Holiday Plans and EuroDisney/Puncture

Saturday 16th February 2019

Due to the Vagaries of the average company Leave arrangements, I have 4 days Leave to take before April, so as Jake Our Grandson is going to Euro Disney on Monday 18th, I have taken Monday to Thursday off and volunteered to take him to the Scout Hut on Monday Morning for 7am, and collect him Wednesday 23.00 when they get back.

So a reasonable 07.15 start on Saturday then, driving the 225 miles to Julie’s flat was a dream as there was almost no traffic at all and the weather was just right.

Sunday

We went over to Sue, our Eldest Daughter’s for lunch, and very nice it was too. After Lunch, I had a look at their upstairs toilet cistern as there was water constantly running into it, and the nailbrush that Sue had wedged under the Ball Float wasn’t effective anymore! Yup, that’ll be a new diaphragm washer, then, Of course,  it’s Sunday afternoon.

Off we went, Wickes has no selection at all so ended up in B&Q, not too painful £1.47 for a pack of two, and it only took a couple of minutes to fit.

Back to the Flat later in the afternoon, and onto the Interweb to alter our Summer Holiday, as going to Southern Ireland for a week was going to cost about £1300 when I checked and found the Ferry Fares would be £400 return!

A bit of thinking and bouncing of ideas, and we settled on North Wales! 7 nights B&B in a 4-Star Hotel just outside Porthmadog so handy for the two main Steam Narrow-Gauge Railways, not far from Snowdon and handy for the rest of North West Wales as well. Bonus point? Just over £800.

 

Monday Morning,

We got Jake to the Scout Hut with plenty of time, and after a period of what at first looked like chaos, but was actually well-organised issuing of special Hoodies and Neckers for the trip, collection of medicines and passports etc. A few Scouts were asked to take out a supply of water bottles out to the Coach which had quietly arrived and parked in the Drive. They left almost exactly on time, on a Luxury 5-star Euroliner Coach packed with Youngsters and adults.

After we had seen Jake off, Sue and went and parked in the middle of town and went to Wetherspoons for a cooked Breakfast, then had to visit a couple of shops, I went into O² and changed my monthly plan from 100mins+100texts+100Mb @14.95/Month to 217+unlimited+1Gb for 10.00! I could have got a better deal elsewhere but not with the same coverage where I live and work. For some reason Sue declined the offer of visiting the Anne Summers shop, some Daughters are so boring!

We also visited TUI Travel agents, as She and Jake are going to Salou with them in May, and Sue wanted to book and pay for the Excursions and query a change in the time of the Flights.

Daddee, can we get the excursions on your credit card and I’ll pay you back Pleease?

We didn’t discuss the price of these excursions before the Agent brought them up on the computer, nor funnily enough the fact that as their new flight is at 6am they will have to stay locally to Gatwick the night before, Strange that…..

I pay my card off almost straight away, so there are no interest charges, but I do lose the interest that I would have been paid from my savings account, and said account is meant to be there for OUR Holiday, car problems etc.  Well, it’s £327 lighter now!

We also went into Jessops and Sue got Her Passport Photos done, a sheet of 6 that they used a Guillotine stamp to cut to the correct size so She has spares.

That was enough for me, so back to the Flat to recover!

Tuesday, Julie and I had a total day off, a true PJ Day.

Wednesday a.m.

I had ordered some new Sandwich tubs from The Range at the Weekend, and now received an Email to say they were here at the local Store, so after a lazy start to the Day, Julie and I went to go and get them. We also picked up a new Light bulb for my bedside lamp in the flat, an E14 SES Golf Ball LED, reasonably priced as well. While we were here we decided to have lunch at the in-store Cafe, Sandwiches and a Rocky-Road tray bake to follow!

Back to the Flat to take it easy before collecting Sue at 23.15 to go to collect Jake.

We got to the Scout Hut in plenty of time, it’s only about a mile as the crow flies or 1 1/2 by road, parked in the car park there and sat waiting with an increasing amount of parents and Grandparents, The local contact lady for the trip came round all the cars and told us the Coach was due a little late as there were road closures in the South-East UK, but they wouldn’t be too long.

The Coach pulled in at about 00.05, so not really that late after a journey from near Paris to Basingstoke via the Chunnel. There are pictures of all of the passengers and the Driver standing in front of the Coach whilst on the shuttle in the Tunnel. (I can’t publish one, as I don’t have permission.)

After Medications, Insurance cards and Passports were returned to Parents, we were free to exit the Scout Hut and drive home. I waited for most of the cars to go first, Kids milling around and Parents reversing out of spaces because it takes a brain cell to reverse in and drive out don’t make a good mix.

We exited the car park and got about 200 Metres down the road and I noticed the wheel pulling to the Left, Guess who’s got a punctured tyre?

Pulled up, emptied the boot, spare wheel and jack out, and wheel brace in use. The Locking Wheel Bolt first, ok. Opposite, yup. 90′, Very tight so tried the last one, that came off ok, so back to the prior one, got a full turn but VERY stiff, That’s because it isn’t turning, it’s the Monkey-metal Wheelbrace that has twisted along its length and of course it is the only one in the car. “Mum’s in the RAC” (breakdown club) so I rang Her, ‘Where’s the membership card, I can’t find it in the Car’ “Oh, it’s in my purse, I’ll phone them now,” says Julie so we ring off and wait. Julie rang back a few moments later, “They won’t come out because I’m not in the car, and apparently the membership covers the member and not their car!”  Oohh, Buzzcocks!

So I left my Daughter and Grandson in the Car and fast walked uphill for the 1&1/2 miles back to the Van, collected a now dressed Wife, and a fully equipped Van with toolkit, and returned to the Car. Had to use my 1/2″ drive by 2ft Spring Bar to remove the offending wheel bolt, removed the wheel and rolled the new one into place.

Could I lift the new wheel up into position and line up the holes? NO! Daughter Eldest gave me a hand, and got the bolts back in ok, everything stowed loose in the boot for now and followed Julie home, She in the Car and I in the Van.

We went to bed with a cup of Tea at 01.40 Thursday Morning, so all in all not too bad, but I had to dose up on painkillers quite a bit as I’ve pulled something in my bad arm (the one that was broken last August) and My Knee was painful as well.

Thursday.

Woke up in quite a lot of pain a couple of times during the night, so when it came to getting up properly I was still as tired as a tired person and also my arm feels like it’s on fire on the inside of the Forearm. Took Painkillers, anti-inflammatories and spread Diclofenac Gel (Voltarol Extreme) on the Arm and sat there trying to keep my eyes open.

I’m meant to be driving home today, and back to work tomorrow, but honestly, I don’t think I’m fit to drive that distance. I rang my Mate and work colleague to see how busy we were at the moment, then our Service director and then our Service controller to apologise but I’ll be taking Friday off! Not something I’ve ever done before, but I’m no good to them if I’m in a ditch in the Van.  I’ll go home on Sunday, for a return to work on Monday.

Did nothing all day, except hurt and dose.

Friday.

Woke up refreshed after a full night’s sleep, that’s more than Julie got, apparently I still snore? That’s why my mouth was so dry then!

Got dressed after breakfast and after straightening out the car boot, we went out to Micheldever Tyres to get the puncture attended to. Of course, they also check the other tyres on the car, and proudly informed me that the Nearside Rear tyre was at 2mm, the legal limit is 1.6mm, and the Offside rear is less than the 3mm telltales, and the puncture situation has damaged the sidewalls of that tyre. Well, we knew we’d have to replace the two rear tyres within the next 3 Months anyway, so 3 tyres specified for a BMW M3 Sport, because that’s what this SUV takes and £375 later and we went home for lunch. We’ve had this car since May 2013 and these are the first rear tyres since just after then, it still had the original ones on it when we got it, so not too bad really then.

That’s £700.00 in less than a week! Oh, my poor Savings! I’m hoping that I can save enough to cover our Holiday before we go, but it’s looking borderline at the moment!

Saturday, 23 February 2019.

I’m staying in the Flat today, it’s a lot cheaper that way.

Sunday 24th February 2019.

Woke up at a reasonable time again, and after a good night’s sleep, good job really as I Have to go back to work Tomorrow so have to drive back to Cornwall today.

Left Easter Eggs behind for the Family, I’m intending to be back up for Easter, but I’m getting very suspicious about making too many plans, mine always seems to go awry!

