talk about glutton for punishment! The jumper involves an i-cord cast on, which I’ve never attempted before. Suffice it to say that I can generally cast on the stitches for a jumper in well under one episode of a favourite TV programme. Last night I watched two episodes of ‘Bones’ and I was still only about a third of the way to casting on enough stitches! This is going to be a severe test of my patience!

So now you’re all updated, I’m off to do something else useful. I hope you’re all having a lovely sunny Sunday like us!


We just had a phone call from my mother in law, who told us that her uncle (89 years old next Tuesday) was unwell today. After doing a spot of shopping in town, he took a fall on the way to catch a bus home. He was shaken, and had a cut on his face, but managed to walk on to the bus stop after a breathing space. However, just as they were nearing their bus stop to get off the bus, he passed out. Obviously the bus was stopped, but as he came around quite soon it was agreed that the bus should carry on into the village they were travelling to, but the bus driver would call an ambulance to come and collect our uncle from the bus. On reaching the village, our uncle passed out again, but thankfully came round quickly. Twice or three times the bus driver radioed the bus depot as the ambulance hadn’t arrived. The bus depot chased the ambulance service but with little luck. It took forty five minutes for the ‘rapid response’ ambulance car to reach our 89 year old uncle, who has a prior history of heart problems and had passed out more than once. The main university hospital and casualty unit is only a five minute drive from the village they were in (a suburb of Cardiff), so by this point it would have been far quicker to have called a taxi to get him to hospital. After a further fifteen minutes, at an hour after they were initally called out, the ambulance itself arrived.

It scares me to think what a low priority our uncle was to the ambulance service. Thankfully, he had started to feel a little better by this point, so as he was insisting that he definitely didn’t want to go to the hospital (he has that aversion to ‘unnecessary’ hospital visits that so many of his generation share) he paramedics agreed to take him to my mother in law’s house instead. He has spent most of the afternoon sleeping, probably as much as an after effect of the shock of his day as of anything else, but hopefully after a restful day and a good night’s sleep tonight he’ll feel much better.

Why wouldn’t shutting schools slow the transmission of disease?

On the BBC website today I read that the government doesn’t think that shutting schools in the sutumn would slow the spread of swine flu. I don’t understand, I’m not being narky and I genuinely want someone to explain it to me!

I know that shutting schools would be tremendously inconvenient to working parents, etc etc, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t help slow the spread of the illness. In school, the kids are all over each other in their rough and tumble games, as well as being at very close quarters inside the school buildings. You can’t tell me that every child in school actually finds a tissue if they need to sneeze, and then immediately bins the tissue and washes their hands – mosts kids are far too busy doing other things to remember flu-prevention things like that! A lot of the younger kids in our school still wander round with streams of snot hanging down their faces – very hygenic! At the start and end of each day, groups of adults (who generally probably wouldn’t get into such crowded situations anywhere near as often) huddle around the doors of the schools, waiting for their children to be released.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary has said that “‘Now that the virus is established, expert advice is that there is no longer a strong case for closing schools to contain the spread of infection.”

Now, I’m not advocating mindless panic, or closing all schools without good reason, but surely if a particular part of the country seems to have a high proportion of swine flu cases, and as it has been shown that children seem to be contracting the virus more often than adults, shouldn’t we prepare for schools in higher risk areas to be closed to prevent the majority of person to person contact? I already know people who have been quarantined as it was thought that they might have swine flu in their families. Surely, closing schools in areas with a higher than average incidence of swine flu to reduce the spread of the infection would be better than having to quarantine even more people in hospitals or their own homes?

Oh, and while I’m at it, how many people with a heavy cold are going to actually stay home from work, despite the government advice to do so? In my workplace, if I have more than three instances of illness within twelve months which require time off, firstly I wouldn’t be paid for my sick leave, even if, as happened earlier this year, I was certified sick by my doctor and told to stay home. This happened to me when I had conjunctivitis and tonsillitis, and would my boss really have wanted me in work with those two combined, spreading the love to my seventy fellow department members?! Then, one more instance of sickness in that same rolling year, even if, once again, I am signed off work by my doctor, would result in my receiving a disciplinary from my employer and a note of this being made on my staff file, which could in turn affect my future career within the company. My workplace can’t be the only one to have such strict rules, so are people really going to stay home to contain the virus if they’re not 100% sure that that is what they’ve got?

