Working and batteries.

At the end of last week, I had to call out the RAC for my car again – a it was dead – again! I was sure it must be a problem either with the battery not getting charged again (so a dynamo or something) or something draining the battery too fast – I’m no car mechanic but this seemed the most logical to me. However, the RAC man (who was a keen football (NUFC) fan and enjoyed chatting football while he worked) found the battery was faulty. But it was a new battery installed by the RAC only last August! So he changed it for me – free of charge, under warranty. Phew! At least my car wasn’t starting to fall apart bit by bit as I feared!

I spent this week working hard as I was covering at the hospital for my colleague who was on holiday, as well as trying to get my clinic ready for its open day next week, and re-write the website.

I was writing the website almost every evening and some early mornings – and was not sleeping much, thinking of wording and HTML coding half the night πŸ™ Finally, it did get done though and it’s now live, though I shall probably tweak it a little here and there.

On Friday, although I was working as normal at the hospital in the morning, I spent the afternoon sitting in on a clinic as an observer which was really interesting. C, the lovely orthotist, was really good at explaining what he was doing and why – and of course, it helped that I’ve been doing the paperwork for a few years so know the “lingo” πŸ™‚ It was a very worthwhile exercise and I’m so pleased I have been able to do it at last.

By the end of the week, I was pretty worn out but knew I had a busy weekend and following week coming up too. I bumped in to Paul on the way home and he twisted my arm – and then Billy’s – and we went to the pub for a quick drink before going home and getting ready for darts. πŸ™‚

Three working H’s : 2) Herb Work

I’ve been very busy herbally, both with patients and with admin.

There’s been an update on the Statutory Regulation business. I wrote to Andy Burnham and to my MP as advised by my professional body, but rather than using the template suggested, I opted instead, to copy and paste my blog entry on the subject – just as it was, in its entirety. Andy Burnham has yet to respond, but my MP’s reply was:

Thank you for your e-mail. It was much more interesting than the standard e-mail I have been receiving. I do support your call for regulation and have written to Any Burnham urging that course of action on him. Quite often Ministers make decisions at the last minute – make things easier if the matter is controversial.

Since then, the government has released a press statement on the subject and my professional body has given their response:

Some professional associations have been announcing that we have achieved statutory regulation – but I am afraid that celebrations are premature as we have no definitive documentary evidence that statutory regulation is to be awarded. We will now be pushing for documentary proof. (NB: The press release says that the Government is “minded to legislate” – crucially it does not specify the type of legislation).

The press release is at least clear that we will not be regulated by the HPC – rather we are now supposed to be regulated by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Nobody had previously anticipated this possibility for two main reasons:
– the CNHC does not currently have powers to statutorily regulate
– the 2007 White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety: the regulation of health professionals in the 21st century, made clear that “the Government will not establish any new statutory regulators”

If the Government now intends to make the CNHC a statutory regulator and if this still means that we will gain the status of “authorised health professional” that we require, then we need not necessarily lose any sleep that we are not to be within the HPC – but these are big “ifs”.

The press release is subject to sins of omission and contains a number of worrying statements:
– it does not specify that we are to be statutorily regulated
– it misrepresents the history of our regulation and our active part in it
– it says we must be registered with the CNHC but does not state the type of registration
– what does “without the full trappings of professional recognition” mean?
– we are to await a further “full joint response” – when will we get this?

In the absence of any further documentary statements the press release presents great scope for backsliding and for reneging on the privately voiced commitment to statutorily regulate – presumably it was designed to allow such scope.

And so we still don’t know what’s going on…!

In the meantime, I’ve found the money to renew my insurances, and just have to do my professional membership now. Looks like I’m in this for another year at least πŸ™‚

Having got into a real muddle with my accounts last year, simply by being so behind, I have been determined this (financial) year, to keep my accounts up to date on a monthly basis. I’m pleased to say that I managed it, and so on Wednesday, I updated to the end of March, put together a summary and all the documentary evidence, and now my accounts are ready to be given to the accountant as soon as I get my tax form. YAY! Feels GOOD! πŸ™‚

Finally, I’ve been planning a complete re-write of my clinic website for ages and have been asking Stephen to design a new look site for me. At last, he’s done it, it looks great,and I can’t wait to get started! My current site looks cluttered and is full of differing fonts, sizes, jumbled information and generally looks a mess. It’s also a nightmare to update as it mainly has to be done in HTML rather than WYSIWG mode and it can make me cross eyed staring at pages of code after a while (which means I put it off! ) πŸ™


Old web page

I wanted a new one that is clean, uncluttered and simple to navigate – as well as simple to update. Stephen’s new design looks great and you can have a sneaky preview:

New Herb web site preview

Running my own business is hard work – there’s only me to do everything from answering the phone and booking appointments, to managing the accounts and writing the website (besides actually treating the patients, of course!) but I do love it and I love being my own boss.

