Keys to the door

Finally/all too soon (depending on how you look at it!) our house move is upon us.

I am sick of packing. Sick of boxes. Sick of chaos.
But I am looking forward to a clean start in a lovely house and feeling slightly more secure ๐Ÿ™‚

Just to really keep me on my toes, I also have a job interview a couple of days after the move – talk about it all happening at once! The job is an internal one at the same pay scale but it’s full time and a brand new role which sounds really interesting. I suspect competition will be fierce though so can only give it my best shot.

During the move we will be without the internet for a few days so see you on the other side……

Back to it

I’ve been back at work for a week – and it seemed an intense week, probably because of a new routine and juggling other things.

I had a few things to sort out at work in my own role after the fortnight off; things that had been left for me to do and of course there was the usual effort of getting back in to the swing of it. We have a password system for all the computer access and we use and these passwords have to be changed every few weeks, must be to a certain format, cannot repeat previous passwords and must never be written down. I never forget my passwords but after two weeks’ break, I did and so had to get them all reset. Grr. Our department has gained some extra clinics which will eat in to my usual admin time (it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get other admin done when a clinic is running) so I now have to fit in an extra half day to accommodate this, and because Monday afternoon’s are now always going to be pretty hectic I think it may be useful to work into the evening a little to get cleared up and leave a clear run for the next day. I’ll need to experiment a bit and see what works best.

I was also back at my overtime for the secretaries this week, though with no more knowledge of how ongoing this is likely to be, which is unsettling and means I can’t really make any long term plans. So for now I am going to try and do my own overtime in addition to this as I need to do as much as I can whilst it is on offer. Ironically, another department has also asked if I might be able to help them out as they have a backlog, and though I am willing, I’m not sure that I have any time to do it – but I don’t want to say no. Argh!

I also went back to see the doctor this week as my strange digestion and weight-loss has still not resolved. After the initial rapid weight-loss, I managed to get myself eating 3 small meals a day and the weight-loss slowed so that I only lost another 3/4 stone over a couple of months. Nevertheless that’s 1.5 stones in 3 months and for no real reason. Over Christmas I managed a gain a whole 2 lbs – but I was very uncomfortable after eating. Big meals would sit in my stomach for hours and I have developed a constant dull pain on the right behind my ribcage, with the occasional very painful acute bout. Gallbladder seems a possibility, but my symptoms are not classic, and the symptom that bothers me most (a burning tongue which gets worse over the course of the day) is not accompanied by other symptoms that give a clue as to the problem.The doctor is as baffled as I am, but like me, feels this is nothing sinister, but still something we should try and identify. She has therefore begun a round of tests including: repeat bloods (all clear last time), with the addition of a coeliac screen; urine dip; H-pylori test; and ultrasound of gallbladder and kidney (since I happen to coincidentally have one of my kidney infections at present.) All very intriguing, though if we don’t find anything going on, I can manage to live with it.

We have also started looking for a new home this week; watch this space.

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Work stresses – both good and bad.

For a part-time worker, I’m ding a pretty good impression of a full-timer these days – still! ๐Ÿ˜›

I still love my own job – I love the autonomous working, I love the variety, the responsibility, the patients and working with various other healthcare professionals. In the last couple of months I’ve managed to visit one of our suppliers with my manager and that was interesting and constructive. I’ve also finalised my project -an analysis of 5-years’ data showing how our service is doing. It started when I played with my spreadsheets whilst doing my Microsoft Office Excel course and came up with some pretty graphs and charts. I mentioned to my manager what I thought they showed and she suggested I have a go at compiling a report – so many months later, I have finally finished it ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoyed the challenge, learned along the way, had some great advice from helpful colleagues and am rather proud of the end product.

I’ve continued to help the Medical Secretaries too, and generally I am happy doing so, though not being in control of my own workload or having my own desk can sometimes be slightly stressful. I have just been trying to cover for one of the girls who has been away for a month – attempting to stay on top of her 5-day-a-week work in just 2-days. I was thrown in at the deep end and obviously other people helped too, but at times it was a bit stressful and I would be a bit frazzled by the end of the week. On balance, I don’t think I did too bad a job though, especially given that I am not a Medical Secretary by training and a lot was unfamiliar to me. It helped that everyone from Consultant to nurses, coders to records staff and other secretaries were helpful and supportive, and of course, I have learned some new skills and knowledge which will stand me in good stead. ๐Ÿ™‚

Although I’ve been doing 2-3 days overtime a week for a year and a half now, it IS still only overtime. Because it’s not contracted, I don’t get paid holiday for it so I haven’t taken any holiday from my own job – there’s no point having 2 days off but working the other days still. This means I’m not having much of a break and I am definitely in need. I think I’ll be taking some time off over Christmas so just need to keep going until then….

And THESE boots weren’t made for weather…

After taking back the BHS boots that weren’t made for walking, I managed to find myself a pair in Dorothy Perkins.