I don’t know. I’m really very confused! I suppose that I’m generalising while thinking about our own family situation. It would be simple enough for me to arrange to stay home, and also when my children are out of school they don’t often mix with other children, and so we could quite easily keep away from likely ‘hotspots’ for the virus. However, working parents would find it very hard, I suppose, as well as parents who don’t really stay home a lot but are out every day taking their children to different parks and play-areas where the children would mix with others anyway.

There’s obviously no easy or practicable answer to slow down or prevent the spread of pandemic flu, other than to try to instil good hygiene measures in the whole family which would help, and to keep a wary eye for likely symptoms. I’m trying to make sure that my kids are eating well and getting enough sleep so that their bodies are as well prepared as they can be to fight off any infection, but other than that I’m stumped.

So, answers on a postcard please, as to why shutting schools wouldn’t help to slow the spread of swine flu, and also, can you tell me whether you are worried about it or not, and what measures you are taking to make sure you are ready to deal with swine flu in your own family?


So, we (eventually) managed to get GG an appointment to see a doctor at our surgery. He was diagnosed with tracheitis, and given a big bottle of medicine containing codeine to help with the pain. Tracheitis is inflammation of the airways, basically, which is why he was suffering with a burning pain whenever he coughed or sneezed. He’s still really tired and not himself, and has very little appetite, but we’re hoping that given another day or two on this medicine he will begin to perk up.

Poor GG. He’s really had his share of illnesses recently, with this and his conjunctivitis. I prescribed chocolate (which is an expectorant, so purely for those reasons!) and made him a spicy vegetable soup which he enjoyed at lunchtime. Hopefully he’ll manage to get a good night’s sleep, which I think would do him the most good.

Cheeky is much improved, although we’ve decided to keep him home now this week. There is apparently a very nasty sickness bug going round school at the moment, and as he has had this cough and cold this week, he may be more susceptible to catching baddies like that, and I really don’t want to have to deal with that sort of thing during Easter and birthday season! Handsome remains rude with health (touch wood) and thoroughly deserves an all-out fabulous birthday for the grown up way in which he has been helping out recently. He has been fetching and carrying, making drinks, and many more small things which have all added up to make our lives just that little bit easier whilst GG and I have been so tired, fighting off infections.

Finally, many thanks to those of you who have left comments recently, sending good wishes to my poorly husband and son – GG was very touched that you people care! Hopefully in a couple of days we will be able to put all of this behind us and start to really enjoy the warmer weather and longer days.

Update on the convalescent home!

I had two boys home today; husband and youngest son. Thankfully, Handsome looks like he’s staying well – I hope that keeps up until at least after his birthday! Cheeky (youngest son) was just exhausted (as am I!) after being up for over an hour and a half last night. He got up at around half past eleven, coughing fit to burst, so I tried everything my fuzzy brain could think of – cough medicine, honey, warm drink, chocolate (most successful of the lot!) and then decided to put something that wouldn’t interest him on the television in the hopes that he would fall asleep on my lap and I could carry him back to bed. FYI, it is extremely hard to find something to watch which is dull for him but interesting enough to keep me awake, without watching something which would be unsuitable. In the end, I decided to put on an episode of the ‘West Wing’ (series 2, in case you were wondering!). Well, was that a mistake! Inadvertently, I had found a winner when it came to my son; apparently my four year old is extremely interested in American political dramas, and was completely hooked for the entire two episodes we watched (asking pertinent questions, and everything!). Eventually, at the end of the second episode, he woke me up (I fell asleep about ten minutes before the end) and said, “Mummy, shall I put you to bed now?!”, which I thought was about the mosst civilised idea he’d had for a while (it was one o’clock in the morning by this point). We did do it the right way round though – I thought it would be a little cruel of me to leave him to find his own way to bed after seeing me safely tucked up, so I saw him snugly wrapped up with teddy bears around him and then climbed wearily into my own bed.