Doubts and Dilemmas!

You may recall that Medical Herbalists have been recommended for Statutory Regulation by a Select Committee of the House of Lords and that the government is backtracking and considering ignoring that recommendation. This resulted in us all having to take valuable time to campaign for this much needed regulation – towards which we have all been paying an annual charge on top of our usual professional membership for the last several years. (Approx 20% a year on top of our membership, so that our colleagues could work with various other health and government bodies to implement the scheme.)

This week I received a communication from my professional body saying:

Urgent Call For Action

Reading the runes it seems likely that Andy Burnham (Secretary of State for Health) is close to making a decision on our regulation and is minded to do so before the election.

Two worrying matters have cropped up. Firstly, Mr. Burnham has received a petition against our regulation that purports to be signed by 2,500 “herbalists”. This is obviously bogus but may be used as an excuse for not awarding statutory regulation. Secondly, we understand that he is seriously considering opting for a so-called “light touch licensing scheme”. I have no doubt that this would spell catastrophe for us – as anything short of statutory regulation will threaten the livelihood of our suppliers, lower our status as a profession, inhibit developments in herbal education and severely dent our practices.

In the light of this we are asking that all members make one final push to fight for our case. We need to overwhelm Mr. Burnham with letters from real herbalists saying that we are committed to statutory regulation and that only statutory regulation will do. To this end we are asking that you please write to Mr. Burnham TODAY or at the latest by the beginning of next week and that you copy your letter to your MP.

So……. more work then. Why on earth can’t the government just make a decision (they did, in 2000!) and stick to it?! For the life of me, I cannot work out what there is to lose by giving us statutory regulation! It’s not money – the HPC seems confident it can incorporate us into their existing professions easily enough – and we’ve worked for the last few years, to make sure we fulfil their criteria. It’s not the public – regulation would protect them from charlatans who have not undertaken the years of training and commitment to high standards of practice that we have. It’s not the manufacturers of herbal supplies – once the new EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive comes into effect in the UK in 2011 many products will only be obtainable from Medical Herbalists as long as we get our statutory regulation, so it is in their interests for us to get it. The only people I can think of who would have cause to worry about us being regulated are any charlatans out there, who are practising as Medical Herbalists without appropriate qualifications or insurance. Or am I missing something?

Anyway, on top of all this…..

It is that time of year when our professional fees are due to our professional bodies, and insurances due for renewal. In my case, that’s £305 I have to find. Find being the operative word, as we are broke!

However, if we are not going to get our Statutory Regulation, I don’t see how I can continue to practice – it’d be like trying to run a surgery using a first aid kit. My patients are worth more than that. My profession is worth more than that. I am worth more than that.

So my dilemma – do I find the £305 or not? Will I just be wasting money I can ill afford? I wondered if other Medical Herbalists were having the same dilemma and which way they were leaning. When I asked, the response I received from one quarter was that if I was committed to being a Herbalist, I would renew.

I was incensed! IF I am committed? IF? I trained for 5 years, costing thousands of pounds (career development loan), required help from various friends and family to help babysit ( I was a single parent of toddlers!) so I could attend training. I then had to pass loads of exams complete with final clinical exam in London on a day when I was very ill and could barely think or speak and should have been in bed. Then I had to apply for membership to my professional body – and pay the fees each year. As with most herbalists, I work to supplement my business as it’s not a high earning profession but obviously this then means juggling two jobs. I mainly buy my herbal supplies out of my own pocket. I work hard to earn all my “Brownie points” for my Continuing Professional Development every year. I work hard at fostering good relations with the local medical profession and I give talks to them to promote my profession and educate them about it – and am making good progress here. I give my patients 100% of my attention and expertise and I work hard to keep my clinic open for them despite my commitments to my other job and my family.

