Thursday, 28 March 2013


Earlier this week, I was  blogging, when I heard Ann coming down the stairs to the undercroft where I work. Then a flash went off and Ann had taken the above photograph. I reciprocated yesterday evening by taking the photograph of Ann knitting in the drawing room.

Now - two incidents I would like to record this week. On Monday evening we were playing scrabble. On my second turn I put down all seven letters on the word 'revenges' across TWO double word scores, and with the extra fifty points scored 98 points on that turn.  Despite this, Ann spent the rest of the game overhauling me, and eventually won the game by ONE point. The final score was 323 to Ann and 322 to me.  An excellent game.

The second incident I wish to record was that this morning we WALKED into town (the first time since I left Papworth).  We did a little very light shopping,  had a hot drink and scone apiece in one of the town's many coffee stops, this time at the Orangery on the Market Place, then walked home again. Doesn't sound much, but I couldn't have done it comfortably a week ago. Glad to say- no ill affects  other than slight shortness of breath and feeling a bit knackered - sorry ladies - slightly fatigued.

Ann's just walked into town again to go to a Maundy Thursday service. She was a little loth to leave me here alone, but assured me that she would leave her mobile 'phone on. I think she's worrying quite unnecessarily, but promised not to do anything too strenuous while she's out; and indeed I've been doing light jobs in the workshop, and, of course, typing up this blog entry.
          Good night All.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Timely start this morning. To early service at 7.30 a.m.  Stayed to breakfast. Improvement on last week; when we went to early service then , I had to remain seated for most of it, and was glad to come home at the end of  the service.   When we got home this morning pottered round the garden (the snow had almost all gone) and took  the top three pictures of flowers emerging from the snow. Crocii (I know that is a bit affected these days, but it's how I was taught to spell the plural of crocus).

Don't know the correct name of the above plant, but we call it  the Army and Navy  flower, as there are red  (well dusky pink) and blue flowers on the same plant. When the last lot of snow came there were no flowers on it, but they seem to have been coming out under the snow.

 Above :- primula and miniature daffs.

Moving on to indoor flowers, Ann seems to have been doing rather well for them this week. Above right are the daffodils that friend Helga brought Ann yesterday, and to the  left narcissi that  friends John and Gloria sent us as a belated golden wedding anniversary gift.

Above some of the chrysanthemums Maggie sent Ann, and below Ann tending them.

Below, are our friends Jaque and Henriette, who popped in to  canvas my opinion on a sword stick. They stayed  for a cuppa and a slice of a blueberry sponge cake that Ann had made this morning, after we got back from the surgery where I had a blood sample taken.  One of the nuisance things that follow a heart attack is that I'm not allowed to drive for a month, so Ann has to run me every where (although I really must start WALKING  into town soon). It was good to see them. They did not stay long, as they have to drive back to the North Norfolk coast. They'd killed several birds with one stone in this area today. They are ten years older than we are, but I wish I had their energy at the moment. Still, that seems to be improving - haven't been upstairs  for a nap today (or napped in me chair)   and that's the first time I've not done either since I got home from Papworth.
Waffling now, so I must stop and get on with a little work.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Today is Ann's birthday, and  she accepted my offer to take her out to lunch. Before lunch though, we did a little shopping at our favourite farm shop. Then motored back to a newish restaurant a mile or so from home that we've been meaning to try for some time, having heard conflicting reports of it from friends. When we got back there it turned out that it is closed on Mondays!  Back in the car and motored the few miles to Kersey, where I'd taken the above and below photos a few days ago (before this last lot of snow), and to the Bell Inn (below) where a good, solid lunch is always to be got.  Except, that is, on Mondays, when it is closed.

Back in the car again, and motored back to our farm shop, where we both ordered the day's special, which was beef, soaked in Guinness, then roasted, served with vegetables, and gravy made from the Guinness in which the beef had been marinated.  An excellent, hearty meal it was, too. We had it at the table beside the wood- burning fire in the restaurant; and very welcome that was, too, on a bitter cold day. Well worth the roundabout journey. Mem; as Ann said - never have a birthday on a Monday. Although, as she also said, we couldn't have had a better meal at the new restaurant than we eventually had at the farm shop.
Goodnight All.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sunday 2.