Went to the local Tesco Metro on my way out of Basingstoke and got Bread and Milk for home, then Joined the throng on the M3 Westbound, the A303 then the A30, M5 and A30 again, stopping at the Hog and Hedge Services at Whiddon Down for Lunch and a break, Had a warm Italian Chicken Wrap complete with Mediterranean Veggies and a side salad and very nice it was too.

Pulled off at Redruth Tesco as I was still early enough and got fruit and Ham for my sandwiches for the week and also some Chicken breasts for my evening meals, then round to their filling station and then the 2 Miles Home from there.

It was very hard the next morning to go to work instead of getting a Taxi to the Railway Station and returning to my Wife!

I’ve been doing this living and working 225 miles away for almost 18 Years now and it doesn’t get any easier, Only 2 Years and a few Months to go until I retire and can go back full time, I can fully understand why Julie doesn’t want to move down here anymore after Her Mum died, stranded almost on Her own, and remembering that My Mum died when She was only 70, so as Julie doesn’t know anyone but a couple of my Neighbours down here I can see that She doesn’t want to get stranded!

I had plans for my retirement, not any more.

I have built a shed to equip as a workshop, I have a very large selection of both hand and portable power tools, and also a Woodturning lathe (and plans to buy a Metal turning one too) and a Planing machine. I have two Welders, Brazing equipment, various Wood and Metalwork Vices and a Roller Cabinet keep Hand Tools in. Somewhere amongst the things in Basingstoke, there should be my Pyrography set as well, I’ve been looking forward to doing that, and I also have a model of the USS Enterprise, and a couple of other models to build as well. I have fully lined and insulated the Shed (apart from the double doors and once built and set up I was going to build new, better ones with ‘Stable’ door tops so they opened in half). I have all the wood to build the workbench around 3 sides of the Shed, and the materials to install a fume and dust extraction system, as my Hobbies include Soldering Electronic wiring and components (I am a Radio Amateur), also making objects from stained glass. I would really like to have a go at making small scale Steam Engines as well and have an Electric Steam Boiler to test them with. I have the Heating and Lighting equipment and installation materials, also for the power circuits and socket outlets.

I would have had room to finish building the 4 Storey Dolls House that has been sitting on a table in Julie’s flat for 15 Years, and room to display it on its own table in my lounge. Removing a lot of the Shed contents to the Shed would free up enough storage room for Julie’s Card making, and I already have a Draughtsman’s tilting top table in a recess in my bedroom right next to a South facing window for Her to use.

Julie lives in a 3rd floor one bedroom flat, I can do none of my hobbies there.

I have been lonely as Hell for all these Years, I’m not staying down here on my own if I don’t have to, I’ve shed too many tears being away from my soul-mate already, so I’ll just have to pack everything away, flat pack the shed and move everything into storage in Basingstoke in the remote hope that once I’ve moved there, Julie can get a transfer to a ground floor place that has a garden and room for my shed and that I can put power out to it. Oh, and somewhere to hang my Cuckoo clock up as well.

If I have to watch daytime TV for the rest of my life, then I won’t last until I’m 70! I’m hoping that I can win enough on the Lottery to buy a Bungalow with a Garden…..  Anyone know any Banks that want Robbing?

 

 

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Well, THAT was unexpected! (Part 4)

An Update, Tuesday 16 October 2018, 8½ Weeks since fall.

I’ve been back at work ‘as normal’ for a while now, I’m still taking Ibuprofen at night so I can get some sleep, still getting exercises done and using my arm and wrist as much as I can, and still can’t pick up either my tool case or a full kettle with them!

It hurts to write and to type using my PDA for work for any length of time with its stylus, I can’t undo tight screws or use my crimping pliers one-handed, and I can’t grip the steering wheel hard either. This last one was a problem last Friday when driving in a Force 9 Gale, there was no way I was going to try that one one-handed!

I am reluctant to take strong painkillers at work as apart from the driving part, I would rather not mask the pain for fear of doing more damage without realising it, also working with live electrics and gas you really do need your wits about you all the time. When I got home tonight my arm was quite swollen, I’ll see what it is like in the morning and if it is sore then will go to the Doctors and see what they suggest.

I was advised that after 6 weeks the pain would have almost gone, and after 8 weeks work would not be a problem, well that has not proved to be entirely accurate.  I am in pain for most of each day and getting to sleep at night and staying there is a constant struggle, and the resulting tiredness is a problem both because of feeling drowsy and that it’s one of the reasons that I want to ration my intake of painkillers during work hours for fear of having or causing an accident.

Wednesday 17th October 2018  8½ Weeks since fall

Well, I woke up in the Morning and no pain! don’t get me wrong, it’s still sore and delicate but I’m not in pain all the time today, so no Doctors for me today.

A bit too sore by lunchtime, but an application of Diclofenac Gel (Voltarol) took care of that for now.

Friday 19th October 2018 9 Weeks since fall.

Well, a bit of a test today at work, had to work in a confined space and change out and adapt two electric motors and a gearbox on a 3Metre Ironing machine, working from the Right-hand end and with only just over 9″ of room before a 2″ Gas pipe mounted on a wall and some 10″ up from the floor. Ok to sidle past for access, but when you’ve got to kneel down at the front of the machine and work sideways then life isn’t easy.

These motors weigh about 10kg on their own but with an extract fan assembly on one and a 5kg gearbox and shaft assembly on the other one, it was a challenge, to say the least! They came out ok, the drive motor and gear assembly was a bit of a pig as it got caught up on the Chain it drives, this hangs in a loop when not on the gearbox sprocket, so likes to get in the way.

Refitting them was not so easy, after replacing the Fan motor and exhaust fan into the housing, I had to reconnect the motor using my Ratchet crimping tool for 2 connections, to ensure you get a good crimp you have to squeeze the handles fully before the ratchet releases the tool from the connector. This has required using both hands now for quite a while, and would have been hard enough in the confined sideways space without my Right Wrist telling me it was on fire! I did it by pure willpower in the end, and the relief at completion was tempered somewhat by what I knew was to come.

After stripping down and replacing the bearings in the second motor and fitting the new gearbox to it, then the mounting and sprocket/driveshaft assembly, it was time to try and refit it in the machine. Normally I would kneel down end on to the machine and lifting the motor assembly with both hands lower it onto the drive chain then just put in the four retaining screws, balancing the sprocket in the chain, holding the motor up with a knee, a screw with one hand and a screwdriver in the other. Now, however, I had to kneel sideways, lift the whole assembly and hook it on the chain and steady it there with my bad wrist and arm, try and locate the holes that I can’t see because the motor assembly blocks my view and get a screw started so I can let a bit of the weight off my arm, I can’t let go of the motor yet as it is hung on the chain at one end and in my hand at the other, I have one of 4 screws in its threaded hole by one turn and that will not hold it. Cramp in your bad forearm is a bitch.  Finally managed to get a screwdriver rammed through a diagonally opposite screwhole and could let go for a few moments to get more screws in, removing the screwdriver to replace No.4 screw last of all. Had to tighten the screws left handed and rejoiced that the electrical leads on this motor had been long enough so I hadn’t had to disconnect it, by now I had been on site for nearly 6 Hours and was in a LOT of pain.

A lot of twisting and awkward lifting, using spanners, pullers, hammers and screwdrivers has taught me that this was probably very close to a step too far. Went through to the site kitchen and filled the sink with Very Warm water and immersed my forearm and elbow for a few minutes, until the pain subsided a bit and went back into the washroom to test the machine. It is a hell of a lot quieter than when I got here but is making a suspicious buzzing noise from the drive end where I have been working, Found the problem to be a much smaller motor for a cooling fan seized up, the motor coil is buzzing in frustration as it really wants to be spinning but it’s bearing bushes are jamming, Ordered a new motor for this and disconnected it, ran the machine again, That’s Better! It took me about 20 minutes to gather all my tools together, take the hammers, drifts, pullers, wood blocks, socket sets etc back out to the Van and then pack away my tool case and do the same with that. Tidied up the area and then refitted the Right-Hand end panel to the machine, this is about 1.2M high and wide and made of steel, and was not easy in the restricted space but went on ok, a quick was up and wrote up the job on my PDA. Just as I was locking up the Customer’s site 3 more jobs came through! It’s 16:10, I’ve had a day from Hell and spent all day at the site and in the same room as I had my fall exactly 9 weeks ago, I’m going home!