IF I AM COMMITTED ENOUGH?!

Did I really spend the majority of my adult life on a vocation which I love, a calling not just a job, to be accused of not being sufficiently committed? Is having to scrabble every year for enough money for memberships and insurances – and yes, charges for Statutory Regulation too – not deemed commitment?

Do I really want to keep at this?

Honest answer – yes! It’s what I love – and I’m good at it! (Sorry if this is boasting, but I am. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation, then in all my past lives I would have been a healer, wise woman, doctor or somesuch – it’s a part of my very being.) I want to carry on doing what I do best. I want us to get the Regulation. I want to find the money. But what’s the government going to do – will it all be for nothing in the end?

Point to point.

My week, one darts night to the next….. hence “Point to Point” Groan! πŸ˜›

Friday week ago, we had no darts fixture but we decided to all get together anyway for a bit of practise and some fun. There were ten of us in all so we played two teams of five (names selected randomly from Roger’s a hat) and we played the first three players in each team as a trebles game; then the remaining two as a doubles; followed by five singles. Being the two girls, Claire and I usually give each other extra support and encouragement, but we were drawn on opposing teams and we both commented how weird it was not giving each other our usual support πŸ˜‰ I enjoyed the games, but was starting to flag a bit at the end and would have been ready to go home – but a huge game of Killer was proposed and so I reluctantly agreed. Had we just got on with it (and indeed, with all the games through the evening) it would have been fine, but we had so many breaks waiting for smokers to go and feed their addiction, and those not always at the same times, that the night became just a little too long. In the end, I asked the killers to kill me off, and then Billy so we could go home. πŸ˜€ On the whole though, it was a good night and fulfilled the joint purposes of some practise and supporting our team member who is going through a bad time just now.

I went to Mum’s for the weekend as City’s game against Spurs had been postponed and I had a free weekend. I think we both really enjoyed it and had a giggly, supporting-each-other time. We’ve both been wanting to start eating healthily and lose a bit of winter-weight for a while, but weren’t quite in the right frame of mind for it – but this weekend, we were and we made a start. (Didn’t stop us having a bottle of wine with dinner on Saturday night though πŸ˜› ) As well as the grocery shopping, we mooched round a few shops, including B&Q so I could look at paint colours ready for when I get round to redecorating my bedroom. The room will be painted half and half – there’s a dado rail and I found the paints I want, one colour from their economy range and the other from a more expensive range. (Don’t think the internet pics do the colour justice at all – it’s much darker and richer, more deep burgundy than red.) We didn’t buy it of course, but it was good to have found what I wanted. πŸ™‚

Monday and Tuesday were very intense days at work, as usual, and I spent a fair amount of time completing my mandatory training (fire, health & safety, vulnerable adults, child protection, quality & diversity etc.) and getting things ready for next week’s appraisal. I did still manage to get a fair bit of ordinary work done too, somehow. Just call me Super Woman! πŸ˜‰

On Wednesday I had a mad day! I was in my clinic first thing, doing some repeat prescriptions and getting it ready for the afternoon session (Herb Hat).Then I walked up to where the Community Rehab Team were having their monthly meeting/training session and I gave a talk on the Orthotics Service here (NHS Hat.) I then walked tot he hospital and popped in to the office still wearing my NHS Hat, before attending the lunchtime education meeting (Herb Hat, mainly.) I briefly donned the NHS Hat again when I called back to the office, but then went to my clinic to wear my Herb Hat all afternoon. In my post at the clinic I received a lovely surprise which made my day – my first GP referral! YAY! One of the GP’s at the last talk I gave had kept his notes, looked them out and referred his patient to me – FANTASTIC πŸ™‚ (I have had patients contact me on the recommendation of their GP or consultant before, but not an actual referral.) Maybe it IS worth me scraping together my annual professional membership and insurance fees for another year after all. πŸ™‚