Above is what our garden looked like when we came down this morning. It has now been snowing steadily for two days. It's been (generally) fine snow, and the temperature has been just above freezing for most of that time, so that the snow has been thawing a bit. Even so, and allowing for the thaw, I think that about six inches of snow has fallen over this weekend, so that, when it really does thaw (and stops snowing) there'll be local flooding in our area in all probability (it's being so cheerful that keeps us all going).

Been tidying up one or two bits of stock today. The above is today's 'mystery item'. It's of iron and brass. When closed it's about two and a half inches long. I think it might be tooooo obvious for most of you, and if so, I apologise. But do have a try (sorry, no prizes Rog- especially as you're a professional dealer).  I had two hours sleep this afternoon, and I shall soon be ready to resume the horizontal posish. Ann says that as I'm getting so much sleep, that is what the body requires; and I suppose she must be right.
So - Goodnight All.

Sunday 1.

Finally managed to take a picture of our one remaining siskin, a young male bird. He is on the left of the above photo. Two goldfinches on the right. Ann took the actual photo. We were breakfasting, and watching the birds through the window when this chap turned up. Ann was nearer the window, so I passed her the camera, she snuck up (note the americanism there, Lori) as close to the window as possible and took two or three photos of the birds. This was the best one of the siskin. A group of three turned up about three weeks ago, but only this one has been about for the last week or so.
  Confession here :- I've been trying to put this photo up for over an hour. Problems putting the photos from the camera into the computer, which got electronic hiccoughs of some sort. Solved about three different problems in a row, and eventually solved everything (I hope) by successfully (another 'I hope') doing a 'system restore' to two days ago.  Finally beginning to feel a bit more confident with this machinery. Fingers etc., crossed.  Being called upstairs - lunchtime I think. More later perhaps.

Friday, 22 March 2013


Quick blog entry just to record that yesterday morning there was a knock on the front door, and a delivery man handed over to Ann a very large box. It appeared, on opening, to hold the contents of a medium sized florist's shop!!!  Bunches of tulips, chrysanths, etc.  They are now in several vases placed all over the ground floor of the house. The tulips looked a touch droopy, but on being watered, picked up, and now look gracefully droopy. I think tulips look their best drooping gracefully.  They were from Margaret, my sister  ( and Ann's bridesmaid fifty years ago). I think if  someone is not well in a house, the invalid gets all the get- well cards, and messages  of sympathy,  and sometimes the partner/carer (who, is of course, under a great deal of stress) is ignored. Anyway Maggie, Dear, they were JUST what Ann needed, just when she needed them, and cheered her up tremendously. Thank you.

I think that What we ALL need now, though, is some really warm, uninterrupted sunshine. Wouldn't it be nice?

Walking into the kitchen this afternoon (where one of the vases of chrysanthemums was also displayed) I saw our fruit bowl, and thought how nice and colourful that looked, too.

Goodnight All (and thanks again, Maggie,  Mark, and Emma).

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


I'm supposed to be taking things very easy over the next fortnight, but I find this difficult, so this morning I spent  a while getting used to the new camera. We've also moved one of the  bird feeders much nearer the kitchen window, and the above snapshot of a greenfinch to the left, and a pair of goldfinches to the right of the picture is the result.  Been trying to get a shot of the one siskin still frequenting the garden, but he is very shy.

Above is another picture of a pair of goldfinches. Lots of flowers on the quince tree (or japonica) growing up the old garden shed behind the birds. Hope there'll be quinces later in the year. We might make quince jelly.

This afternoon Ann decided we needed to buy vegetables, so motored over to our nearby garden shop. I sat in the coffee shop there and read my paper, whilst Ann bought vegetables, then joined me. Then we motored home, detouring via Kersey, where I took the above photo of the ford. Since then changed into me scruff to do a little work in the workshop.  Bit tiring taking it easy.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Tuesday March 12th.

Snapshot of two green finches taken through the kitchen window this morning (Sunday).