I’m still not sure how I managed to get out of bed this morning – probably only because GG was in a much worse state than me! I managed to find clean (and co-ordinating!) clothes (including a skirt, which will shock those of you that know me!), and got the boys to school and myself to work. Although I did have a hair-raising episode on the bus, due to a formula-one wannabe bus driver. As I was saying, I got myself and my thermos cup of tea to work, only to be informed by GG two hours later that Cheeky had been sent home ill, as he was too tired to concentrate on his work (bless!). He had been fine at breakfast and on the walk into school, but the tiredness obviously hit him mid morning and he needed to come home and sleep. So, I took flexi-time, not wanting to think of my two poor sick menfolk being home alone.

The rest of today has mainly consisted of us all taking turns to nap (except aforementioned ruggedly healthy Handsome, bless him and his tea-making abilities!) and then holding each other up. GG and Cheeky still have coughs, and GG will be going to the doctor tomorrow as his chest is giving him a fair amount of pain whenever he coughs or sneezes – I’d like to rule out any sort of infection. Cheeky will be spending the last two days of term at home, which fortunately he’s not too upset about. I’m surprised, given that there are various Easter activities planned for the next couple of days that he will be missing out on. However, it will give him a chance to recuperate and find his appetite.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed and actually eating loads of fruit and veggies, in the strong hope that I don’t pick up this latest set of germs. I’m tired right now, but don’t feel at all ill, which is a new and pleasant feeling for me this year! Anyway, on that note, I’m switching off my computer, doing four rows of my knitting and then going to bed. This was going to be a short post, but life never turns out the way you expect, does it!

  • **BY THE WAY…My Mum is taking part in NaBloPoMo this month, with a theme of growing (up). She has a series of posts planned about her childhood and adolescence, which I really look forward to reading, so pop on over if you get a chance (and say hello while you’re there, and that I sent you!). Her first post is about her early childhood, and the fact that she was born six weeks before the Second World War broke out – imagine that from my grandmother’s point of view – six week old twins and your husband joins up to go to war. I can’t imagine how I’d cope with the stress of looking after the children on my own (and she had an older brother as well), let alone the worry for my husband.

Husband down

Cheeky woke up this morning feeling much better than his poor feverish self yesterday, and so I duly packed him off to school (no unnecessary sick days in this house!). Went shopping with Mum, got back to her house and had a phone call from GG (husband) telling me that he feels awful and is coming home. He got home by 3pm, went to bed until 6pm, got up for a few mouthfuls of dinner and now has gone back to bed. Bless him. He booked tomorrow off to get some extra sleep already, so hopefully that should see him right.

He basically has what Cheeky had yesterday – irritable cough, feverish (high temperature) and he’s dizzy if he stands up. Hopefully he’ll shift it as quickly as our youngest did. I bought lots of fruit and vegetables today though, so there are lots of vitamins for him to consume! We’ve all been hit by a bit of a burst of various lurgies recently (except Handsome, touch wood, who is by far the healthiest of us all, touch wood!) so hopefully the warmer weather and longer days will help us to get rid of them for once and for all.

Poor Cheeky!

As I type, my poor little Cheeky boy is lying next to me in bed (that’s right, I’m having another lie in!), coughing away, looking very tired and feeling really quite sorry for himself! He’s hot everywhere except his feet, which are like little blocks of ice so I’ve just done him a hot water bottle to try to sort that out. He has picked up a cold (probably mine, if truth be told) and has turned it into mini-man flu. There’s whimpering, loud breathing, pitiful looks from his big, puppy dog eyes, and constant updates as to his symptoms! At least he has his voice back today though, which was fading in and out like a bad DJ at a school disco yesterday.

We’re going to take it easy for this morning, but I’m hoping that he’ll feel better after lunch and I’ll be able to get him and his brother out to enjoy some of the lovely sunshine that is here (for one day only, apparently!). I’ll see how tired he seems after some nice lunch.

Bless him. He’s usually so manically happy and energetic, it’s quite unnerving to have him lying down docilely for the whole morning.