Home via the ‘Chippy’ for my Cod and Chips, a proper scrub clean of my arms and hands, sat and ate my Tea with a bottle of Bud, then spread a good coating of Voltarol extra strength on both arms and wrists and changing into my shorts my knees as well.  Half an Hour later I felt almost comfortable though I still took a couple of Max Strength Ibuprofen to get to sleep!

Woke up Saturday morning with just a twinge, every week gets better recovery wise and I was told by the Doctor at Fracture Clinic that it will be up to a Year recovery so I can’t really complain too much, I know people who are in much worse pain every day of their lives. I can cope ok at present with most of my job, just don’t ask me to use my 2kg Club Hammer anytime soon, I have enough trouble picking it up!

 

 

Well, THAT was unexpected! (Part 3)

Thursday 20th September 2018

Didn’t go back into work today, quite a bit of pain after being prodded and poked, didn’t sleep too well last night either.

Friday 21st September 2018

Went back today, after hitting the painkillers and anti-inflammatories yesterday, much better today.

I know I only had my cast on for 1½ weeks, but it is amazing how exposed my wrist and forearm feel without it! Have had instructions not to wear a sling, so spent most of the day with my thumb hooked in the front pocket of my trousers.

James wants to get home on time tonight, so dropped me off early. went indoors, checked for mail and found a letter from the Physiotherapy Dept at Barncoose Hospital, with instructions to ring them for an appointment, and also a form to fill in with my version of what the problems were. Rang them straight away and booked an appointment for next Wednesday at 9:00.

Saturday 22nd September 2018

Had a PJ day today, doing the bare minimum at home and being very careful how I move my arm and wrist, and not to attempt to lift things at present until I’ve been to see the Physio. Spent quite a time laid on my sofa reading Mrs Kindle!

Sunday 23rd September 2018

Went and did my weekly Grocery shop at Tesco this morning, on my return I got the stepladder out of the shed and took down one of my Hanging Flower baskets as one of it’s Three hanging chains has detached and it is more than a little pissed!  Didn’t do a lot else today.

Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th September 2018

Back to work again, I’m getting used to being able to move my hand and wrist again and actually used a screwdriver again for the first time! Now that is a bigger step than you may think, as it involves twisting the radial head whilst under load, first time for 5½ Weeks!  A bit tight, the Radial Head not the screw! went home Tuesday feeling very positive and with a matching expectation of my visit to Physio tomorrow.

Wednesday 26th September 2018

Ah, Physio! Met Dave, my Physio at 09.00, and stayed with him for 40 to 45 minutes, certainly got my money’s worth! Dave had a good feel around the offending elbow area and also my whole hand, not just the wrist, and then proceeded to test the limits very gently of how much movement I have at present whilst he felt for any irregularities.

Dave is very pleased with my recovery so far, when pushed into the pain I have pretty much full movement of my Radial Head and although I have limited up and down movement of my wrist, this seems to be due to wear and tear and Arthritis as against any recent injury.  We agreed to meet again next Wednesday, and an appointment was made for then, and we discussed doing more and more in the meantime and a rough timescale for a full return to my job. Dave also explained that although the bone should be fully knitted together by 6 to 7 weeks after the accident, it could take up to a Year for full healing to take place, and I have to be very careful in the meantime.

I’m taking this whole episode as a wake-up call, I’ve been pushing my luck with my strength and limbs all my working life, in the early Years I did a lot of things that I now regret, and worked many Years for too many hours a week often without enough recovery time between work days. When you are young, older colleagues advise you to pace yourself, to use specialist and lifting equipment instead of brute strength etc. I wish I had listened!

Recently, in the last 10 Years or so, I’ve torn a calf muscle, Injured my Right Knee. Had ‘varicose veins’ in my Left Retina, fractions of a millimetre from the Macular that took Laser surgery to burst the Veins individually over a period of months and as a result have only a small amount of my stereo Vision remaining, though without the treatment I was about to lose all sight in that Eye and consequently my job. Had to have my droopy upper eyelid lifted so I could see past it. Have had some very strong almost blinding headaches that took a bit of diagnosing, and now this escapade. For pity’s sake, I’m only 63!

After I got out of the Hospital, I went home and after making a pot of tea, sat and recovered for a while. We are relatively quiet at work, and they didn’t have anyone to pair me with today so took a full day.

Thursday 27th September 2018

Back at work, went round with James C, we did a flat 8 hour day so I’m not losing any overtime.

Friday 28th September 2018

Office time today, sat with James while he carried out some of his assignments and answered questions from him when he wasn’t sure. This is good, there are assessments at the end of the course, and the Idea is that you can show that you can either know the regulations and ‘best practice’ off by heart, or find out the relevant information there and then. A good morning well spent for both of us.

James had to go out to do a couple of calls local to his home this afternoon, so I was asked if I could go out to a couple of jobs, one a Detergent System adjustment and the other a reprogramming of a coin-operated Drier.

Well, one screw to undo and then retighten on the Detergent Pumps, and then a bit of button pushing for 5 minutes, an Hour and 10 minutes drive to get there, then another hour and a bit to the next one with a key turn and 3 buttons to push, then 45 minutes drive home was a pretty gentle slide to being out on my own again.  Even so, by the time I got home my Elbow and wrist were letting me know all about it, not painful as such, but definitely aching!

Signed off and called in the Chippy on the way home.

Had to adapt at bedtime as is usual since the Accident as I normally lay on my Right side to read my Kindle, and this has been painful to do, just lately I have been able to do it again. but not tonight!

 

Well, THAT was unexpected! (Part 2)

Over the Weekend between my Fracture Clinic appointments, I was chatting with one of my close Neighbours, and She offered to run me over to Treliske Hospital for this next Appointment. Our bus service around here is pretty dire, Walk up a 1 in 5 hill for ½ Mile, catch the bus, sit on it for an hour then walk uphill for a further   ¹/3 mile and collapse in a heap in the hospital Reception! Yes, I answered I’d love a lift!

Monday 17th September 2018

Got collected for work by James again, and after the first job, we had to go to the office so that I could swap Jameses! It had been decided that this James would drop me off and the existing workload too and return to his own area as we now had someone to cover the Gas work for him. (Don’t ask, it gets all office and company politics and I need this job for the next 2¾Years!) Met up with The other James, our workshop technician, who was out with me on the road as an apprentice, and we went to my house in his little van and collected mine as he doesn’t carry a spares stock nor have the breadth of tools and equipment that I do.

Spent the rest of the day drinking tea and chatting with customers, I don’t have to keep an eye on this James as he knows what he’s doing and what to tell customers etc.

Tuesday was out with young James again, only had to make a couple of suggestions etc. Almost like a day off (but not really of course).

Wednesday 19th September 2018

Amanda, my Neighbour collected me at 10:25 and drove me to Treliske, dropped me off at a layby by the front door and went off with Her 17-Year-old 2nd Daughter until it was time to come back and collect me.

So, round to Fracture clinic for my 11am appointment got there at 10:55 so Ideal timing.

Well, 1¼ Hour wait does make a bit of a mockery out of having appointments, and then when I saw the Dr, (different Fella this time) He told me that they would be taking off the Cast as the breaks in my wrist are historic and not recent. ‘What about the pain I’m getting when I try and do things with it then?’
“Ah, that is related to the second problem that I’ve identified in your elbow Sir, Your recovery from the Radial head fracture may take longer due to your Osteo Arthritis.”
‘What Osteo Arthritis?’ “Oh it is quite pronounced in both areas and the main reason that you are getting the pain now, still the break is healing so that’s ok, that’s all we deal with here”.  (I have had a barrage of tests in the last few Years for both Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and my local Doctors have been telling me that no, I don’t have either of them! Told this Dr about this, and he made sure it was put on my notes that I definitely DO have Osteo.)
He gave me a referral form for the Physio’s at Barncoose Hospital as that is the nearest to me and took me through himself to get my cast off. What about driving etc? “Not a problem, just don’t pull on that arm until the six weeks are up, but be careful and you should be ok”. Thank goodness for power steering then.

Amanda came and collected me and after getting home and a cup of tea, I took my form to Barncoose to find they had a lock-out due to a non-resetting fire alarm! Finally found someone to hand my form to and will wait for an appointment to come.
NOT my best day! I drove 15 miles in the Afternoon, and my wrist and Elbow are still painful today (Thursday 20th) (Mind you, had my wrist protected in a cast for 9 Days). Back to Work tomorrow and we’ll see how we go. Took full strength Ibuprofen and Tryping this hasn’t hurt at all, nor has a full range of movements, but I can’t load my wrist of course because of the Radial Head!