Now resuming journal of my hospital stay:-
Ann and Matthew joined me at 2.30 p.m. and, as Ann brought in our Travel Scrabble set we played a three handed game on my bed table. Led most of the way through but near the end of the game Matt made a brilliant score of over fifty points which put him just in the lead. I then got out by putting my last three letters down for a score of five,  but as Matt's remaining three tiles had a score of eight points, I won by about four points. Really good close finish to an exciting game.
We were told that my angeogramme at Papworth has been put off from tomorrow until Thursday, which means that I won't be home until Friday at the earliest. Bit frustrating.
Ann and Matt went home at about 5 p.m.   Just before he left Matt told me that he intends to prune our roses in the morning. Checked with Ann and she says that  Yes, he really does know how to do this!
People never cease to surprise me.

Am taken, by ambulance, from Bury St. Edmund's to Papworth on Thursday morning. Have the angeogramme on Thursday afternoon, and am eventually informed that- yes, as I was told at Bury St. Edmund's hospital- I've had a heart attack, but that there is no narrowing, or furring up, of my arteries.  Which seems to be good news, but  means that no one knows why I've had a heart attack, and this in turn means that I will be treated with drugs/tablets.  On Friday morning I see several people who all tell me that most of my drugs have been changed again, and why.   Ann comes in at about midday to pick me up, as instructed by hospital. We then have to see three more people, at long intervals, and are told that when the pharmacist has time to fit us in and issue some more drugs we can go home. Finally hit the road at about 3.45p.m. and arrive home at just after five p.m.     Paul, a fellow inmate at Bury, who came to Papworth just after me, is still waiting for his angeogramme when we leave, and has just been told that he will perhaps have it later this afternoon (Friday - I had mine on Thursday afternoon, so cannot complain, although as I think I said earlier - communications are not good here).

It is  REALLY GOOD to be home.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Monday 11th March.

Pleasant surprise this morning - at 11 a.m. my good friend Graham Turner came into the ward with with several recent issues of The Antique Dealers' Gazzette for me. He knows I no longer take it regularly. I should explain that Graham is the organiser of the monthly Long Melford Antique Fair which I attend. It is, these days, a quite unique village hall antique fair.  Graham enforces the the date line quite firmly, although, as all his exhibitors are professional, and fairly specialised, antique dealers, I think they're all pretty good about keeping to the date line rule(which to my mind is set far too late anyway. When I started exhibiting at the Snape Maltings Antique Fairs in the seventies, the date line was was 1830 - and that always seemed  a good cut off date for antiques - after that date we're well into the industrial revolution).
I do realise that I haven't yet told you what Graham's  dateline for the Long Melford Antique Fair is : and I blush to reveal that he has set it at 1930 !!!! He says that this is done to  'include Art Deco stuff', which he assures me many people collect. If true, I'm sorry to hear it; although I suppose some of the ceramics of that period might be useful for target practice!    Careful Mike. Remember the blood pressure.

After lunch Ann and Matthew came in and sat with me until at 3p.m. I was wheeled off down to the Diagnostic Imaging (X Ray) Department - to have my kidneys examined. They weren't in fact XRayed but subjected to an ultrasonic sound examination. I couldn't understand why, after a heart attack, they should be interested in my kidneys, but it turned out that they suspected my kidneys might have been damaged by the medicines I've been taking for high blood pressure - or something like that. I didn't really understand it at all. I take the view that my private insides are private, and the less said about them the better - provided they continue to function satisfactorily. Ann's the nurse, and I leave all that sort of thing to her. When the medicos try and explain this sort of thing to me I just try to look intelligent and hope I nod in all the right places.

Then back to the ward- plugged back into the monitoring machine, which seems quite glad to see me, clicking, glugging and pinging to itself. I drink my afternoon cuppa, and Ann, Matt, and meself discuss the rest of the week's arrangements (as far as we know them).  I'm to go into Papworth from here on Wednesday morning, and have a cardiogramme, and possibly whatever other procedures are deemed appropriate by the cardiogramme.  Then home on Thursday, I hope.  (Fat Chance, as it eventually transpires- Should perhaps try and make it clear that most of this journal was scribbled down on a pad whilst lying in bed in the cardiac ward (C.C.U. i.e. Cardiac Care Unit) with very occasional later explanatory interpolations).

              Tuesday, 12th March. 10 o'clock.