On Thursday I did the week’s grocery shopping in the morning, and then whilst putting it away, had a text from my friend Lorna who lives in Sussex. She wanted to know if I was around as she and her husband were about 50 miles away on holiday. I replied that I was free until my 3 O’Clock patient and would love to see them. Then I had to run round the house tidying up a bit as, typically, this was the one week our cleaner hadn’t been in! Raji was off for the day so he volunteered to hoover the living room for me, and so it didn’t take too long to get the house presentable. I then nipped to my clinic to get it ready to go for the afternoon so that I could spend as much time as possible with my friends. They were slightly delayed and we only had just over an hour before I had to get to my clinic, so they walked into town with me for a look around and so they could pop in to say hello to Billy at work as they had to go back before either of us would finish. Although it was brief, it had been really lovely to see them – the first of my friends or family from Sussex to ever have visited us. (Southerners seem to think they’ll fall off the edge of the world if they come up here! πŸ˜› )It was probably just as well they hadn’t waited for me as I did run late with my patient taking longer than planned – but I felt it was worthwhile and look forward to helping this lady get a better quality of life.

On Friday morning I was back in my clinic and once I’d finished with patients caught up on some admin, and even sorted through my files, rearranging them so that current patients were more easily accessible. I spent a frustrating afternoon trying to find suitable hotel accommodation for mine and mum’s proposed London trip in April – but felt I was just going round in circles and came to no conclusions – other than that it seemed an impossible task!

Friday night was darts night again – playing away at the Unionist Club and I hoped it would be a good, fun, relaxing evening. The venue was very pleasant and the team – who were the old Tap & Spile team – were a nice bunch, and the games were good. We could have nicked it, but lost 7-4. However, the whole evening as rather overshadowed by our friend who is having problems and it was all rather intense and worrying. It’s very frustrating when you want to be able to actually DO something to help someone, but all you can really do, is to be there for them and hope you are somehow helping by simply being there and showing you care.

Frustrating week.

This week has very much been one of “one step forwards, two back” in just about everything I’ve done – or tried to do.πŸ™

On Monday at work, I didn’t get much work done at all – partly through the usual Monday chaos, but also as I had a pre-appraisal meeting. I have my actual appraisal in a few weeks time and before that need to have completed a fair bit of e-learning (mandatory training which can be done on the Trust’s intranet) and print off the certificates to prove it. I also have to fill in my appraisal documents and produce evidence for my fulfilment of the various key attributes required for my job. In short, I have to find time to write about and prove my worth doing the job for which I don’t have enough time as it is! What a crazy world we live in!

All of this meant that on Tuesday I had to catch up with Monday’s work as well as Tuesday’s workload and all our patients seemed to be in cantankerous moods – but I stayed calm and very polite – somehow! I was absolutely wiped out by the end of the day (as I am most Tuesdays these days) and said to Billy that I’d need to sit down for 5 minutes before cooking. When I went in the kitchen a little later, he was already in there and cooking a gorgeous homemade curry. Yummy!

Wednesday and Friday were spent in my own clinic – I did get my accounts up to date, but need to dig out a couple of missing receipts which is annoying. I was pleased with the progress of the patients I saw this week, but one needed me to write a letter summarising their treatment – which took extra time to do. On Wednesday I had to phone a supplier to chase some herbs which I’d had on backorder for a while, awaiting their incoming shipment being cleared through customs. When I spoke to them, it was discovered that they hadn’t actually done my backorder and so we had to start the order from scratch! The package arrived on Friday which as good as one patient was in desperate need of one of the herbs and I planned to drive over and deliver it myself in the afternoon. When I opened the package though, they’d sent me the wrong products! Five of them! That took more time to sort and by Friday afternoon I felt like I’d had a week of chasing my tail.

Thursday was to be my one day of getting things done and I particularly wanted to sort out a new mobile phone contract as mine is coming to an end. I decided to go to the Metrocentre to do it in person, and set out so I’d arrive as it opened. As I got near the A1, the traffic was queueing right back along the A69 and I crawled along the A1 at a snail’s pace. As I approached the Metrocentre turnoff I was pleased to think I’d soon be out of it – but once I got there, I found it blocked off by fire engines, police and ambulances and the evidence suggested a very nasty car accident with one burned out husk visible. Nasty! Whilst my thoughts went out to those involved, I was presented with a new quandary. How to get to the shops, or back home? I took the next exit and hoped that at the worst, I could get back on the A1 and return home – though as it turned out, I managed to find my way to my original destination, albeit to a different car park and the uncertainty of the way back – still I’d cross that bridge later.