I wonder how long into the 4½ weeks recovery time it will be before my employer gets fed up and tells me to work fully? The Arthritis I can cope with by using Ibuprofen, the Fracture is a different matter, if that does not heal correctly then I WON’T be able to do my job at all. Maybe if he does insist then I should start taking notice of those annoying Claimline TV adverts? I’ve got less than 3 years to go and don’t want to leave on a sour note though.

 

 

 

 

Well, THAT was unexpected! (Part 1)

Friday 17th August 2018.

Got up a usual, Breakfast and off to work.

(I deliberately don’t mention that many customers or what I do at work very much on this Blog, or any social media for that matter, as it is sometimes inappropriate and also I live and work in a remote area where somebody will always find out and take offence at what you have or have not said. Consequently, as I work for the only company carrying out our trade in the region with a turnover of over £3Million, I have to be a bit cautious! )

Got to our Office/Workshop/Stores building, collected the parts required for today, and met up with the other engineer that I’d be working with this morning. I’d be working with a different guy this afternoon, on a different job on a different machine but in the same room! I wasn’t told why, but it was to be an important mistake.

We went down from Redruth to St Ives, up to the Industrial Estate and into the rear entrance of the Commercial Laundry based at the top of the hill. Into the back door of the Laundry and stripped the Ironing Bands from their No.2 Ironing Machine. This job is to replace these bands, so as we removed the old bands we used them to lace the new ones through the machine, securing the ends together afterwards. This job went quicker than I’ve ever done it before, (I’ve been working on Ironing machines of this design since 1988, and I’m not really that thick but even so…) James, the new Engineer that was helping me saw a quicker way to carry out this task than the way we’ve always done it so we tried it to see and it worked, Twice as quick! Consequently, we were finished earlier than expected so he went off to carry on with his own work for the rest of the day.

So, on to job two for the day, replacing the suspension of a 24kg load High spin Washing machine, another two-person job, so I rang Nigel the other Senior Engineer ton see where he was and when he thought he’d be getting to me. Nigel is still on his way to Penzance, some 6Miles South and when he’s finished the quick job he’s got there he’ll be coming up to me.

This is definitely a two person job, we are replacing the suspension which entails lifting the drum assembly clear of the springs and replacing the springs after removing the shock absorbers (dampers), then replacing the shock absorbers as well.

The official way of doing this job, and by far the easiest, is to remove the side panels of the machine as well as the lower front and main rear panel, the eight vertical shocks come out via the front and back, the other two horizontal shocks come out of the sides as do the springs. These springs are coil springs similar to those on the front of a car, though shorter and a little narrower, to remove them you must first disconnect or remove the shock absorbers (due to limited travel extension) jack up the floating chassis carrying the drum and motor package and ‘simply’ unbolt and remove the springs, one corner at a time.

This is the dangerous part of the job, there are no recommended jacking points to do this, and if the floating chassis slips off the jack then you WILL have your arm trapped, your mate has to lift the chassis off your arm blooming quick or you could lose all use of it, let alone the almost inevitable breaking of bones. We take wooden spars with us to use as levers just in case, never had to use them because we are too careful to stop that happening but it does sharpen your mind!

So as you would have gathered, good access is vital to do this job safely, it can be done safely just from the front and back, but it is blooming hard and very awkward to get to the fixing bolts for the Shocks and Springs.

We had no side access without pulling the machine out of its position between the adjacent machines, I carry some old iron pipes to use as rollers to save using a Pallet Truck for this, so after unpacking all the tools needed and sorting and placing the parts as well, I was ready to go round the back, remove the rear panel and rear shock absorbers ready for when Nigel arrived so we could jack it up after disconnecting the drain pipe and pushing this machine out of its position.

Went to squeeze past the Left end machine in the row, to find that it isn’t where I left it! I have been going past this machine for at least 8 Years, now it is suddenly only 8″ from the end wall, not enough room to get past as there is a 4″ wide drain pipe suspended off the floor and I can’t get my feet past it!

What’s happened? why has it been moved, or am I going even more crackers than usual? It transpires that the customer wanted more capacity, our Salesperson (carefully worded description) decided they would be better served with a larger machine than the smallest one they already had so that machine was replaced with a wider machine, the Left one of the row being moved across to accommodate it and removing our Service Access.

So find a workaround, cannot get past the rear of the machine at the far end of the row, it is rented from a different company and they’ve put it too close to the wall behind, their engineer cannot even remove the back panel, let alone get behind it!

Ok then, I’ll go over the top, I got my Step-stool out of the van and proceeded to do just that, I’ve done it loads of times before so no problem… Err, wrong.

Whether it was the fact that the staff on site hadn’t swept the dust off the top of the machine, me wearing my coveralls so providing less grip with said top, or what else I don’t know, but what I DO know is that once I got my gut on top of the machine some 6ft off the floor, I lost my grip and slid backwards, doing a backwards roll when my feet missed the step-stool on the way down.

It is amazing just how loud the crack is when the back of your head hits ceramic ‘Quarry’ tiles on a concrete floor, it fair echoes inside one’s head!

I laid there stunned for a few seconds, can move all my limbs and digits, and the neck feels ok so sat up and felt the back of my head, Oh Shoot, there’s blood on my hand, if that doesn’t stop soon that’ll be a problem.

I’m sat there, trying to stand up when one of the Partners in this Laundry comes running around the stack of Laundry trolleys to ask what happened, She heard the Crack above the noise in the Washroom and was 2 rooms away in their office. Knowing it wasn’t a hammer blow or similar, She thought that She had better see what it was, not expecting to see me staggering to my feet with blood dribbling from the back of my head. Now, Rachael is the mother of pretty adventurous kids so very little fazes Her, and straight into Mother Mode She went, SIT DOWN, NOW! a quick look at the split scalp and a damp towel was slapped on it. ‘Hold that there and don’t move’. Yes, Ma’am! I can see straight, I’m looking through about 6 vertical grids, (the sides of laundry cages) and the lines are staying still so I don’t think I’m Concussed. Just then Nigel turned up, followed shortly by our Service Manager who is also our Health and Safety rep, and our workshop technician. Rachael had phoned him while getting the damp towel, (that is rapidly becoming a wet red towel) and the boss had the forethought to bring the Lad with him to run me home or wherever.

All 3 of them tried to get past the machine nearest the wall at either end of the run without success, so that was a positive, as was Nigel scooping up my tools and putting them in my Van.

I had to talk the boss through the incident, and then the Lad ran me up to our local Minor Injury Unit at my nearest hospital to home. After a very nice Nurse glued my scalp and hair together and stopped the bleeding, we went back to our office, me driving to prove I was fit to drive at all and be left alone. Promises to the Nurse that as I live alone someone would be with me for the first 24 hours were of course broken! Went home via the Chipshop as usual, finding that Car Seat Headrests are painful when you’ve got a hole in your head and a tube of glue in your hair!

Saturday 18th August 2018

Woke up from a half sleep. Gawd, that was a horrible night, I’m not sure if I got any sleep or not. My Head hurts, and now my right arm really hurts. I developed Tennis Elbow 3 months ago in this arm, but it was nearly better until Yesterday, I think I’ve made it worse again!

Forced myself out of bed and downstairs to get some food inside me so I can take maximum dose Ibuprofen, made a pot of Tea and sat at my table feeling like a wreck.

I put a clean towel over some cushions on the arm of the Sofa and after an excursion upstairs to collect my Kindle tried to get comfortable on my side and read for a bit. Woke up at about 5pm absolutely starving, feeling a very little bit better so got some more food and painkillers and watched TV for the evening, phoned my Wife at 9pm as always and went straight to bed.

 

Sunday 19th August 2018.

Woke up at around the normal time this morning, the head is sore but no headache, I had turned my top pillow over as was covered in dried blood last night, and this morning there was a little but not too much so I removed the case and threw it. It was a plain one and I’ve just bought some spares the same colour so not worth fussing with. Went down for more food and painkillers, back up and had a bath (can’t risk getting the Glue wet with warm water yet), and got dressed. Out to the local Superstore and shopping for the week, My Wife is bringing my Eldest Daughter and Grandson on Wednesday for a weeks holiday as it is the Daughter’s Birthday on Thursday so I’ve got to stock up ready.

Why can I not steer this trolley? my right elbow is Really painful, not good, I’ve got to go in the attic later!