I saw them online and went in to the shop to check the heels (solid) and try them on (comfy) before deciding to buy them. They were ร‚ยฃ45 but with my NHS discount they were only ร‚ยฃ40.50, and I had ร‚ยฃ20 in vouchers thanks to my online market research surveys so I only had ร‚ยฃ20.50 to pay ๐Ÿ™‚

The next week I wore them to walk to work and they were lovely and comfortable, and remained so all day. Great, it looked like I was sorted. When I left work that evening, it was just drizzling a bit and the pavements were damp, but there were no puddles. However, by the time I got home, my socks were wet at the toes – the boots had let in even that tiny amount of water. GRR! ๐Ÿ™

I took them back to the store a couple of days later and was given a full refund, but was told that they were “fashion boots” and not intended for anything except looking good! Unbelievable – what is the world coming to when footwear isn’t designed with walking or weather in mind? I wouldn’t expect to wade through puddles in them nor have them last for years at this price, but one damp winter shouldn’t be asking too much, surely!? I just want some smart enough looking long boots for wearing to, from and at work with a skirt or dress.

Back to the drawing board….

Girls together at a wedding reception.

On the Friday night the medical secretaries were attending the wedding reception of one of our number and we all stopped to think of the happy couple at 12 noon, when we knew they would getting married. We’d agreed over coffee that we were all going to dress up but even so, as I got ready that evening, I hoped they DID else I’d be looking a bit silly having fished out a red dress I haven’t worn for a while – fortunately, they did stick to the agreement and all looked lovely. Raji had agreed to play darts for me, and Billy escorted me to the Beaumont Hotel.

I was the first of our group to arrive and after greeting a radiant looking bride I got a drink and grabbed the only empty table – which turned out well as we made it our own for the evening. The others arrived shortly after me and we proceeded to have a really enjoyable evening ๐Ÿ™‚ The music was quite good (lots of oldies), the size of the party was just right, the bride looked beautiful, the groom scrubbed up rather well and entertained everyone with his energetic (and not unskilled) dancing, the bridesmaids (and their (teal) dresses) were exquisite, and the food later looked wonderful. (My tummy didn’t fancy trying it, alas.) We had lots of laughter and comfortable banter, and there were a couple of retired consultants there which was nice – don’t people always look so great and years younger once they retire?

We took a few photos during the evening though none will be shared without anyone’s permission so you may have to content yourself with this one of myself and Nic (who has already said it is OK – but then she would, being such a pretty lady):

At about 11.30 Billy came to collect me and we went and joined Paul, Roger (Junior) and Graham in Studio – which may have been a mistake since we led each other astray! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The darts had gone well and the team had won this cup game 6-1, putting us through to the next round. (A rarity since we usually draw an A league team and get knocked out straight away!) Despite feeling somewhat overdressed, I enjoyed the company so much that it wasn’t until 2am that I fell into bed! Bad me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Microsoft MASTER!


Guess who has passed her last Microsoft Office exam!?! Yep! Outlook was my last one. I am now officially a Master ๐Ÿ™‚

My journey began in November 2010 when I passed Excel core
Then I passed Word core
Then Word Expert and Excel Expert.
Then Power Point core and finally Outlook core.

I wonder what I will get up to next…..

Rat racing.

The weeks are just flying past without me blogging, and it feels lately as though all I do is work – 2 days in my job and 2 days overtime for the secretaries’ department – and then I spend the other days trying desperately to do everything needed to keep a household of 5 people and 3 cats running smoothly.

Each week is a race:
I race to get everything done in my office in my 2 days knowing I will be back to square one when I go in the next week;
Wednesdays are a race to get the shopping, cooking and cleaning done just to keep us going until the weekend;
for the two days I am helping the secretaries I race to do as much as possible to give them the most help I can, though it will never be enough as they are just too stretched;
and at weekends I race to get all the ironing done and more cleaning, cooking etc to get us through the next week.
Even on the days I work I race to get the washing out to dry before I go and try to keep on top of washing up and tidying the kitchen.

I am sort of used to it but I absolutely hate it! I like to feel that I am top of things and can do a proper job of whatever I do. If I do get caught up with one thing, the others go to pot – for example, I’ve just covered 2 weeks for my colleague so I’ve been doing my own job Monday to Friday. This has been wonderful at work as I’ve done everything. Everything! I am up to date with all aspects of my work, ahead in one area, I’ve had time to do some training and to work on a project.I’ve even been able to do extras such as sorting files and appliances. Bliss! But the house has suffered as a consequence (slightly less so the second week as Billy was off and did the laundry and washing up) and of course the secretaries have had no extra help.

Much as we could do with me working full time (and I am looking) I know I would hate it as I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the house/family needs and I feel we already exist at my absolute minimum bearable level of housework and family meals. Four days in one job would suit me best but in the meantime I’ll just keep trying my best.