I tried to relax and first went to the Orange shop to discuss my contract. The girl in there was not very enthusiastic and it was like plucking teeth getting the information I wanted out of her. Eventually I decided on a new tariff and handset – the handset was actually the one I thought I would want – four models up from my existing one and with a much better camera. However – that shop was out of stock! Agh! She suggested I try their shop in another part of the centre, so I did, and happily they did have the handset I wanted, and the girl there was much more switched on. She said I’d get a new SIM card for the handset it he post – and when I asked why I couldn’t just put the existing one in it, she explained that it was important to swap it over. I said I didn’t want to be without my phone at all as it was my business one and she promised me I would not and that I’d get texts telling me when the switch was to be made etc. She did offer to do it right away for me but I declined as the new handset needed to be charged up first anyway. In actual fact my plan was to do as I am now – use that handset for my personal use (which is on Tesco mobile PAYG) and continue using my current business phone handset as it does everything I want it to do. I intended to get the new handset unlocked to enable me to do this, so I left the store quite happy.

Next up was a visit to a Clarins counter for a set of 3 samples and some advice on skincare. The samples would hopefully be worth having anyway, but since my skin has realised that it’s over 40 now, it’s feeling a bit dry so it was worth finding out what I should be doing differently to help it age gracefully. I had to wait a couple of minutes for the girl there to be free (she was in demand) but she was worth the wait. She was very friendly and knowledgeable, grasped what I wanted quickly – and didn’t tell me off too much for not having a proper skincare routine πŸ˜‰ I can’t be doing with spending hours cleansing-toning-moisturising twice a day, nor with trowling on make-up, though again, I’m starting to need a little makeup just to even out my skin these days. She showed me the products she thought would suit me and I got a free sample of each after she tried them out on my hand. She even showed me quickly, their new foundation make-up and how it’s best applied with a brush. I’d never have thought of applying a liquid with a brush, I confess! She then gave me a leaflet with the relevant products marked and wrote down the prices. £32 for a pot of moisturiser?!!!!! Never! The stuff was lovely, but my skin better not get addicted to the stuff ‘cos once the samples are used up, that’s it! (However, I have managed to work the basics of the products and think I can make my own from herbal supplies I have in my clinic so maybe I can use those instead.)

After this, I went and got Billy a pen from WHSmith with his Christmas voucher – and even that wasn’t straight forward as there were umpteen Parker pens from which to choose and no explanation of the differences between them. However, eventually I made a decision and Billy was pleased with it.

Finally, I wanted to pick up another free sample, along the reasons already mentioned, but when I got to the counter, I was told that this wasn’t starting until Friday. Nowhere on the promotion did it mention this! Grrr!

When I got back to the car and checked my phone for any missed calls or messages, I found that the SIM card had already been deactivated and I was furious! Since I didn’t want to have to go back inside again, I had no choice but to wait until I got home to try and sort it out.

When I contacted Orange, I was advised that it was automatic for the SIM to be deactivated so I voiced my dissatisfaction and reiterated that this was my BUSINESS phone! I did find a new SIM enclosed with the new handset, fortunately, and was able to put this in to my own handset so actually, I was only unavailable for a couple of hours or so – I just have to hope no-one wanted me in that time.

On Friday I popped out from my clinic to take my new phone to the shop to be unlocked – only to be told that it couldn’t be done! It was apparently very difficult to unlock this particular model, and though there was one specialist place that might be able to do it, it would cost me £22+ How bloody frustrating! Instead, I am going to have to switch to Orange for my personal phone as well, which I have never wanted to do, being very pleased with the service and price plan I have from Tesco (I don’t use my phone much so £15 usually lasts me about 3 months.) I also like having two different networks so that if one isn’t working, the other is. I have now ordered a Tesco SIM to put in my old phone so I can keep it in the car for emergencies, and an Orange one for my new phone – and I’ll have to then organise switching so that I keep my number. More work! Even getting the Orange SIM wasn’t smooth as I did it online, clicked the final button and had a message telling me I needed to phone to complete it! Grrr!