Finished the shopping, got home and whilst putting the shopping away noted that my elbow REALLY hurts now, still, got to clear the back bedroom or there will be nowhere for daughter and Grandson to sleep. went up and dropped the loft ladder and packed away the Christmas lights etc. into the Attic, and took the extra dining chairs off their beds, struggling to carry one of them downstairs. Took two painkillers and decided that I’d better call in the Doctors Surgery when they open at 8 in the morning on my way to work.

Monday 20th August 2018 

Got up, went downstairs and really struggled to make my sandwiches, and had to pick up my Porridge bowl with my left hand as the Right Arm wouldn’t play. Had to move the Kettle and Teapot as well to use them Left Handed, and pick up my Tea Mug with that hand too! Now I’m really worried.

Drove to the Doctors, saw the Receptionist and got an appointment for 09:50 today so drove on round to work (Thanks to Power Steering) and went through to the kitchen to get a mug of Tea. Picked up my mug with my Left hand, Nigel told me to put it down and try the correct hand and I had to admit that I couldn’t, I walked round to our Service Controller’s desk and She asked me why I was at work? Honest answer, because I’m an Idiot, that’s why! Went out to my Van and unloaded all the outstanding parts for fitting, finished my Tea and went home, taking in my Sandwich box.

Back in the Van and back to the Doctors, I’ve not seen this Doctor before as She is covering in someone’s absence. I told her that I thought I’d aggravated my Tennis Elbow, and then described what had happened, She listened carefully and commented that She had an Idea what I’d done but would have to examine it fully and they wouldn’t know for sure until it had been X-rayed. By the time She examined the Elbow a lot of the pain had subsided, and I was starting to think along the lines of ‘Oh, I like this doctor, She’s ever so nice etc, etc.

Well you can guess what happened next, it involved gentle manipulation and prodding, tears pouring down my face and a failed attempt at braving it out, followed by ‘Ah, I was Right, I can’t tell you for sure how bad it is until you’ve had the X-rays but you won’t be working in a manual job for a while and DON’T try and lift anything with that arm’. I deliberately didn’t ask Her about driving, took the referral for X-ray and the sick note for work ‘one week initially, then a Doctor will ring you and let you know further’.

I was advised to ring X-ray to make an appointment at the local Hospital as you tend to get a quicker appointment that way, so once out in the Van that is what I did. 11:00 Tomorrow? that’ll do, back round to work and dropped off the sick note and told them I’d ring in and let them know as soon as I found out.

Back home and sulked around the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself, the Elbow was painful before, but now? Effing Jessica Christus it Bloomin hurt like crazy and was hot as well! Took as many painkillers as I could for the rest of the day and evening and almost slept that night.

Tuesday 21st August 2018

Struggled out of bed and had a Bath, a long soak as I hurt all over and have bruises that I hadn’t realised, didn’t wash my hair as I’m worried about the Glue releasing too soon and then got dressed, downstairs and breakfast. Tidied up downstairs and then drove to the Hospital for my X-rays.

Went into the X-ray room and was chatting with the Radiographer whilst She was lining me and the machine up, telling Her what happened both Last Friday and then Yesterday with the Doctor, then She took a set of X-rays and checked them to make sure they were clear. She then picked up a phone while still behind the screen and after a few words were exchanged came back around and told me “They can sort you out here, I thought I’d better check as otherwise, it would have to be Casualty at Treliske” Treliske being the General hospital in Truro that covers almost the whole county, waiting times in Casualty being famously long.

I got told in no uncertain terms that I was NOT going to make a run for it, I was going to walk through to Minor Injuries again and do it NOW!  Yes, Miss! I was in no state to argue so off I went. Waited for about 3 minutes in a queue and then on a chair for about 5 after I’d explained why I’d come through, and followed a Nurse Practitioner into a bay where She showed me the X-rays.

You’ve fractured your Radial Head She told me, then told me what that meant, most of which went over my head, after all, it was trying to process “You’ve broken your arm 4 Days ago”!  I heard the next bit though, “You don’t get a plaster cast as it is not deemed necessary, more of a hindrance in fact” She went on to explain that I’d be wearing a Triangular Bandage sling for the next week or so, and any time after that if my arm felt heavy but to decrease use as soon as able as the joint needs to move to heal correctly. NO lifting, NO twisting the arm under load so no, I wouldn’t be doing my job for at least 6 weeks.  Bummer! After the family go home next Wednesday, that’s 5 weeks at home alone but without young Mr Culkin’s inventive mind.

I walked out of the Hospital, got in the Van, took my arm out of the sling and drove home! Rang my Lady Wife once indoors and told Her I’d broken my arm, ‘Oh, that’s a shame’ or words to that effect. Rang the Office, and could feel the gaping chasm under our Service Controller’s desk from where I was, the one I think She was hoping to swallow her up? August Bank Holiday fortnight is one of our busiest times at work, as we repair Laundry Equipment in the vast majority of Hospitality and Camping sites in this region!

Vacuumed through downstairs Left Handed, that is an experience! took more painkillers and collapsed in my armchair to catch up with some Vlogs that I follow.

Wednesday 22nd August 2018

Unlocking my shed and getting a reclining garden chair out took half an Hour one handed! carrying it through the House and erecting it was interesting. Cleaned some worktops in the kitchen etc, and the family arrived around lunchtime, having left just after breakfast and my Wife driving all the way (225 Miles).

Thursday 23rd August 2018

After going out with the Family for the day, we went to a local chain Restaurant for our evening meal as a treat for the Daughter, well, it IS Her 40th Birthday!

Over the next few days, we went to a theme park, Go-Karting, Crazy and Foot Golf, had a rest day Sunday then on the Bank Holiday Monday (National Holiday) The Daughter, Grandson and I went down to the Wild West Coast and visited Geevor Tin Mine. This is a preserved Mine, and though you cannot go down in the Vertical Shaft Cages any more, all the mining equipment is there, and you can tour round at will with Volunteer Guides there when you want them. We did take up the offer of Kitting up in helmets and heavy overcoats for a walk/stumble through one of the old horizontal mines on the site, walking into the side of the hill for some way single file and at times sideways as not wide enough to go forwards! An absolutely Fascinating day all round.

Tuesday 28th August 2018

My Wife and I stayed home while The Daughter and Grandson went out today, just as we were going out to collect them from the Station, I missed a call on my phone from the Doctor who left a message confirming the X-rays showed a Radial Head Fracture, and saying that he’d leave a sicknote for another two weeks at their reception. We went out and collected a Pizza each from a Chain Takeaway and collected my note on return. Got a phone call on our way out of the door from work with a proposal, should I agree to it, and told them it will be at least another two weeks.

Wednesday 29th August 2018

Despite the pain and incapacity, I’ve had a wonderful week with family crowding my little house! However it is time for them to return to Hampshire, and they set off after Breakfast, getting home just after lunchtime. I started to clear round and return things to their usual places until I could see no more through the tears and gave up.

 

Thursday 30th August 2018

Went into work and handed in the sick note, discussed the proposal they had made and agreed to return to work on full pay to mentor our latest engineer and shadow him on Gas jobs especially as he hasn’t got his Gas Safety ticket yet. This is to be on days that I can cope, my wrist is now quite painful and I had thought it was referred pain but I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve hurt this as well? Obviously on days when I have appointments then I won’t be in, my sick note covers those. We agreed that I’d start back next Monday.

I spent the next few days alternately resting my arm and gently exercising it to keep a full range of movement as I can, apparently you rarely do gain the full extension of your arm. I also managed to put most of my house back together, though stripping the Single Duvet covers is beyond me so I put that on the back burner for now.

Monday 3rd September 2018

Returned to work today, just driving as far as the Office, about 1½ Miles as I cannot pass my Right Arm over the top of the steering wheel, instead steering left handed and simply holding the lower part of the wheel still with the Right.

Spent the day (and indeed all week) riding shotgun to our new guy, what a way to earn money, being chauffeured around, chatting to my own customers (many of who are friends) and giving advice and guidance when required. The only downside is the fact that as the pain in the elbow decreases another one has taken its place in my wrist, sometimes at the base of the thumb, sometimes at the other side. During this week, I received a letter from Treliske Fracture Clinic calling me for an appointment next Monday at 10:10.

Monday 10th September 2018

Drove to the P+R at Truro West, Langage and caught the Bus to the Hospital, then following the signs to the Fracture Clinic. Arrived a little early but rather that than late, I waited some 35 minutes past my appointment time but that is not bad for a public service Hospital.