Last weekend I visited mum for the first time in 6-weeks – a long overdue visit indeed! I planned to go down on Friday night after work and after Raji’s birthday tea and birthday cake (I made coffee and walnut cake as this was what his mum used to make for birthdays.) I did have slight pause however, as the weather sites gave an amber warning of flooding in mum’s area, with yellow warning through the Lakes area, but in the end I decided to set off and see how I got on, turning back if I felt it necessary. The drive through the “yellow warning” area was pretty difficult with strong winds, torrential rain and in some areas, flooding – but nothing I haven’t driven through before so I just slowed down, took it easy, and came through it. When I got to the “amber warning” zone the sun shone, there was no rain, and the roads were dry! So I arrived safely at mum’s. ๐Ÿ™‚

We did get some things done but the rain returned and we couldn’t sort out the garage as hoped so that’s still to do another day. We used our time constructively still, and we had our usual fun and laughs of course. We also enjoyed watched the Spain v France Euro2012 quarter final. It was a comfortable win for Spain and an enjoyable match to watch as we finished our dinner time wine ๐Ÿ™‚

I drove back in sunshine on dry roads – until I got 20 mins away from home when a monsoon hit! I did make it home in time to watch the England v Italy quarter-final though I could have done with it being settled in the 90+ instead of going to extra time and penalties! Italy deserved their win, it has to be said, and given the fact that I don’t think England has any world class players really we did better than expected in this competition. I did correctly predict who would score their penalties and who wouldn’t too. Finally I crawled off to bed to get my much needed sleep before the working week began again.

On the plus side, petrol has got slightly cheaper and was only ร‚ยฃ129.9 at mum’s so my weekend trip cost me less than expected and I invited Billy out for a very cheap tea after work on Tuesday. (He was playing cricket Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday according to the calendar so it was probably the only time I would see my husband all week!) However, Monday’s game was rained off and changed to Tuesday instead! ๐Ÿ™

Ironically Wednesday’s game was also a washout but we’d decided to have our date Thursday anyway so stuck to that, and watched the Spain v Portugal semi-final which was pretty much what you’d expect from a derby – both sides scared to lose so a cagey affair. This game also went to extra time and penalties but I couldn’t manage another late night so left them too it. In the morning I was utterly convinced I’d see a smug-faced Ronaldo all over the net, but to my delight Portugal had been beaten ๐Ÿ˜€ I don’t mind too much who wins now; I just didn’t want smug-face winning ๐Ÿ˜‰

On Thursday I worked hard all day and was looking forward to my date with Billy in the evening. We get so little quality time together and eating on our way home from work is one of the best ways for us to get it, and a rare treat these days. At 3pm a storm hit – a storm of biblical proportions, with the sky going black and torrential rain bouncing off the pavement and crashing back to form mini rivers. Staff all round the hospital were checking on whether they were likely to get home with floods affecting the roads and trains and people made appropriate arrangements to stay with colleagues/friends/family or even in the hospital, and others waited it out until much later in the evening before going home. There were a lot of sirens whizzing past and clearly the storm had caused considerable chaos.

Photos courtesy of Roger:
Hexham high street flood
Hexham flood
Flood in Hexham

Happily, by the time I finished the sun was out again and I met Billy as planned ready to relax for the evening with dinner then watching the football. We decided to go to the Heart which has been recently taken over by a lovely couple who are rebuilding its reputation as a good food pub. We received a friendly welcome and after debating which of the delicious options on the menu to choose went for the beef stottie with gravy – with some chips as a side order. All the food is freshly cooked to order so we sipped our drinks while we waited and were just starting to unwind nicely when Raji phoned Billy. He was stuck in Prudhoe after the floods! I was very surprised he’d even tried to come home as I assumed he’d have stayed over with a colleague. Billy spent most of our meal trying to find out what the situation was with trains, buses, roads etc. In between, the food was amazing – a generously filled stottie with melt-in-the-mouth beef, a little boat of gravy, 2 roast potatoes and a Yorkshire pudding – plus our home-made chips too! Gorgeous! We even gave in to temptation and had a home-made dessert each (raspberry cheesecake with Chantilly cream for me and warm sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream for Billy) Divine – 10/10! ๐Ÿ™‚

Throughout all of this, phone calls were going back and forth between Billy and Raji – he had walked to the next stop on the train route to find no trains there either and proceeded on to the next, hoping for a bus if not a train (obviously I’d had a drink so couldn’t drive, and as far as I knew the roads were impassable anyway.) To cut a very long story short, there were none and he ended up getting a taxi from there, arriving home at 10pm – thankfully just as I was going to bed so at least I could finally relax knowing he was home safely.

We did watch the Germany v Italy semi-final but unfortunately with only half an eye as we were both trying to find out how to get Raji home. Italy dominated the game and fully deserved to win – the two goals from Balotelli were outstanding! (Nothing was stopping that second from going in!) Now I don’t know whether to want Mario or Merlin to win the final – guess I’ll just be a neutral and enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

All in all then, this week was rather a washout – summer? What summer? ๐Ÿ™

Chronicle flood news
BBC flood news
ITV flood news

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