THEN, there were two automated phone calls for Billy claiming to be from his bank’s fraud department – which seemed odd. Surely that would not be automated? So I looked up the fraud number on their website which did not match anything like the number given in the message. Hmmm. So I called the website number – all automated of course and was on hold for 20 minutes before being cut off! We don’t use BT and it was an 0845 number so it will have cost a fortune. Feeling this was important, I tried again – with the same result. So I tried calling our branch – no answer, just an open line! Finally, I e-mailed them via the “contact us” link and explained that all we wanted to do was find out if this was genuine and safe to call the number given. No response yet – someone could be gaily spending Billy’s money if this is genuine! I did try calling the phone number given in the message but that made me even more suspicious as it was again automated and gave Billy’s name as the person required as soon s it was answered. So, I spent the best part of 2 hours on his, without ever speaking to a real live person.

I was in a very annoyed mood indeed by Friday evening and hoped for a good evening playing darts to put me right.

Menopause Talk

Last week, it was my turn to give the presentation at the hospital education meeting, and I chose to do a subject in which IÒ€ℒve had a lot of experience as a practitioner, with many patients being successfully helped by herbs.

The meeting was well attended by the usual mix of health professionals including doctors and nurses, and more, though how successfully I managed to convey the need for a HOLISTIC approach, I donÒ€ℒt know. That was my over all aim, and the main theme of my talk, so hopefully they all got something from it even if they didn’t learn much about the actual herbs.

I think it was a reaction to all the stress that I’ve had lately, but I was ridiculously nervous about giving this talk – as nervous as I had been the first time, yet for subsequent talks I’ve been only slightly so. I was so bad that I didn’t eat all day (unheard of for me!) and took a long time to calm down afterwards.

I did get positive feedback afterwards and all the handouts summarising the talk were taken, so I think it went alright despite the nerves.

If you are interested, you can see the summary here.

Everton 2 – 0 City

City were not playing until the evening (on ESPN again) so on Saturday I used the day to see a patient in my clinic and then have a meeting with one of my practitioners – which was constructive, I think. I got the ironing done in the afternoon and felt I’d earned a sit down to enjoy the match (on my PC again.)

Hmm! Pity City didn’t think I’d earned a pleasurable game! For once, I’m not convinced Mancini got his tactics right, and starting with Rocky ended in failure when he went off injured after just 5 minutes (same old knee problem I presume.) (Why, oh why, did we ever sign him? The fans all knew his knee was going to be a problem, so why didn’t the club/medics?) Anyway, that was surmountable – bring on Benjani, surely?

Erm, nope. Robinho! Oh, OK, we’re changing formation/positions then, yes? Erm, nope. Robinho up front!

And it went down hill from there really. Tevez was soon limping, closely followed by Petrov. They did both continue to play, but were not quite as fearless as usual. Everton were all over us, we had no midfield, our defence made stupid mistakes and we never looked like scoring. Our defence of set pieces is appalling and as for the penalty – what was Micah thinking? Shirt tugging is an offence. I don’t care if Andy-bloody-Gray often comments that it’s “just a wee tug” or that refs often don’t penalise offenders – it’s against the rules! It’s FOOTball! (Despite it being against us, I applaud the ref’s decision on this. Now let’s have every ref penalising shirt pulling – every week.)Stupid penalty to give away- and right on the stroke of half time too!

Credit to Everton and in particular to Fellaini, but my boys just didn’t turn up on the night. The only little glimmer of positivity came when SWP came on for Robinho (who was woeful – well done Mancini for doing the right thing and taking him off.)

We Blues can always rely on City to cheer us up and get us out of the winter doldrums…….. or not!

I don’t know whether it was better to lose this game and it serve as a kick up the bottom so that we play well Tuesday (Carling Cup semi-final at home to ManUre) or whether this may have dented confidence and we’ll continue to play without conviction. I can only live in hope……. not expectation, just hope.

Weird Weathery Week!

The snow has continued to dominate our lives this week – the week that everyone is trying to return to “normal” after the festive season. Luckily, I walk into work and had no problems getting there on Monday and Tuesday, but it was very hard to settle with one eye ever on the weather. Both days brought plenty of cancellations, especially from patients living “out-by” (local term for out in the sticks / more rural areas) and this resulted in me juggling clinics to try and get patients appointed near the end in earlier so that both patients and orthotist could get away home before the temperatures dropped again. So, no “normal” work done this week then.

I also had my eye on road conditions as I had my ticket to the City v ManUre Carling Cup semi-final on Wednesday night and needed to decide whether to make the journey. Heart desperately wanted to, head was urging caution. By mid morning on Tuesday, I reluctantly decided I couldn’t risk it as the road conditions were too poor. I was gutted. However, shortly later, the club announced that the game would be postponed as Manchester had been badly hit by snow, so at least I could now relax and stop worrying about trying to get Lee’s ticket to him.