I'm going to leave the strictly chronological order I've been using and go back to an incident that occurred on Thursday  a few  hours after I'd been moved up to the cardiac Care Unit Ward. It must have been in the early afternoon, because all was quiet on the ward.   There was a shout from one of the loos at the far end of the ward (it turned out that one of the patients had died in the lavatory).  Chaos broke out - people running, instructions being given and acknowledged; but it was an odd sort of chaos -with a sense of order and routine underlying it. Despite the running and shouting everyone seemed to know what their job was.
The best exampleof this was the little Chinese nurse I've mentioned earlier. I'd perhaps better clarify this description by saying that at a short distance she looked like a sturdy eight year old schoolgirl; but close up you'd realise that she's a a very confident early middle aged woman. Every so often a shout would come from the corridor  leading to the loo :-  "Phone ................." and she would call  "I'll do that"  or, more often    " I  already done that".  Her normally accentless English seemed to have become more basic - I think in a conscious effort to save time and maintain good, clear communication.   Two people raced past pushing a vacant bed into the loo corridor, and a few minutes later it came out again at high speed being pushed/controlled by four people - one in front, one behind and one at either side of it. On the bed was the patient, and on top of the patient (or kneeling beside the patient) was a Staff Nurse who I already knew slightly.  She was pumping away frantically at the patient's chest in an effort at resuscitation. As the bed swayed round a corner back into a spare bed space the pumping Staff Nurse swayed sideways and was pushed back upright by the two pushers at either side of the bed, never once breaking the pace of the pumping.

At this point the Chinese nurse ran up to my bed and drew the curtains across the front of my alcove saying  "You doan wan see this, Mike."    A moment later I realised that she wasn't shutting me OUT from the activity, but knowing that I'd had a heart attack  less than twenty four hours previously, was trying to protect me from possible worry.

About twenty minutes later, after all the excitement had died down, the Staff Nurse who'd ridden the bed so well, pushed through the curtain into my (reasonably) private alcove. She looked drained, and with tears running down her cheeks.
"Didn't make it?"  I asked.
"No" she replied,  "I've done it often enough before, but it never gets any easier - losing a patient."
"Well, I was lost in admiration at your skills as a charioteer" I assured her  "Boadicea couldn't have done better."  This made her laugh a little between the sniffles, and she sat in my bedside chair and dried herself up, before resuming normal duties.  When she left me five minutes later, she rather charmingly thanked me for my hospitality!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Sunday, 10th March.

Above is a photo of the flowers that Sarah gave Ann on Mothering Sunday, which was of course, last Sunday, 10th March, when I recommence my journal of the last few days:-

Sunday 10th March.
At 11 a.m. Ann comes into the ward, and we sit and natter quietly and discuss changes that we think are going to be necessary in our lifestyle.
At a little after 12 noon my lunch is served. Ann sits with me while I eat, then goes off to the hospital canteen for her lunch. She comes  back later with Sarah's two younger children, Lucy and Guy, who sit and keep me amused for half an hour. They are then shepherded off by Ann to the canteen. She returns shortly after that with oldest daughter Sarah and S.i.l. Mikey. A few minutes later Lizzie's two elder offspring, Matthew and Georgia, accompanied by Georgia's boy friend, Andy, arrive and bring the total of visitors around my bed to exactly double the number permitted by the management. The management (in the shape of one of the more case-hardened staff nurses) arrives, puts its hands on its hips, and states the company's policy on this matter in no uncertain terms. Three of my visitors withdraw to the canteen, licking their wounds, and drink coffee in confusion. I must admit to personally having a sneaking admiration for said Staff Nurse. She may, and indeed has over the last few days frequently stuck needles in me; but she does so with a skill and accuracy that would earn her a place in the most discriminating darts team in the country.
By just after five o'clock my visitors have started their journey home. Actually that isn't strictly true, as Matthew is staying over with Ann for a few days. On Sunday he will be viewing Sotheby's Arms and Armour Sale on my behalf. There are two small items I'd like him to bid for. Actually there are two large items I'd like him to bid for as well; But I don't think the acquisition of a large military blunderbuss, and a seige weight crossbow would go down awfully well with my chief medical adviser (I allude, of course, to Ann), as I've been told that I must NOT lift heavy weights. Even a couple of long case clock weights (ten or twelve pounds each) would meet with the disapproval of the cardiology 'expert' who spoke to me the other day.