Got called through to see the Dr and he was standing there looking at my X-rays on a Monitor, he showed me again the fracture in the top of the Radius Bone, and explained that often linked to this fracture is further damage in the wrist. ‘Let me shake your hand gently’ Well he did, I saw him do it, and he didn’t squeeze either, but I did yelp and there were Tears in my Eyes Ahh, says He, I thought so!

I had a few thoughts at the time but none of them was Ahh! Aarrghh maybe, but not Ahh. He explained that he thought I had broken my Scaphoid bone in my wrist and that he was sending me round for a set of  X-rays, there is an X-ray suite in the unit so it was straight round to their own waiting area.  Blimey, let me sit down before you call me! Straight in, 2 more of the Elbow and 3 of the Wrist and I was done. Back around the corner and the Dr was already looking at them! “Yup, broken your wrist good and proper, we’ll plaster it up and send you for a CT Scan as well.”

A Health Care Assistant showed me round to the Plaster Cast room and came and got me when it was done, I now have a short cast that stops me moving my wrist too much and goes some 8″ or so up my arm, The HCA directed me to the Scanner Suite down in the Undercroft and off I went exploring. Clinical Imaging was well signposted so I found it straight away, waited a few minutes and went in with the Radiographer. I’ve had an MRI scan before but not a CT so the lady explained that this machine, though it looks similar is totally different, a lot quicker and very quiet!

I was asked to lay on the table face down with my Arm and Hand beyond my Head in a Superman position, and after a few minutes of moving backwards and forwards, She lowered the table so I could get off safely. As I stood up She suggested that as I had already done the Superman, maybe I’d like to go for the full YMCA as well? They’m as daft as Is down ‘Ere!

Back up to Fracture Clinic, was given a Sicknote for 4 to 6 Weeks(!) and told that an Appointment would be made for Wednesday next week with Orthopedics Outpatients at 10:00.  Right, time to head home, back out to the main entrance buying a Pasty on the way from the Friends stall and down the hill to the P+R Bus Stop. Ate my pasty while waiting for the bus and back to the carpark to try and drive home with my arm in a cast!

I sat there in my van and had a think, luckily the Plaster Technician had fitted me with a Blue Cast, not a White one, so I put one of my Dark Blue company jackets and kept the cuff over the cast, and drove home!

Got home at 14:10, not bad for an initial Appointment time of 10:10 with all that happened!  First thing I did was to take some strong painkillers, then phoned the office to tell them I wasn’t going to come and play tomorrow! Ooh, I caught myself looking at the Carving knife longingly, thinking that if I cut this arm off then surely it would be less painful?

Wednesday 11th September 2018

Back to work today, again shadowing my colleague, He had to come and collect me as I’m not driving anymore with a cast on, and by the time I got home, I was shattered! The temptation to grasp things with my Right Hand is hard to resist and so my wrist hurts!

Thursday 12 September 2018

Out with James again today, but home very early as he had a Hospital appointment himself at 15.00 so dropped me off on the way. Indoors, Kettle on and check the post. A large pile of junk mail, three bank statements (2 savings and one Current) and received a pair of letters from the Hospital giving me appointments for next Wednesday at 10:00 in Orthopedic Outpatients, with the expectation of waiting up to 2 Hours on a busy day, and 11:00 in Fracture Clinic! I thought I’d better phone Fracture Clinic and warn them that I may be late when the Landline rang, it was the automated service from Appointments reminding me that I have an Appointment next Wednesday at 11:00! I rang them back and found that the Orthopedics one has been cancelled, that is why I am going to fracture Clinic!

I will have to see what next Wednesday brings.

 

 

2018 Holiday – Time to head homewards Days 11, 12, 13, 14,15,16 & 17!

Monday 9th July 2018 Weyregg to Hessdorf.

Time to head home!

Got up, showered and dressed, spent about 5 minutes packing my case and returning my shirts to my overnight bag after being hung up all week in the wardrobe.

Downstairs for a good breakfast and Tea of course, and brought the car up to the back door of the Hotel from the Carpark, and started the up – down up – down routine of bringing the Cases, Computer case, Map and tourist book bags and then the Holdall overnight bags and the Tea, mugs, milk and kettle bag, then back up to check we’d cleared the room. Yes, all clear.

Down to reception, nobody there so rang the bell and the Owner and his wife both came out to let me pay and say goodbye! “But I thought you were here for a full week,” said Anna, “Well, we’ve been here 7 nights,” said Julie so I gave Thomas my Credit card and paid for the room. €626 for 2 people 7 Nights Bed and Breakfast, Not bad at all.

Out to the Car after a hug and handshakes and set the Satnav to go to our next stop of Hessdorf at The Aurora Motel.

Incident free drive up and past Nuremberg and off the Autobahn at Hessdorf, called in at the Rewe shop to get another bottle of milk and discovered they have a Coffee Shop in their Bake-off area, so of course, we had to try it and the quality of the cakes as well! The cakes were so good (This is late afternoon) that we went back up to the counter and got some different ones for our Supper. On round to the Aurora Hotel, booked in, 1 st floor again and overlooking the car in the carpark. Blimey, it’s hot! turned on the air conditioning, and changed into our PJs as they’re cool and dry! After a few Hours Kindling, sat up in the Hotel Chairs to eat our Cakes with a cup of Tea and the room door opened! (Good job I wear my PJ Shorts in hotels, I’d already shed my Tshirt) There stood a German Couple as amazed to find us in their room as we were to find them with a key card that opened ours! Both couples had Room 108. They went off to remonstrate with reception, and I put the chain on the door and slid across the deadlock. Never had that happen before!

Tuesday 10th July 2018  Hessdorf to Cologne.

Went up for breakfast ok, we managed to find a really quiet time so it was a relaxing meal, and back to the room to pack up. Err the room card doesn’t work! Took it down to reception, “Ah Yes, we cancelled both cards” And you didn’t think to tell us? Just reprogram the thing so we can leave PLEASE. went back up and packed, back down to pay and it turns out that they originally allocated us a twin room, then noticed that I booked a double and changed our room, unfortunately, they forgot to change the other couples room and didn’t notice when they checked in that the room was already occupied on their computer software! The receptionist was totally at ease with all this but I wanted to remain calm, I’ve still got 2 days driving ahead!

Left Hessdorf and headed up the A3 to Porz-Wahn and the Karsten Airport Hotel.

On the way, Julie worked out where the services were that we have used before and liked as She normally does on these journeys, the Lunchtime one very good again.

The Late afternoon one isn’t there! Nadda, Zilch, definitely not where we had it marked! So we arrived in Wahnheide earlier than anticipated and hungry! Couldn’t find anywhere to park in the village near an eatery, so rejoined the A59 North as the map shows services just north of here and we saw it on our way down! Called in at the said service station with a little trepidation as it’s a Shell Fuel station with a Deli-to-go, but with quite a few tables. I got us a Hot Bratwurst and a warm bread roll each and of course Tea, and very nice it was too, now marked on the map!

Continued up the dual carriageway and turned back south at the next exit, returning to Wahnheide and pulling up at the Karsten and parking right next to the front door, to quote my Facebook post;

‘You know that feeling when you walk into the reception at a hotel to be met by the owners adult daughter saying Aanndy, it’s so nice to see you again! then runs around the desk to give you a hug? Yup, been here a few times! after She also gave Julie a hug, we were offered PG Tips T Bags to take up to our room, because they get them from the English Shop in Cologne for their British Guests! Now that is what I call Service.’

That was Melanie, one of the Owner Anne’s Daughters, Her Sister Stefanie had greeted us with a hug last week! Booked into our favourite room here and ‘set up camp’ again for the last time this trip, left the key inside the lock inside the room, can’t think why! During the evening we managed to force down a cake each that we bought in Rewe in Hessdorf this morning as a consolation prize for not exploding in the reception at the Aurora!

Wednesday 11th July 2018 Cologne to Basingstoke.

We set off from The Karsten after a filling Breakfast and with fond wishes, we picked up the A59/A559 Northwards then the A4 West, retracing out Journey of 11 days ago.

The traffic was reasonably light for a Major East/West route through the Continent, changing to the A76, then A2(E314) and after about two Hours we stopped at Services near Heusden-Zolder in Belgium, Julie having a Glazed Ring Doughnut and I had a Muffin. Very fresh they both were too, absolutely delicious. I, as often in these Services had coffee, Julie only drinks Tea or Frappucino as the aroma up her nose is unpleasant, (not always the case, this is an ex Nurse who used to almost mainline coffee in the past, maybe her body is rebelling!) anyway it turned out that they couldn’t supply Milk (Despite there being a carton piped up to the coffee machine) so had given her Coffee Creamer GRrrr.