On the way home, I decided to go in to Iceland to do the weekly shop and let them deliver it for me so I would not have to worry about getting the car out in the morning. It was hard to think what we needed but I think between us (Billy joined me when he finished work) we managed to get enough to tide us over until normality returned. They said they’d deliver sometime the next day around 4-6pm and that was fine for me.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up to even more snow, and Raji had sent a text to say he had given a friend a lift home to Prudhoe last night and had to stay there as conditions were too poor to return.


Our street at 6.30 am Snowy street
Note the depth of snow on the pots NOW! Jan 6th 6.30 am


Snow baskets: Snow baskets
Fancy dinner outside anyone? Anyone for a picnic

Since I had cancelled my own clinic for the day expecting to be in Manchester, I called my colleague who lives in the next village, to say I could work if she wanted to stay put or could not get in. She wasn’t sure and said she’d leave it an hour or so and let me know so I decided to walk down to Tesco and pick up a few bits that I had been unable to get in Iceland. I took a back pack rather than risk upsetting my balance by carrying bags in my hands, and this worked well. Tesco was almost empty and only one till was open, so it was an easy job to get what we wanted.

When I returned home, my colleague still didn’t know if she would be able to get to work so I tried to do a few jobs, had a cuppa and so on, before deciding that I’d make my way in anyway. I was worried in case the orthotist had been trying to call to say he couldn’t get in, and that patients were bound to be trying to cancel or check their appointments, and felt the phone should be manned as soon as possible. If my colleague was there, then I’d just turn round and come back home. Then Iceland called to say they could not deliver after all due to the snow, so I thought I’d go in there on the way and get a couple of loaves and something for dinner. As I reached the town, I received a phone call to say my colleague was at the hospital, so that saved me an extra walk.

Instead, I went in to my clinic and did some prescriptions – it seemed daft not to do them as I was there, and it meant I might not need to go out on Thursday. I then went to Iceland and continued on home. The snow was quite hard work to trudge through – deep enough that you have to really pick up your feet, but quite powdery,thankfully, so it wasn’t slippery. Still, I had on my army boots that dad had got me for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award trip to the Peak Districts 24 years ago! (I can’t believe it’s THAT long!) and they still serve me well when needed. I stayed on my feet, and my feet stayed warm and dry. πŸ™‚

On the way home, I smiled at others as we passed by, grinned at the antics of kids and dogs in the park, and chatted to several total strangers as we all battled the elements in our various ways – it’s certainly sparked a feeling of community and camaraderie, which is nice. Just as well, as there’s more to come yet apparently….

The days between and Wolves 0 – 3 City

The week between Christmas and New Year is a weird one I think. You are still mentally on holiday and want to carry on with the festivities, and yet there are working days lurking in there and certain mundane chores that still need to be done. I was determined to retain as much of a holiday feel as I could before having to return to normality, so on the Monday, which was a bank holiday, I took time out to update my phone software, making sure I backed up all the settings and files first. It was rather time consuming and I have to confess I don’t like this new Ovi software as much as I liked PC Suite, but I got the job done.

In the evening, Billy went to his match against Derby, which I watched on TV with Raji. It was a very poor game and Newcastle never looked like waking up and upping a gear – they were lucky Derby were so poor so that they at least got a point! That league is a hard fought one, with lots resting on the post Christmas part of the season, so Billy’s boys need to find some energy from somewhere and get themselves going again.

Straight after this, was Wolves v City and I thoroughly enjoyed watching another good performance from my boys. Again, I liked what Mancini did with the players he had available and again, concentration remained for the full 90. There was debate about whether our second goal should have occurred when Garrido (remember him? Had we realised we still had him at City? πŸ˜‰ ) scored from a fantastic free kick. In the build up, the ball was passed forward to Bellamy who was off-side. However, the ball never reached him as a Wolves player intercepted it. THEREFORE THERE WAS NO OFF-SIDE since the rules state it is given when the ball is received! No controversy at all then! There was a subsequent foul giving us a free kick which Garrido took and curled around the ball to land in the net. It was so neat that no-one moved – not from either team, not fans, not keeper. It took a moment for anyone to realise the ball was in the back of the net πŸ™‚

Wolves didn’t really deserve to lose by this margin as they had looked very bright at times, but the luck was with us, and I think Mancini’s swapping players around was also responsible for bearing fruit. A really great performance and a good win, sending me to bed with a smile on my face.