Oh well!!   and indeed Ho Hum........

We'll see.

P.s. I realise that this journal is becoming a bit wordy, but I find it.........therapeutic ( I think is the word I need)  to lie here and jot it all down, with a view to future bloggery.

Friday 1.

                                               Friday, 15th March, 2013.

It's good to be home.

I've had a heart attack. We went to an Antique Fair at Long Melford Village Hall on Wednesday the 6th of March. The day started well. Ruth helped us load the car - well to be honest Ruth loaded the car for us- ticker's been playing up a bit lately, and Ruth insisted on doing the heavy work. Set off just before seven a.m.   and a mile or so up the road we slowed down and watched a lovely, big, old barn owl hunting along a dyke - they're getting rare in our area.

Had a goodish fair. bought a nice IVORY prisoner of war work (probably made at Norman Cross in Huntingdonshire around the year 1800) figure of Napoleon, and sold it on later in the day , together with a good deal of other goodies. After we'd packed up and set off homeward (but before we left Long Melford) I felt a sharp pain across my chest.
Now - I'm quite familiar with the dull ache of angina - but this was something else. I carry a glyseril trinitrate spray and used it. It didn't touch the chest pain, which got worse; so when we got home Ann 'phoned our G.P. who told her to 'phone the Ambulance immediately. Flashing light and bells job - can't clearly remember the rest of Wednesday evening.

 I'm now wired up to various monitors that buzz most of the time and vary this by making the occasional vaguely rude noise.  Busy writing this up on the Cardiac Care Unit in Bury Saint Edmund's Hospital  on Friday evening, and waiting for a slot to come up at Papworth Hospital, where I'm booked to have an angiogramme plus whatever they deem advisable.

It's a relaxing lifestyle, although being wired to a machine by a fairly short lead can be rather frustrating, and very minor worries occupy more of the mind than you'd think possible; e.g. how to manipulate the short lead enough to be able to reach and draw the curtains round the bed sufficiently to ensure a measure of privacy should the occasion arise ( the company being mixed on the cardiology ward - one way and another).  I'm told I should press the bell  for a nurse to draw the curtains and supply the necessary utensil, but I'll be BEGGARED  if I'm going to !!...... SO THERE.

The staff here are generally very pleasant and obliging people, and, being nurses, tend to have a sense of humour that chimes in very pleasantly with mine.  Last night I was cared for by a night nurse - Luda- originally from Russia, a delightful woman who speaks perfectly good English, with only a trace of accent. We spent the small hours putting the world to rights - hope the World appreciates its luck, and feels the better for it.

The food here is of the nursery / comfort variety - a little bland perhaps, but perfectly edible, and there is a choice - it generally tastes rather of whatever it is that's been ordered.  I've served time in all three hospitals in this area (Ips., Col., and B.S.E.) and, in my opinion, this one is streets ahead of the other two in the commissariat department.

Saturday 9th March.  (sorry, this is becoming a journal - a very long one, I'm afraid- of the last few days. Please bear with me).

A very nice little Chinese nurse has finally decided to allow me to be unhooked from the monitoring machinery for a few minutes, occasionally. This means that I'm allowed to go to the bathroom for a REAL wash, and to use the facilities.  "DON'T LOCK THE DOOR; AND DON'T BE TOO LONG!" she instructs me.  As far as I'm concerned  this is a real advance and a major event. Thirty minutes later another nurse - this time an Indian lady- has just told me that I no longer need to use a cardboard bottle, and may now walk to the loo unattended. This too frees me up tremenjous, although she then qualifies  this by giving me full instructions on pulling the alarm chord in the bathroom .  It's very odd how minor advances of this kind assume such major importance in hospital.   Just before lunch is served daughter Kerry turns up and talks to me while I eat.  We swap all the family news, and discuss ways and means of me continuing in business, whilst at the same time "taking it a bit easier" - a phrase I am beginning to heartily dislike.  In fact (and in fairness to her) Kerry comes up with one or two sensible suggestions.

At about two p.m. Kerry admits that she has, as yet, not lunched; so I pass on a reccommendation of the better canteen (there are two) on  the premises and she departs to repair this omission.