I bet they don’t put powdered coffee creamer on their muesli in the mornings, do they? When will these people learn that Milk goes in Tea, Cream in Coffee and the other stuff in the Bin?   (Don’t try Clotted Cream in Coffee, it doesn’t work!)

At the end of this Motorway we ‘Turned Right’ onto the E40 towards Brussels and after a short time Stopped! All lanes stationary, I had seen it up ahead and got into lane 2 of 4. The TMC on my Sat Nav had warned of Hold ups and stationary traffic due to a traffic incident on the R0 Brussels Ring. It’s not a Ring as it doesn’t join up at the bottom in Motorway terms like the M25 does, you CAN use local roads to do this but I have been VERY strongly advised not to try this by people who have and we do not have any close scale maps of the area so as Mrs Satnav didn’t come up with an Avoid strategy we sat there. We were glad we’d stopped at the Services as it was approaching lunchtime though.

Whilst we sat there we saw about 8 Police vans go past in our direction, so we knew it had been a major incident of some sort.  When the traffic cleared after about 3/4 Hour and we joined the R0, after a few Kilometres we saw some Police vans and staff on one of the overbridges looking down at the Central reservation, and that was all the clues we had to what had occurred. The R0 was absolutely packed especially after the hold-up and the fast lane held every speed freak in Europe each one up the bumper of the one in front! I’ve learnt not to stay in the slow lane of this 4 or 5 lane road so stayed in lane 2 most of the way round to exit A10 E40.

Almost Immediately West of the junction is the Services of Groot-Bijgaarden, and so we pulled in there for lunch. I had a Schnitzel of some sort with Fries and salad (with a very nice Balsamic dressing), and Julie had Soup of the Day and a roll. the next meal was to be in the UK.

After a good lunch and a rest, (The R0 really is the worst part of our travels in Europe, no worse than the M25 in Rush Hour, but I left that part of my life behind some 17 Years ago.) we rejoined the E40 Past Ghent, and Brugge and joined the A18 at the divergence for Oostende and the A16 at the French Border. These are still the E40.  The further we went on this road, the lighter the traffic got and the number of British number plates grew the closer we got to Dunkirque and then Calais.

We didn’t see any signs of displaced people wanting to disrupt the traffic or climb into vehicles thank goodness, though a number of the Aires have been closed and there are signs warning you to keep your eyes open for problems. Reached the Eurotunnel complex in good time, having an hour to kill in the Terminal before the Train that was given to us only 1&1/2 Hours Earlier than I had booked!

Through the Tunnel on the Train, and out onto the M20 Northwards through Kent with good weather and busy but moving traffic, M26 then M25 Westwards Clockwise, then stopped at Cobham Services for our evening meal.

Phew, nearly home! (Well, Julie’s home, mine’s another 225 Miles further West.)

Harry Ramsdens for Tea, Julie had Cod and chips and I had a Steak Pie, chips and Gravy with Mushy Peas in a little pot, we both had proper Tea as well. Very Nice it was too, not cheap but part of the Holiday so it doesn’t matter!

Rejoined the M25, Where’s all the Traffic? Ah! World Cup Soccer, England are playing, kick off in a few minutes so the road is almost deserted! Good.

Up as far as the M3 then picked this up heading West, only a handful of cars and vans on the road, maybe I like Football after all, just don’t make me watch it!

Off at J6, Basingstoke and round to Julie’s place. Carted the Overnight bags and Julie’s case up to Her Flat and….. Relax!! Early night and Boy did I sleep well!

Thursday 12th July 2018 Rest day

Got up, thought about cooking myself a Breakfast when Julie suggested we go out and get one instead, well we are still on holiday, sort of? We went over to a place just off the M3 J5,  https://www.newlyns-farmshop.co.uk/cafe-shop/  though we took the A30 instead, I’ve had enough of Motorways this week, and a tree has fallen onto the motorway closing two lanes Eastbound with an 8-mile tailback, I think most of them were trying to get onto the A30 instead! So we queued for a while, ok all 4 Miles we were on it but we were moving so not too stressful, but by the time we got to the Farm Shop and Cafe my tummy was rumbling! Very nice staff, VERY nice full English Breakfast, if expensive! (£10.99)

Returned to Basingstoke on the Motorway to rubberneck at this tree, the workers using Cherrypickers to cut back the branches of a VERY large tree that had made a right mess as well. Returned to the Flat and caught up a little with this Blog for a while,  and took my Case over to my Van parked outside the Eldest Daughter’s place as we’re going shopping tomorrow and the boot of the car is wanted for that! Julie meantime started washing Her clothing and my stuff from my overnight bag got done at the same time. (No, I didn’t ask, it was Her Idea.) I’ll wash my Stuff from my case when I’m back in Cornwall next week. We saw Jake our Grandson and Sue his Mum (Eldest Daughter) in the afternoon, then back to the flat and Zonked out.

Friday 13th July 2018  Shopping and rest day

“While we (Julie and Sue) are shopping at Sainsbury’s why you go into their cafe and have a breakfast?” Now that’s a lot safer than me using a Gas cooker on Friday the 13th!

So that’s what we did, the Ladies went grocery shopping, I sat and had breakfast, very civilised. I usually go round with them when I’m up here, I don’t mind shopping, in fact, I like it more than Julie does. We got the car washed by the Immigrants in the Carpark, £13? it’s a Fiver at home! then back to drop Sue’s shopping off and back up to the Flat for Tea and Cake.

 

Saturday 14th July 2018

PJ Day.

That’s about it really!

Sunday 15th July 2018   Go West Old Man!

Got up, cooked myself a breakfast then off to Tesco for my week’s shopping!

Got it all, and some Baking Spuds for Sue and returned to the Flat, loading the rest of my bits into the van and got ready to leave the Love of my life yet again.

After a Sad Farewell, walked over to Sue’s, started the van for the first time in 17 Days and regretfully left my Family behind and headed West. I hate this drive on my own, it’s hard to see where you’re driving through Tears and Tissues!

The traffic down was thankfully light, though I didn’t stop halfway as I had planned, the American Diner Route 303 car park was full, and Starbucks Honiton had some kids playing in the car park, and my Boss wouldn’t like blood all over the front of the new van! So I stopped at about 2/3rd way instead, at The Hog and Hedge cafe at Whiddon Down on the A30 at the top of Dartmoor http://hogandhedge.co.uk/  and had a delicious coffee, Toasted Bacon, Brie and Cranberry Sarnie and flapjack and a good rest.  The ethos of this place is just about right in my view, as well as the main cafe indoors, they’ve got an enclosed garden area with play equipment, a dog walking area, Baby changing rooms and Nursing Mother chairs. Oh and an area for meeting mates or family with comfy chairs etc and Free WiFi throughout. It’s a shame they are 80 miles from my place really, I’d be in here a lot more.

Continued on home and got here late tea time. Shovelled up the Junk Mail and Statements, bills etc, dragged my case and overnight bag in and got my Company Uniform out for back to work tomorrow. Rang Julie at 9pm as usual and had an early night. Couldn’t get to sleep for ages, I don’t want to be here on my own, never did it’s just that life and death gets in the way.

We had a fantastic time on Holiday in Austria, I still find it strange just how few Brits visit out of Ski Season as it is a stunningly beautiful country, lightly populated with caring helpful folk who are eager to show you their history and culture but will not shove it down your throat and do not shy away from nor promote the fact that Hitler was from there, his home city was Linz though his family moved around quite a bit in the region.

I don’t know when we will go back, if ever, but I hope we do. We will almost certainly be going back to The Karsten in Cologne, possibly for the Christmas Markets again.

My next project for this Blog is to try and find my Travelogue of our first trip to Weyregg some six or 8 Years ago and slot it in somewhere! It wasn’t published as a Blog and I can’t seem to find it on this Laptop so could have been on my old dead one, or may be able to find it amongst old Emails? If you’ve by chance got a copy of ‘Andy and Julie’s big adventure’ send it back, please!

 

 

 

2018 Holiday Days 7, 8, 9 & 10

Thursday 05/07/18  Rest day

Why do I feel tired and worn out? I’m meant to be on Holiday! Oh, that’d be yesterdays excursion then!