I popped in to work for a few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly to check there was nothing urgent such as ward patients, though with all our suppliers closed for a fortnight, there was little we could do even if there had been, really. As expected, there was nothing, so I cleared out the office a bit, triaged the referrals, and caught up on a couple of months finance work. I expect the first day back in the New Year to be absolutely crazy, so at least I’d got slightly ahead and everything was ready to go. Just as I was leaving, some post was delivered and I decided to open it before going – and I got a nice surprise. One of our patients had written to Trust Managent to commend my care of him and sorting out his needs during a particularly busy clinic so I had been forwarded a copy. That was really nice – thank you Patient X πŸ™‚ After leaving the hospital, I opened my clinic for the usual drop in session but it was, as expected, very quiet so I was able to catch up with my accounts and so on which was great.

All in all, a very good few days. πŸ™‚

More Bugs!

On Sunday morning when I woke up (at mum’s) my head was splitting, my throat raw, and my glands were so swollen I looked like a hamster. Oh no! I hoped I didn’t have flu as I desperately wanted to be well for our weekend trip next week. I staggered downstairs and sat quietly with a coffee which mum had made me, and gradually the headache calmed a little. I wished I had the right herbs with me, but as I didn’t, I resorted to a couple of soluble aspirin as I felt the need something anti-inflammatory. Just to make matters worse though, one of my new contact lenses split in half in my eye and I couldn’t get the half stuck in my eye out. I poked and prodded for ages but nothing worked. I left it to see if it would come out by itself but it didn’t. I tried calling Billy who was not answering his phone – what’s the point in having your own personal optician if he ignores you? πŸ˜‰ So I tried putting another lens in on top, hoping it would dislodge the broken bit – it didn’t, and sat happily on top. So I left it like that whilst mum and I had the dinner she’d cooked us, and then as we were drinking our tea, something moved and I managed to get the offending segment out. YAY! Thank goodness for that! At least I now didn’t need to worry about driving home. Unfortunately all my woes meant that I was very preoccupied and bad company for mum all morning, which made me feel bad, so I just prayed I would be better by next weekend. I was really tired by the time I got home and got into bed to read at 5.30 pm but by 6.30 pm gave in and turned out the light and went to sleep.

I had a VERY strange night. I slept deeply but woke up every 15 minutes, which was very weird. Each time I woke, I felt as though I had slept for a couple of hours, yet it was only 15 minutes. With my throat being so sore, I was drinking a lot of water – which of course, meant I needed the loo a lot! I had strange, vivid dreams too and yet when I got up on Monday morning, I did still feel I’d had a reasonable amount of sleep. I went to work, but was definitely not firing on all cylinders, and with it being a morning clinic, managed to finish early and came home at 3.30pm. That night followed a similar pattern to Sunday’s only I managed to sleep for an hour at a time, and I made it to work on Tuesday. My overwhelming feeling through the two days was relief that it didn’t appear to be flu. I could cope with raging tonsillitis as long as it wasn’t flu. Naturally I took the appropriate herbs – though in a “don’t try this at home folks” manner i.e massive doses.

On Wednesday morning I felt a bit brighter – with two hours sleep at a time πŸ™‚ – though my glands were still a bit swollen and my throat settling to just “scratchy”. I had a morning patient in my clinic and then had a gap until my afternoon clinic so managed to fit in the grocery shopping at Iceland and some Christmas shopping. I even did some more Christmas shopping on E-Bay in the evening so I think I’ve broken the back of it now πŸ™‚

Thursday‘s throat and glands were the same as Wednesday which was good – I should be fine for the weekend πŸ™‚ I spent the morning catching up with things at home, banking, and so on, and then went to a hospital meeting in North Tyneside in the afternoon. I think it was fairly productive though I had to leave before the end in order to get a lift back with one of the physio managers. When I got home I had to try and think straight so I could pack but I was so very tired, I have no idea how well I did or didn’t do!

So here we are, Friday morning, after a bad night’s sleep but I’m looking forward to my weekend in London with mum. πŸ™‚

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