AT two thirty Ann turns up accompanied by youngest daughter Liz, who has brought her two youngest with her (Matt who is twenty and Beth, eighteen) and deposited them in the canteen with Kerry- and a coffee apiece.  There is a strict rule on the Cardiac Unit of a maximum of three visitors per patient, and for the rest of the afternoon my five visitors alternate/revolve around this rule, then leave Ann and I to ourselves for twenty minutes or so. They all return to say goodbye to me, and everyone has gone by about four thirty (after which I nap for about an hour) - been a good day, and felt an oddly busy (?) one, considering I've spent most of it horizontal.  I think that I've felt that I'm the host of this gathering, and that therefore I must keep my visitors entertained.

 Ann's calling me up to supper. I'll try and complete this later. I think 'later' might mean tomorrow, and/or the next day.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Temporarily under repair

I have been asked by the blogger to let you know that he will hopefully be back very soon.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Yesterday (Sunday) we took Ruth and the girls to our local Chinese restaurant for lunch, where they do a good buffet lunch on Sundays. The girls have been there with us before and liked it.

This is the main course, set on a 'Lazy Susan' centre, so that we could all revolve it and help ourselves. All three courses went down well, as did a pot of China tea at the end of the meal.

This morning we decided to go for a walk along the course of the  old railway track. On the way there we passed the above house. It has carving to most of the windows and door frames, and the remains of 'pargetting' to the plaster work.  It is known locally as 'the beards and bosoms' house, as most of the caryatids carved around the windows features figures carved with both these attributes. There is a date carved above the window in the photo of 1653, which was in the middle of our Commonwealth, and I don't know how, at that date, the carver got away with such excesses!

The above small farmhouse is one of my favourites. Nothing special about it, but the proportions are somehow very pleasing.

Took the above snapshot of Tuva, Ann, Ruth and Freja on the Railway Walk.

A bit further along, to the top of the bank we saw the above trackway with a three foot high round hole through the bushes at the top. We discussed what had made it, and I suggested it was a hobbit hole. Tuva said that as it was a round hole it was obviously a hobbit hole.

Back at home Ann, and the two girls made an early supper, with jelly for pudding. Ann has several old jelly moulds which most of our granddaughters like using. Ruth was fascinated by the light the red jelly relected, and took the above photo of Freja eating red jelly which seems to be reflected in her mouth and eyes!

                                          Good Night All.

P.s. I'm enjoying playing with the new camera - as is obvious, I suppose. Just hope I can remember all Ruth's taught me about it's use when she and the girls go home on Friday!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Saturday 2.

After my previous blog entry - quick further report :- Ruth and the girls came home at around 7.30 p.m. and it transpired that Ruth had spent some of her time in London finding me a new camera.  It's an incredibly compact little thing of the same name as my previous camera - a Fujifilm Finepix T. So I've been getting used  to it, and here goes with a close up of Ann's right hand.  There should now be no shortage of photographs.

Saturday 1.

Two more photos that Ruth took on Thursday. The above shows Freja flying high (and this is a child who confesses to some slight fear of heights!!!)

 And this is another of Ruth enjoying the primitive swing in the beech woods near us. Ruth and the girls went into London yesterday and stayed with youngest daughter Liz overnight. We are expecting them back later today. As Ruth's husband Lasse is unwell they took their passports with them just in case they had to make a run for home (Sweden). However Ruth tells me that (once again) the antibiotics seem to be doing their work, and he reports that he is now rather better.  Fingers crossed!!!

We've recently moved one of the bird feeders rather nearer the kitchen window, and this has enabled me to take rather better photos of birds (hence the above two goldfinches). However my camera is playing up rather badly, and I think I shall have to buy a new one. This one has given me seven years of fairly heavy usage.  Ref birds, yesterday I was sitting in my kitchen talking to friend Bill, who had called to consult me about a couple of 'Brown Bess' muskets from his collection, when  three siskins turned up on the bird feeder. I saw my first ever of these birds last year at about this time, and told Bill about them then. He'd never seen one, and this year I was able to show him three of them. What I was not able to do, though, was to make the camera work in time to get a photo of them (curses, curses!).   I explain this in some detail, in that I am afraid that for a short time this blog will probably be existing on oldish photos. Please bear with me. Being called up to an early supper, so will wish you all a slightly premature Good Night.