The weather is damp today, Ok first thing it was pi**ing down but by lunchtime it had tailed off a bit so we took the car off in search of lunch, stopping at the shop on the way out of the village to get more milk for our Twinings.

We stopped off in Seewalchen am Attersee, the next village up and after parking had a wander in search of food (Cake). The rain had now stopped so we took an outside table at the Klimt Cafe by the Yacht club https://www.dasklimt.at/  housed in the ground floor of the Gustav Klimt Centre along with a chemist (Useful for Ibuprofen) and a rather posh Ladies accessories shop.

Gustav Klimt was a rather famous artist (apparently) who stayed in this area for part of his life and in most of the touristy bits round here you see references to his work, He used to sit in a boat on the Lake and sketch what he saw of the local scenes from there, so providing sketches and then paintings that were quite unique. I cannot even draw a house so I’m not qualified to criticise, so let’s leave it that I’m not enthusiastic!

The Klimt Cafe, however, I am enthusiastic about! As well as the indoor seating, there is a surrounding terrace with a glass canopy where we sat, a very large gazebo that abuts the canopy and a lawn with tables and parasols, we selected cakes from the refrigerated display inside along with a pot of Tea each. The Teapots we have seen before, being of the type that actually sits on top of the cup, the cup is about 3″ across at the rim and we got a good 2 cupfuls from each pot of good ‘English Breakfast’ tea and a small jug of milk each.

It’s quite a genuinely posh cafe, complete with the standard huddles of ‘Ladies who Lunch’ of various ages and very smart and well-spoken Waiting Staff in the obligatory Black and White, but we were made to feel very welcome and the cakes were VERY nice. I wish I could remember what we had this day, but I can’t!

After Lunch, we returned to the hotel and watched from our balcony then indoors as a storm swept through, didn’t mind really as it was forecast and did clear the air. The rain came in fits and starts all night so we took the car to the Sonne for our evening meal, sitting at an indoor table.

Friday 6th July  Still Resting, well, we are on Holiday!

It’s still raining this morning, though the wind has died down quite a bit and as the morning progressed the weather improved as forecast and we decided to go back to the Klimt Cafe for more Cakes and Tea. We sat inside this time as the Gazebo and the front canopy were full, and the other outside seating and tables had puddles and leaves etc from this morning. My turn to select the cakes, Julie got a cake slice, a Chocolate base layer with raspberry and cream layers, topped with jelly and pieces of fresh fruit, the outside being decimated coconut! It must have been horrible as She devoured it quickly so no one else had to, so thoughtful my Wife! I had a ‘Strawberry Omelette’ a disc of sponge about 4″ dia folded over with fresh strawberry cream filling and big pieces of very flavourful strawberries to top it.

Saturday 7th July  A surprise before Breakfast, Tour of some of the Lakes, some Winkles and an ‘athalon.

Most of this week, we have noticed that one of the Lady Guests at the Hotel has been coming into Breakfast with wet hair, Julie concluded that She’d been swimming in the Lake every morning as there were quite a few of the guests that did swim from the ‘Beach’ (Lawn with a swim ladder).

Well this morning I was leaning on the balcony looking out at the lake, just before we went down for Breakfast when I noticed somebody beyond the Willow Trees in the lawn walking towards the Swim ladder, Doubletake as I told Julie that ‘Oh, there’s that Lady going swimming now’,’ in the Nude?’. “Pardon? Where?” Yup, She was shielded from the road by the Trees, but not from our room balcony! Went down to Breakfast having just got a glimpse of the Ladies Rear-view, and sure enough about 30 minutes later in she came to the Breakfast room. Eyes front, look directly into your Wife’s eyes and try not to giggle!

We went for a drive today, clockwise around the Lake just past the Southern tip and turned left at Unterach to go Westwards for a little and then followed the Mondsee anticlockwise up the Eastern shore to Mondsee itself, then down the Western shore through Schwarzindien and Plomberg then Scharfling, leaving the lake at Eisenaueralm to follow the road onwards through Winkl (No tittering at the back please) to the Wolfgangsee at Brunnwinkle.

Ok, I’m cheating, in real time I’m sat on Julie’s sofa in Basingstoke toggling between WordPress and Google Maps and following the route we took. We didn’t have any set plans, just to see where we ended up!

After Brunnwinkle, we drove on through the town of St Gilgen and decided to stop at a lakeside Cafe if we could find one. There’s a Cable Car! Where? says I, Above that coach we’re following! and sure enough, there was, right across the main road. The coach turned off, and we followed it but couldn’t find anywhere to park within a reasonable walking distance of the lakeside or cable car so drove on down the lakeside through Franzosenschanze and Strobl and then after we left the Wolfgangsee onward to Bad Ischl.

We have already been to the Hallstatter See on our last trip to the area ((I Was going to post a link here, but just realised that although I wrote a travelogue, I wasn’t on WordPress then so it is only on my computer somewhere, I’ll have to try and publish it soon)) so instead of turning Right, turned Left to head up to the Traunsee, arriving at the Southern point at Ebensee. The road takes you up the Western Shore, the mountains coming right down to the lakeside in places so the road goes through tunnels at those places, though at Traunkirchen the old road still follows the lakeside whilst the modern wide road goes through the tunnel, the old road being for local traffic and cyclists only.

When we got to Altmunster, we were stopped by a middle-aged fellow who calmly walked out in front of the car and put his hand up! No uniform but a camera around his neck, and Loads of people milling around, quite a few of them carrying oars and sculls. The reason he stopped the traffic was to allow a young man carrying a single sculling boat out of the entrance of the rowing club and cross the road, where there were a collection of trailers for all sorts of boats lined up. He apologised before letting us carry on, explaining there was a race on today.

We followed the road on and into Gmunden at the head of the Lake, we’ve been here before and know an Italian Cafe on the promenade almost right next to the underground multistory car park that I actually remembered my way to! Traunseegarage, Kursaalgasse, Gmunden, Austria

Parked up on the lower floor, hoping there wasn’t going to be a flood as we’re 8 floors below the level of the lake (and it’s a long walk back to the UK from here,) and took the lift up and out onto the promenade, turned left and there was the cafe, complete with an empty table just for us. Cafe Kandur on the corner of Sparkassegasse

The promenade was very busy, people everywhere, inflatable arches and a P.A. system playing music, then a commentator who sounded like he was welcoming competitors home at the end of a race. Can’t be we thought, there’s no area taped off and crowds milling about everywhere. Can be! there was some form of ‘athalon ending here, some of the runners being accompanied by their Coaches on bicycles and fighting their way through the crowds to the finish line! Sometimes it is a real pain not understanding another language, and sometimes like this, it is quite an education, we would have stayed clear but missed the spectacle, and the lunch was delicious. (As was the cake for pudding.)

After a while of OUR favourite sport of People Watching, we went for a wander around the lower reaches of the town, finding most of the shops closed presumably because of the ‘athalon! Retraced our steps to the carpark and after finding out that the Lift buttons only cover 4 floors! We were told by a very nice man that floor -8 is really -4 1/2! Level -4 brings you out at -7 then walk down a slope to -8! We found the car ok (dry, thankfully) and made our way out of Gmunden, taking the Autobahn back across to the Attersee and onward to Weyregg.

A beautiful Sunset viewed from our balcony this evening

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Sunday 8th July.  Rest day

Having a rest day today as for the next 3 days I’ll be driving! We wandered along to the Eichorn cafe / Gelateria 4 door up for lunch, Julie had a Sundae and I had Waffles, Ice cream and Hot Fresh Cherries and Cherry Juice, the Waffle was in the round, with 3 scoops of ice cream as a ‘snowman’ in the middle and the Cherries and Juice were served in a mini gravy Boat. VERY nice.

Wandered back to The Strand and collected the car, drove to the Fuel Station to fill up with diesel only to find the Automat for the fuel has a blanking plug in the card slot, and I wasn’t about to put a €100.00 note in only to find it didn’t give or have the correct change! Instead drove on to Seewalchen and used the conventional petrol station there. I had my Union Flag stickpin badge on, and the Cashier addressed me in English as I walked into the shop, saves a lot of embarrassment this badge. Returned to the Hotel and chilled, then about 6pm we walked along to The Sonne and sat in the Garden for our meal, strolled back afterwards and decided that as we were not in a hurry, we could pack our cases and overnight bags just as well on Monday Morning.

The evening wasn’t as clear or the sunset as pretty on this our last evening though.

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We Start our journey back to Basingstoke tomorrow.